January, 2006



Mythic Prelude:

The Beating, or the Stasis

2005 has been a year of challenges, to say the least. So the natural question that poses itself now, just before January, 2006 is whether the coming year will bring more of what we have just been through. How this will read and manifest to each of us is a matter of our own belief and expectations. Those who anticipate calamity have already googled 2006 Disasters, and are somehow never getting their fill of dire news for the Year of the Fire Dog that begins on Jan. 29. Those who are mainly interested in how they are going to make the best of the coming time, no matter what it brings, naturally want to understand better the kinds of astral events that have affected the oldest of us in recent years, or will affect all the rest of us in the years between now and 2012.

The Saturn-over-natal-Pluto transit of June, 2003 through the end of 2012 has already impacted each of us individually, or will impact us in the next seven years, and will in turn contribute to a time in our lives that can appear endless because for several weeks, or intermittently for months at a time, each one of us does one of two things. One is that we undergo the experience of Stasis, in which nothing seems to move and none of our efforts seem to work and we wonder if, and how, anything is ever going to get moving again.

Or -- the second possibility is that the hero takes the Beating. The way one goes through stasis or takes a beating, or does some of both, is the product of each one's life choices and desires. The majority of human beings, who seek their validation in external relationships and therefore do not want to upset them, usually go through stasis without taking a beating. But for those who seek their validation in their relationships within, with themselves and with the universal soul that is their source, the Beating is likely to come when Saturn is crossing over one's natal Pluto, and for two of the hero types -- the Warrior and the Messenger, or Prophet -- the Beating is nearly inevitable, especially as the hero consciously intends to have a great impact on his society, even his world. The severity of the beating depends on the greatness of the goal the hero pursues, and the sincerity of his aim to purify himself through the pain he brings upon himself.

All of us will have to deal with stasis, or Standstill, which we shall explore below. Those who have consciously chosen the hero role will likely get the beating, and it is useful for us to know better now the medicinal qualities and the beauty of this ordeal, painful as it is. The beating always precedes the Big Victory, and the rules of the drama apply again. There are all kinds of reasons -- philosophical, emotional and everything else -- why good stage and movie fights all go the same way. An easy win by the hero is unworthy of his mettle, and is boring to watch. Any win by the bad guy is depressing, unless the bad guy suffers in the end, and the hero is transformed and glorified by his suffering (Hamlet, Braveheart, Spartacus, Madame Curie).

So any story that the good guy wins always has three parts. First the hero wins the little victory. This and other easy wins can tempt him to get careless, even cocky, so in Act 2 he takes the beating, and gets creamed by the bad guys. He then goes through his time of unavoidable stasis as his wounds heal, and he recovers his strength for the great victory ahead in Act 3. The beating is essential and invaluable, as it teaches the qualities of the warrior shown here by Pamela Coleman-Smith in the Rider Waite Tarot.

The Nine of Wands (or Clubs) shows a man leaning on his staff or club, with eight other wands behind him. He has clearly just been through something rough. That thing around his head is not there from vanity or custom. The marks just in front of his right sleeve look more like scars or blood streaks than a shadow, and we don't really want to know the color of the bruises under his clothes. As always, the eyes say it all. The educated stare. The alertness from just having learned why the Chinese kanji symbol for Crisis comes from the glyphs for Danger and Opportunity. After the beating, in the eyes there is now cunning, from a word that means Knowledge.

The hardest time for the hero to take the beating is in a time of stasis, when nothing is likely to move in his favor, so that the beating, when it comes, will be especially severe. This is why it is useful to us all to know when our intervals of stasis are coming soon, or years ahead, so that those of us who choose to be in the fight know better when it is time not to engage yet, but either to prepare for the confrontation at another time, or know how hard the whacking is going to get if we insist on it now. The timing is in the transit, that is the current position, of Saturn as he moves in his orbit and crosses over the point that Pluto occupies in each of our birth charts.

Pluto has an orbital period of about 248 years, so that he spends an average of twenty years in each zodiac sign, and can visit each one for transits as short as eleven years, or as long as thirty, depending on whether the sign is in the deep curve or the flatter arc of Pluto's unusual orbit. All of the people on planet Earth who are 91 or younger, and who live until 2012, were or will be born in the generations of Pluto in Cancer (1914 - 1937), Pluto in Leo (1937 - 1957), Pluto in Virgo (1957 - 1971), Pluto in Libra (1971 - 1984), Pluto in Scorpio (1984 - 1995), Pluto in Sagittarius (1995 - 2008) and Pluto in Capricorn (2008 - 2024).

Each of these generations has gone through what astrologers have expected while Pluto is in their sign, and the expected personalities and events have manifested in predictable ways:

Pluto in Cancer people (now aged 68 through 91) were born in a time that favored the search for new knowledge in unexplored fields, and discoveries that appear to be magical until the technology is better known, so the mythic type of this generation is the Magician.

The Pluto in Leo type, now aged 49 through 68, has sought to increase its power by magnetizing energy to itself, and by projecting itself by force into areas that it seeks to acquire and control, whether they be the physical areas of space or the mental and spiritual areas of collective consciousness.

The Pluto in Virgo generation, now 34 through 49, is marked by both a gift and a passion for technical research and communications, and a desire to acquire things, as Virgo is an earth sign. So it is not surprising that this generation came of age in the grasp of the Reagan decade, invented the world wide web, took the beating of the dot.com bust and now invents the skills of Aquarius.

Pluto in Libra people, now 21 to 34, focus on stewardship in family values, community empowerment and the health of the natural environment -- as we can expect from those who want to protect and restore the seventh-house values of hearth, home and partnership. People who are in this homey scenario all the time naturally crave news about others outside their own house, so gossip flourishes and celebrities fascinate. Reinhold Ebertin, the essential source, comments that Pluto in Libra will bring "the manifestation of genius, strange celebrities who help or harm humanity." Pluto's latest visit to Libra began with the planet's first professional celebrities and gossip industries, followed by the birth of the Indigo Children and the first of the Crystal Children.

More of both these types, now in the age band of 10 to 21, were born during Pluto in Scorpio, when the youngest ones among us have been even more deeply influenced than the rest of us by subconscious, subliminal propaganda messages of sales, alarms, seduction and everything else that moves great social and national masses from below, and propels individuals into fanaticism, even martyrdom -- that is, the Beating for One's Belief. One day the classic hero type of this generation will be better perceived as not the Slacker, but the Hanged Man, who accepts temporary suspension from the tree of knowledge as the price of spiritual insight, which he or she pursues by going on the vision quest with more nerve and thirst than anyone has had since Captain Cook.

How and when has each of these Pluto types already gone through stasis, or entered the runup to it? Through their transits of Saturn over each one's natal Pluto. Saturn has an orbital period of 29 1/2 years, so all of us who live to 60 will experience this transit at least twice, and some if us will have the expensive pleasure of its company three times, for some weeks or some months. My own second Saturn-to-Pluto transit, now playing to sparse but excited houses, will run on and off for ten months, from last September to the middle of next July, and is so far a smash hit in every sense of the term.

Is the Universal Festival Calendar predicting doom for you, or everyone else? Not at all. But the year behind has stimulated an alertness that will be a useful posture in the year ahead as well. People from the Pluto in Leo generation, all but the youngest of whom are in our fifties and sixties, are in our Saturn-over-Pluto transits from July of 2005 through September of 2007. The younger generations will have their Saturn transits over Pluto during Saturn in Virgo (September 2007 - October 2009) and Saturn in Libra (October 2009 - October 2012). After that, all bets are still off for Saturn in Scorpio, from October 2012, until we get a better sense of how radically all our schemes of time and divination, including astrology, will shift seven years from now.

This chart gives you a general sense of when your Saturn-over-Pluto transit is coming, or has already passed. Note that nobody is facing whole years of stasis. Saturn will not be on or near your Pluto during the whole Saturn Transit time of two years or more, but only for part of it, for some months or even for only a few weeks, depending on when you were born and where your natal Pluto is.

Saturn Transits over Natal Pluto, 2003 - 2014
Pluto Position
Time Period ("Pluto Generation")
Saturn Transit
May, 1914 - Oct., 1937
June, 2003 - July, 2005
Oct., 1937 - Aug., 1957*
July, 2005 - Sept. 2007
Aug., 1957 - Oct., 1971
Sept., 2007 - Oct., 2009
Oct., 1971 - Aug., 1984
Oct., 2009 - Oct., 2012**
Aug., 1984 - Nov., 1995
Oct., 2012 - Dec., 2014
* Except Pluto advance into Virgo Oct. 1956 - Jan. 1957
** Except Saturn retrograde in Virgo April - July 2010

How does stasis feel when it comes, as the feeling of it is such a critical element to the Pluto-in-Leo people who are now the generation of the grandparents? It feels like you're wading through molasses with iron weights chained to your ankles, as Mark David Gerson described the difficulty so many are reporting now as 2005 is about to turn into 2006. It feels like blockage and a lack of inspiration, and of suddenly having to think small because we're finding that the bigger the plan, the slower the plod. It feels like the outright frustration of not being able to produce and manifest the kinds of results we've achieved before with less effort. It can even be the scary sense of paralysis, of not being able to do anything. An added sting that can come during stasis is the infuriating insult of being cheated of the rewards that are due for honest, hard work, and of being unable to do anything to obtain justice. This naturally causes blame games to suppurate so intensely that even the most responsible -- that is, those who accept that they are the cause of every effect they get -- can be forgiven for wondering at times if only two kinds of business relationships are now possible: with either world-class crooks who want to screw us to death, or only region-class crooks who are content to keep doing it to us until we pass out. It is in such moments that we are most likely to resonate with Hamlet's opinion that "to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick'd out of ten thousand."

Even if one does not even believe in E-Word, it is tempting to agree with the I Ching (P'i, Standstill) that "Evil people do not further the perseverance of the superior man. The great departs; the small approaches." How small? Small enough to make one doubt whether any effort at all is worthwhile. So it fits that many metaphysical newsletters carry words like these, in Sally Spencer's Light Waves, quoting the Pleiadians through Barbara Marciniak: "To heal ourselves, to raise our frequency from one of despair and fear to one of great inspiration and love, the Pleiadians urge us to rethink and reevaluate our lives: 'You shall change, you will change, you must change, because this is the season of change.'" Fortunately, unlike the myth of Sisyphus that it so closely resembles, the Saturn-over-Pluto transit will bring change, as the intolerable condition of complete powerlessness must yield to movement. The question is whether the outer change we want flows organically from the inner change we need, and comes from our own proactive will that enables us to have some role in shaping and bringing in the new, instead of reacting to it helplessly.

So how to play the transit? One essential step is to scout the players and get a sense of what they're likely to do. The stationary planet in the scene is Pluto, at least insofar as his position in each one's natal chart is fixed in the way that a photograph fixes an image at a point in time. The dogs, the leaves, the clouds all move on after the photograph is taken, but the picture still captures a reference point for defining an event in time. It's the same with the Pluto position, any planet's position, in one's birth chart. Everything moves on, but these specific positions that everything was in at the moment of our birth are markers for each of us, and we observe what happens -- more accurately, what we create -- in present time as planets move across, or in relation to, each other's positions in our natal charts.

Pluto, put simply, is the planet of power, specifically the power of mass political, social and religious movements that are driven by the passion of principle and by media of persuasion that work at the level of sub-consciousness. Pluto was discovered in 1930, just before the bursting of such fanatical story lines as the Nazi, Soviet, Japanese and Italian empires, and the surge of modern propaganda through the new electronic media of motion pictures and radio that were ideal means of compulsion and control for extremist dictators determined to work their will through symbols (swastika, hammer and sickle, fasces, rising sun, blood banner, knight in white holding the bastion against hairy dark hordes) that did not need to be explained when their subliminal mythic power was enough to get a crowd's blood up. So it happened then, as it still does now 75 years after Percival Lowell first found Pluto, that political personality cults continue to abound, fanatics blow and burn, and entertainers who would not have been allowed to rest in consecrated ground centuries ago are today the closest thing to a religious experience that their fans have ever had.

The mythic Hades/Pluto is ruler of the dark underworld, as his brother Zeus/Jupiter rules the sky and Poseidon/Neptune the Sea, and he customarily wears an invisibility helmet whenever he has to go above the ground. So the planet Pluto is naturally associated with secrecy, conspiracies, espionage and codes, anything having to do with encrypting and concealing information. The connection with today's paranoid, security-obsessed regimes of government and business -- and also with computers --is obvious. Finally, as Pluto rules the sign of Scorpio and is thus aligned with the 8th house of death and regeneration, it is only to be expected that strong Pluto influences will clear away a lot of rot and totter, and will bring in the new not by cutting a ribbon, but by throwing a bomb, as happened during the most recent Pluto-in-Scorpio period (1984 - 1995), when the Soviet bloc and empire collapsed, the Berlin wall fell, the Japanese bubble economy tanked, bombers proliferated and a few even got famous, and amid all the debris the world wide web was born.

The second planet in our scenario, the one that is moving across each one's natal Pluto, is Saturn, already well-known to readers of these pages for his ongoing friction with Chiron and his grim but perfect role in the Aceh Tsunami of a year ago. Saturn has traditionally been considered the bringer of illness, old age and death; the principle of inhibition, restriction, estrangement and separation; the patron of effort in patient solitude and the painstaking study and practice that learning and wisdom require. He is depicted as an old, tall, thin man with a white beard, and he wields a scythe because he was a harvest deity at the top of his mythic history. The scythe clearly relates to Saturn's cutting role as the one who clears away whatever has cooled, withered and dried; the crop, however, is not physical but karmic, and Saturn's blade swings truest when it is time to harvest the consequences of one's actions, passions and intentions. The sensation is usually painful, especially when resisted, so one of the first things a young astrologer learns is to love Saturn. Not just figure out his route, or brace for his pressure, but love him, as his stroke is exact but never mean, cold but never indifferent, cutting away what is not only no longer needed, but may be preventing healthy new growth.

So the passage of Saturn over your natal Pluto can bring both the "positive" results that tend to appear during a trine (120° angle between two planets), and the "negative" features of a square (90°) or opposition (180°). Thus Saturn crossing your Pluto may bring a time of devoted, disciplined work, even unprecedented effort and sacrifice, for the sake of a desired goal. It may be a time of toughening in which we hold firm as the familiar rules and conditions around us erode and disintegrate. It may also be an ordeal in which those who refuse to adjust their plans and beliefs to changing conditions will expend enormous energy to little or no impact, will seem to be robbed of the fruits of their labors and will be sorely tempted to stake it all in desperate showdowns that can bring everything from red ink to ruin, depending on the tenor of one's righteousness.

So how each one handles this challenge, and all of us aged 10 to 60 will face it in the years from now to 2012, depends in part on whether we think martyrdom is glorious or self-indulgent, and whether we consider any actions, even violent ones, justified in the service of any cause ranging in size from our own pleasure, power and success to the honor of our family or flag, to the wishes of "God" or whoever it is "up there" who allegedly hates and wants to hurt the same people we do, to the healing of Mother Earth. There will be much unloading in the years to come of beliefs that appear firm and true until they are perceived more clearly as merely stiff and self-serving.

Keep Holding That Frequency, though this time the usual injunction that ends this page comes with the caveat that this year I have dropped what I ask you to hold, as I invited and got the Beating in 2005, and am still recovering from its effects. Like the hero of Kurosawa's Yojimbo -- played by Mifune Toshiro, of course -- who gets thrashed within a senchi of his life and spends some weeks secluded in a drafty shack as he dresses his wounds and digests his fury, I practice throwing my knife at the piece of paper that blows about the room until I can pin it to the floor every time, and I have my aim and my courage back.

Today the play turned, as it has to, as a Mayan pilgrim from Guatemala and her companion, whom I didn't know until this morning, moved into my two spare rooms and brought with them more fresh produce than my kitchen can hold. Both women are vegetarian and love to laugh. So for the week until they fly off to Sai Baba, I get to eat like a smart king for free. There is no telling yet whether the aroma that comes from the kitchen now will be enough to drive all memory of the Beating away, but it does surely have a way of keeping one's attention in the nose rather than the liver or the spleen.

In the New Year stasis leads to new motion. "The superior man" -- for which read the higher self that is the superior being in each of us -- "falls back upon his own inner worth / In order to escape the difficulties. . . . First standstill, then good fortune."

Have a fragrant 2006.

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Copyright 2005 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.