The Kids Are Alright

“Some people can let things go. I can’t.” That was Greta Thunberg’s explanation of her basic character.

I do and I don’t want to know her birth data. I feel protective toward this kid, a painfully shy one pushed out into the hubbub of the climate crisis by her own undeniable anxiety about whether she and her peers have a future. Besides, the movement she sparked is not about her.

She was fifteen years old last summer when she decided to hand-paint a sign — skolstrejk för klimatet (student strike for climate action) — and go sit on the pavement in front of the Swedish parliament building. Her parents had tried to dissuade her, none of her classmates would join her — at first.

So she went alone on day one: 20 August 2018. This Friday, the Ides of March, she will be far from alone: What she started has become one of the largest environmental protests in world history.

She had been a silent one at the back of the classroom, with little outside social life. Her obsessive thoughts were company enough, as her high-status parents, opera singer and actor / author, worried and wondered how to help.

(One might surmise a strong astrological emphasis in her birthchart on the zoidion (sign) Gemini, typically characterized by a mercurial range of interests, but more problematically expressed in obsessive preoccupation. This is just one of the twelve disorders sketched out by astrologer Glenn Perry in his “Psychopathology and Healing” presentation.)

For Greta Thunberg, the weather last summer in Sweden proved too much. A record heat wave provided the conditions for forest fires that burned through swathes of Swedish land as far north as the Arctic Circle. Fire in the Arctic — before this climate crisis, whodathunkit?

At age fifteen, a main astrological factor would be the “Saturn opposition” — Saturn opposing the place where Saturn had been in her birth year, 2003. It’s a period often marked by melancholy—a saturnine mood—due to the clash between the youth’s rapid physical / mental growth and the strictures of the surrounding society. Now, there is additionally grief bordering on despair, brought on by the recognition of what elder generations have wrought.

Another factor specific to her generation is the outer-planet combination of Neptune in Aquarius / Pluto in Sagittarius. This calls her age cohort to large-scale group endeavors that submerge individuals in causes that are planetary in scope and vision. (This is in marked contrast to the baby-boomer generation born with those same planets in a similar air sign / fire sign combination: Neptune in Libra / Pluto in Leo. Their collective task was a quest for interpersonal equity within a context of heroic struggles for personal autonomy.)

The chart for Ms. Thunberg’s chosen entry into a wider world of personal integration and purpose is deserving of consideration, along with her likely thoughts and feelings. The time is based on her statement: “The first day, I sat alone from about 8.30am to 3pm – the regular schoolday. And then on the second day, people started joining me. After that, there were people there all the time.”

A dignified Sol in Leo represents the initial solo presence in a lonely place — the twelfth place (house) of the chart — to convey a message (Mercury, lord of the Virgo ascendant). There are other planetary dignities — Venus, Mars and Saturn — likewise indicating a high level of potential effectiveness through social connectivity (Venus), drive (Mars) and organization (Saturn).

Two exact configurations represent special potency in the moment: Jupiter – Neptune and Saturn – Uranus. The first indicates an invitation to embrace the broadest possible consciousness and refined spiritual sensibility — a spirit of unity and forgiveness: all, not just humanity, inhabit the sphere of life on Earth — the second an option to recognize paths affording some stability within a context of unavoidable disruption: the end of the world as we know it.

No wonder young Greta Thunberg’s quiet presence that morning has shaken the world.

Peter Doughty
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