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Weekly Hello

MONDAY, 20 May – SUNDAY, 26 May


It’s all change on the astrological front. Jupiter, the planet of growth and good fortune, enters Gemini, and if that isn’t enough, Venus, the Lesser Benefic, is moving alongside her big brother! Piling joy on jubilation, is Friday’s full moon in Sagittarius, which signals a very happy ending for some. That being said, full moons can also bring simmering situations to boiling point. So, if it looks as though something is getting out of hand, aim to bring the temperature down before you end up with a lot of spilt milk.

I have posted a video on Jupiter’s transit of Gemini, in which I look at the general outlook for the next twelve months and also what it means for all signs of the zodiac. You can have too much of a good thing with Jupiter, so although, in the main, Jupiter will add to your bank of happiness when it connects with planets and points in your chart, it can also inflate difficulties.

This has been, in the main, a trying year, so we need to celebrate our jollies whenever they come. Small signs of success should be seized upon and efforts redoubled to achieve whatever ends we desire. Never forget that the way we look at a situation makes all the difference between success and failure.

Onward and Starward

Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius Capricorn Aquarius Pisces

Friday Bite

Astrology of the Week’s Main Global Events
Penny Thornton

Friday Bite: 17 May 2024


The Promise of Things to Come

Israel – Gaza – Antony Blinken

MAY USED TO be called the Silly Season. Nothing of importance ever happened, at least in the world of politics. Not this May, though. Every day, it seems, there is a new revelation, another outrage and yet more examples of man’s inhumanity to man.

On Wednesday, the Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico was the victim of an assassination attempt. He was shot five times at point-blank range by 71-year-old Juraj Cintula, a former security guard and poet. Mr Fico survived the attack, although he remains in a critical condition. The incident is considered to be the worst political attack in Slovakian modern history.

On Tuesday, Daniel Hagari, chief spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces, spoke out against Netanyahu’s government. Such criticism might not be unprecedented but it is extraordinary. He publicly rebuked the government for failing to establish a postwar plan for Gaza. Thus far, and probably for the entirety of Netanyahu’s premiership, the “day-after” plan appears to be simply “get rid of the Palestinians” and resettle Gaza.

I realize this isn’t quite the breakthrough I’ve been promulgating over the last few weeks in regard to the Jupiter-Uranus-Sun-Venus configuration on Israel’s natal Sun – but Hagari has a powerful voice and he has galvanized change before…

Meanwhile, at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, South Africa accused Israel of intending to “wipe [the Palestinians] off the face of the Earth, calling Rafah “the final stand”. In response, Israel’s Deputy Attorney General maintained, “Only by bringing down Hamas’s military stronghold in Rafah will Palestinians be liberated from the clenched grip of the murderous terrorist regime, and the road to peace and prosperity may finally be paved.”

Israel Solar Return and Natal 2024

As you will see, I have ringed in blue the relevant transits to Israel’s natal chart. Israel celebrated its seventy-sixth birthday on Wednesday: the chart in the outer ring is the solar return and that in the inner ring, the natal. The transiting Sun-Uranus conjunction is bang on Israel’s Sun, the solar return Moon (two degrees away from the natal Moon) is precisely opposing Pluto, and transiting Mars, at ten degrees of Aries, exactly opposing Israel’s natal Neptune. While we can clearly see the start of the Rafah campaign (the “final stand”) in these alignments, since the solar return is a portrait of the year-ahead we must also know that the country faces turmoil, internal and external, in the coming months. Certainly, in view of the Mars-Neptune and Moon-Pluto oppositions and the Sun-Uranus conjunction, it seems regime change is a given, and in the very near future.

I also noticed for the first time that Israel’s natal Venus, the ruler of the chart, is conjunct the United States’ Venus-Jupiter conjunction. No wonder there is such a close bond between these two nations.

OVER IN THE United States, the hush-money trial continued to dominate the airwaves. This past week it has been the testimony of his former attorney Michael Cohen that has invited controversy. That and several Maga politicians, including Mike Johnson (who, I praised to the hills last week), turning out for Mr Trump and holding press conferences at the courtside, all echoing the former president’s claims of a “sham trial”, “ridiculous prosecution” et al.

THE WEEK HAD its lighter moments. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on guitar, for instance, making a pretty decent job of Neil Young’s Rockin in the Free World at a cocktail bar in Ukraine. (Now, why doesn’t he throw his cap in the ring for the presidency? Well, maybe in 2028.)

Antony Blinken Natal Chart

I found a chart on Scribd for Mr Blinken with a time of birth of 2:46 am on 16 April 1962, but there is no source given so I cannot vouch for its authenticity. However, with Aquarius rising and a Venus-Neptune opposition flanking the MC-IC axis and squaring Saturn and the nodal axis, he is made of strong and visionary stuff. In a couple of years’ time, the progressed Midheaven will be conjoined to his Saturn, triggering the natal T-square while transiting Pluto will be on natal Saturn. While these are far from joyous influences and could signal difficult times, they would also chime with the taking on of a great responsibility.

ALSO, ON THE lighter side, there was footage aplenty of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Nigeria looking to all intents and purposes as though they were on a royal tour. Ostensibly, they were there with an eye to the future of Nigeria’s participation in the Invictus Games. At last year’s Invictus Games, the Nigerians dubbed Meghan, Warrior Princess (Amira Ngozi Lolu). That could be said to be an embarrassment of riches even for a Sun Leo.

Is it just me or is Meghan looking ever more like Wallis Simpson? Certainly, the couple are tracing a path once trod by the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Hopes for a rapprochement with the royal family appear ever bleaker.

At some point I may look a little closer at this resonance between Meghan and Wallis, but to whet your appetite, both have the Moon in Libra, both have a Leo-Aquarius nodal axis and Wallis’s Jupiter in Leo falls on the midpoint of Meghan’s Mercury-Sun conjunction in Leo.

YOU MAY REMEMBER in last week’s Friday Bite I suggested that Putin was at the peak of his power but in the same way that the Sun reaches its highest point at Midsummer, decline inevitably follows. Signs of this were evident in his post-inauguration cabinet reshuffle. Removed from his position as Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu is headed to the Security Council while former deputy prime-minister and economist Andrei Belousov takes over from Shoigu. As Mark Galeotti, author of several books on Putin and Russia, pointed out in The Spectator “With an economist taking over the Defence Ministry, and the old minister taking up a policy and advisory role, the technocrats are in the ascendant…As Putin digs in for the long term… he knows he needs technocrats to keep his war machine going.”

When leaders perform reshuffles (and follow up with a foreign tour, in this case a state visit to comrade Xi Jinping), it can be a sign of their concern over their hold on power. And then there is the theory of Degenerate Autocracy whereby most dictatorships end with a disastrous decision – in Putin’s case the invasion of Ukraine – and in an effort to protect their positions dictators will put more emphasis on loyalty than competence.

And so to the shocking attempt on prime minister Fico’s life.

MR FICO HAS been prime minister since 2023, although he also held office from 2006-2010 and 2012-2018. Fico is pro-Russian and anti-Ukraine – he has vetoed Ukraine’s entry into the EU and voted against sending weapons to the country. This populist prime minister models himself on Donald Trump and is seen as strong and inflexible.

Sadly, we do not have a time of birth for Ribert Fico so we must make do with a sunrise chart, however, even without the benefit of an Ascendant or Midheaven, we can see why he is a hard-liner and also why he has been in a dangerous position this past year.

Robert Fico Natal Chart

Fico’s Virgo Sun is conjunct Pluto, and by association, Uranus. The Uranus-Pluto conjunction dominated the 1960s and presided over great social and political change – it was a time of rebellion and protest, and the “explosion” of youth culture. The Moon remained in Capricorn throughout the day of his birth, which not only has a part to play in his strong and somewhat inflexible leadership, but also Slovakia is a Capricorn country. If Fico were born late in the day, the Moon would form a Grand Trine with the Sun and Jupiter, which may explain his great good fortune and strong constitution. At the time of the shooting, the Sun and Jupiter were conjunct Fico’s natal Jupiter and trining natal Sun while transiting Pluto was opposing his natal Mars.

Robert Fico Assassination Atempt

What is interesting and apposite about this moment in time, is that although there might not have been an exact Mars-Uranus square on the angles of the chart, which would have screamed assassination-attempt, the Moon is tightly squaring the Sun, which is in turn sandwiched between Uranus and Jupiter. We could say that the Moon triggered the unexpected, audacious and explosive element of the Sun-Uranus-Jupiter stellium.

Currently, transiting Pluto may be a couple of degrees shy of an opposition to Fico’s natal Mars, but at the time of the attack, Mercury was applying to a square of Pluto and precisely squaring the prime minister’s natal Mars. Fico has been under threat, certainly politically, since Pluto began to square his natal Mars, but at this point in time that threat became near-fatal.

I’m going to end with Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová’s words on the attack:

“What happened yesterday was an individual act. But the tense atmosphere of hatred was our collective work.”

Food for thought. 

clock melting
Friday Bite: 10 May 2024


Time Running Out

Gaza – Putin – Signs of concern

THEY SAY A WEEK is a long time in politics. When last week’s Friday Bite was posted, the extent of the UK government’s losses in the local and mayoral elections was only just becoming apparent. The Conservative party had been prepared for a pasting but the reality of the defeat, the magnitude of the losses, were humiliating. A situation not helped by Wednesday’s defection of Tory MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, who crossed over to the other side (the Labour benches) at the start of Prime Minister’s Questions. There are now only months to go before a general election, and Sir Kier Starmer and the opposition are riding high. Then again, a month or more could be said to be an epoch in politics…

The United Kingdom isn’t the only country in political turmoil. It is part of a wave of disaffection that is propelling people toward extremes. Up to 450 million Euro Zone citizens will head to the polls in early June and opinion polls are forecasting significant gains for far-right and anti-establishment parties. And, although this may be rather simplistic, part of the reason for the failures of Rishi Sunak’s government is his difficulty in pleasing both the hard-right of his government and the centre and getting anything sensible done. He’s a prime minister trying to conduct a symphony orchestra with both hands tied behind his back.

On Sunday, Vladimir Putin was sworn in for his fifth term as president. The lavish, glitzy ceremony held in the Andreyevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace was boycotted by Western diplomats. (No explanation necessary.) The day before, Russia held tactical nuclear drills, as if the world needed any more evidence that the nuclear option is on the table. Mr Putin took the opportunity at Thursday’s Victory Day parade to accuse the West of “distorting history” and reminding us that his country’s atomic weapons were “always ready”.

On Monday, there was elation on the streets of Gaza when it appeared that Hamas had accepted a cease-fire deal put together by Egypt and Qatar.  The celebrations were short-lived, however, and on Tuesday, Israeli tanks rolled into southern Gaza and seized control of the border crossing with Egypt.

On Wednesday, President Biden announced that were Israel to mount a ground attack on Rafah, it would cease sending weapons to the country. The United States has already paused delivery of bombs and artillery shells. In response, Mr Netanyahu vowed Israel would “stand alone…[and] if we must we shall fight with our fingernails. But we have much more than our fingernails, and with that strength of spirit, with God’s help, together we shall be victorious.” I mentioned in my last Friday Bite that the second half of May looked promising for a ceasefire, which, admittedly, looks rather a faint hope at this point.

The most promising signs of an agreement appear on and around 18 May, when Venus and Uranus will be conjoined to Israel’s natal Sun while the Sun and Jupiter will square the country’s natal Mars. Then again, these transits could just as easily preside over Israel’s ground offensive on Rafah. Jupiter expands the revolutionary properties of Uranus, whether in a welcome or not so welcome way.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, in a New York courtroom, Stormy Daniels took to the witness stand in the “hush-money” trial against Donald Trump. Her testimony was cringe-making and to my mind has the potential to do more damage to the prosecution’s case than favours. (One has to ask, was all that information about what passed between the two in a hotel room really necessary?) Mr Trump was cautioned yet again by Judge Mechan over his behaviour in the courtroom – the former president had been observed “cursing audibly” and “shaking his head”.

Putin sworn in 5th term 2024

THE ABOVE CHART serves not only as a snapshot of President Putin’s fifth term but also the influences presiding over the events of the past seven days. On Tuesday, the Moon entered Taurus and the following day conjoined the Sun, forming a new moon at 18 degrees. While the new moon may be a portent of many new beginnings it is most certainly a sign of Israel’s resolve to finish the job they started.

The Sun is moving ever closer to Uranus and Jupiter, meeting Uranus on Monday, 13 May and Venus and Jupiter on the 18th. As each day passes, the potential for sudden and unexpected developments grows ever stronger. We should look out for some fiery exchanges and explosive developments in that Manhattan courtroom as well as in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

PUTIN’S FIFTH TERM, which has the potential to span the rest of his life, suggests he is at the peak of his powers (Sun, Moon and Venus conjunct the Midheaven and applying to the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction.) However, in the same way that the Sun is at its highest point at mid-summer yet simultaneously beginning its decline, Putin’s time in the Sun is on the wane.

The proximity of the Sun and Venus to Uranus and Jupiter acquires an extra layer of meaning when we look at the day-for-a-year progressions or a-month-for-a-year (tertiary) progressions. In five years (or five months) the progressed Sun will reach Uranus and in four years (or four months) progressed Uranus will square the Ascendant-Descendant axis. Prior to this, progressed Uranus will reach Jupiter and progressed Venus the Midheaven.

Without getting us tied up in knots with degrees and numbers, suffice to say that after a short honeymoon period, upsets follow. And we should be on the lookout for events of significance regarding Putin’s leadership from July/August through October of this year as well as 2025/6 through 2029.

Putin came to power on 31 December 1999. He, as Russia’s Great Redeemer, brought in the new millennia. He was sworn in, however, on 7 May 2000. While both dates are significant for Putin’s leadership, the swearing-in ceremony (which we have just witnessed for the fifth time) puts the official stamp on his presidency.

Putin Inauguration 2000

What greater sign of a leader born to rule with an iron rod than a Sun-Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in the tenth house. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is of great significance in affairs of state (it was not just by chance that Charles and Diana married on the exact Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of 1981, which was rising at the time of the wedding). However, and I know you’re ahead of me here, that marvellous Sun-Jupiter-Saturn stellium in the inauguration chart is squared by Uranus.

As we know, Putin’s presidency has not been short-lived – the square to Uranus did not lead to his exodus within a handful of years – although his two decades plus in office have not been without assassination attempts, attempted coups and the like.

And that pesky Uranus keeps showing up at inaugurations like a bad fairy.

Jupiter has just returned for the second time since Putin was sworn-in – the previous occasion was in May of 2012 – and since his natal Jupiter is at 20 degrees of Taurus, these returns are of super significance both for him personally and his leadership. His leadership is getting a massive reboot.

By progression, the Midheaven of the 2000 inauguration has reached 18 degrees of Taurus, thereby conjoining the “natal” Sun-Jupiter-Saturn conjunction and simultaneously squaring Uranus. Progressed Saturn is opposed to the Pluto-Chiron conjunction of the inauguration chart. These progressions march alongside the transit of Uranus to Putin’s Jupiter and square to his Midheaven and Pluto. Indeed, the recent Jupiter-Uranus conjunction fell on his natal Jupiter.

While I consider Putin to be far from safe – and if Prigozhin could mount a semi-successful coup, so could someone in Putin’s innermost circle – the real signs of major change for Russia occur in 2026 when Saturn and Neptune conjoin in Aries. These two planets will be within a hair of each other in July-August of next year so I am not entirely ruling out changes in Russia’s power structure before 2026.

The Saturn-Neptune cycle has been in play at key points in Russia’s history over the past 170 years, if not a lot longer. 1917 (Saturn conjunct Neptune in Leo) saw the assassination of Tsar Nicholas 11, the October Revolution and the beginning of Communist Russia while the Saturn-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn of 1989 presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The publication of Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy formed the basis of the Communist Manifesto – 1846 and Saturn conjunct Neptune in Aquarius. So, we can assume with some certainty that Russia will once again be in the throes of revolution in and around 2026.

TWO UNRELATED INCIDENTS but connected by their extreme strangeness, occurred on 24 April in London. At around 8:40, as horses from the Household Cavalry were taking their morning exercise, a sudden, loud noise from a construction site caused four horses to bolt, sending them galloping riderless through the streets of central London. One of them, a white stallion, was covered in blood. At the same time, Big Ben suffered a major malfunction and the hands on the great clock froze at 9:00 am. They started moving again just after ten and then incorrectly chimed eleven times.

Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences: one event does not cause the other. However, we experience an eerie sense of foreboding when such strange occurrences happen at the same time. What is the meaning of such incidents? Are they foreshadowing things to come? It struck some as a sign of the end times. I have to say, associations with the four horsemen of the apocalypse did spring to mind as well as time running out, but let us allow the voice of reason to prevail. It was just one of those things. And a full moon in Scorpio squaring Pluto probably had nothing to do with it… 

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