The Retreating Sea of Faith

And we are here as on a darkling plain,
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

From Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold.

The closing lines of Arnold’s masterpiece remind us that, no matter our own propensity for thoughtful introspection, we nonetheless, like the peaceful denizens of a placid shore, can at any moment, under a darkening sky, find ourselves threatened by the approach of distant storm-clouds and the onset of darkness. And the world feels that way, does it not? Calm voices are drowned out in the increasingly frenzied crescendo of powerful, seemingly elemental forces. Like van Helsing gazing upon the black peaks of the Carpathians, one wonders at the permanence and malevolence of the spirit that is contained therein. What hope do we have against such unrelentingly insentient forces? And what is perhaps more terrifying is the calculated cynicism of those who ride upon the storm-flood, without a care for those who are lost under the turbulent waters they so cynically agitate. This is not a tide that raises all boats, but rather one which dashes them to pieces on the rocks. And though this storm, like all others, will eventually pass, so many will have suffered for the vain ambitions of just a few.

It is this very principle which baffles me the most: that people do not see it. They are blind to the macrocosm which seems as evident as the looming edifice of the Carpathians. But people cannot and indeed, will not see it. They are willingly pulled along by the same tide that threatens to lay waste all their civilising advantages.

As a card-carrying member of the late 60’s Uranus-Pluto in Virgo club, I am propelled into unorthodox lines of enquiry. It is simply the way I am made. Question everything, trust no-one, don’t rely on another’s understanding, do your own research! It seems obvious to me to approach uncertainties with an open mind. So, when someone asks, “was 9/11 staged?” my first instinct is to say, “I don’t know, maybe.” The flat-out truth is that is the best any of us can say: “maybe.”


But you are either made for maybe, or you are made for certainty. Even where none can exist. And the Uranus-Pluto principle is quite rare in the broader scope of humanity, a glint on the spinning sphere of the heavens and nothing more. Uncertainty is uncomfortable after all. Most people who do not have to live with it by dint of having it hard-wired into their hearts can simply choose to cast it out. And this is why orthodoxy is so irrationally attractive. And so popular.

So, I am wary of the approaching clouds, because they are menacing, and they are dark. But it is a prospect humanity has faced many times before, and the ebb and flow of that gloomy tide is inevitable because people are so comfortable in their slumber and so easily seduced. We sleepwalk to the scaffold.  

As we approach January of 2020, we see the rising of that tide, and must be careful to step around the eddies of toxic orthodoxy that might pull us down. With the approach of the Saturn – Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, we, who have uncertainty in our hearts, must keep a weather eye turned toward the distant skies and know when to retreat and stay quiet.

The manifestations are manifold, but the general principle is a shift toward orthodox values. In a very real way, this is also a shift toward the right of the political spectrum. Saturn is naturally conservative. Uranus is a communist. History is replete with these shifts, and the subsequent “reset” of a swing back toward nonconformity, but the balancing out can take many years. Consider the Saturn Pluto conjunction of 1947 in Leo. Allied powers just two years before, Russia and the United States found themselves at the fulcrum of opposed ideologies, the Saturn of capitalism versus the Uranus of socialism, and the Cold War was begun. It is still a battle being fought to this day through the proxies of political ideology. Saturn always has the numbers on his side, he consolidates power through the appeal to authority and normalcy. But every now and then Uranus strikes back, shattering the orthodoxy with a violent shake up, and the occasional revolution.

Progressive Uranian Bernie Sanders

We see this in the UK right now as the orthodox powers of the establishment band together to marginalise the Uranian threat that is Jeremy Corbyn. But the players are often a mix of energies, and most destructively, they will leverage Uranian energy to further Saturn’s cause. Right wing demagogues like Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage thus further muddy the waters. Across the pond, Donald Trump might not appear to be the Uranian in the picture, but he is challenging the orthodoxy of American politics, and the establishment are working night and day to bring him to heel. For years now, the US has only had orthodox candidates to choose from, from both sides of the political spectrum. Bernie Sanders was the progressive Uranian candidate who was ousted in favour of the sanctioned establishment pick, Hilary Clinton. The battle between these distant archetypal behemoths rages on through their unwitting earthly instruments. Trump was the dark manifestation of Uranus energy in the mix, and we will see him coming under increasing pressure during this year. It cannot be a coincidence that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction at 22°46’ Capricorn opposes Trump’s Saturn by one degree.

These are the precise energies at play. An increasingly shrill mainstream media is swamped with authoritarian certainties. The clash of ideologies: East vs West, Islam vs Christianity, Brexit vs the EU, economic migrants vs refugees, everywhere you care to cast an eye, Saturn is ramping up the pressure, shifting perspectives to the right, toward the orthodox, the certain, the “safe”. Saturn’s peacekeeping mission is Uranus’ regime change. And as the weight of authoritarianism grows, it will merely serve to increase the pressure, until the revolution that is the only possible redress to such imbalanced forces shatters the status quo once more. What was once certain becomes doubtful. What was once safe becomes stagnant and limiting. That is the arc of Saturn ridden to excess. Balance always returns, because that is the way of all life, but at what cost?

This is why it behoves us to awaken to our inner alignment and to recognise that the impetus is always with Saturn. That is the easy, go-to, no-dissonance-guaranteed refuge for those whose preferred method of accessing the future is sleep-walking. We must all learn to attune to the higher octave of Uranian energy in our astrology. This is how we keep the stultifying, deadening encroaches of Saturn’s certainty at bay and get to live a little longer in a hostile world; by honouring the uncertainty in our hearts and being willing participants in the coming ideological revolution. But first, it is time to find refuge in well-kept counsel and sympathetic company and wait for the storm to pass.

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2 thoughts on “The Retreating Sea of Faith

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  1. In one of your post you say that Virgo is a weak position for Pluto. However, Virgo is not outgoing and extroverted. Shouldn’t Pluto, and subtle and deep planet, feel comfortable enough in Virgo? Wouldn’t be Libra a weaker position for Pluto?

    1. Well, you are right, but with Pluto, less is definitely more! Okay, it is not more if you want to control the world and make a big impact, but it becomes more in this sense when you have moved into a spiritual paradigm. Outgoing signs therefore put Pluto ‘out there’ and can make the person uncomfortable to be around, but this is because they are projecting their excess of Pluto. The goal of all self-aware astrological study is to master Pluto and keep him hidden and deep, then he powers the spiritual body instead of attempting to attach puppet strings to people. If you have more Pluto (e.g. Leo, Libra and Sagittarius most of all) then it is harder to master. Like trying to tame a wild horse! But if you can do it, then you will have great personal magnetism.

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