cassandra complex

Let’s face it.  Cassandra was a drama queen, always ranting something or other about a tragedy and then crying out, “I told you so!  I told you so!”

Okay, maybe she was right about the Trojan War, but hey, wasn’t there an upside to that too?  So negative she was, and all that wasted worry!

Actually, I think I saw her at UAC.

So many astrological eyes and countless astro-websites are targeted on August 7, 2010, as the new Doomsday, when the transiting T-Square of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto in the cardinal signs gets triggered by the Moon for a few hours, and She turns it into a Grand Square, additionally involving Venus and Mars in Libra.  Even Jupiter gets into the act from Aries.  And to boot, the Sun is at the World Axis that day!

Isn’t it comforting to know when to expect D-Day…. or, really, to be under the illusion that one can know when to expect the exact day of doom.

Thank goodness we won’t have to live too long with the particular disaster that will come with this major configuration, since the end of the world follows hot its heels when the Mayan calendar comes to an end in 2012.

Perhaps it is not so much the Cassandra in us that needs to predict such catastrophe after all, but rather the Narcissus in us.  In other words, that part of us, astrologers, who think the complicated planetary configurations and ingresses of our contemporary times have never before taken place in the history, and that we are first to see such celestial dramas.

For instance, as recently as 1931, there was a similar configuration involving Pluto in Cancer, Saturn in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries as the apex of T-Square.  And okay, so it was the heart of the Great Depression, but it wasn’t all bad.  The Empire State Building went up and Jimmy Walker went down.

What also happened at that time was the birth of Andy Warhol.  He, of course, went on to revolutionize the course of popular culture.

Harvey Milk was born then too and he led a revolution of another sort.

So was Stephen Sondheim and he reinvented musical theatre, America’s only original cultural form.

Ray Charles was born in the midst of that T-Square, as was Mike Nichols, Tom Wolfe, Harold Pinter, Clint Eastwood and Francois Trauffaut, all groundbreakers in their fields and known for their lasting impact on generations. Neil Armstrong, Edward Kennedy and James Dean, all-American boys of various kinds, all share in the T-Square.  And the list goes on and on.

These lives and their works are obvious embodiments of this configuration, i.e., working within the confines of an established form, but furthering it by transcending its limits, thereby reinventing it.

Did they set out to be legends?  No.  Well, maybe Warhol intended it.  Overall, it’s the collective that makes the legend.  And that’s where the outer planets come in.

In other words, when major planetary configurations transit through the heavens, indeed times are trying and our souls are tried, but they do not necessarily make for critical social events or natural catastrophes any more than times that do not contain such obvious planetary build-ups.

Furthermore, let us look to the major planetary configurations in natal charts of cultural icons to explain the nature of their work, their impact on society and how they become representatives of their generational collective.

For instance, which one of us predicted the recent earthquake in China?  Or the tragedy in New Orleans, which was part natural disaster and part man-made catastrophic error?  Was there astrological symbolism for these events?  Certainly!  Isn’t there always?  But there was not a predictable build-up of planetary energies or a major configuration of aspects.

And yet, other times of planetary dramas, such as the Solar Eclipse in August 1999, in a Grand Square, did not represent much more than a mad revival of Nostradamus, as well as a host of astrological predictions to dramatic proportions, none of which came to pass.  There are the telltale signs of Narcissus at work in us.

The World Trade Center disaster, of course, involved a major configuration, namely, the infamous Saturn-Pluto opposition.  It was in effect for months and months, but who could have foreseen its manifestation by month, much less date and place?  Who could even imagine it, but a Cassandra?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying predictions can’t be made.  Indeed, the bulk of my work is prediction and I am a great proponent of predictive astrology.  In fact, I don’t believe a natal chart can be interpreted without automatically referring to prediction.

Rather the point is: let’s learn from the major planetary configurations of the past in order to forecast social trends, and we should not be so grand as to use them to try to foresee specific events.  Let Epimetheus, who bears the gift of hindsight, have his say too, and not just his not-so-mighty brother, Prometheus, the patron saint of astrologers.

Ultimately, we might just have to accept astrologers and the like are marginalized in Western society, and making dramatic predictions from the planetary configurations is not going win us social respect and position.  They will only present us as the fools that society already thinks we are.  Instead, our priority needs to be holding true to the integrity of astrology in our work.

By the way, the 1930’s were not the first time to see the T-Square of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto.  The configuration also took place in the mid-1870’s!  That variation gave birth to the likes of Albert Schweitzer, D.W. Griffith, Ravel, Rilke, Mann, Aleister Crowley and the astro-beloved Carl Jung.  That’s some list of who’s who!  The aforementioned interpretation, regarding form, furthering and reinvention is apparent in the work of these lives too.

And speaking of the late 1800’s, a configuration, which might boggle our minds, is the conjunction of Neptune and Pluto.  It took place in the last degrees of Taurus and passed into Gemini.  In its early stages, we see the likes of Albert Einstein, Paul Klee, Helen Keller and Alice Bailey.

Interestingly, as Jupiter and Saturn entered into Taurus, the orb between Neptune and Pluto narrowed, and then we see the births of Picasso, Woolf, FDR, Joyce, Barrymore, Stravinsky, Goldwyn and Giraudoux.  Not even first names are needed to identify them!

As the conjunction moved out of orb, but still in aspect of a generation, we see the births of Kafka, Harry Truman, Modigliani, Eleanor Roosevelt, D.H. Lawrence, Chagall, Eugene O’Neill, Nijinsky, Charlie Chaplin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mae West, and yes, Adolf Hitler.

Living through this decade might not have been easy, but oh, what it gave rise to….and who!

Just when some of these names were making, well, their names in the world in the heat of World War II in the early 1940’s, another gathering of planets took place in late Taurus and early Gemini.

Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus were weaving and bobbing in and out of soft and hard aspect with Neptune and Pluto for the births of all four Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.  Talk about the spokespeople of a generation!

Oddly enough, another key cultural figure in this Taurean mix is Barbra Streisand, an entertainer who is often noted for being able to bridge the old Hollywood movie star image with the pop music diva.  And no matter what one may think of her, her talent and her politics, she’s certainly the picture of the endurance of Taurus.

Bill Clinton and Steven Spielberg are classic examples of the late 40’s Leonine Saturn-conjunction-Pluto generation of eternal youth.

Christopher Reeves is a good example of the Saturn-Neptune-in-Libra-square-Uranus-in-Cancer group, born of the early 1950’s, the peak of America’s move to the cushy, comfy suburbs, only to discover through disillusionment that life is hard and meant to be much more meaningful than comfortable.  In other words, life is not a Doris Day movie.

The mid 60’s, of course, saw, not “the” most, but “a” most interesting configuration of the century, indicating the chaotic, but creative, trend of the Counter-culture Revolution:  the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo opposite Saturn and Chiron in Pisces, and at their peak, a T-Square with Jupiter in Gemini!    Have we seen its greatest representative of it yet?  I’m not sure, but keep your eye on Brooke Shields because her personal planets are tied in with that major configuration.  Ridiculous, you say?  Hey, O.J. Simpson is a free man, Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor of California, and George Bush became President of the United States, not once, but twice, so ya never know!