At this posting, the most recent hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant organization, Hamas (a terrorist group or not, depending upon one’s perspective), officially ceased fire at 2 a.m. this morning (5/21), after eleven carnage-filled days.
As difficult and testy as the cease-fire negotiations were, however, stopping the missiles from firing may be the simple part of this: the tremendous wreckage, human displacement and humanitarian crisis left behind, mostly in Palestinian territories, is far from over.
It doesn’t take much to see that this latest eruption has been clearly linked to this May’s lunar cycle – the first missiles were fired on May 10th, the day before the New Moon (Taurus) took hold at 21°+Taurus, a point that happens to conjoin Israel's radix Sun and Palestine's radix So. Node. That opening missile salvo was fired by militant organization/Palestinian political party Hamas, reportedly to demand that Israel remove its forces from an important Arab holy site, the Al Aqsa mosque.
The back and forth of missiles and hostilities—some between Arabs and Jews within Israeli communities, even—intensified and escalated from there, and it’s taken serious pressure from several directions, including the U.S., to achieve some kind of resolution. This is nothing new, of course—hostilities between these two always seem to be simmering beneath the surface, just waiting to boil over. The stakes of such developments have been intensifying, however: Hamas is probably acquiring missiles with the help of Iran, which made many fear that this situation could get out of hand and become a regional proxy war of sorts between Israel and the region’s Arab states. There’s a precedent for this in 2014 and no one wants to see a return to that.
|Biden was caught between a rock and hard place in regards to this conflict.|
“On Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote a widely circulated New York Times op-ed pulling the spotlight away from Hamas’s provocations to the deeper reality of life for millions of Palestinians living under blockade and occupation. He pointed to the havoc unleashed in recent weeks by rampaging mobs of Jewish extremists in Jerusalem, as well as the questionable Israeli legal attempts to forcibly evict the Palestinian residents of a neighborhood in the contested holy city.
‘None of this excuses the attacks by Hamas, which were an attempt to exploit the unrest in Jerusalem, or the failures of the corrupt and ineffective Palestinian Authority, which recently postponed long-overdue elections,' Sanders wrote. 'But the fact of the matter is that Israel remains the one sovereign authority in the land of Israel and Palestine, and rather than preparing for peace and justice, it has been entrenching its unequal and undemocratic control.’”
So there were no easy answers for this, even as Biden ratcheted up his pressure for a de-escalation and cease fire. Even with a cease fire, though, no one has a magic wand that will produce a short-term, let along a long-term solution if the parties involved aren’t willing to respect each other's existence and needs. Trump tried to simply pick sides by unequivocally supporting Israeli goals and dropping essential support for Palestine. Biden was already sending military aid to Israel when all this started, but even though he has also restored the assistance that Trump cut to Palestine, he isn’t prepared to recognize Hamas as a legitimate arbiter for Palestine, and so his discussions were between Israel PM Netanyahu and Egyptian president Al-Sisi. Netanyahu resisted even Biden’s admonitions, repeatedly saying that he would be sticking with a plan to complete military goals before agreeing to a cease fire, but Al-Sisi apparently convinced him that it was best to accelerate the process.
apparent progress, however, the situation underlying the crisis will
likely continue being intractable: first, because Netanyahu, who’s been
on shaky ground, not being able to form a government recently, stands to
gain political points by being tough on the Palestinians. It’s in times
like these that the radical power imbalance between these two becomes
all too clear, and Netanyahu is an unapologetic champion of that
imbalance, always using the pretext that Israel has the absolute “right
to defend itself” as justification for aggression. Well, so do the Palestinian people have a right to defend themselves, and too many of them are burying children and other loved ones this week.
This power imbalance has had very real consequences all along; for one, it's spawned the so-called "terrorist" organizations that inevitably arise when smaller states have no other recourse for change or protection. Even though Hamas doesn’t officially “speak for” Palestine (that’s the Palestine Authority, under Mahmoud Abbas), its disturbing tactics probably speak to the grievances of the Palestinian people, trying to exist amidst the constant chipping away of their habitable lands by Israeli settlements, not to mention Israel’s increasing control over their movements, even in the so-called Arab sector of Jerusalem. As NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel relates, Palestinians feel that they are confined to “the world’s largest prison,” and Palestinian analyst Youseff Munayyer says people feel they are living in a "defacto Apartheid system."
Whatever it's called, Israel has the wherewithal (and if attacked, the willingness) to simply make life more and more miserable for those in Gaza, but there are signs that the Palestinian people are simply not going to back down with their demands anymore, either. The elusive so-called "two state solution" could very well be dead; the status quo obviously doesn't work, so what's next?
As far as I can see, no quantity of missiles launched over the barriers between them—ethnic, ideological and otherwise—will change people’s hearts and minds. Even a one-state, equal rights-for-all solution is bound to fail if the parties are unable to live as neighbors with mutual respect and regard: peace never just happens because outsiders get involved.
A recent statement by Netanyahu puts this deeper problem into context. He said Israel has two possible options with Hamas: "You can either conquer them, and that's always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don't rule out anything." I fail to see how this kind of thinking bodes well for either side. If the only acceptable solution is the total crushing of the other side, how can there be peace?
Considering the significant lunar timing for this latest eruption of hostilities, maybe it’s just time for Israel and Palestine, for the sake of their respective peoples, to settle some major grievances once and for all? Today’s cease fire pretty closely precedes the May 26th lunar eclipse, which sounds like significant timing to me. Interestingly, there’s a precedent for this in the Middle East region: the Camp David Accords, negotiated between President Jimmy Carter, then-leaders Menachem Begin (Israel) and Anwar Sadat (Egypt) in the fall of 1978, were signed just one day after the September 16 lunar eclipse at 23°+Pisces. Those Accords included a framework for considering the Palestinian dilemma, but no Palestinians were even brought into the discussion, so while other important objectives for peace in the Middle East were realized by the Accords, that part of the negotiations was rejected by the United Nations.
We can also look to important planetary cycle milestones in play during such key Middle East moments. Israel and Palestine were set up for the imbalanced power relationship they’ve had from the get-go, with both nations “born” into it in 1948, under the very first year of a new Saturn-Pluto cycle in hard-headed Leo. The same independence chart, in fact, applied to both entities then, only in 1948, Israel’s capital city was Tel Aviv and Palestine’s was Jerusalem. This, it turns out, was more significant than we might think. You may recall that in late 2017, Trump supported Netanyahu as he presided over Israel’s naming of Jerusalem as its capital city; further, Trump approved the moving of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a grand symbolic gesture that Palestine regarded as a betrayal. Both peoples lay historical claim to this city, which both peoples consider sacred. So needless to say, Israel’s enhanced control of that city since then has rubbed salt in very old wounds.
Interesting note: through a complicated set of relations and agreements that would take forever to explain here, Palestine did manage to gain nearly international recognition as an autonomous state in May 1994 (the U.S. and Israel disapproved). We’ll use this autonomy chart for our explorations here—to my eye, however, even though this should have been a red-letter day for Palestine sovereignty, the chart seems weak by comparison with the 1948 chart and may have simply set the Palestinians up for the turmoil they’ve experienced ever since. We’ll consider those two charts (Israel’s 1948 chart; Palestine’s 1994 chart) very quickly as they stand alone, and then, we’ll consider a triwheel that includes the relevant national charts and the chart for the cease fire.
Chart #1: State of Israel, May 14, 1948, 4:00 p.m., Tel Aviv, Israel1. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast with Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Notice the two strong outer-planetary cycle milestones the State of Israel was born into: a Saturn-Pluto conjunction (Leo, first exact in August, 1947), and a Jupiter Rx-Uranus opposition (Sagittarius-Gemini, 2Q exact at 22°+ in these signs in February, 1948). The Leo conjunction and Jupiter's dignified position lends itself to a state that prefers strong central control, doesn’t flinch from exercising power, and one that subscribes to the theory that “the best defense is an offense.”
This latter point is reinforced by Mars trailing after Saturn and Pluto here in fiery Leo, sextile Uranus (Gemini), square Sun (Taurus) and trine Jupiter (Sagittarius). Aggressive, unyielding behavior comes naturally, in other words, a point also reinforced by Saturn-Pluto square Nodal Axis (Taurus-Scorpio), straddling the 7th-1st houses. Venus (Cancer) rules this chart from its elevated perch in the 9th house, conjunct three key midpoints: Sun/Pluto, Sun/Saturn, Mars/No. Node. There's a real sense that Israel's approach to foreign relations (even with Palestine) is blessed by this placement. Obviously, U.S. support has done a lot to enable Israel's actions over the years with its nearly unconditional support--no surprise this Venus conjoins Sibly 7th house Venus-Jupiter (Cancer, chart not shown).
In all fairness, we should consider the historical context that Israel was born into here. In 1948, the genocide inflicted upon European Jews by Nazi Germany was a savagely fresh memory; indeed, the Nuremberg trials that sought to bring Nazi war criminals to justice in an international court were also largely a product of the 1947 Saturn-Pluto cycle and were still ongoing at that time. So those were naturally hyper-defensive, and for many, brutally wounded times—not the formula for peaceful relations, especially in the Middle East, a region that seems to be especially connected to this hard-nosed and often tense cycle.
Despite some strong cycle aspects in Israel’s chart, that post-war period of its founding was also a time marked by several seriously waning outer planetary cycles. Israel’s cyclical index shows six waxing cycles and four waning cycles, but the total negative angular separation numbers (compiled from waning cycles) far exceed the positive numbers (waxing cycles), for a total index number of negative 597.34. This reflects the “heaviness” of that late-1940s post-war period and it probably influenced the preconceptions and perspectives that Israel's founders brought to bear. The heavy irony of this particular moment in their history is, of course, related to that Saturn-Pluto cycle as well--more on this when we examine Triwheel #1 below.
To say that Palestine's history is complicated is a radical understatement. Just a quick introduction from Wikipedia will lend context:
"The entirety of territory claimed by the State of Palestine has been occupied since 1948, first by Egypt and Jordan and then by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestine has a population of 5,051,953 as of February 2020, ranked 121st in the world.
After World War II, in 1947, the UN adopted a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. This partition plan was accepted by the Jews but rejected by the Arabs. The day after the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, neighboring Arab armies invaded the former British mandate and fought the Israeli forces. Later, the All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948 to govern the Egyptian-controlled enclave in Gaza. It was soon recognized by all Arab League members except Transjordan. Though jurisdiction of the Government was declared to cover the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine, its effective jurisdiction was limited to the Gaza Strip. Israel later captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria in June 1967 during the Six-Day War."
So, bottom line, Palestinians in modern times (i.e., distinct from their history in antiquity) have been living amidst hostilities and occupation basically forever; before the events of 1948, Palestine was under British colonial "mandate" for decades. The May 1994 date we'll be using for Palestine autonomy represents the culmination of a two-part process during which then-leader Yassir Arafat declared Palestine's independence in November 1988, which led into the recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by then-Israeli PM Itzhak Rabin and the signing of an Israel-PLO Peace Accord in Washington, D.C. in September 1993. The Palestine autonomy promised by this document came into effect on May 4, 1994, which is the basis for Chart #2.
It should be said that according to History.com, "More than 135 United Nations member countries recognize Palestine as an independent state, but Israel and some other countries, including the United States, don't make this distinction." Maybe this is over-simplifying, but this makes me wonder if Palestine's interests would be better served by U.N.-led negotiations?
Chart #2: Palestine autonomy, May 4, 1994, 11:55 a.m., Jerusalem, Israel2. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Sun (Taurus) rules Leo ASC from 10th, conjunct Vesta and Mercury (Taurus), semi-sextile Mars (Aries), sextile Saturn (Pisces) and opposite Jupiter Rx (Scorpio). Palestine's autonomy was hard-fought, of course, but this chart clearly set them up for continued struggle. Their leadership has been determined to protect and secure their material interests (albeit not always successfully), and they're not inclined to shrink from conflict when necessary, but the strength of their institutions may be compromised by a weak Saturn (Pisces), ruling their 6th and 7th, and a rather weak Venus ruling their Taurus MC, but somewhat isolated with a square to Saturn-Moon (Pisces) and no aspect to the Sun. Their leadership appears to have been more functionary than functional from the get-go, which may have enabled Israel's continued dominance. Saturn's placement in Neptunian Pisces suggests a domineering power that maintains control through passive aggressive means (Israel's "right to self-defense" has been used over time to justify aggressive actions).
In other words, Palestine has been "autonomous," but probably in name only: their actual control over their own affairs has been nebulous at best. It's my guess that their deeply negative cyclical index numbers have something to do with this, as well. Not one of their Jupiter cycles was waxing at this chart's inception, and while three of their Saturn cycles and their Uranus-Neptune, Uranus-Pluto and Neptune-Pluto cycles were all waxing, those deeply waning Jupiter cycles weighed down the resulting total number, for a whopping balance of negative 839.07.
Sun opposite Jupiter Rx (Taurus-Scorpio) axis squares ASC-DSC axis (Leo-Aquarius). Sovereign power has been a fixed, even revolutionary aspiration for Palestine, but the complicated, pressure-cooker nature of their situation has so far managed to contain their efforts.
Moon (Pisces) opposes Chiron (Virgo); this axis t-squares Part-of-Fortune-Ceres-Venus (Gemini). To my eye, this t-square has been a constant challenge to the well-being of the Palestinian people, who have lived with the destabilizing and frankly, wounding impact of the Israeli occupation for decades. This Moon widely conjoins Saturn, too, tying all this into the above discussion about passive aggression.
|Dwarf planet Ceres lies between Mars and Jupiter. |
"She [Ceres] is between Mars — the last personal planet, our will, and the first social planet — Jupiter, laws, strategy and vision for groups, including countries. She is the go-between of the will of the people and political systems. As such, she negotiates and sticks up for all underdogs against the powerful ruling classes. She said “NO” to Jupiter and Pluto in the myth in order to get what she wanted. In my view, she represents a strong, wise, feminine archetype." If we accept Blake's premise for this chart, it appears that Palestinian democracy--while somewhat blessed by the wide Ceres-Venus conjunction, has been deeply wounded by the circumstances of its governance. This tense mutable configuration also points to the importance of the mundane Moon to how a people will respond to such circumstances, and what kind of power they will be motivated to demand over their own destinies. As I write this in May, 2021, they are very close to the completion of their first progressed lunar cycle under this chart, so it's possible that the drive for autonomy will take on new life soon, if it hasn't already.
Finally, we can't miss the "elephants in the room" in this chart--the Uranus-Neptune conjunction (Capricorn) and its sextile to Scorpio No. Node-Pluto (Rx, Scorpio). Uranus rules the Aquarius 7th, Neptune rules the Pisces 8th and disposes Moon and Saturn there. So, Palestine's autonomy seems to have been an issue that the 1990’s era of globalization couldn't ignore--given the 6th house placement of this duo here, I wonder if the Palestinian labor force was lifted up by that economic trend or somehow disadvantaged by it. Poverty is a constant issue in Palestine, it seems, and there seems to be a direct connection between that and Israel's dominance in Gaza. Aljazeera cites a 2020 U.N. report on Trade and Development with the following assessment:
"The Israel-led blockade of the Gaza Strip cost the Palestinian enclave more than $16bn and pushed more than one million people below the poverty line in just more than 10 years, according to a new United Nations report.
The document issued on Wednesday by the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to the General Assembly covered the years between 2007 and 2018. It called for an immediate stop to the continuing siege that has caused a near-collapse of economic activities in Gaza and a poverty rate of 56 percent."
As we might imagine, the pandemic has only enhanced the economic pressure on Palestinians, so they have good reason to be unhappy with the status quo. Trucks full of humanitarian aid have been waiting to access Gaza all during the conflict; included in those trucks are much-needed COVID vaccine doses.
So what difference will this morning’s cease fire make? Let’s take a look at Triwheel #1 below.
Triwheel #1: Israel, Palestine, the May 21st cease fire
Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Israel (radix), May 14, 1948, 4:00 p.m. ST, Tel Aviv, Israel (see Note #1); (middle wheel) Palestine autonomy (radix), May 4, 1994, 11:55 a.m., DST, Jerusalem, Israel (see Note #2); (outer wheel) Israel-Hamas cease fire, May 21, 2021, 2 a.m. DST, Jerusalem, Israel. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Since we've already picked apart the key dynamics of the inner and middle wheels, we'll focus more on the
key outer planetary transits to the inner two charts pictured here for
this purpose. That said, however, it’s worth pointing out that the Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius) and the ASC-DSC horizon (Pisces-Virgo) fall square in the 2 a.m. cease fire chart, which feels like a significant crossroads.
Cease Fire (CF) Mars trines Palestine Autonomy (PA) Mars (Aries) and semi-sextiles Israel Saturn (Leo). It looks as if the Palestinian side is feeling better about this cease fire than the Israeli side is—Israelis seem more sanguine about the conflict continuing until Hamas is, as one person put it, “taken down.” Even so, this semi-sextile indicates some frustration at a loss of control.
CF Jupiter (Pisces) squares CF Sun-PA Part-of-Fortune-Ceres (Gemini); CF Sun conjoins Israel Sun/Ceres (midpoint, Gemini). This raises the point made earlier about Ceres and its likely relationship to democracy; here, it appears that Israel’s democratic system is being challenged to expand its horizons to include Palestinians in a more fulsome way, not as “lesser” people, or as the “enemy.” One commentator likens the situation to Israel’s racial reckoning—a moment when Palestinians, as the less powerful minority, are acting in solidarity in ways they’ve rarely been able to. From The Conversation:
“...historian James Gelvin of UCLA explains why the fighting erupted so fast and so fiercely, and asserts that the current conflict is Israel’s Black Lives Matter moment: “As in the United States, a brutalized minority group, facing systemic racism and discriminatory acts, has taken to the streets. And, as in the United States, the only way out starts with serious soul-searching on the part of the majority.”
CF Jupiter trines Palestine Jupiter Rx (Pisces-Scorpio), sextiles Israel Jupiter Rx (Sagittarius) and opposes Israel Mars (Leo). Both sides obviously have something to gain or leverage from these eclipse energies; the excesses of Israel's military bombardment may be purposeful.
Saturn (Aquarius) opposes Israel Saturn-Pluto (Leo); this axis squares
CF Uranus-Palestine Sun-Israel So. Node (all Taurus) opposite Palestine
Jupiter Rx-Israel So Node (Scorpio).
This points to how prone to upset the intractable power dynamics
between Israel and Palestine are at this point in time, but it also
clearly signals the way Israel has hardened its defenses against any incoming threats with a combination of walls separating Palestinians off from them and its "Iron Dome" air defense system--a major reason they suffered far fewer casualties than they inflicted on Palestinians. The danger in this hardening, of course, is that Israeli forces may feel they can attack with impunity.
Even so, this also looks like a turning point during which fundamental change is possible. Saturn dynamics are key here: Palestine will be experiencing its first Saturn return under this 1994 chart over the coming 2023-24 time frame, so it's definitely time for that nation to get its "ducks in a row" and take responsibility for addressing the challenges of the next 30 years. As for Israel, so much of its "personality" as a nation, if you will, is reflected in its unyielding and potentially oppressive Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Let's consider the major "hits" of this cycle on its chart:
Israel was born into the 1947 cycle, as we've seen in Chart #2 above;
The subsequent 1982 cycle perfected in Israel's 1st house in late Libra, trine-sextile its Uranus-Jupiter opposition and square its Cancer MC. This was a time for Israel to exert its power and dominance in various ways in the region and to build its security state. Various leaders made some diplomatic efforts in regards to peace in the region during this cycle, but none of the agreements ever really inspired lasting progress.
The new 2020 cycle that just launched last January at 22+ Capricorn, not surprisingly, opposes that MC and squares its ASC-DSC-Pallas axis (Libra-Aries), but has only minor connections to its Jupiter-Uranus axis. The fact that this cycle launched conjunct Palestine's Uranus-Neptune conjunction suggests that this cycle's agenda is quite different. I suspect Netanyahu will feel forced to choose between those two options he touted of either "conquering" or "deterring" Hamas, but neither option will solve the problems between them. IMHO, they need to get to the bottom of what keeps their relationship so severely imbalanced and toxic, and Eclipse Saturn opposing radix Saturn will likely help force this issue.
CF Chiron (Aries) conjoins PA Mars-Pallas (Aries) and opposes Israel Neptune Rx (Libra). Israel's "spin machine" may have misrepresented the threat posed by the Palestine military, but the goal of destroying Hamas’ controversial tunnel system seems to have been accomplished. CF Chiron also trines Israel Pluto-Saturn (Leo), suggesting that Israel’s controlling relationship with Palestine will ultimately work to its disadvantage. To Israel's handful of casualties, Palestine has suffered hundreds, so the situation is clearly out-of-balance, and from the Palestinian point-of-view, unjust (Pallas), whether Hamas fired the first missiles or not. Perception (Neptune) will be everything in the days ahead.
|Gaza has been separated from Israel by a wall for years now.|
CF Pluto conjoins Palestine Uranus-Neptune (Rx, all Capricorn), opposes Israel MC (Cancer), sextiles PA Pluto Rx-No. Node (Scorpio) and trines Israel Sun-Palestine So. Node (Taurus). In other words, it's not likely that Israel's campaign to squash Palestine's demands and to maintain its dominance over them will succeed quite as well as Netanyahu might think at this moment. It’s simply not in keeping with the needs of these times. This is reinforced by CF Pluto also widely opposing CF Mars (Cancer), suggesting the time for seriously acting on the agenda of Palestine's Uranus-Neptune conjunction is upon them. That region is faced with deadly serious environmental challenges, fueled by climate change; anything that helps unleash the potential of its motivated population to solve real 21st century problems would be great, but this is no time for toxic, politically-motivated power games played by either side.
It seems to me that many complications could be avoided in the Middle East region if the U.N. was allowed to do its job and to intervene when it comes to Israel-Palestine relations. With its Security Council veto power, The U.S. has historically blocked that body’s ability to pass resolutions designed to rein in Israeli aggression, encroachment on Palestinian territories, etc. Perhaps we’ll hear more about this in the near future, as the dust settles from this most recent round of hostilities. Any pull-back of unconditional support would be a controversial move by Biden, of course, triggering claims that he’s gone to the radical left “dark side,” but perhaps our national Pluto return is signaling that it’s time for not only our own reckoning with past in. justices, but also time to facilitate that same process wherever it needs to happen.
This is not, and I can't emphasize this enough, the time to succumb to or allow the kind of hateful anti-semitic attacks on social media or on the streets that have manifested in the U.S. and elsewhere these days! Hatred only prolongs and complicates the problems, and solves nothing!
Israel’s a valuable U.S. ally in the Middle East, for sure, but IMHO, we must become a far better arbiter of peace than we have been to date. The Palestinians don't deserve the treatment they've been getting, either from Hamas or Israeli forces. For that matter, the world community needs this situation to be resolved once and for all. There must be brighter days ahead.
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, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. See the Publications tab on this site for a list of Raye’s recent E-books on current topics, including a newly-released title, The Mundane Moon: an evolving cosmic story for “We the People.”
For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.