However, the relatively short term effect of this market panic was only one of a series of historic events taking place during this intense Pluto phase. Probably the most significant changes were the agreements forged with the Soviet Union during this time, agreements which were actually signalling the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of the United States as the world's only remaining superpower. This epochal identity crisis thrust the United States into a new global role, one that carried immense new opportunities as well as responsibilities.
The end of the Cold War came as transiting Pluto was at 8° Scorpio, conjunct the U.S. Ascendant. This transit took place during a series of meetings between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, leading up to the historic INF Treaty signed onDecember 8, 1987. Pluto crossing the U.S. Ascendant bestowed a new identity in the geopolitical arena, that of the world's reigning superpower. What is a more clear national identity shift for transiting Pluto conjunct the U.S. Ascendant?
The other outer planets have also left their characteristic imprint on the nation
when they crossed the Ascendant. Transiting Neptune was last conjunct the U.S. Ascendant at the end of Eisenhower's presidency, and the beginning of John F. Kennedy's. The Kennedy aura brought a glamorous new image to the country, and a youthful idealism reminiscent of Camelot. Kennedy created the Peace Corps, boldly confronted the Soviets over Cuban missiles, and set the prestigious yet attainable goal of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. Kennedy also embodied the darker side of Neptune with his secret love affairs, his entanglements with the CIA, and ultimately, his mysterious assassination.
Transiting Uranus crossed the U.S. Ascendant three times during 1976 and 1977. This period saw the election of Jimmy Carter, and his first tumultuous year trying to get along with the Washington insiders. Uranus represents the independent, even revolutionary element, and Carter was chosen by the people to overturn what was popularly perceived as a corrupt coalition of Big Business and elected officials. Gerald Ford, chosen by the discredited Nixon to succeed him, was thrown out, and widely viewed as an unhealthy continuation of bribery, deceit, and the unconstitutional power plays of the Nixon era.
Carter was supposed to bring a revolution by restoring confidence in
government. Yet Carter could not make enough allies in Washington among the
media, Congress, or the bureaucracies. In this case, the Urananian vibration on which Carter rode to power proved to be too independent, too feisty with the entrenched political system to allow him to stay.
Contrast this to what happened when transiting Saturn was conjunct the
Ascendant during Reagan's first years. Reagan's winning style and communication skills allowed him to forge alliances in Congress that paved the way for bipartisan approval of major tax legislation. His anecdotal story-telling and friendly Aquarian charm smoothed his relations with the press, and in general, Reagan demonstrated how to cooperate to get things done. A Scorpio Ascendant represents the coalitions of power that rule the country, and when Saturn comes around, the tendency is to build structured security through teamwork, or by sharing responsibility with others. Uranus is disruptive, and a President who personifies this planet will quickly find himself butting heads with the status quo.
Saturn is the status quo, and the President who evokes this energy will survive
and thrive. The so-called "Reagan Revolution" was successful because it externalized and structured the hidden power that actually rules the country from inside the Beltway. Reagan gave a legitimate form to the coalition of business investors that previously tried to control politics through manipulative lobbying efforts.
Previously, Presidents Eisenhower and Coolidge were in office when transiting
Saturn was conjunct the Ascendant. Both worked closely with the business
community, and presided over a country which prospered through steady economic growth. Coolidge, Eisenhower, and Reagan all represented conservative, stable government, and gave a lasting impression reflective of Saturn conjunct the Ascendant, and transiting through the first house.
Pluto's Angular Crossings
Pluto, as the nation's ruling planet, brought the most momentous changes when it
crossed the Ascendant. Actually, each of Pluto's angular crossings, all four of them since 1776, coincided with vast historic transformations. Prior to the end of the Cold War was Pluto's passage across the Leo Midheaven which was immediately after World War II when the United States became the victorious world power and all other major nations were devastated.
Pluto was accompanied by Saturn during this phase, so that the two of them,
Saturn and Pluto crossing the MC together allowed the United States to cast its
design on all the world's reorganizational efforts. The United Nations, NATO, and the IMF were all founded during this period, and created the corresponding social, military, and financial organizations for the United States to assert its national will. Through these international organs, the world continues to this date to bow to U.S. pressure, though the underlying fairness and mutual benefits derived ensure widespread cooperation. With Pluto at the Midheaven, the United States was at the peak of its earthly power and international prestige.
Pluto's orbit is highly elliptical, so that the previous crossing of an angle occurred
much further back in history. Pluto was crossing the Descendant at 8° Taurus on
April 12, 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War (surprise!). The Descendant,
representing America's open enemies, was at war with itself when the chart ruler, Pluto, was entering its own enemies house.
Then, the only other occasion that Pluto crossed an angle was between 1787 and 1789 when Pluto was at 16° Aquarius and entering the fourth house. This was when the young nation was laying its foundations for a federal system of governance. The Constitution was signed (September 17, 1787 with Pluto at 14° Aquarius) and George Washington took the oath of office to initiate the beginning of the U.S. Federal Government (on March 4, 1789 with Pluto at 18° Aquarius).
The clear historic patterns reflected when Pluto makes its angular crossings
demonstrates the cyclical nature of astrology, and in particular, shows the value of having an accurate national horoscope. The interested reader is encouraged to track the historical events the other outer planets usher in when they cross these four angles.