The Year 2008

In Chinese astrology, Feb 7, 2008 begins the year of the Rat, which is the first animal in the cycle of twelve. Even if you don’t know where to begin, it’s a year to network. Meeting people and sharing ideas is a terrific way to strike the kindling of your sleeping impulses and ignite the excitement of the new.

In Western Astrology we are aware that Pluto, the newly assigned “dwarf planet” will enter the sign of Capricorn (first time 1/25/08). It is significant that Pluto was “demoted” during this last pass of Pluto in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is linked to the search for truth and justice, at times blind-sighted by the quest for the high ideal. In this telling quote from The NY Times:

“Some people think that the astronomers will look stupid if we can’t agree on a definition or if we don’t even know what a planet is,” said Dr. Pasachoff of Williams College. “But someone pointed out that this definition will hold for all time and that it is more important to get it right.”

Therefore Pluto has been reclassified, to stop astronomers from having to name bodies larger than Pluto, planets (like Eris and Ceres).

From an astrologer’s perspective, this only intensifies Pluto’s symbolism of transformer and gatekeeper of profound life changes. Astrologers look to when a heavenly body was first discovered to determine its symbolic root in our consciousness. One could say Spirit is giving us an opportunity for greater awareness.

In 1930 when Pluto was first discovered, Micky Mouse also made his first cartoon appearance (and in ’31 his dog, Pluto). Psychoanalysis was gaining credibility in a way that has changed human relations and relation to the Self. In 1930 Jung first made public use of his concept “synchronicity” when discussing the I Ching.

Yes, there is a parallel here between Disney and CG Jung. Both worked with symbols and understood their power, although for different goals. Jung interpreted them to enable greater consciousness; Disney transformed fairy tales into marketable imagery that ideally encouraged good values (and made a profit!). There is no denying the tremendous impact both manipulations of symbols have had on our societal development.

When Pluto was discovered it was in the sign of Cancer (home, roots). Disney eventually became known as a grandfather of family values. Freud and Jung stemmed one’s psychological development or impediment from the roots of nurturing and sexual drive. During Pluto’s stint in Sagittarius (higher education, religion, travel, excess, physical endeavors) it’s been interesting to note that “coaching” has overrun traditional therapy and one of Disney’s shining stars is Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), a Sadge. We can be sure Disney’s corporate hawks will watch her when Pluto goes into Capricorn to ensure she doesn’t go the fate of Linsey Lohan.

Disney’s Vanessa Hudgens (one of the luminaries of “High School Musical”) is also a Sadge but has suffered from her reputed spontaneity of shooting nude photos of herself via a mobile phone to her boyfriend. Because she is an icon for tween kids, this may also be a lesson for them that technology is cool but you still have to watch your back; you never know what can end up on-line. Why you might wonder, am I so interested in young celebrities? Because by the time you exhale, the children influenced by them will be impacting the world. Walt Disney knew that and yes, he too was a Sagittarius. He didn’t live to have Pluto on his Sun by transit, but his legacy has.

Other occurrences in 1930 that let us know Pluto’s significance: Gandhi began the art of civil disobedience (through will power, one person can change the world). While Ghandi fasted, the first frozen foods created by Birdseye were introduced (which would lead to transforming how women prepared food for their families). Pluto suggests the areas of our lives where we shapeshift (birth, death, mergers) and our relationship to ourselves, psychologically and sexually. The first male to female sex reassignment surgery was recorded in Denmark in1930. Atomic nuclear transformations were being explored and Hitler, who undeniably changed the western world (although not in the way he’d intended), was planning his strategy to seize power, which he did by 1933.

So call Pluto a “dwarf planet” if you will; it’s label does not diminish its impact, only strengthens the message to not overlook the seemingly small or secretive occurrences. It’s also perfect in a way because our action-obsessed culture tends to minimize the importance of the unconscious. Yet by changing its label it does not decrease our awareness of it. If anything, it has become larger as we struggle to redefine it. A perfect analogy for grappling with our unconscious.

Pluto in Sagittarius, which went on from 1995 and will cycle back into 2008 from 6/13 through 11/26, will be remembered best for its symbolic connection to transformation through organized religion. “God’s will” in the end has nothing to do with God and everything to do with the illusion of one religion’s supremacy over another’s.

As Pluto moves into Capricorn, some astrologers suggest the neo-religion will be striving for corporate dominance. It seems to me that corporations have dominated business for some time, so I imagine the changes to be internal. How a corporation works or doesn’t work will churn and bubble to reinvent itself. As Pluto leaves Sagittarius we see indications in the academic world with Harvard’s decision to fund tuition for its middle-class students. Universities will have to re-think excesses in spending and streamline to compete and attract students with their bottom-line, not their state-of-the-art gym-spa.

Capricorn is an earth sign and our planet will be center stage during this period, through 2023! Pluto in Capricorn is about endurance. In 2012 it will mark the end of the Mayan calendar, which happened to begin when Pluto was in Capricorn (a conjunction with the winter Solstice, obviously long before its discovery). The Shanghai World Financial Center in Singapore is slated to be finished in 2008, signifying the baton switch from West to East for financial power. As Asian nations become more solvent, their attitude towards their air and water is changing; wealth increases quality of life and no amount of shoes or technology matters when a carrot doesn’t taste like a carrot.

The United States natal Pluto is in late Capricorn and the next several years will determine how we will be poised for our reassessment of our revolutionary roots in 2022. When I was researching other countries that have had Pluto returns (every 248 years) I realized a difficulty. Most countries have gone through major political restructuring changes, so the way their government body functions seldom lasts that long. Even though the US is a relatively young country compared to Europeans, the US government structure has lasted longer than most.

The UK as it exists now did have a Pluto return in 1953 when a huge storm flooded a great deal of the country and took hundreds of lives. Communication went down so areas that could have been warned were not. Docklands, oil refineries, factories, cement works, gasworks and electricity generating stations were flooded and brought to a standstill. It is recorded on the BBC site that the environment secretary said: “The devastating floods of 1953 were a “once-in-250 year event” (which is the orbit of Pluto around the Sun- did she know astrology?). The other major event for the UK that year was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

For an idividual a Pluto transit characteristic is the sense that you must surrender all illusion of control. That’s why the less conscious a person is of how things in their life must change, the more devastating the transit can be. In time ideally one has the sense of the phoenix rising from the ashes as life gets on another track. When a country experiences a Pluto transit, it will effect its financial or political power. Whether or not this happens through catastrophes depends on its awareness of the need for real change.

Although the US has over a decade before Pluto will return, it would behoove our government to guide corporations and planners to buttress vulnerable areas of the coastline and create environmentally secure developments. The east coast of Britain has always been at risk of coastal flooding, and there are many tenuous areas in the US. Using the cautious and deliberate symbolism of Capricorn can benefit development if it takes into account the real concerns of environmental planning. The danger in Capricorn’s symbolism can be when gain and greed become more important than responsibility.

This coming US election will determine the President who leads in the beginning years of Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto is “Shadow” energy and the sign it’s in shows us what area of life we’re looking to become conscious. In Capricorn, it’s the trappings of status, the reverence of the corporate enterprise, and our real estate system. To reiterate the importance of new beginnings and clear-eyed planning, this election more than ever speaks of a need to cast off the old. The days up until noon on January 11th are power days for getting things done. Wrap things up through the 7th and begin those new projects with the New Moon in Capricorn on the 8th. We’ve entered the New Year with Mars in Retrograde so you may not feel off to a roaring start with your resolutions. Although it goes direct on 1/29 you may still feel its reticence as it backtracks through April 4. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy a car or change jobs but be aware any act that has a forward motion will ask for some re-thinking if initiated at this time. The major campaigning within the parties takes place during this time, and for you who follow the Mercury retrogrades, consider this:

  • 1/28-2/18 Mercury retrograde in Aquarius
  • 5/26-6/19 Mercury retrograde in Gemini
  • 9/23-10/15 Mercury retrograde in Libra

These are all air signs so the emphasis on data, computer, and conversation is very high. Back up your files and double-check appointments. Fortunately the US election won’t take place during a retrograde so voting booth mishaps will be kept to a minimum.

2008 has Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn as well (through 1/5/09). Even though this is a bit like the two heads of Janus (one part looking dolefully at the past- Capricorn, the other bounding forward into opportunity- Jupiter) it can provide a balanced approach to progress. If you have a lot of Capricorn in your horoscope, you may feel or experience tremendous swings in advancement and upheavals this year. The best course, regardless of your sign, is to try to serve both impulses: the one that counsels responsibility and caution and the one that screams: “go for it!” You must appease both with Jupiter in Cap, or you will find yourself stagnating or depressed.

The other factor to consider is Saturn in Virgo, where it’s been since early Sept 07 and will be through 10/29/09. Saturn is comfortable in earth-based Virgo, demanding attention to details and shoulder to the wheel. Depending where Virgo falls in your personal horoscope, shows the area of life calling the most responsibility from you now. For some of us this can be a time that calls up a lot of fears or requires a lot of our time. Universally it calls attention to matters of health, work (BIG discussions in the coming US election) and routines. You will benefit from modifying your diet and exercise program at this time and putting in place a work routine that fits in your life. A great New Year’s resolution is to Get Organized! The outer energies support you in this endeavor, no matter how foreign it is to your MO.

We are continuing to experience the mirroring transits of Neptune in Aquarius and Uranus in Pisces (both in one another’s natural signs). With the former the spiritual becomes almost a science- the movie The Secret draws the parallels of manifestation and intention to Quantum Physics. The latter encourages science and individual thought to explore the numinous. This has been at odds with Pluto in Sagittarius; we’ve seen the schism between fundamental religion and individuals creating their own rituals and spirituality. Now that Pluto is moving into Capricorn, the demands may be greater on commitment to a spiritual path and religions may develop more of a corporate feel than a non-questioning zeal. The reciprocal dance between Uranus and Neptune bodes well for scientific and grass-roots push for cleaner water and re-evaluating how we harness and re-direct our water supply.

People have been referring to the Age of Aquarius since “Hair” sang it loud. This comes from the Great Zodiacal Clock which spans about 26,000 years. It refers to the time it takes our planet’s equatorial plane to regress one full cycle along the solar plane (ecliptic). The zodiacal ages vary in length due to our Earth’s wobble on its axis. We are presently living in The Age of Pisces, one of the shortest ages, which began in 26 AD and will end in 2012 AD, yes at the end of the Mayan calendar.

While the crossover from one age to the next can take hundreds of years, the critical midpoint between the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius is December 21st, 2012 AD.

Each Age has a theme, and the theme of the Age of Pisces is Christianity. It began with the spread of the teachings of a man who encouraged turning the other cheek. If Christ were alive today, would he find a home in any church that reveres him, or would he be overturning tables and confronting those in charge? It’s no mistake that as we go through the last pass of the Age of Pisces we are leaving Pluto in Sagittarius. Our lessons have been in dealing with the ramifications of polarization through religion. The theme of the coming Age of Aquarius is said to be truth and brotherhood. The US president will be at the end of her/his first term. Suffice to say, if you are able to vote in the US but were usually not a person who does, 2008 would be the election to register for change.
Happy New Year! I will be publishing more about the candidates in the next couple of weeks.

┬ęcopyright 2007 Pamela Cucinell All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher.