The beginning of the year is typically a time for divining the future, or making choices and commitments that change our destiny. This is not an entirely social construction; New Year’s holiday somewhat arbitrarily falls near the winter solstice in our society, and that is a traditional enough time for accessing information from other realms. The Sun has reached the extreme southern limit of its annual journey (and turns back toward our hemisphere), a new season begins, and this is another way of saying a new solar cycle of the year commences.
Engulfed in darkness, it’s like we’re bathed in the unconscious, and the choices we make can reach deeper into the psyche and have a more profound effect. Then, like after an unworldly dream, we return to normal waking life and perhaps remember what we learned, or perhaps not. When it’s summer, does winter exist? Yet at the time, it seemed dramatic and real. That is how ritual often works, and life. And the commitments we make in a ritual space have an odd way of coming true in some form, if made from the heart.
We tend to miss the more common moments, though, which come at us from hour to hour, every day. Imagine you’ve just finished lunch and need to head back to work. You are standing outside the restaurant, deciding which way to walk back. Do you pause to ask which of those two paths is the true road to your destiny? Do you go the way your intuition suggests or gently tugs you? The difference could be substantial. A great deal can be contained in small choices.
Then there are times when the small decisions align with what you could call cosmic moments: perhaps not so noticeable times when the natural cycles around us coincide with personal junctions of decision or seemingly small awakenings to awareness. The two can add up to something beyond any expectations, as if we’re making choices we’re not even aware of, which are then amplified by a climate that supports and accelerates them.
Essentially, this is the astrological message of the next four seasons. Each step we take, we are walking alongside a dimensional doorway. At any moment, the reality of what we are perceiving is subject to question, and in doing so we can clear the way for creating another experience, additional options, or more useful beliefs. Indeed, beliefs themselves will have a way of becoming transparent, flimsy, entirely optional things that they are.
Pluto and the focus on Sagittarius
Since 1995, Sagittarius has been a focal point of both global and personal astrology. This is because Pluto, then considered the outermost planet, left Scorpio and entered Sagittarius, which is the sign of anything bigger than the last thing you considered. In other words, if you live in a city, Sagittarius represents the rest of the country; if you live in a particular country, Sagittarius represents the world. If you live on a planet, it represents the cosmos. And, oddly, much of what we consider “the cosmos” is pointed in the direction of Sagg: the core of the Milky Way galaxy, a supercluster of galaxies and a gravitational anomaly called the Great Attractor.
On the personal level, if you consider yourself an individual, Sagittarius represents either your beliefs, or your soul (sometimes called the “higher self”). When you put Pluto there, you get an obsessive factor. Note the rise of fundamentalist religion in both the West and the Middle East, as well as the rise of the religion of capitalism and banking in Asia.
The sign shift of Pluto was palpable. The focus, almost immediately, turned to globalism, the world economy, and what used to be called the New World Order. What was once the purview of conspiracy nuts proved to be more or less an actual agenda, enacted through various “free trade” treaties, the World Trade Organization’s rise to prominence, the World Bank dipping its beak into everyone’s fresh water supply, and a new era of nearly unquestioned capitalist values.
This process included Europe beginning to solidify as one country and one economy, the rise of the euro as a dominant world currency, and the birth of a global market through the Internet.
And, as predicted by astrologers, fundamentalist religion became an extremely serious problem, one that we have all had to contend with on some level. This was evident in the first peak of the Pluto in Sagittarius era, which occurred in 2001, just one month after the exact opposition of Pluto in Sagittarius and Saturn in Gemini. Notably, this opposition fell exactly in alignment with the gravitational anomaly—that is, the biggest, heaviest, most prodigious, and perhaps downright weirdest thing known to astronomy, the Great Attractor.
So here was the setup for what became September 11, 2001: Saturn, the immovable object, met Pluto, the unstoppable force. The two planets aligned opposite one another for the first time in 35 years (which is always enormous), which further coincided with an alignment with the Great Attractor. For its part, the GA has the dual property (reported long before this event, but now well established) of fostering extreme polarization, at the same time it creates effects that go far beyond what anyone could have predicted or expected. Located at about 14 degrees of Sagittarius, the GA has a similar effect on people whose natal charts have planets that are strongly aspecting the point.
By the time 9/11 happened, it was undeniable that we were in the era of Pluto in Sagittarius and that, unfortunately, just about everything that astrologers were ranting on about in the early 1990s proved to be correct. And all the usual rhetoric arrived with the Saturn-Pluto aspect: demonization of the enemy (by all sides), the extreme “you’re with us or against us” attitude (widely exercised and rarely questioned), and that sense of living your life between a rock and a hard place, not to mention getting naked for airport security officials, tasting your own breast milk, and having your Clairol conditioner scrutinized by the National Security Agency.
Now for the Grand Finale
The Saturn-Pluto opposition passed by just as dependably as it showed up. The rhetoric toned down, the paragons of virtue were seen to be soliciting sex from young boys and male prostitutes, and Jack Abramoff and my fellow John Dewey High School alumnus Adam Kidan, the first Neocon I ever met, are sitting in federal prison. I doubt that either were convicted of their worst crimes, but you take what you can get.
Saturn has moved on to other adventures, but Pluto has yet to finish its trip through Sagittarius. The grand finale is Pluto making a series of exact conjunctions to the Galactic Core, which is placed in late Sagittarius. The Galactic Core, a relatively new discovery, is a group of phenomena, including a complex radio source, a compact radio source, and a supermassive black hole. It is located 26,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of Sagittarius, where the Milky Way bulges with an enormous cluster of stars. Some speculate that there is a concentration of dark matter at the core, as well, which may or may not be associated with the black hole.
Pluto, the planet of the soul’s evolutionary process, the planet of obsession, the lord of death and surrender, the unstoppable force, the embodiment of all things Scorpio and all things we don’t understand about Scorpio (and all things we tend not to understand in general), will make its first conjunction to the core since before the American Revolution. Indeed, it is making the first exact conjunction even as you read these words. This is the first event of its kind since the scientific revolution, and many other revolutions. Borrowing from Brian Eno, the last visit of Pluto on the Galactic Core was the dividing line “before and after science.”
How big an event is this? Well, it’s big, and we really have nothing to compare it to, but if we contrast the changes since the days of the Boston Tea Party, and magnify them by a few orders of magnitude, we might get a clue. Pluto was just discovered, in 1930. Astrologers are just getting their feet on the ground about Pluto, but events like September 11 give them respect—that, and what we and our clients experience under the influence of Pluto transits. Most astrologers have, unfortunately, given the Galactic Core very little thought at all.
If you look, though, you discover it has certain properties. Phillip Sedgwick, the master of Galactic astrology, writes “The Galactic Center radiates brilliant insight to anyone connected with it,” in his book The Soul of the Sky. “This insight craves implementation, [and] reveals how to let go of what is in the way to make a clear path for the next step. As soon as an idea is grasped and brought forward, the path of accessing new information refreshes. At all times, new and newer insights spew forth. This carries the tone of consciousness evolution.”
I think we could use some of this, don’t you?
“The collective aim refocuses and retargets with higher and clearer insights at each minute in timelessness,” Sedgwick continues. “The more considered, the broader the band of consciousness acceptance, then the more assurance can be taken with the focus of life, personal or collective. All this, by the way, occurs a step at a time. One step leads to the next, and so on. Extreme long-range vision does not accompany these insights. You will not know how far the idea will go, how much it can change the world or your consciousness.
This lack of viewing actually protects the ego from going overboard on a Sagittarian agenda—with either extreme overestimation or underestimation.”
I think this translates to dependable ideas like living one day at a time, thinking globally and acting locally, and remembering that you are the only thing that can change the world. Not only that, by your existence, changing the world is inevitable. And you may not, in fact, have a clue how far the contribution you makes will actually go. That is a good incentive to do your best. As the dramas of 2007 unfold in their rather grand style, we might want to keep that idea as the first thing on our minds, or perhaps: Do our very best to do our best. We surely have a long way to go, and a world waiting for us to step into our moment.