For much of this year Neptune, Chiron and the North Node have been hanging out near each other in Aquarius. I’ve scratched my head at this one, because there isn’t an obvious answer to what it might mean. And I’ve never really thought about the mundane significance of the Node, what it means for the world generally when the North Node is in a particular sign.
In Jan 2008 the North Node reversed into Aquarius, where it will remain until July 2009. So collectively we are needing to learn about Aquarius. Our collective karma is at a point where, to move forward, we need to become Aquarius at its best: humane, with a vision for the future that perhaps involves technology, a sense of brotherhood between nations. What we need to move away from is negative Leo – self-centredness, complacency, a sense of entitlement and domination over the planet.
It’s hard to generalise for the whole world, because even though we live in an age of globalisation (given impetus by Pluto in Sag and the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the 1990s), it is still made up of many different parts. This recognition itself is North Node Aquarius: that while we need to feel interconnected, globalisation should not be a matter of making the whole world like the West, of aspiring, for example, to turn the ‘lost continent’ of Africa into something resembling ourselves.
Having scratched my head to apply the Node-Chiron-Neptune conjunction to the whole world, I found I could at least apply it to the USA, which isn’t a bad start, given its influence on the world.
You can see the North Node theme politically. There is the old guard, Bush Republicanism, that has been characterised by negative Leo. And there has been something new coming in strongly via Obama, which could be characterised as positive Aquarius. Obama’s Ascendant is at 18 Aquarius, which the North Node is currently hovering around. He is therefore very much the man of the moment, a public person through whom the current placement of the North Node seems to be crystallising, the Aquarian sense of brotherhood and a new vision for the future.
The Node has also been conjunct Chiron. So this sense of a need for a new vision is fuelled by the mistakes of the past. The chart for the Iraq War has a (wide) Mars Chiron conjunction, which is kind of perfect. In 2003 George Bush was about to have Chiron start to hard aspect his Angles; in the UK, Tony Blair was about to have Chiron conjoining his natal Chiron-MC conjunction.
So Chiron was an important part of the picture around the Iraq War, both for the War itself, and more personally for its leading protagonists. The current hunger for change in the US, the longing for a new idealism, has been partly fuelled by the tragic, drawn-out fiasco of Iraq. This connects Chiron and the North Node.
The centaur Chiron was primarily a wise teacher who educated young heroes, rather than the ‘wound’, which came later, but which has become the reflex word we apply to him; and as far as I know, he was never a healer. So there is a certain type of wisdom to be gained from encounters with Chiron, and also an ability to attempt impossible tasks. Negatively, there is a certain type of foolishness allied to a quixotic, ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ mentality.
The particular type of wisdom and folly around Chiron is associated with insight, or lack of insight, into how things are: the insight that certain things cannot be changed, they are part of how humans are, the ‘incurable wound’ that frustrates all our naïve idealism. In the case of Iraq, you had three tribes – the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds – that had been artificially roped together as a country, and forcibly stopped from slaughtering each other by a ruthless dictator, Saddam Hussein. George Bush (unlike his father) and Tony Blair thought they knew better, they would bring ‘democracy’ to such a country. This was quixotic Chiron. We all know what the result has been, and 5 years on there would still probably be mayhem if the Americans left. The long-term result is likely to be a dictatorship by the majority Shias instead of by the minority Sunnis.
So this is Chiron teaching us that between competing human tribes there will always be a struggle for power, you cannot hope for ‘democracy’ where there are such differences. Even in the US, the attitude of many Republicans towards the opposition Democrats can be such that it is hard for democracy to happen. Look what happened to Bill Clinton while in office, and then the dirty tricks that came afterwards in the 2000 election. Democracy is not a permanent state of grace that certain ‘advanced’ nations attain to. In 1000 years time, it will probably be seen as a quaint phase that some countries went through for a while. So Chiron in the sign of Aquarius, which is associated with democracy, is asking us to make these sorts of reflections.
Chiron is also associated with attempting the impossible, which we saw with Iraq, and which we are also seeing with Barack Obama, with his promises to heal divisions, to bring the country together. Politicians love to make these sorts of promises. Remember George Bush’s promise to be bi-partisan (which he remarkably had been as governor of Texas - unlike Obama, he actually had a track record in this respect)? To what extent Obama will succeed in this very difficult task, and to what extent it will be exposed as naivety on his part, remains to be seen. He has used very fine words, but has not been very concrete. Regarding Israel and Palestine, and his wish to see Jerusalem become the undivided capital of Israel, Obama’s attitude will do anything but heal divisions.
Neptune has also been hanging out with Chiron and the North Node, and in the case of American politics, this describes the powerful longing for redemption, for a figure who will bring some idealism back to the country after the dirty, dispiriting Bush years. This is all happening in Aquarius, which is the sign of the American people, the Moon, in the Sibly chart. That Moon at 27 Aquarius is closely conjunct Obama’s South Node, and Neptune will cross this point over the next couple of years. So it is a very heady brew for America to handle.
Astrologically, Obama connects powerfully with this current American longing for a saviour. A point to watch out for is that it is his South Node, not his North Node, that connects him with the American people. His way of connecting with the people is an easy game for him to play. It points towards his past rather than towards his future, and is therefore not a creative act for him.
So Chiron-North Node-Neptune is this combination of learning from past mistakes about the limitations of democracy, the need to broaden the Aquarian sense of brotherhood to include all nations and interests, and the longing for a new world and even a saviour figure. This combination of factors has been powerfully apparent in the US political scene this year.
I think that the reflection on the nature of democracy which Chiron and the Node are pointing to has another aspect for Americans: don’t kid yourselves that you have left monarchy behind. From a British point of view you have a monarchy in a much more real sense than we do. Ours is symbolic, it has no real powers, and our Prime Minister is not elected separately to the party that predominates in Parliament. The US elections are focussed on the choosing of one person to lead the country to a much greater extent than we have over here. That, to me, is like electing a King or Queen, and it shows in the way that the Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons have become like Royalty.
While we are currently seeing this need for Royalty through the lens of Neptunian longing and Obamania, it can also be seen through the US 10th House Saturn. The American astrologer Jessica Murray notes in her book Soul-Sick Nation: “The Jungian astrologer Liz Greene has made bold to suggest that in sharp contrast to its self-image, the United States – deep in its collective soul – yearns to return to a monarchy (an opinion, perhaps, only a British writer could get away with.) Saturn’s elevated placement in the 10th House bespeaks a strong-arm father-figure shored up by long tradition, against which the Jupiter/Sun square incessantly rebels – as the colonies did from the English king. Without a Big-Daddy form of government, Greene argues, the country does not know what to do with itself and founders like a teenager without parental guidance. Further insight about the US Saturn dilemma can be gained from George Lakoff’s Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, which presents a model of the patriarchal dynamic between citizens and the state.”
My only comment here is that Liz Greene grew up in the US, though of British immigrant parentage, and has lived in Europe for decades. So she is an American commenting on the Americans, but from a distance!
Though we have had the North Node conjunct Chiron and Neptune this year, the exact conjunction between Neptune and Chiron won’t occur until Jan 2010 (though they will be within ¼ of a degree next May), very close to the US Moon. Last time this occurred was in Sept 1945, in the sign of Libra, another airy, civilised sign like Aquarius. This is a whole other subject, but it did correspond with the beginning of post-war reconstruction, in which the USA played a remarkable and civilised role. So maybe this time we will also see an America at its best.