Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I have always found Tony Blair’s exaggeration of the case for the Iraq War to be thought-provoking. This has been the main cause of the British public’s loss of trust in him. Blair made the case for war around the central assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Intelligence Services had been tentative about the possibility of Saddam having WMD, and in relaying this to Parliament, Blair converted this tentative conclusion into a certainty. This, to many people, constituted a lie over a very serious matter, hence the loss of trust. 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’. Site Meter

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Last Wednesday, Lynn at astrodynamics did an interesting blog on the health of John F Kennedy. Not being familiar with his chart, what stayed in my mind was his Saturn-Neptune conjunction on the Midheaven. As Lynn put it, “Saturn [is] right on the MC where it reflects the pressure of his father (Saturn) pushing him into public life (MC). And in Cancer no less, demonstrating that his public life was part of the family dynamic and not just an individual ambition.”

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 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 dreams of the collective, and 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. 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) Mother (Moon/Saturn). This is a harsh thing to say, but there may well be an element of truth in it. 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) and dreaming of the stars (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 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.”

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


Today's blog is also being posted at astrodynamics while Lynn has a short vacation. As she is American, and as the Queen has just visited the US (obliging George Bush to hold his first white tie dinner), I thought I’d say a few things about Prince William, the Queen's grandson and second in line to the throne. If he lives long enough, he will become King.

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.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Prince Harry is the Spare to the British throne. His brother William is the Heir, he is the Spare, and Prince Charles is the breeding male who has done his duty by the herd. I don’t wish to disparage Prince Charles, as I admire him in some ways, despite his manner, but the fact is that as a young man he was led by the ring in his nose and mated to the much younger Diana Spencer, a woman with whom he had nothing in common.

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?”

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