But first, a definition of identity politics by Nicholas Campion in his book Astrology, History and Apocalypse: such politics involve ‘groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social or cultural identity [who] tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.’
Does this suggest the shadow side of the Leo theme to anyone? It certainly does to me.
Given that polarity, i.e. the interplay of opposites, is a fundamental generator of the life force (think egg, sperm and first division of fertilised egg here), this by astro-logic brings us to Aquarius, Leo’s opposite. Aquarius is fundamentally concerned with the group. As the Aquarian and English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748- 1832) so famously stated of the utilitarian principle in A Fragment on Government:
‘It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong’.
To be clear: I do not subscribe to the touchy-feely idea that the Aquarian Age, if it exists at all, is bringing or will bring an era of universal brotherly love (or siblinghood of person if you prefer). The evidence from our contemporary world would suggest otherwise. Moreover, Nicholas Campion has collected around 100 dates for the supposed commencement of the Age of Aquarius from around 1260 AD to around 2300 AD.
However, I am intrigued by Carl Jung’s notion, set forth in his essay ‘The Sign of the Fish’ (from Aion, Volume 9, Part 2 of Jung’s Collected Works ) that when world ages change, i.e., when the first point of Aries can be seen against the backdrop of e.g., the constellation of Aquarius, having shifted backwards from its 2000 or so years’ traverse of the previous constellation of Pisces – roughly the era of Christianity – we begin to perceive/project the Divine differently.
We have been going through an enormous technological revolution in recent decades as science makes huge strides. Mapping the human genome, expanding our view of the vast universe we inhabit via wonderful Hubble then James Webb telescope images, and linking much of the human population via the Internet and mobile phone technology are but a few examples. You could even argue that a new religion is arising: Scientism, which holds that only the 5% of the cosmos which we can perceive through our senses or test out through the procedures of reductionism, is worth considering.
It is my view that, as societies become increasingly secular and materialistic throughout the world, we are beginning to project the Divine onto science and technology … even to the extent in some quarters that the prolonging of human life indefinitely into some kind of techno-immortality is perceived as eventually being possible. Pushing the boundaries of science forward just because it can be done conjures the spectres of Dr Frankenstein and his monster, immortalised in Mary Shelley’s modern myth, Frankenstein, or the New Prometheus. It also speaks strongly of the shadow side of the Aquarian theme which doesn’t mind how many individual lives it disrupts or destroys in the name of revolutionary change.
Hence its Leo shadow opposite arising, in the shape of identity politics as defined at the start of this column.
The IC-MC axis speaks of roots (IC) from which our future direction (MC) arises. The Taurus IC is the ground on which we stand, our Mother Earth. Scorpio on the MC opposite speaks of the deep crisis which our home planet is facing. If humanity is to survive into the future, we need to develop radically different ways of living. The old materialist order is currently dying – the evidence is everywhere. The question is, what will replace it?
I have found contemplating this metaphor of the astrological fixed cross, which condenses the polarised conflicts of our current era into four fundamental themes, powerfully illuminating.
We need to find a way forward: from our present stubbornly fixed shadow positions, to a situation where respect both for the dignity of individual rights and for the greatest good of the greatest number is harnessed and directed towards respect and care for our Mother planet. Perhaps the consequences of the harsh pressure on all our institutions and structures via the long 2008-2024 transit of Pluto through Capricorn will force us in the direction we need to go when Pluto settles into the revolutionary sign of Aquarius from November 2024.
I certainly hope so…
This is an edited version of an essay which first appeared in my The Astro-View from Scotland column in Dell Horoscope Magazine (2019), and most recently on pp 325-8 of “Postcards to the Future”, my collection of 60 essays, articles , columns and research from 1995-2021.