Many of us in the United States have been disturbed and dumbfounded by events that have occurred prior to, and beyond, the election of 2016. The purpose of this article is to address the astrological cycles playing out so that a broader perspective can help us understand why certain events have transpired, even if we can’t yet fully accept them. Some of the ideas presented here are based on astrologer and author Steven Forrest’s audio class on the USA chart1, and are, in no way, intended to promote any particular political or partisan viewpoint.
I resonate with Forrest’s astrological perspectives because they reflect an understanding regarding any soul’s evolutionary process, even that of a nation’s. Yes, we, as the collective USA, and perceived through the lens of the USA Chart, represent the soul of America. Contrary to what we may feel at this time, the power lies within us individually and collectively, to understand the karmic patterns unfolding, and do the necessary work to ensure the highest outcome. While astrology includes all twelve planets, signs and houses, I focus primarily on the Sun, Moon, Nodes of the Moon, and Pluto, with a little bit on the chart ruler Jupiter as well.
The Sun represents our fundamental conscious will and purpose – how we actively play a role in the world. The Moon represents our instinctual nature and unconscious habits – how we react and respond to the world. The Sun is yang/masculine; the Moon is yin/feminine. The Nodes of the Moon represent our karmic direction. One way to perceive the energies is that the South Node represents our karmic past, while the North Node represents our Dharma (the purpose we need to fulfill). Pluto represents the initiations we must face on the road to North Node fulfillment. It represents power – and lessons around the abuse of, or correct management of, said power.
Pluto always uncovers that which seeks to hide from the light of the Sun – the deepest recesses of the subconscious that provokes intense reactions because it awakens profound fear. However, in order to become whole – whether the soul of a nation or individual – this is a rite of passage we all must endure. What makes this more poignant for the United States is that we are heading toward Pluto’s return to its natal position in February of 2022.
This only happens once every 248 years and, as such, is a cycle only nations go through since the human lifespan rarely reaches beyond 100 years. People will face other aspects to their personal planets, but no human will face Pluto’s return to its natal position. This is a time of reckoning, to be sure, but as Franklin Delano Roosevelt so eloquently said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” When we react in fear we are behaving from the lower vibration of the Plutonian instinct – projection. As long as individuals “project” their shadow onto others, be they individuals, segments of society, or countries, the karmic pattern is perpetuated rather than resolved.
It’s also important to remember that the Shadow personality is not always a negative projection. We also tend to project the Shadow’s “gold” – those unrealized gifts that we somehow think only another can achieve. But once fully embraced and embodied, neither the negative nor the positive gifts of the Shadow need to be projected onto another. This is the most empowering lesson Pluto brings, and why its energy is associated with “hidden wealth”. Above all it is about achieving authenticity, congruency, and transparency between inner motivations and outer expression.
The USA Chart
There exists some debate on what chart to use for the USA birth time, but I have chosen the one most astrologers agree is appropriate: July 4, 1776, 5:13 PM, Philadelphia, PA (see Fig. 1). Given that this was the chart astrologer and author Robert Hand used to predict the traumatic events of September 11, 2001, I feel confident this chart offers an accurate depiction of America’s evolutionary story.
The Sun is 13° Cancer, Moon 27° Aquarius, North Node 6° Leo, South Node 6° Aquarius, and Pluto is 27° Capricorn. Also important to mention is the Ascendant at12° Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, and therefore making Jupiter the chart ruler. Jupiter sits in the 7th house at 5° Cancer, conjunct Venus at 3° Cancer, adding optimism and abundance to the Cancerian role of protector and nurturer in the house of “others”. This is important to keep in mind as we explore the chart’s symbolism. Rather than start with the Sun, I will begin with the Nodes of the Moon so that we can gain perspective on where we’ve been and where we are potentially headed.
The South Node
To understand what’s happening now, it’s important to review certain things about our past. We don’t need to “abandon” the South Node energy per se, but we do need to recognize what aspects of our past are holding us back from fully embracing our North Node role, which always represents our evolutionary intent and highest purpose. The South Node is viewed through a “negative” lens, because it represents energies that need to be transformed or transcended in order for us to grow and evolve.
With the South Node in the 2nd house, we have a pattern of placing a great deal of value on gathering material possessions. The second house has to do with building security and confidence through acquisition. This house placement does not lend itself well to any change or disruption in the flow of material resources. To feel secure, it requires a steady and dependable flow built upon a foundation of self-sufficiency rather than dependence on anything or anyone else.
The South Node is in the sign of Aquarius, a highly intelligent and innovative sign. As “fixed air” Aquarians can fixate on the intellect to the point of detaching from any and all emotion. (This pattern is remedied by the Sun’s placement in Cancer – a highly nurturing and emotionally driven sign). In its extreme, Aquarius can present as the nerdy (lofty) scholar, seen as an outsider to the madding crowd, and quite proud of that distinction. It is the “rebel’s” signature, in search of freedom no matter the cost. The modern planetary ruler for Aquarius is Uranus, while the traditional ruler is Saturn. We can learn much from both of these planets and their placement in the chart.
We find the modern ruler Uranus in the 6th house in the sign of Gemini. Sixth house represents daily routine, jobs, labor, and health, in an area where we experience inequality within relationships: doctor/patient, teacher/student, guru/adept, master/servant. In Gemini, we have “mutable air”, once again putting emphasis on the mind (air/intellect) rather than on emotions. This combination signifies bringing in outsiders/aliens (Uranus) in the area of work and labor with a mental state capable of detaching from emotion. Interesting, too, that the sign Gemini, the Twins, is the definition of seeing things dualistically – literally in black and white – signifying our karmic past with slavery.
Now let’s look at the traditional ruler for Aquarius, which is Saturn. Saturn sits in the 10th house of public notoriety in the sign of Libra. Here again, we have an air sign, this time “cardinal air”. Libra, whose natural ruler is Venus, represents the finer things in life: fine art, fine clothes, fine dining, and eloquence. Saturn represents authority, specifically that of a patriarchal structure. In the 10th house Saturn sits comfortably in its own domain. This placement suggests that those who “fathered” our country were men who came from authority and distinction and readily took the lead.
The negative side of Libra, because it sees both sides of the scales so well, is that often experiences difficulty in making a solid decision. It is indicative of politics and the back and forth debate across the aisles. Because of its placement in the zodiac, right before the deeply perceptive Scorpio, Libra has a tendency to be overly concerned with the surface and appearance of things. As an air sign it circulates “above ground” and doesn’t look too deep for answers.
All signs have their positive and negative traits. But, to repeat, because we are gathering information on the South Node to understand what karmic debts we have to transform, we are looking at these signatures through a more negative lens. An example of positive Libra expression would be a judicial system concerned with treating both sides of any dispute with equality and justice. The significance of this becomes more apparent as we continue exploring the nodal axis and seek to define its resolution and balance.
The North Node
Just as we viewed the South Node through a negative lens, we now look at the North Node through a positive one as it provides clues to the resolution of our past. We find the North Node is always exactly opposite the South Node. In this case, it’s in the 8th house at 6° Leo. Where Aquarius is the outside scientist/scholar, detached from the crowd, Leo is the engaging creative artist who seeks the crowd’s applause and appreciation. And more than any other North Node placement, Leo has the power to manifest its highest dreams and visions. It rules the heart, and represents that part of us that can reconnect with innocence, child-like trust, and life-affirming celebration.
The 2nd house experience seeks self-sufficient acquisition for the purpose of building a secure foundation. Its primary focus is on tangible, material resources. This sounds wonderful except that, as a representation of the South Node, it was “overdone” and now needs 8th house balance. The 8th house experience is about facing our fears, reckoning with our shadow, and having to let go of those things or ideals upon which we have come to depend for our security. To be clear, that does not mean we will not have wealth – it simply means we need to face the fear of not having it.
It also requires that we learn how to share resources with others (8th house) in a mutual give and take relationship. But another 8th house theme that should not be overlooked is that it represents esoteric science – all things hidden and considered occult or taboo. Whereas the 2nd house is about material manifestation, the 8th is associated with intangible qualities: powerful insight, intuition, and mystery – those unseen forces that influence the realm of manifestation. (This sounds daunting, yet, as the North Node placement, it holds a gift that promises resolution).
Other themes pertaining to the 8th house have to do with authenticity, intimacy, and the purification of passion and power. But it also has to do with research, “digging for gold” whether within the psyche, or literally researching our ancestral roots, because it symbolizes Shamanism, the ability to see what has been hidden. For Earth Ancients, this has significant implications as we continue to uncover a past we never knew existed in America. The natural ruler of the 8th house is Pluto, god of the underworld, so let’s explore Pluto’s role in our evolutionary process.
Pluto ‘s Role
To put it bluntly, Pluto’s energy will ruthlessly annihilate anything that stands in the way of Soul’s evolution. The safest, and least painful, way to respond to a Pluto transit is complete surrender. The more we try to resist the changes it brings, the more intense the alchemical fire becomes. On the other hand, the more we trust in the process of change, albeit uncomfortable, we can find equilibrium during the rebirthing process that always follows death and destruction. As we continue in this current cycle leading up to Pluto’s return in 2022, all that has been hidden in the shadows will be revealed.
This is something we’ve already seen in action with certain public figures whose once stellar reputations have been ruined as their own deception comes home to roost. Those who have abused their position or power to exploit, extort, or physically abuse another, will be exposed by Pluto’s laser like vision. As a nation, comprised of not-so-perfect individuals, we need to realize that we have the power to help or hinder our evolutionary process. The more each of us does the shadow work the easier things will be for the collective. Living in denial won’t liberate us from fear; it will only make fear loom larger as Pluto approaches its point of return.
Remember, too, that North Node in Leo has the ability to achieve the highest vision we hold for America, even if right now, we can’t seem to agree on what that might look like. Leo’s natural ruler is the Sun, which brings us to America’s Sun in the sign of Cancer.
The Sun and Moon
With the Sun in Cancer, symbolized by the Crab, we have a creature that quickly retreats into its shell when it feels threatened. Its protective shell serves a purpose, however, and the Cancerian archetype will defend itself and its home with fierce intensity. The secure Cancerian expression is that of caretaker, providing a safe haven and home for others. Given recent debates on whether or not to build a wall where our borders are exposed, we can certainly see how the Cancerian signature is playing out in the political arena. The natural ruler for Cancer is the Moon, and where we find our Moon is in the sign of Aquarius – same as the South Node – but 27° instead of 6°.
The significance of the Moon and South Node sharing the same sign is that we, as a nation, are coming full circle in our journey. The Sun rules our present, conscious will and purpose. In any other sign, it would have a different ruler. But in the sign of Cancer, it is “informed by the Moon”. The Moon happens to be in the same sign as the South Node and, therefore, heralds an evolutionary journey that requires us to “do” and “view” our past with a new perspective. Obviously, we cannot go back and relive history. What we can do is look at it through a different lens that allows us to reconcile the past with our current situation so that we do not repeat the same mistakes.
In this case, Leo (trust in life), informed by the Sun in Cancer (nurturer/protector), sitting in the 8th house (discovering what’s hidden), suggests that by letting go of our fears, we can empower others and share resources with them (positive 8th house activities).
We also need to consider how we may “do” the South Node differently this time around. To emphasize this point, we look at the dispositors of Saturn and Uranus and where they sit in the chart. Saturn is in Libra, disposited byVenus; Uranus is in Gemini, disposited by Mercury. Both Venus and Mercury are in the sign of Cancer, same as the Sun, placing even more emphasis on the Cancerian archetype of the compassionate nurturer. And where does Cancer lead us? Back to the Moon – in Aquarius. Whereas the negative side of Aquarius (experienced through the S.N.) is a rebel for the sole sake of being a rebel, and quite able to detach from emotional bonding; the positive side of Aquarius is the humanitarian who – to use Steven Forrest’s words – values, and fights for, diversity of all life.
But there’s another important distinction to be made with the placement of these South Node rulers. Venus, ruler of Libra, sits in the 7th house – its natural domain. The Libran desire is to balance the scales of justice between two seemingly opposing segments of society. Mercury, ruler of Gemini, where the 6th house Uranus indicated inequality and duality, we find sitting in the 8th house. This would suggest a need to face our own Plutonian past, not only the abuse of Africans forced into slavery, but that of the Native Americans as well. And certainly, any and all authority figures throughout USA history whose abuse of power exploited or extorted others in any way for personal gain. By doing the shadow work, and relinquishing any and all fear associated with it, we stand a much better chance of navigating Pluto’s return.
Last, but not least, we have our chart ruler, Jupiter. Jupiter rules the sign of Sagittarius, the sign on the Ascendant. And Jupiter has, historically, brought us a great deal of luck. We have to admit, compared to other countries we have been incredibly fortunate where invasion, warring and bombing are concerned. The violence we experience is within the homeland against our own people. And this, too, reveals the karmic imbalance crying out for resolution. Jupiter is conjunct Venus – both in the sign of Cancer – and both in the 7th house where equality and justice are the themes. Jupiter is the planet of sheer faith. Venus is the planet of love, beauty, harmony, and justice. Together, they represent the dream team of the zodiac where beneficence and grace are concerned.
Nodal Axis Shift – Opportunity Knocking
One final word about the Nodes, and current transits. With the Full Moon in Scorpio on May 10, 2017 the transiting nodes will shift from Virgo-Pisces to Leo-Aquarius. Just after the New Moon in Gemini on May 25, 2017, the transiting South Node will conjunct our natal Moon at 27° Aquarius (the nodes move in retrograde – backwards from 30-0° in the signs). By June of 2018, the North Node will have returned to its natal position in the USA chart at 6°.
This is highly significant. The nodal axis shift into these signs is a potent time to face our karmic past and transform patterns that no longer serve North Node fulfillment, providing us with an opportunity to pave the way for Pluto’s return in 2022. Will it be easy? Nothing of lasting value is ever easy. But we can support this process by doing our own individual work – helping instead of hindering the collective result. By neutralizing our own hidden triggers (those landmines buried deep within our psyche), we can help our nation become far less trigger-happy. We can do this America. We can face our past, envision our best future, and learn how to trust again – in our own – and in life’s – inherent goodness.
- Forrest, Steven. “The USA Chart: Ripening Karma.” Audio. Recorded in Borrego Springs, CA, December 2, 2016.