“Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”
-The Dalai Lama
It has become common knowledge around the world that the times in which we live are difficult and are possibly getting worse. The newest set of problems seem to be coming in Europe as the debts of Italy and Spain could create huge problems for the entire world. In addition we face growing problems here in the United States as well. The subject of this article will focus on the particular political and social divisions we are seeing right now that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I will also take a look at what I believe is at the heart of this conflict, which I regard as a major paradigm or belief system problem.
One of the chief features of today’s atmosphere is the lack of compassion or concern for others or the collective needs of our society. We saw this phenomenon during the Tea Party debate this last week when Ron Paul was asked how he would handle a situation of a 30 year old person without insurance needing an expensive surgery for which he could not pay. Before Rep. Paul could answer, many in the audience yelled out ‘Let him die.’ While Ron Paul did not overtly disagree with this notion, he did suggest that in the past religious charities took up the slack for people in this man’s plight. There are many other examples of the growing hatred of all government services and a lack of compassion. The nation’s infrastructure breaks down more and more each day and the only solution conservatives offer is to build private toll roads. Would we have ever built the interstate highway system we take for granted today without the federal government financing it? How many successful economies in the world depend on private companies to do everything a government used to do? The answer is none. The answer offered by conservatives is to have everything privatized which must also mean that they also want the profit motive to rule all public policy.
This article is not meant to give tons of examples of this phenomenon that I regard as a growing lack of compassion and concern for our fellow man/woman. Some of the reforms conservatives seek are worthy of consideration. But I’m asking why there is such enormous rigidity and such a commitment to a belief system that all other viewpoints are seen as flat-out wrong. What I seek is to understand what is happening and how astrology can both assist us as well as to discover what might be done about it. Let’s start with the notion that these are times of great extremes. Whenever people cannot find a way to resolve disputes, we can assume that each side is coming from some degree of extreme ideation. Each side justifies why their view is right and must be advocated without any concern for what the other side thinks. To me, this indicates a high degree of imbalance. This is where astrology can reveal important things to us that will aid us greatly in our understanding.
The Polarity of Uranus and Neptune
Both of these planets are considered to be ‘outer planets’ in astrology. This means that they function at a different level of ‘being’ than the ones from the Sun to Saturn. The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are concerned with the development of our personal and social life within a family and societal context. These planets govern our ability to make our way in life and to function successfully in society as well as to get our own personal needs met. Interestingly, astrology worked quite well hundreds of years ago, long before the outer planets were discovered. This is because Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are of a different order or paradigm. You don’t need to know about them in order to understand what’s happening in daily life, at least for the most part. These outer planets have been called ‘transcendent’ planets which rule the transformational process and give us insights of a non-ordinary nature. They push us into new territory, a paradigm shift or a leap in consciousness which often takes us outside our everyday world. But can you guess where a problem could develop? To this author, a problem occurs if an individual is unable to understand the nature of the ‘pull’ of one or more of the transpersonal planets. Those planets are there whether or not we are able to relate to them the way they are intended. And many people may not be able to do so. This is what sets up the possibility of dysfunction in that field of our consciousness.
Another factor I will be showing is that Uranus and Neptune are actually part of an important POLARITY and that if one side dominates over the other, great imbalance and harm can be done to a person, society or an entire nation. So, let’s take a look at what each of these archetypes represent in the best sense and then we’ll examine what can happen if they remain dormant and therefore inactive in our unconscious.
If you care to learn more about either Uranus or Neptune, please feel free to use the ‘tag cloud’ or do a search for articles about them. I have written extensively on them in past issues of this newsletter.
This archetypal energy represents the principle of awakening into true personhood or individuality. Uranus is the first planet that follows Saturn. With Saturn we learn how to live successfully in our everyday world. By nature, this is where we must play by the rules, conform, and work well with others, unless otherwise indicated. When Uranus is active, the message changes and we must now work toward being a unique person. This is where we must think for ourselves and not blindly listen to what others say. We must follow the dictates of our own inner knowing whether that concerns our purpose or our ability to make a unique contribution to the world. Sometimes, however, we must eschew the society and find our own path, which includes ignoring what we are told by others or by the mainstream. This is where we must find our separate self and hold to no outer authority. Joseph Campbell put this so clearly with his famous maxim “Don’t follow me, I’m following my Bliss.”
This archetypal energy is the one that balances Uranus. It is the opposite side of the set. With Uranus we develop our own unique self, unfettered by anyone else. With Neptune, we begin to ‘see’ and more importantly ‘feel’ our connectedness with all others. This is where we are asked to develop compassion and understanding as we recognize that we are not alone, not isolated ‘selves,’ but in fact are a part of a holistic reality. Another way to see this principle is the idea that we actually are the other person and that as we treat them, we are treated. Neptune is unconditional Love, the love that keeps the universe together in a mystical, but real sense.
What is important to realize is that both of these principles are new to the consciousness of human beings and often fail to be used in the way they need to be if negative effects are to be avoided. It also makes it more difficult to stay in balance with each other.
The Negative Side
Because most people are not yet sensitive to the vibrations and tones of the higher planets, we usually see more of the negative expression than the positive, unfortunately. Of course, this is how we learn most of the time and there is a pretty simple cause: the function of these planets is still new to humanity. They have not been absorbed into the consciousness of the people on this planet, although they are indeed emerging.
With Uranus, we see the rebel (sometimes without a cause), the person who demands freedom to do what they want to do no matter what anyone else thinks, and someone who believes that everyone should make it on their own and if they don’t, it’s their fault. We can read about the philosophies of Ayn Rand to get an idea of Uranus in its effects. By the way, Rep. Paul Ryan regards Rand as one of his favorite authors and Rep. Ron Paul named his son after her as well. It will be helpful for those of you who want to understand the philosophy of the Tea Party to know of her work.
In the case of Neptune, there can be an unrealistic idealism that can lead to self and other deception, goals that are too idealistic to achieve and a sacrificial nature that gives over personal power to someone or something else. And, if one is emphasized over the other, you can expect to see all sorts of issues developing that can have very negative consequences.
The value of knowing about this set, about concepts that have opposites contained within them, is that when we are conscious of these sets, we can recognize if we are straying way out of balance on one side or the other. Without this kind of knowing, we are blind to so many things in the real world, as our ‘belief systems’ take over and we then see only that which we want to see.
The State of Our Society
Right now, with the transit of Uranus about to square Pluto, the archetypal potentials of Neptune are being completely washed out. Compassion is often considered to be a weakness, something only the ‘bleeding hearts’ waste their energy on. Instead, what matters most now is complete reliance on self alone. With this belief system, government is seen only as a waste of resources and anything that the government historically has been expected to do, must now be ‘privatized.’ So, the nation’s infrastructure begins to fall apart, the possibility of global warming is denied, and even the concept of evolution is attacked freely by religious fundamentalists who have the right to believe whatever they want to believe, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
To the author, this shows an out of balance emphasis on Uranus that is very likely to grow to greater extremes as we move into the coming square between Uranus and Pluto. Any reliance on others seems to be regarded negatively. Personally, I was shocked when Gov. Perry said he has never lost sleep over the death of an inmate sentenced to die. What makes this so strange to me is the fact that we do know that there are cases of innocent people going to jail for crimes they did not commit. Where is the compassion, not just for that single person, but for all of us who might suffer the terrible fate of being condemned to death for something we did not do? How can a governor completely ignore this? No one in his position should sleep like a baby about such important things. This is one of the few times that one would hope for a case of restless sleep.
In the long run, humanity learns about these archetypal principles from all that happens to it collectively and to each of its individauls. We discover more about what is best for us as much or more from our excesses than we do when everything is working well. However, this doesn’t mean that people will not suffer while this learning process takes place. The pain we do to ourselves will ultimately bring about the awareness we need for growth.
But frankly, there is one caveat to this. The ignoring of the environmental issues the entire planet faces may not be fixable by the time humanity recognizes the enormity of the problem it faces. It is possible we are under a ‘sword of Damocles’ problem and refuse to realize it to be true. The price of hubris can be very high indeed, and deliberately ignoring the facts is perhaps the very height of that hubris. True compassion to ourselves and to the world must include taking care of the place in which we live and have our Being.