There is a strong astrological similarity between the financial crisis of the early thirties and what is happening now. A big difference, however, is that the process of globalisation has gone much further. Even back then, events in the USA produced shock waves throughout much of the world. But now more countries are involved, and the interconnections are that much closer. There are, for example, many more multinational corporations and banks, and vastly more trade, as well as improved communications, including the ubiquitous internet. Hence the speed with which the present crisis is developing.
The process of globalisation has been particularly intense in the last couple of decades, and this was reflected firstly in the Uranus-Neptune conjunction, which lasted from the late eighties to the mid-nineties; and then in the passage of Pluto through Sagittarius, which lasted from 1995 to the end of 2008.
These outer planet movements are very powerful, bringing a deep and lasting cultural impetus with them. So they were about much more than just globalisation, though this was an important aspect. Symbolically, we can see Uranus-Neptune as progress (Uranus) through the dissolution of national boundaries (Neptune). In the case of the boundary between East and West, i.e. the Cold War and Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, the collapse (Neptune) was very sudden and unexpected (Uranus). The internet, and its globalising effect, is also very Uranus-Neptune.
Hot on the heels of Uranus-Neptune came Pluto’s entry into Sagittarius. Sagittarius is driven towards expansion, towards finding meaning in a big canvas. The connection with globalisation is obvious, and Pluto empowered it. But as ever with Pluto, it brought its shadow as well: it made systemic weaknesses, which we are seeing now, more of a global phenomenon.
In 2003, Uranus moved into Pisces, and so into mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius. This means that each planet is in the sign that the other rules, and it has an effect a bit like a conjunction. This mutual reception, which will continue for another couple of years, has prolonged the effect of the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the 1990s, and has been another factor in the intensity of the globalisation process.
We are now coming to the end of the era of globalisation. Pluto moves finally into Capricorn later this year, and the Uranus-Neptune configuration is drifting gradually towards its conclusion.
This ending has a very interesting bearing on current attempts to deal with the global banking crisis. As a planet transits a sign, it becomes increasingly empowered with the qualities of that sign. So with Pluto at the very very end of Sag, the forces of globalisation are at their most powerful. And yet they are about to turn into their opposite, as Pluto enters the sign of national boundaries, Capricorn.
The G7 group of rich nations has just met in response to the banking crisis, and proposed a plan, lacking in concrete steps, for governments each to take more control of their banking systems – buying stakes, injecting liquidity, guaranteeing interbank lending – in order to loosen up the freeze that has taken place in the credit system. In theory this could work. But though we have come a long way with globalisation, we have not come that far. Nations remain sovereign and independent, even within the EU, and concerted action remains notoriously difficult to achieve.
What is needed are the kind of bold steps that the UK has taken, making £400bn available to its banking system. This is 10 times as much, relatively speaking, as the US is proposing to make available to its own banking system. If the US does not act boldly, the world banking system will go down. The US cannot act boldly because of its political cycle. They have a President at the end of his second term, and they are always ‘lame-ducks’, the current incumbent particularly so.
Nor for astrological reasons can the G7 solution work. A credit squeeze is very much a Pluto in Capricorn phenomenon, it is the new era, and so it cannot be dealt with by the methods of the old era. The G7 solution is far too Pluto in Sag: go global, and throw money at the problem.
What I think is going to happen is this: each country will have to withdraw into its own shell and solve the problem for itself. A government cannot provide guarantees when its banks lend to foreign institutions. But it can provide guarantees when the money remains in the country. This is a very Capricornian solution, in which Capricornian Britain is leading the way.
So because the richest nations cannot act in concert, because economic (Pluto) globalisation (Sag) has, for now, had its day, I think we are likely to see a collapse of the international banking system in the very near future. This will lead to a huge slowdown in world trade: even now, commercial shipping rates have halved.
It will be up to each country individually to sort out its own banking system. Trust between countries can then be slowly rebuilt. Collapses can happen very quickly, as we have seen. Because of its political cycle, the US is in a very dangerous position, and their collapse may well go much further than it needs to. This will, of course, dramatically increase the slowdown in the rest of the world.
I think it is a Depression, not a Recession, to which we are headed. How Great it is remains to be seen. We will be poorer. People will lose their jobs. But maybe also, in the smaller countries, there will be less of a sense of being part of a huge international machine that is out of our control. And more of a sense of national self-reliance, more of a connection again between work and what it produces and the need to conserve resources. All good Capricornian stuff.