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 by Eric Francis | Daily through June 10

PLEASE NOTE: There is no daily for Thursday, June 6. It will resume Friday, June 7. New commentary on the eclipse and the end of Mercury retrograde is with the June 5 Planet Waves Weekly horoscope.

Printable editions of these articles will be available in July.

June 3 | June 4 | June 7 | June 10

Welcome, Jonathan Cainer readers

Wednesday, June 5, 2002 | Urania

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, after about 1,000 previous tries, he was under an astrological aspect called Uranus opposite Uranus. When Freud was at the peak of his intellectual career developing the psychoanalytic theory, he was under the same aspect. Uranus, the first of the "modern planets" -- that is, the first planet ever discovered by our civilization, happening to be beyond the realm of Saturn, and thus, a wild thing floating in the uncharted firmament -- represents invention, revolution, sudden change, and the quest for freedom.


Clearly, this is an inner thing, not an outer. It's nice being able to go to the supermarket, but freedom is something much more. Freedom is the ability to feel, to think, and to witness what is truly true for you on the most personal level. Speaking astrologically, Uranus helps us find our way there, or rather, here. Cynics may think of this as a totally abstract concept, but in actual fact, the human family is working its way toward freedom. And while there are many influences working against us in our culture, we are actually able to think what we want, and for the most part, say what we want, and it's just fine. That is pretty amazing.

Author Richard Tarnas (The Passion of the Western Mind and Prometheus, the Awakener) has presented the astrological community with the idea that this first-ever consciously named planet was really misnamed. It should, he says, be called Prometheus, the god known for stealing the fire of the Olympian deities and giving it to humanity.

Uranus, after all, had his nuts cut off, and was not much of a rebel; Saturn (Kronos) booted him as king of the sky, and took over the throne. In actual experience, however, Uranus, the planet, whatever you may call him (Herschel, Georgium Sidum, Mr. Sparky), does most of the throwing-over that needs to be done in the world, and that which he usually knocks out of the way is typically something depending a little (or a lot) too much on Saturn for its own good. If Saturn represents building and stability, and at worst, being stuck and restricted, Uranus represents the breakthrough.

Another less violent way to look at it is with a computer metaphor. Saturn is the hardware, and Uranus is the software. No matter how many gigs your rig spins, you can't do anything without software that is designed to facilitate your particular task. Structure and energy must be in balance. Here we have the working-out of the Saturn-Uranus-Chiron process; matter, energy and that which mediates between the two. This is an extremely modern kind of philosophical setup, here in the dawn of the holistic era, but of course we've been here before.

So, back to our myth, Mr. Prometheus stole the fire, but he is lesser known, and more noteworthy, for having co-created the human family; he is very literally one of the Greek creator gods (as was Pallas Athene, which asteroid is now making an exact conjunction to Prometheus/Uranus in late Aquarius). From that perspective, we owe our lives to his boldness and foresight. Most of us feel his spirit living somewhere within, but we are, generally, trapped in the repressive constructions installed into our minds by parents, teachers, the government and the official church (all of which represent dark, unprocessed, and most of all unselfpossessed Saturn). And we have endured generation after generation of conditioning by fear and limitation; all those grandparents, struggling through their lives. We are, for the most part, conditioned to be scared to be free, and quite frankly we act that way.

In more recent years, we are conditioned to have countless shrunken, petty and debilitating ideas about ourselves by something called the mass media (the modern-day church) which tells us all about who we are and what we need to believe. And this can go on for a long time, through repressive, dull relationships, yawners of jobs, friends who don't light us up... and so on.

Enter Prometheus the awakener.

If you are between the ages of 39 and 41, you are in the process of your Uranian opposition, usually one of the most energizing, liberating and life-changing transits of any lifetime. This is a gateway phase of personal reinvention, of growing young again, of feeling your body come to life, and of finding a passion far beyond what you once left behind: it was never like this (so they tell me; I am not there yet, but I listen, and I am under a mighty Uranus transit at the moment). If you're an astrologer, you're going to become very familiar with the Uranian opposition, because people under this transit line up outside our doors. And I am not just saying that to guarantee myself food and rent for the next three years.

Popculure and the medical establishment call this time the "midlife crisis." Indeed! If one is clinging to the past, clutching structure, demanding predictability, refusing to be alive, locking one's sexuality in the closet (hetero, Queer or otherwise) and snorting gobs of sleeping pills or happy pills to numb out reality, a crisis will most assuredly brew up. Or, if one has completely ignored matters of growth an healing, this can be a difficult time as well; there are people who never seriously consider working with a therapist, for example, and don't get the help they know they need. Not until they are backed into a corner in life and feel they have absolutely no choice.

I have noticed that this transit is often more of a celebration for women than it is for men. I would not offer this as a perpetual generalization, it's just something I've noticed. In my experience, many women, after years of doing their duty, are starting to wake up and figure out that it's their life, right around this age. With men, it might typically happen even later, more like 50 (at the Chiron return). Men have the disadvantage of thinking it's their life in the first place; it's an extra level of deception to cut through.

At Uranus opposite Uranus, there is the experience of one's originality connecting with one's originality, the impulse to freedom connecting with the impulse to freedom, completing the circuit. With this can come a sense of inner power, strength on one's position in the world, and also a profound fear of our own power. If you're a woman feeling an unusual sexual drive, you may have to confront the idea that you're a slut if you act on it. You may have to deal with your rigidity, and your impulse to be constrained. You may have to deal with the feeling that sexual power is somehow bad or destructive.

In any case, the Uranian opposition is quite potentially the jolt that refreshes. We astrologers hear the stories of people who feel like they're 17 again. We hear the stories of going back to college, of major career changes, of making the choice to cut loose and be free. Truly, sex is often a major driving force in this process. Sex changes everything, and the Uranian opposition is often a great time of sexual awakening. But just like beer leads to sex, sex leads to many other levels of awareness; the awakening can ripple through all of consciousness.

That is because sex is about energy, and the Uranian opposition is about energy. Uranian energy has been compared to kundilini, the Indian word for what other traditions call chi or orgone or vital force. When Uranus completes half its orbit and thus makes a 180 degree aspect to its own natal position (hence, the term opposition), a kind of polarity is completed and the energy can go reeling through one's experience of life, and one's physical body. Many people feel this as a kind of orgasmic power surge, as heat (often mistakenly confusing it with menopausal symptoms) or just good old horny passion (remember that from way way back when??)

Now, there are other transits where this happens (Uranus in the ascendant, Uranus square Uranus at around 21 years old, or Uranus conjunct any planet) and Chiron can work much the same way. But the Uranian opposition is very dependable, and it is distinctly its own breed of experience. It would be really good if more people knew about in their late 30s rather than when they were waking up in the middle of it (please spread the word). It's possible to prepare, to begin opening up in advance, to begin letting go of unnecessary structures and baggage and responsibilities, and to engage the processes more closely associated with one's passion, mission and sense of freedom. It's possible to get it into your bodymind that there will come a time when the first priority will be liberation, and that it's not necessary to feel guilty about that.

Indeed, guilt is the first thing that will often arise, and the first that must be dealt with, when uranian energy is present. At Uranus opposite Uranus, we will often be challenging a paternalistic concept of God. That can be very destabilizing, if liberating, but we need a new concept to put in its place, a higher sense of reality, and need to deal with the toxic waste dumped onto us by generations and lifetimes of religious conditioning.

In this world, there are (for the most part) three ways to liberation, provided there is a healthy foundation of Saturn responsibility. Yes, love is the way to freedom. But love begs to be expressed, and it's usually expressed through art, sex and healing. Travel will also work, and that might involve art, sex and healing as well. Nature can be a very important setting for all of the above. But without leaving your neighborhood, or even your house, you can wage your inner revolution. Doing a focused process of healing work, to which you dedicate one to three years, really helps. I am what you might call a true believer in therapy. It's vital that we find good therapists (check here) but therapy process can work very well at helping us see our lives in different ways, providing tools to help ourselves, in taking an inventory of what else we might need to do, and accumulating the moxie to do it.

Therapy is important at the Uranus opposition because as energy moves through the chakras, the emotions and the mind, stuff comes up: memories, wounds, injuries, and often a need for deep self-evaluation. It is best to do this work with a trained and objective, and loving, witness. Alone, or attempting to work with people to whom we have emotional attachments, it's very easy to get lost. Or more lost.

"I don't know how I do it to myself," said a friend who is going through this transit, speaking of her life in her boring office. "All I know is there is a lot more to me than I have ever been able to express in life."

Tomorrow: Neptune and Pluto

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