The Twenty-First Century - Historical Ephemeris

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600 BCE - CE 2200

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The Twenty-First Century


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The Twenty-First Century
An astrological article on the future

And now we have the 2020s.

The 2010s were a decade of badness, disappointments, dishonesties, beheadings, militias, authoritarians, insidious data encroachments… and a relentless economism, coupled with escalating complexity and social splintering. Not an easy decade – underneath, disheartening, bottled-up.

This psychosocial megatrend began around 1990 when a ray of hope arose in humanity that change could happen (USSR and South Africa), then to be dashed by ugly events in Iraq, Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s. Thus arose a rather jaded collective feeling that business as usual is so deeply embedded that change cannot happen. With this came a slow buildup of social dissatisfaction and underlying fermentation, with sectors of humanity embodying it in uprisings, movements for change, articulating key issues on the media-spotlit stage of global life.

Underlying this is a longterm trend, seeded in the 1960s and going critical in the 2020s: questions of society, people and human values. Business, law, government, economics, militarism and unremitting normality have dominated the agenda since particularly the 1980s, yet a deep exhaustion with this was revealed during the 2020 Covid crisis, bringing an omen of times to come. Pushed by environmental-climatic issues, such concerns reflect collective fear and a surreptitious shift of ideas and priorities, without which environmental issues cannot sufficiently be addressed.

The 2020s. Here we see a social turning-point brought on by weaknesses in the economic system, and by environmental and social pressures. It will be a decade of people, crowds and society, where human principles rise and profitability considerations decline as primary determinants of events (Pluto moves into Aquarius for 16 years in 2024). The big issue will be people and social control, migration, social movements, progressives versus resisters and a battle of ideas. The broad consequences of inequality, globally and domestically, will be critical. Behind this a new mindset will grow that is idealistic and pragmatic, local and global, driven particularly by younger people – in much of the world the majority generation. Ideas that once were left-wing become pragmatic.

The 2020s will see waves of crisis emerging, of which Covid and its wider cascading effects was the first. By 2025-29 this is likely to reach what seem at the time like avalanche proportions, forcing increasing unpremeditated systems change. Astrologically, it’s a triangle, Uranus sextile Neptune sextile Pluto, from Gemini to Aries to Aquarius, all about ideas, communication, innovation, principles, multiplicity, pluralism, throngs of people – and the data and surveillance powers of digital corporations, governments and background operators. It will be a challenging, struggly and also exciting time, with a full panoply of global issues coming at us – feeling at times like an overload. A time of creativity, change, emergence and acceleration. Busy, noisy, a happening time. Astrologically, the time of Elizabeth I and Akbar the Great provide an historic precedent, another being the decade leading up to the American and French revolutions.

How this plays out depends on the world’s responses – resisting or adapting to change. Both will be the case, but which of these predominates will be a critical issue. Amidst this, a florescence of ideas, solutions, innovations and discoveries is likely. The Millennial generation will be taking power – a big issue in the developing world, which will increasingly determine the world agenda. China will be counterbalanced by alliances of mid-sized powers and continental blocs (Africa, Latin America, SE Asia, Middle East, India, etc) and a geopolitically confusing period is likely.

There is a risk for conflict and other hazards (‘mad dictators’, tech breakdowns, social chaos, mass migration, economic pressures, climatic events, environmental criticals), but there is an equal risk of positive breakthroughs (enlightened leaders or social movements, social breakthroughs, new ideas, reorientation of resources, etc) – and we could see both. It’s an eruption of a new landscape, a new realism. The momentum of change will accelerate, though this will likely lead to several decades of insecurity, complexity, shifting socio-economic patterns, disruption and systems problems, with positive changes emerging rapidly too, crisis-pushed.

2030s. Following this acceleration, things won’t slow down – a new intensity level has started. The 2030s are likely to be acute, an edgy situation with no sense of ease or let-up, and we will not know whether corrective and adaptive measures taken in previous decades and during this time will actually work until more time has passed. This could lead to an underlying global angst, insecurity and reactivity. Yet potentially there can be a great healing, decontamination and reconstruction too, amidst the relative chaos. There is a risk of significant systems breakdown but this might not happen – depending on decisions and actions at the time, particularly on global cooperation. We’ll have to work hard through the 2030s-40s – by previous standards, the world will be treading a knife-edge, with outbreaks of both insanity and sanity, illusions and inspired genius. And still, crowds.

One big issue awaiting attention is power: social power, the power of institutions and organisations – and who decides? This question will hit crunch point around 2039-41 (Neptune square Pluto, Taurus to Aquarius). There’s a risk of war, complexity or chaos in the mid-to-late 2030s as old interests seek to reclaim the agenda and uprising social groups boil over. There’s also a possibility of political change, led by the developing world and forced by the need to face emergent crises. Things could turn positive or negative – probably both, in different areas and contexts.

2048. Back in 1965-66 a Uranus-Pluto conjunction represented a dawn of a new mindset and reality. By 2010-12 it hit a crisis and crunch point, and by 2027 it will reach a florescence. Then it heads toward a mega-crunchpoint in 2048, the Uranus-Pluto opposition (the peak of a cycle starting in 1965). The years around 2048 could be Earth’s watershed: wherever situation we have by then will become the reality we must live with, like it or not. The past will be disappearing. There will be ample facts to face. If there is systems breakdown, it can be here. But there is also the chance of breakthrough – a fundamental, global-scale emergency and psychosocial shift that focuses minds, with survival-driven priorities prompting a new consensus and a mass mobilisation. This is a game-changing point, the likely crunchpoint of the century.

2050s. After that, we’ll know the extent of what happened and we will begin to deal with the outcomes. The landscape will be changed, for better and for worse – hard facts, yet this could be as much a relief as a problem. In the 2050s we will see a decade of aftermath, picking up pieces, reviving from what happened – rather like the late-1940s and early 1950s.

But by the 2060s (2061-65) something else is starting. Whatever reality has been established by then, something new will emerge over the decades that follow, more to do with creating the future than dealing with the past. Loss and damage over preceding decades leads to a ‘make do with what we have’ approach, bringing new possibilities. Humanity enters a new landscape by late century.

The highest hope is that humanity has become more of a cooperating planetary race, and the deepest fear is that we are decimated, struggling and living without many of the advantages of modern civilisation. For some, particularly the poor, this will be ‘situation normal’ while for others it could be catastrophic, depending on the psychosocial resilience of different people, places and sectors of society. As always, the best and the worst can show itself, and the burden will fall more heavily on some than on others.

Underneath all this we are participating in a slow, 500-year Neptune-Pluto cycle that started in 1890, crunches in 2061-64, climaxes in 2140 and completes in the 2370s – on a very different Earth. Bigger, wider, longer-term threads of human evolution are unfolding underneath our time, connected with this cycle – the eventual planetarisation of humanity. Part of these longterm megatrends, we experience their tectonic rumblings while being hardly aware of their overall, eventual significance.

The Historical Ephemeris ends here

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