Near East Countdown
As this is written in early January 1991, Saddam Hussein has just agreed to let his Foreign Minister (Aziz) talk to our Secretary of State (Baker) in Switzerland. War and peace hang in the balance as two powerful men (George Bush and Saddam Hussein) face each other across the world, both men having natal Mercury in Taurus plus Jupiter on the Ascendant in each other’s capital city. Talk about a morality play featuring intellect and ethics! Theoretically, it helps to have a flexible intellect, able to see the whole picture, to understand it, and to accept people as they are without trying to control or change them. Theoretically, it also helps to have inclusive rather than parochial ethics: faith in a universal God rather than variations of “God is on MY side, I am doing God’s will, etc.”
In all of the charts examined in recent issues of The Mutable Dilemma and Asteroid-World, whether of countries, leaders, or events, the spring of 1991 has pointed to change and looked most conflicted. As I have written, there could be an escalation of tension and/or open conflict from mid-January on, but February looks worse than January (except for the third week in January), and March looks even more tense. Astrologers are always looking for the one more horoscope or technique or tool (such as a new asteroid) that will give the final answer. I recently acquired the data for an important step in the ongoing saga in the Near East from an article by Judy Johns in the quarterly journal Aspects. Judy got the data from the Los Angeles Times. I was out of town most of the summer, so never caught up on the news. According to the Times, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreed to bring U.S. troops into Arabia in a meeting at 8:20 P.M. on August 6, 1990, just four days after Saddam invaded Kuwait. I have calculated the chart for the meeting place, Jidda, site of the Saudi’s summer palace, and also for Riyadh, the Saudi capital, for Washington, DC, and for Baghdad, Iraq.
The most dramatic feature of the chart is the fixed grand cross between Mars at 16 Taurus, the Sun just one minute short of 14 Leo, Pluto at 15 Scorpio and the Moon at 15 Aquarius. Connected into the network of aspects are Khufu (an Egyptian Pharaoh) at 14 Taurus 29, Herbert at 14 Taurus 52, Bruxelles (headquarters city for the European Community) at 15 Taurus 47, Moira (Fate) at 15 Taurus 51, Winchester (guns) at 17 Leo 1, and Spartacus (leader of a slave revolt) at 14 Aquarius 19 retrograde. Other asteroids in the early degrees of the cardinal signs form octiles or trioctiles to the fixed cross. These include Arabia at 0 Libra 52, Achilles (a fierce fighter in the Trojan War) at 1 Libra 9, Agamemnon (who sacrificed his daughter to appease Venus in the Trojan War) at 2 Libra 30, and America at 3 Libra 50. Troja (Troy, site of the Trojan war and located in the Near East) is at 1 Cancer 15, Panacea (healing or the need for it) is at 1 Capricorn 13, Pax (peace or the need for it) is at 2 Capricorn 18, Irakli (which is “working” for Iraq) is at 2 Aries 42, and Chaldaea (ancient country in the area of current Iraq) is at 4 Aries 40. The Capricorn and Aries asteroids are retrograde. Not all of these asteroids are in one-degree orb aspects, but they are either connected by overlapping orbs or they are progressing into exact aspects with each other and/or with the fixed cross. Many more relevant asteroids might be listed including Washington at 20 Taurus 4 which is square Megaira (slaughter) at 20 Leo 3.
The chart becomes even more dramatic when it is calculated for Washington, DC. The MC in Washington was 15 Leo 29, precisely configured into the fixed cross with the Moon on the IC to the minute of longitude and Pluto square the MC from the first house. The Washington Ascendant is 8 Scorpio 27. If the time of the agreement is precise, the progressed (P) Sun will reach the Washington MC and the opposition to the Moon in mid-February when the U.S. army leaders in the field say that their ground troops will be ready to fight. Of course, a change of even a fraction of a minute would change the angles of the chart and shift the timing of the aspect a little. P Moon is already opposite Ceres and it starts the square to Vesta in early February. In general, Vesta can be far more ruthless than Ceres in its devotion to the “job” regardless of the cost. P Moon is also currently quincunx Venus-Chiron and octile Uranus, so the potential is still strongly present for changes in action; hopefully, for talking rather than fighting. This chart seems to me to reinforce the message that we have been getting from many other horoscopes; that the danger of violence escalates as we move on into the spring.
We have just calculated an asteroid called Memnon. Seraphita called it to my attention, suggesting that it might prove relevant to the current crisis in Iraq. Much more data was provided in Seraphita’s contribution to the fall 1990 Asteroid-World, but as a very brief summary, there were two historical generals in the Near East named Memnon. One was involved in the Trojan War on the side of the Trojans against the Greeks and one commanded the fleet of Darius in his fight against Alexander the Great. According to Homer, the Trojans lost, and Darius also lost after Memnon died. Once I had the positions of Memnon, the first chart I checked was Saddam’s and I yelled “Bingo” when I saw its position! Saddam’s natal Memnon is 22 Scorpio 0. His Vertex (opposite the Antivertex and interpreted as an auxiliary Descendant where we cooperate or compete with others) is 22 Scorpio 2. His P Moon when he invaded Kuwait was 21 Scorpio 3, just into the one-degree orb to both Memnon and the Vertex. Saddam has his P Memnon at 15 Scorpio, in the fixed cross we described above. Transiting Pluto was closely conjunct it when he invaded Kuwait.
Memnon also proved relevant in other charts. It was transiting at 11 Gemini 15 for the invasion. The U.S. and Arabia made the troop agreement with George at 11 Gemini 0. P George in the agreement chart reaches Memnon in the chart in mid-January 1991, just in time for the UN approval of “any necessary means” being taken to drive Saddam out of Kuwait. Also in the agreement chart, George and Memnon are quincunx the Part of Death in 11 Scorpio in the eighth house. When the chart is calculated for Baghdad, the Part of death is 24 Scorpio. P Moon will start a square to it in early March. Saddam’s natal Mercury is 24 Taurus and his natal Part of Death is 25 Leo. P Chaldaea is crossing his IC. I wonder whether his stubbornness will lead to his own death or the end of his country as presently configured. Historically, the two Memnons lost to invaders from Europe. In the chart for the coup which brought Saddam’s political party to power (and eventually Saddam himself), natal Memnon was octile the Ascendant and trioctile the Descendant. But P Memnon blew me away. On the day of the invasion, it was trioctile natal Mars in Aries to the minute of longitude! P south lunar node was only two minutes away from natal Mars. Of course, I also put Memnon in Bush’s chart. Natal Memnon is 3 Libra 54, conjunct his own Juno (similar to Pluto) and America in the U.S.-Saudi agreement chart and octile Bush’s natal Neptune and George. P Memnon is at 12 Libra square Bush’s Pluto and P Venus with P Moon moving to oppose it in the spring of 1991.
Seraphita also suggested that we calculate an asteroid named Talthybius which was discovered in 1987 and named for a man associated with protecting international law during the Trojan War. Mark ran the calculations for me while I was actually writing this article, and as usual, they proved mind-blowing. When the U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreed to bring U.S. troops to Arabia, Talthybius was just setting. The Ascendant was exactly one degree past the asteroid which means that P Talthybius will stay opposite the Ascendant for several years signaling the continuing importance of international law to the U.S. and Arabia as they deal with the Gulf crisis. George Bush had natal Talthybius at 15 Pisces 24 so his P Pallas, our most political asteroid, is slowly moving over it in the seventh house (partners and enemies). P Talthybius will oppose Bush’s P Part of Death in the spring of 1991. P Talthybius will also be quincunx natal Winchester and P Memnon. Saddam Hussein had Talthybius at 9 Aries 34 in an octile to natal Mercury and P Winchester will stay conjunct it for some years. His P Talthybius at 18 Aries 46 was trioctile natal Mars and the Baghdad P Part of Death at the time of the invasion and in February or March of 1991 it will reach the quincunx to P Mars. The obvious interpretation of the Talthybius-Mars aspects are that Saddam thought he could make his own will into international law with his Aries Saturn in the tenth house and he is about to discover that the law is bigger than his personal will as he loses some or all of his power. I never get used to the dramatic specificity of the asteroids when you pick out one of thousands which has a name that fits a person or event, put it in the chart, and find it so precisely configured.
Before leaving Saddam, I have learned that “Saddam” was not his given name but one he selected. A recent issue of Newsweek notes that his name means “he who confronts.” I have not been able to confirm the details of his early birth mentioned in the last Asteroid-World, but Newsweek says that he was born into an illiterate peasant family from a hardscrabble village near Tikrit, that he knew deprivation from infancy, and learned to harbor a grudge from an abusive stepfather. He is also said to have had an admired uncle with a pro-Nazi past who taught him to hate the country’s British overlords. I still don’t know Saddam’s given name so don’t know whether it means “disaster” in Arabic as I was told.
I have continued to experiment with rectifying the charts for the U.S. Declaration of War against England and for the inauguration of our first President, George Washington. Logically, both charts should be relevant to the crisis with Iraq since we are facing a possible war and it is being pushed by our current President. Congress (which constitutionally has the power to declare war) is much more ambivalent about the potential for a lot of casualties. As indicated in the fall 1990 Asteroid-World, a slight modification of Helen Boyd’s rectification of the U.S. Declaration of War seems to work very well. In the interval since the last Asteroid-World, I have continued to test the chart against past wars and have added the few asteroids which have been calculated for 1775-1777. In my adjusted version, the chart has Mars exactly on the Ascendant which is just a couple of degrees earlier than Boyd had put it, and it is working phenomenally well. In addition to checking it against our wars, I have been especially impressed with its appropriate aspects of planets to angles when it is recalculated for other areas of the world where we have had militant confrontations. In Hanoi, North Vietnam, Mars flips from the Ascendant to conjunct the Descendant to the degree. In Hiroshima, Japan, the chart has Pluto just past the MC. Mars had reached the MC just before Pearl Harbor when Japan did the surprise attack on our fleet and it continued to progress over the MC during the war with Japan, just reaching the one-degree orb of a conjunction to Pluto about a month before we dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima. The P MC in Tokyo was on the natal Sun at Pearl Harbor and was opposite the P Moon for the atomic bombs.
Our original war was, of course, against England, so there have to be angle aspects in London in the natal chart and again for the war of 1812. The natal MC in London is exactly trioctile Pluto. The Sun squares the Ascendant/MC midpoint and is just over a one-degree quincunx to the East Point while the Antivertex is just over a one-degree square to Saturn. At the Treaty of Paris when we formally ended the war, P Moon was quincunx P MC and P Mars had just reached natal Saturn. We became legally in control of our own power. P MC opposed Chiron at the War of 1812 and most historians concur that it was an exercise in bad judgment on both sides not to mention lack of communication. In Teheran, Iran, where we “lost face” as our diplomats were imprisoned, the natal Sun is on the Descendant to the degree. P Ascendant was just starting a square to P Uranus when they were taken captive, P East Point was conjunct Juno, P Mars was on the natal Antivertex, and P MC was opposite Ceres but trine P Pluto and natal Mars. They did all come home safely. In Berlin, Germ any, opponent in two world wars, the MC was on the midpoint of Mars/Neptune with P Neptune on the MC for many years. In fact, P Neptune is still there in a trine to P Pluto as we have encouraged the unification of Germany. But P MC was quincunx the natal Sun when we declared war on Germany in 1917. Also at that time, P East Point was trioctile both P Moon and P Mars which were conjunct in early Capricorn.
Our most recent confrontation in Baghdad puts natal Vesta and P Pallas square the MC with Pluto just a little over a degree from the square. P MC in Baghdad had just reached a conjunction with P Uranus when Saddam invaded Kuwait. P East Point was quincunx P Pluto and P Antivertex was square natal Moon and just coming to the square to P Saturn which holds a very long conjunction with the natal Moon. Since the chart seems to be quite reliable for our past wars, at least as far as providing appropriate aspects, can we use it for the present crisis? At the invasion, P Moon was at 10 Virgo in a trioctile to natal Pluto. (In fact, it was on the degree of the natal MC in London when we first declared war against England if this time is accurate while P Sun is currently on the degree where P Moon was when we signed our first peace treaty). In the spring of 1991, P Moon will move forward to 17 Virgo to quincunx the P Sun while the P Part of Death retrogrades to 17 Pisces to oppose the P Moon. P Juno is conjunct the Baghdad Part of Death for some years. P Sun is on the Baghdad Antivertex and trioctile natal Saturn. P Ascendant in Baghdad is square natal Uranus and P Antivertex is octile it.
Of course we need to look at the War chart in Philadelphia (where the Continental Congress took the action) and in Washington, DC where the government currently functions. P Neptune has been close to the Washington Ascendant and square the Washington MC for many years. P Ascendant is currently quincunx the Moon and P Saturn, expressing the divided opinions of the Congress and the Executive. P Washington Ascendant is trioctile Saturn, repeating the same message. Since the original Congress took the action to issue the declaration of war, I am interpreting the Ascendant as Congress in addition to all forms of letter eleven which would be the usual indication of a democratic legislature. Letter ten represents the executive branch of the government while letter nine is the judiciary. Other angle aspects include P East Point opposite P Juno, P local East Point quincunx Saturn, P local Antivertex opposite P Saturn, and P local MC conjunct Vesta and P Pallas. It is not a very encouraging picture, to put it mildly. Yet it is always risky to make absolute predictions with astrology. In February, 1991, transiting Saturn moves into Aquarius where it will form a grand trine to Saturn, P Uranus and P MC, so common sense (or fear) may prevail. But if I were a betting person, I would give the odds to war followed by a long drawn-out period of playing policeman guarding our oil and being a target for a lot of angry people.
I am less sure of the exact time of Washington’s Inauguration as our first president though I have calculated a great many progressed charts for events involving the presidency including every president who died in office (of illness or assassination.) I have also done Nixon’s resignation, Andrew Johnson’s one-vote miss on being impeached, Eisenhower’s heart attack, Wilson’s stroke, the start of the great depression which was blamed on Hoover, and Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase without the consent of the Senate, some of whom threatened to secede because of his high-handed action. Jefferson was our first president with Sun in Aries, and obviously, the division of powers ordained by our constitution permits the executive and legislative branch to fight it out at times. I have also done the local house cusps and progressions for the areas of the world where important events occurred which involved the presidency such as Carter’s crisis in Teheran.
The best fit on time so far is at 1:51 P.M. LAT which is later than the usual historical estimations, but is still within the bounds of possibility. One of my references is a diary of someone who was present. He describes the discussion by the assembled congress while they waited for Washington to appear and argued over how to handle the protocol. Even after the long discussion, the witness says that they waited another hour and ten minutes before Washington appeared. He then walked up the aisle bowing to people, was seated, addressed by the Senate Chair, responded, and finally rose to take the oath of office.
The tentative chart which seemed to work the best is very close to the cusps of my rectified Declaration of Independence chart though the planets are very different. The Sun trines the Ascendant within one degree, Mars trines the Antivertex, Venus trines the East Point, and Chiron in the tenth house forms a grand trine to the Libra group in the second house and Pluto in the sixth house. Our first President was indeed an exceptional person who was highly revered by the people and the Congress. However, we have not dealt well with many of our later Presidents. In fact, no supposedly civilized country has killed so many chief executives as the U.S. So we have to have some serious conflict aspects in any chart of the U.S. Presidency as an Institution.
As with the Declaration of Independence, even if the time is a little earlier, Mercury is the ruler of both the MC and the Ascendant. With the 1:51 P.M. time, Mercury is in Aries in the eighth house fitting the frequent deaths of our presidents by bullets, and it is also octile both of the angles it rules as well as closely square the midpoint of the two angles which is at 24 Cancer 28. Mercury’s square to Jupiter repeats the potential for tension between the executive and the people with Jupiter ruling the cusps opposite to those ruled by Mercury. Mercury is also very widely square the Moon in Cancer. The Moon is a co-ruler of the tenth house since it includes the sign of Cancer, but also a natural key to the people, especially (with its eleventh house position) to the radical ones who shot the presidents. Mars in its own sign of Aries is more closely square the Moon, fitting the frequently violent nature of the U.S. and the Juno-Vesta-Neptune conjunction completes a T-square. Venus, another ruler of the first house (with Libra in the house) is also in the eighth house so all three keys to basic identity and instinctive action are in the eighth house. Whether this expresses as violence, power struggles in more “normal” capitalistic competition, debt balloons and crashes, obsessions with pursuing or denying sex, fascination with deep psychological analysis, massive investment in research, or just trying to control the world and make it over into our own image, the placements seem appropriate to me. Remember that when we put any keys to personal identity in the houses of other people (or to a lesser extent into the signs of others, Libra or Scorpio) there are six ways to handle the power issue. We can give our power to others and be doormat (very unlikely with this chart). We can try to keep all the power ourselves a la Hitler. We can retreat from involvement into isolation. The U.S. has frequently alternated between the latter two. Or we can cooperate with others, compromise and have teamwork. We can have healthy competition, not carried to the point of life-and-death struggles. And we can help others. The U.S. has also sometimes done the latter, more positive options.
Until I have more time to spend on this chart, I will continue to consider the time tentative. If it is accurate, P Moon was crossing the IC when Saddam invaded Kuwait. The aspect of course includes an opposition to the MC, and our present executive George certainly responded as if our homeland or his power was seriously threatened. Maybe they both were. We need the oil of the Near East until we learn to conserve and develop alternative energy sources and Congress and the Executive are currently in a contest over who has the power to make war. Other aspects include P Ascendant conjunct P Saturn when Saddam invaded Kuwait and P MC conjunct P Vesta and octile P Mercury, ruler of the primary angles. P local (Washington, DC) Ascendant is square natal Saturn. P East Point and P local Antivertex are quincunx natal Neptune and P Mars to form a yod while they are also trine Jupiter. The natal square between Jupiter and Neptune shows some kind of conflict involving beliefs, goals and values which is being activated by the present patterns. Conflicts involving beliefs are again repeated by P Antivertex quincunx P Neptune and P local East Point square Chiron. And of course the fact that all of these progressed angles are in Pisces and Sagittarius just reiterates the same message. Faith, values, ethical issues, moral decisions are at stake, involving the executive, congress, and the people of the U.S.
Does the chart look like a presidential war? At least P Mars is past the oppositions to both natal and P Pluto and the quincunx to natal and P Saturn. Now, as already indicated, Mars is activating our Neptune and Jupiter, forcing us to look at our principles. It is quincunx two angles with two others, moving very quickly in Pisces, headed into the aspect. Might we move in a new direction, turning away from war as a way to manage the world? The quincunx is a classic aspect for change. The chart had a progressed New Moon in the spring of 1989 and that also calls for change! P Neptune holds a long opposition to Mercury as our presidents alternate between trying to “save” the world and trying to control it to ensure our own safety. P Venus and P Pallas are quincunx the MC, again offering the hope of a change though a change for the worse cannot be ruled out. But P Ceres, P Venus, and P Pallas are moving into a grand trine to the natal Sun and Ascendant (if this chart time is accurate) so there are grounds for hope that common sense will prevail sooner or later. It may take a revolution first, by congress or the people, as the trio in Capricorn form the quincunx to P Uranus before they reach the earth trines. P Moon will quincunx its own natal position and square P Saturn in the period that seems so important in March to May, moving into the opposition to Chiron in the late spring and early summer and then into the square to natal Saturn. It does not look like a happy time for the executive (Saturn) or for the congress (eleventh house) or for the people (the Moon). But growth is the name of the game, and no one said it would be easy.