In Astrology it is often worth going back into history to work out the lessons from times past. At the moment those in the Astrology world are transfixed by the Uranus/Pluto square that is exact for the first time later this month, however I have turned my attention to a sub-plot that is also going on in the heavens that happens only once in every around 248 years which I believe is no less significant, a conjunction between Pluto in Capricorn and the fixed star Facies.
Here we have the constellation of Sagittarius, and sitting in the stare (the eye) of the archer is the nebula Facies. Going back through ancient astrological texts, nebulae were often associated with eye problems and blindness, however this nebula has no such problem in obtaining a sharp focus. In days of yore, this faint star cluster was used as a sight test for prospective archers, and only those who could pick it out in the night’s sky were deemed worthy enough to become the most feared of all the foes faced in medieval combat. Wielding a longbow or crossbow, the archer could pick out a target with unerring accuracy from long range. No wonder the stare of the archer was so feared and this nebula lives up to the reputation. On the day of the assassination of JFK, Mercury the planet of precision was almost exactly conjunct fixed star Facies & the sharp shooting assassin hit his moving target, the president of the United States with a single bullet, and in the process changed world history forever.
So Facies does have a fearsome and ruthless reputation when combined with planets, however there is a another side to this star. Facies also shows determination and an adventurous spirit, a enthusiasm to tackle the hardest of challenges (Sagittarius as a constellation and a sign thrives when it has a goal to achieve) however this is often done with blatant disregard for the feelings and opinions of others, and often one only realises the consequences of one’s actions when one either gets hurt, or has to face the retaliation of those who you have inconvenienced or suppressed. Facies teaches you hard lessons which can take a long time to get over. Right now we find Pluto sitting on this spot (above Facies on the picture) and because this is such a rare event, it is worth looking back to learn the lessons of history during the last time that it happened.
I move back to 1763. This year saw the ending of the 7 Year’s War, arguably the world’s first ever global conflict which spread from Europe to India and the North American colonies. It saw Great Britain challenging the Bourbons (France and Spain) as well as the Prussians having territorial disputes with the Hapsburgs (Holy Roman Empire and Austria). The reason for the war was the expansion of trade and trade routes and thus wealth earning capacity, the powers of the day grabbing bits of land as quickly as they could. This war had been waged under Pluto in expansionist Sagittarius, and was concluding as Pluto finally started to enter Capricorn, bringing with it a change in the administration of countries and a shift in the world powers of the day. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 which ended the conflict saw the decline in the influence of the French and Spanish, and the beginning of the rise of the British empire. The cost of the war was considerable, there were around 1 million victims of the conflict and more crucially many of the combatants were now in serious financial debt; overseas campaigns not only cost lives but also cost a lot of money to fund.
The British needed to claw back a lot of the debt, in 1764 around £130 million, and so how would they go about balancing the books? Their first plan was to introduce the Sugar Act of 1764, importation taxes on molasses from the Caribbean islands that they had acquired from the French. Unfortunately, due to smuggling and the cost of administering the new tax, the Sugar Act had little effect in reducing Britain’s debt and even reduced the amount of production from the islands, as it was not financially worth growing the sugar cane any more. Another solution was needed and so the British decided to impose the Stamp Act of 1765 on the 13 American colonies they now had control of. This was a tax which had worked very well in Britain and raised much money previously, the idea being that every official document issued needed a paid for stamp before it could be made legally binding. The American colonists were very unhappy that they were being made to pay an austerity tax to fund British war debt, and it started a rebellion to drive the British from American shores, ending up with the American revolution and declaration of independence just over a decade later.
Back to the astrology. Pluto as we know rules big business and other people’s possessions, taxes and debt, investments and inheritances, control and power. As it connected to Facies at 5 Capricorn back in 1763/4/5, the British rulers of the day thought of themselves ahead of the welfare of their new subjects, and they paid the cost just years later losing all of the gains they had made. Uranus like today was sitting in Aries, and so the revolt that followed the British decision to impose the Stamp Act was vicious and shocking. These are lessons that were valuable then, and are valuable now.
Let’s move forward to today. We are also on the back of a global conflict when Pluto was in Sagittarius, this time the religiously based war on terror (Sagittarius rules faith) which spread into Iraq and Afghanistan, and as Pluto entered Capricorn and Uranus joined the party in Aries, it triggered the Arab Spring and a major shift in the power base of several Middle Eastern countries. Global power however these days is not acquired by invading countries, no it lies more in the hands of the global corporations who have fingers spread across the world, and thus their influence enters all our lives. The stock markets and investment houses rule how we all live, and their expansion of power through creative accounting went unchecked through the Pluto in Sagittarius years.
As Pluto entered Capricorn, the financial crash came, the investment bubbles burst, those accounting practices were seen for what they were in being over optimistic, debts were exposed and governments everywhere were put under severe pressure. In January 2012, Pluto made it’s first contact with Facies since 1764 and just like in that year, governments began imposing austerity measures on the peoples of the Western World to claw back the debt that had been run up through fruitless military campaigns and the reckless spending and borrowing culture of the previous decades. Now in Greece and Spain, the people are hurting and are rebelling onto the streets as the banks fail. The European Union are starting to turn their backs on the Greeks and are afraid that the Euro could disintegrate under the pressure. The wealthy countries in Northern Europe are angry at paying for the profligacy of the Southern European nations. In Syria, we see the other side of the ruthless Pluto conjunction to Facies, as the Assad and the Syrian regime are murdering and crushing the people who want freedom from tyranny with no regards for their wishes and desires.
We have another year and a half of this Pluto conjunction to Facies to go as Pluto only moves finally out of range in November 2013, and the Pluto Uranus square carries on into 2015; in historical terms, we have only just started the change. If you examine the 1763 example the ramifications went on until 1776 and the creation of the United States. So what of today? The balance of power is certainly changing again. Will we see more rebellion and protest? Almost certainly. Will there be more brutal acts of power that disregard the many for the benefit of the few? For sure. Will the European Union be split into a two tier system, and the Euro, the symbol of the union, disintegrate? My bet is that this will happen. Will we see an eventual decline in the power United States as we reach of the end of this 248 year cycle that lead to the creation of the country? Now that’s an interesting one to ponder over. Are the indebted nations of the west are slowly being upstaged by the booming nations of the east like China and India, are they losing their influence because of the unrestricted gains and the exploitation in the past of those lesser nations? More than likely. Will this decade go down in the history books as one which will be remembered? Bernadette Brady whose work I admire thinks so. She says of Pluto Facies connections that “it is the end of an era and the beginning of another”. You know what? I think she will be right…