Saturn and Uranus are lining up for the first of a series of 5 exact oppositions, beginning on November 4th. In my last post I referred to the US Congressional bust-up over the $700bn bail-out as an example of Saturn-Uranus. Politically, we have also had a couple of examples over here in the UK, both in the last few days.
Firstly there was the sacking of Britain’s top policeman, Sir Ian Blair, by the new Tory mayor of London, Boris Johnson. This was a sudden and surprising event (Uranus), carried out in a highly unusual manner (Uranus), that abruptly separated (Uranus) the head of London’s police force (Saturn) from his job.
There has been quite a lot of fall-out, partly because the post of Metropolitan Police Commissioner is seen as having become politicised by this decision. It sets a precedent, for it means that in future the mayor of London can say to the police commissioner (like Boris did) that he no longer has confidence in him, and that will be enough to make his position untenable.
Underneath his charm and bluff honesty, Boris Johnson is very right wing. This maybe suggests an emerging theme for the Saturn-Uranus opposition, which we saw in the USA, where Uranus is ‘right-wing’ as well as ideological and/or maverick, and Saturn is the ‘left wing’ establishment.
The obvious way to look at Saturn-Uranus politically is the forces of progress and liberalism (Uranus) versus an entrenched, reactionary establishment (Saturn). But being Uranus, it is not coming out as one might have thought. What I think we are seeing is Saturn at its best, as a sense of a wider responsibility towards society.
I think this applies in the case of Boris Johnson, whose action shows his inexperience. You can easily achieve quick results by being authoritarian, as he was in this case. Or as Bush was with Iraq. The point is not whether it was the right decision: in Sir Ian Blair’s case, he had lurched from crisis to crisis during his 3 year tenure, and was widely seen as not up to the job. On the day of the London bombings of 2005, for example, when he was supposed to be briefing the Prime Minister, his information was behind that which was appearing on the news.
The point is that Uranus without Saturn is likely to make decisions that are not properly thought through, or not carried out in the right way, that do not have a mandate from the collective. Boris Johnson has an unaspected Mercury at 19 Gemini. (This placement makes him prone to gaffes, often of a schoolboy right wing nature). With the Saturn-Uranus opposition coming up to square it exactly, and then moving on over the next 2 years to square his Sun at 28 Gemini, he will be forced to change his ways, to consider the divisive (Uranus) consequences (Saturn) of acting without collective assent (Saturn), while hopefully keeping the quirky, maverick style (Uranus) for which he is known.
Another Saturn-Uranus event was Gordon Brown bringing the ‘Prince of Darkness’, Peter Mandelson, back into the government. This took everyone by surprise, for they are old enemies. In this case, Brown is Saturn, the establishment; and Mandelson, who is known for being divisive and plotting and who many cannot stand, is Uranus.
Brown has Mars at 22.35 Pisces in the 12th House, which is not exactly a good placement for a leader. With Saturn-Uranus lining up along this Mars, he has made a surprising decision (Uranus) about an enemy (Mars) in the interests of effective collective government (Saturn).
Mandelson himself (born 21 Oct 1953) has Sun square to Uranus, giving him his misfit quality, which includes his homosexuality. His Sun in Libra is trine to Jupiter, and he is well-known for his love of fine things. This once included a house in London beyond his income, and paid for by a secret interest-free loan from a cabinet colleague who Mandelson’s department was supposed to be investigating! There is a well-known apocryphal joke about him that, visiting a chip shop in his northern England constituency, he asked for some of the ‘guacamole’, which was in fact mushy peas. The point of the joke is that it highlights what is seen as an aloofness from ordinary people, despite being Labour.
He clearly has the Libran diplomatic qualities, in that it was he as much as anyone who helped pull the Labour party back together again in the 80s/90s. But he also has Mercury in Scorpio square to Pluto, which no doubt helped him in the political manoeuvring required, but which has also given him the underhand ways that have been his undoing. With Mercury in Scorpio square to Pluto, it’s almost like why be straightforward when you can plot and play with people like chess pieces? He probably can’t help himself!
His Sun in Libra is conjunct Neptune, which gives him his political (Libra) idealism (Neptune). His Sun is also conjunct Saturn, which makes him the capable hard worker that Brown needs back in his government at a time of crisis both for the economy and for Labour politically.
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Mandelson has been on the receiving end of his own Mercury square Pluto, receiving reciprocal treatment from his colleagues. The fancy house, which he had to sell, led to his first resignation from government. The second time he resigned, a year or two later when he was Northern Ireland Secretary, was because he was alleged to have pulled some strings to help a couple of rich Indian businessmen get passports. He was forced out by this, though later cleared of any wrongdoing, and it seemed to be his colleagues who were stoking it up to get him out.
This was why, at the next General Election, when he was re-elected as an MP, he made his famous ‘I am a fighter and not a quitter’ speech. Which was appropriate for a man with Moon in Aries. He has the Aries fighter quality, but also its blindness. All he could see was the injustice, which was real, but not what he had done to turn people against him.
The paradoxical thing about his Mercury-Pluto is that on the one hand yes, he probably can’t help himself, he is a habitual plotter and manoueverer. But on the other hand, Scorpio at its best has a respect for truth and straightforwardness like no other sign, it will even be truthful about its own shameful, taboo sides. So this is Mandelson’s challenge. With natal Sun conjunct Saturn, he ought to be good at learning from his experience. With Neptune currently squaring his Mercury, he may be mellowing. And after 7 years in the wilderness, so to speak, he may have changed his ways.