In just a few weeks, the people of Scotland will decide whether or not to remain part of the United Kingdom.
This is momentous.
Of course if the polls are right. Scotland will vote to stay part of the UK and we’ll all just carry on as usual.
England, Scotland and Wales — Great Britain — together have been a powerhouse of industry, creativity and influence in the world for the last 400 years, since James IV of Scotland inherited the English throne from his Aunt Elizabeth and became James I of England too. (It didn’t become official until 1707, see below.) Admittedly, there’s been fighting — don’t mention Culloden — but there’s also been teamwork and triumph. The historian Simon Schama put it well: “What began as a hostile merger, would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world … it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history.”
Let’s look at the astrology. It’s active.
The usual chart used for the UK is the 1801 chart for the Act of Union, which brought together the Kingdom of Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) with the Kingdom of Ireland. I have set the transits for the day of the Scottish referendum, September 18. Pluto the planet of change and transformation has been hanging around the UK Sun for some years now, but nothing truly earth-shaking has happened, unless you count a coalition government or the sale of the nation’s capital to foreign investors — actually perhaps Pluto over the Sun and IC is a good representation of the hollowing out of London. One can’t help wondering if this is “it”. Scottish Independence would effectively break Great Britain.
But Pluto has in fact gone past the UK Sun and IC, and will not be returning. Currently it is stationing, that is standing still, at 11° before turning (veeeery slowly) direct on September 25. The fourth house and IC in this chart represent the land itself, and Pluto brings destruction, maybe in order for something better to come in its place, but sometimes it also brings enormous power. Just as an aside, it’s hard not to think of fracking when you see Pluto transiting the country’s fourth house. There’s also a suggestion of “the enemy within” here, which we are seeing in the news represented by British jihadis, but that is for another post.
The Sun is, of course, a country’s core identity. The god of transformation conjuncting it should have consequences. However, those consequences may only become evident with hindsight. It’s not easy to see the thread of history when you’re right in the middle of it. What we do know for sure right now looking at this chart is that we are in a time of shift. Last time Pluto was in this part of the Zodiac (before this chart was born), the seeds of the British Empire were planted; and America became independent. At the time it looked like the loss of the colony was a disaster, but it wasn’t.
What of the other player in the Uranus-Pluto square? Transiting Uranus is on the natal North Node in the house of partnership. That is the planet of change, upheaval and revolution — the planet of the off switch — right on the destiny and direction of the country. Partnerships are changing now — whether it’s with the US, the EU or internally within the UK itself. Who the UK chooses to ally herself with changes the direction of the whole ship. When the Scottish Parliament reconvened in May 1999, after a break of around 300 years, Uranus was exactly conjunct the UK Venus in Aquarius.
Meanwhile, transiting Saturn conjuncts natal Neptune in the second house of money. The UK’s greatest asset is its Neptunian ability to weave dreams and illusion into reality — how else did a tiny island on the edge of Europe conjure an empire, or Harry Potter? Neptune also rules oil, and North Sea oil, off the coast of Scotland, has been one of the UK’s biggest money-makers in recent decades. Oil was struck in the mid-1960s, as Neptune transited Scorpio, returning to its natal position for the first time in 260 years, and Saturn transited Pisces, the sign of oceans. Saturn may now just put a cap on that stream of black gold — at least for the UK if not Scotland.
The question of the economy is important in this referendum. Will Scotland lose or gain by going solo? And how would England fare? Saturn through the second house of money has certainly seen the entire nation tighten its belt as we deal with austerity, and you can see that transiting Saturn trines the UK Moon in the 10th house. The Moon represents the common people, who appear to be in charge in the 10th house, and in Cancer the Moon is powerful, and indeed the people — at least those in Scotland — will be making their collective voice heard with this vote. The trine from Saturn means the consequences will be serious and long-lasting. It also adds a dose of cool practicality.
Meanwhile, that Saturn is also trining transiting Chiron in Pisces. which in turn trines the natal Moon. It looks like it might be very easy for the vote to be a shot in the collective foot. Trines make things easy but not necessarily good. There is another way this aspect could work. If the people of Scotland vote to stay within the Union that could be a healing of national pride, because it would be a Union by consent rather than coercion. A Yes vote might finally put salve on centuries of resentment. After all, Scottish identity has never been under threat from being part of the UK, but Sottish pride was damaged.
In England, David Cameron’s Conservative party benefits most from an independent Scotland: since the Scots never vote for them anyway, it’ll just mean fewer opposition MPs to contend with. This might explain his government’s faint-hearted and negative attempts at making the case for staying together. He said last week that he hadn’t bothered to watch the televised debate between the leaders of the yes and no campaigns. Shoddy, considering the fate of the country he presumes to lead is in the balance this September. Maybe he knows something we don’t.
Transiting Chiron — healer and wounder — is also involved with Pluto in a transiting Yod pointing at Jupiter in royal Leo — again pride. The UK’s natal Jupiter is also in Leo but much earlier in the sign. If the vote goes in favour of independence, the Queen remains the head of state for both countries, but the Union Jack will be ruined and what are England and Wales called together? Little Britain? Apparently civil servants refer to Wales, England and Northern Ireland as rUK, short for “rest of the United Kingdom” — not a great acronym.
One solution could be so-called “devo max”, maximum devolution, which would mean that Scotland retained the pound and took over all governance except defence and foreign affairs. However, one of the SNP’s arguments in favour of independence is that Scotland would never have been dragged into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or spent so much money on arms, if it had been independent. See the Act of Union chart below for some serious military might.
We shall see. Despite their lead in the polls, I wouldn’t put money on the Better Together campaign…
Take a look at what is happening to the chart for the Act of Union in 1707, which brought together Scotland, England and Wales under one crown and created Great Britain.
Vesta, the domestic goddess is right on the MC, and yes this is about home. Saturn is there too, which certainly suggests an ending, especially since it opposes the Sun, but don’t forget that Saturn has crossed this point every 30 years since 1707. Juno (20° CAN (not shown in the pic)), the asteroid of marriage, and the Moon are on the Descendant and natal Mars. You might interpret that as a restating of marriage vows…
Either way, with Pluto approaching the Ascendant, we can see that the transformation is not over yet. If the vote goes in favour of independence there’s going to be a lot of legal mess to sort out, probably for years. And if the voters say yes to the union but only be a whisker, there will be trouble.
Just a quick word on this natal chart. What an example of a powerful military alliance! — the 7th house with a Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Leo, sandwiched between bombastic Jupiter and fiery Mars (those redcoats). Scotland has been a core part of the British Army in every engagement since the Napoleonic Wars. The departure of Scotland from the Union might have a devastating effect on the armed forces.
I expect a look at the SNP chart would make things a bit clearer, but I don’t have a time of day for the founding of the Party. In lieu of that, I drew up the chart of Alex Salmond, Scottish First Minister and chief advocate for independence.
My oh my. That’s a hell of a Saturn Return. This is the culmination of 30 years of work. With a Uranus-Jupiter conjunction (freedom and idealism) in the first house, no wonder he loves shaking things up. Just look at what tr Saturn is doing to his chart. That is support for his ambitions — tr Saturn and natal Saturn trine the MC and Mars — and also that gambling 5th house of his finally gets some payback.
But look at the Chiron action again. There’s a sense of personal injury here in the natal chart. Transiting Chiron is triumphant at the midheaven. What would that mean? A wound for Salmond or the final and very public healing of his wounded pride. It’s interesting to see that Chiron is so active in all the charts, and the results of this referendum will tell us a great deal about how Chiron works in mundane affairs.
Here’s an example of exactly what I’ve been writing about for Capricorns in the horoscopes. His Sun is also at 9° Capricorn, so he has already had the Pluto conjunction. What did it do? It increased his personal power. And look, now it is sextiling his MC, his status. Uranus’ transit through his 10th house , since 2006, has also galvanised his political career.
Salmond is a good public speaker, aggressive, persuasive and confident (Mars sextile Mercury), but he has got a reputation as a snake oil salesman (Mars in Pisces on the MC). He understands that people eventually vote from the guts or the wallet.
Just going on his chart, I’d guess for Scottish independence with Salmond as the first independent prime minister. But Salmond is likely to benefit whichever way the vote goes. So although he looks empowered in this chart – Neptune sweeping to the MC in its own sign certainly looks like a wave of popular emotion – that does not necessarily tell us how Scotland will vote.
On balance, the astrology looks in favour of quite deep change. Whether it is called “independence” or “devo-max” Scotland’s decision will force a paradigm shift for the UK. The creation of a new model for these islands might not be such a bad thing, because, looking at our current governing classes, it’s clear something has to shift.