12th Aug, 2014

Extremism Erupts

Conflicts are boiling over in multiple areas across the globe, and a thread running through many of them is the rise of extremism. By definition, extremists rigidly hold to a radical political or religious view, usually refusing any compromise or negotiation. They perceive their fanatical and grandiose agenda as divinely inspired or inspired by some kind of hyper-nationalistic dream, and those who oppose it as not merely wrong, but evil. Frequently, this attitude results in unchecked and vicious brutality, as well as a desire for overwhelming control, rationalized by a crazed, self-aggrandizing obsession.

In a blitzkrieg reminiscent of the Nazis, the vicious terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has recently been aggressively devouring large swaths of Syria and Iraq, savagely exterminating all who refuse their brand of extremist Sunni Islam. By late June, ISIL had grandiosely proclaimed itself a caliphate with religious authority over all Muslims across the world. Initially seen as a regional conflict between the Sunni and Shiite brands of Islam, this savage struggle has now morphed into a battle pitting a barbaric and brutal fringe group that is rapidly expanding its power base against all those who prefer a moderate path that fosters diversity and stability.

In the past week, the US began airstrikes on some of the ISIL positons in Iraq, ostensibly to prevent genocide of the minority Christian sect, the Yazidis, and to bolster the faltering military position of the Kurds. Viewed with a more strategic, long-term perspective, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that leaving these menacing marauders unchecked would not only destabilize and devastate the entire Middle East, but would enable these Western-hating extremists enormous power over the world economy by allowing them control over a fifth or more of the global oil reserves. The stakes in this confrontation escalate more with each passing day.

In astrology, Pluto is the planet that describes fanaticism. When its influence is strong, we see an increase of intransigent and brutal struggles for domination. Both sides of the conflict perceive the danger as overwhelming, needing to vigilantly oppose the enemy at all cost. This can lead to a drive for total control as a way to destroy any potential threat. When Pluto is a primary actor in geopolitical struggles, life becomes a zero sum game: kill or be killed; win or die. Such is the mood today in Ukraine, Palestine, Israel, Syria and now Iraq.

The historical Uranus/Pluto square, spanning from June 2012 through March 2015, makes an unusual total of seven crossings, rendering it exceptionally potent. This protracted transformational aspect is fostering global transition on a massive scale. The map in many parts of the world will have been redrawn; numerous governments will have fallen and been replaced, sometimes repeatedly; and the world’s perception of its threats will have shifted. As climate change increasingly becomes a frightening reality, and ISIL strengthens and consolidates the most extreme and dangerous constituents of the world jihad movement into a global menace, humanity will have woken up and begun to prepare a response to these dangers.

The Uranus element of the Uranus/Pluto square has propelled many groups to push suddenly and forcefully for freedom from the restrictions of the status quo. The Pluto element has strengthened the depth and effort of those in power – financial, military, and political – to tighten their control and crush the opposition. It has also greatly intensified fanatical movements who increasingly threaten the world with their intransigent demands and aggression. The Jupiter and Mars transits during the first six months of 2014 further agitated the energy of the Uranus/Pluto square, bringing many of these confrontations to a full boil.

The January 20, 2013 Inaugural chart covers the time-frame of most of the impact of the Uranus/Pluto square. In this chart, we find indications of anger, confrontation, and significant stress and turmoil during the second Obama presidential term. One particularly significant planetary configuration stands out: a very tight Moon inaugural13(19Taurus38) square to Mars (20Aquarius13), with Uranus (5Aries14) at the midpoint and therefore semisquare to both Moon and Mars. This combination points to angry clashes and the potential for aggressive, possibly violent action during the four-year term. The tertiary progressed Sun has now reached a conjunction with natal Mars and semisquare natal Uranus, from July 24 to August 24, activating this aggressive and volatile configuration just as President Obama has moved to begin airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq. This suggests that this first wave of strikes will continue with intensity through around August 24.

For the president, this early phase of bombing is quite stressful. He feels a tremendous weight of burden and responsibility to carry this out in a way that will not exacerbate a very unstable and troubling situation. This is reflected in the final Saturn transit square to his Ascendant (18Aquarius03) from August 11 through September 1. The simultaneous transit of Saturn sesquiquadrate US Venus (3Cancer06) suggests there may be some painful costs to the US during this initial assault, particularly during the Mars/Saturn conjunction from August 23 to August 25.

There are two charts of significance for ISIL, neither of which seems to have a confirmed birth time. One of these is for the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, dating from April 9, 2013, but also given as April 8. The other is for the declaration of the Caliphate, for which I am using 5 AM on June 29, 2014, but the evening before has also been given. Although the differing birth times make specific predictions difficult, the underlying theme of brazen and intense aggression over the next few years is clear.

In the 2013 chart, we find a Sun (19 Aries), Mars (21 Aries), Venus (22Aries) conjunction that leads to progressed Sun conjunct natal Mars, converse progressed Mars conjunct the natal Sun, and solar arc Mars conjunct natal Sun building in strength from Spring 2014 isisformedthrough October 2015. These are aspects that strongly suggest belligerence and war, and, not coincidentally, they parallel the transit of Pluto opposite the US Sun through October 2015, which points to the US engaged in a colossal and threatening power struggle during the same time-frame.

Although these progressions will wane by the end of 2015, transiting Uranus will conjunct the natal Sun and Mars, while transiting Pluto will square natal Mars, during 2016 and early 2017, suggesting a continuation of some level of hostilities after the progressed Sun/Mars aspects have dissipated.

In the June 29 Caliphate chart, we find natal Mars (17Libra36) opposite Uranus IScaliphate(16Aries18) and square Pluto (12Capricorn25). As the transiting Uranus moves into the exact opposition to natal Mars (March and April 2015, October 2015 through mid-February 2017) we can expect flare-ups of hostile action and violence. This is also likely when transiting Pluto moves into a square with natal Mars during 2016 and 2017.

Although the final phase of the Uranus/Pluto square contains many configurations that point to another big eruption in this conflict with ISIL from roughly January though at least March 2015, it seems likely that a struggle between these violent radicals and the US will continue through early November 2015. Beyond that, ISIL may manifest further hostile actions, but we can hope that by then it will have been reduced to a more contained force in the world. And we should remember, that after years of the Bush Boys repeatedly crying wolf to scare us into submission for their military schemes and leaving the country distrustful and exhausted, this time there really is a big, bad wolf at the gate.

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