We’re about to experience a spring season like no other. In the Northern Hemisphere, spring begins when the Sun’s rays square the equator, just past noon in the Eastern US zone on March 20. This is also the time when the Sun enters the sign Aries and the new astronomical year begins. Aries is a cardinal sign, which means it begins a season and arrives with strength, determination, and initiative.
Think of all the energy rising out of the ground: seeds bursting into bloom, trees creating tens of thousands of new leaves to harvest the newly available rays of the Sun, animals birthing, and even people taking a moment to feel alive. Yet in addition to the usual fire surge of spring, this particular season contains a planetary event that takes this energy to a cosmic scale. On June 8 there is a second equinox, where two of the largest and also most influential planets align exactly in the first degree of Aries. Think of that degree as a kind of amplifier that makes an astrological event impossible to miss, called the Aries Point.
The planets involved are Jupiter (wisdom, expansion, culture, pleasure, exotic) and Uranus (spontaneous, disruptive, revolution, ingenious, forward-thinking). They meet up every 14 years, in a different sign (the last time was Aquarius, in February 1997).
Though any moment of astrology is unique in the world, it’s possible to make some comparisons to past events. If you’re old enough to remember 1969, you’ve felt something like this. The conjunction happened that year, in very early Libra—precisely opposite of where it happens in the spring of 2010.
While 250,000 people marched on Washington to protest the Vietnam War, another 100,000 demonstrated simultaneously in San Francisco. We witnessed the Moon landing in July—the first time that humans touched the surface of another planet. By some miracle, this was followed weeks later by the Woodstock festival in August, which was like life on Earth turning into life on another planet.
The year was not all jubilance. Nixon became president. The Manson murders happened that summer. The Beatles broke up. Yet every event had a quality of being personally significant, affecting many people. These were not abstract news items; they were palpable experiences that we cared about, and that came crashing into our living rooms. They have all left many visual impressions in our minds. It was a mythic time in history, larger than life, yet also in the flow of life.
There are odd little details from 1969. The Boeing 747 and Concorde made their first flights. A lot of nasty information came out about Vietnam, including the fact of an illegal war in Laos (Cambodia was the next year). Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off of Dyke Bridge, killing a former campaign worker. All of this happened in a few short seasons; most of it focused on the summer.
To understand a confluence of events that significant, it helps to look to astrology. There’s unlikely to be an explanation in conventional history or sociology, or not one that’s spiritually satisfying. Astrology is a matter of what time it is, and both the planets and world events help us see that. By 1969, it was time for people to get together; it was time for awareness of global issues to amount to something.
In Libra style, there were three massive peace gatherings—the two antiwar protests and the historic pro-peace protest we think of as Woodstock. I have always considered Woodstock one of the most moving, poignant statements by the public against Vietnam; it’s always seemed like the best protest ever. I thought I would ask Michael Lang, the creator of the festival, if he agreed.
“The war was definitely at the center,” Lang said in a March 11 e-mail. “Everyone’s thinking was focused on stopping the war.”
What’s different about the astrology of ’10 as compared to ’69 is that the setup is a mirror image. Where a conjunction occurs tells you something about how it’s going to feel, and how many people it will affect. In 1969, the conjunction took place in Libra, a sign that’s mellow on the exterior but with a lot of mojo coming out from deep inside. The themes of Libra include art, balance, beauty, and relationship.
In 2010, the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction takes place in the more impetuous sign Aries, a fire sign and the first sign of the zodiac. Aries tends to be self-centered and lacks the balance of Libra. It comes with a raw, unrefined, and fiery quality. The two conjunctions have one thing in common, which is that they appear in the very early degrees of what are called cardinal signs—the signs that start the seasons.