Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Personal Experience vs The Men in White Coats

Here’s to reclaiming the primacy of personal experience over what we’re told. We have heard that the Earth goes round the Sun, and it would be unreasonable not to believe that. But our experience is of the Sun moving across the sky – ie the Sun going round the Earth. That, in my book, makes it also true. It is not that the Sun SEEMS to go round the earth, but that REALLY it is the other way round. No, we have to believe our senses, or where are we? Both are true, and if anything I think personal experience needs to be given the greater weight.

And it is the same with astrology. Statistical testing has repeatedly shown that astrology does not work, and again it would be unreasonable not to believe that. That debate, in my opinion, is over. But our personal experience is that astrology does work, that it is powerful and descriptive and full of strange and magical coincidences. Both are true, and they are contradictory, and I think it is good to have to live with such contradictions. They push us to ponder the nature of knowledge itself. What is knowledge, can anything really be known in this vast ocean of unknowing in which we exist?

Ignorance is not so much lack of knowledge as thinking you know when you don’t. When you think about how much consciousness – or the brain – structures experience, then what’s REALLY going on becomes all the more mysterious. It’s not surprising that there are contradictions between different ways of knowing.

Our job is not so much to push at the frontiers of knowledge, as it is to deconstruct our natural tendency to think we know more than we do.

Modern means of knowledge have disempowered our sense of knowing based on experience. It is the ‘men in white coats’ who know best, who have ‘proofs’. Psychologically I don’t think it is much different to the medieval priesthood knowing best.

It is interesting that ‘men in white coats’ are the people in authority, the arbiters of what is real, and that the term applies to lab scientists as well as to the people who take you away to a mental hospital. Is there an unconscious connection here, a collective knowledge that rationality pushed to its extreme is a form of madness?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


In Feb 2009 I wrote: “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…. There is no reason to suppose that militant Islam will not also make advances in Iraq as the US presence recedes.”

Iraq 2004
I’m not claiming particular prescience for the astrology here, because it seems a fairly commonsensical position to have taken. But all the same, this chart does seem to work quite well for the current incarnation of Iraq, reflecting events well and therefore allowing us perhaps to dig a bit deeper. It’s often hard to define THE chart for a country. There are usually several charts, describing different aspects of the  country, or periods in its history, and exact times can be hard to find.

(PS It turns out the time zone for the chart I was using was an hour out. Uranus is not in fact Angular, but the Sun-Moon-Uranus Grand Trine stands. And the source for the chart? Can't find it, but I know I noted down the exact time from the news when the event occurred.)

The recent foundation of the Islamic State Caliphate is a case in point. There are a number of conflicting accounts of when the declaration was made, and we may never know for certain. (See my recent piece on the subject.)

Islamic State Caliphate
Now here’s the spooky thing: the natal chart I use for the Caliphate and the 2014 Solar Return for Iraq each occurred on 28 June 2014 within 25 mins of each other. The planets are virtually identical by sign and degree, it’s just the Angles that are a bit apart.

Iraq Solar Return 28th June 2014
This occurred because the Iraqi SR Chart for this year happened to coincide closely with the start of Ramadan – the Muslim holy month, which also was the time that Islamic State, for reasons of religion and power, chose to found the Caliphate. Any chart for the Caliphate would be within a day or so of this one, so the overall point still stands.

It’s a bizarre coincidence. It suggests that the fates of IS and Iraq are intertwined this year – which is obvious. And it also suggests, to my mind, that it is not just a matter of enemies opposing – IS vs the Iraqi government. It is as much the rulers and people of each moving towards each other, becoming one. That is understandable for some of the Sunnis, not so much for the Kurds and majority Shias. However it works out, willingly or unwillingly, there is a curious sympathy between the 2, and a movement towards becoming one country. It’s like twins born 25 mins apart, who can be both opposites yet closely tied to each other.

And even if you don’t accept the Caliphate Chart, the Iraqi Solar Return occurred within 25 mins of the technical start of Ramadan (the first sighting of the New Moon), the holiest month of the year, strongly linking the fate of Iraq this year to Islam.

The territorial ambitions of IS?


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 What I want to do now is to analyse the Iraq Chart and look at the transits etc and see where they lead.

Iraq 2004
First of all, you can see America's hand in the current Iraq's creation: The US Sun-Jupiter at 13-4 Cancer  conjoins the Iraqi Sun-Saturn at 6-15 Cancer. There are other contacts, but that one is striking. Along with the US Saturn squaring both these planets. The expansionist (Jupiter) leadership (Sun) of the world's policeman (10th Saturn) creating a leadership (Sun) and law and order (Saturn) in Iraq.

The Grand Trine, which involves the 2 biggies, the Sun (also the chart ruler) and the Moon, is fundamental to the Iraq Chart. A preponderance of Trines isn’t necessarily what one would expect in a chart of a troubled country. But the Trine, a harmonious aspect, doesn’t mean ‘good’ so much as ‘easy’.

It has been said that Grand Trines are sometimes found in the charts of psychopaths: they expect life to be easy, and if someone gets in their way, they simply dispose of them.

Uranus is an outer planet, invisible to the naked eye and therefore beyond conscious control. He doesn’t have to mean instability, but in this case it’s a fairly obvious interpretation. The leader (Sun) and the people (the Moon)  between them won't be able to control the country. A further instability is created by Uranus squaring Venus, the ruler of the MC.

The Sun in Cancer trine Uranus reflects the divisive tribalism of the Iraqi government. It has always been tribal. Under Saddam Hussein, the minority Sunnis controlled the majority Shias. Under the present government, it has been the other way round. The Sunnis have a grievance, facilitating the invasion of the Sunni Islamic State. The Americans have been pressuring the government, which was led by Nouri Al Maliki, for a long time now to be more inclusive. But it’s not the way they think. It shows what can happen if you invade a country and try to impose your political system – ‘advanced’ liberal democracy – on a country to whom it is alien. Countries often have nasty dictators for a reason, which is that the alternative – warring tribes - is worse.

Uranus opposite 1st House Jupiter suggests that the divisions are religious as well as ethnic.

Natal Mars in the 12th square to the Moon suggests a country whose people will not easily fight for it. There have been reports of Iraqi fighters simply fleeing the advance of IS.


Neptune is currently passing over natal Uranus and will soon square Venus, ruler of the MC – suggesting a dissolution of the State.

The big transits that have been going on for some years are Pluto and Uranus hard-aspecting the (wide) Sun-Saturn conjunction. This will reach its conclusion in 2 years time when Pluto makes his final opposition to Saturn. Pluto opposite Sun described, amongst other things, the exclusion from power of the Sunnis and Kurds. Uranus square Sun and Saturn describes the ongoing shakiness and instability of the leadership (Nouri Al Maliki was forced to resign in August) and law and order, the basic structure of society. Pluto’s opposition to Saturn suggests the destruction of the current Iraqi system of government.


At the end of April there was an eclipse of the Sun at 9 Taurus, 1/2 a degree off the Iraqi North Node. Eclipses often catalyse significant events, and this occurred at a point that is suggestive of the country’s destiny. It occurred as transiting Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto created a Cardinal Grand Cross over natal Saturn. Six weeks later ISIS fighters began to take over Iraqi towns and cities.

April 2014 Eclipse over Baghdad
So will Iraq fall? The answer from the transits seems to suggest yes.

The natal chart is highly unstable. The transits now and over the next couple of years reinforce this take. The April eclipse suggests the arrival of a moment of truth in the country’s destiny.

Iraq: Progressed Chart Oct 2015
In the Progressed Chart, in 9 months time the Sun-Moon Cycle will enter the closing – or Balsamic – phase, which suggests an ending, or the beginning of the end. A year after that, the Prog Asc will change sign from proud Leo to submissive Virgo, while the Prog Moon activates the country’s North Node: we have already seen what the eclipse to that point did.

And then there are the Solar Returns. 2014,15 and 16 all have either Pluto and Uranus on an Angle, suggesting instability and destruction. 2017 does not, but it has a Mars-Jupiter-Pluto Cardinal t-square, suggestive of religious brutality.

So it’s not good news for the Iraqi people. With IS being Sunni and Iraq being mainly Shia, that will add to the brutality. It will be worse than under Saddam, because he did not insist that everyone had to be Sunni.

The US and its allies, as we know, are undertaking airstrikes, which they will probably keep up and which will slow IS down. But, as one US General said after Vietnam, if there was one thing they had learned, it was that you cannot win a war against guerrillas by bombing alone. And there seems to be no appetite for sending in ground troops. The airstrikes are as much a face-saving exercise as anything else, the western governments having to appear to be doing something to oppose IS.

I’d say from the astrology that Iraq will fall to IS in 1 to 2 years’ time.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Islamic State vs the West: the Astrology

Two days ago the UK government voted by a big majority to join in the US
-led bombing of Islamic State. I’d been wondering for some time about a chart for the Islamic State Caliphate, and then I noticed Christina had put up a post on the subject, suggesting a particular chart. Which got me thinking.

Islamic State Flag: the 7th Century 'Black Banner'

 (NerdWatch: Skip the next 10 paragraphs if you’re not technically minded).

What we know is that the spokesman for IS declared the Caliphate (extending across captured territory in Syria and Iraq) on the first day of Ramadan, 29th June 2014, the Islamic holy month, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. 

The timing for this declaration, however, is confused. If you look on skyscript, or on Robert Hand's Facebook Page for 3 July, it becomes apparent that there are a number of conflicting reports, some as much as 12 hours apart from each other. Not only that, but there is also youtube evidence of ISIS fighters celebrating the announcement of the Caliphate before sunrise that day!

At exactly what point did the Caliphate come into existence? We may never know, indeed there may well not be an exact time. Rather like the USA, did it come into existence on 2nd July, when Congress decided the USA was now independent, or 2 days later when the public declaration occurred?

In the same way, did the Caliphate exist once it was announced publicly, or at some point in the previous decision-making process?

The founding of the Caliphate, however, has one big astrological advantage over the founding of the USA, which is that it was clearly timed to coincide with a powerful symbolic event: the start of Ramadan. Astrology is essentially symbolic, and so I think a strong case exists for the start of Ramadan '14 being a chart that signifies the Caliphate. That is already what the declaration is associated with. In the absence of a clear time for the declaration, this chart could eventually become THE chart for the Caliphate.

Even though the public declaration was made sometime during the 29th of June, Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the crescent Moon after the New Moon, which was the evening before.

So I spent a couple of hours researching the moment at which the crescent Moon would have become visible in Ar-Raqqah, Syria on that date. Some Muslims use the time of the New Moon, which is easily calculable, but that is not so traditional, and IS are nothing if not traditional, as they see it.

At Moonsighting, there was a sighting of the Moon from Kuwait at 18:59, 8 minutes after sunset (which was 2 minutes after the Sun dipped below the Descendant on Solar Fire).

That was the best info I could get for that area. They weren’t able to see it, for example, in Saudi Arabia or Lebanon.

So the best possible guess I can make is for 10 minutes after the Sun crossed the Desc in Ar-Raqqah.

End of NerdWatch

And that gives this chart. One of the main differences from some other charts is that, crucially, Pluto is in the First House instead of being hidden in the 12th.

Islamic State Caliphate

And I think that what has characterised the IS Caliphate from the start is the openness of their brutality and their aspirations to power in the Muslim world. That is more characteristic of a 1st House Pluto. With 12th House Pluto, their real motivations would only have become clear over time, and even then they would be denied.

Overall it is a very powerful chart of an emotionally based religious movement (Sun and Moon in Cancer, Moon conjunct Jupiter) creating a homeland (Cancer) that wishes to expand (Jupiter), and willing to be as brutal as necessary to survive (Sun opposite Pluto Rising) in the face of what it sees as a world that is against it (Sun opposite Pluto).


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And the world that is against it is essentially the US and the other western powers. The US has Sun-Jupiter at 13-9 Cancer, conjunct the Caliphate Sun-Desc and opposite its Pluto.

The US and the Caliphate
This comparison of the two Charts shows very clearly the mutual shadow projection occurring. The 7th House is the House of 'Open Enemies', of mirrors, if you like, each seeing its own brutality in the enemy. Each have major placements in the 7th of the other, and all in the same sign of Cancer, the visceral sign of homeland and patriotism/nationalism. America is the Great Satan once again, while the IS are terrorists, subhumans who commit brutal acts for the sake of it, for no reason. Which has a truth to it, but that's not the point.

I wouldn’t want to defend IS at all, but it also involves the old story of the US projecting its own brutality outwards, a need it seems to have.  See Oliver Stone's admittedly angled but informative Untold History of the United States.

You could argue that IS and its Caliphate are the logical outcome of the US attempts to control the Middle East over many decades, an attempt that continues and which fuels the extremism of IS. The bombings, while maybe producing short term gains, will in the long run only make the situation worse.

 I don't want to let us Brits off the hook either. Our Moon conjoins the Caliphate Moon, and our Sun conjoins the Caliphate Asc-Pluto and opposes its Sun. And our MC is opposite the Caliphate Asc. (See Chart below.)

That is a very powerful connection. There isn't the same mutual 7th House connection that the US has -it only goes one way - so the emphasis on the Caliphate as 'enemy' is less. But overall the connection is stronger. Like it or not, we are locked in to Islamic State, and the fears of Brits flying out there and joining IS, then returning and creating problems at home, are therefore real.

I find it fascinating when themes reverberate down the decades, and astrology sometimes reveals this. Britain was involved in the creation of Iraq, an artificial state made up of different peoples, in the 1920s. And the chart for the Caliphate shows that our involvement in the power-politics of the region is just as strong now as it was then.

Of course, it's all ultimately about oil. The West does not wage war against Boko Haram (a jihadist Muslim organisation sympathetic to IS) in Nigeria. We only wage war if our vital interests are threatened, and then we claim the war is about something else.

And that's what I mean when I talk about each side projecting its brutality on the other. We are bombing IS not because they are awful (which they are) but because they threaten the West's control of a region on which it is dependent for a vital interest. And that is brutal. But it is concealed under fine words, and made remote through distance and technology. IS, however, do no such thing. They execute people and display it all over the internet. It seems self-evident that they are the bad guys and we are not.

Other aspects of the Caliphate chart include:  

Mars in the 9th opposite Uranus: the religiously (9th) inspired beheadings (Mars-Uranus), or the beheading of foreigners/journalists (9th). Gruesomely, Aries is associated with the head, and Uranus with sudden separation: Uranus is in Aries. The beheadings began in response to American airstrikes, what is called 'asymmetrical warfare'.

Trine from Saturn in Scorpio in the 10th to Moon-Jupiter: there is harmony between the people (Moon) and their rulers (Saturn) suggesting the Caliphate is here to stay and may grow.

Sun, Moon and Asc are all Cardinal: Cardinal signs begin events, they initiate, so we have the suggestion of a powerful beginning, that lends strength to the endurance and ambitions of the Saturn. The Caliphate, ridiculed by many Muslims, is likely to permanently change the Islamic world.

Cancer, Capricorn and Scorpio are all pronounced in the chart. Cancer and Capricorn are conservative, traditional signs, while Scorpio at its worst involves the exercise of archaic, cruel power, and hangs onto the past for dear life.

North Node conjunct Mars in 9th House Libra opposite Uranus: what the IS needs to learn is that others also have a religious/metaphysical viewpoint (9th Libra), instead of imposing their own views, using shocking violence (Mars-Uranus) that puts them outside the human community (Uranus).

Venus square Neptune: the women (Venus) are invisible (Neptune).

I keep thinking of Nazi Germany when I think of IS, they really do seem to be that bad. The charts don’t have much in common, and you can always find something! Maybe it is WHAT you find that matters.

Nazi Germany
The Nazi Pluto at 21 Cancer conjoins the Caliphate Moon. This suggests the aspect of Nazism that involved the collective (the Moon) giving absolute power to their leaders (Pluto) and doing things under orders that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. There are stories of Brits who've gone to join IS becoming disillusioned, but IS won't let them leave, and in any case they would be treated as criminals in the UK.

The Prog Nazi MC-IC is at 15 Aries-Libra. The IS Mars-Uranus runs closely along this axis, as well as conjoining the Nazi natal Uranus. It suggests the shocking violence of the Nazis being born again in IS.

Note that in the Nazi Germany chart, Pluto is hidden on the IC, not entirely unlike having it in the 12th (as I said earlier). And Hitler concealed his intentions until they were obvious and for many it was too late, or in the case of the UK, nearly too late. With the Caliphate and its 1st house Pluto, we know from the start what they are about.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Of Queens and Prime Ministers

The BBC has removed the source link from its news item that, according to David Cameron, the Queen “purred” when he told her that Scotland had voted against independence.

Well she would, she has Moon in Leo, the royal cat: her sense of Queenship is physical (Moon = embodiment), and it expresses itself accordingly.

David Cameron also has Moon in Leo, conjunct the Queen’s Moon. So they instinctively get on. Cameron’s Moon is also conjunct Jupiter and the UK Jupiter. He wants the UK to grow, not shrink. He roared his delight.

Remember “Calm down dear”, Cameron’s injunction to a female opposition MP in the Commons? It suggests a patronising attitude – sometimes at least – towards women. It occurred in late April 2011, while Mars-Jupiter in Aries was opposite his Libra Sun. This was the daring, yet macho, conjunction under which bin Laden was executed by US Navy Seals. And when Cameron told a female MP to “Calm down dear.”

So was he being patronising when he said the Queen “purred”? I think he was, but not as a weapon. The result of the Scottish referendum came out on 19th Sept, when both he and the Queen experienced a Lunar return. They were both feeling happy in a Leo-like way. Mars in Sagittarius was trining Cameron’s Moon and out it came. It was affectionate, but it also suggested that it is he, not her, that rules the pride.

The Queen
The Queen’s chart is by and large fixed and conservative. That is not a criticism, for those qualities have their place. But she finds change difficult. The progressive point in her chart is her 1st House Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius. Diana’s Moon conjoined the Queen’s Mars-Jupiter. So the way Diana instinctively was (Moon) provoked the Queen’s anger (Mars) but also ultimately forced the Queen to change, to come down from her remote, arrogant perch. When Diana died, Pluto and Neptune had recently finished crossing the Queen’s MC and Asc respectively. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. Events were beyond her control, and she was forced to stand down and fly the flag for Diana. And the transits suggest that it was more than a gesture, it was part of a deep change in attitude by the Queen. She was 72 at the time. There’s hope for all of us!

But she’s much happier carrying on as she has always done. According to my calculations, Elizabeth will equal Queen Victoria’s record of 63 yrs 7 months and 2 days on the throne on September 10th 2015. (I calculated it by number of days on the throne, including leap days.)

Queen equals Victoria's Record

At that point Saturn in Scorpio will be about to leave the sign, having finally finished with the Queen’s Saturn-MC in Scorpio, a signature of career longevity if there ever was. It will be her 3rd Saturn return, a transit of achievement and ripeness.

The day before she equals the record, the Moon will cross her Descendant and the UK Moon, so the people (the Moon) will be very aware of this event. And the day of the record the Moon will be in Leo, conjoining her natal Moon. She is likely to purr.

There are, of course, other features to the chart of that day: for example, the Moon Venus conjunction (that conjoins the Queen's Moon). Very nice feeling quality, rejoicing. And the North Node conjunct the Queen's Desc (and the UK Moon): an event of personal significance for the Queen as the 'mother' (Cancer) of the people (UK Moon). This astrology suggests that even if you are anti-monarchy, you will still benefit from the collective feeling quality of the day! 

(Personally, I think having a monarch takes a lot of pressure off the Prime Minister to be that him or herself - which didn't stop Blair or Thatcher trying to be - and means they can get on with their job. I think the USA suffers from this problem, and could do with a monarch. That perhaps why, in our celebrity age, the last 3 Presidents have all had Leo Sun or Asc. Maybe they could try as king a washed-up member of the Kennedy family who would do as he was told?)


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On that day (Sept 10th) I think David Cameron will still be Prime Minister, and probably also purring under his Lunar Return. Politicians usually rise to power under major transits, and fall from power once those transits are over. Margaret Thatcher reigned under Pluto, and Blair under Neptune.

David Cameron

Cameron has a wide stellium from Asc to Venus to the Sun. He became leader of the Conservative Party as Pluto squared his Asc, became Prime Minister as Pluto moved on to square his Venus, and next year (as well as in 2016) Pluto will exactly square his Sun. From then on his power is likely to wane, so I think he is likely to stand down 3 or so years into the next Parliament, in order to make way for an electable successor. A Pluto square Sun transit is pretty hefty, and it will be starting to conclude as the EU referendum of 2017, which he initiated, takes place.

David Cameron

Pluto’s simplest meaning is power, and Cameron will be faced with power issues of national importance from the start of the next Parliament: what powers to give to Scotland, and what powers to reclaim from the EU. These are likely to be his defining issues, at the conclusion of which it will be time for him to go.

Putting astrology aside, I’m not ruling out voting conservative at the next election. I don’t think there is much to choose between the parties. But Cameron is proving to be the first PM for decades who can both lead his party and not divide the country. Thatcher and Blair divided the country and created a lot of ill feeling. Brown and Major could not lead their own parties, let alone the country.

I don’t think of Cameron as a great man. He is, however, holding together not just his party but a coalition government, which is a difficult thing to do. And the country has climbed out of the worst recession in living memory (a recession which I think would also have occurred under a Tory government.) Cuts have been needed, though they have been applied in unfair ways at times. And I really don’t like the concentration of ex-public school in the government, it amounts to a new ruling class in a way we haven’t seen for a long time.

But as a leader, I think Cameron is doing better than any of his predecessors. If Labour had a leader who could lead, then I’d consider voting for them. But Ed Milliband doesn’t seem to have it.

Of course, given the chance I would vote for a party that would change the whole course of the world so that we could live sustainably and stop destroying the environment and where countries would stop trying to dominate each other in a competition for resources and the fanatical backlash that creates...