The film Us and the astrological Pluto

The film Us and the astrological Pluto

Some time back, I wrote a review of the film Arrival, a superior science-fiction Hollywood blockbuster. At the time, I was surprised that no-one (apparently absolutely no-one!) noticed that the whole plot was rather obviously based on the language of astrology and the meaning it might have for humanity. Well, blow me down and swipe me sideways with an old ephemeris, the same kind of thing has happened again.

Early last year, I toddled down to my local cinema to watch a film that was getting enthusiastic and interesting reviews. To say I was blown away by Us would be an understatement. Director and producer Jordan Peele’s blockbuster horror movie is not only a brilliantly made and clever story, it is also packed full of references to the astrological archetype of Pluto. And as before, no-one seems to have noticed, including astrologers who have written about Us on the internet.

There are many twists and turns, some of the details of which can easily be missed on first, second or even third viewing. The story starts in 1986, with a young girl on holiday with her parents in Santa Cruz, California. She wanders off by herself on the beach and stumbles across a funhouse. “Find yourself”, it reads outside. In she goes to a hall of mirrors, where something happens that ensures the girl will never be the same again.

Fast forward to the present – an idyllic happy family scenario, so idyllic that you know almost immediately that things are going to go horribly wrong. The now grown-up girl and main character Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) has a sense of foreboding as she, her husband (Winston Duke) and two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) head for a holiday near the same beach in Santa Cruz. A few events and co-incidences give hints of the darkness to come.

Things really take off with the appearance of another family bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Wilsons. They stand menacingly at the bottom of the driveway to the house where the Wilsons are staying, with unknown intentions. The Wilson family are soon violently confronted by these bitter, dark and twisted versions of themselves – their shadow selves. Just to make the subject clear for any astrologers watching the film, the two children of the doppelganger family are named Umbrae (shadow) and Pluto.

Adelaide’s double, Red, explains that the scarred and disfigured shadow family are from an underground world (sounding Plutonian enough yet?) who share a soul with their counterparts. While Adelaide and her family were loved and happy above ground, the shadow family experienced only darkness and suffering in a subterranean alternative reality. “I was tested by God” says Red, “We are Americans”.

Lupita Nyong’o

The film Us is multi-layered and about many things. Under the guise of a “horror movie”, the film is a deep exploration of class, privilege and what it means to be human in American society today. Black power is a key focus. There is a great tragicomic moment when another shadow family are killing to the accompaniment of Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys, which after a computer’s misinterpretation of a cry for help, turns into a song by black rappers N.W.A.

The film’s world premiere was on 8th March 2019, the follow-up to Jordan Peele’s also huge Get Out (2017). Given that the story of Us is highly influenced by Pluto and its many meanings and manifestations, it’s interesting to observe a couple of astrological correlations. The explosive, dark and profoundly transformative Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn was close (within a 3 to 4 degree orb) at the time of the film’s release. This continued to be the case for the following few months, as Us made its considerable impact on cinema audiences. The film has played a role in the collective shift of consciousness that we are all experiencing under Saturn-Pluto.

Visionary director Jordan Peele, Sun in Pisces

Secondly, Piscean visionary director Jordan Peele (born 21st February 1979, time unknown) has a very close natal Venus in Capricorn square Pluto in Libra. Transiting Saturn at 18 degrees Capricorn formed an exact conjunction to his Venus with a square to natal Pluto when Us came out in March 2019. What better way to work out the extreme tension of such a close natal square? With Venus in Capricorn, Peele has done well financially too – the film grossed $255.1 million worldwide from a budget of $20 million.

Bring on the next astrological Hollywood blockbuster!

The above article was originally published in the January/February 2020 issue of the Astrological Journal magazine https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas

TheGodsOfChange

Great, accessible psychological guide to major transits

The late Howard Sasportas packed a huge amount of high quality astrological and psychological information into this intelligent, clear and accessible book  It was a constant companion for many years, both for my work as a professional astrologer and in following my own transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. It is a classic cookbook on the outer planets, covering their transits to each planet and through each house.

The first section, “The Collaboration with the Inevitable”, is an excellent summary of how astrology can be used as a tool for understanding ongoing personal transformation, helping to turn perceived crises into opportunities. Sasportas then moves on to look in great detail and depth at the transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to each planet in the natal chart. A very large number of case histories are dotted throughout the transit interpretations, with a wide range of examples of how each planetary combination can show up in daily life. These possible events are considered in the context of the psychological development of the individual, Sasportas drawing on his extensive knowledge of many fields of psychology, mythology and spirituality.

HowardSas

Much of the astrological material here is similar to other classic late twentieth century transit books such as those by Robert Hand, Betty Lundsted or Stephen Arroyo (who Sasportas acknowledges), but Sasportas masterfully integrated a huge number of additional psychological and spiritual insights from many sources. Over 25 years later, The Gods Of Change is still a wise, compassionate and substantial contribution to modern astrology.

 

Pluto in Capricorn

As highly intelligent people such as Richard Dawkins can tell you, astrology is obviously irrational and unscientific nonsense. There is no evidence that it works. Good, that’s cleared that one up!

Those of us deluded enough to think that there is something in astrology (it has been a major part of my life for over twenty years now – I am obviously in need of psychiatric help…) are very aware of the long-term significance of Pluto in Capricorn from 2008 to 2024. Neptune, Uranus and other planets are factors but Pluto seems to be particularly relevant these days. Deep and profound change to worldwide economic and political structures is the order of the next few years, beginning with the undermining and destruction of the old ways.

Capricorn is the sign of integrity, hard reality and responsibility. As the bringer of “death and re-birth”, Pluto has just begun its transformative work in the most serious and often depressing sign of the zodiac. Recognizing limitations is a key issue for Capricorn – the limits of individual consumerism, of global capitalism and its economic model, liberalism, the number of people on this planet, climate change caused by human activity and so on and so forth. In the view of good old Russell Grant:- “The transforming planet Pluto now in Capricorn supports this need to curb wastefulness, excessive spending and uninhibited consumption.” Pluto destroys what is no longer relevant.

Capricorn the Goat values hard work, authority, respect, and achievement. The key is integrity. Individuals and organizations who take genuine responsibility are likely to thrive and re-generate. On the other hand, corrupt businesses, politicians and unnecessary government organizations are not likely to survive the next 15 years. Traditions will be renewed or discarded. Another Capricornian theme is old age – the economic consequences of an increasing elderly population have become a major social issue, in Britain at least.

Personally, I’m rather relieved that heavy-going Pluto in Capricorn doesn’t form any difficult major aspects to my own birth chart for a few years yet! By contrast, anyone born in the first two or three days of Capricorn will already have personally experienced a personal “death and re-birth” as Pluto moved over their Sun.

The key to dealing with the difficult energy of Pluto in Capricorn is integrity.