Our memories are like ethereal altars of the past. We revisit them regularly with our fears, anxieties, joys, humility, reverence, and nostalgia, placing our present emotions and perspectives, like talismans at the feet of our unforgotten experiences, and reifying the nebulous clouds of time that have given shape to who we are in this now — not that now, this one.
As I approach my own memories, I often do so a little clumsily — unsure if the moment I’m about to visit will have remained in integrity to what I imagined it was or if some other latent reality lies in wait to shift the atmospheric pressure of the past: will I still be able to breathe here?
The fallibility of the human mind is one of the greatest sources of life’s dramas. How many conflicts have we experienced at the hands of irreconcilable remembrances? None of us have been blessed with perfect memory. A study done around the events of September 11, 2001, showed that the majority of people had crafted completely different memories about where they were when they found out about the falling of the twin towers, just one year later. Some of the study participants were so convicted in their original memories that they accused the researchers of manipulating the study.
The enigma of what we choose (consciously or unconsciously) to store as a core memory and what our brain either compresses or sloughs off is a true marvel. Do we remember the most important or ”useful” details? Is what’s important simply deemed so by its lack of mental and emotional decay?
With astrology, it’s impossible to pinpoint the events — both individual and collective — that can be attributed to a particular astrological signature. We can’t say for certain that the financial crash of 2008 was a result of Pluto’s entry into Capricorn. However, we can make a correlation and derive meaning and context from that correlation that helps us assimilate these experiences and move through them more skillfully. In doing so, we also contribute to the qualitative field of astrology, enhance its ability to provide meaningful models, and even leverage it as a tool to prepare for future calamities and better position ourselves to benefit from cosmological boons.
As I revisit my personal altars from the last 15 years, I pay homage to some of the most excruciating transformations and thank the heavens for the regenerative abilities available in this human life. Perhaps, it’s actually what kills us that makes us stronger. Pluto’s charnel pull drags us into confrontation with any doubts about our capacity for death and rebirth. And while the Capricornian musk of the last decade and a half deliciously reeks of systemic rot, I think we all must contend with the ways in which our larger social institutions have been scaffolded — and must subsequently be dismantled — inside of us.
In the waning days of Pluto’s traverse through Capricorn, I feel it wagging a skeletal finger of warning to remember what we’ve seen here. In an eerie reverberation of 2008, a small number of banks are teetering on the edge of collapse. It’s been a while since we’ve heard the term “bailout,” hasn’t it? Pluto cautions that it’s all for naught — or simply, we’ll have to pass through it again if we don’t integrate what we’ve learned from the memories we’ve stored along the way. In a somewhat ironic twist, it’s Pluto’s “slower movement” that gives it the longest life — in the sense that it spends the longest amount of time in a given sign than any of the planets. The longer something lives, the more it touches and impacts, and the more tangible its death can be felt. As Pluto passes from the womb of Capricorn into its new Aquarian life, we can expect to feel the tumultuous contractions of birth — a new generation is being born.
I gesture toward a reflection on the nostalgic spell of an ending paradigm — after November 19, 2024, following a couple of relatively brief retrogrades back into Capricorn, none of us will be alive in our present bodies when Pluto makes another generational pass in the sign of the sea goat. Something big is coming to a close. It is important to make space and consecrate this cosmic changing of the guard. What are the activities that allow us expression of our celebration and our grief? Do them now and often.
It’s a moment for meditation upon the funeral pyre of a decade and a half passed. As we take inventory of all that has come and gone, what is it that our minds and hearts have chosen to hold on to? Unfortunately (or fortunately), we may never recall that which has evaded the grasp of our mental memorial faculties. Some things are simply gone forever. With what remains, we have an opportunity to ritualistically lay to rest the aspects of our realities that we do not need, nor wish, to carry with us into the dawning of a new age. May we take only what is necessary, give immense gratitude for what once served us, and with the glimmering glare in our Aquarian eyes, look optimistically and innovatively into the fresh light just beginning to peak over the horizon. The darkness of night still keeps the daytime at bay, but not for long.
Art: behind the veil by @brettaperryart