Uranus represents the principle of change, of freedom, rebellion, and revolution. It is associated with unexpected phenomena of all kinds, with sudden surprises and awakenings, with breakthroughs--intellectual, psychological, spiritual. It governs the sudden breakup of established structures, and tends to have an exciting and electric quality. It also rules individualism and originality, invention and technology, creative genius and brilliant mental insight. The planet Uranus, the first planet to be discovered in modern times--in 1781, during an age of radical cultural change and revolution--can best be understood archetypally in terms of the Greek mythic figure of Prometheus, who stole fire from the heavens in rebellion against the gods to give humankind greater freedom.
The Promethean impulse associated with the planet Uranus represents that part of us that seeks to go our own way, to choose our own individual path in life. Its influence inclines one to be changeable, restless, and unpredictable--sometimes irresponsibly so--in a constant quest for personal freedom and new experience. Uranus also mediates creativity and innovation: in its less exalted forms it can signify only eccentricity or lawlessness, but in its highest expression it can indicate real genius, and a capacity for making significant personal or cultural breakthroughs in the course of one's life. The Prometheus archetype associated with the planet Uranus correlates with that stage in the archetypal birth process in which one is suddenly liberated from the constrictions of the birth canal and experiences sudden freedom, awakening, new life, new identity, a radical expansion of horizons: Prometheus Unbound.
There is another side to this archetype's energy, however, which can make the experience of Uranus a very different matter. When a person has not integrated the Promethean impulse toward creative freedom, autonomous individualism, and capacity for change, there is a strong tendency to experience this archetype as something that happens to one from without in upsetting, disruptive ways. That is, instead of being ourselves a source of change and independence and excitement, we may tend to have change and unpredictable events thrust upon us, so that we are forced to open up our life to new horizons and new possibilities. Uranus thus confronts the Saturnian part of us that wishes to hold on, to maintain the status quo, to resist change in favor of security, tradition, and the established order.
The rebel-trickster side of the Prometheus archetype can thus come from within or without, and in the latter case a person can feel constantly subject to problematic changes that require one to reorient one's life. Whether these changes are precipitated by other people, by new psychological or physical conditions, or by external circumstances, their role is to open one's life to something new. If one is identified excessively with the past, if one tries to hold on to structures that are outmoded, then one will experience Uranus as a disruptive force that at times can be quite uncomfortable. But the potential is always there for one to integrate the archetype, and for one to contact one’s own capacity for freedom and excitement, for openness to the unexpected and the new.
When any planet is in major aspect to Uranus, that second planetary archetype tends to be liberated into expression, often in sudden, unusual, or unexpected ways. The second archetype is given an exciting, creative or innovative stimulation, and can be a source of both freedom and unanticipated change.