Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

(8 December 2013) The former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95.  Although he spent much of his adult life in prison, Mandela  emerged as the symbol of righteous defiance against South Africa's institutionalized racist regime.  After his release in 1990, Mandela became one of the world's most respected statesman, eventually winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and the presidency of his country in 1994. 

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Umtata, South Africa.  His time of birth is unknown.  Some astrologers have attempted to rectify it but there remains a lot of uncertainty about Mandela's chart. For this reason, we must content ourselves with the approximate Chandra Lagna chart (Moon-based Ascendant) to see what sort of general clues can be gleaned about life.  To be sure, we likely won't be able to discern the precise celestial inspiration of the man's singular contribution to human freedom and justice.  And yet, even the Chandra Lagna chart provides hints about the basic direction of his path.

Mandela was probably born with the Moon in late Libra.  Libra Moons tend to be highly principled individuals who respond to abstract notions of justice (Libra =  the scales of justice). Libra Moons also tend to be quite diplomatic and persuasive and acknowledge the importance of social accommodation.  Despite of his commitment to revolutionary activity, Mandela was well known for his well-mannered disposition and his understanding for the need to build consensus with his colleagues.

Mandela's Moon is boosted to some extent by the 5th house (trine) aspect aspect from Jupiter.  This would tend to enhance his overall life outcome in terms of happiness and achievement.  The Moon is also modified by its dispositor Venus.  Venus is quite prominent in his chart because it is in the final degree of its own sign of Taurus. In addition, it is tightly conjunct Ketu, the South Lunar Node.  People with strong Ketus tend to be motivated by non-material concerns, as Ketu is considered by traditional Hindus as a spiritual planet which is commonly found in the charts of renunciates.  As a child from a royal family, Mandela could have had a successful career as a lawyer.  However, he found he could not tolerate the oppression and suffering of his fellow countrymen.  His renouncing of a relatively easy middle class life in favour of one dedicated to armed struggle against injustice is a very appropriate embodiment of the Ketu influence.  Since the Moon's dispositor Venus is conjunct Ketu in his horoscope, this non-material Ketu influence was actually quite strong.  He not only lived a spartan existence in prison, he continued to live simply even as president, and donated a large portion of his salary to charity.

The planets in the Moon's sign of Cancer also play an important role in shaping Mandela's character and life trajectory.   On the day of his birth, Mercury and Saturn were in a close conjunction in Cancer.  Mercury-Saturn people tend to be deep thinkers who are given to rationality and a need for order and mental discipline.  The fact that both of these planets are in the sign of the Moon (Cancer) reflected Mandela's great capacity for self-discipline.  This kind of self-control and discipline was necessary during his 27-year imprisonment for his advocation of the overthrow of apartheid. 

It is also worth noting that the Mercury-Saturn conjunction occurs in the 10th house of status and career.  The lord of the 10th house (Moon) is therefore placed in the 1st house and gives a hint about Mandela's ultimate role as one of the most famous leaders of the 20th century.  Such 1-10 combinations are commonly found in the charts of successful and high profile people.  The presence of the Sun and Neptune in the 10th house is further evidence of a horoscope of a successful and well-known person, especially one who is famous for ideals (Neptune) and statesmanship (Sun).  

One of the distinguishing features of Mandela's life was his lengthy imprisonment.  Interestingly, this can be seen fairly clearly through the condition of his Mars.  In Vedic astrology, Mars is the planet that symbolizes punishment.  It is also normally associated with the 12th house of isolation and separation.   As we can see, Mandela's Mars is situated in the 12th house.  While this is a fairly common placement among people who never spend a day in jail, Mandela's Mars is under considerable pressure in the chart.  Mars is in the sign of Virgo which is ruled by Mercury.  Mercury is harmed by its exact conjunction with Saturn, the planet of loss and suffering.  Moreover, Mars itself comes under a very close 3rd house (60 degree) aspect from Saturn.  In effect, that is a double dose of Saturn to that 12th house Mars of Mandela.  It's a very tough position and is one key reason why he spent such a long time in prison.

Nelson Mandela's chart is a reminder how even the horoscope for the day of birth can reflect some important themes in a person's life.

In more mundane matters, financial markets held fairly steady last week as the US jobs report showed significant improvement as the unemployment rate fell to 7%.  The Dow was down fractionally on the week closing at 16,020.  The Sensex fared better as investors cheered state election exit polls which suggested gains for the pro-business BJP.   Stocks generally reflected the transit picture as early week declines coincided with a Mars influence while the second half of the week fared better on the strength of Venus.  Friday's strength was somewhat unexpected, however, as I thought much of the gains would have come by Thursday. 

This week transits seem to point to some early week gains on the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn alignment.  The late week looks more problematic on the approaching Mars-Saturn aspect.  One wonders if the current rally in stocks will last all the way in the Venus retrograde station on December 21.  Once Venus changes direction, there may be changes in sentiment and expectations in the financial markets.  Significantly, Venus will change directions just three days after the Fed's next meeting when they may announce some changes to their QE policy.