If you were born between 1976 and 1988 you may be a revolutionary.
From “Generations” by cycle theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe:
“During the THIRTEEN YEARS from 1809 to 1821 were born the vast majority of the best-known reformers, abolitionists, feminists, self-proclaimed prophets, and commune-founders of the 19th century– and nearly two-thirds of the Congress in session (plus the President and Vice-President) at the outbreak of the Civil War.”
How does this factoid relate to our revolutionary forefathers and to those whose ages span the mid twenties to mid thirties today?
Strauss and Howe, for those who are not familiar with their works, identify a recurring pattern of four generational archetypes which can be likened to an engine that drives a quarterly system of “Turnings” in history. Of the generations most prominent today, the passionate prophet/idealists who come of age during a societal “awakening” are represented by the Boomer generation; the skeptical reactive/nomads who spend their young adult years in an “unraveling” society categorize the Xers (called 13ers by Strauss & Howe) and the civic/heroes who fight the great wars from the trenches and rebuild society after the rest of us run it off the rails are the members of Generation Y, known in Strauss and Howe writings as Millennials. For anyone interested in U.S. history, Strauss and Howe are simply a must read for the breadth and depth of their insight into American historical cycles.
When writing their seminal works, “Generations” and “The Fourth Turning”, Strauss and Howe were looking at statistics and not stars, but their generational theory corresponds broadly (if not always specifically) to the cyclical patterns of the outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. In fact, the length of Strauss and Howe generations vary, but they average 21 years each overall which is one quarter turn (or an average of three signs) in a Uranus cycle. Since Pluto, Neptune and Uranus approximate a 3:2:1 ratio, there is a built-in though unintentional correspondence between astrology and Strauss and Howe cycles. If the word astrology puts you off, my point is this: astronomical markers can help to more precisely date the future seasonal turnings of Strauss and Howe theory. How precise are these planetary alignments?
This is a graph of the placements of the outer planets during the great “Fourth Turning” wars that were the culmination of the three most recent Strauss and Howe cycles, which they call seculums:
These climactic wars ALL share Uranus running between 9 and 17 degrees of Gemini. At the same time, Neptune overlapped between 1 and 5 degrees of Aries or Libra, flipping to the opposite sign every other time. During the Civil War, from Taurus, Pluto squared its Revolutionary position in Aquarius, and then reached a point of opposition from Leo during WWII. In the next climactic war, Pluto will return to its Revolutionary position (having rushed through the square from Scorpio in the “short side” of the zodiac. This pattern is so precise that we can predict another climactic war will arise in the mid 2020s – a prediction which Strauss and Howe, Arnold Toynbee and others made without using astrology.
How do we know that the planets were NOT among the sources Strauss and Howe looked to in plotting out their master theory? Simply this: if they were looking at an ephemeris they would have amended some of their dates. The “Civil War Seculum” is the only anomaly in their theory – they posit that there were just three generations born that time around, producing a stunted hybrid instead of a true civic/hero generation. Thus there were only three generations running from Great War to Great War in the space of time normally allotted to four, but astrology tells us that it’s impossible to skip a generation. The group of rabble rousers referred to earlier is a good example of how astrology and Strauss and Howe datings differ.
The 1809-1821 subgroup was born with Uranus running between 8 degrees of Scorpio and the first few degrees of Capricorn, traveling through Sagittarius in between. Neptune extended from 5.40 Sag to 3 degrees of Capricorn. Pluto ranged from 12 to 27 degrees of Pisces. So in general, the outer planets were in Scorpio-Sagittarius, Sagittarius, and Pisces when they were born. What other generational subtypes are most like this cohort? Remember, this group was born “…during the THIRTEEN YEARS from 1809 to 1821” that not only made up “the vast majority of the best-known reformers, abolitionists, feminists, self-proclaimed prophets, and commune-founders of the 19th century…”, but they also comprised “…nearly two-thirds of the Congress in session (plus the President and Vice-President) at the outbreak of the Civil War”.
Who were these inspirational fire breathers? We are talking about political figures like Abraham Lincoln (born 1809 and just a year after his Vice-President Andrew Johnson and President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis), writers like Edgar Allen Poe (1809) and Henry David Thoreau (1817), abolitionists like Frederick Douglas (1817) and Harriet Tubman (c. 1820), feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815) and Susan B. Anthony (1820), spiritualist Mary Baker Eddy (1821) and General William “Total War” Tecumseh Sherman (1820). And don’t forget the majority of the most divisive congress ever to disgrace the capital, that congress which gave us the Civil War. According to Strauss and Howe this group belongs to the tail end of the idealist/prophet Transcendental generation, reminiscent of Baby Boomers today.
If we’re looking for a similar generation, the years 1725 to 1737 also saw Uranus traveling through Scorpio and Sagittarius. During those fourteen years many revolutionaries were born, and in just five of those years, 1732 through 1737, George Washington, John Adams, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine and John Hancock came into the world. According to Strauss and Howe, these patriots all belong to the Liberty generation of Americans, and were the 18th century equivalent of “Xers”.
In the subset of the Liberty generation that runs from 1725 through 1737, Uranus traveled from 7.48 Scorpio to 2.37 Capricorn, Neptune from 29.19 Taurus to 26.11 Gemini, and Pluto ranged from 0.39 Libra to 3.12 Scorpio. So in general, their outer planets were in Scorpio-Sagittarius, Gemini and Libra.
For both generations Uranus is in the same general position, Scorpio and Sagittarius, but the Revolutionary leaders’ Neptune placements opposed the Neptune positions of many of our 19th century fire breathers. Neptune, remember, flips back and forth from cycle to cycle, which means it can be found at the antipode or opposite polarity of where it was found at the same point in the previous Uranus cycle. This is where astrology is helpful in understanding the differences between “like” generations.
In fact, the Civil War generation had a double dose of Sagittarius, that expansive sign symbolized by the centaur shooting a bow, or by the arrow itself shot toward the horizon. Sagittarius likes to remain unrestricted, free, and rebels if he feels reigned in. In the fervent breathing and fevered mutterings of both of these generations you can hear the influence of Uranus (and in the case of the Civil War, Neptune) in Sagittarius. From the “Give me liberty or give me death” rallying cry struck by Patrick Henry, to abolitionist calls to “free the slaves” and the “freedom from tyranny” of the slave power, these people were preoccupied with the same idea: FREEDOM for the civil war generation and LIBERTY to our revolutionary founders.
Neptune, at its simplest, stands for inspiration although it also represents what we over-idealize and what can thus disappoint us. During the the start of the “Great Cycle” wars Neptune alternated between Virgo and Pisces, in square to its positions in the birth charts of our revolutionary founders and the fire breathers of the Civil War.
The Revolutionary Founders (and our WWII soldiers) experienced Neptune ranging from Gemini at birth to positions in Virgo at the beginning of the war. Both Gemini and Virgo are analytical, non emotional signs that are ruled by Mercury. They rely heavily on communication, information gathering, and detail oriented and organized plans. With these placements of Neptune they maintain objectivity and at least a veneer of civilization – even in war. It didn’t hurt that Neptune then traveled on to Libra during the war – an air sign noted for equanimity, diplomacy and efforts to seek balance.
The Founding Fathers and the G.I. Generation are the American generations who have garnered the highest accolades and achievements, the “Greatest” Generations. Though they ended slavery, no one will ever call the Civil War generation “the greatest” generation and they won’t call ours that either.
Our all important subset of the Civil War generation (and by extrapolation, many who will experience the 2020s war) share a Neptune that travels from Sagittarius at the time of their birth to late Pisces by the start of the war. Both of these are expansive, boundless signs where it’s easy for an individual to lose track of practical objectives. Intuition, belief and faith are the keywords called to mind. With Neptune in Pisces during a time of war, there is suffering, compassion, altruism, sorrow. The Neptune in Sag generation of the Civil War wished in a near mystical way for UNION (once Neptune reached Pisces), even as the country broke apart and all they held dear threatened to dissolve and drift away. The very real sense of helplessness that can be felt here was captured by the recurring dream Lincoln had of drifting through dark waters in an oarless boat toward a distant, unknown shore. Neptune then travels on, not to consensus forming Libra like the “greatest” generations but into Aries. They like fighting. They idealize war. Strauss and Howe are right in that there are no real civic heroes in a Neptune in Pisces/Aries war – at least none that look like the heroes of the Liberty and G.I. generations.
Hopefully, as in every other climactic war, we will find that we’ve advanced the course of freedom a little further – only difference is this time, with Neptune in Pisces, as it was during the Civil War, as it was during the era of the Glorious Revolution and New England Witch Hunts, and in the Protestant Reformation, we may find that we have helped the cause of man despite ourselves.
The small and scientifically disempowered Pluto has a lot to do with how we obtain and where we wield power.
In the Revolution Pluto started out in Capricorn, which represents government and the patriarchy. As as it moved into Aquarius, the sign of humanity opposite the royal sign of Leo, the common man freed himself of the tyranny of the King and the British Lion.
During the Civil War Pluto was in Taurus. This time we were fighting over wealth and those possessions that are sources of wealth: money, crops, land, cattle, chattel (wives and slaves were valuable property). The ultimate outcome was freedom for the slaves (though not for the wives).
In WWII Pluto was in Leo and we became an empire, eclipsing the British. From then – until now – the dollar ruled the world and American culture reigned supreme. This time we prided ourselves on “saving the free world”.
The 2020s war will see a return to the Pluto of the Revolution. We will experience stirring and unrest against the government while Pluto is still in Capricorn and by the time we enter Aquarius, the sign of man and of the masses, we will overthrow tyranny once again.
Looking at the placement of the outer planets in the signs for the generation born between born between 1976 and 1988 , you can see they too have a “rendezvous with destiny” as FDR once said of the WWII generation.
|1725-1738||7.48 Sco||2.37 Cap||29.19 Tau||29.11 Gem||0.39 Lib||3.12 Sco|
|1809-1821||8.50 Sco||3.37 Cap||5.40 Sag||3.0 Cap||12.45 Pis||27.50 Pis|
|1892-1905||5.22 Sco||4.38 Cap||6.48 Gem||9.1 Can||7.18 Gem||21.42 Gem|
|1976-1988||6.23 Sco||1.42 Cap||12.32 Sag||9.53 Cap||11.39 Lib||14.32 Sco|
Those born 1976 to 1988 have…
- Uranus – early Scorpio (6.23) to early Capricorn (1.42), including all of Sagittarius in between.
- Neptune – the 1st third of Sagittarius (12.32) to the 1st third of Capricorn (9.53)
- Pluto – the 1st third of Libra (11.39) to the 1st half of Scorpio (14.32)
Let’s line them up with the other generations we’ve been studying, using the predominant sign placements:
- Late Gen Xers/Early Mills: Scorpio-Sagittarius, Sagittarius, Libra
- Late Lost/Early GIs: Scorpio-Sagittarius, Gemini, Gemini
- Late Transcendental: Scorpio-Sagittarius, Sagittarius, Pisces
- Liberty: Scorpio-Sagittarius, Gemini, Libra
These late Gen Xers and early Millenials share the same Uranus as their astrological cross-time cohorts. Neptune shares the sign of the Transcendentals of the Civil War (opposite the Neptune placements of the Revolutionary War Liberty and WWII late Lost/early GI generations). Pluto is in the sign of the Liberty generation.
The group born between 1976 and 1988 are a variation of the same astrological cycle shared by the “Liberty” generation, which included founding father George Washington, and the “Transcendental” Civil War generation that included Abraham Lincoln, and in WWII, the “Lost/GI” generation crossovers who helped FDR save the free world.
Abraham Lincoln, the Idealist/Prophet Transcendental (with Uranus at 9.40 Scorpio) falls as much into this group as the Reactive/Nomad epitome of “Liberty” George Washington (Uranus at 10.3 Sag), and both of these leaders and their peers share signs and a position within the cycle of history that the younger Xers and older Gen Y Millenials hold today. In fact, that 1732 to 1737 subset of the Liberty group led by Washington corresponds to the first of the the Millenials, if you’re comparing their outer planets with those of our modern generations. The next “Lincoln” or “Washington” will probably appear among the younger Gen Xers or older Millenials.
Where does FDR fall in all this? With Uranus at 17.57 Virgo, and Neptune and Pluto at 13 and 27 degrees of Taurus respectively, he falls in with the older Gen Xers who were born with Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, and Neptune in the sign of Scorpio (opposite Taurus) which is where I was born.
Let’s take that Strauss and Howe quote and imagine how it might be applied to the modern rabble rousing generation of today.
“During the THIRTEEN YEARS from 1975 to 1987 were born the vast majority of the best-known truthers, tea partiers, Occupy Wall Street and “End the Fed” activists, and communal and urban guerrilla farming proponents of the 19th century–and nearly two-thirds of the Congress in session (plus the President and Vice-President) at the outbreak of the Third World War.” You can fill in your own blanks, of course.
How far back do you have to go to find a person who shares the EXACT same configuration of signs as our modern rebel generation? Every 498 to 504 years the outer planets line up in the same signs, with just a little drift between positions. I call circa 500 year “returns” of the three outer planets a “Phoenix Cycle”.
Here is an example of a man born on November 10th in 1483 who had Uranus and Neptune in Sagittarius (18.44 and 9.11) and Pluto in Libra (12.57) like someone in the modern group born between 1976 and 1988.
His name was Martin Luther.
When he nailed his demands for reform to a church door he touched off a protest movement known as the Protestant Reformation.
And they called us underachievers.
“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.”
Abraham Lincoln, June 16 1858, “House Divided” Speech