In these tense days of June 2002, the main focus of world attention is on the border of India and Pakistan. Much to the dismay of India, who claim to have the situation under control, American and EU countries have all advised their citizens to leave both countries now, in the event of a war that could escalate to a nuclear confrontation.

The Saturn-Pluto cycle
It has been obvious for some time that international tension would peak in May and June this year, because the third and final Saturn/Pluto opposition took place on May 26, hours before an eclipse of the Moon at 5 degrees Gemini/Sagittarius. The following new moon on June 10th is also an eclipse, and this time it configures exactly on the Saturn/Pluto opposition. With these eclipses triggering Saturn and Pluto in this way, we can expect all issues concerned with the Saturn/Pluto theme to be highlighted, and this will especially effect countries which attained independence at a time when the Saturn/Pluto cycle was strong. And the countries that spring to mind are Israel, India and Pakistan – all formed on the 1947 conjunction.

Violence over Kashmir

There have been three wars between India and Pakistan in the past, the first two – in 1947/48 and 1965 – and the last in 1971. They have been short and not particularly bloody affairs, with the loss of about 3000 lives and 7000 lives on both sides respectively in the first two wars, and an even smaller number in 1971. Cease-fires have been established quickly, and with the help of the UN a semblance of normality has descended, even though the major problems have not been addressed. Kashmir was, and still is, the chief source of contention, with its predominately Muslim population, which Pakistan claims should accede to it. For the record, it should be noted that Pakistan’s claims to Kashmir can be justified – India managed to retain the state at the 1947 partition even though two thirds of the population were Muslim, in contravention of the partition agreement.

Upheaval in the Subcontinent

The Saturn/Pluto conjunction in the Independence charts for Pakistan and India show countries born in a state of upheaval and on ancient religious fault lines, aptly symbolised by the square to Jupiter in Scorpio. Saturn/Pluto configurations have played a strong role in the upheavals since 1947. When the first confrontation arose on October 26, 1947, Mars had transited from its Independence position to conjoin both planets. At the start of the 2nd war on August 14, 1965, (one day before Independence Day) Pluto had now reached Uranus in Virgo, and Saturn was opposing it with an orb 20 minutes of arc – much the same as at the present June 10, 2002 eclipse. Both these wars started because of infiltration from Pakistani military into Kashmir, followed by retaliation by India – the same formula as here in 2002. The third war was an opportunistic gamble from India’s side because at that time violent disturbances in East Pakistan resulted in over 10 million refugees fleeing over the border to India. Pakistan was very vulnerable, India struck in the East, and the state of Bangladesh arose, as Pakistan gave up its eastern state. This happened at an exact Saturn/Pluto trine.

The Eclipse Trigger

How serious, then, is the current confrontation? There is no doubt that the eclipse trigger of the Saturn/Pluto opposition is very acute, and indeed, things could hardly be worse at the border of India and Pakistan: a horoscope for the eclipse cast for the area shows it falling exactly on the Ascendant/Descendant axis for both countries, with Uranus on the MC. Cast for Delhi Uranus is in the 9th house 3 degrees from the MC. Cast for Islamabad, Uranus is in the 10th house 1 degree from the MC. And in Kashmir it is directly on the MC

See chart for eclipse over India

Astrocartography map of eclipse

It can be concluded that this eclipse highlights the India/Pakistan border as a war zone for many months to come, and that the presence of Uranus on the eclipse MC suggests the possibility of a sudden strike, and the nuclear threat. Traditionally the India subcontinent has been associated with Capricorn, and the June 10 eclipse – which conjoins Saturn – obviously earmarks this area for a long and hard transformation process. There’s plenty of astrological fuel for the fear of nuclear war there, but both India and Pakistan are aware of the futility of nuclear strike, and India has itself promised to abstain from first use. There is no reason to suppose that the leaders of these countries are any more foolish than those of USA and the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold war.

Charts for India and Pakistan

Perhaps a look at the charts for India and Pakistan could provide a clue? They are both said to have been granted independence on the same day, though India astrologer K.N.Rao insists that Pakistan’s chart should be cast for the day previously, putting Mars at 29 Gemini (instead of Cancer) and the Moon at 12 Cancer. Nick Campion, author of The Book of World Horoscopes , claims this is not true, and has his source as The Times . Actually, I do tend to prefer the Rao suggestion, as Mars in Gemini conjoining Uranus might easily suggest the spilt of Pakistan in two neighbouring halves – East and West. But I’ll stick to Campion’s official source in this article, using the same birth date and time.

See chart of Indian Independence

Taking Campion’s data, the main difference is that cast for Delhi, the Indian independence chart gives 0.54 Gemini rising, whilst cast for Karachi, the Pakistan independence chart gives an Ascendant of 17.32 Taurus and MC 4.33 Aquarius. It would be satisfying if these angles responding strongly to progressions. When Pakistan declared an Islamic Republic in 1956, the progressed IC had reached the Saturn/Pluto conjunction – quite telling evidence, but it is not easy to see other dramatic evidence of the progressive horoscope working. For example, there was no war or shock event when the Pakistan Ascendant conjoined Uranus in 1984 (though Indira Gandhi was assassinated at this time). However, when the progressed Ascendant reached Mars, Benazir Bhutto was removed from power.

Progression Triggers

Here in 2002 there are two major activations of Pakistan’s horoscope by progression. The first is the MC square Mars in January, which is very appropriate for the current tense situation, and the second Mars progressed conjoining the IC in November. A double Mars effect at this time shows a country in no mood to be bullied, and could easily show war. Looking at India’s progressed horoscope the most striking progression was when the Ascendant conjoined Uranus at the 3rd Pakistan/India war. The transits for that time were also telling. In 1971 there was a Saturn/Neptune opposition exactly on the India Ascendant/Descendant axis, graphically symbolising the flood of refugees over its borders. Currently the progressed MC for India (Independence) is at 12 Aries, about to trine the Saturn/Pluto conjunction. With both Independence progressed MC’s triggering Mars (Pakistan) and Saturn/Pluto, there are therefore further signs of conflict and restructuring.

Charts for the Republics

A better way of differentiating between the horoscopes for India and Pakistan ís to use the dates they became republics – dates which quite possibly were chosen astrologically. Both republic charts have Aries rising, though India has Mars conjoining Ketu and Neptune in Libra, which is hardly the most warlike combination.

See chart of India republic

See chart of Pakistan republic

Pakistan, on the other hand, has Mars exalted in Capricorn and Mars rules both the Sun and the Ascendant. This undoubtedly shows the tendency for military government. Whilst India, with Sun, Jupiter and Venus in Aquarius, is personified as the largest democracy in the world, Mars in Pakistan’s 10th house does not give democracy very many chances. In this latter chart the exact square between Moon and Venus shows the odd dilemma of females in this Moslem country, where it can have a glamorous leader like Benazir Bhutto, yet a subjugated female population under Sharia law. This heavy rule of the law is probably indicated by the Sun trine Saturn in Sagittarius.

India’s chart shows a brilliantly effective Mercury trine Saturn in mutual reception, which might account for its known efficiency within the IT business. One major recent transit to the India chart has been the Neptune conjunction to it’s Sun, which precisely coincided with the huge earthquake in Gujarat in January 2001. This also coincides with the current period of Hindu religious extremism, which the ruling Nationalist party has cashed in on, evoking considerable internal unrest. Both charts have a number of planets at 17 and 18 degrees, which makes the current Saturn/Pluto opposition and eclipse very powerful. Right now the Indian Republic progressed Ascendant is at 9 degrees Gemini/Sagittarius, on the two bright stars Antares (09 Sagittarius) and Aldebaran (9 Gemini). This position is where the last Neptune/Pluto conjunction fell at the end of the last century, and is sometimes associated with atomic development. This progression is exactly trining India’s Mars (and Ketu) in June 2002, which at best shows aggressive diplomacy, but is otherwise suggestive of war.

The Nuclear Threat

Progressions in the Pakistan Republic chart show the Sun at 17.39 Taurus triggering the Venus/Moon square and the IC about to conjoin Jupiter. It is possible that this indicates the enormous economic boost Pakistan has received with the inflow of American help in the wake of the Afghanistan affair. There is a very interesting progressed Mercury which will go stationary retrograde on the South Node, Ketu, and be triggered by the Ascendant over the next few years. It is conceivable that this could indicate a repolarisation of the media and educational system in its battle against religious dogmatism. It could also be connected with the strengthening of Pakistan’s international bonds because of difficulties with it’s neighbour, India. There seem to be no major transits apart from Pluto’s trine to the Moon. Taking progressions and transits as a whole for both the Independence and Republic horoscopes, there are no obvious indicators of a catastrophe like a nuclear war. Transiting Saturn is on Independence Uranus from August 2002 to April 2003, hopefully indicating nuclear restraint.

Coming Chaos

The main serious transit is of the current Saturn/Pluto squaring the India Republic Saturn, which would definitely have a destabilising effect on government and trade. The destabilisation will affect both countries in 2003 and 2004, as Neptune opposes the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of the independence charts, though the Indian government is liable to be in complete chaos, as Neptune actually transits its MC simultaneously. It’s worth noting that progressed independence Moon will go over progressed Mars in November 2002 and over Saturn and Pluto in mid-2003, so there is definitely going to be a crisis atmosphere. Of course this happened 27 years earlier (in 1976) too, at a time when Indira Gandhi was fighting for her political life, and there was a military coup in Pakistan.

Explosive Years Ahead

The virulence of the June 10 eclipse which peaks over the border area, combined with the involvement of Mars in key progressions, suggests that it is likely that battles will be fought over the next months, stopping short of all-out war, as has been the tradition in previous conflicts. One trigger could be the Mars/Jupiter conjunction in the second week of July on India’s (and Pakistan’s) Moon. True nuclear danger has to be guarded against more from 2005 to 2007, when India republic progressed Sun enters Aries to square Uranus and semisquares Pluto, as progressed Mars retrograde finally squares Uranus and semisquares Pluto. It is a very explosive cocktail, and at a time when transiting Neptune opposes the independence Suns for both countries. It’s almost certain that an extremist leader will be calling the shots in India at this time, and that the nationalist Hindu extremism becomes an aggressive force. It won’t take much to provoke India at this time.

One should bear in mind that India and Pakistan are constructs formed by the departing British at the collapse of their empire. The people of Pakistan and India are one, and feel themselves at one. For the man in the street the border conflict seems meaningless, and every person I have talked to in India feels that the explosive situation is conjured up by corrupt politicians for their own ends. Were the people to decide, there would be no war, but whilst politicians pursue power, and pander to the whims of extremists in their ranks, then conflict can be the result.

Adrian Ross Duncan 3rd June 2002
Horoscopes for Book of World Horoscopes. N. Campion.