Jessica Murray's America in Transition

Dr. Strangelove Returns

by Jessica Murray on July 1, 2014

Dr. Strangelove - astrology of 2014

Uncle Sam has been scrambling in recent months, foreign policy-wise, which has come as no surprise to transit trackers who have been mapping the country’s run-in with the Cardinal Cross this year and next (1).

As discussed in our last America in Transition, the Uranus-Pluto square was peaking (with a zero° orb) when it transited the US chart in April, grand-crossing America’s Sun-Saturn square at 13-14° Cancer. This provoked the most reactive aspect of the national chart, the collective fear of losing international stature. All the ingredients were assembled when a familiar old bogeyman barged into the American headlines: Vladimir Putin, whose Sun is at 13° Libra.

That shared fourteenth degree between the US chart, the Putin chart, and the grand cross in the sky told us that American Russophobia was due for a comeback (discussed in detail here).

Cold War Redux

Before you could say “Dr Strangelove,” Cold War platitudes were flying thick and fast through the American airwaves. The old East-vs-West narrative was dragged out of storage like a moldering army uniform. The US media launched into a condemnation of its historic frenemy, Russia, and the Ukraine crisis was pronounced a clear-cut case of Democracy-vs-Autocracy.

For those of us who were children in the 50s and 60s, it felt surreal to be hearing some of the same propagandistic tropes that had us ducking under our desks for air raid drills during the better-dead-than-red days. In its coverage of the Crimean conflict, the media left no room for shades of gray: Russia was the bad guy and the anti-Putin contingent was the good guy. What’s really going on, however, is much more interesting, and much stranger (2).

Going Global

Those of us who incarnated into these years of crossroads need to look further than the self-serving declarations of entrenched institutions. With Pluto in Capricorn square Uranus in Aries, old geopolitical verities are being rendered obsolete left and right. We are seeing the world’s power dynamics shifting and morphing everywhere we look.

The old democracy-vs-communism paradigm (3)—the filter through which 20th-century Americans were conditioned to see the world—cannot help us understand these shifts. It cannot help us understand the balkanization of the Balkans, or any of the other separatist movements breaking out around the world; from the Kurds, who want to separate from Iraq, Syria and Turkey, to the Scots who want to separate from the UK.

Beyond Nationhood

Planetary cycles, on the other hand, can provide clues about the meaning of these changes. As astrologers have been saying for years (4), under the Pluto (breakdown) in Capricorn (nationalism) transit of 2008-2023, humanity’s long-held assumptions about nation-statehood are biting the dust.

Astrological symbolism helps us get the distance we need to get a bead on long-term human cycles. Seen from this perspective, such changes are understood to be neither good nor bad. The Uranus-Pluto exactitude (2012-15) marks the peak years of a period when old geopolitical certainties are fragmenting. It shouldn’t surprise us that, until new certainties establish themselves, there’s going to be a certain degree of chaos.

Tech Revolution

This transit also tells us that the digital age (Uranus) was fated to destabilize the way power (Pluto) consolidated itself in the world. We’re in the midst of a breakdown of the mechanisms that, up until now, established the various hierarchies of authority and control. You don’t have to be an astrologer to see that the massive interconnectedness brought about by technology (Uranus) is undermining old notions of nationhood (Capricorn).

DIgital revolution

The powerful players of the world used to be priestly dynasties and royal families (5). Now, they’re multinational corporations. Instead of fearing battering rams and bombs, our new rulers fear cyber-attack. These days a country’s security depends less upon its army than upon the tiny little flashing figures that signal its financial transactions around the world.


And although we still have tribal factions and patriotic sentiment operating as casus belli, they are no longer in the ascendancy. They are representative of the old way.

This is not to say one kind of dominance-and-control is better than another. In an absolute sense, any form of power jousting, however it manifests, represents the shadow side of human nature, the side blinkered by ego. But we are considering here which versions of the Pluto-in-Capricorn archetype are on their way in and which are on their way out. When we see global corporations playing nations off one against the other to get the best deals on taxes and regulations, we know we are dealing with new-world power jousting (6).

power jousting in thailand

From this point of view there is less and less difference between the plutocrats of the East and the West. The old-fashioned idea of there being two types of country in the world—one represented by the World’s Great Democracies (Washington and its NATO allies), and the other represented by all the other, supposedly less civilized countries—is becoming more and more discredited, its proponents more and more absurd.

If a meaningful polarity does exist right now, that could help us understand today’s world, it is between the haves and have-nots (7). Of course, we can hardly expect the corporate media, in league as it is with the powers-that-be, to frame things this way. For the astrologically minded, it is from planetary patterns and our own common sense that we get a more telling, more educational, and more useful way to make sense of a world in flux.


(1) The Dec ‘13/Jan ‘14 issue of the Mountain Astrologer Magazine featured two especially comprehensive articles on this transit, by Bill Herbst and Tem Tarriktar.

(2) In his report of the May 3 violence in Odessa, journalist Robert Parry, formerly with the AP and now with Consortium News, described Right Sector (neo-fascist) militias massacring 38 pro-Russian activists after chasing them into a trade union building headquarters. “As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading ‘Galician SS,’ a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front.”

(3) The staggering income disparities in China and Russia (in which an astonishing 35 percent of household wealth is owned by just 110 people) are shattering our old assumptions about where in the world it’s okay to become obscenely rich. Nowhere has capitalism been more ruthlessly adopted than in these two post-communist autocracies.

(4) This essay is from 2008.

(5) An exception is Saudi Arabia, which still features a ruling dynasty presiding over a feudal underclass (see my blog). The grotesque injustices to which they submit this underclass, and females of all classes, are so anachronistic as to suggest that when this cartel finally dies, it will do so with a bang.

(6) See the work of Berkeley political economist Robert Reich.

(7) The environmental justice movement is representative of this new perspective. Another is the tracking of where the new billionaires are putting their money, a form of global destabilization directly linked to climate change. Consider what’s happening with global real estate markets. Pacific Rim billionaires, for example, as a hedge against the uncertainties created by unbridled pollution and weather disasters at home, are investing hand-over-fist in Vancouver. The resulting displacement of Vancouver’s renters is causing that city to gentrify as fast as San Francisco.

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