From Chapter 16 The Outer Planets and their Capers:
The Outer Planets:
In our civilisation we live a schizoid life, sectioning up our psyches, with two sides operating relatively independently, though regularly interfering or conflicting with each other. One side is the ‘front story’, the conscious, that programmed, socialised, educated side of us that toes the official line, well stocked with rationalisations, beliefs, obligations, habits, judgements and narratives that we tell ourselves are happening and real. It’s official, legal and approved, as long as you behave yourself.
Then there is another side, the ‘back story’, rooted in our deeper selves, that sees and senses things in another way, perceiving a very different slant on what is underneath and behind what we tell ourselves is happening. It feels moods, hunches, intuitions and knowings that are semiconscious, unconscious or at least privately held. It operates in the context of social subgroups and society as a whole, as well as for nature and time – all entities have thoughts and feelings, and collectively-held feelings can greatly influence personally-held ones.
Usually most people don’t intentionally access the back story, though it comes up at moments when normality is suspended, when we are feeling relaxed, ill, shocked, dying, overwhelmed by life or simply ‘feeling strange’. It comes up in the public domain when powerfully symbolic or impactful events hit us in the news, and sometimes a collective intuition can go against a publicly-held official truth. This side of us knows things our conscious, socialised, front-story side doesn’t.
The ‘official line’, the collective front story, is maintained largely by Jupiter and Saturn, which in this context are like a carrot and a stick keeping us in line. The outer planets have more to do with the back story, less controllable and a source of gifts and challenges that, in the end, push forward our evolution as souls, wearing down our resistances and at times taking over our lives. They cause involuntary changes in society and nature, raising important, deeper questions with a game-changing effect. They are acted out every day in the public domain in social dramas, news headlines, documentaries and real-life situations, enacting triumphs and traumas, humour, poignancy and inconvenient truths.
To live more in accord with nature and human need, we need to embrace the energy-impulses of the outer planets. This involves loosening our rather neurotic, controlling relationship with the known so that it responds better to the elasticising and reality-bearing input of the unknown. It means opening channels between the worlds of Jupiter-Saturn and Uranus-Neptune-Pluto, with Chiron as a linking agent. The challenge is to make this a wider social phenomenon, taking it beyond the personal into the social and cultural domain. This is a para-political, meta-cultural and pan-spiritual issue.
Fundamental social changes often arise spontaneously or emerge from the back-streets, though occasionally visionary activity at the top of society takes the lead. This is where the back story impinges on the front story through the symbolic power of events, or through people, movements or ideas who communicate or embody potent imagery or messages.
The outer planets move slowly, affecting historic-scale undercurrents lying within and beneath present-day events. A hot summer, a political shift, a disaster, economic fluctuations, social phenomena, wars and celebrations all have their accepted manifest characteristics – denoted mainly by Jupiter, Saturn and the inner planets – yet their deeper significance and impact is what the outer planets bring into the equation. They add extra dimensions of depth to normality, tinkering with the rules of the normality game itself.
Thus, with extreme weather events, Jupiter and Saturn might influence routine variations in weather such as storms or droughts lying within an accepted range of possibility, even if at times extreme. But Uranus, Neptune and Pluto inject wider implications, imagery and significance into such situations, or they turn down the screws to bend normality. They can turn a storm into a nightmare or an inspiration, a phenomenon carrying a message and impacting more profoundly. The outer planets make a deeper impact down in life’s cellars and foundations, affecting social values, collective experiences and systemic economic conditions. They contribute toward migrations, wars, technology disasters and other large scale phenomena, influencing collective conclusions drawn from events such as these.
If this subject interests you, refer to The Historical Ephemeris on this website.
In astrology it is said that a planet is discovered when human consciousness is ready to incorporate what it brings. Uranus was discovered in 1781, Neptune in 1846 and Pluto in 1930. Each of these times marked a turning-point: Uranus came just before the American and French Revolutions, as the early industrial revolution gathered momentum; Neptune came along at the time when urban-industrial culture was embedding itself, with new capital owners, bourgeoisies and working classes, and as the fruits of contact with other cultures through expanding European empires were having an increasing effect; Pluto came at the dawn of totalitarian dictatorships, mass-media and techno-globalism, at the lift-off period of the modern electronic age. Such discoveries do not cause events, yet they bring new factors and perceptions into the equation which hadn’t been seen before.
In the Historical Ephemeris, a 2,600 year timeline of historical events is laid alongside the movements of the outer planets. A few hours spent perusing this timeline will reveal that the outer planets indeed had a marked and visible influence on human affairs long before they were discovered, and without the astrologers of the time knowing it.
Jesus was born on an opposition of Uranus in Pisces to Pluto in Virgo. Rome fell to the Visigoths on a Neptune conjunct Pluto in Taurus, squaring Uranus in Aquarius, indicating that, to survive, it would have had to regenerate and rebirth itself, or it would die. It was indeed rebirthed in the founding of the Byzantine empire in Constantinople, as well as in the rise to dominance in Rome of the Pope and the Catholic Church, for the next thousand years – though these were offshoots from a failed civilisation rather than the transformation of an existing one.
In 1977, Chiron was discovered. Though a small planetoid, its orbital position between Saturn and Uranus gives it particular significance. Its symbol, a key, suggests a small item with a big effect, and around 1977-80 something shifted in real terms. Chiron is a link between two worlds – the known and the unknown, the inner and outer planets.
In recent decades a number of new planetoids have been discovered beyond Pluto, all except one of them (Eris) being smaller than Pluto and having longer orbital periods than that of Pluto. Faraway Sedna has a cycle of 10,500 years, though most cycles are measured in centuries. These planetoids act as minor qualifiers to our understanding of life and astrology and it will take time for astrologers to identify their specific contribution and natures, though starting stabs at this have been made.
The planets were always there. Once discovered, a new planet shows us something about reality that we have just become ready to see. Even if this knowledge is limited to astrologers, the identification of new sidereal and synodic cycles involving newly-discovered planets helps us understand the way that the cogs and gears of history work.
Evolution of Consciousness
Here we are in a large-scale realm of astrology: the study of history and its manner of progression. Acts of Parliament, the accessions of monarchs, battles fought or specific events that happened matter less here than overall trends and developments, except when such specific events symbolise something larger, or unless they act as definitive tipping-points.
This introduces a deeper aspect to the study of history – psycho-history. Giving focus to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto highlights the undercurrents and hidden psycho-emotional background to events. When we talk of events, we usually focus on the time when these impacted on the world or on majorities of people, but often they were brewing for some time before – inventors quietly beavering away in workshops, ideas being discussed, plans being hatched and circumstances falling into place – and it is this invisible or formative aspect that constitutes a key part of the historical process. Astrology highlights this.
Thus, while the Russian Revolution took place in 1917 (when no major outer-planet aspects were happening), the first and failed Russian Revolution of 1905 created the social preconditions for 1917. In 1905 a Uranus opposition Neptune was building up (1906-1910). Additionally, a major schism had taken place between reformists and revolutionaries in 1902 during a Uranus opposition Pluto and a major surge of political awareness occurred in Russia in a famine in 1892-3 during a Neptune conjunct Pluto – these were the ground-laying factors. So while the revolution took place in 1917, perhaps even running late, the groundwork and heavy lifting happened earlier during a series of earlier outer-planet aspects, brought forward by heroes and pioneers largely forgotten and unsung. The real action often takes place amongst quite small numbers of people, unbeknownst to others until it becomes news. A seed is a small, fragile thing compared to a tree, yet without that seed a tree wouldn’t exist.
Our present time, far from being historically boring, is a valuable time to live in, from the evolutionary viewpoint of the soul. Not least because we as individuals each consciously or unconsciously channel the energies of the outer planets ourselves, and there is now more than twice the population on Earth as in the 1960s, so there are far more souls partaking of this than before. We are creators of the future and we need to set a historical precedent by choosing our future more wisely, participating more actively in history-making and in the profound choices involved. Social intent and change-inducing contributions by individuals and movements, as appropriate to their situation, locality and people, are globally crucial issues today.
End of Extracts. NEXT: Supplementals