1996: A Time for Release

by E. Alan Meece

As we enter the year 1996, we are in the midst of some exciting developments and important milestones in the planetary cycles. The cosmos is sending us a message; one which we may or may not hear. It boils down to this: we have a chance in the next two years to release ourselves from the limitations of the past 16 years of regressive thinking and move ahead toward realizing our true destiny.

There are several of these key cosmic developments. As most readers know, on November 10, 1995 Pluto entered Sagittarius to stay for the next 13 years. Second, on January 12, 1996, Uranus entered its ruling sign of Aquarius for 7 years of luck (either good or bad). Third, on November 21, 1995, Saturn turned stationary-direct at 18 Pisces. As it did so, it made a close square to Venus, Mars and Jupiter in a close conjunction in Sagittarius. Fourth, in the next two years, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto are making a grand sextile (Saturn in Aries in sextile to Uranus in Aquarius, which in turn is in sextile to Pluto). Fifth, there is the upcoming perihelion of Chiron early in 1996.

It is especially the new signs which Uranus and Pluto have entered, the grand sextile between these planets, and the emphasis on Sagittarius that suggests to me that 1996 could be a time of "release from regressive thinking." Until now, Pluto has been in Scorpio and Uranus (plus Neptune) has been in Capricorn. While these signs are by no means necessarily regressive by nature, they are considered "negative;" meaning inward-turning and cautious. Capricorn especially is known to be the most conservative sign of the zodiac. Perhaps then it is no wonder that we have been under the spell of conservative, regressive thinking.

This kind of thinking says "nothing can be done" and "we should give up on our dreams;" an attitude that has now culminated in the Republican Gingrich-Dole Congress. For some reason, we (especially Americans) have been holding back, afraid that, after all, the cowards are right and things are hopeless. Since we the people through our government cannot act, since all our leaders are either corrupt or killed, and since questioning authority just leads to crime and disorder, say these cowards, we might as well just surrender and let the market operate and return to the traditional values preached by the authorities. This philosophy, now dominant on Capitol Hill as well as in its traditional strongholds of Church and Corporation, has been touted as "revolutionary" when it is really counter-revolutionary. The corporate media has given its broad exposure and tacit approval through its TV commentators and radio talk shows. This Republican "revolution," launched by President Reagan in 1980, has deceived a too-often cynical, lazy and poorly-informed American public into actually believing its promises of "greater freedom," when its real motives are greed and fear. If successful, it will destroy our environment, further gouge consumers and fire workers, keep us uneducated and ignorant, increase poverty and crime, and foster ethnic and racial hatreds by making immigrants, minorities and poor mothers the scapegoats for the very problems which the right-wing authorities themselves have caused.

Now that Uranus has entered progressive Aquarius, the time has come for us to wake up from our Republican stupor. Uranus has always stood for willingness to experiment and change and to question authority--even topple it if necessary. The last time Uranus visited its own ruling sign of Aquarius, Woodrow Wilson ended a generation of Republican control of American government with his program of "New Freedom"--including passage of the now-vilified income tax, which helped stem the ever-increasing power of the wealthy. The First World War spelled catastrophe for all the world's ancient empires, and the Communist Revolution took power in Russia. The Mexicans and Chinese overthrew their ancient regimes and established more democratic governments. The visit of Uranus to Aquarius in the early 1830s saw both the final collapse of Bourbon royal authority in France and the end of a generation of conservative Tory rule in Britain, where the first steps toward genuine democracy were made in the Great Reform Bill. Also in Britain, bold social experiments such as the first national union were tried. Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party in America and made his young nation the world's first example of a truly democratic state. Other revolts shook Belgium, Poland, Germany and Italy, while Egypt entered the modern world under its progressive ruler Mohammed Ali. In both of these periods, scientific and technological change accelerated (e.g. the first railroad and Faraday's first electric generator in 1830). These are ample precedents for saying that the period 1996-2003 will be a progressive, inventive and revolutionary one.

I believe President Clinton was right in 1992 when he said that we Americans needed "the courage to change;" although he himself has not always demonstrated that virtue. The evidence of our paralysis goes far beyond the 1994 election and the resulting regressive regime in Congress. We have become a society that is not willing to take responsibility for itself. I don't know if I could have believed in 1970, despite all the talk about ecology and the internal combustion engine as the major source of pollution, that 25 years later 99 percent of the cars on the road today are still burning gasoline. Or that after the assassinations of King and Kennedy, and even the attempt on Reagan and soaring rates of youth and gun violence second to none in the world, that the only progress toward gun control would have been a modest law proposed by Reagan's Press Secretary, wounded in the attack on his boss. Or that despite clear evidence that corporations are selling us down the river with downsizing and overseas plants, we still blame "welfare cheats" for our social ills instead. Countless other examples of American inertia could be cited; the lowest energy efficiency, costly and unfair drug laws, unnecessary defense spending, spiraling housing costs and homelessness, etc. This is what I mean by the lack of a courage to change.

So we remain stuck in 19th-Century thinking, and not just politically. Most Americans still believe in traditional, "scientific" medicine and don't seem to get the connection between our poor diet and stressed lifestyle, and our soaring medical bills. Our media and our artists continue to turn out trash despite the hopeful infusion of aesthetic inspiration and energy from the psychedelic culture and New Age visionaries over the last 30 years. We still have taken no steps toward redesigning our cities and workplaces to align them with real human needs and desires, as visionaries and critics from Lewis Mumford to E.F. Schumacher and even Prince Charles have been calling on us to do for two generations. Why? Because we have forgotten our dreams and limited ourselves with over-cautious and cynical thinking.

It is just this kind of thinking which Uranus in Aquarius and Pluto in Sagittarius now call upon us to change. It could be a moment of release; as if the clouds cleared and suddenly we see that we have actually been sitting all along atop a mountain peak of possibilities, not stuck in a deep valley of despair. The motto of Sagittarius is "I see," and that is just what we need to do now; to look around us and see our potential for liberation. We are free to move ahead if we choose to. For though we have been extraordinarily negligent in fulfilling them, no time has been filled with more creative promise than ours. Who has ever had more tools for creating change that we have today? Ours is the first generation ever to have the whole universe, past and present, at our fingertips. And for the first time this century, the world has been freed from the constant need to prepare for war. Democracy has made more gains in other countries over the last decade than any time in history. Many of them were inspired by the American example, even though we still await democracy's return to the place of its birth. Signs of a spiritual awakening have been accelerating over the last few years, such as the mushrooming phenomenon of crop circles in recent years and the popularity of shows and books about angels and UFOs; now on the upswing again.

We as astrologers have much responsibility for whether the next few years will be years of release. Most astrologers tend to add to the prevailing cynicism with negative predictions. Instead of a great opportunity for transformation, we heard a few years ago that Pluto in Scorpio was the sign of "increasing terrorism." If that turned out to be largely correct in America, this may have been because we expected it. The rest of the world witnessed a time of transformation unparalleled in history, from the end of Cold War militarism and tyranny to the liberation of southern Africa. And past periods of Pluto in Scorpio were among the most creative and transforming moments in history, from the launching of Greek's golden age with their heroic defeat of Persia to the discovery of the New World by Columbus; to name a few. If we blew it this time, it's partly because most astrologers focused on the negative. Now we hear that Pluto in Sagittarius will mean "an upsurge in religious fanaticism" (as if we hadn't had enough of that under NEPTUNE in Sagittarius in the 1970s). This could well be correct, too.

But if our insights don't help us to become more creative, then we astrologers have failed in our purpose, no matter how successful our predictions may be. If astrologers really focus on the evidence, they will see that Uranus in Aquarius and Pluto in Sagittarius have corresponded to the most creative and enlightened periods in human history. Pluto was in Sagittarius, for example, during the birth of Buddhism, in the time of the Greek philosophers like Socrates, during the mission of Christ, and at the peak of the 18th Century Enlightenment led by Voltaire; among other such times. Ours is a moment of unique opportunity and potential that may not come again for centuries. With this in mind, there can be no excuse for astrologers to shirk their responsibility to awaken Humanity and focus instead only on the trivial, meaningless, destructive events from the day-to-day headlines (or what's worse--on our own personal wants and fears) just in order to make money and sell books and magazines. That's just what the authorities WANT us to do, so that we will remain hopeless and cynical and let the enemy (the Republican "revolution") carry the day and destroy our lives. And I don't mind calling them my enemy, because I know that deep inside even Newt Gingrich knows he is on the wrong path. The real enemy is really quite small in number, despite what the election results of 1994 said. For all evil is based in ignorance, as Socrates said. Americans are really quite fed up with the way things are going and are eager for the chance to change. They just need to awaken from their deception to become aware again that the real path to change is always toward the left, provided it is a flexible and inventive left and not a rigid and doctrinaire left.

I also mentioned that Saturn has just turned stationary in 18 Pisces, square to a triple conjunction of planets in Sagittarius. Since this happened when Pluto entered that sign, this cosmic figure charts the course for the next 13 years. Thirty years ago Mercury and Mars joined Saturn at 17-18 Pisces as it opposed a Uranus-Pluto conjunction at 17-18 Virgo. This means that these days of the mid-1990s are filled with echoes of the 1960s. The death of Jerry Garcia, the revival of the Beatles, another tragic assassination, the new popularity of psychedelics and the appearance of "neo-hippies" are just some of the signs of this. That conjunction and opposition 30 years ago in February 1966 was the defining moment of our times, cosmically speaking. Saturn in Pisces opposing Uranus-Pluto has left its pall on our times in increasing drug use, oil crises, decay of authority and trust in government, greater power of religion in politics, and so on--all symbolized eloquently by the planet of structure (Saturn) in the sign of decay (Pisces). Since Vietnam, the assassinations, Watergate and all the events of those times, we have become increasingly stuck in the mud and lost at sea. But Pisces is also the sign of spirituality and release, and I have labeled this overriding, predominant influence of our times as "stillness of spirit." Since the '60s, we all have become more aware of the need to become quiet inside, to get off the treadmill of the rat race, to stop the wars, and to put the brake (Saturn) on the runaway "progress" of technology (Uranus-Pluto in Virgo) that destroys our environment and quality of life. Is now the time again, like in the mid-1960s under Saturn in Pisces and Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo, when many people will have spontaneous spiritual awakenings that will release them--this time from 25 years of cynical, regressive thinking? Could such things as the revival of the Beatles, the reappearance of angelic phenomena, the periodic rise of the French people, and new concern for the Earth after the scientific validation of global warming--all in November 1995--act as vehicles to express this new sense of release? Will we feel free to dream again, so that we may start once more to fulfill both the dreams of our youth and the ancient potential of Humanity?

Of course, astrologers can't stop entirely from their more negative task of giving appropriate warnings. The last transit of Saturn in Pisces (which also squared Jupiter) represented the slippery quicksand of America's involvement in Vietnam and resulting polarization at home. The transit in the mid-1930s coincided with the failure of the Western world to stop the rise of fascism. Before that, it stood for America's emergence as a reckless, interventionist world power in 1905-06 under Theodore Roosevelt. Saturn in Pisces seems to stand for ominous delusions in foreign policy and the need to be clear about the facts. It comes as a stark warning to realize that President Clinton decided to send troops to Bosnia at the precise time Saturn turned stationary at 18 Pisces in November 1995.

Does this mean we are going down the slippery slope to another Vietnam? Or will it mean that we have learned the lessons of both the 1960s and the 1930s and that Clinton's action is a true middle course toward fulfilling our foreign obligations? Time will tell, but although I am in cautious support of the President's decision, I am skeptical that his actions will bring lasting peace to Bosnia. It looks to me like the three sides there could be at war again three years from now. I base this on the Uranus-Neptune cycle. The conjunction of 1821 coincided with the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, leading to great-power intervention in the same region six years later. The Bosnian Crisis of 1908 (exact year of Uranus-Neptune opposition) led directly to World War I just six years later. Similar events unfolded after the square of 1870. The latest Bosnian War broke out in 1992 under Uranus conjunct Neptune. If Clinton's plans don't work out and troops get stuck there, then look to April and May of 1997, when Mars turns stationary at 17 Virgo, for an outburst of opposition to his policies. By 1998 things could be ripe for a world confrontation over the Balkans.

Despite this warning, I think Clinton's adventure will work through 1996. And I do believe that we will see a mounting realization of the need for change in America's ways at home, and that this will swell to a tidal wave during this upcoming election year. If it sweeps the Democrats and Clinton back into full power, as I think is likely (though the retaking of the Senate will require a miracle), then I see an unparalleled take-off for the new renaissance here in America and around the world in early 1997, as a great sense of joy and release overtakes us all. And when Mars turns stationary in late April 1997 at 17 Virgo (Uranus-Pluto conjunction degree, opposing the Saturn in Pisces "stillness of spirit" degree), where it stood during key moments of the '60s, then the chance will come for the common people (Virgo) to rise up again and take back the power to make their dreams come true. The alternative, after all (a doleful Dole presidency), will be a nightmare.

Copyright 1996 by E. Alan Meece. All rights reserved.

[Astrologer E. Alan Meece is author of the forthcoming books The Horoscope of Humanity and A Horoscope for the New Millennium. He is producer of the annual New Age Renaissance Fair in San Jose and current President of the South Bay Astrological Society. You can reach Eric at 3914 Leigh Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.]

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