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Cold War 2.0

The Western alliance is becoming very agitated by the increasingly belligerent stance of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In addition to Putin’s military assault on Eastern Ukraine initiated during his blatant reabsorption of Crimea into Russia last year, major disarmament pacts and consultations have been discarded in recent months, while fierce and more potent Russian weapons systems are being developed. In light of all of this, NATO’s concerns are growing over the effectiveness of its defensive umbrella. In short, the West is beginning to realize it needs a steep upgrade to counterbalance the building strength and assertiveness of the post-Soviet Kremlin.

According to the Russian birth chart, the most blatant period of relatively unobstructed Russian expansionism will continue through May 2015, with further issues and russiaconfrontations continuing through mid-February 2016, despite increasing difficulties and obstruction. Since August 2014 and continuing through September 2015, Russia’s progressed Sun is in a waxing conjunction with natal Jupiter (15Cancer13), while also trine natal Pluto (15Scorpio28) and sextile natal Venus (15Taurus09). The Jupiter/Sun combination here suggests expansion, success, optimism, and, potentially, recklessness and arrogance. This progression has been immensely heightened and intensified by the transit of Uranus (15Aries), adding a strong flavor of unilateralism and daring, through the spring and summer of 2014, and more recently, from mid-February to mid-March 2015. The continuing transit of Pluto (15Capricorn) from February through May 2015 has also greatly strengthened the expansiveness of Sun/Jupiter, while increasingly turning it into a power struggle with the West. More than anything, it is this configuration of Uranus and Pluto combined with the progressed Sun impacting natal Jupiter during 2014 and 2015 through May that is the hallmark of Russia’s current militaristic resurgence.

The progression of the Sun conjunct natal Jupiter, however, will continue to be quite strong through September 1, 2015, and, while waning, will be re-energized by another crossing from Pluto in December 2015 and early January 2016, as well as by the progressed Moon opposite natal Jupiter during January 2016. Moreover, transiting Jupiter will square the natal Sun (21Gemini10) during the second half of November 2015 and the first half of February 2016. These aspects point to further efforts of expansionism and audacity late in 2015 and early 2016. They are nonetheless likely to be less potent than the current episode without the full strength of the progressed Sun/Jupiter conjunction.

Difficulties are likely to develop for Russia, during this otherwise quite aggressive period, as of mid-June and continuing through August 2015. This is due to a very significant configuration that will be coming in the late spring and summer of 2015: the station of Saturn (28 Scorpio) semisquare the station of Pluto (13 Capricorn). Although the semisquare is a minor hard aspect, the fact that these two stressful planetary indicators remain within orb of each other from May 31 to August 15 greatly intensifies the anxiety and tension they represent. This will be particularly true for those whose charts are directly involved with this transit.

In the Russian chart, the maximum impact from this combination comes when both Saturn and Pluto will be in aspect to natal Neptune (13Capricorn48) from mid-June to mid-July 2015. In addition, Saturn will return to a semisquare to Neptune during most of August. Neptune in the Russian chart is in the 4th house, where it brings an idealized conception of the homeland. With both Uranus and Pluto transiting this natal planet over the last year, the heightened pride and idealization of Mother Russia has been apparent in the widespread support of Putin’s expansionist agenda . The prolonged Saturn station in the summer, however, is likely to pour the cold water of reality on this fantasy and add a level of agitation and concern. The added impact of Pluto will tend to push this process to a fanatical extreme that becomes a kind of self-sabotage.

During this same period we also find progressed Russian Moon conjunct natal Uranus (8Capricorn17) from June 2 through July 2, followed by the progressed Moon square to natal Mars (8Aries49), suggesting some unexpected and perhaps unilateral action (Uranus) leading to aggression, combat and anger (Mars), while coinciding with the disillusionment and profound angst of the Saturn/Pluto/Neptune combination.

In support of this narrative, Vladimir Putin’s chart will have this same combination of Pluto and Saturn impacting his Sun (13Libra56), with Pluto square the Sun from June 8 through July 20, and the Saturn station semisquare the Sun from mid-June through putinAugust. This suggests that the building power struggle for survival experienced by Putin over the last year due to Pluto square his Sun, will be re-energized as of early June, while at the same time, the limiting, frustrating, burdensome energy of Saturn will overshadow Putin’s efforts from mid-June through August 2015. With Saturn also semisquare Russia’s Neptune (13Capricorn48) simultaneously, we can expect disillusionment and difficulty at least until the end of August.

The final protracted phase of Pluto conjunct the Russian Neptune and square to Putin’s Sun covers the period from late September through November 2015, suggesting another round of nationalist longing for the magical image of Mother Russia (4th house Neptune) and Putin’s rather paranoid power struggle in an encroaching and dangerous world (Pluto/Sun). With transiting Pluto and the progressed Moon aspecting Russia’s Jupiter in December 2015 and January 2016, there may be a brief burst of optimism or expansionism before this entire phase comes to an end. As we move into 2016, we find not only transiting Uranus square to Russia’s natal Saturn (24Capricorn12) but also transiting Pluto square to Putin’s natal Saturn (17Libra27), suggesting a much more circumspect and reined-in year for Russia.

It should be noted that the US Sun (13Cancer19) will also be under the protracted Saturn/Pluto transit from late June through mid-August 2015. This suggests that the US and Russia will be engaged in a battle of wills (Pluto) while each is also constrained (Saturn) by the need to not end up in open conflict. The Saturn station in a USchartsesquiquadrate to the US Sun from June 27 through August 10 points to many frustrating, intense, and seemingly stuck situations in the coming summer, including, but not limited to, the struggle with Russia. Pluto will remain in an opposition to the US Sun through early November 2015, followed by the final square of Pluto to US Saturn (14Libra48) in late November and December, after which some of the current high-stakes power struggles will begin to ease.

Hillary

Hillary Clinton is the current frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president…by several orders of magnitude. No one else is even within striking distance. Until very recently, Hillary had done a masterful job of keeping a low profile, reflecting a profound understanding of the short attention span in the American psyche. After all, it is best not to wear down the welcome mat in a land that hungrily feasts on the new and exciting, and where titillation and gossip so easily supplant substance and mastery. This is the withered land of American political theater.

In the past week, Email-gate has erupted, a scandal over Hillary’s use of a private email account during her time as Secretary of State. As of this writing, it is still not clear why this was done, whether this was a clear plan or a path thoughtlessly stumbled upon, and who knew it was happening or even signed off on it. The Hillary camp seems to have been blindsided by the revelation and has not yet come out with a coherent response.

Unfortunately, it is Hillary’s tendency for obfuscation and her lack of clear, direct, open answers in a situation that can be interpreted in multiple ways, as well as a pattern of self-inflicted wounds that are becoming the narrative. Astrologically, the culprit is the growing strength of Neptune in her chart. As of February 2, Hillary’s progressed Sun moved into the potent one-degree orb of a square with natal Neptune (11Libra21), reaching its full potential on January 27, 2016, and then dissipating. In the past week, as this scandal has unfolded, there have been several transiting planetary triggers to hillaryactivate this Sun/Neptune progression: the Sun (11 Pisces); Venus (11 Aries); and Mars (11 Aries). Now that these have passed, it seems likely that the current iteration of media attention on this issue will diminish for a while, especially as the focus gets grabbed by the multitude of dramatic and often violent stories that will come from the transiting Mars conjunction to Uranus and square to Pluto, from March 9 through March 11.

Nonetheless, this heightened Neptune period will continue for a year, and Hillary is likely to get further pulled into the murkiness of the email scandal, as well as muddled into some other controversies, all of which strengthen the narrative of a stumbling, duplicitous and self-sabotaging pattern (Neptune). It is almost as if Hillary needs this year to fully find her sea legs, as she navigates the stormy waters of American political combat in its current and brutally hazardous form. (And this would be a useful counter-narrative to promote.)

The good news is that as this progression dissipates, there is a steady flow of Jupiter transits in 2016, supported by a strengthening of Hillary’s Venus throughout the year, that together portend a strong possibility of victory in the next election. Assuming the preferred, but unsubstantiated, 8 AM birth time is close to correct, the Jupiter station of December 2015 and January 2016 will be opposite Hillary’s Moon (22Pisces50), and the Jupiter station of January and February 2017 will be quincunx her Moon. Together, these point to likely success and optimism during two crucial periods.

In the interim, transiting Jupiter will twice be semisquare her Sun (2Scorpio18) and sextile her Venus (16Scorpiio14), followed by opposite her Moon and semisquare her Venus. In addition, her tertiary progressed Pluto is in a multi-year square to her natal Venus through early 2020, and this will be bolstered by the Pluto transit of 2016 sextile her Venus, most notably from May 20 through July 5, and, more importantly, from November 1 through December 11. The tertiary Pluto/Venus progression, bolstered by transiting Pluto and transiting Jupiter at various times, will increase her personal magnetism and attractiveness as a candidate. The strengthening of Pluto can also intensify her discomfort with intensified scrutiny and add to her need for privacy, which her multitude of Scorpio planets already indicate.

I will go over further details of the election and inauguration period at a later time, but there is little to indicate a loss and much to indicate success, despite some of the missteps likely in 2015. It should also be pointed out that Bill Clinton will have the Jupiter station conjunct his natal Jupiter in January and February 2017, so he may be enjoying the situation even more than his wife.

Bibi’s Bubble

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel has recently managed to pour gasoline on the long-standing political swamp fires of Washington. Essentially, Netanyahu colluded with House Speaker John Boehner to schedule a speech in front of Congress that will attempt to derail American negotiations with Iran. Moreover, the White House was not informed prior to the scheduling of Netanyahu’s March 3 speech, making this a serious breach of the usual diplomatic protocol, especially as it falls just before the Israeli election. Republicans, who shamelessly manage to grandstand every issue with little attention to reality simply for the pleasure of attacking President Obama, now have the Prime Minister of Israel lending strength to their posturing. Unfortunately for Netanyahu, his antics have greatly diminished him in the eyes of many Americans, and many Israelis are also not happy about him injecting himself into American politics.

Astrologically, this is a difficult time for Netanyahu, and it is not clear that he will win his coming election. If he does manage a victory, he is nonetheless likely to be significantly weakened in some way. Currently, Saturn is stationary in a semisquare to his Moon (19Libra57) from February 8 through March 15. Though the Saturn transit will be waning by the time of the March 17 election, transiting Mars in opposition to Netanyahu’s Moon from March 16 to March 18 may be enough to give this stressful transit a final burst of potency. netanyahu

In addition, transiting Uranus is quincunx Netanyahu’s Saturn (15Virgo24), itself under a long-standing square from progressed Chiron, from February 7 through March 18. Uranus here brings upsets and problematic surprises that involve Netanyahu’s tendency for rigid dogma and inflexible thinking (9th house Saturn). Moreover, transiting Pluto is currently trine to Netanyahu’s natal Saturn, from February 7 through May 11, bringing the tumultuous and difficult Uranus/Pluto square into direct contact with natal Saturn during the entire election period. And finally, transiting Saturn is presently quincunx natal Uranus (4Cancer58) from February 9 to March 14, suggesting that he feels trapped in some way, most likely relating to the intractable situation he has created with the March 3 speech. All of these stressful transits began as the opposition and anger over the speech gathered steam. That their impact continues well past the time of the speech itself, and, in fact, close to or past the March 17 election, does not bode well for Netanyahu.

The Tel Aviv Spring Equinox charts for 2014 and 2015 also point to sudden, strong shifts spring2014jerusalemin the days leading up to and immediately after the election. Whether this indicates an actual change in leadership is not clear, but it is certainly possibly under these configurations. The 2014 chart, which has jurisdiction up until the March 21, 2015, Equinox, shows transiting Uranus, the planet of sudden, powerful and unexpected transformation, crossing the Descendant (15Aries20) for the final time on the day of the election. Within two days it moves into the last one-degree-orb of a square to the MC (16Cancer29), rendering this entire critical period one steeped in the potent feel of upheaval and change. As we move into the reign of the 2015 Spring Equinox chart, beginning in the early hours of March 21, we find Uranus conjunct the IC (16Aries09), waxing in potency through April 1. This again points to transformation and a powerful change in trajectory for Israel, characterized by swiftly moving events. The involvement of the IC suggests circumstances that impact the heart and soul of the people. spring2015jerusalem

Netanyahu’s opponent in this race is the Leader of the Labor Party, Isaac Herzog, born September 22, 1960. His chart also points to rapid and powerful changes around the time of the election. Not only is the Uranus/Pluto square in hard aspect to his Mercury (16Libra26) and possibly his Moon ((16Libra58, at noon, local time), during this critical period, but his progressed Sun is currently square to natal Uranus (23Leo44), waxing approximately through May 2015, and triggered late on the night of the election by the transiting Moon. Thus, he is undergoing significant changes in his life which may well include a potent shift in his political status.

It seems very possible that Israel’s government will change direction in this upcoming election due to Netanyahu’s intransigence and narrow-mindedness (9th house Saturn) being severely impacted by the Uranus/Pluto square, as well as other adverse aspects. Nonetheless, how these complicated and diverse planetary aspects will actually play out remains to be seen.

Path of Destruction

Like an unleashed tornado ravishing the geopolitical landscape of the world, the final waxing square between Uranus and Pluto is uprooting governments, rousing nations to war, and laying waste to the established balance of power in many places. In just a few weeks, Yemen’s Western-supported government has been ousted, while a burgeoning civil war ravishes the landscape; Jordon and Egypt have begun bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria and Libya, respectively, in response to vicious acts of terrorism recently committed against their citizens; and the Ukrainian ceasefire has all but collapsed amidst a new wave of violence.

As ISIS unfurls its flag in parts of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, while AQAP increasingly flexes its muscle in Yemen, and Boko Haram spreads its deranged violence beyond Nigeria’s borders, ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks are increasingly erupting throughout the Middle East, into Western Europe, and beyond. In reaction to all of this provocation, many in the family of nations have begun to put aside their differences and push back hard. The overwhelming onslaught of criminal barbarity from these radical extremists, loosely garbed in megalomaniacal religious jargon, has become so unhinged that the civilized world is moving towards a new unity of response.

The final protracted thrust of the Uranus/Pluto square will continue to build through March 16, 2015, the last of seven exact aspects over three years. These last weeks of the transit, moreover, will include stimulation from other planets and are therefore likely to contain some very dramatic and potentially violent events. Transiting Jupiter will be trine to Uranus and quincunx to Pluto from February 20 through February 28, suggesting an intensification of the outrageous and unexpected events (Uranus) that have become the hallmark of ISIS, as well as an intensification of the fierce power struggle (Pluto) unfolding between the criminality of the extremists and those who stand for the protection of civilization. In addition, Mars will enter its natural sign of Aries on February 20, enabling it to more fully express its aggression than in the previous water sign of Pisces. Moreover, from roughly March 8 through March 12, Mars will move into a conjunction with Uranus and a square to Pluto, exacerbating the already overwhelming tensions of the exact Uranus/Pluto square of the first half of March. These are likely to be days of extraordinary confrontations and violence, as well as potentially very extreme and dangerous weather events.

The intensity of the profound power struggles that are the signature of the Uranus/Pluto square will begin to dissipate after March 2015, with a brief, final flare-up in January and February 2016 when the these two planets move close to a one-degree orbed square for the final time. Nonetheless, by far the greatest impact of this historical aspect is being felt in the present, through mid-March.

Of interest in the US chart is that both Uranus and Pluto are presently in hard aspect to the US Saturn (14Libra48). The Pluto square to US Saturn will be exact on February 22, while the Uranus opposition will continue to increase in strength through March 8, USchartsuggesting unexpected, upsetting, and transformative events over the next 17 days. The Pluto transit will return from mid-April through mid-June and late November through late December 2015.

This Pluto transit to the US 10th house Saturn intensifies the US drive to decisively impact the world, while at the same time highlighting the clear limitations of US power to affect change. It is a frustrating, humbling, and disturbing transit, as the US chafes to shape events that are overwhelmingly uncontrollable. As MSNBC host Chris Hayes pointed out recently: we tried air power and then retreat in Libya; we tried staying out of the conflict in Syria; and we tried invading and nation-building in Iraq, and none of these had a successful outcome. The underlying reality, he suggested, is that we just don’t have the power to fully shape events to our liking, no matter what we do. The stark awareness of this humbling truth is a manifestation of transiting Pluto square US Saturn, and it will be coming back with greater strength during the Pluto station from mid-April to mid-June, when it will be joined by Saturn quincunx US Venus (April 16 to May 2) and by Saturn semisquare US Saturn (June 3 to June 18). This springtime period seems likely to be a very difficult time in the ongoing war with ISIS when our limitations in waging this conflict become painfully apparent.

In the near term, the Jupiter station from mid-March through April 11 will be conjunct President Obama’s Sun (12Leo33), suggesting a period of great success which follows the very violent period of the first half of March. We may see some significant victories during this nearly four-week timeframe, both politically and in the war against ISIS. With transiting Pluto in aspect to the US Saturn and the US Sun (13Cancer19) through most of 2015, however, the beginning of any real release from the fierceness of this historical confrontation seems likely not to come until early in 2016.

Denizens of Darkness

Like some kind of demonic circus from the far corners of Hell, the Islamic State continues to horrify the world with its ever-deepening descent into depravity. In a perpetual state of dread, we anxiously await the next unnerving travesty.

Last summer, flourishing its own brand of “shock and awe”, the Islamic State marauders swiftly devoured half of Iraq in a stunning series of unexpected victories. This was quickly followed by an ongoing barrage of ruthless savagery. Murder and mayhem soon metastasized into extraordinary forms of brutality against children, sexual slavery of women, uncounted beheadings, and, most recently, the burning alive of a captive pilot. These abominations were then brazenly broadcast across the world in a naked attempt to seduce further minions to join this group of power-crazed and diabolical fanatics.

The astrological chart that seems most fitting for this rabid death cult is drawn for its shift from Al Qaida in Iraq to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on April 8, 2013 (also given for 4/9/13). The goals and identity (the Sun) in this chart are completely merged with a fierce aggression (Mars), while also demonstrating a strong appeal (Venus) to the frustrated and angry terrorist wannabes of the world. This is described in a tight Sun/Mars/Venus conjunction in the martial sign of Aries. Moreover, the ISILprogressions point to the burgeoning of action and aggression beginning in the spring of 2014 and continuing through October 2015, as the progressed Sun moves to conjunct natal Mars (20Aries51, exact in June 2015), while converse Mars moves to conjunct natal Sun (18Aries41, exact in October 2015). In addition, the attraction of the group for recruits is suggested by progressed Sun conjunct Venus (21Aries24) and converse Venus conjunct the Sun, together covering all of 2015 through April 2016.

At the moment, there is a Saturn station sitting in a square with Neptune (4Pisces26) in the ISIL chart which suggests significant problems developing from January 31 through April 7. The recent claim by ISIL that a Jordanian airstrike killed an American hostage did not create fear and divisiveness, as, no doubt, was expected, but instead stirred only disbelief and scorn in the world. It seems likely that yet more air will seep out of the overheated extremist balloon during this transit. In essence, the propaganda and expectations (Neptune) were thwarted (Saturn).

Nonetheless, actual defeat of the Islamic State may take a few years, continuing to unfold as the Uranus/Pluto square sweeps through the very volatile natal stellium in Aries. The impact of Uranus conjunct the stellium will be most noted in 2015 and 2016, suggesting brazen and destructive action and many sudden and unexpected twists and turns to the conflict. The impact of Pluto square the stellium will be very strong from 2017 through 2019, suggesting the experience of a battle for survival and a huge feel of power struggle and potential annihilation. I would think that this latter period may be when the group is ultimately defeated, especially during the Saturn transit through Capricorn of 2018 and 2019, which will adversely impact not only the Aries configuration in the ISIL chart, but also the Sun (7 Cancer), Pluto (12 Capricorn), Uranus (16 Aries), and Mars (17Libra) in the chart for the declaration of the Caliphate (6/29/14).

In the near future, Uranus will first cross the Sun conjunct converse Mars progression in the ISIL chart (18Aries41) from April 28 through May 17, suggesting surprise attacks, extreme violence, and unhinged behavior that may shift the trajectory of events in some way. Interestingly, this transit will also launch a difficult period described in the chart for the leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (6/28/71). From mid-May through early October 2015, there will be a series of Saturn transits suggesting setbacks, frustrations, and difficulties for him. Saturn will square natal Saturn (01Gemini), conjunct natal Neptune (00Sagitarius), and station sesquiquadrate natal Mercury (14 Cancer) during this period. The latter aspect will in part be accompanied by the Pluto transit opposite natal Mercury, suggesting significant problems for Baghdadi in June.

The next Uranus transit conjunct the ISIL Sun, from September 9 through October 9 and triggering the last of the converse Mars square to the Sun, suggests some very dramatic, violent confrontations, and again a shifting trajectory that impacts this conflict in some way. It is possible that this eruption may serve to push ISIL back for a period of time, but the return of Uranus to the ISIL Sun in March 2016, followed by its  crossing of Mars from March 2016 through early 2017, may serve to reignite the struggle, though perhaps not to the same intensity as occurred in 2014 and 2015 under the strong Mars progressions. The arrival of the initial Pluto square the Sun beginning in 2017 would seem to signify the final protracted two-year period of a debilitating struggle to maintain control against increasing odds.