In my astrology classes, I repeatedly argue that the nature of the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) is not yet integrated into human consciousness, except in a small minority of us. This is to be expected as these energies are new to us and although some individuals are able to integrate these forces into their consciousness for themselves, they are not unified for the collective consciousness as a whole. Individuals act as harbingers for the species as a whole and can call and harken all of us to recognize these forces as the survival of our species may depend on it. Perhaps evolution tends to occur in fits and starts, but I would like to believe that it is also true that the greater the collective consciousness, the more able ‘we’ might be to see where we are and what we need to do to create a better life for all of us. For this to happen, the outer planet forces MUST be understood far better than they are now. This does not necessarily mean that more people need to study astrology, but that the principles that astrology is aware of do need to be understood and vitalized.
Democracy is Composed of Two Elements
Before getting into how the present astrological transits are connected to what is happening in the U.S. and the world at large, I want to take a pretty big step backwards. I need to talk about the nature of democracy and how many of us may not realize what the basic elements of it are. Much of what I will be writing has been expressed many times by Fareed Zakaria (CNN), and is well worth summarizing here. Zakaria talks about what he terms “Liberal Democracy” and suggests that it is composed of 2 elements:
- Public participation in selecting leaders. This is how democracy is usually defined solely and is thought of as each individual having the right to vote for whoever they choose.
- But, ever since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, there has been a second extremely important aspect to democracy, which is that there are basic civil rights that cannot be taken away by voters or leaders. I refer to such rights as freedom of speech, laws against arbitrary arrest, forced religious conversions, property ownership, the right to dissent, and many other protections. This is the purpose of the Bill of Rights. In the U.S., we are accustomed to having this type of democracy.
Unfortunately, these two aspects of democracy have become so intertwined that we think of them as democracy itself. Yet, we can see with the rise of what Fareed calls ‘Illiberal’ democracies, that not all democratic states are the same. There can be the first element of a democracy, public participation in selecting leaders, without the second element. This type of ‘democracy?’ is where popular sentiment and elections can overturn fundamental freedoms and rights. It seems that the rise of the ‘illiberal’ democracy reveals these 2 elements, or the lack thereof, in stark contrast. Illiberal democracies in Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela and the Philippines are present day examples. All are controlled by authoritarian leaders and yet are still considered to be democratic.
What is happening is that liberty is under siege worldwide and this includes the U.S. and yet it is rarely seen or recognized for what it is. Thus, many people believe they are living in a democracy as they have not discovered that what we have called democracy is composed of two important elements, not just one. It seems to me that we are not seeing what is happening right in front of our collective face.
Please bear with me a little more as I think it is important to understand that the wisdom of the ‘Founding Fathers’ was that they did understand the two elements of a democracy. I will get to the astrology side of this as soon as I can, but in a way that promotes understanding and leads somewhere constructive. I really can’t talk about Uranus in Aries if I don’t write more about the nature of a democracy.
Alexis de Tocqueville, French diplomat, political scientist and historian, wrote succinctly on this subject. One relevant idea is that he saw democracy as an equation that “balanced liberty and equality” and concern for the individual as well as for the community. This notion shows that there is a fundamental tension that cannot be escaped between individual freedom and the common good. We must be aware of this tension as it isn’t possible to achieve the democratic ideal without this awareness. This ‘ideal’ can never be static or unchanging.
The founding Fathers seem to have been very aware of this tension. This is why the Founding Fathers were skeptical of democracy and created a Republic. Many knew that what I’m calling a ‘Liberal Democracy’ must be sustained by more than laws, but by the creation of a culture of norms and practices whose purpose it is to fundamentally validate the importance of individual freedoms by and for all citizens. It appears that this is coming apart now even in the US. In other words, there must be bulwarks against majority rule. In the past, the way a democratic culture was developed was through non-governmental groups and associations such as guilds, clubs, and Rotary clubs, choir societies, professional associations, the Masons and so many more. These groups both consciously and unconsciously represented and advocated for the forces of freedom and liberty.
What is called nowadays the intellectual elites, such as lawyers, religious leaders and some media leaders were arbiters of this and functioned as forces that weakened the strength or tyranny of the majority in favor of individual liberty. Broad national interests were focused on rather than special, deeply personal interests, focused solely on the individual. In other words, these were focused on the common good.
This is what is weakening in the past few decades and has increased with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.
Political parties have lost their relevance and have been replaced by focus on individual personalities. The organized mainstream media is criticized in favor of Facebook and thousands of other platforms, including fake news with no concern for the monitoring of facts, all of which focus on individual opinions and self-oriented biases. The forces that held together the sense of moral need for concern for the collective good of a free society are weakening by the day. Populism may sound good, but are we aware of how easy it is for it to turn quickly into demagoguery if the cultural forces of freedom are not a priority? Do any of you remember the cynical politics of the 1970’s when the term ‘Moral Majority’ was introduced? This exactly represents that danger of which I am speaking.
Now, we have an open world in which everyone is an entrepreneur, a source of authority, a competitor, but for the most part, is focused on his/her views solely and ignoring concern for the common good. We hustle for personal advantage, praising self-interest and few see how profoundly out of balance this is and where it is leading. What remains to support civic life and concern for the common good? And, more importantly what will happen to our democracy if we lose one of the two essential necessities of a “Liberal Democracy?”
Now we can get to the astrology part of this article. The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) represent transcendent or transformative potentials for both individuals and humanity in general. But if one of them dominates more than the others, which often happens, a great imbalance is created. Uranus represents the process of individuation, which Carl Jung wrote about so well. It does not mean that the individual is enhanced in an ‘egoic’ sense. Uranus is intended to help us break free from unconscious viewpoints, thought forms, and opinions so that we can reach a state of uniqueness while retaining awareness that we are also a part of larger systems and the world. It asks us to think for ourselves and not follow blindly what we can call the ‘herd mentality.’ Herd mentality is a form of tyranny of the majority.
Uranus in Aries
Aries is the sign of the pioneer, embracing challenges so that a strong sense of self is created. Aries is about individual accomplishment as opposed to collective achievement. Aries is the natural loner, pitting it against whatever holds it back from free expression and action. Putting this together with Uranus, it is innovative, future-oriented, looking anew at whatever it sees as the next horizon.
Obviously, this combination does tend to highly value the individual over the society or collective. It is a necessary part of one’s evolution.
But this takes us to the greatest task of the astrologer. No sign ought to be considered in isolation. All 12 signs are part of a greater whole and if we don’t understand this and take it into account, we will believe that there’s nothing we can do to get to a balanced state, or that we cannot avoid a lower level of operating in the world. Each sign, in excess over other signs, is extreme and unbalanced. But ALL charts hold every sign. What differs from one chart to another one is a matter of ‘emphasis.’ Each of us is here, in my view, to develop certain qualities and understanding over others ones. But, as we evolve, we also need to gain an understanding that is much broader and more holistic so we are not blown from pillar to post without awareness of the implications or consequences in a state of one extreme to another.
It is my view that Uranus in Aries can, for those who resonate with this message, urge us to take hold of a comprehensive understanding that transcends dualistic thinking. That is true pioneering and transcendent thinking. Dane Rudhyar, whose Sun was in Aries, regarded Aries as a ‘holder of a seed idea.’ Aries must cultivate and develop this seed and not let it die, especially by letting that idea be contaminated by other, more outmoded ways of thinking. In other words, Aries is not to be understood as a mere egoic or selfish being. Sure, it might start that way, but as Aries matures there is an opportunity for it to stand in one’s own unique way of being and model it for the rest of our world, however small or large that might be. To see the need to move beyond self-centeredness and narcissism and envision a brighter, expansive, inclusive way of ‘being’ is the hope of those who feel the need to make the transit of Uranus in Aries come alive in them and in the world.