The term is attributed to columnist George Will, who coined it to describe the scare tactics used by the media to boost ratings. Every crisis is positioned as the end of the world as we know it, from global warming and nuclear radiation leaks to the shutdown of the U.S. government and failure to raise the debt ceiling. According to the Urban Dictionary, “Eventually, even the dimmer bulbs on the marquee sense that they are being taken for a ride.”
Nonetheless, this constant state of fear is indeed exhausting. People are close to the edge as it is, struggling to keep their lives together in the face of policy decisions that benefit the wealthiest at the expense of the poor and middle class. When you’re this stressed out, it’s not a stretch to believe that doomsday is right around the corner. Screaming headlines make it worse, and I have to believe this is deliberate. Keeping people constantly off-balance makes it less likely they will band together to confront those who are stealing all the wealth. Of course, it helps to keep them fighting against each other, too, and nothing divides the U.S. population more than entitlement programs, the current focus of talks to end the U.S. government shutdown.
On some level, this is all just history repeating itself. It’s how tyrants have attempted to control the masses for thousands of years. However, there is no denying that these are extraordinary times.
As an astrologer, I attempt to put current events in the context of planetary cycles. Since we’re in the midst of a highly disruptive square of Uranus and Pluto, that’s my main focus. We’re about to have another exact alignment on November 1, the fourth of seven passes between 2012 and 2015. In the meantime, we have a lunar eclipse this week, and Mercury turns retrograde a few days later. There’s also a solar eclipse on November 3. Astrologically, we’re entering the most volatile period of 2013.
I don’t want to add to the stress load with dire predictions, and anyway, it’s not as though we don’t have a clue at this point what some of those scenarios might be. Instead, I’ve been looking at previous Uranus-Pluto cycles for clues about how the present cycle might unfold. Before I get into that, I need to explain another unusual event this week.
On Tuesday, Mars enters Virgo and immediately conjoins fixed star Regulus – which actually is at the heart of the constellation Leo, but due to precession is calculated at 0 degrees Virgo in the tropical zodiac. Astrologers have used Regulus for thousands of years to predict the fate of kings and kingdoms. As of this weekend, Mars and Regulus are quite close and easily visible in the predawn sky. What you won’t see is the triple conjunction of Mars, Regulus, and Comet ISON, because ISON is visible only with a telescope. Even though we can’t see it yet, and it may not be as spectacular as astronomers earlier predicted, I still have to think this rare alignment is significant – all the more so, as it occurs just four days before a lunar eclipse in Mars-ruled Aries.
In making predictions about ISON, astronomers have cited the Great Comet of 1680, called “great” due to its exceptional brightness and extraordinarily long tail. When it was discovered, the Great Comet was in Virgo, close to conjunction with Mars, and it wasn’t yet visible (it was the first comet discovered by telescope). And here’s the kicker: Uranus and Pluto were just past a square in Aries and Cancer.
The entire 17th century was pretty much one Uranus-Pluto cycle, which began with a conjunction in 1597 at 9 degrees Aries (the exact degree of Uranus in the upcoming square with Pluto) and ended with the next conjunction in 1710. During that cycle, Galileo and Kepler were making waves with new astronomical discoveries, both using the controversial theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Isaac Newton used Kepler’s laws of planetary motion to formulate his theories of gravity and its effect on planetary orbits, and he verified his calculations by observing the Great Comet of 1680. Thus it became known as “Newton’s Comet.”
The more research I do, one thing becoming clear is that the most significant events related to the Uranus-Pluto square will take many years to play out. Think about the discoveries of the 17th century and how the Scientific Revolution in turn led to the Industrial Revolution. Who at the time could have predicted such a future?
I took special note this past week of the award of the Nobel Prize in physics to Peter Higgs, the scientist who discovered a subatomic particle that binds matter together. The particle was named the Higgs boson in his honor but is popularly known as the “God particle.” Scientists hate that name, and yet I think it’s fitting and prescient. I believe the discovery could lead to new techniques to intentionally manifest matter from energy, something we already can do with our thoughts, but not consistently, and often with unwanted side effects (I call them gremlins). If you think this is too far out there, think about how far out the theories of Galileo and Kepler were in their day. Galileo spent time in jail for heresy.
What I find even more intriguing is the idea that current discoveries in physics might reunite our concept of spirit and matter. As a result of the scientific discoveries of the 17th century, Western academia stopped thinking of them as one. A new scientific arrogance took over as the universe was seen as a soulless machine. It was the beginning of a materialist worldview that one could argue is the underlying source of many of the crises confronting us today.
All of this a very long way of saying that while the crises we’re facing in the wake of the current Uranus-Pluto square may be serious, other events happening in the background probably will be of more consequence in the future. Politics in the 17th century were every bit as incendiary as they are now, if not more so. Europe was split between Catholic and Protestant, and extremely destructive wars were fought over religion. Alliances changed, and international boundaries were radically redrawn. But none of those events had anywhere near the impact on humanity as the work of Newton.
The probability of a global financial meltdown and a shift in the geopolitical balance is high, given the dramatic celestial events concurrent with the approaching Uranus-Pluto square. And yet, if the past is any indication, discoveries are being made right under our noses that have vastly more significant implications for humanity. We can’t possibly know how these developments will change the world, but we know that this is the time to look for them. I gave the Higgs boson as an example. What else can you think of?
There is my antidote to apocalypse fatigue.
Since this post has gotten so long, I will write a separate post in a day or two on Friday’s eclipse. Right now I have to catch up on reports. For those of you who have been waiting patiently for more than two weeks, my apologies. I received an unexpected flood of orders for my revised StarGuide fall forecast when I still wasn’t up to speed, and then on top of that, the keyboard on my laptop died. I had a new external keyboard within a couple of days, but until my fingers are retrained, I’m typing the same word over three times. Apcalyse apocalupe apocaluyse. AARGH!
Wishing you all much love and courage,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.
I can’t think of any at the moment, but this article came to mind. It’s long, but it changed my perspective. Even the title is intriguing: “Miserable & Magical: A Graduation Speech for Paradoxical Times.”
Meanwhile, Pat, I’m wishing for you a new laptop! :)
Terrific article, Joe. Thanks! And no, I don’t think it’s too long.
Thanks for the other wish, too. :-)