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The Astrologer's Newsletter - July/August 2008

World News

by Jenni Harte

If there was anyone still in doubt that we're in the midst of a major global transition I'd like to know where they've been hiding. Astrologers, at least, have the benefit of understanding the cyclical changes that we're all experiencing and while that doesn't make life less challenging, we are able to give meaning to the instability…and that may be our most important contribution. Of course, first people have to listen…talk about challenges.

The global economy is skidding, badly, upon the banana skins of dropping house values, uptight mortgages, sky-rocketing fuel and food prices and what looks like recognition, at long last, that dwindling natural resources aren't just a talking point but will require belt-tightening, even among first world countries, especially in first world countries!


On the 5 July we're clear of Mercury's Rx station at 22 Gemini and its square to Uranus (which didn't do my computer any good at all), and proceed at last with straightening out miscommunications, plans, travel, and important contractual paperwork and proposals that have been hung up since the end of May. And with Pluto now returned to the late degrees of Sagittarius the clear-up is underway.

All that said, there is a deeply encouraging trend in politics around the world as old traditional connections and customs give way to a post-partisan environment. Mutual reception between Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius has got humanity back on the agenda…and that's a starting place.

Barack Obama
Despite the doom and gloom that prevails, there are definite signs that the transition is also producing positive results. The fact that Barack Obama has achieved the US Democratic presidential candidacy marks the shift from 'Hard Power' to 'Soft Power' and suggests that humanity might even learn to live with itself given the right kind of leaders to inspire us. During the period when Hillary Clinton finally acknowledged his success, Mercury approached it's Rx station trine Neptune followed quickly by the Sun and Venus dancing thisclose in Gemini right through to the Summer Solstice.

They all trined Neptune and squared Uranus producing an upset victory of Obama the underdog, (how Uranus in Pisces) a phenomenal result for the most inspiring potential world leader of the 21st century. While other astrologers seemed in the main unwilling to suggest Obama had the goods, hedging their bets all the way (which kinda surprised me to be honest) I said at the start of the Democratic campaign that he was holding all the talent he needed and more to succeed, so far, so good. Neptune in Aquarius says we have to believe in humanity before we can reveal it, at the same time it's also stimulated a longing for inspiration. Obama has the class, the education, the oratory skills and the ability to inspire in one, rather handsome package. Even republicans will vote for Obama...yes, they will. As for democrats frustrated about Hillary losing her shot at the presidency they'll probably vote for Obama, as will many in the supposedly intractable Appalachians. Ya gotta believe!

Obama: 4 August 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, 21 N 18, 157 W 51.

****breaking news**** BIRTH TIME FROM BIRTH CERTIFICATE! My editor, Val Dobson has just informed me that Obama's birthtime is indeed known, 19.24 (AHST +10) from a scanned BC. I've come over all excited! Asc 18 Aquarius 03. Ooooh goosies. Yes, of course, there's tr Neptune and Chiron riding his Ascendant much more of which anon. So with a full 7th house including natal Uranus, N Node, Pluto and Mars, when he tells you not to mess with his wife, he means it…no really. Natal Venus in Cancer trine Neptune in Scorpio trine Chiron in Pisces, he'd do anything to protect her. The more we know about this guy, the more we like him. This is genuine empathy as natural as it gets. I'm lovin it.

Cast your mind back to 11 December 2007, Jupiter conjunct Pluto at 28 Sag 24, the point of the Full Moon on 18 June 2008. Although this column is submitted before that date, no prizes for suggesting revelations and follow-up to those which have appeared in abundance during the first half of 2008. We complain that we live in a surveillance society in the UK (and we DO and it's a DRAG) but high-profile individuals in business, industry, the military and politics have it much worse, they're so, er, exposed and will be returning to our headlines soon. Pluto is Rx until September when it goes direct at the same degree. So much activity around this point, during such changing times must have a clear message. The Sabian symbol for 28 Sag is "Ancient bridge witnesses to the skill of forgotten men." 'Enduring elements in understanding as symbols of the community invisible of man, dead and living. Steady co-ordination.' And, the Sun at the Full Moon is at 28 Gemini, "Bankruptcy granted to him, a man leaves the court." 'Release of self from collective pressure impossible to bear. Determination to re-gather forces for new attempt. Protection.' Jolly good—and not a moment too soon!

European Union flag
European Union's Lisbon Treaty Slip Slidin' Away? The reworking of the draft European 'constitution' was necessitated in 2005 when France and the Netherlands voted against the Reform Treaty which cannot be legally enforced until/unless it is ratified by all 27 members of the EU. There is still much scepticism and resistance to the proposed redraft. In June 2008 Ireland voted a resounding NO to the Lisbon Treaty although most voters candidly admitted they had only the sketchiest idea of what they were voting about. Such resistance to the perceived (and actual) reduction of national sovereignty has quickly lead to speculation that the Treaty is dead in the water. It is believed that voters are particularly unhappy with redistribution of votes and hefty new powers for the European Commission, Parliament and Courts as well as the removal of some national vetoes.

Work on the document has been going on since 2002 and hit the first hurdle with the rejection by France and the Netherlands which sent the authors back to the drawing board. Ireland's June rejection was an unusual (and certainly un-orchestrated) alliance between rural and urban dwellers, the religious right and the hard left. The major problem the European Union faces is that it only exists because there has been agreement on the sharing of sovereignty in certain areas. Consensus on which areas is proving more difficult to achieve.

The EU's natal Saturn in Aquarius (7th) is currently embattled by a multiple conjunction with transiting Neptune and Chiron and the North Node (exactly conjoined on day of Irish vote) all of which were opposed by transiting Mars conjunct the South Node to boot! And tr Neptune was exactly square the EU's natal Mars-0-Pluto in Scorpio. If the EU was ever going to iron out a treaty that needing ratification by all 27 members, with Rx Mercury, and the rest, the timing couldn't have been much worse. It may well take until Saturn reaches Libra, and the EU's 3rd house, in October 2009 before a document that satisfies all 27 countries can be produced.

European Union: 1 November 1993, 0.00 (CET –1.00), Brussels, Belgium, 50 N 50, 04 E 20. Asc 17 Leo.

Boris Johnson in his natura habitat
Boris Johnson, one of the few instantly recognisable British politicians, is enjoying one helluva Solar Return and it began shortly before his birthday when he soundly defeated the incumbent Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Previously dismissed as a buffoon by some (cause he's got a wicked and very un-PC sense of humour—right or wrong, thank you Boris) and derided for having floppy hair by others (cause he does), I have always had a soft spot for the conservative former MP. In any case, now he's got the top job in London, curiosity about exactly how effective he'll be is beginning to be revealed. And there's good reason for the largely Plutonian feel about it all as his natal Pluto exactly conjoins London's (Greater London Council) Uranus-0-Mars at 12 Virgo.

It's interesting to note that Boris was born less than a year before the GLC and in many ways, embodies the spirit of modern London. Within weeks of his new role he'd banned alcohol on the London Underground (good on ya Bazza), and more intriguingly, has plans to revive London's hidden rivers and create new green recreational areas around the capital. His Neptune in Scorpio (conjunct the GLC's) trines the GLC Saturn in Pisces in the 3rd and sextiles all the Virgo he shares with the GLC in the GLC's 9th house. He gives good headline. Livingstone's administration had a financial black hole, too while Boris's committee hasn't got the missing £millions back, they have a fair idea of where it went. Much remains to be revealed…and it will be revealed. Why do we love Boris anyway? He's got Sun-0-Venus in Gemini (28+!), that's why! And he genuinely wants things to be nice, beautiful, even. What's not to love? Sometimes Mercury in Gemini square Chiron in Pisces, sometimes when he speaks before he thinks. His lack of tact, yeah, so what, me too. His unruly hair…whatever, it's photogenic. His lack of respect for politically taboo subjects, hey that's what I like MOST. He's clever too and should not be underestimated. Boris Johnson: 19 June 1964, NYC, NY 40 N 42, 74 W 00, 14:00hrs - time from bigraphy.

Post Partisan Politics: Boris Johnson, like Barack Obama, is another representative of the post-partisan shift in government at local and national levels and they'll be joined by a host of others during the coming few years. They are essential to overcoming the global challenges that have long since overtaken any single nation or party's ability to resolve alone. Local and national politics have begun to reflect big changes in the way we, the people, vote. We don't vote for a party as such anymore, we vote for the person we truly believe will do the best job and with the Saturn-Neptune opposition concluded in 2007, the decks have been cleared for new leaders with a fresh perspective, even if their personal values occasionally collide with our own. Ultimately we're all members of the human race and isn't that the post-partisan point?

Shell Tankers Grounded Beginning 14 June, UK petrol drivers for Shell struck over pay for several extended weekends. The strike is an appropriate exercise in Mercury's retrograde tour in Gemini and for the moment Venus and the Sun in Gemini are keeping things moving. However, another strike is planned for 20 June the day after Mercury's direct station and 2 days after the Full Moon 18 June conjunct Pluto in Sag and Mars opposite Neptune. Despite the horrendous increase in the price of petrol, motorists hungry for a fill up may have to spend some time in queues. For those who remember the fuel shortages of the 70's there is a distinct sense of déjà vu. Across the European continent, truckers are striking and initiating go-slow actions in protest of the high cost of petrol. Although the US is staggered by recent rises, litre for litre, Britain pays a whole lot more. Quit bitchin' the future has arrived.

The entire (ongoing) episode is a spot on description of June's planetary square of transiting Sun/Venus/Mercury in Gemini square Uranus in Pisces, Mars opposite Neptune and a super-charged mutable Full Moon.

July may bring some respite as Mercury gathers speed and clears it's Rx position but he then runs immediately into a square to Uranus, then Pluto again. Expect serious disruption in the early days of July but as Mercury joins the Sun and Venus in Cancer a brief but more amiable period of summer. Then, as Mars conjoins Saturn in Virgo, working out practical details gains urgency.

Afghanistan flag
With no end in sight Afghanistan appeals to the world for aid, their plight one of endurance. Without continued international support Afghans struggle to survive while an earlier £7.6 billion of aid has already evaporated through systemic corruption. Transiting Pluto Rx again opposes the Afghan Saturn at 28 Gemini in the 2nd house and criticism of President Hamid Karzai's financial black hole mounts. In recent years the opium crops have been increased to record levels as other sources of income dried up years ago. The paranoid president (3 assassination attempts can do that to you) is seen to be lacking in authority and neither the World Bank nor even the few, truly committed, in his own government have confidence that he can alleviate the problems that caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place. No so incidentally, 400 Taliban prisoners escaped from confinement outside Kabul when an explosion blew the doors off their jail in June. The instability of this nation seems endless and most of the world lacks any understanding of the singular nature of Afghani life and its unique political plumbing. Pluto, slowly but surely is moving up on Afghan's natal N Node during the next few years (first hit in 2011) but first Pluto square Pluto will raze what’s left of the country. Frustratingly, the people (well just the men, really) are already considering re-engaging with the Taliban, as their daily lives have been made anything but easier during international support of Karzai in the last 6 years.

No matter what, the next year brings dramatic changes to Afghanistan. On 1 August, the New Moon eclipse at 9+ Leo opposes Afghanistan's Moon-0-Jupiter. On 16 August the Full Moon eclipse at 24 Aquarius opposes it's Saturn. Today (16 June) Gordon Brown announced that the UK will send more troops to Afghanistan. There is a constant connection: UK Pluto exactly quincunx Afghan Pluto, UK Chiron conjunct Afghan Neptune, their Jupiters are opposed and more.

Afghanistan: 17 July 1973, 0.00 (-4.30), Kabul, 34 N 231, 69 E 12, Asc 9 Taurus.


August Eclipses: Who gets hit? In particular, Lebanon's Pluto on 1 August, then its Jupiter on 16 August. It looks like Beiruit will be back in the news.


Feet - the power of the future?
Not Such a Small Step for Mankind: As power and fuel become more expensive by the day, get ready for footpower. Under-floor generators powered by 'heel strike', designed by British engineers, could soon be installed in a supermarket or railway station near you. The engineers calculated that footsteps could power thousands of light bulbs in shopping centres and sports stadiums. Or maybe just plug your iPod into your shoes. Sounds great unless all those 'footfall' shoppers stay home and order online instead. I think producing power from keyboard strikes is an even better idea...don't forget where you heard it.