The Astrology of Y2K
by Henry Seltzer
Here is the text for an article written before the facts were in about
the Y2K computer bug and its effects on planet-wide infrastructures. Before
the event, it seemed quite possible that systems would break down. This
article discusses the psychological and sociological implications of such
a perceived break-down in communications and support systems. It can also
be read as a manifesto for the long-overdue and quite necessary changes
to the structure of our civilization which seem to be in progres in this
new century. Witness the recent WTO demonstrations in Seattle, and the movement
for reform in the American electoral process.
As the millennium fast approaches, many are wondering
about the effects of the Y2K computer bug on society. The predictions
range from those who only expect a few minor glitches, to those who
are sure there will be a major gap in the social order, with power
outages and suspended food deliveries, leading to massive anarchy
and the imposition of marshall law. Which ones are right? Can astrology
tell us? A look at the chart for the end of the century reveals more
about psychological change and social transformation than dire predictions
of collapse. And yet there are important points to ponder if we look
closely at its symbolism. What in fact does the chart of the Y2K moment
tell us about the changes that are coming?
If we erect the chart for 12 Midnight December 31, 1999, (see above graphic)
and begin to analyze it, we first may note the lack of dramatic planetary
configurations. Unlike the New Moon of August 11, 1999, the famous grand
cross eclipse of last summer, there are few powerful placements of the planets
in relation to each other. From this we might deduce that the effects of
Y2K will be of a more subtle nature than that smack on the head that some
are predicting. A closer look however reveals much that is of interest in
sorting out this climactic moment in time. After all, as the centuries shift,
and we move one step closer toward the Age of Aquarius, we might expect
some social and psychological repercussions.
The first thing that
is striking about this chart is the exact conjunction between Pluto and
Chiron, at about eleven and a half degrees of Sagittarius, which we may
call the 12th degree of the sign. Rarely is a particular event in time
greeted by such a close conjunction. And also the Sun and Moon occupy
similar degrees of the prior and succeeding signs to Sag, Scorpio and
Capricorn, or in other words the conjunction is semi-sextile to both luminaries.
This means that the Pluto-Chiron conjunction is very much emphasized,
brought to rational and emotional awareness, being at the Sun-Moon midpoint
as they sextile each other. In personal psychological terms, the planet
Pluto symbolizes transformation and change, in extreme cases the death
of some way of being, either an actual physical death, or such a radical
transformation that one could say that some part of oneself has died in
the process. And Chiron too is a powerful force in natal astrology, in
whatever area of the chart it is found, symbolizing the pain and loss
associated with deep-seated wounds to our psyche in that particular area,
wounds that are often too deep to acknowledge. Bringing consciousness
to the wounds represented by Chiron can lead to a tremendous release of
power when they are exposed and transformed over the course of time -
the power to be more fully oneself, and as well the power to heal others
suffering with these same types of issues. How might we interpret these
powerful energies in the chart of a moment in mass consciousness, a moment
of social rather than psychological transformation?
What, we might ask,
does this moment in time mean to our culture as a whole? In one sense,
it is merely a turning of the page of a calendar, a tick of the clock
to the next slot in our conventional measurement of the days, months and
years. And yet because it is a broad turning from one period of time to
another, from one age to the next, it can represent a stage in planetary
evolution, a point in time for all of us to take stock. As background
we must acknowledge the deep-seated pain of our moment in history. All
cultures on the planet today feel it, to a greater or a lessor degree
of emphasis. We are in the process of destroying our very environment
that we as a species depend on for our lives and the lives of those who
will come after us, all in the name of materialism and greed. In many
cases we are destroying each other with the same lack of clarity, and
more people around the world than ever before are becoming consciously
aware of this disastrous process. What an extremely poignant moment in
history! The experts all are saying that if we don't change our direction
now, and they are saying right now, we won't be able to turn it around
and begin to sustain rather than eliminate life on earth as we know it.
So this conjunction of Pluto and Chiron, appearing as it does at a climactic
moment in mass awareness, is quite apt, for we are in a "consciousness
- use it or lose it" type of situation.
In this regard it
is interesting to note that the Pluto-Chiron conjunction takes place in
Sagittarius, the sign of higher consciousness. It is through a renewed
philosophical and practical commitment to higher mind and cosmic awareness
that we may all be healed rather than continuing down the path of destruction.
The signs preceding and following Sagittarius, where we find the Moon
and the Sun, are also significant. Scorpio, ruled in fact by Pluto, represents
change on a large scale, transformation at both a personal and a cultural
level. And Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, has to do with social structure,
and the entrenched holding on and resistance to change characterized as
being stuck in the mud of prior beliefs and limitations. It is interesting
to note in passing that Saturn has for some time now been in square with
Uranus in Aquarius, which represents a strong force for change through
increased social awareness. That square is still active in the Y2K chart,
and on one level symbolizes the collision between outrageous insight and
dynamic sudden changes with the establishment, the outmoded status quo.
In this regard, the
Y2K computer glitch takes on a renewed significance. If systems indeed
break down during this period, that fact may well serve as a wake-up call
to people all over the world, a shared event to remind them of the fragile
underpinning of our society, of our basic mutual inter-dependence, a time
to reach out and help each other get across the gulf of lack of connection
to the social order, a time to reflect on whether we are on the right
path as individuals, and as a nation, a culture, a world. Even if what
actually happens is not so severe, the mass awareness of how close we
might have come to anarchy will surely open some eyes. It is interesting
to note that the Pluto-Chiron conjunction of ultimate transformation and
painful but necessary changes, is in the third house of communication.
It is through communication that we might begin to change things, and
it is the factors of modern communication that may well break down if
the infra-structure collapses, the computer, electrical power, even the
delivery systems that we depend on for drinking water. In the case of
wide-spread power outages, the mass communication media of radio and television
are also certain to be affected. The conjunction is also forming an quincunx
aspect of 150 degrees to Saturn, the planet that represents the limitations
and structure of society, and perhaps the concept of materialism itself.
We can only hope that these symbols in aspect to each other may mean a
time for at long last turning away from a purely materialistic viewpoint,
as painful and as difficult as such a turning will be for the vast majority
of people of all lands, and especially we who live in this supposed land
of plenty. Plenty of goods, plenty of prosperity, plenty of guns and ammo,
but not necessarily plenty of values. A little deprivation might help
to change all that.
In a further commentary
on the chart of Y2K, I would like to bring forward the information contained
in the degree symbols for a few significant degrees of the chart. Each
degree has a special character, as revealed in two very powerful symbol
systems, the Sabian Symbols, brought forward early in the century by Mark
Edmond Jones, and a more recent set of degree symbols, the Chandra Symbols.
The Y2K chart rising degree, for Washington DC, and really all across
the country as midnight moves westwards, is the seventh degree of Libra.
The Sabian symbol is "A woman feeding chickens and protecting them from
hawks" regarding which Mark Edmond Jones states in his commentary:
This is a symbol of the creative division of labor between
the functions of man and nature, of the dual constitution of the soul
in its responsibilities of conservation on the one hand and development
on the other [... and may refer to] a very special skill in protecting
the self's real interests [or else] a complete personal ineptitude
in the face of life's everyday and recurrent complexities.
The corresponding Chandra Symbol is "A group of old ladies gossiping excitedly"
Here is commentary by Elias Lonsdale, from his important book Inside
In on big news. Tapping the pulse of the times. Almost
not able to contain it, to deal with it all. Placed strategically
to tune in to major developments collectively. A clearing house for
immediate and enduring cross-currents. [...] Able to track with what
is meant to be and what is truly moving forward, to lend it a helping
hand and be completely involved with universal destiny calls, with
their resonant reverberations throughout the world.
Both these texts represent poignant commentary on the global manifestations
of what we may encounter during the Y2K period of time in early January.
degree in this chart is of course the degree of Pluto-Chiron, the twelfth
degree of Sagittarius. Here the symbols indeed point up the idea of extreme
transformation. The Sabian Symbol is "A flag that turns into an eagle
that crows" emphasizing at the same time the ego-oriented side of our
national emblem, and the possibility for transformation to a more spiritual
consciousness. Mark Edmond Jones' keyword is ADJUSTMENT, and he mentions
"self-establishment through genuine self-expression". The corresponding
Chandra Symbol is "Icicles melting" and Elias Lonsdale's commentary reads
Outliving old stuck patterns by slowly wearing them out.
Deep process. Experiencing lessons in humility and simplicity. An
extravagant streak which relents only after relentless pressure. Cross-purposes.
An attachment to personal inclination of the most stubborn kind, yet
a desperate drive to get beyond the shadows. Interior dialogue and
dispute [...] Allowing pride to surrender without being made wrong.
Elaborate movements toward significant breakthrough.
Certainly these symbols invoke a degree of hope that we may all come through
the painful process with significant and necessary changes in the way we
Finally, the Sun's
degree in the chart of Y2K is the eleventh degree of Capricorn. The Sabian
Symbol is "A large group of pheasant on a private estate", which brings
in the concept of man and nature, of values and selection and cultural
evolution. The corresponding Chandra Symbol is "A young boy joyously kisses
a fat old lady". Elias Londsale's commentary is about polarities:
Polarities go against each other in order to find each
other again. [...] Walking a collective karmic edge between the old
and the new, in which both of them must be honored in just the right
ways. Yet the work it takes to bring polarities together in fresh
ways is monumental. And that work is utterly redemptive, of infinite
meaning and scope, in opening doors and letting totality in by conviction,
by affinity, and by surrender to the great inevitable.
I like the concept Elias expresses so eloquently, of honoring both the old
and the new. It is good to acknowledge all the parts of the mix. If radical
change is to take place it will take all of us, and it will take all of
our parts. We must allow ourselves to go forward into a better world, but
we have to bring along the consciousness of what has gone before, how that
had it's place and it's strengths as well as it's crippling weaknesses,
or else the cultural transformation we are all mutually engaged in simply
won't work. Let us hope that through the transition and the potential chaos
of the Y2K moment we edge closer to our higher nature, both individually
and as a society.