It is the opposite that
is good for us.
In your uniqueness
you are all the time a crime against convention.
“Lectures at Swanage.”
The poems of individualism
will remake the social world.
History of Art: Modern Art.
Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.
–William Blake, Proverbs
Although certain astrologers
believe that Uranus corresponds to the yang energy, our point of
view is that it transcends the dualistic expression of yin and yang:
that while Mercury is hermaphroditic (embodying each principle),
Uranus is neither male nor female. Instead, Uranus symbolizes a
cosmic function that reverses yin or yang energy into its
opposite form when either achieves an extreme state of expression.
This principle of dynamic reversal is represented in the I Ching
by unfolding energy patterns (or “hexagrams”) that switch
into alternate forms (i.e., the “moving lines”). In
the West, this notion is best exemplified by the ancient Greek notion
of enantiodromia, a “running
opposite or counter to,” promulgated by the philosopher Heraclitus
(575?-641?): “Fate is the logical product of enantiodromia,
creator of all things.”
In modern psychological
literature, Jung notes that enantiodromia is synonymous with
an “emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of
time. This characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when
an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time
an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first inhibits
the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious
control.” He adds, “Sooner or later everything runs
into its opposite.” Such reversals include the shift from
one extreme form of behavior, perception, or ideation into a seemingly
opposite form or way of being. Through the
enantiodromian “dynamic reversal” of Uranus, the
form of Mercury’s ideation is transformed by Uranus’s reformation (Mercury poses the question “Why,” while
Uranus asks, “Why not?”). Ultimately, beyond this seesawlike
energetic reversal, the final Uranian goal is to alternate currents
of energy until a nondualistic or transcendent “third”
form is discovered: ideally, one not as extreme as either opposite
but one that incorporates the best elements of each, in order to
create a more manageable (i.e., more consciously operating) reformation.
The union of such opposing tendencies results in a new wholeness
and in the newfound freedoms and liberties that are symbolized by
While the astrological
glyph for Mercury resembles a human figure endowed with a crescent-shaped
antenna (symbolizing cognition and communication, i.e., the capacity
to absorb and transmit information), the glyph for Uranus is composed
solely of a large antenna shape, symbolizing its function of transpersonal
or Divine communication. The centrally placed cross in this glyph,
symbolizing the “two opposites crossing one another,”2
emphasizes a transcendence of dualism and the function of “receiving”
transpersonal insights. Like Mercury’s crescentlike glyph,
the outer, horizontal sides of the Uranian cross are linked to two
crescent-shaped forms that resemble satellite dishes: again, signifying
the “receptive” (yin) potential of Uranus, while the
up-ended, pointed top of the central axis signifies the “transmitting”
(yang) potential of Uranus. Human communication, cognitive awareness,
and the ability of all members of a species to comprehend each other
are ruled by Mercury, but the transpersonal communication processes
(visionary insight, inspiration, Divine intuition) reflect the suprahuman
or transpersonal capacity of Uranus.
On the mundane level,
Uranus is associated with the revolutions (dynamic reversals) and
reformations of social organisms. Such reformations are often conceived
of as a means of gaining newfound freedom (at least, for some
members of the revolutionary order). Having “smashed open”
(Uranus) the “stultifying structure” (Saturn) of the
previous regime, the revolutionaries are in a position to effect
“ultimate freedom” (Uranus) for themselves. Yet, this
sometimes occurs at the expense of the common people.
In such a case,
we can speak of becoming overidentified with the Uranian principle
of freedom. In our example, the revolutionaries have experienced
a dynamic reversal: at first identified with the common people,
they now assume the role of a new aristocracy. A true revolutionary
ideal, however, is a complete reversal of (yin or yang) energy:
a collective reorganization whenever it reaches an extreme form.
For example, when a government reaches its extreme form of expression,
its reversal into a new system of energetic organization is inevitable,
especially after a period of rigidity or stagnation (Saturn). A
swing in public opinion, from supporting one political party over
another, is a typical example of Uranian enantiodromia.
Invention, a phenomenon traditionally ruled by Uranus, is also
related to gaining freedom through the acquisition of a new energetic
structure, as a new method or device will unite traditional technologies
with recent innovations and advances and, therefore, provide greater
freedom and flexibility in accomplishing tasks.
Uranus rules electricity
(including the electrical dimension of the body) and computers.
These phenomena are strangely “in between” the physical
and immaterial states of being. Electricity provides mechanical
devices with their motive force, yet it is invisible and, ultimately,
inexplicable. Computers and the so-called cyber reality present
us with an immaterial or “virtual” reality, created,
in part, by the electrical stimulation of computer chips, yet they
possess a quality that seems to extend beyond the merely physical.
Like other Uranian phenomena, computers have the potential to provide
mankind with a greater sense of freedom and a means of reinventing
the self and of advancing its methods of organization and communication
in a manner that appears so innovative and unusual that our normal
cognitive limits are pushed beyond their traditional boundaries,
i.e., they are reformed.
This spark of “futuristic” insight, often experienced
as a shocking, exciting, or “peak experience” (a Uranian
term used by astrologer Bil Tierney), is a keynote of the Uranus
symbolism. Other Uranian keynotes include originality, inspiration,
brilliance, and even genius.
manifestation of the energy:
Because one person’s
idea of freedom may portray (or depend upon) another’s sense
of nightmarish confinement, Uranus is associated with “negative
utopias.” In modern literature, this genre (also called the
dystopia) describes a
“perfectly” organized society that, with its mania for
creating an ideal social-collective, perfectly excludes all that
is idiosyncratic and individual in mankind. For example, in its
negative manifestation, political leaders who are improperly identified
with Uranus will “free” the individual of his true responsibility
by turning him into an “innovative” cog in a newly invented
“machine.” This is especially the case when such leaders
lack the ultimate freedom: the ability to reinvent the self
through conscious personal insight and psychological growth, i.e.,
the individuation process actualized in a particular life.
In its hyperactive
expression, one becomes “over-Uranian”: overrebellious;
overidentified with the freedom principle; overly innovative (eccentric);
overly intuitive (a crank). Other keynotes include amorality, anarchism,
fanaticism, iconoclastic nihilism, or behavior characterized by
irritability, anxiety, or irrational, impulsive, and explosive behavior.
One may be a physical nomad, wandering from place to place, or a
cultural or psychological nomad, jumping from one lifestyle, ideation,
or intuition to the next. The iconoclastic shattering of something
of value before a new form is ready to replace it is another negative
manifestation of Uranus.3 Then the native is identified with and
glorifying in the “peak experience” of Uranus as it
surges haphazardly through body and mind, rather than creating an
authentically innovative form with which to replace the old, outmoded
In such cases, Uranus
behaves like an overloaded circuit, with ideas leaping about yet
making the “wrong connections,” resulting in eccentric
notions and cranky moods. In mundane astrology, a difficult Uranus
transit (i.e., when Uranus transits a degree in the sky that corresponds,
in a discordant manner, to a planetary degree in the birth chart)
may symbolize electrical problems or shortages in the home. Psychologically,
it rules the classic “nervous breakdown.”
Relocation to the Transcendental
Uranus region will result in a positive liberation of the personality
and to reformations of emotional patterning that are no longer productive.
Under this location, the forward-moving or telic urge of psychic
energy to manifest the future personality will be enhanced. This
“realignment” of psychic energy manifests as a “higher
frequency” of thought and intuition. Uranus rules the “immediate
vision” of the heretofore-missing elements that will now
provide “freedom,” so much so that the former condition,
which was previously viewed as “livable,” now seems
untenable. Uranus proposes a change and realignment of personality
that takes us far beyond the dimensions of the previous self, transporting
the native to completely new outlooks, ideas, and situations. The
word that comes closest to such a state of Divine inspiration is
intuition. Unexpectedly presenting us with an aspect of reality that
transcends our personal history, Uranus pushes us to the unrealized,
a “Divine communication” that results in “unheard
of” intuitions and inventions. The “ingenious”
aspect of the Uranus complex was exemplified by inventors such as
Nikola Tesla (with Secondary Uranus) and by innovative artists,
such as Hans Christian Andersen, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and Henry
Miller (writers who were each born with Primary Uranus). The Uranian
principle inspires one to redefine and reorganize physical matter,
resulting in supramaterial organizations of energy (e.g., the invention
of the computer chip).
Uranus works through
“erratic,” “leaping,” and “bounding”
intuitive paths.5 It exemplies a unique ability to “tune in”
to nonrational dimensions of thought. (“Improvement makes
strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement are roads
of Genius”–Blake.) This is symbolized by the “antenna”
of Uranus (one that is “stepped-down” through the humanizing
receptors of Mercury). Such visionary intuition instructs us to
follow new expressions of self and soul, liberating us from the
collective bonds of identity (Saturn). In shattering the collective
mold, Uranus permits whatever is unique in us to emerge. It is the
freedom to create anew.
a final reformation / reinvention of spirit and soul while they
are still connected to the social-collective sphere. In shattering
our rigidity and sparking our genius, Uranus prepares us for the
final shock: dissolution, death, and rebirth, symbolized by the
transpersonal complexes of Neptune and Pluto (i.e., beyond the social
collective). Before we reach such ultimate developmental stages,
however, Uranus will reshape our profoundly experimental life, working
as it does through the shockingly unique incarnation of human consciousness.
with Primary Transcendental Uranus:
Hans Christian Andersen
(“intuitive” writer of “unique, original”
fairy tales); Queen Anne (whose reign was marked by numerous attempts
to “maintain her freedom and independence” from the
dominating political parties and for her “abruptly shifting
allegiances” during a time rife with “instability”);
Louise Brown (the first “test-tube” baby whose birth
(the result of an ovum “experimentally” impregnated
in a laboratory) epitomized the “innovative, experimental
conditions” of Uranus); Catherine the Great ([with Mercury]
empress of Russia who eagerly absorbed the “innovative / thinking”
[Uranus / Mercury] of the French “Enlightenment”; who
authored Catherine’s Instruction, a draft constitution considered
so “shockingly” liberal that the “scandalous /
document” [Uranus / Mercury] was prohibited from publication
in France; and whose “reversal” and “reformation”
of her own liberal position led to worsening conditions for most
Russians, resulting in “greater freedoms” only for herself
and for the Russian aristocracy; especially remembered for “novel,
innovative reforms” of administrative methods throughout
Russia); Louis-Ferdinand Céline (“eccentric inventor”
of a “new” literary style); Indira Gandhi (Indian prime
minister whose Uranus sets directly over India; remembered for “extreme
reversals of fortune”; “dystopian systems of reform”;
“surprise tactics”; and “innovative” authoritarianism
[with Secondary Saturn]; Adolf Hitler (dictator obsessed with “negative
utopias” and “eccentric notions of social reorganization”);
Grace Kelly [with Primary Mercury-Jupiter] whose “forward-looking
vision” of guaranteeing success in the “future”
led her to the Elitch Gardens stock company in Denver, directly
under her Primary Uranus line); Richard Nixon (“innovator”
of historic “China opening”: a country directly under
his Primary Uranus; obsessed with “cranky notions” of
“dystopian” domestic reorganization); Dante Gabriel
Rossetti (“intuitive” painter-poet born near Primary
Uranus in London; remembered for a “rebellious” childhood
and an “unusual lifestyle” as an adult; exhumed his
wife’s body to retrieve a poetry manuscript that was entwined
in her hair); Edith Sitwell (noted English “eccentric”
renowned for a “quirky” dress code and for an “original”
writing style); Algernon Swinburne (poet whose work was considered
“provocative and shocking”; wrote of “revolt”
against the divine will).
* * *
phrases for Uranus:
brilliance; genius. “Divine” communication.
•Sudden leaps in individual and collective consciousness.
•The inspiration for innovation.
•A sudden “unveiling” of “future states
of consciousness,” i.e., the “future personality.”
•The principles of freedom and rebellion.
•Freedom gained through an innovative rearrangement and recombination
of disparate elements, e.g., invention.
•Unusual methods or approaches.
•The higher octave of Mercury. While Mercury rules cognition
and communication, Uranus rules Divine communication, which is
experienced as revelatory flashes of insight, intuition, and brilliance.
•The “alternating current” of yang / yin energy
experienced as a revolution and liberation of spirit and soul.
1. Stobaeus, Eclogae
physicae, cited by Jung in Psychological
Types, p. 425. Jung adds: “I use the term enantiodromia for the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the
course of time. This characteristic phenomenon practically always
occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life;
in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first
inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through
the conscious control.” In Psychology
and Alchemy, while discussing the “transformative principle
at work in nature and the harmony of opposing forces,” he
notes: “Chinese philosophy formulated this process as the
of yin and yang” (p. 245), adding (in a footnote): “The
classical example being The I Ching or Book
of Changes.” Elsewhere, he writes: “Old Heraclitus,
who was indeed a very great sage, discovered the most marvelous
of all psychological laws: the regulative function of opposites.
He called it enantiodromia,
a running contrariwise, by which he meant that sooner or later everything
runs into its opposite.” “The only person who escapes
the grim law of enantiodromia
is the man who knows how to separate himself from the unconscious,
not by repressing it–for then it simply attacks him from the
rear–but by putting it clearly before him as that which he
is not.” Jung, Two Essays
on Analytical Psychology, pp. 72-73.)
One of the earliest
references to enantiodromia
in Jung’s work occurs in a series of lectures he gave in Swanage,
England: “When something has been accomplished, an opposition
must be established before anything else can occur. You may hold
a Christian ideal, but this is also impossible, for though a mind
may be spirit, you cannot go endlessly into spirit, as you constellate
the materialism of the unconscious. A living system is a self-regulating
system and must be balanced. Neither spirit not matter is good in
themselves, for, in excess, both destroy life.” “Lectures
at Swanage,” unpublished typescript, August 1, 1925, Lecture
VII, pp. 51-52. He also discusses this concept in his Analytical
Psychology seminar: “In the I Ching, they [the pairs of
opposites] appear as an ever-recurring enantiodromia,
through the action of which one state of mind leads inevitably to
its opposite. This is the essential idea of Taoism …”
Lecture X, May 25, 1925, Analytical
Psychology, p. 73.
2. “Often the polarity [of the coniunctio]
is arranged as a quaternio (quaternity), with the two opposites
crossing one another ... thus producing the cross as an emblem of
the four elements and symbol of the sublunary physical world. This
fourfold Physis, the cross, also appears in the signs for earth,
Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter.” Jung, Mysterium
Coniunctionis, pp. 3-4.
3. The eccentric behavior traditionally associated with Uranus is
reflected in the quirky and unique astronomical qualities of this
planet (and of some its satellites):
considered unique because its equatorial plane is inclined about
98 degrees with respect to its orbital plane. This extreme inclination
gives the planet a retrograde motion, i.e., rotation opposite to
the direction of its revolution.” The
New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1975, p. 2846.
distinguished by the fact that it is tipped on its side. Its unusual
position is thought to be the result of a collision with a planet-sized
body early in the solar system’s history. Given its odd orientation,
with its polar regions exposed to sunlight or darkness for long
periods, scientists were not sure what to expect at Uranus.
Voyager 2 found that one of the most striking influences of this sideways
position is its effect on the tail of the magnetic field, which
is itself tilted 60 degrees from the planet’s axis of rotation.
The magnetotail was shown to be twisted by the planet's rotation
into a long corkscrew shape behind the planet. […] The peculiar
orientation of the magnetic field suggests that the field is generated
at an intermediate depth in the interior where the pressure is high
enough for water to become electrically conducting.” NASA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (online), ”Voyager
voyager2.html. Uranus was accidentally discovered by Sir
William Herschel, in 1781.
Whoever cannot seek
/ the unforeseen sees nothing, / for the known way / is an impasse.
I am convinced of the
validity of contradiction. There are many worlds. Each is true,
at its time, in its own fashion.
Perhaps the immobility
of the things around us is imposed on them by our certainty that
they are themselves and not anything else, by the immobility of
our mind confronting them.
(Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way, trans. Lydia Davis.)