double vision

Ways of Seeing in 2021

Aquarius rulers in a Square in the backdrop of the Nodal Axis in Sagittarius/Gemini

Originally published in the OPA Career Astrology Publication

In 2021 we will be asked to see things from more than one point of view. This is a product of both the Uranus-Saturn Square, and the position of the Moon’s Nodes. The Air signs look out, and Aquarius looks from above, eyes trained on a farther horizon, testing the winds. The two rulers of Aquarius, Saturn and Uranus will be pulling at cross purposes. What will change in our way of seeing? What are we asked to learn? In addition, the North Node in Gemini also asks us to take a second loo, to find our ‘double vision’. If we manage to hold these two ways of seeing, we may get through the year without splitting into extreme polarization. How do we navigate these new directional signals in the year to come?

The Nodes of the Moon are moving through Gemini and Sagittarius, revealing our splits, our certitudes, and especially the danger of entrenched beliefs. The unique backwards movement of the Nodal Axis against the fixed stars has an 18.6 year cycle punctuated by eclipses, moments of increasing shadow followed by returning light. One of those moments was December 14, 2020 with a Solar eclipse at 24 Sagittarius. The following one will be June 10, 2021, a Solar eclipse at 19 degrees of Gemini. On a psychological level, there may be a tendency to project negativity onto an outer enemy. If we can see how much the other is projecting, we might just catch a glimpse of the same process in ourselves. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote; “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

But in the collective, these nodal passages often reveal moments where the world is divided in two. No matter how sophisticated we seem to be, we may fall into the perception of a dualistic universe, of irreconcilable blue and red, youth and age, of good and evil. This seemed particularly true in the last 5 passages of the nodes in these signs, which mirrored the post war split into East and West during the Cold War in the 1945 to 1947 period. The following passage of the nodes came with the generational split of the 1960’s a time when youth were exhorted not to trust anyone over 30. A turn of the cycle later brought a time of phobia and blame directed at victims of AIDS (1983-84). And in 2001 not long after 9/11, George Bush gave his famous pronouncement “You’re either with us or against us.”

It’s important to note that at each these times the Nodal Axis also interfaced with the Saturn-Pluto cycle, coming just before or after, and may have functioned as an amplifier of its themes, of deconstruction and dismantling. Saturn and Pluto conjunct every 33 to 38 years, the nodal cycle is 38.6 years, leading to recurring periods of overlap. Here are the most recent dates:

December 22, 1945 – July 11, 1947      (Cold War)

August 2, 1964 – February 20, 1966     (Generational Split)

March 14, 1983 – October 1, 1984        (AIDS phobia)

October 24, 2001-May 13, 2003            (George Bush Axis of Evil)

June 4, 2020- December 23, 2021        (Split into different”Truths”)

Clearly the demonization of opposing camps during the United States elections of 2020, has marked an extreme turn that may be difficult to bring back into harmony, whatever the intentions of the country’s leaders.

The world split in two 500 years ago when Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. (see chart)  At that moment Saturn at 27 Sagittarius conjuncted the South Node at 28 Sagittarius and Pluto at 2 Capricorn. Writing at the time Erasmus felt that Luther had been put into the world by the “genius of discord.” And indeed, the new technology of the printed book fueled the rise of independent thinking; the old belief system of the church and its hierarchy was swept aside.

If we connect this nodal cycle to the larger planetary context of 2021, It may be possible to define more clearly the splits and oppositions that are driving the world. The new 20 year period initiated by the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction on December 21, 2020, falls at zero degrees Aquarius in the tropical zodiac. Aquarius is a complex sign: Its name points to water, but it is an Air sign. The representations of Aquarius have always been about giving something away—the water being poured out of a jar, often two jars, two streams, emptied out at once. As an air sign, Aquarius circulates energy. In the ancient world Aquarius was the time the heavens opened and the life-giving waters poured out. Aquarius is the ability to direct and contain this flow. As a Saturn ruled sign, it was connected to the lead pipes of the plumbing system, the aqueduct and the entire works  that carry water to our homes, and to any source point  for water, from springs to wells to bathroom faucets. Aquarius is never really about individual components or structures, but about the way each of these work within a system. Aquarius has more to do with the ensemble, with relationships and connections. Its aim is to maintain flow. It has the same function in the body, keeping the blood flowing through veins and arteries. These networks of connection also operate in the electrical grid, the world wide web, and the internet.

The Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius carries within it the seed for the great Air Mutation, since the next 7 conjunctions of Jupiter Saturn will all be in the Air element, a period that covers 160 years. This brings a whole new impulse powered by an idea of what it means to work together. The 2020 Saturn-Pluto cycle has dismantled many of the structures in our world. Systems have been brought to a halt, flow has stopped. It has become clear that the old systems are no longer adequate to maintain flow between all the members of society.

This is one way to understand the upcoming squares of Saturn and Uranus. The traditional and modern rulers of Aquarius will be in a state of constant tension during 2021; tension between old and new, between control and freedom. The Saturnian aspects of the system maintain control and stability and reinforce past patterns. If the old system is inadequate for the new impulse, it may double down on control in order to avoid falling apart. Uranus brings invention and change, but it can also function like a super-Saturn, with a repressive vision of control, and suppression of the new. Or it can shatter and break the system when the blockages become insurmountable. On some level it is natural to fear change and maintain what’s always worked. But this square tells us that if the system is inadequate the Uranian impulse for change may break it apart, until a new flow can be established.

There will be three exact squares Between Saturn and Uranus in 2021.

February 17, 2021            (7 Taurus/Aquarius)

June 14, 2021                  (13 Taurus/Aquarius)

December 24, 2021          (11 Taurus/Aquarius)

These two impulses, the desire to maintain a working system, and the necessity of change and innovation, are not easy to accommodate during the square. There is a hard edge that can bring damage, something we saw in the economic system in previous square and opposition phases (in the year 2000). During those times, innovations brought by the internet, along with an accelerated pace of change, overwhelmed the system, and led to major dysfunction, and near collapse. When the new impulse is hijacked by a few individuals, or a specific group, rather than used for the good of the whole, it will begin to show signs of stress.

What does all this have to do with new ways of seeing? It is clear from the results of the US election that large numbers of its citizens see the world from radically different perspectives. One vision is based on the restoration of a mythic past and individual enterprise, with success going to those that work for it. The other vision acknowledges systemic inequality, and sees blockages to the flow of resources. It argues for changes that will be more inclusive, for a redistribution of wealth and opportunity, and a new vision of humanity, regardless of race, or gender. It could be argued that both visions are Aquarian.

Under Saturn in Aquarius in the early 1930’s the whole economic system broke down. Of course the larger cycles involving Uranus square both Saturn and Pluto were also activated then. As Uranus moved into Taurus, an Aquarian president, Franklin D Roosevelt, brought in first the WPA (Works Progress Association), then the whole system of Social Security. The social movements of the 60’s also focused on equality and individual freedom, breaking through systematic blockages. The last passage of Saturn in Aquarius (1991-92) came on the heels of the rare Uranus-Neptune conjunction and was powered by the extraordinary innovation brought by the internet.  But now that invention has led to closed systems, echo chambers, and extremes, some form of signaling, stoppage and oversight may be necessary, But this could stir up the fundamental tensions of Saturn and Uranus; a battle between freedom of expression or systemic control.

In the past, Saturn square Uranus has also given rise to harsher visions of society. In the 1930’s, the anti-semitic impulse behind Fascism brought a desire to eliminate entire populations, so that society as a whole could be “purified.”  Saturn squared Uranus at the outbreak of the US Civil War, breaking through an aberrant vision of society based on slavery. The opposition phase of the cycle Uranus and Saturn with Pluto was in effect in the Wilmington massacre of 1898, when white supremacists overthrew an elected government and led to a more generalized suppression of the advances made by black people after the Civil War.

We could argue then, that the square between Uranus and Saturn is a battle between two visions of the world, one that maintains the system as it is, or even favors greater control, even if that means suppressing or eliminating certain members of society. The other vision requires a step back, a larger view of how it all works together. It favors rules that will redistribute the flow of resources. Both visions implicitly bring a system of control that seems aberrant for the other side. There will be a standoff between these points of view, and cracks in the system as we know it. This process of systemic change occurs along the hot points: the squares and oppositions of the 45 year Uranus Saturn cycle.

Aquarius brings a vision of the future, of the far horizon. It rules the roof over our head, the seed idea that informs the entire system. It often brings order from the top down, and in this sense, Aquarius is not a stranger to totalitarian systems. It’s fascinating to see how the chart of China is marked by both An Aquarian Moon and an Aquarian Ascendant. The revolutionary ideas that gave rise to the communist state led to aberrations.

Under the Great leap Forward, 1958 to 1962,  a dysfunctional plan was mirrored back as truth through the hierarchy, the system had to break down, and many people died from massive famine, through the false starts and distortions of a big idea gone awry. This too is Aquarius. Once an idea is launched it can become fixed, implacable. The failure of this policy was emerged completely around the time of an exceptional conjunction of seven planets in Aquarius in February 1962. China has followed other extreme, top-down ideas: The one child policy instituted in 1979, gave rise to a society with an enormous imbalance, which the state is now attempting to correct through another top down change in policy. These subsequent breakdowns and reconstructions have given rise to a technologically advanced modern state with a different idea of individual freedom than in the west. China’s chart will be strongly highlighted by the Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Aquarius, just as it was at the time of its opening to the West, in 1980/81. At that time, the conjunction in Libra activated the Sun In China’s chart. But Uranus and Saturn will also be major players during 2021 when they  oppose and square Mars in the Chart of China.  Perhaps the dialogue will occur between China and its neighbors, Hong Kong and Taiwan, given the placement of transiting Uranus in its 3rd house. The square may fuel a push for territorial and ideological expansion, since Mars is in the 7th house of adversaries.

Aquarius may express the negative side of Saturn when it controls and eliminates anything that tarnishes the purity of the idea. But Saturn here can also function at its best, looking for ways of improving, uplifting, connecting through intelligence, thought, and design. Aquarius brings us snow, at least in the northern hemisphere. Each of those magnificent six-sided crystals could be seen as representing a particular idea. The “seed idea ” is infused with life-giving water, then poured into the world by Aquarius. Uranus, too, comes from above, the word in greek means ‘sky’. It electrifies, enlivens, energizes the ideas that are carried by the Water Bearer.

Going back to the Lunar Nodes, it is possible to see the interface of these two important celestial cycles  as the emergence a new dialogue in the world. For the moment it might be useful to throw away the labels of ‘right’ and ‘left’ or good and evil, One current  is  moving towards a rejection of inherited structures of power, of rules that come from above, of being told what to wear, even if it is a potentially life-saving mask. It represents a reaffirmation of individual choice. Uranus conjunct Sun Donald Trump certainly carried this impulse. Individual freedom has always been an underlying American value, but in the 60’s the impulse for freedom was carried by the left, through civil rights protests, anti war protests, and sexual liberation. Now the left talks about environmental responsibility, about what needs to be done to redress the system, and wishes to impose corrections and rules. While the idea is large and generous the methods are more Saturnian. Those on the left in the US, are often more likely to follow anti-Covid measure, and wear masks. The system has been morphing, It may be, given the era of the Grand Air Mutation that the old structures are no longer adequate to our circumstances. We may need more than double vision, for we have created a system that no-one can really control…and we can get caught and entrapped within this wonderful technology. Let us call in a new seed idea to help maintain the flow of the great net.

All rights reserved   Lynn Bell

F, Scott Fitzgerald “The Crack up”

Chart of China.