The discovery of Uranus around March 13th, 1781 must have been somewhat of a shock to the existing astronomical and astrological fraternity of the day. Up to that point only the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn had been acknowledged. Its discovery and subsequent acceptance by the scientific community coincided with an incredible revolution in technology and science. Having an aerial as its glyph or symbol is a testimony to the progressive things Uranus stands for.
The emergence of Uranus in the consciousness of man simultaneously coincided with the earlier discovery of electricity and the broader research orientated scientific methodologies. Though the Royal Astronomer, John Flamsteed, had identified a celestial body on several occasions between 1690 and 1715, it was Herschel who is credited with its discovery. Interestingly Herschel was a musician, not an astronomer.
Considering its distance of 1,782 million miles from the Sun, its discovery at this time is significant and seems to reflect the rapid advancement of society from that point on. Its symbol in fact also represents the mythical Thor and in some Vedic circles, Lord Indra, God of Lightning, as its presiding deity. This allocation is to some astrologers arbitrary and due to its slow cycle of approximately 84 years, is still speculative.
Astrologers assign Uranus to the New Age zodiac sign of Aquarius and suggest it is the upper harmonic of Mercury. If Mercury governs intelligence, Uranus is considered the refined and more intuitive and intellectual faculties within us. This is a superior form of intelligence, somewhat related to the psychic faculties of man, but not purely so, as this is the work of Neptune. Nevertheless, the sign of Aquarius governs what we call the Age of Man and the higher rational processes in man. On a physical level it represents the nervous system and though Aquarius is predominantly an air sign, the fire element also has an influence on this planet esoterically.
Uranus the Reformer
The general principles of Uranus govern change – abrupt, radical and unexpected change as opposed to gradual and foreseen modifications. Sociologically, due to this sudden quality associated with it, revolutions and all sorts of reform are linked to Uranus. On a more personal level, those people born under Aquarius, or under Uranus’ influence will be rebels – with or without a cause, and at some level in their lives are working towards a progressive and world-shattering change in their environments. The movement of the planet Uranus through the different signs of the zodiac gives vastly different effects, although still retaining its inherent ground-breaking nature.
The complete cycle of Uranus through the twelve signs takes approximately 84 years – nearly the same duration as the average human life span. Being one of the three outer planets including Neptune and Pluto, it is considered a transpersonal planet yet due to this 84 year span acts personally too. Unlike Neptune and Pluto whose cycles are much longer, some individuals experience the return of Uranus to their natal position. Speaking of the lifecycles, there are some astrologers who believe the quarter, half and three-quarter cycles of Uranus have relevance to our personal development. At 21 years of age, we witness the transition from teenage years to full adulthood, a time when responsibility and the approaching duties of family life are thrust upon us. At around age 42 the dreaded “mid-life crisis” is associated with the half-circuit of Uranus. And when the three-quarter cycle of age 63 occurs, many consider retirement from working life. In respect of these critical years of development there seems to be a correlation between Uranus and its effect on us as at these critical stages. The vast majority of humanity may not see the full return of Uranus, yet for some, the return would signal an important spiritual revelation and reflect the notion that human life is indeed finite and there is something beyond this material human process. These life changes are in themselves revolutionary and impact on our perception of the world and ourselves.
Uranus in the Signs
Depending on which sign of the zodiac Uranus is found at birth, its influence will indicate the manner in which the soul can progress in life and what unusual or progressive work each of us will endeavour to manifest in this incarnation. The continuing theme, of course, is freedom and defying the limitations of one’s social and historic structure, but most importantly, the way in which we are able to free ourselves from the constraints of our Karmic limitations. Each individual is born with specific samskaras or past life impressions and it is the job of Uranus to assist us in breaking down these patterns through the process of change – at times radically so. Therefore, Uranus helps liberate us and can assist in revealing who we are by removing external and internal blocks that are holding us back from attaining our true spiritual potential.