Eris, the Goddess of Strife, obviously shares many characteristics with Mars, and we would expect her to be particularly noticeable when the 2 are making a hard aspect. Eris, incidentally, is the newly-named dwarf planet out beyond Pluto, whose astrological function is still a subject of exploration.
So it has been timely, and probably synchronous, that so soon after Eris' naming there has been an Opposition between her and Mars - over the last week or so - enabling us to see her in action. Like Eris throwing in an apple to cause mischief at a wedding, and occasioning the Trojan War, what we are looking for are small events deliberately engineered to cause big waves. We saw that with the North Korean nuclear test (see my last blog).
And in the UK, we have had a couple of quite positive examples over the last week. We had the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, saying publicly that when he is talking to his constituents, he asks any Muslim women to remove their veils so that he can communicate better with them. A very reasonable, 'minor' point, but with huge implications, coming as it does from a leading politician. And it has caused all sorts of waves, good ones in my opinion. It is so easy to feel that one will be accused of racism or intolerance for making such points, but they need to be made. For our society to work properly, minorities can't be allowed to separate themselves off too much. The trouble is, of course, that Blair caused a lot of it by invading Iraq. So it's complex. But, as I have found in the personal chart of someone who has Sun Sextile Eris, Eris' mischief-making can be necessary and creative, albeit uncomfortable.
Another example in the last few days has been the new head of the army in the UK saying that the British need to withdraw from Iraq soon, because we are becoming part of the problem. This has caused huge waves, with many soldiers coming out and saying thank god someone is speaking the truth at last, and Tony Blair doing his best to neutralise it by pretending it's exactly what he thinks as well.
So Eris does seem also to have this very positive function of stirring up trouble, but not in a malicious way, so that an important truth can come out.
Incidentally, when Mars was conjunct Eris in Aries in July 2005, we had the London Bombings, where 40 people were killed. As I wrote in my blog of 7th Oct, Eris is associated with terrorism, inasmuch as one act is designed to have maximum impact, often of a psychological nature, that goes way beyond the act itself.
In either case, there is a very deliberate intention behind Eris' acts: the perpetrators know exactly the kind of effect, for better or for worse, that they want to have.
Regarding the situation in Iraq, we need to see my Mars-Eris example against the wider background of the current Saturn-Neptune Opposition. I have been saying in my Saturn-Neptune blogs of the last few months that this transit would be likely to bring about a gradual political acceptance of the actual situation in Iraq, as opposed to ravings about bringing democracy to the country. And since that transit began to kick in in August, there have been regular encroachments on the firmly held political fantasies around Iraq. How much those fantasies are held because the leaders actually believe them - and I can certainly believe that about Tony Blair - and how much because to do otherwise would have too big a political price to pay, is hard to say.
One way or another, though, those fantasies are being encroached upon. We had the above example with the head of the British army a few days ago. And in the US, we had George Bush tacitly acknowledging the desperateness of his position by getting James Baker to come up with some new options for Iraq. These are just examples of the way reality is impinging more and more, week by week, on the political fantasies around Iraq, and it is a fascinating process to watch. Blair will be gone before too long, but Bush has two long years to serve, in which to watch the main plank of his Presidency go disastrously wrong.
In my blog of 10th Oct, where I wrote about that other Eris-related event, the North Korean nuclear explosion, I used astrology to conclude that it was a fake. We still don't know, but one emerging possibility is that they did attempt to explode a nuclear device, but it didn't go off properly. Anyway, one person called 'Navigators', who clearly knows more horary astrology than me, commented on my posting, so I refer you to that. Just to confuse matters, my original posting said the bomb wasn't a fake, and an hour later I changed my mind and re-posted. So sorry for any confusion caused!