Virgins, Black Power, African Liberation…
The month of Virgo was beautiful here, one warm soft day follows another. But the weather was also strange and unseasonable. The nights draw in but the days are as warm as summer. It’s dreamlike.
Being deep in the dream of Virgo this year — with the help of an opposition from Neptune in Pisces perhaps — I understood the sign in a new way*, and this, in turn has brought on some thoughts about our on-going aspect between Uranus and Pluto.
Here’s a rather Neptunian train of thought.
In ancient times, virgin was less a description of a woman’s sexual experience than a description of her social status. When the Greeks referred to a goddess or a woman as a virgin, they meant a woman who was not the property of a man. Think of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, running through the forests of arcadia with her band of virgins — wild and free. She protects nature itself, untamed by human hand. Of the Olympian goddesses, three are called virgin: Artemis, Hestia and Athena.
But think also of the role (some) nuns until quite recently — running schools and hospitals. As a medieval woman, choosing the convent might have been liberating. You might learn to read, or create music, or become a proficient medicine woman or become a political power-broker.
This adds a gloss to the sign of Virgo. Not just a prissy librarian or the “sacred prostitute” beloved of certain imaginations, but an independent woman. A Virgo Sun then, at its best, might be someone who can look after herself, like, say Agatha Christie (Virgo Sun), and maybe you could add to that, look after him or herself in a world where that’s quite unusual.
A few weeks ago I wrote about two women with Pluto at 1° Virgo — Kate Bush and Madonna — neither of whom is, by any stretch of the imagination, “owned by a man”. Of course, Madonna’s breakthrough album was entitled Like A Virgin. Other artists with this particular placement include Prince, Michael Jackson and Nick Cave — all also very independent, creative and controlling, although Michael Jackson’s Pisces Moon turned out to be a bit of a problem.
These people were born in the late 1950s, as Pluto was beginning its journey through the sign of the Virgin, where the planet stayed until the early 1970s. In 1962, Pluto was joined by Uranus, the planet of rebellion and revolution.
So what was happening that was independent and revolutionary in the 1960s?
This is a simple thought: tens of countries were liberated from colonialism. Most of Africa and the Caribbean won self-rule in the 1960s. There were some brutal wars, in Congo, Rhodesia and Algeria for example, but much of the continent became independent thanks to the dismantling of empires — British, Belgian, French and Portuguese. Now if that famous conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo was at least partially about independence, maybe it was also about Black Power, a phrase that was coined on 16 June 1966, when the conjunction was exact. Pluto is a black man or a swarthy man, according to some astrologers. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Kwame Nkrumah.
So now this Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s has opened up into the Uranus-Pluto square of the 20teens. It’s like the evolution of light from a New Moon to a quarter Moon. We’ll see the “full” phase in around 40 years.What that means is that seeds planted in the 1960s are beginning to show their first tiny leaves now. Just keeping to the theme of black power (because there are many other ways this budding manifests): one example is the election of an African-American as US President; another is the political stabilisation across much of Africa.
In some ways the meaning of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction is obvious. The Virgoan themes of drugs, communications (the PC), environmentalism are all there. Virgo is ruled by Mercury too; its an intelligent sign, a sign of communications and medicine. So these parts of the collective mind were awakened by Uranus, transformed by Pluto in the 1960s.
The counter-culture, flower power are always cited by astrologers as the Uranus-Pluto conjunction at work. But often it stops there, as if the whole world was in San Francisco or listening to the Rolling Stones. This is self-referential: a lot of astrologers are old hippies. What about the other side of that counter-culture coin then? The story of the Vietnam War is almost always told from the point of view of the West.
That war was an archetypal event of that decade. What was it? It was a war of independence. It was a people claiming the sovereignty of their own land. Remembering that Virgo is an earth sign, think of the Viet Cong burrowing their long tunnels into Mother Earth to protect the mother country. Along with all those other countries around the globe, they were reclaiming their land.
Then there’s the story of the immense growth in influence of the CIA and the military-industrial complex (all over the world not just in the US) in that decade: secret power.
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Presidend Dwight D Eisenhower, January 17, 1961, Pluto conjunct NN in Virgo, Uranus in Leo still
So now the Uranus-Pluto dance has moved on to Pluto in Capricorn — earthly power — and Uranus in Aries – personal liberation. No wonder there is conflict everywhere we look.
*It all began at the beginning of the month, when I watched Rick Levine and Jeff Jawer talking about Virgo on their show.