Pluto in Virgo: The Slacker generation and the new fiscal conservatism

slackersGenerations 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)

A new sunspot cycle?

The current Solar Minimum cycle has had 619 days of a spot-free Sun (as compared with the typical solar minimum of 485 days).  But Spaceweather reports today that a new active region on the Sun produced a Coronal Mass Ejection and a burst of radio emissions on the far side of the Sun that probably points to a new sunspot.

Increased solar activity affects satellite transmissions on Earth, and it seems to me that it likely affects the human electrical fields as well.  The next sunspot cycle is expected to peak in 2012, leading some scientists to issue dire warnings about the collapse of the electrical grid.

Spaceweather suggests that the CME will be visible from earth over the next couple of days and more information will be available then.

What is Mercury Retrograde good for?

When we say a planet is retrograde we mean that it appears to move backwards from our perspective on earth.  Astrology is not astronomically correct because we are observing the planets from earth rather than objectively from space.  When a planet is traveling retrograde, its effect can be more intensely personal and there is a sense of looking back into the past to go back over events that have already taken place.

Mercury rules the processing of information and the mental function, and it also presides over small machinery, short trips, and messages.  While Mercury is retrograde, we can expect glitches in all of these areas as our attention is drawn back into any area that needs to be revisited and given a second look.  Often we find breakdowns in our email and communication systems, which can usually be traced back to human error.  Contracts signed and agreements made during Mercury Rx periods often need to be renegotiated and plans made often need to be altered.

Because our attention is turned inward and backward during these periods (Mercury will be retrograde until May 30), they are excellent times for anything that needs a do-over.  Anything that begins with the prefix “re-” (from the Latin “back” or “again”) is suitable during the Mercury retrograde period:  Rewriting a manuscript, renovating your home, returning to a place you have been before to learn something new, retreat into contemplation and meditation.  Try to avoid buying a new phone system or a new computer until Mercury turns direct, and don’t make any major changes to your software systems.

If you do need to begin a new project, hire a new employee, or sign a contract during this time, try to be as clear as possible and have all agreements in writing, but expect that there will be some renegotiation required.  Mercury retrograde does not by any means ALWAYS bring problems, but being aware of the potential for difficulty and the reason behind it goes a long way towards easing any problems that do arise.

Musings on the recent Venus Retrograde

The Venus retrograde period (March 5 to April 17) was greeted with great trepidation by some astrologers and the readers who follow them. Venus is generally known as a beneficial planet, but when retrograde she can challenge our relationships and force us to look below the surface at what motivates us in our interactions with others.

There was a large number of mass murders (eight?) during the Venus Rx period, and most of those were connected to disappointment and resentment of family members and spouses.  Fortunately, it’s a very small number of people who experienced the self-examination of the Venus Rx period in this manner, but many people wrote to me of their experiences dealing with friends and loved ones.

I was not exempt from this process, and much of my Venus Rx experience was facilitated by Facebook which I joined after much resistance (I already spend way too much time online!!).  But through Facebook I found a couple of old friends who I had just lost touch with because we never found each other and as it happened, both of them made visits to where I live during the Venus Rx period so we were able to reconnect.

There were some challenging moments, such as the time I asked one friend why she had broken up with me 15 years ago (we had since made up, but never addressed the cause of the breakup).  I wasn’t very happy with the answer (Chiron was also squaring my Venus at the time) and it caused me some distress as I vacillated between anger (how could she misread me so badly?) and shame (how could I have hurt her feelings so carelessly?).  But in the end a resolution occurred that has already improved our connection.

I found another old friend on the Facebook page of a good friend of mine.  I have known this friend for a shocking length of time (let’s just say that it’s longer than many of my readers have been on the planet) and we have had some serious ups and downs. It seemed we would never be able to reconcile the differences in our personalities.   As it happens, she moved back to Chapel Hill during the Venus Rx period and we have reconnected with a new wisdom in how to dig beneath the crap to find the jewel of the love that lies beneath.

We would like to think relationships are meant to be easy, but the relationships with people that are truly our soulmates are designed to aid us in our personal growth.  Sometimes this is fabulous and thrilling, and sometimes it’s painful and exposes parts of our selves we would just as soon ignore. This, to me, is what the Venus retrograde period is all about.

Interesting timing of bank stress test results

Evidently the Federal Reserve will disclose the results of the “stress test” on May 7, the day that Mercury turns retrograde.

While bank executives are still muddling through stress-test results, their communication managers are wrestling with the question about how and what to tell the public.
The big day for the unveiling of the results is Thursday, May 7.
Interviews with heads of corporate-communication and public-relations departments at a number of the 19 stress-tested banks revealed an intense struggle to come up with a plan to reassure investors, counterparties and customers. Communications from the banks may be critical even for those whose bill of health is reasonably clean.  Those deemed short of capital face a daunting task to keep their heads above water, PR executives and lawyers said.
Banks are under a gag order from regulators not to disclose anything about the stress test, but the Federal Reserve, which conducts the test, has made clear that it will disclose certain details about the capital position and capital needs of individual banks.

This is a good example of what Mercury Retrograde periods are good for: looking backwards to see what can be done to improve a given situation.  This particular exercise is likely to lead to a certain amount of financial instability, but at least it will be known which banks are in trouble which will help lead to a solution to the bank problems.

Any retrograde turn of a planet can cause reversals in the financial markets  which have been doing pretty well lately (the Dow rose 7% in April).