Iraq Implodes

A whirlwind of violence is consuming the Middle East, voraciously devouring more and more territory in its insatiable maw. What began as a civil war in Syria has spilled over the border into Lebanon and now Iraq, with refugee camps and/or border incidents also impacting Turkey, Jordan and Israel. As of the past week, the US is sending military advisors to help Iraq’s government stave off the destructive and engulfing swarm of Sunni militants, while Iran is also sending help in the form of Republican Guard members to shore up the Shiite defenders. And, of course, Russia and Iran have been sending weapons to the Assad government of Syria for years.

One narrative of the worsening disaster is that it is really a regional Sunni/Shiite confrontation. Another description of the escalating conflict, only partially overlapping the first, focuses on the moderate versus extremist split. Related to the latter conception of the struggle is that the extremist Sunni side of the equation wants to create an Islamic Caliphate from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran. The goal of expanding across borders as an expression of fanatical religious or ideological fervor, coupled with a ruthless willingness to viciously slaughter any who are not a part of the exalted crusade, is reminiscent of the some of the most relentless and brutal movements in history.  The question that arises is how much bigger the consuming tornado will become before this wild force can be stopped.

As described in my previous article, The Red Planet,  we are currently in the most dangerous Mars translation of the entire multi-year Uranus/Pluto square. While this historical and transformative configuration, which runs roughly from 2011 through 2015, has been bringing a multitude of power struggles and clashes worldwide, the addition of a slow-moving Mars to the mix from June 10 through June 26 has essentially poured gasoline on the already-spreading flames.  Thus far, during this Mars transit, the extremist Sunni militant group ISIS has invaded and taken over the Sunni majority areas of Iraq and is now threatening Baghdad.  In response, the most dangerous Shiite militias in Iraq are reconstituting in order to oppose this threat. As of June 22, the last, increasingly potent phase of this Mars transit will begin, as Mars moves within a one-degree orb of its opposition to Uranus through June 25.  In other words, we can expect extremely explosive and dangerous events over the next few days.

The birth of the current government of Iraq is given as June 28, 2004, at 10:26 AM. iraq2004Although it seems likely that earlier charts for Iraq are still quite valid, this one, no doubt, is strongly linked to the Maliki leadership. In it, we find trouble building over the past few years for the Iraqi government and closing in on it during 2014. In this 2004 chart, the Sun (6Cancer54) and Mercury (17Cancer53) are conjunct Saturn (15Cancer29). By progression, the Sun moved inexorably into an exact conjunction with natal Saturn by June 2013, and is now reaching the culmination of its conjunction with progressed Saturn (16Cancer51) as of December 2014. Moreover, from June 8 through July 30, the transiting Uranus station is square to the progressed Sun/progressed Saturn aspect, and is about to be further inflamed by a square from Mars from June 22 through June 26.

These configurations point to the importance of Prime Minister Maliki learning the lessons of Saturn: discipline, compromise, respect for others, and self-restraint. In his purge of the Sunnis in his government and in the leadership of the military, he has failed in these Saturnian necessities, inflaming the entire Sunni population against his leadership and to some extent driving them into the arms of the militants. The Uranus transit in June and July is bringing a sudden and swift transformation of the status quo, and a painful awaking as to the depths of the problem created by a heedless and undisciplined Maliki. The Mars transit of the next few days is likely to further intensify the situation. It is not impossible to imagine Maliki thrust out of his position over the coming days or coming month, or perhaps between now and early 2015. Transiting Saturn and again transiting Uranus will activate the beginning-to-separate progressed Sun/progressed Saturn aspect between January and April 2015, suggesting another period of enormous strain for the Iraqi government.

Where all of this will go is not clear. The Uranus/Pluto square is fomenting tremendous upheaval throughout the world, in some cases rewriting boundaries between nations and shifting alliances in unexpected ways. April through June 2014 has seen this process amplified, both in the Ukraine and in Iraq. The final, protracted chapter of this Uranus/Pluto transit will come from November 2014 through March 2015 when the square reasserts its dominance.  Transiting Mars passing through a cardinal sign is likely to further exacerbate any tensions for a few days in November and again for a few days in March. But compared to the current slow-moving Mars escalation, the coming transits will be brief and less likely to cause such an incendiary mess. Nonetheless, we can expect the Uranus/Pluto square in its final phase to continue to intensify the multitude of confrontations in the world leading to significant transformation of the status quo.

The Red Planet

Every two years, the planet Mars, as seen from a geocentric perspective, slows down and goes into a protracted retrograde phase. The result of this is that Mars remains in the same part of the zodiac, often within the same sign, for up to eight months. In December 2013, Mars entered the sign of Libra, stationing and turning retrograde in early March 2014, turning direct again in mid-May, and not entering Scorpio until late July 2014.

Mars is about manifesting one’s will in the world, pushing one’s efforts out, often assertively if not aggressively, to make something happen. When appropriately directed and controlled, this energy can accomplish a great deal. When overstimulated and unrestrained, it can cause chaos and violence and destruction. During the prolonged periods when Mars slows down for its retrograde motion, it is more potent than usual and will impact any planet with which it interacts for a much longer time than during its normal direct course. A look through history will show that wars often break out during the slower-moving Mars retrograde periods. Certainly, increased aggression and anger are likely, and more violence is a result.

In the past six months, we have seen an increased incidence of multiple shootings, vicious attacks, dramatic accidents, and extreme weather. We have also seen the nation of Ukraine tumble into a civil war, partly as a manifestation of building tension between Russia and the Western alliance.  This latter confrontation may also be connected to the protracted Jupiter/Uranus square, as well as the cardinal cross in April, all of which has been discussed in previous articles. But it is the extended period of Mars’ slower motion and more potent impact that has further fueled an already tense situation with sharpening anger, irritability and violence.

We are now in the zone of the last major activation of this heightened Mars energy, and therefore a time when confrontations are likely to escalate, and an increase in accidents and brutality is probable. Mars is currently moving into its final square with Pluto through June 14. A few days later, it will move into an opposition with Uranus, from June 21 through June 25. Moreover, from June 12 through June 21, Mars will square the US Sun (13Cancer19) and then conjunct the US Saturn (14Libra48). These configurations suggest a protracted period in June likely to bring events that agitate and anger the US, as well as amplifying a more general upsurge in conflict, violence and explosive circumstances worldwide.  In the past few days, we have already seen a major attack by the Pakistani Taliban on Karachi airport, a white supremacist shooting rampage on police and bystanders in Las Vegas, five US soldiers killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, and militants taking over the Iraqi city of Mosul. These are likely to be the early incidents that occur during this very dangerous 16 days in June.

As Mars continues its journey through Libra, it will slowly begin to pick up a more normal speed. During July, it will make two more aspects that may agitate events, but these are unlikely to be as intense, dangerous or impactful as the Mars/Pluto/Uranus combination we are now in the midst of. Nonetheless, these July transits are worth mentioning and tracking.  Mars will conjunct the North Node from July 12 through July 13, and it will square the Sun from July 16 through July 19.  The latter aspect in particular may bring some confrontational situations, but again, the current amplification of Mars will be largely dissipated by then, and so no big drama is likely.

Summer Struggles

For those who quietly still support President Obama, it is a difficult and wearying time. The cacophony of angry noise – a constant, soul-crushing thrum from the Right for years – is gaining some traction elsewhere from recent events. The cover-up of outrageously long waits for VA care, as well as the resulting deaths from non-treatment, have justifiably angered many outside the usual cadre of antagonists.

In addition, last week’s negotiated release of an American POW from the Taliban has also begun to stir the proverbial pot. Many in the military are particularly irritated at giving up five high-value Taliban prisoners for one American who was ostensibly a deserter. Moreover, the extensive search for this soldier, after he purposefully went missing, resulted in several deaths and injuries of other service members, as the Taliban took full advantage of the situation. The military is understandably peeved at the entire series of events.

We are currently in what is likely to be a low-point of President Obama’s tenure. This period, running from May 23 through September 1, includes two crossings of transiting Saturn square to Obama’s Ascendant (18Aquarius03) and a protracted station of Saturnobama sesquiquadrate Obama’s Venus (1Cancer47). The Saturn/Venus aspect, in particular (June 12 to August 3), suggests an emotionally stressful time, much criticism, and diminishing popularity.

May and June 2014 also include Obama’s progressed Moon opposite natal Neptune (8Scorpio36) followed by progressed Moon opposite progressed Neptune (9Scorpio42), magnifying complaints of weakness, vacillation, and incoherence. Any activation of Neptune in the president’s chart will inevitably bring up these issues, which diminish with the receding impact of the transit or progression.

In the US chart, we are now being impacted by a transit of Saturn sesquiquadrate natal Venus (3Cancer06) from May 23 through June 7. This aspect will return from August 12 through September 1. The current transit began with the violent rampage in Isla Vista, California, on May 23 that gripped the nation with its horror and tragedy. The two stories mentioned earlier in this article have also been a part of this transit. Basically, Saturn USchartcombined with Venus brings sorrow and/or added responsibility (Saturn) related to those we care about (Venus), such as our veterans, our children, or simply our fellow citizens. Often such transits correspond with circumstances that generate grief and loss, while calling for responsible action and increased burden by the nation.

It should be noted that this Saturn transit sesquiquadrate the US natal Venus is at present being activated by the Mercury station (3Cancer09) from June 2 through June 9, rendering the stressful and sorrowful qualities inherent in this aspect more potent. It seems likely that other potentially upsetting stories will emerge in the next few days that bring some element of upset or grief to the national consciousness. The Moon square to Saturn on the morning of June 3 and the Sun quincunx to Saturn on June 8 will be particularly susceptible to these energies.  Moreover, the events that unfold during this difficult Saturn/Venus transit, as well as a similar one during the last three weeks of August, are likely to feed into the larger narrative of a struggling Obama during the summer months until around the first of September.

Hillary

It is not even the middle of 2014 yet, and Republicans are desperately trying to poke holes in the steadily rising Hillary balloon.  Echoes of a traumatic brain injury and a debilitating geriatric decrepitude were swirling around the internet, until it became clear that the source was Karl Rove, whose name is synonymous with the most scurrilous of manipulative smear campaigns.  True to form, Rove is attacking Hillary Clinton on her greatest strengths: her extraordinary intelligence, her wide-ranging grasp of the issues, and her quality performance as Secretary of State. His wily goal is to plant seeds of doubt, elucidating for us the old adage: the Devil works with a grain of truth.

Astrologically, we are once again encumbered with an unreliable birth time. I will be using 8:02 AM, but, unfortunately, it is largely unconfirmed. This means that we must put an asterisk by any significant aspects to the Moon, the Ascendant, or the Midheaven, essentially discounting them.  There are numerous other promising aspects to consider, but the ones to the Moon in the 8:02 AM chart are particularly favorable. Oh well. hillary

At present, Saturn has just passed the second crossing of Hillary’s Mercury (21Scorpio24) and possibly her Ascendant (22Scorpio08*). This transit has been synonymous with the scurrilous attacks aired by Rove and his irritating echo, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.  We may see another round of this or some other aggravation from mid-September through mid-October 2014 when the final Saturn transit occurs.

What I find most interesting in Hillary’s chart are the multitude of tertiary progressions that are triggered by transits from now through early 2017. Tertiary progressions are calculated by counting one day for each month, just as secondary progressions are calculated by counting one day for each year. In Hillary’s tertiary progressions, Pluto has moved into a waxing one-degree orb square with natal Venus (16Scorpio14) for several years, exact in March 2020, and very slowly dissipating thereafter. This progression will be triggered by transiting Uranus quincunx natal Venus from late May through mid-August 2014 and again from mid-March through early April 2015, as well as by transiting Pluto sextile natal Venus in January and early February 2016 during the early primaries, and from November 1 through December 11, 2016, during and just after the election.

The highlighting of Venus is extremely important in political campaigns as it intensifies the attraction of the candidate and increases the devotion of supporters.  Although this tertiary progression is not as potent as a secondary Venus/Sun progression, the periods when it is activated by strong transits will magnify its effect. This Pluto/Venus combination will add to Hillary’s appeal and popularity, although it will also increase the proverbial Pluto tendency of hyper-scrutiny that can be very uncomfortable, although largely expected when running for high office.

Also of note is the tertiary Jupiter opposition to natal Mars (14Leo00) from August through mid-December 2016, overlapping with tertiary Jupiter opposite natal Pluto (14Leo51) from late November 2016 through March 2017. This natal Mars/Pluto conjunction describes Hillary’s powerful presence, strength, and resilience. These two planets are also the co-rulers of her stellium of planets in Scorpio and possibly also her Ascendant, thus giving them exceptional importance in the chart.  Jupiter will expand the impact of this conjunction and also add the mood of optimism and success during the election, its immediate aftermath, and right through the next Inauguration. Moreover, the tertiary Sun will conjunct natal Mars, natal Jupiter, and tertiary Jupiter, covering the period from late December 2016 through mid-February 2017, further intensifying this very promising combination.

One point of caution, however, comes from the progressed Sun square to natal Neptune (11Libra21) during 2015 and peaking on February 1, 2016. This suggests some indecision, heightened expectation, and self-deception, as well as the likelihood of Rove and his cohort spreading vicious lies whenever possible. The good news is that it will begin to separate in  February 2016, bringing more pragmatism, realism, and organization to her campaign as the year unfolds.

Although the position of Hillary’s Moon (22Pisces50) remains questionable, nonetheless, I want to note that the Jupiter station in December 2015 and January 2016 will oppose that Moon, and the Jupiter station in January and February 2017 will be quincunx that Moon, suggesting great success and an optimistic mood in the early primaries, as well as during the weeks before and after the Inauguration, assuming this position is accurate.  What is accurate, however, is Bill Clinton’s Jupiter (23Libra13) which will be in the midst of a Jupiter return during January and early February 2017, suggesting he will be his most jovial and expansive self, surely a very good sign for those who seek a Hillary presidency.

As Spring Unfolds

Last week the news was all about tornadoes, landslides, floods, and a couple of disastrous train derailments, one of them setting an oil-coated James River aflame.  Astrologically, we can directly link these events to the first crossing of Uranus square the Ascendant of the March 2014 Spring Equinox chart drawn for Washington, DC springequinox14dc(14Cancer07).  Potent transits involving the Ascendant of the Spring ingress chart, when drawn for the capital city of a country, describe circumstances that very directly impact the physical terrain of a nation and/or the citizens living within its borders. Uranus brings sudden, transformative, overwhelming events that often cause significant turmoil in their wake. We will see a repeat of this transit, building in strength from September 22 through October 18, 2014, and again from January 26 through February 22, 2015, with the last several days of each period by far the most formidable.

The 2014 Spring chart drawn for Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, also describes a year of significant upheaval, with the most notable and dangerous period extending fromspringequinox14kiev March 20 through June 12. During the last 10 days of March, transiting Uranus crossed the exact square to the chart MC (12Cancer07), followed by transiting Mars squaring the MC and opposing natal Uranus (11Aries45) for several days at the end of April. The latter aspects will be repeated from June 5th though June 12. The MC in a Spring ingress chart describes issues directly impacting the government and the leadership of a nation. Uranus and Mars together bring disruption, violence and rapidly shifting circumstances.

The most consequential transit to the Ukrainian Spring chart, however, comes with the protracted Mars transit to the Ascendant (9Libra24) from May 4 through May 29. This is a clear indicator of the current violence, anger, and turbulence within the country. Moreover, the same Mars station is triggering the progressed Mars square to natal Uranus (10Capricorn06) and progressed Uranus (9Capricorn50) in the Ukrainian birth chart. The progressed Mars square to natal Uranus will continue throughout 2014, although the May Mars station is likely to be the strongest period of activation of this potentially violent, rebellious, and disruptive energy.

These combined transits and progressions highlight May 2014 as likely to contain the most intense confrontations of the present situation. These circumstances will be followed by a prolonged Pluto transit on the IC of the Spring chart (12Capricorn07) suggesting a consuming power struggle and rampant feelings of suspicion pervading the country, although with far less of the overt violence manifested during the Mars station.

As for Vladimir Putin, for now, Uranus is separating from its opposition to his Sun putin(13Libra56), and with it, his tendency for extreme, unilateral action is diminishing, at least until the next crossings covering roughly the period from October 2014 through most of February 2015. In addition, transiting Saturn is now opposing his Jupiter (19Taurus45) and squaring his Node (20Aquarius00) through mid-May, pointing to his increasing awareness of the consequences of his recent, somewhat unhinged behavior regarding Ukraine, including the world’s renewed disdain and distrust towards him, as well as the economic sanctions against Russia’s elite, however muted these may be by global corporate self-interest.