Category: Adrian’s Articles 2003

The Future of Iraq

Saddam Hussein had an unhappy childhood. He was born in the total poverty typical of rural villages near Tikrit, north of Baghdad. His father died or left the family soon after birth, and he was brought up by his mother and a brutal criminal stepfather, who relentlessly beat his stepson and forced him to steal. Only at the age of 10 did he escape this home to live with an uncle in Baghdad who grew to have tremendous influence on him. The uncle had nazi sympathies – and was instrumental in getting Saddam into the fledgling nationalist Baath party in his late teens. Schooled in violence from an early age, Saddam participated in an assassination attempt of General Qassim, who had just overthrown King Faisal II, at the age of 22, got wounded in the leg, and fled to Syria and later Egypt to continue his “education”.

Apart from the childhood, there are few mitigating circumstances in Saddam Hussein’s life, although the whole climate of Iraq was pervaded by a unique brutality at the time. When Baath party officers overthrew General Qassim, he was tortured and assassinated, and this and the subsequent execution and mutilation of his followers was shown on television for all to see.

Rise to Power

Hussein quickly returned to Baghdad, where he excelled as interrogator and torturer, rising through the ranks of the fascist Baath party. He built up an all-pervading security network of spies and informers, not dissimilar to the agent network in East German during the same period, which he had studied in detail. When he finally took power in 1979, his first act was to “cleanse” the party, and he and his henchmen personally executed 20 of top officials in his own party. Add to that the millions killed in the debilitating war with Iran, and the killing of 5000 Kurds in poisonous gas bombings, it is safe to conclude that Saddam Hussein is not a nice man – difficult childhood notwithstanding.

The Future Trial

This man is now a prisoner. The time ahead will be a collective remembering for the people of Iraq, as he goes to trial, and his crimes against humanity are listed. It seems the Americans in Iraq had learned from their lamentable handling of previous high-level fugitives, the sons Qusay and Uday, who were quite unnecessarily killed when located. Unless Saddam Hussein was taken alive by error, as some Arab commentators suggest. He has a lot of truths to tell, which will be very embarrassing to the West. Britain, America, France, Germany, Russia… they kept him well supplied with weapons and all the ingredients needed to make chemical and nuclear weapons throughout the eighties.

A Possible Birth Chart

Officially, Saddam was born on April 28, 1937 and this date was made a national holiday in 1980. Whether this is his actual birth date or not is a matter of dispute. The tradition with poor peasants at the time was to give them all the same birth date: July 1st, and there is evidence to suggest he borrowed his birthday from an associate with a better pedigree. Still, the official birthday is a fascinating chart, and definitely worth using.

See chart for Saddam Hussein

The Journey of Progressive Mars

Taking a noon time for the birth, which often works well for public figures, because this places the sun in the 10th house, there is a dominant Sun/Uranus conjunction in Taurus that could show his revolutionary rise to power. What is fascinating about the chart is Mars, which (like Venus) is retrograde at birth. During the course of his life Mars moves back into Scorpio first trining Saturn and then Pluto, indicating his relentless and ruthless consolidation of power through an all-pervading informer network. In the buildup to the 2nd Gulf War, Mars finally stations at 19 degrees Scorpio, which just happens to be the unchanging position of the actual planetary node of Mars. This degree is associated with evil in horary astrology, and has the name Serpentis . Currently his Mars is at 19.49 degrees, moving direct at just 3 minutes of arc a year, and soon to make a sesquiquadrate to Saturn progressed at 4.57 Aries.

With the capture of Saddam Hussein, George W Bush, certainly a believer in the corrective powers of the death penalty as governor of Texas, has called for the “ultimate penalty” to be imposed. The Mars/Saturn connection in Saddam’s birth chart indicates that this is not an unlikely fate, no doubt at the hands of a court run by the provisional government of Iraq. In the meantime CIA experts are interrogating Saddam, and entertaining him with his own torture videos from the past between sessions.

Venus and the Trial

Another interesting progression in the chart is Venus, which moved direct at the age of 10, when Saddam moved to Baghdad, and is now at 26 Taurus, trining Jupiter on the one hand at 26 Capricorn, and Pluto on the other at 26 Cancer. This Pluto/Jupiter opposition may indicate the elevated position and power of Saddam’s clan based around Tikrit, and the ruthless political power that was evoked in him through the influence of his uncle. This will almost certainly culminate in a high-profile court case, and the Venus trine from Taurus may indicate that he receives tremendous support, both financially and in terms of support from his clan. It is probable that a high profile lawyer will defend him well. Mind you, Venus is currently 26.06 Taurus and the ill-fated star Algol is currently placed at 26.09 Taurus. This star is particularly associated with injuries to the neck, such as hangings.

The Capture

The capture of Saddam Hussein was an interesting and predictable moment. This took place at the Sun/Pluto conjunction… obviously a completion of the process started at the Sun/Pluto trine which took place at the exact moment Saddam’s statue was toppled in Baghdad back in April. Mars was also leaving Pisces, after a 6 month sojourn in the sign. Quite obviously the direct and retrograde motion of Mars during the latter half of 2003 related to the chaos in the country at the time, and the deterioration of conditions for the US military. Mars in Pisces also represented Saddam on the run, and when Mars’ time in Pisces ran out, he ended up as a prisoner. Curiously, when the invasion took place on 20th March 2003 at 3.34 am the Sun was at 28 Pisces. Mars finally arrived at this degree with the capture.

See chart for capture of Saddam Hussein

At the time of the arrest Mercury was in exact opposition to Saturn, and because of Mercury’s retrograde motion this aspect will take place two more times in December and January. Despite reports that Saddam was cooperative, this hardly indicates a talkative prisoner. One would imagine that a painstaking interrogation would take place until at least January 22nd, when the final Mercury/Saturn opposition takes place. As Mercury retrogrades to conjoin the Sun it makes a square to Mars, now in Aries, which certainly indicates high stress levels, if not an element of brutality. Still, with the three Saturn/Mercury trine, it seems like there is a triple lock on information.

The Future of Iraq

See chart for Republic of Iraq

There are a number of horoscopes for Iraq for the last century. I have ignored the earlier horoscopes that relate to an Iraq under the control of the British, and concentrated on the military coups that established republics, the first one being in 1958, and the subsequent one when Saddam Hussein came to power. The 1958 coup shows a Moon/Venus conjunction in at 19-20 Gemini opposition Saturn at 20 Sagittarius, and obviously the current Pluto transit has been activating this opposition, and will continue to do so in 2004.

Amongst other influences it was this Pluto transit that suggested that the Americans would go to war. As I wrote in a previous article (Sept 2002): “This suggests that the long-suffering Iraqi population will undergo a hammering throughout the year, but it also suggests that the yoke of oppression will be removed, especially for women and children.” The American invasion has brought tremendous destruction to the people, and the loss of a good deal of their cultural heritage through plunder. Whether Iraq continues to be plundered as American corporations make lucrative contracts in the country remains to be seen. Still, whatever the ravages cause by western capitalism, they are unlikely to equal the material and spiritual destruction of Iraq, which Saddam is responsible for.

An Islamic State

The actual chart for the foundation of modern Iraq (23.08.1921 6 a.m.) has a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 22-24 Virgo. Pluto will activate this in 2005, which will almost certainly indicate an ongoing transformation and upheaval of all existing political and religious structures, typified by extremism and ruthless power play. Saudi Arabia also has a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, (conjoining the Sun in Capricorn), and this may indicate the union of religion and politics in government: namely, the Islamic state. Therefore it is likely that elections in Iraq in 2004 do not result in a stable government, but rather bring extremist religious groups to the fore. Pluto transit in square to Jupiter/Saturn simply does not promise a democratic country or democratic reforms. Indeed, 2005 is the year when there is a full Uranus return to its position at 8 Pisces at the original creation of Iraq – another indication of revolutionary upheaval at this time.

Adrian Ross Duncan 19.12.2003


A Wise Whale

I knew a woman once who met a whale. Becalmed in the vast expanse of the Atlantic it swam under the small boat she was sailing in. Wondering where it had disappeared she donned goggles and swam under the boat, and that’s where she met it. Vast head and enormous calm eyes staring into hers. She went quiet after that, and two years later, when she consulted me, she was still quiet.Her progressed Mercury had retrograded, and in the year of her transatlantic trip it went stationary direct conjoining Neptune. I guess the ocean trip was Mercury/Neptune in the third house and being becalmed for two weeks mid-ocean was related to Mercury being stationary. The conjunction took place in Scorpio, and though the meeting took place in utter silence, it transformed her life, because, as she explained, she met another kind of intelligence.Uranus/Pluto and the sixtiesWhales and dolphins occasionally play a pivotal role in transforming the lives of individual human beings. They are used therapeutically with autistic children, and various courses offer transcendental experiences with dolphins at sea. However, there was an occasion when a whale changed the policy of a whole nation, and this happened at the time of the exact conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in 1966.

These two distant planets meet on average about once every 130 years, and the 1966 conjunction in Virgo was partially related to dramatic industrialization processes that automated production and liberated workers from repetitive tasks. It was the beginning of the robot age and digital decision-making. It could also be regarding as the culmination of a long process of industrialization, which had left the Earth poisoned, the seas depleted and rivers polluted. And of all the rivers in the world, the Rhine – rushing down from the Swiss alps, and winding its way through Austria, Germany and France, before entering the North Sea – was the most polluted, becoming known as the sewer of Europe. The huge industrial complexes of the Ruhr had been pumping out chemicals into the river for decades, and the government of the country, as in most industrialized countries of the time, was oblivious to the obliteration of river life. Nature had been sacrificed on the altar of materialism.

Moby swims up the Rhine

In May 1966 a white beluga whale entered this murky, lifeless brown water. People nicknamed it Moby. Perhaps it had developed a soft spot for humans – for it had encountered them earlier. Captured in Canada’s Hudson Bay a decade earlier at the request of a European zoo, it had been transported in a huge tarpaulin tank on the deck of a ship across the Atlantic. Towards the end of the Atlantic crossing there was a huge storm, and as the ship heaved in the heavy seas, a freak wave caught the tarpaulin and whisked the whale back into the ocean from which it came.

It was this intrepid whale who made is way up the Rhine on a two month long journey into the heart of the Ruhr. As the weeks went by the whale became a huge attraction in Germany, with people swarming to the banks of the Rhine to watch its progress. As time went by it appeared to sicken. Large black spots appeared on its skin, and with no food available in the polluted river it became thinner and thinner. Strategies were evolved to capture it after it appeared to get lost in a complex of canals in Germany’s most heavily industrialized area, but it evaded capture. It disappeared for some days and people began to suspect it died. Then it was suddenly sighted in a tributary to the Rhine on its way to Koblenz, where it could make its way out to the open sea via a canal gate.

Moby reaches Bonn

There was national relief as it approached the outlet into the North Sea, but then it made an inexplicable move. Visibly weakened and sick it turned once more, and headed back into the heart of Germany. By this time there was scarcely a soul in Germany who was not fully conscious of the lamentable state of the river that was the heart’s blood of their nation. The dearth of fish, the lack of oxygen, the dumping of chemicals and industrial waste – people now knew about it, and were upset. Moby swam on, and after a few days he reach the point at which he would stop and go no further. This point was in the capital city Bonn, and he stopped directly opposite the German parliament. Here he entertained the people who thronged to the river to see him, including the members of parliament, who adjourned their debate on the environment and strolled out on the balcony to view Moby’s performance just 100 meters away.

See chart for Moby reaching Bonn

The chart for this event – cast for noon – tells the story. With the Uranus/Pluto conjunction dominant, and squared by the Sun and Mars in rational Gemini, there is a picture of everything that is wrong with science – theory without feeling; men talking but amputated from their feelings. The white beluga whale is Jupiter in Cancer, and his visit to talk with men coincides with the conjunction of Mercury with Jupiter. Clearly he has come with a message, and the message is one of compassion. Perhaps Saturn in the last degree of Pisces conjoining Chiron shows an ocean at the end of its resources, just as it shows an old beluga whale, wise but now sick.

Moby did not use words, but exhibited the fact of pollution through the state of his own body. At this time, the Moon’s nodes had moved into Taurus/Scorpio, which is related to the resources of nature and renewability, and the conjunction of Neptune with the South Node illustrated the fate that awaits the rivers and oceans if Man does not take remedial measures. Neptune/Node conjunctions are invariably related to pollution events – for example there was a conjunction in Capricorn when Iraq torched Kuwait’s oil wells in 1991.

The politicians heard the message from the whale, and enacted legislation to clean up the Rhine. At the end of the 19th century the Rhine was a salmon fisher’s paradise, with over 250,000 salmon netted yearly. In 1958 the last known salmon was caught in the Rhine. However, after a massive clean-up campaign after the mid-sixties, salmon re-entered the river in the nineties, and can now be caught once again.

Moby returns to the Ocean

Moby had not been lost or disoriented during his trip up the Rhine. Mission completed, he set out for the entrance of the Rhine, and in just three days he was seen entering the North Sea at the Hook of Holland.

See chart for Moby entering the North Sea

The return of Moby to the ocean was timed to the minute, and it shows an exalted Moon in Taurus setting on the western horizon activating the Neptune/Venus opposition on the nodal axis. A fitting astrological signature for the large white beluga whale whose only mission was one of love for nature, and, it would seem, for man. With the powerfully placed exalted Jupiter and the Moon, and a strong Venus, it is a happy chart. I hope for Moby there was a sense of mission accomplished, even though the beluga whale population is still under threat from pollution today – particularly in the St. Lawrence seaway in Canada.

Mars in Pisces 2003

I happened to see the documentary about the whale by German director Stephan Koester ( The Tale of the Great White Whale ) in June 2003, just as Mars entered Pisces to activate the great water trine between Uranus and Saturn in Cancer. Obviously the direct and retrograde movement of Mars through Pisces in the last six months of 2003 can be related to a great many events, but it seemed to me that the legendary feat of Moby contained ingredients which could be a solution to some of the intractable political problems of today. If he is alive today, perhaps he could venture up the Euphrates into the heart of Iraq. War proponents might say this symbolic journey has already been undertaken by coalition forces in “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, as the 2nd Gulf war was called. However, whereas Moby made his mission to Germany’s capital with benign Jupiter exalted in Cancer, coalition forces came to Baghdad with the authoritarian flag of a Saturn in detriment in Cancer. Now, as the Iraqi people simmer in revolt, it seems that Mars/Uranus shows gunboats than whales.

It’s 37 years since Moby’s exploit, which means that the nodal axis is once again in Taurus/Scorpio, and the focus is on resources again – here the resources of Iraq. Moby showed the way. He was ready to sacrifice himself to initiate a process of transformation to return a country to health. The Rhine is not just a river; it is a life-giving force for Germany. If the river is sick, the country is sick. Saddam Hussein was not a healthy force in Iraq, and was toppled (or his statue was) – as all dictators should be – as the Sun in Aries trined Pluto. But only one scenario will work in Iraq: the USA and it reluctant band of allies must restore Iraq to health and rebuild its damaged economy and administration, then withdraw as quickly as possible. Only Germany knew how to clean up the Rhine, and only Iraq knows how to govern itself.

See chart for the start of the Gulf War 2

If America were to emulate Moby, it could be a catalyst for democratic change in Iraq. This is a sacrificial process – it will hurt America but they can retire with honor. The story is told by the opening moment of the war – the highly questionable attempt to assassinate Iraq’s leader through a bomb attack. The Saturn/Pluto opposition on the MC/IC axis is reminiscent of the same opposition at the time of the World Trade center attack. Saturn is stationary on US Mars. Those bunker busters went deep, but they missed their target. Laura Bush is no Nancy Reagan, and there was no astrologer to whisper in her ear that a combust Sun in the last degree of Pisces could presage a never-ending chaos. In the early days sandstorms meant visibility was down to zero and advance slowed to a halt. Curiously it turned out that the soles on the footwear of the British soldiers melted in the desert heat and emergency replacements had to be issued. That’s combustion in Pisces.

As the war began Uranus had moved from Aquarius into Pisces. USA abandoned the fig leaf of the United Nations at this time, and went in alone. As Uranus at the time of writing (September 2003) retrogrades back into Aquarius there are frantic diplomatic efforts to involve the UN in administrating the country. This will not happen. By the new year Uranus returns to Pisces, and the USA together with the coalition of the “willing” will be on their own again. America has to prove it is not a superpower following a self-destructive impulse towards supremacy and global hegemony. There is no maneuver that can extract them from the growing chaos except for a selfless offering of money and resources to establish a government, and a fast withdrawal. If they do that the Iraqi people are sure to gather on the banks of the Euphrates and cheer.

Adrian Duncan 15th September 2003

Hot Stuff: Venus and the Sun

There are some (men) who think that there can be no better role in life than being the male lion in a pride. With a choice of delightful females, who also put the food on the table, there is very little for a lion in his prime to worry about. That is unless you happen to be Waldemar, the unfortunate young lion who was put together with two demanding lionesses in Copenhagen Zoo last fall. They ate him.Venus at it most deadly

This tragic event took place in October 2002, which was when Venus turned retrograde at 15 degrees Scorpio, where it remained for four long months. As Jupiter had recently moved into Leo, Venus, whilst stationary retrograde, made a long deadly square to this planet, which must surely have symbolized the young and overconfident lion, who met his fate at the hand of such deadly sisters. Obviously a planet in detriment, as Venus is in Scorpio, does not necessarily make it weak, but it does tend to evoke inappropriate actions. I wondered at the time what this might mean for the clients who came in this period. Would they too, be self-destructive in relationships? Would they eat putative partners? And what would happen when Mars – the natural ruler of Scorpio – entered the sign to conjoin Venus in December. Surely then, some strong male would turn up and put everything in its rightful place?

December 2002 certainly did witness many extraordinary stories of love as strong Mars joined weak Venus turning direct in very close square to Neptune. Those readers who have an affinity with Venus and Mars – particularly Aries, Scorpio, Taurus and Libra – will no doubt be able to recall that month as memorable, and challenging. Meeting anyone in that period, it would have been extremely difficult to build any concrete foundation for love – although this could have been a very satisfying period erotically.

Olek asserts himself

Our lionesses had to wait a while longer, but at 8 a.m. on Tuesday 5th August 2003 a strapping five year old lion Olek, headhunted for his fierceness from a Hungarian zoo, was introduced to one of the deadly sisters in the zoo compound.

See chart for the moment

By August 2003 Venus was in Leo, and building up to the conjunction with the Sun in Leo… Olek, king of the beasts. Astrologically it was an excellent time for lion to meet lioness, and as the Sun is in its own sign, Olek was able to establish his authority. This is a very good example of the phenomenon of “combustion” – which is traditionally said to exist when a planet gets within about 8 degrees of the Sun. When Olek met the lioness there was a huge battle (see the compelling video clip! ), and initially it was difficult to see who had the upper hand. After two minutes of struggle, they both had a grip on each other’s jaws, and they both suffered damage. Ultimately the lioness submitted. This Venus encounter, though violent, was far more beneficial that the October 2002 encounter. The conjunction and combustion between the Sun and Venus shows the merging of energy, and even though both are damaged, it is in the natural order of things. Venus and the Sun in the form of the lioness and Olek can now look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.

The Sun/Venus cycle

This type of Sun/Venus conjunction takes place exclusively in the signs of Gemini, Capricorn, Leo, Aries and Scorpio, and it is only after a period of approximately 100 years that this sequence changes. Each conjunction takes place in a cycle of eight years, a little over two degrees earlier each time. The Scorpio cycle is due to change in 2022, when the Sun/Venus conjunction takes place in Libra, initiating a new 100-year period.

The Leo conjunction is great for grand events, and if you have plans to marry royalty, this is the time to do it. In Denmark news of the imminent engagement of a sporty Australian girl by the name of Mary to the as yet unmarried handsome prince Frederik became known, to the delight of patriotic Danes. There can hardly be a better time for royal weddings than with the Sun/Venus/Jupiter conjunction of 2003.

Sun/Venus superior (direct) conjunctions take place with Venus on the opposite side of the Sun to the Earth, and herald the start of a cycle that lasts a little over 19 months. Half way through this period, Venus goes retrograde and, passing between the Earth and the Sun, the inferior (retrograde) conjunction takes place. This type of Sun/Venus conjunction takes place in Aquarius, Virgo, Aries, Scorpio and Gemini in the current historical period. Gemini gets more than its fair share of Venus/Sun conjunctions in the 20th and 21st centuries, and this can probably be related to a number of developments, from the era of comfortable travel, through to vastly increased educational opportunities for women, and possibly the surge in “serial” marriages.

The Full Cycle

Compared to Mercury, which goes retrograde three times a year, it is far more unusual to have Venus retrograde in the birth horoscope, or moving retrograde by progression. About 70% of people will experience Mercury retrograde (at birth or by progression) whilst only 15% will experience the Venus retrograde. When Venus does move retrograde, it lasts for about 42 days, which is equivalent to 42 years in the progressed chart. The retrograde cycle is a time when values get shaken up, and a change in natural order takes place.
There are several crucial stages in the Venus loop, all of which correspond with important developments of a theme.

1. Venus catches up with the Sun in a long combustion process stretching over a month.
It is worth noting that Waldemar got eaten in the Venus retrograde cycle, whilst Olek restored the natural state of things when the new Venus/Sun direct cycle started. It’s very stressful, and relationships are put under the magnifying glass. This generates heat, but also gives a new lease of life. Some love relationships undergo the fate of Icarus – flying too close to the Sun, they crash. For the current Leo conjunction though, the Sun is more likely to be replaced by the explosion of flash bulbs at society weddings.

2. After 8 months Venus enters the loop of its coming retrograde phase.
Still direct it passes the point at which it will end its retrograde movement 75 days into the future. For example Venus will pass 9.38 Gemini on April 14th, 2003. This is the degree at which Venus goes direct on June 29th. The first intimations of the significance of the whole retrograde loop can become apparent at this time. A circumstance or problem will present itself and become more and more acute as Venus slows down.

3. Venus, still direct, now reaches the degree at which it will make the retrograde conjunction with the Sun.
Next year this happens on April 26th at 18 Gemini, 43 days before the actual conjunction on June 8th. At this time a preview of a coming crisis plays itself out. (During this point of the 2002 Scorpio loop I had a gold ring repaired, but the goldsmith nearly ruined it. Gold ornaments are a recurring theme of Sun/Venus contacts).

4. Venus grinds to a halt to become stationary retrograde.
The Venus stations in Scorpio, which took place for example in 1986, 1994, 2002 almost always bring economic crisis, disaster or retrenchment. It’s a fatal time for a business launch. In Copenhagen a new newspaper, “Dagen”, was launched on 23rd October 2002.

See chart for the day

Looking at the chart, it certainly makes the best of the aspects of the time. It’s a good choice to have Pluto exactly trine Jupiter, with Mercury in Libra making a sextile to both. Probably the content was fine, but the economy was not. It folded 40 days later when a check to a catering company bounced, and the investors lost millions. But then Venus, retrograde in Scorpio after having squared showy Jupiter, and moving back to square Neptune and confront the Sun in Scorpio, could not have been weaker.

In the progressed chart stationary Venus marks a turning point in love in connection with bonds to the past. As Venus will inevitably retrograde back into a previous sign in the current historic period (with the exception of when it occurs in Gemini or Aries), this often means returning to an old environment. Generally relationships that occur in the whole 40+ year retrograde period go against the grain in some way, and there is often a strong feeling of “familiarity” with the person involved. After all, Venus has traversed this territory before.

5. Venus retrograde conjoins the Sun.
Whilst the superior conjunction takes weeks to perfect, this conjunction is only exact for a day, and is over in the space of a few days. It’s the first meeting of Venus and the Sun since the cycle started, and events here often relate to what happened at the superior conjunction 9½ months earlier, with related issues connected with phases 3 and 2. Depending on sign and aspects, this is an acute moment… payoff time perhaps. (Se Johan Hjelmborg og Louise Kirseboms artikel på for eksempler) As with retrogrades in general, hidden information comes to light – and in this case it is often erotic or financial. If this rare conjunction occurs in the birth chart, it indicates an extremely complex love for the father, which comes to haunt later relationships. At the same time it can show extraordinary insight into love. If Venus turns retrograde by progression, then the inferior conjunction inevitably takes place 22 years later, and in some cases can be likened to “seeing the light”, perhaps connected to an extraordinary meeting.

6. Venus moves stationary direct.
This is the most profound moment of the cycle. People born at this moment are often destined to convey a deep message about values in relationships… karmically they have really gone over matters again and again. For example the 1958 station at 0 Aquarius took place in square aspect to a Jupiter/Neptune/North Node conjunction around 4 degrees Scorpio in the 3rd house. By progression Venus activates this square for anything up to 30 years. One client born at this time is a world-renowned choir leader, who wants to create the world’s first institute for non-verbal communication. The direct movement of Venus is a moment of release. Probably resources are at a low point, but potential is at its highest. Lessons have been learned, and from now on Venus will gather speed and progress unimpeded. It is also the end of a phase of over 40 days/years when Venus was retrograde, and as such can signal a complete change of direction and taste. One person I know stopped her lesbian relationship and married at this point.

7. Venus returns for the third time to the degree at which it conjoined the Sun.
Themes from phases 5 and 3 are picked up in a final adjustment of whatever issues were tackled at that time. For example, economic costs incurred at the retrograde conjunction are paid.

8. Venus leaves the loop, crossing the degree at which it went retrograde.
For example Venus goes retrograde at 26 Gemini on May 17th 2004, and then finally passes this point again on August 3rd. This is the definitive end of whatever was the theme of the whole loop. In the progressed chart a person can be born with Venus direct but still in the loop. When Venus moves beyond the loop then a whole relationship phase can inexplicably end. There is the sense that new territory lies ahead, with new people and new bonds.

Retrograde Venus and US elections

The coming Venus loop in 2004 is naturally part of an 8 year cycle occurring in Gemini, and this of course means that every second US election takes place just after a time when Venus has been in Gemini for over 4 months. This means that historically Venus has conjoined the US Mars at 21 Gemini, and squared the US Neptune three times just prior to every second election. As the retrogradation takes place 2 degrees earlier in the sign with every cycle, the stationary direct Venus approaches the US Uranus at 8.55 Gemini more and more with each cycle. This time the station takes place at 9.38 Gemini, so it is possible that there are some sudden surprises around the end of June 2004 as it comes within orb. At any rate this Venus loop corresponds very well with the aggressive campaigning, speechifying and travelling that takes place prior to the election. The US is polarized at this time and has to make a stark choice. With the activation of the Mars/Neptune square, truth is not the issue… image is everything.

The Venus/Pluto opposition

The significance about the coming retrograde Venus cycle is that transit Pluto has by his time reached the opposition to the US Mars, so that there is a greater sense of urgent crisis, especially connected with the US military. The Venus/Pluto opposition which takes place three times in May, June and July 2004, could really show a very powerful group of women who confront the evasive Mars/Neptune – US generals and anyone who supports military expansion. There will be an insistence on military cutback and withdrawal, which will become a major election theme. As Venus/Pluto also indicates economic exhaustion, and concealment of economic expenses, clearly compromising information about military decisions and expenditure will threaten the political status quo. This is the one and only time the Venus retrograde cycle in Gemini will oppose Pluto.

Venus is full of mysteries, and this article just represents a small part of the relationship this planet has to the Sun and Earth. Its loops through five signs every eight years have been well documented, and its lotus-like light path through the sky is a source of wonder. A first step to a deeper understanding of its influence in your own chart is to identify which phase of the direct and retrograde cycle it is in, and to correlate this phase with the unfolding of relationships and economy in your life.

Adrian Ross Duncan.

August 13th 2003.

Mars in prison by the sea – Guantanamo

Planets visiting Pisces have many manifestations, and when depicted in an upbeat light, they can be said to be uplifted, transcendent, creative, caring and spiritual. These qualities are arrived at by a process of refinement of the grosser manifestations of human behavior. In Pisces, humans can no longer get away with how they might like to act as a normal member of society – it just does not seem to work. Perhaps that is why so much suffering is associated with Pisces; material pleasures pall, ambitions seem empty, desires run riot but do not bring satisfaction. Learning spiritual lessons comes at the cost of having to give up the ways of the world. So when the astrologer tells the client that he or she is entering a great period for spiritual growth, that’s often code for a long and trying period.The Fate of Pisces

Many Pisceans, or people affected by a difficult Neptune aspect or transit, will be able to tell a story of repeated efforts ending in dissolution, of a sense that the world is weighted against them, that they are misunderstood or hard done by. Hence the tendency of Pisceans to withdraw – either mentally into a world of fantasy and imagination, or physically to remote places. Undisturbed by the dreary demands of so-called reality, they can pursue their errand with who or what they perceive to be God. Some discover that the world is nothing more or less than what you perceive it to be, and rejecting martyrdom make life a playground for their creative ideas, often becoming rich and successful in the process. Others identify with fellow sufferers, and become shepherds for lost souls. Others still discover that, yes, the world is out to get them and fight imaginary battles against imaginary enemies. But even those Pisceans who descend to the absolute depths find redemption through giving themselves up totally to the battles within their soul.

And it is possible to imagine these battles right now, in the souls of those imprisoned in the world. With the transit of Uranus through Pisces from March 10th 2003 to March 12th 2011, prison is just one of the areas that will be highlighted. And with the current movement of Mars back and forth through Pisces from June 17th to December 16th – six long months – 2003 will be the year when the greatest trouble and suffering will manifest. Problems to do with prisons in this period will capture the public imagination… and they won’t go away.


That is the significance of the closely-guarded Guantanamo prison camp in these months, which has all the qualities of the Mars/Uranus conjunction in Pisces. It’s a prison housing religious militants on an island . Therefore, by following the aspects to Uranus and Mars in Pisces over the coming months, it should be quite possible to predict how things will develop. Guantanamo is an American outpost on the tip of Cuba, which is not technically a part of America (and obviously the Cubans don’t dare demand it back). Guantanamo is not a country, so it’s not subject to international law, which is quite useful, because prisoners can be held indefinitely and without charge for as long as the American military want. The militants – Mars/Uranus in Pisces – are having a hard time there particularly because they have no status, no international protection, and no way of knowing when – if ever – they will be released. The prison houses almost 700 people most of whom are very young, teenagers really. Three are between 13 and 15 years of age. Ten attempted suicide in 2002, and 11 more in the first three months of 2003.

The only journalist to enter the camp is Ted Conover (Note 1), who reports that prisoners can see documentaries about the ocean, Disney cartoons – and the only feature film: Cast Away (with Tom Hanks starring as a man surviving alone on a desert island.) Like Tom Hanks, these prisoners dropped from the sky onto some unknown island to experience indefinite detention. The slogan at the camp’s main gate is “Honor bound to Defend Freedom”. (Slightly reminiscent of war-time Germany’s “Arbeit mach frei”?)

Legal Limbo

As Guantanamo holds combatants from 42 countries, it’s a bit of a foreign relations disaster for the USA, especially as some are allied nationals, coming from countries like Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Australia and England. There are conventions ratified by the UN, which protect child prisoners, but then Guantanamo is not part of the UN. Each prisoner lives in a 7 ft by 8 ft cell (about 2½ meters by 2 meters) with wire mesh walls, and is allowed out 3 times a week for 20 minutes of solitary exercise, and when leaving the cell must be shackled. Had the inmates been designated as prisoners of war, then they would have enjoyed protection from the Geneva Convention that would have prevented solitary confinement and interrogation, but with their status legally undefined, they are subject to repetitive interviews from different US intelligent agencies who all have an agenda.

In April this year, Secretary of State Colin Powell – chided by foreign ministers around the world – sent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a strongly-worded letter pointing out the dangers to America’s reputation which Guantanamo represents. Here in July 2003, matters are reaching crisis point. Tony Blair, already under pressure from member of the Labour party to assert his independence from Bush, is facing concerns that the coming military tribunals in Guantanamo could result in the death penalty – also for the British prisoners. Apparently officials at Guantanamo have begun planning for construction of court facilities and an execution chamber.

Activation of Uranus/Jupiter opposition

See how Mars and Jupiter trigger Uranus and Pluto

The first obvious crisis in this respect is the coming opposition between Jupiter and Uranus, which happens on August 30th at 0.34 Virgo/Pisces. This opposition takes place on the borderline between two signs. Looking at the graph, it can be seen that retrograde Mars goes back to oppose Jupiter on September 7th and then goes direct at 0.07 Pisces at the end of September, narrowly avoiding a second conjunction with Uranus. This period will be a time of uproar about justice. There will be world indignation about matters of international law. The fact that zero degrees is activated emphasizes the issue of borderline matters – that Guantanamo is on (the edge of) an island and outside international law and that detainees have no official status is part of the picture. Although there can be many other crises in the difficult month of September, Guantanamo will certainly be a major one.


It is interesting to note that the chart for Cuba (Note 2), when it was granted independence from the USA in 1902, shows an Ascendant/Descendant axis of 0.17 Virgo/Pisces. This further emphasizes the focus on Guantanamo in the months to come. This chart for Cuba shows a Mercury/Pluto conjunction at 17-19 Gemini in opposition to Uranus at 20 Sagittarius – just the spot for extreme manifestations of the law perhaps. The current Pluto transit of this aspect will show upheaval in the legal status of Cuba, and radical change in its international relationships over the next year. Actually, the Cuban government ended a 3-year moratorium on the death penalty this year, and sentenced to death three hijackers in April provoking bitter international protests. America has obviously chosen the right place for it’s future trials of the detainees.

Consequences for Washington

The astrological picture is clearer looking at the chart for the New Moon around this time, calculated for Washington.

See chart for New Moon in Washington

Here, with the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus about to form, the new Moon also draws the Mars/Venus opposition into a massive constellation of tension, which falls on the MC/IC axis in the US capital. As new moon charts tend to describe events over the following month, this presages many troubles and worries for the US government. It’s a time when the US progressed Mercury retrogrades to conjoin the Sun – a very rare event which takes place coincidentally on September 11th (happening extraordinarily synchronistically just as transit Mercury retrograde also conjoins the Sun and squares Pluto.)

The Venus/Jupiter conjunction in early September is a force for peace and mercy, but both planets are weakly placed, suggesting that their influence will be ineffectual and swept aside. The Mars/Uranus conjunction is perhaps a more powerful influence, indicated continued anxiety about terrorist threats – an anxiety that is probably justified. During September opposing forces will be arrayed, one representing the voice of logic and reason, the other the presenting the specter of irrational fears. Obviously there will be virulent criticism of the US government, both from within and from abroad.

The Jupiter/Uranus cycle

The fact that Mars is retrograde until September 20th shows many old issues returning to haunt the administration, not least the misleading of the country about those infamous weapons of mass destruction which Iraq was supposed to possess – part of the big lie of the earlier Neptune/Jupiter opposition. Thus there will be battles on many fronts, and the planets in Virgo will strive to get clarity, whilst the planets in Pisces will strive to maintain the smokescreen. The backdrop for all these developments is the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, which takes place every 14 years, bringing revolutionary justice, battles for intellectual freedom, and struggles for transparency in international law. Going back 14 years, this was the time of revolution in Eastern Europe, and subsequent freedom of movement between borders. 14 years prior to that, when the opposition took place from Taurus/Scorpio the US high court upheld that the death penalty did not constitute unnatural punishment. It is very likely that the death penalty will loom large as an international issue as Jupiter moves away from its opposition to Uranus to make a square to Pluto in July 2004. However unnatural it is, anxiety will probably win out anyway at this time.


After the September crisis in international relations through developments in Guantanamo, the next key period will be in November. At this time Mars, now direct in Pisces, will again oppose Jupiter and go on to square Pluto. Of course, a major theme of Mars in Pisces is self-immolation and suicide. This relates to suicide bombers just as it does to the Iranians who set themselves on fire in June (just as Mars entered Pisces) to protest at their political party being branded as terrorist and banned in Europe. Not just prisoners at Guantanamo are affected either – the whole issue of prisoner releases in the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Palestine is part of the larger picture. It is possible that that as Mars stops at 0 Pisces (imprisonment), and does not go into Aquarius (freedom) that neither prisoners in Cuba, nor in Israel will be released in significant numbers. November will again see these issues coming to ahead amongst a growing atmosphere of extremism.

These developments reach their finale in April 2004 with a Mars/Venus conjunction in Gemini opposing Pluto, which by this time is exactly opposing US Mars at 21.23 Gemini). There can hardly be any doubt that the USA will assert its power at this time notwithstanding international opposition, and they are unlikely to be intimidated into avoiding the death penalty. It is in these months, leading up to the US election, that America’s military will be high on the political agenda. A vast restructuring of the US army is unavoidable, and indeed it is part of Donald Rumsfeld’s grand plan for change to have highly mobile and smaller elite forces placed strategically around the world. What is likely however is that the Mars in Pisces will show US troops getting bogged down, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that restructuring can be more far-reaching than anyone in the State Department imagines right now.

It is unlikely that the current US government will bow to pressure about the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. But the polarization of world opinion regarding this peculiar manifestation of American justice will be a volatile issue for months to come. Guards at Guantanamo have cut a large hole in the canvas that had been shielding the prisoners from a view of the bay, and say that the prisoners now derive great pleasure from looking at the ocean. Well-fed, and with the requisite health care, they have put on weight, and can learn more about their hosts through watching Walt Disney cartoons. Yes, torture has many forms.

Adrian Ross Duncan 14.07.2003

Note 1. The Observer: 13.07.2003
Note 2: Cuba independence: 20.05.1902. 12.00 Havana 82W22 23N08 (Book of World Horoscopes: Nick Campion)


Anybody who has crossed the border between two countries knows how it is. Some borders of course a traditionally worse than others, and you would not get far trying to go from South to North Korea for example. There the no-man’s-land is seeded with mines, and electronics register anyone so foolish to intrude, night or day. But even a relatively innocuous border like that between Poland and Germany retains the essential characteristics:1. When the traveler approaches the border he/she is still in a very familiar landscape. The language is well known, the car number plates recognizable. Toilets and plumbing have a particular design and size of pipe; electricity fittings are as expected. The coffee tastes just so, as does the tea, beer etc. The people are dressed in a certain style; the men and women relate in a distinctive way. You are familiar with the money.

2. When you reach the border, you’ll find an outpost pertaining to the country you’re coming from, a stretch of land, which appears to belong to nobody, then an outpost representing the country you are going to. There is a sense of excitement and expectancy, but also a feeling of bleakness, even of danger. Anything could happen here: will your passport be accepted, will the border be closed, will you be searched? It’s a very vulnerable position indeed.

3. You enter the new country. You are completely lost. You don’t know the language, may not even have the appropriate currency yet. The toilets work differently, the coffee tastes weird. You’re on new territory; all your senses are alert, you’re eager to discover but you tread carefully.

Planets on the cusp

That’s what it’s like to be on a border – also when you’re a planet. Planets enter each new sign according to their rhythm, completely satiated with experience from the previous sign, in a state of transition, and poised to learn anew. There is very little of the cusp effect – where the planet is influenced by the next or previous sign – unless a planet is in the very last or very first degree of a sign, on perhaps just ½ degree from the zero mark. But even in such cases, a planet at 29.59 degrees is still fully associated with the sign it is in. But it is satiated, tired even; it has no stomach for further experiences in a sign it is expert at expressing itself in, and is dying to move on. It is old and mature. Nothing more can happen where it is. A planet at 0.01 of a new sign has abandoned the baggage of the last sign at the border like a useless currency. If it is going to make progress, and it surely is, then it will need a new language – Polish will not do in Germany. This planet is completely rejuvenated, but naive and prone to error.

Retrograde and direct

And then there are the borderliners. These are planets which make a journey into a new sign, but hesitate and stop after a period of time, to return to the previous sign in retrograde motion, only to stop again and re-enter the new sign. Such is Uranus in 2003, entering Pisces on March 3rd 2003, only to return to Aquarius on September 15th, turning at 28.54 Aquarius on November 8th, finally returning to Pisces on December 30th. A borderliner is inspired with a mission, which is to bring the experience and wisdom of a sign backwards or forwards to the previous/next sign.

Uranus: Pisces > Aquarius

As regards Uranus, the transition between Aquarius and Pisces saw the switch of emphasis from UN diplomacy (Aquarius) to the “shock and awe” invasion over Iraq’s border to get the oil. Sorry, to get the weapons of mass destruction 😉 … Jupiter is still in opposition to Neptune, so let’s keep up appearances. Those fearsome weapons will probably be “found” when Jupiter trines Pluto in early July. With the experience of Uranus in Pisces informing the revisit to Aquarius, September to December will amongst other things show some UN follow-up from the Iraq war. There will also be some kind of attempt at international consensus about the ravages of the effects reflected by Uranus in Pisces – health issues (SARS), poverty and chaos, pollution and fishing, dirty bombs etc.

Mars and Uranus: an explosive pair

When a borderliner crosses and re-crosses a border, it marks territory. From the point of view of Uranus in 2003 this means that the degrees from 2.49 Pisces (where it goes retrograde on June 7th) to 28.54 Aquarius (where it goes direct) are sensitized and explosive – a band of the zodiac of about 4 degrees has been “seeded”. Any other planet entering any part of this territory will be subject to the unpredictable energy of Uranus. I write this article with Mars at 0.08 Pisces, and this planet will also go retrograde at 10 Pisces in July to go direct again at 0.07 Pisces. It does not quite make borderline status, nor does it quite catch retrograde Uranus, which by this time has retreated into Aquarius. Nevertheless Mars is in the minefield which Uranus previously seeded, and can easily stumble against the trigger wires – September is the month to watch, with the close (but never exact) Mars/Uranus conjunction.

Borderliners in progressions

Cross-border traffic can also happen in the birth horoscope. A person could for example have Jupiter at 22 Capricorn, and its primary influence would of course be Capricornian. But prior to birth Jupiter might actually have reached 2 Aquarius before going retrograde. Jupiter seeds an area of about 10 degrees by retrograde motion. This would mean that the person in question would have access to a body of wisdom related to Aquarius, which it is his mission to realize in a practical way through Capricorn skills. When planets cross and re-cross borders in this way, there really is a cusp influence, in the sense that the person is influenced by the adjacent sign. This person has a mission to introduce the concepts of one sign to the denizens of another. This could be a spy who gathers information for his masters, a merchant bringing wares from afar, an immigrant or refugee, or a person who marries cross-culturally.

MC/IC axis

All the planets have the ability to be borderliners through retrograde motion; only the Sun, Moon, Ascendant and MC cannot. Nevertheless the angles of the chart have great significance when they sit astride two signs. In this case it is almost invariably the case that the person has one foot in one area, and the other somewhere quite different. A person with the MC/IC axis in the last couple of degrees of Gemini/Sagittarius will have an area of the life corresponding to these signs – working perhaps as a salesman and always on the move internationally. Then he might have an area of life corresponding to Cancer/Capricorn – a second job on the family farm, for example. Similarly a person with the Ascendant/Descendant axis on the cusp might have two quite separate lifestyles, and two quite separate areas of relationship.

Israel – a borderline case

See horoscope of Israel

Sometimes the very fate of a country is contained in its borderline status. Israel has Libra rising and ruling planet Venus at 4 degrees Cancer is in the 9th house exactly on the USA’s Jupiter/Venus conjunction. This reflects the incredibly strong and fortunate economic bonds to America, and shows the Israeli population having their roots abroad. Israel’s Venus goes retrograde by progression at 11 Cancer 19 days/years after its creation, whereupon Venus journeys back into Gemini. It enters Gemini by progression in 1994 at about the time of the Oslo agreement, and leaves Gemini in 2028. As Israel was founded with Uranus at 24 Gemini there is a long conjunction of progressed Venus to progressed Uranus, starting in 1999 and ending in 2026. That’s a challenging dialogue! The whole fate of Israel in this period is tied up with sporadic and difficult communication across an enormous cultural, religious and linguistic divide. Yet it is their mission to learn about division – not until successful dialogue has been created where two nations live side by side (Gemini) can they return to the comforts and security of Cancer. Don’t expect this to be complete before 2028

The Transition

The actual transition point of a sign cusp often has extremely unusual characteristics. It is almost like restarting a computer after the installation of a new operating system. In the interval, the system is down. It’s a bit like that when the Ascendant sign changes at any particular moment during the day. Clients arriving at this time (or just people you meet) – with an Ascendant in the last few degrees or first few degrees of a sign – often don’t quite know where they are. But as an astrologer, you do know where they are. The last degrees reflect a person winding up an existing situation, not in a position to make any further important adjustments to it, yet often not fully aware of what lies ahead. The first few degrees reflect a person perhaps somewhat dazed by change, not at all sure of what lies ahead and how to make the first moves, but absolutely incapable of returning to a previous situation.

Each sign cusp has it special signature:

Aries/Taurus : The energy has run out, the excitement has palled. It’s time to go for security and make some money. The warrior lays down his arms and gives himself over to pleasure.
Taurus/Gemini : Security has degenerated into stagnation. The urge to leave the secure harbor manifests. The couch potato enrolls on a course; there is the bubble of laughter and conversation.
Gemini/Cancer : Learning offers no more advantages; it’s time to mature and build a home. The incarnated intellectual marries and gets children.
Cancer/Leo : Clannish protectiveness is no longer fulfilling, and the urge to create and get recognition manifests. The family man/woman drops the kids and realizes his/herself. Leo/Virgo : Fame is empty, the ego is satiated; there is more meaning in dedicating self to others and helping. The unemployed artist gets a job; the boss retires and takes less-demanding work.
Virgo/Libra : There is weariness with meaningless and repetitive work, and the realization that a relationship consists of sharing not serving. The wage-slave spends money on new clothes and starts wooing.
Libra/Scorpio : The unbearable lightness of being makes way for a readiness to confront the monsters within. Superficiality makes way for depth. The party person decides to take a huge emotional risk.
Scorpio/Sagittarius : Dredging the depths brings endless mud – it’s time to lighten up and see the world. Emotional wrecks see light on the horizon – there is hope and happiness.
Sagittarius/Capricorn : What are wisdom and worldly ways if they can’t be used practically? It’s time to get down to business. The cosmopolitan slams on the brakes and sets some serious goals.
Capricorn/Aquarius : Work for its own sake seems empty, and status no longer fulfilling. Radical experiments are taken with new (international) social perspectives. The businessman drops ambitions and involves himself in the community.
Aquarius/Pisces : Freedom and wildness are not the answer; there is a spiritual turn. (But it can get wilder). Strange problems bring even stranger solutions. A man abandons his friends and sails around the world.
Pisces/Aries : Nothing has worked; life is empty and meaningless – so why not make something happen? Forgetting the sorrows – it’s all the past now – naive enthusiasm becomes the guiding light. The martyr becomes warrior.

Marking territory

The distant planets from Uranus, Neptune and Pluto seed an area from about 3½ to 2½ degrees, and will almost always be borderliners, returning over a cusp every time they change signs. Saturn and Jupiter, which seed an area of 10 and 7 degrees respectively, make large jumps in direct motion, and therefore only periodically acquire borderline status. For example Saturn went retrograde at 29 Gemini in October 2002, and goes direct at 6 Cancer in March 2004, so never makes a bridge between the two signs. Faster moving planets like Mercury periodically make extraordinary trips backwards and forwards over borders, and these are related to more specific short-term events. One notable recent occasion was when Mercury retrograded back to 29.56 Libra from Scorpio on the day of the November 2000 US election, where it remained for just a day. As everyone will recall, the election hung on a knife-edge, with the balance going first up and then down – what greater testimony to the influence of a borderline Libra position?

In the progressed chart, such a borderline movement would have enormous significance. One client born in August 1959 had Venus retrograde in Virgo, which at the age of 30 stationed on at 29.52 Leo, spending 4 years on this key degree before returning to Virgo. During those 4 years he had a wonderful relationship with a very dramatic and well-known personality, only for it to mysteriously peter out, and since the Venus return to Virgo, no relationships have matched this meeting, and the client remains unmarried.

The Transition

Understanding the meaning of a planet’s progress through a sign adds a new dimension to planetary placement, showing that it’s not just the sign a planet is in, but also the degree that is significant. Early in a sign it has lots to learn; if it’s in the middle decanate there is a fine balance of potential and experience, and towards the end, maturity but weariness. Added to this is the completely special status of the borderliner, whose mission it is to create a bridge from one world and consciousness, to another. Understanding this status can give a completely new perspective on a horoscope – for example that of Israel – and serve as a guide following and expressing a unique mission.

Adrian Ross Duncan 17th June, 2003.

Bush-Clinton, A Study in progressed Mercury

Prediction with astrology has never been an exact science. Whilst there have been attempts throughout astrological history to build up sets of rules for judging contests and finding outcomes, such rules are unreliable, perhaps because no set of astronomical circumstances ever repeats itself exactly. Furthermore, what may have worked in the 15th century under certain historical conditions is unlikely to work in the same way in the 21st century. Even different cultural conditions during the same period of history can bring quite different outcomes to astrological stimuli.Progressions

One of the most challenging predictive tools is the art of Progressions, which are based on the premise that each day after birth (the complete rotation of the Earth on its axis) is symbolically equivalent to each year of life (the complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun). Many astrologers have given preference to transits for predictive purposes, as these seem far more reliable, at least in terms of psychological change. Yet transits do not reveal personal fate as precisely as progressions do – they show how the individual reacts to collective change, whilst progressions show how the individual character unfolds according to a unique personal time line.


Transits have limitations when used predictively in the political world because it is difficult to know whether a politician will ride the collective wave symbolized by the transit, or be drowned by it. Maybe it is a question of personal character. Certainly Tony Blair swept to overwhelming power when transiting Pluto conjoined his Descendant – a transit which might reasonably have been expected to show implacable and insurmountable opposition. If astrology is a study of subtle effects on humanity, then progressions are even more subtle in their influence.

Mercury progressed in the US chart

See progressed horoscope for USA

Yet occasionally there are effects that correlate so well with a particular progression that you just know it’s being powerfully manifested. One of the more curious influences current right now in the US (Sibley) horoscope is the retrograde progression of Mercury from Pisces into Aquarius. Mercury progressed changed sign in July 2002, and in September 2003 it will make a very rare retrograde conjunction with the US progressed Sun. The last time this happened was, curiously, during the Klondyke Gold Rush in 1897. The rush was Mercury; gold, the Sun.

In Bed

What has been particularly delightful about this aspect was the new practice of “embedding” journalists. With President Bush and his advisors so aware of the influence of the media in this period, they came up with the clever idea of forcing journalists to be integrated with US soldiers during the Iraq war. Firstly this ensured that all the input and output was controlled by US censorship, and secondly it’s fairly difficult to be together with soldiers in a combat unit and not to bond emotionally with them, and thereby report favorably. Embedding showed reporters subsumed by the power they should have been objectively reporting about. Mercury and the Sun – combust. Woe betide any journalists who did not go to bed with the government on this one – as Al Jazeera found out to its dismay. Not only was there website hacked so that it was inoperative during the war, but their TV hotel base in Baghdad was heavily shelled by US forces, even though they had provided coordinates of their exact position to the troops.

Bush and the Press

The current Mercury/Sun inferior conjunction in the US chart is indicative of information and communication being in the total control of US leadership. Even the media themselves are astonished at the slick presentation of Bush by his media advisors and TV experts.. Some may recall the “Top Gun” landing of Bush on the deck of the carrier Abraham Lincoln after the Iraq war – great presidential theater there. For a speech at Mount Rushmore in 2002 Bush was positioned on a platform so that he was filmed with his head in precise profile with all the other great American presidents. This media savvy comes from the hiring of a number of top TV experts and image makers who approach every news event with Bush as if it was a TV set, sparing no expense on lightning, preparation and prior organization. Media people were on the carrier days before to prepare the event.

Democratic opposition

With such skilled manipulation of the media, and riding a huge wave of popularity after the military successes in Iraq it would seem that Bush is in an enviably strong position to contest the next presidential election. With over 70% approval ratings, there is hardly a democratic candidate that dares challenge him. Names like John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and Howard Dean are mentioned but have yet to declare themselves in the running. Yet there are strong parallels to a previous election, where Democrats left the way open for Bill Clinton because of another President Bush’s even higher popularity after an earlier Gulf War. Perhaps following the current progressions in the US chart will provide a clue to the election outcome.


Immediately after 9/11 the USA’s progressed Sun conjoined its natal Moon at 27.10 Aquarius in the 3rd house, evoking a surge of emotion amongst all the disparate ethnic groups in the US. They united behind the country, and behind Bush, who has his natal Sun exactly on the USA Sun. On this wave of patriotism – factories could not keep up with the demand for US flags – Bush was able to push through a very strong Republican agenda, and, for a while at least, he had the backing of the whole world.

Mercury combust the Sun

As Mercury retrogrades past the Sun, it too will conjoin the Moon at the exact time of the inauguration of the next president. This suggests firstly, that the newly-elected president is familiar with the American people, and that concealed information may be revealed to the public. Whilst Mercury’s current conjunction with the Sun shows news media and the leadership at one, it also shows transference of information of a compromising nature. The combustion of the Sun and Mercury damages them both. (Witness for example the recent New York Times scandal, where a journalist fabricated stories for years.) This information will be transferred to the Moon – the people – around the time of the next election. But also, it suggests a repeat, because Mercury conjoined the US Moon in direct motion 20 years earlier in 1984, at the time of the re-election of Reagan… heartening perhaps for Bush… and the indictment of government officials in the Iran/Contra affair… not so heartening. The point about the Mercury/Moon contact is that the voice of the people will be heard, and the people are very curious.

A Dangerous Anniversay

In the same way, the current inferior progressed Sun/Mercury conjunction in the US chart reflects the past superior conjunction, which took place 48 years earlier in 1956. It’s a complete loop of time connected amongst other things with the media and the president. Eisenhower got re-elected in a landslide victory at this time. The interesting thing about this conjunction was that the US exploded the world’s first hydrogen bomb on May 21st the very day it was exact – there’s the power of the Sun! The retrograde conjunction this year takes place, rather ominously, on September 11th. It’s a strange thing, but transiting Mercury on this date is retrograde and conjoins the Sun an hour before midnight on September 11th too (exactly square Pluto). As Mars retrograde comes to within a degree of Uranus at this time, and opposes Jupiter, September 2003 will prove to be an extremely volatile month.

The US Progressed Sun

It does seem that progressed sun in the US chart reflects the fate of US presidents; you only have to go back to the impeachment and resignation of Nixon in August 1974. The Sun had conjoined the USA radix and progressed Pluto during 1972 and 1973, at the time of the imminent destruction of the presidency. In 1975 progressed Sun moved from Capricorn into Aquarius, and the US people could not wait to elect a new leader after lame duck Ford, and they duly elected Carter in 1976 with the Sun at 1 Capricorn.

A New Sun

And that’s the curious thing about the 2004 election. On the very election date – November 2 – the US Sun moves by progression to 0.00 Pisces. Will the electorate be as tired of the Bush dynasty at this time, as they were of Nixon? There are signs that they will. When the US progressed Sun reaches 29.48 Aquarius on August 20th 2004, it will be sesquisquare the elevated US Saturn in Libra – Congress. This is reinforced by transiting Saturn, which will have conjoined both the US and Bush’s Sun in June 2004. This transit occurred of course 30 years previously – on the very date of Nixon’s resignation on August 8th, 1974. So there is reason to believe that Bush may have squandered his national popularity at this time, just as he has recently done internationally. One cannot help wondering whether the extraordinary parallels in recent US history will continue. Now here’s a nightmare scenario for Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their presidential protegee: Could the next election also be a Bush/Clinton race? Bush no. 2 wins Gulf War 2, and loses an election on the perilous state of the economy as Bush no.1 did.

The Republican Nightmare

Clinton in the White House?! Why not? She’s done a great job as a New York senator in recent years. She has a nice way with words too. Here is a recent Hillary quote in Congress about Bush’s tax cuts:
Churchill once said, “Never in the field of human conflict have so few given so much to so many.” The Bush economic plan turns that saying on its head: “Never in the field of economics have so few been given so much at the expense of so many” .
And she has a point. Bush has turned a large budget surplus into a huge deficit in the space of two years. Whilst he persists with tax cuts, teachers, nurses, policemen, firemen are being laid off, because there are simply not the funds in State treasuries to pay their salaries. Hillary Clinton says she won’t run in 2004, just like Bill said he wouldn’t in 1992. But with progressed Mercury retrograde, perhaps we can expect the past to be revisited.

The Ascendancy of the Feminine

See horoscope of Hillary Clinton

Apart from the symbolic suggestion that there is a presidential change as the progressed Sun after 30 years moves from 29.59 Aquarius to 0.00 Pisces on the election, there is another powerful indication of radical change in America. Using progressions for the Sibley chart – a chart which has gained in validity since 9/11 when the Pluto/Saturn opposition fell on the Ascendant axis – the progressed Descendant moves to conjoin radix Moon (and of course the progressed retrograde Mercury) just two years after the election. This does not seem to indicate a continuation of the macho brigade, cowboy boots and the like. It indicates a woman. Had there been a non-white woman in the race, this could have been a strong indication for the USA’s first black woman president, but maybe that’s going too far. To back up the power of the feminine, the US progressed Venus will be at 13.28 Aries on election night… square the US Sun (and Bush’s Sun), whilst the progressed Moon will be just 1 degree from the US Sun. Bearing in mind how well Hillary is reflected by Venus in Aries – when uppity Hillary moved into the White House in 1993 the US progressed Venus moved from 29.59 Pisces to 0.00 Aries – it could indicate her successful bid for highest office.

Bush/Clinton 2004

See the election horoscope

Looking at a chart for the election, Venus is at 5.22 Libra and Jupiter 8.03 Libra… squaring the US Venus/Jupiter conjunction, and conjoining Bill Clinton’s Mars/Neptune/Ascendant conjunction at 6 Libra and Venus at 11 Libra. However, George Bush ( has progressed Venus conjoining his progressed Jupiter just prior to the election. This may seem favorable, but progressed Venus conjoined radix Jupiter seven years earlier, and this could also symbolize the rounding off of a period of great good fortune. He will also have progressed MC/IC axis exactly on his North/South Node, which could be a moment of destiny, or a move. This is compounded by the fact that transiting Pluto at 20.35 is exactly on Bush’s South Node, supercharging the progressed MC. The man will be ejected, and will leave behind his old associates.

Tecumseh’s curse
It’s worth noting that Bush’s birth time seems very accurate, as when he went to war, his progressed MC conjoined radix Uranus. It is possible that the continued activation of his progressed Uranus around the election period by both the progressed MC and Ascendant gives a period of uncertainty. Some astrologers have pointed to the fact that no president elected in a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction year (every 20 years) survives his term in office, and that Bush could fall victim to the infamous curse of Tecumseh. Whether that be the case or not, it seems that his last years in office will be unsettled.

Hillary Clinton’s birth time is disputed – it’s said to be either at 8 p.m. or 8 a.m. on October 27th 1947. These times give the same MC/IC axis degrees – 5 degrees Virgo/Pisces. With Uranus hovering around this point during election campaign year, it seems certain that she will be on the move, jetting around the country and due for a more permanent change of location. Furthermore her progressed Mars conjoins her MC (or IC) at the same period. If the more accepted 8 p.m. birth time is used, her progressed Ascendant will arrive on her natal Mars/Pluto conjunction at 14 Leo a year before the election – so she will be in fighting mood and ready to emulate superwoman. By the time of the presidential inauguration, her progressed Sun will have moved into 0 Capricorn (trined by progressed Moon at 0 Taurus), which could be a fitting moment to be chief executive.

This scenario is of course speculative, but if Hillary Clinton declares her candidature, then that’s where to put the money. Mercury does like to do things in pairs: Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Bush will lose, despite his glorious landing on the carrier Abraham Lincoln…it’s the economy, stupid!

(C) Adrian Ross Duncan 27th May 2003.