If two or more outer planets are making an aspect to each other, particularly a hard aspect, then they become the defining configuration in the sky, the wider context in which all other planetary movements need to be seen. By and large. Because, for example, an outer planet moving into a new sign, like Pluto moving into Capricorn next year, is also pretty important.
The Saturn-Neptune opposition has been the defining configuration since late 2005, and particularly so since Aug 2006, when these planets made the first of 3 exact oppositions, the last of which will be on 25 June this year. At present, Neptune has come to a virtual standstill in the sky, and on the 24th May will turn round and slowly back into an opposition with Saturn.
So we are about to enter the final phase. Processes that began around last August with the first exact opposition, and that reflect Saturn-Neptune, will reach some sort of outcome next month. The two obvious political processes that have been described by Saturn-Neptune are the end of Tony Blair’s leadership in Britain, and in the USA the coming to terms with the reality of the Iraq War.
With major Neptune transits having characterised Tony Blair’s time in power, the final of the series, to Pluto (power) at 21 Leo, always looked like being the end of the road for him. I predicted it in early 2004, except I wasn't sure at what point in the transit it would occur. Now I know: while Saturn was in on his Pluto as well. It’s obvious with hindsight!
Tony Blair: 6 May 1953 6.10am Edinburgh Scotland.
Tony Blair as PM has always been Neptune: the unreal expectations of him, the visionary speeches, the spin, the lies, the refusal to face unwelcome truths, the self-deluding ‘sincerity’. Neptune has kept him in power. As Saturn has opposed Neptune, reality and limitation have crept in, the reality of Iraq, the limitations around what he can achieve, the limits to his time in power, and the actuality of his ‘legacy’, which he has been obsessed with, or at least the media has been obsessed with, like no other PM before him. But with Capricorn MC, what can you expect? And with natal Chiron conjunct that MC, he certainly managed, at the time of his Chiron Return, to damage that legacy over Iraq.
The Saturn-Neptune opposition has gone like clockwork for him. Around the first crossing on 31st August, Gordon Brown staged a sort of failed coup that forced Tony Blair to announce that he would be gone within a year. In the run-up to the 2nd crossing at the end of February, a new crisis around when he would go seemed to develop, things got confused, and the cash-for-honours probe was in the headlines. That passed and now, as Neptune stations, he has taken his final bow and announced his departure date: 27 June, 2 days after the 3rd and final crossing of Saturn and Neptune.
Gordon Brown began his campaign to be the next PM 2 days ago, and the speech that was in the news was the one in which his face was half covered by the autocue. Very appropriate for a man with Sun in the 12th House and in Pisces. As an astrologer, I see initial events as indicative of what is to come (like ‘first impressions’), and this doesn't look good. He has said that presentation isn’t such an important issue for him ("No kidding!" as one reporter said), but it is something no successful modern politician can do without. Saturn-Neptune has been lining up along his Mercury-Pluto opposition in Aquarius-Leo. The reality of this man is going to become a lot clearer in the coming weeks, and the trouble is that he’s a shoo-in whether or not we like what we see. The solar return chart for Labour in power is incredibly challenged this year, and it is not hard to see why, with the start that (in my opinion) Brown has got off to.
In the USA it is not so clear what the political outcome of the Saturn-Neptune opposition is going to be. The opposition began last Aug/Sept with intense pressure on the administration to acknowledge the reality (Saturn) of the Iraq situation, instead of continuing to present a picture that everyone knew was false (Neptune). The mid-term elections were coming up, and a political shift was necessary. And quite a lot of acknowledgement took place. Since then there has been a battle between Saturn and Neptune. Saturn has been the Democrat win in the elections, and the subsequent pressure on Bush to be more realistic. Neptune has been Bush’s continuing refusal to face the fact that Iraq is a lost cause, and his desperate attempt, through the ‘surge’ of troops in Baghdad, to salvage something.
It is increasingly clear that the surge is not working (whoever thought it would?) and the Democrats are gradually tightening the noose around Bush through placing limitations on the funding for Iraq. This went on for years with the Vietnam War, showing that it is not a simple matter for Congress to stop an unpopular war by withdrawing funding. Only the other day, for example, Congress rejected a bill that would have required the troops to be withdrawn within 9 months: you can’t necessarily just pull them out. So it is a complex situation.
In her blog of 10th May Nancy begins: “The confrontation with the White House is proceeding on many fronts: 11 Republican congressmen descending upon Bush to demand candor about the war..” To my mind, this is about Neptune (candour vs concealment) stationing, which intensifies a planet’s influence. We are about to have a new Neptune phase, and if even Bush’s own party are starting to put considerable pressure on him, it may be that we are starting to reach some sort of political end-game over Iraq.
All we see at the moment is the pressure on Bush and his battle with Congress, which theoretically could last a long time. We need, however, to bear in mind the astrology: the Saturn-Neptune opposition, which kicked in this political process last Aug/Sept, reaches a conclusion in 6 weeks time. We can therefore reasonably expect some big shift between now and then, which can only be politically disastrous for Bush, but which makes the Iraq policy much more realistic. The obvious starting point is the surge and its failure. Without his surge, Bush does not have a policy. ‘Lame-duck’ would not be the word for his Presidency if a lot more realism is forced upon him. But it may be forced on him, and sooner than we think. Watch this space!