Our national journey through the Underworld

In the recesses of my memory is a snippet from a long-ago history class on the life cycles of nations. According to some pundit, the average ’empire’  lasts about 250 years. In today’s world, it takes only moments to put the words “250 year cycle of nations” into a search query box and find the reference: an essay by Sir John Glubb titled “The Fate of Empires and the Search for Survival” lays out the evidence of ’empires’ rising and falling within a consistent span of 250 year, give or take.

Enter Pluto, planet of ‘death and rebirth’. This small, cold, distant planet/non-planet (still controversial in some circles) has an orbit of just under 250 years. Since its discovery in 1930, it has taken on an outsized role in astrology, proving itself over and over to be a force of shadows, power, death and rebirth. The atomic bomb was created in the same time period. The crisis and contraction of the last two years was kicked off by a conjunction of Pluto and Saturn (contraction and limitation), with Jupiter (expansion and exaggeration) in close proximity. By the way, this triple conjunction in the sign of Capricorn had last occurred in the year 1284 – just prior to the advent of the Plague.

On Tuesday, 2/22/2022, the United States had the first exact (by most measures) return of Pluto to its place in the sky at our birth. The exact return occurs again in July and, for the third and last time at the end of December of this year. However, we have been living Pluto’s process of excavating dark and shadowy places for a couple of years now. The ultimate end game of a Plutonian journey is  bringing to consciousness the wise use of power, and the differentiation between power (love in action)  and control (fear in action).  There is no guarantee our country will actually move forward with a higher degree of consciousness, of course. But each of us gets to make that choice for ourselves, and every effort matters.

Having just completed my own dance with Pluto as it crossed over my natal Sun through the past several years, I know at a deep and personal level the terror of relinquishing the illusion of control. Our collective Pluto return has perfectly illuminated the tendency to double down on control in times of challenge.

Another cycle I have been tracking through the podcast is that of Venus. This particular 19 month cycle of Venus began in mid-January with Venus’ retrograde conjunction to the Sun and subsequent rise above the horizon as a morning ‘star’. What makes this Venus journey more significant in this moment is that it is heavily flavored with Pluto’s energy. Venus has met up with Pluto twice in recent months, and will do so again on March 3rd at the time of the Pisces New Moon. As Venus is on her way into the Underworld, and Pluto is the guardian of the Underworld, those themes of descending into the shadows to reclaim something essential are even more relevant this year. [You can listen to the podcast episode on Venus as the Goddess Inanna in ancient mythology, or get my class on Venus for more depth.]

Learning to see our lives as cyclical rather than linear is part of reclaiming our natural wisdom. We don’t expand forever, getting ever healthier, wealthier, stronger, smarter, or more anything. Neither do we shrink forever. I know I’m not the only one who has a hard time seeing the light ahead when I’m in darkness; or believes in ‘happy ever after’ when things seem easy. Understanding where I am at the moment in a Pluto or Saturn or Venus cycle helps me to cooperate with their rhythms, just as I cooperate with the daily and seasonal movements of the Sun.

The Pluto return will pass, and Venus will rise out of the Underworld bringing with them a rebirth of some kind for our country over the next few years. Understanding the events of our country – and of our individual lives – as part of these larger natural cycles helps us to find a sense of trust in the greater intelligence of the natural world. Winter may be cold and dark, but spring comes. Pluto may expose our dark places, but only then can we make different choices. Our ancestors have been here before in some way, and by understanding the underlying forces at play we can make more conscious choices on how we respond.

In Saturday’s episode of The Natural Wisdom Podcast, I’ll talk more about this cyclical nature of life and the natural wisdom of cooperating. 

I’d love to hear how it’s going for you, and how these cosmic cycles show up in your life.

Reference: http://people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/glubb.pdf 

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