by Lynn Bell
first Published by Well Being Magazine 2018 Australia
In 2018 Uranus will enter Taurus for the first time in 84 years. Uranus is linked to the sky, Taurus is fixed earth, and as Uranus enters this sign, the electricity of the heavens reaches deeply into earth element. Earth resists, Uranus shocks. The pulse of the unfamiliar sets stones dancing, it can bring the inert back to life, or send cracks jolting through our foundations. Taurus is a sign or rooting and grounding, it helps us feel at home in our bodies, and in our lives. With Uranus in this sign, well-being may come to mean something different than it did in the past.
Uranus brings the energy of the new, the unexpected. Earth is steady, reliable, sensible and practical.We could say there is an inherent misfit between the sign and the planet. In the old myths Uranus the god of sky, was filled with overwhelming desire for Gaia, the earth. He came to her over and over, their love stretched over eons. And yet they did not understand each other. What came from their lovemaking were cyclops, and hundred handed giants, as well as the race of Titans. Uranus found them unworthy and refused to let them emerge from Gaia’s womb. This became unbearable for her, until her desire turned to resentment, and finally Gaia asked one of her children to act, to rise up against tyranny. And Saturn (Chronos) did, castrating his father as he came to mate with her. This cycle creates stand-offs between opposing desires, and often enough brings clashes on the larger world stage.
Uranus in Taurus 1683-1690: What’s Yours is Mine
Uranus takes 84 years to move through the twelve signs of the zodiac, spending seven years in each sign. from 1683 to 1690, with Uranus in Taurus, the British Crown tried to impose control over it’s new North American colonies, to shape them to their own vision and will. King James II replaced the original charters with acts of Dominion, which rescinded liberties, took away common lands, and imposed taxes on all imports. Local legislators were disbanded, and all law came from the king or his governor. The colonists responded with resentment, refusal and rebellion. Land titles were rebuked and returned to the Crown to be redistribution to allies and cronies. The Governor went so far as to demand the keys to the Puritan church and hold Church of England services there. When the Glorious Revolution occurred in Britain, the colonists seized the moment and chased the Governor from its territories. Taurus is perhaps the most territorial of signs, and wakes up issues of ownership, land, and self governance. Interestedly enough, the end of this cycle brought the drafting of the Bill of Rights in England, limiting the power of the monarch and guaranteeing certain individual liberties.These rights were not however granted to the colonies and this was to become paramount in the next cycle.
Uranus in Taurus 1767-1775: Rising up against Tyranny
From 1767 to 1775, with Uranus again in Taurus, after a long period of benign neglect, England again tried to raise heavy taxes on the colonies. Colonists were not granted the right to representation while the Crown insisted they pay for numerous troops stationed on their soil.The British military were often forceful and unjust, and ideas around autonomy, freedom and self governance had been building for some time. While some duties were withdrawn, tensions would continue to build over taxes, particularly on tea, and break out into a full fledged revolution once Uranus entered Gemini. Taurus defends it’s right to property, happiness , and self determination. Just as in the story of Gaia and Uranus too much control led to a permanent cut with the powers above. As Benjamin Franklin wrote in a bill of rights for Colonists prior to the war, “The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property, without his consent in person or by his representative.”
Uranus in Taurus 1850-1858: The Fruitful Marriage
There is fascination, attraction, resistance and upheaval when Uranus comes to Taurus. When the cycle works well something of wonder emerges from the earth, it brings a quickening in the material world. In the Victorian period, Uranus in Taurus harnessed matter and productivity, through the power of the machine. It helped bring the modern world into being. Population flowed from the land to the cities, and the cities rose and grew powerful. Uranus in this cycle, 1851 to 1858, found expression through architecture and engineering to shape and master the earth element. A rare triple conjunction of Uranus Saturn and Pluto in Taurus points to this era as a foundational time. The conjunction in Taurus came with a mythic sense of progress and accomplishment. It was a time of building, of laying foundations, particularly in the UK. At this time the genius of Uranus flowered, the marriage between heaven and earth was fruitful, and large swathes of population left the land to move to the cities.There was a rare triple conjunction of three slow-moving planets; Saturn Pluto and Uranus, with all three arriving in Taurus between April and June of 1851.
On the other side of the globe 1851 was the year the diggers came to Australia, pulled by the lure of gold. They were seized with a feverish desire for the treasures of the earth, the desire to find their fortune. Australia and it’s land became valuable, desirable. In Taurus, one person’s value comes up against those of another, and the hunger for gold must have had less happy consequences for the original inhabitants of the land. Something similar happened in the US, as settlers expanded westward. At the same time tensions grew between those who held slaves, who owned and used others as less than human, and those who believed in freedom. Uranus is often indifferent to the concerns of others, caught up in it’s own truth, and neither the planet or the sign finds it easy to be nuanced. It can lead to unyielding conflict over what it means to be human. When it does, conflict tends to build with neither side backing down. These irreconcilable differences led to The American Civil War, once again when Uranus entered the next sign, Gemini. At the same time, many lasting institutions, libraries, colleges, and banks, came into being during this passage. The themes of ownership, mineral wealth, and territory, are all central to Taurus.
Uranus in Taurus 2018-2026: The Earth Cries Out
Taurus is about connection to place. During the seven years Uranus spends in the sign our familiar places may begin to look and feel very different. Each of us will be asked to look at how we accept change, and how quickly we can accommodate the new in areas that had seemed permanent. Uranus here calls for creative solutions to our relationship with the earth,the land, to building. It’s easy to imagine the instability of the earth itself under the mounting pressure from climate change. Hurricanes and ice melt, unpredictable weather patterns, rising temperatures, unbreathable air, dying coral reefs, may only be precursors for greater upheaval. Our imaginations have been creating disaster scenarios for a long time from “Mad Max” to “On the Beach” We will be called to find solutions to the environmental instability that is sure to increase during this next cycle, 2018 to 2026
The new American government has opened federal lands to corporate exploitation, and hobbled environmental protections. The resulting upheaval could fragment people even more, and battle lines are being drawn long before Uranus enters the sign. Without enlightened stewardship, tension is inevitable. As we have seen in the previous examples, a top down approach often wakes up maximum resistance. Australia will be affected by similar issues. It will have it’s moment of heightened awareness as Uranus returns to its position at the country’s time of initial expansion. The same three planets that were together in 1851 will form a tense, problematic relationship in 2020. Crises around population, construction and land use will need to be met with enlightened creativity.
Taurus is a sensual sign connected to the body and its deep delight in the world around us. It likes to own what it loves, to make the connection permanent. The love of the world, linked to the pleasures of taste, touch, and smell, can turn to greed, to money, to dominance, to a longing for things, and a need for acquisition. People can also be treated as if they are possessions, as if they exist only for personal pleasure and self gratification. Children and lovers, employers and customers can lose their independent existence in a Taurean world. Uranus encourages individual freedom and will try to break any pattern of dominance in individual relationships, as well as in the world at large. Although it is rare, the original myth shows us that Uranus can be the signature of a tyrant, often in the form of a principle or ideology that lacks sensitivity to others. During this time Uranus can increase the tyrannical impulse, where one person imposes their desires on another, As we have seen, this leads to resistance and often, overthrow.
Uranus in Taurus 1934-1942: Heaven at War with Earth
Uranus was last in Taurus from 1934 to 1942,a period which covers the rise of Hitler and the first half of World War II. Hitler’s Taurus Sun was energized by Uranus soon after he come to power in Germany. In the original Gaia myth Uranus finds the children of the earth abhorrent, and we can see the Reich’s rejection of otherness in light of this myth. In this extreme version, Jews and Slavs, homosexuals and the handicapped, and other ‘aberrations of nature” needed to be eliminated in order to bring back racial purity. The same was true for deviant art and ideas. An inhuman vision seized the world, and the result was massive loss of life, destruction and war.
It is hard to imagine the privations of hunger and displacement, the insecurity of war. Many countries in Europe were occupied, controlled by the enemy who seized their food and essential goods. In occupied France, men were sent to labor camps, separated from their families for many years. The Jewish population of Europe were first confined to ghettoes, forbidden to practice their professions, then had belongings confiscated by the state. They were decimated in the camps, and even the gold in their teeth was extracted for Hitler’s war machine, in a bizarre echo of the gold rush in the preceding cycle, At its worst, Taurus takes what it wants with no consideration of others.
As the war went on, The action of Uranus in Taurus was increasinglycontre nature,against nature, against Gaia. Food was rationed throughout war-torn countries, with massive starvation in the Soviet Union, in Poland, in China.There was great deprivation in occupied Poland, where the Nazis were slowly starving the population to death. While German settlers were given rations of 2,613 calories (11,000 kJ) per day, Poles received 699 and Jews in the ghetto 184. The Jewish ration fulfilled just 7.5% of their daily needs; Polish rations only 26%. This attack on sustenance, on the ability to sustain life, was an extreme, intentionally engineered policy that led to the deaths of millions. All over the war-torn or occupied territories individuals lacked gas, heat, water and light, as well as food.
The war drove people to seek refuge under the earth. In England they sheltered in underground stations during the Blitz, and Churchill built a secret War Room to shelter the government from Hitler’s bombs. The french resistance used an elaborate underground system of catacombs and Hitler sheltered in bunkers. Uranus, the sky turned against the earth, with the bombing destroying centre-old churches, buildings, entire cities and ports. Human ingenuity turned destructive, as it always does in war.
WWII: The Mother of Invention
Many lives were saved during the war by the discovery of DDT, especially for troops fighting in the Pacific, It’s discovery ushered in a ‘golden age’ of chemical invention and control of Nature. The chemical fertilizers and herbicides all came into being starting from the last passage of Uranus in Taurus. The ingenuity of war was also channelled into new ways of preserving food. Nescafe was first produced in 1938. Frozen orange juice and vegetables were developed by the American military. For a time these were seen as much vaunted improvements on nature, until we began to realize the consequences.
A more earth centered consciousness came out of the 60’s, animated by the very first images of the earth sent from space , the picture of our planet as a whole, as a living breathing Gaia. At the beginning of that decade, awareness of pollution, of damage to the planet, came from Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.’ Uranus was in earth then too, in Virgo, making a powerful conjunction to Pluto. In many ways the seeds planted then will come into full flower as Uranus begins to trine its placement from that decade. Organics and food consciousness have grown mainstream and are an integral part of the way many of us live, perhaps signs that we are beginning to rethink our relationship to nature.
Rethinking the Material World
But Uranus in Taurus, doesn’t always work in the same way from one cycle to the next. In many ways the essence of Uranus is opening, change, and reversal. The presence of both Saturn and Pluto helped tomaterializethe conjunction in the 19th century. What will happen in this coming cycle? We can see elements of many of the preceding cycles as we prepare to enter the next. Tyrannical rulership has increased in number of key countries, and the distribution of wealth and resources has become more and more uneven, with the wealth of 1% of the population equal to that of the other 99%. Taurus can be about taking, about making sure we have what serves our pleasure, without regard for others. The raw materials and resources taken from far away lands, sovereignty seized, lives used up on cheap labor or servitude, stoked the British Empire in the 19th century. The economic model of taking for profit, of using and discarding, is still dominant in much of the world. Corporations have increased their power over individuals. If these forces prevail in the coming cycle, we may be looking at a new serfdom.
China is one nation confronted with a shift in values. After sacrificing the land to fuel economic consumption, it is dealing with poisoned air, and immense, polluted cities. Can China develop a new model in harmony with the land? For China the last two passages of Uranus in Taurus were wildly disruptive, a time of tearing asunder. In 1850 major 14 year rebellion arose, cities were seized, wide swathes of territory affected, the wars disrupted the lives of millions and led to waves of displacement and death. In the next cycle, leading up to WWII, Japan invaded China and stayed until the end of the war. The occupation was particularly harsh, with the Japanese forces deploying both chemical and bacteriological weapons. Women were taken from Korea and Japan to be kept as comfort women, the euphemism for sex slaves, during the war. These comfort women bring us to the question of Aphrodite, a part of the original myth we haven’t encountered yet.
What’s Love Got to Do with It?
When Saturn castrated Uranus, his severed genitals fell a long way down into the ocean. Rising up from the drops of semen, was his daughter Aphrodite. Beautiful Venus came naked from the sea. The entire world fell deeply in love with her presence, the breezes caressed her and flowers sprung up from her footprints. From Uranus’s blood rose the vengeful Eryinnies. But let us speak of Venus, and her irresistible power over all living things, the power of sex, of desire, and her transcendent beauty. Can Uranus in Taurus reawaken our love for the earth? Seamus Heaney the Irish poet laureate was born with Uranus in Taurus In “Bogland” he wrote:
‘The ground itself is kind, black butter
Melting and opening underfoot.’
In the past Uranus in Taurus has helped liberate men and women from repetitive tasks. For millennia, women spun fiber into yarn, then wove yarn into cloth, marking the rhythm of days and nights. all this changed with the invention of a new spinning machine in 1767, the year Uranus entered Taurus. The key inventions of this period freed time, uprooted habit, and led to profound changes in society, for they mark the beginning of the Industrial revolution, which came into full power once the planet Uranus was discovered in 1781, and fully entered collective awareness. As we have seen these inventions bore fruit during the following cycle - the mid 19th century.
Now there is a movement to change our relationship to the earth. One of its key voices is Pierre Rabhi. Rabhi was born with a conjunction of Uranus and Mercury in Taurus. An Algerian born French muslim who converted to Christianity, and eventually moved away from all organized religion, Rabhi is a wise and influential speaker and writer. Drawn to a rural life, he and his wife moved to an obscure region of France in their early 20’s. He is an agricultural ecologist promoting an ethical model of productivity, which helps local populations feed themselves, rather than grow crops for export and import food. Rabhi has said“I do not which to participate in a society that puts more importance on money than on life.”
He also writes: “Between a world in decline and another waiting to be built, comes a time of transition which must not be wasted by our inertia. This is a true change in paradigm which places the human being and nature at the heart of our consideration, our skills and the means to bring them into being. We are called to an era of sobriety and simple happiness . All change implies a change in ourselves, because if we humans cannot change ourselves we cannot responsibly and durably change the world.”
Other philosophers and alternative thinkers are trying to imagine this transition time for humanity, inspiring hundreds of small urban projects across the planet, from those reclaiming the wastelands of Detroit for urban farming, to the marginal gardens grown in unused strips of land in UK cities. There is a movement to preserve seed, to pass it on as it has been done for thousands of years, to protect it form the ‘ownership’ of corporations. For these visionaries the future is a neotribal, ecotopian, animist world.
To Quote Rob Hopkins, the author of the Transition Handbook:
“unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological limits of our planet.”
But this is not the only vision for the future. Others see the age of robotics, a time when most work is done by machines, accompanied by an ascent of humanity into electronic, Uranian conscious, The development of virtual reality, the weaving in of biology and the electronic world, reflect a Uranian vision of the future, where machine and nature are wedded out of the gross embodiment of the earth. Some say that money will disappear, that everything we have will become virtual. The administration in France now requires electronic payment for taxes, The word for it isdecorporalise, -disembodied. These are wildly different visions of the future, Is it Gaia or Uranus who will prevail?
Uranus can work through reversals, especially if there is resistance to change, Cities have become sprawls thronged with people, the planet carries triple the numbers of humanity, than at any other time in history. We are half waiting for the earth to change, to heat, to buckle and roar, for cities to be swallowed or abandoned. And we hope it won’t happen, not yet, or that we’ll find a way to keep the best of what we have.
Singing The Body Electric
We are asked to remember that earth is more than what we see, that matter is alive. When earth receives, Uranus awakens. Where are the resistances and awakenings that will come to us individually in these next seven years? One place to look is in the rhythms of the earth, the sound of matter. The vibrant hum of Gaia’s voice remembered in the millions ofaumschanted in yoga classes all over the world, in the sense of aliveness and energy so many seek. To return to a world of physical, spiritual, and mental well being. There may be discoveries around sound, about the almost invisible motion of matter, the force of gravity and its transformation to energy, to a subtle source of power or movement.
Uranus brings changes in rhythm and habit, reverses established practice, sends shivers through our Taurean stability. Uranus also brings the genius of invention to the world of matter, and what has seemed stuck and bounded can be released during this time. It can be revealed through innovation, through finding new life in the soil, through a heightened relationship to our bodies. It can also shatter what we have built. In past cycles Uranus in Taurus has often been constructive and disruptive simultaneously.
Taurus is the earth bringing life in abundance from dark matter. Taurus is the cow giving butter for oil lamps and cooking, milk for yogurt and cheese. Uranus is the energy of the heavens filled with desire, come down to fecundate our mother, our home. Here is to the understanding between Heaven and Earth, to the incoming genius of a new world to come. May it be a good place to live.