Sunday, August 3, 2014

Palestine under Saturn and Mars: the war in Gaza continues

(3 August 2014)  The fighting in Gaza resumed this weekend after the failure of Friday's cease-fire.  It lasted only ninety minutes.  There are hints that this round of bloodshed may be ending as Israel claims it destroyed most of the Hamas' network tunnels.  Israel may also have an interest in ending its attacks as it has been widely criticized for hitting several civilian targets, most recently a U.N. school which was being used as a shelter.  In last week's post, I wondered if we might get some kind of cease-fire around 2 August and the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction.  As it happened, the cease-fire came the day before.  I also thought it may not hold, and that proved to be correct.  Perhaps peace has a better chance near 16 August when Venus conjoins Jupiter.  We shall see. 

This war presents a problem for astrologers since the Palestinians do not have a proper national horoscope.  They are not yet a full-fledged nation.  All we have is several lesser charts which may or may not be significant for describing developments in Palestine, whether on the West Bank or Gaza.  The best one I have found thus far is the chart of the declaration of Palestinian independence in 1988.  Even if not as pertinent and accurate as, say, Israel's in 1948, it ought to have some force.  Tellingly, the declaration was made in absentia in Algeria by the Palestinian leadership under Yassir Arafat.  The declaration was the first time that the PLO official renounced violence and tacitly accepted Israel's right to exist.  The declaration paved the way for increasing international recognition which led to the Oslo Accords and the granting of limited sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza in 1994 and beyond.

There are some compelling elements of the chart that seem appropriate.  Ketu (South Lunar Node) rises on the Ascendant in Leo.  This may reflect the constantly unstable situation of the nation which has no fixed territory.  As the planet of asceticism, Ketu is said to deny the material realm.  This is perhaps fitting for a declaration of independence for a people without a homeland.  Ketu is also a spiritual planet, of course, and this may reflect the religious nature of Palestine as an Islamic state.  The triple conjunction of Mercury, Pluto and the Sun in the 3rd house of courage and determination seems to conform to the tenacity with which Palestinians have fought over the year to regain their homeland. 

The Moon's placement in the 6th house may provide a small window on the extent of their suffering although it does not seem quite right somehow. Jupiter's benefic aspect to the Moon is even more puzzling.   One would think the chart would have clearer afflictions which reflect the hardship of the Palestinian people.  Perhaps that comes from the lord of the 4th house (Mars) being poorly placed in the 8th house in a square with Saturn and Uranus.  And perhaps it speaks to better, more prosperous days in the future.  But the big problem with this chart is that there are no clear transit afflictions in recent weeks as one would expect given the large loss of life in Gaza. 

Or is there?  One possible explanation is that the Saturn-Uranus alignment at 22 Libra/22 Pisces is really hitting this chart but just in a less obvious way.  Saturn at 23 Libra is now 135 degrees away from Mars at 8 Pisces.  Western astrology does use the 135 degree sesquiquadrate aspect since it represents an 8-fold division of the circle of 360 degrees.  If this chart is correct, then Saturn will only move away from its 135 degree aspect with Mars later in August and September. That would suggest there could be more fighting and suffering in the days to come. 

Worse still, the Mars-Saturn conjunction on 25 August could be disastrous for Palestine since this is almost an exact aspect to the natal Mars.  A major escalation of violence seems very likely at that time.  Not surprisingly, the chart is running a malefic dasha period -- Rahu-Saturn from 2013 until 2015.  Both of these planets are natural malefics and Saturn is doubly problematic due to its placement with destabilizing Uranus and the weakening influence of Neptune.  Perhaps a lasting cease-fire is more likely as transiting dasha lord Rahu conjoins Venus in late August and into September.

The long term outlook for Palestine doesn't look good.  Some meaningful improvement in possible under Rahu-Mercury dasha from 2015 to 2018 and yet Mercury also suffers from its conjunction with Pluto (coercion) and the aspect from Rahu (deception).  I would be hesitant about expecting too much from this period although it should be better than what Saturn has delivered.  The general situation in Palestine may only substantially improve with the coming of the Rahu-Venus dasha in 2019. 

Financial Markets Update

Stocks tumbled across the world last week as US economic data suggested that the Fed may be forced to hike interest rates sooner than expected.  If the Fed does have to raise rates, then this asset bubble that has been forming over the past 5 years may suddenly pop.  The Dow lost 3% closing at 16,493 while the Sensex also dipped 3% and finished at 25,480.  This outcome was not a big surprise as I thought we might see some noteworthy moves on the late week Mars-Jupiter square aspect.  The big decline came Thursday just one day before Mars was made its closest angle.  It seems the market may be on the verge of falling further in the wake of that Saturn-Uranus alignment on 20 July.  It's still too soon to tell what its eventual impact will be, however.

This week could also be difficult as the Sun and Mercury come under the aspect of Saturn late in the week.  This alignment isn't exact until Saturday so it's possible some of the negativity may be avoided.  But even if stocks do recover this week, there will be renewed pressure soon enough.