Letters, Essays & Premonitions


"Three Types of Outside Shock"

I view astrological Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as symbolic of living forces bearing real influence within and around our psyches as three distinct types of outside shock: sudden (Uranus), diffusive (Neptune) and deep shocks (Pluto). The word "outside" simply suggests that their origin is beyond the grasp and immediate control of ego; outside shocks come from the outside world at large and, they also emerge from within. "Shock", as the word is used hereafter, refers to any occurrence registered by oneself as an autonomous event -- happening outside our plans, our intentions and/or our will -- while acting on our lives in a direct manner; life is what happens when we're busy making other plans and real life consists of an intermittent series of real shocks.

Shocks can be small, large, mild, wild, gentle or harsh; their sheer variety is shocking. As much as we may experience shocks as "negative" or "positive", malignant or benevolent, I am suggesting here that outside shocks are actually NEUTRAL upon impact. It is only by the gauntlet of our real, live human responses -- our feelings, emotions, opinions, beliefs, thoughts and the rest of it -- that we determine such necessary evaluations as whether the shock was good or evil, tragic or magic, merciful or severe and, of course, all of the above. When it comes to evaluating the influence of outside shock in our lives, there are always two events to consider: 1) the shock itself and 2) how we are responding to the shock itself.

We are innocent adepts at shocking ourselves; watch how our reactions to an outside shock sometimes proves more "shocking" or upsetting to us, than the actual shock itself. I wish to address the issue of personal responsibility following the effects of outside shocks by introducing processes for restabilizing the unstable conditions often inherent to transpersonal transits from Pluto, Neptune and/or Uranus. I hope to discover how a good working knowledge of the Second, Fifth and Sixth Houses can prove effective in polarizing, or neutralizing, those shocks (administered by Pluto, Uranus and Neptune transits respectively). I am using the term "polarization" as it's applied to physics in general and specifically, to a process of unifying opposite directions of energy within ones experience, towards a more singular field of being. To polarize then, is to balance a "big energy" by merging it with a polar, or opposite, type of human activity. My point ? To move the shocks of big energy through my own system more effectively and maybe, share some of this process with yourselves.

A key word to begin describing the outside shock of Uranus is "sudden"; other words include: intermittent, electrical, liberating, out-of-the-blue, like lightning striking. Uranus transits, as well as the activation of natal Uranus, releases into our direct knowledge of things, a series of electrically-charged impulses rapidly searching for their most direct outlet. Any structures or patterns -- and this depends on what else Uranus is activating in the birthchart -- impeding or inhibiting these heightened electrical discharges are suddenly disrupted, disintegrated or blown away. If the Moon is touched by a Uranus transit, ones habit patterns and need structures are "tested" for their flexibility, their ability to bend towards a greater emotional autonomy, or a freer expression of emotion.

Uranus forces a kind of detachment in general and a self-detachment, in particular. In a state of extended detachment and suspense, a greater mobility is afforded -- given we are not too overwhelmed by our reactions to the shock itself. Remember, the two levels: the shock itself and then, our reactions to the shock itself. The shock itself is always beyond our control; we're out of control in a state of shock. How we respond to the shock itself is a measure of not only our control but how we choose to define ourselves. With Uranus, your self-definition may depend on how CREATIVE you are willing to be and how creative you can stay.

The transpersonal force of Uranus is akin to the sign of Aquarius and the eleventh house (or the "State of the Community"; ASTROLOGIK). Yet the word, "Uranus" stems from the ancient Greek "Urania", the god of the artistic muses. Maybe it's no accident how the fifth house (or the "Creative State") and the Leo aspects of oneself are responsible for polarizing the shocks of a Uranus transit. By identifying and understanding the ruler of any birthcharts fifth house, you stand at the threshold of its creative state. If it's Taurus, proceed slowly and have patience; you need to be thorough and steady. In Cancer, you enter after being moved, personally; you need to feel safe enough to create. With Sagittarius, you have to believe in what you're doing; you need expansion and space to create.

Once inside a creative state, identify any planets in the fifth house; these symbolize real creative forces which tend to come alive upon entrance. As any real artist or "packed fifth house individual" eventually discovers, without exercising the responsibility and discipline necessary for maintaining creative outlets, those creative forces turn destructive and unleash a series of sudden, disruptive shocks; undermining ones personal efforts and of those naive enough to be magnetized to a sputtering, self-destructive live wire. To be creative is to stay creative.

Try and figure things out too much and the confusion begins. With the Neptune current, the word "diffusive" is used to infer the shock of dissolution and disappearance. What dissolves and what disappears ? Always a good question and as anyone undergoing a Neptune transit may attest, some questions are better left unanswered. Boundaries dissolve, ego disappears; yet, from the "perspective of unity", there is no such thing as boundaries and no such animal as a separate ego. To the degree we are ego-invested and/or boundary-defined during the moment of an outside shock of the diffusive kind, is the degree chaos and disorientation replaces our previous illusions of order and clarity.

A Neptune transit turns the house upside down, specifically, the house Neptune is transiting through. Attempt to proceed as if it isn't happening and everything tends to look more and more upside down. Stand on your head and you start seeing straight. Let go of your rightside-up ego and your preconceptions and, real clarity emerges. Not a clarity you can explain or even comprehend but a lucidity for seeing things as they are in their infinite mystery and awesome beauty, if only for a moment. The primary intent of Neptune transits seems to be an undermining of attachments to those self-imposed separations dividing us from the world and each other, from a functional community and the cosmic unity at large. It does so, often enough to be noticed, by immersing us in various degrees of real chaos and maybe, vintage chaos.

In context to Neptune transits, the sixth house (and the sign of Virgo) articulates in us the primal urge to personal usefulness and service to a larger community. The polarization of Neptune transits usually involves the working of chaos; the willingness to accept and employ chaos as energy towards a functional end. Chaos is energy. Alchemically speaking the truer the chaos, the truer the form to follow, once application begins. Application is a key word here to understanding Virgo and the sixth house, as it is intimately related with the action "to employ" and with employment (in ASTROLOGIK, the sixth house is renamed the "State of Employment").

When we've had enough chaos, it's time to get back to work and set our house in order. This means everything from redefining sanity in order to become more sane to reorganizing an office that's been hurricane-whipped to creating more consistency of quality in the food you eat. Polarizing diffusive shocks isn't easy; it takes work. Work is the true meaning of Virgo and the sixth house and without real work, nothing of real value is accomplished. Wherever there is an aversion to real work, you are probably still reeling from a diffusive outside shock that has not let you go; you are swimming in chaos, floating in the void or too lazy to make a difference.

Since certain aspects of Pluto transits have already been discussed in my previous articles (see WTPE, the Scorpio through Capricorn issues, 1992), I will introduce now what might be the most significant impact these kinds of outside shocks carry. The deep shock of Pluto transits erupt, from the central core of our being, a greater living sense of the ongoing transformations of life. We realize, if only in one long fatal glance, how the cycles of nature change, endlessly. Pluto transits often produce these terrifying, splendorous moments forcing a realization of the constancy of change. We discover how good we are at surrender, of giving up our attachments to the old, the secure and the known. We let go of everything and then, we learn to let go of everything else.

We are reduced, streamlined and pared away to our most essential self in whatever area transiting Pluto touches (especially by square, opposition and conjunction). The shock of our mortality hits us between the eyes and deep in our hearts; sometimes, we lose someone close to us and other times, we almost lose our own lives. The final blow comes with really hearing the news of your own inevitable death and of the death of everyone you meet.

The mystic philosopher Georges I. Gurdjieff once suggested that the most important thing anyone ever needed to know for "enlightenment" was that they are going to die; all wisdom would follow, thereafter. In the face of our personal discontinuity, doesn't life's little consistencies begin to make more sense ? Take, for example, ones peculiar idiosyncrasies; those "flaws" and shortcomings of our character. You know the ones...that never seem to change or go away, the same ones that refuse to be cured, healed or "improved." Gurdjieff called this tawdry set of consistencies our "chief feature", something we are identified by, no matter how many "changes" we undergo in life. As change is accepted as a constant, it becomes evident that if there is to be anything of lasting value in our lives, we must be willing to make an investment of our time and resources to start building and sustaining and preserving it ourselves. Such are the ways the deeper outside shocks of death, loss and change can be polarized and maybe, stomached.

Pluto, Scorpio and the Eighth House finds its polarization in the Second House "builder" archetype of Taurus (the age of Taurus; the great Egyptian pyramids; the peak of agriculture) The sign ruling the second house of any birthchart indicates how that individual needs to define security, of how they build moments of constancy in their lives amidst greater changes. Sometimes, the deep shock of Pluto transits deflate the meaning we've given to money and material possessions. In the face of death how often money loses value to other forms of "currency", like the connections between friends, community and the love...the love previously trapped and stowed away in our souls.

The second house is how we ultimately identify and define our true values. That which exists as a lasting and perpetual value to our lives is what sustains us and what we must, in turn, sustain by our continuing loyalty to it. The second house seems to work that way; we are sustained by what we value and what we earn, by what we are willing to sustain ourselves. Until that is, these values are forced to change, again, by virtue of an outside shock compelling a reassessment of current values for their inherent worth in the face of a greater truth. The larger dynamic of change forces us to become more flexible or, to begin crumbling into an earlier death. This flexibility is none other than our willingness to adapt current definitions of security and real value to a growing awareness of life's deeper shocks: death, loss and material or economic devastation.

With a deepening awareness of death, for example, it is almost impossible to become overly identified with things material and, exceedingly difficult to succumb to greed for money, land or material possessions. Only the fear or ignorance of death keeps this greed alive and let it be known that the fear of death is an important reaction to the shock, but not the shock itself. Any fundamentally materialistic society demonstrates as much by enforcing those laws which isolate and hide away the reality of death from the majority its people, while diverting their attention with mediated illusions like "eternal youth, beauty and happiness through security."

Without a growing awareness of their death, people actually behave and live as if they will live forever. If you don't know what this looks like, you haven't heard the news yet; look around. As AIDS-related fatalities soar and as more news of real death reaches television (not the simulated sitcalm death), the economy naturally destabilizes. Make no bones about it; money loses meaning when death comes to town. Consumers temporarily stop in their tracks, as if stunned, to reassess the damage; some hold onto their wallets, while others begin compulsive shopping frenzies. Religious materialism can only worship freely in a death-ignorant culture; the temple-like supermalls depend on a nice, cheerful and shiny atmosphere to pass the collection plates. The piped in music is the same inside the best funeral homes...

There is obviously more to life than Work-Consume-Die and responding to Pluto transits awakens the political sensibilities necessary for building your own values in a world only too happy to provide you with prefab versions. But there's a catch. If values are to be really ones own, they must be earned and worked for. The catch ? Not everyone has the determination, persistance and commitment to make it work for them. Those that do, die while living their own lives; those that don't, die while living someone else's. Everyone dies; it's worth thinking about.

Letters, Essays & Premonitions