Deep woods. © Osk Ingad Alden, 2013.
Ghosts, goblins, and witches are everywhere this week. Skeletons pop out of graves (and probably some closets, too).
In any given year, the last week of October is dominated by themes related to death, which is the dark domain of Scorpio and its modern ruler, Pluto. For thousands of years, people have felt something mysterious about this time of year, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and we can peer into other dimensions of time and space. The dead “reappear,” and we may even get glimpses of our own past lives.
However, this is not just any year, astrologically speaking. The coming week is arguably the most intense of 2013, with an exact square between Uranus and Pluto, a total eclipse of the Sun in Scorpio, and Mercury retrograde in the sign of death and transformation. This is Pluto on steroids.
There’s no question that we’re in scary times. The world seems to be disintegrating; civilization as we know it is falling apart. An image comes to mind from when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest. We don’t get much snow here, but winters are cold and wet. One day, walking into town, I noticed a dead raccoon in the ditch. Normally, animal removal crews would have cleaned it up, but it remained there. Weeks went by. It struck me as very strange that it wasn’t decomposing. Then, literally overnight, the outer shell collapsed, revealing a maggot-ridden mass rotting from the inside out. Within a week, all that was left was a layer of melted fur clinging to the grass.
There have been times in history when civilizations were destroyed by outside forces such as invading armies or natural disasters. But many slowly collapsed from within, usually due to corruption. Rot and corruption are synonymous. I often think of the raccoon when I observe how forces of corruption are rotting our system, feeding on the structure until, one day, the whole thing will collapse.
Saturn, ruler of Capricorn and the planet most often associated with structure, has been in Scorpio for just over a year. That means we’ve have Saturn in the sign of Pluto and Pluto in the sign of Saturn, a relationship called “mutual reception.” Under this rare configuration, corruption becomes more rampant, acting like force of voracious maggots.
At the same time, Uranus is squaring Pluto in a cycle that averages nearly 130 years from conjunction to conjunction. Uranus in a square with Pluto represents rebellion against authority or a sudden event that shakes up the power structure. A corrupt system won’t be able to withstand the challenge.
So, here we have a rare convergence of a Uranus-Pluto square and mutual reception from Saturn to Pluto. Add to that a solar eclipse and Mercury retrograde, both in Scorpio, and you’ve got the astrological equivalent of a Pacific Northwest winter. Oh, and did I mention an approaching comet?
The current Uranus-Pluto square began in June 2012, and it extends to March 2015, with seven exact alignments during that time. The exact square this Friday is the fourth of seven, so we’re exactly halfway through. As it also happens, we’re halfway through Mercury’s retrograde phase on Thursday. Although each retrograde seems to have its own rhythm, I’ve observed during some cycles that nothing much happens in the first half of the retrograde period, and then all hell breaks loose at the midway point. Likewise, Ray Merriman writes that the halfway mark for the Uranus-Pluto square tends to be the crisis period.
We’re certainly poised for such a crisis. Although the United States narrowly avoided default in a congressional deal that included restarting the government after a two-week shutdown, it’s not the end of the story. There are many possible breaking points, but one that comes immediately to mind is further cuts in entitlement programs such as food stamps and Social Security, both of which provide safety nets for the poor and elderly. Combined with the low minimum wage and high rate of unemployment, we’ve got a ticking time bomb in this country. We can be fairly sure that the plutocrats know this. So far, they’ve been able to count on infighting among the citizenry over who gets the bones with the most scraps of meat. But their thugs are ready, just in case people should unite and try to storm the Bastille.
Scorpio also is concerned with the nation’s wealth. In Greek mythology, Hades was lord of the underworld, but he also was called Plouton, meaning “giver of wealth.” The meaning could be quite literal, in that gems and minerals, a source of great wealth, came from underground. Incidentally, that’s how we get the words “plutocrat” and “plutocracy,” which means rulership by a small number of people who control all the wealth – a corrupt system by definition.
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The above themes are amplified by the solar eclipse on November 3, which falls in close conjunction with Saturn and sextile Pluto. Mars, the ruler of Scorpio before Pluto was discovered in 1930, also makes a sextile with the Sun and Moon by exact degree. The trine from Mars to Pluto is exact on Thursday. Sextiles and trines are supportive aspects and provide paths to release pent-up energies. Mars in Virgo supports practical measures for necessary reforms. As it so happens, Virgo is associated with healthcare as well as computer programming, so hopefully we’ll get some good news about the Affordable Health Care website. Mercury retrograde periods are great for re-doing work and finding the glitches. That said, it remains to be seen how the program is received once people are actually using it.
As I already mentioned, Mercury is halfway through his retrograde cycle on Thursday. Two days earlier, he conjoins Saturn – more reinforcement for themes of breakdown and collapse, especially in financial systems. In the New Moon chart, Mercury is conjunct the North Node by exact degree. Astrologers use the North Node as a pointer to destiny, both in individual and mundane charts. What’s happening now in international economics is going to have long-lasting implications. Decades from now, when geopolitical alignments have shifted, people will look back at this period as critical.
There are several individual aspects over the weekend, but I’ve pretty much covered them above. The only other one I’d like to mention is Monday’s sextile from Pluto to Chiron in Pisces. This is an aspect for deep healing, especially psychological wounds that are so deep we might not even realize they exist. Pisces is associated with the collective unconscious and past-life memories. It’s also the sign of mental health. Due to the retrograde cycles of both planets, Pluto and Chiron are sextile by exact degree from the first week of October through the last week in November. The “conversation” they’re having is quiet but powerful. The New Moon eclipse falls in a trine with Chiron. This is yet another indication that, while intense, this week’s aspects hold a huge potential for bringing us toward wholeness, within ourselves as well as in how we connect within our communities and to the planet.
The thing about deep healing, of course, is that it requires going into the dark places we’d rather not venture. That’s the basic premise of the mythological underworld journey. The monsters we find there can be every bit as scary as the Medusa or the Minotaur, and the treasures we find can be worth their weight in gold.
Wishing you all much love and courage,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.