Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world…We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” cccccccccMarianne Williamson*
We interrupt your life to bring you an important announcement! If you are between the ages of 48 and 67, the sky gods are poised to make you an offer you can't refuse. And for the rest of you—a new, if somewhat less onerous challenge awaits.
On July 16, 2005, at 8:30 am EDT (5:30 am PDT) the planet Saturn departed its residence in the zodiacal sign of Cancer the crab and entered the fiery sign of Leo the lion. Saturn's placement influences attitudes and priorities, both personally and collectively. To appreciate its impact, just reflect on prominent issues during the last two years, while Saturn was transiting Cancer (June 2003-July 2005). Cancer is the guardian of home and family and many of us witnessed dramatic changes in our family structures. On the homefront, low interest rates fueled a massive housing bubble. Emotional stress reached critical proportions, along with a corresponding spike in clinical depression. Above all, security concerns (as in homeland) were tantamount and played out in the political arena. Fear mongering (what color is your alert?) and family values (Cancer-ruled traditional ones) dominated election rhetoric and were largely responsible for the re-instatement of the Bush presidency.
While during Saturn's transit through watery Cancer, many of us tried to hide inside our shells (and seal them with duct tape), with the energy shifting into fiery Leo, get ready to roar. New priorities will emerge and old ones will fade. Fear tactics will no longer inspire. The focus will be on personal fulfillment. Leo's top priorities are self-expression and leadership. Leo is Big and “out there,” the king of beasts, so expect a display of Leo energy in spades—the good, the bad and the ugly. In the political arena, the crisis in leadership will surely escalate. A growing inequity of wealth and privilege amid increasing poverty and a shrinking middle class is in the offing. Government funding for the arts may further shrivel as military adventurism taxes budgets. Eventually, however, with enough consciousness raising, public opinion and outrage should begin to shift the paradigm.
Boomers and More
By far, the greatest impact of this leonine time will be felt by the generation of Americans born in the twenty year period between August 4, 19 38 and August 19, 19 57 . (Note: except for the period from 2/8-6/14/39). These individuals all have the planet Pluto, the provocateur of destiny, natally in the sign of Leo. Most readers will immediately identify this date spread as encompassing the now famous wave of Baby Boomers. What demographers (who are obviously not astrologers) have overlooked is that pre-boomers, historically labeled War Babies, have a lot in common with their more notable cousins. The boomers are actually a sub-generation of the larger group of Pluto in Leos (P/Ls).
Pluto placements are generational markers because the icy planet, which takes 248 years to orbit the Sun, spends anywhere from 12 to 25 years in a single sign. The irregularity is caused by its elliptical orbit, frequent and lengthy retrogrades. (Pluto slows it progress by going five months backward for every seven months of forward progress.) Saturn's passage through Leo will set up a rolling conjunction that will ripple through the natal Pluto placements of each and every member of the vast and diverse aforementioned generational group. This Saturn/Pluto pairing is symbolic of the meeting of responsibility and power. As Saturn puts the key in the ignition and turns on Pluto's engine, an entire generation begins a rendezvous with destiny. The potential ramifications are enormous, if somewhat unfathomable. Saturn could unlock Pandora's box, or a treasure trove of inestimable value. (Probably some of both.) Additionally, individuals born between August 3, 19 46 and September 19, 19 48 (with Saturn in Leo in their natal charts) will concurrently experience their second Saturn return--a time of coming of age. Indeed, growing up (even growing old), for this youth obsessed generation, is one of the demanding themes of this transit. And, like their Peter Pan archetype, Leos must retrieve their shadows in order to become whole and complete.
A Shared Legacy
There is a definite bottom line quality, a commonality, to all individuals born under the same Pluto sign. The Leo generation's issues reflect all the archetypes of that sign. Ruled by the Sun, Leo perceives itself at the center of the universe, engendering a self-focus and even extreme narcissism in some individuals. Leos have an irrepressible often obsessive need for love and approval. In fact, it was our first boomer President, Bill Clinton, who discovered the power of the poll and manipulated policy by the numbers. Both he and his boomer successor, George Bush, shared the mixed blessing of daily approval ratings.
Karma and Dharma
In olden days, if a king lost approval he often lost his head. The Pluto in Leo generation's past life history as kings and aristocrats has left them with a critical need for karmic balance. Many in this group reincarnated together in former times. They were the arrogant, self-serving, leaders of Atlantis (the continent that sank during the Great Age of Leo, 12,000 years ago), those most responsible for the folly that led to its destruction. They were the pre-revolutionary French aristocracy and the robber barons of the Gilded Age. Today, these elitists find a home in the office of the corporate CEO. P/L's karmic transformation (the ultimate plutonian process) is not possible without the integration of Leo's polarity, Aquarius. Not coincidentally, Aquarius rules the 2000 year Great Age we have just entered. It is the dharma of Pluto in Leos to become the new generation of Aquarian leaders.
Millions of souls are involved in the unfolding drama of birthing the New Age and not everyone will self express at the same level. In his groundbreaking work, Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul (Llewellyn 1985) Astrologer Jeff Greene identifies four natural evolutionary states that determine at what level an individual is operating. Green's classifications are of ancient Indian origin. (The source of his statistics is unknown to this author.) The stages are: 1) Dimly evolved state—2-3% of humanity; very low level of personal awareness. 2) Herd state—75% of humanity; individual identities are an extension of societal norms, beliefs, custom and taboos; mainstream. 3) Individuated state—20%; those who question the norms, beliefs, customs and taboos of society. 4) Spiritual state—2-3%; those who aspire to understand nature, creation, their own lives and the lives of others in a holistic context.
While individuals at the leading edge of consciousness evolution (stage 4) will become the pioneers of the new paradigm, all groups play important roles. Individuals who exhibit the worst excesses mobilize the backlash. Primitive classes, in their karmic roles as victims of the abuse of power, call public attention to the necessity for remediation. Mainstream ranks push the status quo to critical mass, raising consciousness and catalyzing change. Emerging new paradigm thinkers are then able to implement creative solutions.
Contemporary sociologist, Paul Ray, in his book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World (Harmony 2000) identifies a group that he believes will be the real engine for cultural change in our lifetime. Even the name of this group echoes Pluto (culture) and Leo (creative). Definitively representing Green's individuated state (see above) many Cultural Creatives are poised on the brink, or swelling the ranks, of the 2% of population who are operating in a holistic, transpersonal modality. Saturn's conjunction to Pluto will mobilize this force as never before. Over the next two years many will give birth to new, life-transforming, projects they will spend the rest of their lives nurturing.
The “me” generation has spent the greater part of their lives self-actualizing, developing self-awareness, cultivating a broad range of talents and honing skills. This generation is the first to have had the opportunities of widespread higher education, continued prosperity, and relative peace. That dividend is a direct legacy of the Pluto in Cancer generation who are their parents. The Cancerians' karmic mission was to create the secure foundation that allowed their children the luxury of self-exploration. In the post WWII years, Pluto in Cancers built and populated the suburbs and altered the social and cultural landscape of the country.
Now it's time for the Leo generation to give back to society by putting their vast knowledge and resources to work. This is already a visible trend. To wit, NBC aired a segment on the Evening News (June 24, 2005) describing how a growing number of boomers are departing from their former self focus and cultivating an interest in helping their communities. Many are starting non-profit ventures, primarily to assist the poor and elderly. Time magazine ran a cover story (May 16, 2005) on boomer women who are re-inventing themselves at midlife, leaving behind their corporate careers, following their hearts and making a difference. This recent development of social consciousness represents the integration of Aquarian values. Aquarius, Leo's shadow persona, is egalitarian, humanitarian, and community minded. How ironic that the most self-involved members of our culture should be the harbingers of social transformation! We witnessed the precursor to this movement in the ‘60s counter culture--this generation's youthful rebellion. Now, in their maturity and wisdom (we hope), the rebels need to become true reformers, giving their idealism fertile ground in which to take root, grow and blossom.
Our Deepest Fear
Saturn conjunct Pluto, in fire sign Leo, will be heating up the waters. The rolling boil will hit its high-point next summer. Saturn will sequentially conjunct the first wave of Pluto placements (1938-48) in 2005-6 and hit the second wave (1948-58) in 2007. If you are a member of this generation you may be asking “How can I prepare?” As a self-aware individual, you may feel the urge to self-actualize at a greater level. A strong desire to find and pursue your passion may tug at your heart. But don't expect a picnic. Pluto may be the great transformer; it also rules fears and obsessions. In order to move forward into the new, something old must die. In the case of Leo, ruler of the ego, one can expect to undergo a potentially painful process (depending on how one holds on to attachments and resists change) known in psychological lingo as an ego death. Impediments to progress, with which the ego is identified, will come under fire. In the case of Leo, grandiosity, entitlement and approval seeking are prime targets. Remember, this is shadow material—and if you can't see your own shadow, someone will bring you a mirror! Also note: egos can play small, as wonderfully expressed by Marianne Williamson in the opening quotation “Our Deepest Fear.” It rings true—true enough to become a Saturn in Leo mantra.
Given a generational commonality, every natal chart differs. House placements and aspects color individual experience. If you are a member of this select generational group, learning about your own natal Pluto (with the guidance of your local astrologer) can help you address the specific issues with which you will be grappling not only during the Saturn transit, but for the rest of your life. These next two years mark the beginning of a sacred journey of transformation, for you and for the world. You are on the brink of discovering the work you were literally born to do. You are being primed to step into your true power. When destiny calls—will you be ready?
*A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles