Call it the End of The Age of Oil, or more ominously, the end of Petroleum Man. Uranus rules progressive movements as well as scientific and technological advances. Uranus rules energy, especially electrical; and the globalizing, evolving forces influencing human society.
Speaking of ominous, the last time Uranus was in Aries (in 1927) the world was about to enter the Great Depression. As one might expect from the transit of a shock loving planet like Uranus through the sign named after the ancient Greek god of war, economic chaos quickly escalated into World War II. By 1939 Uranus had moved on to Taurus but the foundations of fascism had already been laid. As Pluto left home loving Cancer and entered egotistical boundary preoccupied Leo a war began that destroyed the old world to create the new.
Any astrological placement or aspect represents a spectrum of possibilities. For human beings it seems our ability to evolve governs which end of the spectrum we experience. Those who stubbornly repeat mistakes invite the hardest lessons. Since cultures are the result of many interacting lives the outcome depends on a mysterious ratio. How many enlightened actions does it take to counterbalance the destructiveness of masses?
Speaking of destructiveness, if you don’t believe the human race has some overwhelmingly hateful and destructive relationship to our planet and fellow creatures, I invite you to read Derrick Jensen, whose meticulous deconstruction of human history reveals a consistent core of cruelty that will leave most readers breathless. Petroleum has increased this ability to destroy whole ecosystems and species, and in wrestling with our energy future humanity must also face our reckless greed and destructive ignorance.
The Age of Oil had a symbolic beginning in 1901 when the first Texas gusher blew. In 1854 America produced eight thousand barrels of oil a year. By 1902 it was up to 65 million barrels. In 2007 we used over twenty million barrels a day. In the 1920’s the use of petroleum in plastics and synthetic fibers and resins created a new society, initiating the Age of Petroleum Man.
The planet Uranus has approximately an 84 year cycle. Rumors of Peak Oil proliferated after 2001 and as Uranus neared the end of Pisces, the United States was at war in one Gulf and helplessly watching another suffer a volcanic oil spill. Two worlds confront each other. The world where alternative energy is demanded and necessary versus the world where oil remains the center of business and manufacturing. These two world views have divided so sharply believers in global warming consider non believers corrupt or ignorant, and non believers consider believers brainwashed at best, but more likely liars for profit.
Since non believers can’t deny the wars, pollution, and environmental damage caused by petroleum; and believers can’t deny that all aspects of our lives, from plastics to food distribution, depend on petroleum, we would seem to be at a standoff at the crossroads at the point of no return. What happens now depends on how quickly science and policy can advance new energy resources that will dominate cultural evolution for the next roughly 84 years. If we choose wisely there is still a chance for a smooth and pragmatic transition to permaculture and sustainability. If we cling to the past we risk the harsh experiences Uranus in Aries brought to our grandfathers.
The GOP in America and its equivalents in other nations are blocking this effort. Not long ago in the U.S. a Congressional bill to advance scientific and technological education, research and commercialization was defeated because the GOP used parliamentary procedure to include a provision that would make it possible for them to falsely accuse Democrats of voting for pornography. If such short sighted shenanigans prevail we could be in for a very difficult decade.
Lets look at the potential for another Great Depression, a timely question given the reduction of the credit of Greece to junk, churning rumors of the demise of the European Union. Even China, they say, has over heated and is due for a crash.
Uranus in Aries is not the only astrological resemblance between this year and 1929, especially when looking at transits to the U.S. chart, indicating the very real possibility of another depression (worse that what we’re in now). However there is a key difference. Pluto then was in Cancer, today it’s in the opposite sign of Capricorn. Cancerian influence tends toward the attitude of “as long as I’m okay let the world hang.” Protectionism at home and the school of hard knocks for everyone else ruled the day in 1929.
Capricorn is a much more practical sign with a wider view of the big picture and a willingness to take action based on facts. Capricorn is good at learning from the past. So there is a real possibility that the right moves will be made in time to prevent crisis from becoming disaster. We can however expect brinkmanship, like that of Germany during the euro crisis, holding the world financial system hostage while demanding that Greece implement cost cutting austerity measures: a very Capricorn situation.
From an astrological point of view the reason the world economy hasn’t already crashed in another great depression has to do with this Capricorn pragmatism, and while theorists on both sides of the aisle may disagree with the actions taken (and not taken) in the short term disaster has been at least postponed if not avoided.
Back to politics. Over 60% of Americans according to a recent poll find the word “progressive” positive, yet the media pays the most attention to the minority who demonize it. Where has the progresive movement gone? Why does it seem only the Tea Party has energy and momentum?
Uranus has been sojourning in Pisces until recently and Pisces is a difficult placement for Uranus. Uranus is an aggressive energy but Pisces dampens it, makes it soggy, flabby, elusive; it diffuses and misdirects. Pisces is also the end of a cycle. For all those who live for the Uranian future and freedom loving way of life there was a sense of an era ending, the death of the old ways, a nostalgic and exhausted disappointment with how the great effort of the last decades turned out. Reactionary forces seem to have risen up and overwhelmed the hopes of progressives.
Then Uranus experienced a rebirth, as it entered Aries, a sign that gives it furious energy, fiery resolve, an urge to demonize opposing points of view, and the power to fight entrenched interests with radical new perspectives and humanitarian dedication. A year later the Occupy Movement was born and progressive politics was reenergized. That is only the beginning.
It’s typical of Uranus in Pisces that people feel there is no hope for the future, that science will certainly let us down, that nothing can be done to forestall disaster. It’s typical of Uranus in Aries that the future arrives with the suddenness of a lightning bolt, and it’s likely that we will look back on these days as rather quaint once Uranus begins the new cycle and the 21st century is revealed to be quite different from the preceding millennium.
So rest up and look forward, tune your senses to the subtle signals of what is coming up next. Dare to dream. Expect renewed energy. Surrender the carping and pessimism of Uranus in Pisces so you can accomplish for your part in the new world dawning sooner than you think. Meditation is highly recommended as a way to align ourselves with the shift in consciousness. And next time you feel your bile rise listening to the misinformed reactionaries strutting their time across the stage rest assured that a resurgence of progressive consciousness and action will soon make their efforts seem like the tide pulling back before a tidal wave.