The Art of Stealing Fire – Uranus in the Horoscope

The Art of Stealing Fire - Uranus in the HoroscopeLiz Greene

Uranus, like the other outer planets, is not easy for the astrological student to grasp because of its collective nature, and is often simply, and perhaps inappropriately, equated with “individuality”. This volume explores the meaning of Uranus in considerable depth, in both its creative and destructive expressions, natally and by transit, linking it with various mythic images and historical events as well as with individual and collective psychological patterns, and using the primary image of Prometheus the Titan to examine just what the creative fire was which he stole from the gods and gave to humankind.

Part One, Uranus in the Birth Chart, begins with using mythic and historical material to amplify and deepen our understanding of the planet, linking these images with psychological states, behaviour patterns, and ways in which the planet is reflected in the individual’s life. The suffering of Prometheus provides us with a vivid portrayal of the price to be paid for Uranian inspiration, and the importance of the ego as a container for Uranus is stressed. The planet’s pathology and inspirational nature are discussed, as well as its placement in each pair of houses in the birth chart. Contributions from seminar participants bring immediate personal experience to the general discussion. Uranus in aspect to other planets is also explored, and its special issues in relation to one’s own attitude toward the body. An example chart from the group is discussed at length to ground the material.

Part Two, The Transits of Saturn and Uranus, examines these two great symbols of the critical stages of the life process, linking them together as well as exploring them individually through the important aspects of their transit cycles. Using the mythic image of the archetypal battle between Ouranos the sky God and Saturn the Titan to highlight the alternating and interwoven critical points of the two planets’ cycles the important issues challenging us at particular ages – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – are discussed in depth. The chart of C. G. Jung, with natal Saturn opposition natal Uranus, is used as an example of the kinds of conflicts and events associated with particular stages of both planets’ cycles, and several charts from the group are then discussed at length to explore not only the transits of these planets to their own places, but also Saturn and Uranus transiting in aspect to other planets in the natal chart.

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Review by Dr Glenn Perry: Astrological Journal, July/August 1997

In the tradition of her Seminars in Psychological Astrology series, The Art of Stealing Fire is actually a transcription of two seminars given by Dr. Greene at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London. Here Greene serves up a stimulating and informative excursion into the mysteries of Uranus.

In Part One, she deftly covers the mythology of the planet by relating it to the figure of Prometheus, the Greek Titan who stole fire from the gods. This is in itself noteworthy, for unlike other treatments of Uranus that employ Procrustean arguments in relating its astrological significance exclusively to the Greek god, Ouranus, Greene supports Rick Tarnas’ thesis that the archetype of Prometheus more fruitfully captures the planet’s essential meaning. Greene goes on to explore Uranus’ placement in houses and its aspects to the personal planets. In Part Two, she interprets the developmental significance of the 29-year Saturn cycle, the 84-year Uranus cycle, and the transits of both planets to other points in the horoscope. Thirty pages are devoted to Saturn and Uranus transits in the charts of audience members.

Greene cuts to the chase when she pronounces that Uranus is not “a planet of individuality”, as commonly claimed. Rather, Uranus symbolises a dimension of the psyche that can shatter one’s sense of individuality if it is not integrated with an authentic sense of self. This is a recurrent theme throughout the book; the Uranian impulse must be monitored, contained, and grounded by common sense and a caring heart in order to prevent being swept away by unbridled revolutionary fervour, and end-justifies- the-means mentality, or the headlong pursuit of progress without regard for consequences. In other words, one has to be an individual before one can harness collective energies for constructive ends.

Greene further develops the thesis of Tarnas’ excellent Prometheus the Awakener (Spring Publications, 1995) by showing how the act of stealing fire symbolises the human potential for enlightenment. Prometheus, says Greene, signifies the capacity to awaken to our divine heritage and become fully conscious of our own godlike creative powers. Prometheus’ punishment of being chained to a mountain-top while an eagle returns daily to pick away at his liver symbolises the price we pay for unactualised Uranian knowledge – loneliness, schizoid alienation, the despair of seeing one’s unrealised potential. Again, the Promethean/Uranian individual has to come down from the mountain-top and implement his/her vision in a manner that brings about the greatest good for the greatest number, i.e. Uranian knowledge must serve in an altruistic, humanitarian end.

After a thoroughgoing discussion of the meaning of Uranus and its various manifestations in human affairs – revelations of cosmic design, awareness of pattern, insights into nature’s evolutionary intent, a valuing of reforms and revolutions, a detachment and revulsion against the body – she explores the incarnations of Uranus in the various houses. This is where we experience radical breakthroughs and “long to offer the world the gift of fire”, says Greene. However, if we have not fully integrated the Uranian impulse for quantum leaps to a higher level, we may resist its promptings and become an enemy of progress. Then, Uranus will impose itself from the outside, disrupting our plans and shattering the flimsy defense we have erected against change.

While it is difficult to find fault with The Art of Stealing Fire, I would have liked more time spent on natal aspects of Uranus (only four pages). Even here, however, the author makes every word count and offers us more than the usual trait-heavy, event-laden descriptions. For example, Greene rightly points out that when Uranus is in aspect to the inner planets those functions are initially subjected to experiences which overwhelm. In childhood the individual is wrenched out of earth-based identifications and personal concerns and forced to develop the capacity of seeing and experiencing a broader universe.

Occasionally, Greene is a bit off with her historical references, claiming Uranus was first sighted in 1784 (it was 1781), and that its discovery corresponded with the dawn of the Enlightenment (it was the peak). Also, her treatment of charts of audience members is a bit sketchy. Paradoxically, these off the cuff interpretations are both the weakness and the strength of the book. While at times I found her conclusions somewhat premature (there is no time for adequate dialogue with the subject of the interpretation), one needn’t read more than a few lines before she startles with a provocative comment, a penetrating insight, or a shocking revelation as to how Uranus may be operating. There are lots of pearls in this oyster.

In the section on transits of Uranus and Saturn (Seminar Two), I particularly liked her emphasis on the emotional impact of a transit rather than simply its psychological meaning. Greene rightly stresses that without a deep and caring empathy for the client’s experience we cannot connect in a way that enables movement. If we cannot descend to the emotional depths to which the client may have sunk, we cannot lead them to a higher ground. We remain merely a faint and distant voice on the mountain top while the client sinks ever deeper into the pit of despair.

The Art of Stealing Fire has a classy look, handsomely bound with large, clear type on acid- free paper. Anyone who desires a fuller understanding of Uranus will benefit from reading this book. Though Dr. Greene necessarily sacrifices depth of thematic development for the conversational style that her seminar format requires, her insights seem to crystallize effortlessly out of her interaction with the audience, giving us a glimpse into her personal philosophy, thoughts, and feelings that might never have emerged without the creative stimulus of questions. Her deep and poetic style reminded me more than once of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Whatever her subject, Greene is herself a revelation, a gift of fire for the astrological community.

© Copyright 1997 The Astrological Association of Great Britain

Review – Horoscope magazine, September 1997

Many students of astrology, and even many professional astrologers, describe Uranus as the “planet of individuality”. This phrase, according to Liz Greene, gives the wrong impression of Uranian impulses, which have nothing to do with personal unfoldment according to an internal blueprint. Uranus is an outer planet, and as such offers a worldview which may be transformative and revolutionary to the collective. Those dominated by Uranus often have little awareness of personal values and personal identity. Greene warns: “Please try to rid yourselves of the association of Uranus with individuality, because if you use this term when you read a chart, you may go badly wrong with it”.

The Art of Stealing Fire is the provocative title of Liz Greene’s latest release, and grasping exactly what this expression means is the gateway to understanding Uranus in the natal chart. Briefly, the archetypal image of stealing fire comes from the myth of Prometheus, who risked the gods’ wrath by giving the gift of fire to humanity. This inspires human beings to think of themselves as powerful, godlike beings. But Prometheus is punished for destroying the natural order; Zeus chains him to a mountaintop, and every day an eagle comes and eats away his liver. Then, every night the liver regenerates itself, so that Prometheus is in a state of perpetual physical and psychological torment. The myth has challenged the minds of Nietzsche, Jung, and other renowned intellects, who discuss the essential meaning of stealing fire. To Greene, this myth is central to Uranus, as much as the more ancient, analogous myth of Ouranos, the original sky god.

The very idea of stealing fire for humanity is so audacious, so bold, so revolutionary. Where does this notion originate? Prometheus tunes us into the mind of God, and into a new perspective of systems and how to perfect them. Those with Uranus strongly placed in their chart tend to view reality through this kind of wide-angle lens. Personal morality is often absent, and an urge to further some cosmic plan is all-consuming. Wherever Uranus is in your natal chart, and the planets aspecting it, this is where you have a window into a larger, more perfect world. Events and relationships with people symbolized by this house tend to be highly unstable, thereby forcing you into a more visionary, if unconventional, viewpoint.

The Art of Stealing Fire was transcribed from two seminars Liz Greene gave last year at the Centre for Psychological Astrology. This work, like her previous books, offers profound insights on the scope and nature of astrology. In this seminar, while she is explaining Uranus, Greene gives a clear conceptual framework for the twelve houses, which are delineated as six pairs of polarities. Uranus in the first house is described as the reflection of Uranus in the seventh house; then Uranus in the second and eighth houses, and so on. The genius of Greene in seeing and explaining the essence of astrological symbols is as deep and perceptive as the earlier master Dane Rudhyar, but without the convoluted phraseology. By investigating Greene’s works, students and professional astrologers are guided through the inner workings of the horoscope, where psychological meaning and archetypal patterns reflect the various levels of consciousness.

Since Greene refuses to follow such a strict, prescribed delineation path for each of the houses, she often gets sidetracked by questions or spontaneous elaborations of central concepts. This makes The Art of Stealing Fire an absorbing page-turner. Often, unexpected comments can throw the reader right off the printed word into a personal reverie, reflecting on the wisdom and truth of what was just said. School teachers, for example, might give pause over her insights on Uranus in the third or ninth houses. These positions give resistance to mental discipline and rebel against learning by rote. Such individuals might be branded as having “learning disabilities”, but their intelligence is not deficient; they just learn in a different way. When considering that one out of six students has this position, the astrologer might see the advantage of redesigning the educational system into one that takes Uranian learning eccentricities into account.

Sprinkled throughout her exposition on Uranus are valuable interpretation techniques and clues. She discusses generational planetary combinations, such as the 1941-42 Uranus-Saturn conjunction, or the Uranus-Neptune square of the early 1950’s. She describes the importance of singletons, the way magic works, how to find morality and the zeitgeist, and where and how hell will break loose in your horoscope. This is all in Part I of The Art of Stealing Fire, along with several explanations of natal horoscopes. Part II goes into the nature of transits, with the focus on Saturn and Uranus, how they are similar and how they are arch rivals.

Saturn and Uranus are depicted as enemies because Greene sees these and all planets as actual gods, in the psychological sense. She describes planets as living energies with intent and volition, just like humans, only very much bigger. The main character of this book, Uranus, “is a force within the psyche that has access to knowledge and how the cosmic system works, and how to apply it to the everyday affairs of human beings”. In Part II, Greene applies her analysis of transits to Carl Jung’s horoscope, offering a fascinating glimpse into his controversial lifestyle. Jung’s chart features a Moon-Uranus square, which undoubtedly was a major factor in his break with Freud, his own mental breakdown, and in his ménage-à-trois affair with his wife and mistress.

The Art of Stealing Fire is teaching at its best. Greene’s methodology is holistic in that by learning about Uranus, you’re also learning how the part reflects the whole. Uranus in the houses, in aspect to other planets, by transit, and in comparison to Saturn is a mini-course in the art of astrology. her approach is mythological and psychological, and by grasping these underlying concepts of Uranus in the chart, you’ve got the means to transcend superficial analysis by keywords.

© Copyright 1997 Horoscope magazine

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