2011 in Review: A Year of Revolutions
Sometimes, year-end lists can feel arbitary, but this year, there is a very clear sense about what the most significant development was. 2011 was a good year for popular uprisings and a bad year for anyone standing in the way, and despots in general. Even aside from the Arab Spring and the global Occupy movement, there were also significant related-but-unrelated struggles in Wisconsin for labor rights, Russia against a disputed election, protests in Spain, Italy, Greece, Syria, almost too many places to keep track of. And for fallen leaders, we have former Tunisian President Ben Ali, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the late and former King of Libya Muammar Qaddafi, the former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi, the late Al Quaeda terrorist 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, and most recently the late and former supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il. On this blog we have already covered “The Astrology of the Arab Spring” as well as Occupy Wall Street in “The Uranus-Pluto Square: What We’ve Seen So Far”, but now with the whole year in perspective, it seems they were all part of the same phenomenon.
In short, 2011 was unlike any year since 1989 — but more extraordinary, more global, more democratic, since in ’89 the regime disintegrations were all the result of a single disintegration at headquarters, one big switch pulled in Moscow that cut off the power throughout the system. So 2011 was unlike any year since 1968 — but more consequential because more protesters have more skin in the game. Their protests weren’t part of a countercultural pageant, as in ’68, and rapidly morphed into full-fledged rebellions, bringing down regimes and immediately changing the course of history. It was, in other words, unlike anything in any of our lifetimes, probably unlike any year since 1848, when one street protest in Paris blossomed into a three-day revolution that turned a monarchy into a republican democracy and then — within weeks, thanks in part to new technologies (telegraphy, railroads, rotary printing presses) — inspired an unstoppable cascade of protest and insurrection in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Venice and dozens of other places across Europe, as well as a huge peaceful demonstration of democratic solidarity in New York that marched down Broadway and occupied a public park a few blocks north of Wall Street. How perfect that the German word Zeitgeist was transplanted into English in that unprecedented, uncanny year of insurrection.
-Kurt Anderson of TIME Magazine, from the article TIME Person of the Year: The Protester
As TIME magazine pointed out, 1848 has a startlingly clear historical connection to 2011, and I argue they have a startlingly clear astrological connection as well. In 1848, Neptune transited 28 Aquarius to 2 Pisces. In 2011, Neptune transited 28 Aquarius to 0 Pisces. The Arab Spring, the Occupy movements and other protests in Europe, Russia and elsewhere in 2011 are manifestations of the Neptune Return of the Revolutions of 1848, and as such they appear to be animated by the same form of populist idealism that Neptune is well known for. I had even noted this 1848 Neptune Pisces ingress before in a much earlier piece on this site as a kind of unofficial beginning of progressive reform movements in modern time.
Equally remarkable is the connection between 1848 and the other year mentioned by TIME, 1968. In 1968, Uranus was within 5 degrees of Pluto. The last time Uranus was that close to Pluto again was in, you guessed it, 1848. In 1848, Uranus and Pluto were in late Aries, in 1968, Uranus and Pluto were in late Virgo. And in 2011, Uranus and Pluto were reaching their first major aspect to each other since 1968, when we have once again witnessed revolution which seems to conjure up in our cultural memory the relevant time periods involving the conjunctions of these planets, something the great Richard Tarnas explains here. However, the fact that the author of an article in a mainstream publication with presumably no astrological knowledge would make these associations between these time periods should give one pause. Sometimes it’s the parallels and coincidences people naturally make between different time periods that end up being some of the most impressive cases for the existence of an astrological phenomenon.
What about the connections to the protests in 1989 in China and the downfall of the Soviet Union in Russia? There was only a Saturn–Neptune conjunction that year, not a Uranus-Pluto phase, but there are some interesting Uranus connections. Recent events in those countries I think point to developments that will come up in the new year for those countries. In my past article “The Astrology of the Arab Spring”, I showed how each country that was hit hard by the Arab Spring had Uranus making a hard aspect to the position of the Sun on the date of its inception, its declaration of independence or proclamation of its existence.
- Tunisia – Declaration of Independence, March 20th 1956, Sun at 29 Pisces conjoined by Uranus during the Arab Spring
- Egypt – Egypt declares itself Arab Republic of Egypt, June 18th 1953, Sun at 26 Gemini, squared by Uranus during the Arab Spring
- Libya – Declaration of Independence, December 24th 1951, Sun at 1 Capricorn, squared by Uranus as NATO intervenes in the ongoing Libyan protests.
I should mention though that I think what made these Uranus hard aspects to the position of the Sun on the dates of of the formations of new national identities so dramatic was the fact that Uranus was configured with eclipses. The next time eclipse cycles will be configured with Uranus will be in 2014 and 2015, right around when Uranus is at 12-15 Aries, in a tight square to the Sun at 13 Cancer in the chart of the USA’s Declaration of Independence, July 4th 1776. Still, following the general pattern of Uranus making a hard aspect to a nation’s Sun, there are a few big countries who are about to get rattled by Uranus in 2012.
- Russia – Soviet Union officially dissolved on December 25th 1991, Sun at 3 Capricorn, to be squared by Uranus in 2012. And of course, it was the revolutions just two years earlier in 1989 that spelled the collapse of the Soviet Union. Uranus has already hit 3 Aries in 2011, and very recently, Russia has been rocked by protests against disputed election results but has morphed into protests for a more open democratic process in general. I think we’ll continue to see Russia in the headlines this coming year.
- China – Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China, October 1st 1949, Sun at 8 Libra square Uranus at 4 Cancer, to be squared by Uranus in 2012 and 2013. Uranus squared China’s Sun and Uranus in 1969 during the Sino-Soviet border conflict, the height of the Sino-Soviet split. Uranus reached the opposite degrees of China’s Sun and Uranus in 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests. Uranus is coming to square China’s Sun and Uranus again in 2012, and so it’s interesting to consider what might happen, especially as both of its neighbors (Russia and North Korea) may be entering periods of instability from protests and transitioning leaders.
Numbers allow us to tie a bow on 2011 and call it a wrap and move onward to 2012, but a genie has been let out of the bottle that will make it hard for it to truly end in the coming years. When Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the Republic of China was asked about the impact of the 1789 French Revolution (conveniently enough, the event marking the Uranus-Pluto opposition between the conjunctions of the 1840’s and 1960’s). He famously replied, “Too soon to tell”. A fitting sentiment for these momentous times methinks. Well played Mr. Zhou, well played.
We here at the PAB sincerely wish you a happy new year! Remember to keep up with us for our 2012 election coverage! Thanks for reading!