Uranus, Neptune & Pluto Transits
© 2004 - 2016 Antero Alli
"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived."
- William Butler Yeats
Our Twisted Fates & Shining Destinies
Fate and destiny are two words commonly mistaken to mean the same thing. I look at fate as whatever happens. Fate is inevitable; nobody controls or escapes fate. Destiny, on the other hand, is ours to create - it develops through our personal responses to fate. Look at fate as the cards you're dealt; destiny is how you play them. Our sense of destiny can be strengthened by exercising a certain ability to respond - our "response-ability."
Look at the natal horoscope as fate and how it is actualized, or lived out, as the journey of your destiny. Our ongoing responses to fate accumulate over time and give shape and substance to our personality. As this destiny-building process interacts with the daily mysteries of fate, a real life is born. Not every life is made real; not all of us are willing or able to do the work to realize our destiny. Many remain content to drift willy-nilly in a passive reactive life, subject to the shifting circumstances of whatever fate has in store for us. Some will even discover a deep, abiding love and devotion to surrendering to fate. These are the mystics among us - rare beings, more vessel than person.
Realizing our destiny expresses a creative act. The more we face the music of our fates, our lot in life, the more opportunities arise for responding to that fate. This responsiveness can deepen our sense of what is most personal to us and what distinguishes us from the herd mentality of consensus reality. This process of individuation, however, requires a profound degree of self-acceptance and willingness to accept fate as it is, not as it should be - or could be, if only this, that, or the other were different. Do not confuse this idea with fatalism. There is nothing fatalistic or passive about accepting one's lot in life for the greater purpose of increasing self-accountability and response-ability.
The Truth about Transits
I understand transits as a technique of predictive astrology for measuring the timing of change - but never its causes. Please give this some thought. Though our interpretations of the likely effects of transiting planets can coincide with certain changes we experience in our lives, consider that the transiting planet itself may not cause those changes or control our fates. The planets, the Earth included, may also be under the influence of greater and heretofore unknown causes, such as the vast rotations of fixed stars, black holes, distant galaxies, and other interstellar events beyond human comprehension and especially beyond astrological categorization. If the planets are undergoing their own "transits," then it stands to reason that the cosmos may not only be stranger than we think, it may actually be stranger than we can think. Life is a mystery at best. With open minds, we can begin to alleviate the suffering caused by the illusion of too much assumed certainty and perhaps, uncover a sense of wonder that nurtures the soul in ourselves and in others.
The inner (or visible) personal planets can represent multiple modes of our personal responses to fate. Look at the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn as a spectrum of personal responses: our presence (Sun), emotional habit patterns (Moon), ideations (Mercury), evaluations (Venus), will (Mars), beliefs (Jupiter), and commitments (Saturn). As we come to know and express ourselves through these responses, our personality matures. Everyone has areas of self-denial where personal development is arrested by resistance, ignorance, or immaturity. Sometimes, this results from over-emphasizing one kind of response over another. Fixate on the Moon and ignore Mars, and then watch the force of habit overwhelm the force of will in your life.
As we gain personal accountability (as Saturn is integrated) for our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, ethics, actions, etc., a healthy ego emerges and we naturally seek out and attract challenges to push us beyond the familiar. Ego also gets cocky and acts out its confident delusions. Why does the need to be right all the time leave us feeling so clear and yet so rigid? The illusion of certainty. Why does the fulfillment of personal ambitions leave us successful but so strangely isolated? The illusion of separateness. Why does the compulsion to be in charge of everything make us feel so important and yet so deeply insecure? The illusion of control.
When we are exposed to the existing conditions of life that persist without our personal efforts, the transpersonal can be said to be getting personal with us. Whether this manifests as current socioeconomic conditions, or the fates and destinies of others, or tragic circumstances and deaths, any transpersonal experience shocks the ego with a reality greater than itself and sometimes, greater than anything we have ever known.
You don't have to be an astrologer to know that real life delivers outside shocks all the time and, sometimes, when we least expect it. By "outside," I mean beyond the creation and control of ego. I think outside shocks act as well-timed evolutionary triggers, synchronized to jolt us whenever and wherever we are suffering from the illusions of excessive certainty, separateness, or control. I have come to see these illusions as symptomatic of transpersonal frustrations of such evolutionary imperatives as freedom, unity, and empowerment (symbolized by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, respectively). Do the planets shock us? Of course not. Outside shocks arrive as fate, and fate is unknown until it happens. How we respond to our twisted fate determines the course of our shining destiny.
Three Types of Outside Shock
Just as the inner planets symbolize a spectrum of personal responses, the outer planets - Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto - represent the deeper mysteries of transpersonal processes, such as intelligence increase and sovereignty (Uranus); compassion and inspiration (Neptune); and empowerment and regeneration (Pluto). In relation to the ego-personality, these transpersonal forces (or planets) also symbolize three types of outside shock, each delivering a one-two punch: one to the sleeping ego and one to the awakening ego. Uranus corresponds to corresponds to shocks of oppression and freedom; Neptune, with shocks of isolation and unity; Pluto, with shocks of naivete and death/rebirth. Do the planets shock us? No, the planets do not shock us. Perhaps we attract shocks to ourselves as a way of meeting deeper transpersonal needs for waking up to what's oppressing us (Uranus), dissolving arbitrary barriers that obscure the experience of unity (Neptune), and resurrecting our lives from naivete and stupefying stagnation (Pluto).
If we are up for the challenge of realizing our destinies, the natal positions of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto can show us where (which house) and how (the sign and related aspects) to address our transpersonal evolutionary needs. For example, a 9th-house Uranus can symbolize an evolutionary agenda to break free of externally conditioned beliefs and discover our own truth. We earn our spiritual freedom by waking up to the oppression of religious dogma blindly accepted at an earlier age. An 11th-house Neptune might signify a transpersonal intent to embrace greater social unity, after suffering isolation resulting from prejudiced social conditioning. A 5th-house Pluto may conceal a higher life purpose by enflaming the heart's desire and transforming our love through Art.
OUTER PLANET TRANSITS
~ November 2016 ~
Uranus (20 to 21 degrees Aries)
Neptune (9 degrees Pisces)
Pluto (15 degrees Capricorn)
If Uranus could talk, it would probably wisecrack: "The truth will set you free, but first it may make you miserable." Textbook astrology tells us that Uranus is "the freedom planet," yet what do we mean by freedom? The urge for freedom pulsates strongest in the hearts of slaves and prisoners. But we are all oppressed in some way, and it can be quite a shock to wake up to this. The shock of oppression can sometimes incite sudden and disruptive reactions - knee-jerk reflexes of revolt against the perceived oppressor. However, if our aggression merely compounds the oppression, nobody is liberated; we are bound to what we resist. Though anger can vitalize action, true freedom requires hard knowledge of precisely what is oppressing us before we can do anything about it.
Freedom, as I refer to it, is a natural state; if we remove oppression, an innate autonomy prevails. This kind of freedom can be shocking at first. How much true freedom can you live with? The house that Uranus is transiting represents an area where we are starting to face a certain kind of oppression; some of this is culturally conditioned, and some is self-imposed. As Uranus transits the 3rd house, we enter an era of "wake-up calls" to patterns of oppression embedded in the ways we use (and are used by) language: how we think, speak, write, and interpret experiences.
3rd house transits coincide with (but do not cause) shocks of intellectual oppression and freedom. Yes, oppression can be just as shocking as freedom. We might discover ways of talking that ring false, or we may register shock at our inability to tell the truth. Perhaps, we are suddenly appalled by the oppression of free speech in a society originally founded on principles of freedom that it no longer adheres to. And that realization alone may be enough to incite riots of passion for Telling the Truth in Public Places.
There is an astrological principle that refers to Uranus as an overtone function of Mercury. If Mercury represents the mundane intellect used to solve everyday survival problems, to make sense of the world, and to communicate among ourselves, I think it's logical to assume that Uranus symbolizes a higher intellectual function enabling us to figure out how intelligence itself can be increased or accelerated. This intelligence oriented to "post-survival" doesn't directly advance our egos, or our personal survival, yet it intuitively serves the transpersonal cause of increasing species intelligence. How do we increase species intelligence? This is a big question demanding an even bigger response-ability.
It's a rude awakening to recognize how species stupidity (more than personal stupidity or anything else) is the greatest cause of oppression on the Earth. Once we awaken to this dreadful enlightenment, we are forced to decide whether to wise up or become part of the problem. Uranus transits don't automatically increase intelligence. It's more likely that Uranus transits coincide with the exposure of an unmet transpersonal need to face oppression and awaken to our innate autonomy. We are all more free than we realize. Meeting that need increases species intelligence.
Transitting Uranus aspecting natal planets can also signify unexpected accelerations in that area of our life. When Uranus conjuncts Venus, relationships jump onto the fast track. We discover how free or smothered we are. The degree of disruption and chaos that ensues during Uranus to Venus transits may be a measure of an oppressive or liberating love; the greater the oppression, the greater the chaos that follows. Uranus transits can also coincide with times of stimulating experimentation. We might discover a second chance to reinvent ourselves in an area previously over-regimented by tyranny - our own or someone else's.
At the most basic, inorganic level of existence, we are all made of the stuff of stars. This is not something we think of very often. [Yet, there is a consciousness within us that allows for this thought, and this consciousness is called Neptune. It is easy to overlook the underlying unity of all life when our differing ideas and beliefs maintain the arbitrary divisions that sustain our illusions of separateness. When these illusions become crystallized (when they are taken too seriously), we suffer increasing isolation. Even though we may be surrounded by friends, family, and admirers, we have internally cut ourselves off from the greater whole that we are a part of. Sooner or later, our lives attract outside shocks concerning the objective reality of unity - a unity that is always present, yet rarely experienced.
Neptune transits herald eras of various forms of border breakdown and sacrifice in the collapse of the arbitrary defenses, assumptions, and expectations that obscure the experience of unity. Neptune transits can manifest negatively through a greater frequency of disappointments, disillusionments, and heartbreaks, especially in areas where our expectations have divided us from life as it is. Or they can manifest positively in ever-increasing waves of mercy, compassion, and inspiration.
As with other transpersonal transits, these outside shocks are neither negative nor positive, in and of themselves, but are instead neutral and impersonal. The cosmos is not out to get us. The cosmos is only out to get the paranoids (its a joke; laugh). Outside shocks arrive as fate and are often beyond our control and comprehension. What makes any experience negative or positive is how we respond. Neptune doesn't shock us. When self-imposed and culturally conditioned barriers cause us to suffer the illusion of separateness, our brittle defenses are more easily shocked by the objective unity of life; Neptune transits act as a measure of this timing.
In the celestial music of the spheres, Neptune resonates as the higher octave of Venus and symbolizes the higher emotional center that refines the feeling nature. Personal love (Venus) can transform into transpersonal compassion (Neptune) in a certain kind of suffering I call "enlightened disillusionment." As we face the exposure and dissolution of our own misinformed expectations and psychological projections, we can see our disillusionments as the dissolving of illusions and perhaps, start seeing things as they are. Yes, this can hurt, yet it does meet a transpersonal "Neptunian" need for species enlightenment.
Neptune transits can also signify an emerging transpersonal need for restoring the lost sense of the sacred in our lives, by a call to sacrifice what has divided us from the spiritual. To sacrifice is to make sacred. Neptune transits can bring about a blurring of personal boundaries in the areas (houses and aspected planets) fraught with obsolete mental fixations and prejudices that can cause confusion and disorientation, to the extent that we resist the dissolution of our ego defenses. Yet, this very loss of clarity and perspective (sustained by the illusion of separateness) may birth the need for the very faith to endure life's many uncertainties.
Like a ship navigating a fog bank on the high seas, we can safely pass through our own "zero-visibility zones" by relying on the human sonar of faith and the inner senses of listening, feeling, and intuiting. Neptune transits can also inspire impressions of ineffable beauty that leave the literalist intellect gasping for air, while stimulating our more imaginative, poetic, and musical sensibilities to new heights. Neptune transits seem to coincide with a kind of gentling restoration of our sense of unity and boundlessness.
There's nothing funny about death. We can (and should) laugh at death, at times, if only for comic relief, but death itself is no joke. If it is, then life would be a joke and life is no joke. Life and death are real. To remain aware of death in daily life - especially in an overly sheltered life - is quite difficult. Though the process of death exist everywhere, it is very easy to overlook because it takes on so many forms. Inertia, stagnation, corruption, decay, and degeneration all express forms of death. When Pluto enters a house and aspects natal planets, we may be exposed to something that is dying or has died. We are as easily shocked by our naivete about death as we are by death itself. We exclaim, "I can't believe this is happening!" as if death requires our belief to occur. The objective reality of death is everywhere and does not require anything from us at all.
In the wake of being exposed to death, we discover how attached we are to what has died (or is dying) by the degree of our suffering. The more ego cling to what is dead, the more ego hurts. It is natural to want to stop something from dying when we are attached to it. Whether it's the death of old feelings or beliefs or a relationship or project or friendship or reputation, or the actual physical passing of someone who is dear to us, the shock of death is almost always devastating to our illusions of control. Pluto transits coincide with the emergence of a transpersonal need to surrender the ego, to let go of control where no control existed in the first place. In this surrender, the ego transforms by outgrowing its previous naivete like a snake shedding old skin; we wise up to life. There is a wisdom in transformation that empowers us with a greater capacity to endure future changes. Mere control, it turns out, is but a dime-store replica of real power.
Just as Mars signifies the motivational force of whatever excites us to action, Pluto symbolizes the overtone function of what we are ultimately living for - the incarnating soul's purpose in this life. From the soul's vantage point, we are not human beings having spiritual experiences but, rather, we are spiritual beings hungry for specific human experiences so we may embody more of the human condition. Just as natal Pluto pinpoints a core appetite for specific essences of human experience, Pluto transits extend this hunger to areas where the life force has been diminished or crushed by deadening inertia. Wherever our life situations, needs, habits, and relationships suffer from excessive redundancy and stagnation, another transpersonal need erupts from the evolutionary imperative to grow. It is transpersonal because the ego cannot do this alone; the ego must surrender, die, and be reborn for this to occur. To grow now means to outgrow.
Pluto transits can show us what has been corrupted or has degenerated and what needs to be surrendered, in order to resurrect what has died. The shock of death can annihilate our illusions of permanence in those naive assumptions about death as "an ultimate end" and about life lasting forever. Two transpersonal truths are common to the experience of losing those we love. A part of us dies with them, and a part of them lives on in us. We also discover the objective reality of impermanence: Nothing lasts. Death is a transition to greater cycles of unknowns: Life really is a mystery! And as with all true epiphanies, these insights must be earned through direct experience and the personal courage to continue responding to what fate has in store for us. By taking such a position, the personal becomes the political, and we grow stronger for it.
On Integrating Shocks
Outer-planet transits can also coincide with the timing of personal changes of overwhelming consequence. These outside shocks can accelerate our lives to the point of eliciting anxiety and fear, which are natural responses to any sudden influx of energy that annihilates the ego. In the hard-hitting transits, such as Pluto crossing the natal Ascendant, it may feel as though our very bodies and personalities are incapable of containing the transformative forces coursing through us; we may "freak out." Picture a jet engine planted inside a Volkswagen chassis. The truth is that transpersonal energies are bigger than our body and bigger than our personality, and they ultimately require a larger body or vessel to contain and circulate their forces.
Shocks arrive as fate and how we respond to them shapes our destiny. This "response-ability" allows for the integration of shock, an important process that can be facilitated by a conscious choice to attach oneself to a transpersonal cause - i.e., any organization or mission whose activities benefit far more than your own personal survival and happiness. Examples abound. Worldwide suffering and tragedy have given birth to countless transpersonal causes: the Peace Corps, the Red Cross, battered women's shelters, Greenpeace, suicide hotlines, homeless soup kitchens, and so on.
These larger bodies act as mediums for the free expression of transpersonal forces - to influence the world and, sometimes, to change it. If you have served a transpersonal cause, you know how your personality also transforms into a vessel for the powerful collective currents of awakening (Uranus), compassion (Neptune), or transformation (Pluto). As we absorb and integrate our shocks, we become transmitters of positive shock to others.