by Lynn Bell
The world emerging in front of our eyes is one many of us could not have imagined. When the team at the Oxford English Dictionary chooses “post-truth” for its word of the year, it ripples through the solidity of our world. Our pluralism used to be a cause of celebration. Now it feels slightly dangerous, divisive. As author Michael Lewis recently said, “the world is a far less certain place than our mind is prepared to be in.” Quoting Amos Tversky, he adds “Reality is not a point; it’s a cloud of possibilities.” Our clouds have suddenly shifted into unexpected patterns.
New eras are born when the old certainties die, and the collective imagination goes into overdrive. We seize on new myths that help us deal with uncertainty. Astrologers recognize this as the archetypal influence of Neptune, a planet that generates dreams and possibilities, those motors of collective human behavior. The emotions underlying those visions are also part of Neptune’s influence, vague feelings of longing for a golden age, the desire to be connected to the divine, the collective hysteria of a mob.
The image-engendering power of Neptune wafts through our films, pulses in and out of popular music, harnessing feelings that fuel our passion for the latest series. And Neptune has been powerful indeed, stationing in the sky at 9 degrees of Pisces, while sticking closely this past month to the South Node of the Moon. The South Node empties us out, and this time has become a graveyard for certain dreams. The same degree area of the zodiac had multiple encounters with other planets over the course of the past twelve months, astrologers have taken note and wondered. Now we say goodbye to what might have been. And new myths, some of them with dark linings, are taking the place of the old.
For much of the past year, Neptune has been involved in a square with Saturn, weakening the power of old beliefs. The astonishing rise of fake news, its replication in the news feeds of millions, has led to distortions in many minds. It has created even greater divides in the US, where journalism is now seen as biased, as hopelessly compromised. Our communities are held in place by a shared idea of what is true; now the glue has thinned. It’s as if the Saturn-Neptune square has set a trap for our minds to fall in. Minds have been seized by stories of occult activities, sexual abuse, even murder. These stories have been shared by individuals who will soon be at the highest level of government. In Europe, the vote for Brexit has undermined the vision of economic and political Union. Our spirt falls at the rise of bigotry and bullying.
From the beginning of the study of planetary cycles, the Saturn-Neptune cycle has had a connection to communism and, in the 20th century, to Russia. Russia’s fingerprints are on many incidents in the recent US campaign. Clearly, the spread of disinformation is one way to undermine democratic systems. Whether one believes that we are always partly manipulated, or has a general faith in government, the curtain has been lifted on a new system of misinformation.
For each of us, then, it is even more urgent to hold firmly to what is true. Truth has been having a hard time in our world, but we can hold fast to what is right for us. Saturn in Sagittarius until the end of 2017 continues to test our relationship with the truth, and our faith in humanity as a whole. Many gifted astrologers predicted a victory for Hilary Clinton. How could so many of us have been wrong? Our minds may simply not have been prepared for the reality we are about to enter. Like it or not, we are entering a new world, the one emerging out of the cloud of possibilities.