The first moment of a cycle is its most important moment.
This is the fundamental premise of natal astrology: what the sky is doing at the moment a baby takes its first breath encodes the child’s
If you are mystically-minded you’ve no doubt explored this principle. You’ll have noticed that whatever occurs to you at a cycle’s inception says something about the cycle to come. It might be a parking ticket you received on your first day as a house
This principle applies equally to the human collective. Certain global events that hit the headlines1 at the start of the year can be read as bellwethers for the year to come. They allow us to predict themes (which is different from predicting events).
Events are knots of cosmic tension that have become actualized. They are clusters of energy that have made the leap across the threshold of manifestation. They have jumped from the collective unconscious into mass consciousness. Those events that make the biggest stir are the ones that epitomize the themes humanity is working on right now.
By reviewing a few key events from the first few weeks of 2014, we get a snapshot of this radical, exciting moment in which we are alive.
For many of us, the year began in mourning for Chilean activist Nicolasa Quintreman. She was a leader of the Mapuche tribe who was found drowned in the reservoir she’d spent a decade trying to prevent from being built. Her death, probably at the hands of those building the hydroelectric dam she opposed, personified the most urgent – and urgently unifying — issue of our time.
The desecration of Earth by industry has become a primary focus of consciousness during the years encompassed by the most important transit of our era: the square between Uranus and Pluto (peaking 2012-15). The people of the world have been getting the message, by leaps and bounds, that ours is the epoch — this one, right here — that must bridge the gap between an old, life-destroying worldview and a new life-affirming one.
Except that the new one, ecology, is as old as time. This paradox was personified by Quintreman, who was 73 when she died, under the exact opposition of Mars and Uranus. As the year’s first environmental martyr, she announced to the world the quintessential issue of 2014.
The day after Quintreman’s body was found, muckraking journalist Tetyana Chornovil was brutally beaten in Ukraine. The violence that has racked the country since then illustrate a second theme of 2014, during which the Uranus-Pluto square becomes a grand cross: popular (Uranus) activism (Mars) and governmental power plays (Pluto), and how this unrest gets disseminated to the world at large (Jupiter).
A third theme is suggested, too, in the singling out of this particular Eastern European country. 2014 will bring to global attention that there is a a race for what’s left of the world’s resources in this age of climate change. As food shortages begin to dictate geopolitical strategies, Ukraine, as the third-largest grain exporter in the world, will be a hot spot.
Meanwhile, long-suffering Iraq, whose horrific spike in violence puts it once again in American headlines, is a locus of complexity for similar reasons. The tribal conflicts there may monopolize the official narrative, but in terms of geopolitics the region’s more essential meaning is the same as it’s been since W.W.I. The Fertile Crescent is the focus of the world powers’ contest to control the last of the world’s oil.
Enter the Dragon
China, whose natal chart is being skewered by this momentous transit, has been grabbing global headlines for a number of reasons. Despite its notorious censorship, stories have been emerging almost daily about anti-corruption riots, pollution crises, food poisonings and government scandals.
Underlying all the attention is China’s astounding economic prowess, which is making its rivals in the West scramble to come up with new strategies. The place is roiling with change that it seems barely able to control.
China is emerging as the poster child of industrialization turned toxic. In their frenzy to beat the capitalist West at its own game, the Asian behemoth is showing the world the crazy destructiveness of growth-at-any-cost.
Their much-publicized smog, their nonstop building and their razing of ancient shrines have had the unintended consequence of sharpening global awareness of the downsides of prioritizing economic growth at the expense of every other cultural value.
Bigger, Faster, Richer
Up until now, the winner of this dubious prize has been, of course, the USA, whose birth chart features Jupiter (growth) conjunct the Sun.
Since WWII, the blinding drive for more-more-more has been enshrined as America’s national religion. It is the premise behind the NSA’s data collection — following the model of Silicon Valley, which proposes that there be no limits imposed on how much data can be created, collected and passed around. It is the premise behind fast food and supersized portions, which have led to an epidemic of obesity that makes this generation of American children, astoundingly, the first to live a shorter life span than their parents.
But a backlash has arisen.
Astrologers knew that Jupiter (symbolic of expansion, increase, quantity) would be a major player in 2014. Configured with Uranus, Pluto and other planets when the year began, Jupiter has been moving back and forth over the USA chart. It is inspiring more and more Americans to notice the dark side of the planet of growth. The realization has gelled into a social crusade.
The Degrowth movement, already popular in Europe, is rearing its head in the USA, too. It is challenging a fundamental orthodoxy of the modern world: the concept of GDP, which is based on the assumption of infinite economic growth, which in turn is based on the delusion that unlimited resources and space exist on a limited, physical planet.
The implications of repudiating GDP are enormous. Once we start questioning growth-as-an-absolute-good in the financial realm, it will be questioned everywhere.
The tiny house movement comes to mind, and the burgeoning preference among ecologically minded folks for simple, uncluttered living spaces and minimal possessions.
In a related development, more and more of us in the busy, wired world are considering “digital detoxing” seeking refuge from the superficiality and soullessness of being online 24/7. Many are feeling the need to make time to reconnect with their bodies and spirits, and to relate to other beings face-to-face. Apps are now available that limit personal internet use, for cyber addicts who realize that they need help pulling away from their tiny screens.
In the USA the potential exists this year and next for a profound re-balancing between the drive to grow (Jupiter) and the drive to slow down and re-ground (Saturn).
Bats and Bears
While Americans along the Eastern seaboard shivered in record-breaking cold these first few weeks of 2014, in Australia overheated bats dropped from the trees. Not a day goes by without some new study coming out about carbon pollution, water shortages, deforestation or land too polluted to plant. To cap it off, we are told that the world’s population is expected to approach ten billion in the next few decades. For anyone not in denial or paralyzed by apathy, contemplating the prognosis for living things in the coming decades on Earth might well lead to despair.
Which is why we must turn our attention to Right Now. When we do, we see there’s something special about this particular moment on Earth. Like animals that smell a storm coming, we know the world is at a tipping point. On our watch, global consciousness is shifting. A critical consensus is forming.
The recognition is gaining traction in millions of minds that human activities put too much pressure on the environment to be sustainable. Utterly obvious but hugely radical, this idea has, of course, the power to change the world.
Human nature being what it is, though, the old thinking won’t go away all at once. Most people alive, whether haves or have-nots, have grown up believing in a certain definition of success: an idea that focuses solely on the material plane, involves exercising power over other humans, and presumes our right to exploit Nature.
The planetary patterns in the skies right now, when decoded, prepare us for the great dramas of this era. They tell the tale of changes so threatening to the status quo that many agencies will fight them tooth and nail.
In this regard we can expect news of the Degrowth Movement to continue to be ignored or disdained by the old-school thinkers. We will not be surprised that the fossil fuel industries to continue to fight the implementation of green technologies. We can expect government agencies to keep beating the drum for the old thinking.
Center of Our Charts
But we don’t have to buy into it. When we attune to our birthright, we ground ourselves in the new approach to life on Earth. We respond, in every instance, from the center of our charts, in whatever way the moment calls for it. We respectfully decline to play along with the conventional spin that is put upon events in the news. We take note when old assumptions are dictating the terms of the conversation.
Consider the way Greenpeace activist Joel Stewart answered the media’s questions after the Rainbow Warrior was busted recently. A reporter kept trying to get him to talk about how awful it was to be arrested. “The real risk isn’t getting arrested, it’s climate change,” he said. “No amount of military superiority or terrorism is going to get us out of this one.”
There is a dignity to the way he is pledging allegiance to the deeper issue. There is a sense of liberation in remaining true to our highest perception and common sense.