Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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My Country, 'Tis of Thee: An Astro-Magical State of the Union

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Recently, a bi-partisan group of 44 ex-senators wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post. Here is the first paragraph:

“As former members of the U.S. Senate, Democrats and Republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the Constitution, our governing institutions and our national security.”

They went on to refer to this as a “critical juncture” in the history of our country, and noted that “We are at an inflection point in which the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld.”

They’re right, of course. The United States of America is at an unprecedented crisis point, and this is reflected in the astrology of the country, through the country’s birth chart. Currently, and over the next decade or so, we are experiencing planetary influences specific to our country that we have never experienced before, and they presage changes that are deep and profound.

Unfortunately, while humanity’s better nature may be enshrined in our country’s founding documents and in the core values of most religions, too many of us have lost sight of our values, or have never explored them, having been raised within the modern materialist mindset that makes life a competition, and winning at all costs the ultimate goal. So the question becomes if there is anything we can do to change that, any way to bring us, individually and en masse, to agree upon and live by some core values that allow for a just, sustainable society.

The USA (indeed, the world, but I’ll stick to the USA here) is in a pivotal time of change that will be reflected in massive, revolutionary shifts in our government and multiple challenging events. It’s possible those changes will be so extreme that we will be splintered through a combination of political, financial and environmental events and no longer be a single country, or that our government will change drastically and become totalitarian, no longer a democracy.

But it is also quite possible that we can, as a country, regain and manifest our ideals. That we can resolve to work together towards an outcome where we “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common  defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”. But this healing will take a majority of us — those of us who care — doing a great deal of work on both a physical level and a magical level. (And you don’t need to be a Witch to do magic. More on that in a bit.)

Astrology helps us identify the challenges we are up against and our most effective responses. I’m going to give a couple of paragraphs over to the technicalities, (non-astrologers can skip ahead to the next section without missing anything), and do a bit of astrological prediction. Then — and most importantly — I’ll look at some magic we can do to help direct and mitigate the challenging events predicted by the astrology.

Here’s the Astrology

I am using the Sibly chart (July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA 12° 21’ Sagittarius ascendant ) and the equal house system. (I acknowledge that there are several other possible charts for the USA, all of which appear to be responsive, to one degree or another, to the history of this country, but I, along with many other astrologers, find Sibly’s (it’s often mis-spelled Sibley) to be the most useful. It’s also worth considering whether a country has a single birth chart, or if charts of several distinct, formative events may all describe, to some degree, aspects of a country’s progress through history. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)

I’m looking at longer-term transits and cycles, progressions, direct solar arcs, cardinal ingresses and eclipses, paying particular attention to the following:

  • The USA’s Pluto return, in the second house, ruled by Saturn
  • Saturn’s current transit through Capricorn, its upcoming opposition to natal Sun and Mercury, square to natal Saturn, conjunction with both transiting and natal Pluto, and conjunction with the natal South Node as it moves into Aquarius in 2021..
  • The upcoming Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which occurs every 20 years. This one also marks a 200-year shift called a Great Mutation, as this important aspect changes the Element of those conjunctions from Earth to Air.
  • Jupiter’s transit over the natal ascendant this year, opposing natal Uranus and Mars, squaring Neptune (both natal and transiting) then joining the party in Capricorn in late 2019 through 2020, opposing the natal Cancer stellium, squaring natal Saturn, then conjoining transiting and natal Pluto.
  • The January 2020 lunar eclipse oppose the transiting Saturn-Pluto conjunction, square natal Chiron. Then the solar eclipse at the Summer Solstice of that year at the Aries Point, followed by a lunar eclipse on the USA’s natal Sun. Later in the year, a lunar eclipse falls on the USA’s natal Uranus. There are some powerful 2019 eclipses as well.
  • The approaching transit of Neptune square natal Mars, and upcoming Neptune oppose Neptune.
  • Uranus square the natal nodes, exact next year
  • The transiting nodal axis through Cancer-Capricorn
  • The closing phases of several important planetary cycles (Jupiter-Saturn, Jupiter-Neptune, Jupiter-Pluto, Saturn-Neptune, Saturn-Pluto)
  • A number of current or upcoming direct solar arcs and progressions

The exact dates and details of all these aspects are too numerous to itemize here, but you can use your astrology software to list them for you.

So, onward to the interpretation.

Lessons to be Learned

“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream”. ~ Bruce Springsteen

The challenges reflected in the astrological patterns right now are clear. We are in the closing phase of several planetary cycles, which means that to initiate necessary change, we are tasked with understanding and facilitating the destruction and dissolution of cherished (by some) but highly limiting structures.

As a country, we are already beginning to release many things, not the least of which is the illusion that the American Dream can be achieved through continuous economic growth and unbridled capitalism. We think growth and expansion are the solutions to all of our problems, when in fact they exacerbate the biggest problem we face, which is our continuing, blind depletion and destruction of our environmental resources and the intricate web of life that sustains us on this planet.

Our chart indicates a tendency to “more and bigger is better” thinking, but one of the major lessons we are learning now as a country has to do with limits. We will learn that lesson well, and hopefully come to appreciate and understand how limits on the outside can open up new dimensions of creativity within us. We need to change our focus from growth and expansion to creating a sustainable economy, food security, and global population reduction, which we can only accomplish through creative thinking and real teamwork.

We will be faced with some serious lessons about financial and resource limits over the next few years. Consider your personal financial situation carefully, and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Killing It

I see a lot of articles and memes online about how Millennials are “killing” this, that, or the other thing — and this is as it should be. This period is like multiple Dark Moons all happening at once, because so many long-term planetary cycles are in their waning phase. We need to bury, phase out, dissolve, reject, discard, and otherwise remove aspects of our society that are not serving us well as a country — usually because they are serving one group at the expense of another.

The good news is that these planets will open a new cycle within the next few years, indicating that we will be building new structures in government, business, and social organization. So we have a chance to “kill it” using the other slang meaning — creating something with brilliance and extreme competence.

Whether what we build is for better or worse remains to be seen, and depends a great deal on how much courage, caring, creativity, innovation, and can-do attitude we the people can conjure up.Judging by the history of our country and our natal chart, that should be quite a bit.

If you’re honest, you sooner or later have to confront your values. Then you’re forced to separate what is right from what is merely legal. This puts you metaphysically on the run. America is full of metaphysical outlaws.” ~ Tom Robbins 

The same area of a chart that indicates finances also speaks to values. A healthy society is built on a foundation of clear, carefully-considered ideas of right and wrong. Both our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are the bedrock of American principles, but we need to consider how we are applying them.

In addition to dealing with limits, the astrology suggests that we are in for a long, difficult conversation about our values as a country, particularly lessons of civic responsibility, cooperation, and inclusiveness. We will be navigating through fading dreams and the destruction of old social structures, and building anew requires renewed allegiance and adherence to those values. What will we create in the wake of destruction?

Can we provide the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” to our citizens under a government that derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed”? Can we shift our group mindset from fear, aggression, and defensiveness to a focus on increasing quality of life for everyone? Or will we devolve into clusters of competing tribes, unable to work together to salvage our environment and ensure an equable distribution of resources?

We can. But we have to work at it.

How To Magically Create a Better Outcome

America is not just a country, it’s an idea.” ~ Bono

We have a rough, challenging, but potentially rewarding road ahead of us as a country. Where we end up depends on how each one of us contributes to our country as individuals and citizens. Some of us, of course, have more power and agency, more opportunities to change things. But we can all maximize the opportunities we do have, not only in the most obvious ways — reading enough be knowledgeable about collective issues, voting, getting involved in local government, volunteering, recycling, etc. — but also by working on a magical level to strengthen the country’segregore. (Also see this)

Magicians use the term “egregore” to describe the overarching consciousness of a group of people who work magic together regularly, but an egregore is not limited to magical groups. It is a non-physical entity created from shared consciousness that forms over time, and gains independence and agency as it absorbs information, thoughts, and emotion from members of the group. This connection between an egregore and certain group members can even continue after death, with some members choosing to watch over the group from the other side of the Veil, to help guide it from their current, wider perspective.

Any group will eventually form an egregore of sorts — businesses, sports teams, schools, even a high school clique will have its own egregore. However, there is a difference between the egregore of a magical group and other types of groups. In a magical group, members of the group are conscious contributors, which strengthens both the independence and agency of the egregore, and allows it to energetically support individual members as well as the group as a whole.

An egregore supported by conscious magical work is far stronger and more coherent than, say, the egregore of a corporation, which is maintained by national sales meetings and other internal and external marketing strategies. The influence of these rah-rah strategies is primarily unconscious and does not encourage thoughtful consideration, making the resulting egregore less effective than that of most magical groups who work consciously and conscientiously to build it.

Now, you may have guessed that countries have an egregore, and indeed they do. And they have a particular characteristic that not all groups do — the land itself is part of the egregore. This gives those of us who wish to consciously influence our country’s egregore a well of power from which to draw if we can align ourselves with the land, and consider its health and needs in our magic as well. We must also connect with the people of the country, and contend with the reality that everyone, even the people you disagree with most, are part of the country’s egregore.

But working directly with the egregore means you increase your agency and influence as a part of the group mind, because you can seed it with ideas and radiate emotions and visions that can change minds, increase awareness, and weave a stronger fabric of community — one that includes the land and the environment. Anyone can do this work with minimal training. You don’t need to go on retreat, or join a magical lodge. You just need to be willing to regularly spend a little time practicing and working with your own mind.

Are there dangers to this work? Well, yes. There are always risks. The risk of working with any group mind is, to quote magician W.E. Butler, that “the power of independent thought may be reduced.” This means we have to be careful of being overly influenced by the egregore of any group we are part of.

But we can’t avoid being influenced by the group mind of the country we live in. Choosing to work with it consciously means we must use our independent thought to consider how we want to influence it, which means we can strengthen our independence and better understand our interdependence.

Doing the Work

If you don’t really know much about magic, but are willing to take a shot at it, then I’d suggest reading a couple of books for the beginner first. See the “Resources” section below.

Once you are familiar with the basic concepts of magical work, or if you already have a magical practice, then you can begin to work to influence the egregore of our country, to shift and change our group reality. There are three pertinent books and one ongoing blog in the Resources section that will give you all the practical “how-to” stuff you need to magically work for social and political change.

But before you start the work, it’s important to keep in mind that magic is simply an influence, and it affects you before it affects the world. You need to think carefully about the magical work you will do, what you want your influence to be, because you will become the change you are working for.

You know those woven tube novelties, where you put one finger in each end and pull, and the tube grasps your fingers more tightly the more you pull? That’s exactly how you don’t want to work with the egregore. It’s not that resisting magically isn’t appropriate at times, particularly when targeting something specific. But when you are working directly to shift the overall egregore of the country, usually antagonism is counter-productive. The more energy you put into working against what you don’t want in the egregore, the more you find yourself stuck within that part of it.

Instead, having identified your core values as they apply to the country as a whole, then work to strengthen and expand the reach of those values within the egregore. Build in your mind a vision of what you want, then project it outward. One of the best ways to do this is to work with the myths and symbols that are already active within the country’s egregore.

Symbolism is the language of magic, and much of the work of the magician involves developing and internalizing a personal symbol set. There are symbols that resonate with egregores as well — the flag is almost invariably a part of a country’s symbol set, for instance. Working with these symbols is key to influencing the country’s group mind.

One of the best examples I’ve found of this kind of work for our current situation is the weekly “Magical Battle for America” offering from Witch and blogger HecateDemeter. She’s been sharing these meditations for two years now and if they speak to you, I recommend working with them. You can find the entire series from the beginning on my site, here, and you might want to sign up for email updates from her blog here, so you get the new ones as soon as they are posted.

We live in a pivotal time. Looking at the astrology, I believe it is no exaggeration to say that the very survival of our country is at stake. But the astrology also indicates that we now have a tremendous opportunity as a country to create and model healing from environmental depredations, social injustice, and governmental incompetence and corruption.

To do this, we must build on a foundation of respect and even reverence for the web of life on Earth, our shared environment and the freedoms promised to us by our country’s foundational documents. Will you help lay that foundation, help to heal what must be healed?

You can stand back, put your head in the sand, pretend it’s not your problem. Or you can examine your life, your values, your soul’s path, and decide to take action. I hope you’ll choose to join in this work.


Magic For the Beginner

If you want a quick start, with a clear, hands-on approach that offers enough explanation of the concepts but focuses on spellwork, try 
True Magick” by Amber K.

If you’d enjoy a more thorough, leisurely, poetic, and philosophical approach that still gets right down to the work of the magician, I recommend 
Aiden Wachter’s “Six Ways: Approaches and Entries for Practical Magic”

And if you are skeptical about this magic stuff, and would like a good dose of science to go along with it, then 
“Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe” by Dean Radin, Ph.D
. is a must-read.

Creating Change

Here are some writings to inspire and instruct you in magic for change. They do not require previous knowledge of magic.

This is the series of blog posts I mentioned above: 
Magical Battle for America by HecateDemeter

This book by my friend Byron Ballard is (to quote myself from the foreword), both map and manual. You’ll learn ways of magic and ritual, as well as community-building strategies and how to handle times of crisis.
Earth Works: Ceremonies in Tower Time by H. Byron Ballard

This is the kind of resistance magic I mentioned above, offering spells to enhance activism and target specific results. 
Magic for the Resistance by Michael M. Hughes

This classic and fascinating book recounts Dion Fortune’s work with her magical order, the Fraternity of the Inner Light, to stop Hitler from invading Britain. Which, you may recall, he was never able to accomplish.
The Magical Battle of Britain by Dion Fortune


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Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at www.uraniaswell.com


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Thursday, 24 January 2019

    I have been reading "Draw the Circle" by Mark Batterson. On January 10th I got fed up with the government shutdown and decided to put that 40 day Prayer Challenge to work. I printed out these words from the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Under that I printed the words from Luke 6:31 "Treat others as you would like them to treat you."

    Every night since the 10th of January before going to bed I have knelt down and read those words adding "God I have absolutely no interest in Trump's border wall with Mexico, I think it is a boondoggle. If he wants a wall let him pay for it out of his own pocket. I have no interest in impeaching President Trump, I lived through Republican efforts to impeach Bill Clinton and I thought they were a complete waste of time and tax payer dollars. Lord God surprise us all! Amen."

    I will continue to make the same prayer every evening until February the 18th.

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