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Uranus, Pluto and the Deep Web

The Uranus to Pluto square has shown its influence on events here on earth in many different ways. I’ve already cited a few on these pages, phenomena as diverse as the rise of the Tea Party in American politics to the surprising popularity of the 50 Shades of Gray series of romance novels. Another product of this intense and long lasting aspect seems to be the emergence of something called the “Deep Web.

The Deep Web is an area of the internet far off the beaten track of trusted search engines like Google and Yahoo. It takes special (but easily attainable) software to get into it and, once in, you gain a property that many have declared obsolete, especially on the internet -- anonymity. The software that allows you to surf the Deep Web completely conceals your real life identity.

The association with Pluto here is obvious to anybody familiar with its symbolism. Pluto is all about secret places, mystery and hidden agendas. And since this anonymity is achieved through technology, it also relates to Uranus.

The technology that made the Deep Web possible was developed back in 1993 and, early on, its primary support came from the United States government, which used it to facilitate intelligence, military and police work. But it didn’t take long before other people began to take advantage of this new digital territory, including terrorists and criminals.

The true mercantile possibilities of the Deep Web took off in 2009, with the development of “bitcoins.” This digital currency allowed people to buy good only line without the inconvenience of revealing their bank account of credit card provider.

Appropriately enough, as the square between Uranus and Pluto neared another completion in early November, the Deep Web exploded in the news. In August, authorities came down on a website in the Deep Web universe called Freedom Host which allegedly was dealing in child pornography and prostitution. Then, in October, came the arrest of Ross Ulbricht (aka Dread Pirate Roberts,) whose Silk Road website had become a kind of Ebay for drug dealers and other purveyors of illegal goods.

The connection between the Deep Web and the Pluto/Uranus square goes farther than just secrecy and technology. An article in this week's Time Magazine paints Ulbricht as a doctrinaire libertarian and indicates that the Deep Web has become a haven for people who believe that a totally open marketplace is the only hope for humanity. The kind of thinking, which insists that reality has to fit into my abstraction, or else, is the worst side of the symbolism of Uranus.
At the same time, the power lust that is the worse quality of Pluto is also evident in Ulbricht’s behavior. Allegedly, Ulbricht used his website to solicit the torture and murder of an employee who had made off with some of his “bitcoins.”

The Deep Web has been used for many things that are neither sleazy nor criminal. After all, its major support still comes from the U.S. government. I would be interested to know if any of my readers have delved into this area of the internet and what their impressions were. Is it the last bastion of a truly free market or just a digital dark alley where you don’t look the person you’re buying from in the eye?

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