It's now hurricane season, a time of year when the conditions are correct for the formation of big, cyclonic storms. Hurricanes get their energy from the ocean's warmth, and as the oceans have increased in temperature, more energy is available. You might describe the positions of the planets this way as well: The hotter they get, the more energy is available here on Earth.
The short version of the story is that the Sun is now moving through the Uranus-Pluto square—what I call the 2012-era aspect. We are also about to experience two powerful eclipses concurrent with Mercury retrograde in Scorpio. The combined result will be a sustained phase of planetary energy that will make itself known many ways.
In one sense, the whole year has led to this moment—the extended moment of autumn 2013. In reality, the setup goes back a lot further. Let's see if I can bring you up to date.
Around 2008, an aspect pattern started forming, which involved Pluto ingressing Capricorn. If you were following the astrology blogs at the time, it was just about the only topic going. Pluto is a slow-mover (the slowest-moving planet used by most astrologers, who will be catching up to the Kuiper Belt and Eris in their next lifetimes). Slow means influential; slow means that Pluto events last a while. Pluto means that nothing is the same after he's come through town.
Speculation about Pluto in Capricorn goes back many years; it was perceived in advance as one of those really ominous transits, and now we are in the midst of it. Pluto in a sign helps define a whole era of time, concentrating and focusing change in the topic areas associated with the sign in question. Depending on where Pluto is in its orbit, it can take between 12 and 30 years to make it through one sign. It will be in Capricorn until 2023-2024.
The subject area of Capricorn is the structure of society. Corporations, governments, families, and traditions are all covered by Capricorn.
Pluto is both creative and destructive. It brings change and, in the path of those changes, there can be considerable progress. Yet the door can also open up for some serious negativity. One example was the Saturn-Pluto opposition of 2001-2002. A few astrologers predicted terrorism for this era; none that I am aware of predicted a world war lasting 12 years and counting.
The first year that Pluto touched the foothills of Capricorn, we experienced the financial collapse of 2008. Financial institutions were collapsing in house-of-cards style, and the money was flowing freely.
Astrologers around the world muttered, "Pluto in Capricorn has begun." (Banking policy spotters around the world muttered, "Yep, I told you so." They had.)
In 2011, another (somewhat quicker) slow-mover—Uranus—ingressed Aries. On that very day (March 11, 2011), within hours of the ingress, a tsunami and earthquake took out a chunk of Japan, causing a huge mess at several nuclear power plants, the most famous of which was Fukushima.
Astrologers around the world muttered: "Oh shit. Uranus in Aries. And oh. Uranus square Pluto. Here we go." Those who follow global astrology no doubt noticed the connections of both transits to the Aries Point -- the first degree of Aries, where all things political intersect with all things personal.
Everyone remembers 2011, the year the Uranus-Pluto square really began: The protests that spread through the Middle East and across North Africa; the protests in Wisconsin; and then that autumn, the worldwide Occupy movement began in a private park in New York City. Real people were taking their bodies to the scene of the crime and demanding action.
And you may remember, if you haven't suppressed it, the agony of that first month after the meltdowns in Japan, as the truth slowly came out. People who understand nuclear power know that it's perhaps the most personal-as-political thing there is—if, for instance, a little strontium-90 lodges in one's bones.
The Uranus-Pluto square has been working its way across the signs Aries and Capricorn, and will make a total of seven contacts. The next one is on November 1. It is the midpoint of the cycle—the fourth of seven events. There will be another during the next eclipse season, on April 21, 2014; and then another on December 15, 2014. The last will be on March 16, 2015. Then the energy of the aspect will slowly wane, though it can do so with considerable influence, even for another five years.
Every now and then (quite a bit, lately), other planets get into the aspect pattern, and bring its properties out into the open. For example, Jupiter is now in Cancer, making what's called a T-square with Uranus and Pluto.
Recently, Venus and then Mercury passed through Libra, completing a grand cross. Challenging events associated with Mercury's passage through the aspect were the Colorado floods and the mass shooting at the Navy Yard. When that Libra leg of the cross is filled, it can be intense. Part of that is because the grand cross is the most powerful aspect pattern. Adding to the energy is the fact that there's a little-known slow-moving planet, similar to Pluto, already in Libra opposite Uranus and square Pluto—Typhon, the namesake of typhoons.
The first thing that happens this autumn is that the Sun in Libra passes through the aspect structure. On October 1, the Sun will square Pluto (that is deep, introspective, and compelling changes that can take root on the soul level). On October 3, it will make an opposition to Uranus (surprises, shocking developments, revelations, inventions), and over the next few days, a conjunction to Typhon (exact October 6, perhaps passing through the eye of the storm). On October 12, the Sun will make a square to Jupiter, which tends to magnify things and also provoke decisions.
Even if these aspects were happening in isolation from each other, we would feel them. That they all are happening concentrated within a few days means there is likely to be a global effect. You don't need a crystal ball to guess what that effect might be—some lunatics in Congress are threatening to hold the United States, and by extension the world financial networks, hostage.
Their issue is that they don't want the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare—invented by the rightwing Heritage Foundation, enacted by Congress, signed by the president, and approved by the Supreme Court) to be any further entrenched. This autumn is the time that the health insurance exchanges open in all 50 states.
If you live in England or Canada or Sweden or someplace civilized like that, this must sound awfully weird—to threaten to push the country into default, and/or to defund and therefore shut down the government, because a small minority of legislators don't like a law that provides health services for people. I wish I was making this up, then I could edit it and things would be different.
If that happens, we will certainly experience the Uranus-Pluto square full-on, in solar style. Note that the Sun, which is doing all the passing-through, in mundane astrology (the astrology of worldly affairs) represents the head of state. The fact that the head of state is going to have a wild ride for at least the first two weeks of October means that the whole government may be in turmoil.
Speaking of October 1, that's the day that Mercury enters what's sometimes called shadow phase—the earliest measure of the Mercury retrograde effect beginning. The retrograde itself—the peak of the event, when Mercury appears to move in reverse longitude through the zodiac—begins on October 21 and ends November 10. The second shadow phase ends November 27. This is definitely something to plan around.
This is actually pretty good timing for most purposes in the Western world, since we leave Mercury retrograde behind around Thanksgiving, and well before the end-of-the-year madness reaches its peak. However, as this happens, Venus is warming up to one of its relatively rare retrogrades (Venus is retrograde least of all the planets). That takes place December 21 through January 31 (not including shadow phases). I will come back to that one next month.
Right in the midst of Mercury retrograde, making things especially interesting, is a pair of eclipses. Both are impressive in their own right. All eclipses come with a sense of acceleration, concentrated experiences, and the feeling that fate is in operation. Eclipses are points of no return—and these two occur in the mix of much other astrology.
As for the eclipses, the first is the Aries Full Moon, which is a penumbral lunar eclipse. The Moon will pass through the outermost edge of the Earth's shadow on Friday, October 18. One of the most interesting features of the eclipse is that the Moon will be conjunct a major new discovery, Eris (the planet that got Pluto "demoted").
Then, as the Moon is waning, the Sun ingresses Scorpio on October 23. About 10 days later, on November 3, we experience the corresponding New Moon event—a part-annular, part-total eclipse that is one heck of an impressive chart.
The eclipse (a conjunction of the Moon and Sun) will be conjunct Mercury, the North Node, and Saturn. That's a lot of planets concentrated together, during what's already one of the most profound times of year even when nothing special is going on.
It will be essential, in the midst of all of this, to keep your focus, to maintain emotional grounding, and to stay in balance—all of which will be easier said than done. We are about to go on one heck of a ride. We are, as of this moment, embarking on what may be the most profound phase of the extended 2012 era. I would estimate this stretches from October of 2013 through August of 2014.
Confronted with this information, some astrologers will say hold on and some will say let go. I will say: Stoke your vision, pay attention, and look where you want to be.
Visit Eric Francis at planetwaves.net.