At the end of the calendar year it’s a good time to talk again about cycles. I hope talking about cycles doesn’t bore you since at some time or another it will come back into conversation again . . .
The idea that we “end” one year and “begin” another is largely in our minds yet does still loosely follow the earth’s natural cycle of seasons. The “end” of the Gregorian calendar year is the start of winter, when much plant life in the northern hemisphere goes dormant until spring. It’s a good time to “end” if you ask me.
My Wikipedia search of the Gregorian calendar states that by the Assyrian calendar it is year 6762. If Assyrians had had computers, programmers might have been busy 4,762 years ago fixing the Year 2000 glitch.
Remember the Year 2000 glitch when computer dates were programmed as 19XX and the switch to 2000 would have produced the result 1900? The fear at that time was that computers would go mad and catastrophe would occur.
Funny, our fears also come and go in cycles and often occur at the “end” of the year.
The Pluto Cycle
A fear occurring now and one that is real to me is the US fiscal “cliff.” We fear “another” recession, as if we were through with the current one. Our economy is stumbling and can’t take another blow so we continue to live on a financial high wire.
Pluto began transiting Capricorn in 2008 (date ring a bell?) and will be in Capricorn until 2024. Pluto is far out there and takes about 248 years to orbit the sun. That’s one long cycle.
Two hundred and forty eight years – people don’t live that long and can’t tell you what it feels like to experience a Pluto cycle.
But nations do.
Guess which nation is about to have a Pluto return, the time when Pluto returns to the same zodiac sign (and degree of that sign) when the nation was “born?”
The United States.
Using the 1776 horoscope as the “birth date” the US will experience its Pluto return in early 2023 in about 27 degrees of Capricorn.
Soon after Pluto will enter Aquarius. The “birth date” of the US Constitution occurred when Pluto was in Aquarius (and it took awhile for certain Aquarian ideals to come to fruition such as the end of slavery and the right of women to vote).
Capricorn and Aquarius
I’ve been wondering how Pluto will evolve from Capricorn to Aquarius this time around for my country. Today while driving to work, I heard a news story that included the word “egalitarian” which piqued my interest as Aquarius is associated with egalitarian.
The news story was about MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses. According to Wikipedia, MOOCs are “online courses aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web.” The portion of the news story I heard included concern that professor jobs would be eliminated.
Professors out of work (Capricorn) and egalitarian education (Aquarius) – I heard the Pluto transit here.
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of structure and form, which expresses through rules, hierarchy, authority, traffic lights, gravity and an overweening air of seriousness.
Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planet of enlightenment, which expresses through inspiration, idealistic forms, rebelliousness, inventiveness, vision and stubborn insistence on one’s eccentric habits.
In reading this critique of MOOCs, I can’t help but see an underlying tension of Capricorn and Aquarius. If I were some alien character on Star Trek who fed on astrological symbolism (and I swear I’m not), I couldn’t ask for a better article than this.
First of all, the blog uses the word “prestige” or “prestigious” six times. Prestige is a Capricorn idea as it relates to reputation, status and respect. Prestige tells you where I stand on the social ladder.
An interesting paragraph from the article:
“Now, not surprisingly, comes the news that institutions are looking at ways to “monetize” the MOOC. Knowledge is free, but credits and credentials cost money — and prestige costs even more. That’s how the economics of higher education really work, and the MOOC movement is unlikely to make a prestigious credential more egalitarian despite the current fervor for the “free” part of the online courses.”
The author is correct in that “prestige” and “egalitarian” are not peanut butter and jelly. Prestige involves hierarchy and egalitarian involves dissolution of hierarchy. She’s clearly stated that “prestige” is quantifiable by money. Prestige is not an ideal, but a practical, purchasable reality.
While the author passionately explains that online courses lack human interaction, she also plainly states that when you pay for education, you are paying for the “prestige” of a degree:
“Beyond the question of whether the MOOC movement will actually improve learning, some advocates also see MOOCs as a way to help make higher education more affordable. While affordability is certainly a worthy goal, there is no evidence currently that the offering universities will broadly transcript MOOC credit at vastly reduced rates so that students can earn prestigious degrees more cheaply. While much of the hype about MOOCs has focused on the fact that they are “free” to the general public, in fact, what tuition really pays for is the credit that accumulates to a degree. While a few universities have talked about monetizing MOOC credits, a systematic plan has yet to emerge. Universities who spend tens of millions of dollars on their brand management will hardly give away their credits cheaply — or allow institutions they consider inferior to make money by charging for transcripting credits derived from their “free” MOOC offerings.”
The clash of Capricorn and Aquarius here is that Capricorn wants to have the diamond while you have the cubic zirconium. Diamonds could be cheap, I hear, but they are deliberately controlled to have high value (wait, don’t we have a free market economy?). If diamonds didn’t have high value, they would lose their meaning for many.
Aquarius is saying that we should mine all the diamonds we can and let them be the beautiful and precious stones and affordable at the same time. The low price of the diamond, for Aquarius, does not reduce its intrinsic value as a diamond.
What Capricorn loses with Aquarius is the feeling of being better because I have a diamond and you have cubic zirconium. Snobbery is laundry off the guard rails of hierarchy.
Capricorn and Saturn wouldn’t disappear if diamonds were cheap. Saturn would still identify a diamond as a diamond and cubic zirconium as cubic zirconium. They are still two different chemical compounds.
Likewise, we all want Saturn to tell us if our medical doctor has a degree from a university rather than a degree purchased through the mail.
Through Capricorn to Aquarius
Whether or not education becomes more egalitarian, this current discussion around MOOCs may be the seed of where Pluto through Capricorn is leading us.
Capricorn and Saturn idealize the past where Aquarius idealizes the future. As Pluto drills through the economic stratum, many have a desire to return to the past – the past of high home values and excessive credit (Pluto in Sagittarius).
No sign is good or bad – the zodiac is egalitarian . . .
We’re experiencing a collapsing economy for a reason and Aquarius will pick up the pieces to begin the next 248-year US Pluto cycle. Pluto in Capricorn will mean different things to different countries based on their natal Pluto placement.
Maybe in 2024 diamonds will be so inexpensive that “no finger will be left behind.”