Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mars-Rahu Part 2: Israel under pressure for Gaza attack

(27 July 2014)  Israel came under increased international criticism for its military action this week as the Palestinian death toll in Gaza topped 1000.  The incursion into Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, began ten days ago as the Israeli army attempts to stop Hamas rocket attacks and destroy its network of tunnels which have been used to launch attacks on civilians.  The current eruption of violence in Palestine is the worst since the Israel's 2008 Gaza invasion and is another reminder of the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

From an astrological perspective, the current action by Israel was very much a reflection of the major influences in its horoscope. The independent nation of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948 at 4.00 p.m.  One of the first things that one notices in the natal chart is that the Ascendant sits at 0 degrees of Libra.  Actually, 00 Libra 00 (i.e. 0 degrees and 0 minutes), according to the Krishnamurti ayanamsha.  This is exactly conjunct the star Spica which is used as the reference point for the entire sidereal zodiac.  Spica is quite auspicious by nature and the fact that Spica was rising on the horizon exactly at the moment that Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion brought the formal independence ceremony to order at 4 o'clock must be seen as similarly auspicious.  If nothing else, this Ascendant at 0 Libra should be understood as a cosmic reflection of the world-historic importance of the state of Israel.  The centrality of its location in the Middle East and its geopolitical and cultural importance to the US and the Western world is testimony to its outsized significance well beyond its tiny land area and modest population of under ten million.

The other thing that stands out is just how strong this chart is.  Chart ruler (lagnesh) Venus sits in the 9th house of good fortune and religion.  Israel's religious identity as a Jewish state is key to its essence.  Uranus (1 Gemini) is in a close trine aspect with the Ascendant and reflects Israel's dynamic and modern characteristics, especially against the background of its Arab neighbours.  In keeping with the symbolism of Uranus, Israel is a hub for science and technology.  Both Venus and Uranus receive the opposition aspect from Jupiter in Aries.  This offers a significant boost of outcomes to the country as a whole since Venus is a proxy for the chart. 

Mars sits in the 11th house of gains and is a possible explanation for the prominence of the military in Israel's history.  Mars is the planet of war and conflict and its placement in the 11th house could offer some explanation for why Israel has generally benefited from its military engagements. Its early wars with its Arab neighbours resulted in the conquest of the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights in Syria.  On the whole, Israel did not seek out to gain more territory in the wars of 1948 or 1967 and yet it vanquished the combined armies of its Arab adversaries. 

This is a good example of the kind of effect that Mars in the 11th house can have.  Gains are made through the application of Mars-type energy.  Moreover, we can see that Mars (5 Leo) receives a very close aspect from Jupiter (4 Aries).  This substantially boosts the likelihood that Israel would have a strong military force and enjoy good luck in military engagements.  The Moon's favourable placement in Cancer with Saturn and Pluto reflects a prosperous and a high profile people (Moon) who are determined, tough and stubborn and have a strong fixity of purpose (Saturn, Pluto) .  The fact that this Moon placement occurs in the 10th house of government may also suggest the strength and effectiveness of Israeli political leadership over the years.

The latest round of hostilities began on 8 July with the air attack against Hamas in Gaza and deepened with the land invasion on 17 July.    A quick glance at the chart says it all: Mars (27 Virgo) and Rahu (0 Libra) were both very close to that 0 Libra Ascendant for the beginning of the Israeli bombardment.  The subsequent ground attack occurred with Mars  (1 Libra) still very close to the Ascendant.  Mars-Rahu conjunctions are classic signatures for sudden or uncontrolled bursts of violence and conflict.  One has to then find the charts where the conjunction is resonating most strongly.  Certainly, Israel's does resonate since the once-every-two-year conjunction lined up exactly with its Ascendant. 

Transiting Saturn (22 Libra) is also forming a close aspect to the natal Saturn (23 Cancer) so that is one reason why this whole episode that began with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers back in June has spiraled out of control.  Saturn-to-Saturn transits are often marked by formidable obstacles and blocked progress and are often characterized by a sense of loss or disappointment.  Saturn will remain in a close square aspect for several more weeks and suggests that Israel will remain bogged down in this conflict to some extent.

On the other hand, Jupiter is transiting through Cancer now which is Israel's 10th house.  This should be a seen as a positive in any event, especially since the all-important Moon is placed there.  This may be one reason why the Palestinian fatalities outnumber Israel's by a 30-1 ratio.  Jupiter may be offering a protective effect to both the IDF and the Israeli people. And even if Netanyahu's government may come under criticism from friends and foes alike, this Jupiter transit to the 10th house suggests the government will likely enjoy a lot of support where it counts the most -- in the Knesset and the streets of Israel proper.  The Jupiter effect here may also imply that the Israeli attacks have been fairly successful in meeting their objectives of destroying the Hamas network of tunnels and rocket launch sites. 

A significant cease-fire looks more likely when Mercury and Jupiter conjoin near the natal Moon at 11 Cancer on 2 August.   This may be some positive news at least, even if the cease-fire may not hold.  The subsequent Venus-Jupiter conjunction on 16 August looks even better.  Before that, more difficulties seem likely near 8 August when the Sun and Mercury align with Saturn in a three-planet aspect with natal Saturn.  Renewed hostilities or some major Israeli setback are possible around 25 August when Mars conjoins Saturn.  This will line up almost exactly with the natal Saturn.

The situation could calm down through September and October but November again looks problematic.  Saturn will oppose the Sun at that time so Netanyahu's government may have some new problems on its hands.  Netanyahu himself may come under pressure and his coalition may be in jeopardy.  Saturn's entry into sidereal Scorpio in November may indicate more conflict at the end of 2014 and into 2015.  As Saturn enters Scorpio, it will square Israel's Mars in Leo from November until September 2015.  While the natal Mars is quite strong, that is a very long time to be under the wearying influence of Saturn.  I tend to think that this could be a difficult period for the Israeli economy as well as a period marked by a higher level of violence and armed actions.

Financial Markets Update

US stocks drifted slightly lower on the week as geopolitical concerns compelled some investors to take profits after the recent rally.  The Dow edged lower closing at 16,960. Indian stocks fared better, however, as hope for future economic reforms burned more brightly with the Sensex finishing above 26,000.  As expected, we did see some gains ahead of Thursday's Sun-Jupiter conjunction.  Stocks were generally lower on Friday once the Sun left the bullish influence of Jupiter.   We have yet to see any clear evidence of the apparently bearish Saturn-Uranus alignment, however. 

The focus this week is likely Friday's Mars-Jupiter square aspect.  This is not a full-strength square aspect but it will be near-exact during the US trading day. Mercury will be in the proximity of Jupiter at the time so that could offset some of the potential problems brought about by Mars.  Before Friday the outlook is less clear.