Ever since Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto came into orb of a t-square in the summer of 2010, astrologers have been awaiting a revolution. Now that Saturn has moved into mid Libra and the square between Uranus and Pluto has begun to perfect, rebellions are under way across the globe. Uranus represents upset, independence, chaos, liberation, and awakening, and Pluto symbolizes passion, intensity, power struggles, and life-and-death battles. Therefore, the square between these two planets is often associated with upheaval and transformation. From 2012 to 2015, seven exact squares will form at 6°–15° Aries–Capricorn.1 Aries is the sign of aggression, agitation, and war, and Capricorn is the sign of big business and government, so the square is being expressed as a battle between disenfranchised commoners (Uranus in Aries) and rich, entitled, powerful leaders (Pluto in Capricorn). Secular wars are fought for resources: who has them, who controls them, who needs them. This fight is about money.
Currently throughout North Africa and the Middle East, citizens are protesting en masse against repressive dictators who rule with an iron fist and impose policies that primarily benefit themselves rather than their people. In the democratic West, the unfolding economic conflict across Europe and the United States was precipitated by the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing shortage of money. The seven Uranus–Pluto squares portend interesting times, and observing how, when, and where the battles unfold provides astrologers with the extraordinary opportunity to witness astrological principles in action.
In the Arab world, the rebellion began with a protest by a Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi,2 who was trying to eke out a living selling fruit at the market in Sidi Bouzid, in Tunisia, a country with high unemployment, police corruption, and a repressive regime that had ignored the basic rights and dignity of its people for decades.3 Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest chronic police harassment and officials who turned a blind eye to it. His act sparked a peaceful uprising that spread across the country.
The beginning of the end for Tunisia’s President-for-Life Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 23 years, came when he turned his police force on his own people and shot them down in the streets. Although the state television did not broadcast news of the protests for twelve days, users of Facebook shared pictures of the lethal crackdown immediately.4 After four weeks of countrywide protests, the president quietly went into exile in Saudi Arabia. Since then, the revolution has flared across North Africa and the Middle East and has affected Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria.
Bouazizi struck the match igniting the protests at 11:30 a.m. on December 17, 2010. When presented with such a point of singularity, it behooves astrologers to ask: Why then? Why there? Why him? Mohamed Bouazizi was born on March 29, 1984. Unfortunately, there is no birth time, and the information that can be gleaned from the nativity is limited. Not much can be said about his angles or his Moon (located between the last degree of Aquarius and 11° Pisces). However, with four out of ten planets dignified — the Sun exalted in Aries, Venus exalted in Pisces, Mars in its (old) rulership of Scorpio, and Pluto in its (new) rulership of Scorpio — there is the potential for strength and high purpose. According to his mother, he was apolitical, but an Aries Sun can be impetuous, quick-tempered, and willing to fight. With Mars and Pluto in the fixed sign of Scorpio, he would not give up or give in, and he fought to his death. Mars opposes Chiron,5 so he would be wounded by others through material means (Chiron in Taurus). With his Venus in Pisces, he was considerate and generous, giving away fruit to the hungry.
Since Bouazizi’s Jupiter in Capricorn is in fall, those in authority benefited freely at his expense. Jupiter is sextile Saturn; officials took advantage of his business and took his money (Venus trine Saturn). Neptune in Capricorn is at the Aries Point,6 and he came to the attention of the world through sacrifice. With Neptune sextile Pluto, he died in protest of government corruption and the officials who took away his dignity and his right to make an honest living.
The uprising began in an unlikely and peaceful country. It is doubtful that an astrologer could have pinpointed Tunisia as the epicenter of a revolt, but in hindsight it is easy to see how Bouazizi reacted to the transits of the day to bring change to his country. His Mars (middle wheel) falls on Tunisia’s Saturn (inner wheel), which is in a fixed square to the country’s Jupiter–Pluto in Leo; he fought both corrupt officials (Saturn in Scorpio) and the paramount power of his president (Jupiter in Leo). Since Pluto rules Tunisia’s chart, it represents the country, and Pluto’s conjunction with Jupiter was expressed as the power of the president over the people.
On the day Bouazizi set himself on fire, the transiting Sun (outer wheel) was opposite Tunisia’s Sun and formed a fire grand trine with Bouazizi’s Mercury and the country’s Jupiter–Pluto, activating the fixed square; Bouazizi’s act would inflame the country and the president. The transiting Sun was also sextile transiting Neptune–Chiron, which formed a grand cross with Bouazizi’s Mars and Chiron and Tunisia’s Jupiter–Pluto and Saturn; the country was at a crossroads, and a rebellious act would bring pressure to bear upon the powers-that-be. With transiting Neptune and Chiron in Aquarius involved, the collective psyche was awakened and ready to fight. The transiting Sun was also in a mutable t-square with transiting Jupiter–Uranus and Tunisia’s Sun, marking a day of momentous change and rebellion.
In addition, transiting Mercury and Pluto were conjunct the transiting North Node at the Aries Point, conjunct Bouazizi’s Neptune, sextile his Pluto, and opposite Tunisia’s Venus (conjunct the transiting South Node): News (Mercury) of his fatal act (Pluto) against a dysfunctional government (Neptune in Capricorn) that denied basic human dignity and happiness (Venus) was heard not only across the nation, but throughout the Arab world.
It is noteworthy that Bouazizi’s nodal axis is lined up with his country’s, though in opposite orientation. Tunisia’s Mars in Pisces is at the North Bending of the country’s nodal axis,7 suggesting the flexing of muscle for manifest gain, which was how Ben Ali ruled. However, for Bouazizi, Tunisia’s Mars falls at his South Bending; he was a victim of graft and corruption and ended up sacrificing himself for his country.
Bouazizi set himself on fire four days before the lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010 at 29° Gemini–Sagittarius (outer wheel.) As usual, eclipses accompany big events, and this was no exception. What is puzzling is why the revolt occurred at this eclipse and not the eclipse of the previous summer that also fell on the Aries Point — at a time when the transits were more difficult and the energy more intense.
The astrology gives us some clues. The partial lunar eclipse of June 26, 2010 (middle wheel) was at 4° Capricorn, with the Moon in the degree of Pluto (4° Capricorn), square Uranus–Jupiter (0°–2° Aries), square Saturn (28° Virgo), and opposite Mercury conjunct the Sun (2°–4° Cancer). This grand cross fell directly on Bouazizi’s Neptune at 1° Capricorn, yet from him there was no outward response for nearly six months. Not until the approach of the lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010 — also conjunct the Aries Point, but out of sign at 29° Sagittarius (outer wheel) — did he feel compelled to act. By now, the tense energy of the summer had dissipated. Pluto was still at 4° Capricorn, widely conjunct the transiting Sun (out of sign) and opposite the eclipsed Moon. Saturn had moved off the Aries Point and was in mid Libra. Jupiter and Uranus were still conjunct but now had retrograded into the passive sign of Pisces (which Jupiter rules). Nonetheless, it was at this time that Bouazizi had had enough.
The positions of the Sun (expression of will) and Moon (emotional response) during eclipses have an important bearing on events. In the summer, the eclipsed Moon was conjunct transiting Pluto and the North Node, igniting high passion and emotion that burned inwardly throughout the fall, but the angst only became manifest and was expressed outwardly at the winter eclipse, with the Sun conjunct Pluto and the North Node. The activation of a natal chart by transits also plays a contributing role. In the summer, transiting Saturn was at 28° Virgo (middle wheel) conjunct Tunisia’s Moon (inner wheel), symbolizing a population feeling the full repression by their government. The Sun at the summer eclipse was conjunct the nation’s Venus (4° Cancer), suggesting a crisis over money and austerity that the people could do nothing about (transiting Saturn conjunct Tunisia’s Moon). In six months, this would change. At the winter lunar eclipse, transiting Saturn was in mid Libra, far from the country’s Moon, which was now in close opposition to the transiting Jupiter–Uranus conjunction — and Tunisians were ready to revolt.
It is also significant that, in the winter, the nodal axis was near the Aries Point. At the summer eclipse, the North Node was at 11° Capricorn, while at the winter eclipse, the North Node was at 2° Capricorn, conjunct Bouazizi’s Neptune on the world axis, and now his desperate act reverberated across the world. From this, it appears that, besides the transits, the location of the nodal axis is also an important factor to consider when assessing the impact of eclipses. Perhaps the winter eclipse was exceptionally transformational because the Aries Point was primed by the summer eclipse and then activated a second time by another eclipse, only now with the nodal axis in close proximity.
Bouazizi died on January 4, 2011, the day of a solar eclipse. Falling at 13° Capricorn (with the North Node at 2° Capricorn), the eclipse was conjunct his natal Jupiter (a long journey), while the transiting North Node was conjunct his Aries Point Neptune (manifest sacrifice/martyrdom). This eclipse marked a time of rebellion in the country and a president shooting at his people in retaliation.
Uprisings in countries across the region rage on as determined dictators cling to power and lethally turn against their citizens, while the West just watches and does nothing (with the exception of intervening in Libya). According to renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky, Western leaders actually fear democracy in the Middle East, because Western policy supports repressive Arab dictators and not the Arab people.8
Even before the flaring of rebellions across North Africa and the Middle East, there have been demonstrations in Europe. Since October 2010, hundreds of thousands in the United Kingdom have taken to the streets, railing against corporate tax dodgers, university tuition hikes, and public sector program cuts.9 In debt-ridden countries using the Euro, collectively known as PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain), citizens are striking in droves to protest government cutbacks and austerity measures.10
Although Greece continues to be in the headlines, the protests there began on May 5, 2010, with a general strike where a quarter of a million people protested cuts in spending, welfare, and public workers’ salaries and benefits.11 Earlier that year, investigators were examining the role of U.S. investment giant Goldman Sachs and its complicated currency swaps that helped Greece to hide some of its debt.12 To avoid bankruptcy and obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Greece’s government was compelled to enforce drastic spending cuts.
In the horoscope for Greece (inner wheel), there is a Moon–Pluto conjunction square Venus, which indicates that the people (Moon) are emotionally attached to, and will passionately fight (Pluto) for, money (Venus). At the time of the first bailout (middle wheel), which implemented the cutbacks triggering mass protests, transiting Pluto (5° Capricorn) was square the country’s Moon–Pluto and opposite its Venus: The people were forced (t-square) to address the debt (Pluto) and looming bankruptcy (Venus opposite Pluto). The transiting South Node was conjunct Greece’s Ascendant, indicating the people’s loss and sacrifice. The following month, as austerity measures took hold, the June 2010 lunar eclipse at 4° Capricorn formed a grand square conjunct transiting Pluto (4° Capricorn), square transiting Uranus (0° Aries), square Greece’s Moon–Pluto (4° Libra), and opposite its Venus (3° Cancer). Like it or not, the citizens were stuck with the cuts and with new interest payments on additional loans.
A year passed, and despite the cutbacks, the country’s economic condition grew worse. In June 2011, again facing bankruptcy, the country sought another bailout. Now even tougher sanctions would be imposed, and the people protested anew. They already felt bankrupt and were not in favor of a new bailout plus more austerity. But the government bowed to the European Union and, on June 29, 2011, agreed to further cuts in return for a $4 billion loan. Elsewhere, rich investors cheered the imposition of Greek austerity.13
The agreement for the second bailout came days before the July 1, 2011 solar eclipse at 9° Cancer. For two days, as politicians debated the cutbacks, unions went on strike and demonstrations were held in 65 cities across Greece.14 On the day of the bailout agreement (outer wheel), the transiting Sun activated the grand cross with transiting Pluto square Uranus and the country’s Moon–Pluto square Venus; citizens were furious about the cutbacks and new loans. The solar eclipse fell on the country’s Ascendant, Mercury, and Saturn, which respectively rule the people (Ascendant); the 4th house of the homeland and the 12th house of self-undoing (Mercury); and the 7th house of partners, the 8th of debt, and the 9th of foreigners (Saturn) — activating the concerns of these houses in the coming months. This region will receive close aspects from the upcoming Uranus–Pluto squares, a clear indication that Greece’s problems are far from over.
The U.S. is also in economic trouble and on the verge of bankruptcy. For the past year, Congress has been paralyzed as government spending becomes increasingly politicized, and polarized elected officials wrangle over how to control the deficit and the debt. There are limited ways for a government to balance a budget: Raise money (taxation), decrease spending, or some combination of both. Most Democrats favor taxation, while most Republicans favor spending cuts, though in practice both are employed to balance the budget.
Like Greece, the U.S. Venus is at 3° Cancer (inner wheel) and was hit by the Aries Point lunar eclipse at 4° Capricorn on June 26, 2010 (outer wheel) that fell across the U.S. Venus (money) and Jupiter (Sibly chart ruler) and transiting Mercury (2° Cancer) and Pluto (4° Capricorn). Since then, the U.S. economy has dominated the country’s news. Throughout the autumn, debate raged over whether to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire as scheduled. In late December — just days before the January 4, 2011 solar eclipse at 13° Capricorn opposite the U.S. Sun — Congress renewed the tax cuts, exacerbating the country’s budgetary shortfall. Now, spending cuts had to be made. The salaries of federal workers were frozen (essentially a pay cut, considering inflation), and social programs for the poor and unemployed were reduced.15 At the time, the transiting South Node (2° Cancer) was conjunct the U.S. Venus–Jupiter, and there was monetary loss for most people. Despite the enrichment of the wealthy at the expense of the poor, American citizens tended to take this in stride. Until February.
Then, in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, the newly elected Republican governor, after a month of new spending on pet projects, declared that the state was insolvent.16 Spending had to be cut, or jobs would be lost. To make up the budget shortfall, the employment benefits of public workers such as firemen, teachers, nurses, and other state employees had to be reduced. In addition, the governor sought to limit the labor unions’ ability to negotiate for workers’ rights. Unions, which traditionally do not support Republican candidates, saw this as an attack against their power. The workers revolted in fury and descended on the state capital, Madison, in protest.
Astrologically, the demonstrations in Wisconsin are tied to the December 21, 2010 lunar eclipse at 29° Gemini–Sagittarius (middle wheel.) This eclipse was square Wisconsin’s nodal axis in Virgo–Pisces (inner wheel), placing the eclipse Sun at the natal North Bending (ego thrust) and emboldening the governor. In the state chart, Saturn is conjunct the South Node, which suggests either high-minded authority with a vision of the greater good or officials who take the low road and bring loss. At the time of the eclipse, the transiting Jupiter–Uranus conjunction was conjunct Wisconsin’s Saturn–South Node, and the governor (Saturn) dreamed (Pisces) of great change (Jupiter–Uranus).
On February 15, 2011 (outer wheel), Wisconsin’s governor proposed his budget, and the protests began. On this day, there was a triple transiting conjunction of the Sun, Mars, and Neptune trine/sextile the winter lunar eclipse point (Mars widely) and sextile the state’s Moon–Pluto conjunction (plus Uranus) in Aries: Workers were fired up and fighting for their rights.
On February 26, 2011, sympathy protests were held in state capitals across the country, and the crowd protesting in Madison swelled to hundreds of thousands. Nonetheless, on March 9, 2011, the governor’s bill was passed into law. Despite legal setbacks, as of mid July (the time of this writing), the governor forced his agenda on his constituents, and protests at the state capital have dwindled.
Elsewhere across the globe, people are banding together in defiance of government policies that do not serve their interests; however, in the U.S., there is little sustained outcry. Where are the protests? American apathy seems attributable in part to a protracted Neptune transit to the country’s Moon. Most citizens have slumbered as their wealth eroded. It’s fascinating that the massive protests in Wisconsin occurred within days of Neptune’s departure from the degree of the U.S. Moon. Currently, Neptune is in its own sign of Pisces and moving retrograde, but will station within one degree of the country’s Moon in November 2011. If recent history is anything to go by, no nationwide demonstrations will ensue with transiting Neptune approaching and closely conjunct the U.S. Moon.
When might the snoozing citizenry awake? Currently in Washington, Congress is bickering over whether to raise the debt ceiling or allow the country to go bankrupt. Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy and insist that spending on entitlement programs (Medicare and Social Security) must be reduced. Democrats demand the opposite. What the people want doesn’t seem to matter — though they have not been fighting very hard for fair stewardship.
This will likely change soon. On November 9, 2011, Neptune will station direct (28°08’ Aquarius) and finally turn its back on the U.S. Moon (27°10’ Aquarius). Just the fact of Neptune leaving the Moon seems sufficient to arouse the collective — at least, temporarily. However, as Neptune moves away from the Moon, the Uranus–Pluto square tightens and forms a t-square with the U.S. Venus–Jupiter, bringing additional pressure to bear on the people and their money. The December 10, 2011 lunar eclipse at 18° Gemini is conjunct the U.S. Mars and widely square the U.S. Neptune; at that time, expect people to rub the sleep from their eyes and prepare for battle. In the latter half of 2012, the Uranus–Pluto square will perfect, continuing to stimulate the U.S. Venus–Jupiter and provoking Americans to protest.
As the square advances in 2013, it will apply to the U.S. Sun–Saturn square (leaders and businesspeople), and it will become their battle — and a lengthy one at that, lasting through five additional exact squares until March 2015. This sequence of aspects suggests an opportunity for the forsaken multitude to elect officials (in November 2012) who will consider their interests at the expense of Wall Street and big business. However, it is clear that Wall Street and big business (Saturn) will revolt (after November 2013) against any ensuing government (Sun) interference intended to block (square) their profit, power, and influence.
To summarize, in other parts of the world a revolution is under way. Too few have taken too much, leaving scarcity for too many. We are facing a necessary transformation, and since we are one year away from a three-year reign of seven Uranus–Pluto squares, the economic battle is only beginning. Bouazizi’s fire is just getting started.
Chart Data and Sources:
Mohamed Bouazizi, March 29, 1984; time unknown (noon CET used); Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia (35°N02’, 09°E30’); X: date without time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi
Tunisia (Independence Agreement), June 15, 1956; 5:00 p.m. CET; Tunis, Tunisia (36°N48’, 10°E11’); Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes (BWH), The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, 2004, Chart 335.
Tunisia Uprising Begins, December 17, 2010; 11:30 a.m. CET; Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia; A: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi
Greece (Democracy), July 24, 1974; 4:00 a.m. EET; Athens, Greece (37°N58’, 23°E43’); Campion, BWH, Chart 138.
Greece’s First Bailout, May 5, 2010; time unknown (noon EEDT used); Athens, Greece X: date without time: http://inside.org.au/wednesday-5-may-2010-athens-greece/
Greece’s Second Bailout, June 29, 2011; time unknown (noon EEDT used); Athens, Greece; X: date without time: www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8604902/Greek-austerity-vote-as-it-happened-June-29-2011.html
United States (Sibly chart) July 4, 1776; 5:10 p.m. LMT; Philadelphia, PA, USA (39°N57’, 75°W02’); Campion, BWH, Chart 370.
Wisconsin (Acceptance into the Union), May 29, 1848 (New Style); time unknown (noon EST used); Washington, D.C., USA (38°N54’, 77°W02’); X: Carolyn R. Dodson, Horoscopes of the U.S. States & Cities, Astro Computing Services, 1975 (fourth printing 1980), p. 181.
Wisconsin Protest, February 15, 2011; 10:00 a.m. CST; Madison, WI, USA (43°N04’, 89°W24’); A: time the debate began: www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/us/17wisconsin.html
Notes and References:
1. The seven exact squares of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn occur at: 8°23’ on June 24, 2012; 6°57’ on September 19, 2012; 11°14’ on May 20 2013; 9°25’ on November 1, 2013; 13°34’ on April 21, 2014; 12°35’ on December 15, 2014; and 15°18’ on March 16, 2015. From Solar Fire Gold (Astrolabe, Inc.).
5. An orb of approximately 4° applying or separating is used, unless otherwise noted.
6. The Aries Point is defined as 0° of the cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. The activation of any of these points indicates significant worldwide events.
7. The North Node and North Bending seem to be points of external manifestation in the mundane realm. The South Node and South Bending involve others and seem best used in service to the collective and the greater good; used selfishly, they pertain to vulnerability and loss. See Kathy Allan, “Re-Visioning the Lunar Nodes,” in The Mountain Astrologer, Feb./March 2009, p. 49.
Charts provided by author and TMA.
Other images: CC0 Createive Commons via pixabay.com
First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Oct/Nov 2011.
Kathy Allan is a professionally certified astrologer living in New Mexico. She has worked as a science writer and editor and has a Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology. She is the pseudonymous author of the novel Gold Street. You can contact her via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2011/2017 - Kathy Allan - published by The Mountain Astrologer