Cultural Critics Are Speaking the Language of Astrology… And They Have No Idea

Ada Pembroke
3 min readJun 8, 2021

The greatest gift astrology has to offer this moment is an outsider framework for understanding and critiquing narratives.

I doubt the author realizes it, but The Atlantic’sHow America Fractured into Four Parts” by George Packer builds on and can be read through the lens of an astrological transit that is dominating 2021, the Uranus/Saturn square.

The Uranus/Saturn square is about the clash of opposed forces: tradition and revolution. Saturn, the symbol that represents the authority and commitment to traditional societal structures, is standing against Uranus, the symbol that represents revolution and freedom.

We have been seeing this transit playing out in the streets in the Black Lives Matter movement, the assault on the US Capitol, the farmers’ revolts in India, and resistance to public health measures like mask mandates.

Astrology doesn’t predict which side in these conflicts will win. It only tells us that this is a time for society to be shaken up.

Packer’s article builds on the narrative of the transit by viewing society as divided into two sets of opposed tradition/revolution narratives:

Real (Middle) America vs. Smart (Upper Middle Class Urban) America

Free (Libertarian) America vs. Just (Social Justice) America

The meta-narrative of the article — the story about these four stories — describes an America we all recognize from (social) media.

Like all meta-narratives, however, it is only good at describing the world contained within its map.

Packer’s story misses the wanderers, the people on the margins, the people who have moved between these groups and now belong to none of them.

I am one of those wanderers. I was born in Real America to parents with the foresight to see that world was dying. My parents knew the future for me lay in one of the other groups. They sent me to a Smart America high school and told me to go to college.

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Ada Pembroke

Ada Pembroke is an astrologer from Portland, Oregon.