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MAY 15

BRAZIL IN CRISIS

Brazil – it's the largest country in Latin America and the 5th largest on the planet by both size and population. It’s the home of the mighty Amazon basin and occupies just under half the entire continent of South America. The indigenous diversity of this giant forest canopy comprised 2000 tribes before European colonization. Now it's down to a tenth of that.

On March 9 1500 (OS) at noon Captain Pedro Alvarez Cabral set sail from Lisbon on the long trade haul to India. He first sailed due west and on the afternoon of April 22, around 16.30 hours, came to a new coastline near a mountain they christened Monte Pascoal. Four days later the crew held their first Christian mass on the mainland, having exchanged gifts with the numerous coastal tribes.

After a few days of exploring the vast shoreline, Cabral realized that he had discovered a massive continent rich in resources. On the 1st of May the crew built a giant wooden cross of 7 meters, claiming this territory for the Portuguese Empire. Cabral christened the new land, Island of the True Cross. Colonization began in 1534.

Today, Brazil has the world’s largest population of Roman Catholics. A thirty-meter statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks the capital of Rio with a mountain top view. And Brazil could use a savior. On the eve of the Rio Olympics, their President has been impeached and the country is mired in political scandal involving their biggest company Petrobras .

WHAT WENT WRONG

It wasn’t always this way. Brazil was one of the best performing countries economically from 2000 onward. Most of this growth was achieved from 2003 under the governments of Lula da Silva and his successor and trained economist Dilma Rousseff . Brazil, an important member of the BRICS financial union boasted the western hemisphere’s second largest economy.

President Rousseff was a hero in her homeland. She had endured years behind bars for fighting a guerilla warfare against a US backed coup d'état that deposed Brazilian President João Goulart on April 1 1964.The coup came after covert CIA support for street demonstrations and army back up. Declassified NSA documents reveal that US President Lyndon Johnson had concerns that Brazil was then becoming the ‘China of the 60’s’.

Brazilian President João Goulart was a union sympathizer, encouraging trade with communist countries whilst curtailing the profits of multi-nationals. The crunch came when he announced in a March 13 speech a plan to nationalize the oil refineries. In the early hours of April 2 1964 the Speaker of the House was sworn in (albeit illegally) as the new President and later replaced by General Humberto Branco.

Within two years foreign companies controlled half of Brazil’s industry and trade unions were banned. Worse was to come. The minimum wage plummeted accompanying the jailing of journalists and those who opposed the regime. But the coup also stirred a staunch nationalism among resistance fighters of which Dilma Rousseff was one. The Brazilian Workers Party became the largest left wing movement in South America and gained government on January 1 2003, led by charismatic President Lula da Silva.

THE GOLDEN YEARS

Lula transformed Brazil’s economy, paying down debt to the IMF and making his country one of the economic powerhouses of the 21st century. He was able to raise the living standards for most Brazilians and survived the 2008 GFC with minimal damage. On January 1 2011 having served two full terms, Lula was succeeded by Dilma Rousseff , his former chief of staff.

Rousseff was the first female president in Brazilian history. Her inauguration took place at 5 pm on New Years Day. Inauguration charts tell a lot about the future of the administration. Venus, the planet of values was squaring Neptune the planet of subterfuge and also oil. The Sun positioned at 11 degrees of Capricorn would by 2013 experience the disruptive and breakdown combination of Uranus and Pluto.

Just as they arrived, in March 2013, her personal approval rating was riding high at 79% and government at 63%. But by the 2014 elections Rousseff was struggling. She managed to score another term in the closest run election since the 1980’s. Her future impeachment was promised by her second inauguration horoscope as President.

She was sworn in with the Sun square Uranus and conjunct Pluto on January 1 2015. The first aspect completed would be the testing square of the leadership Sun, to the planet of sudden reversals, Uranus.

There was only a degree and a half in this meaning the square would play out in shortly under a year and a half based upon the time formula of a degree equaling a year. The Sun would then arrive at Pluto in a further six months. This would come to describe both the timing and length of her impeachment.

By mid 2015 Rousseff ’s approval rating had plummeted to single digit figures. The deceleration of the Chinese economy put a handbrake on Brazil. Further, an investigation into Brazil’s largest oil company, Petrobras , revealed systematic corruption involving government officials, whilst Rousseff served on the company’s board.

In a country with a contracting economy, millions took to the streets to protest. Although no wrongdoings were proved against Rousseff, as national leader she became the focus of the public’s wrath.

BRINGING DOWN THE PRESIDENT

Dilma Rousseff once ranked the third most powerful woman in the world, behind Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel.
On a Sunday evening at 23.10 hours on April 17 2016, Brazil’s parliamentary lower house secured the critical number of votes needed to impeach the President.

The Senate gave its approval on May 11 and the new leader, Michel Temer, was sworn in the next day at 11.30 am in Brasilia. The Sun position in this chart has a connection back to the original Portugese landing. One wonders whether there is not covert outside intervention.

The drastic measure to remove an elected head of state came as Brazil battles its worst recession in two decades. The national economy shrank almost 4% last year and currency devalued by 33%. This follows three consecutive years of the Brazilian stock market in the red by 18% in 2013, 6% in 2014 and 11% in 2015. Petrobras lost more than half its market capitalization in the last year.

While the Olympics are heading to Rio, Standard & Poor’s has slashed Brazil’s debt rating to one notch above junk status. Rousseff sees all of this as a coup by an opposition that failed to legitimately win the 2014 election. Is Brazil heading for another military government? One would hope not. But a clue lies in the national horoscope.

Brazil achieved its official independence from European rule at 4.30 pm on September 7 1822 at Iparanga. It’s a date celebrated each year across the country. But the current progressed Sun in this horoscope is heading for a conjunction with cathartic Pluto in their house of finance. The war planet of Mars has also come to Pluto. Click for the charts overlaid here.

The Mars Pluto conjunction is a fiery one, reflecting the wave of anger sweeping the country. It also suggests more military or police control. Or, as Rousseff protests – this is genuinely another coup. The one positive thing that competitive Mars represents is combative rivalry. Perhaps that is strangely appropriate in 2016 – the year that the Olympics arrive in Rio.

May 8

The headlines are screaming - it's coming soon. Another Australian federal election. This one's a biggie and this week's column looks at Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and his future prospects.

Malcolm Turnbull was born October 24 1954 in Sydney. In email correspondence, shortly after he was initially deposed as opposition leader, he confessed he didn’t know the birth time. And with both parents deceased he held little hope of finding it.

Turnbull’s birth Sun lies right at the Libra/Scorpio cusp and it would be fair to say he exhibits both characteristics. He mixes persuasive Libran charm, with steely Scorpio schemes. The Sun’s close proximity to chameleon Neptune, imparts an idealistic mystique, which has helped propel his political agenda.

Turnbull’s Sun is simultaneously square to militant Mars, ambitious Jupiter and independent Uranus. Although he leads the conservative Liberal Party, he is widely viewed as his own man. Judicial Jupiter, the kingmaker, has played a defining role in his triumphs, initially as a successful lawyer.

The get lucky combination of Jupiter and Uranus also represent cutting edge technology, and in square to his Sun would account for his love of the same. Investing init brought him a fortune. The Mars Uranus also shows his capacity for instantaneous action. In battle he strikes quickly and decisively – but not without plenty of forethought.

Retrograde Mercury moving toward conservative Saturn moderates Turnbull’s impulse. Underneath he is a thorough planner. He is also accustomed to sudden shifts in fortune. The first came when he was only nine years of age. It happened as his progressed Sun moved toward austere Saturn.

EARLY LOSS

Turnbull’s mother deserted the marriage, despite her son begging her to stay. She sold the family home, leaving a young Malcolm and his father in rented accommodation. His childhood is a far cry from his waterfront mansion on the foreshores of Sydney harbour. But Turnbull’s wealth was self-made.

Reminiscing, he comments, “My father and I went through times of great financial insecurity. We had a two-room flat. He was frugal.” Malcolm saw this necessary sacrifice as an essential for building financial independence. To do things he asserts, you need the brass.

He studied law at Sydney University before earning a Rhodes scholarship, completing a further law degree at Oxford. He had an initial fling at politics in 1981, standing for the blue ribbon seat of Wentworth, as his progressed Sun squared powerbroker Pluto. He was unsuccessful first time around.

THE DOTCOM FORTUNE

Although triumphant as a lawyer – he defeated the British government in the well-documented Spycatcher trial – he soon moved into investment banking, eventually becoming a managing director of Goldman Sachs. In between, in 1994, he invested a half million dollars into Australia’s first major ISP, Ozemail.

The year after that fateful investment his progressed Mercury, planet of communications came to meet his birth Venus, planet of values. His original investment capital multiplied many times over. Turnbull later sold his shares in 1999 for fifty seven million.

The same year he led the charge for an Australian Republic. He had his reasons. “First, I object to any office that is hereditary. And second, I object to the fact that the monarch must be a member of the Church of England and can only be married to a Protestant.” Both Turnbull and the man who placed him at the head the Republican movement, Paul Keating, are Catholics.

SECOND TIME AROUND

Turnbull seems to succeed a lot, second time around. He lost his first bid for political pre-selection in 1981. In February 2004 he recontested that battle and sealed it by winning the seat of Wentworth on October 9 the same year.

He lost his first bid for Liberal leadership to Brendan Nelson on November 29 2007. He carried it off with a second challenge on September 16 2008. A year later on December 1 2009, he was ousted by one vote by Tony Abbott in a shock result. He returned to depose Abbott on September 14 2015.

THE SWEARING IN

Turnbull achieved his ultimate ambition, to lead his country, when sworn in as Prime Minister, on September 15 2015 at 13.34 hours, in Canberra. The horoscope of this moment can be taken as the beginning of his tenure and studied for future developments.

It shows the sudden shock planet of Uranus at the base of the chart and opposing Mercury. The New Moon of April 7 2016 would spotlight this axis, falling on Uranus and promising something out of the ordinary. The month of April brought an unexpected sitting of botth houses of Australian parliament.

On the morning March 21 2016 Malcolm called a hasty press conference for 10.30 am. He addressed the media at 10.41 am, with what would amounted to a pre-emptive call for a double dissolution election on July 2. In what took political pundits by surprise, but not the astrology chart, parliament was to be recalled from April 18.

Turnbull had cocked the trigger. If the Senate refused to pass the Liberal's industrial reform package, the rebuttal would act as a prelude for an election. Turnbull’s call came at a significant astrological moment – the annual Aries ingress.

The theory goes that the moment that the Sun enters the tropical sign of Aries and begins a fresh cycle through the twelve signs, defines the starting moment of the astrological year. A chart set for that time, at any specific location, indicates the annual prospects for that area.

Although his media address came shortly after the Sun entered Aries, it remained in the opening degree of the sign. The charts of Turnbull’s swearing in as leader and the timing of his pre-emptive election bait, showed an important correlation.

The first-degree Aries Sun of his announcement was joined to the South Node of his swearing in chart. The North Node of his announcement was conjunct the Sun of his swearing in chart. The dual exchange of the Nodes and the respective Suns would play an important role. Click here for the chart overlay.

The Nodes are a literal measuring stick for eclipses. And the Sun represents the leader. Could Turnbull’s bold call eventually eclipse his leadership? His grab for absolute power – control of the upper and lower houses of parliament – would have to take place from an election beginning at 8 am on Saturday July 2.

On that day the Sun will be directly opposite the Sun position of Australia’s first ever federal government. It’s a huge risk. Little wonder the polls, once heavily weighted in Turnbull's favour, have now moved to almost neck and neck.

THE SHORTEN CONNECTION


One thing is for sure. Turnbull's 'official' Mother's Day election announcement at 14.31 (AEST) on May 8 in Canberra, comes during a Mercury retrograde period. It also comes right before his Labor opponent Bill Shorten's birthday. Shorten was born May 12 1967 with the Sun and Mercury together at 20 and 21 Taurus.

The Turnbull election timing comes as Shorten experiences the retro Mercury move across his Sun and shortly before the Sun also does the same. So the mercurial 'newsmaker' will actually be Bill Shorten. It was exactly ten years ago as a relative unknown union representative Shorten was thrust into the public spotlight via the Beaconsfield mining disaster in Tasmania.

In a miraculous escape the two trapped miners walked free at 5.58 am on May 9. In the preceding days Bill Shorten became a national identity. Again it was shortly before his birthday. On past evidence alone, Turnbull's election timing could hardly be more opportune for Bill Shorten. Check the election call chart with Bill Shorten's planets by clicking here.

May 1

With fears of a nuclear dirty bomb haunting Europe this week's column looks at the astrological history of the nuclear age.

SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME

It was during a regular morning walk on September 12 1933 in London that the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard first conceived the idea of a nuclear chain reaction. He patented the idea on March 30 1936 but asked the British government that it be kept secret, as he did not want the Germans to have access to knowledge that could create a nuclear weapon.

Leo Szilard was born February 11 1898 at 3 pm in Budapest and would become a key figure in the eventual manufacture of the first atomic bomb. Szilard’s birthchart shows intellectual Mercury conjunct military Mars and both on the cusp of his seventh house of – in his case – war. The same Mercury/Mars, using the technique of astromapping, would fall on the IC across Japan.

On December 17 1938, as the Sun transited the zodiacal degree of the massive black hole that is recognized as the Galactic Center, German biochemist Otto Hahn took another step along the nuclear road by achieving nuclear fission. Hahn’s discovery came in the looming shadows of World War Two. Just before the war began, Szilard then resident in America, paid a visit to the Long Island home of Albert Einstein.

THE INFLUENCE OF EINSTEIN

It was July 12 1939, upon a tight Grand Cross of Mars, Saturn, Pluto and the North Node. The purpose of Szilard’s pressing mission was to convince Einstein to sign a letter addressed to the US President Franklin Roosevelt, urging the development of a nuclear bomb. The planetary picture of the fateful day was appropriate. A Grand Cross of Mars, Saturn, Pluto and the Nodal Axis.

The definitive textbook CSI, defines Mars/Saturn/Pluto as “Brutality, the rage of fury of destruction. The intervening of Higher Power, bodily injury or harm, murder – the death of a great many people.” So it would be. The letter was finally put together on August 2 and given to the Jewish banker and Wall St economist Alfred Sachs, as Venus joined Pluto in the Grand Cross. Sachs had direct connections to the US President.

A meeting was convened with Sachs and Franklin Roosevelt for October 11 of 1939. By then Mars had moved to oppose the Pluto and Mercury had advanced to the Mars position of the original Szilard/Einstein meeting. This created another Grand Cross of Mars, Saturn and Pluto but with Mercury, the North Node and Venus together at one arm. Roosevelt went ahead with the idea, and it became known as the Manhattan Project.

The irony was that in July 1940 Einstein was denied a security clearance to work on the bomb. The reason? He was a judged to be a pacifist with leftist leanings. If protecting capitalism was the primary objective, then Einstein was a security risk on top-secret projects. Before the war was over the world’s greatest scientist would regret signing the letter. Leo Szilard had similar thoughts.

THE MANHATTEN PROJECT


The first meeting of scientists, in what was to become the Manhattan Project took place on December 18 1941, reportedly with ‘urgency and enthusiasm’. At 17.30 hours the same day F D Roosevelt signed in the War Powers Act. December 18 featured a New Moon conjunct Mercury, again at the degree of the Galactic Center, the Sun’s position when nuclear fission was first attained. Days before Japan had attacked Pearl Harbour and the US were officially at war.

The next big breakthrough came on December 2 1942 with the world’s first nuclear reactor at the University of Chicago. The moment of ‘criticality’ is recorded as 15.25 on December 2 1942. The operation was guided by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. Forty-nine scientists were present including Leo Szilard. It began at 9.54 am and when criticality was reached a coded message was sent to the President saying, “The Italian navigator has landed in the New World.”

The top secret Manhattan Project was accelerating. It would eventually consume $2 billion dollars of the national budget and involve over 120,000 Americans. An entire city was built for research at Oak Ridge Tennessee. In New Mexico the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory began operating under the stewardship of Robert Oppenheimer. He would gain the dubious title as the father of the nuclear bomb.

THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS

Oppenhemier was born May 22 1904 in New York. His Pluto – at 19 degrees of Gemini - was close to the US Mars of 21Gemini in the Independence horoscope of July 4 1776. When the first nuclear bomb was detonated at 05.29.51 on July 16 1945 (MWT) at the Trinity test site near Alomogordo, New Mexico, Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu god of destruction Shiva - "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

The planetary equivalent of Shiva is Pluto. If one is to use astromapping on the horoscope of the Trinity bomb, Pluto sets across Japan, where the bomb would be soon deployed. The chart of the successful explosion places Mars at 25 of Taurus, the degree of Algol; a lethal fixed star likened to ‘piled up corpses’ in oriental astrology. Saturn in Cancer comes to the USA’s Sun and Neptune in early Libra sits at their Midheaven and Mars trines their Pluto.

As WWII drew to a close, with Germany defeated and having failed to develop a nuclear weapon, Einstein and Szilard urged the US government against using the bomb. Ignoring their advice, at 08.16 am August 6 1945 the first uranium based nuclear bomb exploded across Hiroshima. At 11.01.47 on August 9, a second plutonium based bomb blasted Nagaski.

The combined immediate death toll was over 129,000 lives. They remain the only occasions nuclear weaponry has been deployed in war.

April 24

THE ROYAL WAVE GOODBYE

Upon the death of a famous person, people write eulogies. People who don’t know them well and often not at all. But people whose lives have been affected by their works. And in a world much maligned for its material focus, it’s not so unusual that artists should hold a special place in our hearts. Prince being the latest.

2016 could be remembered as the fatal year of music icons. David Bowie set the scene in the first fortnight. But whilst Bowie’s death was no surprise to his family and close acquaintances – he fought a losing battle with cancer – Prince’s demise shocked everyone when he was discovered unresponsive in his home elevator at 9.43 am last Thursday.

It happened with his Sun progressed to the planet of shock factor in Uranus and also as Saturn transited opposite his birth Sun. As the Sun is indicative of the heart and vitality, it might help explain his recent hospitalization and flu. But this article is not an astrological autopsy - rather a brief analysis of his character and life.

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER

According to a copy of the hospital birth certificate, obtained by an astro-colleague Frank Clifford, Prince was born Prince Roger Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7 1958 @ 06.17 hours. If there was anything prophetic in that title, it was his father’s stage name.

Prince was born with a Sun opposite Saturn the planet of structure and order. Both are considered primarily male symbols. He described his father in typical saturnine terms, as a very strict disciplinarian. John Lewis Nelson was a plasterer and also a jazz musician who played in a trio under the name of Prince Rogers.

The father was born June 29 1916 with the Sun and Moon in close proximity to concentrated and controlling Pluto. That would make for an emotional intensity that seems to have played out in his son’s upbringing. The younger Prince was booted out of home as a teenager when he was sprung with a girl in his bed.

Prince begged to return home but his father was unrelenting. Susan Rogers, an engineer on Prince’s Sign Of The Times album, talked of abuse during his childhood. In adult life, Prince would reach the musical heights that his father could only dream of.

His mother left the marriage when he was eight. He thought that she had deserted him and barely mentioned her in interviews. The potential for this dysfunctional family life is evident in his horoscope. Prince’s Moon lies at the foundational base of his chart, normally considered the home base. Yet the nurturing Moon opposes distant Pluto.

THE PLUTONIC MOON

Oppositions between the Moon and Pluto accompany intense and compulsive emotions usually connected to early life and the mother. John Lennon had the same precise Moon to Pluto opposition. He was another whose public fame may have been subliminally aided by the private feelings of abandonment from his mother, following his parents early separation. Lennon wrote about this in the haunting song ‘Mother’ opening with (plutonic) funeral bells.

In adult life the Moon can also represent the emotional face we show to the public and our sensitivity to that. Prince’s Moon, at the underside of his horoscope, would also indicate that he was a very private and emotionally intense individual, despite his public flamboyance. The control planet of Pluto is placed at the zenith of his chart, which often represents the perception of the public.

On stage Prince was in total control. He was the most captivating of performers. And yet control was also something he struggled with. His famous split with his recording company Warner Bros began in 1993, over the conflict of artistry and ownership. He would frequently talk of the artist’s work being owned and controlled by big business and thereafter advised young performers on the perils of signing recording contracts.

Pluto and his public Midheaven were both joined to the royal fixed star of Regulus. Therein lies the astrological irony of the name Prince, that he would make famous around the world. That fame began initially with the release of the album called Prince released on October 19 1979 and the sales of the single ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’. Successful Jupiter was passing across his Midheaven and Pluto.

JUPITER & SUCCESS

Prince was born with a retrograde Jupiter. It didn’t turn direct until around eleven to twelve years of age. The same age is when an individual experiences their Jupiter return transit. This planet of growth and life education also represents one’s philosophy on life. As Prince’s recording career was gaining traction, his progressed Jupiter, now back in direct motion had regained its birth position.

By 1982 he would experience his second Jupiter return and record the signature party track ‘1999’. By now his career was blasting into the stratosphere. Planetwise he would be experiencing some of the strongest transits possible. They would coincide with the release of the album and film ‘Purple Rain’. Sales would eventually top 20 million.

At the height of his fame, powerful Pluto would be favorably in sextile to itself as the planet of image and mystique, Neptune, was simultaneously in trine with his Midheaven and Pluto. Bountiful Jupiter had solar arced to his Ascendant. Not since the Beatles combination album/film ‘Hard Days Night’ had an artist achieved such cross media saturation. But the reality was that Prince didn’t own what was rated his greatest creation.

In 1993 as that reality sunk home, Saturn arrived at the base of his chart and linked with his Moon opposing Pluto. Prince would experience his own self-propelled separation. This wasn’t about mother and father – instead it was his parent music company. Performing with the word slave on his cheek, ‘the Artist Formerly Known as Prince’ divorced his record company. He saw out his contract but with minimal input.

FINDING HIS RELIGION

Prince was brought up a Seventh Day Adventist. But one of his closest musical buddies was the legendary bassist Larry Graham, himself famed for inventing the percussive slap technique that influenced bassists worldwide. If Larry wasn’t a father figure to Prince he was at the very least considered an elder brother.

Twelve years his senior, Prince’s Jupiter and Larry’s were identically placed. Jupiter is the planet of faith and philosophy, Prince eventually emulated Larry’s devotion to Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was reported canvassing his hometown of Minneapolis with copies of Watch Tower.

The public would be reminded of the Prince legend on the evening of February 4 2007, in the unlikely setting of the Miami Super Bowl final. Prince was scheduled to perform during the half time break. Mass media Pluto was heading into trine to both itself and his Midheaven. Before a nationwide television audience he gave a sensational live performance, closing out with Purple Rain in a literal downpour.

There will be no encore from 10.07 am April 21. Just memories, songs recalled and record companies making extra cash. And for those who lived the 80’s with MTV and grew up with Michael Jackson and Madonna, Prince will rank with them all. As a writer and brilliant multi-instrumentalist who could play every instrument on his albums, he was a rare talent indeed. Click here to view his horoscope arrival and departure.

APRIL 17

SIXTY MINUTES

At 7.30 pm on February 11 1979, Channel Nine debuted Sixty Minutes. It was a copy of the US current affairs program of the same name. Due to the smaller national audience, the Australian version was more international in concept and coverage. The first executive producer, Gerald Stone, remembered the advice of station owner Kerry Packer being, "I don't give a f... what it takes. Just do it and get it right." But sometimes the best laid plans...

The horoscope of the first broadcast shows a socially minded Aquarian Sun conjunct the reporting planet of Mercury with competitive Mars. One of the program's longest serving reporters is Tara Brown. Now a fifteen-year veteran, she’s now in her Saturn opposition phase stemming from her first appearance in 2001. Tara Brown’s Aquarian Venus and Mercury is conjunct Sixty Minutes Sun and Mercury, showing what a natural fit she is for the show.

THE BEST LAID PLANS

The April 7 New Moon, occurring with the jack-in-the-box Uranus, promised to deliver some shocks. It’s when best-laid plans go awry, and dubious ones are certain to. The New Moon fell right on Tara Brown’s birth Mars. Normally that would be a warning to think things through carefully. Especially if your own progressed Sun is currently in a difficult angle to Uranus. What happened on the day of that New Moon bore that philosophy out.

According to her published passport, Tara Brown was born on March 14 1968 in Sydney. Her Pisces Sun closely opposes penetrating Pluto. This skeptical aspect would certainly support investigative journalism. It is also prone to bring one in touch with powerful people likely to influence her destiny. For Tara, that regularly plays out in everyday interviews with the rich and famous.

EARLY SEPARATION

The Sun is also tightly opposed to Uranus, supporting sudden and unplanned changes in relationships, notably in her early life, and possibly in her mid to late forties. The Sun is generally considered as the father or masculine principle in a personal horoscope. Its dual opposition to cathartic Pluto and unstable Uranus also implies an unstable or possibly broken relationship.

Tara’s parents separated when she was nine. It was an experience she described as both abrupt (Uranus) and traumatic (Pluto). She hasn’t spoken to her father in forty years and doesn’t even know whether he is alive. More positive is her affectionate Venus joined to communicative Mercury in worldly Aquarius. It displays her passion for learning and information.

Brown loves all to do with communication. Her Mercury and Venus are opposed to idealistic Jupiter and also in a testing square to unclear Neptune. In relationship matters, she varies between high optimism and a certain sacrificial nature, which tends to balance the investigative cynicism of her Sun and Pluto opposition. It also shows empathy for the underdog.

Those she cares for would see more of the generous Jupiter and travel would play a big part of her life. Tara’s job entails spending as long as six months on the road. But her latest escapade has landed her in a Beirut jail. She was part of an alleged 60 minutes sponsored attempt to unite and return two children with their estranged Australian mother.

IN SEARCH OF A HEADLINE

After a custody battle in Australia, the father took the children back to Lebanon in 2015. Australian law favors custodial rights to the mother - Lebanon rules favor the father. Current affairs program ‘60 Minutes’, in search of a headline, allegedly funded the mother an exclusive fee of $115,000. She then allegedly hired a child recovery agency for a retrieval operation with the TV crew on location for the story.

But the audacious kidnapping plot went belly up and the headline became an unwanted one. It placed the mother and TV crew in the hands of the Lebanese courts and a hopefully sympathetic father. The timing for the clandestine operation could hardly have been worse. It took place around 7.30 am April 7 2016 in Beirut. CCTV footage shows the children being taken from their grandmother and bundled into a waiting car.

The horoscope of that act shows the approaching New Moon rising in the twelfth house, associated with self-undoing. This is also the house of incarceration for the same reason. This traditional astrological belief around self-undoing comes via the blinding rays of the rising Sun when placed in this house. They obscure any objective outlook and therefore actions have unintended consequences. It’s one reason for the battle tactic of attacking from the east, as the sun rises thereby blinding the enemy’s vision.

The Sun of the abduction chart squares powerful Pluto in the house of higher law and overseas dealings. The Sun is also inconjunct (a challenging angle) to judicious Jupiter, suggestive of the law being totally ignored or broken. The Sun’s only saving grace is that it is in an accommodating trine to Saturn, the planet of authority, tradition and judgment. To this end, the judge is encouraging a responsible compromise between both parents.

REVISITING THE PAST

In Tara Brown’s own chart the solar arc directed Pluto, has come to sesquisquare her Sun, presenting problems through powerful people. Their ‘story’ is an international incident. The Pluto impacting so, tends to bring back the buried trauma of separation as well. Tara’s adult entanglement involving a father refusing to separate from his children counterbalances her childhood experience of her own father leaving without a trace.

Brown is also a mother of two children. Her second son, Tom, was born at 11.07 am on December 12 2010 at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. His Jupiter sits right upon Tara’s Piscean Sun. That kind of connection is where the child inadvertently becomes the teacher of the parent. And currently the healing asteroid of Chiron is moving across both Tom’s Jupiter and Tara’s birth Sun.

As she awaits the court’s decisions she undoubtedly feels the disconnect. This critical experience will have a major impact on her family life versus career. She will re-evaluate future time spent way from home. Tara is born with what is termed a seesaw chart, a horoscope split into two distinct halves. It shows the need for a balancing of factors, an objectivity and developed sense of judgment.

This coming week, as the court weighs up its own inevitable judgments, there is little choice but to contemplate those consequences. A custodial battle when merged with the competitive world of lucrative TV ratings has delivered the headline they were hardly expecting. And it's proof that Kerry Packer's original 'whatever it takes' advice also comes at a high human cost.

April 10

SOMETHING ABOUT APRIL

If the entire history of the USA were condensed into one year, the third week in April would take up quite a space. It's a time when headlines seem to write themselves. Accidents either happen or are surreptitiously planned to. It’s also the annual period that the transiting Sun squares transformative planet of Pluto, planet of death and destruction, in the July 4 horoscope of the USA.

The first human headline was the daring midnight ride of Paul Revere to announce the British are coming. The next day of April 19 1775 witnessed the initial shots of Lexington beginning the American Revolutionary War and the birth of the new nation. Many years later April would host an even deadlier battle, the Civil War.

On the third week on April 15 Abraham Lincoln called on 75,000 volunteers to suppress a national insurrection. Four years later to the exact day, the same President was assassinated. Lincoln’s funeral of April 19 marked the 90th anniversary of Patriot’s Day. Even America’s first imperial war against Spain began in earnest with a blockade of Cuban ports beginning the third week of April 1898.

HOMELAND FIREWORKS & EMBASSY LOSS

The period around Patriot’s Day features homeland fireworks well above average. On April 19 1993, the FBI siege and subsequent burning of the Branch Davidian compound, inspired dissident veteran Timothy McVeigh to carry out the Oklahoma City bombing, exactly two years later. School massacres such as Columbine and Virginia Tech took place in the third week of April.

The April 15th 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon put the city in lockdown until the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the 19th. US involvement in Middle East politics incited the bombing of the US Embassy the day before Patriot’s Day in 1983. Although the day is commemorated for eventual military victories, it has also produced notable losses.

Kennedy’s ill-conceived Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion took place from April 17 1961. On April 15 1969 North Korea shot down a US spy plane with thirty-one lives lost. President Nixon raised the nuclear option but his military advised against it. On April 19 1989 a gun turret mysteriously exploded on the USS Iowa killing forty-seven sailors.

But the plethora of fireworks is not confined to military encounters or human intervention. Natural disasters such as the San Francisco Earthquake of April 18 1906, the Great Texas Fire of April 16 1947 and the ecological disaster that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon undersea oilrig on April 20 2010, all fit the time window. In 2013 a deadly fertilizer fire ripped through West, Texas.

THE MYSTERIOUS CORRELATION

For the more superstitiously minded it may appear that the ghosts of Paul Revere, Abraham Lincoln and those first shots of war still haunt American history. To the scientifically minded these recurrent dates constitute a freaky correlation of similar incidents.

The astrological connection would date back to Lexington and the positioning of Pluto in late Capricorn, squared by the Sun and in trine to fiery Mars. Pluto remained there for the formation of the USA on July 4 1776. The Sun will always square that position in the third week of April each year.

Will the third week of April again deliver a shock headline – like the sinking of the Titanic? Should we look to the 2016 developments of the South China Sea, and the growing rivalry between the US and China? It was on April 17 1895 when First Sino-War ended, with China conceding Korea, Taiwan and other islands to Japan.

Closer to home the New York primaries are due April 19. They will go a long way toward deciding who governs the US into 2020 and the direction the country takes. Thankfully no other planets are backing up the Sun's difficult square to Pluto. But even if the third week produces little, it will echo through the memories of the many. Too much has happened for it not to.

April 3

WHEN THE CLOCK TICKED 9.11

When the last of the Brussel’s terrorist bombs exploded at Maalbek metro station at precisely 9.11 am, the symbolism could hardly have been more obvious. Since September 11 2001 that number has taken on a whole meaning for the sworn enemies of western globalism.

The organized assault on the US embassy at Benghazi took place on the eleventh anniversary of September 11. The coordinated London metro bombings of July 7 2005 happened at the time of 8.49 am. But another way of reading that is 11 minutes to 9.

The days between September 11 2001 and the March 11 2004 Madrid train attacks numbered exactly 911. That’s why when the pro US Spanish government tried to place the blame on Basque separatists rather than Islamic extremists, they were thrown out of office in an election three days later.

Was there a symbolism is the selection of September 11 for the aerial attacks on New York and the Pentagon that have so changed our world? The late author Christopher Hitchens thought that was the case. He claimed it was connected to the Battle Of Vienna, which also altered the course of European history.

THE BATTLES OF VIENNA & ZENTA

The classic conflict took place on September 11 and 12 1683, following a two-month siege of Vienna by the Ottomans. The decisive battle was fought at Kahlenberg Mountain on the outskirts of the city, pitting the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nations against the invading Ottoman Empire.

From 6 pm on the 12th of September a massive cavalry of eighteen thousand horsemen, led by the Polish King John III Sobieski, charged down the mountain hills, routing the Turkish army. The two-month siege of the fortified city was lifted.

The further decimation of the Ottomans occurred again on September 11 fourteen years later. This time their forces were routed in the Battle of Zenta (in modern Serbia), occasioning a loss off 30,000 Ottoman lives to a mere 300. This comprehensive Christian victory by the Hapsburg Imperial forces thereafter left Europe free of Islamic occupation.

As tempting as this reasoning appears, it is not the only connection to September 11. The same date has been important in the history of the USA concerning both New York and the Pentagon.

NEW YORK AND THE PENTAGON

New York is the financial hub of the world. It began as a trading post for the Dutch East India Company, the first public company to issue stock shares. Henry Hudson, the man most connected with the early explorations of New York, was employed by this company to find an easterly passage to Asia. On September 11 1609 Hudson sailed into the Upper Bay of what would become the Port of New York and New Jersey.

On that day as Hudson and his crew explored Manhattan Island, they could have scarcely imagined the import of their venture. European migration would soon displace the indigenous population. Centuries later Manhattan would host Wall St, The Twin Towers and the United Nations and be the center of world trade.

Further on September 11 in 1789 George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton was the founder of the US financial system and conceived the plan of selling US bonds to eager overseas buyers, underpinning the security and growth of the fledgling nation. September 11 also has a military connection.

On September 11 1941 the groundbreaking ceremony took place for the new headquarters of the US Defense Department. The five-sided Pentagon was the largest office building in the world, with over seventeen miles of corridors, accommodating twenty three thousand employees. On it’s sixtieth anniversary the Pentagon was under attack, along with New York.

THE SYMBOLISM OF FOUR

There is another prevalent pattern in many of the Islamic extremist attacks. It’s connected to the number four. There were four planes involved in 911, four separate bombs went off in Madrid and there were four bombs in London. Brussels experienced three as the fourth failed to explode. But 911 was not the only time that four international jets had been simultaneously hijacked.

One of the stranger anomalies of the mainstream reporting of September 11 was complete omission of the 1970 Dawson Field plane hijackings. They didn’t rate a mention in the popular press, known for comparing parallel events. This was the synchronized hijacking of four international passenger jets by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, desperate to gain publicity for their political cause.

In all three hundred and ten hostages were flown to Dawson’s Field in Jordan. What followed were tense days of negotiation between western governments and the hijackers. On September 11 1970, an eerily prescient order was given. US President Nixon commanded one hundred federal agents to begin working as sky marshals on US flights.

While the US and Israel refused to negotiate for hostage’s lives, the UK did. The majority of passengers and pilots were released on September 11 1970 and transferred to Amman. The terrorists detained fifty-six Israelis to further bargain for political prisoners in Israeli jails. Only one person was killed in the hijacking and he was one of the hijackers.

Twelve years later September 11 would again bring Israel and the PLO into a deadly one-sided massacre. It was on this date in 1982 that the United Nations Security forces, that had been guaranteeing the safety of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, evacuated Beirut. Israel defense forces moved in five days later along with the Lebanese Christian militia. Thousands would be slaughtered in the now infamous Sabra and Shatila massacre.

The symbolism of the September 11 has a recurring role to play on many levels and not only religious based. It is why when a construction crane collapsed on September 11 last year at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 111 and injuring 394 others, King Salman banned all officials from the Saudi Binladin group from leaving the country.

Today the numbers 911 appear self-perpetuating. It doesn't have to be. There is a cruel irony to September 11 dating back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. On that day leaders of all faiths, East and West, came together for the first time in a meeting called the Parliament of Religions with a mission to create an interfaith dialogue. It continues today. Just needs a few more people to be listening.

March 27

PAKISTAN AND THE LUNAR ECLIPSE

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and home to over one hundred and eighty million people. It is also the planet’s second largest Muslim nation. But until the Lunar Eclipse of March 24 1940, it was just a dream. That all changed when the All-India Muslim League held an historic meeting from 3 pm on March 22 in Lahore.

The three-day gathering, now known as the Lahore Resolution, was originally a call for the creation of independent Muslim states in northern India. Instead it evolved into a commitment toward a new nation. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, considered the father of the country and Pakistan’s first Governor General was the driving force.

The Lahore resolution was adopted on Sunday March 24 1940, the date of a Lunar Eclipse at 3 degrees of Libra. Symbolically, the full moon eclipse represents the maximum separation and opposition of the Moon and the Sun. It is an important ‘relationship’ aspect. It will bring matters to fulfillment, even allowing for its obviously polarized differences.

POLARITY AND OPPOSITION

While the eclipse was forming in the heavens, similar thoughts were taking place at ground level in Lahore. Jinnah reasoned that the religious and cultural differences of a proposed united Indian independent state would prove irreconcilable.

“Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs and literature.... It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes”, he claimed.

Jinnah argued that the Muslim minority would not have a political voice in a predominantly Hindu nation. “To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.”

The British eventually agreed and partitioned India. The division created the largest mass migration in human history and occasioned 500,000 deaths due to retributive genocide between the respective religions.

Pakistan achieved independence when Muhammad al-Jinnah was sworn in as Governor-General at approximately 09.15 hours on August 14 1947, now a designated national holiday. The official transfer of power for the two states took place from midnight leading into the 15th, also recognized as the birth of modern India.

Astrologically, the Sun was at the 21st degree of the fixed sign Leo. The Sun was in a similar degree of a fixed sign for the original Indian rebellion of May 10 1857, which led to the breakup of the East India Company and the beginning of a new administration known as the British Raj. The rebellion took place with the Sun at 20 of Taurus, square to the eventual independence Leo degree.

The area of 20 degrees of fixed signs is an important one to note when it comes to sovereignty issues regarding both India and/or Pakistan. That makes calendar dates around the middle of February, May, August and November in any given year more sensitive to these issues. But getting back to Pakistan and the divisive lunar eclipse.

THE MARCH ECLIPSE

The degrees highlighted by the March 24 Lunar Eclipse that signaled the national foundation movement would prove to be significant in the subsequent history of Pakistan. On March 23 1951 there was another Lunar Eclipse in the same position. It would time the month of the Rawalpindi conspiracy, the first military threat designed to overturn the elected government.

The coup, involving eleven military officers and four civilians was busted on March 9. After a long trial the conspirators were jailed. But the leader, General Akbar Khan, along with his defense lawyer would later play a major role in Pakistan politics. Later that year Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated in Rawalpindi.

Rawalpindi had for years been the center of the British Northern Command. Following the partition of India it became the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army and remains so today. For half of its history Pakistan has been run by military regimes from Rawalpindi. It was also scene of another unsolved political assassination of a Prime Minister.

BHUTTO AND THE MARCH ECLIPSE

Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister, twice elected Benazir Bhutto, was gunned down when returning home to run against the military rule of President Pervez Musharraf in December 2007. Although her death didn’t tie in with a Libran Lunar eclipse, her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s death certainly did. He met his fate under the Libran lunar eclipse of March 24 1978.

Bhutto, a socialist leader, had initiated Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, claiming it was the only guarantee of national sovereignty. During his earlier years as foreign minister, Bhutto had also formed diplomatic ties with China during the days when they were shunned by the west. Lyndon Johnson even wrote to the Pakistan leaders to replace Bhutto.

Bhutto was eventually removed as Prime Minister, by a military coup on July 5 1977. Then, less than a week before the March 24 1978 lunar eclipse, Bhutto was sentenced to hang on speculative charges that he had arranged the murder of a political opponent. The March lunar eclipse was again timing a change in the established order and the remainder of the Bhutto family fled Pakistan.

The new leader, General Zia-ul-Haq, cemented close ties with the USA and the Afghan mujahedin. The nuclear program was placed under the command of Major-General Akbar, the man who had engineered the coup against the first Pakistan Prime Minister. But Zia-ul-Haq, along with the US ambassador and the chief of the U.S. military mission in Pakistan died in a mysterious plane crash, shortly after 4.30 pm on August 17 1988.

That ‘accident’ happened close after Pakistan’s independence day. Today General Zia-ul-Haq’s name has been removed from the Pakistan constitution. But his conservative Muslim party would return with the election of the now billionaire businessman Nawaz Sharif.

NAWAZ SHARIF AND THE ECLIPSE CONNECTION

The next lunar eclipse at the beginning of Libra took place on March 24 1997. A month before Nawaz Sharif had been elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, for a second term. He is now back in office for an unprecedented third term.

But not before being abruptly removed by another military coup conducted by General Pervez Musharraf on October 12 1999. Which brings us to the upcoming lunar eclipse of March 23 2016 and further national division.

The General is currently on trial, facing charges related to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi and treason. He is the first military leader of Pakistan to face such a trial. Last Friday the Pakistan Supreme Court granted General Musharaf permission to leave the country to obtain specialized medical treatment for a spinal complaint.

The government allowing Musharaf to travel has created a public furor. There are doubts whether he will return. Newspapers are ablaze with criticisms of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. They claim his acquiesence in bowing to the military is further weakening democracy. On the historical record of this March 23 lunar eclipse he couldn’t have picked a worse time.

There is no doubting this date continually triggers important political change to Pakistan. Even the Pakistan Republic was declared on March 23 1956. All of which says that it's time to keep a closer eye on Pakistan politics in 2016. The eclipse casts a challenging angle to the horoscopes of both the Pakistan Republic and PM Nawaz Sharif. More on this later.

March 13

A TIME FOR CHOOSING

At 10.15 on October 12 1964 the cameras rolled in an LA studio. It was 'take one' with a Hollywood actor delivering a carefully scripted speech on the set of a political rally. A live audience was arranged to add a further touch of realism. When the speech wound up a half hour later the actor was given a standing ovation from the placard wielding faithful. There was a catch to this.

The oratory had been rehearsed and delivered many times. The Republican campaign of Barry Goldwater had decided to videotape the speech and use it in their presidential election campaign against Democrat incumbent Lyndon Johnson. Goldwater’s people purchased prime time on NBC for a nationwide screening.

At 9.30 pm Eastern Standard Time, on October 27 1964 “A Time For Choosing” was broadcast. It was an emotional stump style speech on US values. The speaker referred to Moses leading the Israelites to freedom, Jesus choosing to carry his Cross, and the patriotic heroes of Concord. It challenged the listener to accept their ‘rendezvous with destiny’, or elect a thousand years of darkness. The speaker was Ronald Reagan.

Republican Goldwater was soundly defeated in the 1964 election but Reagan’s speech went down a treat in Republican circles. He was asked to enter the real world of politics. As a result at the highly unusual time of 12.10 am on January 2 1967 in Sacramento, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the Governor of California. So began his stellar political career, which would eventually take him all the way to the Oval Office.

A STELLAR CAREER

Reagan’s career was stellar in more ways than one. When questioned about the bizarre swearing in time; inaugurations are traditionally a midday affair; he brushed it off. But an investigating sociologist, Professor Marcello Truzzi, had collected enough evidence to confirm Reagans' interest in astrology. He was convinced that the decision was made six weeks earlier, under the guidance of Carroll Righter, Hollywood’s astrologer to the stars.

Righter was famous enough to be featured on the front cover of the March 21 1969 edition of Time magazine. His horoscope for Reagan’s swearing in as governor displayed a powerful planetary pattern of beneficial sextiles and trines involving six celestial points. The Cancer Midheaven ruler of the Moon, is in exact trine to popular Venus, which tends to confirm the astro-logic of the elected time.

Righter was also a personal friend. Like Reagan, he was a fellow Aquarian with their Suns conjunct. Whether by design or accident Righter’s original swearing in chart for Reagan’s governorship of California would brilliantly progress to early 1980/81 bringing the Sun to popular Venus and in trine to the public Moon. This neatly timed Reagan’s ascendancy to US President, although it could hardly have been imagined at the time.

STRATEGIC DENIALS

When questioned, late in his presidency about the use of astrology, Reagan again denied it, but refused to criticize the subject. But by then it was hardly a state secret. At least four authoritative texts claim that the December 8 1987 INF Treaty with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was signed at 13.45 hours, based on astrological advice. When security adviser Colin Powell was questioned, by a fellow staffer, as to why the President insisted on this time his answer was, “you don’t want to know.”

The nuclear treaty coincidentally has the peace planet Venus as the most elevated in the horoscope and right on the leadership Midheaven. The other benefic Jupiter is at the Ascendant, in the Sun’s exaltation degree also and fielding a supportive trine by the Sun, which it rules. This treaty was one of the high points of Reagan’s tenure. It resulted in the destruction of 2692 nuclear weapons.

Any remaining doubt about the Reagan’s astrological beliefs was removed on May 8 1987, when his former Chief of Staff, Donald Regan, published his controversial autobiography, ‘For the Record’. The book unveils what is described as “probably the most closely guarded domestic secret of the Reagan’s White House.” It was an astrological calendar indicating good, bad and indifferent days.

He claimed that astrological timing dictated summit meetings, important debates, treaties and even transport on Air Force One. Regan claimed, "Virtually every major move and decision the Reagan’s made during my time as White House chief of staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise."

JOAN QUIGLEY

The lady in question was Joan Quigley. She was consulted following a fellow astrologer’s warning that March 30 1981 was a dangerous day for the President. Retrograde Jupiter, his Ascendant ruler, was squaring his Mars. It was also the day of a potentially violent Sun Mars conjunction. That day Reagan’s life was spared when surgeons removed an assassin’s bullet, which had lodged inches from his heart.

Following the assassination attempt, Nancy Regan purportedly hired Quigley. Not only to choose propitious times but also to warn of the dangerous ones. She was even invited to presidential banquets. Two years after Reagan left office, in 1990, the astrologer wrote her own book titled “What Does Joan Say? My Seven Years as White House Astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan”.

All of this has become news again with the passing last week of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Aged ninety-four, she was the last remaining survivor of the astrological menagerie. Nancy was open in her personal interest in astrology. But in honour of her husband’s memory and probably to defer any criticism, she refused to acknowledge that astrological timing played such a major role in his presidency. Evidence would suggest otherwise.

Reagan's first speech, which he later recognised as the turning point of his career, had a prophetic title in the light of what we now know. The 'times for choosing' played a dominant role in shaping a presidency that ultimately changed the political balance of the entire world.

Afterthought

Perhaps Donald Trump should have looked closer at his own astro-timing for his campaign launch. He chose a New Moon conjunct Mars and they were smack bang on the USA's Mars. Last week he had to cancel a Chicago address for fear of violence erupting. That's certainly Mars stuff. Right now transiting Mars has reached the nadir of his June 16 2015 launch in New York at 11.21 am. This week the Sun will also square the launch chart's New Moon with Mars. It's a dangerous horoscope and it's not about cool off in a hurry.

March 6

LIGHTS GO OUT IN SYRIA

On March 9 2016 @ 01.58.19 UT a Solar Eclipse will reach totality. It will cross Indonesia, be visible in Malaysia, Guam and across the wide Pacific to Hawaii. The same eclipse is a Supermoon, associated with weather extremes and natural disasters. Last Wednesday a 7.8 undersea earthquake struck near Padang Indonesia, thankfully well clear of populated areas.

The degrees of this March eclipse has more to do with mining disasters historically than earthquakes, but it also occurs close to the dates of two of the biggest stories of the 21st century. The March 11 Japanese tsunami that triggered the Fukushima meltdown and also the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

The renergising of these degrees and events may shed a new light on these events. But in looking to the predictive potential of the eclipse, Syria, the first modern Arab kingdom, looms large. The eclipse degree of 19 Pisces will highlight a degree area intimately connected to the history of modern Syria.

Is it an omen that the eclipsing of the Sun’s light was also preceded by a national blackout as the countries grid went down from 13.00 hours last Thursday? When the lights go out across the land, is it a time to be afraid? The people of Syria are now used to living with the fear of tomorrow.

FIRST MODERN ARAB STATE

It was on March 8 1920 that Syria became the first self-proclaimed Arab nation, following the WWI defeat of the Ottoman Empire. On that day Faisal the first was crowned king. Arab independence was short-lived. The Allied powers San-Remo Conference, of April that year, gave the Syrian mandate over to France.

After a brief battle, in which 400 Syrian nationalists were killed, Faisal surrendered his crown to the French military on July 25 1920. The British would eventually give Faisal a new royal role. On August 23 1921 at sunrise he was made King of Iraq instead. The Iraqi mandate was now in British hands. Meantime Syria battled France for their independence.

In July of 1933 Faisal made a special trip to London to protest increased Jewish immigration into Palestine. On September 8 that year –the opposite calendar date of March 8 - he would mysteriously die at the young age of 48 in Berne Switzerland. Although his private nurse reported signs of arsenic poisoning, and Faisal had complained of stomach pains, the official cause of death was a heart attack. In keeping with custom, there was no autopsy performed.

THE SYRIAN REVOLUTION

March 8 of 1963 brought new political change to Syria. It came in the form of a coup d'état, commemorated each year as the March Revolution. The movement came through a middle class uprising, supported by the lower social strata, overthrowing the elitist oligarchies. It brought to power the socialist Ba-athist Party, and indirectly led to the ascendancy of the al-Assad family.

On March 7 2011, on the eve the anniversary of the coup, thirteen Syrian political prisoners began a hunger strike. They were demanding an end to 48 years of emergency law and a restitution of civil rights. The protests escalated just like the Japanese tsunami that struck four days later. By mid-March the protests were becoming increasingly violent along with the government’s reaction.

It’s interesting to compare Syria’s Arab Spring with the Kingdom of Bahrain, where the US 5th Fleet is stationed. Bahrain has had the same Prime Minister since Black Sabbath released their first album and Paul McCartney announced he was leaving the Beatles. Bahrain immediately brought in the military, crushed the democracy protests and declared a state of emergency. Al-Assad lifted Syria’s state of emergency laws and suffered the consequence.

ENTER THE 2016 SOLAR ECLIPSE

A Solar Eclipse on March 9, so close to Syria’s anniversary date, is significant for the leadership. Especially considering the West and their Gulf states desperately want Bashar al-Assad out of the picture.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has told CNN that Syrian President Assad must be removed “by force” if a diplomatic solution fails. The end game is a new leader who will be a willing participant in proposed economic collaboration; particularly on the Qatar/Turkey pipeline plans.

Bashar al-Assad was born September 11 1965 in Damascus. His Virgo Sun is positioned with independent Uranus and probing Pluto. This combination is by nature revolutionary, the breaking down of an old structure and the erection of the new. His own chart mirrors his current political reality.

The reigning eclipse cycle began to activate his Sun/Uranus/Pluto from September 13 2015 just before Russia entered the war. That eclipse fell near his birth Sun. What followed was beneficial Jupiter also moving to al-Assad’s birth Sun by November 2015.

Russia’s military clout has enabled the government forces to turn the tables against the rebel mercenary forces for regime change. Jupiter has remained stationed in the same area as simultaneously the healing asteroid of Chiron has moved into opposition with al-Assad's birth Sun. All of this led to a brokered cease fire between the US and Russia from midnight February 27 2016.

OMENS OF CHANGE

The March 9 eclipse opposes Jupiter. Eclipses were an unwelcome omen to the kings of ancient Mesopotamia. Except if they occurred with Jupiter. In R. C. Thompson's Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon he wrote, ‘Jupiter stood in the eclipse, it portends peace for the king, his name will be honorable’.

The current eclipse opposes al-Assad’s Sun and also represents the Gulf state royals rabid opposition. Babylonians also took notice of what they considered omens. They would amount to unusual occurrences that held a symbolic message.

The electrical outage of Syria would be considered a modern omen. Its interpretation, along with the following eclipse, would seem important given that the eclipse is occurring so close to a date that stands out in the national history for leadership change. And also the history of the struggle for Arab autonomy and nationalism.

Feb 28

THE ONE HUNDRED MILLION GAMBLE

It was the one hundred million dollar big bet that failed. At 20.43 hours on February 20 in Columbia, South Carolina, Republican Jeb Bush suspended his presidential campaign. He was the original front-runner, when he announced his candidacy at 16.07 hours on June 14 in Miami, Florida. But Bush’s supremacy lasted barely a day.

On June 16 at 11.21 am in New York, Donald Trump weighed into the race. He would be Bush's greatest handicap. Since that moment Bush has been on a defensive back foot and Trump dominated the headlines, whether they involved making America great or making American’s grate.

Astrologically speaking, the timing of any enterprise holds the key to its outcome. That’s why the advice of astrologers was once sought for inaugurating a building or starting a battle. Two of the old world’s great cities bear witness to this tradition.

The Roman Emperor Constantine arranged the opening of Constantinople via his astrologer Valens for May 11 330 AD. Likewise Caliph al-Mansur had his court astrologer, Nawbakht, with help from the Jewish astrologer Masha’allah, time the founding of Baghdad as a proposed capital of the Islamic empire, on July 31 762 AD.

A TALE OF TWO CAMPAIGNS

Although less than two days apart, the Jeb Bush campaign and the succeeding Trump launch display defining differences. It’s enough to make one believe that Trump employed his own astrologer. But the same evidence would suggest that Bush most certainly did not. Everything was wrong from the start.

Jeb began his bid in a closing Moon phase. That suits winding down, not starting up. The Moon was positioned in the second degree of Gemini and in a close opposition to obstructionist Saturn. The Moon’s next aspect would be a conjunction with Mercury. It may have been helpful with media, if it wasn’t also positioned in a difficult semisquare to sudden surprise Uranus.

Finally the Moon would come into square with dissipating Neptune. Progressing Bush’s launch chart to it’s final disappointing demise, shows the Moon has just completed the progressed square to sacrificial Neptune. It was an inglorious end to an expensive experiment that never really got off the ground.

Bush’s biggest problem, he envisioned as his greatest strength – the family name. His birthchart, Feb 11 1953 @ 8.50 pm in Midland Texas, clearly shows the predominance of that outside influence. In World Predictions 2016 I wrote about the difficult legacy of the Bush surname, which I felt was aptly shown via his close Sun to Pluto opposition. It’s like dealing with forces beyond one’s control.

I had also noted that his progressing Midheaven would be moving over Pluto. That's a make or break aspect, indicative of total career transformation. On February 20 Bush’s progressed Midheaven was bang on the progressed Pluto with not a minute of arc to spare. And like the black hole that Pluto can be, it swallowed up his lofty ambitions the same day.

THE TRUMP TIMING

Donald Trump maintains his momentum leading into the Republican Super Tuesday primaries. His campaign had Mercury the newsmaker in media driven Gemini and elevated to the Midheaven. He is inevitably a headline waiting to happen.

Mercury had moved away from the opposition from a retrograding Saturn, which had transferred back into Scorpio. Conversational Mercury rules both the Ascendant and Midheaven of Trump’s launch. The Donald made his announcement bang on the New Moon in Gemini.

The Sun and Moon are joined to acerbic Mars. Trump concentrates on the issues of public frustration and anger, he thrives in the battle, he turns the campaign into an all in dogfight. Trump’s rambunctious approach, tailored down to his flaming red hair are all fittingly associated with the aggressive warlord Mars.

If there is a weakness in Trump’s campaign chart, it lies with Neptune setting at the Descendant. What this suggests is a lack of support, even an undermining, from those who would be partners. It’s indicative of the opposition within the Republican Party establishment. That’s little wonder as he also represents the biggest challenge the party has faced from within their own ranks.

REPUBLICAN CRISES AND NEPTUNE

The meeting that led to the foundation of the Republican Party took place on Tuesday evening February 28 1854, in a small school hall in Ripon, Wisconsin. A second meeting on March 20 from 6.30 pm confirmed the formation of the new political party. Both charts are useful when mapping the future of the Republicans.

The original February 28 horoscope shows a compassionate Piscean Sun and Venus with empathetic Neptune in opposition to angry Mars. It is descriptive of the original anti-slavery breakaway movement proposed by former Whig Party member Alvan Bovay, that underpinned their early policies. This chart works!

Every time that Neptune has thrown a hard aspect to the Sun/Venus of the February 28 formation chart, the party has faced a crisis. Back in 1893, as Neptune came to it's first square, the former Democrat President Grover Cleveland won back leadership against Republican Benjamin Harrison. It was the most decisive win in twenty years – 277 electoral votes to 145.

Neptune's opposition to the Sun by 1933 would usher in twenty years of ongoing Democrat dominance, triggered by the Great Depression and the record run of F. D. Roosevelt. The Neptune square of 1974 saw Republican Richard Nixon become the first US President to resign in disgrace. This time around, the Republican horoscope is due for its Neptune return.

TRUMP AND NEPTUNE

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16 last year, Neptune was reaching the Sun/Venus of the Republican formation horoscope. Neptune was moving retrograde at the time and is only now coming back to the position it occupied in June 2015.

It has already coincided with Bush throwing in the towel. Neptune’s return to the position it held when Trump launched his campaign will now coincide with the Super Tuesday primaries. They will go a long way to determining the final nominee, formalized at the next Republican convention.

The convention begins on Monday July 18 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. On that morning, the Sun will be positioned sesquisquare to both Saturn and Neptune. This aspect formation is called the quadriform. But perhaps the name Thor’s Hammer bestowed by astrologer Linda Reid, is more descriptive.

The only event that comes to mind featuring the rare Thor’s Hammer aspect with the Sun as the apex planet to both Saturn and Neptune in square was the ill-fated ‘Operation Eagle Claw’. That was an aborted attempt to rescue Iranian hostages during the Carter presidency.

It crashed and burned, damaging the national image and costing Carter any hope of retaining his position. Watch this year’s Republican convention! It should be the unexpected fiery start of the party's reformation. But not without 2016 being the year of another major party crisis!

FEB 21

SHORT MEMORY

An energy pipeline is planned to stretch over 1200 kilometres, from the rich fields of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia all the way to the Mediterranean. One problem! The Syrians are reluctant to come on board, stifling a financial bonanza. A US sponsored military coup is organized to overthrow the elected government of Syria. Does this sound vaguely familiar?

It actually it happened – back in 1949. The name Shukri al-Quwatli is unknown to most westerners. He was the first democratically elected President of an independent Syria. Originally sentenced to death by the French, who ran the country from 1920, Al-Quwatli lived in exile until returning as leader and proclaiming Syrian independence on April 17 1946.

On March 29 1949, the President was arrested in his pyjamas, in the days when a CIA coup was a real CIA coup. Resistance against the proposed pipeline and Al-Quwatli’s opposition to Zionism and western recognition of Israel sealed his fate. The new leader, General Husni al-Za’im, was immediately acknowledged by the US, with the UK and France fast following. The former leader was exiled to Egypt.

DESTROYING DEMOCRACY

The coup destroyed the fragile Syrian democracy. The General reversed foreign policy. He signed an armistice with Israel on July 20, and promised to resettle 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria. He gave the go ahead for the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, a joint operation between what are now Exxon, Chevron and Texaco. From 1950, for the next twenty-six years, Saudi oil would travel across Syria.

However, the newly installed President Husni al-Za'im didn’t fare so well. In the early hours of August 14, less than a month after his peace deal, al-Za’im was executed, along with his Prime Minister, by former colleagues. These days he is best remembered for famously shouting, ‘bring on the dancing girls’, during a meeting with dissatisfied clerics.

SYRIAN NATIONALISM

Syrian nationalism would not be denied. In 1955 the exiled leader Shukri al-Quwatli returned to contest elections, regaining the presidency. On September 10 1956 he requested an arms deal with the USA. When this was denied he began negotiating with the Eastern Bloc for military and economic aid. Despite the Cold War, al-Quwatli maintained a neutrality toward both sides.

On August 6 1957 the Syrian President organized a long-term loan from the USSR. Immediately another CIA coup was planned, but foiled by Syrian counter-intelligence on August 12 1957. The incident led to the suspension of the US military attaché from Damascus as the US also expelled the Syrian ambassador from Washington. Tensions between the two countries heightened, with rumors of a Turkish led invasion of Syria.

If that again seems like a replica of today, there was one major difference. The situation was diffused thanks to Saudi and Iraqi support for Shukri al-Quwatli. But self-determination was still denied the people. Syria entered into an agreement with Egypt that virtually had their affairs run from Cairo. In its short modern existence, Syria has endured five military coups.

THE AL-ASSAD DYNASTY

During a Jupiter/Saturn opposition, on November 21 1970 General Hafez al-Assad became the new Prime Minister of Syria. It was the result of a bloodless coup displacing the leftist government on November 13. The takeover occurred with a Full Moon straddling the Jupiter Saturn opposition. It would prove prophetic. Al-Assad would rule for the complete Saturn cycle of twenty nine and a half years.

Aware of the division that plagued his predecessors, Al-Assad consolidated his position by surrounding his government with fellow Alawites and members of his family. For the populace he generated a ‘personality cult’, much like Egypt’s General Nasser, whom he greatly admired. Yet Syrians continued to live under repressive laws that outlawed public protests and jailed dissidents.

Hafez al-Assad passed away on June 10 2000 – this time at a Jupiter Saturn conjunction. Saturn was back in the latter degrees of enduring Taurus, where it had been positioned when he first gained national command. This neatly led to his son, Bashar, becoming the anointed successor, despite being six years younger than the age that the constitution demanded a President must be. That law was quickly amended.

Bashar began his presidency with promises of greater freedom and social reform. But in the face of mounting protests that marked the so called ‘Arab Spring’, his government responded with a brutal crackdown. This proved a trigger for a revolutionary war, which western backers seemed eager to sponsor. Soon there would be thousands of instant ‘mercenaries’ armed and deployed with a mission. To overthrow the al-Assad government. But was this really about freedom?

PLEASE DON'T MENTION THE PIPELINES?

In July 2011 the Syrian President was drawn to choose between two competing gas pipeline projects, one from Qatar and one from Iran. Al-Assad chose the latter. By the end of the year the US, UK, France and Israel were gearing regime change in Syria. Jupiter and Saturn had reached the opposition point.

The energy war would produce the greatest humanitarian crisis of the Middle East and Europe of the 21st century. Millions displaced, hundreds of thousands dead. The press sold it as a civil war and strangely nobody was talking pipelines. Instead a new Syrian government was announced, fittingly in Qatar, on November 11 2012.

The US, UK and France immediately dubbed them the legitimate Syrian administration. But the real war was so obviously economic. On one side the West and its Middle East monarchies, on the other Russia, Iran and the al-Assad government.

Unlike 1949 – this proposed pipeline coup was not an overnight success. Syria’s mainly Sunni army have remained loyal to their President. As Jupiter and Saturn moved into square, the battle expanded. Bashar al-Assad, born September 11 1965 would soon find expansive Jupiter joining his Virgo birth Sun. It happened last November as Russia began air strikes against the rebel co-alition and their jihadist networks.

It is not only Jupiter and Saturn that square off between March and June 2016, timing the turning points of this titanic struggle. It is also Saturn and Neptune that came into a closing square from November of 2015 and continue until September. They time the bigger ideological differences between Russia and the West.

The last closing Saturn Neptune square appeared in 1979/80. Check the events. Iran becomes a theocracy. An Islamic uprising in Afghanistan threatens a Soviet friendly government. Enter the Russian military. Jihadist groups receive funding and training from western interests leading to Al-Queda.

Saudi Arabia begin to flood the oil market, depressing prices (by 1986 they were down to $10 a barrel) and eventually crippling the Russian economy and stifling Iran’s financial growth. Same cycles and repeat actions. But some nations have extremely short memories.

FEB 14

BLACK HOLES MERGE

On Thursday February 11 at 10.35 am in Washington DC scientists excitedly announced that they had identified physical proof of Einstein’s century old theory of ‘gravitational waves’. They detected and measured ripples in the fabric of space and time coming from two massive black holes around thirty times the size of our Sun, colliding and merging over 1.3 billion light years ago.

The cataclysmic unification produced an enormous explosive energy sending gravitational waves permeating through the universe. At precisely 02.51 on September 14 2015, in Hanford Washington, the ripple was picked up via a four-mile long laser measuring system. It was a groundbreaking discovery for 21st century science, bound to assist new theories on how the universe was born.

The day after the announcement of the gravitational wave discovery and the binary black holes merging, two leaders of modern Christianity came together for the first time in almost a millennium. Roman Catholic Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill met at the unlikely venue of Havana Airport at shortly after 2 pm on Friday February 12. The subject of their highly symbolic encounter was peace in a world on the brink of WWIII.

POPE AND THE GALACTIC CENTRE

Pope Francis was born at 9 pm in Buenos Aries, Argentina on December 17 1936. The position of his birth Sun at 26 degrees of Sagittarius is within the zodiacal degree of the Galactic Center. This super massive black hole is the size of our Sun 4.3 million times over. It is actually the rotational center of the Milky Way. While our earth may revolve once in 24 hours, it takes the Sun 240 million years to revolve around the Galactic Center.

Astrologers are still working to understand the implications of this energy source, but it may be likened to a centrifugal force bringing objects, and possibly people into alignment. December 17 was the birthdate of the Tunisian street merchant Mohamed Bouazizi whose self-immolation became the catalyst of the democratic uprisings that marked the Arab Spring.

This zodiacal position marked mankind’s first heavier than air machine flight. The Sun and the planet of aeronautics, Uranus, came together at the degree of the Galactic Centre on December 17 1903 when the Wright Bros forever changed world travel and laid the foundations for the future exploration of space.

The Sun was also on the Galactic Center on December 17 1938 when nuclear fission was discovered by German Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann. The downside of that momentous discovery was that splitting the atom also led to the atomic bomb and a deadly nuclear arms race. For the first time humankind was capable of blowing themselves off the planet and into a virtual black hole of oblivion.

MAN ON A MISSION

Perhaps Pope Francis’ December 17 birthday is more than simply symbolic. He was born in the times of the Great Depression. His horoscope shows a rising sign of compassionate Cancer with its ruler the Moon in Aquarius, the sign of universal brotherhood. The Moon is in conjunction with popular Venus also in socially aware Aquarius.

His birth year of 1936 featured a close opposition of Saturn and Neptune in the mutable signs of Pisces and Virgo respectively. Those born into powerful aspects of the Saturn Neptune cycle have a strong social conscience. And with Saturn and Neptune in the closing square of their current 36-year cycle, the man who once worked as a bar bouncer, is now increasingly thrust into the spotlight.

It was on the Pope’s birthday in 2014, with the Sun back at the Galactic Center, when the USA and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations after 55 years in the political wilderness. Pope Francis was instrumental in the détente. He personally wrote to the leaders of both nations urging reconciliation. He also hosted secret talks at the Vatican, between US and Cuban officials, leading to the two countries friendlier relations.

But the meeting of the two church leaders at Havana airport was more than a call to stop the slaughter of Christians in religious wars. It was also to help heal the growing rift between Russia and the West. The Russian Orthodox Church has praised Vladimir Putin’s military efforts in Syria, calling the mission to fight the jihadists of the Islamic State a "holy battle." Putin has hung his hat on religious nationalism.

CHECKMATE

As the tide of the Syrian war changes and government troops lay siege to Syria’s largest city of Aleppo, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have threatened to directly intervene. This would place the traditional Christian western nations in a difficult diplomatic position, bound to have ramifications back on home soil. Could they directly support nations with known ties to Islamic jihadists?

The Syrian civil war correlated with the choice of two lucrative gas pipelines – one from Saudi Arabia and one from Iran. Syria's President chose Iran. It has morphed into something much deeper. Apart from the enormous casualties and ever growing refugee crisis, it has divided world opinion and now threatens European unity. It has helped re-ignite a new Cold War. And it was a Pope who helped diffuse the last one.

In 1978 the first Polish pontiff, Pope John Paul II was elected following the 33-day reign and sudden death of Pope Paul. The new Pope was politically active in the days of the western leader’s Thatcher and Reagan’s deregulation drive. Pope John’s homeland led the revolt against communist rule. Historians credit the Pope as a seminal figure in the dissolution of the Soviet Empire.

Pope Francis was elected after the shock resignation of Pope Benedict. Francis has been a long opponent of unmitigated capitalism. At the planetary Grand Cross of April 2014 he famously tweeted, “Inequality is the root of all evil.” As the political pendulum swings too far one way is another Pope on a mission to correct it?

With his progressed Sun soon meeting roadblock Saturn by March, the difficulties certainly lie ahead. The developments of the Syrian war will be the litmus test. Transiting Saturn will also meet his Sun early next year - a double dose of the ringed planet. It's all about working with - and on - the 'establishment'.

FEB 07

THE GREAT CHRONOCRATORS PART II

Last week I wrote how the Jupiter Saturn cycle was long regarded as the arbiter of caliphs and kings. For our astrological predecessors it provided the key to political prophecy. The current cycle began in the year 2000 and is connected to a much longer cycle of 794 years when two planets were again in a similar zodiacal positioning.

That cycle takes us back to 1206. It was the year a Mongol leader by the name of Temujin was dubbed the Great Khan, for uniting the tribes of Northern Asia. Genghis Khan would be subsequently recognized as one of the greatest generals of war. He founded the largest contiguous empire in world history. That makes year 2000 important in both the military and empire building sense.

THE NEW KHAN?

Ironically, year 2000 was designated the Year of the Culture of Peace by the United Nations. It didn’t start that way. Between January 5 to 8, in Malaysia, the al-Qaeda Summit took place, involving two of the hijackers responsible for the September 11 attacks on the USA.

But it was in Moscow that a new military leader would be inaugurated right at the vital conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Vladimir Putin had risen from relative obscurity to be nominated Prime Minister on August 9 1999.

This was two days before the Solar Eclipse made famous in the oft quoted Nostradmus quatrain, that read

"The year 1999, seventh month,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror:
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck."

I’m no great fan of Nostradamus’ quatrains. In a recent conference talk I referred to them as another version of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. They are very open ended, although there are plenty who make a lucrative living out of re-interpretation.

But this one held a particular fascination for its clear timing near the great August Solar Eclipse of 1999 that cut its swathe directly through Europe and the Middle East. As the eclipse formed a potent planetary Grand Cross and warplanes flew over Europe for the first time since WWII in 1999, it may prove auspiscious.

INAUGURATIONS OF 2000

By May 2000, Vladimir Putin was sworn in, with pomp and ceremony, as the new President of the Russian Federation. The following month Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father Hafez, as the new President of Syria. Both came to full power at the Jupiter Saturn conjunction, something that would not be lost on the astrologers of old.

Last week’s column concentrated on the Israel/Arab relationship and its peculiar consistency with the Jupiter Saturn cycle. We can also look at Putin, al-Assad and the Syrian War. The Jupiter Saturn opposition came to meet for a third and final time in March of 2011. It was during this month that protests began throughout Syria, and triggerred the Syrian Civil war.

The result was a strengthening of Syrian and Russian co-operation involving Putin and al-Assad. By the time the closing square of the Jupiter Saturn cycle began in 2015, Russian jets had joined the war and were bombing rebel held positions. This was a test of the leader's power, originally inherited at the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction of 2000.

Jupiter and Saturn will again square from late March through to early June 2016. It is why we have seen, and will continue to see, an escalation of the conflict in Syria. It is why scheduled peace talks have been put on hold. What began at the Jupiter Saturn opposition, involving key players elected at the conjunction, will be truly decided at the square between March and June.

THE ZIKA VIRUS

The Zika virus is the new pandemic sweeping through Brazil and Latin America. Commonly transmitted by mosquitoes, it has symptoms of high fever and general debility with joint pains, rashes and headaches. The virus contagion has now been linked to birth defects, such as microcephaly, meaning children born with a reduced skull. It is also associated with neurological conditions among adults.

Currently there is no known antidote for the Zika Virus. It was originally isolated in April of 1947, in a rhesus monkey from the Zika Forrest district of Lake Victoria, Uganda. During the month of its discovery, there was a union of Mercury, the transmitter with infectious Mars, with both in close opposition to boundless Neptune.

Viruses, or more specifically global pandemics, are associated with the unbounded qualities of Neptune. The ethereal blue gas giant represents the principle of the infinite and the indefinite – invisible, yet permeating all. The Saturn and Neptune cycle is the major one historically connected to global pandemics, from the Great Plague to the Spanish Flu.

Their sociological correspondences are restrictions and quarantines, which is very much a Saturn phenomenon in order to counter the spread, that is naturally associated with Neptune. Saturn also represents structure and Neptune typifies dissolution, with such illnesses representing a breakdown of structure, at least in the physical sense.

VIRAL ROLE OF SATURN AND NEPTUNE

During 1952, the year of a Saturn Neptune conjunction, the Zika virus was identified to have transferred to humans. But it would take sixty years from its initial discovery to suddenly spread from Africa and Asia into Micronesia and then across the Pacific. Up until 2007 there were only 14 known humans to have contracted Zika.

In the March of 2007, Mars, the planetary ruler of fevers and infections, had joined with Neptune and both opposed Saturn. By April of 2007, there were 49 confirmed cases with 59 unconfirmed in Micronesia. The astrological signature of the pandemic was ignited. Art also imitated life with the much-acclaimed US movie ‘Pandemic’ premiering on May 26 2007 at 8 pm, with Saturn still opposing Neptune.

Early in 2015 a fresh outbreak of the Zika virus reignited in Brazil. Saturn was within two degrees of squaring Neptune. By the end of the year, with the square complete, Zika had spread to other South American countries and into the Caribbean. It now threatens international tourism and the Rio Olympics. Additional cases are being diagnosed on mainland USA and even Australia.

The prevalence of Zika may be timed, by not only Saturn and Neptune square – which will not begin to depart until mid September 2016 – but by additional planetary triggers. For example, Mars will join the Saturn in squaring Neptune for the final week of August 2016. The September 1 solar eclipse will activate the Saturn Neptune square. This may signal the climax of the Zika phenomena.

SPANISH INFLUENZA

The world’s greatest and deadliest pandemic was Spanish Influenza. It claimed more lives in the single year of 1918 than the dreaded Bubonic Plague did at its height over four years from 1347-51. In all one fifth of the world was infected in the two years that it surfaced. One in four Americans was affected, with the US death toll of 675,000 higher than the Civil War.

In the US it began the morning of March 11, 1918, when company cook Albert Gitchell reported to his infirmary at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas, with a temperature of 103. Waiting behind in the sick bay were Corporal Lee Drake and Sergeant Adolph Hurby. By midday, 107 soldiers had reported ill. Within two days, the numbers swelled to 522.

Spanish Influenza raged rapidly across battlefields and continents. It eventually claimed a conservative estimate of more than 21 million lives - eight million in Spain alone – from where it took the name. In 1997, the lungs of an army private killed by Spanish Influenza in September 1918, were used to obtain its genetic code.

The US experience of Spanish Influenza climaxed six months after it began. It was then that the disease 'went public' and Massachusetts Department of Health alerted newspapers to the epidemic. The Health Commissioner of New York City, Royal Copeland issued a contrary statement saying, "the City is in no danger of an epidemic. No need for our people to worry."

That was September. By October, 851 New Yorkers would die from Spanish Influenza in a single day. It got so bad that funerals were limited to fifteen minutes and there was a shortage of both coffins and grave-diggers. One of the other problems connected with pandemics is misinformation. It’s also one of the by-products of difficult aspects between straight shooting Saturn and phantasmagoric Neptune.

Zika is nowhere near as dangeous as the Spanish Flu. But while the caution of Saturn squares the free floating anxiety of Neptune there will be a concerted effort to contain the reach of Zika. By the end of the year as the SaturnNeptune square evaporates so may the dangers. Meantime it is something you don't want - as the saying goes - coming to a theatre near you.

JAN 31

THE GREAT CHRONOCRATORS

Prior to the discovery of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the cycles of Jupiter and Saturn provided the key to astrological political prediction. The ancient stargazers had for years plotted the movements of these two gas giants – the largest planets of the solar system. They were uniquely referred to and revered as the Great Chronocrators.

This term is derived from the Greek language and literally refers to a time lord, or planets ruling a specific period. Saturn was the slowest moving visible planet with a cycle of thirty years. This seemed to key in with the New Moon period of thirty days. Such correlation may have led to Saturn’s acknowledgement as Chronos, or Father Time.

Jupiter circumnavigated the heavens over a twelve-year span. The two planetar cycles would synchronise once every twenty years. Over a longer period of 60 years they would also mmet at a similar position in the skies. The 60-year cycle formed the basis of the twelve Chinese astrological signs and elements. There is also a larger 794-year time frame when the whole cycle repeats.

THE 60 YEAR SIGNIFICANCE

The current Jupiter Saturn cycle began back in May of 2000 and was part of a planetary line up in Taurus. That month every visible planet, plus the Sun and Moon moved through the sign of the Bull. Therefore it is important to look back at the year 2000 in determining the prospects of 2016. The reason for that is that both Jupiter and Saturn are at a critical turning point of their cycle this year, called the closing square.

The intermediate 60 years cycle is also useful to revisit. That takes us back to 1940/41 when WWII and European Jewish incarceration was in full swing. The war atrocities became a vital factor in the formation of modern Israel. It accelerated Jewish emigration into Palestine. At the time the British attempted to control this human wave via a parliamentary act, known as the White Paper.

Britain’s White Paper stipulated an independent Palestine, jointly run by Arabs and Jews. The Jewish immigration was to be limited to 75,000 people over five years. Following that would depend upon Arab consent. In response to the British decision the Jewish Zionist movement formed activist cells such as Irgun, who would later commit terrorist attacks upon British installations. The platform was being laid for the great divide of today between Israel, Palestine and the Arab community.

Fast-forward to year 2000 and the Jupiter Saturn conjunction occurs at 23 degrees of Taurus. This is the degree of the Sun position at the creation of the modern State of Israel on May 14 1948 at 4 pm in Tel Aviv. It is also opposing the Sun degree of the Palestinian Independence Proclamation, made at 01.38 am on November 15 1988 at Algiers. This Jupiter Saturn conjunction occurred square to rebellious Uranus. Something had to give. Click here for the biwheel.

During the millennial year of the conjunction, the leaders of both countries were meeting with the then US President Bill Clinton, to hammer out a peace plan to end decades of hostilities. The square to unpredictable Uranus was a signal that this wasn’t going to go as planned. Neither side could agree to the other’s conditions. This diplomatic failure and the subsequent frustrations felt by the Palestinians led to the Second Intifada or uprising in September that year.

THE CURRENT CYCLE

This Jupiter Saturn cycle would act as a potent timer to subsequent developments in the differences between Israel, Palestine and its Arab allies. A key is the position of the Taurean Sun in the horoscope of Israel. It lies in the eighth house of death, transformation and other people’s possessions. The deaths are naturally war related, the transformation involves the need to change. The other people's possessions involve illegal land settlements.

The cycle works as well today as it did for the prophets of old. The Jupiter Saturn square of 2006 immediately brought new developments. The paramilitary organization Hamas claimed a surprising victory in the Palestinian elections. It also uniquely timed the beginning of a major Israel Lebanon war. This conflict claimed hundreds of casualties on both sides, destroying vital infrastructures. The bombing of a Lebanese oil terminal created the worst oil spillage ever in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Jupiter Saturn opposition of May 2010 was bound to provide another critical turning point and it did. In the early hours of May 31, Israeli commandos raided an international aid flotilla bringing supplies to Palestinians living along the Gaza Strip. Ships were detained, all media information confiscated and nine protestors were killed. The incident brought Israel international condemnation and created worldwide protests. But it also put the deplorable living conditions of Gaza into the global spotlight.

THE JUPITER AND SATURN SQUARE

The Jupiter Saturn closing square is about to reform in late March and will remain active until June 2016. The tensions between Israel and Palestine are once again building to a new climax. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, last week condemned Israel settlements on Palestinian land. He declared, “the settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to destroy the two state solution.” He continued to condemn the stifling polices of fifty years of occupation.

Response was swift and expected from Israel’s Prime Minister Bin Netanyahu. He claimed the United Nations had “long ago lost its neutrality and moral power". Netanyahu’s government has recently approved another 150 new homes to be built on the Palestinian farmlands of Jericho. The relentless land grabs and the attack on the UN chief, has forced France to take a stand.

The French Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurent Fabius, has pledged to renew efforts to resolve the Israel Palestine differences with an international peace summit. He has also promised to officially recognize a Palestinian state should such talks should fail. In the last 4 months, Israeli forces have killed 165 Palestinians and at least 25 Israelis have also been killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians.

The Jupiter Saturn cycle again seems to be tracking the trends. The upcoming square is synchronistically bringing this ongoing saga into the international arena. Already governments in Britain, Spain and France have voted for the recognition of a Palestinian state in a two state solution. Israel and the US have long resisted, but now even the USA are coming on board.

As time goes on with little progress, trust and hope evaporates. Yet the coming square may be a critical turning point and one that requires courage and vision from both sides. The Jupiter Saturn cycle dictates that this is one of the most important conflicts of all to be resolved. It lies at the base of many others throughout the Middle East and even the world. It is important not only to the future of Palestine but also the long term security of Israel.

JAN 24

CHINA

In World Predictions for 2014 I anticipated a tightening of the Chinese economy in 2015 and an expanding potential for international incidents. This was partly based on the progressing Sun of the People’s Republic of China horoscope (October 1 1949 @ 15.01 hours Beijing) squaring contracting Saturn. The tightening is necessary as Saturn also represents responsible – and necessary – restraint.

China’s economic restructuring continues through 2016, although one also must keep in mind that their progressing Venus also is yet to meet progressed Jupiter, so all is not lost. As for the ringed planet representing structure, China's construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea is triggering international concern. There are historical and planetary parallels to what may lie ahead in 2016 in the maritime realm.

Little known in the west, one of the greatest naval battles of all time took place on China’s largest freshwater lake, from the morning of August 30 1363. All told over 850,000 combatants were involved and over a thousand wooden vessels. This decisive conflict led to the Mongol Yuan Dynasty being displaced by the rising Ming Dynasty, who governed for the next three centuries.

The epic naval encounter occurred as expansive Jupiter in Virgo opposed king of the seas Neptune in Pisces and Mars moved through Scorpio. It’s a planetary pattern that recurs this year. In late May 2016, the T-Square of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune will overlay the Jupiter/Neptune positioning of the Battle of Poyang. The early June Grand Cross will also highlight the same degrees – which may mirror the mood of those times.

POWER IN THE CHINA SEA

The US, for starters, is claiming Chinese island construction threatens established trade routes. Interestingly, the first US commercial boat to the then exclusive trade port of Canton, was the Empress of China. It berthed on August 30 1784, the same calendar date that the Battle of Poyang began. Venus and Mars were then occupying the middle degrees of Virgo, where this year's mutable T-Square will return from late May.

The Chinese say they are just reclaiming old ancestral territory, stolen during the Sino-Japanese Wars and fortifying national defenses. Over 2016, combative Mars in Scorpio will duplicate its movement of 1937, the beginning year of the Second Sino-Japanese war. The imperialist Japanese army had already staged a false flag bombing, known as the Manchurian Incident at 10 am on September 18 1931 as a pretext for earlier invasion, again with Mars in Scorpio.

The modern economic juggernaut China is no longer divided, impoverished, or economically exploited. They are beginning to reassert and reverse historical roles. Beginning at 10.09 am on September 3 2015, China held a display of military might with a Victory Day parade through Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has now declared Victory over Japan Day, a national holiday.

XI JINGPING

Xi Jinping, was born June 15 1953, in Beijing with militant Mars at the Vernal Point. His Gemini Sun at 24 degrees falls right upon the Mars of the horoscope of the USA. Last year the President’s birthday horoscope – his solar return – arrived as a New Moon joined to Mars. Coincidentally, this was the same time period that both Donald Trump and Jeb Bush launched their presidential campaigns. China will feature strongly in their policy dictates.

Xi is quoted as saying that any major confrontation with the USA, “would surely spell disaster for both countries". Last years military parade coincided with the Mars return in the horoscope of the People’s Republic of China. The planet of war lies in their seventh house of allies and enemies together with lethal Pluto. It was at their Mars return of October 16 1964 @ 7 am that they detonated their first nuclear weapon.

All of this suggests the battle for the South China seas is getting closer to producing an international incident. This may tie in with the lead up to the Grand Cross New Moon but other dates when Mars is active are early to mid February, around the end of June and also in mid-September. Whether or not this results in naval encounters, the mood is being set via these important transits.

Jan 17

FAME

Terry Sylvester was born January 8 1947 in Liverpool, home of the Beatles. He liked music – enough to play the opener for the Beatles last gig at the Cavern. Enough to be in a successful group called the Swinging Blue Jeans. Then in December of 1968 he got a promotion into the ‘Hollies’ and was suddenly playing internationally.

The Hollies went on to record multiple hits - ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’, ‘Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress’ and the ‘Air That I Breathe’. It was sufficient to get Sylvester inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by 2010. But fourteen years earlier another Englishman, also born on January 8 1947, received the same honor. Madonna accepted it for him.

The first concert that Madonna experienced was David Bowie. She had been waiting for months, snuck out the window while her parents slept and hitchhiked to the gig. In her words, ‘here was this beautiful androgynous man singing so perverse, so unconventional, defying logic and basically blowing my mind’. It was the greatest show that she had ever seen and forever changed her life.

Madonna wasn’t the only performer heavily influenced by David Bowie. Nor was she the only human inspired by his dramatic difference and diverse talents. Like the universality of his Aquarian Ascendant he was many things to many people. Above all he was the power of being himself. He regretted his only mistakes came from second guessing and playing to please others. Click here for his 9 am Brixton birth chart.

DAVID BOWIE

Bowie’s stark ‘difference’ was astrologically mirrored with the eccentric, freedom loving sky-god Uranus actively aspecting both his Moon and Ascendant. In 1969 as the genius duo of Jupiter and Uranus both supportively angled to his career focused Midheaven and artistic Venus, and simultaneously trined his Ascendant and Moon, Bowie struck the big time.

His single ‘Space Oddity’, recorded June 20 1969 and released days before the first humans walked on the Moon, provided the countdown that launched his career. It was the same time frame that Terry Sylvester was making good, but Bowie, cut from an entirely different cloth and background, was going to make it far bigger. He was about doing his ‘own thing’.

By 1971/72, David’s progressed Sun was opposing his Pluto – the critical transformer. He found a Starman waiting in the sky. Bowie’s transformation became alter-ego Ziggy Stardust; a bi-sexual rock star acting as the extra-terrestrial messenger. The character was born as eccentric Uranus transited square to Bowie’s birth Sun and ethereal Neptune moved across his Venus and Midheaven.

This time was critical. Not only was the stellar concept a commercial hit, but Bowie had earlier released the critically acclaimed 'Honky Dory' album and was writing songs like 'Rebel, Rebel', which would appear on later releases. As the eclipsing Nodes moved across his Ascendant he took Ziggy and the Spiders From Mars on tour. The album sold 7.5 million copies, making it the second biggest of his entire career.

JUPITER RETURNS

By 1983, Bowie’s progressed Venus, the planet of art and aesthetics, was meeting his birth Mercury – the writer. On March 17, the single ‘Let’s Dance’ was released. By April the progressing Moon would meet his birth Venus and soar to his Midheaven, as the album followed. ‘Let’s Dance’ cracked number one in the US, UK and Canada. The album sold over ten million copies. It was his greatest commercial success, reviving his career and introducing a whole new audience.

Jupiter was returning to the same place it held when Ziggy Stardust was born. Bowie’s musical highs had arrived twelve years apart, tied into the expansionary Jupiter cycle. The Jupiter cycle was always important to him. He was gifted his first saxophone at 12, his first Jupiter return. He told his teacher he was going to be a rock star. The Let’s Dance album was released the year of a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction, the same conjunction that had timed ‘Space Oddity’. But something else took off in 1983.

Bowie’s genius came in many guises and his acting career was picking up pace with three films including the lead role in ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ and by 1986 another magical persona, Jareth the classic Goblin King of ‘Labyrinth’ would surface. While old rockers were cashing in on revival tours and releasing greatest hits CD’s, Bowie was forever moving onward.

He would parody the banality of the rock world, pre-empting clichéd questions by calling himself the chameleon of rock, “self-invention is my middle name. You know my motto Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch…Changes”. He was forever living in the moment. A knighthood, which was offered and refused with the reasoning, “it’s not what I spent my life working for.” His final work came with the album ‘Black Star’. Producer Tony Visconti claimed it was his final parting gift.

BLACKSTAR

Blackstar was also the title of an old Elvis Presley track and there are parallels between the man who eventually became the portly King of Rock and the one who will forever be remembered as the Thin White Duke. Presley was also born on January 8 – twelve years prior. They not only share the same Sun sign and position, but also the same Jupiter.

Astrologically, the black star has traditionally been Saturn, with Pluto a close contender. In 2015, as Bowie battled liver cancer with chemotherapy, the black star Saturn was uppermost in his horoscope. It sat at his Midheaven and across his Venus. He poured his heart into his art. When the album was complete, Saturn returned to his Midheaven and he was told the cancer had returned and was terminal.

Blackstar was released on January 8, Bowies’s 69th birthday. He died two days after. When his progressed Sun had moved opposite Pluto in 1971/72 a starman was born. Now, as Pluto was transiting to his Sun, Bowie was returning to the stars - albeit with a constellation named after him. As he’d seen everything else coming, he certainly saw this. And his death has many reflecting on, not just on his incredible diverse volume of work, but also refecting on their own lives. That’s what great artists do. They are part of your history.

As I was writing this astro-analysis I was listening to Bowie hosting a BBC radio program. Prior to one track he advised to listen to some numbers spoken early in the song. He added that if you are listening in stereo they will be coming out of the left speaker…or if you’ve wired it wrong they will come out of the right. The black star had become a binary, and I was too busy laughing to check. Shine on - David Bowie. Shine on us all.

Jan 10

IT STARTED WITH A BANG

Well 2016 started with a bang – especially in North Korea. And so it should have. The Sun joined extremist Pluto a day before squaring radical Uranus. It was always going to be a rocky ride. Mercury decided to do a back flip right as it squared inflammatory Mars and the world markets flipped with it. And to finish the week Venus ran into cold hard Saturn, which contracted the markets even more.

While Kim Jong II was playing with bombs, Saudi Arabia was after one. Relations with Iran have fallen down a few notches. It could have been worse. The Sun with Pluto and Uranus can be volcanic. Luckily warrior Mars wasn’t part of that picture. But the start of 2016 has reminded everyone astrologically minded or not, that we’re not through this Uranus Pluto social earthquake yet. The aspect is still hovering around and not easing until March.

This year the planets move from cardinal crisis to mutable momentum. Cardinal is initiating - it gets the ball rolling. The first week of January had a cardinal emphasis. This week continues it. The Sun and Moon will meet in Capricorn where reformative Pluto lurks. Jack in the box Uranus still squares from impulsive Aries. This is all about fast change when the roller coaster feels like its about to go off the rails.

We are still dealing with the products of the immediate past. The climax period of the cardinal crisis was the Grand Cross of 2014, where the real seismic geopolitical shift occurred. It’s when the Ukraine imploded, when Putin annexed Crimea and the US placed economic sanctions on Russia. It was a new Cold War and it hasn’t even begun to defrost.

When planets clash so do ideologies – people take sides. Last week the planets clashed again. While economists were counting dwindling stocks Americans were stocking up on guns in the wake of Obama’s initiatives on weapon controls. As lethal Pluto opposes the US Sun death becomes an issue. And as uncontrollable Uranus squares the same, individual rights become the counter issue. The national divide starts to look like the Grand Canyon.

Perhaps Abraham Lincoln said it best when in his famous June 16 1858 speech when he declared, ‘a house divided itself cannot stand’. But it’s not only in America that the sides are opposed like a civil war. It’s around the world. The Saudis celebrated the New Year with 47 beheadings. It must have pleased Britain no end, after the UK swapped votes to get them on to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Let’s take a look at the chart of Saudi Arabia.

THE MILITANT BILLIONAIRES

This year Saudi Arabia is expected to shell out $80 billion dollars on ‘security’, an amount that even exceeds the Russian military budget. The Saudi arms expenditure since the pro-democracy demonstrations of the Arab spring has snowballed. Saudi armies helped fellow monarchies such as Bahrain quell civilian uprisings, when it would have been too embarrassing for western backers to intervene and protect financial interests.

The House of Saud welcomed in the New Year of 2016 with 47 beheadings. They have an unenviable human rights record, in a country where women are still not permitted to drive. But due to their oil partnerships the monarchal autocracy is protected species. The Western allies love affair with the Sauds began on May 4 1938, when King Ibn Saud turned the valve that allowed Saudi oil to flow to the first oil tanker off the new port of Ras Tanura.

By 1943 it would have Franklin D Roosevelt proclaiming, "defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States". On February 14 1945, Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud and formalized the US-Saudi bond. The horoscope of that meeting will be rigorously tested in the coming years as the progressing Sun moves to square Pluto. Look for rising tensions in the US Saudi alliance.

The horoscope of the opening of the oil fields is also under severe pressure from the middle of 2016. This may react adversely on oil prices or mean that the fields are subject to an attack, or that the flow is interrupted by the geopolitical situation. The horoscope of King Salman, born December 21 1935, also suggests a more aggressive approach as his progressed Sun moves from Pisces to assertive Aries.

The birth chart of Saudi Arabia, timed at 03.45 am January 15 1902 in Riyadh is also squared by insurgent Uranus and semisquared by Saturn in August 2016. The opposition of the Sun around July 16 may trigger ongoing events and insurgencies. The September 1 Solar Eclipse is also in hard angle here. Throughout the year dissipating Neptune will semisquare the same Sun. This can bring great challenge to the leadership.

But possibly the most worrying aspect of the Saudi Arabia horoscope is how it fits in with critical nuclear horoscopes, such as the first ever US nuclear bomb test in Almogordo, New Mexico, the first Russian nuclear bomb and the largest weapon of all time – the Tsar Bomb, equal to all the explosives used in WWII. The worry is that the Saudis are now talking about a nuclear bomb. And with that chart they may get it.

There is a valid reason that the Saudis are shelling out on weaponry. It is to preserve the status quo. But with oil prices low and all that military hardware their budget will be running into the red. The Sauds are dipping into their substantial cash reserves. Raising the price of petrol and cutting back on social services is on the cards. They are rumours that the Aramco oilfields may be privatised, floating the first trillionaire company. That's one way of increasing security - by getting investors to protect their investment.

But eventually the transformative power of Pluto will reach the Saudi Capricorn Sun. And when it comes it will come with Saturn. The House of Saud have four years to radically change their country. The adage is that time waits for no man – royal or otherwise. Neither do planets. We will begin to see this in 2016. The big mistake is to believe that the enemy is without, when it really may be within.

As for stocks…with all that global turmoil they could hardly be heading up. The square is easing and hopefully the downward pressure will too. The closing Moon phase will pass with the New Moon of January 10. And as they say – tomorrow is a brand new day.

Jan 3

OBAMA VERSUS THE GUN LOBBY

On Monday January 4 2016, the Sun at the 14th degree of Capricorn will directly oppose the birth Sun of the USA. In this first week of the New Year the Sun will join reformative Pluto and square rebellious Uranus. The stage is set for both, as US President Barack Obama attacks the polarizing issue of gun control.

Pluto is the planet of dark forces, the ruler of the underworld and doyen of death. It’s opposition to the life-giving Sun of the USA over the past couple of years has made mass shootings a recurring headline. Pluto also describes the hidden power brokers. In taking on the gun lobby and its influential and sometimes crazed supporters, Obama faces his most testing and definitely most dangerous foe.

POLITICS OF PARALYSIS

The National Rifle Association wields a hypnotic influence over Congress. Even when one of their own members; Gabrielle Giffords; was shot in the head – they did nothing. Six others were killed and nineteen wounded that day in Tucson. The obligatory mass shooting was becoming an increasing part of the American social scene.

Gabrielle Giffords returned to Congress on January 25 2012. Her brain injury had forced her resignation. Congress stood as one and roundly applauded her as she embraced the President. And then their collective inertia returned. But if any more proof was needed of the paralysis of politics, it came after the Sandy Hook school massacre of December 14 2012.

Numerous polls were revealing that close to 90% of Americans favored extended background checks for gun ownership. Yet on April 17 2013, families of the Sandy Hook victims gazed helplessly from the Senate gallery as Republicans, and four dissenting Democrats, led a successful effort to filibuster bills designed to rein in the gun tragedies.

History showed they could hardly have picked a worse time for the vote. The Sun and Mars were together in Aries. Besides, the third week of April is famous for creating US disasters, not solving them. Virginia Tech, Columbine High, WACO Texas, the Oklahoma City bombing or the first shots of Lexington, all occurred in the third week of April. Only two days prior to the vote, the Boston Marathon bombing had occurred.

The third week of April is when the Sun, in its yearly journey around the zodiac, squares the USA’s Pluto – the death and destruction planet. Obama’s frustrated address branded April 17, “a shameful day for Washington”. He was referring to self-serving Senators putting personal ambition ahead of national duty. Courage and conviction were noticeable by their absence.

GUN LORE MEANS NO GUN LAW

On the day that the Founding Fathers began distributing the Declaration of Independence, war planet Mars was in square to dreamtime Neptune. The Neptune narrative is enshrouded with mythical layers. The more advanced astrologers may also note that in the heliocentric US chart, Mars sits with revolutionary Uranus.

Gun lore is unique to the American story. Weapons sales make up a sizeable portion of their internal and external revenue. Whether it’s via the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, or Billy the Kid – power at the end of a barrel has played a big part in paving the country’s path.

But Neptune also means sacrifice. When the Mars Neptune square has been activated by significant transits famous murders have taken place. JFK was killed as both Venus and together opposed the US Mars and squared its Neptune. His brother Bobby fell to the assassin’s gun at the US Mars return, with lethal Pluto on the Neptune. Sandy Hook came as the Sun opposed the US Mars and square the Neptune.

At the heart of the gun debate has been the Second Amendment, adopted on December 15 1791. On that day the Sun opposed the US Mars and appropriately – at least for all the spin and convoluted debate surrounding it - the Second Amendment’s Mars was right on the USA's Neptune.

Even the founder of the National Rifle Association, William Conant Church, born August 11 1836 has his Gemini Mars astride the USA’s Mars. The first president of the NRA, Captain Ambrose Burnside, born May 23 1824, has his Mars square the US Mars and right on its Neptune. And so the myth perpetuates. But it wasn’t always just about supporting guns.

A COMPLIANT NRA

On June 26 1934 the NRA actually supported gun control legislation in America. This was well before the development of a military industrial complex. It was in the gangster days when the Thompson sub-machine gun terrorized America. They were championed by another fabled character who placed his Neptune precisely on the USA Mars and had his Saturn oppose it – Al Capone.

Capone’s most infamous operation occurred February 14 1929 from 10.30 am in a warehouse at Lincoln Park, Chicago. His cronies had concocted a deadly plan to lure rival Bugsy Malone’s gang to a garage, with a promise of a hot whisky shipment.

Capone’s men, some dressed as police, then raided the garage, lined them against a wall and shot them in the back. The USA was having its Mars return and the day would forever be remembered in book and film as the ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’. I could go on but column space is limited.

A FOCAL CAMPAIGN ISSUE

There are plenty who will buy into the pro-gun side in 2016. Donald Trump was born with his Sun on the US Mars; Jeb Bush has his Midheaven there. Both began their campaigns around the New Moon right on the US Mars return in June 2015. Readers might recall I wrote back then, that both would be war candidates. Last week Trump actually branded his campaign a war.

As for Obama, he was born with his Virgo Mars semisquare to his birth Neptune. Obama’s Mars is right on the US Neptune. Obama’s Mars is also right on the Mars of the Second Amendment chart. Obama’s Mars is in the same position as the now deceased film star and five-term president of the NRA, Charlton Heston. But Obama is operating off a totally different script. Click here for the charts.

Later this month Jupiter, the planet of law, returns to meet Obama’s Mars and Mars will come to square his Sun by January 26. The Sun and Mars together also square his Ascendant around the New Moon of February 7 2016. That’s why guns are so important to Obama now. Mars also involves the courage of one’s convictions and facing danger head on. Only then can one become part of the enduring Mars Neptune story.

To access last years Political Astrology articles click on this line.

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