My local Starbucks was closed for maintenance for a couple days and returning I noticed that an area of seating had been removed.
This is no surprise – little by little the “neighborhood gathering place” has been evolving into a drive-thru focus with seating areas unavailable or reduced. And should you choose to gather at Starbucks, the loud music will drive you off. Understanding the profit motive, it’s reasonable. The pandemic lockdown taught a lot of businesses that they could make the same (or more maybe?) amount of money without the expense of too much physical infrastructure.
Paul Kingsnorth amongst others has written about the removal of public space. The local newspaper produced for the homeless community to sell often talks about how public spaces are blocked or made inconvenient for the homeless (such as benches with arm handles to block anyone lying down).
Starbucks isn’t public but like the old-fashioned café or coffee shop is a place to meet and sit for long periods with others to share conversation.
If both private “gathering places” and public spaces are eradicated, where do folks meet?
Pluto in Aquarius
Pluto will soon move from Capricorn to Aquarius, its first ingress. As Pluto is far away from us, it will appear to move back into Capricorn for a while (retrograde) before staying in Aquarius for the next couple decades.
The 1960s song “The Age of Aquarius” by the 5th Dimension promised peace, love and brotherhood with Aquarius. Brotherhood, yes, as Aquarius is known for this because it’s a relationship based on personal values, not the values one is born into.
Love? That’s more a Piscean trait, the Age before Aquarius and the one that brought us the religions we practice today which focus on love and compassion.
Peace? Peace is an agreement, a cooperation amongst individuals. Aquarius strives for that when it’s not rebelling against the crowd, against conformity. Peace is possible but Aquarius, like the fraternity or sorority based on its principles, may not be accommodating of those not sharing the ideals.
Aquarius is an air sign, not a water sign although it is represented by the water bearer. The water bearer is intuition – bringing the knowledge of the spirit into the third-dimensional experience. Aquarius is also known as the sign of genius because its intuitive insights can be “ahead of the times.”
The “isms” of the 20th century were Aquarian in nature. Did they work?
The “isms” seem to begin Aquarian pure which is why the average person trying to make it through life offers support. They fail because the old Capricorn nature of reality – hierarchy and control – ultimately prevails spoiling the energy.
Right to Assembly
The transits of Uranus and Neptune through Aquarius in the 1990s and early 2000s brought us technology. The pandemic lockdowns changed technology from an aid to interaction to a standard of interaction. If I were a conspiracy theorist, and I swear I’m not, I’d even wonder if it was a test of keeping people separated.
While technology can greatly aid in connecting people for both positive and negative purposes, there is always an invited guest – the technology itself which is owned by others and can be hacked by others.
The United State constitution protects the right of assembly. But what if there is nowhere to assemble? What if we can only assemble digitally?
Physical assembly or digital assembly can both be infiltrated yet digital experiences are not just more prone to manipulation, it sometimes seems that is their entire purpose. In the 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd we see a man learn the power of radio and television to manipulate others, laughing as a community of people take his advice to harass a local politician. And the movie includes the journalist who sees what’s occurring but has no power to influence.
That movie represents most of what occurs today. The voices who are sincerely trying to provide information are being drowned through digital distraction and manipulation.
The Screen or the Assembly?
Uranus and Neptune transiting Aquarius in the 1990s and 2000s brought us hand-held screens. Prior, we had a screen in the living room (and maybe bedroom and some other rooms) and could go to the “big screen.” Now we are all engaged with screens all the time.
On the other side of the screen are folks who want us to believe or buy things so they will constantly try to get messages across these screens. The best way to do this is understand exactly what we want to see and show us only that.
More and more, then, the screen reflects our own thoughts – the inside of our heads is now visible to others – and to us! Observing what’s occurring, it appears there is a lot we don’t say to each other.
As Pluto transits Aquarius, we may see more desire to assemble, or re-assemble, to experience the energy-generating experience of meeting with others in corporeal form. What happens in our heads – and on-screen – changes during the actual, physical interaction with others.
The astrologer and analyst in me is fascinated to see what comes next as other parts of me miss the people who no longer want to come out and play.
Leo, Libra, and Cancer are classic “relationship” signs (not Pisces), and all those Drug Lyrics of Love and Peace with Uranus/Pluto conjunct in the 60s, were those who were stoned. Uranus is chaos, Pluto is death.
I find a lot of clarity with Uranus although it’s shocking.
The Starbucks near me got rid of the seating during the pandemic and last week announced they are closing permanently. The reason stated was that customers were acting in a threatening manner to staff and other customers. Could this be their frustration at having no place to gather?
I see this destruction of public and private gathering spaces everywhere. While staying at a motel in 2022, we learned that they did away with the free breakfast due to concerns about Covid. This was another gathering spot for people staying at the motel. The swimming pool was still open though.
Luckily, I am retired and can go to the local senior center where people are still allowed to gather, but for how long?
Pluto moving into Aquarius should bring back our concern about humanity. Surely this isolation is not good for us. We will have a glimpse of this for a few months this year.
Yeah, Covid is/was used for things that didn’t make sense like having a pool but no breakfast. I stayed at a hotel that said there were no cups in the room because of Covid (supply chain issues?) but put coffee and cups in the lobby. Starbucks has been accused of closing stores that are/might unionize. Biden broke up a railroad strike – this may be one theme during this transit – worker’s rights. Interesting times!
I wonder how Pluto in Aquarius ‘re-assembly’ will affect places like Afghanistan, where brutal restrictions in public assembly including girls’ education and women working in jobs outside the home, have happened under the Taliban rule. Just very recently, Iranian schoolgirls have started to be poisoned by gas in their classrooms in Iran. The mullahs want them isolated and helpless at home. Maybe this extreme viciousness is Pluto in the last degrees of Capricorn.
I do hope that Pluo in Aquarius helps those women to rise up and claim their rights.
Pluto in Capricorn increased the power of governments. Pluto in Aquarius may increase the power of Aquarius things which includes human rights but also technology which is what allows for increased control.