Astrological Musings

Read Part I here
Read Part II here

In 1976 Jimmy Carter campaigned for president on a campaign promise to heal the “malaise” the country was experiencing as the result of a poor economy and the Iran hostage crisis. Malaise is a great description for the Jupiter/Saturn experience as the expansion of Jupiter battles with the restrictions of Saturn. Saturn saps the energy of Jupiter and can cause tremendous fatigue. The square of Saturn to Uranus strives to bring form (Saturn) to new ideas (Uranus) (this configuration also witnessed the beginnings of Apple Computer and Microsoft) but also brings repression (Saturn) against new ways of thought (Uranus), leading to the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1978-1979.

During Carter’s administration the Christian right was mobilizing in response to what they saw as a threat to their way of life. The group American Christian Cause was formed in 1974 shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision as a means to gain more political influence. This group later evolved into the Christian Voice and the Moral Majority in 1978, which campaigned actively for a voice in the Republican party. Having lost much of their power during the explosive social revolutions in the 1960s when their participation in groups such as the KKK gave them a public image as bigots and backwards, they seized the opportunity to use the backlash against the cultural revolution to gain political power. These new political groups used issues that were of concern to cultural conservatives, but used a religious bias. An excellent article cataloguing the rise of the religious right is this one by Bryan F. LeBeau.

Neptune in Sagittarius was trine Pluto in Libra during a long period from 1974 through 1982 that coincides with the rise of the political Christian right. Neptune in Sagittarius in its highest expression integrates spirituality and experience of the divine (Neptune) with religion and theology (Sagittarius), and when in trine to Pluto we saw an increase in power (Pluto) particularly through alliances (Libra) of like-minded individuals. This time period also saw the rise of alternative medicine, the healing arts and spiritual philosophies that were not necessarily doctrinary approaches to religion. However, the connection between religion and spirituality did increase during this period, and fundamentalist Christian groups expanded in number and power along with a number of more nontraditional religions.

The square of Saturn to Neptune between 1978 and 1980 brought repression (Saturn) and confusion (Neptune), personified most vividly perhaps in the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the worldwide energy crisis that resulted, as well as the taking of American hostages. The Saturn/Neptune cycle is often associated with oil and gas (Neptune) shortages (Saturn), and because Neptune rules that which is hidden from view and mysterious, such as the hostage crisis. (The hostage crisis became even more mysterious when Reagan negotiated the announcement of the release of the hostages to occur after he took office so Carter would receive none of the credit.)

Ronald Reagan was the first presidential candidate to welcome the influence of the new conservative Christian political groups, the most powerful of which was Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. Pat Boone was a close confidant, and Jerry Falwell met with Reagan more than any other religious leader. Jerry Falwell claimed that the Moral Majority was responsible for the election of Reagan, but regardless of the truth of this statement and the fact that Reagan was fascinated by astrology and UFOs conservative Christians loved him because of his stand on abortion and the fact that he believed that Armageddon was close at hand. The Jim Bakker sex scandal eroded support for the Moral Majority after Jerry Falwell took over Bakker’s PTL ministry, and the Moral Majority closed it’s doors in 1979.

Reagan made promises to the conservative Christian lobby that he would advance their agenda, but in reality he did not do much for Christian fundamentalist causes, focusing instead on economic recovery and dealing with the Soviet Union. Reagan’s failure to keep his promises (coinciding with the end of the Neptune/Pluto trine that brought a new wave of power (Pluto) to spiritual groups (Neptune)) led these groups to realize that they needed to build power themselves rather than rely on a friend in the presidency.

In 1983 Pluto entered its own sign of Scorpio and began to break down the established power structures (quite literally in the case of the Berlin wall). Neptune entered Capricorn in 1984 and gave rise to the fantasy (Neptune) of quick gains in the stock market (Scorpio) and the desire for acquisition and success (Capricorn) as noted in the popular television shows “Dallas” and “Dynasty” and the film “Wall Street.” Although the power of the Religious Right had wained during the mid-1980s, the threat of AIDS (Death by sex = Pluto in Scorpio) was portrayed as punishment for the free sexuality of the previous decades and inspired a new generation of conservative Christians. When Saturn conjuncted Uranus in 1988-89 and then Neptune, the repressive forces of Saturn again came into play resulting in a new wave of extremism both from conservative Christians in the US and from Islamists, including the birth of Al Qaeda in 1989. The three major battlegrounds for the religious right are what they perceive as the loss of morality, the rise of feminism and what they perceive as the destruction of the family, and the rise of gay and lesbian rights movements. All three battlegrounds are symbolized by Pluto and Scorpio, and the period from 1983 through 1995 when Pluto traveled through Scorpio created tremendous anxiety for conservative Christians and inspired a huge growth in the intensity (Pluto/Scorpio) of the movement.

This time it was Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition that became the public face of the Christian right on the heels of Jimmy Swaggart’s own sex scandal in 1988. George HW Bush used Reagan-esque tactics of pandering to the Right in order to be elected, but then failed to satisfy their demands and consequently lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, beginning what I like to think of as the Golden Age. The Golden Age also saw the conjunction of Uranus to Neptune in Capricorn that released a sudden wave of radical new ideas (Uranus) and brought fringe spiritual groups (Neptune) into the mainstream (Capricorn). The wave of Christian fundamentalism that was radicalized during the Saturn/Uranus conjunction lost influence after Clinton was reelected in 1996.

Pluto’s entry into Sagittarius marked the beginning of religious and ideological (Sagittarius) wars (Pluto) on many different fronts. The fundamentalist Taliban gained power in 1995 and seized control of Kabul in 1996. In 1997, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to support the use of the National Guard to prevent removal of the Ten Commandments from a courtroom and members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide. Osama bin Laden openly declared war on the US in 1998. In 1999 various states passed resolutions requiring schools to display the Ten Commandments or to say the Christian Lord’s Prayer.

In March of 2001, with Mars (warfare) conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius, the Taliban blew up (Pluto) the famous 2000 year old Buddhas (Sagittarius). Then on the September 11th came destruction (Pluto) by planes (Sagittarius). Shortly thereafter Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed this action o
n the ACLU, abortion, and gay people. September 11th and the debacle of the Iraq war combined with the rise of Islamic fundamentalist warfare is seen by many as heralding the end of the world, the Armageddon. We are concluding the pass of Pluto through Sagittarius in 2008 and Pluto is wrapping up the issues of the culture wars, but the battle between fundamentalism and reason has really just begun and will, I believe, be the battle we face as we approach the square of Uranus (radicalism) in Aries (warriors) to Pluto (destruction and change) in Capricorn (social structures, governments, corporations).

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