by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, July 9, 2012

Uranus Station/Retrogrades


Uranus as photographed in 2005 showing some
of the planet's rings (photo credit ESA and NASA)

Planet Uranus goes retrograde on Friday, July 13th (2012) at 9:50 in the morning, UT/+0 time. And because we give all celestial objects of mass (in particular, planets because they have more mass!) a ‘station allowance’ of two days, that means the days between July 11th and July 15th are going to prompt a bit of change.

Uranus represents the unusual – which doesn’t seem unusual at all when you consider that this is the only planet in our solar system which ‘rolls’ along it’s orbit. The rest ‘spin’ rather like tops. Oh sure, they may have a bit of a tilt. Even a lot of tilt. But only Uranus rolls along on its side.

Uranus is the black sheep. The odd duck. The thing you don’t want to deal with which won’t be contained. The change in circumstance which comes upon us because we’re so very utterly married to our current status quo, untidy, unworkable, unproductive or just plain wrong though it may well be. Uranus is the coldest planet in our solar system – a fact we interpret metaphysically as the ‘suddenness’ with which Uranus events tend to transpire. With Uranus there are none of that wistful longing and regretting stuff we tend to associate with Neptune. There isn’t even the long term effort (plus grumbles, plus sighs) which so often accompany the standard Saturn commitment.

With Uranus, there doesn’t seem to be any choice. It just is. Uranus is the irresistible force which moves immovable objects. It’s the blinding light which illuminates everything, changing our world. It’s the bursting forth from shackles, the overthrowing of insupportable circumstances, it’s…

…it’s going retrograde. In early Aries, to be precise.

The degree involved here is 8 Aries. By simple sign and early placement we know this is about ‘the basics,’ and something to do with how we live, or go about our daily life.

Except it’s more than about the errands, the efforts, the aims. During the years that Uranus transits Aries our very orientation to life will often change. Lives begin, lives end. Governments rise, cultures fall. Discoveries get made, preconceptions get blown out of the water.

Life itself…and our orientation to our life and towards what we are or what we do with our lives…all that changes now. And this last is right on the money now with Uranus going retrograde as any planet in retrograde symbolizes a time when the metaphysical precepts associated with that planet work to change us on the inside.

Or when we work to change ourselves on the inside.

Because Aries is the sign of physical existence, this shift to retrograde may coincide with a ‘surfacing’ (or a development) of physical issues. This is likely to be particularly true because of where Uranus is going retrograde as 8 Aries has a reputation for violence (i.e., physical disruption) and ‘unharnessed’ or spewing energy. There’s a lack of skill and finesse associated with 8 Aries which may well indicate bottled frustration which now gets released. Then again, difficulties which are due to lack of skill, ability or willingness to change may now come to the fore.

It's probably also worth remembering that 8 Libra is the oppositional degree here as 8 Libra is one of those special and very interesting degrees which has a truly well developed reputation of it’s own. I’ve written about 8 Libra prior to now (LINK) but for those who don’t want to dash off to a whole other blog the name which goes with 8 Libra – the widow’s degree – refers to the loss of something, with our learning more about life through that very loss.

Thus through whatever changes now – or that which you’re in the process of changing – you too will learn more. You’ll learn more about yourself, more about other people, more about how life works.

And doesn’t work. Yes, that too.

Having an orbital period of 84.3 years, the half life of a Uranian orbit is just around 42 years. Astrologically, we’d call that the opposition – and indeed Uranus opposition Uranus is one of the three famous (if not infamous) “mid-life transits” we all go through somewhere between age 38 and 42.

Why would it vary? It would vary because the orbit of Uranus is not entirely round. As the diagram below shows, it looks round when you draw it, but in truth it's a wee bit 'egg shaped' - as most orbits are.

Probably the easiest way to validate this is by going to the 'AU' (astronomical unit) measurement of Uranus' orbit. One astronomical unit is the mean (average) distance from the Earth to the Sun and at it's farthest, Uranus is 20.08 AU from the Sun. At it's nearest it's 18.37 AU from the Sun.

Uranus in orbital diagram
source: JPL Small Body Browser 

Even though that's HUGE as a real-time, real life distance, in planetary terms, that's not all that much. It's really not more than a shrug-and-a-half. Pluto (for instance) has an aphelion (far) point of 49 AU and a perihelion (near) orbital point of 29.65 AU. 

Pluto has a really eggy orbit which looks eggy when 

Pluto's orbit is here shown as the outer ring

While there are certainly celestial parties out there whose orbits ars a whole lot more intensely egg-shaped (Pluto leaps to mind…) the variation of the Uranian cycle does give us news to gnaw on. So here’s a chart…

Probably the main thing to note here is that we are currently in the ‘longish’ (at least longer) part of Uranus’ zodiacal cycle. Does that imply that there’s more which needs changing now? Or that through the instability so often associated with Uranus we will ultimately benefit?

Perhaps so. That all Uranian situations ask us to be flexible and at least willing to consider new ideas – in light of our world being bollixed, confounded and seemingly hamstringed (if not out-and-out damaged) by those intent on not changing and not allowing and requiring personal and individual responsibility – all that seems emblematic of a time when Uranus would be in signs for longer periods of time.

Considered by ‘modernist’ astrologers as the ‘outcome’ ruler of Aquarius, the Uranus cycle centers in/on three signs: Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. These are the signs of the zodiac’s 4th and most worldly/global quarter. Thus the Uranian emphasis is most concentrated in matters having to do with personal freedoms and the responsibility and work which goes with being free and being responsible. It’s about ‘reinventing’ ourselves and our world on a constant and cyclic basis. As secondary ruler of Aquarius (a sign which has Saturn as its basis) freedom is defined astrologically as something which cannot work for some – which has to work for all of us. It requires an almost ridiculous amount of tolerance, most of all when it comes to accepting ideas which might be apart from the ‘norm.’

Let’s remember…once upon a time the light bulb was a ‘new fangled’ thing. Once upon a time (as I put it to planet hunter Mike Brown at Caltech) people though associating the Moon with Earth’s tides was simple lunacy.

Uranus stands for inventiveness. Where we cling, where we refuse to learn (or learn better), where we try to simply remain part of the societal ‘mass’ when our brilliance or our ‘purpose’ (calling, if you prefer) is to be the individual who does stand out, who does do that new thing, who isn’t beholden to culture or social status…then Uranus brings upset. Uranus brings fractures and breakage. Uranus fosters disaster personal, societal and often financial.

All those qualities now turn to retrograde. All that energy is now being seeded and seated inside of us, trying to get us to free our Selves. With Uranus currently transiting Aries, this is the most important time not to be bottled or shackled by preconceived notions – those we would like to hold onto ourselves as much as those imposed from outside. Energy denied under Uranus in Aries often will surface physically, whether in real-life circumstances involving rejection, severe consequences, ruptures in associations and reputations, even bloodshed. As someone steeped in astrology (it’s a tea) I listen to the terrible news coming out of Syria and I hear the sounds of Uranus. I listen to the political battles going on here in the United States and I hear Uranus.

Changes are needed. But if all people do is ‘change the new in order to revert to the old’ that will not satisfy the Uranian precept. We are now moving into the Aquarian Age and everything we do from here on for the next 2,100 years (give or take a nuance) is going to carry all the many facets of Aquarian Age thinking.

Computers are Aquarius – who thinks we’re going to give up technology and go back to clay tablets?

Gender equality, racial equality, equality of human beings as human beings regardless of sexual orientation or age or social status…in the eyes of society, all that is Aquarian.

The easy thing to do under Aquarian and Uranian influences is ‘separate from.’ The far harder thing to do is to ‘break out of’ whatever one’s personal limitations are so that we can learn from…and at least accept, if not embrace, those who come from a different way of life, be that a discipline, a culture, a religious heritage or simply a different way of living.

If you’re having a hard time now, if things are rocky or you’re in the midst of some sort of ‘outbreak’ of hostility or social/societal, financial, relationship or cultural fracas the worst thing you can do is surrender your individuality.

Just don’t do it. You need to be who you are while taking responsibility for being but one person in a society for everything to go right.

That ego and our drive to 'have it our way' while 'fixing them' (isn't that so often the human conviction?) is of the moment even more critical than ever is show ably by the fact that this station takes place in square to Pluto-Facies in Capricorn.

Remember Pluto-Facies? If not, here's a link to that April 2012 blog...

Facies being a nebula (though treated as a 'fixed star' by astrologers) and a nebula being a celestial object which 'looks' like one thing but in reality is a cluster of stars (i.e., 'many items') we know that there are a lot of ramifications and considerations and perhaps people involved in whatever it is we're now dealing with.

But at the core, all question are structural. And as defined by the Mars/Diadem - Pluto/Facies - Uranus/Chaldea/Pallas t-square defined above, the biggest problem in the mix involves ego. We WANT what we want, whether it works or not. Just the idea of being challenged will arouse the heap-plenty feisty qualities (even snarkiness) of Pluto/Facies.

How to tell what's right or wrong in the greater realm of choices? Functionality and legality. Added to that is a quality of social versus societal acceptability; where what you want from society runs afoul of what society would think of you or what you're doing were the truth to be known, you need to change.

This is a classic 'house of cards' sort of dynamic: truths not minded now will bring everything crashing down soon enough. Mars/Diadem (Diadem being the 'crowning glory') brings a LOT of 'wanting to look good' and 'what others think of me' into this mix. And that is a huge, huge challenge, considering Uranus' position in Aries.

It would also be the metaphysical rational for Uranus transiting Aries. Where we are out of balance with issues of 'what it looks like' or 'approval from others' this is a difficult time. And depending on where you place the emphasis of your 'value weighting' now, things can get a lot harder...or begin to improve. Particularly if you need to be seen or known as an 'authority' on any subject, or wise or smart enough to 'fill the bill,' this is a particularly testing time.

The good news is this: the greatest part of the test has to do with how honest you are with yourself. Pretense and pretending is your albatross. Those who choose to try to 'fake it until I make it' will pay substantial prices. Those who do that while involving others will end up undermining their personal stability. 

It may not happen instantly...but it'll happen.   

From now until early-ish December when Uranus goes direct, there is more fluctuation to be felt within than without. Social and societal influences may well drive your internal quandaries, but the quandaries themselves are yours.

Question: what should I do about….(insert subject)?

All ‘best’ answers here will involve retaining and respecting who you are. All ‘best’ answers will allow you to function more rather than less freely. All ‘best’ answers will not be ‘dictated’ to you, but be a natural outgrowth of that higher ideal which holds that while all lives may not be lived the same way, all LIFE has intrinsic, fascinating value.


  1. This is really interesting. I hadn't understood how the egg shaped orbit would affect the length of time in a sign. Beautiful photo of Uranus, top.

    1. Nobody does photography like the space agency crowd, right? I was delighted to see that latest photo of Uranus - and as "luck" would have it (luck?) I found it a couple of days prior to scheduling this post.

      As for the eggy-shape of orbits and how that affects zodiacal influences, yes that is one of those seldom-discussed astro-factors which has led me to include more tables of movement-through-the-signs in various posts.

      The more we know, the more empowered we are, right?