Taurus deals with the manifest reality of our physical bodies and the physical environment, the defining basis for life on Planet Earth, whose principle is manifestation. Attuning us to sensation and wellbeing, Taurus seeks the resources and conditions that assure thriving life.[i] What is it to thrive? Thriving requires stability, the organised consolidation of resources to optimise growth and a sense of connection to the protective forces (seen and unseen) that cluster around living things (and all things have life). This is a falling into line with the energetic patterns of physical reality that instinct tends to serve. There is a natural relationship between physical life and the sign of the Bull. At an individual level this pertains to our bodily experience, and the possessions, resources and material conditions that we have at our disposal. At a general level we can extend these concerns to include our relationship to the ‘land’, agricultural processes, use of planetary resources and environmental concerns.
As Uranus, disruptor of certainties, moves into Taurus on 15th May 2018, we can expect material conditions and physical resources to be thrown into radical review. This presents an unsurpassed opportunity to become familiar with what thriving life might really mean for us and require of us. Uranus brings awakening – forcibly, when we didn’t even know we were sleeping. It illuminates us with bolts of lightning to allow us to glimpse that things are not as we were led to believe. Uranus is cerebral and radical and will bring brilliant insights into taurean matters: physical conditions, bodily reality, land and resources.
The issue of plastics is finally becoming subject to policy in Britain due to the Chinese refusal to continue receiving our exports of rubbish. The vision of fields full of plastic waste tarped down across this green and pleasant land focuses the mind wonderfully well. This is the very beginning of a journey that will entirely reframe our very understanding of the words ‘resource’ and ‘waste’ as Uranus moves through Taurus over the next eight years. Uranus is associated with technology and we can hope that the next few years will promote the pioneering engagement of engineers and scientists with the challenges of assuring thriving life for all beings. Our resources need to be honoured and protected – this is a requirement of all of us, but it is not a feature of capitalistic obsession with profit. We will have to see our relationship to resources and our coercion into behaviours of consumption as being deeply pathological and damaging. Waking up to this is hard already. After all, what can we do?
Virtual reality and cybernetics will be used in ways both pioneering and pathological to re-order and extend human sensual and sexual capacity. The harvest of this is likely to be awesome: both brilliant and stomach-churningly appalling (I don’t need to spell it out). At the outset I referred to the principle of Earth being physical manifestation; I believe this to be true. It does not incorporate the mimicry, however technologically accomplished, of physicality. VR, to the extent that it takes us away from the conditions of thriving, is not essentially supported in this place.
Which raises the following question: if human energy and attention are increasingly consumed by non-physical, fictive realities what happens to Planet Earth for whom they are essential to thriving? Our energy and attention have to remain rooted in physicality or else we begin to die. At the moment human energy and attention are being harvested on a massive scale in an entirely unprecedented way by big business for profit (and we don’t yet know what else). Obviously this will intensify and it is strange new territory. We need insight into the underlying nature of this dilemma. In her wise Guide to the I Ching, Carol K. Anthony suggests that the inner truth of a situation is itself the vehicle for change. This is an oblique and very fertile way forward. Our energy and attention are being harvested for someone else’s capital. These are our fundamental resources and we are divesting ourselves of them, in return for what? Netflix? Instagram? God knows. It puts the Opium Wars into deep shade.
Our more or less global online addiction comes at a great cost not only to personal liberty and quality of energy and attention, but increasingly to the environment: data processing long ago exceeded aviation in energy consumption. Five years ago it was estimated that we used 50 per cent more energy to move digital information than was used to move aircraft in global aviation.[ii] You can opt out of air travel, but there is no meaningful way to opt-out of the digital economy. So what happens? The inherent limitations of physical reality become apparent, that’s what happens. Anthony remarks, ‘Limitation has to do with accepting that it is our Fate to learn how to respond correctly to challenges and adversities.’[iii] And humans will respond by pioneering and innovating, by raging, grabbing and warring, and by realising, in some cases, what a profound responsibility it is to interact with fire, earth, air and water.
[i] I am borrowing this term, ‘thriving life’, from Pat McCabe (www.thrivinglife.weebly.com).
[iii] Hexagram 60 in Carol K. Anthony’s Guide to the I Ching, 3rd edn, 1988.