Even in our
increasingly urban society, where farm life seems but a quaint reminder
of some bucolic, bygone era, we still have to eat. Lest we forget who
feeds the city, the vast, underlying power of the countryside has recently
reasserted itself. The agricultural underpinnings of the European economy
are currently threatened by a foot and mouth epidemic so potentially damaging
that it has pushed the plummeting stock markets right off the headlines.
The astrological indicators are well worth reviewing.
and the wide, open spaces needed to maintain them, come under the astrological
rulership of the planet Jupiter and the sign Sagittarius. Whereas small
household pets tend to be associated with the sign Virgo and the astrological
Sixth House, Sagittarius is more commonly associated with the training
or ranching of animals, especially farm animals. In this current threat
to the herds of England and the European Union, the influence of Sagittarius
and Jupiter is unmistakable.
mouth disease is a deadly and highly contagious virus that only afflicts
animals with cloven hooves, such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer.
However, this hardy, airborne strain can be spread by almost anyone or
anything: horses, boots, tires, hems and cuffs, sparrows, etc. It has
been almost completely eradicated in the United States, where the last
outbreak was in 1927, but it rages on in parts of Africa, Asia and South
America. The disease can incubate for weeks, but it eventually raises
painful blisters on the hooves and mouth of the animal, making it difficult
to walk and eat. A slow, miserable death eventually follows. Untreated,
the victim will linger long enough to infect the rest of the herd.
Beginnings, Rapid Spread
February 19, foot and mouth has raged in England, but it started from
small beginnings. On that day, inspectors at an abattoir in Essex found
symptoms of the disease in local pigs and quickly ordered the necessary
tests. The following day, their worst fears were confirmed, and the news
soon became public knowledge. A noon chart set for February 20 shows the
astrological situation quite clearly.
In this chart,
a particularly difficult t-square is forming, involving the Sun in Pisces,
Mars in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Gemini. A t-square is a stressful alignment
that involves two planets in opposition to each other (in this case, Jupiter
and Mars), while a third planet (in this case, the Sun) forms a 90-degree
square aspect to both. The resulting lineup looks like a letter "T".
is a dynamic, unstable configuration, demanding action and resolution.
The stress will compile as each attempted solution generates further obstacles
and frustration. The New Moon on February 23 at 4 degrees Pisces only
aggravated the problem. It formed a tense, 90-degree square aspect to
that troublesome Mars at 4 degrees of Sagittarius.
condition of Jupiter, the largest of the planets, within the smallish
confines of the sign Gemini, is evident here as well. Jupiter rules, or
is associated with, the opposite sign, high-flying, no-fences Sagittarius.
A planet placed in opposition to the sign of its rulership is considered
to be in "detriment.” As the name implies, detriment can be uncomfortable
or problematic. With Jupiter in detriment, and afflicted by that t-square/New
Moon combination, the King of the Gods just hasn't been up to his usual
largesse. This has definitely put a lid on all things Jupiter, limiting
travel, transport, sports and outdoor life while filling the headlines
with more bad news.
Spread of Foot and Mouth
In the highly
agricultural Irish Republic, a country depopulated by emigration, in some
areas the sheep outnumber the people three to one. An outbreak of foot
and mouth disease would be the absolute worst-case scenario. Draconian
measures were immediately undertaken, bringing all animal transport to
a halt, discouraging travel and tourism, canceling all sporting events,
closing off playing fields and pitches and abandoning outdoor or public
gatherings. St. Patrick's Day celebrations were either canceled or drastically
scaled back, including the Dublin parade. Extreme, yes—but it worked,
because the disease, which struck Northern Ireland in late February, has
yet to cross the border.
Not so in
England, where, to the dismay of the rest of Europe, it was pretty much
business-as-usual. Although many did do their part to try to contain the
outbreak, soccer and rugby matches continued, as did racing and horse
shows. Organizers even tried to bully the government into allowing the
largest racing festival of the year at Cheltenham to proceed. Fortunately,
saner heads prevailed, but the damage had already been done. Arrogance
and negligence took its toll and instead of going away, the epidemic raged
and spread to France.
Mars in Sagittarius will make a conjunction with Pluto. This union of
two malefic and deadly planets implies that things can only get worse,
and more international in scope. Pluto in Sagittarius, that dark cowboy
riding the outskirts of the solar system, in combination with fiery, destructive
Mars, could coincide with the largest slaughter of farm animals ever,
potentially surpassing the 400,000 sacrificed during the English outbreak
of farmlands ablaze with the funeral pyres of innocent beasts will haunt
us, for the only way to stop the disease is to do its work ahead of it.
The economic and emotional implications will be with us for years. We
have come so far, shrinking our world and conquering the borders that
used to separate us, only to find that we still have so much to learn
about sharing the planet with each other.