Saturday, June 28, 2014


As Iraq splits apart, we see Tony Blair shrilly insisting that it was not caused by the 2003 invasion, contrary to what a lot of other people see as common sense. In my last piece, I had a look at Blair’s chart to try and explain this departure from reality.

Tony Blair by GWB
George W Bush, by contrast, does not seem to have said anything about Iraq as it is splitting up. A few months ago he revealed his paintings to the world. He isn’t brilliant, but who is? He has done a painting of Blair that is recognisable. He has done one of Putin in 2 halves, one of the face he shows to the world (which may just be a photo), and the other half of the man behind the mask. Bush said that when he met this closed book of a man, he could sense his soul. Much of Bush's diplomacy was based on building personal connections, and he now seems to be turning this ability to connect into paintings. In a way, he is reflecting on and digesting his experience. We don't know what this sensitive man feels now about Iraq. And it is in such contrast to Tony Blair.

While he was President, a lot of people seemed to feel that Bush wasn’t leading his own life, that he was following in his Dad’s footsteps and was swayed too much by the old men from his father’s administration that he surrounded himself with.

His chart is not a very public one. I can see ‘leader’ in Blair’s chart quite easily, but not so in Bush’s. I can see a power of expression through the Mercury-Pluto Rising in Leo, but I would see that more in an artistic context: the feelingful and imaginative 12th House Sun in Cancer square to Neptune, and the aesthetic Moon-Jupiter in Libra.

I see what he is doing now as so much more in accord with who he is.

His Sun is not very strong in a worldly, assertive sense, being both in the 12th House and square to Neptune and people-pleasing Moon in Libra. I’d say that caused a ‘loss’ of his identity earlier in his life (the alcoholism would have been part of that) and a vulnerability to the expectations of being the eldest scion of a wealthy political dynasty. He would have to both make money and succeed politically, and he did both in a cack-handed sort of way, through family connections.

But it was never him. That is why he has disappeared. He wouldn’t even help the Republican campaign at the last Presidential election. I think it’s an extraordinary psychological story, which may one day come out.

Putin: Bush felt he could sense the soul of this closed-book of a man
By transit, the news of his painting exhibition came out on 4th April 2014, while Pluto was starting to station 14 minutes away from an exact opposition to Bush’s Sun: such powerful astrology says that the painting is not just the hobby of a bored ex-President, but part of a process of a profound change in which a more real person is emerging. This process will continue as Pluto goes on to square his Moon and MC in the coming years. He may even become a good painter, because the artistic element is so strong in his chart.

Bush also has natal Uranus conjunct North Node (as has Barack Obama). So he needs to break the mould if he is to feel fulfilled. The mould, I'd say, of his family background (Cancerians are very sensitive to family expectations.) Again, his re-invention of himself as an artist could be his means of doing this.

During the period of leaders with 12th House Suns which we had in both the USA (2000-2008) and the UK (1997-2010), I wondered about it, because it is unexpected. A strength of this placement is the ability to be a mouthpiece for the collective, and Bush and Blair both had this quality strongly (and it is for the same reason that artists can speak to the collective, and why dictators fear them.)

But in a public person, the 12th House Sun will also want to hide, being far more comfortable in quiet solitude and contemplation. You are not likely to get a leader that you feel you know. And I think this applied to all 3 of Bush, Blair and Brown.

With Bush, as I said, there was always the feeling that he was living out someone else’s expectations. With Blair (whose paternal grandparents were both actors, and who married into an acting family), there was a wall of rhetoric with enormous public appeal that won him 2 landslide elections. But who was the man, what did he really stand for? None of us really knew who this arch people-pleaser was. Until enantiodroma occurred, the phenomenon of turning from one psychological extreme to another. When the prospect of war with Iraq came about in 2002, he quickly turned from cautious people-pleaser into doing what he believed in, with religion as a back-up, regardless of what others thought. And with a big dose of 12th House self-deception thrown in.

Gordon Brown having just lost the General Election
Bush and Blair both had a persona they could project, while Gordon Brown did not even have that. Prime Minister for 3 unhappy years, he began his premiership with a telling image, speaking from a podium with half his face hidden behind a recorder. Most of Brown’s personal planets are in the 12th House, but he also has Moon in Leo in the 4th conjunct Pluto: that is the hunger for power that was always snapping at Blair’s heels, even though his personality was unsuited to leadership. Lacking, like Bush, planets at the top of the chart, he has gone happily into anonymity since losing office.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Iraq was always a divided country, artificially created by the French and British, with a Shia majority and Sunni and Kurd minorities. And sometimes countries like this have nasty dictators because that is the only way there will be any stability. Afghanistan is also a case in point.

So when the US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003, there was always going to be a problem of sectarian strife which, it turned out, the aggressors had no plan to deal with. And the consequences of this are what we are seeing now, the Americans having left, as the country splits apart. The Sunnis have a real grievance, in that the Shia government is excluding them from any say in the country. A lot of them are also jihadists intent on Sharia Law, a fundamentalist strand that was fanned by the 2003 invasion.

All this is, in a way, common knowledge and common sense. But not to Tony Blair, who leaped to the defence of the 2003 invasion when Iraqi cities began falling to the Sunnis. The reason this is happening, he said, is because the West has not been sufficiently assertive in combatting the jihadists in Syria: they have gained strength and are now spilling over into Iraq.

He kind of has a point about Syria, except the West began by supporting the rebellion against the dictator Assad (the West regularly changes its mind about dictators), but then found the situation to be more complex when the Islamists got involved. And the West had lost most of the political capital that enables intervention precisely through its botched invasion of Iraq. Furthermore, under Saddam Hussein, any invaders would have had short shrift: there was stability of a kind.

But it’s not really worth arguing with Tony Blair. As I said, it is common sense. Moreover, I’m not very interested in politics, except inasmuch as it shines a light on human nature and character. And in the case of Mr Blair, we seem to have someone who has lost touch with reality. He has his political actions to defend, and like any politician he wants to defend them, but history is so clearly proving him wrong about Iraq that the only decent thing to do seems to be to shut up, if you can’t bring yourself to admit you were wrong. You don’t see George Bush defending the invasion, that old hate-figure who seems to be showing more integrity than Blair.

Bush and Blair both have 12th House Suns, not a placement you traditionally look for in a leader, due to its private, hidden nature. For the UK, it was part of a political era, because straight after Blair we had Brown, another 12th House Sun. And I think those Suns proved problematic, and I’ll return to that.

But they don’t make you nuts. Why is Tony Blair 'unhinged' (as Boris Johnson called him), but not Bush or Brown? I look particularly to his 10th House Moon in Aquarius, a very public element to his chart that neither Bush nor Brown have. This is why the latter two have been happy to slope off quietly since leaving office – indeed, they both seem to have wanted to. But with 10th House Moon, there is a need to have a public impact and to protect your legacy, which is exactly what Blair has done.

He has not had the quiet time needed to reflect on his actions. And also with 10th House Moon, his sense of himself in a very personal way is dependent on how the world sees him, so there is the defensiveness, backed up by Mars on the Ascendant.

And I think it is the sign of the Moon, Aquarius, which brings in the ‘nutty’ element. Aquarius can be a wonderful sign, full of progressive ideas and good feeling for humanity. I’m not saying President Obama is a perfect example, but he has Aquarius Rising, and his long overdue healthcare bill for the US shows what Aquarius can do.

But it is also a fixed sign, which can find it hard to adapt to changing realities. And it gets stuck in its head with ideas about the world which are outside the conventional wisdom, and that is both Aquarius’ strength and weakness. Because being outside conventional reality can mean you are nuts just as much as it can mean you are a progressive genius. Or both.

Anders Breivik: Sun-Mars in Aquarius square to Uranus
Aquarian Anders Breivik, who  murdered over 70 people in Norway on fantastical political grounds, is a good example. 

Uranus rules Aquarius, and you can see the same kind of syndrome when Uranus makes strong challenging aspects. Julian Assange has Sun in square to Uranus, and Mars in Aquarius. While the value of his Wikileaks project will probably always be a matter for debate, if you read up on the political ideology that fuels him, there is extreme paranoia about authority and childish naivety about the ‘cure’, couched in very intellectual language. (Assange also has Moon in Scorpio, and as a child spent time in a secretive cult, so you can see a motive there!)

So Aquarians/ Uranians, partly due to their lack of feeling (Blair has no personal water in his chart), can get stuck in their heads with wild self-serving ideas about reality. Those ideas are often political/ideological, because the Aquarian’s nature is to be involved with the collective. And being a fixed sign, they can keep it up for the rest of their lives.

It doesn’t of course mean you have to be nuts if you are Aquarian, most of us aren’t, but I think there is always that tendency to look out for: ideas that do not connect to the human realities around you. Aquarius is the water bearer, which gives them strong feelings (water) that they can also be cut off from (they are in an urn rather than in you).

And Blair’s ideas about Iraq, with which he seems almost obsessed, so clearly do not connect to the realities around him.

Analysing further, Blair’s Moon is in a (wide) t-square with the Sun and Pluto. That is not an easy chart to have. There is conflict at the heart of it in the square between the Sun and the Moon. The Sun, his identity, is private and reflective, and it is easily overrun by the dynamic Moon at the top of the chart, with its need to make a mark on the world and be in the public eye. Maybe that is why the man has got religion: it keeps his Sun happy, but again the Moon distorts it and persuades him that his political actions are God’s Will working through him.

And then Pluto in a challenging aspect to both Sun and Moon. Pluto in his most basic form is the pursuit of power, and that is very evident with Blair, even though he cannot see it himself. He happened to get on personally with George Bush, but the real attraction was power. That is also why he is close friends with Rupert Murdoch. If he was more conscious, this chart, through Pluto, would place a great propensity for honesty and personal transformation at the centre of his life. As it is, his life seems to be more about ‘external’ power for its own sake. Pluto can have a life or death quality, suggesting that it is more than his life is worth to admit error over Iraq.