The words wild and free are everywhere these days (and not just on my business cards and Instagram account). Between the “rewilding” movement that is underway and the civil rights/social justice issues popping up, the words are speaking to something important in the collective unconscious at the present time. And to astrologically minded folks (such as myself) it makes perfect sense why these words would be popping up with perfection. Both the words wild and free are associated with the planets Pluto and Uranus, who just so happen to be completing their last tension-filled square (awkward angle for planets to be in) in the sky.
The dynamic/dance has been on and off since 2012, and you may recognize their energy when Uranus and Pluto were conjunct in 1965-66, which brought the second wave of feminism and the founding of the National Organization For Women (1966). This time was also the beginning of the black civil rights movement. It was understanding how planetary relationships and these patterns in the sky impact us that made me a “believer” in astrology (thanks to classes with astrology and philosopher Rick Tarnas during my time in PCC). Noticing how similar historical events happen under similar planetary relationships cultivates a deep appreciation for how we sensitive humans are impacted by the vast cosmos.
In particular, how powerful planets such as Pluto and Uranus can cultivate planetary change on Earth. Uranus as the planet representing revolution, change, liberation, consciousness, and freedom shakes up and energizes what it touches. And while it is “touching” Pluto, the planet of power, sexuality, transformation, intensity, and instinct, we are certainly in for a wild ride. When these two planets combine forces they can increase circumstances for things such as:
- Increased sexual expression
- Political upheaval
- Liberation of wild woman archetype (thanks Wild Woman Speaks and Rebelle Society)
- Power struggles
- Earthquakes/storms/natural disasters
- Cultural innovation (think tech)
- Space travel
- Quick/intense/unpredictable change
- Uncovering or remembering of esoteric wisdom (hello astrology)
- Tug-o-war between control and freedom
- Environmental protection efforts (let's hope this gets stronger)
Any of this sound familiar? With the palpable transits happening right now I feel obligated to pay homage to these giants of the sky with the collective archetypes and symbols they enliven. In 1851 Henry David Thoreau wrote an essay Walking in which he said, “All good things are wild and free,” during this time Pluto and Uranus were conjunct (as they were in the 1960s). This quote seems the perfect way to express these two planets as a blend of one of our basic human needs (freedom) and acknowledging the wildness that comes with it.
Last year I created the business cards below during the same Uranus/Pluto transit to showcase the etymologies of two of favorite words (desire and consider are my other favorites, post coming soon on those). Wild comes from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root *welt- meaning "woodlands or woods." And not surprisingly the word free evolved from the Old Norse word for love, frja.Together these two potent words speak to me of the woodland-lover Roman Diana and Greek Artemis. She represents our current time that honors Pluto and Uranus perfectly with her instinctual, free-spirited energy.
Artemis was the Hellenic moon goddess of the hunt, wild animals (Pluto), childbirth, virginity (Uranus), and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women. She often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. While Greek Artemis is of unknown origin, the Roman Artemis etymology comes from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine" in reference to the shining moon.
Over a year ago I wrote a post about wilderness and the wild woman. And recently I re-read Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book Artemis: The indomitable spirit in everywoman, and was teary for most of the book as I have always felt closely identified with the woodsy, wandress goddess. I feel deeply protective of women and girls (I’ve actually been kicked off the bus twice for defending women on the bus) and have always felt very much a free-spirit closely connected to reclaiming my virginity. March 8 on Women’s Day, my friend Ashel with Earth Amplified created an amazing music video called “Lady Justice," which clearly calls this feminist/fiery spirit forward. My favorite modern-day Artemises include (both fiction and non-fiction):
- Katniss from Hunger Games (duh),
- Feminist Gloria Steinem
- Diana Nyad (even her name fits, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida),
- Anastasia Ricketts from Fifty Shades of Grey (book, not film as the portrayal feels different) for her willingness to venture into wildness of her own sexuality, emotion, and power struggle.
- Cheryl Strayed who hiked the Pacific Coast Trail alone and wrote Wild
- Environmentalist Rachel Carson
- Civil rights leader Rosa Parks
Each of these women are courageous, independent, and free-spirited. In Bolen's book she mentions the Chipko (translates to "treehugger" pictured right) movement in India in the 1960s. It was the first successful time women saved trees when 27 of them stopped deforestation by hugging trees and preventing them from being cut down. If Artemis were a person today I believe she would be on the front lines of the environmental, social justice, and feminist movements. She would live in the woods with her dog and howl at the moon, you might run into her at Burning Man with her bow, or meet her in the Haight in SF where wild and free still reigns as queen. And then I remember I've met her, in myself and in others who remember we were born wild and free and will continue to be (rhyme intentional).