May 20th, 2013 marks the third time out of seven that Uranus and Pluto are exactly square to each other. I have written much on this theme in past articles as have many other fine astrologers. We still have a ways to go before this major crisis point which requires taking action and making commitments completes in March of 2015.
What is this collective cycle all about which began when Uranus joined up with Pluto (conjunction) back in 1966? It was a revolutionary time indeed. The seeds were planted at that time to change much of the world as we know it. The sign they were in was Virgo. It’s important to note also that Chiron (not yet discovered) was opposite in the sign of Pisces. Haven’t we astrologers been discussing endlessly the possibility that a great ‘Age’ is somehow coming to an end? The ‘Age of Pisces’? Are we not trying to enter the ‘Age of Aquarius’? And what on Earth does THAT mean?
I would suggest that first we need to understand a bit more about the polarity of Virgo/Pisces to fully grasp where we need to go next. Are we really, truly out of the woods of the Piscean Age? Has the collective become fully conscious of this polarity? There is much to question and ponder here. I urge you readers to dwell on this subject as carefully as possible as we hit this ‘crisis/turning point’. This Virgo/Pisces axis has much to do with themes involving service/salvation, domination/subjugation, victim/saviour, analysis/synthesis, labor/love, etc.
For the sake of greater simplicity, I am going to address just one small theme amidst the multitude of possibilities of a revolution in Virgo started with Uranus/Pluto. This theme can be applied as a microcosm of the whole. The theme is clothing. From there we naturally move to the theme of apparel manufacturers of clothing, and from there we move to factories. Finally, we hit a button: the garment workers of the world who sew the clothes you and I wear. Just who are these people?
How conscious are you of who created with much labor the clothing that you wear?
Bear in mind that these are all VIRGO THEMES, thus Pisces themes as well.
We humans, for the most part, need something to cover our furless bodies, especially in colder climate zones, or even desert zones where the Solar rays are relentless. Sewing garments for protection and self-enhancement is an old, old skill and art. Tribal and indigenous peoples learned to do it for themselves. Even through the hundreds of years of so-called advanced civilizations most common people made their own clothing. If you were of the wealthier merchant or ruling classes you hired seamstresses and tailors to do it for you, or you had your slaves do it. Either way, it was considered a lowly occupation by most even though incredibly necessary.
With the dawning of the Industrial Revolution mirrored by the conjunction of the two outer planets, Neptune and Pluto in Gemini, in April, 1892 we saw the mechanical sewing machine beginning to be used in garment factories, and by 1905 women across America could purchase an actual electrically powered sewing machine.
My mother and her mother learned to sew and were very good at even sewing by hand. I learned on an old Singer sewing machine, and by the time I was a teen-ager I made nearly all of my own clothes. Having so many planets in Gemini in the house of Virgo (the 6th) I loved the process of buying the pattern, then the cloth, then step by step creating the finished garment until I finally had something beautiful to wear. I actually loved doing it! It made me feel happy.
In my late teens I had a wonderful girlfriend who could take those Vogue designer patterns and create marvelous looking high fashion for herself. I learned some of those skills and tricks from her. What fun!
Then came the ‘60s and the sexual revolution (remember Virgo can also be a very sexual sign! —-yes, really!!!—it’s Earth, the sign of the ‘Sacred Prostitute’). By 1966 I had two children, and by 1967 I was a single Mama needing to support those children. I finished college in 1968 and headed up to the city of ‘free love and flower power’, San Francisco. Love might have been free for the taking, but a single Mom still had to work to support her children, and also secure child-care while she worked. In those days there was no easy support system for working mothers. Is it much better today??? After working a 9 to 5 regular, boring secretarial job with disastrous child-care experiences, I stumbled on a good solution.
There was a tiny dress shop in North Beach on Columbus Ave. run by a nice man named Bill Morgan and his girlfriend. I liked to go in there and look around at the custom-made clothing. I think I must have told him I liked to sew myself, and one day he asked if I could sew leather. I bluffed and said, “Sure”. And that was the beginning of my sewing leather days for what later came to be known as ‘North Beach Leathers’. That first coat was a bear! Cowhide made into an Edwardian coat. But I did it on my trusty Elna sewing machine. After that Bill and his brother brought me over a true heavy-duty console machine. Now I was independent! I could sew at home with my children right there at any hour I so pleased. I could go back to school to get my Masters degree. I was liberated! Except for one thing: money. I was paid naturally by the piece. The faster I worked, the more I made. But the price per piece was quite low.
Take for example a fringed cow-hide leather jacket made for Credence Clearwater. Yes, I did it, but cutting leather fringe by hand? Time-consuming details. I finally calculated my hourly wage doing this type of work. It came to 65 cents per hour. That’s right. 65 cents per hour.
Eventually there were other women involved; for example a pattern draftswoman named Rose who was Chinese. She was so incredibly skilled. I then saw the multitude of tiny, dark-roomed cells all scattered through-out the residential districts of San Francisco where dozens of Chinese women labored together sewing, sewing, sewing. That did not look like fun to me anymore! It was really horrible, quite frankly. I had no idea what those women were paid. They certainly didn’t look very happy. Their working conditions were about as dismal as you could get.
Much as I liked Bill and enjoyed the fun at the big parties North Beach Leather put on, I cycled out of that learning experience and did a couple other seamstress jobs with an alterations shop on Nob Hill primarily fixing pants for the local pimps (not my cup of tea either, especially when they tried to recruit me into their stables), and finally with a marvelous designer named Masha Archer who became my friend in the bargain. But in the end, working as a seamstress was truly at the bottom of the bottom of the wage scale back in the ‘60s in good ole America.
Which brings us to 2013 and the latest garment factory catastrophe in Bangladesh where 1, 127 people were killed in the collapse. Yes, Uranus square Pluto is bringing it all home through trauma (Uranus) and break-down (Pluto). Have we yet awakened to the inequities that this ‘Age of Pisces’ has created? What happened to that Christian saying that the meek and lowly were supposed to inherit—-what? Now we have the multitudes in China, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Mexico, Haiti, Honduras, and on and on doing what might be called slave labor so the developed world can have their comforts and luxuries. After all, how many dresses, tops, shirts, pants, and shoes does one woman really, really need? Does it feel good to wear those clothes knowing that some worker in some far-off country made a subsistence wage—like pennies a day!— so that we could buy it as cheaply as possible? Or that that worker just might have been an under-age child?? Do any of us ever stop to consider whether the people making our garments were happy doing so? Spiritually speaking, the energy of their psyches went into our garment, just as we might also consider the energy of an animal who was killed under terrifying conditions also went into the meat we later ingest. Energy can’t really be compartmentalized that way. We are connected in unseen ways far more important than we realize.
Uranus now in Aries (individual rights) musters the courage to challenge Pluto in Capricorn (the established institutions and oligarchies of the world) in what began as a revolutionary change in the mid-‘60s for greater equality between gender, race, and the rise of under-developed countries toward a more level playing field in the global market place. The ‘60s also brought on full tilt the digital revolution, the back-to-the-earth movements, and multiple other changes involving Virgo ruled themes. But now we see the efforts of negative Pluto (you are powerless in the face of my extreme power) attempting to crush workers rights all over the planet while Uranus (the new Virgo technology which created the world-wide inter-net) is helping to awaken us to what is really going on. With cameras in practically every cell phone, images are shared almost instantaneously as events are happening. We do now have the tools to become more aware of global life. I couldn’t even write this article without the use of the research tools available so easily now, and I couldn’t even publish and share my views without this technology.
Such web research led me easily to The Christian Science Monitors recent article “Ethical consumers and the Bangladesh building collapse.” In this article I read that “It is likely that more people now have easy access to activist tools like the Internet and the freedom of choice in the marketplace to enable them to feel as if they can make a difference in far-flung lands. Supply chains are now easier to trace.”
What is an ethical consumer? “….the ethical consumer has a selfless empathy and an elevated moral understanding of what connects people across nationality, race, or creed. And often, purchasing an alternative product comes with a sacrifice in cost, quality, or convenience. That takes certain stamina.”
It also takes a certain consciousness which is akin to the opposite sign of Virgo, Pisces. Wasn’t the ‘Age of Pisces’ supposed to be about compassionate love, forgiveness, and understanding? Wasn’t the ‘Age of Pisces’ supposed to be about union and universality vs. exclusivity and privilege? If we as a collective can’t reach that point in our consciousness, how on Earth are we ever to get to the ‘Age of Aquarius’ where everyone is supposedly going to be equal in every sense of the word? Granted, these are ideals, but I’d say we have a long, long way to go before we arrive at some semblance of what Pisces is all about spiritually speaking.
With Chiron now back in Pisces where it was in the ‘60s we have a bridge towards that greater consciousness of unity. Now we can be conscious of Chiron because it was discovered in 1977 with the rise of computerization. In fact, Chiron is now at 13 degrees of Pisces positioning itself between Pluto and Uranus as just such a bridge designed to encourage healing and greater awareness of the lowliest amongst us. But why should anyone be the lowliest? Everyone truly does matter. That should be the message. If there weren’t people sewing our garments we wouldn’t have them! Machines have not yet been invented to do that. Sorry. Don’t we want those workers to have a safe, clean, well-lighted space within which to work? Don’t we want them to make decent wages to support themselves and their families? I think we do. Now we have to make sure the corporations who drive this global market are held responsibile for these workers conditions.
So here we are at the third square. We have four more to go. We aren’t even half way there. But this incident in far-off Bangladesh has truly awakened us to the fact that precious people labor still under in-human conditions. We need to all do what we can to put a stop to such inequities and change the pattern.
One new device, thanks again to Uranian technology, is a good beginning. While it isn’t about clothing it is about what we consume. Food! Check this out and get happy! It’s a free application designed for your iphone or ipad called Buycott. All you have to do is scan the bar code of a product you are considering buying with this app and it will automatically tell you which corporation is behind what you are buying. Not only that, but it will also tell you if that corporation is supporting the big bads like Monsanto who are contaminating your food, or even the 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose what would have been mandatory labeling of genetically modified food. (First in California). Bingo. Let’s next do it with clothing! Let’s have an app that tells us exactly the chain of companies leading to this particular garment and which companies are using factories which violate workplace safety standards, child labor laws, and pay insanely low subsistence wagers to the hard-working people who stitched that beautiful garment. Let’s keep Uranus innovations and inventiveness boldly going forth where no man, woman, or child has yet gone in this insanely treacherous Plutonian time. Let’s not allow the Plutocracies of the world to suppress our freedom of choice and human rights!
May 23, 2013 4 Comments
Categories: Astrology, Chiron, Pluto, Uranus | Tags: 1966, Age of Aquarius, Age of Pisces, Bangladesh garment workers, Chiron in Pisces, Clothing, Labor, Masha Archer, North Beach Leather, Uranus sqaure Pluto, Uranus/Pluto conjunction