The May 2000 Alignment
by Henry Seltzer
This article, written as the May 2000 alignment was about
to take place,
mentions the new energy of that month's Jupiter - Saturn
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
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,
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".
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.