NewsScope for September 20, 2005
Consumer confidence plunged last week to its lowest level since 1992. Rising gasoline prices contributed to a growing lack of faith in the economy, while financial observers estimated that the federal government would ultimately spend some $200 billion reconstructing New Orleans, even as the war in Iraq continues with no end in sight. Since consumer activity accounts for two-thirds of the economy, is a recession due?
Astrologically, the planetary indicators are pointing that way. Looking at the Scorpio Rising U.S. chart, transiting Neptune hovers around the Fourth House cusp, as transiting Pluto squares natal Neptune. This double Neptune influence highlights the importance of oil and gas in our current economic situation, and since they are both stressful transits, the price of oil and gas can be expected to remain troublesome.
Transiting Pluto's passage through the Second House of the nation's financial resources is another key. Although Pluto has not previously visited this sector in American history, Saturn makes the trip every 29 years, and the record is not encouraging. The stock market crashes of 1929 and 1987 both featured transiting Saturn in the U.S. Second House. Pluto is now approaching the same degree area where Saturn was when these previous crashes occurred.
October tends to be the worst month for the stock market, and when the most breathtaking collapses take place. This uniquely American tradition can be correlated to the Sun's annual transit (along with its close companions Venus and Mercury) through the Twelfth House of self-undoing. Next month transiting Jupiter will be squaring the U.S. Pluto as transiting Chiron turns direct on the U.S. Pluto. This double whammy will certainly coincide with major military and political developments, but may also precipitate a severe financial storm.
Civil War in Iraq
A horrific wave of suicide bombings left Baghdad dazed last week, and reeling from the worst violence since the fall of Saddam. The Shiite-dominated government had just completed a military sweep of Tal Afar, which was controlled by insurgents—mostly Sunni. Abu Musab Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, and declared "a full-scale war without mercy" against the Shiites.
The horoscope for the American invasion of Iraq (March 20, 2003; 5:35 am; Baghdad*) reveals the potential, even the likelihood, of civil war. Saturn in dualistic Gemini sits on the chart's foundation and opposes Pluto, the planet of extremism. Saturn here represents the domestic authority, but it's split by the tension from Pluto. Transiting Pluto just turned direct while in this same degree area.
Pluto's direct station brings a slow, but dramatic shift in the fledgling nation's status. The diplomatic wrangling and pending vote on the Constitution reflect some progress on the political front, but last week's hostilities came about precisely as the transiting Sun squared Pluto. Adding firepower, transiting Mars was also forming a hard aspect to Pluto, activating the underlying violent intentions.
Mars-Pluto aspects are well-known for their inclination toward violence. This Mars-Pluto aspect (150-degree quincunx) is exceptionally forceful since Mars is about to turn retrograde, and so remains in this degree area much longer than usual. We can expect at least a month more of these insane suicide attacks, especially since the progressed Moon is also squaring the Twelfth House Uranus over this same interval. This looks like the beginning of civil war.
Renee Zellweger Claims Fraud
Last week Oscar-winner Renee Zellweger filed for an annulment of her four-month marriage with country singer Kenny Chesney on grounds of fraud. Later in the week, Renee felt compelled to clarify that the use of the term fraud was meant "simply as legal language, and not as a reflection of Kenny's character." Hunh? Celebrity-watchers were baffled by the underlying cause of their troubles, which only became murkier after the Cold Mountain star's explanation.
Renee Zellweger was born with her Sun in stable Taurus (April 25, 1969, Katy, TX; time unknown), and conjunct the planet of high-expectations, Saturn. Those with Sun-Saturn aspects tend to have a game plan, and through time and experience, they develop respect, responsibility, and achieve long-term goals. Since Renee's Venus** is under major activation, love and marriage suddenly became part of her plan.
Kenny Chesney was born with his Sun in independent Aries (March 26, 1968; Knoxville, TN; time unknown), and also has his Sun conjunct Saturn. Mars is also in Aries, and inconjunct Uranus, which radically increases his need for space, and to be evermore independent. Kenny was on tour for most of their marriage. No doubt he felt hemmed in by Renee, since her heavy Saturn sits right on his Mars.
If Saturn is our sense of authority and responsibility, what does it mean that Kenny's Saturn is conjunct Renee's Venus? Renee's Venus is experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime sexual awakening (progressed Sun sextile Venus) that often brings love and temporary happiness. Kenny's job, as Renee must have seen it, was to fulfill her Venusian need for sensual delights and joyful co-habitation.
*See NewsScope August 16, 2005 for more on the American occupation of Iraq.
**For more on these two, see NewsScope May 31, 2005.
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