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  Home   |   Articles   |   Book Reviews   |   Star Gazing   |   Astro*Weather   |   Everyday Astrology    


Astrology Articles
Article Title: Above Us, The Waves -- The Post-Election Weather Observer
Date Published: 11/6/2008
Above Us, The Waves — The Post-Election Weather Observer

Sometimes, in the grip of struggling with specifics, astrologers forget that their art is primarily observational, not predictive. You get a better picture of the part the planets play in our landscape if you view the beauty of the forest from above instead of struggling to chop through the tangling underbrush. That is the same error critics make when they ask us for tomorrow’s headlines based on personal charts of politicians or countries. There’s many a slip ‘tween the cup and the lip, and most of them happen en route from generalizations to specifics.

This never becomes so clear to everyone, not just astrologers, as when some watershed event takes place, carrying us all with it. Some astrologers struggled at one level with the charts of the competing politicians, trying to decide which would be favored by the planets on election night, in imitation of the media pundits counting up and analyzing their fickle opinion polls. Others opined on the great historical cycles that seemed to be operative — Pluto changing signs, the Saturn-Uranus opposition — which suggested major social and economic change hanging on crucial planetary pivot points, as yet undisclosed. On the cusp of the American election, even the standard political opinionizers began using those broad-brush strokes, and conservative David Brooks’s election-eve article in the New York Times only needed a few planetary names inserted to pass as astrology.

Now that the elections are in our rear-view mirror, it all has a certain sense of inevitability about it, as if these great planetary waves rolling over us were somehow intersecting in a tidal flood of events that suddenly moved us all along. The problem of seeing any of that at the time was, of course, that we were (and are) each smaller, scaled down parts of those waves which not only were subject to them but also comprised them. Like light being both particle and wave, sometimes you’re the self-involved particle and sometime part of the general wave, and you just never know which is going to manifest itself, where or when.

I remember in August of 1963, at age 18, grabbing my new DC girlfriend and heading down to see what was happening at a big gathering in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was all mass excitement, very much little particles all gathered into huge, pulsing waves of excitement driven not only by the events of the day, but by history itself unfolding — though nobody knew that for sure, yet. But by the time we pushed our way to the front barrier, there was so much physical pressure from the bunched-up crowd that it was all we could do to fight our way out without getting asphyxiated. The words “I have a dream” rolled right over us unawares as we simply struggled to avoid being crushed by the human waves roiling all around us, finally falling down exhausted but still breathing on the sidelines. At a turning point in history, we were there, but we weren’t. It wouldn’t have happened without the likes of us and a hundred thousand more, but we were clueless going in and hapless getting out, while history was made in the process.

I recalled that scene while watching the crowds on TV during the election returns, and wondered how many others were experiencing something similar — the feeling of being an essential part, but being swept along in the process. Such is the nature of planetary trends and events as well, even seemingly big ones. The Saturn-Uranus opposition (old vs. new) happens as an event (a particle) every 45 years but it is a part of a wave that has been pulsing every 45 years for eons, so it has relentless pressure. Pluto shifting to Capricorn, with all its economic and generational implications, manifests only once in every 245 years but has been repeating endlessly since shortly after the dawn of the solar system, another pounding wave of intractable force rolling out of the vast oceans of time. When they meet, the waves crash against each other in truly cosmic fashion, and our personal participation in it is as tiny as the particles of spray but as critical as the mass of the waves themselves, since we make up the very medium in which they move.

So when the storm is at its height, few of us can say where the waves will carry us, however good our charts may be, and so our art as a predictive effort tends to fail us in the moment, however astute our observations of the overall situation. But the thrill of spotting the coming waves (and astrologers have been so astute here) and then riding them as they wash over us across the firmament is incalculable. After a day of struggling to make the local voting machines cooperate (my wife Susan and I help run our village polling place), watching the election returns on TV as the entire world reverberated and changed course was truly an experience of being a particle and a wave at the same time. After the tracking the waves of Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto on the celestial radar that is astrology, upon their arrival you climb on for the ride and finally get to find out where they’re really going to take you.

And there’s lots more of that kind of self-indulgent (if sometimes perilous) enjoyment available to all of us in this business, because the waves have just arrived, and the ride has just begun...

Copyright: John Townley

Bio: John  Townley

Early in his astrological career, John Townley introduced the composite chart technique for analyzing relationships in his book The Composite Chart, and 20 years later wrote the definitive work on the subject, Composite Charts: The Astrology of Relationships. He has pioneered techniques for astrological cycle analysis and proposed a new, physical basis for astrology. He is also the author of Planets in Love, Dynamic Astrology, and Lunar Returns, has been the president of the Astrologers' Guild of America, was the editor of The Astrological Review, and is a contributor to professional and popular astrological magazines. His books have been translated into seven languages.
John is also a well-known journalist, elected member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, historian, preservationist, performer, and record producer. He can be regularly found, camera and microphone in hand, covering cultural and technological events ranging from the Consumer Electronics Show to the Toy Fair, from international music festivals to ocean sailing races. When he's not behind the camera and microphone, he's in front of them, performing at maritime concerts in the U.S. and across Europe.

Visit Townley's homepage at

Other articles by John Townley:

2008 Primaries & Beyond: Composites and the Candidates   1/7/2008
A New Presidential Paradigm?   2/22/2008
Aspects and Orbs   6/8/2007
Dark Days: The End of the Beginning   5/25/2007
Darning Your Threads … Rectification by Association   7/18/2007
Gift Signs for the Holidays: Thoughts that Count   12/10/2007
Mars-Uranus, Redux   4/19/2007
Of Time and Tide, and the Flowering at the Flood   8/1/2007
Planetary Order I: ... rising ahead of the Sun   8/15/2007
Planetary Order II: … all your ducks in a row   9/5/2007
Planetary Order III: Islands in the Sky   10/1/2007
Ringing the Changes   2/8/2008
Stars Over Lebanon: An Interview With Carmen Chammas   5/11/2007
The (Not So) VOC Moon   7/25/2007
The Battle Finally Joined: Obama vs. McCain   7/8/2008
The Personal Void-of-Course Moon   4/26/2007
Threads of Destiny   7/6/2007
Tips for the Tempests of 2007!   4/13/2007
Which Side Are You On?   5/4/2007

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