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Astrological Musings

by Lynn Hayes

slacker cover.jpg

Generations of people can be defined by the sign that Pluto was traveling in at the time of the birth of that population group.  The Pluto in Leo generation, the “baby boomers,” are famous for being self-involved and self-important, as you would expect from a group that is compulsively driven (Pluto) to break through the barriers of the sign of Leo, the sign of the ego.  Pluto was in Virgo between 1958 and 1971, and that generation is now between 38 and 53 years old.  
The generation defined by Pluto experiences a compulsive attention to matters described by the sign that Pluto falls in.  The Pluto in Cancer generation, parents to the Pluto in Leo boomers, gave up everything for their families (Cancer).  The Leo Boomers made self-expression into an art form.  
Like all of the other signs of the zodiac, Virgo operates on many different levels but the underlying principle is a sense of order and attention to the mundane details of everyday life.  We therefore find Virgo representing our physical health and the connection between the mind and the body, our diet, service to others in assisting them in their daily life, and the day-to-day work experiences that provide the income to sustain us.  
Demographers often call this generation “Generation X,” which was also called the “Slacker” generation, and report that this was the first generation in the United States to earn less than the previous generation.  As “Slackers,” this generation embraced grunge rock and rejected the pull of materialism.  Perhaps aware on some level that the world was about to change, many of them went from job to job and thought about career completely differently from any other previous generation.  Forget the college degree…forget the 30 years and the gold watch.  They lived a life that was more spartan than their baby boomer parents and elder siblings – no second home, no boat, no three-car garage (Virgo is modest and tends to be financially conservative).  
An interesting article about this Generation is a clear demonstration of Pluto in Virgo:

WE MOVED to San Francisco and Brooklyn and Mission Hill. We jumped from job to job. Put off marriage. Never bought a place. And we never heard the end of it. We were drifters, they said. Layabouts. No respect for work and real estate or the value of a good pair of cufflinks.

But now, in the cold glare of a recession, everything looks different: We’ve got no house to lose, no career to dash, no school-aged children in need of pricey Wii gaming systems.

Not recession-proof, exactly, but recession-resistant, at least.

Of course, it’s not like we saw the crash coming. We didn’t plan for this, didn’t time the market. And we made some bad choices along the way: The persistent neglect of our 401(k)s, battered stock market notwithstanding, will catch up to us someday.

But in retrospect, it’s clear that we did something right. We lived a smaller life, a life we could afford. And as the country rebuilds the economy, as it tries to replace it with something more sustainable than a leaning tower of subprime mortgages and consumer binging, it is time to reevaluate that much-maligned Gen X archetype: the American Slacker….

We brought you the Internet, worked on green technology, and filled the ranks of Teach for America. We crossed the color line, ate local produce, and bought secondhand clothing. We lived in smaller spaces, drove smaller cars, and took the subway to work.

It all seemed like a quaint liberal fantasy at the time. And on some level it was. But now, with a creaking economy and an overheated planet, it reads more like a survival manual: a guide to multicultural living in an increasingly diverse society, an incubator for the technology that might save the American auto industry, an antidote to our awful adventures in sprawl.

Of course, we could abandon this life as we get older, I suppose. We could grow impatient with our little apartments and cramped hatchbacks. We could set our sights on the kind of suburban existence we’ve forsaken. But I’d like to think we’re smarter than that.

We created something worthwhile – a sustainable neighborhood, a tech future, a life we can manage. And we won’t let it go too easily.

At least I hope not. As the nation rebuilds a crumbling capitalism, it could use a little perspective, a little wisdom. Bet you didn’t think you’d get it from us.

Image is reprinted without permission from the book The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Slackers (Because 7 Is Too Many)

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