Can North Korea's "Dear Leader" dodge calamity in 2014?
By Victor Olliver
The news from North Korea is unremittingly gruesome if not grotesque. Early hopes that young Kim Jong-un (declared Supreme Leader on 29 December 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jong-il) might be a civilising influence have proven wishful to say the least. The very recent executions of his uncle and seven others by firing squad, and dire threats of war, suggest a leadership bent on aggression and confrontation.
What does astrology tell us of Kim Jong-un? Is there hope yet for a nation stuck in what seems to Western eyes like a feudalistic nightmare? His birth chart and 2014 transits make fascinating studies in unrestricted power and potential folly - though the news is not all necessarily grim.
But when was Kim Jong-un born?
Casting Kim Jong-un's horoscope presents a challenge because though we know he's a Capricorn, born 8 January, we cannot be certain of his birth year. Until recently North Korea gave it as 1983. Then the nation gifted him an extra year of maturity, making it 1982, perhaps embarrassed by his relative youth on the world stage. His father's ex-sushi chef supports 1983 as birth year.
But perhaps the "Dear Leader"'s doting late opera singer mother, Ko Yong-hui, gave the game away when she described her son as the "Morning Star King". This must refer to planet Venus (nicknamed Phosphoros, "bringer of light", by the Ancient Greeks) which at times can be seen at dawn. For 8 January (among the candidate years for his nativity, '82-'84) it was visible before sunrise only in 1984, approximately around 7:00. And he's not just the Morning Star King. His birthday is shared with the "King", Elvis Presley. We can only assume Kim Jong-un's birthplace is Pyongyang.
If correct, this makes the Supreme Leader a formidable double Capricorn (Sun and ascendant) along with a Capricorn leadership chart - highly ambitious; power-driven and jealous of his growing national authority; formidably strategic; materialistic; darkly humorous, dutiful if not rule-bound, clever and "old" before his time (his unexpected assumption of hereditary absolute power in his 20s being one spectacular example). And with Saturn (Capricorn ruler) in Scorpio in the traditional house of Capricorn (conjunct Pluto/Libra Mars, in the Placidus chart) it's fair to say that Kim Jong-un appears "fated" to rule - troubling features in a leader of a volatile state in a cramped world of enemy democracies.
The Dear Leader's basic character traits
Perhaps we can take some comfort that Capricorn is not traditionally a sign given to impulse but usually to pre-meditation. Much of what passes for blood-curdling threat from North Korea is probably calibrated posturing - a tactic not without effect.
I don't propose to go through Kim Jong-un's chart in great detail but certain key features are worth highlighting. Mercury bang on his ascendant usually indicates advanced language and literary skills (he speaks English among other tongues) and/or a bent for mathematics (he earned at least one physics degree). Mercury here will tend to make him more image-conscious (he's already succumbed to the cosmetic surgeon's knife), more multi-culturally engaged, more media-savvy, than might be expected. He is thought to have been educated in Switzerland.
If he serves his full life-term, it's entirely possible he will come to interact with the outside world more constructively than his forebears. That's a big "if" however.
Pronounced artistic or even spiritual interests subsist in his chart as potential, with Neptune close to Mercury (in Pisces' natural home) and ascendant; and with highly sensitising Moon in Pisces. It wouldn't surprise me if in later life - should he be fortunate - he writes a great deal about himself.
The very negative side of these placements is the risk of delusional or fantastical thinking and volatile hyper-sensitivity. It can only be hoped that with all the pronounced Saturnian pragmatism in his chart, logic will eventually triumph over megalomania or paranoia.
That he is extremely self-willed cannot be doubted with all principal planets in his eastern chart hemisphere, with Moon square Uranus/Venus and (very worryingly this) with Mars conjunct Pluto in 10th house Scorpio square Sun. There will be huge, physical zest for life. But a ferocious, even violent or homicidal temper may be roused by frustration or obstacles - if Kim Jong-un were my client I would advise him to take up a sport or transcendental or other spiritual practice to redirect some of that pent-up energy. Even a privileged Supreme Leader can feel impeded or restricted on a lifetime diet of entitlement.
Yet primal instincts - such as instinctive rage - should be generally reined under Moon trine Saturn. A form of sound reasoning may even drive him albeit barbarically.
Worth mentioning is his Moon's positive relationship to his power planets (Mars, Saturn [also representing father] and Pluto in the 10th): this supports the claim that his mother (as well as an aunt) played a big part in his surprise appointment as heir apparent against older siblings. With Saturn close to Part of Fortune in Scorpio sextile Sun, a pronounced affinity with the father will have been present. The father will have admired Kim's self-discipline, natal "hardness" and focus as attributes of luck - it is believed that his father warmed to and recognised him as a hardy kindred spirit.
A man "coddled in power"
The birth chart essentially comprises two stellia in neighbouring Scorpio and Sagittarius, with Sun dangling a little away in the me-me-me 1st House. A curious feature of Kim Jong-un's chart is its lack of overall life balance - eight of the 10 principal planets are bundled in just the 10th-12th houses. This snapshots a fate coddled in power. That part of him that seeks new ways of doing things, through education or communion with the outer world (Sagittarius), is cloaked in the chart sector of secrets. A metaphorical veil places him in a timeless purdah of global voyeurism or vicariousness. He may conceal much of what he admires of Western culture, for instance.
A little-understood chart feature known as the yod (or "finger of god"), involving most of his stars in an inconjunct to 5th house Chiron, describes a life of tremendous restriction and early conformism. A rich fantasy life may act as a counter-balancing substitute. Life never feels "right" until the individual has come to terms with matters that cannot be altered or reconciled. Chiron in Taurus alerts to health problems and a need to take especial care of the body: it's known Kim Jong-un is diabetic and prone to weight gain, bingeing and heavy drinking. Seeking comfort in luxuries and novelties should be avoided - a big ask when you're Supreme Leader, I suppose. Who can say No to him?
2014 transits and Kim Jong-un's first Saturn Return
When he took control of North Korea in December 2011, his chart ruler (transiting) Saturn was on the same degree as his birth Mars conjunct Pluto in the 10th: not a time of personal joy for him but certainly of fateful regeneration through state power in the house of public status. As leadership debut point in his radix chart, violence and power-seeking subsist as potential major themes of his rule.
His succession marked the end of an old order - though years may elapse before complete realisation. In late 2013 his first Saturn Return commenced, for most people (aged around 29-30) this marks a growing-up time when marriage, job change or parenting beckons. For Kim Jong-un, the Return phase is a marker of power consolidation in a militaristic state as his confidence soars and he breaks with old influences - hence the ruthless removal of advisers, his uncle and others who might be a perceived threat to his leadership. The planets support an interpretation of accompanying violence.
The execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek on 12 December, 2013, corresponded to tr Mars right at the top of Kim Jong-un's birth chart square birth ascendant, a traditional aspect of aggression expressed either by or towards the native. To a client who does not run a totalitarian state, an astrologer might offer the sage advice: "Tread very cautiously lest you attract to yourself the violence you deal in." This is also an aspect of recklessness or impatience. Unfortunately, Mars stays in Libra till July 2014 thanks to a retrograde, so it's reasonable to expect further state brutality based on precedent. Libra, among other things, directs energies towards colleagues, companions and others within his immediate circle.
Other indicators are also depressing. Just 96 hours after his progressed Moon entered war-like Aries on 8 February, 2013, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test under his rule. Given that the progressed Moon stays in this sign throughout 2014, not exiting till August 2015, we can expect further exhibitions of unpredictable bellicosity and aggression, especially with Uranus slowly transiting Aries (to 2018/19).
Allied to this last point is tr Jupiter retrograde (in the 7th house, associated with partners and "open enemies") opposite Sun as 2014 starts, which often corresponds with exaggerated or melodramatic responses: blind behaviour rooted in unrealistic self-estimation can prove disastrous.
May 2014 is a time to watch as Jupiter repeats this opposition while progressed Moon remains in Aries. July, too, I think could be a very dangerous time for Kim Jong-un as Jupiter squares Mars then Pluto: fanatically-held beliefs are part of the problem here. If there's a good side to this it lies in any attempt to heal rifts (for example, with the outside world). Jupiter can pour balm, if he wishes this. September (Jupiter square Saturn) could be a time of immense frustration for him as limits are placed on what he'd like to do: patience will be thin. Yet without it he stands to lose, nationally or overseas.
From October onwards, if he survives the above, potentially he could be in more diplomatic or conciliatory mood as progressed Venus starts a conjunction with birth Sun. Personally, he may feel a little less confrontational. Perhaps he is starting to realise that charm can win friends - that at least is one interpretation. This could also denote yet another image makeover. However, his birth Sun square Mars/Pluto makes him a particularly tricky and dangerous subject to "read".
In summary, 2014 will be a very difficult and dangerous year for the Dear Leader as he struggles to accommodate his huge hopes and expectations in smaller boxes. The potential for personal calamity is real but it would be a rare double Capricorn who does not allow pragmatism to be his ultimate guide. It has to be for survival.
If he plays his cards right (and there are no guarantees), July/August 2015 (Jupiter trine Jupiter) could signal happier, more productive times. But don't hold your breath.
Victor Olliver's "Lifesurfing: Your Horoscope Forecast Guide 2014" is available on Amazon as e-book or paperback