In the United Kingdom, election time is almost here, and what follows is an astrological look at the charts of the principal contenders involved. In this single article version of the Newsletter, what we will see how planetary archetypes play a role in the development of even abstract entities like a political group, and how they seem to shape their development. Then I will discuss the likely winner – though I have already covered much of this subject in the previous month’s Raphael Newsletter. First off, however, I am going to inspect some of the planetary factors affecting the political situation in the USA at present, in particular the events surrounding President Donald Trump. For one, those watching the recent news bulletins cannot have failed to notice the controversy regarding the sacking of FBI director James Comey on Tuesday May 9th. As the Independent online explained:
‘FBI Director James Comey - who was leading an investigation into alleged links between Donald Trump's team and Russia - has been fired by the US President.' It went on, 'However, Democratic Senators were quick to point out the constitutional crisis that has been created by Mr Trump removing a man in charge of investigating him. Senator Dick Durbin said on the Senate floor that the firing of Mr Comey raises questions "as to whether the Russian interference in the last presidential election... will also be investigated by the FBI."'
It is interesting to note that transiting Jupiter had just crossed over Chiron. Whatever anyone may tell you regarding the ‘healing’ planet, Chiron can be as disruptive and controversial as Uranus or as deflating and defeating as Saturn - remember the unhealable wound that is also part of Chiron’s archetypal journey. The transit fits with what is happening right now, since Jupiter-Chiron can increase and ‘inflate’ someone’s sense of being on a ‘mission’, one that can be almost Messianic in scope. This obviously derives from a sense of self-importance, too. Whilst I refuse to speculate on exactly why Trump sacked Comey, it’s become obvious (through certain of his actions) that he’s been taking aim at the Constitution itself, the overall structure of US politics itself and the way it is administered. This is what I mean by a quasi-religious ‘mission’.
On the US chart, transiting Mars at the time was square to the MC (a conflict brought to public attention) but it must also be seen against the larger background of transiting Jupiter conjunct Saturn (in the 11th house) which was exact on May 9th. These two planets are antithetical to each other – and so what we see on the US chart is a clash of values: wilful, freedom-loving Jupiter (perhaps symbolising Trump himself) versus the regulations and perceived limits (Saturn) of the judiciary and US Constitution. There will be further coverage of the Trump presidency in future editions of the Newsletter – one pressure point coming up (in July) is when the progressed moon (on Trump’s chart) becomes exactly conjunct to progressed Saturn in the 10th house.
But what’s also happening (perhaps connected with the fact that, as yet, there’s been no serious Congressional attempt at impeachment) is that this is the year of Trump’s Jupiter return! Occupying Libra, it has returned to its original place on his birth chart. (It became exact in April at 17 degrees, and will occur again early in August.) In fact, Jupiter appears in various charts pertaining to Donald Trump’s presidency for 2017. At present, it is a mere 1 degree away from his ascendant by Progression. It is likewise 1 degree away from the ascendant on his solar return for 2017-2018 (from mid June this year). In other words ‘lucky’ Jupiter is positively impacting at least three predictive charts for Donald Trump this year; and two up until the middle of next! The implications are obvious enough.
THE BRITISH GENERAL ELECTION 2017
The present political situation around the world in general owes much to the influence of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn. I have commented on this phenomenon extensively in previous Newsletters but to recap, we are witnessing the undermining of the Father Principle where large ‘patriarchal’ institutions - governments and indeed all kinds of power structures which impose their authority on people – are essentially being challenged and even undermined. Witness the spate of anti-government protests over the past few years and the disillusionment many feel with Big Business and financial institutions (Also symbolised by Capricorn). And so, when it comes to politics – which usually means the preservation of the capitalist system – we are in Capricorn country, too!
Pluto’s intention is to cut to the core, to expose the inner-workings of a system (think of a surgeon performing an operation on a patient) and this is why we’re often seeing the ‘darker’ side of much that is political and power-driven. Put another way, there was a time when the public in general were more or less – I believe – prepared to trust authority, their politicians, the police, the press etc. There is abundant evidence that this is no longer the case. Donald Trump’s successful ascent to POTUS 45 can even be said to embody this Pluto-Capricorn phenomenon. His winning the election was based on the pledge to fight against the financial elites and powerful moneyed interests in Washington - and this is almost certainly what people voted for most. But the Pluto factor has brought a divisiveness to populations (generally), and an often deeply unpleasant and even violent ‘us or them’ (public vs. ruling powers) feeling such as we’ve not seen for some time.
The looming General Election in Britain (occurring on June 8th) and the reactions it is invoking is starting to have this sense of bloody-mindedness, too. What follows below is a glimpse at how astrology reflects even the ‘personality’ and general fortunes of political parties. I will also be looking at specific astrological factors that seem necessary, as it were, in order to win elections. Then I will look at how three main parties stack up against each other. We start with one of the oldest in existence.
The natal chart of Liberal Party
According to the online Encyclopedia, Wikipedia: ‘The Liberal Party was a liberal political party which, with the Conservative Party, was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom in the 19th and early 20th century. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free-trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the nineteenth century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite splitting over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to power in 1906 with a landslide victory and introduced the welfare reforms that created a basic British welfare state. H. H. Asquith was Liberal Prime Minister between 1908 and 1916, followed by David Lloyd George. The Lloyd George coalition was dominated by the Conservative Party, which finally deposed him in 1922.’
Indeed, with the progression of Labour (ever since its formation in 1900) the Liberals were soon to be demoted into third place. There has only been three Liberal Prime Ministers since the beginning of the 20th century. Interestingly, it is a chart that does not contain a powerful placing of ruthless Pluto! Their greatest recent moment, however (at least in terms of achieving power), came in the 2010 General Election where – since no one party managed to win the 326 seats needed for an overall majority - an Alliance was eventually formed with David Cameron’s Conservative Party (who were 20 seats short of the winning line).
If we calculate another chart for the ‘birth’ of the current Liberal Democrat party, this is the result:
The natal chart of the Liberal Democrat Party
One can perhaps say that this chart represents a more caring (Cancer rising) and sympathetic (sun in Pisces) influence in its approach to the world, with the moon on the IC tied heavily into its past and history. It is interesting to note that Mars (a symbol of assertive power and ego) is somewhat hampered by the conjunction with Neptune. Whilst this aspect may be appropriate for an artist or actor, it may not be so for a political party. The extra weight from the conjunction with Saturn and Uranus (in the lower degrees) also places limits on Mars’s need to assert itself. In short, this is the chart of an entity that doesn’t like (or is even afraid ) to throw its weight around! My point being that, if one studies Political Astrology and the charts of countries, one finds that to be ‘fit for power’ (moreover, actually handling the levers of that power one usually has to see a prominent Pluto (usually close the asc. or an inner planet). It is absent from this chart, too.
The progressions to the Liberal Democrats chart for the 6th May, 2010 Election (which presaged the Alliance with the Conservatives) show the moon trine MC; and moon opposite Neptune, this latter showing how easy it was to merge with the prevailing political background (Neptune having a chameleon-like quality!) It was felt among many at the time that the Lib. Dem’s under Nick Clegg had ‘sold out’ their values and were trying to look the other way! Progressed Mercury (dialogue) also conjuncts natal sun which suggests a certain amount of prominence; better still is Jupiter’s transit to the Lib. Dem. chart, which has just crossed over the North Node by May 6th. The nodes are about ‘social connections’ with a kind of ‘bringing together’ quality (an alliance!) – successfully so when Jupiter is involved. A progressed chart for the original Liberal Party says much the same things, and repeats the significance of the progressed moon (which is conjunct the ascendant, together with Jupiter in the 1st house). Further, progressed Venus is in exact opposition to the Moon and the progressed ascendant opposes Venus. All in all these are signs of harmony and popularity - the Moon on a mundane chart symbolising the general public, or the collective ‘mood’ (that politicians try to influence!). Moon conjunct ascendant indicates that the party is nicely ‘tuned in’ to that collective mood.
The natal chart of United Kingdom Independence Party
Wikipedia informs us that UKIP was originally brought into existence to campaign for the British withdrawal from the European Union. Beginning as ‘the Anti-Federalist League, a Eurosceptic political party established in 1991 by the historian Alan Sked. The League opposed the recently signed Maastricht Treaty and sought to sway the governing Conservative Party toward removing the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU).’
However, UKIP’S poll ratings seem to have peaked long ago in June 2016, when they were at 16 per cent. Since Brexit, this has declined to the extent that they enter the next Election on 8 per cent, if recent polls are reliable. When we look back to the 2015 Election (when UKIP contested virtually every seat) they gained 13% of the vote, which made them the third biggest party in Britain.
First off, on the natal chart for UKIP, what do we find but our old friend Pluto, sensitively placed on the ascendant, in a challenging square with hardliner Saturn. Its values, therefore are rooted in tradition and conservatism. In 2015, at election time, the UKIP chart showed the progressed ascendant making trines to both the moon and Venus - this is popularity writ large in big astrological letters. (It may even be that the result surprised UKIP voters themselves.) Interestingly, the moon-Venus contact resurfaces in the UKIP solar return pertaining to May 2015 – a harmonious, attractive moon-Venus trine!
The New Statseman reported that 'Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it has an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017'. Wikipedia also noted that in the UK, local elections of 2017, ‘UKIP lost all of the 145 seats it was defending but gained one from Labour on Lancashire County Council.’ Those local elections were held on May 4th, the time of an exact conjunction of the progressed moon and Saturn. From Feb-March 2017 when Carswell left, the moon was approaching this conjunction (a bad augur for success in the public sphere). In April, it was also exactly square to Pluto: a challenge to one’s power to put across the right image!
THE LABOUR PARTY
Next we turn to the Labour Party, which soon became the only serious rival to the Tories when fighting in General Elections. I wrote in RN# 20 that: 'The birth chart for the parliamentary Labour Party (formed 1906) shows Mercury, the sun conjunct Venus (plus Saturn) in Aquarius, attesting to its purpose as a party 'for the ordinary people'. This is just what Aquarius symbolises - humanity, brotherhood and equal rights for all. This is enhanced with moon in Libra - whose ethos is justice and fairness.’
What I didn’t elaborate on was the presence of Pluto, which inhabits one of the ‘Gauquelin sectors’ just behind (but conjunct with) the ascendant. I’ve argued in this Newsletter that the presence of Pluto is crucial to the ascendancy of political power (perhaps as we might expect). I will return to briefly to the astrological trends as they are at present, but let’s take a look at one of Labour’s more phenomenal successes – the advent of Tony Blair in the 1990’s. The progressions in force on the Labour Party chart when Blair assumed leadership (21st July 1994) are highly appropriate. Welcome: ‘New Labour’.
The natal chart of the Labour Party
At the time, progressed moon was conjunct Uranus and opposite Neptune. The first of these aspects indicates the enthusiastic, reforming zeal Blair seemed possessed of - he was apparently full of new, forward-looking ideas. At the same time, there was progressed moon opposite Neptune – an augur of things to come. Peter Oborne’s eye-opening 2005 book, The Rise of Political Lying, covers this moon-Neptune side of New Labour quite neatly – for it is an aspect of self-deception, or as Robert Hand put it, ‘escapism and fantasies’. I refer in particular to what Oborne’s book calls the ‘creeping invasion of falsehood’ that New Labour seemed to embody, and the propagation of vague, woolly concepts dressed up as policy. (Like the vision of Britain as a ‘stakeholder society’ Blair once mentioned, but soon forgot about.) Truth seemed ever more an elastic concept under New Labour. (Very Neptune!)
However, there was much sterner stuff around, too. The Election victory of 1997 on May 1st shows the progressed Labour chart with a stellium of Venus-Mars-Jupiter and Pluto. This is a combination of vigour, strength and an attractive image – embodied (one could say) by the figurehead, Blair himself. Here again we see the involvement of Pluto – always around in the charts of Big Authority or ingresses for events involving a power-bid. Plus, on the solar return chart, there is Venus conjunct Saturn, square Pluto. This suggests a more hard-headed and authoritarian approach – at least, the iron fist in the velvet glove. Blair has certainly been criticised for having a control freak style of leadership, where Cabinet meetings were not quite the democratic set-up they might have been. But this aspect can also be interpreted as indicating divisions among Labour itself: Venus is relationships generally; Saturn/Pluto is factionalism and divisiveness, challenges to the prevailing powers that be. And so we saw an obvious division between ‘New Labour’ and 'Old Labour’ at the time.
There are also several dynamic progressions to the natal chart for Labour: Sun-Sun; Sun-Venus, Midheaven to Sun, and moon-Mercury, all within less than 1 degree of orb, plus an applying Sun-Jupiter conjunction (approximately 4 degrees from exact). The progression to Jupiter here indicates an almost talismanic protection (in terms of sustained popularity and lack of serious political challenge) as the sun moves through the zodiac about one degree every year. After the conjunction, and once the angle is separating, it has peaked and the strength of the conjunction begins to diminish. By 2001, this process had begun – by the time of the Iraqi invasion (2003) when it finally became clear that Saddam Hussein didn’t have any Weapons of Mass Destruction, a backlash against Blair and his cohorts had begun. The sun-Jupiter conjunction was losing strength and Blair’s popularity took a nosedive.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY
The Birth Chart of the Conservative party
The Conservative party chart was analysed in last month’s RN, but if Tony Blair is the most memorable – some might say controversial - Labour leader of the past few decades, then Margaret Thatcher is surely the Conservative equivalent. Her office as First Lord of the Treasury (the official title of the Prime Minister) began on May 3rd 1979, and at the time the progressed Tory chart showed Uranus on ascendant. There is a phenomenon astrologers become aware of when looking at charts, that wherever a strong planetary statement is made, one often finds it repeated elsewhere. Hence, on election day, 1979, transiting Uranus was exactly conjunct the sun on the Conservatives’ birth chart. Uranus seeks change and revolution, a swift end to the old order, and so both factors here are powerful indications that the party was about to break with tradition - certainly from the old so called 'post-war consensus' that had prevailed in previous governments. This was an agreement to retain a mixed economy, and one which ‘tolerated or encouraged nationalisation, strong labour unions, heavy regulation, high taxes, and a generous welfare state.’ (Wikipedia.) This tradition came to an end with Thatcher, who - having her own ideas - repudiated it.
Certainly Margaret Thatcher’s government did things considered radical (a Uranian word), much of it in an attempt 'fix' the economy and bring down inflation. On the UK progressed chart for this date Saturn is conjunct the ascendant, hence Mrs. Thatcher's invocation of ‘Victorian values’: moral character, thrift, hard work and common sense - an end to seventies laissez-faire, overspending and woolly thinking. (All very Saturnian.) And so a combination of both Uranian and Saturnian influence - Uranus for how she revolutionised not only the Tory party but British politics; and Saturn for the pragmatism and ruthless efficiency with which she went about her business!
If one were also to examine the solar return chart pertaining to the 1983 election, one would predict a good year for Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives, with a stellium containing the sun, Venus and Jupiter. Of course, she was returned as Prime Minister on the 9th of June, 1983. The solar return chart pertaining to the successful third General Election on 11th of June, 1987, shows a Venus-Pluto conjunction with Moon on the IC. These reflect the traditionalism, determination, even popularity that a strongly conservative (small ‘c’) power will embody. But there were clouds on the horizon - with Saturn and Uranus in the 1st house there was conflict within the Tories between the desire for change, and the desire to retain the status quo. This, eventually, resulted in a leadership contest.
HOW THE PARTIES AND PLANETS STACK UP
Thus far, one can say that, astrologically, what seems to make one ‘fit for rule’ when it comes to election results is a sensitively placed Pluto. (Whilst the moon or Venus is often involved where the public’s affection is required.) We have also seen how hard moon-Saturn aspects work to one’s detriment. Transits to the Labour Party chart (set for 12th February 1906) on June 8th look challenging indeed – as retrograde Saturn makes an opposition to the ascendant. This is hardly the best augur for electoral success. One imagines the weight too much to bear. Perhaps this is simply the wrong time – and the astrological picture is reflecting it. Though no one is expecting the Liberal Democrats to win, things are no better on that chart (set for 31st May 1877). Around election time we find the progressed moon approaching a conjunction with progressed Saturn.
Progressions to the Tory Party chart for June 8th show a Mars-Jupiter conjunction in trine to the moon – a good augur for popularity. However, the progressed moon is conjunct the natal Saturn (blocks, restrictions) which may mean that the expected landslide victory is not quite forthcoming. It could simply be that the result is a lot closer than the polls have been indicating. But (returning to my main theme) transits to the Tory chart on June 8th reveal Pluto exactly conjunct the Capricorn ascendant. This is what I take to indicate the assumption of power at that time. Interestingly, the chart time for the exit poll (traditionally about 10 pm) on election day gives a similar result, with powerful Pluto prominent in the 1st house and Saturn only 5 degrees from the ascendant (a Gauquelin-sector placing). The diurnal ascendant (for London) late that evening will pass over Pluto at 11.15 pm (BST) For one reason or another, this moment may prove significant in making election victory certain. But I will also repeat my statement from last month – if the Conservatives do indeed win in the election on June 8th, their problems are not over. In fact they may be just about to begin – of which there will be more in future editions of RN.
Disclaimer: Raphael’s Newsletter is not affiliated with any political party, nor are partisan views of any kind whatsoever to be inferred in our other politics-themed articles.