The Scottish Independence Debate
by Anna Estaroth

Published January 2014

I decided to start this discussion from the far end: the chart of Independence. The SNP (Scottish National Party) White Paper, recently published, gave the proposed date for an Independent Scotland, assuming the referendum produced a yes vote. Whether you think this is wishful-thinking or not, this is a genuine proposed chart and therefore deserves consideration. Of course it is only a day chart, so there is time to encourage the SNP, (if the vote was yes for Independence) to go for an elected time. However that's something that is best done after the referendum.

Here is the generally accepted chart for Scotland, based on the crowning of King Malcolm II, who largely united much of what is Scotland today. Prior to the reign of Malcolm II, Scotland was known as Alba - please note that Malcolm Canmore, (who appears on some internet sites as the king for this chart,) was in fact Malcolm III and not the King who united Scotland. This information was researched by Violet Milne and Cameron Grieg: back in the 1970's - the early days of the Scottish Astrological Association (SAA) - I know that they spent many hours trawling through the historical record and visited Scone Palace, where the crowning took place. There they discovered that the usual method for crowning occurred only after all parties were present, which would take several days travel for clan chiefs, and that the usual time would be between 10am and 12 noon. As a result the noon chart was accepted as the main chart for Scotland, at subsequent mundane discussion at the SAA.

Scotland 25 March 1005 Noon LMT (+00:13:56) Scone Palace 3W29'00 56N24'00 (Ascendant 6 degrees Leo - M/C 8 degrees Aries) Anne Whitaker helpfully posted this noon chart on the internet, back in March 2009, and it will be familiar to many1.

Mark Cullen, S.A.A. Chairman and Mundane Moderator for Skyscript, in his lecture at the 2013 AA conference, favours the same day but with 26 degrees Cancer rising. There are good arguments for both charts, plus others; indeed multiple charts are normal for any country.

Scotland 25 March 1005 11am LMT (+00:13:56) Scone Palace 3W29'00 56N24'00 (Ascendant 26 Cancer 23' - M/C 22 Pisces 33') Both Violet Milne and Mark Cullen agree that 26 degrees Cancer is highly significant for Scotland and consequently 26 degrees of all Cardinal or water signs. As this chart also falls into the researched guidelines I recommend this chart to you. Saturn Rising feels appropriate: our country is seen as cold (well it can be during most winters) but also Scots are perceived as reliable and dependable. Uranus on the Midheaven is also appropriate; there were no end of monarchs who came to a sudden and sticky end (most famously Alexander III who disappeared one stormy night, having fallen from his horse into the Forth estuary). It mirrors the Scottish Parliament chart which has the fixed star Algol on the Midheaven and thus our First Ministers have a habit of sudden departures/falls/bangs on heads etc.

You would think, by now, one of them would have the sense to speak to an astrologer but, given the choice of independence day, it is obvious that no astrologer was consulted. The SNP White Paper gives 24th March 2016 as the proposed date of independence2 The charts I have started with are drawn up for Edinburgh 3W13 55N57 and GMD. The chart for 12am gives Asc 28 Scorpio 37 - M/C 28 Virgo 33 and that for Noon gives Asc 29 Cancer 54 - M/C 29 Pisces 06, on this occasion I use Placidus House System.

This is the chart we're given, so let's consider the usual damage limitations that are necessary when given an election. I usually begin with what is unavoidable - outer planets and planetary aspects which perfect during the period. There is a mutable T square involving weak Jupiter with North Node in Virgo opposite strong Venus with Neptune and South Node, in Pisces, all square Saturn in Sagittarius. This is evidence enough that Alex Salmond has not consulted an astrologer. Jupiter retrograde in Virgo is seriously weak, strangely with the North Node it suggests that we are best known for our religious affiliations, (Gaelic Wave singing was the precursor for Gospel.) The Kirk does play an important part in welfare, although it is separate from government. (The Church of Scotland is not Scottish Episcopalian and neither are the same as the Church of England.) There are multiple faiths operating in Scotland and considerable effort to work together through multi-faith discussions. A mutable Jupiter shows some willingness for toleration although sectarianism has been a serious issue; the square to Saturn suggests there is much more to be done interfaith-wise. Venus in Pisces is delightful and a vast improvement on Venus in Aries, however placing her with Neptune is a bit like over-egging the pudding. Venus is the female population in a mundane chart, as Mars is the males - with Neptune and the South Node, this looks awfully like victims to me, generating low-paid slave labour and sexual abuse; the saving grace is that Venus is so dignified that the women will not put up with it. Scotland has a history of fiercely powerful women (Venus in Aries) warrior women in the best sense of that term, throughout the centuries they stayed home and fought natural disasters/strikes/mistreatment to keep the family/clan alive. Venus with Neptune suggests that powerful female clergy could be what makes the future Scotland strong. Venus also rules such industries as textiles, fashion and the arts. Neptune boosts this, so this is excellent for theatre, film, fashion and all art-work, poetry, music and prose. Neptune rules the sea and fishing: sea products, including seaweed (kelp) and fish, develops into wave/water-powered electricity. Invariably Neptune makes you think of the whisky industry, based on peaty-soil water - I expect it to flourish, but the square to Saturn means that in the long-term all these departments will need to operate sustainably and sensibly. My main concern is the opposition between Venus and Jupiter - this is plainly expensive. In combination Venus and Jupiter are given to squandering resources, in a personal chart it might be entertaining for one's sex-life, but in a national chart its money down the drain. The inclination is to think too big, to expand too far and too fast - thankfully Saturn will rein this in, but as Mars progresses in to square Jupiter there is an inevitable clash of wants and desires. The people will be at odds with one another: the needs, or values, of those at home versus those abroad will become much more marked.

On a plus side Jupiter is trine Pluto 1degree of arc (although temporarily separating, because Jupiter is retrograde) symbolising Scotland being lucky in having excellent natural resources, oil, gas and renewables - the mountains and sea create scenery to die for; this is fixed stable and earthy.

The Cardinal Uranus separating from square Pluto symbolises the enormously difficult process of becoming independent, but this fades into the past. Saturn in Sagittarius applies to trine Uranus - this requires an amalgamation of old and new, it suggests that there is retention of established methods of working alongside a willingness to explore the future, particularly an electronic future, innovative engineering and a fresh perspective on industrial endeavours.

Saturn separating square Neptune embodies the separation anxiety which is exercising so many minds. The fear of loss is quite apparent in the way people are talking already. This too fades over time.

Saturn applies to trine Uranus indicating the desire to try a different form of governing, the ability to adapt - the Scottish Parliament has already been adaptive, using electronic voting, sensible hours, so that male and female parliamentarians have some time for their families, (all-night sittings do not happen) proportional representation, which is indeed fairer than first-past-the-post-system of elections. This would indicate much the same. The parliament occasionally sits in other parts of Scotland. Westminster cannot do this sort of thing.

Sun conjunct Mercury in Aries the original chart has this so no real change except that Mercury was retrograde back then and it's now direct. It's a much tighter conjunction as well. In many ways Scotland identifies itself with its intellectual elite; the writers, scientists, doctors, inventors and engineers.

Sun and Mercury trine Mars again this reflects the Sun/Mercury in Aries eventually conjoining Mars in Aries in the 1005 chart. It's an optimistic set up, generally there's hope and people feel they can always talk to their leaders, which leads to progress being made. We would be swapping a highly dignified Mars Aries (Scotland's traditionally powerful male fighting force) for a much weaker Mars, which is only in mutual reception with Mercury by face - which is no dignity at all, so it's essential to try to boost this Mars by house placement during the day.

Mars eventually joins Saturn in Sagittarius by progression. The fact that they are in the same sign is highly significant, even if there is no actual conjunction that day, other factors (primarily lunar) tie the two together. This reins in Mars' temper and gives sustained effort - for example our footballers are less inclined to hit someone, but more inclined to longer-term depression, unless they become highly disciplined.

During the day the Moon, in Libra, separates from opposing Sun and Mercury, then sextile Mars (carrying this forward) to sextile Saturn and oppose Uranus. The Moon is the populace - perhaps after centuries of Moon in Virgo, we could discard the notion that Scotland's not really worthy and the worried-well attitude that Virgo implies. Moon in Libra at least thinks we are equal to anyone else in Europe and it engenders team-work - it should boost the music industry. Sextile Mars helps people to make things happen and with Mars in Sagittarius it's the daredevil attitude which could make people vote for independence. Luckily the Moon sextiles Saturn and a more down-to-earth practical approach takes over, the daring to do is still there, but tempered by a realistic work towards achieving results. I have found Moon/Saturn aspects in not only a vast number of native-born Scots, but in many incomers who chose to reside here. (See Saturn in Cancer in 1005 chart.) Moon Saturn describes the dour necessity which keeps people going, it enables people to face harsh winters, and it gives strength in adversity, which other people may not fully appreciate, but which seems to be an abiding Scottish trait. Other people may see the hard-working side of this aspect; they sometime accuse Scots of being glum and Calvinistic - in truth Calvinism found fertile ground here because of this Saturn/Moon, but the Scots made it special. The depth of attachment to land, to clan and to home is incredibly strong - it's a bond which stretches to every corner of the globe with the Scottish ex-pat population. So Moon to Saturn is more of the same if not easier, but Moon opposing Uranus is very different. I've not found this among clients as often as Moon/Saturn aspects, although there is a fair share of this in the population. There is restlessness, and dissatisfaction with the status quo, plus a desire to bring about social transformation. I suspect that this would increase with independence - it encourages power to the people. Edinburgh was famous for mob riots in the Georgian era: those who ruled the town did so fully aware that the people would protest if they went too far. Glasgow shipyard workers knew they had the power of numbers to bring to any trade negotiations. These traits will continue and maybe get even stronger.

You will have noted that Mercury is Cazimi as the day begins, but loses this fortitude by 03:05 am. The choices are Scotland celebrates independence just after midnight on the 23rd or it choses some other time on the 24th making Mercury combust.

00:00 - 03:05 A dignified Mercury is thus the strongest planet and this is extremely good for business, travel, transportation and children/education. It enables financial transactions to take place in an atmosphere of goodwill. Relative Strengths are Mercury strongest, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Sun, Moon and finally Jupiter weakest. At 00:01 Vindemiatrix is on the Midheaven, which might be good for widows, but fairly ghastly for everyone else. After 03:05 a weaker, combust Mercury is below standard on all of the above issues. Relative strengths vary somewhat throughout the day, but please note the altered Mercury: generally they are Venus, Mars, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mercury and finally Jupiter.

Let's be realistic and state that the Scottish government is unlikely to declare Independence between 12:00am and 3:05am and that the earliest such celebration is 9am, which at least prevents Saturn from appearing on the 7th house cusp which might have otherwise encouraged all-out war with our oldest allies. So here's my system for starting to elect a chart. I'm sure everyone has their own way of doing this.

09:05 - 10:05 is OK but not brilliant.

10:05-11:34 is to be avoided: this is the period when Pluto is on the Descendent followed by Neptune on the Midheaven: the former generates absolutely atrocious enemies, internal dissent and strife, while the latter brings endless confusion among the leadership, wasted time in Parliament and a weakness, or even complete loss of First Ministers.

11:34- 12:46 is very good. Chiron conjoins the Midheaven, all the Aries in the 10th House enables government to progress and resolve a number of complex issues, particularly health and education. The Piscean planets are in the 9th, which is excellent for foreign exchanges, negotiations, further education and mutual understanding: it enables Scotland to play a part on the world stage and engage with its ex-pat population. The Moon is in the 4th - it's always a good idea to have the luminaries in an angular house - here the people do not emigrate, to an enormous extent, as occurs when the population is discontented. Placing Jupiter in the 3rd can help local travel, keeping the roads passable is always an issue in winter. It puts the awkward Jupiter-Venus opposition in a less fractious position. Mars and Saturn in the 5th helps the sports industry - some measure of success here would be beneficial, it's particularly good for individual sports such as tennis and golf, but nothing beats sustained, Saturnian hard preparation work. It can mean that many well-educated Scots go abroad, (Mars ruling 5th in 5th in Sagittarius) but that's not anything new.

First Recommended Independence Day Chart: 24 March 2016. 11:40 am Edinburgh (Asc 26 Cancer 27' - M/C 23 Pisces 38' - reflecting 1005 Asc and M/C for 11am chart.)

From 11:38-11:43 26 degrees of Cancer is Rising, so this chart would resonate with previous charts. Regrettably that places Procyon on the Ascendant, where a fall invariably follows pride. However Venus with Achernar provides integrity and steadiness, Jupiter with Mizar brings courage and valour, although Saturn with Ras Algethi promotes deviousness and trickery and the North Node with Denebola can be rather unfortunate. This chart has Markab on the Midheaven which indicates intellectual brilliance and successful voyaging. As a player on the world stage this chart offers Scotland a prominent, active position. The Part of Fortune in the 7th house bodes well for getting on with our neighbours in Europe, England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

12:46-13:47 has a Very Poor Outlook indeed - during this time Uranus conjoins the Midheaven and as the Moon applies to the opposition this leads to an overthrow of government on several occasions: the people revolt.

13:47-15:15 is a reasonably good phase, although barely worth writing home about.

15:15-17:37 avoid Neptune on Descendent - constant misunderstandings in all diplomatic situations followed by Saturn on I/C, which is manageable, but it's often not a good idea to make Saturn too prominent, especially when he has so many squares to contend with and Saturn opposite the Midheaven in a mundane chart is just asking for trouble.

17:37 - 18:43 is just about workable -Jupiter loses power in the 12th, with the opposition to Venus placing her in the 6th and the female workforce are under extreme pressure - never a clever option. Sun and Mercury are in the 7th which is delightful for foreign affairs negotiations, but Uranus is in the 8th, so eternal problems with debt resolution opposite the Moon making the populace deeply agitated.

18:43- 20:46 try to avoid Pluto crossing I/C followed by Uranus crossing Descendent. The former may be good for genealogical research but bad for geological stability and this can cause problems in the oil industry. The latter is indicative of extremely unstable relations with everyone, but in particular our neighbours - England, Wales, Ireland and Europe.

20:46-22:19 this is a good time. During this period Jupiter approaches the M/C which boosts the government, it brings luck - heaven only knows our sporting teams need a bit of that. At 20:54 the Moon opposes Uranus exactly, so she is separating from this difficult aspect after this time, ever so slightly mitigating against the worst of this aspect. From 22:00 hrs. the Moon is in the11th house - Scotland makes friends - the people are keen to work together: it's possible to create groups of like-minded individuals who make an effort to look after Scotland's welfare. This strengthens the Moon (the populace) while the Sun in 5th strengthens the Sun (the leadership.)

Second Recommended Independence Day chart 24 March 2016 22:00 hrs. GMD Edinburgh (Asc 9 Scorpio 19' - M/C 27 Leo 23')

At 22:00 Sun, Mercury and Uranus are all in the 5th house - boosting our sporting achievements in the world. It generates creativity on a massive scale, it enables better communications - IT companies, film industry, food and drink industry and the hospitality sector all receive ongoing benefits. Venus, Neptune, Chiron and the South Node are in the 4th enabling better whisky and oil production; the health service (and service industries generally) do well and there's a sense of pride in ancestry. Placing Jupiter in the 10th is an attempt to enhance the weakest planet, but you will already have noticed that we are only swapping Jupiter in Gemini (detriment) for Jupiter in Virgo (fall) so we've never been the luckiest country in the world. However Saturn is in the 2nd house which is problematic: even if the financial sector is doing well there is a fear of becoming bankrupted, which is not really surprising given the history and the Darien scheme - if you've never heard of the Darien scheme it's one of the reasons why we have the Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments in the first place. If you're interested you can check it out at Saturn in the 2nd might make Scotland fiscally prudent. At 22:00 hrs. the M/C is with Alphard (this is not great it's associated with poisons and poisoning) while the part of fortune is with Zucat, which is vaguely unsettling. It retains the planetary fixed star conjunctions, stated above. The Leo Midheaven indicates the retention of the crown, Scotland and England shared a monarchy for a long time before the Parliamentary union, so this is quite natural. A Scorpio Ascendant would be interesting: perhaps we'll all become quite paranoid (only joking) I like the way the Ascendant relieves some of the tension between Venus and Jupiter, and what government could turn down a simple 10pm timing?

22:19 -23:51 this is not good - Neptune crosses the I/C - it may help the fishing industry and be good for people of strong religious beliefs, but it tends to bring perpetual flooding, land slips and erosion of all sorts, especially belief in government. At 22:45 Saturn moves into 1st house, which helps the banking sector but at 23:04 Jupiter is on the Midheaven bringing even more luck, although this puts extra emphasis on the Jupiter-Venus opposition which bodes badly for any kind of fiscal restraint and increases domestic abuse.


The two charts given are, in my opinion, approximating to the least bad charts for the day. This is what we provide for clients starting a business or getting married. There are no perfect charts out there, you learn to go with the flow and accept the least worst. Ideally you give clients a series of windows to aim at and allow chance to play its hand in the final moments. If for instance they went for 22:00hrs and for some reason had a 20 minute delay Neptune arrives to bring floods and disillusionment. In today's climate of red tapes being cut, at precise moments, by celebrities during a ceremony 4 hours long anything could happen. So I would recommend a ceremony starting at 8pm, culminating at a monarchy announcement at 10pm, then everyone can relax and party afterwards: if there's one thing Scots are geniuses at it's to know how to party. (Alternatively start at 10 am - declare at 11:40 and then party.)

I have tried to stay light-hearted but this is an important issue. I have lived and worked professionally, as an astrologer, in Scotland for over 40 years. I'm aware that the BBC appears to suggest that nothing is going to happen to disturb the status quo - quoting recent opinion polls, (at time of writing in Dec. 2013), however we all know how unreliable opinion polls are, especially when conducted during retrograde mercury, as were the latest figures. [They might not be the latest figures, by the time you read this.] I grew up with this debate: having both Northern and Southern Irish parents. All my life there was the Thank-God-we-stayed-in-the-Union versus Thank-Heaven-we-got-Independence discussion. There was a fair amount of mud-slinging, as both sides vied to explain Irish history from their particular slant. Therefore I am less than thrilled with the current mud-slinging, poverty of debate, regarding the Independence of Scotland, all I hear is predictable rhetoric and childish scare-mongering, when what we should be hearing is an adult, factual discussion. I'm in favour of Independence, I happen to think it is inevitable - merely the long-drawn-out breakup of the British Empire: India, Jamaica and Eire broke free why not Scotland? Emotive terms do not help; I've heard the break-up of the UK (factually incorrect, the kingdom remains) and Great Britain (that's the geographical Island, so you cannot break it up.) After independence Scotland will not be part of Britain, but still part of Great Britain - I know it takes some getting used to. (I'm assuming Britain would then be England, Wales and Northern Ireland.) Of course that does not mean I necessarily believe that Scotland will become free, at this particular time: there's a cynical voice inside me, which thinks it will not be allowed to happen, through careful manipulation of the people and propaganda, until the North Sea oil has been bled dry. So it may not be this chart after all. People feel pulled in two directions, should I follow my head or follow my heart? Inevitably people have strong feelings, both north and south of the border - perhaps an adult discussion is too much to ask. Hopefully the pages of In-the-Loop will engender a less biased, more grown-up debate in the run up to next autumn's referendum.