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Armageddon or Great Awakening?

At the other end of the spectrum are the Doomers, those who for a diversity of reasons feel that we are about to reap the whirlwind and get a terrible come-uppance the likes of which humanity has never before suffered. People at this end of the scale foresee imminent global catastrophes from environmental disruptions, disease pandemics, new wars, nuclear terrorism or other radiation events (such as Fukushima), drought, famine, etc. They believe not only that we are fast approaching the end of cheap energy from the downward slope of Peak Oil that fueled the Industrial and Technological Revolutions, but that civilization itself is destined for imminent and inevitable Collapse. Some of these folks are stockpiling supplies of food, water and guns/ammo as I write, for they anticipate just around the corner a time of severe and often violent social disruption.

Despite the apparent contradiction between the expectations and beliefs of these two ends of the Change scale -- optimistic anticipation at one extreme and dire pessimism at the other -- both groups tend to share the idea that 2012 is the Year They Have Waited For. Many people in both camps foresee 2012 as the year of either Revelation or Armageddon (and sometimes both).

The Point of No Return

So, mid-2012 represents not a peak, but instead the “point of no return.” Still, that’s only the beginning, and not a culmination in any sense. By 2013, the segments of the population that were already awake and knowledgeable (albeit with considerable ambivalence) will have combined with larger numbers of those newly jolted into shock and concern to form a sufficiently broad demographic as to make further denial impossible (The Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square that is Step 1 of the Texas-Two-Step---with its hallmark of denial---will end in August 2011, fully ten months before Step 2, the Uranus-Pluto square---full shock and awe--- begins to gear up).

When I say that further denial will be impossible after June 2012, I refer to the public at large, not the Ruling Elites. The Powers That Be will probably give up their stupefying denials of 2007-2011, but will then begin a strategic retreat as slowly as possible through proposal and implementation of “reforms” that will, of course, be mostly useless, ignorant, foolish, and unworkable. They will continue this “fighting retreat” all the way through 2015 (assuming, of course, that the economic/financial/social fabric of the country has held together to that point, which we can’t yet predict accurately).

Just as occurred in the 1930s and 1960s, once the breakdown/collapse is widespread and the accompanying revolutions underway, another segment of the population will go into staunch and entrenched reaction, stubbornly clinging to the dying past even as they acknowledge the storm sweeping around them. That percentage will decry what is happening on bogus moral and religious grounds. My understanding of history and astrology suggests that at no point in the upcoming decade---no matter whether what happens turns out to be horrifically cataclysmic or merely wrenchingly dislocating---will there be anything remotely approaching a “general awakening” into sanity throughout the global population.

That sanity will, however, occur in selected pockets, where creativity, cooperation, and pragmatism will allow people in that locality to do very well in adaptation to whatever changes are required. In general, however, all the many forms of response to crisis will be seen. On the positive side, we should see some evidence of awakening, some calm awareness, some social activism and pragmatic picking up the pieces---but this is likely to occur within a minority of the population, say 10-30% as a guess.

2012 and the Timeline for Change
Guest Astrologer Bill Herbst
"Morality? Justice? Truth? Forget all those in the decade ahead. What counts will be Pragmatic Responses to Forced Change: Doing what is Necessary to Survive."
Among “those who know” that something REALLY BIG is in the works for the decade of the 2010s, a marked tendency exists to focus on 2012 as the “Oh My God!” year. This group includes at one end people of a strongly occult, metaphysical, or New Age spiritual, or fundamentalist Christian bent, which includes as trusted sources such diverse predictors as Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, the Mayan Calendar, the Bible, and/or various “channeled” sources from other realms who speak through trance mediums and the like. These folks often hold a cherished and optimistic belief that collectively we (or some smaller segment of us---the chosen people) are in for a Great Awakening into a Golden Age of Peace, Harmony, and Justice.
The Astrology of 2012

What follows is as blunt, direct, and grounded clarification as I can offer about the timeline of likely events and their potential impact on the billions of people who are currently asleep, unconcerned, or in denial about the huge changes coming down the pike that are waiting to engulf us collectively.

My take on the astrology of 2012 and beyond (basically, through the symbolismand history of the Uranus-Pluto first-quarter square) is that this entire decade will be marked by an unfolding series of sporadic but ever-more-frequent shocks. The collective breakdowns/awakenings/ cosmic cattle prods/whatever will most likely unfold in increments. Each new development in the accelerating cascade of collapse/breakdown events will cause a small percentage of former sleepers to be jolted awake. No single event or time period in the years ahead is likely to do more than that.

Though the pace of change does accelerate, the overview is still little by little rather than all at once. [Example: a global pandemic would certainly cause worldwide concern and even panic, but that hysteria would be restricted to obsession with health concerns centered around whatever the particular phenomenon was. Meanwhile, other levels of Ah-Ha! awakening (financial, economic, social, etc.) would retreat into temporary dormancy, waiting for their own particular and repetitive triggers to bring them back to center-stage. This is not because changes occur in linear fashion only one a time, but rather because the public’s ability to deal with more than one problem at a time is extremely limited.

June 24, 2012 is the “critical mass” point, the date of the initial partile pass of Uranus in first-quarter square to Pluto (exactly 90° ahead). That day, month, and even season does not, however, represent any “great awakening.” Rather, it is simply the first of the seven exact passes Uranus will make to Pluto over the three years from summer 2012 through spring 2015. In terms of real events that go with the symbolism, however, we have to stretch out the timeline, extending it for many years before and after 2012.

The Saturn-Uranus-Pluto alignment of the 1960s was focused into 15 months over April 1965 through June 1966. Yet, the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and resulting Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962---both of which preceded the actual Saturn-Uranus-Pluto alignment by many years---were kick-off events to the symbolic meaning of that halcyon decade. We were already well into the revolution by 1965 (in music, social equality, race riots, beginning of the American phase of the Vietnam war, the alternative subculture, etc.), but Life Magazine didn’t come out with its Haight-Ashbury cover story until April 1967, after the alignment was over. My own embrace of the counter-culture didn’t occur until I was out of high school and into college in the fall of 1967. From there, it was only about a year before I was completely transformed into a freak.

In other words, in terms of reaching the middle of the bell curve of population demographics, the astrology contains a built-in time lag of one to two years. We’ve already had the Iraqi Insurgency (2004), Hurricane Katrina (2006), the
first salvo of global financial collapse (2008), and now the
earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown in Japan (2011), all occurring well before the critical mass point. And the full ramifications of critical mass will not occur until well after the fulcrum of 2012 is crossed.
The Collapse

The remaining 70-90% will move through all the diverse expressions of more negative reaction---shock, fear, horror, hysteria, panic, catatonia, surrender, revolt, violence, grief, gonzo magical thinking, religious lunacy, etc. Those in the first group who have their feet on the ground and are thinking straight will do what they can to take care of those in the basket-case, looney-tunes second group, with varying degrees of success and failure, depending on local conditions.

I don’t expect at any time in the next decade (or ever, for that matter) that “hidden information” (like the Pentagon Papers and Wikileaks) or massive misdeeds among the Ruling Elites (whose transgressions and crimes over the past century are literally what got us into this mess in the first place) will be laid bare in any way to which the overall general public pays much, if any, attention. Revelations will continue to surface, of course, but they won’t matter much. The great bulk of people will be preoccupied with whatever personal/familial difficulties they suffer from the breakdown/collapse. Reasons why collapse occurred will be moot. What will matter is how to pick up the pieces and get on with living.

My private expectation is that we probably can’t look for any real or effective responses at the collective level to the accelerating cascade of crises until the last four years of the decade---2016 at the earliest. My more pessimistic side tells me that we can wait for the positive changes until we’re blue in the face, however, which means that they’ll simply NEVER occur in our lifetimes. Quite possibly not until the 2040s, if then. The decade of the 2010s, however, will almost entirely be taken up with short-term responses and dubious quick fixes to a multi-faceted long-term crisis---a set of interconnected challenges that will shape the next 400 years of human social evolution.

Morality? Justice? Truth? Forget all those in the decade ahead. What counts will be Pragmatic Responses to Forced Change: Doing what is Necessary to Survive. In the words of Winston Churchill after the Battle of Britain in 1940, the year 2012 will represent not the End---not even the Beginning of the End---but it might be the End of the Beginning. Think of 2012 as the tipping point past which a Brave New World awaits and will unfold.

The caveat to all this is that the future---like a greased pig---has a perverse way of confounding and eluding even the most savvy predictions. That’s especially true of the Uranus-Pluto cycle.
Bill Herbst is a contributing author and editor to the journal The Mountain Astrologer. In November 2007, he moved to Florence, a very small town on the Oregon coast. He now lives half a mile from the Pacific Ocean overlooking the Siuslaw River and huge sand dunes. For personal sessions or to read more of his essays, visit his website at