In May 1970 I crossed the border from a grey and oppressive Iran and entered the magical land of Afghanistan. Fellow wanderers from that period will be able to confirm that the atmosphere was liberated, happy and very welcoming indeed. There was no obvious sign of religious fundamentalism at that time, just a colourful country with colourful people, although a fair number did like to carry rifles. Just three years later a palace coup deposed the monarchy, and the subsequent destabilisation process provided fertile ground for the catastrophe of the Soviet invasion, and the subsequent Jihad against the Soviets, who finally withdrew in February 1989. The Taleban themselves took Kabul on April 25th 1992 at the time of the Uranus/Neptune conjunction at 18 Capricorn, which is an indication of revolutionary Islam, and which resonates with the Uranus/Neptune conjunction which marked the start of the Muslim Era in the year 622. At this time Mars was at 21 Pisces activating the US Mars/Neptune square, and therefore linking the country to the US war potential. The Taleban take-over was 18 years after the original coup, which means that the position of the Moon’s nodes in Capricorn/Cancer is repeated.

See chart of Afghanistan

An Unconquered People

The chart for the coup does give some indication of the nature of Afghanistan, but the country itself has a long and fierce history and no one chart can be used. It has been conquered periodically but never subdued. Alexander the Great conquered it in 329 BCE but ultimately had to withdraw because of constant revolts. The British in their turn tried repeatedly in a series of wars in the 19th century. In the first Anglo-Afghani war, the British invaded in January 1842, and out of 16,500 soldiers (and 12,000 dependants) only one survivor returned to the fort in Jalalabad. I suppose they left one to tell the tale. The 1973 chart is very telling, showing as it does the Jupiter/Moon conjunction in the (solar) 8th house, which is currently receiving a long-term conjunction from Neptune. Afghanistan may be a warrior country, but for the young, the women and the older men, the current bombing campaign is a disaster on top of years of suffering culminating in the current oppression by the mediaeval Taleban fundamentalist government. The Mars in Aries shows the country’s warrior culture, its opposition to Uranus emphasising the extreme independence and tendency to be both a victim of high-tech warfare, and to adapt to it. Venus at 19 Leo was struck by the August 1999 eclipse, which also cast its shadow through Afghanistan. At the World Trade Centre attack, Venus was again at 19 Leo.

Afghanistan and the US

The nodal axis falls on the US Venus/Jupiter conjunction, and the position of these nodes was exactly reversed at the time of the terror attack on September 11th, 2001. It is also interesting to see that the 1973 Afghan chart has the Sun at 24 and Mercury at 29 Cancer which strongly activates the secretive US Mercury/Pluto opposition from 24 Cancer to 27 Capricorn. This is a strong indication both that Afghanistan houses spies and terrorists that have a secret connection to the US and also that the CIA has made an extensive use of spies and terrorists in Afghanistan, especially during the eighties. Indeed it was at this time that America recruited and trained Osama bin Laden and financed the infiltration of Saudi militants to fight the Soviet Union there. In the light of the fact that Afghanistan has assumed great strategic importance as an oil pipeline route from ex-Soviet states, there could be some truth in the suggestion that the US has a secret agenda in attempting to subdue Afghanistan. One should not forget that Bill Cheney and a large number of Bush’s entourage, including Bush himself have their roots in oil.

The Muslim Calendar

See chart for the beginning of Muslim Era

Since the New York attack, there have been many attempts to pin down the birth date of Osama bin Laden, but it has proved difficult. Interpol have a birth date of the 10th March 1957, whilst the US State Department has a date of 30th July 1957. There are many conflicting dates. Here I have chosen the July date for a specific reason. The traditional date of Mohammed’s arrival in Medina is 16th July 622 AD, and the Muslim Era is dated from sunset of that date. (Note 1.) This date is the first day of the first of the year of the Hijrah, which is Anno Hegirae MuHarram 1 , or 1 A.H. The Muslim calendar dates not from the birth or death of Mohammed, or from the celebration of any mundane event. According to the Islamic sage Muhammad Ilyes, its religious significance is to teach man that struggle between Truth and Evil is eternal, and to remind Muslims every year not of the pomp and glory of Islam but of its sacrifice.

It’s an extremely unusual chart with all the planets grouped on the Western horizon (except for Jupiter and Pluto) between the Sun at 25 Cancer and Mars at 20 Virgo. There are 4 planets and the North Node (Rahu) in Leo, and 3 planets in Virgo. Saturn and Rahu are in conjunction, which does seem to indicate a rather heavy fate for Islam. Traditionally things do not go well for Muslims at the repeat of this pattern every 22/23 years. The 1967 six-day war led to the loss of vast tracts of land to Israel, and the Gulf War in 1991 humiliated Iraq. Similar setbacks for Islam can be expected in 2002, when the North Node conjoins Saturn and opposes Pluto. The position of the Sun in the Muslim Era chart is almost opposite the Sun in the chart for Saudi Arabia (15.01.1902 Riyadh: Ascendant 24.27 Capricorn), as well as that of Afghanistan. As guardian of the holy shrines of Islam, particular in Mecca, the Saudi chart, with its Sun/Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn strong reflects the severity and deep traditions of a nation rooted in the past.

The Terrorist bin Laden

See chart of Osama bin Laden

Having studied the Muslim Era chart, it’s interesting to look at the proposed chart for bin Laden, which I have cheekily also calculated for sunset. After all the man has taken on the mantle of leader of an Islamic revolution which will reverse the domination of the West, and get rid of the “evils” of capitalism, democracy and women’s liberation. To me at least it seems fitting that he should be a Leo, as his poster has pride of place in many young Islamic bedrooms, much as Che Guevara did amongst Western youth in the sixties. It can thus be seen that bin Laden has 4 planets in Leo and 4 planets in Virgo, with only Saturn and Neptune outside of the planetary bunch. More Muslim than the Islam itself? There are extraordinary parallels with the Muslim Era chart. He has his Sun/Uranus conjunction on the Era’s nodal axis and close to its Saturn. His Mars/Pluto conjoin the Era’s Mercury and Moon, whilst his Mercury/Venus in Virgo are exactly on Uranus/Neptune. This is a man completely possessed by Islam, a messenger for Islam, and a revolutionary for Islam.

bin Laden and the USA

This chart has a number of extremely dangerous signatures, which key directly in to the US Independence chart. The main danger is from the Sun/Uranus conjunction at 7 Leo which is exactly on the US North Node, and semisquare both Mars and Neptune. This aspect corresponds rather well with the fact that his father died in a plane crash. Note that transit Neptune is currently transiting this point, and that the biological terrorism taking place with anthrax right now is a manifestation of this, indicated both by the US chart and also by this proposed chart for bin Laden. Although there are suggestions that the anthrax spores originate from America’s right wing, the synastry seems to show a link to bin Laden.

The Weakness of bin Laden

Without wishing to offend anyone dealing with the difficult energies of a Mars/Pluto conjunction, for a terrorist like bin Laden, this shows a ruthless implacability, and the close conjunction between Pluto and Mercury could show the use of transport and the post as a means of destruction. With the US Moon at 27 Aquarius, the Mars/Pluto conjunction in this bin Laden chart constitutes a deadly threat to the American people. In the progressed chart Mars is at 22.44 Virgo, exactly activating the US Mars/Neptune and pointing clearly at bin Laden as a perpetrator. There can be no doubt that this is the horoscope of a fanatic, and with the many planets in Virgo, this is a person who also plans fanatically, which is probably also its weakness. Obsessed with detail, it’s likely that the Saturn square Venus/Mercury demands an elegance in the execution of plans which cannot be achieved when the pressure is on. This is a person who gets flustered, although there is a well-documented example of him surviving a missile attack just yards away from where he was standing. He enjoys risks and extreme conditions, but his standards of perfection must be a pain to satisfy.

Man with a Mission

Early in bin Laden’s life, the two outer planets Pluto and Neptune made the transition from Leo and Libra to Virgo and Scorpio respectively. Born at a time of enormous collective change, he probably sees himself as the man to effect this change. He declared war on the USA and the West in a fatwah from Afghanistan in 1998, and he has a wide-ranging organisation that recruits young Muslims for the cause. Comparing his chart with the Muslim Era, it is doubtful that the Prophet would approve. The ideological rigidity of Saturn in Sagittarius is exactly square the Era’s Jupiter in Pisces… the Prophet would no doubt prefer more compassionate methods.

The Future

Right now, life cannot be comfortable. His Sun/Uranus is opposite the Afghanistan Moon/Jupiter in Aquarius, and is receiving the same Neptune transit. This is hardly the time for executive action, and he will have to lie low for a year. If he makes a move, then he is also likely to make a mistake. He may be tempted to do so when Mars joins Neptune in early November. Of course, if the chosen means of attack is chemical or bacteriological, then this could conceivably be successful, although it is in the nature of Neptune for it not to be. As far as the current campaign in Afghanistan is concerned, America cannot win. You don’t have to be an astrologer to work that one out. It is also unlikely that Osama bin Laden will be localised, let alone captured. Perhaps justice will be done – he is a brutal murderer after all – when Saturn conjoins his Sun in 2005, disposed of by the Afghanis themselves.

Adrian Ross Duncan 29.10.2001

Note 1. Book of World Horoscopes , Nick Campion