America's Emerging Plutocracy
Consider, for example, that the last time Uranus and Pluto were making a major aspect was the conjunction in the mid-1960s. At the time, civil rights demonstrations were just getting underway, as were protests against the Vietnam War. New ways of looking at the world became movements, and included the rise of feminism and environmentalism. The first computers available to the public were introduced, and astrology and Eastern wisdom saw surges in popularity. Marijuana was being widely distributed throughout the counter-culture, and only now is achieving legal acceptance.
The previous two Uranus-Pluto aspects coincided with major shifts away from the supremacy of the wealthy elite. The Uranus-Pluto opposition of 1903 marked the end of the so-called Gilded Age, as Teddy Roosevelt moved to break up monopolies. He became known as the “trust-buster, and his leadership marked the beginning of the Progressive Era. Similarly, during the Uranus-Pluto square of the 1930s, FDR launched the New Deal and embarked upon the greatest social engineering project in the nation’s history to move beyond the Great Depression.
LBJ’s Great Society and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 resonated with the previous government sponsored changes empowered by hard Uranus-Pluto aspects. And what of the current government? President Obama has brought the Affordable Care Act, but otherwise, the natural restraint against rule by the wealthiest citizens remains unchecked. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has struck down the limit on the total amount of money wealthy donors can contribute to candidates. Billionaires like the Koch brothers and George Soros set the political agenda by spreading their massive contributions across the nation.
Elsewhere around the world, we have seen destructive upheavals, the empowerment of revolutionary movements, and the struggle for freedom against oppressive rulers. These are all normal events during a Uranus-Pluto aspect, but in the United States we have seen the opposite: the consolidation of power in the hands of the top 1%, or even the top 0.1%. The nominal challenges to this development by the Occupy Wall Street movement were ineffective, and on the far right, the Tea Party has likewise been ineffective in reigning in the elites.
The question, then, is why has radical political reform like that which took place in the early 1900s, the mid-1930s and the mid-1960s not taken place during the current Uranus-Pluto cycle? The situation seems to be unique to the United States. As Forbes magazine put it: “In modern times, America lags behind nearly every other first world nation in closing the gap between the classes. In fact, we’re making it worse.”
An example of how the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle class are just getting by can be seen in the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio. In 1965 the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1. By 1978 the ratio had grown to 30-to-1, and by 1995 it was 122-to-1. In 2013, it was 510-to-1. Meanwhile, the minimum wage, when taking inflation into account, reached a peak of $10.86 in 1968 (using 2014 dollars). The current minimum wage is $7.25.
The statistics on the rising age of first time home buyers, the painful burden of student loans, the disparity in tax rates between the middle class and the top 1% all point to one inevitable conclusion: the United States is becoming a plutocracy. Other ways of saying this are we live in a corporatocracy, we are governed by oligarchs, or those with money have a louder voice than those who don’t. As Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis famously said during the Great Depression, “We must make our choice. We may have a democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
For political astrologers, the obvious answer to the question of why the United States is turning into an oligarchy during the radical Uranus-Pluto square can be found in the U.S. national horoscope. Of course the debate remains unresolved about which U.S. chart is correct, but if one uses the Scorpio Rising horoscope, then it becomes clear why the plutocracy is emerging at this time.
The Emerging Plutocracy
When Scorpio is the U.S.’s Rising sign, Pluto becomes the nation’s ruling planet. Pluto is associated with plutocracy, while the nation’s Aquarius Moon has a natural tendency to favor democracy and its guiding principles. The other placements in air signs likewise support the free flow of movement and information (Mars and Uranus in Gemini), and the balance of power (Saturn in Libra).
The key to understanding why the U.S. is in a protracted phase of concentrated power in the hands of a few comes from using secondary progressions. Transiting Pluto is, of course, also a factor, since it’s the chart ruler. The nation’s most significant events, developments and trends take place when the angles of the chart (the Midheaven and Ascendant) are activated by outer planet transits or secondary progressions, or the progressed angles contact natal planets.
To re-phrase this, astrologers generally use the outer planet transits to the national horoscope to interpret and predict events. This is why there’s so much discussion of the transiting Uranus-Pluto square, especially since its aligning with the U.S. Sun. But for some inexplicable reason, very few astrologers discuss the nation’s progressed chart. It may be because the general public doesn’t understand progressions, or the astrologer doesn’t understand progressions.
Or it may be because they’re difficult to calculate. But we have excellent astrology calculation software widely available to crunch the numbers, so that’s no longer a good excuse. And the best astrology books available on making predictions all tout the value of using secondary progressions. Simply put, one day after the birth is symbolically equivalent to one year after birth. The U.S. is now in its 238th year, so wherever the planets were 238 days after the Declaration of Independence was signed describes the present day developments. The smaller cycle is a fractal of the larger cycle: the shape of events has similar patterns.
Progressing the angles is only reliable if the natal chart is accurate. Currently, the progressed U.S. Ascendant is at 27º Cancer, exactly opposite natal Pluto. In this way, the evolving national identity (i.e., the progressed Ascendant) is aligning with Pluto, the symbol of concentrated power. Simultaneously, transiting Pluto is opposing the U.S. Sun, doubling Pluto’s influence in today’s America.
Progressing the angles can be accurate determinants of historical events. One example was when President William McKinley was shot and fatally wounded on September 6, 1901. At the time, the progressed Midheaven (the nation’s destiny or fate) was at 18º Sagittarius. While this does not align with any natal planets, transiting Pluto was at 18º Gemini, exactly opposed to the progressed Midheaven. Teddy Roosevelt became president, and over the next few years, as the transiting Uranus-Pluto opposition kicked in, he introduced measures to restrain the Gilded Age plutocrats.
Another example is the infamous 9/11 incident. At this time the progressed Ascendant was at 18º Cancer and forming a square to progressed Mars at 18º Libra. Mars can be said to be the co-ruler of the Scorpio Rising chart, and by secondary progression, it had recently entered the 12th house of terrorist activity. When the progressed Ascendant squared this placement, the nation’s symbols of wealth and power were attacked -- the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. These progressions were activated, or triggered, by faster moving transits: the Sun and Venus were each at 18º of their respective signs.
As these examples show, progressions and transits interact. When you see a pile up of progressions and transits in the same degree, you can expect major events. In 2015 we are in such a phase. Progressed Mars is still at 18º Libra since it’s just turned retrograde. This becomes a key degree in the action since transiting Uranus will be at 18º Aries in mid-May and most of October, 2015. Uranus returns to this degree in late February, early March 2016.
Of course the trend has been building up over the last few decades, especially since the federal government rescued the banks “too big to fail” in late 2008 when the entire economic system nearly collapsed. The Federal Reserve has been feeding the elite with their “stimulus plan” of injecting cash into the system. Last year (2014) saw an unprecedented number of mergers and buyouts as the largest, most aggressive corporate sharks consumed their rivals in the open market place.
Many astrologers saw this coming, but expected some kind of social justice to arrive when transiting Uranus and Pluto squared each other. After all, it’s been the historical cycle, and it’s what is happening elsewhere in our global village. But Pluto is clearly dominating this time in the United States due to this epic progressed Ascendant opposite the nation’s ruling planet.
Over the coming year, transiting Uranus and Pluto will continue with their hard aspects to the U.S. Sun. Uranus makes its final square on January 29, 2015 so its contribution is nearly complete. On the other hand, transiting Pluto continues to oppose the U.S. Sun throughout 2015, with two exact hits (on August 24 and October 25), but within one degree virtually all year.
Uranus has had its effect, but under the auspices of the dominant Pluto factor. We can see this in the technology sector, which is governed by Uranus. A handful of the largest tech giants have totally dominated American business. Their names are familiar to everyone: Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. They buy the smaller companies, or the smaller companies disappear.
But now, one has to wonder if we are experiencing the decline of the American Empire. All great empires eventually become second-rate nation-states. There have been no exceptions.
On a more metaphysical level, we are witnessing the corruption of the American system of governance, as the plutocrats undermine the balance of power. When the Supreme Court, the executive branch, and Congress all owe their political survival to campaign contributions from America’s wealthiest citizens, what is there left of democracy?
The progressed Ascendant opposite Pluto was actually exact in 2014, but its influence carries on two extra years since progressed Pluto is also a factor. Progressed Pluto is at 29º Capricorn. As the solar system’s slowest moving planet, it had advanced only two degrees during the 238 days after the Declaration was signed.
The progressed Ascendant opposes progressed Pluto in 2016, during the next presidential election cycle. With no limits on campaign contributions, we can expect that the plutocrats will be directing the nation’s future as never before, no matter which candidate actually wins. In McCutcheon vs FEC, the Supreme Court removed the caps on campaign spending in their 5-4 ruling of April 2, 2014. At the time, transiting Uranus and Pluto were nearly exactly square, and both within one degree of aligning with the U.S. Sun at 13º Cancer. Also at this time, the progressed Ascendant was precisely opposite natal Pluto with an orb of only 0º04’. So this was one of the defining moments in the empowerment of America’s wealthiest citizens. The material on this page is excerpted from "The U.S. Forecast for 2015" by Michael O'Reilly, an article published in Dell Horoscope's 2015 Yearbook. For more information, visit www.DellHoroscope.com
Since the last of seven squares between Uranus and Pluto takes place on March 16, 2015, many astrologers are saying that the worst is nearly behind us. However, looking at the historical precedents, we can take the longer view that changes that have developed under this Uranus-Pluto square are actually the beginnings of long-term trends.
Pluto’s location in the third house describes where power is accumulating, which is primarily in the telecommunications business. In previous generations, America’s elite also derived their fortunes from this sector associated with travel and communication. Originally, the builders of the canals made the earliest fortunes. Then came the railroad barons, followed by the makers of radios, televisions and automobiles. The pioneers who invented and built the transportation and communication networks were the original plutocrats. Then through their investments (the U.S. has four planets in the 8th house of capitalism and inheritance), they created and controlled additional wealth, and passed it on to their offspring.
Regarding progressed angles and natal Pluto, it’s noteworthy that the U.S. became the leading superpower after World War II. It began mobilizing for war in 1940, and most specifically with the Lend Lease Act of March 11, 1941, which loaned war materiel to China, England, France, and the USSR. At the time, the U.S. progressed Midheaven conjoined progressed Venus with both being conjunct natal Pluto, a rare triple conjunction. Since then, the world has been living under what some call the Pax Americana.