Tuesday, March 30, 2021


The vaccine crisis may prove to be the beginning of the end for the EU in its current form. The UK's departure was a body-blow, though the EU put on a brave face and continued as before. But the vaccine fiasco has revealed the EU to be neither fish nor fowl: neither centralised enough to respond effectively to a crisis, nor loose enough in its federation that individual states could respond in a timely way. Ideals of unity stood in the way of practicality. Jean-Claude Juncker, the last President of the Commission, said some time ago that the EU had lost its libido. Remember the driving ambition of Jacques Delors? All that seems a long time ago.

The chart for the EU as an organisation - the EEC - has mutable Angles, which is not traditionally a time to start something that will last. The characteristic of mutability is adaptativeness, allowing something to dissolve so that the new can arise. In 3 years' time Neptune will hard aspect these Angles. This could point to either a dissolution, or to an increased level of union. Pluto crossing these Angles in the late noughties corresponded to the fiscal crsis and the Greek bailout, when the EU was forced by circumstances to act centrally in a way that it hadn't before. So Neptune's transit will be round two. It is the lack of driving ambition which suggests to me that this transit is more likely to involve an unravelling, as member states look out for themselves, rather than a greater degree of union.

And what is the EU for its member states? In the same way that the Moon in a mundane chart describes the people of a country, we can read the Moon in the EU chart as its member states, as well as the peoples: this Moon says shared (8th House) wealth (Taurus). From the point of view of its peoples, then, the EU is primarily about prosperity. As for the idealism, when someone talks like that about themselves, I am a bit skeptical, and no less so in a political context. The EU, via its free trade zone, has the prosperity it needs, why does it need to do more than that? Uranus has been conjoining the EU Moon, describing the separation (Uranus) of the UK from the union.

The EU was founded as a means of ending wars involving primarily France and Germany, the main continental aggressors of the past 200 years. Fair enough, but that prospect seems to have well and truly faded, particularly with Germany, the new kid on the block, and insecure as a country, having fully established itself. This is maybe why the 'libido' has evaporated, because it was fear-driven in the first place (albeit articulated in terms of lofty ideals,) 

This fear-based libido is perhaps expressed by the natal square from Mars in Sag to Pluto. When the Euro was introduced in the mid to late nineties, Pluto was conjoining this natal Mars. It gradually became clear that monetary union could not be fully achieved without further political union - specifically, centralised control over national budgets. And this has not happened. Political unification has ground to a halt. Maybe Neptune's square to natal Mars, around 2014, was when the loss of drive, even loss of faith (Sag) was occurring.

When the vaccine crisis broke in late January, the EU Progressed Moon was almost exactly conjunct its Progressed MC in Virgo. When the UK delivered its 1st vaccine last December, transiting Moon was in Virgo conjunct the MC in Virgo, which is a fascinating correspondence. It makes you realise that astrology works. Virgo is a sign of healing, which is the intention of the vaccine. It also raises issues of service (Virgo) to the people (Moon) in a very public way (MC). Does the EU serve its people? Maybe the shift in Prog MC from Leo to Virgo in the last few years is creating a change in emphasis as to the function of the EU. Away from ideals about itself (Leo) to practicalities of service (Virgo.) And it has been found wanting. But it is also, maybe, a coming down to earth after 30 years in Leo.

Thursday, January 28, 2021


The last time the US had a Neptune opposition (Sibly Chart) was in the late 1850s, in the run-up to the Civil War. The natal square from Neptune to Mars goes some way to explaining why the country gets so polarised under this transit. Under the last opposition, the issue involved the redemption (Neptune) of the slaves and, with it, the soul of the country. This time Donald Trump is, for many, the Redeemer (he currently has Neptune squaring both his Sun and Moon), while for others he is the Scapegoat (another Neptunian theme) - and I am not saying he is not a good hook for everything we disapprove of in America, but a hook nonetheless. The US is also coming up to a Chiron Return, a healing theme as well as a scapegoat theme. When the US Civil War began, the Prog US Asc was at 16 Pisces. Currently, the Prog US Sun is at 16 Pisces. Pisces is ruled by Neptune.

One way of describing a Neptune transit is loss and renewal of self, and the US has done this on both occasions of the opposition through polarising initially, though we have yet to see a current renewal. Don't underestimate the strength of feeling, the anger, in the US at present over the 'stealing' of the election, deluded as it may be (tr Neptune square natal Mars). But we are not talking reason, we are talking religious experience/belief (natal 9th House Neptune opp tr Neptune, Prog Jupiter opp Prog Pluto), which is not amenable to reason.

The Neptune opposition has a while to run and so, I am sure, will the consequences of the 'stolen' election run on. It provides part of the context for the US Pluto Return in 2022, which will complete a cycle of American economic power, turbocharged in the late 1930s under the Pluto opposition as the US emerged from the Great Depression and came to dominate the world via WWII. This time the US will be gradually ceding economic dominance to China, raising questions of its economic power-based identity (2nd House natal Pluto). The deeper anxieties expressed by the current Neptunian polarisation perhaps prefigure the power/identity issues that will be raised by the Pluto Return. Who are you when you only know how to be the winner: the theme for Trump right now, and for the US in the near future.


We are coming to the end of Pluto in Capricorn. What has it been about? Many things, I am sure. Its immediate effect was a reality check (Capricorn) in 2008 for the wild-west of the deregulated financial system. This resulted in western governments borrowing huge amounts to prop up the banks and avoid a second Great Depression, which occurred in the 1930s because the banks had been allowed to fail.

Now as Pluto inches towards Aquarius, and intensified by the conjunction with Capricorn's ruler Saturn, we find governments again borrowing huge amounts to keep the economy going, because of the Covid lockdowns. Now this is something none of us could have easily foreseen, although most astrologers probably knew something big was on its way at the start of 2020.

One way (amongst many) of looking at Pluto in Capricorn is that Capricorn is a sign of structures and responsible governance. Its weakness is that it thinks it can come to control everything. Pluto at both ends of the sign has given us crises of government, in which all the stops have been pulled out to bring things back under control. And left us with huge amounts of debt.

Maybe Pluto is showing us the limits of the power (Pluto) of government (Capricorn). The reason governments try to keep things under control is not just for the survival and thriving of the people; the people also feel psychologically insecure if there seems to be no-one sufficiently in control and there is not enough certainty.

This was part of the function of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages: the enforcement of collective certainties. And interestingly, the Church began to be shaken at its foundations in 1517, at the last conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, when Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. The collective certainties began to crumble, and people were thrown back on their own relationship with God.

A rise in Conspiracy theory has marked the Covid lockdowns of the current Saturn-Pluto conjunction: the "wake up sheeple" people. (Such theories also marked the aftermath of 9/11.) These theories arise more intensely when government is no longer seen to be in control, and does not provide the certainties that we normally expect. (NB I see government as the expression of the collective psyche: it is ours, rather than something imposed.)

Conspiracy theory re-asserts a sense of certainty by attributing events to a dark agency that is 'really' controlling events. Mere facts do not play much part in these fantasies (nor did they in the religious fantasies of the medieval church).

Conspiracy theory helps us understand the psychological impact of the Covid lockdowns. And points us to one of the meanings of Pluto's passage through Capricorn, exemplified at the start and the end: that governments can only control events to a certain degree, and beyond that they are, in a big way, not in control. That we are responsible individually, that we are free, and do not need to orient ourselves through our subscription to collective values, whether ‘official’ or those of conspiracy.

Capricorn is a sign that is grounded in earthy, ‘mundane’ realities. The Native American who said “Don’t tell me about your visions unless they grow corn,” was probably a Capricorn. But the deeper meaning of Capricorn lies in the freedom to be found once we can hang loose to the structures, and not treat them as ultimate realities. This is how Capricorn grows into its adjacent sign of Aquarius. Capricorn sees through the dream of this earthly reality and into the spirit behind it. This is the power of Capricorn that Pluto is showing us: once you do not take material reality as ultimate, you are free to use it and even control it. Capricorn is a sign of the Magician.

Meanwhile western governments are left staggering under huge piles of debt. Who knows what the outcome of this will be. But it is hard to be fully in control of events in these circumstances. That seems to be where Pluto in Capricorn is leaving us: without the steady certainties that both re-assure and trap us. But hopefully with an insight into the inherent limitations of government and collectives generally, and our freedom to know who we are outside of that.

Monday, January 11, 2021


Jung observed about Nazi Germany that the country was in the grip of a psychosis. A psychosis occurs when you lose touch with ordinary reality, and believe things that are not true. Such as the idea that the Jews were responsible for Germany's ills. Or that the recent US Presidential election was fraudulent and stolen from the rightful winner, Donald Trump. 
It is not just outright crazies like the iconic Jake Angeli who choose to believe that the election was stolen. (He also believes. amongst other things, that banks have created secret bunkers in which they are building infinite-energy technology.) There are plenty of ordinary Americans who believe this too, out of the 74 million (the 2nd highest in history) who voted for Trump. 

It is not even a stance with some evidence for it. It has been shown repeatedly that there is none, and this is why I am calling it a collective psychosis, and it is dangerous. This is as Neptune squares Donald Trump's Sun and Moon: he is the Redeemer, spreading his own delusions among a willing collective. In the years immediately before his rise to power, Hitler had Neptune trining his Sun and Moon. 
There seem to be plenty of people in Europe too who choose to believe that the election was stolen. I say 'choose' because I think it is right to continue to attribute agency to people, even though they get taken over by these things. The pressure of Covid seems to have pushed a lot of people in the direction of psychosis. There have of course been the waves of conspiracy theories flooding social media over the last year, which have no grounding in reality if you take the trouble to investigate properly. But I think the tendency to psychosis is visible in low-level ways too, such as when people choose to believe that politicians are lying or faking when they are not. This is very common, and also constitutes a loss of connection with reality, that is very different to having differing opinions about verifiable facts. 

The major event in the US Sibly chart over the next couple of years is its Pluto Return, with Neptune opposite Neptune coming in a close second. Between them they are heralding a new era for the US. In the chart, Pluto rules the 12th House of collective delusion. And natal Neptune in the 9th House can signify deluded beliefs. QED. Pluto is natally in the 2nd House of resources, so watch out for plenty of adjustment (for some) and paranoia (for others) around China and its relentless rise to economic supremacy. (Neptune hard aspecting the US Mars-Neptune square will contribute to this scenario, bringing in a military dimension.) As well as ongoing trouble from Trump and his followers, who are unlikely to go quietly. Trump's Gemini Sun conjoins the US Mars, which is why he was able to goad his followers into storming the Capitol, and will continue to goad them in provocative ways.