The Astrology of the Hippy Movement
Aquarius from the play Hair *
The Hippy Movement was less of a movement and more of an unseen force that permeated the minds and hearts of hippies around the world. In cities, on college campuses, in communes hippies everywhere were part of a collective consciousness that appeared rather suddenly in the 1960s. We shared a growing awareness of ourselves, our humanity, and our environment. As we interacted with each other we taught and learned about life, love, sex, drugs, peace, activism, freedom, cooperation, beauty, art, and music. What is so amazing about this font of knowledge is its source. Virtually none of it came from our parents (unless they happened to be very aware themselves). None of it came from our schools, government, or churches (unless you happened to be Buddhist or Hindu or Taoist already).
So where did all this knowledge and awareness come from? Astrologers point to the stars and the positions of the outermost planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Beginning in October, 1965 we witnessed a rare, powerful conjunction of Uranus and Pluto (it happens about once every 200 years or so). Uranus represents the urge to be free. It brings sudden changes usually by destroying the old to make room for the new. It replaces outdated attitudes with new, more constructive ones.
Pluto forces us to transform and regenerate. It takes that which is sick, no longer of value and either destroys it or transmutes it via healing and cleansing into something useful and positive. When the two planets are conjunct (aligned together) their energy intensifies and focuses. Since the aspect occurred in the sign of Virgo, this means the focus was analytical, and critical with an emphasis on communication and service to others. The whole astrological scenario was extremely conducive to revolutionary ideas and activities, if not outright revolution.
A time for love, a time for hate, a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.
The Byrds (Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Indeed revolution was on the agenda, and might’ve happened, if not for another very profound astrological event that occurred in September 1966. This was a sextile (60?) of Uranus (again) and Neptune. This is another positive aspect that represented an unusual combination of powerful energies at work during the period. Again we have the need for freedom combined with sudden destruction of the old ways (Uranus), but this time creating new opportunities (sextile) for spiritual growth, artistic creativity, and idealism (Neptune).
Neptune is symbolic of the higher form of love. With Neptune in Scorpio, the sign of powerful emotions, enormous latent energy, and strong sense of purpose, it’s no wonder there was an explosion of creativity and new ideas in the Arts and Music, as well as spiritual, sexual and chemical experimentation. This aspect, following after the previous one, probably helped people refocus their energies towards transforming themselves, and creating new forms of expression. There’s no doubt that this aspect set the stage for the Summer of Love. Indeed in July 1967, this aspect occurred again (Neptune Retrograde), with Neptune going direct in August, emphasizing the lesson further!
The planet Uranus is key to the Movement’s revolutionary ideas, originality, experimentation, and quest for freedom. Pluto made us toss out the old ways that were useless, transmute that which was worth saving, heal ourselves and our environment, and integrate those new transformative ideas into our collective consciousness.
C’mon people now, smile on your brother,
ev’ry-body get together, try to love one another right now.
Chet Powers (Get Together)
Neptune, the intuitive, idealistic, artistic, inspirational planet was directly responsible for the new forms of music and art that developed. But more importantly, as the higher vibration of Venus, the planet of Love, it helped us see and understand the true nature of universal Love. Love of all things, our fellow man, nature, the planet, the universe, even God, the very source of Love. It’s no coincidence we called our awakening to this knowledge, the Summer of Love.
Neptune also represents escapism, drug use and abuse. This was certainly an important part of the Hippy culture. Besides all the wonderful, creative, inspirational tendencies these astrological events portray, there was a definite downside. Many kids dropped out of school, ran away, got addicted to certain hard drugs, overdosed and some even died. While Hippies relished their freedom, many refused to take responsibility for their actions. Fortunately, the Neptune aspects (conjunction and sextile) were very positive and the long-term effects were likewise very good.
These astrological events, because they involve the outer planets, occur over a long period of time, affect a large number of people, influence social structures and can bring about great changes that take many years to manifest. They also affect generations in different ways since our natal (birth) astrology differs (particularly the outer planets). Whereas one generation may be open to the changes, another might be highly reactionary, as was the case in the 1960s. Even though young people in the ’60s had virtually no power (the voting age was still 21), our in-your-face, extremely vocal radicalism and the violent conservative backlash only served to underline the hypocrisies, outdated attitudes and serious failings of the system.
The deeper, more subtle, changes that the Hippy Movement generated are still being integrated into our social and political structures as well as our collective psyche. It appears that the confluence of planetary influences, combined with a rebellious open-minded generation, a range of innovative ideas, new powerful psychedelic chemicals, and increasing social pressures to conform, succeed, and fight an unwinnable war served to spark individually and collectively a far reaching transformation, unlike any seen before.
When people ask, What happened to the Hippies? they are wondering why the Summer of Love ended. Astrologically, planets and people change their positions over time. What motivated and inspired us astrologically no longer exists. Other forces dominate our lives at the present. However it serves no purpose to forget and bury the past. Let the past inspire us to improve our lives and those conditions surrounding us so that new generations may benefit from our wisdom and enlightenment.
The moral, social, ethical, and environmental dilemmas we face now are but a taste of things to come for our children and grandchildren. It’s time we reexamine our lives, put the past in proper context, learn some important new lessons, and relearn some old ones. I believe that we all have within us this incredible store of knowledge and wisdom. Certain conditions bring it out, be they astrological, social, chemical, or spiritual. We must re-ignite the spiritual lamp so we can light the way for the generations to follow.
* By the way, the words to the song Aquarius (quoted above) weren’t written by an astrologer and make very little sense since the moon goes into everyone’s second house once a month, and Jupiter aligns with Mars almost once a year. Therefore they don’t indicate anything like the dawning of an age. (I suppose they could’ve been referring to the U.S. natal chart progressed into the 1960s, but I doubt it). However, the sign Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus which as you can see was the big influence during the Hippy Movement. I guess the Age of Uranus didn’t quite have the same ring….
Posted by: Skip