Monday, February 12, 2018

Let the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto Games begin: the high stakes in Pyeongchang

Every four summers and every four winters, athletes from across the globe convene somewhere on the planet for a tradition that goes back to 8th century B.C. Athens: the  Olympic Games. 

In fact, Athens represents the Games’ deep heritage: the so-called “modern” Olympic Games date only to 1894 A.D., when the  International Olympic Committee was founded in Lausanne, Switzerland.

According to Wikipedia, the Olympics mission is to “support the development of competitive sport by ethical and environmentally sustainable means.” According to the Olympic Charter, this mission embraces a robust philosophy of life and goal that’s more relevant now than ever. Again, from Wikipedia:  

·  Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
·  The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

In the midst of today’s geopolitical tensions, it’s easy to lose track of these lofty, Olympian principles, but lest we forget, the South Koreans did christen their 2018 Olympics the “Peace in Motion” Games. From looking at the news, we might think that the Games are called the “Pence snubs Korean Peace efforts” Games. 

The situation is extremely complicated—so far, Pence hasn’t acknowledged the North Korean delegation, including Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister and close advisor of North Korean leader, Kim Jung-un, but Pence and South Korean president, Moon Jae-in have reportedly chatted about the “North Korea problem” repeatedly during the Games already, and have agreed to open talks with the Kim regime (first, by South Korea and then, possibly, by the U.S.). “Maximum pressure and engagement at the same time” is what Pence is calling their negotiating framework.  

There are rumors that Pence could agree to meet with the North Korean delegation while they’re in Pyeongchang—high level officials such as Kim Yong Nam (President of their Supreme People’s Assembly) are attending—but nothing appears to be certain. Moon, the South Korean member of this tense geopolitical “triangle,” is playing go-between, encouraging the meeting.

So yes, it’s all very complicated, but astrologically, key planetary cycles are involved that will probably promote action in the next couple years at most. Amazingly, the Saturn-Pluto, Jupiter-Pluto and Jupiter-Saturn cycles are all quickly waning, with new cycles commencing in 2020 (in January, April and December, 2020 respectively). It’s hard to imagine that these cycles wouldn’t force some kind of resolution between the U.S. and the Korean peninsula. 

And, not surprisingly, these cycles are playing out on both personal (Mike Pence) and collective levels (in North-South Korean-U.S. relations, and the IOC). Pence is experiencing both his Scorpio Jupiter return and his second Capricorn Saturn return these days (chart not shown), so his involvement in Korea is clearly meant to build political "capital" for himself ahead. 

Collectively, I would hazard a guess that we don’t really know a lot of what’s happening between the U.S. and the Korean peninsula—partially because we have a very incomplete picture of what other ties North Korea has in the world—and partially because our Tweeter-in-Chief says one thing and does another so often that we’re denied a clear picture of our politics abroad, in general.

Then there was the stony, dark look on Pence’s face at the Opening Ceremonies on Friday night, in the midst of a ceremony that brought North and South Korea together as one team for at least 17 days of Olympic “Peace in Motion.” You wouldn’t know from Pence’s demeanor that anything positive was happening, and frankly, his presence there was disturbing. If he wasn’t in a position to set aside his political “deal-making” face for that brief interlude—just long enough to promote the cause of peace and harmony represented by the Games—maybe he should have simply bowed out?

No, the word from D.C. was that North Korea was trying to propagandize the situation and drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea, and Pence was clearly skittish about Kim’s sister hand- delivering an invitation for high-level meetings to Moon Jae-in. Given all their economic and political differences, the North and South aren’t likely to join hands and sing Kum-bah-yah after one meeting, but a little speculation is called for here. What if North Korea did offer to drop its nuclear program in return for North-South reunification? 

Chinese Chairman Mao-tse tung

Maybe after all these long decades of a Maoist-style Communist government, the North wants some of the “good life” it sees in Asia’s booming economies?

Could the two Koreas head the U.S. off at the proverbial “pass?” It’s happened before in other tangled, “triangulated” situations—most notably, Viet Nam. 

Clearly, this situation is not just complicated, but super-precarious.

So, back in Pyeongchang’s Olympic stadium, Pence’s stony scowl and lack of simple sociability dragged media attention away from the positive, “Peace in Motion” Olympic message and back into the muck and mire of Trump’s alternate “games”—cranking up the sanctions pressure on the North, while keeping the South on a short lead. What’s the point, in the end?

The stated purpose is to force North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions once and for all, and on the face of it, that’s a laudable cause. However, the divided Korean peninsula represents some of the last vestiges of a post-WWII Cold War order that’s long overdue for a final act, and (not to be underestimated), astrologically, it’s time. A nuclear threat has a way of forcing everyone to pay attention to a reality that has become untenable. Besides, Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto are getting impatient. 

It appears that both North and South Koreans are feeling that it’s time for some kind of resolution. As we’ll see, astrologically, these two artificially-created nations have little innate reason to remain divided: if Korea hadn’t been annexed by Japan in 1910 as a consequence of the Sino-Japanese War, it probably never would have found itself on the “spoils of WWII” chopping block in 1945. Instead, it was treated as “booty” by those negotiating Japan’s surrender and divvied up between the Soviets (North) and the U.S (South) along the 39th parallel, or DMZ.

Clearly, their polarized North-South ideologies have been nurtured by outside Cold War players (Soviet Union/Russia, China and U.S.) and complicated by economic alliances and commitments. Given the tensions of the past year, however, they may be realizing that they can overcome at least some divisions and stop being so vulnerable to outside influences. The U.S. runs the risk of becoming the “problem” here, and Pence seems to know it. Or, so that scowl on his face suggests.

North meets South

Nicholas Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes (BWH) makes an amazing contribution to mundane astrology because it traces most major nations’ histories back centuries and provides multiple charts for various stages in each nation’s evolution. Korea is a notable exception: no doubt, specific research that includes event dates and times can be difficult to access in that region. In any case, the book provides two charts, one for North and one for South Korea—both celebrating their independence in 1948 after three years under their respective Cold War overseers.

This separate, 2-state independence did not proceed smoothly, however, and was followed closely by the so-called Korean War—1950-53—which explains to large extent why we (and the other Cold War powers, including China) became so entangled in that region.

There is more to Korea’s history, however, as reported by Wikipedia:

Korea emerged as a singular political entity in 676 AD, after centuries of conflict among the Three Kingdoms of Korea, which were unified as Unified Silla to the south and Balhae to the north. Unified Silla divided into three separate states during the Later Three Kingdoms period. Goryeo, which had succeeded Goguryeo, defeated the two other states and united the Korean Peninsula. Around the same time, Balhae collapsed and its last crown prince fled south to Goryeo. Goryeo (also spelled as Koryŏ), whose name developed into the modern exonym "Korea", was a highly cultured state that created the world's first metal movable type in 1234.”

From this perspective, the present situation on the Korean peninsula seems like a cruel travesty. IMHO, everything that history has taught us about trying to impose regime change (i.e., Iraq), or about trying to steer a sovereign nation’s destiny (Viet Nam) comes into play here. As “Peace in Motion” seems to be saying, after 7 decades of forced division, North and South Korea will find ways to mend fences with each other if the only alternative is a permanent state of fear and anxiety. Will they be allowed to do so?

As alluded to earlier, today’s astrological cycles suggest that there’s a window of opportunity for Korea to resolve its dilemma and restructure itself in some way. In fact, there may just be a “cosmic ultimatum” afoot, with the critical cycles involving Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto finishing up in 2020. To see why these cycles are particularly important, let’s examine a triwheel for both Koreas against the Olympic opening. The national charts are taken from Campion’s BWH, Charts #179 (North) and #180 (South), pp. 179-180. The Olympics opening ceremony chart reflects information in the news. 

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) South Korea, August 15, 1948, 12:00 p.m. DST, Seoul, S. Korea; (middle wheel) North Korea, September 10, 1948, 12:00 p.m. ST, P’yongyang, NW, N. Korea; (outer wheel) Pyeongchang Olympics, February 9, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ST, Pyeongchang, S. Korea. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Leo is key. Clearly, all the Leo energy in South Korea’s independence (inner wheel) placements set that nation up for a stronger, more vital outcome over time, but first they had to endure Pluto’s “trial by fire” as it transited within orb of their radix Sun-Mercury-Saturn from 1950-53 (the Korean War). This same transit would have impacted the North’s radix Saturn as well, so both “halves” suffered greatly. Both were heavily influenced by outside forces—the basic reason for the conflict was that each side claimed it was the “legitimate” government of the entire peninsula, a position promoted by their respective Cold War overseers.

The Soviets and the Chinese supported the North’s efforts; the U.S. and some U.N. forces supported the South. Unfortunately, it all ended in stalemate with an Armistice agreement that formalized the 38th Parllel DMZ boundary between North and South—a grim reminder today that there’s unfinished business. These two entities were basically crushed during the war and had to reinvent themselves after the armistice—Pluto’s transit in identity-related Leo was right on target. With such an influential Pluto, it also made sense that there was such heavy outside influence on both players.

Interesting note: when the war commenced in mid-June 1950, Saturn (Virgo) was transiting within orb of conjoining the North’s Virgo Sun and square the South’s Sagittarius Jupiter!
The Saturn-Pluto cycle’s key role. This tale of two Koreas is truly a Saturn-Pluto story at heart: this potent geopolitical cycle had just commenced anew in August 1947 at 13+ Leo, ushering in the Cold War era. By that time, the post-WWII negotiations were complete and to the victors had gone the “spoils.” Unfortunately, whole nations were torn into pieces and doled out in the process, thus destroying the original, intact entities. “Death by borders” (dismemberment?) is an apt keyword phrase for Saturn-Pluto, but that trivializes the toxic strategic entanglements that resulted from these divided arrangements.

The Cold War evolved around this tangled mass of questionable alliances and arrangements, all intricately pitted against each other , and all with the threat of atomic “Mutually-Assured Destruction” hanging over everyone’s heads. Is it any wonder that North Korea’s Kim family decided along the way that developing nuclear weapons was the only way to assure their own security?   

Typically, we see great social and structural changes made from one Saturn-Pluto cycle to the next, however this Cold War cycle didn’t really move the two Koreas any closer to reunification. Any aspirations in that direction also seemed out of reach during the next cycle that dawned in Nov. 1982 in late Libra. The two Koreas weren’t quite ready to reunify: even though the new cycle presented opportunities, launching sextile their respective Leo Saturns, their goals were focused elsewhere: in the South, on building one of the world’s strongest “Asian Tiger” economies through high-tech innovation and prudent trade agreements; in the North, on consolidating the Kim-Il-sung family’s hold on the people and establishing the state’s more militaristic (Virgo Sun) “self-reliant socialist” identity.

Under classical Communist influence, the North was determined to produce whatever its people needed, with as little dependence upon imports as possible, which has made for difficulties.

By the time the 1982 Saturn-Pluto cycle launched, the North’s economy had begun to stagnate as a consequence of its growing international isolation. Unfortunately, the Kim regime—fast becoming a “cult of personality”-style dictatorship—took the repressive road forward, rather than reaching out more cooperatively.  Both Korean charts features a strong Sagittarius Jupiter; the South uses it for its strong global outreach (P’yeongchang is its second Olympics); the North apparently uses it to nurture its “self reliant” image. 

North Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un

The different tones set by the two sides are also reflected in their respective Mars positions, as well: the South’s Libra Mars (conjunct Neptune) is perhaps more idealistic and diplomatic, though less aggressive militarily; the North’s Scorpio Mars (conjunct So. Node) is fiercely self-protective and untrusting. The So. Node connection tends to drag that regime back into isolationism when their people’s interests might be better served by a softer, more Venusian approach (Taurus No. Node, disposed by Leo Venus).  

On the other hand, the South’s Venus (Cancer) sextiles their Taurus No. Node, reflecting that taking care of their material needs has been a relatively smooth task. Both nations have the potential for economic and geopolitical growth, with both Jupiters trine Plutos (Sagittarius-Leo). The starkly different results are the product of ideology, leadership and decades of choosing to follow wildly different paths.

So, now this 1982 cycle is quickly waning, and the new 2020 cycle will kick off at 22°+Capricorn, inconjunct S. Korea’s Sun-Mercury-Saturn (Leo) and trine N. Korea’s Sun (Virgo). The final years of a cycle are intended for finishing old business, clearing out outworn realities and making way for the new, so it’s possible that if the two Koreas don’t pursue these objectives willingly, change will happen, ready or not.

In fact, in the outer wheel of this triwheel, we see Opening Ceremony Saturn (Capricorn) applying pressure on both Koreas to get with this clearing out program between now and 2020, so maybe this time around, they sense that it’s time to get serious about resolving their issues?  Let’s examine the transits more closely.

Reunify or else?

It’s a minor miracle that the North and South fielded a unified team at the Games, but the initiative makes sense in light of the pressure from the Trump administration. When Trump first took office with his “America First” agenda, lobbing brutish insults at our traditional allies, the South Koreans were initially unsure that they could count on the U.S. going forward. Maybe that insecurity worked out, in a twisted way, to break up the inertia and promote North-South dialogue. They have the most to lose, obviously, from hostilities breaking out on their peninsula. But this initial breakthrough at the Games is far from the answer.

Interchart T-Square: Ceremony Saturn (Capricorn) opposes S. Korea Venus-Uranus (Cancer-Gemini) and N. Korea Uranus (Cancer); this axis squares S. Korea Neptune (Libra)-N. Korea Mercury-Neptune (Libra). As suggested above, transiting Saturn is tightening the screws on both parties, and since this is a cardinal T-Square, some kind of action is called for. The pressure is only enhanced when we see that the transiting Saturn/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) also squares S. Korea’s Mars (Libra), along with N. Korea’s Mercury-Neptune.

Clearing the way for a serious restructuring of their relationship is in order: the North’s “charm diplomacy” and the South’s decision to string along, hoping for talks, suggests that the two parties are positioning themselves for later, more serious negotiations. The North is displaying some mental shrewdness that may or may not be trustworthy (Mercury-Neptune square transiting Saturn/Pluto); the South is choosing the path of diplomatic action for now (Libra Mars square transiting Saturn/Pluto), whether the Trump administration is ready for that or not.

In February, 2019, both North and South will experience their Jupiter return, as this “Big Guy” works its way through home sign Sagittarius, en route to its April, 2020 date with Pluto at 24°+Capricorn. If other cooperative efforts are in the works by then, this should be a nice interlude when things start moving more smoothly—perhaps on their own volition, rather than at the behest of outside forces.

They may be operating under some delusions, however: transiting Neptune will be hovering within orb of squaring their Jupiters from Pisces, and in fact, Neptune will still be opposite N. Korea’s Sun (this has been true for at least a year), which reflects the insecurity—masked by bravado—that they’re undoubtedly feeling and will continue to feel. 

What about the specter of war?

Trump probably isn’t bragging about reupholstering our nuclear arsenal just to hear himself talk, so it’s naïve to think that the Korean peninsula (or any of us) can rest easy about how big his "Button" is quite yet. He thrives on chaos and secrecy, is determined to make nuclear weapons more “usable” (i.e., smaller and more portable), and is not to be outdone when it comes to saber-rattling, so the months ahead could be dicey, at best. War is a great distraction from domestic issues, too (like pesky investigations), and a great way to concentrate even more power in Executive hands, so no, we’re not out of the woods.

Uranus is finishing out its final degrees in Aries over the next few months, entering Taurus in May, so if something is going to happen, I suspect it will commence during these last Aries weeks. It retrogrades back into Aries in November (2018) and will be there into March 2019; these periods are also potentially volatile. That said, Uranus in Taurus can also shake things up and wreak havoc on everyday life; it’s all about how it’s interacting with the players and their situation. In the final degrees of Aries, Uranus trines both Koreas’ Saturns, with S. Korea’s Sun-Mercury pulled into the fray.

Of course, they’ve been living with this volatile Uranus for years now, as it’s been transiting their Leo points, so this placement alone may not be enough to trigger anything new. As Uranus transits closer to N. Korea’s No. Node (Taurus), things may get actually get livelier. The North may be reeling under the weight of Trump administration sanctions, and we may see a reaction. 

Jupiter-Saturn have their say

A potentially hopeful new Jupiter-Saturn cycle will launch at the end of 2020—at 0°+ Aquarius! This is an exciting prospect for a variety of reasons (many described in this 11/12/2017 article), but what is it likely to mean for the Korean situation? The actual cycle launch opposes N. Korea’s Venus (Leo) and squares its Mars (Scorpio). Uranus is involved, of course, ruling Aquarius, hovering retrograde and turning this configuration into a fixed grand square (it’ll be opposite N. Korea’s Mars and square its Venus). This is significant.

Will negotiations (if any) designed to jumpstart a new order on the Korean peninsula be caught between a “rock and a hard place” at this time? Will fixed stubbornness or hubris stand in the way of a resolution and a fresh path forward? Will this intransigence simply cause more stand-off, or will it trigger a volatile response that tosses everything in the air? My sense is that something new will come out of this cosmic transition, but what that will look like is a wait-and-see. 

Final thoughts

If Trump, his military advisors and the State Department are really looking for a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff with North Korea, why not focus on defusing the situation by helping the two Koreas coexist more constructively on their peninsula?  Wouldn’t that help the North feel less threatened, vulnerable and victimized, and hence, less eager to attack? Maybe even to the point of giving up their nuclear program? The Cosmos is clearly steering the two halves towards a resolution of their ineffectual 1950s armistice by dint of important cycles:  it’s simply time for something to give. The key here is, will that something be achieved through violence, or by peaceful means?

Koreans are the ones who have to live with each other across that DMZ, after all. On the other hand, if our intentions in the region are more “complicated” than Trump’s crew is admitting, then we need to understand what’s really at stake, and who, ultimately, are the stakeholders. It’s far from clear at this moment.

These are issues that our Congress needs to take responsibility for understanding and communicating clearly and transparently. And Congress needs to take back its Constitutional right to issue any and all declarations of war, if and only if they are seriously warranted. War-making was never meant to be an Executive decision alone, with Congress simply rubber-stamping every demand the White House decides to make in conjunction with “his generals.” 

 If we’ve learned anything in the past 60 years of war-making, it’s that motives and pretexts matter. We know that war profiteering is real, and that karmic comeuppances are real, as well—the Saturn-Pluto cycle covers a lot of territory. One person should no longer be left to say when it’s time to wage war because of legitimate security concerns—it’s too easy for “national security” to be twisted and perverted as a justification for war.  

This latter point has never been more critical: Trump’s natal Mars (Leo, chart not shown) tightly conjoins the late Leo points in both North and South Korea’s charts, suggesting that a lot of the insults and threats he lobs at Kim Jong-un are not just Trump being a macho blowhard, but are heavily fixed ties that could also be goaded into something more serious. 

Trump is way too proud of his pugilistic approach to every challenge, so the so-called “Bloody Nose” strike his military chiefs have been mulling over could be too tempting to pass up for him. The title sort of downplays how recklessly provocative—and ultimately illogical—such a strike would be, like Trump’s just planning to take a quick jab at Kim for the sake of proving who’s who.

IMHO, any action that smacks of Trump’s Mars would be better avoided because it will never be totally free of hubris. “Pride goes before the fall” is not just a catchy phrase—it’s astrologically astute. Mars may get a “jab” in, but the late Leo Saturns in both Korean charts will prevail in the end, and will probably act more rationally and with greater dignity. Their interests may not accord perfectly with ours in the end, so the rational thing to do is to engage in smart diplomacy (Saturn is dignified in Libra).

Instead, Trump likes to paint Kim as a “madman,” and even though Kim has clearly proven to be ruthless and oppressive in many regards, his willingness to reach out and send his people to participate in one united Korean team at the Olympics was far from mad. It may have been just a wily strategic move, but it may mark a type of breakthrough. If Trump would use his Mars to energize a dignified, mutually-agreeable “détente” between the Koreas, everyone would gain.

Kudos to our great Olympic athletes!!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. 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.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved. 

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