I tricked you! This isn’t going to be a post about the tanking dollar, shaky real estate, or how much longer the stock market can stay aloft. No, it’s a meditation on the vulnerable state of the U.S. psyche and how a hit to the stock portfolio or a home’s value can lead to poor self-esteem.
With Moon in Cancer at the Midheaven, I’m perfectly capable of getting depressed when bad things happen to other people — kids coming back from Iraq and killing themselves and then the government trying to cover it up, 22,000 dead in Myanmar (previously known as Burma) after a cyclone, the filly Eight Belles having to be put down after coming in second at the Kentucky Derby — to name just three.
We live in extremely materialistic times, when people measure happiness by how much money they earn, how much their stock portfolio has appreciated, and how much their house is worth. Now, I know there are other things that make people happy — your percentage of body fat is 17, your kid got a perfect score on the SAT, you have 10,000 friends on MySpace — but money is a typical barometer of happiness in our consumerist country.
So when the bank account takes a hit or when the raises at work come in at 2%, not even enough to keep pace with the rising cost of living, people get bummed out. This is especially true for older people, who often feel that they don’t have enough time left to start all over again.
People who measure happiness in dollars are going to be disappointed over the next few years is that transiting Neptune, the planet of disillusionment, is coming to a conjunction, or meeting, with the U.S. moon.
There is a lot of speculation about when the U.S. was “born.” We know it was on July 4, 1776, but at what time? I’m not going to waste time here debating the merits of the various U.S. birth charts. Suffice it to say that I like the “Sibley” chart, which was also favored by legendary symbolic astrologer Dane Rudhyar. You can see it here, courtesy of a Web site called AstroFutureTrends.
The Sibley chart works for me because it has a 12 degree Sagittarius/Gemini Ascendant/Descendant. On Sept. 11, 2001, the deadly Saturn/Pluto opposition in Gemini/Sag was straddling the Ascendant/Descendant of the Sibley chart. I rest my case.
In the Sibley chart, the U.S. Moon is at 27 degrees of Aquarius. In fact, any chart you draw up for July 4, 1776 has an Aquarius Moon. What varies is the degree of the Moon and the house cusps.
To me, the Aquarius Moon denotes how much freedom women have had in America compared to the Old World as well as our “melting pot” culture, which generally embraces immigrants (except for when times get tough and we turn on them, but that’s another story).
Neptune will station, or stop, on May 27, as it changes direction and begins its retrograde motion. Neptune is traveling with the North Node, which rules the public and collective experience, and Chiron, the asteroid known as the “wounded healer,” right now. But transiting Neptune has yet to reach the national Moon in the Sibley chart.
Depending on what orbs you use, Neptune will be conjunct the U.S. Moon next year. Early in 2010, Jupiter in Aquarius will be part of the mix, compounding whatever the issue is. I think that’s when the balloon is really going to start deflating. Coincidentally, as transiting Neptune conjoins the U.S. Moon, it will be squaring the Sun of the New York Stock Exchange birth chart. (For more on the Big Board chart, see my post, “Under the Buttonwood Tree.”)
In my book, Neptune conjunct the U.S. Moon spells collective sorrow and suffering. The idealism about American opportunity will be dissolved. The loss of hope in the face of material difficulties such as unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure may push some people over the edge.
As I mentioned in my post about 1 Dead in Attic, Chris Rose’s excellent book of essays on Hurricane Katrina, I’m always upset to hear about people committing suicide. When I was in high school, my best friend took her own life and I’m still haunted by the fact that I didn’t do more to try and prevent it.
It’s not just a hurricane that can drive people to commit suicide. Sometimes it’s the end of economic system like communism. Look at these national suicide rates from the World Health Organization.
Scroll down the list. The countries with the highest suicide rates, as of May, 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, are those that were part of the former Soviet Union or its satellites. Look at the Russian Federation, with the highest suicide rate on the list, which doesn’t include every country in the world.
In Russia, 70.6 males out of every 100,000 people kill themselves. In Belarus, 63.6 males out of every 100,000 kill themselves. Ukraine’s also bad, at 52.1. What a waste! And, of course, these numbers don’t take into account all the people who are killing themselves in slow motion through alcoholism and drug addiction.
In the U.S., 17.6 males kill themselves for every 100,000 people. I’m using the figures for men, rather than women, because males are more likely to take their own lives than women, despite the popular image of female depressives. If you’re interested in global suicide rates for women, they’re also in the WHO chart.
Given the long-term financial outlook for the U.S., it’s imperative that the Senate and House reconcile their versions of legislation giving “parity” to mental health. However, even if the two bills are reconciled and President George W. Bush signs the resulting Mental Health Parity Act into law, it’s still not going to help the people without health insurance.
The coming conjunction of Neptune and the U.S. Moon undoubtedly will put lots of pressure on the next administration to really address the health insurance issue. Let’s hope it’s not an epidemic or a biological accident that brings about the “tipping point.”