Are we anticipating the next ‘Summer of Love’? It’s a phrase that originated, of course, back in 1967, during the glory days of the ‘hippie’ counterculture in San Francisco and beyond. But what was happening astrologically during that ground-breaking cultural moment of yesteryear, and what do our current astrological transits tell us about this summer? The social phenomenon of the 1960s saw the youth of America united around the constellation of ‘free love’ (sexual revolution against repressive, monogamous heteronormativity), ‘flower power’ (which would lead to mass protests against the Vietnam War), and expanded consciousness through meditation, Eastern mysticism, and mind-altering psychedelics like LSD. Ultimately, the Summer of Love – and its enduring aftermath ¬– was about radical new forms of self-expression and self-understanding, but it also represented a sharp cut in the ultra-conservative fabric of American culture. Astrologically, the Summer of Love was peaking within a heavy-duty decade of transits, most notably a Pluto-Uranus conjunction, which happens roughly every 140 years (the next one is in 2104). This conjunction saw two ‘social change’ planets joining forces to help rework social norms. Indeed, Pluto’s planetary influence is about transformation through destruction and regeneration. It’s helpful to think of Pluto as the cosmic bulldozer, breaking new ground and digging up earth to build something new. Pluto’s transits generally connect to broader social movements and changes. Similarly, Uranus – which is the first planet beyond the controlling influence of law-giving Saturn – is often interpreted as that which rewrites the rules. Think of Uranus as the Joker card; it is unpredictable, wild, and off kilter. A Uranus-Pluto conjunction, then, is always about radical change, ground-breaking innovation, new order, or turning old ways upside down. During the Summer of Love, this transit was occurring in conservative Virgo – an earth sign known for restraint, cleanliness, and prudishness. So here we see a nice cosmic tension between Virgo’s vibe of starched white collars and the madcap disruptive energies of Pluto-Uranus, which manifested in the Summer of Love’s tie-dyed psychedelic haze of intellectual, sexual, and Dionysian artistic freedom embodied by the zonked out, pure-Uranus guitar solos of Jimi Hendrix in his technicolor brilliance.
'The Summer of Love – and its enduring aftermath ¬– was about radical new forms of self-expression and self-understanding'
Within this overarching cosmic drama between Virgo and Pluto-Uranus, a number of other interesting planets played contributing roles. Most notably Neptune, the dreamiest of the planets, and ruler of the sea. Because of this dual association with the dream world and the oceanic element, Neptune is best thought of in terms of expanded forms of consciousness. During the Summer of Love, Neptune was ‘sextiling’ (when a planet is harmoniously placed at 60 degrees from another on the zodiac wheel, adding sweetness to the conjunction) the revolutionary combination of Uranus and Pluto. The result forms a lovely astrological formula when we include Neptune into the Summer of Love’s astrology: Pluto (revolutionary transformation), plus Uranus (wild card innovation), plus Neptune (expanded mind) equals a moment of radical new thinking, mindfulness, and psychedelic becoming.
From our now distant vantage point of summer 2021, it’s a bit hard to recognise how ground-breaking the Summer of Love movement was. However, free love, anti-state mass protest and mind-expanding consciousness (not just through psychedelics and cannabis, but meditation and yoga, too) are all now part of our way of life. We have the Summer of Love to thank for that – and if you believe in astrology, to the power of things like the Pluto-Uranus conjunction, too.
Is there any such conjunction out there for us during our upcoming summer of 2021? Is there any alignment that might influence changes in the coordinates of human consciousness, politics, and our erotic lives? Depending on your preferences, we’ve got a much lighter summer in store for us this year than in 1967.
So what do the stars say? Venus is going to be flitting around, as usual, eventually settling in Leo in late July. This will be a nice transit, which will have us feeling extra big and centre stage (Leo), and extra amorous and attractive (Venus). It’s a diva transit. There will be a bit of a malefic Mars influence in Leo, however, from mid-July. Mars brings energy, but also competition, so there will be fireworks as we move into August.
Another big transit to be aware of occurs on 13 May. Jupiter is leaving Aquarius, where it has been the house guest of taskmaster Saturn. Aquarius and Saturn have been killing Jupiter’s expansive mood, but when Jupiter enters Pisces, expect some warm summer love. Why? For one: Jupiter rules Pisces, meaning it feels at home there. Both Jupiter and Pisces don’t like limits or borders, so together they’ll foster broad-mindedness, charity, and compassion for others. We will all be feeling more at home in the world and less socially distanced, both physically and emotionally. To make matters better, dreamy Neptune – who also rules Pisces ¬– will be hanging out in that sign, too. So we have Neptune (oceanic expansion) and Jupiter (benefic expansion) in Pisces (watery, borderless togetherness) all mixing together until mid-July. This marks a great start to summer; one that might have us feeling open and free, like the original Summer of Love, after all.