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The Astrologer's Newsletter - May/June 2008

World News

by Jenni Harte

My goodness, doesn't the world seem a different place than this time last year? We knew Pluto's ingress into Capricorn would stir up the status quo but change and transformation are surround us everywhere. It's undeniable…and non-negotiable. There are some compelling themes that continue to make headlines and some headlines that are just compelling, like 'Pregnant Man!' for instance, got your attention too, didn't it?

The famous 'Pregnant Man' ad, devised by Saatchi for a British campaign to encourage contraceptive use.
From transgender reproduction to banking meltdown, the post-modern world is discussing our way of life, what it costs and how we're paying for it - or not. The implosions around the banking industry are the result of years of de-regulated 'creative' financial practices come home to roost, literally. Hedge fund managers, you know, the guys who earn stupendous sums for betting both ways, the people who brought you GREED INTERNATIONAL, you know, the guys who have more money than many small nations - they're in deep s**t. Not financially, you understand, even the most incompetent hedgies have gobbled up enough capital assets to sustain their standard of living for a while, at least. No, it's the way the world is viewing them that's changed, almost a 180 overnight. If greed was ever good, that social currency is fading fast as conspicuous consumption loses its cool. It's finally happening, the fall of Rome (version Global PLC 2008) is taking no prisoners. Saturn in Virgo says "it's not right!" Pluto in Capricorn says "exactly who's running this show anyway?"

Biofuels equal food shortages?
Food or Fuel? At the same time, the food crisis deepens and riots have begun. In the west we complain that food prices are too high but at least we have food. In developing nations the cost of basic food, when it's available, is so high those who can still afford any are reduced to one meal a day. Bio-fuel now consumes a rapidly increasing percentage of food crops and as the world's population is expected to increase by about a third in the next 40 years, the choice between fuel and food is stark. Pluto in Capricorn (for now) trine Saturn in Virgo and Ceres in Gemini…word!

Rocketing food prices and scarcity have hit some countries particularly hard already. Egypt, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Vietnam and many other countries are experiencing food shortages and unaffordable price rises for basics. Riots, marches and demonstrations demanding food, affordable food, are becoming commonplace around the world. And this, before the water wars kick off in earnest. Mars in Cancer has triggered the outcry, when Mars enters Leo, things could get really nasty as most will be looking out for number one. By July, when Mars enters Virgo, joining Saturn, hunger, disease and anger will be fixtures on the menu.

Seven modern sins: Did this item escape you? The Catholic Church announced in March this year that in consideration of modern times new sins need to be added to those already on the sin list. Modern morality being what it is (actually it's still what it always was), the list of sins now includes: environmental pollution, genetic manipulation, accumulating excessive wealth, inflicting poverty, drug trafficking and consumption, morally debatable experiments and violations of human rights. On the day of publication, 10 March 2008, Mars was just moving off it's opposition to Pluto, both rulers of the 8th house of sin. Now (16/4/08), Mars in Cancer is almost opposite Jupiter in Capricorn (exact 24/4/08)…here comes the judge! Since there was already a substantial list of sins prior to these additions, there doesn't seem much hope for anyone to get to heaven. Perhaps it's just as well most of us have acknowledged that heaven and hell are right here on earth.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is sliding down the greasy political pole. At a time when we need inspirational leaders, the UK's got Gordon. Less than a year after assuming Prime Ministerial duties, his popularity is even worse than his performance ratings. Transiting Pluto is exactly conjunct natal Chiron at 1 Capricorn in the 9th, the public are baffled about his agenda and lack of philosophical will, to say nothing of his irredeemable media image. This is compounded by tr Pluto's square to natal Saturn at 1 Libra in the 6th, his day to day existence is under siege, the pressure must be fantastic. No relief is coming any time soon either. The transiting Mars Jupiter opposition in April focuses on Gordon's Neptune on the 7th cusp and lunations since April continue to trigger sensitive points into early summer. As well, transiting Pluto hovers near his MC through 2010. Brown cannot make himself clear, cannot, (natal Mercury trine Neptune) and as head of government this one fact alone probably means the early demise of his prem'''iership. Frankly, he was better off as Chancellor. As tr Pluto’s pressure mounts his ability to hang onto power is severely challenged and pollsters don’t think the Labour government has any chance of survival unless the economy sorts itself out pretty damned quick…which it won’t. Well then, the Labour Party will have some time out of office to refresh at the top.

Gordon Brown: 20 February 1951, 8:40 (GMT), Giffnock, Scotland, 55 N 48, 04 W 20. Asc 15 Aries. Data: birth certificate, via Caroline Gerrard.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama's honeymoon is over. As the contest for Democratic presidential nomination intensifies, the s**t (a Pluto word) is flying. Under pressure (there's another Pluto word), Hillary Clinton's campaign posse, seizes upon every mis-interpretable word that comes from Obama's mouth, and of course, the pressure is provoking negativity and an atmosphere of "see, I told you he wasn't God." We knew that, he's human and a much more complex and interesting human than we've had running the White House for the last 7 years. The US is being driven by fear and paranoia to a considerable degree, for every positive, somebody/something's got to be negative. For every win, the loser points the finger of blame. In fact, the whole situation reminds me of those pointless childish arguments in the school playground. "Did too, did not, did too." The increasing urgency of our planet's problems and the effects on the travellers on spaceship Earth require steady hands, confidence and definitely ongoing shots of inspiration. Unlike Gordon Brown, who wasn't ever expected to develop an inspirational way of communication (you can't develop what you haven't got, can you), Obama's main strength has been that very ability. Of course, being an articulate orator has its drawbacks, too. A slip of the lip turns septic fast in a campaign where words mean everything. This is the bit of politics about 'blind ‘em with bulls**t'; why my fellow American voters buy into that nonsense escapes me - yeah, well, I left didn't I. Still, Obama brings something special to the party. Meanwhile, there is genuine concern for his safety, visionaries tend to be vulnerable. For those who carp about his lack of experience, again, he couldn't possibly do worse than the current administration if he tried. An American presidential campaign is a marathon event, political sprinters need not apply. Obama looks like a marathon man, a runner's long lean look, the right kind of stuff backed up with a brain the size of a planet. But how he looks to Americans differs depending on where you live. Hence the roasting he's been getting from the Clinton machine when he referenced disenfranchised blue collar workers, 6 April in San Francisco, as ‘bitter' and his comment ignited accusations of elitism. America's blue collars don't do toffs…or intellectuals. Okay, so here's this elegant, erudite, educated, handsome guy with truckloads of charisma, a likeable man, someone we want to trust, a man who could open new avenues of communication with leaders around the world (including, especially, those who won't talk to the current US administration) and he's up against that old Democratic party machine that wants to hang on. There are many astrologers who don't think Obama's got a snowballs chance in hell of winning the nomination, let alone the presidency but it's a mistake to sell him, or the American public, short. Given the choice between a future that looks like more of the same (how Pluto laughs) and the opportunity to try a completely new approach to world relationships it's must be worth the effort to get Obama to the White House. On the day of his San Francisco speech, 6 April 2008 transiting Pluto was opposing his natal Venus and transiting Venus squared them both. Also Rx Saturn squaring his Moon and much more.

Barack Obama: 4 August 1961, 13.06, AHST (+10), Honolulu, Hawaii, 21 N 18, 157 W 52. Asc 18 Scorpio. (Dirty data, 'shouted out' to astrologer Frances McEvoy by Obama himself). As this gives him a Gemini Moon, I'm more than happy to work with 13.06. I don't have a time for the San Francisco speech but 20.00 seemed likely, accurate time appreciated if you've got it.

Abu Qatada
Hate Preacher Stays: On 9 April the UK high courts disallowed the deportation of Abu Qatada, an Islamic fundamentalist and so-called spiritual head of Al Qaeda in Europe, on human rights grounds. Apparently he's under threat of imprisonment if he returns to his native Jordan where he's already been convicted. But it's ok if he stays in the UK, continues to preach hate and collect £1000 a month in benefits and access to NHS services? Baffling. Without his birth data I can't say much about Qatada but on the 9th of April the transits to the UK's 1801 chart are startling. Transiting Pluto square natal Uranus (3rd to 12th), tr Jupiter opposite natal Moon (4th to 10th), tr Saturn opposite natal Pluto (11th to 5th) and tr Neptune opposite natal Saturn (5th to 11th), plus tr Mars square natal Node (10th to 7th). Matters of home security vs the judge, preacher of hate vs human rights, the erosion of security vs a known enemy…other keyword combinations abound. Even without Qatada's birthday, the ruling's impact on the UK is dramatic. As for Qatada himself, the so-called spiritual head of Al-Qaeda in Europe, he's secured a safe haven, his human rights protected and he's free to continue to preach hate! And it's our taxes that support him!Incredible!

UK: 1 Jan 1801, 0.00, LMT, 51 N 30, 00 W 07, Asc 7 Libra 10.

Fast Lane Internet Some of you may remember this column mentioned the GRID project a couple of years ago. That was the future but soon, if it does what it says on the tin, the Grid may replace the internet. Yes, replace the internet. The Grid is up to 10,000 times faster than current broadband transmission, a by-product of data collection from the giant particle accelerator the Large Hadron Collider at Cern near Geneva in Switzerland, not so incidentally, the place where Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web. The first academics and students will be able to access the Grid's tremendous power this summer and by autumn others may be able to hook up too. Although it's impossible to say exactly how this super-fast, information highway will impact existing users, it's definitely going to change things in a big way when it arrives commercially. The New Moon on 3 June with Venus, Sun, Moon and Mercury in mid-Gemini looks like a great kick-off point with Mercury at 19 trine the N Node, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius. I've been tellin' you for years to keep your seatbelts fastened - no joke.

Pace of Life We know life/time is moving faster but this is ridiculous. According to a study done in the USA, the use of time-saving gadgets means we're cramming 31 hours into 24! The study of 3,000 people suggests that just 10 years ago, it would have taken 31 hours to accomplish what can now be done in one day. The same study says limits to technology means multitasking has probably peaked and the backlash has begun with workers declaring 'email bankruptcy' wiping thousands of unread emails or resigning from internet social networks. That can't be a bad thing, how were we ever meant to learn social skills when so much 'socialising' took place in the web-world rather than face to face. At the very least, the rapid growth and affordability of technology has stunted real conversation, created virtual worlds in place of the one where we actually live and work and all but eliminated personal contact with any but those in our immediate environment. Many gadgets have their place but human contact and actual community is the cement that binds civilisation and it's blatantly clear, we need time to assimilate technology and also to regain our humanity. Saturn in Virgo (technology's natural place is the 6th house) is making us pause for breath - and reconnection. For myself, it hasn't come a moment too soon.