The recent death of John Travolta’s son Jett has brought the discussion of autism back into the news. It has long been rumored that Jett was autistic and John Travolta’s brother Joey, founder of the organization Actors for Autism, had long argued the case. However, autism is not recognized by the Church of Scientology of which the Travoltas are members, so Jett was never tested for autism and therefore not diagnosed and treated.
I am certainly sympathetic to the Travolta’s desire to keep their child free of psychiatric drugs, and I have long believed that the autism phenomenon, rather than a disorder to be treated, marks a significant shift in genetic patterning of the human race. The statistics are staggering: 1 in 150 American
children are now diagnosed to be somewhere on the autism spectrum.
There appear to be many different statistical correlations that suggest connections to possible causes: mercury in vaccines, genetic history of families, and even the self-selection of geeks to other geeks
. All provide reasonable arguments, yet no single cause stands out. After mercury was removed from vaccines in 1999, he autism rate continued to climb making this a less convincing cause. There is no doubt that autism spectrum disorders (ADS) are diagnosed more frequently now than in years past, but this increase in diagnosis does not reasonably explain the 800% and more increase in autism rates.
I have long felt that there is a Uranian component to the autism spectrum of disorders. Astrological Uranus rules technology and all things geeky – it is the planet of innovation, of invention, of reason and new ways of thinking. It is Uranus which opens the doorway to “Eureka” type experiences, that seem to come from nowhere in a blinding flash of insight. Uranus is not concerned with emotion – it remains detached and focused on order.
The astonishing rise of the prevalence of autism since the early 1990s suggests a link to the Uranus-Neptune conjunction that began in 1991 and continued through 1994. The combination of Uranus to Neptune opened all kinds of doorways and dissolved the boundaries of reason and old paradigms of thinking. The children that were born during this period carry this archetype within them, and they are a new breed entirely. It is during this time that the concept of the “Indigo Children” began, as it was apparent that these new children were very different than the generations that preceded them, and it is in these children that we see the dramatic increase in autism rates.
But the astrological connection actually goes further and is closely tied to the Saturn/Uranus cycle. Saturn rules order and structure and Uranus is the rebel and radical influence that destroys the status quo, so the cycle of Saturn and Uranus is often found during periods of radical change. Many of the baby boomers who were active during the cultural upheaval of the 1960s have Saturn squared to Uranus in their charts. Autism was first described in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler as he was defining symptoms of schizophrenia. At the time, Saturn in Aries was exactly square to Uranus in Capricorn.
The term “autism” was first used in its modern sense in 1943 by a child psychiatrist named Leo Kanner at Johns Hopkins Institute, and one year later by Hans Asperger in Vienna. During this time Saturn and Uranus had both just entered and conjoined in Gemini, the sign that rules communication and the mental process.
Despite this early discovery of the autism phenomenon, it wasn’t until 1985-1987
that the autism rate began to increase dramatically. During this time, Saturn and Uranus were conjunct in Sagittarius and both planets were opposed by Chiron, the wounded healer, which was in Gemini at the time.
Ever since the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in the early 1990s Uranus and Aquarius has been very active astrologically. Uranus entered its own sign of Aquarius in 1995, marking the explosion of the technological revolution. Neptune followed shortly thereafter, entering Aquarius (ruled by Uranus) in 1999 and blurring the boundaries (Neptune) between technology and reality in an explosion of virtual reality software and games such as SimWorld in which participants create an online world of their own.
Wired Magazine has a fascinating article about “The Geek Syndrome
,” postulating that what we call Aspergers is closely tied to the Geek personality found in Silicon Valley, home to one of the fastest increasing rates of autism spectrum diagnoses, and perhaps due to the self-selection of geeks who marry other geeks which intensifies the geeky qualities in their offspring. In this article Hans Asperger, one of the first to diagnose the autism phenomenon, writes that one of his subjects:
“came to be preoccupied with fantastic inventions, such as spaceships and the like.” Here he added, “one observes how remote from reality autistic interests really are” – a comment he qualified years later, when spaceships were no longer remote or fantastic, by joking that the inventors of spaceships might themselves be autistic.
So are these children autistic, or are they a new breed of human with a mind that operates differently? I have a strong Uranian component in my chart (most astrologers do – Uranus rules astrology and any kind of thinking that breaks free of the “normal” paradigms), and Saturn squares Uranus in my chart as well. I have long noticed that I exhibit some of the common traits attributed to the autistic spectrum such as a discomfort with being touched. I also have a memory for phone numbers that puts me in the idiot savant category. So I was very interested in the “Autism Quotient
” test offered by Wired Magazine, and my score was 24 (normal is 16, with autistism beginning at 32).
At the current time, Chiron is approaching a conjunction to Neptune in Aquarius, and Jupiter has just entered Aquarius making this an extremely Uranian time (because Uranus rules Aquarius). We are on the threshold of the Age of Aquarius
and I have written often in these pages about the transformation of the human being into what is now being called “transhuman
” in the mainstream press.
If the autism rate continues to increase beyond the current rate of 1 in 150, we will need to change our thinking about what we are now calling a psychiatric disorder and expand our minds to accommodate the possibility that as humans we are entering a new age where technology and humanity are merging into a new life form. This possibility is a frightening one for many of us, but it is quite likely that the trend cannot be stopped in which case we would be better off learning to adapt our civilizations to accommodate the new breed of human rather than continue to try to sequ
ester them away from the mainstream.