As we travel through the galaxy, the planets spend longer moving through the Signs the further away from the Earth we go. The Moon spends only a few days in a Sign, where the Sun spends a month, Jupiter a year, and Saturn four years. Now we get into the Generational Planets - Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto - so named because they spend so long in a Sign that they some to characterize an entire time period, and describe the traits of all the people born during that period of history. Your Uranus Sign placement is not individual to you and your personality, like the previous planets in this series were. Rather, this planet describes what everyone your age is like, forming a sort of group identity you all take part in.
Uranus is the first one we encounter, which spends 7 to 8 years in each Sign. Here is a generation's relationship to the wider society around it, and how it forms a unique identity among the masses by differentiating themselves from everyone else. Uranus is, by nature, erratic and spontaneous. It is the planet of lightning-bolt inspiration, sudden changes, chaos, and repressed, misunderstood emotions. This planet represents a generation’s rebelliousness, individuality, invention and reinvention. It is shocking and misunderstood, acting on high intellectual ideals and strong emotional impulses, characterizing the "rebellious teenager" archetype that scares adult society at large.
The unhealthy or immature Uranus, is a planet which believes that radically changing every aspect of their culture is the only way to liberate a society from its repressive norms. They identify with the poor, the "underdog", or with minority groups, to frame themselves as the oppressed or misunderstood victim, thereby inflating their ego with compassion-points that win them points with other people. The unpredictable, unsteady, unorthodox nature of Uranus starts a revolution, even a war, if it sees it as the only way to make important changes in society (and if everyone else is doing it too). But not everything that is conventional or established is inherently bad, and deserving of violent retribution.
The healthy or mature Uranus, alternatively, starts a revolution for a righteous cause. It is a planet that breaks down barriers in the name of equality. It is a force of positive, uplifting change, battling racism, sexism, poverty, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, and other injustices and oppressive power structures. And not just by standing up and shouting in the street, at a rally or a protest. But by patiently taking apart the walls people build in their emotional minds, and reforming the way people think and feel about the "others" in their neighbourhoods. Uranus, at its core, builds compassion and acceptance for all members of a society. It is humanist with high ideals and optimism for the future. It is freedom-loving, truth-seeking, and an example of the indomitable human spirit, and what we can accomplish together as a force for good.
When I was studying Uranus' transits through different time periods, I found two things that cycled in tune with this planet: Art Movements, and Subcultures. I theorized that Uranus influences start in the underground, on the outer fringes of society, with people who live outside of mainstream culture. Here, artists and intellectuals ahead of their time accurately reflect the raw emotion and uncut ideas felt by others in their society. They are weird and different, with a unique perspective that is enlightened but difficult to understand. They are also cool - so cool, that by the time Uranus finishes up in that Sign, the mainstream culture takes their art, music, politics, fashion, and philosophy, and makes it popular.
There are two symbols for Uranus. The most commonly used one is a circle connected to an H (♅), which stands for Hershal (the man who discovered the planet in 1781). The second, less commonly used one, is a combination of the alchemy symbols for iron and gold, which make platinum (⛢). The latter is the seed of creation with an arrow pointing upward, symbolizing how an idea, movement, creation, or person is driven upward to enlightenment or larger influence. The former can be stylized so that it is a cross connecting two crescents on either side of a circle. And that symbolizes dual (or several) human minds or spirits, connected to one another and grounded upon a larger body of self.
RULERSHIP AND EXALTATION
Uranus was discovered at the end of the 18th Century, and so has no traditional Rulership or Exaltation. Most astrologers agree that it should be Ruled by Aquarius and Exalted in Scorpio. I agree with the first bit. But I, personally, think Uranus should be Exalted in Gemini, for all these reasons:
Aquarius and Gemini share many traits in common. Both are Air Signs, so both live in their brains - learning, communicating, socializing, forming new relationships, and letting their curiosity lead their minds all over the map in search of new, interesting, exciting things to think about. Both are complex Signs, with Gemini being two things at once, and Aquarius being many different things all at the same time. Both are dramatic and emotional, but also detached and purely rational. Both crave closeness and relationships as much as they do freedom and independance. They are loyal in their heads and their hearts, but also crave a variety of relationships; intimate, sexual, platonic, or otherwise. Both are highly social, with many associates and acquaintances but few very close friends. They are crazy, changeable, wild, and unpredictable, but steady in their conviction that the advancement of science, technology, and the arts is what will save humanity - all things purely Uranus, in all its many shapes and forms.
This would make Uranus in Detriment in Leo and in Fall in Sagittarius. These Fire Signs, while warm and optimistic, are inherently self-centered. Not that this is inherently a bad thing - but it does not jive well with Uranus' desire to gather together as a group of individuals in the name of equality for all. Leo is attention-seeking, wanting to be seen as special and valued above the rest. They set themselves center-stage and demand to be seen, sulking in the corner if they are told they are just as good as everyone else. Sagittarius is freedom and truth-seeking too, and just as erratic and unpredictable. But Sagittarius is purely independent, and not a Sign who changes to become want others want them to be. Both of these Signs should look to their Airy counterparts and learn to put themselves aside for the greater good, and to conform to become a part of a greater cause.
URANUS THROUGH THE SIGNS
URANUS IN ARIES (1927-1935, and 2010-2019) is an example of how two generations of people alive at the same time can have Uranus in the same sign. The first time period saw major economic shifts in the late 20s and early 30s as the stock market crashed and many people were out of work. Canadians and Americans only took home half as many earnings per year as they did before, which was devastating to singles and families alike. The Great Depression coupled with the Dust Bowl (which led to food shortages and little work in the countryside), meant citizens were left with fewer and fewer options as time went on. Compared to the latter time period, or modern day, it is hard to believe that babies born now could face anything like what their great-grandparents did in the Dirty Thirties. But these children are growing up in the aftermath of the World Financial Crisis, and they are absorbing similar messages from society as older folks did.
In both time periods, we see how society is inspired by independence. Like the ram charging through walls, people ran after freedom and a self-directed life. When governments, banks, and institutions fail to shelter citizens from the economic storms, a lot of trust is lost. They are forced to think and act independently in order to survive. People organize protests and demande unionization so they could gain some autonomy against their big-wig bosses. During this transit people want(ed) to be in charge of themselves, to live and love without any restrictions put on them. Nobody could lead them better than themselves, it was thought. The less power anybody had over them, the better.
URANUS IN TAURUS (1934-1942, and 2018-2026) was last seen during the Great Depression and the onset of World War II. Hard economic times hit both city and country folk, sparing only a few of the very wealthy. In cities people were slightly better off because they had more resources at hand. In the country, however, there was little work, thanks to the Dust Bowl that whipped the prairies into a dry, dusty wasteland. Rural farmers were forced to sell their land for what little they could (or abandon it altogether) and migrate with their families to where food, supplies, and money could be found. Of the jobs there were, most were found in the cities. And those in the biggest cities had the greatest chance of surviving.
People had been moving from the country to the city for as long as there have been the two. States like New York and California experienced a huge boom in population and expansion in the 20s when the government spent huge amounts of tax revenue building roads and buildings. This trend continued during this time period as well, but it was due to the desperate need for work that could be found nowhere else. The influx of people moving in from the south and east is what helped country music become so popular, as farmers brought with them their own music, customs, beliefs and values when they moved. They shared their idolized pictures of the countryside when it was flourishing, their pastoral views of their homeland. And in turn, mainstream American culture (in particular) began to integrate this down-home, romanticized image of life on the farm.
URANUS IN GEMINI (1941-1949) is in its Exalted position. From the early years of WWII to its end and the very beginning of the Cold War, Uranus was moving through the sign of Gemini. When you were born, western society was in the throws (or recent aftermath) of the largest and most devastating war in modern history. Like the sign of Gemini, the world was split into two twins – the Axis and the Allies – and greater influences were placed on technological advances in communication and travel than ever before.
Most young white men were drafted into the army, navy, and air forces. But the draft left major industries without a viable workforce, and so many companies and government offices rewrote their recruitment qualifications to allow women and people of colour to be hired. As more diverse groups began living and working together in pursuit of a common goal, barriers that existed between race, gender, and nationality began to rumble and quake a little bit at a time. Once the war was over, returning men who had seen the world and all it held were no longer content to live quietly on family farms. Women knew what it was like to live and work on their own, earning and spending their own money and not their husband’s. And although racism was still rampant in everyday life, people of colour began to emphasize their own Civil Rights issues more than ever before.
URANUS IN CANCER (1948-1956) saw the end of WWII and, in the West, the economic uptick that came afterward. Western society was still reeling from the horrors of war; although the Allies won against the Axis and emerged economically ahead, citizens were left visibly shaken by what their countrymen had been through. With communism spreading and the Cold War just beginning, consumerism was linked to support for capitalism and a healthy economy. Coupled with the looming threat of McCarthyism, citizens were conditioned to behave and believe what they had to in order to seem as “American” as possible.
Our culture changed during this time to propagate wholesome, down-home, time-honoured values and marry them with a love of material goods. Patriotism (poured heavily on society by the war effort) was used as a tool to make people buy or believe anything, as one’s love for their country was not something they could question or take lightly. But although Uranus in Cancer symbolized a period where mainstream society was made to take on the sign’s values of home, family, and tradition, it also shows us that there were individuals that questioned those teachings.
URANUS IN LEO (1955-1962) is in its Detriment position. It was during this time that American and Canadian households saw the rapid growth of the entertainment industry and consumer products, as citizens has excess money and time to spend on luxuries. Television took off, and in just ten years (1948-58) the percentage of homes with a TV grew 83%, making it the fastest spreading household technology in history. This had profound effects on our culture at the time, as information, images, and video had never been so readily available across such a wide demographic before.
The influx of shows, movies, and commercials being broadcast directly into our homes changed society in very drastic ways. Suddenly there was a new medium that was stimulating and fun, with cartoons for children and family programming like I Love Lucy and Leave It To Beaver. The entertainment industry had already been around for quite some time, but now pop culture icons were household names. Actors, actresses, musicians, directors, artists, hosts, and the like were watched nightly by the whole western world, and their fame spread rapidly because of it.
URANUS IN VIRGO (1961-1969) defined a time period that is remembered the most for its revolutionary scientific achievements and successful social justice movements. But mainstream society in the western world was actually very different than the counter-culture movements that we know and love today. The image we have today of daily life back then sharply contrasts the reality of how it was. As said by Elise Francis Miller in A Time to Cast Away Stones, “...I began pulling out old pictures and yearbooks ... Suddenly there we were, thousands of trim-haired, neatly-dressed, conservative-looking youngsters, with perky, forced smiles, encased in identical inch by inch-and-a-quarter boxes for our children to snicker at. Only they did not snicker. ‘Mom, this isn’t the 60s, is it?’”
The reason that the New Left, Civil Right Movements, and Hippie subcultures were so revolutionary is because society was actually quite conservative at the time. Households held “traditional Christian values” in high regard. Families taught their children to obtain a high work ethic, to be loyal to the morals they were brought up with, and to go on to get a job, a house in the suburbs, and a family. Women were to stay at home while men worked. Society was rigidly structured so as not to allow children (or any citizens, really) to see sex, drugs, or atypical family structures in a positive light. This cultural repression of natural human desires for pleasure and fun showed up in the subcultures and countercultures of the time, much like repressed emotions surge in other areas of life. In the art world we saw Virgo’s influence in the rise of Realism, which sought to paint pictures in exacting detail to reality. And we saw it in the Hippies that taught the values of peace, love, and the importance of the natural world.
URANUS IN LIBRA (1968-1975) was a time where the media shifted away from morally-superior, clean-cut shows and stories and began to include more reality in their characters. While there were revolutionary ideas circulating amongst young people in the 1960s about race, religion, drugs, sex, politics, and gender, it took until this time period for audiences to get comfortable talking about them. A great example is the series “All in the Family”, which aired in 1971. The characters balanced the show between traditional and modern ethics while honestly portraying things like racial division in America at the time.
Citizens – having been exposed to these radical ideas for a number of years already – were suddenly more aware of the truth about how they lived and affected each other. They were eager to participate in social justice movements and make their political messages known. In the art world this time period saw the rise of highly intellectual styles like Conceptual Art and Minimalism. Both of these styles sought to remove excess ornamentation to get to the most basic idea behind the piece, much like Libra tries to boil ideas down to get to the most universally fitting rules. Meanwhile, when you look at subcultures that sprang up in this time, both Yippies and Glam Rockers demonstrate alternative parts of the Libra sign. Yippies were young, cynical, and politically-savvy while Glam Rockers were fashionable and androgynous through integrating opposing feminine and masculine styles together.
URANUS IN SCORPIO (1974-1981) means that your generation's rebellion is deeply personal, focusing on bringing those darkest parts of humanity to the surface for everyone to look at and accept in themselves. These themes were seen in the time period that Uranus was in Scorpio, where media evolved from social-justice oriented storylines to focusing on the taboo parts of our culture. The writing became noticeably more cynical, reflecting the American public’s feelings on the politics at the time. Various television series began including racial division, sex, death, abortion, and religious elements in their plotlines.
The art world saw the rise of Neo-expressionism, which returned to depicting recognizable objects but in an abstract way. Anger and despair were commonly seen in how faces were distorted into ghoulish figures. Many of these works, although brightly coloured, depicted the darker emotionalism of the artist. But the desire to feel and express one’s raw passions were not limited to the art world. This time period saw the rise of one particularly aggressive, animalistic subculture - Punk.
URANUS IN SAGITTARIUS (1981-1988) is in its Fall position. You were born in the 1980s, when globalization and commercialization were becoming a more prominent part of everyday life. Happy, funny sitcoms returned in popularity after a few decades of social-justice oriented programming, as though the public unanimously wanted to just relax and have fun. The innovative ideas that took hold in this time period all centered around pleasure and indulgence. But one negative side effect is that obesity rates spiked suddenly in time with wage stagnation, less physical activity, and the industrial-processing of food products. On a positive note, however, this era saw the introduction of some of the most groundbreaking and iconic music in the world, such as pop, hip-hop, rap, and most forms of rock music.
Appropriation was found in both art and music, where artists took samples and put them together to make something new. You can see Uranus in Sagittarius here in the way that it draws from several ideas at once and puts them together into a single personal philosophy. But perhaps most prominent were art styles that were political in nature, reflecting that side of Sagittarius as well.
URANUS IN CAPRICORN (1988-1996) was a time when the western world was rapidly commercializing every commodity it could. Television saw the introduction of hundreds of new channels. Home video game consoles became increasingly popular. Home computers rose to popularity! As formerly-communist powers began to shake down their boundaries, more and more companies moved their production lines overseas, where labour was cheaper. And as a result, most jobs in western nations became minimum-wage, customer-service jobs, which revolutionised the job market in a not-so welcome way.
Culturally, we see Uranus in Capricorn’s influence beginning on the edges of society and working their way in. These movements became ironic commentaries on selling out for fame and fortune, of sacrificing integrity and creativity for a chance at wealth. The soul of creation was gone, taken by corporations and resold to the masses in less distinguished packaging. The art world became fixated on turning a profit, and major art movements of the time showed that. Unlike other forms of artwork, this is created mostly for entertainment and specifically to be bought and sold as a commodity. Grunge and Goth styles were popularized thanks to their pessimism, apathy, emotional complexity, and their reluctance to reform their individuality to fit in. By satirizing other genres (like glam rock) they added a sarcastic twist of the knife to consumer culture.
URANUS IN AQUARIUS (1912-1920, and 1995-2003) is in its Ruled position. Although these two generations were born at opposite ends of the 20th Century, they both carry Uranus in Aquarius in their collective charts and so retain the qualities of that sign. Both periods saw the sudden introduction of advanced technology and the influx of ideas on a shared and equal society. Those born in the former time period spent their early years in the chaos of WWI, which saw such great leaps in technology that all tactics had to be reinvented to adapt to them. First Wave Feminism saw women gain some legal rights equal to men. And Socialism saw its early roots in the October Revolutions taking place in Russia. The second generation was born when the internet was popularized through the new home computer, and since then they have never known a world without complete connectivity. Through this new technology people from all over the world could speak freely, sharing ideas across borders few had crossed before.
In all cases there are Aquarius-types of ideas revolving around a few key points. One is the invention of new technologies. Another is the hope for a free, fair, open society that is totally equal and uncensored. This comes, of course, with a fair bit of critical cynicism about the world and how it is currently working. But revolution is born of frustration, and change is spurred by the desire for a better life for all. Rebellion is destructive, but important. Nothing could develop without the sudden flashes of insight, the inspiration drawn from the suffering of others, and man’s collective desire to see their fellow man flourish to the best of his capacity!
URANUS IN PISCES (1919-1928, and 2003-2010) first occurred between WWI and WWII, when western society feared immigration and influences from eastern Europe following the Red Scare. These themes arose again during the second era with the War on Terror, this time against Muslims and Middle Easterners. In both cases you have a war being fought overseas while citizens at home cower at the thought of these dangerous, foreign ideas fouling their culture. And in both of these cases, these revolutionary fears were born out of delusion.
In Pisces, Uranus picks up on the emotional undercurrents of society and frees them through imagination, creativity, and illusions. When you look to the art movements of these times you see themes budding out from the unconscious mind, as though artists were trying to express their ideas through symbolism and shapes. In the 1920s art was inspired by popular ideas coming out of psychology at the time, particularly from Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These two wrote extensively on the nature of dreams, hidden desires, symbols, archetypes, spirituality, and the unconscious. Meanwhile, there existed entire subcultures that revolved around delusion and escapism in all forms. And we now see art and subcultures with the same themes but with more modern technologies and values.
We look to this planet to see where society is experiencing great bouts of change and innovation, spurred by enlightenment and a desire to break out of old confines. It begins with artists and subcultures and works its way into the rest of society, influencing media, art, politics, and technology along the way. The negative side of Uranus often shakes things up out of boredom, a need for excitement, or a need to imprint its own individual ideology on the masses.