"It is not our heads or our bodies which we must bring together, but our hearts. Humanity. . . will find its heart, without which the ultimate wholeness of its power…can never be achieved." Teilhard de Chardin
“Way down yonder in New Orleans, in the land of the dreamy dreams”, the wind roared and the waters poured. When the levees failed mothers and children with no Chevys to drive waded in the toxic waters while Americans everywhere, glued to their TV screens, said bye bye to this multi-cultural Louisiana, crawfish pie. Our president “the man we should admire most” took the last plane for the Coast; where he fiddled Nero-style with a guitar presented to him by country singer Mark Wills. “Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh. Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou”. “Me oh, my oh.” In the “Big Easy”, the jazz bars on Bourbon Street in the famous French Quarter played host to a 365 day a year party. Then, one day, the music died.
Waking from the Dream
On August 29th, 2005, following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans morphed from the land of dreamy dreams into a full- blown national nightmare. Dreams, like poetry (and song lyrics) speak to us in the symbolic language of metaphor, dredging up shadow material from the unconscious mind. Interpreting dreams can be challenging and at times critically important; just as Pharaoh’s dream foretold a future crisis in the kingdom. What critical message is our collective dreamtime trying to send us? In this Saturn in Leo time, is there a crisis in the kingdom? Are we living in an illusion from which we need to awaken? Nightmares have a way of jolting us awake, unless we don’t realize we are asleep.
Through the Looking Glass
Astrology, too, is a language of symbol and metaphor. As such, it can provide an important lens for interpreting dreams as well as for analyzing events in the so-called ‘real’ world. Astrological correspondences enable one to decipher messages in dream content and to identify fingerprints at a “crime scene”, like a terrorist attack or natural disaster. The outer planets speak to our collective experience, so they are ones to watch in times of large scale events. At the center of this latest storm, realities on the ground were aptly reflected in the cosmic looking glass. Chief suspect, Uranus (ruler of hurricanes) in watery Pisces (ruler of oceans) is the one with the itchy trigger finger. Since Uranus’ ingress into Pisces in 2004, water related disasters have increased in number, scope and intensity. (For more about this see Water World: Deluge of the Dragon God. Neptune, in mutual reception, is his accomplice. It falls on Neptune to dispel the fog of illusion that clouds our vision. These planetary partners are churning up the waters to bring to the fore issues that require change. Saturn, meanwhile, having just entered the sign of Leo a scant six weeks earlier, wasted no time in advancing his latest agenda—lessons about pride, power and privilege, and also about courage and generosity. Katrina was a localized event with national significance. The major themes echo throughout the event chart cast for her landfall, as well as in a bi-wheel of transits to the United States’ chart.
Degrees of Separation
Synchronicities between planetary positions and real world occurrences go far in dispelling the myth subscribed to by most observers that natural disasters are arbitrary or capricious events. In fact, these synchronicities manifest an even larger truth—that we co-create these events in order to raise consciousness and change behavior. A case in point is the prevailing inconjunct aspect between Saturn in Leo and Uranus in Pisces, concurrent with the arrival of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The inconjunct, at 150 degrees of separation, is an “almost but not quite there” aspect, similar to the gibbous phase just before the Full Moon. It is a time when the legacies of past mistakes and unaddressed problems come back to haunt—like stepping on the rake that’s been left lying in the grass. Anyone who watched news coverage of Katrina can quote chapter and verse on half a dozen or more such dormant and/or festering issues. Resolution of an inconjunction always requires a course correction, an adjustment of past attitudes and the implementation of creative new solutions.
The Lion Sleeps No More
When Saturn entered Leo (July 16, 2005), this author created a “watch list” of leonine potentialities. (See When Destiny Calls) Two prime candidates were an escalating crisis in leadership, and a growing inequity of wealth and privilege amid increasing poverty. Quid erat demonstratum! In Katrina’s wake, no one could have missed the failed leadership at every level in this national emergency. An almost endless stream of media analysis targeted government unresponsiveness, incompetence, lack of preparedness and foresight. Webster’s dictionary defines “gulf” as “any wide separation, as in position, status or education”. This Gulf hurricane whipped up unresolved issues of inequities between races and classes and anchored them in the collective consciousness. Expressed in the inconjunction, aristocratic Leo represents the privileged, while underdog Pisces stands for the underclass and the black race. In Katrina’s chart, a stellium of planets in Libra (fairness), including the South Node (legacies of the past) located in the second house (money) indicates that problems are deeply rooted and largely economic. This same stellium, conjunct the United States’ natal Saturn (government responsibility) in Libra, lobbies for greater balance. With Neptune also trine the U.S. Saturn, Americans are waking up from the illusion that our democracy (Aquarius) is delivering on the promise of liberty and justice for all.
The chart ascendant, at zero degrees of Virgo, is this event’s “ground zero”, an echo of September 11th, the anniversary of which occurred shortly after the hurricane. Virgo rising also designates rulership of the chart to Mercury, transiting in the sign of Leo and sharing space with Saturn in the Twelfth House. This house is the domain of disowned and unacknowledged shadow material—anything shoved under the rug. Saturn’s mission there is to reveal America to itself—to shine a light into the dark recesses and flush out the hidden enemies within. Cohort Mercury, the cosmic errand boy, then spreads the word. Even Moses had a mouthpiece and Mercury provided Saturn with a prophetic voice. The media were the messengers. Corporate owned mainstream news outlets did an uncharacteristically credible job of investigative reporting. Anna Quindlen was moved to remark in her op ed column in Newsweek (Sep 19), “The press rose to the occasion, awakened out of its recent somnambulant state, galvanized into empathy and rage.” This development is certainly in lock step with our waking from the dream theme.
A River Runs Through It
Many environmental issues were also flushed out of the closet, assisted by the mutual reception of Neptune and Uranus and aided by Pluto in Sagittarius (untamed nature) making a stressful square to the U.S. natal Neptune in the Ninth House. Oil is Neptune’s domain and that industry was another target of the Gulf storms. In Katrina’s wake, oil spills fouled the waters, along with toxic waste. Refineries went offline sending gas prices soaring and creating renewed awareness of the vulnerabilities created by our dependence on oil. New Orleans, a city built below sea level is inherently susceptible to flooding. A barrier of fragile wetlands was filled in for commercial development and taming of the Mighty Mississippi prevented normal deposits of silt, allowing the city to sink. Katrina and Rita’s sister act drew national attention to these issues. This country is currently in the crosshairs of a Uranus square, an aspect of tension and conflict broadcasting a clear message to change course or face the consequences. Global warming, alternative energy and responsible environmental policies are on the table, along with social reform.
Winning America’s Hearts and Minds
America’s chart has an Aquarian moon; it represents the people, a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic mix. If America is to fulfill its mission as an Aquarian society--democratic, egalitarian and humanitarian, the American people must rise to the occasion. We have had a rude awakening and the interior of our heartspace has been altered by a river of tears. Leo’s domain is the heart—and the children. Especially gripping were reports of hundreds of missing and/or orphaned children. These, and other so-called “victims”, are the karmic soul team assigned the duty of opening hearts. Even first responders, including the chief of police and members of the NOPD, were so overcome by emotion that they accepted counseling from Dr. Phil-- an act of courage for this traditionally macho group. The upside of Leo is courage and generosity. Stories of both abound. Money was contributed in record amounts by Americans across the board. Offers of foreign aid, however, were turned away. “Pride (a downside of Leo) goeth before the fall.”
The New American Diaspora
Engulfed by floodwaters, the mighty river delta exported some of its most precious cargo, its people, to destinations all over America. The evacuees, now scattered in locations across all fifty states, are Aquarian emissaries. They will keep Katrina’s legacy alive in our national consciousness. Their presence creates countless opportunities for communities to come together and to support their fellow citizens. This is a time when we can bring our hearts together and experience the wholeness of our power (as expressed in the opening quotation). The survivors have put a face on problems that are deep and systemic. The necessary social, political and environmental reforms will require long term commitments. The new American dream must be a lucid dream, accessible to all Americans, and every citizen can contribute something to building it. We can change driving habits, walk, ride a bike, plant a tree. Challenge ourselves—get beyond our own materialism, greed and self absorption. Rescue animals, visit a nursing home, volunteer in the community, start a non-profit organization, advocate for the poor or the elderly, become a political activist. Now is the time, especially for the Pluto in Leo “me” generation, (see “When Destiny Calls) to embrace the Aquarian social consciousness that is America’s destiny. Everyone can make a difference if we “just do it”. Uncle Sam wants YOU!