Measuring HistoryMeasuring History via Synodic Pairs

1890s Neptune-Pluto conjunction-1880s and 1890s video podcast

Select points across history stand out as a clear transition from one paradigm to another. The period of the 1880s and 1890s belongs on this short list.

Short history of the 1880s and 1890s for non-astrologers

In the opinion of Measuring History, the 495-year longitudinal alignment (conjunction) between Neptune-Pluto heralds one of these shifts. Non-astrologers might need convincing. Nonetheless, anyone who enjoys history should find the 1880-1900 period interesting for many reasons. 

Saturn-Pluto cycles since the 1780s

Saturn-Pluto cycles show a distinct connection to general geo-political narratives. This survey serves up examples from about 1786 through 2055

Naming convention

1786Saturn-Pluto1819 translates to the Saturn-Pluto cycle from 1786 to 1819, generally speaking, the span between the final conjunction between the two planets; typically conjunctions are exact three times over a one to two year period. The leading year, in this case, 1786, is the last conjunction before the first in 1819.

Saturn-Pluto frequency

Saturn-Pluto cycles vary between 31 and 38 years, with an average of 33 years. The variance accounts for Pluto's off-kilter, squished orbit.

Read more: Saturn-Pluto cycles since the 1780s

PLURSQs Compared: 1870s 2010s Introduction

A Dispruptive Legacy?

PLURSQ stands for Uranus-Pluto square, the transit when Uranus travels within a few degrees of 90° or 270° relative to 18770212-Uranus-90-PlutoPluto. These appear relatively seldom. The entire Uranus-Pluto cycle varies between 111 and 141 years. Uranus-Pluto hard aspects, conjunctions (0°), oppositions (180°)  and squares (90°) coincide with some of history's critical turning points such as the Assassination of Julius Caesar and the twin 1450s event,  the  Fall of Constantinople and Gutenberg's Bible . The 1870s--Uranus was effectively square Pluto from 1874 to 1880--qualifies as equally critical. The foundations of World War I, United States hegemony and the Information Age all set during the dizzying 1870s.

PLURSQsCompared141029

1870s 2010s Compared

The Uranus-Pluto squares of the 1870s and the 2010s appear at the same relative position, 90°, literally the opposite of 270°. (closing square) The distinction is important. An opening (90°) appears at the midpoint of the waxing segment of the cycle. The first 180° of any cycle deals with becoming or acquiring; the second half is one or release or making way. It is interesting though that the last three Uranus-Pluto squares each coincided with global economic downturns. Overall, we get a chance to test the concept. How similar can Uranus-Pluto opening squares be?basicwave-arc

The Irrevocable 1870s

The importance of the 1870s arises from how so many events vectored irrevocably in new directions. The Franco-Prussian War at its beginning turned France and Germany into certain enemies, simultaneously creating a huge powerful state at the center of Europe; the Second Reich was larger than today's Germany, encompassing parts of Poland and other regions. It rode in on and propelled the Second Industrial Revolution, setting up the slow decline of the British Empire. Germany did this as the United States brought Civil War, Reconstruction to a close.

The  process of aligning the South to Northern Industrial interests removed international influence over the US, drastically reducing the price of cotton worldwide. All of this came just after completion of the first Transcontinental railroad and the Suez Canal. Both carried a simultaneous effect: it released the interior of continents to the global markets, with immediate effect

A combination of Bismarck's naive economic policies and a railroad bubble brought the first global market crash, the 1873 Panic of Vienna. It ushered in the Long Depression of 1873-1893. This helped bring Britain's eventual decline; its First Industrial Revolution turned into a burden. The US and Germany could use new technology without scraping or adapting embedded systems. Additionally, both nations could draw from larger internal population and resource bases.
There is much more to the 1870s narrative.The rest will appear in one form or another (expect some videos) throughout the comparison series. The important question here is the whether or not the sea change of the 1870s is anywhere close to what we can expect for the current decade.

2010s: What is a Turning Point?

1966Uranus-90-Neptune2104Obviously, the 2010s are not over. I am breaking a cardinal rule of analyzing current events in historical terms. Measuring History already breaks the rules of standard historiography, so here it goes.

One thing for certain about the 2010s: United States power around the world is in question. Many reasons lie behind this perception, but we can be sure that by the time this Uranus-Pluto square effectively ends, US power will be far different than before it began. Perhaps the main reason is that China, if it has not already, will become the world's number one economy. Some may point to dysfunctional politics for the time Uranus has squared Pluto. More astute analysis reveals the shift has been in motion for quite some. Best summarized, the world has entered a multi-lateral phase. It is at its beginning.
China's rise parallels the history of Digital Age Globalization. The process simultaneously empowers and levels the field. The 2014 Ukranian Crisis highlights it labyrinthine ramifications. The US sanctions Russia, but EU nations hesitate for fear of losing Russian gas and exports; Russia cooperates with the US on space programs and Iran nuclear talks. Meanwhile, long term foes Russia and China sign a natural gas export deal. India and China announce hope of greater cross-border cooperation; both India and China derive huge profits from the United States and Europe, but the US and China are in dispute over the South China Sea and islands disputed by Japan and The Philippines.
In the 1870s, European nations began their practice of dividing the world among themselves. In the 2010s, the dimensions multiply; competition has truly become a global affair. Paradoxically, it is competition that requires cooperation on many levels.


With the Uranus-Pluto square effective period about half complete we have seen the following:

  1. Arab Spring
  2. Syrian Civil War
  3. Great Recession and slow recovery
  4. Eurozone Crisis
  5. Ukranian Crisis
  6. US  Government dysfunction
  7. Rise of BRICS
  8. High Unemployment in West
  9. Globalization Side Effects
  10. Dire Environmental warnings
  11. Privacy undermined in the Information Age
  12. 3d Printing, Higgs-Boson,smartphones
  13. Occupy, Inequality and the 1%

 The large number of issues spread across a wide spectrum suggest, as many have reported, that the world now stumbles through a fundamental transition. Is it one equal to what the world saw in the 1870s? That is what this series deems to discover.


Comparison Strategy

No two historical periods can ever be exactly the same. At the same time, it has to be of some interest that three major global economic downturns came at or near the last three Uranus-Pluto  squares. Moreover, how do opening squares differ from closing ones? Does history offer any clues?

To answer these questions we need to carefully parse how the 1870s and 2010s cannot be the same: the surrounding circumstances. These we can see via surrounding celestial mechanics:

1870s Uranus-Pluto Square  2010s Uranus-Pluto square 
  •  First square of 1851Uranus-Pluto1965
  • Square in Fixed signs
  • Last Uranus-Pluto/Uranus-Neptune
    hard aspect of
    1399Neptune-Pluto1891
  • Adjacent to 1867-1872
    Uranus-Neptune square
  • Saturn-Uranus-Pluto
    t-square 1875-1877
  • Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Pluto
    grand cross 1875
  • in Fixed signs      
  •  First Uranus-Pluto square
    of 1892Neptune-Pluto2384
  • No other Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
    hard aspects within two decades
  • Saturn-Uranus-Pluto
    t-square 2010-2012 
  • In Cardinal signs
  • Five exact squares 2011-2015       

Historical events do not occur in a vacuum, isolated from one another. Turning points relate to other ones in complex combinations. Any method that attempts to model the flow of history their relationship into account. In a way, measuring history, matching outer planet synodic pairs to the rhythms of time, does this for us; we are guided by the reality that we must see Earth events connected to celestial ones holistically instead of piece-by-piece. Each event, each turning point plays its part in the bigger picture. 
In the 1870s case, the square followed a Uranus-Neptune square, ending five years previous; it was followed twelve years later by the 1890s, once every 495-years Neptune-Pluto conjunction. For the 2010s version, the closest hard aspect among Uranus, Neptune and Pluto appears a bit less than two decades on either side. The Comparison will show why this matters .


What to Expect

The 1870s was a VERY busy decade. German unification suddenly filled what had been a power vacuum in Central Europe. Nothing could remain as it once was after that. Simultaneously, a bit player on the edge of European influence just as quickly became an immovable force. The old ways would no longer be able to stem the new.
With so much going on at once, no author could possibly cover all that's required in a blog piece or two.That is why this is a series. As far as number of events, the 2010s certainly equals the 1870s in both frequency of important issues and gravity. It will require more than a few words to do the comparison justice.
To make it more digestible the Comparison will appear in intervals in various forms, from perhaps an image that catches a zeitgeist  to feature-length articles to videos and podcasts, expect it various media. As with any Measuring History work, all thoughts are appreciated and will likely receive a response.