Generation or Epoch ? Part I


As the earlier members of “Generation X” start turning 50, I thought this would be a good time to take a fresh look at what constitutes a generation in Traditional Astrology.

I believe that generation, , as we’ve been encouraged to look at them over the last fifty years, has lead to great misunderstanding and unconsidered stereotyping for the purposes of marketing and commerce. Instead we need to revisit this phenomenon and find context based on geography and many other considerations in concert with astrological ones.

Looking at society in terms of specific and unique generations is a relatively recent pheomenon. Thinking in terms of unfolding epochs marked by celestial events is ancient, as is the all too human penchant for lamentaing the failures of youth. The first consideration ought to be the Superior Conjunctions because these set the nature of epochs, lasting until the next conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn..

Let’s take a look at the so called Post War or “Boomer” generation for example.  Predictably, the generations who made it through the Great Depresssion and World War wished, first and foremost, for little more than to have families and live in peace, pereferably in the suburbs. That was the generation that brought us “My Blue Heaven” which refers to a house.

At any rate, there was a surge of children born in the years following WWII.  This generation remains the largest to this day and was easily dubbed the Boomer Generation. You will notice the title tells us nothing about the characteristics of the generation other than the size.  It wasn’t meant to.

Generations are typically considered to be about twenty years in duration. So generalizations quickly become strained. We are not only looking at two decades, but limiting our view to a very small select portion of the population.

In the meantime during the heyday of the  Civil Rights and Counter Culture Movement from 1966 – 1976, China underwent the bloody Cultural revolution, largely coinciding with the American involvement in the Viet Nam war.

Only a few years before in 1961, the Berlin Wall was built. There was a string of assassinations in America, from the Kennedys to Martin Luther King. College students chanted Communist slogans amd the Red Book of Mao Tse Tung, perhaps the worst dictator of this period  actually got attention. The war in Viet Nam was the ugliset ever to have been filmed at that time. United Staes atrocities became common fare on daily news reports.

Clearly, most of the above would immediately effect those in the United States. Meanwhile, back in the UK, things were a bit more civilized and much less violent. It wasn’t too big on indigenous protest songs beyond the relatively gentle chiding of Donovan. Punk was yet to come. Be that as it may, they still had a lot more in common than not. Nevertheless, this would only leave us with the experience or a small portion of the English speaking world.

Attempts to define the so called baby boomers have always been awkward.  They went from being described as a birth rate statistic to something of mythic status.

The actual baby boom occurred after 1945 and after the 20 year expectation of a generation, it should extend to 1965. What we can’t say is that the entire period was a *boom.* This isn’t how its done.

Modern astrologers have long used the outer planets to describe generations. In fact one of the greatest ironies in the overuse of the Transpersonal Planets is that they are far away from Sol as possible. I often thought this a poignant commentary on the last century, the “age of alienation.”  So one might argue that there is a certain logic in using the outers to identify generations with specific traits.

The boomer generation were (and still are) sometimes refered to as the Pluto in Leo Generation and then sub-divided between those who had Neptune in Libra or Scorpio. and so forth. It doesn’t fit if you lok too clsoely, but the evocative language has power. Perhaps we sometimes have cases of reality imitating bad astrology.

Pluto in Leo has been directly related to Rock & Roll. They were a rebellious generation, questioning and most condemning societal mores, conventions and institutions.  So we need to add Uranus transits to reflect the revolutionary spirit to go with that Plutonian megalomania.

Statistically, this is pure fantasy. While we can point to the Black Panthers, Yippies and Weathermen in the USA, the most frequent theme pretty much globally is  extreme Political upheaval, including for example war between India and Paksitan. We have largely been sold a bill of goods in the interest of marketing.

It is a terrible injustice that those protesting these atrocities all over the world were trivialized and still are, recreated in a media which is more a propaganda machine than a source of reliable news.

The reality of the violence was almost beyond human comprehension. In Viet Nam the US pathetically  legitimized the war as a necessary attempt to stem the flow of Communism

We have said that Traditionally generations and epochs are associated with the Superior Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, which occurs approximately every 20 years. In actuality the “baby boomer” generation began years before the boom, back in 1940.

The conjunction finally went direct on 27 February 1941 but it had first formed the Conjunction on 22 July 1940 . This was also a triple conjunction, each having it’s own qualities. However, to keep it simple, I chose a chart for 10.00 am 11 October 1940 BST (wartime).

To put things in context once again, John Lennon was born two days prior. If we can accept the fact that Lennon barely made it into the generation known as boomers and that Ringo Starr belongs to the “silent generation” then all is well. The fact is the Beatles are iconic of that generation but these two show us how shaky these stereotypes really are.This generation unfolded for another 20 years. There were several modifying factors such as eclipses and the phase of the cycle itself, as it opposes, sextiles, squares or trines the triple points of conjunction as well as other Celestial events accompanying this unfolding.

If you wish, you can draw the chart for say San Francisco, Moscow or Beijing. You will find differences, but when you look at them closely they are not so dissimilar.  This is among the most important elements of Mundane Astrology:  Things will unfold as they can unfold.

The chart for what has become known as Generation X is easily to determine because this is a single conjunction, rather than three. The generation is now turning 50. The experience of Generation X has been far less one of political confrontation. It is also decidedly more conservative overall. Both are suggested by a Cardinal Capricorn

As is to be expected both charts show superior conjunctions in Earth signs, the first in Taurus and the second in Capricorn. The Fixed nature of the first  and the cardinal of the second are major differences in themselves. Fixed bring more overt conflict. The greatest error we can make here is what I call the bias of context. We constanltly see so called the middle class American experience held up as universal, as I have already indicated.

So, we can do the same thing with the rest of the world and you will find that humans are surprisingly similar when all is said and done. However, the context in which they live differs immensely. This is where one can refer to Claudius Ptolemy or others for the astrological indicators for different parts of the world. The phases of the unfolding conjunction must be noted. For example, there might be an opposition .. of course in a fixed sign. Mars transits and particularly squares are indicators of violence or war.

Consecutive Full Moons in Scorpio

There will be two consecutive Full Moons in Scorpio in 2008. The last one occurred 20 April 2008 @ 2:33 am pst. This is not to be confused with the Blue Moon phenomenon, which is a fourth Full Moon in a given season. That occurs approximately every 2.7 years to reflect the fact that the Solar Year is longer than twelve Lunar Cycles, but less than thirteen. It is commonly misunderstood that a Blue Moon is the second Full Moon in a given calendar month.

Nevertheless, to have two consecutive Full Moons in any one sign is a rare enough event. I am giving this pair a little extra attention because the configuration is of great interest for a number of reasons.

The April chart had Saturn as the ruler of the Ascendant retrograde in the seventh house with the Dragon’s Tail. The Eight / Two axis is known as the Gates of Hades or Domain of Typhon.  Note that in the May chart the Sun and Moon change places on the same axis.

The Moon is parallel Sirius and conjunct the Arabic Part of Understanding. The parallel aspect is much stronger than the conjunction. The Moon is in her fall and the powerful influence of Sirius brings passionate, searing intensity to an already volatile mix. The Moon in the traditional decanate of Mars, accentuates her already Martian nature. She is disposited by Mars in Cancer, the sign of his fall. This provides what is called a negative mutual reception. Both are in the sign of their own fall. A weak malefic is a damaging one.

According to Ptolemy, Sirius, the brightest of all stars is of the nature of Jupiter and Mars. With the Moon, there is general good fortune, if free of malefics. This is a case of a highly baneful situation being ameliorated by association with a particular star and Arabic Part. However, this relief is slight considering the overall picture. Regrettably, the planets have delivered their promise by way of global catastrophes in the same elements. Much suffering could have been avoided if the celestial forcasts had been heeded.

In itself, we can then see that the chart is certainly challenging enough, but its full import is seen with the second opposition in the same sign a month later.

The second consecutive Full Moon in Scorpio occurs 19 May 2008 @ 4.44 pm pdt, just before the Sun enters Gemini. Note that Saturn has gone direct and sits on the same degree as the Full Lunar Eclipse of 20 February 2008 @ 7:26 pm. pst. It is also in almost precisely the same position as it was in the April chart.

The May chart has Venus combust in the eighth house and, although dignified by sign, cannot do much due to both combustion and house placement. Venus is ruler of the Ascendant and caught up with the Sun’s opposition to the Moon on the same axis.

Morover, the Dragon’s Tail is besieged by Saturn and Mars. Both Saturn and the South Node are in the twelfth Lunar Mansion, Al Safah, the Changer of the Weather. Mars disposits the Part of Fortune, found in the unfortunate sixth house in the Mansion of the Belly. By any standards, this is a nasty piece of work.

With the current vulnerability to seismic activity, particularly around the Pacific rim, Central Asia and all countries where the Lunar Eclipse was visible,  vigilence and preparation should be a matter of course. Any country under the governenance of Virgo should also beware. Extreme siesmic activity is often the case with Sun, Jupiter and Saturn in Earth signs; and here we have exacerbating circumstances.

Ptolemy does not mention China by name, but the country would fall under what he calls the second quarter:

“which embraces the southern part of Greater Asia, the other parts, including India, Ariana, Gedrosia, Parthia, Media, Persia, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria, which are situated in the south-east of the whole inhabited world, are, as we might presume, familiar to the south-eastern triangle, Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, and are governed by Venus and Saturn in oriental aspects.” (Tetrabiblos. Bk II. p. 43)

This places Myanmar (formerly Burma) and China under the governance of the Earth triplicity at a time when Saturn, Sun and Jupiter occupies these signs. What he calls Ariana is what is now known as Afghanistan and Pakistan as far east as the Indus.

The Moon was Void of Course in the 24th degree of Leo, crossing the Dragon’s Tail and activating a square to the Sun when the 7.9 magnitude quake hit the Chendu area in the Szechuan province of China. The Sun was cojoining with Algol. The result was mass destruction causing the death of 10,000 people as the result of the quake and aftershocks. The Chinese refer to Algol as the star of “piled up corpses”

In the chart for 19 May 2008, the Sun is conjunct the Fixed Star Alcyone, the brightest of the Pleiades, situated on the shoulder of the Bull. It is of the nature of Mars and the Moon. Negatively the star is associated with blindness caused by fevers, either literally of figuratively. The spread of disease as a result of the catastrophes in Myanmar and China is a very real, but preventable threat; but first, blindness must give way to vision. This is most particularly the case in Myanmar.

The Lunar degree of this chart falls in the nineteenth Mansion known Al Shaulah, The Sting. The Ascending degree is in the sixteenth Mansion Al Jubana, The Claws, and in Via Combusta. The latter is a region of the zodiac that contains many baneful stars, with the notable exception of Spica. However, the Moon in the 28 th degree of Scorpio has Venus for decanate ruler, rather than Mars as was the case in the April chart.img_sign_on islamic astrolabe

This Solar degree falls in the Lunar Mansion Al Thurayya (the many little ones) and is said to be profitable to sailors and alchemists. Taken figuratively, this augers well for the afflicted and an albeit belated rescue effort for Burma, particularly as the Sun moves into Gemini and the Moon enters Sagittarius, forming a fleeting but perfect trine to Mars at the time of the Solar Ingress.

She will be in parallel with Antares, the Heart of the Scorpion,  before the opposition fully separates. Venus will soon be out from under the Sun’s beams. This is a brief period of respite, before Mars closes in on the Dragon’s Tail. Excessive heat and fires fanned by high winds are predicted when the Moon co-joins with them.

Please bear in mind that the house placements will differ from one time zone to another. These comments are most specifically relevant to the Pacific Coast in that regard only.  The comments on fixed star placement and planetary aspects otherwise remain the same and are most immediately concerned with the areas Ptolemy identified with the Earth Triplicity.

To be continued …