Reading the words of the young people whose quotations we've published in our first edition, I was touched by how articulate and honest the responses were. I never dreamed they would be so moving, or direct, or immediate and real.
At first, I considered using the quotations selectively. It became obvious pretty soon that we needed to use the whole statement; so we've given you every word of what we received, barring accidental omission. Every word deserved to be published. Young people bear the entire brunt of the world we adults are creating; few people ask how they feel, and hardly any care. It's time to listen, to hear, and to learn how to deal with the information.
"We're going to be left with so many problems that will need to be fixed for the world to continue existing," said one young man, Jules, who is 17. Were you thinking about that at 17? But you don't have to watch CNN for more than an hour to get the idea.
It seems the young people we contacted have a lot to say about their world, their families and their experience here. It's a difficult to imagine the minds of people not quite out of junior high school, some much younger, being so preoccupied with world conditions, but we owe it to them -- those who will inherit the planet from us -- to listen to what they have to say.
We need to ask: is there any chance that their lives will be about finding out who they are? Or have the pressures they're under forced them to make up their minds rather early on?
Reading the charts of each of our correspondents had some strange moments: particularly seeing planetary aspects that I'd been following for the horoscope column, or as part of my basic astrological education, come to life in the form of thinking, speaking human beings. All along, I and other astrologers have been providing the voice, often a voice of speculation. Suddenly, those patterns, once reflected only in history and in the psychology of adults alive at the time, were speaking for themselves.
Some of their comments reflect what astrologers call "generational themes" in their charts. This sense that the world is recreating itself under their feet has much to do with the rather shocking planetary movements in Capricorn through the late 1980s into the mid-1990s. Capricorn -- when it's working well -- is where we seek stability, the safety of meeting the expectations of others, and coexisting with established patterns of authority. When you are young, the right kind of authority is reassuring. It's deeply necessary.
Mix a couple of outer planets in with Capricorn and you get something rather different: change and chaos. We've all lived through that something, which peaked with the Uranus-Neptune conjunctions of 1993.
An aspect that occurs every 171 years, Uranus-Neptune is one of the great harbingers that society itself is changing, irreversibly and into something we will not recognize. And because this one happened in Capricorn, it was acted out in the lives of adults around them. When people are born in times of great conjunctions like that, they can feel the energy more or less personally, depending on where the conjunction falls in their chart.
Kiara, born near the peak of that energy, says, "It is hard for my dad to find a better job that lets him be home more. I miss him a lot and wish he were home more often. If his bosses didn't want so much money, he wouldn't have to work so much."
She understands something of the nature of capitalism: her father's boss is using him to make a profit. Yet she knows that she's the one paying the price; she feels it personally, and deeply. She has the Uranus-Neptune conjunction in her 4th house, the security base. The 4th represents home, family, father and emotions. The 4th is what's called an angular house -- it's one of the most sensitive in the wheel. What does she really have for a security base? For what it's worth, basically nothing: she was born with the Earth shaking, and that's how she knows it to be. This astrology could come in handy in her lifetime, where there will be so much more change than her parents experienced.
Like many of the young people who have commented in this section, Kiara has Pluto in Scorpio. People born with this placement know that there are things more powerful than themselves in the world. They grew up when Aids was making the news every night. This put death front and center into their lives, and taught them that lifestyle choices can have consequences. The Pluto in Scorpio generation were the ones who grew up under the Say No ideology first delivered by Nancy Reagan, and for much of that generation, the message was plastered all over TV. Now, it's been institutionalized into the academic system. Perhaps it's a good idea to teach responsibility, but at what point does the matter of free choice take effect?
People born in the 1950s were told they could have fun and accomplish great things. To say the least, we now live in a different world. Many young people are wondering whether there is even a future.
Lurita, 16, reveals the 'life or death' nature of Pluto in Scorpio and the feeling of that era when she says, "I think that for a wrong choice or one mistake you can destroy your dreams."
This is from a young woman with Saturn in Aries exactly rising: serious, serious. Every impulse of her vital force is going to be checked against the necessity to be responsible, and against the question of who is in charge.
She vividly describes a life in which she has exceedingly little control, in which she cannot stop. "The image I have of myself growing is that I am in an electrical staircase that's always going up, and I have the choice of climbing with my legs at the same time or to stop. But the stairs are going up even if I stop." Note that she has a Sagittarius Moon, a placement once known for its eternal optimism. At least we can say she has a ray of hope for not giving up.
Pluto in Scorpio (1983-1995) places a lot of emphasis (Pluto, to the point of obsession), on the money and resources of others (Scorpio). "In my old school, the kids were poorer and they didn't act like money was so important," Ayanna, age 12, writes. "They were more fun and nicer. It seems like the more money a kid has, the more rude they are." Remember: her peers have very similar astrology to her own. She has picked up on the relationship between money and the presumption that one has power. She can feel it because she's on the short end of the economic bargain. What she gets is in return is her humanity, difficult to avoid with a Virgo Moon.
Some see the much bigger picture. Kate tells us, "I feel as if the world is coming to an end. Day by day, there seems to be more hatred and anger and it makes people lose faith -- if there is a God, if we can be helped. People suffer in their jobs, lovers are being sent to war, and people are getting sicker." This girl has a Virgo Moon and a lot of Aquarius. She's going to deal with it by helping people. She's not going to give up her ideals. With Chiron in her 1st house, she may not feel very powerful now, but she's going to find her power; of that there is no question, if you ask me.
Katherine also has a lot of Saturn in her chart. "The world sucks. Everything is so corrupt. Like my family. Nobody is there for me, and my mom only cares about her boyfriend since she left my dad. I have to find other adults to talk to. I don't have a family." This is from a girl who not only has a Capricorn Moon, but also one with Saturn sitting on it. She's having a very hard time taking in nourishment in a time when there is very little to go around to begin with.
If your child has a Capricorn Moon, make sure you put about five times the energy into unconditional love that you think you should. Don't teach them to make dinner for themselves, till they really want to. Such strong Capricorn -- and to some extent, most of these kids have strong Capricorn -- is an experience of childhood without being able to be a child. As the Moon often represents the childhood experience and personality, it's a really good idea to know your child's Moon sign and have some good resources for understanding its special qualities.
Over and over, it seems necessary to ask: are any of these children having a childhood? Or are they entirely preoccupied with the needs, issues and experiences of their caregivers, and the cares of the world? If we want a world where the adults are capable of acting as adults (something we all know is in short supply), we had better make sure our kids have some real experience of being kids.
What we get from these responses and the associated astrology is a starting point. These comments and charts begin the discussion and, it seems, set the reality framework for the lives that we are not living -- but which they are. From generation to generation, the world is a radically different place, and each new wave of humanity experiences it their own way. Astrology gives us a point of reference; a means of contrast; a way to measure time and progress.
But it's really much more personal. What is the best way to help the children of this generation adapt to the world they live in? What do they need from us? How can we help them? How can we protect them, and how can we make their burden a little lighter? Between what they say and what their astrology says, we do have a chance to understand their special needs, and see a little more deeply into their hearts and souls than they might otherwise reveal, or be able to reveal.