Last week I wrote about the Sibley chart that I and most other astrologers use for the United States as a preface for this series since this is the chart I am using to track the change of fortune for the US. The Sibley chart shows Sagittarius rising, with the Sun in Cancer in a wide conjunction to Jupiter in the seventh house of alliances and open enemies.
Since I mentioned writing this article, the US debt was downgraded for the first time in American history by the Standard & Poor rating index. (Let’s ignore for the time being the irony of the fact that it was errors in the methodology of S&P’s and other rating agencies that got us into this mess with the subprime mortgage debacle.)
I’ll save an exhaustive analysis of the Sibley chart for another post, but it’s important to note a few things before discussing the situation today. The Sagittarius ascendant in the US chart reflects the expansive tendency of the American empire which is probably the single thing that will be its undoing. Like other empires before it, the expansion of the national identity (Sagittarius ascendant) through ideas like “Manifest Destiny” which inspired pioneers to trek across the undeveloped terrain and do battle with the native peoples and Mexicans and Canadians who were already living on the land.
This relentless push for expansion tends to weaken the underpinnings of a nation, as we can see in the history of the Roman, the Russian and the British empires, the great empires of our age. During the period from 1995 to 2008, when Pluto transited through Sagittarius bringing globalized governments and corporations, it appeared to some that the expansion of American democracy to Iraq would help to bring greater wealth to the US and the idealized democracy to the Middle East.
Since Pluto entered the contracting sign of Capricorn, however, the cracks in the foundation have become more evident.
Pluto deals with issues of compulsion and use and misuse of power, and in the US chart Pluto lives in the second house of money. You can read more about that here, but the hunger for money and resources combined with the relentless urge to continually expand the national identity (Sagittarius rising) is not a good combination for a sound economic policy.
The Moon in the US chart is in the idealistic sign of Aquarius, the sign that seeks a radical Utopian vision of life, the “great experiment of liberty” that the founding fathers envisioned as they departed from a continent run by dynastic monarchies. Aquarius is an unemotional sign and very easily convinced that the ends justify the means. Dick Cheney has a strong Aquarian component to his chart and serves as a good example of this principle. Americans like to keep their ideals intact, preferring to believe that good Aquarian principles of justice and fairness are the guiding forces behind the actions of their government. But the facts on the ground suggest otherwise.
Other planetary forces are at work here as well. In 2006 the US progressed Mars turned retrograde for the first time in the nation’s history, but before the actual retrograde turn progressed Mars was stationary for several years in preparation. During that period (approximately 2003 t0 2006) the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan occurred following the September 11th attacks, and since then the Obama administration has conducted military exercises in Libya that continue to drive up the budget deficit.
The US Sun progressed into Aquarius in 1975 and the peace movement finally resulted in the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. During the Aquarian period (until 2004) there was a greater focus on technology and cultural transformation. In 2004 the US Sun progressed into Pisces, and you can read more about the travels of the US Sun here. Suffice it to say that Pisces is an influence that can elevate consciousness, or create confusion and delusion.
Meanwhile, over the past couple of years the primary players in the Cardinal Drama have transited the Midheaven of the US chart, beginning with Pluto in 2008. The Midheaven is the government and national reputation, and when the Great Transformer aspects the Midheaven in any personal or national chart, transformation is sure to occur. Usually there is a breakdown phase of one kind or another, and the transit of Pluto was followed by a transit of Saturn which is currently in effect, creating challenges and economic difficulties, and by Uranus which is currently serving to foment rebellion via the Tea Party and a general disruption of the stability of the government.
At the same time Pluto and Uranus are in challenging aspects to Venus and Jupiter, the more benefic planets in the chart. Transiting Pluto has been in direct opposition to Jupiter for the past six months, challenging the nation’s confidence and expansive potential.
And let’s not forget the US Saturn Return, which began last December and concludes this August. The Saturn Return occurs every 30 years, and while this is a major event in the life of a human it is not so uncommon in the life of a nation. Still – Saturn serves as a reality check and requires that we face our delusions wherever necessary.
The unsustainable idea that the United States can maintain a military presence all over the world with a multi-trillion dollar debt and a populace that is increasingly suffering from unemployment and homelessness is one that is ripe for Saturn’s reality check and Pluto’s deconstruction and regeneration process.
As with any astrological significator, these planetary cycles do not doom the United States to a decline, but they will certainly serve to point out areas where the nation is weak. The Uranus/Pluto square will be in an exact aspect to the Sun in the US chart in 2014, and that will be a defining moment for the nation. Whether there is a revolution (Uranus) and breakdown of the power dynamic (Pluto) at that time depends very much on what occurs now.