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The May 2000 Alignment
by Henry Seltzer
May Alignment Chart

This article, written as the May 2000 alignment was about to take place, mentions the new energy of that month's Jupiter - Saturn conjunction coming in. Jupiter meets Saturn every twenty years, so this conjunction in Taurus represents the twenty year cycle we are currently still in the midst of.

In May 2000 a powerful alignment of planetary forces takes place in Taurus and Gemini. On the day of the Taurus New Moon, no fewer than seven planets line up in that sign, within an arc of 26 degrees, the closest such planetary pattern since 1962 and the last in our present century. Various dates are given for the main event, but the one we favor is May 3rd, the date of the actual New Moon, close to the ancient festival of Beltane and the traditional birthday of the Buddha. At the actual moment of the New Moon, Mars has moved into the sign of Gemini (see chart at right).

The New Moon of May 3rd (actually slightly after midnight May 4th on the East Coast) occurs at the 15th degree of Taurus, the same degree occupied by Saturn at the time of the heralded Grand Cross Eclipse of last summer. This eclipse (dated August 11, 1999) was a stressful period for all of us humans struggling to emerge out from under the shadow of the last 2,000 years and into the half light of a new dawn. We are all of us on the road to freedom, and we may find it pleasant and full of enlightenment or rocky and full of challenges as our spirit takes us through. But one way or another we are all going to get through - we have no choice - and this is strangely comforting.

What are the star signs that point to this emerging new age? The major outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, as well as the recently discovered planetoid Chiron, are sign-posts that help to light our way into the future. As we enter this exciting new century, Pluto and Chiron are conjunct each other in Sagittarius, the sign of philosophy and the Higher Mind, while Neptune and Uranus are found in Aquarius.

Neptune represents idealism and compassion, while Uranus symbolizes revolutionary vision for change, and these planets are leading us collectively to new levels as a society. It is extremely significant that they are both found in the sign of Aquarius, which Uranus rules, referring to the potential for a new humanism to emerge in our times. Not since the sixties, when Pluto pumped up Uranus by conjunction, has there been such a favorable set of symbols for the dawning of a new age of enlightenment. Uranus is associated with the archetype of Prometheus, bringer of the fire of the Gods down to mortal man, and hence represents all forms of rebellion against the status quo in the name of progress and the future. Aquarius is also associated with the tribe of (Wo)Man, the web of global interdependence and the world wide web of computer connectivity. Uranus in its own sign thus represents a potent symbol for the dawning of a new collective self-concept.

But Uranus in Aquarius is squared by Saturn in Taurus during the period from last summer to May 2000, and this means a certain tension between the urge to go forward to a new level of consciousness and the urge to hold back and maintain old ways of thinking and being, represented by Saturn in Taurus. Taurus is the quintessential sign of the concrete, the practical, the here and now. Seven planets massing in Taurus this May, including Sun and Moon, represents a powerful focus on brass tacks, business as usual, sticking with the outmoded status quo.

We feel the tension at all levels, individual as well as cultural, as these vast changes in collective consciousness begin to percolate down to every person on the planet. The grand cross of last August which preceded the transition to a new millennium, with all its angst-ridden questions and hopeful horizons, reflects the challenge we all face to make individual personal changes more in line with our ideals. This is the essence of the Saturn-Uranus square, appearing the chart of August, and again in the chart for the May Alignment. In the last part of the old century, and right through to today, corporate power has become ever more entrenched. At the same time - as consciousness has become much more broadened of how and where the corporations have failed us, in part due to the rapid spread of knowledge made possible by the Internet - we are beginning to learn what we must do in order to help bring a better world to life. What more cogent representative for this maverick notion of human freedom and dignity, in rebellion against the corporate status quo, than Uranus/Prometheus?

Nowhere was this basic controversy more evident than at the disrupted meeting of the WTO held in Seattle last December, when thousands of environmentalists, activists and members of organized labor took to the streets in an ambitious attempt to send a message of protest to the powers that be. The anti-WTO demonstration represents perfectly this fundamental split: the top down hierarchical power of the multi-national corporations versus the will of working people everywhere on the planet. Local autonomy and quality of life issues are being threatened at all levels and for people in all walks of life, and this is not really new, but the response in Seattle was. The protests were so massive that the city itself shut down, the keynote speech for the conference had to be abandoned - instead protesters for one brief moment took the stage - and leading citizens as well as peaceful protesters were detained and harassed by a police force run amok. We note that the Saturn-Uranus square was still quite active during the period of this demonstration, as well as an exact inconjunct to Saturn from Pluto and Chiron, the harbingers of drastic change. These patterns are also featured in the chart of the May Alignment.

Massive protest at such a level of intensity has not been seen since the radical sixties, when Uranus and Pluto were in close conjunction in the earth sign of Virgo. The Bob Dylan anthem from that period, "The Times They Are A'changing" is very apt here also as a statement for current paradigm shift and societal metamorphosis, in a cosmic moment of incredible and exciting challenge and opportunity. Dylan has the Pluto-Chiron conjunction (of 1941) in his own birth chart, and significantly has been coming back into popularity, winning the 1999 Grammy award for best album of the year and starting the new century with a dynamic series of concert appearances.

It is also very interesting to note that the Pluto/Chiron midpoint in the chart of the May Alignment, at the 15th degree of Sagittarius, is exactly inconjunct the New Moon in the center of the Taurus configuration, and sextile to the Uranus/Neptune midpoint in Aquarius. This conjunction, exact in the chart of Y2K, heralds the painful and potentially revitalizing changes being thrust upon us. It is very significant that this conjunction is exactly in aspect to the May 3rd New Moon, and in stressful aspect. This symbolizes that the changes we are facing are dynamic and challenging, and deeply affect our way of thinking and understanding, and our very philosophy of life, represented by the sign of Sagittarius. Such intense restructuring won't come easy. At the same time, these challenges are in our own best interest in terms of the necessary forces of our individual evolution.

Another feature of the May Alignment is the incipient conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus. This conjunction happens every twenty years, usually in an earth sign (at least for the past two centuries) and represents a time of crisis and change in the socio-political climate, such as with the conjunction of 1960, ushering in the Camelot years of the JFK administration, and the most recent conjunction in 1980, which accompanied the shift to the decade of corporate looting brought on by Ronald Reagan and the politics of greed. The present conjunction will become exact on May 28th, as yet another American presidential hopeful takes center stage. Since it occurs in the tenth house of sitting Vice President Al Gore, perhaps his name will come to be associated with the job at the top. If he can remember what he wrote in his book, Earth in the Balance, his administration may yet come to represent a shining era of restored environmental promise on the political landscape.

Although political action is very important, in fact the necessary changes must come from each one of us, individually, as we confront the corporate power parts of our own natures. As we begin to make these evolutionarily necessary changes in our own psyche, we help to bring about change on a global level. As Walt Kelly's 50's era comic-strip character Pogo said, "we have met the enemy and he is us". It is the individual changes we are confronting that is the real crux of the meaning of these planetary patterns, both from last August and in the current May Alignment.

Keeping in mind these powerful forces for evolution in our times, it is instructive to take a look at the important degree symbols for the May Alignment chart. The symbols used here are both the Sabian Symbol of the degree, published in the 1950's by Marc Edmond Jones and also the Chandra Symbol, made available in the form of a pithy paragraph for each degree by visionary astrologer Elias Lonsdale, in his recent text Inside Degrees. For the New Moon degree of the May Alignment, the 15th degree of Taurus, the Sabian Symbol reads: "A man muffled up, with a rakish silk hat" and Marc Edmond Jones comments "(this is) a symbol of absolute self-integrity - the keyword is SOPHISTICATION - a superb aplomb arising from the constant rediscovery of greater powers inherent in self-hood". The corresponding Chandra Symbol is "His best friend sings a song at his funeral" which Lonsdale equates to "the rich and sustaining power of love." It is certain that something is dying and something is coming to birth as a consequence of the changes we find ourselves in the midst of.

The Sabian Symbol for the degree of the Pluto/Chiron midpoint is "A ground hog looking for its shadow" and both this symbol and the Chandra Symbol, "A tidal wave approaching", speak to the massive evolutionary changes thrust upon us all at this time. Lonsdale's text confirms this idea, speaking of: "The momentum of collective events (that) runs toward floodtide when there is a major transition from one cycle to another- mastery or bust. The infinite future or wipe-out. A spine-tingler all the way."

The Sabian Symbol for the Uranus degree in the May Alignment, the 21st of Aquarius, is "A woman disappointed and disillusioned" which Marc Edmond Jones calls "the self's inherent gift for pressing on and gaining increased powers with every setback", while the Chandra symbol is more hopeful: "A beautiful woman dressed in white, wearing a large silver crescent on her head. The crescent is pointing upward". Lonsdale writes:

In the dance of time, there comes a fresh cycle, where the high feminine spirit comes into her own. She is Queen of the Heavens, yet she belongs in the Earth. And as she comes to herself, she brings the worlds together, repolarizes and articulates the power of love. She is the caller, inaugurating the future. Yet early on she stumbles and falls, for what she is carrying is immense, and it is too much for her personally. She must discover how to find a true form to harness, discipline, and distribute what she knows and who she is. As she gets her greater bearings and embraces multi-dimensional selfhood she shall indeed find that destiny situates her right where she needs to be. And that becoming a collective fount of real-life inspiration is her very nature, her path and her complete liberation from the misunderstandings and fragmentations of the days when she just could not get out of the way with sufficient grace and authentic conviction.

The degree symbols for the Uranus degree two months before the date of the May Alignment, and at the time of this writing - when it was directly opposite the degree of the Grand Cross Eclipse of last August - are also quite interesting in this regard. The Sabian Symbol, for the 19th degree of Aquarius, is: "A forest fire quenched" which Marc Edmond Jones elucidates as "regenerative relaxation after extraordinary effort" and says "The keyword is CONCERN. When positive, the degree (represents) special skill in bringing personal interests to some larger point of effectiveness". The Chandra Symbol is: "Loud crushing noises as a glacier moves" and Lonsdale's commentary reads in part:

Purpose hugely takes precedence. Whatever is changing and whatever is staying the same are the two forces you track with, and report back to cosmic center upon. You are being driven to the utmost to observe and witness dispassionately all the decisive and epochal shifts and pressures in the collective mix. Eyes wide open in the dark. Attention riveted to trends and turning points, and yielded up to a long-ago agreed-to code of recording and evaluating all the relevant data- so that all concerned can synchronize with the greater ways and be released from anything and everything that runs counter to the bright promise of Earth evolution.

As the cosmic moment of these challenging and potentially rewarding transformations comes upon us, we can only pray for the courage and the actualization of our true inner nature: Let it be so.