Jessica Murray's America in Transition

Life After Oil

by Jessica Murray on May 1, 2012

Pluto, the USA and peak oil

Uranus and Pluto are getting ready for their big moment. Their exact square is June 24, the first of seven through 2015. Throughout May the aspect moves from a three-degree orb to just one. Everywhere in the world, orthodoxies are being shaken up (Uranus), particularly those relating to systems of amassed power (Pluto).

This square, the longest arm of the Cardinal Cross, is the most revelatory transit of our lifetimes. It is causing profound societal dysfunctions to be exposed, corruptions and toxicities that have been deeply harmful but curiously shrouded with a veil of silence. One of these, emerging with Occupy Wall Street at last year’s Autumnal Equinox, is the issue of extreme income inequity: plutocracy.

Another of these Plutonian issues is the arms trade. During the next three years of the Uranus-Pluto exactitude, the dark, lucrative business of international weapon sales may take its turn breaking into public discussion. The perfectly legal sale of weapons—weapons of all kinds of destruction, both mass and one-murder-at-a-time—ranks among the three greatest amassers of international wealth. The second biggest plutocrats in the world are the traffickers of illegal drugs. The third are the oil companies.

Monopolizing the Field

In last October’s America in Transition I argued that Pluto should be considered, along with Neptune, for joint rulership of oil.

Crude oil, or petroleum, is a unique substance that has gone through an extraordinary series of meaning shifts over the last two centuries. If we look at planetary symbolism as a means of mirroring our experience on Earth, As-Above-So-Below-style, we can learn a lot about ourselves from these meaning shifts. The evolution of oil, as an archetype, so strikingly parallels the way human activity itself has evolved as to make the stuff a unique status symbol of the contemporary world. Perhaps no other substance so poignantly sums up what we have become.

With the industrial revolution, oil started to take on a world-transforming significance. Once oil started to be transformed into plastic, synthetic cloth, fertilizers—products that collectively characterize the 20th century—and fossil fuels became the number-one substance to run the mechanized world, oil began to symbolize unprecedented power (Pluto).

Pluto-style, oil has taken over the field, nudging out every other contender as a desirable commodity.

Destruction and Toxicity

Used without consciousness, no other planetary archetype is as deadly as Pluto. The obsessive quest for the global power that oil inspires is everywhere associated with death and destruction, both in the form of fatal pollution and in the form of war.

When you consider its importance to the economies of the world, it only makes sense that oil became a driver of foreign policy. Although the world leaders who design these policies rarely present them as such, a cursory reading of modern history makes it clear that superpowers like England, Holland, France and the USA make a habit of engineering regime changes in one after another oil-rich country, most recently Libya and Iran.

The most noteworthy recent example of the hideous ecological desecration caused by oil is the BP catastrophe of April of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico; and at this writing British Petroleum continues to drill 5,000 feet down into those same fragile sea beds. At the same time, Chevron is laying waste to pristine waterways in the Amazon, and Shell Oil is doing incalculable damage in the Nigerian delta.

Drill, Baby, Drill

Oil is money

Oil is money

With the price of gas high and the election season upon the USA, hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear some candidate castigating Obama for not giving Big Oil more tax breaks, and for not getting rid of environmental protections. They declare that if they’re elected, they’ll fight for domestic policies which will make the price go down. But these public figures should know that domestic production has nothing to do with the price at the pump.

None of the environment-gutting measures that these pro-business politicos are pushing for, such as getting rid of California’s high clean-fuel standards, would lower the price of gas one penny. None of their ecocidal drilling projects, such as the one that would open up the Alaskan wilderness to the pumps, or shoot oil through a pipe 3,000 miles to a Texas refinery, would produce a drop of oil for the USA.

The truth is that the oil would be owned by the multinational company that recovered it and then sold on the open global market, all pooled together with the rest of the world’s oil supply. Big Oil’s well-paid Congressional supporters know better than anybody how the system works. They know that if you have something to sell, you go where you can get the best price for your commodity and make the highest profit.

This situation could have been different, had any of the post-Wall-Street-meltdown regulations been implemented, instead of being killed by oil company lobbyists. But as it is, no regulations exist to force American oil producers to sell their products domestically instead of overseas. In fact, right now American refineries are shipping gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products abroad in record amounts. They have no reason not to. This is how capitalism works.

Pluto (manipulation) opposes Mercury (the media) in the chart of the USA, the signature of propaganda. With their misleading nonsense about “energy independence”, the political allies of Big Oil are pressing all the buttons of a public that’s financially stressed and pissed-off. Deliberately encouraging American voters’ ignorance, their ploy is to blame Democrats and environmentalists for the high price of gas.

Pluto Return

The USA’s first-ever Pluto Return is a useful milestone for historians and cultural observers who have been tracking this country’s evolution as a superpower. Pluto (underground riches) resides in the second house (wealth) of the US (Sibly) chart, a placement expressing to a tee the symbolism of oil.

For a year or so now, transiting Pluto has been teetering on the cusp of the first and second houses. Its exact return is in 2022-3, after the Uranus-Pluto square gets finished forming a full Grand Cross with the nation’s Sun-Saturn square. The way the nation has wielded its Pluto, for two and a half centuries, is coming full circle, just as the years of Peak Oil come upon us.

Peak Oil

There isn’t a clear consensus about when peak oil production will arrive; that is, the point at which the maximum rate of oil extraction will be reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. There were global economists saying years ago that Peak Oil would take place in 2012; among them, astrologer Tem Tarriktar of The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, who saw it as a likely manifestation of the Uranus-Pluto square.

There is a consensus, however, that Peak Oil is not some fantastic futuristic theory, but an urgent, real-time issue. And yet the development of healthy, efficient energy sources is still considered “unaffordable” or “unrealistic” or even “unnecessary” by an alarming percentage of the American population.

We might chalk this up to the lobbying and propaganda of the oil cartel, as well as the fear of change in the populace. Big Oil has deployed its billions in lobbyist fees to squash clean-energy legislation for generations; and much of the public seems deeply complacent in the face of the wells running dry. There seems to be a mass fantasy that bottomless oil wells exist somewhere, and we can continue this unsustainable way of life forever.

Peak Oil, 1956

A Peak Oil forecast from a Shell publication presented to the American Petroleum Institute in June of 1956

A Post-Denial World

Once we solve our denial problem, we need not doubt the possibility that the world could change from destructive to creative energy sources, and do so relatively easily; given the ingenuity, financial resources, and entrepreneurial know-how available. The US and the other wealthy countries of the world could come up with ingenious new systems to replace oil in a New York minute, if the will to do so were there.

Granted, the prospect of redesigning the myriad of manufacture, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation and distribution systems in place now is no small thing to wrap our minds around. But a complete overhaul of the current industrial paradigm, from one of dark addiction to oil to one of life-affirming sources, is just the sort of unprecedented transformation that astrologers and other prophets have been writing about since time immemorial, when describing the power of these years of cosmic crossroads.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joelle Brink May 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Good news. Oil is rapidly being replaced by biofuels from agricultural and post-consumer waste, algae, microbial fermentation and other renewable sources that do not impact food prices and access. For some time energy traders have been backing away from oil due to concern about unpredictable price spikes and new evidence that claimed reserves may have been greatly overstated.

This year most of the world’s major airlines completed 50% biofueled test flights. Last month they formed a working group to increase the supply of bioaviation fuel and reduce its cost. The US Navy also began its projected “Great Green Fleet” with two biodiesel fueled destroyers and a cruiser, and it sponsored the voyage of a biofueled container ship–the Maersk Kalmar– from Germany to India, as a test bed for emissions tracking and reduction.

In much of Asia–but sadly not the US as yet–the percentage of biofuels in gasoline and biodiesel has been raised to control escalating consumer fuel prices and reduce transportation emissions.

At the moment my best guess as to the planetary signifiers of biofuels are the Moon (plant life , agriculture) and Neptune (marine organisms, oils.)


Carol May 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Indeed, the political will to face down the “make me” mantra is the key. Notice that the US auto industry backed governmental and political types down for decades on increasing fuel efficiency standards, loopholes and all. It took the near disappearance of the American “big three” to get these corporations off square one. It behooves all of us looking forward to a more viable, more earth-friendly vision of clean energy to continue to hammer home in our own localities, including our hometown newspapers, the absolute need to end big oil subsidies and transfer those to the people who will be building the better batteries, the solar, wind, wave, geothermal and other sources of clean energy.

Betty Taylor May 4, 2012 at 7:56 am

Excellent analysis of this situation. May your voice be the wake up call to the American public which, at this point, seems to still have its head in the sand.

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