Monday, May 30, 2016

France eclipsed: a look at one unfortunate Cosmic year

On this Memorial Day, it may seem odd to focus on France's recent tragic brushes with terrorism. But astrologically, war and terrorism are two sides of the same phenomenon. On this Memorial Day, I wonder: Can't we do better than this?

Since January 7, 2015—the date of the so-called “Charlie Hebdo” attack in Paris—the French people have been reeling from a series of unfortunate events. In fact, this nation, which prides itself on producing “lovers, not fighters,” has been the target of three rather evenly spaced belligerent events: “Charlie Hebdo” in January, followed in November 2015 by the “Black Friday” attacks in Paris; and most recently on May 19, 2016, the suspicious, disappeared and crashed EgyptAir Flight 804, enroute to Cairo from Paris’ De Gaulle Airport.

Even though Donald Trump jumped to characteristic conclusions and declared the flight was “shot out of the sky,” this possibility is unconfirmed. Needless to say, Trump's statement was transparently incendiary. Yes, terrorist events--both real and imagined--do create wars, and to rush there without definitive information always suggests manipulations and vested interests. One way or another, there were no survivors among the flight’s 66 passengers and crew, so Flight 804 was a tragedy either way.

So, why France?

Many must wonder why France has become such a target. Analysts have cited growing unrest among French Muslim nationals due to high unemployment rates, a lack of integration into the full benefits of French citizenship, and a chilly lack of acceptance in France’s secularist democracy. Muslims are estimated at being 7-9% of the French population, approximately 5 million people in a nation of roughly 60.7 million (2005 figure).

Significantly, France—as the NY Times put it—“takes a back seat to Germany in E.U. migrant crisis,” due to stubborn high unemployment rates and a rising far-right political party. Such political challenges are a problem across Europe in the wake of the migrant crisis, but France was tightening up its immigration policies way back in 2006, before the crisis even took shape. Add to that a controversial law passed in 2004 banning the wearing of overtly religious garb—including the hijab (head scarf worn by Muslim women)—and it seems France has set itself up for a deep culture clash with its Muslim nationals.

With a sky high deficit and pressure from all sides, French president Françoise Hollande is described by the NY Times as “embattled…weakened” by protests and failed legislation, which, as we’ll see ahead, mirrors an earlier period of radical change in the nation.  
Happily, mundane astrology can offer some astrological insights into why France—more precisely, the French 5th Republic”—is experiencing such rocky times.

With a little research I realized that the story can be told through a series of powerful eclipses impacting both events on the ground and the French national charts. It’s a fairly complicated story, but I believe that if you’re curious about the power of eclipses, it’s worth a look.

Key historical background
Interestingly, France’s 5th Republic—the current political regime (which changes in France with each new constitution)—was founded in October 1958 on the heels of the so-called “Algiers Crisis,” a coup which brought General Charles De Gaulle out of post-World War II retirement and into the French presidency. This event naturally ended the post-WWII 4th Republic, established on October 14, 1946. Reportedly, most of France’s 5 million Muslim immigrants have come from North Africa, from the so-called Maghrebi nations of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Bottom line, France has a long history with Muslim peoples and it hasn’t all been peaceful.

The 4th Republic is actually remembered as a time of great social reform and economic growth—captured nicely by its 12 year duration, the length of one Jupiter cycle. Less positively, that regime also lacked stable leadership and a strong executive, so as France’s colonial relationship with Algeria fell into turmoil in the late 1950s, so did the 4th Republic. The turmoil resulted in that regime dissolving, and the newly formed 5th Republic taking over under the stronger leadership of General Charles De Gaulle. A few years later in 1962, Algeria gained its independence.

Before we examine how eclipses played into this saga, let’s consider first how the chart for the Algiers Coup on May 13, 1958 impacted the 4th Republic chart; then we’ll see how the energies of a powerful total solar eclipse on October 12th, 1958 carried the newly declared 5th Republic forward.

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Natal, France 4th Republic, October 14, 1946, 12:00 p.m. ST (no time specified), Paris, France; (outer wheel) French Algiers Crisis/Coup, May 13, 1958, 12:00 p.m. ST, Algiers, Algeria.

Interchart Grand Trine: Republic Sun/Chiron (midpoint in Libra) conjoins Crisis Jupiter (Rx Libra), trines Crisis Chiron (Aquarius) and trines Republic Uranus (Gemini). This suggests that France experienced some growing pains during this crisis of liberation, largely due to its unfolding decolonization process. Punctuated dramatically by the Algiers incident (nearly a civil war), this process jumpstarted the transition from the prevailing French Union (a confederation of France with its colonies) to the French Community, a looser affiliation of mostly independent states with France. Please see the above link for much more detail.

It’s worth pointing out that the 4th Republic chart’s Sun-Uranus trine also captured the spirit of France’s liberation from German rule during WWII. Even though there was a two year lapse, the 4th Republic was very much a product of D-Day at Normandy on June 6, 1944, when Uranus conjoined the 4th Republic Moon in Gemini.

Crisis Jupiter & Republic Sun/Chiron sextile Crisis Saturn (Sagittarius); Crisis Saturn opposes Republic Uranus (Gemini). These aspects speak very nicely to the 4th Republic’s accomplishments in social reform and economic development. The mutable sextile reflects how De Gaulle seized upon the Algiers crisis as France’s opportunity to decolonize with a minimum of violence.

Crisis Uranus (Leo) conjoins Republic Saturn (Leo) and sextiles Republic Moon-Node (Gemini). The 4th Republic had its pluses, but it also had its negatives, including the lack of stable leadership and a strong executive (Leo), reflected here. The Algiers crisis demanded leadership change in France (a complicated story, involving a Gaullist faction in Algeria, etc.).  

Not surprisingly, General De Gaulle’s natal chart was tightly connected with both the 4th and 5th Republic charts. More on this ahead.

Interchart T-Square: Crisis Mars (Pisces) squares Republic Nodal Axis (Gemini-Sagittarius); Crisis Mars also trines Republic Mars (Scorpio). The threat of violence to French concerns was real in Algeria during the Coup and is reflected very well here. The mutable t-square also denotes a very unstable, volatile situation that was resolved fairly quickly for the short-term. This instigated a period of changes to French colonialism, reinforced by the interchart Mars-trine-Mars).

Crisis Pluto (Leo) squares Republic Venus (Scorpio); Crisis Pluto sextiles Republic Chiron. This is an especially potent transit because the 4th Republic’s Libra Sun, Chiron and Neptune are all ruled by Venus. Without exact times there’s no way to know if the Republic chart angles were also in Crisis Pluto’s crosshairs, but there’s good possibility they were. Not surprisingly, Gen. De Gaulle’s chart (not shown) is closely tied in with this aspect—his Sun (29°+Scorpio) exactly conjoined Republic Venus and was also squared by Crisis Pluto.

A fateful eclipse and the 4th & 5th Republics
The new constitution marking France’s 5th Republic was signed into effect on October 4, 1958—just six days prior to a powerful total solar eclipse that lasted 5 minutes+. In fact, the rest of 1958 and a good part of 1959 was spent transitioning to the new regime, so the eclipse was still quite relevant. How could it not be, with the Libra eclipse point closely conjoined the 5th Republic Sun? (see Biwheel 2 below). The eclipse represented, if you will, a “cosmic handoff” of sorts between the two regimes. Let’s briefly consider the triwheel:

Triwheel 1: (inner wheel) Natal, France 4th Republic (see details in Biwheel 1 above); (middle wheel) Natal, France 5th Republic, October 4, 1958, 6:30 p.m. ST, Paris, France. (Source: time published in Eclipses by Celeste Teal, p. 218, but date contradicts the Wikipedia source, so I’m assuming a date typo on the part of Eclipses); (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse October 12, 1958, 9:51:55 p.m. ST, Paris, France.

Eclipse Point-Eclipse Node-Eclipse Mercury (Libra) conjoin 4th Republic Sun-Chiron (Libra) and 5th Republic Node (Libra). This certainly looks like a cosmically-blessed power shift—not entirely painless, but probably instrumental in healing (Chiron) some past wounds inflicted on France’s national consciousness (Sun) by WWII and the Vichy government. The mere signing of a document (Mercury) that offered France’s colonies a range of choices going forward (including complete independence) had to be cathartic. The proximity of the Eclipse Node to the Sun-Moon reinforces the impact of this 5 minute+ eclipse.

Eclipse Venus (Libra) conjoins France 5th Republic Sun-Mercury (Libra) and 4th Republic Neptune (Libra). France’s lofty founding ideals (Neptune) of “liberté, egalité, fraternité” were powerfully supported by this Venus-blessed transition away from colonialism. As eclipse ruler, Venus is doubly important here; not surprisingly, the Eclipse point and the 5th Republic’s Libra points fall trine De Gaulle’s Gemini positions (Neptune-Pluto-Node). See this link for De Gaulle’s details.

Eclipse Venus trines 4th Republic Moon-Node (Gemini). This optimistic trine suggests that the French people welcomed the “cosmic hand-off” between regimes—it simply seems to have been a new reality whose time had come. As noted in the previous paragraph, the Libra-Gemini trine embraced De Gaulle’s return to French leadership, as well.

Eclipse Point trines 4th Republic Uranus (Gemini) and 5th Republic Moon (Gemini). Obviously, this implies a 5th Republic Moon-4th Republic Uranus conjunction as well, suggesting that the transition to the new regime was not entirely smooth and was not entirely expected. It would have felt quite liberating (Uranus) to French colonial subjects.

Eclipse Saturn (Sagittarius) sextiles 4th Republic Sun and 5th Republic Node, and also opposes 4th Republic Uranus (Gemini). Remembering that Jupiter rules Sagittarius here, we can see that  an opportunity (sextile) arose (seized upon by De Gaulle) to reinvent France’s sociopolitical framework (new constitution-Saturn-Jupiter-Uranus) and to establish a new set of national aspirations (5th Republic Node).

Fast forward to the 1990s and beyond: building tension, the Charlie Hebdo attack & two significant eclipses

First, a bit of background: The 1990s saw a shift in Algerian politics towards Islamic nationalism, and France—especially French “intellectuals”--became a target. “Co-leader of the FIS Ali Benhadj declared his intention in 1990, "to ban France from Algeria intellectually and ideologically, and be done, once and for all, with those whom France has nursed with her poisoned milk."[35][36] 

This animosity was vividly expressed in the Paris Metro bombing of December 1996, with Libra Chiron trine France’s Gemini Moon and Aquarius Uranus square France’s Scorpio Neptune-Jupiter conjunction. Uranus sextiles Aries Saturn in the bombing chart and both connect with France’s Gemini Mars, so it was an explosive situation indeed. We can certainly see from this history that terrorist events are nothing new in France, and in fact they have only escalated over time.

In fact, France’s relationship with its Muslim nationals has been increasingly uneasy through the 2000s. Some analysts point to France’s entrenched secularism as being a problem, since those who practice their religions seriously may feel disrespected. As these things often do, that feeling of being disrespected came to a boil with the January 7, 2015 attack by two Muslim French nationals on the staff of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical, anti-religious weekly publishing out of Paris. Here’s one explanation of the background for this attack:

Charlie Hebdo has a history of attracting controversy. In 2006, Islamic organisations under French hate speech laws unsuccessfully sued over the newspaper's re-publication of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Muhammad.[7][8][9]The cover of a 2011 issue retitled Charia Hebdo (fr) (French for Sharia Weekly), featured a cartoon of Muhammad, whose depiction is forbidden in some interpretations of Islam.[10] The newspaper's office was fire-bombed and its website hacked.[11][12] In 2012, the newspaper published a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammad, including nude caricatures;[13][14] this came days after a series of violent attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, purportedly in response to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, prompting the French government to close embassies, consulates, cultural centres, and international schools in about 20 Muslim countries.[15] Riot police surrounded the newspaper's offices to protect it against possible attacks.[14][16]
So clearly, trouble had been brewing with Charlie Hebdo and French Muslims for years before the attack—and not coincidentally, 2006 (the year of that fated lawsuit mentioned in the excerpt) was also the year French lawmakers began tightening up the nation’s immigration policies. Terrorism took the national spotlight as France—the only European nation to do so—began trials of six former Guantanamo Bay detainees that year. Five men were convicted, but their convictions were later overturned on appeal in 2009.

Given the reactions we’ve seen in the U.S. about releasing Guantanamo detainees—even to maximum security prisons—it’s quite feasible the detainee trials in France stirred fears and xenophobia. Indeed, this would fit the belligerent, “Us v. Them” tone of a powerful total solar eclipse at 8°+Aries that year on March 29. Let’s consider that biwheel with France’s chart:

Biwheel 2: (inner wheel) Natal, France 5th Republic (see info in middle wheel, Triwheel 1 above); (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse, March 29, 2006, 12:15:21 p.m. DST, Paris, France.

Interchart T-square: Eclipse Point (Aries) conjoins Eclipse Node (Aries) and all oppose 5th Republic Sun-Mercury-Venus (Libra). Mars’ rulership of this eclipse speaks to the increasingly belligerent mood referenced above. The Eclipse Point’s opposition to Republic Venus (ruling the Libra planets and the chart’s 2nd and 7th houses) suggests that—as often happens—economic stress may have triggered the rise in nationalism that usually accompanies anti-immigration sentiments.

Eclipse Pluto (Sagittarius) conjoins 5th Republic Saturn (Sagittarius) and opposes 5th Republic Moon and Eclipse Mars (Gemini). Pluto would have been transiting the Republic’s Saturn for a fairly long period before the eclipse, but this unstable (mutable) opposition captures almost a panicked sense of threat to French society and culture (Saturn-Moon). This was perhaps a valid reaction to tension swirling in the former French colony, Algeria, where the struggle for independence from one-party rule was still shaking out (the Algerian Civil War encompassed 1991-2002, but violence and political instability continued long after) and anti-French sentiments were still quite raw.

Eclipse Saturn (Leo) sextiles 5th Republic Mars (Gemini), 5th Republic Venus and semi-sextiles 5th Republic Pluto (Virgo); Eclipse Jupiter (Rx Scorpio) t-squares 5th Republic Uranus  (Leo) opposite Republic Chiron (Aquarius). This complex of aspects may speak to a perceived “crackdown” by French authorities on Muslim citizens, triggered perhaps by class issues and a deepening economic divide (a global phenomenon, influencing the French economy as well). Interestingly, this eclipse (and these particular aspects) may have also influenced the French government’s 2007 shift towards helping the U.S. negotiate a peace settlement between the various factions in Iraq. “…as left-leaning Le Monde put it: ‘It’s time to stop lecturing the Americans about their errors and start contributing to a solution.’”

Reportedly, the French people were cautiously optimistic about this involvement, but many opposed the idea as well, fearing it would lead to more terrorist events on their soil. The Saturn-Mars sextile and the Jupiter-Uranus-Chiron interaction suggest that they had cause for concern. Several more years of unrest ensued in Iraq (with deep issues still unresolved) and terrorist events only escalated in France. Bottom line, economic and class dynamics (Venus-Saturn-Jupiter-Pluto), not to mention lingering resentments among Algerian Muslims, have contributed greatly to the escalating problems. The attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 was the next major event.

“Je suis Charlie” & a Lunar Eclipse on 10-8-2014

The French public reacted to the horrendous mass shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices—20 dead, 22 wounded—with characteristic defiance. Mass demonstrations of solidarity with the victims unfolded immediately across France and elsewhere, with “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) the signature motto of the event. Not surprisingly, that defiant attitude—and the violent aggression that triggered it—was supported by a potent lunar eclipse the preceding October 8th. Let’s explore the triwheel with France’s chart and the attack event chart:

Triwheel 2: (inner wheel) France 5th Republic (see info in middle wheel, Triwheel 1 above); (middle wheel) Lunar Eclipse, October 8, 2014, 12:51 p.m. DST, Paris France; (outer wheel) Charlie Hebdo Attack, January 7, 2015, 11:30 a.m. ST, Paris, France.

Interchart T-square: Eclipse Sun-Venus (Libra) conjoins 5th Republic Sun-Mercury (Libra) and opposes Eclipse Moon-Uranus-South Node (Aries); all fall square Eclipse Pluto (Capricorn).  Attack Sun-Pluto (Capricorn) widely conjoin 5th Republic MC. There’s a very interesting convergence here of Eclipse chart placements and the North Nodes of all three charts in a narrow band of mid-Aries-Libra, square the Attack Capricorn Sun-Pluto conjunction at France’s MC! A shocking, fated, deadly event (Uranus, Node, Pluto) of great importance in terms of power dynamics (mid-Cardinal sign degrees) was clearly a possibility.

Eclipse Mars (Sagittarius) conjoins 5th Republic Saturn (Sagittarius) and trines Eclipse/Attack Uranus-South Node (Aries) and Eclipse Moon (Aries); Attack Mars (Aquarius) trines 5th Republic Moon (Gemini). The prevalence of mutable and cardinal fire here suggests the French people were seriously shaken by the ferocity of this attack, but since over 5 million Muslim nationals count among the French people, we can see where the disruptions were felt by all. As with the interchart t-square above, the power dynamics between the native and immigrant Muslim communities are a factor here, as instability never fails to allow a backlash. As happened in the U.S. during post-9/11, the attack legitimized a tightening of civil liberties and the formation of a stronger security state.

Attack Jupiter (Rx Leo) conjoins Eclipse Jupiter (Leo) and both square Eclipse Saturn; Attack Saturn (Sagittarius) squares 5th Republic Pluto (Virgo). It’s difficult to imagine how the attackers would measure their success or lack of success, but we can only assume that they considered sacrificing themselves to avenge the honor of their Prophet (Jupiter in Leo?) worth the price (Saturn-Pluto). Such blood feuds lead nowhere positive on their own steam, and, as we’ll see ahead, things were soon to get a lot worse.

Black Friday in Paris – “Nous sommes Paris”

Please see my November 15, 2015 posting here for an analysis of the horrific, multi-pronged terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 that focused on the outer planetary cycles at work.

Needless to say, there’s so much more than eclipses going on with this attack, but eclipses do create cosmic opportunities for dramatic events, and the powerful total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015 certainly did here. Falling so near the Spring Equinox, this eclipse set the tone not just for this November event, but for the entire volatile cosmic year ahead. 

Eclipses do this by opening a cosmic window for the expression of other planetary dynamics (such as the Saturn-Neptune cycle, as I argue in that earlier posting). Let’s first examine the eclipse/event biwheel; then, we’ll consider the event’s relationship to the 5th Republic chart.

Biwheel 3: (inner wheel) Black Friday in Paris, November 13, 2015, 9:20 p.m. ST (time reported of first attack), St. Denis, France (location of the first attack); (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse, March 20, 2015, 10:35 a.m. ST, St. Denis, France.

Eclipse Point (Pisces) conjoins Black Friday (BF) MC (Aries), South Node (Pisces) and opposes BF North Node-Mars-Venus (Libra). The MC (public expression)-South Node conjunction was super-charged by the fact that 0° Aries (the MC) is a so-called “world point,” and as such a cosmic power point. The level of aggression displayed was certainly represented by Mars’ exact alignment on this axis (at the IC of the attack chart). The Eclipse Point (29°+Pisces) within a mere degree made this a very powerful eclipse indeed.

The attacks—which also involved a hostage crisis—took place in the evening, in sociable venues (the Stade de France sports arena, the Bataclan concert hall, cafés, restaurants, etc.), reflecting the 3rd house Libra Mars-Venus opposition to the Eclipse Point. The North Node’s conjunction to those points suggest a fated quality to the venues and to the people who were targeted. As news reports were quick to point out, attacking the entertainment and dining venues in Paris was the same as attacking the French lifestyle itself. 

Eclipse Mars (Aries) conjoins BF Uranus (Aries), squares the ASC-DSC axis, and inconjoins BF Mercury-Sun (Scorpio). The ferocity of the attacks—not to mention the shocking way they unfolded in multiple venues—is certainly reflected here. Reportedly, ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks, citing retaliation for France’s drone strikes against their positions in Syria. Hard, angular aspects are typical with terrorist events (Pluto and Saturn stretched across the Sibly horizon on 9/11, etc.), which could make us wonder whether those who plan these attacks hire astrological help.

Eclipse ruler Neptune (Pisces) squares BF Saturn (Sagittarius). I’ve written at length about the role this duo seems to play in terrorist events in the November 15th posting cited earlier; suffice to say here that their characteristic destabilizing effects were magnified by the rulership and dispositor relations in play that November 13th. Leo Jupiter disposes Saturn in Sagittarius, is inconjunct Pluto (Capricorn) and trine Uranus (Aries). Adding even more stress to this explosive mix is Uranus’s ongoing square with Pluto—exact in the event chart! Violence beget violence—only two days after this attack, France responded defiantly to ISIL:  “On 15 November, France launched the biggest airstrike of Opération Chammal, its contribution to the anti-ISIL bombing campaign, striking ISIL targets in Al-Raqqah.[27]

Interchart T-square: Eclipse Chiron (Pisces) opposes BF Jupiter (Virgo); both square BF Moon (Sagittarius). I’ve also written at length about this configuration, in a post dated November 20, 2015. In a nutshell, that posting argues that Jupiter and Chiron have played a key role in terrorist events over the decades—especially in events where suicide bombing was employed as a weapon. I believe this pairing goes to the heart of the extremist impulse, especially in these signs. 

Interestingly, it also speaks here to current warfare tactics: France deploys conventional military weapons (drones)—a Virgo-ruled, supposedly precise tactical choice; ISIL deploys suicide bombers and deception—both indiscriminate, sacrificial Pisces strategies. T-square the BF Moon (disposed by Jupiter) in this instance, the French people (Moon) are drawn into the fray. From a twisted Pisces perspective, the mass murder of so-called “innocents” is justified—in Neptune’s realm, all are guilty for the actions of one, and one is guilty for the actions of all. 

There’s more to tease out of this biwheel, of course, but the key themes are abundantly clear; what’s missing at this point is the impact these attacks promise to have on the French nation itself going forward. Let’s examine that biwheel:

Biwheel 4: (inner wheel) France 5th Republic (see info in middle wheel, Triwheel 1 above); (outer wheel) Black Friday in Paris, November 13, 2015, 9:20 p.m. ST, St. Denis, France.

Interchart T-square: BF Sun-Mercury (Scorpio) square 5th Republic Uranus (Leo) opposition to Chiron (Aquarius). Shocking harm came to many on Black Friday, represented well here—especially with the BF Sun falling over France’s 8th house. Deep questions regarding France’s national mentality could be posed here, since the BF Sun-Mercury also taps into France’s natal Grand Air Trine, tying Libra Sun-Mercury-Node into Aquarius Chiron and Gemini Moon. This trine probably speaks to the “French intellectualism” extremists have targeted in the past and find so abhorrent (and as we saw with the irreverent satire of Charlie Hebdo).  

Interchart T-square: BF Uranus (Aries)-5th Republic ASC opposes 5th Republic Sun-Mercury-DSC-Node (Libra); all square BF Pluto-5th Republic MC (Capricorn). An enemy attack is clearly seen in this intense configuration (if France were a ship, this would look like a “shot across the bow” that sank their MC “mast”). Media (Mercury) and public sentiment ran high in sympathy, and the event registered as an existential threat (angular Pluto) to the French people.

BF Jupiter (Virgo) sextiles BF Sun-Mercury (Scorpio), inconjoins BF Uranus-5th Republic ASC and trines BF Pluto; BF Jupiter/Node (midpoint) squares 5th Republic Moon. It’s never surprising to see Uranus and/or Pluto falling on the chart angles of a target chart, but this duo usually requires another planetary trigger to set off its worse potential—here that role is played by Jupiter in militaristic Virgo. These aspects reflect not only the magnitude of the event, but the French police’s efficient military-style response to it, as well. It seems all but one of the people involved were apprehended within days. Unfortunately, the BF Jupiter sextile to Sun-Mercury opened the door of opportunity for the attackers and facilitated the logistics of the attack. The BF Jupiter/Node midpoint square to France’s Gemini Moon reflects the dramatic emotional nature of the attack and its aftermath, as the French people rallied in response.   

Interchart Grand Trine: BF Moon (Sagittarius) conjoins 5th Republic Saturn (Sagittarius), trines BF Uranus (Leo) and 5th Republic Uranus-BF Part of Fortune (Leo). This configuration reflects the radical ideological underpinnings of the attack; we can only assume that the suicide bombers were expressing ideologically-laced (Sagittarius) passion (Leo) and fiery rage (Aries)—here, those emotions were unleashed and supported.

So, what happened to EgyptAir Flight 804?
The investigation is ongoing, so I will not join the army of speculators here and suggest that astrologers know more than the forensics teams do. We’ll examine the charts once more solid information is uncovered. Unfortunately, there may be a conflict of interests between the Egyptian government and those who just want to know the facts, so speculation laced with some objective evidence may be all we’ll ever have to go on. 

From a very preliminary look at the charts we can certainly see the violent nature of the event. The event Sun-Venus (Taurus) sextiled that powerful March 2015 eclipse, the event Uranus-Pluto square was again placed at France’s chart angles and event Chiron was applying to a conjunction with the same eclipse, falling square France’s Saturn and trine France’s Moon. These indicators of a tragedy aside, Mars and Saturn (both Sagittarius) were retrograde on the day of the event, which seems unusual for a terrorist attack. In fact, no terrorist organization has yet taken responsibility for the event, which may be key.

However the Flight 804 investigation is resolved, I hope this astrological investigation has thoroughly reinforced these two key points: 1) the importance of historical context for understanding the roots of violent events; 2) the importance of eclipses as triggers for such events. Thankfully, mundane astrology gives us insight into both.

Welcome home, Veterans!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Looking ahead to 2017: volatile times with the Sibly Progressed Lunar Cycle's 3rd Quarter

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Sibly chart will begin the 3rd Quarter of its 8th progressed lunar cycle, which ends on March 25, 2024, when a new cycle begins. The coming transits and outer planetary cycle milestones (not to mention eclipses) during this time period all concur that this time frame will be significant—I would argue they will be all the more significant because they will be unfolding within this closing progressed 3rd Quarter.  

By tracking significant planetary factors within that national cycle, we can examine not only the broad strokes of our history and current events, but some of their more telling details and nuances. 

This 3rd progressed quarter context will provide an underlying theme for the coming 7 years—finishing unfinished business; clearing out outworn realities and healing divisive wounds so the way is open for something new.

Even without considering this progressed cycle, mundane astrologers are abuzz with the prospects of this post-Election 2016 period—with good reason. For starters, a powerful total solar eclipse (visible in the U.S.) will transpire on August 21, 2017; Uranus moves into Taurus in May, 2018 after separating from its long square with Pluto; the current Libra Saturn-Pluto cycle wanes rapidly and begins anew at 22°+Capricorn in January, 2020; the Jupiter-Saturn cycle reboots at 0°+ Aquarius in December that same year (a highly significant turning point); transiting Pluto returns to its U.S. Sibly chart position at 27°+ Capricorn in February 2022, and in March, 2023, Pluto shakes the earth off its feet and steps into electric Aquarius. 

One year later, in March, 2024, the Sibly chart begins its 9th progressed lunar cycle at 19°+ Pisces. And so it goes.

These are just the broad strokes—the Cosmos will be filling in the blanks with all sorts of interesting comings and goings within that 2017-2024 timeframe. Today I’d like to focus on background theme provided for us during that period by the Sibly progressed lunar cycle.

What goes round…
The nation’s progressed lunar cycle (roughly 30 years) reflects the evolution of the U.S. as an astrological entity, and with its predictable stages it reveals the always amazing ways in which history repeats and builds upon itself.  

Because the Sun in a mundane, national chart represents the Executive (president, prime minister, monarch, etc.), and the Moon reflects the citizens of that nation, the relationship between these two luminaries speaks to the relationship between those key government stakeholders. Since the Sibly chart features a forward-thinking, rebellious but collective-minded Aquarius Moon, and a growth-and-security oriented Cancer Sun, it’s no surprise that Americans have had a love/hate relationship with government from the get-go.  Even more interesting is how that relationship has evolved over 240 years of history—it’s all there to see in our national progressed lunar cycle. Judging by today’s “government report card” polls, the People-vs.-Washington face off has never been more tense. According to this cycle, our widespread desire for deep change is right on schedule. 

Let’s rough out the picture:

Progressed New Moon
Progressed 1st Quarter
Progressed 2nd Quarter
Progressed 3rd Quarter
Cycle Mode
Cycle Triplicity
Sibly House(s)




27°Aq-27° Tau




4° Pis-4° Vir




12° Pis-12° Sag




Anyone watching national and world events since 1994 knows that American life has changed a lot during this period (recent polls suggest not for the better overall). Our role and stature in the world have both taken a beating; our economy has shed millions of well-paid jobs and replaced them with a part-time/ “on call” service-oriented economy that undermines the so-called “American Dream” in a long list of ways; our public infrastructures, many school systems and a number of key cities have sunk into crisis from lack of investment. Environmental degradation and climate change are observable, increasingly costly realities—certainly an escalating trend since 1994.

Adding to the overwhelm is the war-making pattern we’ve carried forward with us from the 20th century: somehow, every so many years there’s another military intervention looming on the horizon—just often enough to keep our national budget priorities seriously out of whack. With the rise of terrorism we’ve seen in this 3rd quarter of the 1982 Saturn-Pluto cycle, the geopolitical dominance games we’ve been playing in the Middle East are being revealed for what they’ve always been—a Faustian trap. We’ll consider how this is also playing out within the progressed lunar cycle.

Perhaps at the root of all the above, an overwhelming flood of so-called “Wall Street” money (shorthand for the combined weight of corporate and other vested interest money) was gradually unleashed on our political system during this 1994-2016 period, culminating in the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

Is it any wonder we’ve seen deep public anger expressed in this election cycle? The desire for fundamental, systemic change that would break all the no-win patterns we’ve developed is truly palpable. Fortunately, the last quarter of the progressed lunar cycle approaching in March 2017 appears to support progress in this direction, but it’s not likely to happen in one 4-year election cycle. 

In fact, if it isn’t undermined by “yet another war” or serious internal unrest (more on this ahead), any progress we make is likely to happen in a series of “two-steps-forward, one-step-back” stages of change. Several key astrological milestones will chime in along the way, but the background music (so to speak) for the unfolding change will start its “3rd movement” (progressed 3rd quarter lunar cycle) beginning on 3/2/2017, with progressed Sun at 12° Pisces and progressed Moon at 12° Sagittarius. As noted, the 3rd quarter will close out the 1994 cycle and set the stage for the Sibly chart’s 9th progressed lunar cycle beginning on March 25, 2024 (see Table above).

Let’s examine two biwheels for this event: Biwheel 1 shows how the new quarter compares to the U.S. (Sibly) chart; and Biwheel 2 shows the transits in force when that new cycle launches.

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) natal, USA (Sibly), July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m., LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) USA (Sibly), day-for-year progression for March 2, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. GMT, Washington, D.C. 

Interchart T-square: Progressed Moon conjoins Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Uranus/Mars (midpoint) & DSC (Gemini); Progressed Sun (Pisces) squares this opposition from the Sibly 4th. Nations develop “itchy trigger fingers” with intense configurations like this; our U.S. executive in 2017 could be inclined to shoot first and think later, simply to assert his/her dominance and authority. A dramatic incident could stimulate such a reaction—hard aspects to the Sibly horizon have figured into past attacks, most notably on 9/11/2001. Such incidents have a way of galvanizing Americans to rally around Washington (especially a new Commander-in-Chief) and to oppose an outside enemy rather than each other. There is justified concern about growing internal unrest (progressed Sun in 4th square Sibly Uranus), but we may want to think twice about using an external conflict to put off dealing with internal divisions. This progressed 3rd quarter is our opportunity to confront and work on internal divisions.

Progressed Mars (Rx Libra) conjoins Sibly Saturn (Libra) and trines Sibly Mars/Uranus (Gemini). Mars conjunct Saturn in Cardinal signs denotes aggressive impulses, although with Mars Rx by progression since 2006, the actions we’ve taken as a nation have tended to fall short of the desired results. Saturn rules Congress, so pressure will be brought to bear on them to act—the P (progressed) Mars trine to Sibly Mars/Uranus suggests an attempt to assert dominance that may or may not unfold as planned. Pressure on Congress to fund a military campaign could also be indicated (see below for Venus’s involvement).

Interchart T-square: Progressed Venus (Aries) squares both Sibly Mercury (Cancer) and Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) and sextiles Sibly Moon (Aquarius). Adding to the intensity, Mars disposes Progressed Venus in Aries, and she in turn squares Sibly Mercury, ruling the 7th house of open enemies and the 10th house—a Virgo house that speaks to the U.S. military’s involvement in the world. Venus also squares Sibly Pluto, ruling the Sibly 12th, suggesting a more behind-the-scenes dimension to government activities—especially in regards to negotiations, resources and finances.

Other possibilities exist for this configuration besides military action—i.e., major legislation passed during this 3rd progressed quarter to radically reduce prison (12th house) populations and perhaps to reform the corporate prison industry. Unfortunately, we may also have to be wary of the growing Zika virus threat (Pluto’s rulership here is reinforced by Neptune’s natural affinity for the 12th). We now know that Zika can be transmitted sexually, so Venus’s role here could be especially strong in Aries. The P Venus sextile to Sibly Moon suggests the public will be motivated to participate in whatever transpires (5th house Sibly).

Progressed Mercury (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius), trines Sibly Mars and inconjoins Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Mercury rules the Virgo Ascendant of this progressed 3rd quarter chart, making Mercury’s position in Aquarius more potent than we might expect. Mercury rules public media communications, and with these aspects we can expect a frustrating lack of transparency (P Mercury-Sibly Neptune) when it comes to military or health (Virgo) matters and to the actions being taken in our name on the world stage (Sibly 10th). We are likely to see a major recruitment effort (Mercury trine Sibly Mars) for these projects.

Biwheel 2: (inner wheel) natal, USA (Sibly), July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m., LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Transits, March 2, 2017, 1:56:40 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C.
Interchart T-square: Transit Mercury-Sun-Neptune (Pisces) square Sibly ASC-DSC axis (drawing in Sibly Uranus/Mars); Transit Mercury-Neptune trine Sibly Venus-Jupiter-Sun (Cancer). This t-square reinforces concerns mentioned with Biwheel 1—especially with the Sibly’s volatile Mars/Uranus (midpoint) in Gemini. Pisces Mercury-Neptune square that midpoint also raises concerns about public health and possible epidemic threats (see the 4/29/16 post here for more on the Zika epidemic), although the trine to Sibly Venus (ruling 6th house)-Jupiter (ruling ASC) and Sun (ruling 9th) may soften the threat. Trines tend to unleash both positive and negative dynamics, however, so this will be something to watch.

Interchart T-square: Transit Venus (Aries) opposes Sibly Saturn (Libra); both square Sibly Sun (Cancer); Transit Venus also trines Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) and sextiles Sibly DSC (Gemini). This tense cardinal t-square suggests that Congress and the Judiciary will be under fire to accomplish something major—confirming a new Supreme Court Justice could be the issue, but other deep conflicts could erupt over national budgets (Venus) and Executive powers (Sun). Pretty much the status quo, only here the stakes appear to be pretty high. In belligerent Aries, Venus could be pushing for higher defense budgets, or—worst case scenario—for imposing martial law.

Interchart T-square: Sibly Mercury (Cancer) opposes Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); both ends square Transit Uranus-Eris-Mars (Aries); the Aries points trine Transit Saturn (Sagittarius) and inconjoin Sibly Neptune (Virgo). With Sibly Mercury’s rulership of the 7th and 10th houses, this tense set of aspects raises the disruptive potential of the overall Biwheel. The late Aries gathering here (including Venus trailing behind Mars-Eris-Uranus) square Pluto and trine Saturn is a volatile, discordant mix—there is likely to be a whole lot of head-butting going on. I don’t want to overstate the negatives here, and disruptive events may not follow immediately, but because this chart represents the beginning of an entire cycle phase, we’ll want to watch the entire 2017-2024 time period for volatility. Passions are running high this election cycle and there will be winners and losers, which could result in a great deal of unrest on the streets, ratcheting up the existing tensions between some groups.

Naturally, tensions caused along our borders, or as a consequence of controversial immigration policies, could also run high and are reflected in the Aries-Virgo inconjunct to Neptune. One particularly tense period for all these reasons could be the one surrounding the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse (visible across the U.S.). Discussing this eclipse in detail will require an entire post (soon).

Interchart “Wedge” aspect: Transit Jupiter (Libra) sextiles Transit Saturn (Sagittarius) and Trines Sibly Mars (Gemini); Transit Saturn opposes Sibly Mars and squares Sibly Neptune; Transit Jupiter opposes Transit Mars-Uranus and semi-sextiles Sibly Neptune. It’s worth pointing out that Transit Saturn also conjoins the Galactic Center (26-7° Sagittarius) and overlays the Sibly 1st house, suggesting that the nation’s foundational character—its essential “personality”—may be about to undergo some kind of shocking (Mars-Uranus trine) revision. Between the dispositor network connecting Aries Venus, Libra Jupiter and Sagittarius Saturn, and the aspects also in play, we could see a drive to express power and confront opponents more aggressively and more expansively. 

Aspects to Neptune point to possible infrastructure and epidemic challenges. This is reinforced by T Jupiter’s conjunctions to Sibly Saturn and to Progressed Mars (shown in Biwheel 1)—all opposed by transiting Aries planets. It appears we are pushing our systems (Jupiter-Saturn) over their natural breaking points, and this can manifest in a number of ways.

In the Transit chart itself: Node (Virgo) trines Moon (Taurus) and Saturn (out-of-sign Sagittarius); Moon disposes ASC (Cancer). Given Saturn’s position near the Galactic Center, it appears the Node is pointing to a new reality unfolding in a somewhat discordant (out-of-sign trine) manner. It’s worth noting that this Transit Node also conjoins the Progressed ASC (Virgo-seen in Biwheel 1), which reinforces that our nation is evolving into that new reality, whatever form that takes. It appears there will be public support for this direction—Transit Moon trines both Virgo points. Grass roots tension is likely to persist over this direction: Sibly Uranus (ruling Sibly 3rd) squares Transit Node. With Transit Node over the Sibly 9th, international trade and/or immigration issues could be implicated.

Interchart Grand-Square: Transit Chiron (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo); this axis squares Transit Saturn opposite Sibly Mars (Gemini). Chiron has been transiting within orb of this configuration since spring, 2015, so it has quite possibly stimulated some of the intensity of the current election. None of the candidates will emerge from this campaign unscathed—nor will the election process itself, which is hardly recognizable. Our tolerance for each others’ opinions and values seems to be at a new low, while cynicism and anger about the control “others” (including the global economy and would-be immigrants) wield over our destinies are at new highs.

Mars on the Sibly DSC speaks to the anger-driven surge in xenophobia we’ve seen; unfortunately, pursuing that path only compounds the wounds instead of healing them. The “new direction” noted above with T Saturn’s presence in the Sibly 1st will confront this trap—the grand square always demands that we solve thorny problems through conscious choices and persistent action. Can we accommodate each others’ views on these issues (mutable grand square)? Is there perhaps a “third way” out of our entrenched divisions? Finding the latter may be just what “Doctor” Chiron ordered in this 2017-2024 period.

Mutable matters
In the meantime, it might help to remember that the disruptive qualities of mutable cycles do serve a greater purpose; certainly during this 3rd quarter phase we have an opportunity to face a lot of old national demons and decide once and for all where we want to stand as a nation and a people. Are we a viable, united country going forward, or aren’t we?

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved.