Italy – Past & Present
|Sylvio Berlusconi entered the swing door, through which Italy’s many presidents quickly pass, in April 2001. This was not his first time – he was president for seven months in 1994 before having to resign on corruption charges. Loved or hated, but not ignored, this man is the richest man in Italy. He owns the vast majority of the Italian media, and ensures that he is both portrayed often, and portrayed well. Not averse to a little cosmetic surgery, he was absent for a few weeks from the media at the beginning of 2004. It turned out that his wife had “pushed him to reshape his face”, as he quaintly put it.Berlusconi’s style
To the more subdued denizens of Northern Europe, it may seem odd that a man constantly in the courts facing corruption charges can enjoy the confidence of the electorate. This is the man, who, when Italy commenced its 6-month presidency of the EU in July 2003 commented to a German MEP in the European parliament, “Mr. Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I’d like to suggest you for the role of guard. You’d be perfect.” Thus he got off to a rather lamentable start, and crowned the 6-month period by failing to get the EU to reach agreement on the constitution. Nevertheless he felt he had done a pretty good job. Right after the summit, the Italian president declared his presidency to have been one of the most glorious of recent years. And he has certainly been appreciated by the President Bush of late, for his unqualified support for the invasion of Iraq.
Which does bring memories of that other glorious leader of Italy, Benito Mussolini (note 1), who ruled the country from 1922 to 1945. He was an enormously popular ruler, who succeeded in impressing many world leaders before his ill-fated alliance with Hitler and disastrous invasions of Libya and Greece. Roosevelt admired him greatly for his success in crushing communism, and he was greatly loved by women – a fact he was not slow to take advantage of whenever the opportunity presented itself. He was seen as the cream of Italy’s manhood. Mussolini had a Mars/Moon/Saturn/Pluto stellium in Gemini in the 7th house – quite a man.
Another well-known Italian leader, who shaped the political life of Italy after the creation of the republic in 1946, was Giulio Andreotti (note 2). A double Capricorn with ruler Saturn on the 8th cusp opposing Uranus (and Mars) on the 2nd, he was obviously a dangerous and implacable man to cross swords with. His Mercury in Capricorn in the 12th opposing Pluto and Jupiter indicates many state secrets. He ultimately had to leave office when accused of corruption and protecting the Mafia, as well as of involvement in the 1979 murder of a journalist, Mino Pecorelli. He was ultimately sentenced to 24 years in prison, but did not have to serve them because of his age.
The formation of Italy
See chart for kingdom of Italy – 1871
So what is so special about Italy, that gives it such colorful leaders? Men so revered yet so poorly judged. After the disintegration of the Roman Empire around the 6th century, Italy existed as a number of separate and competing states. It was not until the mid-19th century that Italy came into existence in as a unified country. The main horoscopes indicating this are the creation of the Kingdom of Italy (note 3) in 1861, and the later ceremonial entrance of the king, Victor Emmanuel, into Rome on a train 10 years later. This latter horoscope is very descriptive.
This chart is appealing because it actually looks like Italy. It is characterized by a massive full moon eclipse on a strong Saturn/Jupiter opposition. This visually brings to mind the elongated boot of Italy. At the top is an exalted Jupiter with the Sun, the king and father of the country, and at the bottom a dignified Saturn conjoining an exiled Moon. This seems to speak volumes about the rich, industrialized and privileged North and the poor agricultural South. It shows a country bound by convention and tradition, in the grip of Catholic cardinals. The poor people scratch a meager living from the soil, and the Catholic mama rules the family with an iron hand.
It’s a great chart for a country to have, with so many strong planets, yet the eclipse opposition is squared by a Mars in detriment in Libra, which possibly alludes to the womanizing nature of some of its great leaders. The Sun/Jupiter conjunction in itself indicates the adulation that Italy’s leaders can enjoy when they are larger than life.
Madonna and whore
In this chart the ruler Venus is at 24.52 Leo, and the 1946 Republic chart curiously reflects this, where the Ascendant ruler of Scorpio, Mars, is at 24.35 Leo. It says something about the romantic and exhibitionist side of the country, with its great love for the opera. The sextile of Venus to a strong Mercury in Gemini shows the people’s love of the arts. Great loves rend Italy’s soul, even though it is Mama who runs the roost. Mussolini was married with children, but this did not prevent him setting up his mistress Carla Pettaci in a luxurious apartment in Rome, much to the dismay of his wife. Learning from historical precedent, Berlusconi, who was married with two kids began an affair with topless dancer Veronica Lario in 1980, finally marrying her in 1990 after she bore him three children. Of course this is all good stuff for the Italian people, who prefer the entertainment of Mars/Venus in Leo, to the moralism of their catholic heritage reflected by the eclipse on Saturn/Jupiter.
Of great significance in this chart is the square of Venus to Pluto in Taurus in the 8th house – a strong indication of the endemic corruption needed to finance the life of luxury of the elite. Any politician who subsequently has a Venus/Pluto aspect – and Berlusconi also has Libra rising, with ruler Venus in Scorpio square Pluto – is likely to channel this energy. With Pluto in the 8th house of the 1871 chart, it may be possible to trace the roots of the influence of the Mafia in Italy – the secret threat of a drastic fate, should those in power betray the secrets of corruption.
The Republic Chart
The influence of the 8th house is however shown far more strongly in another important chart for Italy, the Republic chart of 1946, created when a referendum resulted in the abolishment of the royal family. This horoscope shows the chart ruler Mars on the 1871 chart’s Venus, very strongly placed near the Midheaven, sextiling the planets in Gemini in the 8th. The chart channels the power of a wonderful Uranus/Jupiter trine, showing a very modern and optimistic spirit in the country. Again, the Sun is conjunction the North Node – perhaps this shows the eclipse shadow over Italy’s leaders. Certainly, with the Sun/Uranus conjunction, post-war Italy has experienced many sudden upheavals and changes of government, with loose alliances constantly changing the balance of power. The Uranus/Jupiter trine indicates a revolutionary attitude in parliament, in which change is preferable to stability.
The Scorpio influence
It’s a very scorpionic chart. The Moon in Scorpio in the 12th square Pluto shows the power of a secret family undermining the fabric of the country, and the planets in Gemini in the 8th reinforce the theme – omerta, the vow of silence, vendetta, the vow of revenge. There is deep tragedy in this planetary placement… widows and grieving mothers. Generally speaking the hand of Saturn lies heavy on the feminine side of the charts that reflect Italy. In the 1861 Kingdom of Italy chart Venus is in Pisces opposition Saturn. In the 1871 chart the Moon in Capricorn conjoins Saturn, and in the 1946 Republic chart Venus conjoins Saturn in Cancer on the 9th cusp. (This latter does seem to reflect the strength of the judiciary, which is an important counterweight to the history of corrupt governments.) There are strong family structures in Italy. Sons and daughters stay with their families longer, and show great loyalty to each other. A loyalty which in the case of the Mafia leads to family vendettas.
The Appeal of Berlusconi
Perhaps this is why Berlusconi strikes a chord in Italy – he has a Moon at 12 Pisces placed on an exact Saturn/Neptune opposition. It is exactly on the Venus 12 Pisces in the 1861 Kingdom of Italy chart. It is rather a surprising aspect to find in the richest man in Italy’s horoscope as it is rather “socialist” in form, generally evoking great concern for the suffering masses. It reflects a number of things in Berlusconi’s career. Firstly he is a populist, and his populism stems from his vast control of the major media outlets in Italy, from magazines to television. It is the Piscean world of film and glamour that he inhabits. The leadership qualities come rather from the Sun conjoining the Libra Ascendant. He is also a football enthusiast, and it is part of his business. He acquired AC Milan in 1986 – fulfilling business and populist goals at the same time.
Birth Time Rectification
At this point it should be said that there is some discussion about Berlusconi’s birth time. His birth certificate shows a time of 6.30 a.m. which would give a 7 degree Libra Ascendant. However some astrologers claim that to have received a time of 5.40 from Berlusconi’s lawyer, the time coming from Berlusconi himself. This would give an Ascendant of 27 Virgo. The problem with this is that it is very difficult to imagine him with a Virgo Ascendant, with his unabashed vanity and incredible self-promotion. When the press confronted him with his recent absence for cosmetic surgery his response was: “I like the way I look. I feel fine. I look in the mirror and I like what I see and I think I am more pleasing to others too.” That hardly sounds like Virgo rising. I have rectified the 6.30 birth time to 6.20, which gives the Sun rising in Libra, exactly on the Ascendant. The ruler would then be Venus at zero Scorpio exactly on the 2nd house, which firstly shows a deep-seated need to amass a fortune, and secondly shows a propensity for facial remodelling.
For the rectification I chose the following major events from his life:
Currently Berlusconi is embroiled in scandal, though this is nothing new for him. He has attempted to influence the government to pass laws that in effect would grant him immunity from prosecution for corruption. The opposition – who receive no favorable coverage from Berlusconi’s dominating media empire – have fought back, figureheaded by Romani Prodi and the president of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The president has refused to sign a media bill which would give Berlusconi unprecedented power. Apart from his three Mediaset channels – Italia 1, Rete 4 and Canale 5 – he holds political influence at the board of state broadcaster Rai. The bill would have removed a previous restriction on one person owning more than two national broadcasting stations.
Quite clearly the legal controversies Berlusconi is involved with relate to the current Pluto transit over his Jupiter at 18 Sagittarius, simultaneously squaring the Saturn/Neptune opposition. Under the circumstances it is amazing he has survived. Other transits include Saturn over his MC squaring his Sun, which occurred as Italy took over the EU presidency. This will return to conjoin the MC in March this year, but with Jupiter picking up the sextile to Saturn, I doubt this will cause him much difficulty. Indeed the current Saturn transit of his 10th house could indicate consolidation of his power, and he may well survive until the next election in 2006.
Current progressions show the IC at 12 Virgo, so with the conjunction to the Moon this is a crucial time for him. One cannot underrate the sense of martyrdom the Moon on a Saturn/Neptune opposition gives, so it is likely that Berlusconi will see himself as a victim from now until the culmination of this progression on Saturn/Neptune. His populist appeals will be tinged with more and more pathos, and there will probably be a growing dissolution of influence. It’s interesting that the dairy (Moon) giant, Parmalat, is crashing down at the time of writing. This is the largest financial scandal in Italian history. Calisto Tanzi, the founder of the company, fiddled its books for years to cover up billions of pounds of missing funds. He has now been jailed and members of his family, who held high positions in the company, have been arrested. Tanzi is reputed to be giving the names of politicians and bankers who have taken bribes over the years.
This case will see the unraveling of Berlusconi’s government. It could take a number of years, but the key period will be as the progressed Sun activates the Jupiter/Saturn/Neptune T-square from 2007 to 2009. It is in 2009 – according to my rectification, that the MC/IC axis hits the Neptune/Saturn opposition. Whether he is in power or not at this time, it seems that he has a specific destination, for the signature of Saturn/Neptune from the 6th to the 12th is… hard labor, in isolation.
Adrian Ross Duncan 20 Feb 2004
1. Benito Mussolini: 29 Jul 1883 13.10 Dovia, Italy 44N13/12E02 AS 20.31 SC