Giant Leap


Alignment #1: December 26, 2016 at 6:35pm UT

Jupiter and Uranus opposed at 20°34' Libra/Aries

Alignment #2: March 3, 2017 at 1:15am UT

Jupiter and Uranus opposed at 22°11' Libra/Aries

Alignment #3: September 28, 2017 at 4:25am UT

Jupiter and Uranus opposed at 27°22' Libra/Aries

picWhat does the Apollo Moon Landing have in common with the People's Park riots in Berkeley? or the Stonewall Uprising in New York? Woodstock? The Velvet Revolution in Prague, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela's release from prison, the end of the American Civil War, the storming of the Bastille, the American Revolution, Max Planck's introduction of Quantum Physics, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and further back, Kepler's groundbreaking arguments for heliocentrism, and Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius, the first scientific work based on observations made through a telescope?

What do all of these events have in common? Transiting Jupiter and Uranus in conjunction or opposition.

Jupiter and Uranus both represent different kinds liberation, expansion and advancement achieved in varying ways: the drive for emancipation, space and freedom, for growth and development — are just some of the important qualities they share. In his book, Cosmos and Psyche, from which the above list of correlating events was drawn, Richard Tarnas provides a convincing catalog of synchronies between historical events and corresponding planetary alignments.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Not a good deal is written about Uranus in mythology. The first sky-god, he ruled the limitless expanse of space and had the job of inventing and designing Nature. He accomplished such creative feats as fashioning the wings of butterflies, each one stamped with its own uniqueness and individuality. By house, Uranus in the chart is where we are capable of fresh and original thought and action."

— Howard Sasportas, The Twelve Houses

* * *

"Uranus, spending seven years in a sign, is often considered as a higher octave of Mercury. Certainly, the planet seems to symbolise the dawning change of collective ideas."

"The Uranian principle challenges anything and everything that is Saturnian: that which is conventional, traditional and orthodox. The planet always opposes authority and age. It challenges anything that has become thwarted, repressed, oppressed or rigid. When Uranus touches a planet in a chart, it urges those planetary principles to express themselves in the most contrary and deviant kind of way. Because society tends to be Saturnian, 'deviant' is often interpreted as something dirty, but the word merely means to take an alternative path."

— Sue Thompkins

Uranus is the "awakener," our astrological wild card and de-structuring agent, clearing away those old crusty bits to make way for the shiny and new. Functioning primarily as a catalyst for change, Uranus liberates by pulling the carpet out from underneath our carefully planned lives. Disruptive and destabilizing, but also future-oriented, progressive and innovative, Uranus is associated with technology and science, their use and misuse, as well as other odd things like astrology. Eccentric genius Uranus is the higher octave, the collective expression, of our trickster Mercury.


Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989

Jupiter, on the other hand, represents a different kind of liberation: experiences that widen horizons, expand our worldview and refine our beliefs and personal philosophy of life. Jupiter symbolizes whatever prods us to break out of old, limiting attitudes and conditions that have been holding back our growth and development. But with Jupiter always comes a tendency to overdo it, to be overly confident, to not know when or where to stop. More is always better.

When Jupiter is in hard aspect to another planet, the coinciding events, as Richard Tarnas noted in his invaluable Cosmos and Psyche (Penguin, 2006), suggest Jupiter's archetypal influence to magnify, expand, elevate and support the other planetary principle. So, it seems, we are in for a particularly powerful Uranian year ahead (and Plutonic as well for Jupiter will also be squaring and thus magnifying the Lord of the Underworld). Tarnas elaborates on the Jupiter-Uranus cycle:

"In the Jupiter-Uranus cycle, all these tendencies seemed to interact in an especially vivid manner with the principle we have seen associated with the planet Uranus — the archetypal complex encompassing sudden radical changes, creative breakthrough, rebellion against constraints and the status quo, the impulse for freedom and the new, sudden openings and awakenings, a tendency to constellate the unexpected and disruptive, and so forth. The specific nature of these two planetary principles was such that their archetypal interaction seems to have a mutally stimulating effect that was highly synergistic. An expansively and buoyantly energizing quality characterized such eras, one that often engendered certain creative brilliance and excitement of experiencing suddenly expanded horizons.

In world transits, Tarnas discovered, time and again that these key alignments of Jupiter and Uranus consistently coincided with "milestones of creative or emanicpatory activity across many fields." The conjunction of the two planets occurs approximately every fourteen years. During each of these, as well as during the intervening oppositions, "decisive crests of remarkably synchronous breakthroughs and innovations appeared to take place within a brief period of time in many areas of human activity."

The evidence suggested that the continuing long-term cultural developments that we saw associated with the longer Uranus-Pluto cycle (...) consistently burst forth in a more frequent cyclical efflorescence in coincidence with Jupiter-Uranus alignments. These cyclical waves of creative and emancipatory cultural activity occurred either as intervening crests between the longer, less frequent Uranus-Pluto alignments or as climactic moments during or just after the period of the longer alignment."

EXACTLY WHERE WE ARE NOW, just past the most recent Uranus-Pluto alignment, a set of seven exact squares from 2012-2015. Over this next year, as Jupiter and Uranus face off, they will simultaneously square Pluto, with the Uranus-Pluto square itself separating, but still close, for the first two Jupiter-Uranus alignments.

"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."

* * *

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

— Frederick Douglass

pic For the first exact opposition in a few days, December 26th, Pluto will be at 16°46' four degrees from an exact t-square. Next March 3rd, the second exact opposition (22°11' Libra/Aries), will form a bit tighter t-square with Pluto at 18°50' Capricorn. A day later Venus stations retrograde in Aries, the same sign Uranus occupies. Moreover, the March alignment follows a lunar eclipse (Feb 10th) falling at 22°34' Leo that trines Uranus, and on February 26th, Mars, a potent trigger, will conjoin Uranus and oppose Jupiter, the same day as the solar eclipse in Pisces, and only a week prior to the second exact Jupiter-Uranus opposition. February and March of 2017 will no doubt be eventful — for you as well if you have any important natal placements around 20 degrees of the four cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) or the fixed signs with that Leo eclipse figuring in here.

The third and final alignment in September will also come with eclipse activation, this time Jupiter will form an exact square to Pluto on Aug 4th, just three days before the lunar eclipse on the 7th, and on Aug 21st a total solar eclipse, once more in fixed Leo (at 28°) will form another tight trine to the final Jupiter-Uranus opposition at 27° Libra/Aries on Sept 28th, the day Pluto stations direct.

I'll be writing more about this major event of 2017 early next year, but for now wanted to share some initial ideas and thoughts at this first of three oppositions.



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Tarnas, Richard. Cosmos and Psyche. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Photo credits: View from the Apollo 11 Command Module: Earth rising above the Moon's horizon, July 20th, 1969 (NASA); the Berlin Wall photo was taken in 1989, photographer unknown, and the third photo of the sunset is mine taken on solstice eve this year.

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