Many of us have reached saturation with the psycho-drama that has unfolded in UK politics these past two years. You are more than entitled to ask, why yet more writing? My reason for writing this today, prior to the 29th March 2019, is to look at the situation in Britain from a different angle, that of the astrologer concerned with healing.
One thing that specifically encouraged me to write this, is to have come across in the past weeks a number of videos shared on social media which contain such violence, such hatred, such intolerance, I began to ask myself where lies the Democracy in any of this?
If Britain has at times prided itself for its “reasonableness”, today, there is little sign. Neither within the House of Commons nor without. For there are two traumas involved in this process, and I use the word trauma advisedly.
On the one hand, there are those who have felt betrayed by the fall in their living conditions since the politics of austerity were imposed upon the British people after 2010. Let us call this the “failing state of the nation”. It is worth recalling that already in 2016, over 20% of the UK population was living below the poverty line. The UK is the sixth richest country in the world.
On the other, are those who, after the Referendum of 23rd June 2016, felt the impending loss of something profound touching their European Citizenship and identity, something which had become a fully integrated part of their lives over the past 40 years.
Whilst this article deliberately takes no sides on the outcome of the democratic vote, it does point to two very real traumas. The first, outlined above, enabled many to see the EU as a cause for Britain’s current social problems. Promises were made. Resolution would be brought about by leaving the EU, the people were told. As we have seen promises were however broken. Those broken promises, currently debated almost daily, have now lead to a third trauma, that of betrayal of the “will of the people“.
The Brexit issue has thus piled trauma upon trauma and one place to see this, is in the astrological charts of the Acts of Union 1800, and that of “Brexit-Day”, 29th March 2019.
The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes and erroneously referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland, to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, coming into force on the 1st January 1801. Here, below, is the chart.
In this article, I wish to consider this composite chart from several points of view: the Uranus positions of each; the South Node, which represents the past life karma of Great Britain; the North Node, future soul destiny of the Union. Finally, I wish to consider the implications of a Grand Water Trine, taking place between the Acts of Union Moon (19° Cancer), the Acts of Union Neptune (18° Scorpio) and the transiting Neptune on “Brexit Day”, at 17° Pisces.
Uranus represents a trauma signature in the birth chart (Mark Jones, 2012, 2015), and if we begin with the Acts of Union chart (inner wheel), Uranus is placed at 1° of Libra close to the Ascendant.
This placement is indicative of a generation which seeks to find new ways of achieving “right relations”. The shadow of this placement is that this Union exists to heal relations that were previously far from right. Interestingly Uranus on the Ascendant is indicative of great originality, independence bordering on quirkiness. The British national character is well defined by this, and of course, this has often come to the fore in the feeling of British originality which cannot be stifled under any circumstance. A sense of being stifled (by European laws, by agriculture policies, fishing quotas) is something that this side of the British character has found difficult to swallow by many.
We can already see in the astrology of the Uranus placement the difficulties felt by some Britons about any restraint being imposed on their “sovereignty”. In Libra, this trauma can be linked to relationships with other nations, and this typically is represented by configurations of dependency on the one hand, and the need to dominate on the other. Those who have studied British relations with the EU over the past decades will recognize certain features of both. Discussion of Empire is also relevant here.
In the Acts of Union chart, the South Node is in Libra with its North Node in Aries. In the past, this karmic position can indicate a pleasant and civilized mood. This invokes both legal systems and the arts… All these we can see in the British character. What however lies hidden in this, are realities which have hidden behind a veneer of appropriateness. The resulting masks of justice, reason, and dignity, have robbed the bearers of this placement of compassion!
The North Node of this chart is in Aries, and it is here that the evolutionary identity can be seen in fire and passion — and the very reasonableness which the British are often known before, can turn to acts of war. Unless we fully understand the inner drives inherent in the chart, we can with difficulty understand the present climate.
If we now turn to the composite chart, we see several things. The first that I note is a Great Water Trine between the Acts of Union Moon (19° Cancer), the Acts of Union Neptune (18° Scorpio) and the transiting Neptune on Brexit Day, at 17° Pisces. Whilst certainly appropriate for Isles surrounded by water, there is an underlying risk of illusion inherent in this aspect.
I thank Phillip Lindsay for a point he recently remarked upon in his fascinating esoteric astrology blog. In one sense, healing has to take place between the Cancer Moon and the Neptune placement in Scorpio. The Moon in Cancer is strong in the Acts of Union chart and whilst this speaks of emotions it also speaks of the past. The trine with Neptune takes us deep into the fixed waters of Scorpio and it is here that monsters swim deep, to trap the unwary. Add to this a trine with transiting Neptune on Brexit day and we can feel the signature of the illusions and false hopes that have been bandied about by all political factions since well before the famous referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016. Neptune can open us, beyond boundaries into greater fellowship, or can lead us to drown in the deepest waters of illusion. As ever, the choice is ours.
Looking at the Chart of Brexit day we find Pluto conjunct Saturn on the South Node. The chaos in the UK House of Commons over the past weeks speaks in the words of many commentators as an abject failure of governance. The House can decide upon nothing whatsoever.
The succession of Meaningful Votes, of amendments, speak quite the opposite of “take back control” and leave the spectator with the feeling that all control has been quite lost. Neptune’s waters run deep.
Whilst I have my own feelings concerning Britain in Europe, I wish to repeat that my comments here are in no way partisan. It was made quite clear from the outset by the Leave Campaign that under no circumstances should Article 50 be triggered until a leaving strategy had been agreed upon. This was more recently published in a letter to Tory MPs posted by Dominic Cummings here, which is extremely edifying. The decision to trigger Article 50 without any plan in place was itself an act of grave political blindness and potential self-harm. We have seen the result.
Returning to the South Node in Capricorn, this signature reflects past lives of difficulty in which morality, ethics, and pragmatism have ruled the day. This placement reflects upon prior lifetimes of hardship and struggle, whether they manifested as grueling poverty or the relentless demands of responsibility. This is opposed by the North Node in Cancer, in which the person has clearly come into the world for healing. As Steven Forrest points out, this person may end up reaching out into the community. In this placement, there is a soul contract to comfort the weaker and reach out to the more sensitive parts of the psyche. Clearly, this finds echoes in the Cancer Moon of the Acts of Union chart.
The desire to cut one’s self off from the community, to “brave it alone”, is, in the end, to fall back into the shadow of the South Nodal placement, and to return to the hardships which many of the so-called Brexiteers have labeled as “project fear“. Yet, beyond the detailed reports and impact studies which showed a negative impact of leaving the EU (and which were, with classic Neptunian illusion, actually not commissioned until enforced by the opposition) — it remains obvious to all that a country which leaves its most local trading partners to imagine (fantasize) trading with new partners many thousands of miles away, returns to its politics of suffering, of hardship, and of course, a final and very jingoistic “we can do it because we are British“.
Finally, if we look at the transiting Uranus placement at 1° Taurus, we note first of all that this is an ingress and Uranus tends (historically speaking) to pull no punches at this kind of juncture.
In 1935, American mid-western states were engulfed in the Dust-Bowl, a subject I have addressed elsewhere. The trauma experienced in that era was to do with personal possessions (Taurus, 2nd House), sustenance, and economic catastrophe. I am not suggesting for an instant that this Uranus signature predicts such an outcome here. Merely that prudence and learning from history might actually be of use at this crucial time.
What is also worth pointing out, is that in the composite charts, the Brexit Day Uranus is quincunx (150°) to the Acts of Union Uranus. This puts friction at the center of the relationship, and this placement suggests the difficulty of finding resolution in continual arguments that seem to erupt from nowhere, or, more accurately speaking, erupt from all sides. This position suggests that neither party can find the appropriate balance between independence and collaboration — something that characterizes the entire situation in a phrase. In this case, there is a tendency to assert individual rights without according similar rights to the other party. Such a planetary configuration could lead to a breakdown of the Union itself.
I spoke of three traumas in the introduction to this article and my aim for writing this is to explore the opportunities for healing.
Clearly to crash out of the EU would be, as my grandmother would have said, to cut off your nose to spite your face. If Britain is to find a place outside the European Union, it must take into account that if this referendum was voted for by 17.4 million people (51.9%) it was also voted against by 16.1 million (48.1%) in a country of some 66 million people. A country so split is a country ungovernable. How this decision is implemented need be reflected upon and deeply, in a way that makes sense to all people. People have to be lead to a place of understanding and tolerance, not hatred, loathing and self-division.
What is also clear is that many who voted to leave voted with the EU as a convenient scapegoat for their ills. The fantasy of a new and powerful Britain is, in the end, a chimera. Britain cannot be the powerful nation it once was, isolated from its European neighbors. The past two years have shown us the need for integration in terms of trade, in terms of justice, and indeed in terms of labor. Only a nation in crisis closes its borders to its friends. The EU has various orbits or perimeters of relation to enable various degrees of collaboration. When tempers have cooled, it will be important to assess these, in terms of the interest to both Britain and Europe.
Finally, one thing that has consistently been eclipsed from the discussion, is that a fundamental role of the European project was to prevent European nations from sliding back into war. Europe has known a period of unqualified peace since WW2, and whilst the European Union is maligned by many, objective reflection must place credit for this peace where credit is due.
In the end, how this healing comes about is difficult to say.
A first and very important step must be a recognition that healing must take place. A second and very active step is in cleaning up social media which allow the publication in all impunity of so much hatred and violence towards others. The Uranian web has itself, in the expression of so much individual anger, contributed to an empoisoned social environment. A third step is looking hard and long at the political process which is simply unable to decide on any clear outcome. Using the threat of “crashing out” as a means to pass a Deal is itself a kind of political violence, exercised by a weak Prime Minister upon an angry nation.
In my own view, this process needs time. Time to cool down. Time to work in a cross-party manner as suggested repeatedly by Guy Verhofstadt who has served as the European Parliament’s representative in the negotiations.
The astrology of this situation suggests that time could be the key. In the volatility of the moment, reflection, consideration, and respect are values which must be at the center of any solution of lasting value. Acts of fire and willful temperament will only serve to burn down the house.
I would like to mention here Mark Jones, astrologer, teacher, psychosynthesis therapist whose work and recordings on Uranus and Trauma, have inspired me to write this article. His books Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus, and the Lunar Nodes, (2012), and The Soul Speaks: the Therapeutic Potential of Astrology, (2015) inspire us to seek the transformative potential in the astrological chart. This analysis can be applied to historical situations as much as persons.
Whilst I have been inspired by Mark’s work, the chart analyses published above, remain entirely my own.