We are living through a period of great uncertainty — to put it mildly. And for many of us, great anxiety. What with the looming food crisis, the energy crisis, the general cost of living crisis, the wars, the far right, the pandemic, the corruption and, most importantly of all, the climate crisis — I think we can forgive ourselves the occasional fit of the vapours.
So there are several things astrology can do for us here.
One, we can remind ourselves, that everything moves on, everything changes, everything evolves, as surely as the Moon waxes and wanes every month. Although come to think of it, what if they actually start mining on the Moon — horrid thought. As anyone who studies astrology know, the importance of looking at a bad transit, is seeing when it might begin to fade.
Two, we can see how this time rhymes with previous historical times.
Three, we can attempt to look into the future a few years, and see when all this might begin to ease off.
So what of the big shifts right now and where are we?
We can trace our current problems back and back. Should we go back to 2020 and the start of the pandemic? Should we go back to Brexit, the war in Syria and the Trump election in 2016? Should we go back to the credit crunch of 2008? Or did this all begin at 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Iraq? Or maybe the roots are in the libertarian politics of the 1980s? Or maybe it all began back in 1492…?
As you know, long-term astrology is all about cycles — and some cycles are long — 500 years or so — and some are short — the earth spins round the Sun in 24 hours.
I’d like though, to simply look at our current situation first, and see if there are some bigger shifts happening soon. So looking at the slow moving outer planets…
Eris is in Aries — and has been since 1922. She will leave in 2044. She takes 559 years to go through the entire Zodiac, so she is era defining. I think it’s quite straightforward to say that Eris in Aries defines the modern era (not the one historians talk about, but the one we understand with cars, planes and women in trousers.) She has a horrid reputation with astrologers, as the goddess of chaos. I prefer to see her as a disruptor — I like wearing trousers. Next year, she will be conjoined by Jupiter, so we may see a big expansion in things Eris.
Pluto, the planet of transformation, has been in Capricorn, the sign of the establishment, since 2008. When he came in, the banks collapsed. It was a dramatic example of live-action astrology. Pluto will be weaving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius next year, before finally settling into Aquarius in 2024 for more than a decade. This promises to be a momentous shift. Watch the internet and all things electronic with this one. Capricorn is, of course, the final earth sign, and it feels as if we are the last chance for the planet as Pluto reveals just how much destruction has been wrought since his last sojourn here back in the 1770s. Pluto is surely connected to capitalism, and we have seen a massive concentration fo wealth in few hands this decade, along with truly decadent levels of Elonmuskery. This has happened periodically in history — think of the Highland Clearances which took place last time Pluto was in Capricorn or the French court at Versailles, and remember what happen to Louis XVI when Pluto got into Aquarius. Aquarius likes equality, the common people and rules. Pluto will be entering this sign hard on the heels of Saturn, which has been establishing some very strict social distancing…
Neptune has been in Pisces since 2010 — and is due to leave in 2025. In Neptune’s last days in Aquarius in 2011, we saw the Arab Spring erupt across the Middle East. This was a repeat of the Year of Revolutions 1848, as I wrote at the time. And just like that time, these idealistic popular uprisings came to nought — for a while — but the ideas born at that time influenced generations. Of course, Neptune in Pisces, has witnessed a great flourishing of the visual — movies, streaming, smartphones etc. And of the imagination. And it’s also seen the rise of the influencer, the meme, and fake news. The lines between reality and imagination have been blurred. Last time Neptune was here in the 1850s, the Taiping Rebellion in China was raging, and the US was building up to its own civil war, which actually broke out when Neptune moved into Aries. Of course, the pre-Civil War debates in congress were under Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is, of course, in his own sign, so exceptionally powerful, dominating the zeitgeist. It’ll be interesting to see how Neptune’s final years in Pisces work out. I am expecting even more cultural blossoming, more music, more art, more magic, more spiritual awakening, more psychic connection, more lies, more confusion, and more epiphany. Of course, we have just had the conjunction of Jupiter with Neptune, which is a 13 year-cycle, so we may expect to see this Piscean river of song to continue for another decade.
Uranus is in Taurus until 2025. The Lord of Revolution as been there since 2018. The revolution in money has not ended yet. Currencies themselves are in a period of change as, like it or not, we all go electronic. This disruption of value also relates to values. It’s interesting to look at the art market, for example, as people experiment with NFTs, and the prices in the contemporary art market continue to confound. But Uranus in this most earthy sign may be doing something much more radical than fiddling around with the internet, the climate crisis has reached a tipping point under this transit. And we may still be able to implement radical technological solutions.
So we can see that Pluto, Neptune and Uranus will all be changing signs within the next few years. We are at the end of long transits from the first two, and these are in late signs of the Zodiac. No wonder there’s a bit of an end of times feeling. Uranus, on the other hand, is in an early sign, Taurus, at the beginning of things, shifting the earth herself.
We need to add in the important major cycles that have emerged in the last few years.
There’s the 33-year Pluto-Saturn cycle that began again in January 2020 with their conjunction in Capricorn. That conjunction included Ceres, the asteroid of grains (among other things), and we can see how a crisis around food supply is unfolding before our eyes. This may turn out to be a theme, not just of right now, but of the coming decades. How can we feed the world when there’s a climate crisis changing everything? Agricultural practices may have to be radically transformed over the coming decades.
This Saturn-Pluto period continues until 2053 when they will make a conjunction again, in Pisces that time. We are really just at the start of it — and it kicked off with a pandemic. The thing about this particular cycle is that it started with a really big stellium — South Node, Jupiter, Sun, Ceres, Pluto, Saturn and Mercury were all gathered in Capricorn to set the ball rolling. So although we are leaving this Pluto-in-Capricorn period soon, we will be in a decades long period which will be influenced by that conjunction.
André Barbault and the Cycle of Growth and Decay
I have been looking at the work of the French astrologer André Barbault — and doing a little extrapolating. Barbault plotted the conjunctions of the outer planets through history and was able to pinpoint major historical events. He saw these as periods of global growth or decay. The early 2000s, for example, were a high, according to his theory, — and indeed you can point to the mapping of the human genome, the expansion of the internet and many aspects of globalisation as expansive.
In 2011, he correctly predicted the outbreak of COVID in 2020.
Barbault based his system on his cyclic index, which he put into a graph that shows the outer planets getting closer and then moving away from each other. The bigger the dip in his graph, the more likely, he thought, a global crisis. There was a major trough in 2020, when so many outer planets conjoined, and out of which we are crawling. The trough was the deepest dip this century until 2080. That is how he predicted a pandemic, since it correlated with previous pandemics.
The good news is that we carry on crawling up and up out of that period of decay right up into the 30s. According to this chart, we may be feeling more optimistic by 2026., when we stagger back to 2016 levels of equilibrium, but instead of going down from there, we go up.
Another interesting observation that Barbault made was the correlation between the Saturn-Neptune cycle and the fortunes of the Soviet Union.
1917 conjunction – Russian Revolution
1952-53 conjunction – Death of Stalin
1989 conjunction (+ Saturn-Uranus conjunction of 1988) – Fall of the Berlin Wall
Vladimir Putin was born on that conjunction in the 1950s. Indeed, he is a Libra, so his Sun was right next to it. The next such conjunction is 20 February 2026 at 0° Aries. That looks like starting from scratch… And maybe not so good for Mr. Putin. Watch that space — as soon as Saturn moves into Pisces in 2023, you might expect to see ripples.
If there’s any hope of dealing with climate change, we need global co-operation, and according to Barbault this is more likely from the late 20s and very likely through the 2040s and 2050s. In fact, when Eris moves into Taurus, we will see the end of our “modernity”, and the beginning of something new. That happens right in the middle of this period in 2044. Let’s hope it’s a harbinger of a more harmonious relationship with Earth.
More growth comes, in Barbault’s plan, when the angles between the outer planets are widest. He considered periods of growth to be about unifying humanity. Interestingly, I think you could argue that the pandemic united humanity though — I mean we had a global experience. So it might be that both ends of the his index unite human experience. At the top end, we all got connected, and the bottom, we all got infected.
If you’d like to hear more about Barbault, there’s an interesting interview with him by Lynn Bell on YouTube.
So despite everything, we may be on the slow train out of here. Just don’t expect it to be speedy. Think in terms of years, looking towards 2026. We know that there are difficult times ahead still, not least in 2022. The point is that the underlying trend is positive rather than sinking lower — just keep afloat.