Friday, 25 March 2016

The T-Square in the Aries Ingress Chart (& other thoughts)

The Sun is now settled in impulsive, pioneering, confrontational Aries, following its ingress on March 20th and the Astrological New Year has got off to what can only be described, unfortunately, as an explosive start.

The following article (with a few updates and additions) was first published in the March/April edition of Infinity Astrological Magazine.

Forget January 1st and its broken resolutions, the astrological year begins with the Sun’s ingress into Aries. It’s an Equinox, when day and night are in equal balance, and the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
The chart for the Aries ingress can be read as an overview of the year to come, symbolising trends in economics and politics, major events including crises and wars, social trends and natural phenomena such as the weather.

The most striking thing in this year’s Aries ingress chart is the on-going T-Square of Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius. Venus joins the T-Square in a tight conjunction with Neptune; the Moon in Leo links in with a Trine to Saturn and Pluto forms an earth Trine with Jupiter.
The T-Square incorporates hard aspects of three important cycles: the waning Square of the 20 year Jupiter-Saturn cycle; the waning Square of the 36 year Saturn-Neptune cycle and the Opposition of the 13 year Jupiter-Neptune cycle.

That two of these cycles are in the waning Square phase highlights that we are in a period akin to the dark of the Moon. This means that, as the winding down of those two cycles begins, the themes and issues of those cycles (discussed below) feel more intense, more karmic and more exhausting as if we’re tired of the way things are and, craving a fresh start, we look forward to what the next cycle promises to offer. However, a start cannot be truly fresh unless we use the final quarter of the current cycle to commit ourselves to cleaning up the messes we have created since the cycle began. To do this we must accept that our mistakes were part of our learning curve and resolve to use the wisdom our experience has rewarded us with to do better next time.
In mundane astrology, the Jupiter-Saturn cycle is associated with the economic cycle and the current Square is the last in the cycle that began in 2000. This Square represents a final crisis point, when we are offered one last chance to clean up the financial messes we have made, and boy we have made a mess, and prepare a clean slate for the next cycle which begins at the end of 2020. One thing is clear, what we have created no longer works, so we must prepare new economic structures to carry us forward into the next cycle. But will we collectively learn from the mistakes of the past or simply carry on as usual?

The current Saturn Neptune cycle, which began in 1989, is also into its last set of Squares, with the next cycle beginning in 2026. This cycle symbolises how we collectively manifest our ideals, highlighting the gap between the ideal and reality, the conflict between what we wish for the world and the reality of what we have and fact and theory vs. what we feel and intuit. This Square represents a crisis point, where Neptune intensely challenges Saturn’s desire to maintain the status quo and the result can be crushed ideals, morals and disappointment and disillusionment in our institutions and traditions. We are at risk of falling for illusions, deceptions and propaganda, of giving in to paranoia (egged along by the media) or simply of dropping into escapism and trying to avoid reality altogether. Conversely, Saturn counter-challenges Neptune to ground its idealism in practical reality, to bring its dreams and high ideals down to earth. It’s an aspect that offers hope, even as it seems to mete out suffering.
The Conjunction of this current Saturn-Neptune cycle coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the death throes of Communism. We have also seen the rise of capitalism to the point that democracy seems to have dissolved before our eyes (democracy defined as “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system” 1 and we live in a world where election success is for sale and where the elite increasingly rule, protecting corporate interests and the elitist status quo ahead of the interests of the general electorate). But how can things change when most cannot imagine any other way of doing things? The astrology, however, tells us we must start to think differently, do things differently. But will we take heed or will we ignore reality and continue to put our faith in an outdated system. Do we have the imagination (Neptune) to manifest (Saturn) something different? 

Also in the T-Square is the separating Opposition of Jupiter and Neptune. This 13 year cycle is associated with idealism, humanitarianism and ideology and during the Opposition the cycle’s issues become fully exposed and certainly we have seen religious and political ideological differences coming to a head in the conflict in Syria and Iraq with the resulting humanitarian refugee crisis overwhelming parts of Europe and the Middle East, as well as in the terrorist attacks occurring across the world.
Saturn, as the apex of the T-Square represents the status quo. It’s the laws of the land, state run businesses, the administration of Government, justice, order and business as usual. In Sagittarius, the status quo must respect moral principles, but of course when one country or faction’s moral principles differ from another’s what Saturn represents can become dogmatic, believing that its way is the only way and this is currently very obviously playing out on the world stage.

Venus in this T-Square highlights the potential for peace negotiations, but with the danger of lack of disclosure and disappointing results with its close Conjunction to Neptune. More optimistically, Venus Conjunct Neptune in Pisces suggests humanitarian efforts and compassion. However, the Square from Saturn suggests those efforts could be blocked or delayed, but also suggests the practical application of a realistic humanitarianism. Venus also represents financial matters and could point towards deceptions/frauds or other financial scandals such as the misuse of public funds, even as the powers that be (Saturn) insist on maintaining the status quo. It also suggests disappointing financial results, and slow economic growth despite optimistic forecasts. Austerity looks set to continue, fuelling the row between current leaders and political opposition which believes austerity is not working and is only creating unnecessary suffering for ordinary working people whilst the wealth gap continues to grow at an unprecedented rate.
Overall, this T-Square suggests political instability and a year when our collective faith in many things - society and its systems, the rightness of conflict, politics and religion - is set to be tested, but that there is always hope. With both the Jupiter-Saturn and Saturn-Neptune cycles in the last quadrature of their cycles, it’s time to set out our vision for the future. Saturnian hard work and pragmatism is what will manifest that vision ad the first step is perhaps letting go of the past, of the old way of doing things. 

Moon Trine Saturn is about doing the right thing, carrying on with the normal routine, taking responsibility. The Moon in the context of mundane astrology refers to the general population as a whole, the consensus opinion. This Trine is hopeful, suggesting stability on a general day to day level for most people, but at worst, apathy and a too willing, unquestioning acceptance of the status quo. Pluto in Trine to Jupiter (along with Saturn’s placement in Sagittarius) suggests an ongoing preoccupation with international terrorism; with how money is made and distributed amongst the masses and with our collective belief systems.
There are of course, other important and relevant aspects in the Aries ingress chart, but for the sake of brevity this article is concentrated on the T-Square.

The Europe Union
Transiting Jupiter falls in the 2nd House of the chart for the EU, Saturn is in the 5th and the Venus-Neptune Conjunction in the 8th. The focus on the 2nd-8th axis means that money will continue to be the major theme and concern for the EU this coming year.
The 2nd represents currency so there will be further concern about the Euro and its value against other currencies and the 8th is about the deficit between public income and expenditure. Jupiter’s Opposition to Venus-Neptune falling across this axis is worrying and the Greek debt crisis will no doubt continue to dominate the EU agenda as the austerity measures demanded by the bailout continue to roll out against intense opposition from regular Greek citizens. The cost of the migrant crisis will also a continuing concern for the EU and the suggestion is that however much money is thrown at these problems it will not be enough, even as the appalling living conditions many migrants are suffering becomes more apparent and urgent.
Saturn in Sagittarius in the 5th doesn’t sound like there’s much fun to be had. Controls in individual self-expression such as freedom of speech on social media etc. are likely, maybe legislative controls, but also self censorship from fear of offending those who are ‘different’ from ourselves and of being publically shamed (usually online) for doing so. Will those fears put a dampener of old fashioned romance? While many young people might dream of a handsome stranger approaching them to tell them they fancy them, there’s a fine line these days between that and harassment! Cuts to arts and culture funding are likely and issues around children and birth-rates are also likely to be a focus, as well as regulatory issues around betting and gaming regulations.

Addition: Since writing this for Infinity Magazine back in February, on 22nd March, two days following the Aries ingress, Brussels suffered a horrific terrorist attack on its public transport network. The Aries ingress chart set for Brussels (see the outer wheel of the bi-wheel above) sees the two traditional malefics, Mars and Saturn, either side of the MC. Saturn is moving slowly and stations Retrograde on March 25th at 16 Sagittarius. Mars too will go retrograde in Sagittarius in mid April. Mars will not overtake Saturn in Sagittarius until late August, so these two planets will be running mates for some time to come (even though Mars will be back in Scorpio from late May to early August).
Sagittarius (internationalism) has been very strongly associated with international terrorism since Pluto’s journey through Sagittarius (9/11 etc.) and with Mars and Saturn concentrating their joint energy in this sign, themes that will play out include war, military action, the demand for retaliatory action. Simply put, there will be hell to pay, one way or another and the repercussions will be far reaching and longstanding.
A discussion between astrologers on social media also noted that the fixed star Antares is part of the Mars-Saturn picture. At 9 Sagittarius 46, Antares sits between Mars and Saturn in the Aries ingress chart and is conjunct the MC (the highest, most prominent/most publically obvious point of the chart and that which symbolises a country or entity’s leader/s).
Antares is associated with life and death experiences, extremism, obsession, ruthlessness and conflicts that are difficult, even impossible to resolve. Antares conjunct Mars and Saturn suggests increased danger, caused by ‘foreign’ aggressors but also by  leaders in government/police/military etc. Etymologically, Antares means anti-Mars, Mars’ rival, a rival in arms.
Mars finally catches up with Saturn on 24th August, following their respective retrogrades, at 9 Sagittarius 52, EXACT on Antares (9 Sagittarius 46), so this will be a date to watch.

The UK

The T-Square falls in the 3rd (Saturn), 5th (Neptune and Venus) and 12th (Jupiter) Houses of the UK Act of Union chart, with transiting Saturn Conjunct the UK’s natal Mercury. This puts the focus of the T-Square on transportation and communications, news, the media and education, as well as the UK’s relationship with its neighbouring countries (for example, expect to see the issue of the shockingly dismal migrant camps in Calais in the news again. Calais is a port in Northern France, just a very short sea journey from the English port of Dover and most if not all the migrants ended up in Calais because they wanted to try to get to the UK. However, the British Government have said it’s a French problem, that help from Britain would only encourage more migrants to Calais). The 3rd House also relates to local losses related to storms and this will be a big issue as the long clean up from this winter’s devastating flooding of homes and businesses across the North of England and Scotland continues. The question going forward is what systems (such as improved flood defences) will be put in place to prevent it happening again and who is responsible?
Neptune and Venus in the 5th suggests a general engagement in and expenditure on escapist activities, the distraction/pleasure of entertainment, sport, leisure and gambling. The Stock Market is also linked to this house (being based on speculation). Could we see a Stock Market Bubble, with certain stock prices rising to above their value and then crashing? That certainly fits the symbolism of the T-Square. The 5th is also concerned with children and their interests and also with Government representatives and ambassadors, so look out for news stories on those topics.
Neptune is just four degrees from the 6th House cusp (and Venus 5 degrees) so it is likely that health will continue to be a big issue. Perhaps the privatisation of the NHS by stealth will continue and at the time of writing junior doctors are involved in industrial action over changes to working contracts. This issue may drag on, with other health workers joining the dispute and/or we will see similar actions by other public sector workers and key service workers. The presence of Venus also suggests issues around occupations predominately carried out by females.
The 12th House stands for the nation’s secret enemies, its spies and its secret agenda, terrorist activities, hostage situations and crime in general. Will the UK see terror attacks on its soil? Let’s hope not, but it can’t be ruled out. It’s certain that behind the scenes covert operations will be going ahead to try to prevent terrorism, so we will see more and more stories appear in the media about attacks which have been averted, but the details will remain secret for reasons of national security. The 12th also of course rules prisons and hospitals and other places of confinement, so these will also come into focus in the coming 12 months.
Addition: since writing the original article in February, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union to be held on Thursday 23 June. The Moon (the general populous) for the day of the referendum falls in the 4th House, symbolising that voters will be considering issues of living conditions (what will improve ‘austerity Britain, being in our out of the EU) and other issues such as the escalating housing crisis. It also represents the ‘homeland’ and patriotism in general. Interestingly, the 4th House rules the opposition party in government (the opposition Labour party is officially in the ‘in’ camp). The Sun falls in the 9th House Conjunct Venus (which is 3 degrees from the MC).
The 9th House of course, is about foreigners and foreign lands, immigration, imports and exports and legal matters - all key issues in the political and media debate around whether or not the UK should exit the EU. It also reflects what the press think the public are interested in, but the Moon’s placement suggests that the populace’s main concerns lie closer to the bosom of their homes and that voters will be asking themselves what it means to be British as opposed to European.
The Sun and Venus falling in the 9th and near the MC says something about how the nation is perceived by other nations (in this case the EU) and certainly reflects how the UK is known as a centre for financial services (The City of London) and for the creative arts in general and the music and entertainment industries in particular.
How the referendum swings, I am not going to try to predict as it’s difficult not to be biased when I have my own views which I won’t share here.

The Sibley Chart puts the T-Square Saturn in the Ascendant, Venus-Neptune in the 3rd and Jupiter in the 9th.

Saturn just four degrees into the 1st House doesn’t suggest an optimistic outlook during this year when Obama will step down to make way for a new President. Amongst the top issues will be law enforcement, corporate interests, administrative prudence, homeland security and thrift. There will be much talk about taking responsibility and the prevailing attitude of the nation will be a conservative one.
With the 9th House impacted by Jupiter, immigration will continue to be an issue and a key one for the election, also foreign relations and internationalism in general, including foreign imports and exports and trade relations. Scandals will be played out in the media at home and abroad. Water related issues are suggested by Venus-Neptune in the 3rd, with potential problems around flooding, dams and travels on the high seas. The 3rd-9th axis also highlights education, all forms of communication and transportation and issues around the ecclesiastical and legal professions and the churches and courts in which they operate.
On a personal level, look at where the T-Square falls in your own chart, what planets and points it touches. Look back to the time of the Conjunction, 1st Square and Opposition of the current Saturn-Neptune and Jupiter-Saturn cycle and the Conjunction and 1st Square of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle to see if you can identify themes to help you get the big picture view of what those cycles mean to you personally.

And may you, and our world, grow, learn and develop into a better place, for the world is only as good as the sum total of the thoughts, words and actions of every one of us.

With love,

Quincunx, Aversion & Venus in Libra

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