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The Astrologer's Newsletter - March/April 2008

World News

by Jenni Harte

We enter March, with the February eclipses still ringing in our ears. The eclipse on 7 February at 18 Aquarius, accompanied by Mercury, Neptune and the North Node, brought the brotherhood of man into focus and announced the beginning of the time when we must acknowledge exactly how we participate, or not, in that 'hood of all humanity. Pluto in Capricorn points the way: The power of management/the management of power. And that includes how we manage ourselves - and don't forget the magic!

Barack Obama
The US campaign for presidential nomination has aroused fascination around the planet and Barak Obama was certain to be an agent for change - this is a man who ignites hope for the future, inspires people on a very personal level and offers inclusivity to people of every socio-economic background...this is his personal magic. The US certainly needs the numinous and some real glamour injected back into it's political life, ya gotta believe. So here's Obama who seems to have plugged into the main vein of an America grown anaemic, drained of inspiration, devoid of trust in politics and politicians and ready for something completely different. That['s him, that is, his Mars conjunct the US Neptune.

USA: 4 July 1776, 17:10 LMT, Philadelphia, PA, 39 N 57, 75 W 10, Asc 13 Sag.

The transiting North Node at 27 Aquarius 44 is exactly conjunct the US Moon as I write—a karmic encounter in US destiny and surely that Aquarius New Moon eclipse, 6 February, travelling with Mercury, Chiron, the N Node and Neptune was meant to bring us all some humanitarian inspiration. The Solar eclipse at 2 Virgo, conjunct Saturn and trine Pluto will find us planning exactly how to ground that inspiration and bring our vision to perfect manifestation with creative energy available in transformational, if non-negotiable, doses.


Special Relationship The relationship between the UK and the US is a prickly affair and stressful. Opposing Suns (more below) put pressure on them both to secure top status, one the sophisticated old country, the other an adolescent nation with hormones raging (war is a marvellous outlet, doncha think?) but an energy and drive unexcelled until recently, anywhere in the world. Now China and India have seriously eroded America's awesome economic clout and the growing second world is leading productivity by an alarming rate - goods and population. It's a time of dynamic, dramatic change, right now, it's literally about the amount of energy required to perform than the time involved. Back to the US and the UK, tense partners with very different world views, they dance together but it's not comfortable as if they don't quite know where to put their hands, that ‘two people separated by a common language' thing. But cosying up to each other may provide some comfort in these changing times. Aquarius US Moon (28) and UK Venus (17) are whirling and twirling in both charts as the celestial storm surge rolls across them both, first the UK, then the US. There are swings and roundabouts but the changes here are more like rollercoasters.(I''ve been warning you all to keep your seatbelts fastened for years).Nevertheless, in times of great change and shifting world power the two nations would do well to respect each other''s strengths but also to admit and accept support over their weaknesses. Pluto into Capricorn will be leading the band on this for into the 20s...the 2020s.

UK: 1 January 1801, 0:00, Westminster, 51 N 30, 00 W 07, Asc 7 Libra.

Unison and United Steelworkers logos
UK/USA Super Union Yet another clarion call from that February's Aquarian new moon. We astrologers have been writing and discussing the Age of Aquarius for decades and this item, along with pretty much this entire column, is representative of the universal desire for fairness, equality and freedom for all. The point of this marriage of two of the largest British (Unite) and American (United SteelWorkers--which also includes Canada and the Caribbean) unions, is to create an international presence to meet the challenges of globalisation. Multi-national corporations will have to deal with multi-national unions. Sound enough but what are the chances that unions reaching across the pond will succeed? If you begin with the reality that the UK and the USA have opposing Suns, you might suspect some significant difficulties lie ahead. There are other perils to be overcome. The UK's Saturn (ruling ''''its Capricorn Sun) is in Leo, the boss, the head of state…the Queen! The USA’s Moon (ruling its Cancer Sun) is in Aquarius, the people, the members of the union, but that Moon is also ruled by Saturn…maybe there’s a chance. Opps, the UK’s Uranus sits on the USA’s MC, edgy, exciting but not predictable or particularly stable and definitely not comfortable. Unions are meant to protect and improve conditions of workers and, in this case, to create a transnational operation empowering workers on an international basis but overcoming the challenge of this ‘special relationship' will require more than a little faith. Mustn't forget the USA was born out of grievances with Britain (opposing Suns). But the USA Moon sits in the UK's 10th house so perhaps the American connection is rather more comfortable for the UK than the UK's Uranus on the USA MC. Finally, there is another inescapable reality, the UK South Node is almost exactly conjunct the USA Saturn, an indisputably karmic relationship and despite some obvious discomfort between the two countries, it is in fact, a very special relationship. If a new international union is formed during Pluto's ingress into Capricorn it is likely to have dramatic affect in/on the USA's Cancer stellium.

Cash coming to an end?
When Banks Hurt So Do We! Pluto isn't taking kindly to the money lenders any more than the rest of us and having given notice upon it's arrival into Capricorn the entire world's finances are in a tumble dryer. But there's still plenty of money about; Russia's rich, so is China. It's not like money is about to disappear…or is it? Recent reports that banks want to do away with cheques (checks for my fellow Yanks) means that everyone wants to be able to put their hands right into your pocket, on their terms; soon you can't decide who and how much to pay ever again. We're constantly filmed by 15 million CCTV cameras in the UK, our loyalty storecards give retailers precise information about what we eat and much more, and sophisticated security systems tell where we are and how (theoretically), now the sovereign individual is beginning to fade and our terms, at our convenience will soon be a thing of the past. Banks and shops want to make cheques history because the cost money and they're struggling (!!!) to make a profit; good customers who pay on time have been cut off, those who pay regularly but owe accruing interest (there's the money) are given increased credit limits and wooed with special products. But it''s not working, something has to give and the consumer has been giving and giving for years through usurious interest rates and skyrocketing costs of living. Pluto will be having a major meeting with the banks and financial industry, all the economic power brokers will be taken to task, it's cyclical, innit? And the US is about to have a Pluto return, oh my! Global financial crisis, oh yeah. Banks crying poor…already. From now on it's ID, DNA and iris mapping all the way. Enuf ranting, this is the future we worried about, it's here and one day those notes in your wallet will be artefacts.

Russian Rot Maybe old Cold War hawks have been rightfully concerned about the resurgence of the Russian Bear (I know, I can't believe I said that, either). The old Soviet system may have collapsed but now a distorted form of capitalism thrives under the baleful, and apparently eternal, gaze of Vladimir Putin who presides over a constrained civil society, de-toothed media, institutional and judicial paralysis and industrial vampirism. Transiting Jupiter in Capricorn rolls over Russia's Uranus (13), Moon (15) and Neptune 16) and the revelations and scandals keep coming. Jupiter will roll backwards and forwards over this stellium making his direct station, on 8 September, exactly conjunct natal Uranus…I predict a riot! Transiting Mars in Cancer (finally released from Gemini) will oppose these points in April, as the April New Moon squares the stellium too, perhaps a time of serious demonstrations over the cost of food and the condition of housing. It's worth remembering that Russia's coffers are full, it's debts are paid and its not beholden to anyone - except humanity, an area where its record is notably poor.

Russia Independence Proclamation: 8 December 1991, 17:45 GMT, Moscow, 55 N 45, 37 E 35, Asc 15 Leo.

Israeli soldier looking through the Gaza wall
Palestine: Following the New Moon on January 22, at about 2am on the 23rd, reports came of number of large explosions that brought down huge concrete chunks of the security wall sealed by Israel earlier in the month and effectively the Gaza hostage. Under siege the people of Gaza struggled to survive as food, medicine and fuel supplies were exhausted. The Egyptian government communicated with the Israeli government in frustration as the crisis worsened and some kind of amnesty must have been agreed. Shortly thereafter explosions breached the wall and for the next 12 days it was estimated that half the population of the Gaza enjoyed freedom to move back and forth across the border in search of everything from a food to motorcycles, petrol, clothing and antibiotics. But most important was freedom from what is arguably the biggest jail in the world. The breaches were sealed again by 3 February as transiting Pluto exactly conjoined natal Saturn in the 3rd (chart 240, Campion) but the story will continue through 2013 by when the Palestinian homeland will have been transformed. Activity on the borders will be heightened further in 2012 when Pluto reaches Palestine's IC but Pluto has already been very active across Uranus at 29 Sag, now it crosses natal Saturn at 0 Cap 16, returns and crosses again through October 2009. The forces now unleashed, wall or no wall, will remain vigorous for the next 5 years.

Palestine Independence Proclamation: 15 November 1988 00:40, Jerusalem, 31 N 46, 35 E 14, Asc 9 Libra.

Aquarian Thinkers On 15 February, 18 concerned scientists, business entrepreneurs and ''thinkers' (where do I sign?) from the US National Academy of Engineering met in Boston to present reports at the annual gathering of the American Association for Advancement of Science. The reports focused on the challenges facing an increasing global population and how to improve the quality of life. The list of top challenges is diverse but not unexpected led by the need for clean, sustainable energy sources - the Sun being the largely still untapped resource. This was closely followed by the need for clean water; as frequently mentioned in this column, supplies are quickly diminishing. Other challenges include personalised medicine (DNA, genetics), improved management of the nitrogen cycle, prevention of nuclear terror, improvement of urban infrastructures in the world's major cities and security in cyberspace. All of these are demanding serious attention at the beginning of the 21st century, topics that in the 60s and 70s belonged almost exclusively to cranks and hippies. A sense of urgency, however, has accompanied the realisation that unless we (the family of man and woman) pool our knowledge and agree global commitments, the challenges we face in the next 50 years will continue to haunt us and seriously disrupt our lives. Perhaps this is the beginning of solutions (I keep the faith) and the opening days of the Age of Aquarius.

Oceans Swamped Another report, this time a global map depicting the condition of Earth's oceans. And it's not good. This is the first ''joined-up' report of all the oceans showing more than 40% are badly damaged by human activity, from commercial fishing and costal development to shipping traffic pollution. Sound like Neptune in Aquarius and Uranus in Pisces? It was inevitable; our seas would be ''properly' inspected only to discover there's nowhere left in pristine condition. An international response is needed to manage the clean-up/keep-up. The March New Moon at 18 Pisces conjunct Uranus may bring further disturbing news about our big blue planet's deep blue seas.

Amy Winehouse
'Honour the Past and Celebrate the Present' The 2008 Grammys (the US recording industry's annual awards ceremony) was held 10 February, also celebrating their 50th anniversary. Got me thinking about Chiron. The Grammys' Chiron is at 28 Aquarius, the Chiron return isn't exact til 2010, but on 2008 Grammy night, the transiting North Node was exactly conjunct Chiron. From her heavy black eye-liner to her beehive hairdo, Amy Winehouse is a potent reminder of a long gone decade whose retro-style draws heavily from 60's girl-group/R&B influences, the decade that started when the Grammys were born. Londoner Winehouse, 25 (and definitely a Chiron kinda girl, natal Chiron 3 Gemini opposite natal Jupiter/Uranus at 5-6 Sagittarius), swept up 5 awards with the transiting Sun/Neptune et al conjunction on the night opposing her Mars/Venus conjunction in Leo, perfect for the occasion (and plenty more do look). She's also damned good if rather too often, f***d-up.

Amy Winehouse: 14 September 1983 (no time), Enfield, England, 51 N 40, 00 W 05. Data:

The Grammys: 4 May 1959, 20:00, Los Angeles, CA, 34 N 03, 118 W 15. Asc 19 Scorpio. Data:

2008 Grammys: 10 February 2008, 20:00, LA. Asc 24 Virgo.


Up In the Air The fun's been well and truly sucked out of travel but the US is making yet more demands in the interest of its national security. In February, Washington pushed the European Union to sign an agreement that personal data will be provided for everyone who overflies the US. Not landing in the US is apparently not an issue(!) And there's more: G W Bush also (still) wants armed marshals in the air on Europe to US flights. If he hasn't alienated enough world travellers these latest security measures will do for the rest.

With transiting Pluto sniffing at opposition to the US Venus, Jupiter, Sun and Mercury stellium in Cancer, paranoia looks like getting a lot worse. Then again, a change or die policy is in effect; we await the revelation of common sense.

Fidel Castro
Cuba's Workhorse, Retired Well, well Fidel. The longest ruling leader of one of the few remaining communist nations on the planet has finally hung up his boots. At 3am, 19 February from Havana's online version of "Granma, came the announcement that Fidel Castro would not resume leadership. The world has speculated his eventual demise since the summer of 2006 when his health deteriorated so badly it seemed impossible he'd ever be able to command Cuba again. But Fidel's always been a survivor (Sun conjunct Neptune in Leo square Saturn in Scorpio opposite Jupiter - the man is fixed!!) and had the strength of purpose, right or wrong, to carry on for decades (Mars conjunct Chiron in Taurus), seeing out 10 US Presidents and a shrinking of communist map. An incredible five decades after the communist revolution, Fidel Castro, still in power, decided to formally hand over power. He didn't die, wasn't too incapacitated to express his opinions - what drove him on? Apparently the desire to live long enough to see G W Bush leave the White House. Fidel is about to experience a Neptune opposition (what was the vision/how'd it go?) and right now transiting Neptune is also exactly conjunct his Jupiter at 23 Aquarius. The Sabian symbol for 23 Aquarius is, 'A big bear sitting down and waving all its paws.' The Aquarian eclipse stellium in February opposed his Sun; even Fidel couldn't go on forever.

There are three charts to refer to; Cuba's Independence in 1902, Fidel Castro, and Communist Cuba; all of them extremely active. Check the tightest aspects, there's much too much to relate here but they're worth a look.

Cuba-Independence: 20 May 1902, 12:00 LMT (+5:30), Havana, 23 N 08, 82 W 22. Asc 00 Virgo 17.

Fidel Castro: 13 August 1959 (the 12th has been quoted too), Havana. (no time).

Communist Cuba: 2 January 1959, 1:00, EST, Havana. Asc 17 Libra12.