Full Snow Moon in Leo, Aquarius Solar Festival 2022 US Pluto Return Cosmic Weather Forecast 

Welcome to the February 2022 edition of the Cosmic Weather Forecast by Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry.

Here in Winston Salem, in January we had rain/ice/snow storms with occasional freezing fog three weekends in a row, but this last weekend Jane and I were in our sunny 70° garden in short sleeves, cleaning up and preparing for spring planting.

View from our balcony - Winston Salem winter ice storm, photo by Jane Sherry

Today, the day before the Full Moon, it's around 30 degrees and hardly a cloud in the sky, with rain coming in a day or two as we get back to 70 degrees in the afternoon.

The roller coaster weather pattern continues this week as we celebrate the Full Moon in Aquarius and the Leo Snow Moon, which occur on Wednesday, February 16, at 11:56 a.m. Eastern time.

The cosmic weather pattern this month, and for the rest of the year to come, will also feature an epic roller coaster ride of unfathomable proportions, which will unleash immense transformations within humanity's collective consciousness, and trigger the eruption of overwhelming powers of creative destruction globally and especially for America as a nation.

The inexorable tsunami of systemic changes in our environment, our political system, our economic relations, and our social relations will challenge each of us as individuals to rise to the occasion, so buckle up and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!

First we'll explore the upswing, the positive acceleration and forward momentum building in this month's cosmic weather patterns. During February we are enjoying a new feeling of freedom of motion, as all planets go direct. Even better news is that they will remain direct throughout March, April and May. 

The Full Snow Moon at 27° 59' Leo offers a golden opportunity for new beginnings and sheds a rosy glow on all our interactions with others at the moment the Sun enters Aquarius, the sign of community and enhanced communications.

Jackdaws Coloeus monedula in a tree, Peja, Kosovo
Arba HatashiCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sabian symbol for 28° Leo is "Many little birds on a limb of a big tree". Here we see intimations of a spring awakening after a long, dark seasonal interval in our lives. We are presented with a potentially confusing array of fresh options as we survey our world. Many competing voices surround us, singing their songs, presenting us with a richly textured tapestry of communications relevant to our unfolding situation. 

We are reminded that we are part of a community. We are urged to raise our voices along with those of others. We are urged to to explore and express our commonality, to find ways to work together with others to usher in a new season. Together we will open the door to new opportunities and new life.

In this way we honor our positive, creative, warm hearted Leonine tendencies within an Aquarian, Mercurial framework of intense intercommunication and community action during this Snow Full Moon in Leo and the Aquarian Solar interval of the seasonal wheel.

Johannes Hevelius's chart of Aquarius and surrounding constellations,
from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia.

At the time of the Leo Full Snow Moon, Venus and Mars, the Divine Lovers, will have  been loosely conjoined in Capricorn, since February 1, signaling an upsurge in romance, personal passions, heartfelt desires and creativity.

At the time of this week's powerful Full Moon, the Venus/Mars conjunction at 16° Capricorn will be exact as the Divine Lovers begin to close in on slow-moving Pluto. All three planets conjoin at 27° Capricorn on March 3, and on March 6 Venus and Mars are again conjunct at the very beginning of their journey into Aquarius. Venus and Mars remain closely entwined through the end of March. 

So let us all celebrate the union of the Divine Lovers, from now through March 31st. This is a most auspicious time for romance, balanced sexual relations, and all spiritual practices and rituals designed to create abundance, prosperity and cosmic fertility. 

For those on the yogic path, this is the ideal time for Tantric practices and meditations designed to unify the energies of Shiva and Shakti in the crown chakra.

The seventh, most elevated chakra is the crown chakra, which is associated with the colors violet, white or gold, and with the Higher Mind, Christ Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness or Krishna Consciousness.

Shiva and Shakti, Mt. Kailash 

Seven is also the number of the seven stages of inner transformation through sustained spiritual practice that enable the yogi to raise the kundalini to each succeeding chakra center, to pierce each center, and to remain centered and balanced as this immensely powerful energy continues to elevate the yogi's consciousness over time.

In the yogic tradition, through arduous spiritual practices, the spiritual aspirant awakens the kundalini energy, which normally lies asleep, coiled in a spiral in the lowest chakra, near the perineum. When the spiritual aspirant succeeds in raising the kundalini to the crown, this is said to be the marriage of Shiva and Shakti, and confers enlightenment upon the yogi, who has now achieved the final goal. 

The energy of the seventh chakra thus represents the marriage of the male and female principles in an alchemical union, and also constitutes the fusion of the lower self with the Higher Self, the attainment of Unity consciousness. 

This month's auspicious astrological alignments provide a cosmic atmosphere unusually conducive to all spiritual practices designed to expand our consciousness and experience the awareness of our unity with the entire web of life which permeates and sustains us on planet Earth at all times.

Flat Top Mountain Meadow, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
photo by Curtis Lang

The Sun and Neptune are conjunct in Pisces on March 11, infusing our everyday consciousness with a growing awareness of subtle energies and spiritual worlds, along with a tangible sense of connection to the earth, the air, and the water elements in our vicinity.

At that time, if you quiet your mind you will more easily hear your Higher Mind, Guides and Teachers whisper in your ear.

If you immerse yourself in the woods, or visit the beach and listen carefully, the wind, the birds, the water, our plant allies and the earth itself will speak to you, and you may even begin to understand their language, bringing you important messages about kinship, and the ways in which you can participate in the restoration of our savaged ecosystem in co-operation with the non human sentient beings, the Elementals and the Nature Spirits.

This beautiful aspect is the prelude to 2022's only major outer planet alignment, which occurs on April 12, when Jupiter and Neptune conjoin in Pisces. This aspect last occurred in 2009 in Aquarius, as Barack Obama entered the White House, the first African American President. We will revisit this important aspect and its ramifications for our spiritual development and for America's culture wars in our next newsletter.

Neptune, courtesy NASA, Voyager 2, 1998

Neptune in Pisces is a significant influence in the astrology of February 2022 as well. As the Sun enters Pisces on February 18, transcendent Neptune will arrive at 22° Pisces, beginning its opposition to the USA’s natal Neptune, which is at 22° Virgo.

A Neptune opposition occurs only once every 165 years, so the last time this aspect occurred in the chart of the USA was in the late 1850s, in the years prior to the Civil War, which began in 1861 as Neptune exited Pisces and entered Aries.

Existing political tensions, anxieties and conflicts in America have been sharpening over the last few years, and there is every reason to expect 2022 and the nationwide Congressional elections held in November to accelerate the process of political polarization, as indicated by the current Neptune opposition.

Neptune will exit Pisces and enter Aries in 2025, the year following the next Presidential election in the USA.

2020 Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Biden/Harris, and red denotes those won by Trump/Pence. Numbers indicate electoral votes cast by each state and the District of Columbia.

The potential for increasing political polarization and bare knuckles brawls in America in the years to come is heightened by the relative decline of America's Empire, the crushing economic burden that is inflaming the American middle classes, and the continuing strength of right wing rebellion that was first sparked during Donald Trump's 2016 election as President.

Many important astrological aspects in the chart of the USA are quite different today than they were in the 1850s, of course, and there is no reason to expect an imminent replay of an all out war between the states, but there is every reason to expect multi-dimensional political conflict at the federal, state and local levels of American government over the next few years. 

How extensive, how intense and how destructive this ongoing conflict will become depends on the interaction of multiple progressed aspects in the American natal chart. One of the most important of those aspects is the Pluto Return.

America's Pluto Return

Image of Pluto taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. 
Colors represent different compositions of surface ices.
Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

If you've been feeling bogged down in heavy, stuck energy, mired in emotional quicksand that threatens to drag you down into your own personal underworld of hungry ghosts, if you're suffering from a recurrence of seemingly fated karmic loops of failed behavior patterns from your distant past, if you find yourself magnifying intractable but minor conflicts into the appearance of cataclysmic existential crises, and if, as a result, you find you can't shake a persistent ominous feeling that your own personal universe is about to undergo total transformation at the atomic level of your reality, then you're probably picking up on the imminent arrival of America's Pluto return.

On February 20, 2022, under a 2°02’ Pisces Sun, Pluto, the planet associated with the dark and fiery underworld of Hades, enduring symbol of humanity's collective unconscious, and fearsome emblem of the creative destruction and elemental transformation of atomic fission will return to 27°33’ Capricorn for the first time in 246 years. Pluto will reach the exact degree found in the birth chart of the United States dated July 4, 1776. This will mark America’s first Pluto return.

Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx, Joachim Patinir, c. 1515–1524. Prado
Joachim Patinir , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, as in the painting above, America is heading across the River Styx, leaving behind a land of lush landscapes, beneficent angels and elementals, and natural bounty, and entering a threatening new world informed by mysterious, dark forces, featuring ravaged landscapes, hungry ghosts, and ominous shadowy presences, all congealed under a darkening sky. That's the realm of Pluto, or Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

In short, America's Empire is crumbling and over the next few years we are all set for a redefining soul journey into a post-Imperial world where America will be stripped of its pretensions, disempowered, and reduced in global stature.

Simultaneously, the bountiful North American ecosystem that was one of the wonders of the world will continue to slowly unravel under the hammer blows of a series of climate change induced extreme weather events that will expose the consequences of our greed and mismanagement.

We will be forced to confront the sad fact that we have depleted our water supplies and our soil, fouled our air, poisoned our rivers and lakes, and created an industrial agricultural wasteland across our national landscape.  

Pluto strips us to the bone, but then, if we have the inner strength, courage, and humility to accept change at the fundamental level of our being, we will acquire the wisdom to take a perilous pathway out of the Underworld and we can be empowered to reinvent our collective world in accordance with newly discovered wisdom and awareness of the limits to our power.

Odysseus questions the seer Tiresias in the Underworld.

Alessandro Allori , 1580, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

That's the ancient story of the heroic journey into the underworld, and of the perils that must be overcome, prior to a personal transformation that allows for a new beginning and a return home. This is the path traveled by Odysseus, Aeneas, Hercules, Orpheus and Eurydice, Proserpina, Inanna, Enkidu, Tammuz, Osiris, and Ushas, Vedic Goddess of the Dawn, among others. 

Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008, so America has been on a long journey across the River Styx since the Global Financial Meltdown, and it is only now that we are poised to disembark in the Plutonic Underworld.

The first exact U.S. Pluto Return occurs on February 20, 2022; the second is on July 11; and the last aspect occurs on December 28 of this year. The influence of slow moving Pluto's return to its position in the US natal chart will be felt through 2024, which is the year of the next Presidential election.

The Death of Aemilius Paulus at the Battle of Cannae
by John Trumbull, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Astrologers often compare the US Pluto return to the disastrous Pluto returns suffered by the Roman Empire. This could be because no modern nation has existed long enough to experience a Pluto return and we must look far back in history to find any analogous situations.

Using 27 BCE as the start of the Roman Empire, Pluto's return occurred in the year 216. That year, during the second of three monumental wars between Rome and the North African state of Carthage, the Carthaginian General Hannibal took a surprising path through the Alps to invade Italy, and killed 50,000 Roman legionnaires at the Battle of Cannae.

This was a powerful blow that nearly brought down the Roman regime, but Roman reserves of manpower were so great that the Romans were able to stage a series of comebacks and eventually defeat Hannibal in the year 202 BCE.

Rome's Pluto return continued through the 220s, which saw the downfall of the Severan Empire and the beginning of 100 years of civil war. Rome's second Pluto return occurred in 461-467 AD, shortly before the revolt and deposition of the last Roman Emperor in 476 AD.

No astrologer has ever personally experienced a Pluto return, since Pluto takes 240 years to return to its place in a natal chart. This severely hampers the ability of any astrologer to extract meaningful, detailed information about the specifics of America's Pluto return.

Rioters outside the US Capitol building holding US flags and "Make America Great Again" flags, January 6, 2021
Tyler Merbler from USACC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, by analogy with the historical record of the Roman Empire, we might expect to see an unprecedented age of instability on America's horizon during and after this country's Pluto return. Visible signs of that instability are all around us.

The Trump supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, following Trump's loss to Joe Biden, are considered insurrectionists by the Democratic Party and by most of the thought leaders in America's news media. Investigations are ongoing. 

But standard bearers of both parties have been wounded by unprecedented accusations and scandal.  Both Republicans and Democrats have accused one another of dirty tricks, illegal political manipulations and collusion with foreign powers since the 2016 elections, which pitted Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton. 

At this point it is hard to know who is more controversial, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Both are burdened with enough political baggage and appear so tainted by scandal that Richard Nixon looks fairly benign in comparison to either of them.

Hillary Clinton and her supporters have long claimed that Donald Trump acted as a Russian agent, a charge elaborated in the Russiagate conspiracy theory, which was investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller at great length.

 Hillary Clinton speaking at a campaign event in Tempe, Arizona,
November 2, 2016
Gage SkidmoreCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

"The conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was an unequivocal rejection of the conspiracy theory that has engulfed Donald Trump’s presidency," Aaron Mate reported in 2019 in Le Monde Diplomatique. "Mueller’s report found no evidence that the Trump campaign for the 2016 US presidential election conspired with the Russian government’s alleged effort to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the release of stolen Democratic Party emails. None of the figures, Russian or not, whose interactions with Trump associates were characterised as potential contacts with the Kremlin turned out to be anything of the sort."

This week, in an extraordinary political turnabout, "Special Counsel John Durham last week released a bombshell report that claimed [Hillary] Clinton's campaign team tried to spy on former president Trump's computer servers in a failed attempt to tie him to Russia," as reported in The Daily Mail.

Special Counsel John H. Durham
United States Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

"A growing chorus of Democrats believe 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should be questioned by special advisor John Durham for her alleged role in the Russian secret server scandal in a poll conducted before bombshell revelations that her team spied on Donald Trump's campaign," the report continues.

"In a poll last month, 66 percent of Democrats wanted Clinton questioned, a whopping 22 percentage points higher than how many in her party demanded a probe last October, according to TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP) research."

Political polarization in America is indeed at crisis levels. The two parties inhabit different conceptual universes, with competing and incongruent, seemingly irreconcilable mental maps of the world. Each party has projected its own inner demons onto the other, in classic Freudian fashion, acting in an unethical manner and attributing unethical actions to the other party. Or perhaps both parties are equally unethical.

Seven of Cups, Emotional Debauch, Osho Tarot

Political scientists expect this trend to accelerate, resulting in a long period of political turbulence in which neither party gains total ascendancy, and neither party currently has the ability to rewrite the political rules of the game so as to claim total victory.

It would take the creation of an autocratic, almost dictatorial political system to achieve that goal in the face of the current divisions and dysfunction. One danger is that both political parties may seek the unprecedented powers necessary to completely rewrite the political game in their favor.

"During a private workshop at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) recent policy summit, speakers discussed a right-wing movement to rewrite the U.S. Constitution to 'balance the budget,' limit the powers of the federal government, and enact term limits on political office holders," reports a recent article from the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

"The group leading the 'Leftist Plot or Plan to Save America' workshop, Convention of States Action (COSA), has been working for years to enlist states into a plan to hold an constitutional convention, where state delegates hand-picked by politicians can vote to amend the Constitution," Alex Kotch reported December 15, 2021 for CMD. "Fifteen state legislatures have voted to convene the broad convention it envisions, nine states have passed a convention bill in one chamber, and 18 additional states have active legislation regarding a convention, according to COSA."

"Two-thirds of the states, 34, must pass a convention call for it to occur, and amendments adopted at a convention must be approved by three-quarters of state legislatures to become part of the Constitution."

So far it appears the Republican right wing is far from able to rewrite the Constitution through a Constitutional Convention, but with a clear majority on the Supreme Court, the de facto reversal of Roe v. Wade's abortion rights, state by state, court case by court case, proceeds apace.

 United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., USA. Front facade.
Jarek Tuszyński / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFLCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Soon the Supremes will consider whether the federal government has the Constitutional right to regulate environmental pollution. We can guess that the outcome of that exercise could well be to gut the Environmental Protection Agency and accelerate the degradation of our already deeply wounded ecosystems.

The right wing Republicans also have been very effective at controlling more and more state legislatures and more and more state offices in charge of drawing up legislative districts and counting votes, putting the credibility of future elections in jeopardy across the country.

Democrats in New York have also recently been very successful at gerrymandering, or redrawing Congressional districts to reduce the number of Republican districts and increase majority Democratic districts. So both parties play the same games. The results of this gamesmanship by both parties will no doubt be damaging to our political system.

"Rather than autocracy, the United States appears headed toward endemic regime instability," explain Professors Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way in Foreign Affairs magazine. "Such a scenario would be marked by frequent constitutional crises, including contested or stolen elections and severe conflict between presidents and Congress (such as impeachments and executive efforts to bypass Congress), the judiciary (such as efforts to purge or pack the courts), and state governments (such as intense battles over voting rights and the administration of elections)."

February 6th 1858: Brawl in the House of Representatives
Runup to the American Civil War


"The United States would likely shift back and forth between periods of dysfunctional democracy and periods of competitive authoritarian rule during which incumbents abuse state power, tolerate or encourage violent extremism, and tilt the electoral playing field against their rivals," Levitsky and Way conclude. 

Aside from our dysfunctional, dramatically divided, even schizophrenic political system, the American Empire faces a set of unprecedented challenges at home and abroad, that bode ill for its future as global leader, policeman, banker and referee.

Emperor Nero at the Gladiatorial Games in the Colosseum 

That will create an unprecedented situation for America's elites, and they are likely to react in a very negative fashion when their unbridled desires are repeatedly thwarted during the next few years. Expect them to punch downward.

What are some of the current emerging crises contributing to our collective Plutonian journey into the American Underworld?

Vladimir Putin's saber rattling on the Ukraine border has destabilized the NATO alliance and underscored Europe's dependency on Russian oil and gas, while forcing America and its allies to recognize the dominance of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines for the foreseeable future.

As 2021 drew to a close Putin presented America with a list of demands which would guarantee Russia's security against aggressive action by America and its NATO allies, especially the possibility of a Western invasion of the Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

Vladimir Putin
Kremlin.ruCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

"In a draft treaty delivered to a U.S. diplomat in Moscow, the Russian government asked for a formal halt to NATO’s eastern enlargement, a permanent freeze on further expansion of the alliance’s military infrastructure (such as bases and weapons systems) in the former Soviet territory, an end to Western military assistance to Ukraine, and a ban on intermediate-range missiles in Europe," explained Dmitri Trenin in a December 28, 2021 article in Foreign Affairsmagazine, a pillar of the American foreign policy establishment elite. "The message was unmistakable: if these threats cannot be addressed diplomatically, the Kremlin will have to resort to military action."

Why is Russia so paranoid about Western aggression and the Ukraine in particular?
Well, first of all, if Western powers, which have been sending Ukraine armaments for years, were to install ballistic missiles near the border with Russia, they could reach Moscow in five minutes, rendering the Russian capital virtually defenseless against a first strike.

History of NATO Enlargement
Courtesy Wikipedia

Secondly, Russia believes that the West has lied about their intentions since the 1990s. Putin claims that George Bush Senior's Secretary of State James Baker made the promise that NATO would not expand to the east if Russia accepted Germany’s unification, in a discussion on 9 February 1990 with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Since that time, NATO has expanded to include fourteen new member states, including several on or near the Russian border, making it appear to any credible observer that the West is attempting to encircle Russia and push its military capabilities as close as possible to Moscow.

Russia has complained bitterly about NATO expansion continuously since 2001, but received no real response. 

While America pursued futile wars of choice in the Middle East under President George Bush, Jr., and President Barack Obama, Russia rebuilt its weak economy and created a truly impressive 21st century military machine. Russia also built the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines to Europe, which has enabled Russia to become the largest oil and gas supplier to core NATO countries. 

U.S.-backed, violent coup in Ukraine, 2014. (Wikipedia)

"In 2008 Russia defeated Georgia in a short but violent war precipitated by a Georgian military assault on the breakaway territory of South Ossetia," explains former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and arms control expert Scott Ritter, in a recent article in Consortium News. "In 2014, Russia responded to the U.S.-orchestrated Maidan coup that ousted the democratically-elected president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich, by annexing Crimea and throwing its support behind pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

"The important thing to note about the current crisis in Ukraine is that while the underlying issues are solely the byproduct of NATO overreach, the timing of the crisis is based upon a Russian timetable defined by purely Russian goals and objectives," Ritter explains. "The goal of Russia is not to destroy Ukraine—this could be accomplished at any time. Rather, the goal of Russia is to destroy NATO."

"This will not be accomplished through the direct use of military force, but rather the indirect threat of military action which forces NATO to react in a way which exposes the impotence of an organization which long ago lost its raison d-etre, collective defense, and instead flounders under the weight of a mission—the containment of Russia—it cannot achieve, and which its membership is not united in pursuing," Ritter concludes.

Several NATO countries have already announced that they will not come to the aid of Ukraine if Russia invades, and there is no expectation that Ukraine will be admitted to NATO at all. The military option does not really exist for NATO.

President Biden has threatened severe sanctions against Russia, but that would hurt America's NATO allies, crater the weak Ukrainian economy, and probably would not deal a decisive blow against Russia, which recently signed a mutual assistance agreement with China. Russia is now poised to become China's main supplier of oil and gas, and can count on substantial economic and military support from the rising Eastern super power.

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping
Kremlin.ruCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Germany and other European countries are dependent on Russian oil and gas delivered through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, and would not welcome a new sanctions regime. 

Russia's Nord Stream 1, which opened in 2011 was supplying an estimated 50% to 75% of Germany's natural gas by 2020, up from 35% in 2015.

Nord Stream 2 is one of a web of oil and gas pipelines being built to connect Russia with European markets, and thus to integrate their economies into what amounts to one large EurAsian market.

Nord Stream 2 is complete and awaits regulatory approval from European governments, which is expected in July 2022. 

Major Russian gas pipelines to Europe
Samuel Bailey (sam.bailus@gmail.com)CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite recent hysteria in the Western press about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is obvious that Vladimir Putin has already achieved his primary goals. He has successfully demonstrated that NATO is a highly fragmented organization, held together only by the authoritarian diktat of the American Empire. NATO's members in Europe and in Turkey have very different agendas from Washington, and as Russian sales of oil and gas to Europe increase over the next few years, that divergence will become ever more apparent.

Washington's military agenda has been to use NATO as a tool to encircle and threaten Russia, using NATO countries as surrogates, but that strategy appears to have no long term future.

As the Russian-Chinese partnership strengthens, the power of the American Empire will grow weaker.

As America's geostrategic power wanes, the US faces the potential for dramatic economic crises in the near future. 


We've all heard about the Everything Bubble. "Today in the U.S. we are in the fourth superbubble of the last hundred years," proclaims legendary investor Jeremy Grantham.

“A bubble is a market cycle that is characterized by the rapid escalation of market value, particularly in the price of assets," explains Investopedia. "Typically, what creates a bubble is a surge in asset prices driven by exuberant market behavior. During a bubble, assets typically trade at a price that greatly exceeds the asset’s intrinsic value. Rather, the price does not align with the fundamentals of the asset."

The current bubbles in cryptocurrency, stocks, SPACs, bonds, real estate and collectibles like NFTs are all driven by the Federal Reserve's pumping of trillions of dollars into banks and financial markets, to stabilize them during the period from the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown through the tepid recovery and the pandemic years we are currently experiencing.

Wall Street firms and banks received virtually zero interest loans from the Fed and speculated wildly on their own account. Large tech companies and risky old economy companies were all able to get low interest junk bonds to finance stock buybacks that increased the value of their stock many times over during these Pluto in Capricorn years.

As a result, American corporations are deeper in debt than ever before. If for some reason, such as inflation, interest rates rise, all that corporate debt will be unpayable. Of course, student loan debt, mortgage debt and credit card debt are all also subject to variable interest rates. So higher rates would probably create vast defaults in those areas as well. 

That's what makes the Everything Bubble so dangerous. Currently we have a high rate of inflation, not seen for decades, and economists are divided about whether it's transitory, a result of pandemic supply chain problems, or a more permanent feature of our global economic landscape.

The Federal Reserve intends to raise interest rates, but the question is how much? And for how long? And how much of a rise will trigger a credit implosion, tanking financial markets and triggering an economic recession?

It is unlikely the Fed can really raise rates sufficiently to stop inflation, if it is more than a transitory phenomenon. It is quite likely that in a best case scenario America will experience inflation and a stagnant economy brought about by slightly higher interest rates over the coming years.

A worst case scenario would be a 50% drop in stock prices and a major recession that would make the Global Financial Crisis look tame.

Nor are America's government finances in order. As we all know, large corporations and high net worth individuals pay virtually no taxes while small businesses like ours pay up to 40% of their income in federal, state and local taxes. 

Meanwhile, the federal government has paid for numerous wars of choice in the Middle East with borrowed money, continuing to fund the Pentagon to the tune of more than $1 trillion per year.

You spend a trillion here, and a trillion there, on guns and bank bailouts and eventually it adds up. Total US national debt is now $30 trillion. The Watson Institute at Brown University estimates that interest payments on the military debt alone could be over $6.5 trillion by the 2050s.

 Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Christopher Courtney assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Six (EODMU-6), Det. 16 assist his team members during Special Purpose Insertion Extraction (SPIE) training from an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) is deployed in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and the global war on terrorism.
United States Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Miguel Angel Contreras, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

While billionaires multiply their obscene wealth every year, nearly half of working Americans struggle to pay rent and buy food, with health care becoming a luxury item. Our CPA pays $1200 a month for Obamacare, and that's supposed to be government subsidized health insurance. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese economy continues to grow and is expected to become the largest in the world by the end of the decade. China's new alliances with Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other Latin American countries are creating a EurAsian colossus that is now encroaching on the American Empire's back yard.

Russia, China, Iran and other American rivals have announced their intention to bypass the dollar when engaging in international trade among themselves whenever and wherever they can.

As we have seen, multiple financial and economic crises are developing in the dollar based global financial order, and it remains to be seen whether or not American elites can manage these problems during the Pluto return years immediately ahead.

In addition, I am sure I do not need to remind readers of this newsletter that the world's fraying ecosystems cannot sustain ever-expanding economic growth in America, in China, in Russia, or in Europe.

There is no future in the great power game of Imperial conquest. If the world's great powers and small countries cannot come to agreements about how to reduce economic activity, curtail global carbon emissions, and begin to restore the quality of our air, water and soil, a global environmental catastrophe that could kill billions of people could be triggered in the decades to come.

As the above chart makes abundantly clear, more than 40 years of international environmental agreements have done absolutely nothing to reduce global carbon emissions or the hockey stick uptrend in global warming.

If America's Pluto Return does not serve as a wake up call to us all, and if we cannot find the strength to meet the environmental challenge before us, the geostrategic, economic, political and cultural crises we are facing as a country will be of small consequence. 

Let us all pray that we can collectively rise to the occasion. We are landing in the Underworld. Strength of will, abundant energy, grace and guidance can lead us through our ordeal, and together we can create a new and better world if we so desire. 

Curtis and Jane, Stone Mountain, North Carolina, Selfie

Jane and I affirm that we all will receive that abundant energy, grace and guidance we require to emerge from this Plutonic decade infused with the love and wisdom we need to create a post-carbon, co-operative global community. The alternative is to be trapped in the Underworld, and that is simply unacceptable. 

Meditation Moment: What am I?

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I will give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song? 

-- Rainer Maria Rilke