The kind of precise prediction that sciences aim for (and sometimes achieve) is going to be elusive for astrology, because one can never be sure of exactly what one is looking to find.
That said, symbols do suggest a field of meaningful possibilities, and it is reasonable to search for coherence between astrological and terrestrial events – assuming that they are riding on the same symbolic track. In other words, if the planet Saturn is symbolically associated with work and obstacles, we ought to find that days when Saturn is emphasized are better for putting the shoulder to the wheel than lying in a hammock. Astrology may resist quantitative statistical analysis, but it ought to work well with qualitative research methods.
That is the approach taken by Anne Whitaker in Jupiter Meets Uranus, a short, readable, and in-depth look at the meeting of two prominent planets in 1996. Jupiter and Uranus each move through the zodiac at their own pace, and they meet in the sky every 14 years, like the minute and hour hands of a clock. The Jupiter/Uranus cycle, as it is known, is astrologically associated with the (sometimes disruptive) quest for individual and social freedom, as well as with technological innovation. It is at the meeting (“conjunction” in astrological parlance) of the two planets at the beginning of each cycle that the greatest changes are usually observed.
Whitaker takes both collective and individual responses to the 1996 meeting of the two planets into account. In doing so, she creates a social context for the individual changes and challenges the participants in her study experienced. At the collective level, she notes the announcement that Dolly (the sheep) as the first cloned animal during the height of the Jupiter/Uranus meeting. Doing some detective work, she shows that there are significant astrological ties to the chart of Mary Shelley and also to the publication of Frankenstein. It makes one wonder.
Going further back in history, Whitaker follows the threads of other notable explorations and technological innovations. For example, she notes that explorer Ponce de Leon arrived in Florida near Cape Canaveral during the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction of 1513, the very site that the Apollo 11 rocket to the moon launched from during the 1969 meeting. These connections make for fascinating reading, and even skeptical readers will be impressed by the correlations and meaningful coincidences.
At the personal level, nine people whose personal birth charts were especially strongly affected by the Jupiter/Uranus meeting reported on the events in their lives, as well as their personal reactions to those events, over the course of the time the planets were near each other. What becomes apparent to the reader is that the majority of participants experienced a significant shake-up in many areas of life – such as career and personal relationships – while also feeling greater-than-usual internal stress. What we collectively experience in social and political changes is brought home to an individual level during the conjunction for people who have sensitive areas of their chart nearby.
Jupiter Meets Uranus is a great introduction to how astrology works at the individual and social level. Readers without any knowledge of astrology may want to skip past a paragraph or two here and there, but Whitaker’s style is engaging and her explanations are always clear. By taking a relatively small slice of the astrological pie and examining it in detail, she makes it possible for non-astrologers to understand how astrologers think – a valuable insight for anyone wanting to know more about this ancient discipline’s workings in the contemporary world.