Easter 1996 & The Global Renaissance

by Gregg Castellucci

Ostara is the quintessential "holy day" of Spring, ritualized and celebrated by all cultures, but universally symbolic of rebirth and resurrection--of Life's eternal victory over Death. In all cultures, at least in its origins, Easter (or its parallel) is fundamentally an astrological holiday, celebrating the Vernal Equinox, that most special of points in their solar cycle--its "alpha and omega." From a comprehensive astrological perspective, the current Easter season offers an extraordinarily powerful promise of rebirth, echoed by the cycles of virtually all the outer planets.

The Christian version of this holiday is always celebrated on the first Sunday (solar day) after the first Full Moon (consummation) of Spring. This year, the Full Moon in question (3 April 1996, at 14+ Aries-Libra) is also a Lunar Eclipse (and also coincides with the Jewish holy day of Passover on 4 April). More significantly, this eclipse--occurring just two days after Chiron reaches perigee--is at the precise zodiacal degree as was Chiron's recent perihelion or "solar passage." Just days later--in fact, on Easter Sunday--Saturn enters Aries, beginning himself an entirely new zodiacal cycle, in perfect concert with that of our recently "perihelioned" (Chironized?) Sun. All this just months after both Pluto and Uranus have shifted signs. Only Neptune seems to be dragging his feet, not willing to commit to permanent change--to this potential global renaissance--until the end of 1998 (with his final shift into Aquarius).

Clearly, we are in the midst of an historically significant global transition that can be traced at least as far back as early 1993, when Saturn first entered that "transitional" sign of Pisces, buffer-void between past and future. That this was also the year of the Uranus/Neptune conjunction (the very first to occur since both planets' discoveries--at 18-19 deg. Capricorn) puts us on notice that this is to be a uniquely pivotal transition, quite unlike any before or hence. Although Neptune joins the fray on the Eve of 1999, this historical shift will not fully play itself out until the last day of the millennium, a milestone marked astrologically by the first ever to be witnessed conjunction of those two odd 20th century discoveries, Pluto and Chiron (at 11+ Sagittarius).

The entire period in question embraces precisely seven years, a span of time especially favored by astrology's various cycles. I find it most intriguing that this stretch of time is framed on either side by the initial (post-discovery) conjunctions of each of our newest planetary pairs (Uranus/Neptune in 1993 and Pluto/Chiron at century's end). Precisely midway, zodiacally, between the two conjunctions sits the Winter Solstice, a pivotal turning point in the cosmic cycle, symbolizing a collective (in this case, global) "coming of age." The further emphasis of the two complementary signs involved suggests that we are both building a new and fully global structural order (Capricorn)--politically and economically--as well as creating a new and globally shared socio-cultural identity (Sagittarius).

Astrology teaches us that the midpoint of any cycle or timespan is always a point of profound climactic significance--a culminating and decisive moment. In the midst of this wider transition, then, the year 1996 marks that critically defining moment--for each of us, and for the world. More specifically, while Chiron's perihelion passage (occurring at that body's own cyclic midpoint) has just dramatized for us the current opportunity to "reconnect with Source"--to renew that inner, spiritual connection to core Selfhood--the tangible consequences of our recent (and/or current) inner choices and decisions will begin to manifest or materialize as Chiron reaches perigee (his closest passage by the Earth) and Saturn, planet of tangible consequences, simultaneously begins his own new cycle this Easter. In other words, as we now "passover" this decisive central point along the wider transitional bridge, our outer reality will begin to reflect undeniably back to us, in perhaps dramatic fashion, our inner state of consciousness.

Neptune's reluctance to move forward with the rest may well be, in typical Neptunian fashion, a veritable blessing in disguise. Think of it as a "grace period," compliments of the planet of Grace. As we begin to see the less happy consequences of some of our recent internal choices, Neptune in Capricorn will continue to "hold back Time" that we might make the necessary corrections in conciousness so as to create a happier future reality for the coming millennium. Of course, there's no guarantee. We are ever free to respond to the planetary currents creatively or otherwise. Neptune can as easily play the role, if we so choose, of saboteur. One thing, though, looks certain: we will be sorely tested throughout these last degrees of Capricorn, especially with Neptune's final station at 29+ deg. in the autumn of 1998. (Neptune will sit at 29+ deg. Capricorn for three full months in 1998--from 8/23 through 11/27). This will be a time--individually and collectively--where the choices now being entertained will become finalized, and fates more or less sealed.

In the meantime, we are blessed with an extraordinary degree of freedom--the options currently on offer being virtually limitless. This "window of opportunity" will remain wide open between 11 January and 7 April of 1996 (defined, respectively by Uranus' final shift into Aquarius and Saturn's entry into Aries, and--appropriately sandwiched between--Chiron's perihelion at "center stage").

As Easter approaches, then, we should begin to reap the rewards of our recent decisions and efforts (or lack thereof). The striking synchronicity of both Chiron's perigee and Saturn's cyclic rebirth bordering the beginning and end of Holy Week provides a powerful convergence of symbolism. If "holy" means to be Whole, then that is Chiron's uniquely distinctive objective. More specifically, Chiron seeks to integrate the invisible and visible spheres of reality--the spiritual and the material. In practical terms, this requires the sincere and consistent application of our highest ideals and principles throughout our daily lives. In short, we must learn to practice as we preach, and to heal ourselves before we can presume to heal others. And, if that is one of Chiron's primary requirements, it is particularly captured via the symbolism of perigee--where Chiron ultimately "brings it all home/down to earth." How well we are presently able to fulfill this requirement shall determine and condition the objective reality we are about to create as Saturn begins a brand new cycle of tangible experience.

As soon as Easter has passed, therefore, we can expect to begin to experience the immediate objective consequences of all recently taken internal choices. To be sure, this is an esoteric principle that holds true at all times, transcendent of any astrological indications. But, with the astrological signatures currently emphasizing this principle in such dramatic fashion, we can likewise expect the point to be made that much more emphatically and unequivocally--with both greater immediacy than usual and with far more profound long-term consequences. We are about to enter a new millennium, and we are planting its first seedlings right now.

When current events are perceived against this profound symbolic backdrop, it is easier to extract their relevant purpose or deeper significance. Chiron's recent shift into Libra has planted the seeds of peace in previously war-torn areas--Bosnia, the Middle East, Ireland. In the days surrounding Chiron's perihelion, the destructive forces of terror struck everywhere simultaneously, as if in a last desperate effort to counter the increasingly powerful desire for peace, and virtually forcing the peoples involved to a critical point of decision. The responses were overwhelmingly encouraging. The terrorist incidents in Britain were answered with a massive demonstration for peace in Ireland, joining Catholics and Protestants together in a new and purposeful union. No longer will it be one religion pitted against the other, but rather the vast majority of peace-loving Irish triumphantly resisting the forces of terror and separatism. Likewise in the Middle East, where Yasser Arafat joined with the Israeli government in a swift and unequivocal denunciation of terrorism following a series of incidents there. Just a couple of the more happy examples of how the world is currently being tested, and rising to the occasion.

In the United States, perhaps the best gauge of the times can be found in the twists and turns of the 1996 presidential campaign. In the Republican primary race, Pat Buchanan, like Zhirinovsky in Russia, has become the symbolic voice for a frightening ideology with a disastrous historical record--an almost fascist blend of self-destructive nationalism and profane populism that appeals to peoples' fears and baser instincts. But, one of the intended blessings of the democratic process is that ideas get to be aired and debated. They can be collectively scrutinized before any hasty implementation, and the less wise ideas (and their candidates) weeded out. In the case of Buchanan, even the conservative Republican establishment is sounding the alarm. Reasonable voters can't help but take notice.

President Clinton, meanwhile, has effectively staked out a more centrist campaign trail, shrewdly robbing the distracted Republicans of their more moderate (and more viable) ideas. As long as Clinton stays on track and maintains a healthy "middle path," his re-election should be assured. Although this may be a time for extremists to surface, with all the intense exposure, they should effectively do themselves in--leaving the center to carry the day. However, should Clinton veer too far to the left (unlikely at this point), I am convinced that a new candidate will emerge from the blue (and perhaps a third party) to fill the vacuum at center.

With Uranus now in Aquarius and Neptune still lagging behind from Capricorn--a situation that will hold from early 1996 through late 1998--the world will be straddling between two distinct eras, with one foot in the future and one still in the past. (This dynamic is likely to be felt at the individual level as well, for each in his or her own personal manner.) One of the better examples of this phenomenon is currently provided by Russia. Disenchanted by the painfully (yet necessarily) slow process of economic transformation, many Russians are growing romantically nostalgic for the bad old days of Communism (the more delusional lure of Neptune). In the U.S., Pat Buchanan taps right into this same dynamic. One should be able to find distinctively tailored examples virtually everywhere.

So, will Easter 1996 really plant the seeds for a millennial global renaissance? Either that, I suspect, or we are in for yet another worldwide plunge into darkness. The signs are too profound for it to be otherwise. We will certainly be tugged by the two opposing directions. And, despite some of the happier correspondences thus far, there are plenty of areas for concern. What directions will giants Russia and China pursue at this all-defining juncture of history? The decisions they will now or soon be making will indelibly impact all our futures, whether for better or worse. The Persian Gulf remains an extremely dangerous zone. Saddam Hussein has yet to act out his melodramatic grand finale on the world stage. In these next coming years, through the turn of the century (and, of course, the millennium), the surest prediction that can be made is that there's plenty of drama ahead. Still, the convergence of so many cycles this Holy Week provides a powerful signature of hopeful promise. At this crucial juncture of world history, we need all the help we can get. Blessed Ostara!

Copyright 1996 by Gregg Castellucci.

All rights reserved.

[Gregg Castellucci is a professional astrologer and author of Heaven & History. Contact him at Internet address: Greggorio@aol.com or by telephone: (415) 771-8899.]

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