I was about to post this piece yesterday morning when I heard the sad news about the attack in Manchester. The main victims so far seem to have been daughters and mothers. You will see that the subject of the piece is relevant to this attack.
Keen watchers of the skies will know that the United Kingdom’s emotional, patriotic Moon in Cancer is under attack from Pluto, the Dark Lord of the Underworld, currently in Capricorn.
Between March 2017 and November 2018, Pluto will oppose that Moon five times. That has never happened before to the United Kingdom, because this chart was born in 1801 — and this is the first time Pluto has been in Capricorn since then.
In an individual’s chart this is an unmistakably difficult transit. Pluto opposite the Moon can be a devastating illness, a bully, or self-harm. In short, a person can feel totally powerless — at least for a time — as he or she fights monsters, real or imaginary. There can be a loss of innocence. Eventually, there is often a period of surrender, before the rebirth begins.
There is, of course, great potential that by undergoing this transit a person becomes more addicted to life, emotionally aware that our time on this earth is finite and needs to be lived to its fullest potential. By facing the Lord of Death, we fully understand the beauty of life.
In the UK chart, the Moon is in the 10th house, the place of international reputation, status and heads of state in mundane astrology. This house represents the PR image of a country, so no wonder Jupiter in regal Leo is there too — surely representing the Royal Family and all the pomp and circumstance. Among other things, the Moon here suggests fame.
But the Moon in Cancer is something else. Is Britain perceived as moody? A “mother to the world” (good or bad) once upon a time? Queen Victoria certainly looks like Moon in Cancer with her pale face and tiny crown, and indeed she was born with the New Moon Rising. But perhaps also, the international image is a romantic island, dreaming Albion where Alice, Emma Woodhouse and Sherlock Holmes live and breathe.
A legacy of empire: for generations, educated children around the world have grown up being taught Shakespeare, reading the impossibly exotic Swallows and Amazons, and today, entering the wild, fantastic world of Harry Potter. What is more the BBC World Service — with the football results and the chimes of Big Ben — seemed to promise a special Cancerian cosiness. There would be crumpets for tea, and Nicholas Parsons would still say “Just A Minute”. The UK Moon appeared to be a sanctuary in a dangerous world.
The Moon in mundane astrology also represents “the people” — in this case imaginative, moody, irrational, emotional; sailors, artists, children…..property developers.
With the Moon so highly placed and in its own sign, the people appear to be powerful — and so do “mothers”.
The Sun in Capricorn holds the chart steady — the establishment, the elite, the hidden hand — opposed to the Moon. The Sun is in mutual reception with Saturn in Leo, which must represent Parliament (11th house). So we see the symbiosis between Parliament and the owners of the land (4th house). They are in each others pockets. Yet at the same time, the Sun is in the Moon’s house: the owners of the land — or controllers of capital — are running the show but dependent on the mood of the people.
The balance between the Moon in Cancer and the Sun in Capricorn — the cosy Mum (or ma’am) and the alpha Pater — has held the nation steady for decades. Indeed, you see these two signs strongly in the charts of the Royals.
Transiting Pluto in Capricorn however has come to transform that balance of power — to tip the scales, and perhaps not in favour of either. To coin a phrase, Pluto has “translated the dark” from the UK’s Capricorn Sun at 10° to its Cancer Moon at 19°.
How exactly this plays out remains to be seen, but it’s certain to change the nation. Transits can work in many different ways, depending how we, as a collective, are using the energy provided by the gods.
Pluto is both corruptor and the rooter out of corruption. Some corruption has indeed been exposed during Pluto’s transit through Capricorn, for example, the MPs’ expenses. On the other hand, some experts say London has become the money-laundering capital of the world. Dirty money from Russia, China, the United States and the Middle East has flooded into the capital in the last decade, and bought up tranches of the city’s housing. That Cancer Moon has provided sanctuary for all kinds of people from Russian oligarchs to Afghan refugees, but maybe not always to the most needy.
And here’s another feature of the Moon. The Moon is housing — and so is the 4th house — in the mundane chart. The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis which seems completely uncontrollable. London — and I notice here in Oxford too — have become safe places to park your money for people from countries with less stable governance or who need to do some laundry. This has ramped up house prices to astronomical heights and contributed to the already heinous housing shortage. London is full of half-empty apartment blocks, an empty honeycomb. The plunging pound has made property even cheaper for foreign investors, and prices in some places (round here) have shot up again, putting them further out of reach of locals. As Thomas Piketty pointed out in his book Capital, these days you make more money from an asset that sits there than from doing any work.
Pluto opposite the Moon will exacerbate this. It would only take a change of emotion for there to be a run on property in London, and the effect would be felt across the country. An asset is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.
The Cancer Moon is vulnerable now, the people are vulnerable, moody, changeable. A classic interpretation of transiting Pluto opposite the Moon would be a possibility of poverty and hardship for the masses. But also the Moon in the 10th must represent an element of the country’s standing in the world. With a Pluto opposition, there could be a loss of status. A point about this, though, is that the kingdom’s status has always been liable to fluctuation because that house is ruled by Cancer. Remember Britain’s time as the “sick man of Europe” in the 1970s.
One of the UK’s most important assets is its legal system (Libra Rising, Venus in Aquarius opp Saturn, Jupiter in the 10th), which is seen to be reasonably uncorrupted compared to most of the world — yet favourable for large corporations. A lot of companies and wealthy divorcers choose to bring big lawsuits here. If the UK loses its status as an uncorrupted system, the consequences will be extremely far reaching. This danger may be further in the future, when Pluto opposes the UK Jupiter.
Another important asset is Britain’s position as the most freewheeling capitalist country within the European Union — a place with reasonably loose labour laws that has access to the vast Common Market. This has made the UK a country worth doing business with for countries outside the EU. That role is already trickling away as financial institutions start to move shop to Dublin or the continent thanks to the vote for Brexit. This will lead to a loss of clout.
However, it’s interesting to speculate how that loss of power could have manifested without the Brexit vote, since, of course, we would still be having this nation-changing opposition. It seems clear that it’s part of a process that began with the Pluto’s move into Capricorn in 2008, accelerated with Pluto’s conjunction with the UK Sun in 2013 and will complete when Pluto leaves Capricorn in 2023. However, this opposition may be the point at which the people are most vulnerable.
We have a general election coming up in June, in which the choice is between two different kinds of bully. Both parties are offering radical choices — as befits the spirit of these times. Whatever choice the people make, Pluto will still be there.
There is some good news. By progression, the UK Moon conjoins Venus right now; that is a lucky progression. And furthermore the UK Sun conjoins Jupiter by progression for several years. This could mean a loss of boundaries, of course, or the country over-reaching itself. But it’s also lucky.
By the end of the summer, the UK will be experiencing the early stages of a progressed Lunar Return — a significant turning point in an individual’s chart, and possibly in the emotional life of a nation. Last time the UK had this was in 1992 when John Major unexpectedly won the election by recalling warm beer, cricket bats — and crumpets. However, he didn’t have the monsters of Pluto to contend with.
We can be certain this Pluto opposition will affect three things: housing, status and the condition of the people — and, as we learned this morning, mothers and families.