When someone is actively deceiving us, we are never quite sure about what is actually happening or if we can believe our perceptions. Trust in our own sense of reality is often being subtly undermined by a conflicting explanation of the facts. “The Devil works with a grain of truth,” is an old saying that describes how this process works. Buried in the web of lies, there is usually one small kernel of truth, just enough to cause doubt in any alternative understanding of the facts and consequently hobble effective, focused opposition. Confusion and weakness are the result.
In astrological terms, Neptune is the planet of dishonesty, self-deception, and confusion. When it is active, it becomes difficult to discern fact from fiction and easy to get carried away with an unrealistic and sometimes grandiose understanding of events. Getting a clear grasp on the situation, a necessary prelude to determining appropriate action, becomes nearly impossible.
In today’s situation with a newly aggressive Russia, one piece of the puzzle is the extraordinary activation of Neptune in Russia’s chart. Not only is the progressed Russian Sun barely a month past the exact opposition to natal Neptune (13Capricorn48), but the four points in the emerging cardinal cross are all in a hard aspect or conjunction to this point. Specifically, Uranus is square to natal Neptune from April 6 through April 26; Jupiter is opposite natal Neptune from April 14 through April 22; Pluto has been close but not quite conjunct natal Neptune from mid-February to mid-April; and Mars will be square to natal Neptune from April 19 through April 22.
Many threads of the current crisis can be connected back to this overstimulated Neptune in Russia’s chart. Vladimir Putin’s repeated appeals to Russian patriotism and to a grandiose and aggrieved national identity can be traced to the 4th house Neptune in the national chart, which points to an idealized yearning for and an unrealistic understanding of Mother Russia. In addition, the deceptive narrative Putin has been using to describe events in Ukraine – denying Russia’s participation, describing any Ukrainian response to insurrection as an attack on ethnic Russians, framing any Russian involvement as a humanitarian rescue operation – serves to cloak Russia’s active masterminding of the entire operation or at least confuse the issue enough to weaken critics.
And finally, the fog surrounding the unfolding drama makes it nearly impossible to discern what is exactly happening. Were the negotiations in Geneva a manipulative distraction or will Putin actually comply with the signed agreement? As Russia continues to deny it is seeking to absorb more of Ukraine, will it keep stoking events that will lead in that direction? Nothing is clear, rendering a coherent response difficult. As in Crimea, clarity may not come until it is too late and the deed is done.
The increased tension engendered by the planet Pluto is another important piece in understanding the currently building conflict that centers on Ukraine. From early February through mid-May 2014, transiting Pluto is making a protracted opposition to the US Sun (13Cancer19). In the Spring chart drawn for Russia, Pluto is square the Ascendant (13Libra28) from March 20 through mid-May 2014. In addition, the Pluto station of mid-April reached just 22 minutes shy of a square to Putin’s Sun (13Libra56), thus also impacting him from late February through mid-April. These configurations, taken together, suggest a building confrontation or struggle, where each side feels it must stay vigilant and strong or it will be overwhelmed, if not literally than measured by significant loss of respect and effectiveness on the world stage.
Pluto will continue to be in hard aspect to the US Sun and Putin’s Sun through October 2015, suggesting this struggle for dominance will continue to play out through that time. At present, the transits of Uranus, Jupiter, and Mars may be seen as a huge stimulant to this underlying tension during most of the month of April. In particular, the combination of Jupiter and Uranus in hard aspect to Putin’s Sun point to significant confidence and success (Jupiter) through April 23, as well as a willingness to defy established norms (Uranus) through the month. Both of these planets are also in hard aspect to the Ascendant of the Moscow Spring chart, thereby reiterating these same themes. The addition of Mars to this combination from April 20 to April 24 only adds fuel to the fire and suggests a greater willingness for violence and aggression.
Jupiter and Uranus have also been impacting the US Sun in April, through the 19th and then dissipating. During the last days of this Jupiter/Uranus period there was some optimism (Jupiter) over an agreement made in Geneva to deescalate the situation. In addition, the US has increasingly exercised its power (Jupiter conjunct US Sun) through threats of progressively onerous sanctions against Russia should it continue on this course of aggression, while also moving to increase NATO’s military footprint along Russia’s East European borders. The addition of Mars from the 19th through the 24th seems likely to further escalate the anger and confrontational tone of the US in this conflict, as well as pointing to a greater potential for explosions, violence, and accidents in other areas.
With the dissipation of several of these planetary aspects after April 25, we may see some of the intensity of this situation drain away. However, it should be noted that the first of three transits of Uranus opposite US Saturn (14Libra48) begins on April 26 running through May 16, concurrent with the last part of the Pluto transit opposite US Sun. The Uranus transit to US Saturn will return in September 2014 and February and March 2015. Moreover, transiting Pluto will move to square US Saturn during much of 2015. Using the Sagittarius rising chart for the US, Saturn sits in the 10th house, pointing to the focus on world power and the many painful lessons (Saturn) that come to the US in this area. With both Uranus and Pluto coming to hard aspects with US Saturn from late April 2014 through December 2015, it seems likely the US will experience a multi-pronged awakening (Uranus) of the limitations (Saturn) and difficulties inherent in its global influence.
As mentioned, the Pluto transit opposite the US Sun and square to Putin’s Sun also continues through most of 2015, suggesting this conflict between Russia and the US in the global chess game will extend through next year, with the US finding it has less and ability to shape events than expected (Pluto and Uranus aspecting US Saturn). Moreover, the Uranus and Pluto aspects to Russia’s Neptune through much of the same period, suggest Russia will continue with its uber-nationalism and its idealization of the Russian homeland and the grievances it has experienced. In addition, Uranus will oppose Putin’s Sun again in October 2014 and from late December 2014 through much of February 2015, suggesting he will be willing to defy international norms and take a strong stand for his version of reality at that time. This latter period, from December 2014 through February 2015, will include the final crossings of the Uranus/Pluto square, with both planets aspecting the US Sun, Putin’s Sun and Russia’s Neptune almost simultaneously and likely bring about another dramatic confrontation at that time.