Uranus in Pisces – The Impact on Christianity

Jesus was a Pisces. At least that’s what astrologer Don “Moby Dick” Jacobs postulates. Born on March 1, 7 BC at 1:30 am in Bethlehem, Jacob’s chart gives Jesus no less than 6 planets in the sign of the fish, including Uranus. Whether or not you accept this chart as the horoscope of Christ, Jesus is certainly acknowledged as the avatar of the Age of Pisces, inextricably linking Christianity with the symbolism of the sign Pisces. The Bible tells us that Jesus was born of a virgin, symbol of Pisces’ opposite sign of Virgo, and came to the world as a martyr (more Pisces symbolism), redeeming the sins of all mankind through his death. It is fitting that the early followers of Jesus used the fish to symbolize Christ, a symbol that endures to this day.

As we draw close to the end of the Age of Pisces, we bear witness to an incredible time of change and crisis for Christianity. Uranus, the planet of sudden change, technology and disruption, entered Pisces for a seven-year stay in 2004 while Pluto, the planet of evolutionary change was already more than halfway through its journey through Sagittarius, the sign in a stressful square to Pisces that symbolizes philosophy and religion in general. By the time that both of these planets move on to new signs at the end of the first decade of the new millennium, Christianity as we know it will likely have undergone an “extreme” makeover in order to survive. Let’s explore the state of Christianity today, how it has been impacted by similar planetary transits in the past and how it may change in the next few years.

In the Catholic Church, the clergy sexual abuse crisis calls into question the Church’s moral authority over the laity. The victims of abuse are not the only ones wounded by this crisis. There is a growing loneliness and despair among good priests, who suffer from guilt by association. Those under their stewardship can’t help but wonder if or when their bishop or priest might be indicted for abuse or, equally as bad, for covering it up. The numbers of priests are decreasing at an alarming rate while the Church steadfastly resists the ordination of women and married men to the priesthood. While the Catholic Church continues to decry abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research and cloning, their fundamentalist Christian brothers see those practices not only as evil but also as a war on Christianity itself. But that is not the only battle the fundamentalists are fighting.

In the United States, the doctrine of separation of Church and state emanates from the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion by prohibiting the establishment of an official state religion. To the horror and dismay of many Christians, especially the fundamentalists, Federal and state courts around the nation have used this principle as the basis for outlawing the display of religious symbols such as the nativity, crosses and the Ten Commandments on public property. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals even declared the use of the words “under God” unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and a movement is afoot to have them stricken altogether from the Pledge. No matter that our money still affirms that “In God We Trust,” the conservative right would have us believe that the very right of Christianity to exist in this country is now at stake and that liberals are the enemy not only of a balanced budget but of the Christian religion itself.

As Uranus enters Pisces, there are glimpses of a revolution afoot. Amidst much controversy and opposition within its ranks, the Episcopal Church of America elected its first openly gay Bishop. Still, the relatively rare ordinations of practicing homosexuals and celebrations of same-sex unions generally occur in violation of most national denominational standards-or in “gray areas” that those standards leave to the discretion of local Churches. And, at the same time, the popularity of Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” opens up the question of whether or not Jesus lived as a celibate and portrays Mary Magdalene as His wife, chief advisor and mother of His child. According to Brown, after Jesus’ death, Mary Magdalene found herself in a power struggle with Peter and the other apostles, which she lost. And, in order to discourage women from seeking leadership roles in the early Church, Church leaders falsely portrayed Mary Magdalene as being a repentant prostitute, quite likely making her the first victim of sexual discrimination in the workplace.

An examination of the history of Christianity shows that many major turning points occurred while Uranus was either in Pisces or one of the other mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius). Often, as is currently the case, Pluto was also in a mutable sign. In the early Church, priests were allowed to marry and there is evidence that women may also have served as priests. With Uranus in Sagittarius, the Council of Elvira Spain declared in 206 AD that a priest who sleeps with his wife the night before Mass would lose his job. In 352, with Uranus in Gemini, the Council of Laodicea declared that women are not to be ordained, suggesting that before this ordination of women was allowed. In 580, while Uranus was in Pisces, Pope Pelagius II declared that he would not bother married priests as long as they did not hand over Church property to wives or children. In 836, with Uranus conjunct Pluto in Pisces, the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up the activities of uncelibate clerics. St. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the Church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry. However, the Church did not heed his warning. In fact, in 1545 with Uranus in Virgo, the Council of Trent declared that celibacy and virginity are superior in virtue to marriage. This was the predominant view of the Church right up to 1962 when, with Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, Vatican Council II pronounced that marriage is a sacred vocation, equal to virginity. In 1966, with Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo, Pope Paul VI granted celibacy dispensations under special circumstances until 1978 when John Paul 11 put a freeze on such dispensations.

With Uranus ruling inventions and technology, it is not surprising that conflicts between religion and science have occurred during transits of Uranus through Pisces and the other mutable signs. As advances in stem cell research and cloning come about, it is inevitable that Church authorities will challenge the ethical consequences of the new technology. In fact, creationism vs. evolution is still a hot button issue in some conservative school districts in this country. Interestingly enough, it was during the most recent prior transit of Uranus through Pisces that the Scopes Monkey trial took place in 1925. A Tennessee high school biology teacher, John T. Scopes, stood trial for violation of the Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of any theory that denies the story of Divine creation as outlined in the Bible in public schools. Rather than arguing that Scopes was innocent of violating the law, the defense instead set out to prove that evolution was valid and that it was indeed compatible with certain interpretations of the Bible. Scopes lost the case and was fined $100 though this decision was later reversed by the state supreme court. Even though he lost the case, many view the Scopes trial as a victory for evolutionists and rationalism since it put a spotlight on the beliefs of fundamentalists and engendered widespread rejection of their anti-science stance.

Earlier in the history of civilization during the transit of Uranus through Gemini in 1277, one of the first scientists, Roger Bacon, was arrested for heresy for advocating scientific experimentation. In 1543, with Uranus in Virgo, another scientist, Nicholas Copernicus refused to publish his “De Revolutionibus Orbitum Coelestium” out of fear of censure by the Church. In 1633, with Uranus in Virgo once again, Galileo was forced by the Inquisition to renounce the theories of Copernicus despite the fact that many Church scholars had already accepted the Copernican theory as accurate. Far worse than promoting heliocentrism, Galileo believed that science had to replace theology as the Church’s principal mode of understanding and, needless to say, the Church did not agree.

Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod was introduced in 1752 while Uranus was in Pisces. Though the invention was to eventually save many a Church steeple, many ministers railed against Franklin’s brainchild because it shattered the fabric of theological meteorology, which attributed storms to the “Prince of the Power of the Air.” As late as 1770, the debate over the propriety of the use of the lightning rod still raged. Though the lightening rod eventually carried the day, the formulas for conjuring off storms, for consecrating bells to ward off lightning and tempests, and for putting to flight the powers of the air were allowed to stand in the liturgies for years after Franklin’s discovery.

In our post-September 11 world, the conventional wisdom is to view terrorism as a clash between two cultures, the East and the West. While political leaders in the West may claim religious tolerance and remind their citizens that terrorists are not representative of an entire religion, the problem seems to be reawakening the age-old battle between Islam and Christianity that started with the Crusades. The desert religions of the Middle East – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – seem to be locked in a mortal struggle that has no apparent solution save the ultimate destruction of one, two or all three. With Uranus in Pisces in 1085, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade against Muslims in the Holy Lands. During the next two centuries, all but one of the seven Crusades launched against the Holy Lands, began with Uranus in a mutable sign. And, in 1291 with Uranus in Virgo, the capture of Acre, the last Christian oupost in Palestine by the Saracene armies officially ended the Crusades.

During the next several years of Uranus through Pisces coupled with Pluto in Sagittarius, we have every reason to expect that the Church will again experience some rather remarkable transformations, challenges and conflicts. In the Catholic Church, groups like Voice of the Faithful will certainly press for a greater participation of the laity in Church matters. We are likely to see a greater role for women in the Church, perhaps as deacons if not priests. And, we are likely to finally see the end of celibacy as the numbers of priests dwindle through death and attrition. The battle between biotechnology and Christianity is certain to raise ethical questions and considerable debate. But, technology is likely to win because the quest for knowledge as well as the promise of cures for a variety of horrible diseases will trump the objections of believers. And, the perennial conflict between Islam and Christianity will probably escalate rather than come to an end. We may have to wait until we are well into the Age of Aquarius before we see religious and racial differences melt away.