Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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Getting Along

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Back in September, when I interpreted the Libra Ingress chart, I wrote:

“The military symbolism in this Mars-rising Libra Ingress chart is inescapable, as are indicators of foreign policy challenges for the President. My guess is there will be much saber-rattling, but I suspect any direct military action (in other words, not just troop movements for show) will be secretive, targeted strikes, like the bin Laden assassination, that become known only after the fact, if at all. There will be a lot going on behind the scenes — the whole situation in the Middle East, for instance, is like an iceberg, with only a small percentage visible — and there may be a surprising diplomatic coup for the administration.”

The current situation with Israel and Hamas — lobbing bombs and rockets at each other, neither recognizing that the other even has a right to exist — has certainly been a foreign policy challenge for the administration, but most of the pundits were saying that the USA would have no real ability to broker a cease-fire in this situation because of the administration’s clearly-stated and unbending support for Israel. And yet, there was Secretary Clinton right next to Egyptian foreign minister Amr as the announcement of a cease fire was made, and we read that President Obama had spoken to both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi. Looks like a diplomatic coup, but I don’t think the cease fire will last, and not just because it was brokered during a Mercury and a Jupiter retrograde period. Let’s take a look at the chart of Israel first, and then I will explain my thoughts on this…


One of the biggest difficulties of mundane astrology — the astrology of world affairs — is determining the time of birth, and sometimes even the date of birth, for any given country. Not only are records often absent, but even with a well-recorded founding, such as Israel’s, astrologers often disagree on what event or moment marks the birth. Many astrologers give Israel a birth date and time of May 14 at 4:00, when the meeting that resulted in the signing of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was brought to order. Other astrologers use 4:32 pm, when, after the declaration was signed, David Ben-Gurion announced “Israel has been born!”. Yet others say that 4:37, when the meeting ended, is the time of Israel’s birth.

But the chart that makes the most sense to me is one cast for May 15, 1948 at 00:00 a.m., the moment that the British Mandate for Palestine expired. It was at that was the moment, as stated clearly in the declaration itself, that the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel became effective. Within hours of its birth, the newly-minted country would be invaded by five of the seven countries of the Arab League.

This chart speaks volumes about Israel’s mission and its challenges. Take a look at it, here.  First, note the heavy weighting of the planets towards the west side of the chart, and the stellium around the descendant. This country defines itself through its relationships with others. Small, and surrounded by enemies since its inception, it cannot survive without allies, and has been in a constant struggle to have its right to exist recognized.

The Sun is in Taurus, conjunct the IC from the third house of close neighbors. This speaks clearly of a country focused on the homeland, on giving its people a foundation of land, and a place in the world. We also see a country whose very identity is defined by its neighbors, and needs to communicate its importance both to its people and to the global community. There is a Taurean focus on agriculture, which, with Aquarius rising, we can see manifested in the socialist idea of the kibbutz.

The sign of Aquarius is all about fairness for and the needs of the tribe, which makes it an appropriate ascendant for this country, founded as as a democratic republic with universal suffrage, and as a home and refuge for the Tribes of Israel.  This quote from the Declaration perfectly expresses an Aquarian philosophy:

“THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The next thing to look at in the chart is the Moon, which is part of a stellium in Leo that also includes Pluto, Saturn and Mars, all clustered around the Descendent. It’s hard to think of a grouping and placement of planets that says more clearly “Never again the Holocaust”. First, it describes a people (the Moon rules the people of a country) of great pride and dignity, who esteem and model virtues of enthusiasm, faith, loyalty, generosity, and the value of the individual. Planets in Leo are always heart-centered, and this fiery, heartfelt Moon is yoked with three of the most difficult planets to work with in any chart — Mars, Saturn, and Pluto. These planets all have their favorable sides — they are not inherently “malific”  —  but it takes skill and awareness to manage them in a way that is balanced, helpful, and beneficial. A difficult enough task for a person, even more difficult for a country.

If any three planets could begin to describe the evil and horrors of the Holocaust it would be Mars, Saturn, and Pluto. In this chart, particularly since they are conjoined with the Moon, they indicate a focus on events of war, power, control, brutality, fear, death, and bone-deep pain and loss that is driven by a deeply-felt cultural need for security.  Clustered in Leo around the descendent, this grouping suggests an implacable, arrogant defensiveness that turns quickly to violence. But it can also manifest as tremendous persistence, energy, courage, and willingness to change, while heralding the ability to take charge in, and work to transform, the “real world”. The configuration clearly shows that Israel will take a passionate, vehement stance in opposition to any threats or violence against the Jewish people, and it also predicts the remarkable energy and perseverance of those who built a strong, technologically-sophisticated country against considerable odds. Ruled by a Taurus Sun, these planets show the country’s energy and its wherewithal to “make the desert bloom”. 

As with any chart,  choices must be made by the people and government of a country as to how the underlying energies that shape it will be expressed and manifested. There are times in the life of every person or country that speak clearly of pivotal decisions. For Israel, this is one of those times. Let’s take a look at Israel’s chart in light of the current transits and solar arc directions.

The aspect of solar arc (SA) Mercury conjunct natal (N) Pluto, which has an orb of influence of about a 10 months, was exact on November 16, two days after the beginning of the current conflict, and on the same day that transiting (T) Mercury retrograde (Rx) conjuncted Israel’s Mars. These aspects suggest a confrontational attitude, and “excessive zeal” (Ebertin). With Pluto ruling the 9th and 10th houses, that attitude will be very public and related to foreign powers. The SA aspect will be within orb for a few months yet, and can also herald deeply-transformative communications. But I don’t expect this to happen at least until after T Mercury goes direct.

SA Mercury also recently aspected N Jupiter, which can bring out the dogmatic and opinionated side of a chart, but also may point to skillful negotiating. Another solar arc is approaching in a couple of weeks — SA Sun to the N midpoint of Venus and Saturn, exact on December 3rd, which is likely to bring “a difference in objectives, lack of satisfaction” (Tyl), and also suggests a conservative, feminine influence on the situation. (I’m not thinking of Secretary Clinton here — more like women or women’s organizations in Israel speaking out. It could also reflect internal issues of women’s rights). This will be in effect for about a two-week period.

So the solar arcs are suggesting confrontation, but also communication and diplomacy. But what do the transits look like? I bet you’ve already guessed that the good ol’ Uranus-Pluto square (UPS) I’ve been ranting about for months is involved. And you’d be right.

The day before the hostilities began, T Uranus squared Israel’s N Venus. It was traveling retrograde, so it’s going to turn around and do that again on January 12th, and because Uranus is almost stationary, and so moving slowly, it’s going to be within a 1 degree orb of that square right through the middle of January. Venus is the planet of relationships, and in Israel’s natal chart, it rules the third, fourth and eighth houses, as well as being the dispositor of the Sun. It’s an important planet in any chart, but particularly Israel’s.

Venus is the planet of relationships, and with this aspect in force, there will be sudden, unexpected changes in Israel’s relationships with its Arab neighbors (third house), international financial organizations (eighth house), and its own people and government (Sun and fourth house). In fact, a grassroots uprising of one kind or another within Israel is a definite possibility. Venus also rules the women of a country, and, to some degree, the economy. Look for sudden changes in those arenas as well.

Finally, remember that eclipse last week? I discussed it here. Well, it fell right smack opposed Israel’s Sun.

There are a number of other interesting aspects coming up — I’ll list some of them and let you do the interpreting. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. 

  • November 23rd — T Mars squares T Uranus and opposes N Venus
  • November 26th — T Mercury goes direct square N Saturn
  • November 28th — Lunar eclipse conjunct N Ceres and N Mercury in the fourth house, ruling the eighth and fifth, also T Mars sesqui-quadrate N Sun and conjunct T Pluto
  • December 5th — T Jupiter conjunct N Mercury
  • December 9th — T Mercury conjunct N Mars
  • December 22nd — T Pluto sesqui-quadrate N Sun
  • December 26th — T Saturn square N Moon

Before we finish up, let’s take a quick look at the cease fire chart. I've posted it here. Oh, myyy…Pluto and Mars have a lot to say in this chart — they are within orb of a conjunction, Mars rules the MC and is square Uranus, which it disposits, Pluto disposits the Sun which rules the Ascendant. Sun tightly square Neptune, Moon square Jupiter Rx and in its detriment, Mercury Rx. Saturn in Scorpio square the ascendent, and within orb of a square to Israel’s N Moon. Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio, in the fourth house, of the people and opposition to the government. This is a deeply complex situation, and the likelihood of this cease-fire lasting for any appreciable length of time seems slim to me.

That’s a quick tour through the situation in Israel right now — please leave any questions you may have in the comments.

Until next time!

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Tagged in: astrology

Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at www.uraniaswell.com


  • Larksong
    Larksong Wednesday, 21 November 2012

    I must have missed a discussion point somewhere. What does the 'N' and 'T' refer to when list the planets?

    I know Mercury going direct may clear up some communication issues that may have developed during the retrograde period. I don't have a good understanding of how Mercury going direct while in a square with Saturn might modify that impact?

  • Diotima
    Diotima Wednesday, 21 November 2012

    Larksong, sorry for not making my abbreviations clearer -- I should have bulleted them. It's all in this sentence: The aspect of solar arc (SA) Mercury conjunct natal (N) Pluto, which has an orb of influence of about a 10 months, was exact on November 16, two days after the beginning of the current conflict, and on the same day that transiting (T) Mercury retrograde (Rx).
    As for the effect of Mercury going direct while square Israel's N Saturn - I think any clarity in communications that Mercury's shift may bring will be difficult for Israel, and probably restrictive towards them as well. The station is happening in their 9th house of foreign affairs. Given that Saturn rules the 12th in the chart of Israel, and is conjunct the descendent in the 7th, we are looking at indicators of both hidden and declared enemies, which suggests to me, particularly with Mercury in Scorpio, that we will just see the tip of the iceberg, and much is hidden, but there may also be revelations of information the Israeli government would want to keep hidden.

  • Jonathan
    Jonathan Thursday, 22 November 2012

    I saw your link over on The Archdruid Report. Thank you for the fascinating insights, Diotima!

    My personal experiences with T Mercury in dissonant aspect to N Saturn have generally involved disconnection and breakup, futility in communication (or the perception thereof) and a feeling of distance from those in my sphere. When Mercury entered its shadow period (Oct 17 ~5pm GMT) Caloriegate (what I call the tight restriction of Gazan food supplies) was in the news: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/2-279-calories-per-person-how-israel-made-sure-gaza-didn-t-starve.premium-1.470419 There were also stories within a day or two of time on the US canceling a scholarship program for Gazans, and a senior Israeli strategic official claiming that diplomacy was a necessary condition for resolution, all of which kinda fit. Going by the principle that triple transits tend to rhyme, as multiple acts of one play or multiple one-act plays on a theme, to me this direct station in the 9th (higher-order communication) suggests a failure of message discipline or a small but very visible crack in the coalition. I'm already seeing in various venues a weariness of the practice of level-headed critiques of Israel's behavior toward Palestine being answered with the well-worn accusations ad hominem of racism -- are defenders of the Israeli actions really claiming the mission is a matter of race?! Do they really want to go there?

    If I had to call it, Saturn in Leo squaring Venus in Scorpio = unfavorable commentary (debilitated Mer 9th squ) on constraining (Sat) another's resources (Sco) unequally or unjustly (9th) in the name of state prestige (Leo) = resource piracy comes to light and embarrasses the West? I'm hearing on blogs of British Gas refusing to recognize Palestinian sovereignty over its shores and instead dealing with Israel on leasing hydrocarbon deposits in waters off Palestine, and I've heard talk before of settlements with swimming pools surrounded by a shortage of potable water for Palestinians. One of these, or other similar, stories could grow legs after the big holiday...

    Thanks again for the post -- I look forward to learning from all this!

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