Uranus is a planet in modern astrology of change, the ruler of Aquarius, the waterbearer of the constellations. In practice (what I mean by my own observations) is that Uranus indicates a sought of ‘disruption’ or awakening in a client’s chart by transit, progression or Solar arc. These awakenings usually occur although not always by an external event, for example the break-up of a relationship or redundancy. However because of Uranus orbit of seven years in each sign of the zodiac, the generational aspect can shed light on our collective responses to external events from a generational standpoint.
In this article I would like to concentrate on Uranus transit in the zodiac signs of Aries and Libra and their awakenings within the context of popular culture and gender roles. Like Mercury, Uranus has the reputation of being an androgynous planet. It is also seen as the planet of revolution and electricity, mainly because of the planets discovery in 1781. In the context of the development of human beings Uranus can shed a light on how we broaden our own horizons in terms of what Western society has created previously. The two signs Aries and Libra are important beginnings in our astrological evolution being the start of the spring equinox (when the Sun enters Aries in the tropical zodiac) and the autumn equinox, when the Sun enters the sign of Libra. The day and the night on both occasions are the same length and therefore on a symbolic level the creative urge of beginnings and endings becomes awakened. Aries the sign is ruled by the planets Mars (the God of War) and by tradition a masculine energy driven planet on an archetypal level. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus the planet of love and beauty, again by tradition more feminine by archetype. Uranus the planet of ‘inconsistency’ coined by Dane Rudhyar is unpredictable in temperament and therefore when transiting either Aries or Libra, those masculine or feminine archetypes are going to be challenged.
It is also worth mentioning that of course Mars and Venus also rule the zodiac signs of Taurus and Scorpio in traditional astrology, however Taurus and Scorpio are fixed in mode of expression and therefore the development is over a greater period over time rather that Aries and Libra cardinal modes of expression, meaning a quicker response to change.
Over the last forty years, Uranus has travelled in both signs Aries and Libra, in a period in Western culture that has seen dramatic changes in our responses to our traditional gender roles; could this be seen in context to Uranus travelling in these two signs. Uranus first entered the zodiac sign of Libra on the 29th of September 1968, in January 1969 in went retrograde and went back into the previous sign of Virgo in May 1969. In then moved direct and settled into Libra on the 23rd of June 1969. The challenge that Uranus brought at this period until 1975 when Uranus moved into Scorpio is our perception of the feminine and masculine and gender roles. The rise of feminism populated and advocated in the early seventies by the double Aquarian (Sun and Ascendant) Germaine Greer with the publication of the ‘Female Erich’. As more women started to gain more independence during the early seventies through work and perceptions of what it means to be a female. During this period the development of certain Uranus Libra archetypes start to manifest in the public arena particularly in this country. Two of these Uranus archetypes were a couple in the Cultural Revolution that was taking place mainly through the medium of popular music. The couple in question is David and Angie Bowie, him known as the chameleon pop star who challenged our gender perceptions with the creation of Ziggy Stardust. His wife Angie Bowie helped David to create a new style but in herself challenged the feminine preconception through image and behaviour. Bowie a Capricorn with an Aquarius ascendant draws down the Uranus energy into his music and the way that he presented himself on stage, television and interviews. For children and young people growing up seeing Bowie perform ‘Starman’ (how very Uranian) in its self, on Top of the Pops an awakening had begun. But this was about sexual identity, the questions were raised what was Bowie’s sexual orientation was being asked by the press, and what was Bowies meaning when during his performance on the Top of the Pops when he put his arm around his lead guitarist Mick Ronson? The challenge was that through Bowie’s music and image (Uranus in Libra, music the arts) the more feminine concepts (make up, clothes) were being experimented in a more extreme attitude for the time than previous movements, I.e. the hippie counter culture. Another pop star that also joins Bowie in exploring the crossover of the masculine and feminine is the Libran Marc Bolan. Glitter under his eyes coupled with high heels and satin outfits, Bolan as the archetypal rock God, allows the masculine to explore more feminine attributes in the public eye. Without Bowie or Bolan there would have been no New Romantics, Boy George, Prince, Marilyn Manson, Gary Newman, Adam Ant, to name but a few. Through Bowie and Bolan, Glam rock became the staple diet of British teenagers music, this led to a floodgate of pop music acts or as I say it (Bricklayers dressing in make-up and frilly clothes) taking to the stage, the Sweet, Slade and Wizard.
Angie Bowie helped David to create the Ziggy image, but her own presentation also meant that she was challenging the views of how a woman should look. Her orange cropped hair and androgynous clothes make a strong pledge towards a decade later when we see Annie Lennox sing of sweet dreams for the band the Eurhythmics. Little Nel in the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ also sports a similar image (another media outlet through theatre and film that challengers the feminine and masculine in the early seventies). The sign Libra is about balance in partnerships, Uranus seeks to change the way we see our roles in partnerships changed. The outlet for this change was through Venus energies, the arts and sexuality. Individuals who were born during this period would be the generation that gave us the ‘rave and acid movement’ of the late eighties and early nineties. The crossover of baggy clothes suitable for male and female would give rise to a more relaxed view in terms of gender in their social groups. These cultural shifts were mainly started in the early seventies, you could argue that the sixties brought about the first little cultural earthquakes, and in that sense, yes, but only for a small minority of people in England got to experience the full embrace of the ‘Summer of Love’. The seventies for many see more of an explosion on a political, economic level that had a major impact on the way that our social moral values are constructed.
Other notable bands and cultural figures at the time were the New York Dolls in 1973 an American band who dressed in lacquered hair and high heels who also challenged the male image.
Men during this Uranus transit through Libra, experience a shift in consciousness on what it means to be a man by the way that they present themselves. This of course did not happen overnight or indeed with every man in the UK. But the Uranus ‘awakening’ had begun a new cycle (Autumn Equinox) in the growth of the masculine and feminine. When Uranus entered Scorpio in 1975 the onslaught of the punk movement began to emerge, men behaving in a more aggressive manner (Mars ruler of Scorpio) and females taking on more Marian energies. Scorpio being a fixed sign depicts back to the more traditional roles. It is only when in 1981 that the New Romantics become more prominent in popular culture when Uranus enters Sagittarius (mutable mode of expression) that we see a hark back to Bowie and Bolan. The growth of the wheel of the zodiac in its 360 degree circumference shows the emergence of new cycles and patterns.
But, what of Uranus in Aries, the start of the zodiac and the challengers that we are experiencing with this transit? The first thing to look at is this is a Mars stage, the Marian energy is potent and outward in expression, Aries of course is a fire sign and cardinal in expression. Uranus entered Aries on the 12th of March 2011. One is immediately drawn to the August 2011 London riots that spread across the country. The youth (Aries) becomes disillusioned by the systems and government and try to break the previous traditions (Uranus). Cultural figures become interesting in terms of the connection of the transit of Uranus in Libra. On May the 10th 2014 the Eurovision contest winner was one Conchita Wurst a drag queen who sported a beard. The artist who created her is called Tom Neuwirth from Austria and he first appeared as Wurst in 2011. The artist won the Eurovision contest with the song ‘rise like a phoenix’. Although back in 1998 Dana international won the Eurovision contest as a transgender the New Statesman said Wurst was the ‘most genderqueer yet’. If we look at the chart of Wurst the most notable aspect is Mars at 0 degrees in Aries opposing (if a little wide in orb) Venus in Libra.
However Wurst is not original in her image, certainly the fashion over the last three years for men to sport beards again harks back to the early seventies. The beard is a representation of masculinity or manhood in western society (Mars in Aries). But for a man to have a beard and dress in drag is seen back in December 1969 with the cockettes.
The cockettes were a communal group in San Francisco theatre troupe who challenged gender roles and sexuality and performed together as well as living in the same house. Men with long hair and beards would wear dresses and woman would wear men’s clothes from the fashion of the early twenties. One of the shows that they performed was called ‘Journey to the centre of Uranus’ although I’m not sure it was an astrological reference! The link with Uranus in Libra and the manifestation today with Uranus in Aries is seen more and more. Recently we have seen the boxing promoter (Aries) Frank Maloney has recently been seen in Celebrity big brother as Kellie Maloney. Transgender is now becoming more socially accepted in society through these new Uranian Archetypes.
However the females have taken a slightly different turn in terms of their gender and the way it is presented. Angelique ‘Frenchy’ Morgan who again recently appeared on celebrity big brother is a model, presenter and TV personality, a woman with a relationship with cosmetic surgery. I am not saying that this is the typical woman, but again with the power of television and the internet (both Uranus ruled as mediums) the model Frenchy becomes a rather crude example of Mars Aries energy, the preoccupation with wanting to be young looking and the enhancement of the sexual parts of the body. Of course this has been building up for some time over the last 15 years, but it is now seen in the media as an everyday normal portrayal of the feminine. It seems that Uranus in Aries brings about a harder edge with the gender of female.
Woman seem to be projected as an image of a very masculine fantasy, which takes away the energy of Uranus in Libra, again Uranus can be inconsistent in how it responds to social changes. Lady Gaga portrays herself like a female version of David Bowie with a highly charged sexual nature (The woman becomes the predator) or at least that is how it is seen. So in typical Uranus fashion it has turned the Mars / Venus upside down by dramatically shifting the roles of the signs Aries and Libra by switching their archetypal roles in society. Women are seen as more aggressive in pursuit of their sexuality and gender but still with a tinge of male fantasy about their image.
So what can we expect as Uranus continues to pass through Aries, well probably more inconsistency, yet for me the gender of the male as somewhat unexpectantly gone through the biggest revolution, transgender, homosexuality, heterosexual, drag queen and the image of what it means to be a man started in the early seventies by a small minority has begun to make a real difference, and with that change we can expect a big shift in the end with how females are treated in what for far too long has been a male dominated society.