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Jupiter Meets Uranus

Book Review: Jupiter Meets Uranus, by Anne Whitaker, pub. by American Federation of Astrologers, 2009 -- click to e-order at Amazon

Reviewed by John Townley

As the somewhat-scary Jupiter-Uranus conjunction prepares to burn its way across the sky -- scary in part because it's involved in a huge cardinal T-cross (and occasional grand cross) involving Pluto and Saturn, and bringing in Moon, Venus, and Mars by August 2010) -- it would probably be a good thing to attend to what this might mean. The place to go to do that would be this uniquely-researched book which is not only the sole book I know of devoted only to this subject, but the result of a dedicated research project intended to dig out the most of of what it might mean, especially personally.

Jupiter conjoins Uranus roughly every fourteen years, so it's one of the primary long-scale joint planetary rhythms, combining the expansive and (usually) positive effects of the biggest benefic with the instant and often cart-toppling energy of the first-discovered outer planet, whose strangeness only begins with the fact that its poles are where its equator should be. Further, the two are linked in a fairly close 7:1 orbital resonance (one revolution of Uranus equals seven of Jupiter), which means that every seventh conjunction is near the same place for about five repetitions over a period of 400 years. Recently, that has meant that the sometimes violently portentious entrance of Uranus into Aries has been kicked up a notch by Jupiter for the last three (in 1762, 1845 and 1927), this year's, and finally the next in 2094. We've been in it's most aggressive manifestation for some time.

So what does it all mean? Whitaker opens with the overview of where and how often it occurs by sign and element from 500 BC to the present, with some speculation as to coincident periods of civilization development along the way, ranging from voyages of discovery to politics, to music and literature, quoting the likes of Tarnas and Harvey along the way, and unfortunately sharing their (and most other astrologers') error of looking only at the development of Western civilization. Wasn't something relevant happening in India (which uses sidereal signs) and China (whose years are based on the Jupiter cycle)? It would be nice to know. And, following in line with Tarnas and others, the interpretations of the effects of both Jupiter and Uranus retain their meanings traditional to individual horoscopes of short-lived human beings, while being applied to superorganisms like nations and cultures, which have very different timescales, and where the relative motions of slower planets may mean something else entirely. If you want an amusing example of how this might (indeed, must) be adjusted for, you have only to look here.

But another set of speculations on what big cycles might be about is not, in fact, what this book is about. It's something far better, right down here on the human scale. It originated as a journalistic and (dare we say) somewhat scientific approach to document what the effects of a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction might be, from beginning to end, in the lives of individuals and chronicled by the individuals themselves. Whitaker asked seventeen people to take personal notes all through the last conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus (in Aquarius in 1997) and then follows through with their experiences and their individual charts to come out with a more intimate and variegated experience of the conjunction (some dropped out, but over half remained throughout). In spirit, it mimics the famous Framingham heart study, and as such it's an original and welcome breath of fresh air. There has never been a predesigned longitudinal astrological study that I know of, and this is as close as it comes, appropriately from the country that pioneered early, rigorous medical studies of this ilk.  

As the variations on the 1997 conjunction proceed, Whitaker follows each participant's chart as individual planets are hit, the retrograde and direct periods sweep them, and she plumbs their overall impressions of the period and how it changed their lives, particularly those with planets in the 5-6 degree area of Aquarius conjunction. Follow-ups are included all the way through 2001.  One wonders if by chance (or natural happenstance) that area is highlighted in the author's chart (if she mentioned it, I missed it). That would certainly add dimension.  And, one hopes that she will take the opportunity of this new Jupiter-Uranus conjunction to both follow up on her previous subjects and collect a new batch to replicate the experiment. (Note: you can follow and participate in just such developments and lots more on her Jupiter Meets Uranus website.)

However you look at it, this is a most timely book to have right now, so hats off to Anne Whitaker for creating an astrological classic that forges a new template for further astrological research and inquiry, and which introduces both the approaches of journalistic reportage and scientific experimentation and follow-up...


click here to buy this book

Anne Whitaker researches the sky from the particularly advantageous northern exposure of Scotland, where the muses of Islay single malts breathe spirit into her can find her latest commentary and blogs at Writing from the twelfth house...
  Copyright © John Townley 2010. All rights reserved.
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