Dear Friend and Reader:
If you’re watching your newsfeed or your favorite cable news program and wondering what the holy heck is going on, the answer is simple: the United States is in its Pluto return — its first ever.
Top American leaders this week have been declaring that there is a constitutional crisis, as the president is attempting to block any witnesses, including the Special Counsel, from testifying before Congress in the Russia affair. The president recently re-tweeted a statement by Jerry Falwell, Jr.: “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.” This implies he believes the 2020 election should be canceled.
The president talked to Vladimir Putin for 90 minutes recently, and did not once bring up the well-known problem of U.S. elections being infiltrated by Russia. Instead, the president talked about the “Russia hoax” when he knows well that Russia messed with the election on his behalf — whether Trump was involved or not.
Every day brings new chaos and confusion. The stock market is surging, and people are having trouble getting by. Consider that as of 2007, “The richest 1% held about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States, while the bottom 90% held 73.2% of all debt. According to The New York Times, the richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.”
The problem has only gotten worse since then, particularly since the Republicans’ massive tax cuts for the wealthy went through in late 2017.
A Planetary Return Unlike Any Other
A “return” is the transit that happens when any planet returns to its place of origin in the natal chart. A return often means there will be a crisis or challenge; we’ve all been through them. Most people reading have been through their Saturn return (or two, at ages 29 and 58), and a great many reading have been through their Chiron return at age 50-51).
Early astrologers, including Valens, cautioned about the difficulty when “a star is conjunct itself,” meaning a planetary return. In modern astrology, we see returns as growth opportunities and points of initiation, though they are still challenging and often represent critical transitions. But the outcome is dependent on the client’s intentions and ability to focus.
The United States has Pluto in late Capricorn, and transiting Pluto is now in late Capricorn. Pluto’s orbit is 250 years. Even though the first exact contact of the return does not happen until Feb. 20, 2022 (on 2/20/2022 — that’s a lot of 2s and nothing but 2s, which numerologically add up to 1) — returns begin well before the first exact conjunction. For example, the first Saturn return technically happens to people at age 29, but is usually in full force at age 27.
Section of the United States chart showing the position of Pluto on July 4, 1776. You can see Pluto as the second planet around from the left — it looks like a golf tee. Its position is 27 Capricorn 33. Transiting Pluto arrives there on Feb. 2, 2022. The Pluto return of the U.S. will have effects well into the 2030s and much further — it is a point of no return.
For slow-moving points (from Saturn outward), I count the return as being whenever the planet has entered the sign where it is in the natal chart. By that measure, the U.S. Pluto return began in January 2008, right before the “subprime mortgage crisis” became the Great Recession. This was exactly the kind of structural shock that astrologers were anticipating might happen as Pluto made its way through Capricorn.
But there was next to no accountability: only one of the perpetrators even stood trial.
Now transiting Pluto is within a few degrees of the U.S. natal position, and it’s a laugh a minute. The nation is on the brink of a presidential impeachment — and if it defaults on that responsibility, something much worse is possible.
Worldly things rarely live to age 250, so we don’t have many examples of Pluto returns to work with. But we do have examples of Pluto transits. When the Sept. 11 incident happened, Pluto was transiting the United States ascendant (the U.S. is mid-Sagittarius rising, and Pluto crossed the rising degree just one month before the World Trade Center came down).
So the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, was in a double transit: Pluto on its ascendant, opposed by Saturn in the descendant. And something similar is happening with the Pluto return. Saturn and Pluto are involved, and now there is a new major factor: Eris.
Saturn Conjunct Pluto: Jan. 12, 2020
Pluto in the United States chart is now taking three transits at once: Pluto conjunct itself; Saturn conjunct natal Pluto; and Eris in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn — or rather, two Plutos in Capricorn. Just a Saturn-Pluto opposition or conjunction on its own can be world changing, though the force is increased when a natal planet is involved.
Ronald Reagan rose to power under the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction in the early 1980s. It always indicates the turning of an era.
As we can see, the U.S. Pluto return is in full force today, it’s gaining momentum, and it will stretch out for many years to come. The last transit in the sequence, ultra-slow-moving Eris in Aries squaring the U.S. natal Pluto, will last until 2038. Important transits like this are what I call “threshold transits.” They don’t really end. In a human life, they are before and after moments, and the United States is currently positioning itself for this kind experience.
This is a get real moment, but the problem is that the people of the United States are having a hard time doing just that. There are many problems, though the main one I’ve identified is that the pervasiveness of the internet has, in the words of philosopher Eric McLuhan, resulted in a “deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world.”
We need to take these words to heart, if we are going to get out of this mess.
This is another way of saying that people are having difficulty discerning right from wrong, and thinking that the distinction even matters. Everything we experience is a moment-to-moment distraction. The president rules the nation from his Twitter account. His “base” consists of a population that is convinced, on religious grounds, that the world is going to end, but which does not even practice teachings of Jesus.
American Crisis and Global Crisis
While this is happening, industrial development is unraveling the world’s ecosystems. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for farmers to grow food, because climate patterns are unpredictable and do not support farming.
The United Nations last week issued a report saying that a million species will be impacted by human activity, focusing on our dependency on those species for our own survival. While the United States is not the center of the world, it has dominated the world for the past two centuries. The kind of industrialism that is causing global problems was invented in the United States.
This is an understatement.
Meanwhile, world leaders seem to be doing little to avert problems — and American leaders, on the national level, are doing nothing; they seem in many ways to be making matters worse by their lack of cooperation and campaigning on bringing back the glory days of coal. A large segment of the population still believes that global warming is a kind of hoax (to use the president’s word).
I recently learned about the horrors of the Korean War, which in many ways was as bad as, or worse than, the Vietnam War. If we assume that most of World War II was “the good fight,” the United States has racked up quite a lot of karma since the detonation of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
There seems to be nothing that a majority of the country agrees on — even for its most basic survival. There is no optimism. People seem stressed. The war on sex, to name one factor, is making people afraid to talk to one another or socialize, for fear of being called out. And many people don’t feel comfortable communicating without an iPhone or Android between them.
Working with individuals going through challenging transits, the first thing that an astrologer (or therapist) has to work on is what the client wants. I don’t think the United States knows what it wants, except for all the pain and strife to go away. That never happens unless people earn it with their choices and their actions.
As A Course in Miracles suggests, we do not ask too much from life, but rather far too little.
PS — You can read the history of U.S. Pluto transits here.
Evolutions of the Heart
By Amanda Painter
Even though Venus has not yet entered Taurus — its own sign — to resonate with the Sun, it figures prominently in this week’s primary aspects. So that’s an immediate indication to notice where you’re at in your relationships (especially the ones where love, lust, and other big emotions reign).
You may have felt a little introspective in this regard beginning the week, as Venus in Aries squared Saturn in Capricorn. With the late-week aspects Venus is making, you may notice a shift to needing to express some energy around these topics. But how might that look?
Photo by Amanda Painter.
We can get some clues from the other major aspects Venus is making. Today into tomorrow, it enters the Pluto-Eris square (squaring Pluto in Capricorn and conjoining Eris in Aries). Venus also makes a trine to retrograde Jupiter in Sagittarius (exact today).
One way to look at this overall configuration is that it’s asking a question about receptivity in our current moment — a question that relates to some much longer-term activity. If you’ve read and listened to the INTELLIGENCE annual readings for 2019-2020, you know that Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto all factor heavily in the marquee aspects that define late this year and next year. So you could think of this early contact by Venus as a way of warming up your most personal feelings about any process of growth and development you’re in currently, or which you think you might be headed for.
With Venus in Aries, we get the idea of initiative: what it feels like to just go for what you love; how to get started; the act of expressing emotions that put us in vulnerable or exposed positions. What’s at the heart of that? One answer might be: being seen and received for who you really are. How do you feel about that?
With Pluto and Eris in such a close square, Venus brings your most personal relationships, and a facet of your emotions, directly into the collective social matrix of change and destabilization. That’s the macro issue we’re all grappling with (even when it’s just haunting us in the background), and much of the struggle is occurring in the realm of identity: how it’s shifting, what it aligns with, how we ‘perform’ it online — and what can build up or undermine it in ways that are unique to the digital sphere. Relating via tech is changing how we conduct many of our most personal (and theoretically private) relationships.
Specific to the current astrology, Venus-Pluto aspects tend to reflect intense emotional and/or sexual experiences. This may be especially true regarding changes in a relationship that need to be acknowledged and accommodated so the relationship can keep growing. As you know, just like any living organism, relationships between people need to evolve and be responsive to both external and internal developments. A stagnant relationship is effectively a dead one — though people soldier on in them for years, even decades. The fear of change and the fear of being ‘alone’ are incredibly compelling for many.
Uranus Opposition, 1975-1981 Births
An Amazing New Reading For You
Dear Friend and Reader:
I’m here to introduce a new kind of reading, part of my commitment to offering you the highest-quality astrology at an affordable price.
Like many people, I learned about the Uranus opposite Uranus transit from Barbara Hand Clow’s book The Liquid Light of Sex. This is the most significant of the many midlife transits, and is a turning point that rearranges nearly everyone’s life when they are in their late 30s and early 40s.
‘singapore cloud 9 drew the curtain water’ by Lanvi Nguyen.
Those experiencing this transit today are awakening in a time when that’s rarely been more challenging — there is so much pressure to remain unconscious. Yet the Uranian Opposition will wake you up, one way or another.
I began serving as an astrologer at age 30, and was soon reading for many people older than I who were going through this transit. They tend to storm into astrologers’ offices around this time, knowing something is up. Anyone is fortunate to get good information.
At worst, Uranus Opposition is described as a midlife crisis. At best, it’s the reinvention of who you are and what you do — an amazing opportunity revealed by your astrology. (For me, it was about moving to Europe, my transformation from writer to photographer, and my rise to international acclaim as a horoscope writer.)
After many years of research and development, I’ve created a reading that will guide you through this transit. It’s called The Awakenings reading. It serves those born from 1975-1981, who have Uranus in Scorpio.
It will also serve those who have Uranus in Taurus (1935-1942), Uranus in Leo (1957-1962), and Uranus in Aquarius (1996-2002), who will benefit greatly from this information and attunement.
This reading is one hour and 20 minutes. It’s playable on any device, and may be downloaded into your MP3 player. The information is concentrated, but spoken in human language. It will stand up to many playings.
Original music is provided by Vision Quest.
This reading is now available for immediate access for the introductory price of $66. You will learn as much or more about your Uranian Opposition from this reading as you will from a private astrology consultation. It is included with the Backstage Pass.
Thank you for your business, and for trusting me as your astrologer.
P.S. If you have any questions, or are on a fixed or limited income, please feel free to call us on (206) 567-4455, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to assist.
A Different Kind of Mountain Song
By Amanda Painter
I don’t generally feature projects in this space that also happen to be promoting a company’s product; I prefer to focus on art for art’s sake, or art that prioritizes some humanitarian cause or similar. But I’m making an exception this week — partly because the video in question makes me laugh; and partly because it features the Earth in dramatic fashion, as well as mentioning making love and libido (and those are all Taurean themes).
Yet there’s a third reason: the fact that, from what I can tell, Patagonia is one of the few clothing companies that’s truly serious about putting its money where its mouth is regarding its commitment to conservation. It does so in ways such as a lifetime guarantee to repair its items; pioneering recycling methods for fibers such as wool and polyester; taking active part in various environmental campaigns; and actually documenting the entire supply chain for many of its garments and their constituent elements.
But back to the humor for a moment: in ‘Done in R1′ | A music video about a midlayer, a couple of fellas named Sean and Nico sing the praises of a particular ‘technical fleece’ hoodie celebrating its 20th anniversary. They sing and strum and toodle and name-drop famous climbers and iconic climbs while on the backs of mules; in a bus with an amused local lady; on the sides of mountains — all while wearing an R1…sometimes as a sumo-style loincloth. But what I like best (besides the goofiness, the incredible views and, at times, the childishly ‘earthy’ rhyming) is knowing there are people who care about this planet, and recognize the ethical imperative to conduct business in a way that makes the Earth’s health an equal partner. No matter what they’re wearing as they do it.
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
Your extended monthly horoscope for May was published on Thursday, April 25. We published your extended monthly horoscope for April on Thursday, March 28. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Your need to restructure something related to your public role has brought with it a focus on material security. If this has triggered frustration or irritation, try not to stress it. The truth is you’re actually freeing yourself from outgrown limitations, in order to express yourself more authentically and expansively in the world. Revelations and revolutions in your personal values, and how to manifest them, may require going back over old ground, cleaning up old business. Continue gathering information, but make every effort to focus and shut out distractions this week. You’ve got an open stretch of road ahead, with opportunities to make considerable progress toward creating the stronger foundations you need. Carpe diem.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Most people don’t examine the beliefs that drive them, even if they theoretically understand the creative power of thought and belief. But individuation, an ongoing process, requires a conscious engagement with what we believe about ourselves and about the world. The Great Awakener Uranus in your sign will continue prodding you to release previous restrictions to your freedom and identity. Certain beliefs or goals, perhaps plans related to travel or education, may require revision, but The Force is very much with you this week to make powerful, necessary adjustments that will serve your end game. Pay attention to intuitive promptings related to resources and values, both personal and material. Listen with your whole body to your own higher guidance.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — After a month of firing on all cylinders, you may notice some easing of pressure and pacing this week. Increased activity in less than fully conscious areas of your chart invites you to tune in to the ‘short wave’ for information; your intuition may be especially heightened now. Clues to resolving emotional pressures of long standing may come through the language of dreams, so pay attention. As Mars wraps up its transit through your sign, continue to assert yourself in the outer world and fight for your needs, however: your highest integrity is called for as the week begins. Steer clear of potentially underhanded opponents. Use your energy to engage the stimulating, refreshing social opportunities available, instead.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — For one so acutely sensitive, you’ve exemplified strength under pressure for a long time running. Responsibility and the requisite maturity to rise to the occasion remain fundamental themes for the foreseeable future, but this week some well-earned assistance is available via supportive allies. You’ll need to reconfigure elements of your relational environment over the next few months. Make every effort to communicate with friends, colleagues and members of your community in the coming days — there are moments when the right connections make all the difference, and this may be one of them. In the words of that great community leader, Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You’ve put in the hours and carried the weight, now it’s time to shine your light out into the world like never before. Regardless of your chosen field, own your power as a creative leader. This may require enlisting worthy helpers; take advantage of the excellent opportunities available to do exactly that, over the next ten days or so. Follow up on potential job opportunities. If you need to hone some skills to fulfill your ambitions, this week is perfect for nailing down practical avenues to get that started. Readjusting your strategies and/or daily routines ties directly in with career goals at the moment, so if you’ve put off what needs to be done, the time has come and it is now.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — At the heart of any quest lies a spark of inspiration, arising from that part of you that knows. You’re embarking on the quest of a lifetime, a journey to grow your soul. A Yes-To-Life homing signal is trying to lock onto your wavelength. You may have been too focused on worldly responsibilities recently to notice, but tune your dial. Make time this week to intentionally entertain the fertile interplay between the search for higher knowledge, inspiration and playful expression. Breaking up established routines in some way will help. If you’ve had creative projects on hold, this week is prime for revisiting them. Banish doubt with the power of make-believe. Your inner child will remind you how.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You’re more sensitive than most to your environment: the literal, physical space you occupy as well as the emotional undercurrents present. Overdue changes you’ve wanted to make in your living space, domestic situation, or with respect to lingering family issues may feel increasingly frustrating lately. Nothing is so liberating as a decision, and initiating transformations on the home front should be easier over the next several days. If concerns related to jointly held finances are a factor, just wading into that territory will help diminish psychic pressure. Clearing out old crap has to start somewhere, and it’s essential that you open up space, literal and emotional, in which to let your highest creative work take form. Your future demands it.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — When you assume you know the answer, it’s harder to discover the truth. This goes double when the question involves relationships, triple when your desires, fears and the personal history behind them are less than fully conscious. You’ve entered a period of accelerated learning; your teacher(s) will be partners, intimate or professional, and your relational environment in general. Significant openings for truly meaningful communications are available over the next ten days, possibly long past due. New connections may be found through literal establishments of learning, or local networks. Take an emotional inventory of your own agendas and strive for genuine self-acceptance, to clear the path. Then follow wherever it leads.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The quest to expand your world and explore new terrain has brought with it the need for grounded, responsible planning, in terms of material resources. You’re building on the physical as well as philosophical planes, which is exactly as it should be, but pace yourself. Maintain healthy routines as demands on the job settle in for a month of sustained effort; the two go hand in hand. Doors between work and reward swing wide open over the next ten days, so take advantage of favorable winds to revisit projects or renegotiate contracts of some kind. Make those calls. Relationship tensions should dissipate soon, but filter out distractions and channel your considerable powers toward enhancing security and self-worth.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — “A person’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.” Keep this Nietzschean nugget of wisdom in mind; now and in the years ahead. Long-lasting transits demand maturity and have felt so heavy that serious, burdensome concerns may have dominated your outlook. Yet you’re at a point where your evolution requires a re-awakening of creative, playful expression. You need some fun. The more you can release rigid, linear mental habits, the greater your power to seize opportunities over the next ten days for creative problem solving. Remind yourself that masterworks go through stages of creation. You are the artist; your life is the canvas. Inspired breakthroughs are possible now.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Planets activating your emotional and historical foundations urge you to let yourself withdraw and turn inward for a while. Dive down; follow the taproot of your secret self and regroup. Make every effort to free up some mental bandwidth this week, and tune in to the loud and clear signals broadcasting from your deeper consciousness. Powerful insights, guidance and fuel for an important psychic re-boot are trying to get through. This will help you orient, as Uranus makes itself at home in Taurus. Your attention may be on your base of operations, family or physical living space, but remember that ‘where you live’ is infinitely more than an address. It’s who you are wherever you may be.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’ve reached a stage where freedom of perception — expanding beyond old concepts and mental constructs — is necessary, to fulfill your highest potential. It’s time to start sharing your unique, personal expression; experiment, reach out! The world needs your voice. Timing is everything, and you’ve got a big, cosmic green light to connect with friends and colleagues, perhaps after falling out of touch. Communicating with members of your community will help nourish your mind and feed your confidence. Follow up on intuitive impulses to pursue avenues of learning. If writing is on your agenda, use the coming days to get thoughts on paper. You’re learning to see with new eyes. Remember that wonder is the beginning of wisdom.