Sunday, June 29, 2014

100 years since the assassination that started World War I

(29 June 2014)  One hundred years ago yesterday, a young Serb nationalist named Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.   Just one month later, after accusations and recriminations produced nothing more than a series of failed diplomatic initiatives and broken treaties, the world would be plunged into a war that did away with the old regimes of Europe and usher in the 20th century. If nothing else, the assassination at 10.50 a.m. on 28 June 1914 is a reminder of the interconnectedness of human existence and of the power of unforeseen consequences from the action of a single individual. 

Of course, Gavrilo Princip had no intention of starting World War I. His terrorist act was intended to help free his native Bosnia and Serbia from the domination of a foreign power in Austria-Hungary.  And yet the shooting of the heir to the Hapsburg throne was the catalyst that would ultimately result in the deaths of tens of millions of people, end the monarchies in Austria, Germany, Italy and Russia and thereby produce the world's first socialist revolution.  The assassination would also start the war that would effectively end of the predominance of Great Britain as the world's power as well as the ascension of the United States to that position.

One would think that an act of such enormous historical importance must have a fairly unusual astrological signature.  I think it does.  Let's begin by looking at the moment of assassination itself.  The chart is dominated by malefics.  The Moon had just risen in Leo and was hemmed in between malefics Mars and Ketu.  This kind of set up is commonly found in situations of anger and heated emotions where self-control is often lacking. Violence is common enough where the Moon (emotions) combines with Mars (anger, action) but when one of the nodes, Rahu or Ketu is also involved, it can become extremely dangerous. It is a textbook bad alignment that one would expect to see in a volatile and disruptive event.  Also, Saturn (1 Gemini) sits at the very top of the chart and forms an exact square with the Ascendant.  Saturn rules loss and sorrow, of course, and its pride of place at the top of the chart in the 10th house (on the equal cusp at 0 Gemini) is very symbolic of an event that will be characterized by Saturnian energies. 

Pluto (power, coercion) and the Sun (leaders, kings) are also in proximity to Saturn in the 10th house and paint a plausible enough picture of a regicide that is famous.   An added layer of affliction to the Sun (kings) from the aspect of Rahu (disruption, erasing boundaries) fills out the astrological inventory of an event that marks the downfall of a major royal personage as well as one that began the eventual destruction of several royal houses of Europe.  The other intriguing thing about this chart is that the last lunar eclipse of 12 March 1914 occurred at 28 Leo.  This was just two degrees from the Ascendant of the assassination.  Eclipses are often highlighted in events with larger social and historical importance.

Interestingly, that lunar eclipse of March 1914 also figures prominently in the horoscope of Princip himself.  He was born 25 July 1894 at 4.40 pm in Bosnia.  He was only 19 years old when he fired the gun that killed the Archduke and his wife.  As we might suspect, the chart is quite intense as malefics are prominent.  Saturn sits atop the chart conjunct the unequal 10th house cusp (i.e. the "Midheaven").  It also forms an exact 60 degree full strength sextile aspect to the Ascendant.  And it is a very powerful and malefic Saturn due to the near exact opposition aspect from Mars which sits at the very bottom of the chart.  This is a very afflicted chart when the two worst planets are angular and suggests a troubled but driven person.  Mars (willpower, energy, violence) is combined with Saturn (power, sorrow, durability) in this chart and seems doomed to produce difficult outcomes.  As an echo of the assassination chart, the Sun is again aspected by Rahu, suggesting difficulties with the father and authority figures. 

Moreover, that eclipse at 28 Leo occurred exactly on his equal 10th house cusp square to his Ascendant at 28 Scorpio.  The 10th house symbolizes status and achievements.  It is tempting to think about the preceding March lunar eclipse therefore as 'marking' Princip as a person who would gain status somehow in the near future.  His angular Mars-Saturn opposition would be enough to ensure that his fame would be associated somehow with their planetary portfolios of strife and suffering.

An eclipse also figured prominently in his natal chrt as Princip was born with his Mars/IC combination conjunct the last pre-natal eclipse on 6 April 1894 at 24 Pisces.  The eclipse acted as a kind of karmic highlighting of his Mars, which was already extra prominent due to its association with Saturn and the 4th house cusp or IC.  The 4th house cusp is often associated with the notion of endings or "the end of the matter".  Princip's act of violence (Mars) helped put an end to the Old Imperial Europe in a most forceful way. The involvement of the eclipse may have served to extend the consequences of Princip's actions well beyond the back street in Sarajevo where the murder took place and into the annals of world history.

Financial Markets Update

Fortunately, it was far less portentous last week in the markets in the absence of any new developments in Iraq or elsewhere.  Stocks generally moved sideways in both New York and Mumbai.  Gold and crude oil also held steady.  As expected, we did see some weakness early in the week on the Mars-Uranus aspect.  The market then rebounded more or less in line with the more bullish Mercury-Jupiter pattern midweek.  I thought we might have seen some declines late in the week but prices stayed high.

This week also could be mixed as the early week may be dominated by the Mercury-Rahu aspect.  The Rahu influence can sometimes introduce uncertainty and confusion, especially here when Mercury stations direct on Tuesday.  While less reliably negative than some Mars aspects, the Rahu aspect here is a bit problematic. The late week offers some positive energy as the Sun and Venus align with Pluto on Thursday and Friday.   Meanwhile, Saturn continues to inch its way backwards through the sky to its eventual station on July 20-21 when it aligns with Uranus.