Currently I am in the process of publishing a lot of words about generational or collective astrology and its impacts. Collective astrology is a phrase I use to describe astrological factors that affect everyone born in a period of a year or more, so if there is something happening up there that is slow enough to be in the chart of everyone born in a single 12 month period, I am calling it a generational or collective effect. From this point of view, then, a generation is a very elastic concept, as it can encompass any unit of time greater than a year. With an astrological model we can talk about different sizes of generations of people being connected to different planets and signs, and that’s what this message is about.
Aspects between slow moving planets are part of our collective astrology, but in this message I am focusing on cycles, which are the main ways we can use astrology to measure generations. One thing I do want you to remember about aspects, here, though, is that you can forget about orbs – at this level of astrology, aspects are made from one entire sign to another, much as they are in some older systems of astrology, (which originated in a world that had a healthy collective awareness). A tight orb of aspect will still cause the feature to be emphasised, but the forces at play here are so mammoth that they are never restricted by it.
There are two forms of measuring generations commonly used in modern western astrology, and they comprise what I would call a micro and macro set of cycles. They are both basically the same cycle seen differently. The macro set of cycles is measured from returns – that is, the length of time it takes an object to orbit the chart or the Sun. Therefore the Saturn macro cycle is about 28-30 years, while the Uranus macro-cycle is about 84. Thus, one generation measured by Saturn in this set of cycles takes about 30 years to pass. This is fixed that way for every single person. For this reason, the macro cycles of Neptune and everything beyond it go beyond the scale of an individual life and encompass much bigger patterns of generational astrology. Note that it is Neptune that transcends the scale.
The micro cycle is actually a breakdown of the macro cycle, with one generation being as long as it takes for a planet to move through a single sign. This is of course a division of the span of time of the macro cycle by 12, and it allows us to examine and work with each part of the macro cycle in more detail. Putting the two forms of measuring generations with astrology together, you have the following:
- Jupiter has a 12 year macro cycle and a 1 year micro cycle (which thus resonates with the solar cycle and the zodiac)
- Saturn has a 28-29 year macro cycle with a 2.5 year micro cycle (and the macro cycle resonates with the progressed Moon cycle)
- Chiron has a 50 year macro cycle with a 4.5 year micro cycle (unevenly distributed across the 12 signs)
- Uranus has an 84 year macro cycle and a 7 year micro cycle (which is one quarter of the Saturn macro cycle)
- Neptune has a 165 year macro cycle and a 14 year micro cycle (roughly twice those of Uranus)
- Pluto has a 248 year macro cycle and a 21 year micro cycle (though like Chiron this is not evenly distributed and is an average)
Therefore, from a practical point of view, the macro cycle numbers (12, 29, 50, 84, 165 and 248 years) help us to analyse bigger historical trends, since at the scope of Neptune and Pluto they encompass cycles that transcend human mortality and thus a single human awareness is literally not equipped to grasp them in their entirety. They are written on history itself, not really individuals. They represent things that dwarf our comprehension. At the tightest end of the macro scale, with Jupiter and Saturn, we see puberty and the coming of age experience that falls over us when we approach 30, and these are titanic encounters we struggle with because they are of this macro scale. We also see the massive cresting of hillage that is turning 50 (Chiron macro scale) and the final curtain, the point at which we inevitably realise the end is so very very near and start to respond to how much change there has been since we came in (Uranus macro scale). These are major gates of initiation through life, gates we all pass through at roughly the same ages. They are titans met upon the journey. Practically, it is far easier for us to work with the micro scale, whose numbers are all within our ability not only to live through but to comprehend patterns in. For this reason when I refer to a ‘generation’ astrologically I am usually referring to the micro scale, and its upon this that my series of messages have been focused.
However, the macro scale is still very useful, and a great deal of focus has been given to it in the writing on astrology, especially the Saturn macro cycle. Note the significant position that Uranus occupies in this scale. It is the closest to the modern natural life span of a human being, and it is therefore one of the most useful measurements when it comes to attributing a number to how long the nebulous concept of a generation lasts. From Uranus we can measure a single complete cycle of Uranus in the signs during the lifetime of each person, so long as they live to a ripe age. This points to the planet being currently resonant with human awareness (note that until 1900 the average life expectancy was only 31, whereas in 2010 it was 67). Its micro scale of 7 years is also a very handy number for measuring generations of people with, as it will basically encompass everyone you went to school with, except during years when two generations of this type are schooling together (which is far more common than one generation schooling together, and this is an interesting generational pattern to study in itself, since in some cases it means that there can be a tiny minority of kids who really are different to all the others and who need radically different forms of attention).
It needs to be remembered that these are just patterns and they overlay one another, meaning that one generation can contain different subtypes. For example, in the 14 years on average that Neptune takes to go through a single sign, Jupiter will go through every sign, and two signs will be reached by Uranus. This will create contours and distinctions throughout the Neptune generation, dividing the tribe into two camps and changing things up once every year or so. At the same time the other planets and their cycles will be shaping the generation, and aspects from slower moving planets to Neptune will also be providing temporary change to its overall influence. We are looking at models for a complex system here, and each cycle helps us to understand a specific dimension of that complexity. Remember, though, that slow moving planets (Pluto, Neptune, Uranus) represent more massive numbers of people, assuming the global birth rate is steady or rising, and that Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron provide further contours to these influences, perhaps as much or more than aspects do.
That said, lets look at these cycles one at a time, from the fastest and shortest to the longest and slowest.
The Jupiter Cycles
The Jupiter cycles measure the expansive qualities of the generation and its approach to growing through the bigger cycles, especially the Saturn cycle. These are the details that our collective history rarely records, or even takes notice of. They correlate to the way in which individuals within a generation assimilate and find common ground with other things, especially each other and other generations.
Its micro cycle is almost annual, thus easy to track, and it represents the way in which the individual will elaborate upon its collective astrology. For example, the way in which someone with Uranus in Scorpio will elaborate upon that influence and cause it to expand is shown by their Jupiter sign. Its resonance with the solar cycle is striking given that Jupiter is thought to be cosmically perched on the edge of igniting into a star. This synchronisation with Earths solar cycle also creates 12 subsets for each Jupiter micro cycle that fit in more or less perfectly with the zodiac signs. Thus, when Jupiter is in Virgo as he is now, the tribe of Jupiter in Virgo being born that year will have representatives from each of the 12 Sun signs in it. This is key to understanding how to apply the collective astrology of Jupiter – groups of people can be assembled to represent specific Elements, signs, or modalities, and their behaviour pooled. In this way, they will dramatically increase each individuals connection with Jupiter, resulting in a positive feedback between the group and the planets essential meaning. Of all the planets discussed here, Jupiter is the easiest one to generate a massive collective charge through.
Its macro cycle is connected to major growth spurts, the first of which impacts us the greatest biologically, the second of which astrally, the third mentally. After that, the growth spurts are less focused and more general. The macro cycle divides into four stages (as all macro cycles do) which correspond to one of the four Elements. For Jupiter these stages are reached at every 3 year interval from birth, so at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, etc. These are the turning points at which growth needs to be curtailed before it overextends. We learned to crawl – great! – but suddenly we find ourselves attempting to toddle and falling over on our butts. These quarters are all about humility and scaling hopes and faith in accord with reality. 15 is especially humiliating as it comes following the tumult of puberty and expresses our struggle to grapple with sexual awakening.
As the smallest of the cycle sets the Jupiter cycles are those which provide the greatest detail to our collective astrology. They add definition to the other cycles, interlocking with them in ways which bring individuality to them. This individuality is based on what is shared, what is in common, and thereby abundant. This means that it can form a bridge between completely different generational cycles – for example, you might have Uranus in Libra, and I might have Pluto in Scorpio, but we could both have Jupiter in Aries, and if we focus on this we will see that even though we do different things with it we have a similar outlook on how to grow ourselves, and we might even have a similar belief about life in general. Such connections are fully capable of encompassing any combinations, because of the nature of Jupiter. Jupiter is therefore extremely important in collective or generational astrology, despite its relative speed.
The Saturn Cycles
The Saturn cycles are connected with cause and effect in terms of generational impacts – with how we as a people enact our awareness of natural universal laws. They govern the limitations which seem to restrict or deny communion between generations, the rigid structures or traditions that define them. Every generation likes to represent itself as an authority on something, and the Saturn cycles are connected with how that plays out.
The Saturn macro cycle is what truly separates us, one generation to the next. The gulf of experience opens its maw wide every 30 years, leading to a seeming abyss between older and younger groups of us. It is an illusion of time, a conjuration of world weariness, but a potent one. There is effort and work to be done in bridging this gap – think of a first talk between a 15 and 45 year old person – but as is the way with subterranean Saturn and his crushing pressures, there are diamonds in this coal. It will take time and effort to mine, but once fashioned it long outlasts us. This cycle is all about major efforts we can make together that span decades. Once consciously engaged it also empowers us in the mass clearing of human karma. The macro cycle divides into quarters of about 7-7.5 years each, one for each of the 4 Elements, and its how a generation (and its individuals) handles its karma and what it understands from any failures at these times that determines the effect it will experience at the next quarter.
The micro cycle of Saturn in the 12 signs opens a 2.5 year window into which individual souls are incarnated by the Greater Selves as part of a specific thread in the Great Work. This thread re-emerges in a new form every 28-30 yrs (i.e. as part of the macro cycle) and in human terms is related to the karmic consequences that are necessary for human awareness as a whole to comprehend its own nature and ultimately to be its own conscious architect. Within the micro cycle, Saturn is busy building and preserving ancient and customary ways against the ravages of time, it is a preservative factor in generational astrology that can allow us to transmit wisdom through the ages. It mimics the generational effect of the macro cycle (which we experience most often with our parents and grandparents) on a personal scale, so that we can feel that distance and gap with people who are our nearer our own age. For example, the Saturn in Taurus generation will have a difficult time integrating its own experience and understanding of life with that of anyone born under Saturn in Leo, Aquarius or Scorpio, signs which square or oppose Taurus, and this difficulty will be strangely like the difficulty we have relating to our own parents or grandparents way of looking at life – if we can just get out of our own limiting way, it can permanently open things up for us. On the other hand, those with Saturn in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn) can help us to build what we each came to build, like a far less stern and authoritative parent or grandparent, but this means the core lessons we need to understand will come more slowly and stealthily. This kind of co-operative effort will still require effort and patience, but in strange ways, time itself will be on our side.
The Chiron Cycles
Newcomer Chiron needs much more research. He has a hugely significant macro cycle of roughly 50 years (significant to humans anyway), and there is no doubt that the Chiron return is not an easy transition for most of us. It often seems to be connected to how we have handled Saturn, and to responsibilities we have continually tried to escape, but this may just be us rather than anything intrinsic to him. Until we as a species reach our first Chiron return we are still fumbling through the agenda, and since Chiron was revealed in the late 1970s we still have a long way to go before we reach that stage. Note that we recently passed our first return of Neptune since its discovery. However, we have passed the half way mark in this journey (which occurred once Chiron entered Scorpio in 1996), and from then we started to grow more confident about what we know.
We can theorise that the macro cycle is connected to the later parts of the mid-life crisis, like Saturn is via its second return, where the earlier parts are connected with Uranus and Neptune (as explained below). Chiron fits into the mid life crisis zone right at the point at which our awarenesses encompasses an entire half century. Its a huge psychological transition that forms a bridge to the latter chapters of life. In terms of generational or collective astrology, 50 years divides things into a historical unit that lets us take in both broad and sweeping changes (Uranus) and the Saturnine methods and paths by which this occurred. This is exactly what the individual human awareness encounters when it turns 50.
I propose that the micro cycle is an initiatory one that mimics this effect on a smaller scale. The sign of Chiron would then become a way by which a generation working together can both comprehend and achieve the conditions which will allow it to leave this world healed by the time it reaches its 50s, so that it can rest as a whole being and teach us in its latter years. It would promote a way for that generation to bridge gaps between tradition or custom and innovation or adventure. It would reveal a wound or fracture in the human collective awareness, drawing it to the surface so that we can work on it. And it would ultimately clue those people in to how they can pull off a successful combination of Saturn and Uranus in their individual and collective lives, showing them the quest of how they can achieve the liberation of Uranus through the discipline of Saturn.
The macro cycle still divides into quarters which express one each of the 4 Elements, but the time span or interval between the quarters is not equal and depends on which sign Chiron is in when you are born (i.e. on your place in the micro cycle). Chiron has an elliptical and inclined orbit which ‘stretches’ his time in some signs and compresses it in others. This is very telling! It means that the 50 year cycle develops at different temporal rates for different tribes of Chiron. Some tribes get their first tests very early on in life, while others get them later. The average, however, is one sign for every 4.5 yrs, which means that the average length of time for one quarter of the macro cycle to pass is 13.5 years. This means that the average length of time for Chiron to form each square is similar to the Jupiter macro cycle and the Neptune micro scale, while also being about half of one Saturn cycle. However interesting this synchronicity may be, we have to remember these are based on averages and that we need a lot more time before we can really comprehend what these cycles offers us.
The Uranus Cycles
The Uranus cycles are the ones we have to truly expand our minds to grasp. They are currently cycles connected with the integration of technology and human awareness since they resonate with the pace of innovation within the prevailing paradigm (which is scientific in our case), and given that the macro cycle is positioned towards the upper limit of our life span it also has resonance with the potential totality of conscious awareness that is present in human beings. In other words, it expresses the point at which the elastic nature of human awareness reaches its natural limits and begins to snap unless it radically adapts. It is difficult to remember everything (anything?) or even to care about the latest new thing when so much has already happened. By the time we are in our 80s the world has changed so radically from when we came in that it is almost unrecognisable, and we are struggling to keep up. Think on that – think of the struggle someone in their 80s has coming to terms with the fact that when they were born almost nobody had TV except the very rich, then they look up and contrast with today. Now, people have their own channels – and we just took one example. Its a total mindbomb nobody back then could have seen coming, and thats what awaits us all at the end of this cycle. Think on where you came into the world, now picture that accelerated far beyond your imagination. This is the spirit of the macro cycle. It is also part of the Great Work that is woven into reality by the Greaters.
This fact – that nobody can project crazily enough into the future to foresee the end of this macro cycle once it begins – is one of the greatest dangers facing us in our use of technology and scientific innovation. Our embrace of technology as an avatar of change and a bringer of solutions to our dilemmas is loaded with unforeseen consequences that we will only see play out fully if we reach a ripe old age, and this is what we need to realise – that only these people have this wisdom, and thus their alienation is part of our doom because we do not learn what they have learned, and just repeat the same mistakes on an elevated scale. Thus, the Uranus macro cycle is very much about how we treat our elders – will they be able to transmit what they have learned from their turn with (for example) Uranus in Scorpio to the newly born children of Uranus in Scorpio, or will that voice be lost because they are no longer seen as having a functional role in society?
This connection to the elderly is because the Uranus macro cycle is in a 3:1 resonance with the Saturn cycle – one orbit of Uranus around the Sun is equal to 3 orbits of Saturn. The third Saturn return and the Uranus return combine to bring to us an awareness of life coming to an end but also of having come back to the beginning. Therefore, the macro cycles of Saturn and Uranus intertwine about human awareness as it interacts with time and form the core or basis of collective or generational astrology. We might (as I propose) have to add Chiron to that heart of the matter, only time will tell.
The Uranus micro cycle is one quarter of the Saturn macro cycle, placing Uranus in resonance with Saturn on both scales. As mentioned previously, the 7 year scale of the micro cycle is resonant with generations we encounter in our schooling when we are young, and exactly when in the 7 year period we are born has a lot to do with the quality of social environment we encounter in school years. If we are born in the middle of the period, with Uranus in the middle of the sign, everyone we go to school with will be of the same collective mind and will easily form bonds (which can have an effect on sports teams, for example). If however we are born at the end or beginning of the period (with Uranus at the beginning or end of a sign) there will be more clashes in the early social environment, perhaps more ‘us and them’ cliquishness, with some groups being potentially very tiny and thus alienated, particularly when you add classroom division into the equation. However, this is a healthier environment in terms of variety and the kind of creativity that arises from chaos rather than co-operation. Its a matter of perspective, but also of recognising the different generations and finding ways to cater to both at the same time – then the magic is often remarkable and outstrips that of those with a more vanilla flavoured upbringing.
The micro cycle delineates a ‘techno-cult’ of some kind that forms around new technology and the first children to be exposed to it. Something new is introduced which has rapid and irreversible consequences for society, and what that is will be resonant with the sign that Uranus is in. It is important to understand what a technology is in the eyes of this planet, however – it is not necessarily a gadget or an invention, it can also be an ideal that drives societies, a ‘new wave’ of any kind or a major shock or collapse that forces movement in new directions, often on multiple trajectories. It leads to a new kind of meaning to things entering play. I have a theory that gatherings of the tribe bring about a rapid acceleration of change – that if you want to make a big, quick change, you get everyone with Uranus in a certain sign to be your ally. Rallies and demonstrations that are organised with a mind to emphasising the breakthrough potential of this planet may have a greater chance of forcing change, but that change may well be out of their control. This is why I have not spent much time writing about it. I feel we should work with Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron first. These also represent easier cycles to wield in intentional directions.
The Neptune Cycles
Neptune is that principle which we encounter when all of the usual rules and traditions established by Saturn (the things our parents teach us) and all of the innovation and radical alternatives offered by Uranus (the things our peers teach us) are exhausted. It represents the continually shifting shoreline between our total possible view of reality, and the mystifying whole of reality itself. We cannot possibly hope to totally encompass a shoreline because it has a formless shape and is in a state of constant flux, much as our awareness is. To put this another way, we see life through a variety of keyholes, all of which are partial views and therefore illusory, but they all show the same thing.
Over ten years ago a Pisces friend studying philosophy whom I had many in depth discussions with asked me about dreaming, and I told him that what we know as dreams are just glimpses through keyholes in doors within our minds, that what we see of the content of the room beyond is then arranged into some kind of pattern by our awareness, but that it was also possible to open the door and walk into the room. When he asked how, I could only say that it was possible through astral magic. Now I would say it is also possible through the magic of Neptune. This magic therefore leads generations of people into experimentation with meditation, sacred plants, prayer, spirits, music and fashion as a way of expressing connection to the intangible, it represents a shared view of the living and ever changing scenery of the room beyond the keyhole, a glimpse of the mystifying infinite that will present itself in symbolic form through the unconscious ideals and visions of a group of people. Sometimes these visions will bring them together in shared dreams, quite literally, with each individual playing a role in the drama and experiencing it differently – so there are actual dreams shared by everyone with Neptune in Scorpio, for example, often happening at the same time to all of them but with different symbols as dressing – but like many things with Neptune it remains invisible to us simply because we do not pay enough attention to it. It is a subtle effect, and this subtlety renders it invisible, but it does not render it impotent. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The Neptune (and Pluto) micro cycles are also mysterious partly because they are parts of the largest order of macro cycles (and thus contain complex nuances from other smaller cycles) and additionally because they are fragmentary as there is no possible transmission of the wisdom of a complete cycle from elder humans. Sometimes, there are historical flashpoints that illuminate the cycle. The Neptune micro cycle tends to manifest in visual and fashion trends, and in the modern era not just with themes and moods in film but also with the ways visual media are consumed, such as vogues in gaming (MMO, shooter, etc) but it also resonates fiercely with religious ideology and spiritual movements, and these are more often the flashpoints. The Neptune in Pisces era, for example, is a generation that will be the first born into a world where the delivery of visual arts is made through virtual reality – total immersion, with a deep shaping of the unconscious – but there is also a religious flashpoint in the form of the ancient feud between Islam and Christianity.
Moods in music shift in a Neptune way as Neptune transitions between signs – Disco and Punk (Neptune in Sagittarius – do not forget this is not only a gregarious and flamboyant sign but the only sign armed with a fashioned weapon in the zodiac) became ‘New Romantic/Pop’ (Neptune in Capricorn, the ‘glamour’ of the materialistic utopia lifestyle of the 80s) and eventually went with yellow faced smiley Techno and spontaneous, socially aware Rap (Neptune in Aquarius), but how exactly did those transitions happen? They were all gradual, seamless changes, not the jarring ones they might seem to be from different styles of the music, and yet they neatly encapsulate the mood of a specific era and make it look more dated as fresher visions emerge. This is the slow erosion of Neptune at work – once it leaves a sign, the ‘visions’ cease, and artists attached to them adapt or ‘lose their muse’ and fall out of popularity.
However, this is where the Neptune tribes come in, because they still carry a torch for that wave and still seek its visions. They will tend to cluster together in nostalgic recognition of certain ‘classic memes’ as time goes by. Once one of the other slower moving planets enters their Neptune sign, say Jupiter or Saturn, they will get busy with it again on some level. When Neptune goes into a different sign but one with the same Element, the muses are with a different tribe but what that tribe does sends ripples into our tribe which also get it working on the vision again, though this time more astrally, in daydreams and other forms of astral interaction. Yet when Neptune squares itself when we are about 41-42, it is part of the mid-life crisis our generation goes through, because the vision we came in with is challenged by its lack of realisation (and there is always a lack, because 42 years is not enough with only fragmented individuals working on the agenda, this should be a unified team effort). For all these reasons and others the collective astrology generated by Neptune in the signs is not as compelling or forceful compared to other planets discussed here, and this means that organised groups of these Neptune tribes rarely form and remain cohesive. But what if they did? What power might they hold if the tribes heard the voice calling them, saw the vision that was before them and followed in its light from childhood on as part of the sacred wheel of life? It was once so, when we took notice of the spirit world.
This square of Neptune to its own position is part of the macro cycle, and between one part of the micro cycle starting and this square Neptune will pass through 3 signs. Once it reaches the 4th sign, the total effect of what has already passed plus the arrival of a new generation starts to trigger the mid-life crisis. So even though the macro cycle is so massive and only partially encompassed in a human life, we still have enormous individual sensitivity to it. Our collective awareness is similarly endowed, but this is dulled to our sight. The other major challenge in the partial macro cycle is the Neptune opposition to itself which we encounter in our early to mid 80s. This dovetails into the Uranus return to show us again how far away from our vision of the future actual reality is from where we expected it to be. Our minds can begin to balk at the immense mystery of life, and if we have trouble this can even result in loss of faculties and senility. At the very least, the world looks like a very confusing place, but at the same time there is also a potential for us to see it all as a metaphysical exercise, even if we cannot grasp its point. The loss of detail is replaced by a perception of essences.
The micro cycle and macro cycle of Uranus and Neptune are roughly synchronised in a 2:1 relationship – for every orbit Neptune makes around the Sun, Uranus makes about 2. This also means that Uranus takes 7 years to go through a sign on average while Neptune takes 14, so for every Neptune generation seeded there are 2 Uranus generations seeded within them. For some time now, Uranus and Neptune have been close together. Uranus recently overtook Neptune and is pulling farther away from it, and this means that there are some people alive now who have Uranus and Neptune conjunct in the same sign. That sign is Capricorn, for the most part – they also dallied together in Aquarius for a while, but not long. This generation is an extremely important generation handed the inescapable responsibility of saving the environment of our planet. It encompasses everyone born in the early to mid 90s and others besides them. Stimulus in the Capricorn sign – like the current passage of Pluto – will periodically cause this generation to become aware of the issues.
This is important! It demonstrates that what is behind any of the planets we are discussing here – what is positioned before it in zodiacal order – will (if it is slow) gradually transit forwards to hit that generational button, while fast moving objects behind it will progress forwards to that zone. Similarly, objects in front of the planets we are discussing here will eventually be met by transits from a faster object placed behind them, and fast moving planets placed ahead in zodiacal order from these slow titans will get a transit. So for the generation of people with Uranus in Aries, all the people born under Taurus will have an activation of their Sun (and also perhaps Mercury and Venus, given they stay close to the Sun) set up through transits sometime around the age of 7, while someone with a Sun in Pisces will have a progression of their Sun towards their Uranian astrology. In this way, some signs are set up to be receptacles for collective astrology at certain ages of a life span and either as a response to things happening out there in the world or as a response to changes within the collective psyche.
Thus: Uranus in Aries and Neptune in Pisces with Pluto in Capricorn (todays configuration) means that for this entire generation Neptune will travel to activate Uranus, Pluto will activate Neptune then Uranus, and Uranus will take decades before it activates Pluto. Those born with the Sun and its consorts ahead of these signs will generally find the collective astrology activated by transit first, while those with the Sun and its consorts behind these signs will progress into them and find psychological change rather than external change is the cue. This condenses the generational astrology of these people into a simple and easily identifiable form.
The Pluto Cycles
With Pluto, the macro cycle is so beyond our feeble life spans that we can only struggle to comprehend its meaning for our tiny lives, which seem overwhelmed by their power. Fortunately, we are destined only to experience the Pluto square to itself and not its opposition, but some of us do live to be that old…and millennia ago, there were people who did actually live for an entire Pluto cycle and longer, but this is obviously disputed. Nevertheless, as ridiculous as it may be to us today, ‘Methuselah’ was not named that way without an obvious reason, and he was not alone in ancient history.
Our interaction with the macro cycle of Pluto (note – not the cycle itself) is contaminated with the karmic consequences of our relationship to nature and the controls we have imposed within ourselves as a result of our awareness of our own impending death. It is ‘blocked’, to use a therapeutic term. The ‘blockage’ is not our fear of dying, that is just one of its symptoms, the blockage is instead about our denial of the place death has in the cycle of life, a denial which obscures our awareness of our continual rebirth as part of an ever transforming universe. We seek to control nature as a way to continually blind ourselves to the stark role death plays in the natural cycle, and into the gap of awareness which we vacated various religious views have sprung up seeking to put a plaster on the ‘problem’ of death. The Pluto macro cycle became saturated with these issues and now seeks to guide us back to a more genuine and sincere acknowledgement of the healing power of death. Its a little risky for me to say these things as it seems I am blaming monotheistic religion for the problem, but thats not my intent, my intent is to show that when we stopped seeing ourselves as part of nature and instead as something divinely charged to shepherd and control it, we erred dramatically by seeking to remove ourselves from the natural cycle. Suddenly, we were not like the other things we lived with, not like the stars or the grasses, the winds or the valleys, the animals and the rocks. We became in effect possessive of all of them, obsessively so and in a truly Plutonian way.
So the macro cycle is about the cleansing of this blockage and its cleansing leads to a renewal of the human spirit, and the resurrection of a new but old awareness of the power of life and death we each hold in our hands, but which collectively we can wield to unprecedented effect, given our current numbers. The Pluto macro cycle gradually leads us to the place where we can look upon this terrible power and what we have done with it, so that we can pierce the darkness ahead to choose wisely how to use it in the future. However, like Neptune, the extremity of its orbit leads to a less cohesive awareness of his role in us collectively, which translates to less groups organising and forming through the influence of Pluto in the signs. Movements of his tribes are rarely begun with a conscious intent, instead they arise out of necessities.
The micro scale of Pluto in the signs is uneven due to his ovoid movement around the Sun and its inclination into the disk of the solar system. This means he spends more time in some signs than others:
- 1882-1914 (Gemini) – 28 years
- 1912-1939 (Cancer) – 27 years
- 1939-1958 (Leo) – 19 years
- 1958-1972 (Virgo) – 14 years
- 1972-1984 (Libra) – 12 years
- 1984-1995 (Scorpio) – 11 years
- 1995-2008 (Sagittarius) – 13 years
- 2008-2024 (Capricorn) – 16 years
- 2024-2044 (Aquarius) – 20 years
- 2044-2068 (Pisces) – 24 years
- 2068-2097 (Aries) – 29 years
- 2097-2129 (Taurus) – 32 years!
As can be seen, he speeds through Scorpio but spends almost forever in Taurus, which is a potent clue to his collective nature because it shows that the collective psyche goes through periods where it is greatly imbalanced towards most people being alive with Pluto in Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. These often turn out to be powerful generations as far as the astrology of Pluto is concerned, with global events that affect everyones lives being more common. This will happen again in the latter half of this century and the first half of the next. Conversely we can say that those with Pluto in Scorpio have far more complex situations to deal with (Plutonically speaking) since they have a wider variety of Pluto tribes to negotiate the future with.
This skewering of Pluto sideways into the orbit of the solar system also means that the only macro cycle effect that we all experience is the Pluto square Pluto transit, but it happens at different times of life for different tribes of Pluto. For example, the square first happened to the Pluto in Scorpio tribe 40 years after they started to arrive, but it first happened to the Pluto in Gemini tribe starting at the age of about 76. For some time in recent decades this aspect has arrived in the mid 40s for most of us, leading astrologers to attach it to the mid-life crisis, when in truth it is not part of that initiation, it is merely that the midlife crisis is emphasised for people with Pluto in certain signs. This is another interesting feature of Pluto’s collective astrology we need to keep in mind as we move forwards in our understanding of his cycle and how it shapes different generations of human beings.
The square itself is about reaching a turning point wherein whatever is rotten or corrupted from the way we have lived our lives is uprooted, sometimes forcefully, and forced into a regeneration. This happens mostly at the individual and personal level where it is frequently a crushing burden because this is a collective force that would best be met by a collective response, which we lack due to our perceived differences at the individual and personal level. The whole problem here is that we lack a coherent and cohesive collective awareness as a species – we divide bitterly on race, creed, gender and sexual identity, religion, politics, every spectrum of life – and so we are incapable of integrating these powerful stages of life, either properly or at all. Sometimes we perceive this at this time, and yearn for a major transformation to change the way things are in the world. Yet this impulse is often ignored, shushed and brushed aside as a childish dream. It would not be so with a tribe of other people at our side openly declaring the same thing.
A key mechanism of the Pluto square is that it causes whatever is corrupt or rotten in the tribes eyes to become a greater threat to its existence, with the sign the square is coming from providing the new threat levels. So for example with Pluto in Leo, the tribe born into the atomic and nuclear age, once Pluto entered Scorpio the threat from these things reached an apex of intensity and danger in the eyes of the Pluto in Leo generation – there was Chernobyl, the height of the Cold War and nuclear warhead proliferation. Then, this pressure is transformed in some way. The Cold War ended, the wall here in beautiful Berlin came down, it seemed for a while we were all collectively turning a corner away from that precipice. Yet we only turn away from those threats when we recognise the corruption within us for what it is, take steps to change it, and integrate those lessons into culture and society. Otherwise, these encounters merely serve to release the pressures after ramping them up to dangerously high levels, but things remain toxic beneath the surface.
Within the micro cycle of Pluto in signs, each tribe therefore has a different agenda and a different encounter with that agenda at a different time in their lives, and some tribes find themselves with smaller numbers and surrounded by a greater variety of other tribes, while others have massive tribes that include almost every adult alive at the same time and who experience greater impacts from major global events affecting more people.
Since Pluto is such hard to handle material and causes such intense inner reflection it is wise if Pluto tribes do not work alone. Working with the Elements at the level of Pluto’s collective astrology seems like the best option because the trine relationship always softens the impact of Pluto enormously. Therefore, the tribes of Pluto in Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces should work together when they can, and the tribes of Taurus and Virgo and Capricorn too, as well as those of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius and finally Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. To get the most out of Pluto we need to soothe him first, we must sing to him to pacify him, because hell is after all hell to rule. This soothing of the Plutonian spirit is easily evoked in a mixture of tribes that all hail from Pluto being in the same Element. Again, the oddities of Pluto’s orbit mean that this will not always be possible, because it can involve too big a time gap in some instances, and this oddity also causes the generation gap that the different Elemental tribes would have to work with to be different. This is another telling way Pluto shapes our astrology at the collective level.
Hopefully this brief look at these cycles has given you some insight and something to think about, maybe even to apply in your life. If you want to add more, have a think about the Dragon which cycles every 18 years, taking about 18 months to go through a sign – it provides another contour similar to that of Jupiter. We currently have the technology to make great use of this kind of information, and I sincerely believe that the collective potential of astrology needs to be tapped into if we are to make it through the coming storms. My heart goes out to every person trying work together to make the world a better place not just for us but for everything that is here with us. This message is for you.
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