There is nothing like the feeling that things are out of control to bring on a few nervous tics, and right now it seems not much is going right for the world, seen from a Western cultural perspective. As we approach the last two clashes between those otherworldly planets, Uranus and Pluto, it seems their signature is everywhere. This combination, which takes place on average about twice every 125 years, and last ravaged the world during the Depression and Nazi domination of the 1930’s, shows the forces of revolution and tyranny in violent interplay. Uranus wants change, and Pluto does not mind what the cost is in human terms. They may bring evolutionary development, but the pain threshold is high.

Economic growth is faltering once again – not surprisingly considering the fact that there are seven squares between Uranus and Pluto, suggesting three dark abysses to negotiate.


The 7 squares between Uranus and Pluto


Although there are slight improvements for the UK and USA, more stagnation lies ahead for the EU. There are no real signs of the upturn that is needed to eliminate unemployment and bring sustained growth. As a result young people, unable to get by, linger at home and their talents are wasted. People used to a lifetime of work are laid off in their fifties. Productive people are underemployed. Low wage earners have to take several underpaid jobs to pay their bills. Those that have work live the good life; those that don’t are forgotten.

The Arab world – the fountain of so much hope a couple of years back – seems to be in a process of regression either to authoritarianism or extremism. Whilst women formed the vanguard of protest in Egypt during the uprising against Mubarak, they rapidly lost any rights they may have sought under the Islamic government of Morsi, and there are no improvements under the military government of General (now President) el-Sisi. Rape is prevalent in much of the Arab world, and seems to be an official policy in the so-called Islamic State of Syria and Iraq. Iraq is disintegrating, and Afghanistan’s future looks dire.

Add to this the epidemic of Ebola, which is expected to kill tens of thousands of people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and there is a strong sense that things are getting out of control. Initially Western governments imagined Ebola to be a local phenomenon, but when care workers contract the disease, bring it back to Europe or the USA, and infect other health workers who have taken all the right precautions, then we all get nervous.

Perhaps we are learning the limitations of the Western democratic recipe for the future. Despite being protagonists in the slaughter of tens of millions of people during the 20th century, despite centuries of war and destruction, Europe (and the US) imagine that there is something magic about the Christian democratic capitalistic system, which apparently needs to be exported to the rest of the world. But this export cannot take root. It did not take root in Iraq, and it did not take root in Afghanistan. It did not take root in Russia, where the populace overwhelmingly prefer an autocratic leader, and happily co-conspire to consume propaganda against the West. China has its own system of autocratic rule, which keeps one fifth of the world’s population quiescent at least. It has worked for them so far.

At the time of writing, the West is mired in a chaos, where there are no clear boundaries. Trillions of dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone to waste, much of it ending in the hands of corrupt officials, or, more alarmingly, as advanced weapons in the hands of ISIL – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Commonly known as Islamic State or ISIS). Things have got this far because of the terrible suffering and destruction that ordinary people have experienced during the Syrian civil war, as well as during the occupation of Iraq by Western forces and subsequent revolts by both Shiites and Sunnis in that country.

That is why, in the “capital” city of ISIL – Ar-Raqqah – which is the sixth largest city in Syria, many inhabitants proclaim their allegiance and support to ISIL. This terrorist organization has simply been able to provide an island of stability in an ocean of destruction. Just as long as you are a male Sunni Muslim, you are OK. They sell oil to Syria’s leader, Bashir Assad, who refrains from bombing or attacking their bases. They have the weapons to protect the people and the money to feed them.

Now the USA is fighting on the same side as Iran against ISIL in Iraq, whilst they are supporting insurgents against Assad, a man consistently supported by Iran. Turkey wants to get rid of Assad, but finds ISIL useful because it decimates the Kurdish PKK, which Turkey has been fighting for years. It is enough to make your head spin.

Looking at the foundation horoscope for Islamic State, in its latest mutation from what was originally Al Qaida in Iraq, it is easy to see the dynamism, extremism and destructivity of this group.


Islamic State

IS declares Caliphate: 29 June 2014, 12.00 Ar-Raqqa, Syria AS 1.08 LI

This horoscope for the declaration of a Caliphate, which is supposed to encompass all Muslims, is calculated for noon, but probably it is not wise to consider the houses without a precise time. What is significant about this chart is the very powerful Sun/Neptune trine – in fact this is just after a new moon trine Neptune – which indicates the diffuse and powerfully idealistic nature of ISIL. Jupiter is square the nodal axis, which is also an indication of powerful religious convictions going against group consensus.

The unnerving aspect of this horoscope is the Mars/Uranus opposition, and the general involvement of Mars and the Sun with the Uranus/Pluto square. To some extent this reflects the extraordinary brutality of the group, the beheadings, the ethnic cleansing, and the rape and kidnapping of women. The opposition of a weak Mars in exile to Uranus may also indicate the air strikes of their enemies, which currently appear to be rather ineffectual.

The cardinal grand cross involving the Sun, Pluto, Uranus and Mars indicates that this is a brutal fighting organization, a child of the extreme Uranus/Pluto square, and hopefully as short-lived as the square will be. The final two squares take place on December 15, 2014 and March 17, 2015. In all probability ISIL can be compared to Khmer Rouge, which terrorized Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This was at the time when Uranus was in Scorpio, which has the same flavor as the Uranus/Pluto square. It was communist Vietnam that eradicated Khmer Rouge, and it will be Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Iran and the Western alliance, which will ultimately eliminate ISIL, along with the populations it currently terrorizes.

Nevertheless ISIL, discounting the Syrian civil war and chaos in Iraq, owes its existence to a typical Western colonial move during the First World War, when under the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of May 16, 1916, the Ottoman Empire was divided, giving France and Britain control over large swathes of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. The artificial borders subsequently created are the borders ISIL intends to destroy, and with Saturn at 13 Cancer in this secret agreement, the destruction of these borders – currently those between Syria and Iraq – has become a reality. Whether they can ever be reconstructed is the big question. I do not think so.

The key is Syria, and the outcome of the civil war here will decide the ultimate fate of ISIL. Although significant horoscopes for Syria can be traced back to independence from France on January 1, 1944 and the Assad coup on November 13, 1970, the actual date that Syrians celebrate for independence is on April 17, 1946, which they call “Evacuation Day” – commemoration the evacuation of the last French soldier and Syria’s own proclamation of full independence.


Syrian Independence

Syria Independence: April 17, 1946 0.00 Damascus, Syria AS 13.27 CP

With Sun in Aries square Mars in Cancer, this chart shows the brutal military nature of Syria’s rulers. The Moon in Scorpio conjoining the MC and square Pluto may also indicate the dominant role of the Mukhabarat, the much-feared secret police controlled by Bashar Assad, whose Gestapo tactics were partly responsible for the uprising.  This horoscope tells the story of the disintegration of Syria, for Pluto is transiting the Capricorn Ascendant whilst Uranus is in square from 2012-2015.

It is unlikely that insurgent activity will dissipate for the time being, not least because Uranus transits Syria’s Sun/Mars square from 2017-2018, suggesting further revolutionary developments. Furthermore, the 2017 opposition of transit Pluto to Ascendant ruler Saturn, in fall in Cancer, suggests a final destruction of current political structures and something new rising from the ashes.

Syria’s leader Bashar Assad is born on September 11th (that’s right) 1965 and has his sun almost exactly conjoining the Uranus/Pluto conjunction that year and opposite the Moon and Saturn – it’s a full moon horoscope. Clearly the separating Uranus/Pluto square from 2012-2015 is the trigger that sets off the destructive chain of events shown as a potential in his birth horoscope.

The other major key to the fate of ISIL is Turkey, and its leader, Recep Erdogan. Previously Prime Minister, he was recently elected President, further consolidating his power. It is quite a shock to see his horoscope, because coming Neptune transits are going to make his continued rule a misery, and the likelihood of chaos and dissolution is very high.


Recep Erdogan

Recep Erdogan. February 26, 1954. 4.25 Istanbul. AS 18.18 CP. (Birth time rating C)

Erdogan has progressively turned his back on Europe and promoted Islam in recent years, and his very conventional religious convictions and appeal to Turkey’s fundamentalists are reflected by his Sun in Pisces trine Saturn. Interestingly Erdogan’s Mercury/Venus conjunction is exactly on Assad’s Saturn, and Syria’s Saturn is exactly on his Descendant, so perhaps it is no surprise that he is a sworn enemy of Assad.

From 2014-2016 transit Neptune conjoins his Sun in Pisces and squares his Moon/Mars conjunction in Sagittarius, which is an extraordinarily powerful and totally chaotic influence. Erdogan has overstepped the mark in grabbing the presidency, and he is likely to oversee a Turkey descending into chaos. In many ways the Moon/Mars conjunction at 8 degrees Sagittarius indicates the warring “friends” at Syria’s borders, and Neptune’s square does not bode well for any kind of success in dealing with them. Rather it indicates the millions of refugees clustered in camps, undermining any attempts to control the situation. They will flow back and forth across the border. In all probability Erdogan will avoid doing anything major on a military scale, but if he does, he will lose.

Western military forces being extremely efficient, they are very likely to stop the further expansion of ISIL, but they will not be able to stop their consolidation. Syria will be unable to take the fight to ISIL, partly because Assad will never get US support. Iraq will probably not be able to retake significant parts of the land they have lost in the western part of the country. Turkey will not get involved. The natural conclusion is that a stalemate will ensue, with continuing chaos over the next three years. Extremist organizations like ISIL tend to self-destruct after a period of time, partly because ordinary people can’t stand them, and neighbors will not support them.

What we may be witnessing at the tail end of the Uranus-Pluto seven square series is the humbling of Western ambitions to impose their own values on populations who are not attuned to them. At the same time, this is a period when religious fundamentalism is fighting a last-gasp battle to turn the clock back in the Arab world. Once Uranus moves on, and Saturn catches up with Pluto in the last decanate of Capricorn in 2020, then new structures will arise in the Arab world, primarily because of the fall of the political influence of Saudi Arabia. When a new 200-year epoch starts at the end of 2020, which is signaled by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, it will be technology, and the enlightenment it brings through communication, which will join people together across borders finally sidelining the current domination of extremist groups.

Adrian Ross Duncan. October 16th 2014.