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Interesting Times ... Pluto and Two Zodiacs

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(This is an expanded version of the Pluto article in Small World July 2011)

Drama on the Tropical Stage

Oh boy! Is Pluto having a field day! In Small World I wrote a piece some time ago about Pluto's potential impact on world affairs (particularly Europe) as his track through early Capricorn was going to hit 9/10 degrees of Cardinals - the area covering the 1st day of four key months in the civil calendar, January, April, July and October. So many countries and organisations choose one of these as their inceptional date that when a major planet (yes, Pluto is a major planet!) hits one of them they tumble like dominos. The EEC (January 1st 1958 at 0h00 CET in Brussels) and its members are right in the firing line - including the Euro, which was launched as legal tender on January 1st 1999, its first trade being three days later. On January 1st 2002 the first notes and coins appeared in participating countries including France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Luxembourg. Already the economies of Greece, Iberia and Ireland are dangerously unstable, and the IMF (December 27th 1945, 0h00 EST, Washington DC) has been busy baling them out ever since Pluto first moved over its Sun early in 2010; the planet is now back in there Capricorn 5 for a leisurely stroll which won't end until November/ December 2011.

Then Pluto heads rather too rapidly for comfort to Capricorn 9/10 where he dallies throughout 2013-2014. So this will be crunch time. England, the 1801 UK, the Queen (draconic Sun), the Prince of Wales (investiture 1st July 1969 at Caernarvon), air travel (1st scheduled passenger flight 1/1/1914), freedom of information (Act 1/1/2005), the Health & Safety Executive (1st April 2008 and still a joke), human rights, UK (Act 2nd October 2000), ditto USA (Act 2nd July 1964), Ottawa, capital of Canada ( 31 December 1857), Rome, Italy's capital (2nd October 1870), the Pentecostal Church ( 1/1/1901), the UK and Eire memberships of the EEC (1/1/1973), the UK Diplomatic Service (1/1/1965), and the London Metropolitan Police - 'the Met', already in trouble - (29th September 1829) among many other key institutions.

We in Britain are already having to deal with widespread and endemic corruption and greed - in our media, our police and our politics - even as Pluto the Examiner elicits our willingness to share a portion of what we have with millions suddenly visited by famine yet again in the Horn of Africa. Tropical Pluto won't reach 9/10 of Capricorn until early 2012, but the way it behaves does suggest that the orb of its impact may be relatively wide. Small Pluto may be, physically, but like the singer who can fill a stadium with his presence its subtle body may be huge, making itself felt well before and after the exact transit.  The afflicted countries of East Africa, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, are all in Pluto's way - a way that has been well prepared by Saturn's progress through Tropical Libra and Uranus’ entry into Aries, bringing to the entire area the shock of drought and starvation.  All have either the Sun, angles or a ruler in early Cardinals. Sudan is yet another country that came into being on January 1st, in 1956 so its Sun is at 9 Capricorn; opposite at 9 Cancer is Somalia's Sun, the Union created on July 1st 1960, five days after Independence. Ethiopia (1974) has its Draconic Sun at 4 Capricorn, with ruling Mercury at 9 Libra, and another key chart for June 25th 1632 when Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity was re-established as the state religion has the Sun in either 3 or 13 Cancer depending on the calendar. Kenya's ruling Mercury is at 9 Capricorn. When one is tested, all are tested.

In world affairs as in private life, Pluto is all about the use and abuse of resources and of power. 'Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' So there will be spectacular acts of hubristic self-destruction; and occasionally extraordinary rewards for some individuals or organisations who have used their power well, without arrogance, without greed, without playing God. Pluto has been here twice before in the past half-millennium; in 1520 the enslavement of black Africans was permitted, and in the mid-1760s Europe - particularly the UK - was kick-starting the Industrial Revolution. Do-as-you-would-be-done-by, or else Be-done-by-as-you-did! (Charles Kingsley's delightful embodiments of Karmic Law. I always loved The Water Babies.) Inevitably we have stored up trouble for ourselves. But of course it can be argued that as Pluto was unknown to us until 1930, it is only in recent times that we have been consciously aware of the powers at our disposal, and therefore morally obliged to act with the altruism and responsibility that should go with them. Which may well be why so many things are going so catastrophically wrong now.

Breaking News!

The News of the World (1st October 1843, Sun 7 Libra) has already gone to the great newsroom in the sky having seriously blotted its copybook. Its owner Rupert Murdoch, now in for a serious grilling, has Pluto coming up to oppose his Piscean Sun's co-ruler Jupiter at 10 Cancer, aided and abetted by the square from Saturn in Libra; it has already been over his Ascendant, inviting him further up the Primrose Path to attempt total control of BSkyB and further media domination, and Sidereal Pluto is still only 3 degrees from his Sidereal Ascendant at 8 Sagittarius. His Sagittarian son James' reflex (contrantiscion) Sun is at Cancer 8. (James' Moon is in Pisces close to his father's Sun, where the Moon was as both men appeared before the Commons Select Committee to answer for themselves. Murdoch Junior's responses were a master-class in Piscean evasiveness and Sagittarian self-justification.) Murdoch Sr. has since rescinded his takeover bid. When James was appointed CEO of BSkyB in 2003 Tropical Pluto was all over his Scorpio Sidereal Sun; he has just been confirmed as its Chairman, with a massive vote of confidence, and the channel has taken the rights to full broadcasting of Formula One motor racing away from the BBC. Sidereal Pluto will hit James’ Tropical Sun in 2015. Just four years to go till the next drama ...

There has been a double resignation of the two top men in the London Metropolitan Police Force with the revelation that police were taking money from News International journalists; Sir Paul Stephenson the erstwhile Police Commissioner was born on September 26th 1953, nearly sharing the 'Met's' birthday (see above), and was first to go. His Sun is at 3 Libra, on Murdoch's 7th cusp. Sir Alex Ferguson (31st December 1941) will have to be very careful too, now that a filmed connection to a Thai businessman (UK's Channel 4, How to Buy a Football Club, July 18th 2011) may be calling into question his management ethics in the 'beautiful game'. The Territorial Army (April 1st 1908, Moon 8 Aries, Sun 10 Aries), which has presumably been keeping its collective nose clean, is about to be awarded several million pounds to expand its activities and fill the gaps left by the UK's shrinking armed forces.

In 2008 I wrote in Small World, "When he (Pluto) gets to 5 Capricorn the IMF’s Sun will be in the firing line after all the  alarming activity of the past two years (Venus, Ceres, S. Node... ) so it may be staring at emptied coffers  by then, Heaven help us all, and going through ‘death and rebirth’." See above; and its erstwhile top man Dominique Strauss-Kahn is currently going through the courts accused of rape! "Crunch time will be  when Pluto hits the English/UK/EEC Sun in 2012/13, also impacting Australia (which, like the IMF, has  been having an eventful time lately and may be ready to say Cheerio to the Queen)" still up for  debate,"the British Diplomatic Service, and The Times." Not as yet! But certainly its sister paper, and the phone-hacking scandal may yet extend further into the Murdoch Media Empire. "Will we  have got our collective act together to celebrate a memorable Olympics? Or will it be another failure of  planning and imagination, a damp squib to match the River of Fire and the Millennium Dome? Will we  give the cold shoulder to Europe? Or will our benighted islands reluctantly embrace the Euro?" No,  thank heaven, but we may get sucked into Europe's and the Euro's economic morass even further simply by being a member state. "Will we realise we no longer have ‘human rights’, only debts?" The tide may  be beginning to turn. "Will we bring back the real spirit of competition in which we re-learn the art of  losing gracefully?"  This is looking more possible. "Limits will have to be set - flights grounded" - yes, we  have volcanoes for that! -  "populations controlled" (there is talk but little action), "behaviour schooled,  promiscuity checked, standards raised, purse-strings tightened, freedoms curtailed." Oh, more and more  voices are being raised against our decades of profligacy! "Will we see the end of the throw-away society,  and a return to older, more lasting values?" recycling is now being practised with missonary zeal all over the industrialised world; "Or will it be the end of Freedom Food and the hope we still had for the planet?  It could be the new age of the entrepreneur - or a field day for the ruthless." Watch and wait. There are  billions of us. And we're all hungry.

Into The Sidereal Arena

Now of course we are dealing here with global issues. And the zodiac that we should surely be using is in fact the sidereal. This was brought home to me, as I have mentioned elsewhere, during a very brief conversation with the late Ron Davison who helped and encouraged me so much in my early days with the Astrological Lodge and the AA; I asked him what he thought of the sidereal zodiac, and he replied, "I think it has something to do with history." History is being made all the time; all the foregoing will go down in the global record along with the consequences that are yet to manifest. History is human experience on the Big Stage, and the sidereal framework gives us the Big Stage of astrology, whereas the tropical has all the intimacy of a studio performance.

How do we look at the current dramas in the sidereal context? How do we re-interpret them in view of Pluto's continuing sidereal presence in Sagittarius?

In terms of its impact on modern institutions, they will still go through their upheavals; founding and inceptional dates of January/July 1st will still resonate as their sidereal positions will also be in approximately the same degrees of Sagittarius as the current sidereal Pluto transit, not Capricorn. But the further back we search for historic inceptions, the more drift there will be between the transits and the sidereal inception Suns - this of course dependent on the amount of zodiacal precession involved at any given date. So if we now look again at the News of the World, its Sidereal Sun at 14 Virgo will have to wait until 2012/2013 before it is squared by Sidereal transiting Pluto. The UK (1801) Sidereal Sun is at Sagittarius 18, and this won't get its Sidereal Pluto hit until 2014/2015. Going right back to 1066, England's natal Sidereal Sun is in very late Sagittarius, 28 degrees! Sidereal Pluto won't be there until 2019/2020.

But ... of course Pluto has already been over these Sagittarian degrees during its Tropical transit of the sign! So what we have constantly going on, historically and indeed personally, is a four-fold series of impacts from any major planetary energy. First, the Tropical transits to Sidereal radix; next the Tropical to Tropical transits; then the Sidereal transits to Sidereal radix; finally Sidereal transits over the Tropical radix.

So let's look at the USA, then. And 911. At that unforgettable and terrible moment Tropical Pluto was at 12SG38, darkening the USA Ascendant of 13SG11. If ever there was an epoch of Death and Rebirth, this was it. No further comment is necessary. We are all living with the memories and the legacy.
Consider this, now: Sidereal Pluto is currently in 10 Sagittarius. In May this year, 2011, it came very close to the USA's Tropical Ascendant, and stationed. Starting this coming winter, Sidereal Pluto will spend the whole of 2012 moving to and fro over the USA's Tropical Ascendant. Already we have a global financial crisis with the USA deeply embroiled, and President Obama desperately trying to negotiate some kind of solution. There are still security threats in every country where groups and individuals have become radicalised. The Millennial boom has gone bust. We are collectively facing the consequences of our desires and our actions.

This is the key word. Collective. The Sidereal positions of planets, whether they impact Tropical, or Sidereal, or even Draconic planets and points in the radix, imply a role or effect of the individual or group concerned upon the world stage, however modest it may be. Every one of us has a Sidereal chart as well as a Tropical. Every one of us has a Sidereal part to play in the long drama of human history as well as the Tropical day-to-day issues of our private life. Every country or state, in addition to its Sidereal global role, has a Tropical national character and an image to maintain.

Two Zodiacs

Looking back to 1991/1992 we effectively have Act 1 of a four-part drama - the transits of Tropical Pluto over the USA's Sidereal Ascendant in 21 Scorpio, and what was going on? The end of the Cold War, the start of the Gulf War, and the crucial Earth Summit. All Scorpio stuff. Negatively, this is all about the USA's track record of aggression, rapacious greed, and environmental pollution. But also, on the positive side,  its capacity for business acumen and role on the international markets, plus its historic example of self-transformation, sharing of resources, and raw courage. (This period also marked the beginning of the global spread of the Internet.) It is the depressing failure of the Earth Summit that has contributed to our encroaching environmental ruin; and incessant warfare in the Islamic countries of the Middle East has continually ratcheted up East-West tensions.

When in Act 2 the twin towers fell under the Tropical/Tropical transit, it was not only a human tragedy but a massive challenge to the USA's Sagittarian self-image as a super-confident, wealthy, international power. The Act 3 'War on Terror' subsequently gathered momentum over the following year as the Sidereal transit of Pluto moved onto the Sidereal Scorpio Ascendant. Now in 2011 the curtain has gone up on Act 4. The focus of Sidereal Pluto is once more on Sagittarius, the very identity and the material viability of the Tropical United States. Will its answers to Pluto's big questions reflect the wisdom of experience? The generosity of its abundance? The authentic response of 'One Nation Under God'? This period of testing is all the more critical as the impact of Pluto continues into 2013/2014, its Tropical position in mid-Capricorn confronting the heart of the USA at 13 Cancer.

The Second World War

It will be following the UK and Europe into the current dark and difficult territory just as it did during World War 2 when Sidereal Pluto in Cancer moved successively over the UK's Tropical Sun axis and then the USA's Tropical Sun. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 (when Sidereal Pluto was at Cancer 11, two degrees from the exact transit) hit the USA where it hurt most - at home - and brought the States at last into the global conflict.

The Second World War ended as Sidereal Pluto eventually left that super-vulnerable Capricorn/ Cancer axis behind in the late Spring of 1945 as the 'Axis' of Germany, Italy and Japan was dissolved. Surely these three nations were also responding to the lure of the Tempter? Of course they were. Hitler's Third Reich was 'born' on January 30th 1933 at 11h15 CET with Pluto at the IC (and maverick Chiron rising.) Over the course of the conflict its doom was sealed as the planetary friend became the planetary foe and worked its way inexorably through Tropical Leo to the opposition of the Reich's 10 Aquarius Sun in 1945. The Third Reich, with not a little help from the Allies,  self-destructed. Italy? It is clearly the ceremonial beginning of the kingdom on July 2nd 1871 that stands as the key chart, for it is this whose 10 Cancer Sun is in the firing line of the Wartime Sidereal Pluto. And Japan? Interesting. Tropical Pluto had certainly been working opposite the Sidereal Sun of the Meiji Constitution at the end of Capricorn (11 Feb 1889); but Sidereal Pluto spent the first three years of the War square to the Tropical 9 Aries Sun of the Convention of Kanagawa (March 31, 1854) which bound a newly-opened Japan to the USA in a trade treaty. The final climax of this square came in 1941: The Pearl Harbor Pluto at Sidereal 11 Cancer is 2 degrees past the square to Japan's 9 Aries Sun and 2 degrees before the conjunction with the USA's Sun at Cancer 13. Either Pluto was then simply aspecting the midpoint of the two national Suns, and/or we are seeing the planet's 2-degree orb in action. (This effective orb is confirmed in many other charts.)

Dark of the Sun, dark of the Moon

We can try interpreting the Tropical and Sidereal signs involved in all these inter-connected transits - but one thing is inescapable: if Pluto (or any other powerful body) makes a strong hard aspect particularly to a Sun or a major Angle, the moral gauntlet will be thrown down, whether the contact is Tropical/ Tropical, Tropical/Sidereal, Sidereal/Tropical or Sidereal/Sidereal. The important thing is to watch assiduously for any and all of them.

The recent tragedy in Norway emphasises this - and also the importance of ceremonial beginnings: Norway gained its Independence on June 7th 1905 with the Sun at Gemini 15 and the Moon at Leo 6. Even though Norway's Sidereal Moon and Draconic Sun conjoin in 12 Cancer, Tropical Pluto is currently retrograde in Capricorn 5, way out of orb. Its main effects won't be felt until 2013 at the earliest. However, the public ceremony that set the seal on the new independent kingdom was the Coronation of King Haakon a year later, which took place on June 22nd 1906. It isn't the Sun under pressure from Pluto but (appropriately for the young and many female victims of Breivik's attack on the innocent public) the Tropical Moon/Mars-Uranus opposition from Cancer to Capricorn, which in 5 and 7 degrees have received a direct Tropical hit from the planet.

Europe and Crisis

Now, what we haven't yet looked at is the period not so long ago when Tropical Pluto in Sagittarius hit the Sidereal Suns of the UK, Europe and England. To recap - even though tropically these all cluster in 9/10 Capricorn, because of precession the Sidereal positions are spread out in the preceding sign. The EEC's Sidereal Sun is at Sagittarius 15 and the UK's EEC membership at 16, the UK itself (1801) at 18, and England (1066) at 28 Sagittarius. There is a second UK chart that is seldom used but nevertheless very important - the reorganisation when Northern Ireland chose to remain with the UK and not join with the newly-formed Irish Free State. The chart given by Nick Campion in World Horoscopes is for December 7th 1922 at 15h28 in Westminster; the Tropical Sun is at 14 Sagittarius, setting conjunct ruling Mercury at 15. The Sidereal Sun for this date is Scorpio 21.

The most recent and dramatic event under this pattern was when Tropical Pluto hit the Sidereal Sun of England in 2007/2008. In what was to become a massive global banking crisis, Northern Rock became the first bank to be taken into state ownership as public confidence in banks crumbled. The Bank of England is a big player on the world scene, and had been playing fast and loose with savers' and investors' money, buying and selling sub-prime mortgages at home and overseas in a ridiculously inflated housing market. The sudden collapse of the UK economy and the subsequent country-wide recession has had serious consequences for all areas of business - manufacturers, retailers, service providers and the buying public - which continue to influence all decisions of the embattled Coalition government still cutting away at national expenditure to regain control over the UK’s mountain of debt. Saturn is taking over from Jupiter.

Before this there was the transit through 14/15/16 Sagittarius. This occurred through 2001 and 2002. Post-911, America's best friend was in shock and profoundly concerned about national security. But already 2001 had brought the UK to its knees - it was the start of the foot-and-mouth crisis. This horrible disease of sheep and cattle spread almost unchecked over the country despite the best efforts of authorities and farmers to contain the outbreak. It led to a massive slaughter of farm animals, smoking pyres that were visible for miles, and a heart-breakingly emptied countryside. It took several years for the farming economy to recover. Meanwhile it was a big time for Europe: in 2001 the first Euro notes were issued in a massive fiscal overhaul that in 2002 banished forever (?... what will Pluto say?) the franc, the peseta, the mark, the lira, and the drachma that still linger in forgotten corners of drawers, boxes and old purses, the fond mementos of properly foreign holidays.

On December 1st 2009, when the European Union of 27 member states came into force at 0h00 CET in Brussels after the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, Sidereal Pluto was actually conjunct the Tropical Sun, at 7 and 8 Sagittarius - squared by an exact conjunction of Sidereal Saturn with the Tropical 8 Virgo Ascendant. Sidereal Mercury in Scorpio was with Tropical Venus. This Pluto-Sun contact is a permanent state of affairs in the EU's affairs of state! Europe can now expect to be governed from a globally more powerful centre, whose laws have real community force. We can also expect a lot of very frustrating nit-picking from that politically-correct Saturn amid much benevolence (some misguided - that Venus has just squared Neptune) and trouble brewing from the Sidereal Mars in the Tropical Cancer South Node in the 11th. Is it right to intervene in other nations' conflicts? Or will it all end in tears? Can we avoid internal squabbles? Or will they end up destroying alliances? Cool Capricorn Dragons' heads will be needed!

There is a summary of the 2009 changes to the EU on Wikipedia  which you may find interesting in view of the patterns you will see for yourself if you put the Sidereal and Tropical charts of the EU into a biwheel.

What does it all mean?

Because of the nations under scrutiny and the periods covered, we have only been looking at a selection of signs - Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn. This is a very small sample from the great swathes of history open to research! But we can learn from them. First, every national drama, apart from direct attacks, tends one way or another to involve the economy; and at once we find it impossible to associate this with only one of the last three signs, as each of them has a vested interest. Scorpio is all about other folks' money, so gets into business and banking. Sagittarius has Jupiter's love of an unfettered life, and is thus attracted to the acquisition and distribution of wealth. Capricorn is ambitious in whatever it undertakes and finds its way naturally onto the business ladder where material goods are made, bought and sold, and material rewards can be considerable. So the Pluto transits to the Suns of nations in recent years, whether Tropical or Sidereal, may not in themselves suggest specific events.

However, the two World Wars may tell us something. WW1 began with Tropical Pluto at the beginning of Cancer; it had entered the sign in 1912, two years before the start of hostilities. WW2 started with Sidereal  Pluto early in Cancer; it entered the sign in 1933, with Hitler newly installed as Chancellor of Germany and head of the Third Reich. Both wars had a devastating impact on family life world-wide, and both wars brought huge changes to the status and roles of women, that in fact greatly empowered them in the necessary absence of so many men (families, homes and women all ruled by the sign Cancer.) During the Tropical transit through the upheavals a major process of social change was started; during the Sidereal transit the upheavals were repeated and the process continued. But then alongside these were new changes as Tropical Pluto moved into and through Leo; it remained in this sign until 1957/1958. Initial post-war austerity was replaced in the West by a love of glamour, the golden years of Hollywood, the rise of the Star system, an enthusiasm for Royalty, and with the return of the menfolk a period of restored stability for the conventional family. The Sidereal progress of Leo Pluto lasted from 1953 to the end of the '60s at which point the West's 'establishment' values were overwhelmed by the maelstrom of a new grass-roots popular culture, whose seeds were sown in Liverpool in 1957 with the opening of the Cavern Club and the first meeting of John Lennon with Paul McCartney. Pluto in Virgo gave power to the people.

So I'm still not sure that we can draw much of a distinction between the Tropical and the Sidereal transits, except as the start and the continuation of a process; and this process is to bring major change in the areas connected with the sign and to empower the social group(s) and effective ideas generally governed by that sign. After Virgo's 'people-power' came Libra's bra-burning and campaigns for women's rights. Britain had its first woman Prime Minister. At home in Scorpio, Pluto over-sexualised Western society, banished much beauty in favour of the dark and grotesque, and began to encourage the corporate and then personal ruthlessness with which we still struggle today. Entry into Tropical Sagittarius didn't help. The phrase "Greed is good!" certainly embedded itself in the British psyche and a mushrooming celebrity culture has meant that every sofa-bound tot wants to grow up to be an entertainer 'having fun'. Serious training for useful work has been rejected by many UK young in favour of 'Media Studies' at the many technical colleges that have - to boost the self-esteem of the unremarkable - been rebranded as 'Universities'; and those who do make it into the public eye on the sports field or in front of a camera - as well as the people who buy and sell them - are often obscenely overpaid. The communications and media revolution that really got going in the ‘90s has, along with all its benefits, led to a generation who seem terrified of silence. The right to travel anywhere in the world, and then to behave with as much indiscipline as we wish, expecting others to clean up after us, is taken for granted now. In fact everything is about 'rights,' and this has led to a ‘blame culture’, a litigious society and a correspondingly fat insurance sector. More gravely, more than one religion is standing firm against a wave of academic atheism in an increasingly secularised culture. This resistance in principle is good - but, as we know to our cost in the West, has also had some devastating human consequences.

Things to Come?

We shall have to put up with all this for another ten years yet until the strictures of Saturnine (and often sensible) Capricorn have our skies and our psyches to themselves for a while with the final departure of Pluto from Sidereal Sagittarius in December 2021. In the meantime the harsh realities of Tropical Capricorn are biting into the self-indulgence and extravagance of Sidereal Sagittarius as travelling Pluto brings both energies together. And at least 21st century human beings have proved themselves generous when others are overwhelmed by disaster - there have been many calamities in recent years to test us. But what the world will be like from 2021 to 2024 during the brief phase when Pluto will be in the first degrees of Sidereal Capricorn as it finishes with Tropical Capricorn's last degrees, we can only speculate. We are now learning economies of life-style with which we shall probably have become only too familiar by then. I doubt that life will be 'fun' any more; those who cannot or will not work hard enough to keep body and soul together will have a tougher time than they do now, as resources may not be as readily available to provide a material and social safety-net. Maybe circumstances will remind us of the value of quietness and retreat. Maybe we shall simply have tired of stimulus and noise. Responsibilities should at long last have become at least as important as what we fondly imagine are our human rights - I'm sure we do have a few of these, but not as many as we think! Only God knows what our rights really are. But our responsibilities are usually pretty obvious.

The Human Journey

What seems to be emerging from this look at Pluto’s progress through the two zodiacs is that working in parallel they appear to be taking humanity on a journey of social evolution. To some extent when Pluto moves from one sign to the next the cultural energies of new sign replace those of its predecessor; but only in part, because each period marks real progress in our understanding of the world and our place in it, and new ways of relating to each other both materially and spiritually. Each period brings its characteristic technological changes and its cultural zeitgeist. All that is of lasting value is retained; each zodiacal phase, whether tropical or sidereal, adds to what has gone before while offering the opportunity to correct our mistakes.

The Individual Nature

However inter-twined the effects of a major transit may be through the two zodiacs, when it comes to the level of an individual chart and its interpretation, there is no doubt at all that the Tropical and Sidereal describe two distinct facets of a single character: respectively the private and the public. Behind your front door or on the phone to a friend you are one person, your Tropical pattern; up in town at the office, performing onstage, working as a charity volunteer, engaging in Royal Duties, counselling through astrology - whatever your social or world  role, your are then your Sidereal self. Both co-exist in you, along with the Draconic self with its deeply-held beliefs, its principles, its spiritual mission. And the same applies to a country, with its layers of national character. All layers of our identity are open to growth stimulated by the transits of Pluto and the other major planets through all zodiacs, but principally the Tropical and the Sidereal.

So, my friends, personally, internationally, and astrologically, we are living in more and more Interesting Times! As for The Times itself, UK flagship of the Murdoch newspaper empire, in 2004 Tropical Pluto on its Sidereal Sun at 19 Sagittarius - conjunct James Murdoch's Tropical Sun and so near the UK Sun - transformed the famous broadsheet into a tabloid. Next stop is its 11 Capricorn Tropical Sun, rather soon after all the News International shenanigans to expect anything other than major changes at least at the top; and later will come the Sidereal to Sidereal impact at 19 Sagittarius again around 2015. Maybe The Thunderer will reinvent itself yet again! Or James will. And the UK will have to.

Events seem to be gathering momentum at the very time when Pluto in Capricorn is reminding us of the value of slowing down. Slower food, slower journeys, slower growth, while we are still in the Sagittarian fast lane. There has never been a more important time to examine one's conscience, as world events irrespective of our personal patterns and transits inevitably touch us all, and a lot of light is needed to overcome any encroaching dark. Even without the corrupt practice of so many people currently entangled in the sticky, seductive webs of commerce, our own poor choices, our unconsidered habits, our auto-pilot responses to the Plutonic zeitgeist, can help in the ruination of this once glorious and diverse planet, and the impoverishment of our souls. But if we each continue on the journey to greater self-awareness, true understanding of who we are, of the world and cultures that sustain us, of the universe that embraces us, perhaps a wider transformation can happen; Earth and its peoples may have a viable future after all.

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