Illustration by deannab


ON MONDAY, Feb. 21, a Monday that would ordinarily be like any other, Chiron takes its first step into Aquarius during our generation. Discovered in 1977, Chiron is a minor planet orbiting our Sun once every 51 years. It's one of those small, icy worlds, a relic of the ancient solar system with an orbit just beyond that of Saturn. Chiron, named for the first centaur (or half-man, half-horse) of Greek mythology, has become the planet of the holistic age, the symbol of human potential -- and the reminder that people are both animal and human.

By divine coincidence, it also works out that two other centaurs -- Pholus and Nessus -- change signs about four weeks earlier. In other words, the first three discovered centaurs change signs within four weeks. Believe me when I say, that's a lot of change in a very short time, particularly on the levels of thought and belief. Centaurs may be small planets, but they are like jet engines, accelerating both the personal and historical process, and raising awareness. Pholus works its way into Sagittarius through 2005, and Nessus works its way into Aquarius, where it begins a series of exact conjunctions with Chiron -- clearly a generation-defining event. The sign changes, exactly two signs apart, are nearly simultaneous, so all three centaur planet are in an exact sextile all year, in full cooperation. We've got a heck of a late winter/spring on the way, and the fun begins the moment George W. Bush puts his hand on that family Bible and solemnly swears.

Chiron was last in Aquarius between 1955 and 1961, so this placement shows up in the charts of a whole bunch of the late-born Baby Boomers. This era was an interesting (to use a good Aquarian word) spell that included the rise of the Beat Generation writers, the pre-hippies who rediscovered Aquarian tribal life (think On The Road, published in 1957). But they were also 'finding themselves'. This discover myself / discover my group process is the essence of Aquarius, and Chiron is about to drop its magnifying, focusing lens in front of that process any moment now.

These years came with a breakdown of the extreme conservatism and moralism that dominated post World War II America. There was a civil rights movement heating up. Rock and Roll was becoming an institution. The vibrations of change were undeniable. They paved the way for something else. Chiron departed Aquarius and entered Pisces the day after President Kennedy took office, the first truly dramatic shift from the Fifties to the Sixties.

Such alterations in the color and feeling of the world are typical of how transits of slow-moving planets can mark distinct eras in history: particularly Chiron, which can focus attention and permeate the historical process like few other astrological factors.

Skip ahead 40 years and a lot of history. Since late 2001, three months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Chiron has been moving through Capricorn, the sign of government, corporations and big religion. The Sagittarius phase ended with the culmination of fundamentalist terrorism and cries of jihad by both Christian and Muslim radicals. The Capricorn phase has delivered a miniature historical age during which we're all looking into the dark, musty halls of power with our X-Ray vision turned up to full blast, watching events like they're part of a bizarre but only mildly fascinating television program we're not really involved with.

Yet in these few years, we've seen it all -- crimes that make Watergate look like a walk in the park: the beyond-horrid sex scandals in the church, torture and abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, all the lies that surround and still surround the Iraq war (i.e., Saddam's supposed tons of WMDs and alleged plans to conquer the world), Enron and numerous other huge corporate scandals, another stolen presidential election, everything we learned about the first stolen election, all that's come out about the White House's foreknowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks, and so on and so on.

It's been quite a newsy time in history, almost making the satellite TV bill seem worth it. You could sum the whole sordid business up as Chiron in Capricorn. However, I can assure you that what we went through in these years will actually save us a shit-ton of problems in the future, for reasons I'll get into shortly when I come back to the subject of Capricorn.

Chiron, a planet whose theme I would summarize with the keywords "transformation through awareness," now makes a yearlong transition into the next sign in the cycle, Aquarius. Between February and December, it shifts back and forth over the Capricorn-Aquarius cusp, entering Aquarius to stay in December. One interesting quality of Chiron in Aquarius is the timing. It takes us right up to 2011. The exit ramp from this six-year experience leads us promptly into the fabled moment in history known as 2012.

To put it mildly, a lot happens between now and 2012: more than most anyone has imagined. To get some perspective, a contrast will help. Planet Waves readers have had an overview of astrology leading through the 'turn of the millennium'. This transition was based on a concentrated sequence of astrological factors that I reckon arrived with the 1995 transit of Pluto into Sagittarius, and took us through the Venus transit of the Sun in 2004. Such divisions are arbitrary, and debatable. I'm using this for illustration.

Across the Millenial Divide

In between Pluto entering Sagittarius and the Venus transit of 2004, Uranus blazed through Aquarius, delivering the Internet -- and its entire way of life -- out of thin air and some phone wires. Suddenly your bank and your grandma both had web pages. Hers works better.

Chiron reached its perihelion on Feb. 14, 1996, whipping through half the zodiac between 1989 and today (it takes 35 years to complete the rest). Comet Hale-Bopp, with its glowing core and two tails, visited us in early 1997, and per Chinese omen, heralded the change in emperors. There was the rather memorable total solar eclipse and grand cross of August 11, 1999. There was the Taurus alignment of May 4, 2000, which included a Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in the year of the Metal Dragon. Some readers may remember the extremely rare Cancer solstice total solar eclipse of June 21, 2001, and the Saturn-Pluto opposition that summer -- both of which led directly to the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Chiron in Capricorn went to work blowing the lid off the corporate boys even as they looted the treasury; Uranus changed signs again, entering Pisces; Saturn in Cancer made four oppositions to Chiron in Capricorn. We lived through the Venus transit of the Sun in June 2004. Each of these events represented a major chapter in history for each of our lives, and often for the whole culture.

Then the Great Wave struck Asia. The crust of the Earth cracked, making the planet vibrate like a bell. Wells in Florida showed a two-foot drop in water level during the time of the earthquake.

What a decade. Now, all you can watch on TV is Big Brother and the Tsunami Channel.

Yet if we consider the astrology between today and late 2012, a picture emerges that makes even the millennial phase, shocking as it was, look a bit anemic. In the approaching years, we experience a rapid concentration of outer-planet sign-changes and alignments of many other kinds that will basically rewrite reality, or rather, during which we can co-write reality. The intensity of the events builds steadily and distinctly, culminating with a stunning series of outer-planet sign changes and aspects through 2011 and 2012.

Chiron and Uranus enter Pisces, Uranus enters Aries, and Pluto enters Capricorn. Then, on June 6, 2012, we have the second in the pair of Venus transits of the Sun, which draws a line directly from 2004 to 2012. Then, later that same month, we have one of the most powerful aspects in the book, Uranus square Pluto. This is the first Uranus-Pluto 'hard' aspect since the history-bending, fire-breathing, get naked conjunction of 1965-67. Twenty-twelve seems to be some kind of spiritual core-time or historical vortex that we are approaching steadily; if you have the feeling that everything we're witnessing today 'is all leading to something', mark your calendar. You'll know what it is by 12/21/12. And through this time of the approach to the core, the one most consistent thing that defines the feeling and tone is Chiron in Aquarius.

13.0.0.0.0

As if none of this were interesting enough, let's consider the Mayan calendar, which pretty much got the whole 2012 discussion going in the first place. The ancient Mayans, whose civilization flourished in what is now Mexico around 300-900 CE (AD), had a method of time tracking that involved counting the days. They worked with cycles of days and could use these cycles to keep track of long periods of time -- far longer than conventional astrology can. Their cycle called a baktun was 144,000 days, or about 396 years. There are a number of other shorter cycles that make up the 'long count' or calendar. For example, a katun is 7,200 days. A tun is 360 days.

Baktuns come in a larger grouping of 13, called a 'Great Cycle'. That is, 13 x 144,000 days = 5,125 years or 1,872,000 days.

On Dec. 21, 2012, the Capricorn solstice, we reach the end of the 13th baktun. The long count turns over to 13.0.0.0.0. I have heard that the Mayan calendar converters on the Internet won't let you convert a date past the 2012 solstice. However, the Moon is in Aries and I do trust that it will reach Taurus about a day later.

The Mayan long count was derived from the end and worked backwards. Therefore, for whatever reason, the mathematicians, priests and astrologers of that civilization chose that particular date, so close at hand, to anchor the end of their time scheme. Now, you may ask, the end? Why is the 13th baktun the end? Why don't we just go on to the 14th baktun? The answer is that there isn't one. The Mayan system at its simplest is based on the number 13. So the whole meta-cycle of 13 'great cycles' turns over at this point and we go back to the beginning. But please, if you know anyone who is into the Rapture Movement, don't mention this.

You may also ask, why did they choose 2012? They could have used any time as an end point. The implication is they were aware of a long cycle that we are not aware of today, or don't consider relevant; they saw where they were in that cycle; and they timed the whole calendar to coincide with it. Their day count both predates and anti-dates their own civilization. One thing you can say about the Mayans is that they were not willy-nilly mathematicians. They knew what they were doing. But what were they doing? Why did they pick 2012? A writer named John Major Jenkins has offered a theory.

Have you heard of the precession of the equinoxes? No, this is not the theme music played at graduation. Every century or so, the first day of spring (that is, the vernal equinox), arrives a day earlier. This is because the world is wobbling as it 'spins on its axis' -- but the wobble, which is the 'axis' itself wobbling, is so slow you can't see it unless you watch for a couple of thousand years. The wobble cycle takes just under 26,000 years to complete, during which time the seasons and the backdrop of the stars completely go around the calendar once. This is called the precession of the equinoxes. The Mayans knew about this and, apparently, they were tracking the alignment of two points: the dark band near the core of the Milky Way galaxy (the galaxy where we live), and the Sun's position at winter solstice, or the darkest day of the year.

The Sun's position at winter solstice, the Sun itself, and the dark band near the galactic core form a conjunction on Dec. 21, 2012. The dark band, or what in Mayan mythology was called the Road to Xibalba, was thought of as the crack in the universe through which humanity emerged. It is the pathway in and out of existence. It was the heart of the Mayan creation myth.

The winter solstice is part of an imaginary cross that includes something called the Aries Point, about which I write quite a lot (Google that and my name and you'll come up with quite a few references, particularly from 2004).

This alignment is currently so close we can feel it at nearly full intensity. We are close to the peak of our historical process. Note the intensity of any winter solstice, and (for example) the strange events surrounding the most recent one. This and a lot of both Christian and New Age propaganda are contributing to why people are experiencing some catastrophobia associated with 2012, particularly given the impending issue of climate change. The Earth is in trouble, and our relationship to the Earth is in trouble. In the time when we need to be using all of our resources to take care of one another, to make ecological improvements and to staunch the damage, we are busy making bombs, stirring up global religious warfare, and looting the coffers.

And the funny thing is very few people really care. And when most people do care, it's not the logical 'what can I do?' kind of care; rather, it is basically panic. Plenty of others are responding by freebasing religion, ignorance and greed. Others take fear like a drug.

But herein lies the essence of the situation. This is the problem; this is what what is happening. And if we want life to be another way, we're going to have to make it another way. And if we're going to do that, we have to come from a strong, brave place inside ourselves. To do that, we will need to understand ourselves better. Then, we have to get together. Can we do it? How much would you bet?

All of the astrological changes between now and 2012 that will reshape society and our world represent, for each of us, a parallel psychological process. We go through changes. We make decisions. We have experiences and respond to them. We experience one another in relationship. We live volume after chapter of our lives. But as Chiron works its way through Aquarius, it will become increasingly evident that we do this together.

Whatever Chiron in Aquarius may represent socially, psychologically or spiritually, this is the time frame wherein we will make these decisions. This is the time when we will see our society for what it is; when we are very likely to see our relationship to society for what it is; and we will be confronted with the need to do something about all of it, both personally and collectively. These words, I think, will make a lot more sense one year from today.

There is a theory that the Mayans, whose own civilization fell amidst war and internal strife, were aware of a parallel, catastrophic time that would come much later in history -- and they were warning whoever came after them not to take the path they chose. They, too, had advanced science and technology, arguably more conscious and spiritually grounded than our own. There were enlightened people in that culture. And then their leaders became corrupt, the empire divided itself, it went to war, the crops failed, and the citizens of high civilization ended up as refugees. Some retreated to the mountains and where their descendants still live today.

Now, we get to make up our minds -- and we happen to do so under the astrology of Chiron in Aquarius, which I view as a bridge to the core -- the core being something of a mystery, but the bridge being, 'all for one, one for all'. Because that's what it's gonna take. ++




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