The Cardinal T-Square and the Decline of an Empire


In this article I’m going to talk very briefly about myself, then about some astrological topics, then I’ll pull it together to show you how the planetary energies that affect us all comes into an individual’s (in this case my) life. I’ll conclude with some ideas I have about how our society is changing, and how folks like ourselves can lead the way.

My Birth Chart

Let’s start with the holy triad of Astrology: the Sun Moon, and Rising signs.  I have a Capricorn Sun, a 10th house Taurus Moon and Leo rising. This makes me hard working, goal oriented, and fairly sunny and optimistic. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of manifestation and discipline, and he gives me my hard working, ambitious nature. My Moon in Taurus is in the house of career, so I feel comfortable and secure when I’m working toward my goals. Leo is ruled by the Sun, and having Leo rising gives me an outgoing personality, able to talk with anyone and enjoy life.  So, I’m basically an extroverted gal who’s happiest when working on a goal or project.

One goal I’ve had for the last few years is to go to London to study Psychological Astrology with the greats of the field. It took me over a year of solid work, saving money and planning to make it happen, but I did it.  The trip was great, full of new teachers, new ideas, and a new community of astrological students. There were so many things that were inspirational: students who work in astrological and metaphysical fields while managing to live in the most expensive city in the world, people overcoming many more obstacles than I did just to get there, etc. And although many of them have been studying together for the last few years, they accepted me into their midst as if I’d been there all along as well. (My Leo energy was very happy and fulfilled by this.)

Okay, that’s a very brief introduction to me, and how my natal astrological placements are playing out in my life. Now I’d like to broaden our view and talk about some of the current placements of the planets—where they are right now, and how they affect each and every one of us.

Current Astrological Placements—Saturn/Uranus Opposition

Let’s talk about Saturn and Uranus, because they are currently important. Saturn (ruler of my Capricorn Sun) is the planet of structure, manifestation, and large organizations. It encompasses leadership, and ambition, but can also be rigid and unable to let go of tradition. Think of Saturn as the old king who has ruled for a long time, and thinks the way he’s been doing it is the only way it should be done.  Uranus is the planet that rules Astrology, invention, new and surprising ways of doing things. It can bring the energy of thinking outside the box, but also of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Think of Uranus as the adolescent who wants to overthrow the kingdom to do things differently, but who doesn’t really know about running an empire.

For the past couple of years, these two outer planets have been on opposite ends of our zodiac. They’ve moved in and out of what astrologers call “exact” placement, but mostly they’ve been directly across the sky from each other.  In fact, on 4 November 2008, Barack Obama was elected to the presidency of the USA on the very day that these planets first faced off. You can see how the energy of old versus new was playing out in the human sphere.

Exact oppositions happened again on 5 February 2009, 15 September, 2009, 26 April 2010 and 26 July, 2010. Can you think of anything in your life during that period that was following the theme of the old king in the ring with the young upstart? Did you have moments where you just wanted to break free and do something/anything/everything completely differently?  With all this energy of change in the air for the past two years, it’s become necessary to take stock of things. What should we change and what should we cherish?

The Cardinal T-Square

Now, in addition, this opposition has turned into a T-square because the opposition is “squared” by Pluto in Capricorn making a 90º angle to both Saturn and Uranus.  Here’s a picture I borrowed from Jonathan Cainer’s website ( to show you how the planets are aligned.

Cardinal T-square

A square is a very tense relationship, where the planets cannot see each other’s point of view and cause major challenges.  You can see from this graphic that Jupiter is also in the mix. Without going into too much detail, Jupiter makes everything bigger. So if this is a tense placement, then it’s even more so because of Jupiter’s presence.

Pluto in Capricorn

So now we have Pluto in the act. Pluto is the planet of transformation. His method is the fire of purification, the volcano of building new ground by destroying the old.  Pluto’s job is to bring up all that is diseased and rotten, all that is crumbling on the inside, even if we haven’t recognized it yet. He shows us what is corrupt and evil, burns it away, to cleanse and ready the world for the new, transformed energy.

With Pluto in Capricorn squaring the Saturn-Uranus opposition, we have a cardinal T-square that I liken to a firey hurricane that will show us which structures in our lives are able to withstand the storm of change.  Let me remind you:  this has all been happening to everyone on the planet, and even to the planet itself (oil spill, volcanoes, heat waves, etc.) It’s happened to the old structures of the banking system, real estate industry, health care, the Catholic Church, and the political systems of many countries, to name but a few institutions. All across the globe people are becoming aware of the instability of old structures, of the need for new ways to run things.

How the T-square Is Affecting Me

So let’s take this back down to an individual life. How has this T-square affected me, a Capricorn with Uranus opposing my ruling planet (Saturn) and Pluto not only squaring that, but also heading straight for my Sun (exact in early 2013)?  I, too, am trying to figure out what parts of my old life, my old ways of doing things, I should hold on to, and what I should let go of to make way for the new. For instance, my old ways of making a living don’t seem to be working anymore. But how to reinvent myself?

How the T-square Is Affecting Us All

(And now back out to the general populace again.) This has led me to a theory/idea/observation. The USA is in decline. It’s the decline of an empire. We used to be the richest country in the world. We had a middle class in between the very poor and the very rich. That is changing. Whatever the official definition of 3rd-world country, I believe we’re headed that way.  All the people I know who live in very poor countries have one thing in common: they all hustle to make a living. They do a variety of things, take advantage of every opportunity, learn and do many different things in order to survive. I believe that we are headed in that direction in the USA.

There are still many people who have “a career,” but more and more people are diversifying. To be an astrologer now, you cannot make it by just having a clientele and doing readings. You have to also write books and blogs, be paid to speak at seminars, teach, invent new astro products, etc. The same is true for many service industries—food, medicine, even artists and craftspeople have to find new ways to sell their wares. There’s even a term for this: “slash careers,” as in “I’m a writer/blogger/journalist”.

I think we’re on the tip of a burgeoning wave, a zeitgeist that is Pluto burning away the old ideas of doing one thing and one thing only your whole working life. (See an interesting article by astrologer Donna Cunningham on Vocational Angst for the Pluto-Uranus in Virgo Generation here.) In fact, I think the idea of a “working life” with retirement afterward, is a rapidly shrinking concept.


This is not all doom & gloom. The loss of our prosperity brings us closer to the rest of the world. And it gives us opportunities to enlarge our spheres. We can not only sell products and services, we can also communicate about them, build community around them, and engage with people like never before. And too, if we’re the kind of people who have a variety of interests, then we can develop those interests as business, instead of just as hobbies. Maybe we sell insurance and bake pies for events. Maybe we do massage or chiropractic or counseling and also play music or run herbal healing seminars. Maybe we run art camps and write books on how to teach art to kids. Maybe we do lighting for the film industry, but also get gigs with interior decorators. Instead of having a “day job” we don’t like, we can have multiple jobs doing various things we do like.

The intensity of the last couple of years is not over. It is calming somewhat, but these outer planets move slowly, and their effects remain long after they’ve inched past their exact transit positions. Instead of feeling tossed about by the waves of change and the backlash of desperate holding to traditional ways, we can embrace the energies. We can re-examine ourselves: our institutions, our relationships, our way of making a living and moving through the world. We can decide what’s working and what isn’t. We can keep that which is solid and true, and also move into new territory.

I just wanted to give you a taste of the way an astrological model can help you look at the world—and your world. Every one of us has the same planets floating and traveling above us, but how those planetary energies enters each of our lives is absolutely unique. Using the knowledge of what’s happening, what’s happened before and what may come up in the future, we can make our own decisions rather than always having circumstances toss us in the waves. We can get out our boards and ride the waves of change, and be exhilarated by the ride. Surf’s up!

I’d really like to hear what you think about this, including any constructive criticism you might have on either the form or content of this article. To leave a comment, please scroll  to the bottom of this posting to the tiny gray words. The very last one should show the number of comments. If you click on that, you’ll be taken to a comment page. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, getting emails that let you know about new postings, you can click the Sign Me Up! button on the right side of this page (closer to the top) under the Email Subscription heading. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

About astronée

Renée is a professional astrologer. She has studied Astrology for 20 years, and is currently doing readings in person, via phone, and via Skype. She takes classes at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London when she can get there, and teaches her own basic Astrology classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the director of the Café Aquarius Astrology Center in Emeryville, CA, and the astrologer in The OptiMystics, a triple guidance reading partnership. Visit her website at
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14 Responses to The Cardinal T-Square and the Decline of an Empire

  1. Claudia Mar says:

    I love your new Blog and your words of wisdom. Also, knowing a little bit more about yourself… I am going to share this post with my friends in Facebook right now!

  2. says:

    I love the blog. It is interesting and to the point for someone like me who hasn’t studied astrology, but finds it interesting.

  3. MaryO says:

    Hey, this was great information.
    I loved how you kept bringing it back to real life day-to-day ‘how this is going to affect me’.
    Reallllly helpful!

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Very nice start. I look forward to the next installment and the ones after that. Good job!

  5. Claire says:

    Beautifully written and very insightful. I throughly enjoyed it. You may want to “slash” your career Renee, but you are a natural at writting. Keep up the great work!

  6. astronée says:

    Thanx for all the comments. I’ve received some feedback about parts of this article that aren’t immediately clear, so I’m in the process of writing an introduction of sorts. That’ll be the next post. Stay tuned, and thanx again for your time and comments!

  7. Sherry says:

    I like the many examples you use to illustrate the planet alignment and the social reality, as well as the manifestations of it all in your personal life. Although I would agree that we have a shrinking middle class, I think slash/careers have been part of the equation to maintain a middle class. My dad worked two jobs, along with my mom. With that, they lead a “close to middle class” life. Slash careers are pretty common, and have been so for generations, especially among those with less education and opportunity. I think about the many teachers I knew who were “Moonlighting” – parking cars, working real estate on the weekend, or taking on paid tutoring students.

    • astronée says:

      I agree that the slash careers have been around for a while, but I always thought of them as being at the lower end of the “middle class” somehow. The phenomenon I’m trying to articulate is, really, that slash careers are moving up into the middle and heading for the higher end of that whole social scene. Maybe that’s how I should talk about it. When I spoke to folks who are between 20 and 30, they mostly resisted the idea of multiple jobs. Only really poor people have to do that, and it’s exhausting and makes them unhappy. If someone were actually doing something they loved, they wouldn’t put time and energy into doing something else. I found that stigmatization interesting, as it related to my own beliefs about the lower end having slash careers, but not to the solution of doing multiple things one loves. But as you, I think it was, mentioned to me, holding on to the notion that higher education and a single career is an escape from the lower rungs of the job market could be the reason for their resistance. It’s this kind of “old way” versus “new way” battle in society’s mindsets that show how the Cardinal T-Square is playing out in our lives.

  8. All I can say at this point is WOW!!!!!
    I thought I was the writer in the family.. The interesting juxtaposition is that while you seek answers to lifes questions in the placements of the objects in the universe I do the same seeking only through the science that I study by looking at data from the probes that mankind has sent out into the universe.
    The great hope is that in our lifetimes, all of science and religion, will be united by the discovery of other life out there.
    Even Steven Hawking admits that as we unravel the secrets of the cosmos we are truly looking into the mind of god.
    Keep up the great work, never suffer fools, those with closed minds will not be persuaded and you can’t fix stupid.

  9. Hi Renee;

    Your take on astrology is just so intriguing and intelligent. I’m printing out your posts to read at night since they’re too long for me to focus on them during deadline-crammed daytimes 🙂 Nice job. KEEP REMINDING PEOPLE via email to sign up for your blog, if they’re interested. It often takes awhile to grow a readership because people forget to come back and visit your blog when they have 400 other pressing tasks on their plate! Doesn’t mean we’re not all interested, though!

    Your fan, Ali

  10. forest says:

    I like your writing 🙂 The pacing and organization of your thoughts makes for a smooth & easy read. I just kept on reading to the end without having to stop & wonder what something meant.

  11. Pingback: Scorpionic Intensity | Astronee's Astrology Blog

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