In the old days of traditional astrology, astrologers had strong ideas about the qualities of planets like Mars and Saturn. A few centuries ago psychological assessments, based on channelling the energies of Mars and accepting the karma of Saturn, had little place for practitioners of the art of astrology, who were more interested in outcomes than processes. Mars and Saturn were simply malefics – and harbingers of ill-fortune. Indeed it was only with works like Liz Green’s book on Saturn in the late 70’s that the psychological view really gained predominance and influence, though the 20th century generally saw a new kind of humanistic astrology pioneered by people like Ruperti and Rudhyar.

Good and Bad

I am certainly not advocating a return to old black and white values regarding benefics and malefics, but in this article would like to point out that a planet like Mars is clearly associated with violence and strife… also in the 21st century. Of course, planets are neither good or bad – those are human labels – they simply represent pure energies which are an essential part of evolutionary drive. Indeed there is case to be made for the spiritual qualities of Mars… it is always strong in all achievers, especially spiritual ones, where willpower, courage and determination are needed to make any kind of progress.

Mars and Engineering

See chart for the bridge

Mars is associated with iron (the Aries Mars) and steel (the Scorpio Mars where iron has been transformed and hardened), and also with feats of engineering. It is therefore appropriate that one of the most important bridges of our time was inaugurated at an exact Mars/Sun conjunction, as the King of Sweden and the Queen of Denmark ceremoniously cut the ribbon to open the 7 km long ” Øresundsbro” to rail and vehicle traffic. (Note 1). The opening of this bridge is a momentous occasion, joining Sweden and Denmark for the first time for 7000 years, (though there have been periodic ice-winters which have temporarily joined the land masses. Indeed on one occasion the Swedish king successfully invaded Denmark by bringing his armies over the ice.) The bridge has enormous geographic significance, making it possible to drive from Norway or Sweden into Europe without embarking on any boat. By joining the large city of Malmö with Copenhagen, an economic community of about 3 million is created at a stroke, bringing enormous growth, especially for South Sweden… an area which rather resents the icy grip of the capital Stockholm in the far north.

A Transformation for Denmark

See chart for Denmark

The significance of this bridge is clearly seen in the horoscope for the constitution of Denmark, which has the Moon at 9°35 Sagittarius opposite the Sun at 14°37 Gemini. Pluto’s transit over this full Moon indicates the revolution in transport that is sure to transform Copenhagen as a European centre. This Pluto transit is part of a larger process of transformation which will probably see Denmark giving up part of its national identity by voting to adopt the Euro as official currency. This is the final step in moving the centre of gravity from Scandinavia to Europe, creating a new polarity… for polarity is always demanded by that Sun/Moon opposition …. this time with Brussels. As about 49.5% of Danes voted against joining the European Union, the sense of polarisation will reach crisis proportions over the next few months.

An Inauspicious Chart

Readers will note that the Øresund bridge was opened a few hours before the New Moon in Cancer, with the position of the Moon (8°12) being exactly on Denmark’s Mercury at 8°11! It’s also fascinating to see that Jupiter has just moved into Gemini, and is obviously “eager” to show that now its large horizons have moved into the domain of transport, rather than the dull economic considerations of Taurus. Taking another look at the Øresund chart, serious questions arise however. It is difficult to imagine a more inauspicious chart. With the traditional ruler of Scorpio, Mars, combust, in a disastrous position in Cancer and the 8th house quincunxing Pluto, and conjoining the Moon prior to an eclipse, it is actually one of the worst elected charts imaginable! With a late degree of Scorpio rising, an amazing 8th house emphasis, and with Saturn almost exactly on the Descendant as the ribbon was cut, this horoscope seems to spell out fear, delay, disturbance and anxiety. How can this be the horoscope for such a momentous occasion?

A Pop Festival Tragedy

The inauspiciousness of the occasion was underlined by a macabre start to the ceremony. It was opened with one minute’s silence, in memory of eight young men trampled to death at the Roskilde rock festival 18 hours previously. This tragic event occurred around midnight as 7000 people crowded around in the mud in front of the festival stage where the American group Pearl Jam were playing. Thus this horoscope showed the theme of death and national tragedy overshadowing what should have been a joyful occasion. Although it is not difficult to see why there should have been tragic deaths around this period, with the Sun/Mars conjunction in Cancer, further indications can be seen in the 5th harmonic of the planetary positions, because the Mercury/Venus conjunction is actually also bi-quintile (and at the midpoint of) Uranus on one side and Pluto on the other. And anything which brings together Uranus and Pluto often brings something shocking in one form or another, though there can also be tremendous transformation. In any case, this planetary pattern is definitely associated with the kind of large gatherings that are found at pop festivals.

Event Charts

It’s difficult to know how significant the Øresund bridge horoscope will be regarding the future. Perhaps it cannot be compared to the launch of ships with a bottle of champagne, as that is an obvious key moment, with the ship entering its water element for the first time. In this case there were several key moments for the opening, including opening the bridge to pedestrians three weeks earlier. However, under the circumstances it would be wise to constantly review security both connected with the bridge, and specifically with the tunnel that forms the first part of the bridge going out to an artificial island off the Danish coast. Key periods of danger would be whenever the eclipse degree at 10° Cancer is activated, for example at the Mars/Pluto opposition (squaring Uranus) at 9°37 Cancer/Capricorn in July 2013, and considering the preponderance of water, there could be danger of flooding. It is more probably however, that the horoscope says more about what the bridge means as a symbol for both Denmark and Sweden.

Economic Losses

One obvious conclusion is that it will be dogged by economic crisis. Travelling over the bridge is expensive, both for cars and for train passengers, and they may simply choose to use the ferries which are both regular and reasonably inexpensive. It’s a safe bet that government after government will have problems with the economic realities concerning this bridge. Perhaps there will be strong differences of opinion between Denmark and Sweden on the matter of financing. The 8th house does show the whole principle of levying tolls and taxes, and there may be considerable ill-feeling about them. Another issue could be the awakening of anxiety, with many people concerned at travelling so far over water at such great height. This should be good news for psychologists and therapists.

The Sun/Mars cycle

Conjunctions between the Sun and Mars take place once every two years and two months, advancing a couple of signs each time. The conjunction forms very slowly, as Mars moves about 40 minutes of arc a day, whilst the Sun moves 60 minutes. As the Sun slowly catches up with Mars, there is a tremendous burst of energy and willpower in the sign involved. Great things can be achieved, but there will nearly always be troubles to be overcome through radical decisions.

Mad Cow Disease

Going back to March 1996, the conjunction took place in Pisces, at the time of the decision to slaughter huge numbers of cattle in Britain because of mad cow disease, though this was more connected to the fact that Saturn was also in Pisces, and Mars/Saturn aspects are traditionally associated with cattle. In itself this conjunction probably merely leads to a heightened pace in life’s activities. Mars will often be the trusty lieutenant of the Sun, marching in to get the job done, although with the square and opposition Mars is unruly and inclined to go against the authority of the Sun. Mars is a youth, every young at heart and quite foolhardy. People with Mars in aspect to the Sun will often reflect this in a boyish and self-centred manner (if male), or with an attraction to immature men (if female), and often the father will be young, or act young.

Bosnian Massacres

Where Mars is, there is always trouble, so when Mars enters Cancer, this trouble is associated with family incidents. Traditionally in fall in this sign, Mars makes the waters of Cancer boil with ill-placed passion. Emotions take over, and there is anger and rage. From September 1992 to April 1993 Mars went retrograde in Cancer, opposing the Uranus/Neptune conjunction three times. This was during the terrible winter in Bosnia where the United Nations was helpless to prevent the ravaging of the Bosnian people by warlords. Clan chiefs were only interested in narrow definitions of community at this time, disguising violence and greed behind a label of patriotism to their cause.

Live Aid

Going back 15 years to the last Sun/Mars conjunction in Cancer (18.07.1985) this was a time when famine in Africa was on everyone’s TV screens, but also the time when Bob Geldorf took the initiative with Live Aid… the hugely successful transatlantic rock concert in support of Africa. Here Mars/Saturn at 21 Cancer was exactly trine Saturn in Scorpio… a supreme example of how negativity can be transformed by effort.

Tony Blair’s Family troubles

During July’s Sun/Mars conjunction, there have been many sad incidents regarding families and their children, although one in particular emphasises how family issues can take over. On Wednesday 5th July at around 11p.m.Tony Blair’s son Euan was arrested in the centre of London for being drunk and incapable. To make matters worse he gave a false name and address. As Tony Blair has Pluto on the 5th house square the Sun (opposed at present by transit Uranus), on a personal level one can imagine that the relationship with his eldest son is something of a power battle, whilst on a collective level he would be in favour of rather dictatorial solutions. Most unfortunately for Blair, he had just made a major policy statement about youth drunkenness, and had strongly suggested that police take offenders to the nearest cash point and make them pay an on the spot fine. The newspapers and Conservative Party were deliriously happy about this appalling example of timing! It certainly made up for all the good publicity Blair got when his son Leo was born recently.

Future Mars transits

The next conjunction of Sun and Mars is in August 2002 at 18 Leo trine Pluto, at a time when Jupiter has just entered Leo. This will bring the spotlight on the famous and powerful… golden days for Hollywood, and quite good for dictators too! Readers can plot this next conjunction into their charts, and especially observe the house it falls in to see what happens. It is worthy of note that the conjunction falls exactly on the infamous August 1999 eclipse point, so it anything significant happened to you at this at that time, expect a reactivation of the very same issues.

Note 1: As with so many events, there are many significant moments. The bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic, skateboarders and cyclists on the weekend of June10th.

Adrian Ross Duncan