Wednesday, January 04, 2017

2017: The Year Europe Changed



Theresa May, the UK PM, has promised to initiate Brexit negotiations by the end of March. She’s not the usual sort of politician, in that she doesn’t say much, but when she does say something, she means it. We don’t have a birth time for her, but she has Saturn conjunct North Node, as well as square Moon and Venus, and sextile Mercury. 

She has a Saturnian personality: she is notoriously withheld, but wants to do a proper, detailed job. She has earned her position through being Home Secretary for 6 years, and popularity for her is secondary (Saturn square to Venus). So she has the right temperament for the job at hand, Brexit.

But subsequent to triggering article 50, we are likely to see a phoney Brexit for most of this year. For the UK, Brexit begins in earnest once Saturn goes direct in the autumn, leaving Sagittarius for good and entering Capricorn, where it will begin to hard aspect the UK Sun, Moon and Angles, all of which are in Cardinal signs.

This, of course, fits nicely with the waiting game we are likely to see until the French and German elections have been held, in the spring and autumn respectively. Until then, we will not really know who we are negotiating with, though there will continue to be posturing from both sides.

Europe is likely to see further shocks this year, as we experience the outcome of the Uranus-Pluto square, energised by the conjunction of Uranus to Eris. The dark underbelly of globalisation (those left without jobs and prospects as industry moves to cheaper countries, and as jobs become automated, and the problems caused by lack of sensible border controls) that Pluto has revealed, and that brought about Trump and Brexit, has yet to bring major political change to mainland Europe. 

This is because unlike the US and the UK, Europe has not had elections or referendums. Except Italy, which had a referendum on the constitution in December, that became a referendum on the EU and the Euro: the anti-vote won. That seems like a clear sign of the way things are going.

The Euro currency has an exact opposition between Mars and Eris (18.21 Libra/Aries), Mars ruling the 8th House of shared wealth. So Mars is a key player. Saturn at 26 Aries, at the start of the 8th, is also a major player. As Uranus completes his crossing of transiting Eris and moves on to natal Saturn this year, and as Pluto finishes with natal Mars/Eris, we are almost certain to see crises within the Eurozone, the 2 obvious contenders being Greece and Italy, both of whom have debt problems. It could easily result in one of them leaving the Eurozone.

The big events, however, are the French and German elections. Both countries (using their modern charts) are in the thick of Pluto or Neptune transits to major points: France has Pluto hard-aspecting her Asc, Node and Moon; Germany has Pluto hard-aspecting her Moon, Mars, Saturn, as well as Neptune conjoining the Asc.

So how can there not be major political change in these 2 countries, that reflects the anti-globalisation mood, and the EU’s part in bringing it about? The major symbol of these events, this new political mood, will be the fall of Angela Merkel in the autumn.


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She will be seen as a great leader, and as such her trajectory is in the stars: she was elected in 2005 as Pluto crossed the German Midheaven at 23 Sag, and continued as Pluto opposed the German Sun at 9 Cancer, and this year as Pluto finishes his business by squaring the German Moon. And so too will Merkel be finished as leader.

Mother Merkel (whose birthtime is approximate) has Sun at 24 Cancer, conjunct Uranus at 23 Cancer, showing the divided homeland she was born into, and which she experienced first-hand as a child when her family moved from West to East Germany. It is interesting with her Uranus that her job should be as a unifier, not just of Germany but of the EU. Her Sun-Uranus squares her Neptune-MC at 23-22 Libra. So this square, which is basic to her chart, has been under hard aspect from Uranus for a year or two (reflected in her waning popularity, much of it brought about by the immigrant surge which she, the caring Cancerian, oversaw.) Pluto will be approaching, rather than exactly aspecting her Sun-Moon, but that will be enough. She may, however, remain in politics for a few years after she loses the election, until the exact aspects have occurred.

The EU came into existence as the EEC in 1958. All the Angles were at 29 degrees of the mutable signs, which is the worst place to have them if you want something to last. The Euro currency has the same problem. Neptune won’t be exactly aspecting these points for another 7 years, but that is soon enough. In the case of the Euro, Neptune will exactly square the Moon (the member states) in 5 years.

So my prognosis is a dissolution of the EU in its current form, beginning with the start of the dissolution of the Euro over the next 2 or 3 years. And Brexit of 2016, followed by the French and German elections of 2017, will be seen as the key events which began this process. The rise of nationalist sentiment across the EU may mean that what the UK wants and what Europe wants are much more closely allied – ie more border controls, and devolution of power from Brussels -  and that will radically change the negotiating picture.

This easier climate for negotiation is reflected in Saturn’s passage across the major points of the UK chart, which will be complete in autumn 2020, and all over bar the shouting a year before that, after 2 years of serious negotiations.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Saturn-Neptune and the post-fact era



The underlying transit that the world is experiencing is the Uranus-Pluto square. A new world is being born, whose form is not yet clear, but Trump and Brexit are indicators of where things are going. Away from globalisation, towards protectionism and border controls. And maybe an economic crisis along the way.

At present there are overlays of Uranus conjunct Eris, and Saturn square to Neptune. Uranus-Eris describes the game-changing shocks to the system, the earthquakes, of which there are more to come.


And Saturn-Neptune describes the ‘post-truth’ world which we are, for now, entering. A world in which politicians win elections by telling bigger whoppers than usual, which then get whirled around social media. That is what it amounts to. 

But it's not that simple. It is right-wing politicians who are telling the whoppers (in the cases of Trump and Brexit), and the liberals are fighting back using their own cultural weapons, promoting the concept of ‘post-truth’ to describe their political enemies.

I don’t like the cold-heartedness of many right-wing politicians. But if the liberals had won by telling bigger lies, I don’t think the Republicans/Tories would be promoting a word like ‘post-truth’ and getting it put in dictionaries, as if it were a description rather than a weapon. When Tony Blair lied about WMD, we weren't told we were entering a new era in which politicians told big lies. And what he (and GWB) did was lie in a much more serious way than anything that has happened this year.


While there will always be a few who believe the lies that politicians tell, I don’t think most people do. People vote for the more charismatic candidate, the one who connects best with people, for better or for worse. In the case of Brexit, we had the appeal of Boris and Nigel Farage on one side, and the relatively bland David Cameron on the other. And it was the same with Trump and Hillary. (To say that doesn't make me right-wing: I'm not.)

This way of looking at things is, of course, insulting to the intelligence of the voters, but it is the way things go in elections time and again. You don’t even need astrology to predict the outcome. As Churchill said, Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others. It is the ongoing Saturn (substance) vs Neptune (appearance) nature of democracy, and Neptune generally wins. It is how GW Bush and Obama each won the presidency, and how Tony Blair became the UK leader.

Saturn-Neptune describes the fact that the debate has come to centre on the lies of politicians. But it’s not the real issue, because politicians have always lied. Neptune is a hall of mirrors, it reflects back on itself.

And the same people who are crying foul because of the lies of the Brexit and Trump campaigns, have also been denying loudly that the Brexiteers and Trump actually won. The political lies are (correctly) being called unusually egregious, yet the simple facts of who won and who lost are being denied.


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The lies, particularly in the case of Trump, have admittedly been exceptional. The man will say anything that suits, and exaggerate and castigate to his heart’s content. (Though I also think it is important to admit when he has a point, like when he said that Castro was a dictator; otherwise our opposition is blind, and this kind of blindness is surprisingly common amongst ‘educated’ people.)

But the pretence that Trump and the Brexiteers lost - or that the elections were stolen and invalid, or that Brexit won't happen, or that the electoral college won't elect Trump - has to me seemed to be what is truly unusual about these events. Yes, Saturn-Neptune and bigger lies from politicians, that is part of the picture, if anyone is actually listening. 'Twas ever thus. But this new element of outright denial of a basic fact by an educated part of the population: that is what is truly different. Maybe we should be talking about the post-fact era?

I think it shows just how polarised things have become politically, which is what one expects from the larger picture of Uranus-Pluto. But I think it reminds us yet again that being educated and being self-aware are not the same thing. I think that the sense of moral superiority that many liberals have also confuses the picture, like Trump/the Brexiteers can't have won because they're the bad guys, so how did they cheat us?

Being an astrologer and being self-aware, at least in these polarised times, do not seem to be the same thing either. At a major astrological conference in the USA in October 2016, a panel of 12 experienced astrologers unanimously predicted that Hillary would win (though some said that it was 11 out of 12.)

Either way, this just doesn’t happen when you ask a bunch of astrologers to predict something. And if they’re good, I’d expect most to be right. But I certainly wouldn’t expect them all to have the same answer - in any other situation, it would be called groupthink. But these were 'gifted' astrologers, we are told, so that can't possibly be what was happening!

And I don’t think it comes down to method either, though I’m wandering now into the nature of prediction. I think if you rely on method alone for predicting, it will break down in time. Mercury the trickster comes in, this was something that Jung found. No, there is also intuition involved, even in how you decide which charts to use. It is the skilled intuition that is essential, that is the real gift of the astrologer. But because it is personal, it is also subject to personal wishes and the wishes of the collective.

This, I think, is what happened. It can happen to all of us, and we can all get predictions wrong. I do. But astrologers are well known for being politically liberal. It was a fiasco, and soul-searching is needed. 

It makes astrology look ridiculous, and heaven knows we don’t need that. But the reason I’m writing about it is that the issue was then surrounded by the same sort of defensive denial that you find in the population at large, namely that Trump hadn’t won the election because Hillary got more votes, even though everyone knows that it doesn’t work like that.

This denial compounded the fiasco. Astrologers, and diviners of all sorts, need to be able to stand apart from their political preferences and collective currents. This is really basic. And we will sometimes fail. But please at least let's be honest when we get it wrong.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Uranus-Eris and the Zeitgeist



Last year I predicted that in 2016-17 we would be likely to see sudden and unexpected game-changing events. This was due to the conjunction of Uranus and Eris (aka Discordia), which happens every 85 years or so. 

So far we have had Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US President. Both these events were unexpected and game-changers, though their implications have yet to be seen.

There is still another conjunction to go (next March), so I expect there to be more shocks to come. In particular, I expect governments to swing to the right across Europe, more than is expected. There are several elections coming up. Marine Le Pen, for example, the far-right leader in France, could be elected President in the spring. One way or the other, I expect these shocks to lead to the  beginning of a wider unravelling of the EU in its present form, to the extent that Brexit will no longer seem such an anomaly.

But Uranus-Eris game-changers do not come out of nowhere: they are the expression of deeper, underlying trends that reach tipping points. Like earthquakes. And they come as a shock because it can be hard for us limited humans to see beneath the status quo, to something we may not want to see. Change and uncertainty are difficult for us.


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And the deeper, underlying trend is described by the major transit the world has been experiencing for about 7 years now, the square from Uranus to Pluto. The last square was in the late 20s/early 30s, and look what that led to.

Trump and the 3rd Reich: Click to Enlarge
As Ed Tamplin has pointed out, Uranus was in EXACTLY the same position when Donald Trump launched his campaign to be President in June 2015, as when Hitler was sworn in as German Chancellor. This tells us that they are the expression of similar revolutionary (Uranus) trends.

The US is not in the desperate economic situation that Germany was in in 1933, and they have a very different political system. So I don’t think we need worry that the US will end up like the 3rd Reich. But there are muted parallels: a demagogue who promises a return to past glories, the loss of pre-eminence in the world as China pulls up alongside; and swathes of the population jobless and ignored. 

So the insight that this Uranus comparison gives us is that we need to look out for these parallels: that Trump has been elected on the back of a sense of loss and privation, and the blind prejudice and grandiose fantasies that can lead to. This is Trump’s constituency, this is the mentality he feeds off and embodies. But the US political system is so riddled with checks and balances that it is amazing any President ever gets anything done. We may not like what he does, but I think it will be limited.

Saturn is prominent in Trump’s chart by transit and progression over the next year: he will find it difficult to get stuff done. And he hasn’t got the outer planet influence that could bypass that through appeals to the collective, the mania that can create, like Bush did with 9/11. Trump will want wars – he has Mars Rising and Sun conjunct the US Mars, but I think he will struggle to achieve that.

And the state of the US is something that is also reflected in Europe, which is also experiencing a swing to the right. Asia is becoming richer, Europe and the US are becoming poorer. At times of uncertainty, people elect right wing governments.

I think that Uranus-Pluto is bringing an end to the free-market capitalism of the last 35 years, characterised by financial deregulation and relatively free trade between countries. I think that an era of protectionism is coming in, perfectly described by the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn in a few years’ time. And borders of all kinds, restrictions on ‘the free movement of people’ in Europe, the wall between the US and Mexico.

Trump and Brexit are just the first fissures in the break-up of the old familiar world. We may bemoan them, but if it hadn’t been Trump and Brexit, it would have been something else. (Trump seems determined to have another financial crisis, by tearing up the financial regulations that were brought in in the wake of the 2008/9 financial crisis, to try and avoid a repeat.)

Uranus and Pluto finished their exact crossings to each other some time ago, but the stuff they stirred up has yet to properly surface and change the world we live in. I think the next few years will bring major change. I think we will be poorer and more conservative. The EU will change in a big way. Fuck knows what will happen in the US. But I don’t think it will be World War III, and I think there’ll be enough food on the table. And as I've said before, it'll be very interesting for the US not to be No1 anymore, it's been so much part of the fabric of who they are. That, maybe, will be one of the meanings of the US Pluto Return.