Friday, March 4, 2022

The astrology of cruelty, grit & inspiring leadership: the Ukraine crisis pounds on


From Ukraine's Stalin-inflicted famine years
During his WWII military service,   philosopher Philip Hallie (1922-1994) was immersed in the darkest days humankind had ever seen in the modern era, but rather than try to block out all that

experience and move on as if it never happened, he went on to pioneer some very profound thinking on the topics of ethics and good and evil in human beings and in societies. 

He paid particular attention to the phenomenon of “institutional cruelty,” which he felt was dependent upon “a persistent pattern of humiliation that endures for years in a community, [in which] the victimizer and the victim find ways to downplay the harm that is being done. Both the victim and the victimizer justify cruel actions based on what they have been led to believe is ‘actual’ inferiority.”  

So institutional cruelty as a social reality depended, in Hallie’s mind, upon radically unequal power dynamics: determined victimizers must be convinced they have an “enemy” (whether real, fabricated or imagined doesn’t seem to matter) to justify tyranny and oppression. States of emergency are good news for such megalomaniacs: crisis sweeps the normal rules of engagement to the side and makes way for their “strong-man” solutions. This explains why cruelty tends to flourish in anti-democratic or fascistic societies, societies that tend to build themselves around fear-driven, isolationist impulses and extremist delusions about Law and Order. Or in democracies that lose their way, as I often fear the U.S. is in danger of doing.  


Sunflowers beautifully capture Ukraine's valiant resistance.
Today however, I’m feeling optimistic that, as the world watches the unfolding of Ukraine’s courageous stand against Putin’s aggression—a true David and Goliath situation if we’ve ever seen one—we are being deeply and truly reminded of what is at stake in the war between democracy and authoritarianism—between those who tolerate or even celebrate a bit of social “chaos” for the sake of freedom, equality and creative expression, and those who bring fear and dread to any human expressions outside of a rigidly top-down controlled and toxic patriarchal social structure. Hitler referring to his vision of German greatness as the “Fatherland” was no accident. Putin refers to his nationalist ideal as “Mother Russia,” but what a “devouring Mothershe is, to hear his twisted grievances about Ukraine. Tragically, he's chosen to channel the horrors of Stalin's deliberate 1930s Ukrainian peasant genocide for our times. 

So, this is a war that has unfolded all around us for years now and one that represents a much more sweeping assault on the institution of democracy than any of us might imagine. This particular struggle has crept up on the so-called “liberal world order” (supportive of democracy) under the cover of an insidiously potent Neptune transit through home sign Pisces, but how many Americans have really taken it seriously?  

Quite to the contrary, in several states across the U.S., the local governments have been pushing (in plain view) increasingly oppressive agendas that are using dirty, disingenuous tactics to exclude minorities (read “liberals”) from voting, that want to impose what amounts to theocratic-rule over women’s bodies, that want to distort and suppress the teaching of our true history (thus marginalizing those minorities even more), and (in case we wonder who’s funding all these initiatives) to totally undermine any national climate change mitigation programs that conflict with corporate profit motives.  

All of these incremental assaults on democracy could be wide scale U.S. reality very soon, of course, if we don’t shake the fog out of our eyes and start pushing in the opposite direction. To my mind, the Russian missiles now purposely targeting Ukrainian civilian centers tell us everything we need to know. Before all this started, Putin went to great pains to say that Ukrainians are inferior to him and Russia, that their sweat-and-tears-born democracy “doesn’t have the right to exist” because at some time in the past, they were under Russian rule. Again, the “devouring Mother”--I gave you life, and I can take it away if you think of leaving me!”  

There is no room for change and human progress within this maniacal autocratic mindset, especially if that change threatens to make the autocrat look "less than,” instead of ever more glorious and powerful and “loved.” As we’ll see below, Putin’s natal connections to Ukraine’s “proclamation of independence: chart for August 24 1991 (Biwheel #1 below) have a lot to say about the toxic umbilical relationship that seems to exist in his mind between Russia and Ukraine.   


Stalin purposely starved Ukrainians in the 1930s.
So once under Russian rule, Putin deludedly reminds Ukraine, forever under Russian rule. With every missile hit and with every element of the siege Russian forces are clearly trying to execute against Ukraine’s key cities, that’s the message: capitulate now because bowing to Putin and to "Mother Russia’s” hegemony is your role in his sick fantasy. Under the sway of this toxic patriarchal obsession, atrocities and “institutional cruelty” are normalized and perversely validated. Hallie saw this among those who fought for Hitler’s view of a glorious Third Reich and among those who enabled Soviet leader Stalin’s savagely catastrophic war against Ukrainian peasants, resulting in the 1931-33 so-called “Red famine.”  

Despite undeniable cultural and even familial ties, so much of the history between Russia and Ukraine is weighted with genocide and deep collective pain: the Ukrainian people absolutely had the right to choose independence and freedom. I suspect that this deep collective, ancestral Wound is the reservoir from which they draw their current strength and resolve.  

So maybe it’s high time we shed any illusions we might still harbor that there’s a way to shame Putin or those taking orders from him when children are brutally killed under missile fire, or that he will ever feel shame about committing war crimes, ordering the use of internationally-forbidden weapons against civilians. In the end, there’s no shaming the shameless, those who see the world around them as one big enemy, and themselves as the only victims who matter.  

In fact, in an essay found in Facing Evil: Confronting the Dreadful Power behind Genocide, Terrorism and Cruelty, Professor Hallie signaled that it’s important to simply accept that “there is a Devil,” those who not only commit “pragmatic evil” deeds—ones that lead to a desired result, such as corporate profits—but those who do evil, perverse things simply “because they are wrong.” [1] In other words, those who take pleasure in others’ pain. It’s beyond us to judge what kind of evil Putin embodies right now—Ukraine is a resource-rich nation, once regarded as the “bread basket” of Europe, so is it about the prospect of controlling those resources that motivates Putin? Or is it something less “rational:” a deeply violent obsession with crushing those who would dare pose an obstacle to his total control? We may never know Putin’s intent for sure: perhaps what’s more important now is that we shed any illusions that keep us from responding effectively.  

Ukraine is known as Europe's "bread basket."
Still, countless analysts have posed the same question in the past week: what does Putin really want by attacking Ukraine? So far, I have found the following interview between Politico’s Maura Reynolds and long-time Russia expert Fiona Hill the most convincing and insightful answer to that question. The following excerpt includes some elisions (…), but encompasses key highlights:  

“Reynolds: Do you think Putin’s current goal is reconstituting the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, or something different? 

Hill: It’s reestablishing Russian dominance of what Russia sees as the Russian ‘Imperium.’ I’m saying this very specifically because the lands of the Soviet Union didn’t cover all of the territories that were once part of the Russian Empire. So that should give us pause.... 

We’ve seen pressure being put on Kazakhstan to reorient itself back toward Russia, instead of balancing between Russia and China, and the West. And just a couple of days before the invasion of Ukraine in a little-noticed act, Azerbaijan signed a bilateral military agreement with Russia. This is significant because Azerbaijan’s leader has been resisting this for decades. And we can also see that Russia has made itself the final arbiter of the future relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia has also been marginalized after being a thorn in Russia’s side for decades. And Belarus is now completely subjugated by Moscow.... 

In 2015, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was at the Munich Security Conference after the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas. And he talked about Ukraine not being a country, saying pointedly that there are many minority groups in Ukraine — there are Poles and there are Romanians, there are Hungarians and Russians. And he goes on essentially almost inviting the rest of Europe to divide Ukraine up. 

So, what Putin wants isn’t necessarily to occupy the whole country, but really to divide it up.” 

How interesting that, whereas Western nations are becoming more pluralistic and multicultural, Putin has repeatedly used diverse populations within sovereign nations as levers for his divisive influence. Probably the reason why some white Evangelical nationalists here in the U.S. provide him with a U.S. “fan base.” From MSNBC’s Anthea Butler: 

“At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, which wrapped up over the weekend, Lauren Witzke, a GOP candidate for the Senate in Delaware, said: “Here’s the deal. Russia is a Christian nationalist nation. They’re actually Russian Orthodox. ... I identify more with Putin’s Christian values than I do with Joe Biden.” 

This isn’t an uncommon stance among some Republicans and white American evangelicals today, who have previously admired Putin because of the alignment of their beliefs with his about homosexuality, authoritarianism and fealty to former President Donald Trump. Many believe Putin’s nationalism, coupled with their Christian belief, is the way America should be.” 

This assessment should chill Americans to the bone; Joe Biden is also an openly religious person, so there’s little mystery about what it is about his politics that turns these white nationalists off—he actually accepts people for who they are, in all their splendid diversity, and he models the type of leadership and ethos that any diverse society requires to flourish. I could go on, but you get the idea. Only in the darkest hours of human (and specifically, American) history has Christ’s message of Love and Healing been hijacked by the kind of heartless, power-hungry extremism we’re seeing today. But I digress...  

Beginning with Crimea in 2014, and now Luhansk and Donetsk, we can see how Putin literally drove three wedges into Ukrainian territory under the pretext of “supporting Russian-speaking peoples,” and whether they asked for his intervention is immaterial—it's more likely that the majority of Ukrainian speaking and Russian speaking people in all those situations were co-existing just fine. If he couldn't find useful discord already present amidst his target populations, there’s always social media...divide and conquer!  

Nothing new in Putin's playbook!

So, let’s quickly examine the two charts I made reference to above—first, the chart Nicholas Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes (2004 ed.) refers to as Ukraine’s Proclamation of Independence on its own, just to get a feel for its angles and overall layout, and then a biwheel that puts Putin's nativity against that chart. Here’s how Campion characterizes the Ukraine chart: 

“Ukraine proclaimed its sovereignty within the Soviet Union on 16 July 1990. However, almost no news coverage accompanied this important event, and I was unable to find any reference to a time in the UK or US media. Independence was proclaimed on 24 August 1991, probably at 14.31 p.m. GMT. Chart 341 is set for this data and for the capital of Ukraine.” [2] 

Please note that in the February 23rd post here, I used the second origin chart that Campion attributes to Ukraine’s independence process—the “referendum confirming independence” that followed after on December 1, 1991 and marked the first “foreign recognition” for Ukraine’s sovereignty [3]. This latter chart also reflects a critical juncture for Ukraine, but there’s definitely a place for both charts in the historical scheme of things. I’ve used the “proclamation” chart for our purposes here because it seems to suit the fact that Putin questions Ukraine’s right to even make that proclamation, thus using a frame for his tyranny that is uniquely toxic and disturbing. Let’s begin this exploration by examining Chart #1.


Chart #1. Ukraine Proclaims Independence, August 24, 1991, 5:31 p.m. DST, Kyiv, Ukraine. Source: BWH, Chart #341, pp. 325-6 (see Note #3). Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

Wikipedia summarizes this key day in August, 1991 in a very understated fashion, considering its importance for today’s Ukraine: 

“In August 1991, a faction among the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union attempted a coup to remove Mikhail Gorbachev and to restore the Communist party's power. After it failed, on 24 August 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence.[139]" 

Of course, we could expand upon each of the key points highlighted with hyperlinks in this brief summary, but for now, let’s just accept that Ukraine’s Parliament saw an open opportunity to break away from Soviet domination and they took it. It seems the “writing was on the wall” for the USSR at that juncture; the Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany had fallen to great celebration, and one by one, the rest of the Soviet Union’s satellite nations fled the wreckage. These were heady, super-significant geopolitical times—marked here with the early days of the 1990s Uranus-Neptune conjunction (Rx, Capricorn) that would continue to perfect over the coming eighteen months (it was first exact in February, 1993).  

Notice the key placement of this Uranus-Neptune (Rx) conjunction here, rising in the 1st house, widely conjunct No. Node (Capricorn) and square Eris (Rx, Aries). Disruptive influences took advantage of the shifting world order and a new geopolitical reality “dawned” in the world. The involvement of the Nodal axis (Capricorn-Cancer) suggests that Ukraine was “in tune” with the winds of change. All this Capricorn energy is disposed here by a dignified 1st house Aquarius Saturn Rx: the structural underpinnings for these changes were sound, even if difficult adjustments were called for (Virgo Sun inconjoins that Saturn Rx).  

Even so, Saturn (the chart’s ruler) forms a fairly close opposition to Chiron (Leo) and this axis t-squares Ceres (Scorpio)--this certainly reflects the wounded “parent/child” relationship that independent Ukraine was “born” into. As they’re finding out all too vividly right now, taking on their own strength, power and identity is a weighty, fraught process. Notice that Ukraine experienced its first Saturn return as an independent entity over the past couple years (from about February, 2020, allowing a 5° orb), so it’s probably wise to consider their present situation as a chance to resolve “unfinished business” from that process. Especially in instances where toxic dependencies (on either side) persist, there comes a time when children must stand up to their parents and take on their own power and agency. As we know from Putin’s pronouncements and his history of similar military invasions, under his rule, “Mother Russia” isn’t inclined to willingly let go of its “offspring.”    

Could it be that Putin simply covets what Ukraine possesses? The difficulty of this untenable situation is only reinforced by another significant t-square: Moon (Aquarius) opposes Jupiter (Leo) and this axis t-squares Pluto (Scorpio). Ukraine’s people are united around independent values (2nd house Moon), and these values, complemented and strengthened by their nation’s rich resources (8th house Jupiter) should go far to provide for its people’s needs. It has for some years now, however, been knocked back every time it makes economic progress, and at times, increasingly more tense relations with Russia (11th house Pluto) have been involved. From Wikipedia:  

“In the early 2010s, Ukraine was noted for possessing many of the components of a major European economy: rich farmlands,[35][36] a well-developed industrial base, highly trained labour, and a good education system.[37] However, by October 2013, the Ukrainian economy lapsed once again into a recession.[38] The previous summer, Ukrainian exports to Russia substantially declined due to stricter border and customs control by Russia.[39] The early 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, and the War in Donbass that started in the spring of 2014 severely damaged Ukraine's economy[40] and severely damaged two of the country's most industrial regions.[41] In 2013, Ukraine saw zero GDP growth.[41] Ukraine's economy shrank by 6.8% in 2014,[42] and this continued with a 12% decline in GDP in 2015.[43] In April 2017, the World Bank stated that Ukraine's economic growth rate was 2.3% in 2016, thus ending the recession.[44] Despite these improvements, the IMF reported in 2018, that of all the countries in Europe, Ukraine had the lowest GDP per capita.[45][46][47]  

In April 2020, the World Bank reported that economic growth was solid at 3.2 percent in 2019, led by a good agricultural harvest and sectors dependent on domestic consumption. Household consumption grew by 11.9 percent in 2019, supported by sizable remittance inflows and a resumption of consumer lending, while domestic trade and agriculture grew by 3.4 and 1.3 percent, respectively.[48] However, in 2020 GDP collapsed by 4.4 percent due to COVID-19 pandemic.[49]" 

It’s quite possible that, given the potential domineering power dynamics at play with the Moon-Jupiter-Pluto t-square, that Putin’s long-term goal vis-à-vis Ukraine has been to gain control of its economic resources in any way possible. We’ll consider this more deeply under Biwheel #1. The two nations have had trade agreements, I understand, but those have deteriorated in recent years. From a blog post: 

“Over the past five years conflict has led to a deterioration of Russo-Ukrainian economic relations while ties with the EU have been deepened. This shift is evident in trade flows: the European Union has become Ukraine’s biggest trading partner, while China is poised to overtake Russia as its second. Natural gas imports from Russia, Ukraine’s prior Achilles heel, have been partially replaced by reverse deliveries from the EU and reduced as result of reform of the gas sector.” 

China is clearly trying to play both sides of the Russia-Ukraine equation these days; a story for another day. For now, however, it’s possible that Ukraine’s strong rebound in April 2020 (referenced earlier) was simply too much for Putin to tolerate, and he decided that he would strike while Ukraine's GDP was still struggling to recuperate from Covid.  

For its part, the Russian economy is heavily dependent upon its oil and gas industries, and the writing is on the wall, so to speak, for these industries, as the world tries to move away from fossil fuels and towards green energy consumption. Unfortunately, these are the only industries that have thus far escaped the sanctions currently hurting the rest of the Russian economy—a loophole that needs to be closed if the US and Europe don’t want to finance Russian aggression with the gas we pump into our vehicles. We may pay the price for closing these loopholes with higher gas prices, of course, but what are the choices? Pluto’s current transit in late Capricorn, conjunct Ukraine Saturn (Aquarius) could well be foreclosing on the alternatives for those who want to help Ukraine.   

So, the plot thickens, as they say, making me wonder if Putin’s obsession with Ukraine is not so much about recreating the glories of Mother Russia, but more about being able to exploit Ukraine’s rich resources (Scorpio Pluto squares Taurus Jupiter) to diversify his own economy (or to line his own and his oligarchs’ pockets). More on this possibility in Biwheel #1 below. Today (3/2), in fact, the NY Times published a report about the super-rich lithium reserves Ukraine is blessed with, an essential resource for electronics industries that was attracting international attention prior to Russia’s invasion. Timing is everything, of course, and no doubt, Putin knows it.  


It’s personal 

So, Putin’s relationship to Ukraine is far from simple—even dictators must deliver something to their people to keep their loyalty, as deluded and misguided and forced as that loyalty may be. People know when their basic needs are being ignored or actively manipulated, and even when the Internet is controlled and shot through with misinformation and propaganda, the truth does seep through here and there. Nothing worse than an independent, committed democracy right next door! Witness the massive, officially “illegal” protests about Putin’s Ukraine crusade that are reported all over Russia. And, while they may be few and far between, we’re seeing stories about Russian soldiers abandoning their armored vehicles and giving themselves up because they weren’t told the truth about the “exercises” in Ukraine and they simply didn’t sign on for killing people who look just like their grandmothers back home. A guest essay in today’s NY Times by Alexey Kovalev, the investigations editor for an independent Russian news outlet, is quite revealing in this regard: 

“Shock and shame. 

That’s the response of many Russians to the sight of rockets and artillery shells hitting Ukrainian tower blocks that in their concrete uniformity could easily be in Moscow. The towns through which Russian armored vehicles are rolling, captured in shaky videos and accompanied by howls of horror, could be Voronezh or Krasnodar or any Russian city. The invasion of Ukraine is a waking nightmare, horrible and absurd. 

And it’s being done in our name. Feb. 24, when President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion, is the day Russia became an outcast, despised nation, not just economically isolated but actively shunned by the rest of the world — in sports, science and most other kinds of international cooperation. Whatever military ‘victory’ Mr. Putin might find acceptable in his twisted mind, Russia has already suffered a crushing moral defeat. 

And to a certain extent, it seems like the Russian people know it.” 

The fact that a Russian journalist wrote this essay is reason for hope, to my mind. Russians are not unified behind Putin’s efforts and that never bodes well for an operation. The Russian people are not the enemy here, but unfortunately, they will suffer the consequences for Putin’s ambitions. Happily, Volodymyr Zelensky’s Ukraine seems to understand this disconnect and is actively working to widen it. One example of this is a Ukrainian website entitled “Ukrainian Prism” spearheading an effort to get valid information to Russian families about their military sons’ whereabouts; this website is even “inviting Russian mothers to collect captured sons.”  

A captured Russian soldier, calling home.
This is quite a show of inspiring humanity and compassion from the besieged Ukrainian people, but it reminds us also of the total lack of compassion and humanity from Vladimir Putin. How is he likely to regard those soldiers who gave up without a fight? We know from the deep grudge he harbors about the USSR’s demise that he’s no “good sport” about losing. All too often, unfortunately (as in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and most recently, in Crimea), he's been able to count on Russian “might” winning the day, but perhaps he’s underestimated the human dimension of this particular invasion because he’s too personally invested in what happens and in his own control over the situation.  

Nevertheless, judging by the lies and misinformation and obfuscation he’s used against his own people about his plans in Ukraine, he seems to be fully aware that if he tells his people the truth, they won't cooperate.  That suggests a level of awareness that belies his twisted narrative of what Russian forces are up to. How long will he be able to force their compliance? Perhaps Biwheel #1 will give us some insight into the likelihood he will prevail, despite strong internal and external resistance.  


Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Vladimir Putin, October 7, 1952, 9:30 a.m. ST, St. Petersburg, Russia. Astrodatabank: DD (conflicting/unverified); (outer wheel) Ukraine Proclaims Independence, August 24, 1991, 5:31 p.m. DST, Kyiv, Ukraine. Source: BWH, Chart #341, pp. 325-6 (see Notes #2-3). Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.  

There are two key axes in this biwheel along which Ukraine (as captured in this proclamation chart) and Putin appear to influence each other. Perhaps most dramatic is Putin’s Sun-Saturn-Neptune-Mercury stellium (Libra) t-squaring Putin’s Uranus (Cancer) and Ukraine’s Uranus-Neptune-Juno-to-Nodal axis (Capricorn-Cancer).  The 1990s Uranus-Neptune conjunction unfolded like a “shock and awe” campaign against the USSR’s hold on its Soviet satellite nations, and we can see clearly here how devastating that timely, but surprising geopolitical shift was to Putin. It was a blow to his sense of identity and heritage (Sun-Saturn), not to mention his corrupt views and delusions about how society works (Saturn-Neptune-Mercury).  

The Nodal axis involved here falls across a recognized cardinal “power sector,” a sector that has been very active over the past few years, with Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto all transiting Capricorn. Perhaps this tells us all we need to know about Putin’s “siege” mentality in regards to NATO and his determined efforts to reel former satellite nations back under his influence. Putin’s Libra Sun-Saturn are also firmly within the cardinal power zone—all the more reason to never underestimate what he will do to maintain his grip.  

Lest we forget -- victims of Stalin's starvation campaign.
The second key set of axes is formed by Ukraine’s Leo planets (Jupiter-Mercury Rx-Venus Rx) opposite Moon (Aquarius) cutting through Putin’s Pluto-MC (Leo) and Nodal Axis (Aquarius-Leo) and forming an interchart grand square with the Putin Jupiter Rx-Ukraine Pluto opposition (Taurus-Scorpio). If we can assume Putin’s angles are valid (his chart is rated “DD”), this configuration challenges Putin’s “old guard” (e.g., Pluto-in-Leo generation) approach to political power with an equally potent (if not more so) Pluto-in-Scorpio approach, and fresh new, pragmatic ideas (Ukraine Jupiter-Mercury-Venus, all disposed by Ukraine’s Virgo Sun). There has been speculation that Putin’s recently puffy looking face indicates he’s had a “face lift”--it’s not his aging “face” he should be concerned about.  

Nevertheless, no one should underestimate Putin’s resolve—especially since his megalomaniacal Pluto-Jupiter square ties in so tightly with Ukraine’s 2nd-8th house axis of natural and financial resources. He early on solidified his rule over Russia by transferring a huge amount of that nation's wealth into his own and into his oligarchs’ pockets—the world is filled with corruptible pawns waiting to be exploited, right? With Ukraine’s Jupiter and Venus overlaying his 10th house, it appears likely that Putin could consider seizing Ukraine’s resources as a fruitful next step.  

I doubt he’s happy that France just seized a “superyacht” belonging to Russian oligarch Igor Sechin, but perhaps he’s willing to gamble with loss for the sake of much, much greater gain over time (Putin’s Scorpio Venus also widely opposes his Taurus Jupiter Rx). If we need even deeper insight into Putin’s vindictive disdain for anyone who is not “loyal” to him, consider that this same Scorpio Venus disposes his Libra stellium and his Taurus Jupiter.  

Other less critical ties exist between these two charts, naturally, but for now I’d like to move on to consider Ukraine’s stalwart president Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s relationship with his beleaguered nation. What is it about this connection and Russia’s invasion that has catalyzed the transformation the world has seen in this young, 45-year old man?  

Zelenskyy steps up as a true leader 

I have hesitated to characterize what’s going on in Ukraine as a contest of wills between Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy because at this juncture, I think that would demean what Zelenskyy has managed to do for and with his people. People he is clearly dedicated to, and people who are clearly inspired and motivated by his example to confront even the most lop-sided military odds with spirit and determination. Putin, by comparison, is, as one analyst put it, "an emperor with no clothes." 

The imbalance of military might between the two nations is stark, of course, but Zelenskyy seems to take every challenge in stride, looking for solutions in the simplest places at times, like using molotov cocktails against Russian tanks, removing street signs to confuse Russian ground forces, offering cash payments and amnesty for each Russian soldier who surrenders. Defense One covers what the Ukraine Defense Ministry has been offering: 

“’We offer Russian soldiers a choice: to die in an unjust war, or full amnesty and 5 million rubles of compensation if they put down their guns and voluntarily surrender to prison,’ the ministry said on its official Facebook page and Twitter account." 

In addition, the Ukraine Defense Ministry wants Russian soldiers to know that Ukrainians empathize with the difficult situation in which they find themselves. Again, from Defense One: 

“More than 5,300 Russian troops have been killed and hundreds captured in just five days of fighting so far, according to the Ukrainian defense ministry.  

‘A lot of them are very young. The Kremlin turns them into criminals, turns them into murderers. Some of them were deceived,’ ministry officials said. ‘Ukraine is a civilized country. All prisoners are safe, they are being helped. They already communicate with loved ones.’” 

These surrendered soldiers are given cell phones to communicate with their families. But behind all these anecdotal stories reflecting humane, civilized treatment is a rule-of-law-based government and a top leader who clearly models that dignified, humane spirit.   

Bottom line, the overall takeaway from Ukrainian efforts thus far has been to turn the idea that “might makes right” upside down. Zelenskyy never ceases to remind his people that they will prevail, and I can see why they choose to believe him: nothing is stronger than a people rooted in the earth beneath their feet. Despite over a million civilians having fled for the sake of safety so far, there's no doubt the Ukrainian people are, indeed, rooted in their land. As so many have said on camera, they’re “not going anywhere.”  

So, to explore what brings Zelenskyy to this present moment, both personally and by dint of Putin’s invasion, let’s consider Triwheel #1 below. It places Zelenskyy’s nativity (Rodden rated “A” and available on Astrodatabank) against this same chart, progressed for today’s date in Kyiv, and lastly against the February 21st Russian invasion chart I’ve been using in recent blog posts.  Let’s begin with a short excerpt from Wikipedia that describes his early years and some key family details: 

“Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy was born to Jewish parents on 25 January 1978 in Kryvyi Rih, [aka, Krivoj Rog] then in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.[14][15][16][17] His father, Oleksandr Zelenskyy, is a professor and the head of the Department of Cybernetics and Computing Hardware at the Kryvyi Rih State University of Economics and Technology; his mother, Rymma Zelenska, used to work as an engineer.[18][19][20] His grandfather, Semyon (Simon) Ivanovych Zelenskyy, served in the Red Army (in the 57th Guards Motor Rifle Division)[21] during World War II; Semyon's father and three brothers were murdered in the Holocaust.[22] Prior to starting elementary school, Zelenskyy lived for four years in the Mongolian city of Erdenet, where his father worked.[15] Zelenskyy grew up speaking Russian.[23] At the age of 16, he passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language and received an education grant to study in Israel, but his father did not allow him to go.[24] He later earned a law degree from the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics, then a department of Kyiv National Economic University and now part of Kryvyi Rih National University, but did not go on to work in the legal field.[15][25]" 

No, Zelenskyy took a detour and built a career in comedy and entertainment instead—including producing and starring in a very popular series entitled Servant of the People in which he played an "accidental" president of Ukraine! Amazingly, this fictional role turned out to be his launching pad for a real-life entrance into Ukrainian politics. 

On the one hand, we can see how politicians stuck in the past like Putin might not take an entertainer-turned-president seriously—the last time one of those was in charge  in an “enemy” nation (Reagan comes to mind), the Soviet Union dissolved into pieces! Since Putin’s disdain for Ukraine itself knows no bounds, how would we expect him to respect its leader? 

Perhaps by the time this conflict is resolved, Putin will need to rethink that position, whether he wants to or not.  


Triwheel #1. (inner wheel) Volodymyr Zelenskyy, January 25, 1978, 2:00 p.m. ST, Krijoj Rog, Dnep., Ukraine; (middle wheel) Secondary Progression, Solar Arc MC Methods, for March 3, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. GMT for Volodymyr Zelenskyy; (outer wheel); Ukraine invasion, February 21, 2022, 6:57 a.m. (dawn chart, no exact time known), Kiev, Ukraine.  

Notice that this crisis finds Zelenskyy smack in the middle of his “mid-life crisis” outer planetary transits: while still a few degrees from perfection, Invasion Uranus is transiting opposite his natal Uranus (Taurus-Scorpio), Invasion Neptune is still within orb of transiting square his natal Neptune (Pisces-Sagittarius) and he’s only recently (in the past few years) gotten beyond Pluto transiting square his natal Pluto (Capricorn-Libra).  So Life has been cracking him open, testing his integrity and mettle and dragging him through the fires of controversy and temptation (the corrupt "trick" in which former president Trump attempted to entangle him with his “perfect call” in 2019 comes to mind—Neptune exactly squared Zelensky’s Neptune at that time).   

In fact, a quick rundown of the cosmic “gauntlet” Zelenskyy’s had to run while in office is in order here: when he assumed the presidency on May 20, 2019, Saturn and Pluto conjoined each other in Capricorn and squared his Pluto Rx (Libra); Uranus conjoined his Chiron (Taurus) and squared his Sun-Venus (Aquarius), Neptune trined his Uranus (Pisces-Scorpio) and squared his Neptune (Sagittarius) and Pluto (Capricorn) trined/sextiled his Nodal Axis (Taurus-Scorpio). Which should tell us not only what this one young man is made of, but what his entire generation of leaders-in-waiting have been up against. IMHO, it’s not a moment too soon—the world needs this crisis-hardened generation to take the reins sooner, rather than later.  

But the challenges haven’t all been felt by Zelensky on the social or collective level: when Russia launched its invasion on February 21st, Saturn (Aquarius) exactly opposed Zelensky’s natal Moon and this axis grand-squared Invasion Uranus (Taurus) opposed to his natal 5th house Uranus. Invasion Uranus (Taurus) also squared his natal Sun-Venus conjunction (Aquarius). We haven’t heard him talk about the suffering his wife and children are experiencing, but clearly, he’s feeling the shock of violent peril as vividly as any of his people are. And yet, he surprised many observers by whole-heartedly embracing the responsibilities of leadership; however this turns out, his family can be very proud of his fortitude and dedication.  

Zelensky’s progressed chart provides another layer of insight into how he’s “arrived” at his present stature and maturity as a leader: he was born with his Sun (Aquarius) and Moon (Leo) in full phase; in October, 2020—about 16 months after assuming Ukraine’s presidency, his progressed Sun and Moon met up at 18°+Pisces to begin a new cycle. This progressed cycle point would have fallen conjunct Neptune (Pisces) and t-square the transiting Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius) of that time, so is it any wonder he’s been swept up in the winds of change and volatility? He took office during a relatively prosperous year in Ukraine’s economy, but just months later, the COVID epidemic caused a serious downturn, putting Ukraine’s economy into recession. And now this.  

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Zelenskyy’s progressed ASC is now in late Cancer, directly opposed by Invasion Pluto (Capricorn). Perhaps we can take heart that his Progressed MC and Venus are now conjunct in Aries and square his natal Jupiter (Gemini). Clearly this reflects what we’ve watched transpire in front of our eyes: a noble, brave-hearted warrior is coming of age. Let’s hope his Jupiter (which has turned direct by progression), will protect and reward his fight.  


 Final thoughts 

There’s so much more that could be said about the charts above, but this post has become overly long and I believe (or hope) I’ve captured the essential highlights. So, what’s next for not only Ukraine, but the rest of us who are holding our breath and trying to be of some help? 

For one thing, we might try tightening our belts and accepting the fact that a lot of commodities are going to be more expensive while this crisis gets sorted out. Maybe instead of grousing about prices and inflation we can help each other get through the pain the best we can. It’s quite possible we will get a first-hand look at what our parents and grandparents had to deal with during WWII—sacrifices were made for the sake of freedom and democracy then, and they’re being demanded again today. As I write this, both the U.S. House and Senate are debating how to best sanction Russia’s oil and gas industries—industries that have thus far escaped such actions. Happily, Senator Lisa Murkowki (R, Alaska) is spearheading that effort in the Senate, arguing that blocking Russian oil is “worth the sacrifice.” From Politico: 

“Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday called for the U.S. to stop imports of Russia oil to punish Moscow for the assault against Ukraine — even if it drives domestic energy prices higher. 

Targeting Russian energy is the ‘most significant’ tool left for the U.S. to deploy, the Alaska senator said in an interview, and given President Vladimir Putin’s dependence on oil and gas revenues, it’s ‘the one that can do the most immediate damage to Russia in halting their efforts.’ 

‘We are going to see price increases,’ Murkowski said. ‘Nobody wants to see that. And this is going to hurt. But we all need to recognize Europe is in the midst of a war with Russia now. Innocent people are dying, children are dying. We have not been in as volatile as a situation as anytime in my life. And so we are looking right now from a very short window.’” 

I find great reason for hope going forward in the fact that the average Russian citizen does not support what Putin is doing. We’ve seen thousands of protests break out across Russia, at great risk to the protestors’ safety and freedom, and while Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has been imprisoned by Putin, he is hardly silenced. From 

“LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has called on Russians to stage daily protests against Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, depicting President Vladimir Putin as an ‘obviously insane tsar.’ 

Navalny called for protests across the country and abroad to signal that not all Russians support the war and show solidarity with the thousands of people detained in anti-war protests in Russia since last week's invasion. 

‘We cannot wait even a day longer. Wherever you are. In Russia, Belarus or on the other side of the planet. Go out onto the main square of your city every weekday at 19.00 and at 14.00 at weekends and on holidays,’ he said in a statement published on Twitter by his spokesperson. 

Navalny said Russia wanted to be a nation of peace but few people would call it that now. 

‘Let’s at least not become a nation of frightened silent people. Of cowards who pretend not to notice the aggressive war against Ukraine unleashed by our obviously insane tsar,’ he said.” 

For their part and to the world’s edification, the Ukrainian people have certainly not been cowering in a corner; they’ve risen to the challenge in countless amazing ways.  NY Times opinion columnist, David Brooks puts this into perspective nicely:  

“The Ukrainians have been our instructors and inspirers. They’ve been the ordinary men and women in the Times video lining up to get weapons to defend their homeland. They’ve been the lady telling a Russian invader to put sunflower seeds in his pocket. They’ve been the thousands of Ukrainians who had been living comfortably abroad, who surged back into the country to risk death to defend their people and way of life. 

We owe them such a debt. They have reminded us not only what it looks like to believe in democracy, the liberal order and national honor but also to act bravely on behalf of these things.” 

May their efforts and sacrifices be rewarded with the continued blessings of strong leadership and an expeditious, peaceful resolution. May their brave martyrs rest in a Peace worthy of their sacrifices.  

Finally, if you’d like to help or are looking for new avenues of assistance, the NY Times has published a scrutinized list of charities and provided links to them here.  

Love and Light to all.  



[1] Philip Hallie, “Response to Jeffrey Burton Russell,” an essay collected in Facing Evil: Confronting the Dreadful Power Behind Genocide, Terrorism and Cruelty, eds. Paul Woodruff and Harry A. Wilmer, Open Court, Chicago and La Salle, IL, pp. 62-66. 

[2] Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK, 2004 ed., p. 326. 

[3] Ibid., Chart # 341, p. 326. 


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. For information about individual chart readings, contact: 

© Raye Robertson 2022. All rights reserved. 



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