The Moral Universes of Liberals and Conservatives

I’ve written before in these pages about the intensification of the struggle between the more liberal mindset (signified by Uranus) and a more conservative approach (represented by Saturn) as Saturn and Uranus face off in the sky, beginning in 2008 and continuing throughout 2010.

Sign of the Times has an article about social psychologist Jon Haidt who has quantified the differing moral universes of Democrats and Republicans in an effort to foster greater understanding between the two.  Haidt identified five moral impulses:

– Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering.

– Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions.

– In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad.

– Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life.

– Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad.

Democrats, he found, feel strongly about the first two but cared little about the second three.  Republicans valued the third, fourth and fifth value above the first two.  According to Haidt,

“I see liberalism and conservatism as opposing principles that work well when in balance,” he says, noting that authority needs to be both upheld (as conservatives insist) and challenged (as liberals maintain). “It’s a basic design principle: You get better responsiveness if you have two systems pushing against each other. As individuals, we are very bad at finding the flaws in our own arguments. We all have a distorted perception of reality.”

Most of us have a combination of conservative and liberal traits in our charts.  We all have Uranus, we all have Saturn.  Some, like my generation, have those two planets in square formation.  My Saturn/Uranus cohort has famously veered back and forth in crazy radical swings between the desire to stay the same and the need for change.  Part of me wants to live in the Lassie TV show, where mom stayed home and everyone knew their neighbors.  (Saturn) Part of me wants complete freedom from rules and regulations and a constant barrage of technological advances (Uranus). It is often the individuals with this kind of conflict who are the most polarized, such as the example of Rush Limbaugh which I wrote about last summer.

The more we understand the way those we don’t agree with think, the better able we will be to communicate with them.  This is one of the advantages to the wisdom that astrology provides!

Venus and Mars square Pluto: The political connection

Dharmaruci at Astrotabletalk has a great article today. Mars is gearing up to square Pluto on the 27th, and a stressful aspect between those two can be quite intense.  Mars deals with the more personal issues of anger and boundaries, and Pluto, as the higher octave of Mars, addresses the larger scale issues of rage and nuclear war.

DR writes:

There is a particularly pokey aspect in the sky at the moment: Mars conjunct Venus, square to Pluto. Mars has just entered Aries, and Venus will do so tomorrow (Friday). Pluto is at 3 degrees Capricorn, so this square will be intensifying until Sunday.

No wonder Hillary Clinton has announced that the situation in nuclear-armed Pakistan represents a ‘mortal threat’ to world security, and also that the US is preparing to up the ante over Iran’s nuclear programme. In today’s New York Times we read: Pushing deeper into Pakistan, Taliban militants have established effective control of a strategically important district just 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, officials and residents said Wednesday. “They take over Buner, then they roll into Mardan and that’s the end of the game,” a senior law enforcement official in North-West Frontier Province said. …

Venus has in fact been stationing at 29 Pisces. What a place to station, the final degree of the zodiac! The end of an era. How fraught with significance are the outcomes we are now seeing! And the sign Venus is in, Pisces, is one in which she can be very powerful. But not in an aggressive way: we have to wait for Aries for that. You could say that Venus stationing at 29 Pisces means you are, in a sense, helpless: you have to yield. What can the USA do about the Pakistan insurgency? Not much. What can she do about the Iran nuclear programme? Not much, it seems, apart from threatening sanctions, which isn’t going to stop Iran….

Venus is also a planet of money, and Pluto a planet of riches and money as power. So we are now seeing the outcome of the first task of the Obama administration which was to pump loads of government money into the economy. As Venus has gone direct, so are there the first signs of stability in the economic crisis. Venus stationing at 29 Pisces is also saying, however, that yes you may have had some success in stabilising the economy, but all that could have been done has been done. You can only pump in so much money without building up ridiculous levels of government debt, and there is growing political resistance to further fiscal stimuli. You can’t do much more at this stage beyond waiting and seeing. The US Venus is at 3 Cancer, hard-aspected by the current Venus-Pluto cycle, which shows how economically defining the past few months have been. Obama’s Venus is at 2 Cancer, again hard-aspected by Venus-Pluto, which shows how defining in terms of personal popularity the last few months – his first real test – have been. Stage one of his Presidency – ‘the first 100 days’ – is coming to a close.

read more here… It’s an interesting read!

Chiron Neptune and the Swine Flu

When you combine the Wounded Healer (Chiron) with the planet that inspires devotion and illusion (Neptune), you often get mysterious illnesses among other things.  Chiron and Neptune  are sitting on Jay Leno’s ascendant and induced a mysterious illness yesterday, and now there is news of a mysterious new strain of the swine flu, a never-before seen mixture of swine, bird and human flu viruses.

A conspiracy theorist by nature, I am always a bit suspicious of new flu viruses since we all know that flu bugs are stored in labs all over the world, and then there’s the matter of the epidemic of dead microbiologists. But whenever we are dealing with Chiron, there’s a sense that unresolved psychic debris is coming to the surface in physical form where it disturbs the natural balance of the body’s ecology, and that is true for a society as well.

There’s also news of a mysterious respiratory illness that has surfaced in Mexico but appears to be affecting mostly Canadians, and a mystery illness has swept a high school in Westchester County New York.

Whenever Chiron is activated it’s a good time to try to bring the body, mind and spirit into balance.  That is as true on a cultural level as it is for the individual!

Why we need to get out more

Photo from Tony Howell.

From an article on

In our increasingly urbanized world, it turns out that a little green can go a long way toward improving our health, not just that of the planet.

That could mean something as simple as a walk in the park or just a tree viewed through a window. It’s not necessarily the exercise that is the key. It’s the refreshing contact with nature and its uncomplicated demands on us.

Here is how it works: Modern life — commuting, computing, paying taxes — can place a burden on our brains and bodies. In recent years, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Landscape and Human Health Laboratory and elsewhere have compiled evidence that suggests that a connection to nature is vital to our psychological and physical health because it helps recharge our brains so that we’re better able to cope with the stresses in life.

I live on five acres of land in a semi-rural area, but I still get most of my exercise at the gym or in my house, rather than spending time outdoors working with the land.  Now the Wii gives you the opportunity to play all of your outdoor sports at home, using computerized equipment.  I’ve been writing that technology is changing the human brain, and I would think that the less we interact with the natural world the more we facilitate that alteration.

In a 2001 study detailed in the journal Environment and Behavior, Kuo and her colleagues surveyed parents of children aged 7 to 12 who had been diagnosed with an Attention Deficit Disorder. They asked the parents to rate activities that seemed to alleviate their child’s symptoms and which seemed to aggravate them.

They found the children functioned better after a “green” activity (i.e. one that likely took place in a natural setting, such as fishing or soccer) than a “non-green” one (such as watching TV or playing video games).

Kuo and her colleagues think the improvement stems from nature’s ability to capture our attention involuntarily, giving the hard-working, overtaxed part of our brain used to voluntarily focus our attention on more demanding tasks a break, essentially allowing it to recharge

Maybe I’ll go out and take a long walk today and make my dog AND my brain very happy. :)