A lot of people don’t speak Spanish as a first language in Spain. They speak Euskari in the Basque country, Catalan in Catalonia, Gallego in Galicia, and rich, juicy dialects in the south. Spanish itself is called Castellano by Spaniards, because it comes from the county of Castile, in central Spain.
The citizens of certain parts of Spain feel as if they have been under occupation (off and on) by Castilians since the late 15th century, when Ferdinand and Isabella unified the country. Indeed some would argue that conquistadors were not only oppressing the natives of central and south America, but also those of the Iberian Peninsula itself. This feeling erupted occasionally into violence during the following centuries — most recently in the Basque separatist terror campaign of the 1970s-1990s.
During the Civil War of the 1930s, Nationalists and Republicans fought along partially nationalist lines — but both sides found adherents across Spain. General Franco’s troops smashed the Republicans at the Battle of the Ebro in Catalonia in 1938. It was the turning point of the Civil War, and would lead to more than 40 years of Fascist dictatorship.
One of Franco’s first acts was to ban languages other than Spanish. They couldn’t be taught or printed. When Franco finally died in 1975, King Juan Carlos led the country back to democracy, and three years later the modern Spanish Constitution was ratified, which, crucially, gave the separate states of Spain autonomy. In Catalonia, of their first acts was to start teaching, writing and publishing in Catalan, a language with a rich, romantic heritage.
That constitution came into effect on 1 January, 1979. Other astrologers have chosen the inauguration of Juan Carlos in 1975 to date their charts, however, that is not really legally correct, and if you look at the chart below, you will see it is powerfully transited right now, as Catalonia makes a bid for independence. Dates for the founding of Catalonia are too fuzzy to pinpoint — sometime maybe in the 12th century or maybe even in Roman times.
Some of you may recall that last time Saturn was in these later degrees of Sagittarius going across the nadir of Spain’s chart in 1987, the Basque separatist movement was in the midst of a major terrorist campaign. That year, they blew up a huge bomb killing civilians in Barcelona, which turned out to be their biggest attack.
This nadir of the national chart does seem to be important — it speaks of the very soil itself. Saturn is shaking Spain’s foundations.
What is more, Spain, like many countries born on January 1, has toiled under the pressure of Pluto’s transit to the country’s Sun over the past few years, plus a square from disruptive Uranus. This recent trouble erupted just as Pluto turned direct on September 28 — and while transiting Jupiter is opposing transiting Uranus.
Spain’s Pluto in Libra has also received an opposition from transiting Uranus and will take the square from Pluto next year. The situation looks as if it could turn violent.
This is all happening while Neptune, the planet of idealism and confusion, opposes Spain’s practical Saturn in Virgo. This is not in full effect until next year, but that is certainly a transit which dissolves boundaries, rules and institutions. You might choose to see the autonomous regions as the children in the family — maybe represented by the 5th house, ruled by Saturn, and the Moon in Aquarius, which could say something about the forward-looking governments of many of the autonomous regions. The Basques and Catalans in particular feel themselves to be way ahead of other regions when it comes to living in the 21st century.
By progression that Moon is now in emotional, irrational Cancer, a sign devoted to its homeland and at its worst very nationalistic, so it’s likely that this regionalism is being felt all over Spain. Of course, nationalism and its discontents are in the air across the globe. Also, by progression that Moon will oppose Pluto in a few months time.
It’s not just Spain’s nadir that has had a Saturn transit, but also it’s third house of communications, and its powerful Neptune-Mercury conjunction, which may be a contributor to Spain’s marvellous diversity.
Its diversity is, of course, what makes Spain such a stimulating country in which to travel. On the coast, dark, dramatic Cadiz, just a few hours sail from Africa, is wildly different from chic Barcelona, a city right in the cross-currents of North Mediterranean culture or Bilbao, that rusting industrial hulk which stares out across the Atlantic to Cuba and Mexico.
Dissipating its youth (Neptune-Mercury) is a core problem for Spain, while at the same time the cultural output (Neptune-Mercury) is like a bottomless well. Since the death of Franco, Spain has culturally burgeoned — design, fashion, films, books seem to pour out of the country in a stream of colour and cleverness. But youth unemployment is shocking. The problem has been made very real with this Saturn transit, and it’s also clear that communications (Neptune-Mercury, third house) have broken down.
What’s going on now is a tussle between that proud Jupiter in Leo versus the youthful crowd, Moon in Aquarius, the bosses versus the people. This conflict is exacerbated by the current crop of eclipses which are stimulating this axis. What is more, Chiron in the 8th House creates a T-square to these two. There is real potential for self-harm here — as evidenced by the governments deployment of the police yesterday.
Let’s hope that the coming Mars-Venus conjunction on Spain’s North Node betokens some compromise. Venus needs to get to work fast.
Saturn will be leaving Sagittarius in December — and having some strong words with Spain’s Sun-Mars conjunction perhaps. None of this is going away, because at the same time Jupiter, by transit, takes that Uranian rebellious power now, and then ignites Spain’s Jupiter-Chiron-Moon T-square over the coming months.