israel protests cover

Jupiter/Uranus Conjunction Fallout: The American College Protests

As many of you know, I don’t much bother with the planetary patterns of the day.  I mean, I know they’re up there, I just find planetary astrology so frickin’ boring.  Like always getting the fried chicken on a buffet that includes so much more.   And there are plenty of other astrologers covering that base, no need for me to weigh in.

So when protests against the Israeli conduct in their war on Hamas began to erupt on college and university campuses across the US in mid-April, I cast a jaundiced eye skyward to see what was up.  Inescapable was the conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus on April 20th, and my atrophied planetary keyword brain mused, ‘Jupiter = higher education, Uranus = protest.’   I halfheartedly looked for asteroids that would match the nascent story, but found little, so I yawned, rolled over, and went back to celestial slumber.

israel protests columbia sign
Columbia University in Manhattan quickly became the focus of media coverage for the nationwide student protest movement, with asteroid Columbia conjunct the Sun of the Jupiter (higher education)/Uranus (protests) conjunction, and asteroid Manhattan conjoined the conjunction itself

Then a week or so later, things began to heat up, and more proper nouns appeared in news reports.  ‘Now we’re getting somewhere,’ I said to myself, and by the end of the month, I knew I had enough to go on.  So I ran a general chart for the date of the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction, and began to fill in PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) as they became available.  What follows is my research.

Turns out, that mid-April timeframe was chockablock with planetary movement and intensity.  In addition to Jupiter and Uranus on the 20th, which underpinned the restlessness (Uranus) in academic settings (Jupiter), we had a change of direction for Mercury, ruling students and scholastics generally, as well as free speech, the banner which protestors used to cloak their actions. 

Mercury came to its direct station on April 25th, at 17 Aries, conjoined Venus at 19 Aries.  While one couldn’t exactly describe the ensuing acts as a “lovefest,” nor were the words exchanged honeyed (a typical Mercury/Venus trait), Venus also rules our values and ethics, which the students were expressing and questioning (both Mercury); as well as investments, and a prime goal of many of these student protests was to require their universities to divest from companies that do business with or support Israel in any way.  Mercury’s stationary status also reflects the students as “dug in,” refusing to budge from their encampments.

israel protests columbia camp
Columbia’s encampment was one of the largest; with Mercury and asteroid NOT both at station, students (Mercury) were unwilling (NOT) to abandon their cause, remaining dug in (station) for weeks

Also at station, asteroid NOT 2857, a point noted as a general disqualifier, but also an emblem of resistance, reluctance, and refusal to comply.  No ‘go along to get along’ with this guy!  At 13 Virgo, NOT was trine the J/U pairing at 21 Taurus, and turned direct on April 22nd, two days later.  So we have a natural affinity (trine) there between the campus unrest (J/U) and the themes of opposition and obstruction (NOT).

And what were they opposing?  Why, that would be Israel, obviously, as well as the US’ continued support for the war.  What we see celestially reflecting that is NOT’s sesquiquadrate to a pairing of asteroids Israel 7507 and America 916, conjoined at 27 Capricorn and 1 Aquarius respectively, with Pluto also in the mix from 2 Aquarius.  Israel conjunct America depicts the absence of daylight between the two nations, with little more than relatively mild verbal admonishments over this crisis, largely ignored, from one government to the other. 

israel protests columbia hamilton
Columbia students occupied Hamilton Hall the night of April 30th; asteroid Hamiltonia conjunct the Sun, with asteroid Columbia in a Grand Trine with asteroids Hall and NOT, made Columbia’s (Columbia) Hamilton (Hamiltonia) Hall (Hall) a focus (Sun) of the protests (NOT)

Pluto here is interesting:  it represents genocide, which many protestors globally accuse Israel of perpetrating in this conflict.  But it’s also criminal conduct, which many protestors have been guilty of as well.  Free speech is fine; more than fine, it’s appropriate to air one’s views, but when protest crosses the line from public speech to commandeering of open space with tented encampments, occupation of campus buildings, disruption of university life and harassment of fellow students to the point of feared violence, that’s criminal, and should be prosecuted.

Even as J/U linked arms and shat out this manifestation, the Sun entered Taurus, squaring the Plutonian triplicate.  This brought enhanced visibility and attention, a strong focus (all Sun) on the ties between the nations (Israel, America) being protested, along with escalation of criminal responses (Pluto).  With the 0 Taurus Sun was asteroid Universitas 905, at 27 Aries, exactly squared Israel, and both are sesquiquadrate NOT.  Do I need to say more here?  OK I will:  the focus (Sun) on opposition (NOT) to Israeli policies (Israel) and perceived US collusion (America conjunct Israel) centers on (Sun) college campuses (Universitas).

israel protests columbia cops
Hours after the occupation of Hamilton Hall, police were brought in to roust the protestors and clear the camp; Mercury sextile asteroid Polizzi (police) provided the opportunity (sextile) for police intervention generally, but asteroid Columbia conjunct asteroid Copland (cops) ensured that Columbia would become a very visible example

While Uranus governs protest and rebellion in a modern setting, that has only applied since its discovery in 1781 (neatly sandwiched between the American and French revolutions, by the way, and encompassed by the Industrial Revolution – what timing!).  Before then astrologers would look to Mars for these themes.

And so did I.  At the J/U conjunction, Mars at 22 Pisces conjoins both Neptune at 28 Pisces and Saturn at 15 Pisces.  This makes sense – Mars is wars, violence, old-style protest, and conflict.  Neptune rules idealism, fanaticism and zealotry, religion (always at the root of this sort of thing) and poor judgment.  Saturn is the Old Guard, authority, the establishment, administration and bureaucratic hierarches, as well as law enforcement.  Clearly what we’re seeing is an uncomfortable mix of these planetary energies, though nonspecific.

But what brings this down to the granular level and affirms the locale and the outcome is asteroid Academia 829 (for the academic setting), exactly conjunct Saturn at 15 Pisces, and asteroid d’Arrest 9133 (for detention, charges filed, etc) at 23 Pisces, right next to Mars.  We also have two asteroids to reference police directly:  Copland 4532 (‘cop’-land) and Polizzi 31888 (cognate to German Polizei and Italian Polizia, both “police”).  We’ll deal with Copland a bit later, but for now, suffice to say that Polizzi appears at 18 Gemini, squared that Pisces stellium.  So it appears inevitable that at some point, police (Polizzi) would be called in by administrators (Saturn) and arrests (d’Arrest) made of protestors (Mars) overcome by fanaticism (Neptune).  Neptune’s further square to TNO Chaos 19521 at 0 Cancer also suggests the presence of “professional agitators,” individuals who may or may not have a particular interest in what happens in Gaza, but either way, just enjoy spreading mayhem (Chaos) on any excuse.

israel protests UCLA camp
The UCLA protest encampment was established in Royce Quad; asteroid California squares Mercury (students), while asteroid Roy (for Royce) opposes asteroid Israel

One more point to be considered in the Mars cluster here – that’s asteroid Bida 32014, our primary cosmic reference for US President Joe Biden.  At 25 Pisces, Bida conjoins Mars and Neptune, and his perceived ineffectual, anemic, “weak tea” (all Neptune) response to this Middle-east war (Mars) has also drawn the ire (also Mars) of protestors, and young people in general, with support for his reelection by this demographic plummeting over this issue.

The next step was to determine what, if any, celestial connection existed between the specific protest locations and the skies of the day.  New York’s Columbia University quickly became the poster child for what was essentially a nationwide movement, with more than thirty colleges and universities involved in the protests.  That’s hardly surprising, given asteroid Columbia 327 at 9 Taurus within orb of the spotlighting Sun, and asteroid Manhattan 12464 (the university’s location) at 22 Taurus, just one degree past the J/U conjunction.

israel protests poly
Protest at the California State Polytechnic University in Humboldt is reflected as asteroid Polytech squared Mercury and asteroid Humboldt squared the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction

The encampment at Columbia was started by approximately 50 students on April 17th, just three days before the conjunction, and by late in the month hundreds were involved, though it seems that not all were Columbia students.  On the night of April 30th, protestors broke into Hamilton Hall, an administrative building, and occupied it, but were moved out within hours and their encampment dismantled by police, called in by Columbia; some 100 arrests were made.  Asteroid Copland at 11 Taurus conjoined Columbia at the conjunction, making it a natural focus for police intervention.  Asteroid Hamiltonia 452 (for Hamilton) appears at 29 Aries with the spotlighting Sun and asteroid Universitas; asteroid Hall 3299 at 14 Capricorn trines Columbia/Copland.

With that act, the dam seems to have burst, with colleges across the country taking action against protestors, all within days of the Columbia reversal.  Let’s take a peek at how these other locales might have factored into the conjunction.

California universities were on the cutting edge of the more violent protests and responses, especially L.A.’s UCLA, where an encampment was cleared by police in riot gear in the wee hours of May 1st.  The California State Polytechnic University in Humboldt was also the scene of extreme protest, with students taking over two campus buildings before being rousted by authorities.  Asteroid California 341 at 9 Cancer will serve for both institutions (with UCLA an acronym for University of California Los Angeles), and pairs with asteroid Polytechnic 14312 at 10 Cancer, for a focused approach on both campuses.  These form a T-Square with asteroid Hall at 14 Capricorn, representing campus buildings generally, with that stationary Mercury (dug-in students) on the fulcrum at 17 Aries.  More than 200 were arrested at both sites combined.  The UCLA encampment was in Royce Quad; using asteroid Roy 14533 as its referent, we find it at 26 Cancer, opposed asteroid Israel and squared the Sun.  Asteroid Humboldt 4877, for the Polytechnic location, appears at 26 Aquarius, squared the J/U conjunction.

israel protests UCLA cops
The UCLA encampment was forcibly dismantled by police on May 1st; asteroid Copland is sextile asteroid California (for University of California Los Angeles)

More building takeovers ensued at Princeton University, where protestors briefly occupied Clio Hall on April 29th, before being removed and arrested.  Asteroid Princetonia 508 (for Princeton) at 7 Taurus aligned with the Sun, while asteroid Klio 84 (alternate spelling of the Muse of history’s name) does the same dance with Hall and Mercury, filling in a T-Square from 19 Libra.

Two University of Texas campuses experienced unrest as well, in Dallas and Austin.  21 were arrested in Dallas, 79 in Austin on April 29th.  Asteroid Texas 35352 at 1 Cancer conjoins TNO Chaos at 0 Cancer, spreading the turmoil at state universities across the Lone Star State.  Asteroid Dallas 8084 at 22 Pisces conjoins Mars/d’Arrest.

israel protests UT austin
Several campuses of the University of Texas saw student protests, including Austin, where 79 were arrested on April 29th; asteroid Texas conjunct TNO Chaos promoted disorder across the Lone Star State

An encampment at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill was cleared peacefully on the morning of April 30th; 30 were detained but no charges filed.  Asteroid Carolina 235 at 24 Aquarius replicates Humboldt’s aspects, squared the J/U conjunction.  Asterid Chaple 11831 (for Chapel Hill) appears at 14 Gemini, conjunct asteroid Polizzi (police) and broadly squared asteroid d’Arrest (detention).

Protestors at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond clashed with police on April 29th when their makeshift encampment was being removed.  Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, with 13 arrested.  Asteroid Virginia 50 at 5 Scorpio opposes the Sun and squares asteroid Israel, sesquiquadrate asteroid d’Arrest.  (Pepper spray was also used by police in Austin, and by a private citizen in Portland, who sprayed students from his car as he passed.  With asteroid Pepper 188022 at 19 Aries conjunct Mercury, we’re perhaps fortunate that there were only three incidents of its use against students.)

israel protests UNC
A pro-Gaza rally at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where thirty protestors were detained; asteroid Carolina squares the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction and asteroid Chaple (for Chapel Hill) conjoins asteroid Polizzi (police) and squares asteroid d’Arrest (detention)

The encampment at University of Georgia in Athens was dismantled before it began, with police preempting an attempt to set it up on April 29th.  Sixteen were arrested on criminal trespass charges.  Asteroid Georgia 359 falls at 8 Libra, widely squared both the stationary Mercury and TN Chaos for the abortive attempt, which may have failed due to those loose orbs.

An embryonic protest movement at the University of Arizona’s Tucson campus that just began on April 30th was squashed the next day by police in riot gear, after having been deemed an “unlawful assembly” by campus police.  Arrests were made, but the number is unclear; however, 20 students were arrested the same night at the university’s Flagstaff campus.  Asteroid Arizona 793 at 9 Scorpio opposes the Sun, sesquiquadrate asteroid d/Arrest; asteroid Tucson 2224 at 13 Aries conjoins stationary Mercury; asteroid Flagstaff 2118 at 22 Taurus conjoins the J/U conjunction.

israel protests VA tech
Police used pepper spray to disperse protesters at Virginia Commonwealth University; asteroid Pepper conjoins Mercury (students), sextile asteroid Polizzi (police), while asteroid Virginia opposes the Sun

The protest denouement turned out quite differently in two notable cases, at Portland State University in Oregon, and Brown University in Rhode Island.  At Portland, protest was largely peaceful until a small group of students broke into the library the night of April 29th.  The campus was closed the following day, but no further action has been taken. 

At Brown, the administration announced the peaceful disbanding of an encampment after reaching an understanding with protestors on the 30th, promising to review the university’s policies regarding pro-Israel companies, and hold a divestment vote, in exchange for students agreeing not to violate Brown’s code of conduct for the remainer of the academic year.

israel protests UAz
The University of Arizona’s Tucson and Flagstaff campuses were also disrupted; asteroid Arizona opposed the Sun, asteroid Tucson conjoined Mercury, and asteroid Flagstaff conjoined the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction

In both cases, level heads prevailed and found a peaceable solution to the potential conflicts.  This may have been prompted by the stationary status of PNAs representing both institutions.  Asteroid Portlandia 757 (for Portland) at 18 Sagittarius turned retrograde April 14th, still at that degree for the conjunction, while asteroid Brown 1643 at 17 Virgo will turn direct on May 7th.  In these cases, the stations appear to have granted time to slow things down and consider the consequences before lines were crossed and bridges burnt.  These asteroids form a T-Square with Mars, traditional ruler of protests and violence, but the presence of that stationary NOT, conjunct Brown and squared Portlandia, may have prevented escalation.

israel protests Brown
The rather more sedate protest at Brown University was the only one which yielded potential results, with the administration agreeing to hold a vote on divestment; asteroid Brown at station, conjunct NOT and opposed Mars, may have slowed the action (Mars) there, allowing cooler heads to prevail

All in all, a very graphic illustration of how celestial patterns are reflected in terrestrial realities. 

[Author’s Note:

Before I receive any tirades from readers, let me be clear that I hold no brief with either side in this latest round of Israel/Palestine conflict.  Hamas has a long history of insupportable anti-Israeli acts, culminating in the horrific and execrable attacks on October 7, 2023.  But the Israeli government’s response to that atrocity has also been extremely provocative, and much more far-reaching, with tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed in their retaliation, and the driving of hundreds of thousands more to the brink of starvation.  Two wrongs do not make a right.

Similarly, I have sympathy with the aims of the student protestors, who have a definite right to express their views peacefully.  But criminal behavior is also wrong, and should be punished.]

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

One comment, add yours.


The connection between the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction and the campus protests was pretty hard to miss but I’m glad you took the time to fill in the blanks with the asteroids which were amazing as usual. I should have thought of it myself but I was reminded by another astrologer that there were also three Jupiter-Uranus conjunctions between 1968-1969 when a lot of the Vietnam war protests were happening on campuses so you have nailed it with the symbolism of Jupiter (higher education) + Uranus (protest). I am with you on your Author’s Note. There are no good guys in this conflict. Just innocent victims including the 1100+ innocent Israelis murdered in the October 7th attack. All amidst a never-ending cycle of hatred and revenge. I hope someday the cycle is broken.

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