A series of shock waves heard around the world. Natural disasters and plates moving, peaceful protests against police brutality and simultaneous city riots, a transgender athlete coming out of the closet, and same sex marriage arguments before the supreme court. Though we can always make the case that the media creates or distorts these epics, or we can say that we simply see what we want to see, it doesn’t change the fact that the collective “focus” moves toward what it is moved by. There is an opportunity for deeper reflection in moments like these, but we have to be careful not to get sucked into the same old scripts too quickly.
As we’re just coming off a powerful eclipse cycle (one whose full moon engaged the Pluto/Uranus square), we’re now experiencing some of the after shocks of that cycle. For example, Freddy Gray’s arrest happened under the orb of the last quarter moon of the recent eclipse season (a highly potent symbol of final lessons or the harvesting of a cycle), right after the final meeting of the Pluto/Uranus square (another image of final lessons or the harvesting of a cycle). Freddy’s death occurred under the orb of the subsequent new moon, a week after his arrest. Now as the full moon approaches, we’re seeing significant peaceful protests around his death in Baltimore, as well as rioting, vandalizing, and violence.
While it’s easy to want to blame or quickly label one group versus another (rioters, versus peaceful protesters, versus ‘thugs,’ versus uprisers, versus kids) we should recognize that these exact discourse dilemmas are part of the nature of the Pluto/Uranus square and why its so different from the Pluto/Uranus conjunction of the 1960’s. When two planetary energies combine in a conjunction, they tend to act as one cohesive energetic/archetypal front. This doesn’t mean that the 1960’s were completely free from some of the same contradictions we’re trying to work through now (which we’ll look at shortly), but it does mean that their general expression “looked and felt” more united in purpose.
With the Pluto/Uranus “square” era we’re now dealing with the continuation of many of the same themes from the 60’s: social transformation, rebellion, powerful surges of pent up energy from the collective, etc. The difference is that the planetary archetypes are more at odds with each other than they were in the 1960’s (generally speaking). Some examples of how the discourse has shaped around the square:
* Occupy wall street is seen as revolutionary but not necessarily deep or transformative, or vice versa…there are mixed feelings and responses as to whether or not the movement was effective, mature, well organized, focused, etc, while others experienced it as profoundly transformative.
* A black president is elected but an ongoing conversation swirls around his presidency as to whether or not he’s just “more of the same politics” or if his election actually achieved anything authentically revolutionary.
These are just two very obvious examples of major collective events that have embodied the tension of the square (I’m not taking sides on any of the above issues). When we apply the same understanding to the events unfolding in Baltimore we see the same tension. Peaceful protests and then rioters and vandalizers. Or wait…is it a natural uprising that goes beyond the simple categories of good and bad, black and white? As someone pointed out yesterday on a previous post I made, Doctor King himself said in 1968 (as the last Pluto/Uranus era was similarly climaxing), “These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”
For example, we praise a black mother for getting her son off the street in the midst of the riots, but forget that uprisings are a natural part of how the youth revolutionize broken systems. This leads us to question to what degree that mother’s handling of her son was based upon the same broken value system (shut up, work hard, and hope the broken white-favoring system does you right when it most likely won’t). At the same time, can we blame any of the peaceful protesters for being angry that their marches are being compromised by violence? But then can we really draw such tidy lines when it’s all simply happening? If we zoom out isn’t it fair to say that something flat out human, in all the range of our humanness, is simply expressing itself, collectively saying in different voices, “enough is enough.”
Yet we have governors and mayors and preachers and teachers (black and white alike) framing it as though, “some of this is good and some of it is bad.” Which is an unfortunately limited way of perceiving these events, and yet….and yet…isn’t some of this good and some of it bad? Can we really condone violence like this? Again the dilemma of the square and its unwillingness to compromise.
Layers upon layers of history are colliding in events like these, and the difficulty we have in sorting through it is happening specifically because we can’t think so simply anymore. The categories of “black and white” are so much more and also so much less than what their names imply. With conflicts like these, with so many delicate complications, we are slowly but surely revolutionizing our consciousness beyond or deeper into the most obtuse and simple forms of categorical conflict: gender, race, sex, religion, age, class, etc. It will be interesting to see what happens during the Pluto/Uranus opposition in 35+ years from now when these planetary energies reach a peak opportunity for conflict and synthesis.
In the meantime, it’s important that we recognize how easy it is to get caught up in one or another layer of the many sensitive scripts floating around right now. Revolution is not the same as reaction, and yet reaction is part of revolution. So what can we do but participate in the contradictions of the times we live in?
Prayer: There isn’t just one problem and there isn’t just one solution…help us to respect the complications of these powerful events and do the best we can to live into the paradox of the times.