Wednesday, May 30, 2007
That happened 4 years ago, and since then I’ve regularly turned Blair’s ‘lie’ over in my mind. On the face of it, it is a lie, and a big one. On the other hand, politicians habitually say one thing and mean another, and their fellow MPs all know the language, they know what is really being said and what the speaker’s real intentions are, and the speaker knows they know this. In this context, what is ordinarily a lie is not so.
So it’s not necessarily a simple matter. The way the system works is adversarial. We have an Opposition, and this is a good thing, and we have a ‘free press’, which again is a good thing, for between them they help keep the government accountable. But they habitually give the worst possible interpretation of anything the government might do, and twist the meaning of anything they might say. In this context, it is not a simple matter for a member of the government to speak the truth.
In the case of Iraq, a clear motive for the government was that of staying ‘onside’ with America. All British governments have wanted to do this (and Blair recently actually stated the importance of being ‘in’ with the US: it opens lots of doors, he said). Harold Wilson wasn’t prepared to go as far as Blair, for he refused to join the US in Vietnam; and Margaret Thatcher was known for not giving Reagan an easy time of it, despite the closeness of their relationship. So we can criticise Blair for being too subservient, but not necessarily for the basic intention of staying onside with America.
But he couldn’t say this. If he had given this as a reason for going to war, he would have found himself out of office. It would have been too humiliating for the country, even though everyone knew that was what was going on. So he had to give another reason for going to war, for which he has subsequently been hounded by the public but not, interestingly, by Parliament, for they know and accept the game.
I have been watching Andrew Marr’s ‘A History of Modern Britain’, and last night’s episode included the Suez Crisis of 1956, when Marr said (very topically) that Britain went to war on the basis of a lie. Nasser of Egypt had nationalised the Suez Canal, and Britain wanted to claim back its control of the canal. To do this they cooked up a plot with the French and Israelis whereby the Israelis would find a pretext for attacking Egypt, and the French and British would join in to support them.
In those days you didn’t have a vote in Parliament about going to war, and the war's failure, under American pressure, led to the resignation of Eden, the Prime Minister. The crisis made clear that Britain was no longer a major player in the world. Eden had a Sun-Neptune conjunction in Gemini, and at the time of the war, Mars in Pisces was squaring this conjunction: a war (Mars) based on deception (Neptune). In the run-up to Iraq, Tony Blair had transiting Neptune conjoining his Moon, so again we have the element of Neptunian deception; as for the ‘war’ bit, Blair has Mars Rising, so he’s in his element anyway. But for the record, Mars in Capricorn was a few weeks off joining his Capricorn MC.
The point here is that in constructing a pretext for war, Tony Blair wasn’t doing anything new. It’s just that it was no longer politically acceptable to do so, which I think is a good thing. It is one of the outcomes of Pluto’s passage through Sagittarius, a sign that values honesty and truth: this, I think, is the cultural and political significance of Blair’s ‘Lie’.
The trouble is, it wasn’t just ‘A Convenient Untruth’ (to paraphrase Gore). Blair seemed entirely convinced that Saddam had these weapons and was an imminent threat. I dislike, but kind of understand, why politicians lie in the ordinary sense. What makes me scratch my head is how Blair convinced himself that the pretext was the reality. And why he had this trusting and appreciative relationship with Bush. They are part of the same package, I think. I recently saw Lord Kinnock, a previous Labour leader, also failing to understand Blair’s relationship with Bush.
So while I very reluctantly accept that politicians often have to say one thing and mean another, and that this was probably an inevitable part of going to war with Iraq (and that DOESN’T mean I agree with the real reasons for that war), I still don’t understand why Blair brought such a flimsy pretext before Parliament (he didn’t have to) and persuaded himself to believe in it. It was asking for trouble. It was wilfully self-destructive. I tend to think that what we’re looking at it not so much a moral issue, but some sort of psycho-pathology in Blair which he is blind to, and which I for one don’t yet understand.
But it has the character of religious extremism: the passionate certainty under the influence of a higher authority (the will of God, as manifest through the person of both himself and the more powerful Bush). And for Blair, I suggest that loyalty to this authority transcended ordinary political loyalties. It also seemed to blind him, as religion often does, to ordinary considerations of truth. I think people are right not to trust Blair over this issue. But not because he ‘lied’ in the sense of being deliberately deceptive. He can’t be trusted because to some extent he is a mole, a foreign agent, whose loyalties lie, in the last resort, not with his country but with what he imagines to be ‘God’.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I have heard it suggested elsewhere that left to himself, Kennedy’s natural leaning would have been to become something like an academic, and that it was mainly family expectation that pushed him into politics. The dreams (Neptune) of the father (Saturn) and family (Cancer). Or even the unreal (Neptune) expectations of the father (Saturn).
John F Kennedy 29 May 1917 15.00 Brookline MA
He had no fire planets in his chart, and an unaspected Sun and unaspected Pluto! You would expect to find Fire – a sense of vision, direction, leadership – in a President (like Bush’s Leo Rising or Clinton’s Leo Sun). Unaspected planets can manifest in various ways – they can, for example, be apparently absent, or they can take over (like Hitler’s unaspected Neptune-Pluto conjunction, which made him the undiscerning voice of the German Unconscious.) In the case of JFK, we could speculate that in manifesting his Saturn-Neptune, he never found his real individual destiny (unaspected Sun), and that Pluto, again unaspected, and the only planet in a fire house (the 9th), was able to manifest as a raw drive for power, independently of his personal needs and wishes. No wonder he had health problems! Maybe, even, no wonder he died young.
I have been struck lately, through personal experience, by the extent to which members of an ambitious family can subsume their own identities in the collective consciousness of the family, leading lives that are the same down to ridiculous details, and espousing identical, unexamined values. It is no different to the dynamics within a religious cult. It gives psychological security, but it is also based on fear, which the worldly success can mask, for to question such a family’s values inevitably leads to ostracism, to what would be experienced as psychological annihilation. And such families usually have one or two members who suffer this fate.
Back to Saturn-Neptune. It is interesting that Kennedy didn’t just carry the dreams of his father, he also carried the dreams, the redeeming dreams (Neptune) of a nation, the Cancer nation to which he belonged. He was built for this, as we can see from his chart. And he wasn’t just the victim of family pressure: the Saturn-Neptune-MC is also HIS Saturn-Neptune-MC, he had a propensity to carry the unreal expectations of others (‘Camelot’) at the expense of his personal destiny (unaspected Sun).
Tony Blair also has a Saturn-Neptune conjunction (opposite Mercury and Venus in Aries) and he too has been the carrier of the redeeming dreams of the collective. The original expectations of him were way beyond what a human could deliver. Saturn-Neptune can raise you to god-like status, and if you don’t die young (which many of them do), you are likely to eventually encounter a huge backlash as people feel let down. This happened to Blair over Iraq, and would almost certainly have happened to JFK had he lived: archetypal patterns have an inevitability about them. It is interesting that David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party under a Saturn-Neptune opposition, because he is seen by many as the Tories’ answer to Blair, the young saviour of the Party (who will inevitably let them down in the end.)
The Dalai Lama was born under a Saturn-Neptune opposition, and his life from the word go has been devoted to living out the dream/fantasy which his religious tradition (Saturn in the 9th) and the Tibetan people have of him: the god-king. It is amazing he has done so well on it, as this level of expectation would twist most of us right out of shape. Maybe those who brought him up knew what they were doing. Particularly in his case, he has had to fulfill the redeemer/saviour aspect of Neptune. I think the Tibetan tradition does have a lot of good stuff in it, but it is also an organised religion, and prone to exactly the same weaknesses as other religions.
Venus Williams, the former world number one women’s tennis player, was born under a Mars/Saturn-Neptune square, and her and her younger sister are well-known for being the products of their father’s ambition. Mars gives the sporting drive and ability, but it is interesting that her reign at the top has been short-lived and erratic, and she is known for pursuing other interests: this suggests to me that Venus has been breaking away from the dream (Neptune) of her father (Saturn).
On 22 May this year, twins were born to a 60-year old woman in New Jersey. I read this in a blog by a lady named Out the Comet's Ass. Now I don’t want to rush in and judge, and only time will tell how wise it is to have kids at such an age. But the astrology doesn’t look entirely promising. The twins have no earth planets (though they do have earth ASC and MC), suggesting there may be a problem about their connection to the earth and to nature, but which their Angles (which are doorways, rather than part of us, unlike the planets) will require them to develop. This interpretation is backed up by a Moon-Saturn conjunction in 12th House Leo, opposite Neptune and Chiron. At worst, this indicates that they are the product of the damaged fantasy (Neptune/Chiron) of a self-centred (Leo) unconscious (12th) old (Saturn) Mother (Moon). Or a healing (Chiron) fantasy, that will redeem her from old age (Saturn) and Death (12th). These are harsh things to say, but there may well be an element of truth in them. And again we have Saturn-Neptune, the dreams, even fantasies, of the parent, which these twins will be carrying - they'll have to live up to being 'miracle babies', or something like that.
I think it’s natural for parents to have hopes and dreams for their kids, even unrealistic ones, dreams that perhaps compensate for what they haven’t managed to achieve. If you’ve built up a business, you’re probably going to want one of your kids to join it and build it further – and at the same time, you may be jealous of their youth and success, and you may try to undermine them. We’re a bundle of contradictions, with feet of clay (Saturn) dreaming of the stars and of redemption (Neptune).
When I was young I was at the receiving end of some pretty powerful and unconscious parental fantasies which, with the Saturn-Neptune opposition currently hitting my Sun-Chiron, I’m doing a further stage of untangling. It can take decades! But I’m not kidding myself that I can decide not to have my own set of self-referring redeeming fantasies for my 6 year old. I can try to minimise them by being fulfilled in my own life, but beyond that it’s probably just a matter of finding out in 35 years what those fantasies were when he presents me with the bill for his therapist. (Joke)
As always, it’s good to have a bit of myth around these things so we can see the universal pattern that we fit into. In their book ‘The Mythic Journey’, Liz Greene and Juliet Sharman-Burke begin with the myth of Thetis and Achilles, which they subtitle ‘Great Expectations’ – “How parents expect nothing less than everything from their children”.
“Thetis was the great goddess of the sea and ruled over all that moved in its depths. But it was time she married, and Zeus, king of the gods, had received a prophecy that, if Thetis married a god, she would bear a son who would be greater than Zeus himself. Worried about losing his position, Zeus espoused the sea-goddess to a mortal man called Peleus. This mixed marriage was not unsuccessful, and the two settled down relatively comfortably – although Peleus sometimes resented his wife’s supernatural powers, and Thetis sometimes felt she had married beneath her station.
In time, Thetis bore a son, whom she called Achilles. Because he was fathered by a mortal, he was a mortal child, allotted his time on earth by the Fates, as are all mortal beings. But Thetis was not content with this prospect. Being immortal herself, she did not wish to remain eternally young while watching her son grow old and die. So she secretly carried the newborn child to the River Styx, in whose waters lay the gift of immortality. She held the child by one heel and dipped him in the waters, believing thereby that she had made him immortal. But the heel by which she held him remained untouched by the waters of the Styx, and therefore Achilles was vulnerable through this one place.
When he reached adulthood and fought in the Trojan War, Achilles received his death wound through an arrow in the heel. Although Achilles achieved great glory and was remembered forever, Thetis could not cheat the Fates, nor turn that which was human into the stuff of the gods.”
Friday, May 25, 2007
When I’m following political events through the outer planets, or through transits in people’s lives, I can definitely see phase changes as the planets move from retrograde to direct and back again. I’ve been saying for years to people with Pluto transits to just hang on till late Aug/early Sept, when Pluto changes from Retro to Direct. Because Retro seems to be about going over old ground (which the planet is literally doing) so that old stuff can be moved on. So Retro can be a difficult, but necessary time.
The 2 political theatres I have been visiting to watch the Neptune show are the Bush/Iraq theatre and the Blair Leadership theatre. The last time that Neptune went retro was from May 2006 to October 2006. In both cases a bubble was burst that needed to burst.
With Blair, he had said he would be going some time during this term of office, but he wouldn’t give any indication when, and it was causing a lot of disgruntlement and uncertainty. As Neptune began to go Retro, Labour did badly at the local elections, and the pressure on Blair to announce a resignation date intensified. In Sept, towards the end of Neptune’s retro, Blair was finally pushed into announcing that he would be gone sometime in the next year.
With Bush and Iraq, Neptune Retro was a period in which it was widely accepted that Iraq was a basket case (technical term) by everyone but the US government, and as we got to August/Sept, the admissions started coming out that all was not well, forced on them by the upcoming mid-term elections.
So in both cases a situation was brought down to earth. What might the upcoming retro period bring?
In the case of the Blair Leadership saga, we know he is going on 27 June, there appears to be nothing left to sort there. But there is the matter of Gordon Brown, our Prime Minister in waiting, and to my mind there is clearly a bubble that needs bursting here. I want to give the man a chance, and at the moment he’s trying to convince the country that he’ll be a good PM, but you can’t ignore what everyone says about him: that he’s a good chancellor, but a control freak who will brook no opposition and can’t get on with people. The other day Tony Blair was publicly commending Gordon Brown as an excellent man to be PM, but even Tony Blair the great actor couldn’t bring himself to be fluent and fulsome. You could see he was trying, but he kept halting, and then dragging a few more words of praise out of his mouth. Tony Blair isn’t vindictive, so I think it was genuine. It really stuck in his throat to have to say things he didn’t believe. And Tony Blair of all people is very good at convincing himself to believe in things – like in Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. So I think that this period of Neptune Retro could well be about bursting what bubble there is around Brown, and the result may not be one he wants. But I think that what people say about him is probably true, and he may not have a very long honeymoon as PM: the New Labour in Power solar return suggests he won’t.
As for Bush and Iraq, there is still clearly a big bubble going on. Yes, it has been accepted by the administration that all is not as it might be in Iraq, but that still constitutes a big level of illusion, that has had enough power to force the Democrats into funding the war without conditions around a date for troop withdrawal. So I predict that between now and October, Neptune retro will force further admissions from the the Bush administration about the situation in Iraq. Like with Brown, it’s not something we don’t all know anyway.
George Bush has natal Venus at 21.29 Leo, and it is this planet, to do with popularity in a politician, that has been impacted by Neptune (and Saturn). This suggests that it is loss of popularity that has been getting him to change strategy (rather than, say, any real insight into his predicament), and we can certainly see this in the case of the mid-term elections last November, which were all about the unpopularity of his Iraq strategy. Bush isn’t directly threatened any more by unpopularity in the country, as he has no more elections to win or lose, but he is threatened by too much unpopularity within his own congressional party. Both Neptune and Saturn are going to cross his Venus in the next couple of months, and the success/failure of his ‘surge’ is also going to be becoming apparent.
So Neptune Retro for Bush may be about losing the support of significant elements in his own party (and moderate Republicans are already starting to let their dissatisfaction with him be publicly known). This would be disastrous for him, because the Democrats could no longer be held solely accountable for losing the war if funding is withdrawn.
Over the last few years I have heard several people say that they felt Bush’s Presidency was going to end in some sort of disaster for him personally, though they couldn’t say what. It could be this relentless action of Neptune on his Venus that brings it about, destroying his popularity and support, and forcing a reckoning over Iraq BEFORE his Presidency is over (which I think many people pray for).
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I was looking forward to see what would happen next with the Iraq War politics, because it’s been so tied in to Saturn-Neptune, and with the final phase of that opposition beginning about now, I was fairly confident there was going to be some sort of outcome. Maybe, I thought, Congress is going to force Bush’s hand and he’ll have to accept the failure of the Iraq War. But no, it looks like the outcome of Saturn-Neptune is a compromise in which no-one is happy: it is widely accepted that the war is lost – at least that bubble has burst – but funding for the ongoing bloodshed will nevertheless continue, with no end in sight. I’m reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman at the moment, a 1970s sci-fi humans vs aliens satire on the Vietnam War, and the title says it all. But it could equally well apply to the Iraq War.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
After this point the universe became cool enough for electrons and nuclei to hook up – bit by bit they moved from their 5th House serial romancing to 7th House courtship to the firm commitment of the 8th House, in which they became stable hydrogen atoms. In their joy they released bursts of radiation, which we now know as the Cosmic Background Radiation, which tells us a lot about the early state of the universe.
So now emerged a slightly different and cooler soup, made up of atoms. What came now was known as the Dark Ages, because there was nothing around emitting light. Gradually, bored with their monogamous life, some of them got into wife-swapping and swinging: lumps of matter started to form, attracting yet more free-floating atoms, all radiating joyful energy.
The radiation re-ionised the surrounding hydrogen atoms back into electrons and nuclei. This process swept through the entire universe. (You got it: they all got divorced!) As they were re-ionised, these atoms released what is known as 21cm radiation. It is this radiation (stretched after its long journey through space) that astronomers are starting to look for, because it can tell us a lot about that time in which the first objects were forming. If these objects were stars (and no-one yet knows what they were), they would have been very different to today’s stars. They would have been monstrously large, made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, and pumping out ultra-violet light. Or these objects might have accreted so much matter that they collapsed and became black holes: this would have released X-rays and gamma rays, and again astronomers are looking for tell-tale signs.
These objects and their surroundings constituted the first galaxies, and were probably very different to today’s galaxies. There are a number of specialised telescopes being created to look for evidence, including Hubble’s replacement, the James Webb space telescope, due to be launched in 2013; and the Mileura Widefield array, which will have 8000 antennae and will be located on a remote sheep farm in Western Australia.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
If you think about it, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are all currently within a degree of their stationing points, which isn’t hard for Neptune and Pluto because they don’t move much anyway, but it does suggest that just now is probably an intense time for an unusually large number of people. It certainly is for me. And it is in British politics. Is it intense for many of you out there?
I’ve been waiting for a long time now for the next phase of my life to start. I don’t know a lot about it yet, but I’ve had a couple of signs recently that it is imminent. I was in a sweat lodge in March, it was ‘my’ round, and a cockerel started crowing (it was the middle of the day). He kept it up for most of my round, and did not crow at any other point in the lodge. That cockerel’s trying to tell me something, I thought, something about a new beginning. And I was born in the year of the Rooster. Then a few weeks ago I was again in a sweat lodge, it was my round, and the same cockerel began crowing again, but did not crow at any other point in the lodge. That’s why I think something may start to happen soon, or rather WILL happen: you have to have faith in these things. And now I know what my ‘Power Animal’ is: it’s a chicken! Do any of you get spoken to by birds and animals?
Friday, May 18, 2007
This year's Solar Return for New Labour in power is crammed with squares and oppositions, suggesting that it is going to be a very challenging and difficult year for the government and for the Labour Party – not a good omen for Gordon Brown’s leadership.
New Labour Solar Return: 2 May 2007 13.16 London
Gordon Brown Solar Return: 19 Feb 2007 23.38 London (Relocated)
It was confirmed yesterday that Brown will be the next leader of Labour and therefore the next British PM (from 27 June), due to no MPs getting sufficient backing to stand against him in a leadership election. He of course sees this as a humbling affirmation of how highly he is regarded by his colleagues; on the other hand he is known as a vindictive personality who could be counted on to block the career of anyone who had opposed him.
Brown’s SR chart is characterised by having all the planets bunched up near the bottom of the chart, apart from Saturn in Leo in the 10th House. For a man with a natal chart that suggests a hidden personality – lots in 12th House Pisces, and Moon conjunct Pluto – this Return chart is telling us we can expect more of the same, with nearly all the planets hidden near the bottom of the chart.
Yes, there is Saturn in the 10th House, which is where Saturn loves to be: the place of worldly achievement, which is exactly what is happening for Brown – at last, as he sees it, though in my opinion it will always be his 10 years as Chancellor which will be seen as his real achievement. This Saturn placing can give us confidence in him as PM, for it suggests someone who takes their responsibilities seriously. Saturn is of course opposite Neptune, suggesting a compassionate element to his sense of responsibility, but also a sense of him getting bogged down.
But what about all this hidden stuff? I think that at best someone with a weight of planets below the horizon thinks before they act: it is getting it right that matters, it is about having depth to what you do. You may not do as much as the more extraverted personality, but when you do act, it is more likely to have some wisdom in it.
Brown has said that he is more about substance than style, and this chart proves that it is not just a defensive remark: he does mean it, and the policies he presents are likely to have been well thought through beforehand (unlike, for example, a certain person’s invasion of Iraq, against which Brown held out until the last minute.)
So yes, there will be depth to his policies over the next year, and he will take his responsibilities seriously. BUT he will remain unknowable, and that is hard to trust. The Sun is unaspected apart from a wide conjunction to Mercury, again stressing his unknowability. SR Venus is square to Pluto, a bad aspect for popular appeal. The Moon is also square to Pluto. We can expect to see the interpersonal power struggles for which he is so well known, but this time there will be no boss to contain them.
To sum up, the SR chart, put together with the Labour SR chart, confirms what many people probably already think: Brown will be good on policy, but he will spoil things by engaging in power politics with his colleagues, and by his inability to present himself well to the public.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
An idea that seems to be back on the table is Cold Fusion. This is nuclear fusion without the extremely high temperatures that are normally understood to be necessary. Controlled nuclear fusion has been the Holy Grail for our energy needs for a long time now (though some environmentalists think its pursuit is sheer madness.)
We currently get nuclear energy from fission, which involves the splitting of large nuclei, releasing energy and leaving nuclear waste. This is governed by Saturn-Uranus, which was in Gemini and opposite the Sun when the first controlled nuclear reaction occurred in 1942: the splitting (Uranus) of matter (Saturn).
Nuclear fusion involves banging together atoms of ‘heavy’ hydrogen to create helium (broadly speaking) and releasing loads of energy and very little or no radioactive waste. This hasn’t been done in a controlled way yet, only as an H-Bomb. The chart for this has Saturn-Neptune opposite the Moon: the fusion (
The Sun runs on nuclear fusion, and it is the very high temperatures, in the millions of degrees, that makes it possible. However, in March 1989 two American chemists announced that they had created nuclear fusion at room temperature while conducting an electrolysis experiment. This announcement occurred appropriately under an exact conjunction of Saturn-Neptune. The result had no theoretical basis to it, other scientists could not repeat it, and the 2 chemists were laughed out of mainstream science.
The idea hasn’t gone away, however, and it is taken seriously enough for experiments to be sponsored by the US Navy. Their results have been published in a respected scientific journal – under the current Saturn-Neptune opposition. Again it is an electrolysis experiment that is producing more energy than it should, and this time they have a plastic wafer designed to leave tell-tale tracks when particular nuclear particles hit it. And they are hitting it.
The whole thing is strange, because in theory nuclear fusion should be nowhere near happening at these temperatures. But some scientists clearly don’t think that it therefore can’t be happening, which is to their credit. And if it is happening, and the energy can be harnessed, it might indeed be a kind of Holy Grail.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Today I helped Max, Vajramala's 22 year old son, move house to... nowhere. He's going to sofa-surf, and keep his stuff in storage, a lifestyle he's delighted with. One problem: where to get the £90 advance payment for the lock-up? "It's OK," he said, "I've got an idea." He has 3 hours to get out of his house, and 2 1/2 hours later he appears with the money, his Mum dubious how he got it. "I had this notion," he says, "that if I played Roulette at William Hill's, I would get the money." It's all right for some. But he has got a Neptune transit going on. And his Mum also knew how to manifest at his age, so it's genetic.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
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!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
People in the UK are divided about the monarchy, but perhaps less than they think they are, because the attachment to it runs deep. I’m in favour of the monarchy, not because I ‘believe’ in it, but because I think it takes some of the weight of projection off the Prime Minister. It seems to be part of human nature that we collectively assign semi-divine qualities to certain people and then worship them – and celebrities catch a lot of this, which many of them are only too happy to do – so the more we can take this off our political leaders so that they can get on with the job of running the country, the better. Though the USA broke with Britain and its monarchy 231 years ago, some of its roots are still there, and we can see that in the ongoing level of interest in Princess Diana – and even in ‘Fergie’, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, who managed to get her own TV show in the USA.
Prince William is 24 years old and currently in the army, with which the Royal family has strong links. Before that he was at university for 4 years, where in 2003 he began a relationship with Kate Middleton, that lasted until a few weeks ago. It seems to have been him that ended the relationship. She was always portrayed as this straightforward middle-class girl who just happened to have met up with William at university, and for the last year or two the media had been endlessly predicting an engagement.
About a month ago I read a magazine article about her background. It wasn’t a critical article, but I found it revealing. Her family are well-off and live in Berkshire, near London. They have a mail order business. It turns out that her younger sister has been going out with a ‘wealthy aristocrat’ and shares a flat with a son of the Duke of Northumberland and a son of the Duke of Roxburghe. The Middleton family are also applying to have a coat of arms. In this light, Kate’s involvement with Prince William doesn’t look so innocent. Nor does her decision to attend St Andrew’s University, all the way up in Scotland, where Prince William just happened to be going. Her previous relationship just happened to end at a point where William was single, and it was probably a case of “He chased her until she caught him.”
Not that any of this was probably very conscious in her, young as she was. Kate Middleton was born on 9 January 1982 (no birth time), and what is screaming out from the chart is Sun in Capricorn square to Saturn-Pluto and quite possibly making a t-square to Moon in Cancer. This woman thinks hierarchically through and through, a high social position is very important to her. And important to her family. She didn’t want to marry William, she wanted to marry a Prince, and she thought she’d landed one. Not that she would have seen it like that. She was also no doubt doing exactly what her family wanted and expected her to do, without anything needing to be said. Since university she seems to have fiddled around in London, having recently taken up a pseudo-job through family connections, but in reality waiting for her real goal to unfold: marriage to the Prince. Kate's chart also suggests the possibility of real achievement, rather than the mere pursuit of status, so you never know, this knock-back might change something for her.
So it may be that William has had a lucky escape, even though he might not yet see it like this, and the experience may help him avoid the mistake his father made in marrying Diana: Charles was under pressure to produce an heir, and Diana was aged 20 and clueless (like many of us at that age) about what she was doing.
Prince William was born on 21 June 1982 at 21.03 in London, England. His chart is striking, with a Sun-Moon conjunction in Cancer on the Gemini Desc opposite Neptune Rising in Sag. With this chart, William will have unusual abilities to involve himself with others in a compassionate and nurturing way. Relationships with others, whether with a big or small ‘R’, will be central to him, they will be how he comes to know himself. With Jupiter on the Midheaven trining his Sun (a charmed aspect for a King), he will probably be very popular and loved by the people – “the people’s prince”, in the way that Tony Blair called his mother "the people’s princess" after she was killed. Like his mother, he has Sun in Cancer and Sag Rising, and he will have the burden of being not just William but also Diana’s son, Diana resurrected.
This is pointing to his Neptune Rising, which may make it difficult for people to see him as he is. Amongst other things, they will see Diana. And while his Sun-Moon in the 7th will on the one hand be his path to self-knowledge, Neptune Rising is also saying that he can lose himself in his ability to involve and give himself to others.
The next few years will be defining for him, as Pluto first crosses his ASC (this year) then opposes his Sun (next year) and then opposes his Moon (2010). We don’t yet have much idea of who William is – and nor does he, probably – but we certainly will in a few years time. It is not the chart of a soldier (unlike his younger brother Harry - see my posting of 1st May - who has Sun in the 8th square Mars in Sag), so he probably won’t stay in the army for very long. What William HAS been good at so far is staying out of the public eye (relatively speaking) and leading as normal a life as he can before he is drawn into public life: he clearly has some idea how to use his Neptune Rising to his advantage, as a cloak of invisibility.
Prince William was also born on an eclipse. Eclipses occur in series, known as Saros Series, that run for up to around 1400 years. The first eclipse in the cycle sets the character for the whole cycle, so Prince William’s life will reflect this first eclipse, which occurred on June 24 792AD at 6.03 GMT. This chart has a Sun-Moon conjunction (naturally) at 6 Cancer, close to William’s Sun-Moon conjunction at 0 – 5 Cancer, emphasising William’s connection to this series.
In her interpretation of the chart for this series, Bernadette Brady says: “This is a difficult eclipse family, as its members bring unfortunate news concerning friendships or relationships [me: or family - Cancer]. You will be dealing with ideas of separation or the ending of a union. However, although the picture may look quite glum as the eclipse takes effect, the actual results are quite positive. You will quickly grasp what has to be done and fast action can bring quick results. The theme of this eclipse is action concerning personal relationships.”
The aspects Brady uses for her interpretation are: Sun-Moon-Jupiter conjunct Mars/Uranus midpoint; and Mercury conjunct Venus/Saturn midpoint.
The death of his mother Diana in 1997 indicates that Prince William is indeed connected to this eclipse series, and we may see it in action again if his brother Harry goes to Iraq, which any good astrologer would advise him against. (Listen, Harry!) Next year not only does William have transiting Pluto opposing his family-oriented Cancer Sun, but Pluto will also be squaring his 3rd House cusp – siblings – at 0 Aries.
This Saros Series is coming to an end. It began in 792, around the time of what was arguably the beginning of the British monarchy (King Ecgberht in 802 AD). It will end in 2036, when William is 54 years old, and the monarchy as we know it may end around then, particularly if we consider the interpretation given above for the series (“ending of a union.”) On the other hand, the eclipse chart also suggests the ability to “quickly grasp what has to be done and fast action can bring quick results.” So William may successfully adapt to the changes.
I have taken my eclipse material from Brady’s ‘The Eagle and the Lark’, published 1992 by Weiser.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
The other night I did a Tarot reading for a friend (I often do a combination of astro-update and Tarot for people, it gives them a very full picture), and then I got him and Vajramala to look and comment while I did one for myself. The card that said the most to me was the Moon reversed, in the position of what is not clear to oneself.
This was the perfect card for a Neptune transit. The Moon card says you are in the womb of the unconscious, the Neptunian equivalent of the transformational Pluto underworld journey. The reversal of the card said that I was experiencing the confusion that can come with this. Suddenly all was clear, so to speak. Because while on a day-to-day level things are quite straightforward, the bigger picture around what I am doing and where I am going just seems to have been getting more confused. And with a Neptune transit that’s often part of the deal.
So the next thing was to see if I could somehow approach that confusion. Time to try an Australian Bush Remedy. These remedies work for me and I found myself reading up about Mint Bush. Here was what Ian White said:
“Mint Bush is for the trials and tribulations that one goes through just prior to, or at the same time as, spiritual initiation. It is for the period when you feel you are being tested, often to your limits. There is the burning off of all the dross to allow you to emerge to a new spiritual level. Often at this time there is chaos and confusion, and there can even be a sense of being in a void. Many people find their old beliefs and values obsolete, falling like crumbling stone pillars around them… What also comes tumbling down, once these pillars have been removed, are the old structures that they have set up, and around which they have built their lives.”
This described my emerging position pretty well. As often happens when moving things on by magical means (which is how I view these remedies), it started working before I’d taken it, as I walked to the shop to buy it. I was walking taller, there was a spring in my step.
This was only yesterday, but out of the necessary period of confusion is emerging clarity and relief. There is suddenly a real distance emerging between me and that old wound, it’s starting to feel like it’s gone, it’s been left behind on the roadside. It’s only the beginning of my double transit, and I reckon what’s happening is probably much bigger than is yet clear to me. It’s not just about one bit of me sorting, it’s going to feed through into everything else. And that’s going to take a while. It’s wonderful.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
On the subject of the Shadow, the civilised, liberal shadow is easy to see in its hatred of George W Bush (just as in the UK it was easy to see when Margaret Thatcher was in power). The educated intelligentsia have a capacity for demonisation that is just as great as the redneck's demonisation of anyone 'different'. And George Bush is a very suitable hook, so it's hard to untangle. But don't we just love to despise him?
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
25 years on and Charles is married to Camilla, and as a couple they seem very suited. At last, after all the divorces and infidelities, we have a royal marriage that works. And how does the great British public respond? They are cross. What they want are fairy tale weddings and tears over the death of a silly princess, not a real relationship that actually works. Actually I don’t want to be too hard on Diana either, she was an essentially ordinary girl who found herself in a very difficult position. And how many girls aged 20 would turn down the chance to be future Queen of England?
Prince Harry, known in the army as Cornet Harry Wales, is due to be deployed to Iraq this year, along with his regiment. He has said that if he is not sent to Iraq, he will leave the army. There has been a lot of speculation recently that he won’t be sent to Iraq, because his regiment will become a target and because of the huge political fall-out if he is killed or captured. Yesterday the head of the army confirmed that he will be going to Iraq (though it always remains under review), while Harry has let it be known that he won’t leave the army if he is not sent.
Harry was born 15th Sept 1984 at 16.20 in London, UK.
He is a Virgo with Capricorn Rising and Moon in Taurus. Very earthy and practical, and so you can understand him saying, “Well I’m a soldier and if I can’t do what a soldier does, which is to fight, then I’ll do something else.” Which I can understand. Either you do something or you don’t do something, you don’t faff.
But it’s more than that. His Sun is in the 8th square to Mars in Sagittarius in the 11th. This man really is a soldier, he would be devastated if he felt he had to leave the army or that he couldn’t fight. With Sun in the 8th, it is natural, even necessary for him, to encounter death. His Mars is in the 11th, so he leads his regiment. And Mars in Sag are the most feared and deadly warriors of all. In the constellation Sagittarius we see the figure of a centaur, a man on horseback: when these warriors on horseback first appeared, they were awesome, they could not be stopped, it was like having the first nuclear bomb.
I admire Mars-Warrior energy. It’s total, it’s fearless, it's superhuman, it doesn’t care if it dies, it’s doing something that’s more important than either death or its own narrow self-interest. And it can do spectacular things. Like the Israelis, with their mighty Mars in Leo, beating back a host of nations as soon as they had been born. Even though the Israelis can behave like Nazis, I admire them for that.
So Prince Harry has this. With Mars conjunct Uranus, he can be impetuous and wilful, not helpful in a soldier, but he has his own way of soldiering, and can explode into action. With his Moon in Taurus (like his Dad) conjunct IC, he loves his country and has his feet on the ground. His Node is also in Taurus in the 4th, making a yod through its inconjunctions to Pluto in the 9th and Neptune in the 12th. So there is some kind of fate around Harry going to Iraq, expressing his love of his homeland (Node) through serving the collective dream/fantasy (Neptune in the 12th) by encountering death in a foreign land (Pluto in the 9th).
For astrological reasons (as well as common sense) we can’t rule out his death. His progressed Chart currently has 5 planets in the 8th: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto, so he is strongly drawn to situations of death. His Prog Moon is at 26 Pisces, which will square transiting Pluto and conjoin the Iraq War Sun over the next few months. His Prog Uranus will exactly oppose his Prog IC (beginnings and endings) over the next 18 months. (Its conjunction to the MC reflects the ongoing uncertainty around his deployment to Iraq).
By transit, Neptune will continue this year to be within range of squaring his IC at 17 Taurus, while next year Uranus will be very close to an exact opposition to his 8th House Sun at 22.57 Virgo: sudden death is the way of it in war. Jupiter is also associated with death, and will spend next year conjoining his ASC at 11.27 Capricorn.
I’m starting to feel like I shouldn’t be writing this, publicly predicting death for a young man. But it’s not quite like that. I am saying there is a choice. Harry, I know you can’t help yourself, but if you go to Iraq, there is a good chance you will be killed. Those who are deciding on his deployment, please take note. Just look at the transits to his Dad’s chart next year: regarding his natal 5th House (children), he has Sun on the cusp at 22 Scorpio, conjunct 5th House Chiron, and being squared by tr Neptune; Mars at 20 Sag, being squared by tr Uranus; and Jupiter at 30 Sag, being conjoined by tr Pluto. Even his dead mother has Neptune conjoining her Aquarian Moon next year. Don’t do it, Harry!
Prince Charles: 14 Nov 1948, 21.14 London, UK
I wrote earlier about my admiration for the warrior energy. I also have a reservation. The Warrior is not the King, he serves the King, he does unquestioningly whatever the King asks of him. A soldier obeys orders, this is seen as a moral good, and it is not his place to question. If you are deployed to Iraq, you go there, you do your job, and you do not question the justice or purpose of the war.
This quality of obeying orders unquestioningly (or if you have doubts, you act as if you don’t) is not a moral quality, it is pure expedience. Without it, the army couldn’t get the job done. And it is manipulative to make people feel like they are bad for questioning.
The young warrior often doesn’t want to question. What he wants is the certainty that he is clearly on the side of right against wrong, otherwise he could not use his Mars. So if there is an authority prepared to re-assure him that he is on the side of right, he is quite happy to believe them. People are very vulnerable to this kind of authority. Look at the Millgram experiments, in which volunteers willingly gave other volunteers painful electric shocks (so they thought) because they were told to by an ‘authority’.
So this is what Mars has to work out as he gets older: his relationship with authority, with the King. This is why Mars is exalted in Capricorn: Saturn, the King, is there working alongside Mars instead of being sought outside.
So this is my main reservation around soldiering: it’s not the killing and slaughter, though that’s bad enough. It’s the deeper question of “Who is in charge of my life?”