Chapter 10

THE GENERATIONS, A TO Z

by E. Alan Meece
from Horoscope for the New Millennium (copyright 1997 by E. Alan Meece and Llewellyn Publications)

People who are born and grow up in roughly the same period of history share many characteristics. Their attitudes are formed by common experiences. These are "the generations," and we can paint a miniature portrait of each of them by using the outer planets as "brushes." The traits of each group are revealed by the signs which the three outer planets are in when they are born, and the mutual aspects they make in their birth charts.

The youth of the 1990s are famous as "Generation X." So counting backward from them, we can give each generation a letter in the same series. But since a "generation" like Generation X is supposed to last about 20 years, and the positions of the outer planets usually change faster than that, there are also sub-groups within each generation which I have called, for example, Generation X-a, Generation X-b and so on. The sequence of modern generations starts with Generation T in 1885; the last Generation A would have lived about 400 years earlier. Generation T was very similar to Generation X; in fact, it was the previous "lost generation."

Before Generation T, however, there was an inventive, idealistic generation that shaped modern culture. The last of this group, called "the modernists," were born from 1878-84 and had Uranus in Virgo in trine to Neptune in Taurus, with Pluto in Taurus. We shall call them Generation S-c, although they could also be called the first of Generation T. Most of the modern artists and scientists of the early 20th Century, and many of its most visionary political leaders, came from this creative group. They were idealistic, yet practical. Examples: Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk), John Barrymore, Georges Bracque, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Albert Einstein, W.C. Fields, James Joyce, Henri Matisse, Benito Mussolini, Pablo Picasso, Sam Rayburn, Franklin Roosevelt, Oswald Spengler, Joseph Stalin, Igor Stravinsky, Leon Trotsky, Harry Truman.

"Seekers and founders," 1885-1897 (Generation T-a) (Neptune conjunct Pluto in Gemini; Uranus in Libra and Scorpio) These courageous people provided most of those who laid the political and cultural foundations of today's world, often following the course begun by the previous, more inventive generation S. Very sensitive, they loved to explore life's mysteries. But they had to be sharp, ruthless and adaptable in a collapsing world. Many of them died in the Great War; others experienced the upheaval of the 20th Century to its fullest. Examples: Jack Benny, Neils Bohr, Pearl Buck, Chiang Kai Shek, Charles De Gaulle, Will Durant, Jimmy Durante, T.S. Eliot, Dwight D. Eisenhower, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Francisco Franco, David Ben Gurion, Martin Heidegger, Adolf Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Aldous Huxley, Nikita Khruschev, Sinclair Lewis, Huey Long, Mao Tse Tung, Groucho Marx, Jawaharlal Nehru, Eugene O'Neill, Juan Peron, Dane Rudhyar, Josip Broz (Tito), J.R.R. Tolkien, Arnold Toynbee, Grant Wood.

"The flaming wits," 1898-1904 (Generation T-b) (Uranus in Sagittarius opposite Pluto in Gemini; Neptune in Gemini and Cancer) Many revolutionaries come from this group, along with many free-wheeling spirits. They were the "flaming youth" of the roaring 20s. Quite irrepressible, they made great actors and writers. Examples: Louis Armstrong, Humphrey Bogart, Chou En Lai, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Thomas Dewey, Marlene Dietrich, Walt Disney, Enrico Fermi, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Ernest Hemingway, Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope, Ayatollah Khomeini, Andre Malroux, Margaret Mead, Wayne Morse, Aristotle Onassis, George Orwell, Linus Pauling, Benjamin Spock, John Steinbeck, Adlai Stevenson, Strom Thurmond, Spencer Tracy.

"The organization men (and women)," 1904-1913 (Generation U-a) (Uranus in Capricorn and early Aquarius, opposite Neptune in Cancer; Pluto in Gemini) Bold and adventurous, many of these people were also emotionally unstable, secretive, extreme or fanatic. Though often dissatisfied with their lot in life, most remained conservative and traditional; experts at rising within the ranks and interested in business. Those born 1912-13 border the next group. Examples: Spiro Agnew, Leonid Breshnev, Warren Burger, Albert Camus (1913), William Casey (1913), Norman Cousins (1912), Richard J. Daley, Henry Fonda, Gerald Ford (1913), John K. Galbraith, Barry Goldwater, Dag Hammarskjold, Rex Harrison, Katharine Hepburn, L. Ron Hubbard, Howard Hughes, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, Marshall MacLuhan, Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon (1913), Lawrence Olivier, Tip O'Neill (1912), Ronald Reagan, Nelson Rockefeller, Dean Rusk, Jean Paul Sartre, Robert Young.

"The techno-altruists," 1914-1919 (Generation U-b) (Uranus in Aquarius, Neptune in Leo, Pluto in Cancer) This group is similar to the previous one, but is more intellectual and more dedicated to social ideals. They were very charismatic leaders or personalities and provided most of the corporate technocrats. They were the knights of Kennedy's "Camelot." Examples: Leonard Bernstein, Walter Chronkite, Jackie Gleason, Paul Harvey, John F. Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, Robert McNamara, Howard Metzenbaum, Edmund Muskie, Gregory Peck, William Proxmire, Anthony Quinn, Anwar Sadat, Arthur Schlesinger, Pete Seeger, Sargent Shriver, George Wallace (1919), Mike Wallace, Alan Watts, Caspar Weinberger, Orson Welles.

"The warm souls," 1920-1929 (Generation V-a) (Uranus in Pisces, Neptune in Leo, Pluto in Cancer) This group is inwardly secure and confident. They are conventional, warm-hearted and sensitive and are subject to strange mystical experiences. Though humanitarian, they have made generally poor political leaders. But many excellent actors and poets come from this group. Examples: Marlon Brando, David Brinkley, Richard Burton, George Bush, Johnny Carson, Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro, Judy Garland, Allen Ginsberg, John Glenn, Alexander Haig, Joseph Heller, Lee Iaccoca, John Paul II, Robert Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Timothy Leary, Jack Lemmon, Norman Mailer, George McGovern, Don Rickles, Rod Serling, Sen. Paul Simon, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnigut.

The last part of this group (1927-29) has Uranus in Aries; thus is more rebellious, activist and individualist: Cesar Chavez, James Garner, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, Patrick McGoohan, Harvey Milk, Walter Mondale.

"The rebels without a cause," 1930-35 (Generation V-b) (Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Cancer; Neptune in Virgo) This is an unpredictable, sometimes wild and explosive group that provided the leaders of the "Beat Generation." They make innovative, caring leaders, but often lack specific goals and are insecure or unsure of their direction. It is the first generation born after Pluto's discovery, so it and succeeding groups are sometimes less wedded to ancient traditions. Examples: Marshall Applewhite, Mario Cuomo, James Dean, Michael Dukakis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Dick Gregory, Jim Jones, Jack Kemp, Ted Kennedy, Ken Kesey, Paul Krassner, Charles Kuralt, Jerry Lee Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Charles Manson, Bill Moyers, Ralph Nader, Leonard Nimoy, Peter O'Toole, Ross Perot, Elvis Prestley, Dan Rather, Carl Sagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Anton Wilson, Boris Yeltsin, Andrew Young.

"The silent generation," 1935-1939 (Generation V-c) (Uranus in Taurus, Neptune in Virgo, Pluto in Cancer) With all three planets in passive signs, they tended to be shy, quiet, conforming, moody, dreamy, sympathetic and introspective. But sometimes they have become outspoken due to their desire to help others; and like the previous group can be quite unpredictable. Examples: Woody Allen, Bruce Babbitt, Warren Beatty, Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, Judy Collins, Jane Fonda, David Frost, Gary Hart, Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Jordan, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Sam Nunn, Ted Turner.

"The war babies," 1939-1946 (Generation W-a) (Uranus in Taurus/Gemini, trine Neptune in Virgo/Libra; Pluto in Leo) This group provided the leaders of the "60s generation." They are outspoken, visionary and unconventional, but they burned up much of their energy in their youth (Gemini). Impulsive, confident, spontaneous and restless, they are rebels with a cause and can become great leaders. But perhaps they have been too fickle or adaptable to remain true to the great ideals of their youth. This group and the next are very musically talented. Examples: Muhammed Ali, Joan Baez, The Beatles, Joseph Biden, Chevy Chase, Robert DeNiro, John Denver, Bob Dylan, Richard Gephardt, Newt Gingrich, Tom Hayden, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Jackson, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Ted Koppel, Oliver North, Pat Schroeder, Tom Selleck, Pete Townshend, Paul Tsongas.

"The baby boomers," 1946-1956 (Generation W-b) (Uranus in late Gemini and Cancer, square Neptune in Libra; Pluto in Leo) This populous group is famous for its idealism and provided the "shock troops" for the sixties rebellions. These "flower children" are outgoing, warm, adventurous, confident, outspoken and exhibitionist; but less original than the war babies. Born to prosperous but uncertain times, they were called "spoiled" and "impatient;" yet although they dropped out as "hippies," they also became the first "yuppies" (young urban professionals). They insist on their creative autonomy (Leo), but also long for union with others (Libra); so some of them are emotionally insecure or inconsistent. Examples: Cher, Bill Clinton (1946), Kevin Costner, Billy Crystal, Al Gore Jr., Jay Leno, David Letterman, Joe Montana, Jane Pauley, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, John Travolta, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey.

"The baby boomers, part two," 1957-62 (Generation W-c) (Uranus in Leo, Neptune in Scorpio, Pluto in Virgo) This group was too young for the sixties and so are more conventional in their approach to life. They are talented investigators or analysts and provide many of the "yuppie" computer professionals. Most in this group are self-contained, shrewd, secretive, careful, tenacious, calculating and capable. They are more thoughtful, hesitant, reflective and unsure than the elder boomers, but often no less outgoing and exhibitionist (since Uranus is in Leo). In fact, many in this group have already made quite an impression in the show business world. Examples: Scott Baio, Matthew Broderick, Katie Couric, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, Woody Harrelson, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Demi Moore, Eddie Murphy, Donny Osmond, Sean Penn, Prince, Tim Robbins.

"The techno-punks," 1963-1969 (Generation X-a) (Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo; Neptune in Scorpio) It was said that the "punks" were the hippies of the eighties. This group is free-wheeling, impulsive, clever and resourceful, but more hard-nosed and cynical than the baby boomers were. They grew up in a declining society with little moral direction, and so have been called "the new lost generation" (the old was the group of "seekers" born during the Neptune-Pluto conjunction). They were labeled "Generation X" because they were so unsure of their identity or purpose. Despite having to grow up as "brash, pragmatic, suspicious, skeptical, selfish, sharp-eyed survivalists," this group has enormous creative potential once they find something to believe in. The first children of the computer age, they will undergo many personal upheavals and changes. Great scientists, artists and revolutionary political leaders could emerge from this group. Examples: Lisa Bonet, Kurt Cobain, Gary Coleman, Rob Lowe, Marla Matlin, Sinaid O'Connor, Luke Perry, Jason Priestley, Kiefer Sutherland.

"The mellow ones," 1970-1974 (Generation X-b) (Uranus in Libra, Neptune in Sagittarius, Pluto in Virgo/Libra) This is mostly a friendly, easy-going, confused, flabby, indolent group of "slackers," but it has great potential in music and diplomacy. Not so fanatical and less cynical than their elder brothers and sisters, they are often wise, generous and mature. This group needs to get off its duff and make up for its poor educational background. Once it does, some very talented artists, writers, philosophers and teachers may come from this sub-generation. Examples: Christina Applegate, Kirk Cameron, Neil Patrick Harris.

"The explorers," 1975-1981 (Generation X-c) (Uranus in Scorpio, Neptune in Sagittarius, Pluto in Libra) This group is more intense, exuberant, and disciplined than the previous one. They are "mellow," but also very cynical. Relationships and sex are important to this generation, like other recent ones. Many children of the seventies and eighties feel the need to fill the cultural void in their lives by exploring the unknown and traveling widely. They see the lurking danger to their future, so the best of them are driven to investigate the roots of our problems. But others may act out their alienation destructively. Examples: Macauley Culkin, Fred Savage.

"Explorers, part two," 1982-84 (Generation X-d) (Uranus and Neptune in Sagittarius, Pluto in Libra) Temperamentally this exuberant group is more like the "mellow ones," but they are also definitely "explorers." They are undisciplined and unfocused, but probably very positive and mature otherwise. This transitional sub-generation will be a great source of visionaries, adventurers, humorists, storytellers, writers and philosophers, but don't look for too many great political leaders.

"The benevolent entrepreneurs," 1984-88 (Generation Y-a) (Uranus in Sagittarius, Neptune in Capricorn, Pluto in Scorpio) This is a more ambitious and well-disciplined group. It will include many far-seeing and important leaders and entrepreneurs. Though most will probably be on the conservative side, many will organize great projects for the public benefit. They feel a great duty to society and Humanity.

"The committed ones," 1988-1995 (Generation Y-b) (Uranus conjunct Neptune in Capricorn, Pluto in Scorpio) This is a group with outstanding potential. It is a very precocious generation, but won't burn itself out in youth. They are steady, persistent, determined, ambitious and passionate. They have great talent in the arts, politics and organization, and they may be the great leaders who lay down lasting foundations for a new age of civilization. On the other hand, some might consider them too cold, calculating, rigid, worldly or obsessed with their own goals.

"The flame throwers," 1996-2003 (Generation Y-c) (Uranus in Aquarius, Neptune in late Capricorn and Aquarius, Pluto in Sagittarius) This will be a very outgoing, irrepressible, exuberant generation, quick to question authority and convention. They will be brilliant intellectuals, inventors, reformers and propagandists.

"The universal free spirits," 2003-2010 (Generation Z-a) (Uranus in Pisces, Neptune in Aquarius, Pluto in Sagittarius/early Capricorn) Their successors will be similar, but more easy-going, sensitive and poetic. They will follow the paths laid down by the previous two generations, but will show greater brilliance in the imaginative arts. As the first of Generation Z, they will teach compassion for Humanity as we all reach the "omega point" of universal human awareness after 2012.

"Lonely rebels," 2011-2018 (Generation Z-b) (Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn; Neptune in Pisces) This group will be similar to those born in the early 1930s. Like them, they will be confused rebels or lonely seekers in their youth. Growing up in times of crisis, they will insist on breaking free from authorities and blazing their own path, however unsure of where it might lead them. Highly visionary, in later years some of them will be able to adapt and find a powerful leadership position within society.

"Silent searchers," 2018-2025 (Generation Z-c) (Uranus in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces, Pluto in Capricorn) This generation will be very similar to the "silent generation" of the late 1930s. Confused seekers like their elder brothers and sisters, they will quietly keep many of their hopes and dreams to themselves until later in life, when they will effectively act on their desire to help others. But many in this group will be acquisitive and conformist due to their overweening desire for security.

"Green pioneers," 2025-2032 (Generation A-a) Uranus in Gemini trine Pluto in Aquarius; sextile Neptune in Aries. With this generation we start our letter count over again and arrive back at "A" (the last such generation A having lived about 500 years ago). Like the "war babies" of the 1940s, this will be a highly idealistic, inventive, dynamic and creative group determined to change the world. Instead of "dropping out" or protesting against society as their grandparents did, these people will be intensely active and goal-oriented. They will be the young leaders of the "Green Revolution" at mid-century, intent on transforming the world no matter how disruptive it may be to the peace or the status quo.

GENERATIONS IN AMERICA

William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote a best seller (explained in the San Jose Mercury News, March 31, 1991) entitled Generations: The History of America's Future. They have no knowledge of astrology as far as I know; nevertheless this book has become quite famous in the astrological community. Why? Because the length of the "generational cycle" they describe is 80 to 90 years; the same as the time Uranus takes to travel around the zodiac (84 years). The authors described a repeating pattern of generations whose characteristics largely determined American history; and therefore, the future. We are each children of the times in which we grew up; we carry that signature through our lives and thus influence history in turn. Strauss and Howe (themselves baby boomers) traced a cycle of 4 types of generation (each about 20 years long) which have reappeared five times since 1584: Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive (perhaps akin to fire, earth, air and water). Each is built around the periodic "great American worldly crisis" that corresponds with the transit of Uranus in Gemini every 84 years: King William's War (1689-97), the Revolutionary War (1774-81), the Civil War (1861-65), and the Great Depression-- World War II (1941-45). About 25 to 40 years later a "spiritual awakening" comes. American history oscillates between these two poles.

The cycle works something like this: the Idealists grow up indulged in a prosperous but spiritually-impoverished world which has successfully navigated the great crisis, and comes of age propelled by a spiritual awakening. They become elder leaders during the next crisis. The Reactives grow up during a spiritual awakening when institutions are being questioned or destroyed. Their elders desert them to pursue religious or personal growth, so they become alienated risk takers and mature into pragmatic managers. Next, the Civics grow up under Idealist parents who give strong moral guidance. In youth they give themselves dutifully to help in the great crisis, brought on by the mounting neglect of secular problems. Afterward they build powerful institutions, only to be criticized as "too worldly" by the next wave of Idealists. Finally, an Adaptive generation grows up ignored and "suffocated" by the great crisis. Sensitive and sympathetic, they emulate and conform to their elders, but in mid-life pursue personal growth and social concern during the next awakening. Interestingly, Strauss and Howe predict another great American crisis for the 2020s, just as astrologers do. Among groups described above, Generations S (modernists), W (war babies and baby boomers) and A (green pioneers) are Idealists; Generations T (seekers) and X (techno-punks and explorers) are Reactives; Generations U (organization men and techno-altruists) and Y (entrepreneurs, committed ones and flame throwers) are Civics; Generations V (the rebels without a cause and the silent generation) and Z (the free spirits and lonely rebels) are Adaptives.

Various astrologers have tried to link these traits with the sign Uranus occupies when they are born. What they often forget is that this is purely a cycle of American history. The key to this cycle is Uranus' karmic return to Gemini, which signals the "great American crisis" every 84 years. It is also the time when the first idealists are born. However, Howe and Strauss sometimes "stretched forward" the generations to conform with events. The Romantic Movement, for example, was so powerful that this "spiritual awakening" had the effect of postponing the reactive generation for over 20 years. In fact, Strauss and Howe had to eliminate one entire Civic generation to make room for their extended "Idealist" generation born from 1792 to 1822. If we make the cycle regular, however (with some minor "stretching forward," depending on other aspects), we can say in general that Idealists are born with Uranus in signs near the Summer Solstice (Gemini, Cancer, Leo; which corresponds to the period when the war babies and baby boomers were born: 1942-1962). These signs have the "narcissistic" and "inward-turning" qualities supposed to characterize the Idealists. Civic generations thus have Uranus in the opposite signs of the Winter Solstice (Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius), which are directed outward toward institutional success. The other generations are born with Uranus near the equinox; they "mediate" between the Idealists and Civics.

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