Friday, February 20, 2009


“Men and women sin in different ways,” concludes Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, writing in the Vatican newspaper. The most common sin for women is pride, and for men it is lust.

The report is based on a study of confessions carried out by Fr Roberto Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar.

I don’t doubt there may be some psychological truth lurking in this observation, but it gets confused by the notion firstly that pride and lust are 'sins', and further that they are 'deadly', and therefore have dire consequences if you die without having confessed them. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell".

The idea of eternal damnation is an appalling one. How can a human being actually get their heads round this possibility? Torture that goes on and on FOR EVER.

With this sort of context, the confessions on which the study was based have to be taken as made under duress, and therefore unreliable.

Anyway, I can’t see anything wrong with lust or pride, taken in moderation. It’s normal and healthy to feel attracted to others (lust), and to enjoy feeling attractive (pride). If they become the basis of who you think you are, then that’s another matter. But it doesn’t damn you, and anyway you can’t force people to change, as the Catholic Church seems to try to do.

Catholicism isn’t the only religion that tries to terrorise people into behaving as it wants them to, though if we were to have a real war on terror, I think Catholic Doctrine would be a good place to start. Tibetan Buddhism also does this. You get these extraordinarily detailed and lengthy descriptions of the different types of hell, which are extremely difficult to escape from, in some of the Scriptures. And after you die, according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, you eventually become so terrified by the white light of reality that you flee into another body. For any of you out there who still idealise Tibetan Buddhism, remember it is an organised religion that can be just as heavy-handed as the Catholics.

So don’t die, it’s not good for you!

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Incidentally, the modern Vatican gained its independence on 7 June 1929 at 11am in Rome. With Venus in Taurus and Mars in Leo, you would have thought it would be women who stand accused of sensuality/lust, and the men who stand accused of pride. With an intercepted Sun-Moon in Gemini, and nothing to speak of in water, the Vatican is not short on ideas, but not too good at connecting them to actual human beings.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pluto in Capricorn: religious extremism as political reality

In the economic world, Pluto’s move into Capricorn is proving to be a corrective to Pluto in Sagittarius: the financial excesses of recent years have led to a dramatic contraction in the world economy, and a re-think about how the money-men should conduct themselves.

In the religious world, however, particularly that of conservative Islam, Pluto’s move into Capricorn does not seem to be providing a corrective to the excesses of recent years. Rather, fundamentalist Islam seems in some places to be slowly establishing itself as a political norm, which is also a meaning of Pluto in Capricorn.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban have been making big gains, which is why the US is sending more troops. The war in Afghanistan was announced by President Bush on 7 Oct 2001 at 5pm. Like the chart for the invasion of Iraq, the Saturn-Pluto opposition is lined up along the MC-IC, just as it was lined up along the US Asc-Desc on 9/11, linking all 3 events together. A 'personal' event (ASC) unfolded into 2 very public ones on the world stage (MC).

The Afghan invasion chart has a close Sun-Mars-Jupiter Cardinal t-square, and I think it is plausible to say that the war will be decided one way or another around 2016/17 when Pluto transits this t-square. I think Mars can be a good starting point when looking at the charts for wars.

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In Pakistan, parts of its borders with Afghanistan have been effectively ruled by the Taliban and Al Qaeda for some time now. This is why from time to time we read about American missile strikes on these areas. An unintended consequence of these strikes, according to some analysts, has been to drive the Taliban base camps further into Pakistan.

A new development on Monday was the Pakistan government ceding control to the Taliban of the Swat Valley, which is only 100 miles from Karachi. This seems to me to be of huge significance, because it is not just a semi-autonomous tribal area. Pakistan has a weak government, and a President with a history of corruption. It is under a lot of internal pressure from militant Islam.

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Pakistan is at the end of a Neptune opposition to its Sun, which describes the dissolution process it has been through over the last 18 months as Musharraf, its military ruler who was just about holding it all together, ceded power to a democratically elected but ineffectual government. The natal Sun is in a wide conjunction to Saturn-Pluto, all of which square Angular Jupiter in Scorpio. So there is a natural tendency in the country to head towards not just the military rule which has characterised most of its existence, but also rule by religious extremists (Jupiter in Scorpio), a destiny it has not yet fulfilled, but may well do so in coming years.

So what was seen as religious extremism under Pluto in Sag may become political reality under Pluto in Capricorn, not just in Afghanistan and nuclear-armed Pakistan, but also in Iran through its development of nuclear weapons, a process the West now seems unable to stop. In going for the wrong target, which was Iraq, George Bush weakened his standing to such an extent that he was not able to go after the right target, which was Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

As for Iraq, it would seem to me that the long-term result will have been to replace oppression of Shias by Sunnis, with oppression of Sunnis by Shias. Iraq will become a natural ally of its neighbour Iran, which is also Shia, a branch of Islam which is in the minority in the Muslim world, but which will gain in standing due to Iran’s ascendancy and its alliance with Iraq.

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The US handed over power to a new Iraqi government at 9.26am on 28 June 2004. The Sun-Moon-angular Uranus Grand Trine suggests to me a natural instability and fragility which is unlikely to last much beyond the departure of US troops. Obama intends this departure to be soon, and the major transits of Pluto to the Sun and Neptune to the MC over the next couple of years reflect this major shift that seems likely to happen. Pluto will also be conjoining the Mars of the Iraq War chart around the same time, bringing the war to a close. There is no reason to suppose that militant Islam will not also make advances in Iraq as the US presence recedes.

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