The first thing you learn about the planet Uranus if you’re studying astrology is that it represents sudden, unpredictable, unplanned, and/or unexpected energy. The joke is that if you can predict it, it won’t happen—because with Uranus one should always expect the unexpected.
Some liken Uranian energy to the tarot card The Tower because it represents a similar sudden unexpected turn of events–past or future–depending on your reading.
In psychological astrology, Uranus is the planet that represents each individual’s journey toward individuation in this lifetime.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, “individuate” means: a) to give individuality to; and b) to form a distinct entity; while “individuation” translates as “the process by which individuals in society become differentiated from one another.”
Jungian analyst and astrologer Liz Greene notes that the archetypal energy of the mythological god Uranus represents an individual’s quest to break away from the group. Greene points out that is can be particularly difficult to do, because one must express one’s own unique nature apart from the group–apart from the sheeple–in order to become successfully individuated.
Something Unpredictable But In The End Is Right
Why then does Uranian (and by extension Aquarius, the sign ruled by Uranus in modern astrology) energy translate into unpredictable events and sudden happenings in our lives?
The answer to that question lies in every individual’s quest to stand apart from the group, or to individuate, which may prove more problematic for some than for others.
Safety in numbers is an old, but verifiable, adage which translates into: it’s easier to go along to get along than to fight for your own individual viewpoint—especially when that viewpoint might make you a pariah.
When we resist the call to change, to be more of who we are rather than less, to stand up for our individual rights against the group or within relationship, we are asking to remain always the same.
“The transits of Uranus are not malefic in the traditional sense, except to the extent that you are unwilling to accept newness and change in your life,” writes Rob Hand in his book “Planets in Transit.”
“Uranus challenges the rigid structures in life that most people work so hard to build,” Hand adds. “Many people value regularity and predictability to much that they will even sacrifice personal happiness to get it.”
Psychological astrologer Richard Idemon points out in his book “The Magic Thread” that the universe does not like stagnation caused by lack of willingness to change. Such stasis is antithetical to the law of energy, according to Idemon, which is that change is the only constant.
The Universe Is Benign
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: When planets in the heavens impact our own individual natal horoscopes (or charts), they do so for one purpose: to help us increase our capability to become ever more conscious.
Because it’s through such growth in consciousness that we mortals become better able to understand ourselves, the world around us, and to share our individual gifts with the world. After all, if life is about happiness (and I believe that to be true), then–astrologically speaking–it is the universal movement of the planets in the heavens that provide us our individual roadmaps toward that goal.
If we have been conditioned to believe that happiness is defined by money, social status, specific relationships, particular jobs, schools, or neighborhoods, Uranus is the planet that come along as says “[email protected]#k that, THIS is what will make you truly happy!”
However, often we are resistant to the notion that our ultimate path might run this way and not that, often because our egos have been formed based on what we’ve been told, taught, or (in some cases) forced to believe.
“But this kind of rigidity is ultimately destructive to life in its highest sense,” says Hand. “Life is or should be a constant ongoing confrontation between yourself and the world, with an energy that keeps everything fresh and lively.”
The degree of difficulty any individual has in reconciling rigid egoistic beliefs or goals with that which will bring them true happiness, is the degree to which they may be zapped by sudden unexpected change…
When Uranus Stations Retrograde
When Uranus moves in direct motion in the sky, we all work on becoming true to ourselves…as Polonius says in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet:
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
What can become problematic, however—in addition to one’s resistance to change–is the desire for perfection, as Uranus also archetypally represents an idealized picture of perfection.
Such ideals, however, run the very high risk of becoming marred when the attempt is made to bring them down to earth into the hard cold light of day in order to become manifest. It seems the vision never fits exactly the visual or imagined view of either an individual or a group because something always seems to be lost in the translation.
When Uranus transits a particular house or sensitive point in your chart, it “…makes us conscious of imperfection,” according to Erin Sullivan in her book “Retrograde Planets.”
“Uranus threatens ego containment because one must explore unknown territory and potential within oneself at the risk of failure,” Sullivan notes. “It is particularly important, therefore, to use the retrograde phase of Uranus’ transit to test what has lasting value and what is merely potential with no containment.”
Such a confrontation between the self and the world is normally avoided by most of us, because we are acutely aware that it’s better to “survive half dead” than to lose, says Hand. “But those are not the only alternatives; it is only fear that makes it seem that way.”
Here’s the song “Good Riddance” by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Born with a natal Uranus retrograde, Armstrong reminds us that–like a Uranus transit’s retrograde period–we may encounter something unpredictable that is–in the end–just right…