What if, right before our eyes, something far beyond human intelligence and even human intention is working to forge a survival strategy for the planet? I’d be the first to admit those words sound like wishful thinking. Watch me prove them to you.
As we contemplate Pluto’s in-and-out entry into Aquarius this year, the Internet is dishing up a smorgasbord of predictions ranging from a progressive optimist’s wet dream down to a post-Apocalyptic landscape of extinction nightmares. I believe that either of those visions, and much lies in between, could potentially come to pass. Consciousness interacts unpredictably with a wide field of probabilities and possibilities. One of them will surely happen. Which one? The point is that you are not an inert ingredient in that question. We don’t need to chew our fingernails and hope for the best, but rather to keep our eyes and hearts focussed on the higher ground and how to get there.
We all know what to wish for: world peace, justice for all, a sustainable environment, and so on. I agree, but I'm not going to harp on those obvious things. You already know them. Let’s go a little deeper into the real astrological mysteries here.
In a positive response to any transit, we evolve. Consciousness expands. That means that we see possibilities that we could not have seen before – and I truly mean “could not” rather than a simple “did not.” How much money do you have in the bank? Go online and check – there’s your answer. Your consciousness did not expand – only your knowledge did. That’s part of what transits are about, but not the best part. On the other hand, if you had asked me about marriage when I was seven years old – then asked me about it today – you’d find that I’d learned some things over the years that were not in the academic category of “knowledge,” but rather in the spiritual category of “wisdom.” You too, right? Expanding consciousness to embrace such wisdom is really what transits are all about, at least if we get them right. They don’t doesn’t just rearrange the furniture in your mental house, in other words. The house itself gets bigger. Something changes in you that makes everything look different.
So as we contemplate the evolutionary purpose of Pluto’s entry into Aquarius, let’s all visualize humanity waking up in those obviously desirable ways, but let’s go further than that. Let’s scare ourselves a little. People are arguing a lot on Earth today. What if everybody is wrong, you included? Let’s remember that if humanity gets this passage right, it will shock us. The answers that are trying to emerge do not exist yet. Nobody has them. Pluto in Aquarius is about creating them. Get ready to be surprised, in other words. Get ready to realize the Earth is round when all along you’ve been thinking it was obviously flat as a pancake.
Again, that’s always true with the deepest meaning of every astrological event, at least in the context of evolutionary astrology. That’s what the word “evolutionary” means. Add Aquarius to the mix, and the shock wave promises to be even more intense. Aquarius is the sign of paradigm shifts. It’s about genius breakthroughs. Aquarian times are about getting out of bed one morning and everything in your life looks different, as if you’ve somehow awakened or grown up.
My plan here is to accentuate the positive. In this essay, I am aiming to explore the highest understanding that I can generate. You might say that this edition of my monthly newsletter is aimed at humanity’s spiritual vanguard – and if you weren’t part of it, you wouldn’t be reading these words. Many people on the street would have no idea what I am talking about – but their children and their grandchildren will. There’s definitely a dark side to Pluto in Aquarius. I’ve spoken about that elsewhere. Here I want to aim our attention at the higher ground – that’s what I want to empower with our thoughts, our love, and our faith. If 10% of humanity awakens to a new way of thinking, the rest follow along in a generation or two.
ASTROLOGY VS THE DOMINANT PARADIGM
First, a little philosophical interlude. This will sound abstract, but it is essential to understanding what I am talking about. Being an astrologer, if you really think about its implications, is truly subversive business. That’s where I want to start. You begin to realize that everything is connected to everything else. For one obvious example, the most private, personal dimensions of your love life are somehow linked to motions of the planet Venus which is always at least 25 million miles away. You begin to understand that nothing ever happens truly randomly, in a vacuum, or “by chance.” Everything is interdependent. Everything is connected. You “happened” to meet your true love on a bus in Guadalajara while Uranus transited over your natal Venus. Pluto squared your Moon and your mom died. Everything is linked to everything else. The cosmos is “one thing, not “many things.”
From the perspective of high school science class, none of this makes any practical sense at all. That’s why astrology is so subversive.
Underlying all of the facts we absorb during our education, there are countless cultural assumptions and biases. There always are. When anything enters Aquarius, some of those assumptions are scheduled to be rattled. Once “everybody knew” the Earth was flat. Once everyone understood that God created the universe in seven days. Currently, central to our cultural assumptions are the ideas that life is random and chaotic, that consciousness derives from the brain rather than the other way around, and that we can learn about how life works by studying the roll of the dice in Las Vegas. In that view, nothing is connected to anything in a holistic way, only sometimes linked by the basic “push-and-shove” logic that we are taught to call “common sense.”
The trouble is that if all of that is true, then astrology could not possibly work. But astrology does work, and that’s where the subversion begins. Astrology is the loose end in the “official” version of reality. Perhaps that’s why it incites such ire on the part of many conventional scientists. The universe begins to look unified and coordinated. It begins to “look more like a great thought than a great machine,” as Sir James Jeans wrote almost a century ago.
ENTER THE GAIA HYPOTHESIS
The Gaia Hypothesis, conceived half a century ago by James Lovelock and Lynne Margulis, is one modern way that this ancient idea of universal interconnectivity has begun to reemerge. I’ll be using the term as shorthand for the broader astrological concept of universal connectedness – something we astrologers more commonly call synchronicity. According to Wikipedia, “The Gaia hypothesis proposes that living and nonliving parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism . . . the hypothesis postulates that the biosphere has a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that acts to sustain life.”
Technically, the Gaia Hypothesis can be understood more as a philosophy than a true scientific theory – that, at least, is how it’s often viewed. My own feeling is that it is essentially correct. I’d just add that it doesn’t go far enough. Instead of all the living and nonliving parts of Earth forming a single organism, as an astrologer I’d extend the idea to include the entire universe. I’ve written a lot about that notion, most especially in The Night Speaks. Here I want to look at it in a more immediate way – one that I believe is emerging pointedly in today’s headlines as we face the paradigm-shattering realities of Pluto in Aquarius.
As we go there, one irrefutable idea acts as the yeast in our bread. You will see it many times in the course of this essay.
- Infinite growth is not possible in the context of a closed system.
Sounds like common sense, right? Limits are reached. There’s only so much you can eat before your tummy is too full to eat any more. When your car is out of gas, it stops running. A dollar only goes so far. And Earth is a closed system.
When I was a kid, I read an essay about runaway population growth by Isaac Asimov. This was probably around 1960 or so. Based on the then-current rate of human population increase, Asimov wondered how long it might take humanity to convert the entire known mass of the universe to human protoplasm. The figure he came up with mathematically was 10,000 years. Asimov’s point was obvious – that wasn’t going to happen. Something would stop it. Again, infinite growth is not possible in the context of a closed system. Sooner or later, we hit walls.
What I’m talking about here is far broader than population growth, although that’s definitely part of the picture. There’s the whole idea of an infinitely-exploitable Earth. That’s been a human staple forever. But how much oil and iron are in the ground? How much toxicity can our air and water sustain before it begins to fail us? How much carbon can the atmosphere soak up? The oxygen-giving plankton in the oceans – we’ve been poisoning them for a long time, as if they too had no limits. What lets us breathe needs to breathe too.
This line of thinking of course quickly brings us face to face with capitalism in all its forms and disguises from Beijing to Brussels. Here are the opening lines of an article on the Truthout website: “In order to maintain the endless expansion and infinite growth that capitalist economies require, our economy demands ever-increasing levels of extraction, production and consumption. In fact, economists and politicians generally believe that we need to keep the global economy growing by around 3 percent annually, meaning that the economy needs to double every 20 years – that’s twice as much of everything 20 years from now – and then twice as much as that 20 years later.”
Clearly that’s not sustainable. But before we get out our placards, here’s a complicating factor: what feeds ten people won’t feed twenty. That need for an ever-increasing Gross National Product may produce a new crop of money-hoarding billionaires every year, but as messy as capitalism is, it also has something to do with providing food and shelter for an ever-growing population. Capitalism and population growth have bedfellows for a long time. In fact, if you look at a graph of world population over many centuries, it crawls across the bottom of the graph, barely rising – until you get to maybe the 15th or 16th century, when it begins shoots up the right side of the graph like a rocket. Meanwhile, ask Wikipedia: the standard view is that “modern capitalist theory is traditionally traced to the 18th-century treatise An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Scottish political economist Adam Smith, and the origins of capitalism as an economic system can be placed in the 16th century.”
Capitalism and population growth mirror each other perfectly, in other words.
To be fair, despite its inequities and frequent brutality, capitalism has been good at feeding and sheltering people. That’s helped more people survive. But as populations grew, economies had to grow to keep up with them. Thus was born the notion that it was “necessary to keep the global economy growing by around 3 percent annually.” Soon it became a chicken-and-egg situation, with capitalism driving population growth and population growth driving capitalism.
And currently all of these factors are like a speeding train heading for the mountainous brick wall of our axiom: you can’t have infinite growth in a closed system. As Pluto enters Aquarius, those contradictions are catching up with us. More importantly, I believe an answer to those dilemmas is just beginning to coalesce.
GAIA TO THE RESCUE
These are big subjects and I’ve oversimplified them like crazy. That’s because they aren’t ultimately what I want to talk about. They’re familiar territory for many of us anyway. What I want to speculate about in this essay is something far more magical, something that I believe is very close to the essence of the message of Pluto in Aquarius – the truly paradigm-shifting realizations upon which everything potentially healing and helpful about this upcoming Pluto transit depends. It is critical to reiterate that it will mean an expansion of consciousness, not just practical rearrangements of the power structures, although there will be plenty of that too. Get it right, and the world will look fundamentally different to you.
Nobody today is “going to win.” Everybody is wrong. The ones who will create the human future will be humble enough to admit that – and to be blown away by what’s now forming in their minds.
This brings us directly back to the “Gaia Hypothesis,” which is really just the ancient astrological notion that everything is interconnected – and that this interconnectedness operates as a kind of unified higher intelligence that supports us. In the words of Margulis and Lovelock, “the Gaia hypothesis postulates that the biosphere has a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that acts to sustain life.” The line that opened this essay . . .
- What if, right before our eyes, something far beyond human intelligence and even human intention is working to forge a survival strategy for the planet?
- What if few people see it, and that’s simply because most are blinded by the current collective version of “common sense” – the assumption that everything is not interconnected.
Any such understanding would have to start by addressing our familiar insight: infinite growth is not possible in the context of a closed system. Just add the fact that runaway population growth is the fundamental driver of the problem.
Watch the rubber meets the road: Meanwhile, over much of the Earth, birth rates are crashing.
Words from The Economist: “In 2000 the world’s fertility rate was 2.7 births per woman, comfortably above the “replacement rate” of 2.1, at which a population is stable. Today it is 2.3 and falling. The largest 15 countries by GDP all have a fertility rate below the replacement rate. That includes America and much of the rich world, but also China and India, neither of which is rich but which together account for more than a third of the global population.”
- Is Gaia behind this sudden unprecedented change in the birth rate – a change that is necessary, not only for human survival, but for the survival of all life on Earth?
Humans have been having babies for a long time. For countless centuries, for many people, creating a family has been a mainstay of their sense of meaning and purpose in life. Why are we seeing such a sudden collapse in our enthusiasm for having children? Like me, your mind probably cascades down various lines of sociological thought – feminism, gay rights, better birth control, economic belt-tightening. But in two decades this change has struck across a wide cultural spectrum. Women in China or India face a very different social reality than women in America or Europe, for example. Yet, almost in unison, they all got the same idea: maybe I don’t want a kid after all.
Is some higher intelligence at work? Is “Gaia” looking to take care of life on the planet? To most people, this idea probably sounds far-fetched, as if I were suggesting a supernatural agency saving us from our own folly – Elvis and Sasquatch coming to rescue us in their UFO. Still, no astrologer can miss the scent of some attitude-shaping force moving behind the scenes and affecting everybody at the same time. We astrologers are all about seeing these unifying, underlying patterns in life. That’s how our craft works. That’s what we call “a transit.”
The rise of LGBTQ+ culture has obvious implications here, as does the rising economic success and independence of younger women – especially when you couple it with the “lost” feeling of so many young men today, many of whom are not in a psychological or economic position to become active fathers.
It may not all be sociological. Something physical is happening too. This quote is from the July 3, 2020 edition of Urology Times: “From 1999 to 2016, testosterone levels have declined in adolescent and young adult men, according to results presented at the 2020 American Urological Association Virtual Experience.”
Is something vaster than we understand pulling our biological strings as well as our attitudinal ones, aiming us toward population reduction or control?
Then there’s the pandemic. As of today, Covid-19 is said to have killed about seven million people – tragic, but only a drop in the bucket with Earth’s population standing at around eight billion. Going further, there’s a common understanding, whether or not it’s correct, that “Covid was only the beginning.” As globalization continues and animal habitats are ruptured, there will probably be other pandemics, perhaps some that are even deadlier. Remember, in the Gaia Hypothesis, “living and nonliving parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism . . . the hypothesis postulates that the biosphere has a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that acts to sustain life.”
We’re not just talking about people, in other words – we’re talking about how the biosphere itself has a kind of higher intelligence built into it and bent on engineering its own survival. According to most biologists, viruses are not even alive, but lately they are hard at work limiting the human population. Again, we return to our question: is there a higher intelligence operating here?
In the emerging Aquarian paradigm, humanity is simply no longer the center of everything – in fact, we may be best defined as a problem that the rest of the ecosystem is busy solving. There’s a big problem with phrasing it that way though – that makes humanity seem like the bad guy in the story, but never forget that we are part of Nature too. That’s really my point here. Nature – or Gaia – is attempting to “sustain life” on Earth with our unwitting help.
I grew up in the U.S. northeast. Outside of the cities, it’s a land of beautiful, endless forests. As a Boy Scout, I loved hiking, exploring nature, and sleeping in tents. People still do that there, but lately they do it with a profound caution about deer ticks. Tick populations have exploded. They now carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and a host of other daunting maladies. For many of us, those ticks have basically hung a “Closed To Humans” sign on the forests. Nature is saying Keep Out.
I think of a weird development over the past year or two – Orcas attacking yachts off the coast of Spain. Why are they suddenly doing that? And it’s not just Orcas – according to the journal PLOS Biology, bears, big cats, and wild canines are attacking humans more frequently than at any other time in modern history. Obviously some of that is because of human encroachment in animal habitats – but that wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for population growth. Are the animals responding to this higher intelligence we call Gaia and actually drawing some lines in the sand? Are they telling us where humans are not allowed anymore?
Yet again we return to the core idea that infinite growth is not possible in the context of a closed system. That’s our Pluto in Aquarius mantra. We keep coming back to it. Just add what we’re calling the Gaia Hypothesis to the mixture and you have the point I am making. Something is having a “regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that is acting to sustain life.” Our institutions – capitalism as it is currently practiced especially – are resisting it, but as individuals we humans are responding to it, just like the Orcas and the viruses.
As we reflect on all this, what emerges is a kind of meta-idea, one upon which I believe human survival depends. It is pure Aquarius – revolutionary, in other words. And we may not like it – there’s Pluto’s fingerprint. Potentially, this force – which is clearly activated right now if we have our eyes open to see it – is our friend rather than our enemy. Add a little dose of Pluto: this power, even though it operates from above us, promises to help humanity survive by putting us in our place. We are not the Crown of Creation. God did not create the Earth for us. God clearly did not “give us dominion over it.”
Critically, we must understand that Mother Nature is not trying to eliminate us – it’s trying to guide us into harmony with the rest of the ecosystem, mostly by getting us to stabilize or reduce our population. Gaia is bigger than us, and smarter than us too, and it provides a “regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that is acting to sustain life.” And it’s working – look at those collapsing birth rates. We may not know it, but humans are already cooperating.
Never lose hope, in other words. We are entering an age of miracles – ask any astrologer: one thing that Aquarius represents is the unexpected and the unprecedented. Given the current state of the planet, many people feel that it will take a miracle for us to survive. Here it comes.
Nature is going to win this one. That’s something you can count on. The good news is that we are part of nature. The only bad news is that we’ve mostly forgotten that. Back to the good news: once you look through the astrological lens, you can see the emergence of a mind-boggling, paradigm-shifting new vision for the human future, one that is aimed at saving us.
The facts are there right before us. Because of their “unrelated” nature, astrologers are uniquely equipped to be among the first to notice the connections. I smile when I realize that, in order to support the point I am making in this essay I have quoted Issac Asimov, The Economist and Urology Times. I’ve linked Pluto entering a new sign to viruses, tick populations, and animal behavior on land and sea. How likely are such broad interconnections to be made in the context of, say, modern academia?
Realizing the interdependency of humanity and the larger Community of Earth is the consciousness-expanding insight that lies at the heart of Pluto’s passage through Aquarius. I believe that what we are calling the Gaia Hypothesis is the essence of the matter, and it’s happy news in a dark time.
A force that lies just beyond the current state of human imagination is hard at work at saving us.
It’s not external to us, like “God” or “angels.” We are all part of the same orchestra, but we’re only part of it. The time has come for us to meet the Conductor. And maybe it’s time for humanity to take a bow, and sit down after our spectacular solo. I believe the healing process is already working powerfully, but, just like Peter Pan’s fairies, to see it in action, first you have to believe it. Then it’s right there before your eyes.
Doubt it? Does this seem crazy? Then where are all the babies?