A Horoscope for Russia?
As I have written repeatedly, countries and other institutions are born in a series of actions, so there is no single “final” horoscope. We have to watch an organization over a period of years and a variety of events to determine which one or more of several possible charts seem to be the most reliable. For the United States, I have a half dozen charts for different developments, and consider them all useful as part of the picture. As is the case when an individual’s birth time is unknown or uncertain, the traumatic events are normally the most helpful to find the most useful chart. Since Russia’s recent history provides a large collection of traumatic episodes, we should be able to find a working chart if we are willing to invest the time and effort.
Several possible events are being supported by astrologers as the best chart to mark the beginning of post-communist Russia. The Book of World Horoscopes by Nicholas Campion provides superb data on most of the countries of the world, including the historical reasons for choosing among possible charts. His summary of events as the U.S.S.R. dissolved is outstanding. I had tried several of the possible charts, and was not satisfied with any of them. I finally tried the one for Gorbachev’s resignation as General Secretary of the Communist Party on August 24, 1991 at around 6:30 P.M. GMT, and hit pay dirt!
There are any number of other events which might seem logically equally or more important as steps in the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and the formation of a multi-party modern Russia, but astrology is pragmatic. We use what “works.” If a chart does not describe the person or organization and does not show appropriate aspects for the major events in the history, it is worthless. Astrology is flexible enough, with its complex symbolism and multiple factors and techniques, so almost any chart can be “made” to fit with hindsight and by being selective in our choice of details on which to focus. But a really effective chart should not require such maneuvers. The dramatic collapse of the Russian currency and its default on its government bonds in the summer of 1998 has to show dramatically in a valid Russian chart! Plus, the general situation of a few (often criminal) individuals becoming very rich while the majority of the citizens slide into poverty has to show in the basic chart. This chart fits the situation and the events. I just added two minutes to the approximate time given by Nick Campion in his book to put Pluto more precisely on the Descendant. I am therefore using the time of 9:32 P.M. in Moscow.
I have previously described the battle between communism and capitalism as one expression of the fixed dilemma. The primary value of Aquarius is having the freedom to go beyond any limits. A secondary value, associated with all air sides of life, is equality in peer relationships. Capitalism elevated the first value, and the more freedom we have, the less equality is present. In our country we are free to be hungry, ill, jobless, homeless, etc. Communism elevated the second value in its philosophy, though not always in practice. The nomenklatura had superior homes, stores, health care, etc. But compared to the U.S., the average person was fed, clothed, housed, and educated with relative equality. Of course, the more you enforce equality, the less you have freedom.
The seventh and eighth sides of life, (houses, signs, and planets), mark the stage of life where we are supposed to learn to handle lasting peer relationships; to compromise so both sides have mutual pleasure. This is much more challenging with letter eight, with its fixed, water intensity. So Pluto, Juno, Scorpio, and the eighth house are often keys to problems and power struggles. With letter two we enjoy the physical world on our own terms. With letter five, our ego-instinct is to be king or queen, ruling our world. With letter eight we confront the rights of emotionally important others and, hopefully, learn to compromise for mutual pleasure. With letter eleven, ideally, we offer the same freedom to everyone that we want for ourselves. Obviously, if we overdo letters two and eleven, we are not likely to have much love or closeness in our lives. If we crave emotional closeness, but overdo the power drives of letters five and eight, we run the risk of controlling others for purely personal gratification. Integration calls for a place in our lives where we can satisfy each of these natural life desires. Integration requires compromise, and it is not easy with the enduring will of the fixed sides of life.
This proposed chart for modern Russia, for the end of official, one-party control of the country, puts Pluto on the Descendant and Juno on the MC. We could not have a stronger statement of the letter eight issue, which involves learning to share joint resources, possessions, pleasures, and power. The tragedy of modern Russia is that the country moved from holding an “official” ideal of equal sharing, self-mastery without trying to control others, the positive side of Pluto, to actual rule by gangsters, former KGB (secret service members) and Mafia. The central government has lost most of its power, and in the name of capitalism and democracy, a fairly small number of ruthless and greedy men have gained control in an amazing demonstration of the lowest potential of the Pluto principle. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), individual countries, and individual investors have poured billions into Russia, and the criminals have gotten most of it, along with most of the land, buildings, shares in industry, etc. which were supposed to be distributed to give everyone a stake in the new capitalist regime. Some individuals who were given shares in privatized industries traded them for a pair of boots. Many elderly women were persuaded to sign over the apartments given to them by the state, and were then murdered. Several high-level officials who knew too much about the state finances were thrown out of high buildings and their deaths were called suicide. A leading, liberal woman politician in Saint Petersburg was recently shot in cold blood and her killers remain at large.
To amplify the picture of the tragedy of modern Russia, the south lunar node (south nodes indicate lessons) is in the sign of Cancer on the IC, the natural house of Cancer signifying home, family, and basic security, including food. The people have lost their homes and many face starvation. As early as 1992, when I was in Moscow, I saw the tragedy of elderly women who were formerly supported by state pensions kneeling in the snow, begging with outstretched hands blue with cold. Progressed Pluto and the lunar nodes move very slowly, so these aspects will hold for years, depending on the exact minute of Gorbachev's resignation.
It is true that Saturn and the Moon are in Aquarius in this chart, and as the country moved away from equality, the people did acquire more freedom of personal speech, the press, religion, the right to move to other parts of the country, etc. But the economic disaster of a few super-rich and many without even adequate food is making a lot of Russians question the worth of that freedom. Despite the Moon and Saturn in Aquarius, the five factors in Capricorn plus Saturn in the Capricorn house show a heavy, bureaucratic power structure at the top. The lasting octile from P Uranus to the Moon suggests that the battle for freedom is far from won for most people.
Still another indication of major power issues is present in this chart with five factors in the sign of Leo. All but one are also in the house of Leo, along with the Sun in early Virgo. The Sun represents our growth potential, our area of life where we develop our creativity, do more than we have done in the past, and give something to the world, hoping for a positive response from the world. We may love and be loved. We may be a teacher in front of a class, a salesman/promoter, an actress on a stage, etc. Mars in Virgo and two asteroids with it in the Virgo house show that the people of the “new” country already possess craftsmanship potentials and work skills. But placing the Sun in Virgo in its own Leo house shows a challenge to integrate the humble service of Virgo with the kingly instincts of Leo. At this point in time, the gangsters are ruling as kings, amassing the potential for wealth of a Venus-Jupiter conjunction, while most of the people are struggling to find work or are working and not being paid by a powerless government. Over and over, this chart shows the power issue in Russia with Pluto and Juno on angles, factors in Leo versus Aquarius, and factors in Capricorn opposite Cancer and square Pallas in Libra.
I looked at the aspects for several of the other events in the history of the new Russia, but especially focused on the summer of 1998. August 17 was called “Black Monday” because on that day, the government was obliged to let the value of the ruble ‘float,” and they stopped paying interest on their foreign loans. The Central Bank had poured much of their reserves into trying to maintain the value of their currency as investors rushed to convert rubles into dollars and take them out of the country. With their reserves dangerously depleted, they could no longer pay the high interest which had been required to persuade investors to loan money to the country. They had been borrowing increasing amounts just to pay interest of 30% and 40% on previous debt. Following the financial crisis in Asia, which started in the summer of 1997, some interest rates went as high as 150%. The collapse in oil prices, Russia’s main export, added to the crisis. By the summer of 1998, Russia owed over $70 billion in short-term bonds. About one third were held by foreigners. On August 13, the banks started defaulting. On August 17, a 90-day moratorium was declared on payments and the ruble was turned loose. Within two weeks, the ruble dropped from 6 to a dollar to 15 to a dollar. Consumer prices jumped about 40%. And half of the banks in Russia were bankrupt.
My preferred technique for current issues and potential events is the day-for-a-year system called Secondary Progressions, though many systems can be useful. In progressions, the P Moon is a key factor for major events. It moves about one degree a month. On August 17, P Moon was in 24 Taurus 51 square N Moon and P Venus, quincunx Mars, and trioctile Uranus and Pallas. When we add some asteroids, P Moskva (Moscow) in 24 Scorpio completes a grand cross. This configuration described the country’s huge fixed dilemma centering on money and power. All four fixed signs were involved, along with two of the fixed houses, and Venus, the ruler of Taurus. N and P Moon showed the impact on the ordinary public which was produced by the events, which included escalating food prices. Many people were unable to withdraw funds from their bank accounts, and they may lose all of their savings. Lines of desperate people stood outside the closed banks. At that point, of what value was their Uranus/Aquarius freedom and their Pallas in Libra equality?
The Russian government was, obviously, a major player in the tragedy. P MC, a Saturn equivalent for the executive branch of the government, was quincunx P Mercury and P Venus, conjunct Icarus, and square the midpoint of Saturn/south lunar node, key to major lessons. If this time is right, P MC also has a permanent trioctile to P Sun since the aspect was exact within one degree in the natal chart and the two factors are moved at the same speed. P Ascendant had just started a square to N Sun and it also trined Saturn as the authorities exerted their power, taking the action they felt was necessary. P Ascendant had also just moved into a new sign and was quincunx P Mars as additional clues to the new action, which, of course, sent the investing world into a tizzy. To add a capstone to the picture, one system of progressing angles moves them about one degree a day so they circle the chart in a year. These Quotidian angles on “Black Monday” were exactly conjunct their natal positions, marking the drastic new beginning.
Many relevant asteroids add to the picture of this crisis. The P Antivertex, an auxiliary Ascendant for personal action, was conjunct P Laverna, the goddess of thieves. P south node of Mars opposed P and N Laverna, and the opposition was octile/trioctile N Vesta and N Ceres, both of which are associated with jobs and workers. P Vesta was quincunx Uranus. The asteroid Russia had turned retrograde and returned to its natal position, where it squared Chiron in the fourth house to show the shock to the people’s faith. Hel, a death goddess, was conjunct N Russia and shared its square to Chiron. P Icarus, who overreached and crashed, and P Karl Marx, named for the author of communistic theory, had retrograded to 7 Capricorn, where they were octile Moskva, quincunx Vesta, and trine P Sun. P Sun on the cusp of the Virgo house repeated the emphasis on this being a period with major impacts on jobs and workers, with health also likely to be affected. Karl is probably spinning in his grave. In addition to its quincunx to Uranus, P Vesta opposed P Europa (Europe) and P Gaea (earth) as the rest of the world watched the disintegration of Russia as a functional (Virgo) country, but felt helpless or chose to hold back. The IMF is withholding promised billions in new loans until the government financial system is changed, while the government appears to have less actual power than the criminal gangs.
As mentioned above, Secondary Progressions are my favorite system, but Solar Arc Directions are also a useful technique to show times of major change and the psychological issues involved. The solar arc is the distance the secondary progressed Sun has moved from the natal position to the current one. Solar Arc Directions move the whole chart this distance, turning the chart like a wheel with the factors maintaining the angular distances which they held in the natal chart. Applying this system to this potential chart for Russia puts arc-directed Uranus on the natal MC for a major change involving the executive branch of the government and, with an opposition to the IC, changes for the public. Both arc-directed Pluto and Ascendant move to square the natal Moon. Arc-directed Vesta is quincunx Neptune and Saturn is still just within the one-degree orb of an opposition to Vesta. Arc-directed Pallas squares Juno, MC, and the lunar nodes. Arc-directed Mars trines Saturn, is octile Pluto and trioctile the Ascendant, and semi-sextile the Sun. More aspects could be mentioned, but these are enough to support the usefulness of this chart and this technique.
Following this August financial collapse, President Yeltsin tried to nominate a former official who had served as the crisis was developing, but the Congress twice rejected the nomination. Eventually, Yeltsin nominated Yevgeny Primakov, a former communist, to be Prime Minister, and he was confirmed by the Congress on September 11, 1998. If we had a time for that confirmation vote, we could do a chart for the government under the new P.M. Yeltsin’s health continues to deteriorate, and Primakov is now handling most of the day-to-day running of the country. Primakov was born on October 29, 1929 in Kiev, Ukraine, I just received Lois Rodden’s Data News with his birth time from Boris Izraitel. He has held a variety of positions in the past, as a correspondent for Pravda, the main communist newspaper, as an alternate member of the Politburo, as a foreign advisor to Gorbachev and a foreign minister, but perhaps his most interesting association was with the KGB, the Russian equivalent of our CIA. He just might have the knowledge and the toughness to deal with the criminals who seem to be running the country behind the scenes. He is a close friend of Saddam Hussein, and hardly a supporter of democracy and freedom. Still, freedom is only possible within a framework of law and order, and Russia may have to go back into autocratic rule before they can make another try at democracy.
Primakov’s Scorpio emphasis does fit the current crisis in Russia. He has the Sun, Mars, and the south lunar node in Scorpio. Chiron conjuncts the north lunar node in Taurus, and Uranus and his Ascendant in Aries also add strength. Intelligence is shown by Jupiter and Ceres in Gemini, Neptune in Virgo, Juno and Saturn in Sagittarius, and Pallas in Pisces. His Moon is in 0 degrees of Libra along with Venus and Mercury. Vesta in Leo and Pluto in Cancer complete the basic list of planets. We will print his chart in the next Mutable Dilemma when I will have had time to work with his asteroids. I wish him well, hoping that his potential idealism will be used to help his fellow country-people. It is certainly not in the best interests of the U.S., or the rest of the earth, to have a large country with huge stockpiles of weapons in a state of inner chaos.
Only time and continuing to watch events will tell us whether this is a reliable chart for Russia after communist rule. I progressed the chart to the beginning of 2000, but in light of their other problems, it seems almost anticlimactic to worry about the Y2K bug. As it happens, our two main asteroids associated with computers, ASCII and The NORC are in a progressed trine to each other from 23 Capricorn to 23 Virgo. The Soviet Union has a lot of competent computer programmers. They just don’t have the money to pay them. I have also started watching Eudora for a potential computer connection. She was a goddess who ruled over “the waves,” and a large San Diego high tech company named Qualcomm picked the name Eudora for a popular e-mail program. Perhaps “waves” can include the electronic variety. In this chart for modern Russia, P Ascendant in 2 Gemini is quincunx P Eudora in 2 Scorpio at the beginning of 2000. Many more asteroids could be mentioned, but for the moment we need to continue testing the chart before we can put our faith in it.