Uranus turned retrograde last night, as it does every year, creating interesting sudden shifts and reversals for citizens of Planet Earth.

Planets don’t really change direction, of course, but because astrology looks at the movement of planets from our perspective on earth it appears from time to time that planets slow down and then reverse course. When this occurs their influence is felt more intensely, especially if our personal planetary radio is tuned to the frequency of that planet (if the retrograde planet is strong in our birthchart) or if we are experiencing a transit of that planet to a planet or point in our own chart.

It could just be a coincidence, but the stock market in the US chose that moment to make the biggest drop since 2006. This was largely driven by a sharp increase in oil prices, proving that increasing supply (since Saudi Arabia had just agreed to begin pumping more oil) is not the cause of high oil prices. Speculation in oil futures is rampant – the last gasp of the Pluto in Sagittarius mindset as Pluto completes its Sag journey before re-entering Capricorn at the end of the year. OPEC is now warning of oil prices reaching $170 a barrel (consider that oil was around $80 a barrel when Bush took office – but that’s another story.

In other reversals, the Supreme Court declared that the right to bear arms found in the second amendment of the US Constitution applies to individuals. For the last 200 years this language has been in contention, and the conservative Supreme Court in this ruling gives free rein to gun ownership. Uranus rules personal freedom and social justice for all, so in some ways this ruling complies with the Uranian desire for equal access. But it also paves the way for the social uprising that is coming when Uranus transits into Aries and begins the square cycle to Pluto in Capricorn.

President Bush removed North Korea from his Axis of Evil blacklist, and in a gesture of cooperation the North Koreans yesterday blew up a nuclear reactor tower. This gesture is largely symbolic, because the agreement signed does not address uranian enrichment or sale of nuclear materials to other rogue nations.

As Uranus travels back through Pisces it will begin a series of oppositions to Saturn that will begin during election day. That opposition cycle will enter its second phase in September of 2009, and will conclude in May of 2010 with the final opposition to Saturn which will then be conjunct Jupiter. The first rumblings of the Uranus/Pluto square begin in the spring and summer of 2010.

Change is inevitable, and change is easier for some of us than for others. Regardless of how well we adapt to change, knowledge is power and understanding the energy behind these cycles help us to be better prepared to navigate them.

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