Sunday, April 14, 2013

Margaret Thatcher and the British Character

When Princess Diana died in 1997, there was an outpouring of grief like we’d never seen before in the UK (Tony Blair, prescient political animal with a 12th House Sun, saw it coming).

 In his series on the British Stiff Upper Lip, Ian Hislop saw this outpouring as a signal that something was changing in the British character. Namely, that the stiff upper lip (produced by the needs of Empire and in response to the frighteningly liberated emotion of the French Revolution) was on its way out. And that we are returning to who we used to be, a very emotionally expressive nation, about whom foreigners used to complain of the excessive kissing in public.

My point is that at moments like the death of Diana, a nation can get to know itself. And I think it is the same with the death of Margaret Thatcher.

The nation has been touched and divided. With Diana, you either felt the grief or (like me and Ian Hislop) you didn’t. With Thatcher, the nation has split into opposing camps, just like it did when she was in power. And that says a lot about the British people.

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"the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe" Mitterrand
 I have mixed feelings about her. I have a bad taste in my mouth because of the loveless, patronising way she implemented her policies. But something had to be done, and she was the only one ruthless enough to do it. And many people either hate her for her lovelessness or love her for ‘saving’ the nation. But in reality I think it is a complex mix and we need to sit with it for a few years. Her death has energised that process.

At one point I agreed with Russell Brand, who said if you didn’t like Thatcher because of her lack of love, that means you believe in love, so you shouldn’t be celebrating her death. Well, he’s right if you are just expressing hatred. But I don’t think it is just that. Her death is also the symbolic death of a harsh trait in the British character (that built the Empire and still sends 8 year olds away to boarding school, amongst other things: I was at school with her disreputable son Mark!) and I think it is healthy to celebrate that death. 

The BBC should be playing the full version of Ding Dong The Witch is Dead (from the Wizard of Oz), which has seen a surge in popularity, because it is expressing something healthy in the population (as well as hatred, but you’re never going to have purity!)

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The UK chart has Sun in Capricorn and Moon in Cancer. And there, I think, you have it. Capricorn is the demands of the world, the demands for law and order and an economy that works. Cancer is the need for nurture, for belonging, for caring about each other. Capricorn is the Empire, Cancer is the emotionality we used to be known for and which is re-emerging. Princess Diana was a Cancerian.

And the nation is split along that axis. The split over Thatcher is expressive of an enduring split in the nation between these 2 principles. That is the self-knowledge that the death of Margaret Thatcher is making available to us.

And we all have both, at least if you are British. We are a collective as well as an individual species, and that split over Thatcher, those 2 camps, is in all of us. If I were doing a reading for an individual with this chart, I would be saying that you need to bring Capricorn and Cancer together. These axes are basic to astrology. If you have a planet in a sign, then you need to cultivate the opposite sign for balance, and if you don’t, you are likely to express the negative characteristics of that opposite sign.

Even more so if you have planets in both those opposite signs, and even more so if they are the Sun and Moon, the 2 most important and descriptive planets.

William and Kate: Cancer and Capricorn
In the case of the UK, the astrology suggests it is the government (Sun) that is more likely to be one-sidedly Capricorn, putting efficiency before feeling; and it is the people (the Moon) who are more likely to be one-sidedly Cancer, sentimental (Diana’s death!) and allowing the welfare bill to get out of control.

But the 2 themes are tightly woven together: the Sun is within orb of an opposition to the Moon, while the Sun is in Cancer’s natural House (the 4th) and the Moon is in the Sun’s natural House (the 10th). There’s probably a technical name for this, a bit like mutual reception, but I don’t know what it might be.

So I think the country needs to understand and gradually get over this division on Thatcher, because the UK chart seems to be saying that the 2 camps are intimately connected, and that they are probably in each of us. If you are taking one side of it, you may well be in denial of the other side in yourself. A bit like Russell Brand’s point: are you being loveless in your celebration of Thatcher’s death, are you allowing yourself to hate her? Because if you are, then you are being just like her. And do you see the current welfare cuts just as a bad thing done by bad people, because that is a denial of Capricorn, which Thatcher was all too good at.

And if, like the Tory politicians you go misty eyed and talk about her as the saviour of the nation, well then you are being sentimental, which is feeling that is not objective, it is unconscious Cancer. All that feeling they have for her, that is what she didn’t have. She was not loyal or respectful to her cabinet members, they became her mere functionaries who she would readily discard or freeze out.

So it’s about the UK becoming a nation at ease with itself. Thatcher in many ways embodied an old Britain, which built an Empire, conquered and converted savages (as it saw them) and became the world’s most wealthy and powerful nation. (I’m talking about the UK here, not the USA :)) The Australian PM was shocked by Thatcher’s racism, and saw her as part of an old Britain. I think he was right. I think the UK is still getting over its loss of Empire and all the attitudes that go with that. And I think the death of Thatcher may be an important milestone in the country moving on from its past.

Our past, our Empire, created a Capricorn-Cancer imbalance in the nation: we lost our emotionality, we became efficient and cruel. Thatcher so much embodies what we used to be, and still are to some extent, but are moving on from. The character of the British people is changing. And that is also reflected in the major transits from Uranus and Pluto to the UK Sun, Moon and Asc. But that’s another article.

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Sally said...

Whilst always respecting your right to hold your opinion and to express it - I find your readiness to celebrate Baroness Thatcher's death disgusting.
I thought you were a "bigger" person than that, DR!

Debbie Rutter said...

Sally, I think you are mis-reading DR's take on this. I thought Mrs T was the most amazing person. I am 56 and I remember very well what she inherited and how she had to deal with it all. I was in awe of her. She was the most astounding role model for girls of my age just starting work (in The City as it happens). I think DR is merely pointing out that she wasn't as 'cuddly feely' as Diana - who I thought was charming but vacuous and highly manipulative - and THAT is a much more controversial thing to say in this country! I thought it a rather well-balanced piece. as always.

myr lock said...

I did not read any celebration of Thatcher in this post?
I read DR interpret the astrological symbols that represent the United Kingdom and the astrological symbols that Thatcher represented and how she was a voice for the politics of the time. Also, the astrological symbols that Diana represents and how her energy is interpreted by the British people.
Often when national events happen, astrologers like to look at the events through the lens of astrology.
Thatchers death is just one of the many national events that DR has written about.