Under blue skies...
Hold On,World
By Eric Francis
Sept. 14, 2001
Left, under blue skies: New York's twin towers, the once-living image of Saturn in Gemini.

Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Korea. Vietnam. Cambodia. El Salvador. Nicaragua. Baghdad. Chile. Kosovo. Colombia.

Lower Manhattan.

Now we know. Now we know, you might say, what it feels like to have some "collateral damage" inflicted upon us: pain and devastation raining down on everyday life, upon those whom we are calling the innocent because they live in our country and were made victims. Collateral damage, a term last used in public by George Bush Sr. during the Persian Gulf War, is military jargon for the innocent people in other countries that the United States kills in the course of terrorism-as-usual. We have learned, in an hour, in a day, in a week, what it's like to lose our friends and family and compatriots to acts of war committed by heartless, anonymous attackers, and to see our national monuments and our national infrastructure shattered in a moment.

Have we had enough?

Will we ever again believe that dropping bombs solves problems?

I am afraid that many of us will, and yet I have faith that many others have had their hearts transformed into those of peace activists on a day when that was probably the last thing on their agenda. In truth, I was -- granted, at the distance of a continent -- far less horrified by what just happened on the East Coast than I was when we started raining bombs down on Baghdad in 1991. In the days after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, it occurred to me for a few long, lonely minutes that this might be The End.

During the Persian Gulf War, the feeling lasted for days. But even that grief was overwhelmed by the horror I felt for the Iraqi people, who had no part of the political issues of their country, and no place to hide. This feeling was overwhelmed yet again by the chilled nausea I felt at the sight of flag-waving, yellow-ribbon tying fellow Americans forgetting it could be them. Well, forgetting? How could they remember?

In our current crisis, quite potentially, the worst is yet to come. The pattern of planets under which this situation manifested has only just begun, or rather, arrived for a new visit. We, all of us, right up to the top, will have to be careful. The way is dangerous ahead. Military reprisal may feel good, and it will largely serve to throw gasoline on the terrorism fire in the United States. Unlike Iraq, we now have an enemy who is capable of fighting back, and who has demonstrated that ability.

The moment that American Airlines Flight 11 exploded into Tower One of the World Trade Center was a stroke that combined the luck of a well-designed plan miraculously working out, with the skill, steady nerves and audacity of Luke Skywalker's single shot that destroys the Death Star. But Luke was also using the Force, something that goes beyond both skill and luck: and in its own very dark way, I believe a similar thing was operating here -- a darkness beyond the usual mean spirit that sometimes flares from the human psyche. That particular moment is gone. But something has come through the door where evil dwells, and now we get to deal with it.

"Did you really think that we were going to get through the Saturn-Pluto opposition without something really big changing, and did you think for a second it was going to be the least bit comfortable?" my friend Lane asked me this morning.

Well, no. I hadn't thought about it, I told her. As an astrologer it is my policy, based on my religious views, not to deal in predictions of death and devastation. And I have seen all kinds of apocalyptic astrology come and go with relatively little in the way of massive negative consequences -- and we all know that apocalypse predictions have been a dime a dozen for the past twenty-five or so years.

However, for anyone interested in such predictions, I can now refer readers to The Mountain Astrologer's August/September 2001 edition with an article by Robert Hand on the current Saturn-Pluto opposition, an event associated with a pattern of turning points in history which occurs about every 35 years. It is frequently associated with the emergence of negative forces, war and destruction, as well as the loss of civil liberties. Other meetings between these two planets are known to behave in similar ways.

The Saturn-Pluto opposition, where the two planets meet at 180 degrees with the Earth in the center, made its first pass last month. Saturn is the planet of structure and stability, of government, society, rules and parents. Pluto, the Roman lord of the underworld, or for Hindus, Shiva the destroyer, is the planet of potent, elemental and deeply-rooted forces for change and evolution.

When these planets meet at angles which create intense dynamics between them, the result is often change and instability of a very deep and often frightening nature. Such Saturn-Pluto aspects (those comprised of 90-degree angles or their multiples) are long- lasting astrological events because the planets involved move slowly, and they are known to have an orb of influence of up to one full year on either side of the exact alignments.

The current period of influence lasts through 2003, but these are what I would call gateway events, taking us from one era into another. As a result, if you look at history, life never goes back to normal.

Here are a few examples of such aspects.

  • The Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 1914-1915 marked the beginning of the '14-'18 war, also called World War One.
  • The Saturn-Pluto opposition of 1931 was associated with a worldwide depression and the degradation of economic conditions in Europe that created fertile ground for the rise of the Nazi regime in early 1933. Then, a Saturn-Pluto square in August 1939 coincided with the beginning of World War Two within one month; the war began in September.
  • A conjunction in August 1947 marked what we might reasonably call the beginning of the Cold War (a term we need to explain to children and young adults, most of whom have no idea what it means: a harrowing nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia where the countries threatened to end the world).
  • The next and most recent Saturn-Pluto opposition, in 1965-66, came with an escalation of the vicious war in Vietnam, and its eventual expansion into Laos and Cambodia. It brought many upheavals in the social order at home, renting the social fabric within families and particularly between fathers and sons, and crushing the trust of the people in their government. Domestic surveillance and programs designed to bust the power of the anti-war and African-American movements were just part of the crackdown on what one agency brazenly called a "crisis of democracy."

Each of these events is a watershed stage of history, a threshold, a point of no return. As the Eagles said eloquently in Hotel California, the '60s never really ended: "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

Based on this pattern of events, Robert Hand, writing in The Mountain Astrologer, describes the principle of Saturn-Pluto as "the transformation of basic social structure or laws." He predicted, for the current stage, economic recession, war and crisis in the Middle East.

"Something new has arisen in the Middle East," he wrote, in particular, "the difficulties with Afghanistan and terrorism either supported or harbored by the Taliban. The level of paranoia and fear associated with Afghanistan is getting quite high. And I have no doubt that some of this is justified."

Lest we convict any impish, mean-spirited terrorist mastermind before the trial, some of us know that we have been living, since 1995, with something called Pluto in Sagittarius. Astrologer/depth psychologist Melanie Reinhart called this the era of breaking the taboo on God, which some people take to great extremes. Pluto is also the planet of the collective shadow, and it has recently arisen. To this extent, we can now see what we have been denying in our actions abroad for many years, and how our political views and our purported spiritual views have contradicted one another.

Sagittarius is the sign of world culture, religion, long-distance travel, foreign lands and foreign people, and Pluto here has marked the zeitgeist of our era, with its obsessive moves toward globalization and its valiant anti-globalization protests. There are the more fun sides of the experience as well, like Japanese-Ethiopian restaurants and reggae Grateful Dead albums.

This is the same Pluto in Sagittarius that is having its meeting with Saturn in Gemini, the planet of massive structure in the sign of the twins being a vivid astrological image of the Twin Towers.

And their meeting is not over. It only began in August. Further, the astrology of the coming weeks, in particular, is rife with opportunities for major blunders, acts of deception, delusion and mindlessness. Things get slippery fast, and when you slip it is easy to fall. A Mercury retrograde event exceedingly, chillingly similar to one that occurred on the very day the U.S. presidential election was botched last November repeats itself Oct. 1. It is time to pay attention like we never have before.

What follow in the wake of attack and disaster are decisions, and there are many decisions by world leaders yet to be made. We must not, for a moment, doubt the frailty of the state of our planet through this process. We have long been the habit of doing so, particularly with the use of our bombs. And while we as individuals are not pulling the strings of power or dropping bombs on people, we are in a position to watch the content of our own minds vigilantly. Because this is where the cycle of violence begins.

I have, until this time, opted not to see any television images of the disasters, and I think I am all-the-more sane for it now. It is safe to say, the less television the better. If you want news, I recommend National Public Radio, which has been timely and humane.

We need to guard against thoughts of revenge against whoever no matter how "good" they may feel, and remember that this is not about America, or New York or Washington DC, it is about the world community at its most delicate moment.

If we can do this, our reward will be living not under one world government, or as allies through a world war, or surviving a world crisis, but simply as one world. It is time.++

Index | What's New | Horoscopes | Observations | Advisories | Consultations

Additional coverage from Planet Waves Friday night, including a look at the charts
for these events. For more information, see MichaelMoore.com