Walk into Libra’s garden, the seventh house of the chart, and you will find yourself in a bower of sweet scented roses, treading on forget-me-nots, violas, love-in-the-mist. You might stroll down a lover’s walk through dripping wisteria to a summerhouse by a romantic lake. The seventh house is where you meet your match.
But oh, we know our match is not always what we expected or wanted. It turns out to be not a lover, but an adversary, a rival, a competitor. This is the garden of partnership, but it is also called the house of “open enemies” — a delicious irony and a delicate insight into the workings of the human heart.
Venus is often depicted looking into a mirror, and in the astrological chart, the seventh house sits across from the first house of self. It is the mirror. Here is the reflection of our selves, and this may be our best self, or our worst, and often both.
So it’s interesting that on a larger scale right now, battle lines are being more clearly defined. On the day the Sun moved into Libra, the US bombed parts of northern Syria. US President Barack Obama and the British Prime Minister have both made speeches to the UN this week. As a diplomatic talking shop, the United Nations is Libran. This is the sign of pacts, peace treaties and negotiation. It’s about give and take, and eventually reaching a balance and then taking action. As a Cardinal sign, Libra does not sit on her hands.
Today, Parliament is debating whether to make air strikes in Northern Iraq. The answer is bound to be yes.
On the circle of the Zodiac, Libra is opposite Aries, the sign of war. She looks into the face of battle.
There will be four eclipses across this axis over the next year. The first one is on October 8, a Full Moon eclipse smack in the middle of Aries. This eclipse is just one degree from Uranus, the planet of explosions, flight, the unexpected. It is also directly opposite the United States natal Saturn, exalted at 14° Libra. In that week, transiting Mars, the planet of war and violence, will also oppose the US Mars.
The UK chart is also directly in the line of the eclipse — indeed it takes place in our house of open enemies and exactly on the North Node at 14° Aries. This suggests a turning point in an important relationship, possibly an ending. Mars will conjunct the UK Mercury on the day of the eclipse.
Britain and the United States have been embroiled in Middle Eastern wars since 1990 – that’s 24 years, two Jupiter cycles, three-quarters of a Saturn cycle. It has not by most measures been a success. Not until Saturn moves into Capricorn (2017) will one turn of Saturn’s wheel be complete. Throughout this period, there has been confusion about who the enemy really is, or even if there is an enemy.
During those years, the planet that sows confusion, Neptune, has been making its way through the final quarter of the Zodiac from Capricorn to Pisces. When the first Gulf War began (2 Aug 1990), Neptune was at 12° Capricorn, just one degree from where Pluto is today. It seems likely that this area of Capricorn is on a power axis astrologically. Many, many countries have the natal Sun here, including the United Kingdom, and it is directly opposite the US Sun at 13° Cancer.
Venus holds the mirror, Neptune is the mirror. It’s said that these two planets are the higher and lower octaves of the same energy. If you remember, that war began with the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Venus and Neptune were in opposition that day across the central degrees of Cancer/Capricorn, where Pluto and the US Sun are now.
Today the Islamic State rapes and murders its way across the Fertile Crescent. But the face of the enemy has vanished completely, behind a black hood, ironically reminiscent of the Anonymous mask used by the Occupy movement. And maybe the Islamic State is like a shadow version of Occupy and the Arab Spring. It is the reverse image. Again young people are rebelling against the established order, but instead of singing songs and camping, they are cutting off heads.
This has happened while Uranus — the rebel, the trickster — opposes the US Saturn, across Aries/Libra. The behaviour of Uranus, in other words, brought out the Saturn in the US. Saturn as the Daddy, the enforcer, the law.
Now think of the black hooded heads of ISIS troops. There is actually a specific astrological archetype for that very image. It is the Lord Pluto with his helmet of invisibility. Pluto was in an exact opposition to the US Sun in March and May this year. Then next year, this opposition will happen three more times.
So this is the Uranus-Pluto square in action again. On the day of the eclipse, this square will create a dynamic T-Square with the Sun and Moon. Factor in the US Sun at 13° Cancer in the empty quarter of that chart and you get a Grand Cross.
How do you defeat Hades? You strike and he vanishes in a cloud of sulphur. You spin around and he is behind you, you turn the other way and he’s in front of you, a dust-devil, a chimera, a shapeshifter, a ghost. You can never defeat him, but you can drive him back into his own domain, into the underworld of our collective, where he can frighten us in our dreams, while we live our real lives in peace.
Think of Perseus, who has to look into the mirror of his shield in order to take aim at Medusa and cut off her head. You can’t attack this enemy head on.
Obama’s critics have been frothing at the mouth over his hesitation over the past year, but it may turn out that the President’s seeming inactivity has been a strength. To see into the mirror, you need to stay quite still.
Remember the vote in Parliament last year on August 29? That was about making air strikes against Syria. The vote was no. If it had gone ahead, this country would have been fighting on the same side as ISIS. Waiting was the right thing to do because in the intervening year, it’s become clear that the hydra that is ISIS is a real threat.
As well as his bravery and his shield, Perseus had something else that is crucial: information. He was told that if he looked straight at the Medusa, he would be turned to stone. Saturn, the stoney planet, has been travelling through Scorpio, the sign of espionage, for two years now, gathering some moss perhaps, or organising better information.
Glancing at this transit of Pluto — opposite the US Sun and conjunct the UK Sun, you might ask if one problem for America is that allies are enemies — Saudi Arabia, Israel? — and old enemies may really be friends — Iran? Look at the chart for the UK and you might ask if the enemy is within, with that Pluto firmly marching through home soil, the fourth house. More on this in another post perhaps.
This plan is being launched in the shadow of a Mercury Retrograde, and already it does feel like deja vu all over again: the air strikes, the civilian death toll. But can we really wait for more women to be raped, more young men to be crucified, more children to be orphaned, abducted, destroyed?