|Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France.
Like so many nations, France is in a right mess. Unemployment, social unrest, shambolic finances, a failing education system – and perhaps worst of all, no clear vision for the future.
And France is in the midst of general election. But would victory be a poison chalice? Who can rise to the challenge of reshaping France for the 21st century?
|Francois Hollande, challenger
Sun Leo/Moon Capricorn
There are 10 candidates in all, but only four are having real impact. They divide neatly into mavericks vs. establishment. What is really apparent from the current campaigns is how divorced the ruling elite is from the electorate – a very similar situation to the one we are in on this side of La Manche. The reason the two outsiders are doing so well, is because the French are sick of the insiders.
But astrologically, it’s the similarities between the charts that are interesting.
The two establishment candidates are Nicolas Sarkozy, the current incumbent, who is from the right, and Francois Hollande, a socialist. Both of these men have emerged from the core Parisian ruling elite, a group which has pretty much run the country since 1958, when De Gaulle created the 5th Republic. Just to put this clearly, they grew up in the same suburb of Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine. The cosiness of this sounds awfully familiar to the British.
|Jean-Luc Mélenchon: hard left
Sun Leo/Moon Pisces
One maverick is from the hard-left – Jean-Luc Mélenchon – and one is from the far right – Marine Le Pen. M. Mélanchon is a neo-communist and Mme Le Pen is a neo-fascist. Mme. Le Pen also grew up in Neuilly-sur-Seine. As well as a birthplace, the two right-wing candidates both share Libra Rising within a couple of degrees.
M. Melenchon stormed into third place from almost nowhere, galvanising France’s traditional leftists with his fiery oratory and radical return to old-fashioned socialist values. Ironically, he his Moon is in the same degree as Sarkozy’s, also an excellent speaker, at 25° Pisces, and also in the 6th house of service. But Sarkozy is accused of being in the service of a monied elite. The Moon trines France’s cosy Cancer ascendant.
|Marine Le Pen: hard right
Sun Leo/Moon Capricorn.
Three Leos are lined up against their opposite sign, Aquarius, in the form of the bumptious President Sarkozy. As well as having the Aquarius/Leo polarity in common, all four politicians have interesting contacts between Uranus (change) and Jupiter (expansion).
Sarkozy and Hollande were born within six months of each other, so they both have a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction which sits right on the French Ascendant. Back in 2007, when Sarkozy was first elected, he was the change candidate, voted in to shake things up a bit. Today, M. Hollande’s platform is change.
Mélenchon has Jupiter exactly square Uranus which reflects his reactionary views. Jupiter is in aggressive Aries, and Uranus is in nostalgic Cancer; a combination which makes for a perfect backward looking neo-communist.
Born in 1968, the year the schoolboy M. Mélenchon was manning the barricades, Marine Le Pen has Jupiter and Uranus in Virgo. They are not conjunct, instead they sandwich Pluto. She has taken her father’s Front Nationale and reshaped it into a modern far right party, ditching the racist rhetoric in favour an anti-Euro, anti-immigration platform. Her South Node exactly conjuncts France’s Sun at 11° Libra, so her destiny is tightly linked with that of her nation. Her tenacious Sun Leo and Moon in Capricorn are the same as Francois Hollande’s.
Which brings us to the French chart.* With a stellium in Libra on the IC, France has already experienced the ravages of the Cardinal Climax. Saturn has spent the last two years rolling through Libra; first over the French Venus-Ceres conjunction (a perfect statement of France’s love of food), and then over the Mercury-Sun conjunction. But that transit has passed. Saturn has gone over the French North Node and is retrograding in the last decanate of Libra, finishing off a maturing process that has forced the nation to question its fundamental beliefs: equality, secularism, and being the most civilised nation on earth.
France is, naturally, a Libra nation – charming, political, artistic, seductive. But in recent years, it has become calcified. Where is the creativity of the 19th and early 20th centuries that made the word France synonymous with cutting edge culture? In fact, since the founding of the 5th Republic under Charles De Gaulle, France has been a deeply conservative nation, but that may be about to change.
Pluto is squaring the French Libran stellium, from the house of workers, forcing transformation. And the Dark Lord has not finished with the country yet. He has squared Venus-Ceres but has yet to hit the French Sun-Mercury. That will start next year, 2013, when the nation will undergo some profound transformations, most likely in the area of labour and labour relations, as well as the very identity of France herself.
Uranus is up in the house of rulers currently, so change in leadership is inevitable. However, both Sarkozy and Hollande, the two frontrunners could be said to represent change. They both have that strong Uranian connection with the French chart.
Take a close look at M. Hollande’s chart though, and you will see that it is quite fascinating.
“His whole career should warn us: he is a reed of steel,” writes commentator Serge Raffy. Exactly so.
Hollande has witty Gemini Rising and cool, likeable Aquarius on the MC – both sociable air signs, but not seemingly heavyweight. Also for the past decade he has had Neptune going through his career house, so he has seemed hidden and nebulous. But Neptune has moved into his 11th house. I wonder how many favours he’s been calling in of late.
Allegedly, M Hollande had a dully respectable childhood. Yet he has Pluto, the laser, the Darth Vader conjuncting his Sun. I wonder what happened when he was abut six years old. If he has integrated that Pluto energy, he certainly has the nerve to take France through the storms ahead, and defy her enemies.
What is more he has the Moon in persistent, ambitious Capricorn. He really wants to win, and he has the steadiness of spirit to do so. He is also the candidate who looks luckiest over the next few months, with Venus hovering around his Ascendant at the time of the elections. It looks also as if Jean-Luc Mélenchon will come very close to power now, but it may slip away from him.
Ironically to an English speaker, Melenchon styles himself le bruit et la fureur, after Shakespeare via William Faulkner. Here is the quote:
“Life…is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Something must get lost in translation.
And for the poor citizens of France, that may sum up these elections. France needs to move with the changing times, just like the rest of us. This is not a time to wrap oneself in a cloak of nostalgia. I hope Hollande proves to be the man who can pull France and with her Europe into the 21st century, but although apparently flexible (Gemini Rising), he may actually be too rigid (Leo Sun, Cap Moon, Saturn in Scorpio).
For more on France, read my piece called Liberté, Egalité, Identité, which examines the core French chart of the First Republic.
*You’d think that casting the chart for France would be relatively straightforward, since the country is effectively reborn every time a new republic is declared. The last time this happened was in 1958, when the Fifth Republic came into being in October. However, astrologers seem unable to agree on the exact time. I’ve had to make a decision based on the best historical evidence and that is for midnight on Oct 5, when the new constitution came into effect. This is the first one that Nick Campion cites in his Book of World Horoscopes.