Aries is a fire sign and sadly, there has been a lot of fire around this month. Many astrologers are commenting on the huge blaze in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and although I have my thoughts on this event, which I may share sometime, I want to discuss our warrior of the month. He was definitely around in Paris in the form of the brave firefighters!
The Greeks knew this god as Ares and the Romans as Mars, and I was fascinated to learn how differently he was viewed in these cultures. I watched one of my favourite presenters, Bettany Hughes, describe these differences in a documentary for BBC entitled Mars Uncovered: Ancient God of War. (She has also done a documentary on Venus and Bacchus – oh dear, more to watch.) To the Romans, Mars was a hero, winning and extending the Roman Empire, until it was the biggest ever. His month – March – was a favourite because it heralded the beginning of wars.
Ares, however, was not trusted. He was Zeus’ most despised son, worshipped only by foreign women. And this was not a compliment. To this earlier Greek civilisation he was the bane of mankind, bringing death, terror and fear, and he needed to be controlled.
These days, Mars in astrology incorporates both of these ideas – although I am not sure about the foreign women! Like all planetary archetypes he has his good days, where he is a brave and daring gladiator fighting off lions, or a firefighter in Paris, or a cutting-edge surgeon. And he has his bad days where he is an angry, petulant ‘teenager’, causing damage or death, wielding a knife – ostensibly in defence. Or he shows up as a destructive football hooligan or alt-right supporter, advocating violence. Having said that, some foreign women do seem to like the current infamous, petulant, angry, strongly-placed-Mars president.
Part of Bettany’s Mars documentary discusses how the concept of Holy War can be justified. Mars can be seen as a stabiliser, who, by defending and avenging, keeps settlements safe. In many circles it is still an honour to die for one’s country. The argument is that it is not war that is sacred, but life, so that needs to be protected. And God supports fighting for peace. Jihad is to vanquish infidels, which is also sanctioned by God. Religion, however, has gone way beyond these ideas when you consider such things as honour killings. There is no defending of life or maintaining peace in those, or many other killings, these days. There is very little ‘honourable’ fighting.
Sandhurst, the famous military academy in the UK, attempts to adhere to the notion of honourable killing. The facade of the main building has Mars together with Minerva, who is the goddess of wisdom. A balance between necessary fighting and wise strategy. Bettany’s discussion with the army chaplain in the documentary makes interesting viewing.
WWI changes everything
Throughout history there have always been wars. And, probably from time immemorial, there have been supporters and opponents. But something changed between the two world wars. WWI was partly a moral crusade. The idea of Mars and honour was firmly embedded in the psyche. Winning was the goal and it was justified by creating peace. But it didn’t create peace for long. Only 21 years later, WWII started and left an estimated 85 million people dead. And there has never really been peace since. There is always conflict somewhere on the planet. However, WWII was a very different war, and war today is miles away from a fair and honourable fight.
In 1930, the planet (now dwarf – but that doesn’t change his nature) Pluto was discovered. Wars after that are still seen to be Martian by many, but this is a mistake and can cause confusion I think, because wars have become Plutonic. Where once soldiers had a voice in whether to go to war, men faced each other, and leaders were amongst the fray, war is now decided by those in a power position, well away from any battles. Soldiers rarely fight a fair fight. In fact, war is often no longer carried out by people. Animals are used, and now drones are being put into service. Power is all. Sabotage, sneakiness, secret codes, underhandedness, betrayal, cruelty by those intent on keeping power and of course big money are the order of the day. These are all very Plutonic themes. Cyber-crime is one of the latest weapons and there is little any of us can do about that in the information war. We no longer know what to believe and that creates fertile ground for fundamentalist (and aggressive) views.
Right on time
These are pretty scary times. Many astrologers have already commented on 2020, which is indeed a very significant year astrologically, and no doubt you will become sick of me and others commenting on it. Suffice it to say that it involves the start of a new cycle of Pluto-Saturn, which has been associated, among other things, with war. This dying cycle, where we are now, is showing its hand. One way to interpret the meeting of these gods is the death and renewal of structures. Notre Dame is clearly an example of this. Renewal can be good, but it is not without pain.
It’s a sign
This cycle is also clearly alive and well with this month’s arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. You could say the end is nigh in this story. Pluto-Saturn can be seen as dark authority figures! I wrote a little about him in 2011 post and back in 2012 I wrote this:
Julian Assange made an interesting move this week. He sought political asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador (of all countries) in London. By doing this he has broken his terms of bail and if he sets foot outside the Embassy he may be arrested.
His reason for doing this is his fear of being extradited to Sweden to answer rape charges. He believes that this will lead to his being tried in the US on a charge that theoretically could carry the death penalty.
This puts Ecuador in a difficult position with the US. As an astrologer I can’t help but look at Assange’s chart to see what’s up now. He has been out of the limelight the last few months and is now right back in the spotlight, where, part of his chart suggests, he loves to be, although it also suggests he is very secretive.
So I wanted to take another look at Assange now. He did not set foot outside the Embassy after all these years. It seems Ecuador and their new president had had enough of him, and on April 11th, he was dragged out by UK police and is being held in jail while his fate on a US extradition order is decided. This was what he was concerned about – he states that otherwise he would have been happy to fight charges against him in Sweden. Those charges had been dropped, but could now be reinstated.
I never really decided what I thought about him – some days I believed he was a fighter for truth, and then I thought ‘hmm, I’m not so sure’. He is a controversial figure, but I always try to stay open and attempt to take a ‘fair view’, knowing people on both sides have axes to grind. Astrology gives some clues, but it never determines. So I have been on a bit of a quest to get more information. Below, I have included links that I found interesting, in case you want to do this too.
Firstly, I would look at what he feels called to do. Like the US itself he is a Cancer, born a day before US Independence Day. Patriotic perhaps, protective yes and family focused. Assange has two children and was, for a time, a single parent. His mother is very protective of him as you will see if you follow the links below, where she talks about her son. The Sun in his chart is linked to Uranus and Jupiter. He is a truth seeker, a disruptor and a rebel and he probably likes to be right. Jupiter can see the big picture and this combination means he will lean towards exposing political issues. He wants to create a huge wake-up call. In this I think he is genuinely trying to protect the global public.
The Moon in a horoscope defines our needs and Assange has the Moon in Scorpio which suggests he needs to be in control, and according to accounts of people who have worked with him, this is true. This is his secretive, maybe even paranoiac side. It makes him a good researcher and probably helps him break code and get the dirt on people and countries. He could be a very clever manipulator, and trust will be an issue for him. He will need loyalty and has a mother (Moon) who appears to be loyal to him, although whether that is returned, only he can say. He does say he loves her in one of the films though. There seems to be an established a pattern of women being loyal to him. This placement will make him determined to win this fight, in whatever way he can. Although it is a dilemma for him, having the Moon and the Sun in contact with each other means he needs recognition, and probably values the spotlight, although his mother says he is actually shy. I think it’s more of a need for privacy.
Wikileaks clearly has to do with information, shown by Mercury. And indeed, Assange can use information to control. His ability to read people and understand the politics of situations makes him a dangerous adversary. He could also be a very good liar, even though he himself is seeking the truth.
Venus shows what he values and how he might tend to be in relationships, and here Pluto is again in the mix. Passions could go too far and I would guess that he likes to be in control here too.
US vs. Assange
I think this is what the whole thing is really about and it is anything but an honourable fight. Although Assange fights using knowledge, brainpower and information (his Mars is in Aquarius) and the US fights with tricky propaganda and perhaps the internet and twitter (Mars in Gemini), when they face each other in battle it is not Mars that is triggered but – yes, you guessed it, Pluto. Assange is willing to take on his Goliath. And he has powerful backing, but the US is not likely to give up either. We have a ‘whatever it takes’ on both sides. The astrology of this I find fascinating. Both the US and Assange have Mercury at 24 degrees of Cancer with an aspect to Pluto. They think the same way and they have the dirt on each other and the measure of each other. Neither of them trusts anyone. Pluto in both charts is at 27 degrees – not in the same sign, but the chances of this happening are rare and it probably leads to a kind of obsessive fight-to-the-death kind of relationship. Assange is right – the US is out to get him. But, to be fair, he is out to get the US.
To top it all off, Pluto in the sky, on the day of Assange’s arrest, was at 23 degrees of Capricorn, starting to trigger the joint Mercury position by opposition. The war of words and emotions, intrigue, lawyers, lies, sabotage, sexual allegations and dirty tricks begins. I will be fascinated to see how this unfolds, especially when Pluto reaches exactitude, but that’s not until next year as Pluto backs off for a while. It’s a pity it won’t be an honorable fight but I can’t wait! Pluto might have deadly potential, but as it is with any fatal event – you can’t look away. Whatever happens, I think both of them will be wounded in the coming period.
We need to become aware of the potential of Mars so that we can restore him to his former glory. We need his energy to defend, pioneer, be brave and get us going. We need to express our anger and put it to good use. It feels good when we become the honest hero in our own lives, fighting for something that matters and achieves a positive result. Pluto has nothing to do with honour but Mars does and we need to welcome him into our lives so that we can stand up for what we want and express it, rather than letting anger and resentment fester away inside us. There will always be conflict in our lives but using Mars in a brave, fair, fight is honourable and very satisfying.
This is an Australian documentary from 2012 about the allegations of sexual crimes. Sex, Lies and Julian Assange.
The next one is a different kind of film. He talks about his situation after a long time of being at the Embassy. He also describes Wikileaks and answers questions such as: What are the biggest threats to business and governments today? and What do you believe is the best way of tackling privacy? Very interesting.
And here is Bettany’s documentary Mars Uncovered Ancient God of War – it’s well worth a watch.
And lastly something different – I think this gives a feeling of Mars and Pluto together with a bit of Saturn thrown in – enjoy!
Quote of the Month
“Democracies have to be lied into war!” Julian Assange.
“War is past its sell-by date.” Scilla Elworthy.
Julian Assange: 3 July 1971, Townsville, Australia. Possible time 15:00. The birth time we have for Assange is not exact. It comes from his book ‘Unauthorized Autobiography’ where he says he entered the world in Townsville Australia at around 3pm on July 3rd 1971. According to this book his mother said he was “…loud and had the look of an Eskimo!”