Planets seem to like to mark their territory, and when that territory covers the cusp of a sign, then border issues are always a major theme. With a flurry of outer planets changing sign over the next couple of years, establishing borders is going to be very difficult indeed. Generally borders are fiercely defended, but just as often they are very fluid, defined at different points of history by the geopolitical forces of the time. An example of the porous nature of a border was at the end of January 2008, when a border barrier established by Israel between Gaza and Egypt was blown up and over ½ million Gaza residents flowed into Egypt to buy goods. Venus and Pluto simultaneously moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn at this time – Venus being the reason why people came back loaded with goods.At the time of the imminent Pluto ingress into Capricorn the main foreign policy issue on the international agenda was the independence of Kosovo, a redrawing of borders. This took place with reluctant support from Europe and more whole-hearted support from the USA, and against intense protest from Serbia and Russia. Independence was established on February 17th 2008. Russia claimed that this set a dangerous precedent for other enclaves, like the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, and events in August 2008 – when a newly assertive Russia occupied Georgia – proved that it was prepared to back its words with action. The retrograde movement of Pluto back into Sagittarius during the latter part of 2008 reminded the world of the dangers inherent in border disputes.

Saturn will mark border territory from October 2009 to September 2010, during its retrograde cycle from Libra to Virgo and back again. This will show an international community strongly focused on establishing stable and fair territorial limits. Agreements made at this time will be done only with the application of implacable force and under the threat of ultimatum, because Saturn squares Pluto three times during this period. Nations will stand firm. With Jupiter and Uranus both moving into Aries and then retrograding into Pisces again in 2010, there will be a lot of hotheads insisting on action to do what is right. The summer of 2010 will be a very incendiary period indeed.

Another porous border is that between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and US troops have long been seeking permission from Pakistan to make incursions over the border in hot pursuit of the Taleban. Syria and Lebanon are trying to agree on an acceptable shared border, whilst Israel is – with its concrete wall separating Palestinians from Israelis – establishing borders within borders. The coming years could see more of the same: problems at the border between Mexico and the US, Thailand and Cambodia, China and India, India and Pakistan in Kashmir, Georgia and Russia, Ukraine and Russia… and all those places we haven’t thought of.

Surveillance and control

But as 2009 begins, Pluto firmly establishes its presence in Capricorn, where it will do its work until 2023. We have already had a taste of this, most notably in bank crises and the sense that material resources are limited, oil will run out, there will be more mouths to feed and less food to do it with. The taste of anxiety we have had has been focused on the viability of business systems in the face of scarcity. With resources low, there is a fear of instability, and when governments sense instability they react with control. So a major issue will be how the people react in the face of government surveillance and control.

In Britain it is estimated that a person is filmed several thousand times per day by CCTV cameras on their way to and from work – in buses and trains and on the streets. Email is vulnerable to inspection, cell phones easily and legally tapped. Chips inserted into beauty products, clothes and other quite ordinary household items track our movements and buying habits. They can be inserted into pets – people soon perhaps; marketers love them, but the government does too. And generally the people are pleased. Cameras give security from terror – that useful legacy from Pluto in Sagittarius. Chips enable instantaneous checkout at the supermarket, the opening of doors, passing through bridges, toll roads and tunnels. With the iris and finger-print scans, already mandatory at US airports, being adopted by governments worldwide, and synchronized with our (chipped) passports, it is clear that one aspect of Pluto in Capricorn is government control of its citizens. This is not going to go away.

What is then needed is the formulation of individual rights in response to this control, and the entrance of Saturn into Libra in October 2009 will be a timely reminder of the need to establish these checks and balances. In America this will be performed by Congress, which has a good record in this area, no doubt because Saturn is in Libra and the 10th house in the Sibley chart. There will be a monumental battle for control at the three Saturn/Pluto squares on November 15, 2009, January 31st and August 21st 2010. The engine for government control will be the invocation of paranoia. With all those pedophiles around, ma’am, wouldn’t it be sensible to chip kids from birth?

The reconstruction of business

Having said this, Pluto in Capricorn is also destined to bring a transformation of government and business which we will all ultimately benefit from. Hierarchical and monolithic structures will be completely leveled by the revolutionary market forces that the coming series of seven Pluto/Uranus squares will unleash. This is because market forces will inevitably become global and democratic, or meritocratic. The great steps forward will be performed by people working on their computers all over the world, forming interest groups and pooling intelligence to solve problems far too great for even organizations like Microsoft to take on. Take Wikipedia for example, which is an on-line encyclopedia (Note) This service has been created by people who feel strongly for their subject and write about it online. Anyone can correct and revise what is written. Nobody is paid. It sounds like the recipe for chaos, but it is now far larger than Encyclopedia Britannica, whose business model of paid monthly subscriptions has therefore collapsed. Comparative studies have shown, amazingly, that Wikipedia is equally as accurate as Britannica. And it is free. The same market forces have created the Linux, which is a free software operative system like Windows, and Skype, which allows you to make telephone calls at no cost. These forces will create huge change in fields like education, music and film, invention, production, elections – every aspect of our lives.

Obviously this new alignment of global forces has already affected the Western world, as jobs are outsourced to cheaper environments, but this effect is nothing compared to what we will see by the 2020’s. It is not just the jobs: it is also about the ownership of labor and the sharing of revenue. As more and more people get better results from free services, and more products become available at cheaper and cheaper prices, if not free, existing business models based on ownership of proprietary goods will dissolve, and new alliances formed between users and suppliers. An example is the human genome project. Initially medical research companies patented large swathes of human DNA, but the system became unworkable because the project was too vast for one company alone. They needed each other’s results. Ultimately research data was opened up to the world, which immediately led to an exponential rise in the mapping of DNA.

These, then, are revolutionary times for business and the economy – the old monoliths must adapt to the Net Generation and open up to globalized input from enthusiastic amateurs. They must see their monopoly of knowledge and information disappear, and operate in co-ownership with a million net inventors. Those that don’t will cease to exist. The thought might be exhilarating, but the consequences for employees of large corporations may be severe in the transition period.

Food shortages

Here at the start of 2009 the main concern is still Saturn in Virgo, which pinpoints quite simply where weaknesses lie and what work needs to be done. The condition of Saturn will always affect structures in society and sum up the body of experience to date. Saturn spotlights weaknesses, whilst Jupiter gives the faith to overcome them, and the vision to see what is to come. With this mighty pair in Earth signs, it is hardly surprising that food, business, health and money are the major socio-political themes. Saturn in Virgo highlights food shortage, and this has been particularly reflected by grain and soybean prices. Problematic harvests in 2006 have combined with the dramatic rise in the cost of fertilizer through 2007 and 2008 (because of the increase in oil prices). Compounded by the conversion of food into ethanol to compensate for gas shortages, the price of these staples have doubled. Many countries, like Australia, Russia and Vietnam, have unofficially banned exports so they can feed their own populations. Social unrest has ensued with bread riots in Pakistan, soy bean protests in Indonesia, pasta protests in Italy and tortilla demonstrations in Mexico. In underdeveloped countries the suffering is immense.

Saturn often shows the quality of government, and US weaknesses have been particularly exposed with the presence of Saturn in Cancer and subsequently Leo – signs where it is traditionally seen as having little dignity. Even strong leaders like Tony Blair have had to take the consequences of their weakening popularity in this period, whilst President Bush was a classic case of a man uncomfortable and clumsy with the mantle of leadership. With the transition to a new president in 2009, Saturn completes its tour of Virgo, and the fact that it enters Libra – the sign of its exaltation – in late 2009 suggests that there will be new, quality leadership in the United States, which, considering the astrological configurations in 2010, is a very good thing.

Russia and the West

The main astrological pattern going into 2009 is of course the Saturn/Uranus opposition, which Barack Obama encapsulated so well in his slogan “change we can believe in”. The last opposition was at the time of the Pluto/Uranus conjunction in the mid-sixties, and the previous conjunctions were at the height of World War II and at the Regan/Gorbatchev rapprochement and the subsequent dissolution of the Iron Curtain. On the geopolitical scene these two planets seem to reflect the ebb and flow of radically different political systems, the conjunction showing a confluence of aims, and the opposition creating radically different poles. Just at the mid-sixties showed the height of the Cold War, the current opposition is likely to bring a very hard line between the USA and Russia, and one that can get quite explosive if Nato continues to offer membership to Ukraine and Georgia, which have always firmly been within Russia’s sphere of influence.

2009 will see a continuation of the trends where Russia is exposed as the imperial monolith it always has been, crudely wielding its power over neighboring states and showing its muscle in its energy policy towards Europe in particular. (Europe gets 40% of its natural gas from Russia). The US has depleted its resources through its costly interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan and its continued over-dependence on the oil that can only get more and more expensive as it slowly runs out. Russia has been able to profit from its vast natural reserves. The power balance has swung in Russia’s favor, and the Russian people are deliriously proud of this resurgence under Putin. There is likely to be a long-term political standoff and both countries are headed for crisis.

Russia – Flag Up. 25 Dec 1991 20.45 Moscow (AS 25.16 LE)
Book of World Horoscopes.

This is clearly indicated by the coming transit of Pluto over the Russian Sun at 3 degrees Capricorn, which will be exacerbated by the first Saturn square in November 2009. The coming crisis stretches into August 2010, and it is likely that the status of either President Medvedev or (now) Prime Minister – Vladimir Putin will change at this time. Theoretically Putin cannot stand for President again until 2012 but perhaps he will reassert himself earlier. At any rate, Russia will be in the headlines, and there will be power struggles. The new horoscope for Russian independence supersedes the old Russian revolution chart, and it has proved to be very sensitive. When progressed Sun for example went over Uranus, there were many terror incidents involving explosions, and when it went over Neptune (in the 5th house) there was a terror incident in a Moscow theater with many deaths through the use of gas, and then the Beslan school catastrophe.

Oil, gas and the ascendancy of Russia

As this new Russian chart is a timed chart, the Ascendant/Descendant axis ought to be very sensitive. This makes the major astrological event of 2009 – the conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in the summer at 26 Aquarius – extremely significant for Russia, as it takes place on their Descendant. Clearly this highlights the importance of natural gas as an instrument of foreign policy. On the one hand it is likely that the Pluto transit of the Russia Sun will embolden them in their power play, but on the other, the presence of Neptune on the Descendant can render them more powerless than they would like in relation to others. A major pipeline from Central Asia bypasses Russia and traverses Georgia, and perhaps there will be more to follow and indeed it could be that Russia’s hidden agenda in Georgia is to prevent exactly that.

The Neptune transit of Russia’s Descendant could simply show oil and gas as a beneficial growth factor for Russia. Pipelines to Europe also traverse independent Ukraine too, and in January 2006 Russia simply shut them down to force Ukraine to pay three times as much for their natural gas – much to the consternation of Europe, who found there own supplies decreased by as much as 30%. With ongoing deals creating new pipelines under the Baltic (a deal done with ex-German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder) and the Mediterranean (done with Italy’s president Berlusconi) Russia is in fact gaining a stranglehold on Europe. More windmills please.

Domestic and military change in the US

Naturally the monumental opposition from Saturn in Virgo to Uranus in Pisces also has a profound effect on US domestic policy. With the first of the oppositions having taken place on Election Day the successful candidate will have managed to tap the theme of discontent this opposition represents – food and oil prices, health care, and, as the opposition falls on in the 3rd and 9th houses of the Sibley chart, education and foreign policy. As the subsequent oppositions in February and September 2009 fall at 20 and 24 degrees respectively, right on the US Neptune and square Mars in Gemini, Americans can expect unstoppable initiatives to change the health care system in the face of considerable opposition from the medical and insurance industry.

Clearly, too, the activation of the Mars/Neptune square will show explosive foreign policy developments which highlight the current weaknesses of American adventurism. Bearing in mind that for the first time in history the US progressed Mars has turned retrograde, withdrawal from conflict may become of paramount importance. Extraordinarily, progressed Venus will also oppose US progressed Mars in 2009 highlighting both conflict and diplomacy. On the face of it, both the Mars/Venus opposition from Libra to Aries and the Saturn/Uranus opposition squaring the US Mars indicate a sharp escalation of conflict, which could conceivably be related to the resurgence of Russian power play. The US Moon at 27.10 Aquarius is actually on the Russian Descendant, so the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction will fall on both, muddying perceptions on both sides.

The bubble of hope

The position of the Moon in the US (Sibley) chart has proved to be sensitive in the recent past. For example progressed Sun conjoined the Moon at the destruction of the Twin Towers, awakening the strongest emotions of patriotism in the American people. Clearly when Neptune transits this planet – which it does precisely in March 2010 – the soul of America will be touched once more. It remains to be seen whether the station of Jupiter at 27.01 conjoining Neptune in June 2009 will preempt or trigger the Neptune transit. Whatever happens, we will see the usual manifestation of Jupiter/Neptune at this time, which is the blowing of bubbles. It is a time of technological euphoria which may not have any basis in reality. As Chiron is also part of this grand conjunction, there will be claims of miracle cures. Neptune and the Moon have many associations with tragedy and sorrow, and this could be compounded by Chiron, so there may be a collective outpouring of grief at this time, if a bubble burst. Neptune and Jupiter bring floods, so let us hope that the New Orleans levees have been fully restored at this time.

The triple conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune takes place in May 2009 (at 26.28 Aquarius), July (26.02) and December (24.17). As Neptune has not exactly conjoined the US moon on this period, it is most likely that this is a period of euphoria in the USA, with the sense that everything is possible. The people of America will be inspired and dreaming, but disappointment will come later, perhaps at the opposition of Jupiter and Saturn in May 2010. The Dot Com boom was at its highest at the Jupiter/Neptune square in February 2000, but crashed in May when Jupiter conjoined Saturn in Taurus. People went for solid values after that, which partially explains the boom in the housing market. A similar technology boom will probably take place in 2009.

Of course, the bubble that can burst could be “change you can believe in”. There is no question that the America people will believe with heart and soul in 2009. But economic trends that were set in motion under George W Bush cannot be reversed easily. There is no getting away from the fact that Pluto opposes Venus in Cancer in the US chart for the whole of 2009 and in early 2010. With transiting Saturn coming to square Venus in December 2009, and February and August 2010, the cure will be fair but brutal. Middle America will be removed to the comfort zone, and with the coming Uranus/Pluto squares also going on to activate Ascendant ruler Jupiter in Cancer, the road to Hope will be long, and arduous. You cannot dream your way out of recession.

With the US MC/IC axis on the cardinal axis from 1 Libra to 1 Aries, there cannot but be considerable governmental crisis and upheaval. This is most likely to take place half way through the presidency when Jupiter conjoins Uranus at 0 degrees Aries opposing Saturn in Libra (and squaring Pluto) in the summer of 2010. This could be a period of ongoing revolution which goes on for many years… but that is a story for another time.

The transition from Earth to Air

2009 is a year of preparation for the radical changes that are soon to affect the fabric of global society. Taking the long-term view, the time of material exploitation of the planet is drawing to a close, if only because there is very little more that can be exploited without destabilizing the planet. This is all as it should be. The taming (some would use the word rape) of the material world over the last 200 years has reflected the conjunction cycle of Saturn and Jupiter in Earth signs. The last conjunction took place in 2000 in Taurus, but the next one takes place in 2020 at 0 degrees Aquarius, inaugurating a new epoch of conjunctions in Air signs that will last 200 years. Believers in the Age of Aquarius will be heartened by this, and the entry of Pluto into Aquarius in 2023.

At this future time the world and its political systems will be unrecognizable due to the upheavals that have taken place from 2010 onwards. Those systems that emerge politically will have based their energy policy on renewable sources – the sun, the wind, the sea, the earth. In this totally digital age burning fuels will be viewed with the same disdain as society has for smokers today. A new cool age will have begun, ruled by light. Pluto’s transit of Capricorn will deal the death blow to the institutional capitalism that we know today. Social hierarchies will be brought down. Anything that can be digitalized will be collectively owned and be of global benefit. And the efforts of corporations and governments to control the digital world will have come to nothing. But it will not be a comfortable world for outsiders, as even the concepts of surveillance and control with have lost their meaning. Every little thing, and certainly every person, will be instantly trackable, if they are connected to the matrix – and who can live without being so?

Individual options

For the individual in 2009 the smart moves are, as always, to surf the waves rather than swimming against the current. The Saturn/Uranus opposition shows the necessity to radically change structures that have outlived their time. Perhaps Capricorns will go through the biggest transformations, with transiting Pluto gnawing at the structure and sign ruler-Saturn interacting with Uranus. This is obviously time for experimentation and change. The trick with Saturn and Uranus is to build a bridge between the old and the new, to take the best of the old whilst inviting radically new elements on board. This kind of revolutionary bridge-building enabled Barack Obama to mobilize millions of new Democrats through recruiting drives on the net and brilliant viral marketing techniques that brought millions of dollars into Democratic coffers.

Aquarian-types will also find a revolutionary new period beginning partly because of the Saturn/Uranus opposition, and also because of the Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune grand conjunction in their sign. This is sure to bring euphoric moments – Aquarians will be in total communion with the collective at this time, and there will be great dreams and spiritual awakenings. For both Capricorns and Aquarians, seen from a sun sign perspective, these have been hard years because of the weak placement of Saturn in Cancer and Leo, but now is the time of transition. When Saturn makes its ingress into Libra, where it is exalted, which is the solar 9th house for Aquarian, a new era of hope begins, and honors will be gained. Saturn in Libra will be in Capricorn’s solar 10th house, and this will bring power struggles but ultimate supremacy on the career front.

Economically there is much to be gained by buying into the bubble as it expands but before it pops, which could give a good run of economic returns, just as long as the hopeful gambler parachutes from the balloon by May 2010. Choosing the right stocks can be tricky, but Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius will probably bring sky high oil and gas prices, with additional opportunities in film, music and technology, as well as many net businesses. Social networking on line is sure to continue to expand in 2009 although there can be serious fallout in 2010.

These are exciting times, and exciting times are blessed times for the astrologer, who can witness the good and bad with equal interest and continually learn from the magic of the universe. But astrology changes too, and the same forces that are transforming politics and business will surely also transform the fabric of astrology. The internet provides radically new opportunities for input from people all over the world, many of whom practice the subject with unobtrusive genius. New systems can be set up that revolutionarize astrological education, just as Wikipedia revolutionized the dissemination of knowledge. The opportunity to seek advice and information from everyone with an interest in astrology and to develop on-line tools accessible to all at little or no cost, will unite those seekers who simply access their sun signs with serious practitioners whose prime goal is to promote the subject they love.

Adrian Ross Duncan August 20th 2008.

1. The name was registered on January 12th 2001. The 10 millionth Wikipedia article was created in 2008.