You will have noticed that protesters from Madrid to Wall Street to the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral have been sporting a particular mask.
Julian Assange has one.
No it’s not Satan, although it does look rather devilish. It’s Guy Fawkes, the Catholic revolutionary who was caught trying to blow up the British Houses of Parliament on 5 November 1605.
Here in Britain we celebrate that date with the most insanely pagan orgy of bonfires, fireworks and the burning of effigies. As every schoolchild knows:
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
An effigy of Guy himself is traditionally made by children and then hawked around for pennies, before being thrown on the bonfire. Here in Oxford we’re going to have an absolutely massive burning of a wicker man.
|The graphic novel|
Now Guy Fawkes or Guido, as he sometimes styled himself, has been used for centuries as an excuse for keeping alive the pagan tradition of a festival of fire to herald winter and help us through the darkening of the year. The re-enactment of his burning (in fact he was hanged) was really a very ancient Celtic or even pre-Celtic sacrifice of the corn god.
So it is fascinating that today he has been resurrected again – this time as a symbol of anarchist protest.
How did that happen?
Well back in the early 1980s a comic strip was published called V for Vendetta which featured a vigilante bent on revenge. Written by Alan Moore, it describes a dystopian near-future in which Britain is ruled by a fascist dictatorship. One man takes on the entire system and goes on a killing spree. V, as he styles himself, hides his face behind a mask of Guy Fawkes.
|Still from the 2006 movie|
The mask used by protesters is the same one that V uses in V for Vendetta, which was made into an American movie in 2006. Time Warner is making a killing from sales of these masks.
The answer is a group styling itself Anonymous, the origins of which lie in cyberspace, specifically a UK site where hackers gathered together to exchange information and discuss potential targets for trolling. For more on this group, here is the Wikipedia article.
Fast forward to 10 February, 2008 when the masks were first used in an Anonymous protest against Scientology. The rebel Guy Fawkes had risen from the dead after 400 years of being burned on bonfires.
So what about the astrology?Um, guess what: it’s really simple.
Here is Guy Fawkes’ birth chart. Tradition has it that he was born on the 13th. (He was identified in the propaganda of the time with the devil.)
But the truth is, we only have the date of his baptism, which was April 16. No matter, for the thing to look is the outer planets.
Which planet do we associate with rebellion? Uranus.
Which planet do we associate with rising from the dead? Pluto.
Here are the transits of Feb 10 2008 (the first appearance of the mask in public protests) to Fawkes’ chart.
Transiting Pluto to natal Uranus. Don’t forget that the Pluto cycle takes more than 200 years, so it’s not exactly a frequent occurrence.
Transiting Uranus to natal Pluto. Uranus cycle is 84 years.
The rebel Guy Fawkes has metaphorically risen from the dead.
My colleague Dharmaruci has commented on how much spooky imagery there is in those protests – zombies, ghosts, masks – and quite rightly posited the idea that it’s Pluto, god of the Underworld, at work.
Guy Fawkes was of course equated with the Prince of Darkness himself by his enemies. So it was more than a little strange to see him on the steps of the most important cathedral in Britain, St Paul’s.
Perhaps now that the Church of England and protesters are getting along so well we are seeing an alliance between God and the Devil!