Cascading Events

The crisis in Ukraine is developing into an escalating clash between Russia and the West, with Vladimir Putin totally dominating the chess board. The Russian president has rapidly moved his troops to take over Crimea, including all of its military installations, while simultaneously strangling all communications, other than the justifications unleashed in his dishonest and manipulative propaganda campaign.  A huge concern at present is whether Russia’s quest for more territory will expand to include a far larger chunk of Eastern Ukraine than taken during the current Crimean occupation. On this issue, Putin’s warnings about the spread of “chaos” in that region seem ominous.

As discussed many times on Starlight News, the Ukrainian situation is a manifestation of the extremely rare, prolonged Jupiter/Uranus square that extends from mid-February through late April 2014. The last time a similar aspect held the world in its grip was during October and November 1962, during the protracted Jupiter/Uranus opposition that coincided with the Cuban Missile Crisis. More recently, on August 21, 2013, the first exact crossing of the present Jupiter/Uranus square occurred when Bashir Assad executed a massive chemical weapons attack against his foes.

As can be seen in all three examples – today’s Russian incursion, the Cuban crisis, and the chemical attack – an aggressive ruler has dismissed the boundaries of accepted behavior and acted precipitously to implement his will, while shocking and upsetting the world due to an egregious violation of global norms.  And it is the planet Uranus, currently magnified exponentially by a stationary Jupiter, that describes this impulse to breach any boundary that is restrictive, heedless of the norms of the status quo, and likely to cause sudden, unexpected, explosive and transformative events.

Unlike the situation in 1962, which ended in retreat after coming right to the edge of the nuclear abyss, this Jupiter/Uranus aspect will be further stimulated by transits of Pluto and, briefly, Mars, covering the period from April 1 through April 24. There will also be some powerful triggers to the very volatile Jupiter/Uranus/Pluto combination from the transiting Sun, March 31 through April 3, and transiting Mercury, April 13 through April 15. Transiting Mars is likely to ignite some very violent and explosive situations from April 19 through April 24.

Although present events suggest that the rapidly changing and very volatile circumstances in April will be an escalation of the current Ukrainian situation, other possibilities must not be completely ruled out. A sudden and consuming shift in the Syrian civil war is possible, as are dramatic and destructive weather events or other natural phenomenon that dominate global attention.

There are several charts which, collectively, point to numerous countries being involved in some way in the heightening tensions and expected drama of April. As has been discussed in previous articles, the US Sun (13Cancer19) is under a prolonged oppositionUSchart from Pluto from February 1 through May 19, which describes a building power struggle with a perceived opponent, as well as a deeply felt need to stay vigilant and push hard or the opposition will overwhelm the situation. This building confrontation will be exacerbated and transformed by unexpected, precipitous and harsh actions or events, signified by Uranus moving into a square with the US Sun from March 30 through April 18. Moreover, Jupiter will conjunct the US Sun from April 10 through April19, often a sign of America flexing its military muscle, as well as a time of strong patriotic fervor. In addition, the Washington, DC, Spring Equinox chart Ascendant, 14Cancer07, will be squared by Uranus from mid-April through May 2, an indication of direct US involvement in some kind of sudden and potent event that demands a response.  Again, a dramatic foreign policy springequinox14dcsituation and/or a natural weather or geophysical phenomenon are possible.

In the Russian Spring Equinox chart, the Ascendant is 13Libra28, and it will be opposed by transiting Uranus from April 1 through April 20, and squared by Pluto from March 20 through May 10. This suggests powerful, sudden and transformative events directly impacting Russia during April. Vladimir Putin’s Sun is 13Libra56, and it too will be opposed by Uranus, from April 12 through April 29. These two oppositions from Uranus suggest a strong-willed opponent will push the boundaries of expected behavior and impact Russia in some way during this time. All of the above-mentioned aspects are likely to be further triggered into a potentially violent confrontation by transiting Mars from April 19 to April 24.springequinox14moscow

In 2014, there are two New Moon charts involving the reigning Uranus/Pluto square, and therefore indicative of particularly stressful months birthed at the moment of those New Moons. The first, on January 1, is discussed in an earlier article. At that time, the New Moon was conjunct Pluto and, when drawn for Washington, DC, in the first house. It was also square to Mars. That was the month when the Polar Vortex swooped down into the mainland US, bringing with it sub-zero temperatures and record snowfalls. It was also the month of the horrific chemical spill that poisoned the waters of West Virginia for weeks.

The second New Moon that involves the Uranus/Pluto square is the New Moon of March 30, 2014.  At this time, the Sun/Moon conjunction (10Aries00) will be conjunct Uranus (2 degree19minute orb) and square to Pluto. When drawn for London, this chart has Uranus conjunct the Descendant, by transit crossing exactly opposite the Ascendant (13Libra41) from April 6 to April 24. Mars will be conjunct the Ascendant from April 20 through April 23. Knowing Britain is a significant ally of the US and a fellow member of NATO, we could be looking at a combined military event, although a huge environmental event is also possible.

The March 30 New Moon chart when drawn for Madrid has an Ascendant of 12Libra39, with Uranus making the exact crossing in opposition from March 30 through April 5. Mars will cross the Ascendant from April 20 through April 23. Given that the sudden, swift events unleashed by Uranus, at least initially, will impact Spain before Britain, one possibility is certainly a destructive megastorm that moves Northwest across the channel. The Mars transit from April 19 to 24, however, will impact every chart mentioned above, and would seem to suggest a vicious spurt of violence that may relate to geopolitical events.

And finally, the Spring Equinox chart, drawn for Ankara, Turkey, points to that nation’s involvement in the rapidly escalating events of late March and April. Uranus will transitspring2014turkey the Descendant of that chart (12Aries24) from March 20 through April 1, triggered by the transiting Sun from March 31 to April 2. In addition, Uranus will square the MC of that chart (14Cancer17) for the second half of April. And, as with all of the other countries impacted by the strongly transformative and potent punch of Uranus in April, unexpected and fierce events are likely. Moreover, Turkey is a member of NATO and could get involved if those forces are called upon in response to the situation in Ukraine, or it could get pulled further into the Syrian civil war which has already begun to stray across the Turkish border. However, it plays out, Turkey will be yet another country to watch during late March through April 2014, when volatile and tumultuous planetary energies shake up boundaries, relationships and the status quo in many areas of the world.

The Bear Growls

With Vladimir Putin getting approval from his rubber-stamp parliament to deploy troops to Crimea, the volatility in Ukraine continues to escalate. The first phase of the crisis, a confrontation between Western-oriented Ukrainian citizens and the Russian-backed President Victor Yanukovych, ended with the thuggish Yanukovych fleeing the country and his political opposition taking control of the government. The second phase, more aggressive involvement of Russia as it effectively takes over Crimea and attempts to destabilize the new Ukrainian government, is in full swing.

The US and its allies in Western Europe are loudly decrying Russian military intervention, but Putin remains unperturbed. Needless to say, no one is suggesting violently confronting his troops, although some possible economic penalties have been mentioned. One small bit of good news in all of this is that Russia cutting gas supplies to Ukraine would be a less potent threat than it once was. The US shale gas boom and other shifting sources of supply have resulted in the decreasing price of this energy source and the shrinking of Ukrainian dependence on Russian gas.

The long Uranus station square to Ukraine’s Ascendant (8Capricorn41), from late October 2013 through early January 2014, combined with the square to Ukraine’s natal Uranus (10Capricorn06), from mid-January to mid-February 2014, provided enough ukrainerevolutionary fervor to ignite the fiery eruption that led to the successful ouster of the brutal kleptocracy of  Victor Yanukovych. The still-active, protracted Jupiter/Uranus square, from mid-February through late April, seems to be the signature aspect in the ongoing confrontation, with the push for independence from tyranny (Uranus) magnified and energized (Jupiter) for a sustained period. The strengthening of Uranus by Jupiter also points to the fast-moving and transformative nature of day-to-day events, as well as describing the willingness of Putin to act in defiance of previous international agreements and largely ignore global condemnation.

As Russian Federation troops move into Crimea and shut down the two airports there, the situation is becoming increasingly unstable.  We know from the Ukrainian chart that the Ukrainian people are energized and angry through the first week of March, due to the progressed Moon square to natal Mars (25Virgo05). We also know that they will go through a three-week period of considerable stress and upset from March 16 through April 9, when Saturn transits square to the natal Moon (22Aquarius09). Progressed Ukrainian Mars will remain in a square with natal Uranus (10Capricorn06) through 2014, suggesting that feelings of anger and rebellion continue through the year, though without the intensified drama of January and February.

The Russian chart is also quite revealing. Here we find that converse progressed Mars has moved to a square with the natal Sun (21Gemini10), waxing to exact around mid-July. russiaThis aspect points to the goals of the country (the Sun) becoming more aggressive and potentially militarized (Mars) in late 2013 through the summer of 2014. Moreover, the converse progressed Russian Moon is currently conjunct converse Mars (21Pisces), exact around mid-March, strongly activating the already aggressive Sun/Mars combination from mid-February to mid to late March. Any transit to 21 degrees, especially of a mutable sign, will tend to set this potent combination off: the Moon on March 1, 8, and 16; Mercury (trine the Sun) on March 8; the Sun conjunct the converse Moon/Mars on March11; and Mars trine the Russian Sun from March 30 through April 2.

It should also be noted that transiting Saturn will be quincunx the Russian Sun from April 6 through April 26. This suggests some opposition or frustration in Russia in the implementation of its goals. April is also when the US chart lights up with Uranus, Mars, and Jupiter joining Pluto in hard aspect to the US Sun. it is not impossible to imagine some kind of global action that pushes back against Russia at this time, possibly having some short-term impact. USchart

But there may be a greater, long-term consequence found in the transit of Pluto opposite the US Sun (13Cancer19), now in its first phase, from February through late May 2014. This aspect will return in December 2014 and early January 2015, and then again from July to early November 2015. It describes a sense of anxiety in a power struggle that demands attention and vigilance. The battle can be with the elements as a result of fierce storms, with financial conditions, or with an actually perceived enemy whose power seems relentless and difficult to deal with. As Putin continues to oppose the US on several significant policy issues, and as he wields a very big stick in Ukraine which no one has any realistic capacity to truly thwart, it seems that a two-year sense of struggle with Vladimir Putin may be part of what this Pluto transit is about. As Rachel Maddow recently described on her show, “It is not the Cold War anymore, but there is a chill wind in the air.”

East versus West

An escalating insurgency in Ukraine is fighting to save the country’s fledgling democracy from the dictatorial and repressive regime of President Victor Yanakovych. While the opposition movement wants closer financial and other ties with Western Europe, Yanakovych is leaning on Vladimir Putin’s Russia for economic support and a building alliance. The Western half of the country, in particular, dreads being under the thumb of the autocratic Putin and his Machiavellian machinations.  The memory of decades of Soviet domination has not faded after only 23 years of independence. In the past few days, after weeks of relative quiet, a renewed and virulent wave of violence erupted when promised reforms were suddenly jettisoned and riot police attacked the protesters’ camp in Kiev. At the same time, the Russian noose seemed to tighten with Putin announcing billions in loan money slated for Ukraine.

The increasingly ferocious standoff between the two sides comes with the beginning of the two-month Jupiter/Uranus square, which points to a heightened push for freedom from repression (Uranus); a series of unpredictable, sudden and tense situations, possibly related to a prolonged standoff of some sort; and a rapidly escalating and transformative situation.  An analogous set of circumstances may also unfold in the worsening violence in Syria with the collapse of negotiations in that theater.

In Ukraine, the population is likely to remain enraged and rebellious at least through the first week in March, with progressed Moon square to natal Mars (25Virgo05) and transiting Jupiter (10Cancer26) not quite stationary opposite natal Uranus ukraine(10Capricorn06). Unfortunately, this will be followed by Saturn re-crossing the square to Ukraine’s Moon (22Aquarius09) from March 16 through April 9, pointing to heavy-handed repression of and sorrow among the people. With transiting Uranus opposite to Yanakovych’s Mars (12Libra04) during most of March, followed by Jupiter opposite his Mars from late March through April 7, it is likely he will be extremely aggressive and relentless during this period.

Moreover, transiting Pluto will be square to Yanakovych’s Mars in June and July, as well as late September through November 2014, suggesting he will be continuing his heavy-handed tactics through most of the year. With Ukrainian progressed Mars square to natal Uranus through December 2014 and transiting Uranus sesquiquadrate the natal Sun (00Virgo56) from late May through August 2014, it seems likely the Ukrainian president will still be dealing with some level of angry rebellion against his control. It is also possible that there will be some big changes and further rebellion against Yanokovych’s tyranny in the spring of 2015, when the Ukrainian progressed Moon crosses the natal Ascendant (8Capricorn41), followed by the crossing of natal and progressed Uranus (9 – 10 Capricorn).yanakovych

Although the current crisis may be seen as an insurgency against an autocratic ruler, it may also be understood as a barely concealed proxy standoff between Russia, on the one hand, and the US and its European allies, on the other. As the tense energy of the prolonged Jupiter/Uranus square builds through late April, merging ultimately into hard aspects with the powerful energies of Pluto and Mars, all of them coming together in a grand cross at 13 degrees of the cardinal signs, there is great danger of a wildly escalating conflict.

With the US Sun at 13Cancer19 and Putin’s Sun at 13Libra56, it seems likely that the US and Russia will be deeply involved in whatever events are transpiring at that time. As mentioned in previous posts, the Spring Equinox charts for both Russia and the US also point to powerful and transformative circumstances involving the US and Russia in April. It is a horrifying prospect to even consider the US and Russia facing off in April, but the building tensions of the Jupiter/Uranus square, aggravated exponentially in April with the addition of Pluto and Mars, could well bring us right to the water’s edge, much as the last prolonged Jupiter/Uranus opposition of late 1962 did in the Cuban Missile crisis.

The autocracy versus democracy theme, which underlies the East versus West theme in both the Ukrainian and the Syrian insurgencies (although also colored by religious and ethnic differences in Syria), is a hallmark of the multi-year Uranus/Pluto square, which  is reaching an important climax from now through April with the Jupiter/Uranus square culminating in the Grand Cross. Uranus demands freedom from perceived oppression and unjust limitations, while Pluto aggressively, albeit sometimes covertly, grasps and hordes overwhelming control. It is these two forces that are in dramatic conflict from 2011 through 2015, as the various manifestations of this dangerous clash play out on the world stage.

Heating Up

Tensions across the globe are escalating. There are so many areas of civil unrest, rebellions against governments, civil wars, and generally out-of-control conditions, including crazy weather patterns, that we are unable to keep track. Seen astrologically, the first five months of 2014 may be understood as the current chapter in the volatility and tumultuous transformation sparked by the multi-year Uranus/Pluto square, in this iteration greatly magnified by some potent and simultaneous planetary activity. My sense is that the pressure on numerous fronts builds until April, at which point the situation enters a month-long, highly combustible and increasingly dangerous phase.

For now, the pieces are starting to fall into place. As of February 1, Pluto has moved into a protracted opposition to the US Sun (13Cancer19), through May 19, bringing with it a growing sense of insecurity and situational danger in the US in various areas and a need to be increasingly vigilant and assertive to keep the situation under control.  Pluto brings anxiety bordering on paranoia, on the one hand, and a need to control to theUSchart point of tyranny and manipulation, on the other. Due to the nature of an opposition, this is likely to stem as much from foreign partners and adversaries of the US, as from domestic opposition to the current government or even from extreme and threatening climate conditions.

The paranoid delusions pervasive in Republican thought about President Obama are a prime example of this Pluto opposition, as are President Karzai’s equally paranoid perceptions of the US, all of which make developing and executing policies an ongoing struggle for the Obama administration. Increased national security fears and a hyper-vigilant response are also a possibility during this Pluto transit. In addition, Pluto is crossing the Congress Sun (13Capricorn29), as of February 8 through mid-May, pointing to the likelihood of increasing polarization, growing distrust and an escalating clash of wills on multiple issues between Congress and the president or against a perceived outside threat.

Moreover, we are about to enter the prolonged Jupiter square to Uranus, from February 14 through April 20.  This aspect suggests suddenly shifting and rapidly escalating situations across the globe, as well as potentially explosive, unanticipated incidents.  The magnification (Jupiter) of the rebellious Uranian energy suggests actions that push the boundary of accepted behavior and cause significant transformation in the expected trajectory of events. In essence, the Jupiter/Uranus square will put a series of wild cards into play for more than two months.

The plot then thickens exponentially as of the Spring Equinox on March 20, 2014. The Equinox chart is the birth chart of the year, and, when drawn for the capital city of a country, can offer clues for the coming year. A tight conjunction, square, or opposition to one of the angles in these charts, especially from Uranus, is often a highly significant prognosticator of dramatic and cathartic circumstances. Over the course of the year, as transiting Uranus transits crosses the exact degree of the aspect, a powerful and transformative situation will often be unleashed.

The two charts of the 2014 Spring Equinox that stand out are the one drawn for springequinox14dcWashington, DC, and the one drawn for Moscow. In the DC chart, the Ascendant is 14Cancer07, opposite Pluto at 13Capricorn 25 and square to Uranus at 11Aries45. From April 14 through May 2, transiting Uranus will move into the exact square with the Equinox Ascendant. During that time, transiting Jupiter will conjunct the Ascendant (April 17 through April 26) and transiting Mars will square the Ascendant (April 19 to April 21). Strong aspects to the Ascendant in the Equinox chart usually suggest events that quite directly impact the country and its population. Thus, an explosive and dramatic situation seems likely to unfold that will particularly impact the US during the second half of April, according the 2014 Spring Equinox chart.

It should be noted that transits of Jupiter (April 9 to April 19), Uranus (March 31 to April 16), and Mars (April 20 to April 24) will additionally be making potent aspects to the US Sun (13Cancer19) during much of April. These  also point to forceful and compelling events impacting the country and its government, likely bringing the intense power struggles of the prolonged Pluto transit opposite the US Sun to a climax. The possibilities are infinite in terms of what is likely to occur given the combination of such strong aspects to both the US Sun and the Spring Equinox chart, but conditions are likely to be very volatile, fast-moving and quite possibly dangerous. A terrorist event or a natural disaster or getting pulled into a particularly nasty conflagration abroad cannot be ruled out.springequinox14moscow

As for the Russian Spring Equinox chart, the Ascendant is 13Libra28, and it will also be hit by hard aspects from Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter and Mars (conjunction) during April. Moreover, Vladimir Putin’s Sun is 13Libra56, and it will receive the same forceful combination of aspects, except for the Pluto transit which falls 22 minutes shy of a square to his Sun. It is quite possible that the battle between Putin and the Islamic freedom fighters/terrorists at his southern border will heat up during this period, with the Equinox chart pointing to some unexpected, transformative and threatening events in Russia. Intervention in the Ukraine is another possibility.

Sochi

In a few days, the 22nd Winter Olympics will begin. They are being held in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, a stone’s throw to the west of the most dangerous area in Russia today, the North Caucasus.  The Chechen separatists in this part of the country command an active insurgency repeatedly proven capable of devastating attacks committed in their quest for independence. These insurgents have recently issued pointed threats to the coming Olympic activities.  As a preview, they have already delivered two suicide bombings in late December to an important transportation hub in the region.

The Olympic sites in Sochi are currently brimming with security, but the surrounding area is far more vulnerable, especially the transportation routes by rail and road.  Many family members and supporters of the athletes are choosing to stay home rather than risk what is largely perceived to be a potentially hazardous situation.

Astrologically, the building Jupiter square to Uranus is beginning to be felt and will move into a protracted one-degree orb of extreme potency from February 15 through April 21. The first exact square during this period will come on February 26. The Olympics will run from February 7 through February 23. Thus, the entire period of the Winter Games will be increasingly under the building intensity of the Jupiter/Uranus square.

The Jupiter/Uranus square is essentially a magnification (Jupiter) or an over-optimistic, potentially reckless (Jupiter) push to rebel against seemingly unjust or uncomforatbly restrictive limitations (Uranus). It can also point to outside-the-box creativity (Uranus) in solving intractable problems. We have seen it manifest in a government pushing the limits of acceptable behavior, such as Syria’s use of chemical weapons on August 21, 2013, during the first exact crossing of this aspect. And we are currently witnessing numerous movements throughout the world of people rebelling against the perceived injustices of their governments (Ukraine, Thailand, Syria, Iraq, etc.). This Jupiter/Uranus aspect suggests a two-month period of significant instability in some areas and possibly increased violence or unexpected, rash behavior. It is not at all impossible to imagine that it may ignite some kind of dangerous drama during the Sochi games, although this extremely volatile energy could manifest anywhere.

There are a few periods during the time-frame of the Games when the waxing Jupiter/Uranus square is more likely to be ignited, either in or near Sochi or possibly elsewhere in the world.  The first of these is in the early morning hours on February 11, roughly between 12 and 5:30 AM in Sochi (up to 9:30 PM EST, February 10). The Moon will be square to Uranus and conjunct Jupiter, while the building energy of the Jupiter/Uranus square is 30 minutes shy of a one-degree orb. This configuration will be followed by a Sun/Saturn square for the rest of the day, suggesting possible upset and sorrow following what could be an early morning surprise event.

The second time of concern comes on February 18, somewhere between noon and 5 PM in Sochi (up to 9 AM EST). Here we have a Moon/Jupiter/Uranus T-square, followed by Mercury square to Saturn through mid-morning the following day. Again, a tumultuous, sudden event is followed by a day of stress and difficulty.

The third time during the games that seems significant is the very early morning of February 23, the day of the closing ceremony and evidently an important date for the Chechen rebels. Up to about 7:30 AM, the Moon will trine Uranus and quincunx Jupiter, but the Jupiter/Uranus square is only 16 minutes from exact and therefore very volatile. Interestingly, this aspect is followed by a Sun/Neptune conjunction, suggesting confusion and chaos rather than sorrow. Given the importance of transportation as the games end, we may see some difficulties in that area. Transportation and logistics may also be affected at the beginning of the games by a very slow-moving Mercury turning retrograde, causing delays and frustrations.