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Working with the Planets

Roy Gillett focuses on January to March 2006

Can we turn doom prophecies on their head?

Since writing November's "Working with the planets" [1], a sense of doom about "inevitable consequences" seems to dominate comparing-notes conversations with colleagues. Whatever the astro-method used, it seems that difficult times lie ahead.

Our world is in the grip of a desperately dangerous mix. Our tight mechanistic contemporary view of "reality" is driven by the spin of narrow self-interest. There is no ethical discipline, except disputed religious beliefs, developed in times when the world was less of a global village. While intrinsic kindness, good will and the wish for happiness for everyone remains at the heart of human nature, the way to provide it has been hijacked by the self-interested fanaticism and ignorance of those who lead us. Manipulating the facts to win the short-term argument and survive seems to be all that matters—the long term consequences are "beyond our control", "the fault of those who oppose us". Anger is the only real enemy, as we despair with outrage and blame at the behaviour of others.

What can be done? International affairs, be it in trade, man-made famine, war, and economic short-sightedness, could be addressed, if we turned away from visions of victory toward solutions that seem fair to all sides involved. Yet is there anything we can do about the increasing incidence of natural disasters—the cyclones, earthquakes, floods and the imminent threat of "bird flu", or other world-wide epidemics?

We shall begin to find a positive answer, if we see what we call "natural disasters" not so much as "acts of God", but the consequences of the view of reality we have embraced and the way we treat our planet. There have been twenty major world earthquakes since 1960 [2]. Fourteen of these have been since 1990 and seven in the last four years! The number of cyclones and typhoons has also increased. Could our actions be the cause? Is our error to see the planet as a passive and non-reactive resource for us to harvest as we wish?

In fact, the planet not only reacts to what we do to it, but also offers traumas to release the pressure of our counter-productive behaviour. Hurricane Katrina raised issues of administrative imbalance and insensitivity in the USA. The South Asian earthquake came at time when extra cooperation between India and Pakistan might further resolve the Kashmir conflict. Closer to home, flooding and terrorist attacks have encouraged us to care for and understand each other's cultures. The immense force of the planet's reactions puts humanity's pathetic disputes into perspective. When we give our hearts and support to those in desperate need, sub-group conflicts and even wars pale into insignificance.

The chart for midnight in London on 1 January 2006 shows this challenge for the year in stark focus. (It also shows the value of drawing in aspects!) Two grand crosses combine close to creating an exact eight pointed star. A similar pattern of aspects occurs at midnight LMT all over the world [3]. Even if we take away the MC as a point of aspect focus, a fixed grand cross between Saturn, Mars, Neptune and Jupiter, plus a t-square between the nodal axis and the Sun remain strong. The grand cross continues to apply through the months ahead. So, we have the astrological explanation for the difficulties we already know and are yet to know as "the chickens come home to roost".

In recent years, there has been a "slack" that allowed choices of behaviour, the consequences of which were not bad enough to be entirely unmanageable. Now we have to react to events with perfect appropriateness, or the outcome will be beyond anything humanity can bear. International openness and cooperation about bird flu, making available expertise and medicines that prevent and cure are essential. We face dangers to which the most stringent immigration controls offer no protection. The needs and motivations of humanity as a whole are far more the same than anything that separates us.


This is the only way to see the difficulties of 2005 to 2006 in a positive way. Easy-flowing astro-events, although pleasant at the time, lead to slackness of thought, opinion and action that build up dangers for the future. Far more beneficial in the long run are the confrontations with reality and experience of immediate consequences those stressful squares, conjunctions and oppositions bring. These sharpen our actions and focus our understanding. Harsh judgements and dire consequences are likely, if we get things wrong in the coming months. The New Year midnight chart symbolises that humanity is on trial and 2006 will be a seminal year in this process.

In a fundamental way, this is good news. Because the outcome of error is likely to be traumatic, only an extreme fanatic will allow prejudice to drive actions that "fly in the face of reason". Indeed, we may find ourselves doing the right thing almost automatically. The trick is to act intuitively and stop the mischief-making mind getting in the way. When children are trapped suffering underneath a building, only the most heartless would ask what their religion is before acting. So, enmity diminishes and friends are made.


Great sporting champions will confirm that although a little luck is always a blessing, the hard slog of careful and rigorous training is the sure foundation of all great achievements. 2006 will be like that. If we lose our determination and willingness to learn (however surprising and unacceptable the lesson), we could become trapped in the grip of one difficulty, danger and frustration after another. But if we take the immediate and natural course of action, we may well find ourselves resolving far larger problems than we ever felt would be possible.

To achieve this positive outcome, the relationship of the people with their leaders will be crucial. The nature of this has turned completely upside down, even in the partial democracies that go by that name in our G8 cultures. Strategists use focus groups to discover approaches that will appeal to "swing voters", then design their propaganda accordingly. When elected, politicians use all their skill to select "facts" that make it appear they are implementing what they promised. In a genuine democracy, the experience and wisdom of leaders recommends foresighted solutions for the people's approval, by giving full details that inform and change minds. True leaders hold their ground and inform public opinion. Bereft of this, people become trapped and impotent in this politics of deception. It leads to popular frustration and tighter and tighter controls to discipline the resultant excesses. The intolerable heightening of this frustration in 2006 may well lead to the emergence of conviction politicians, who break through the taboos.

Even deeper and more vital questions likely to be asked in the coming year will concern the very basis of the reality paradigm we take to be absolute truth. Mechanistic materialism is both illogical and inadequate for our times, when, feelings, beliefs and opinions exploit science with laissez-faire selfishness. Indeed, it could be argued that insensitive self-interest is an inevitable product of basing our social institutions on mechanical "reality". In contrast, understanding the nature and timing of the cyclic pressures that lie behind our mental and emotional motivations will discipline the decision-making process before it gets out of control. Knowing the astrological factors that drive our feelings and explain our prejudices can put the events of 2006 in perspective. Understanding this cyclic model leads to natural balance in actions, based on concern for others. Deciding this way will be good for astrology and ever better for the world.

Major astro-events January to March 2006


The 2006 Capricorn-Cancer Full Moon occurs on the same day as Mars opposes Jupiter and both tightly apply to t-square Neptune. The struggle for power to control the distribution of petroleum and other natural resources, in the midst of conflicting fixed religious and cultural beliefs, will dominate our social and personal relationships. With Uranus and Pluto at the angles and the joint ruler Jupiter so afflicted, systems of control are likely to be confused and overstretched. With nodal axis retrograding to the Aries-Libra cusp in the first six months of the year, it will be very easy to miss the opportunity the challenges bring and despair at the hopelessness of what confronts us.

As Jupiter builds to square Neptune, which it opposed in 2002/3, the karmic consequences of our misguided obsession to find simplistic solutions to post-9/11 relationships will intensify. With Sun opposed to Saturn the day before and an Aquarian New Moon the day after, individual and group outrage will demand answers. Although Mercury has just trined/sextiled the nodal axis, on 6 February it squares Mars, while the Sun conjoins Neptune and squares Jupiter. Actions will be dominated by the unbearable frustration of people "not understanding what is staring them in the face". Will we have the wisdom to check up whether the cause of the failure is as much from our side as any other?


When Mars, having been in intransigent Taurus since July 2005, enters Gemini a day or so before the Sun enters Pisces, Mercury trines Jupiter and Saturn opposes Chiron, there will be pressure for a healing change of heart. A mutable wrestling of ideas and feelings could open doors. This is a time to adjust positions and consider alternatives that may fill in gaps of understanding—to start a process of rethinking that is likely to occupy much of the year.

Jupiter makes its retrograde station in a t-square with Neptune and the Moon, with Venus applying to oppose Saturn and conjoin Chiron. Mars applies to square Uranus the following week. The nodal axis is now within an applying orb to t-square Pluto. Looked at from the immediate and long term, the issues and misunderstandings just will not go away. However hard we try to use our power to force into place the "obvious answers", with Mercury retrograding in Pisces between 2 and 25 March we are unlikely to succeed. However unbearable the prospect, we shall be obliged to reconsider much that we thought had been agreed.


The implications of this process for our personal and social experiences in the years leading to the 2008 ingress into Capricorn and beyond will depend on how we address and develop any new understandings gained. The trials and tribulations we must be prepared for in 2006 will try our assumptions about the way we operate in the world. The challenge will be to think the unthinkable and so turn constant failure into progress. For there is no mechanical guarantee of success, however powerful our armies or rich our economies. Friendship is our only sure foundation and this cannot be forced. It can only be earned by understanding and kindness. When we have lost friendship, only regret and generosity of spirit in putting things right can regain it. Humanity is on trial in 2006. Until we open our hearts and take all risks necessary to put things right, We shall be "knocking our heads against a brick wall". This is the way to turn doom prophecies on their head.

Conservative leader contest(4) Conservative Party: 12 noon, 12 November 1867, London.

David Cameron: 06:00 BST, 9 October 1966.

David Davies: 23 December 1948, York, UK.

Liam Fox: 20:55 BST 22 September 1961, Glasgow, UK.


When Margaret Thatcher was in power, her Libran energy was constantly confronted by Arians. Norman Tebbit, Michael Heseltine, Neil Kinnock and John Major all had their Sun in Aries. Since then, the world has been ruled by leaders with planets placed in the twelfth house. Following on from the Blair-Brown victory in 1997 (they have ten of their twenty planets there), came the election of George W Bush, Vladimir Putin and Arial Sharon - all with the Sun in the twelfth. When expressed at their best, twelfth-house planets indicate deeply felt spiritual convictions, a heightened sense of responsibility and firm self-reliance. However, when expressed at their worst, such planetary positions can threaten democracy. Secret agreements and strategies, special loyalties, intransigence and manipulation lead to power by a select few. The process of consultation and consensus can be usurped. For "their own good" the people must be controlled and their opinions contained. A mix of short-sighted idealism, lack of information and any effective alternative creates a impotent anger and alienation between the people and their leaders. So, does it seem possible that the new Conservative leader will break the twelfth-house mould?


David Davies'; Moon, while harmonious with his party's progressed and directed Moon, is in a strong square to his Capricorn stellium. His Venus is also square to his ruling Saturn. Even without a time of birth, it seems the focus of his leadership will be more about the stress of needing to control and contain rather than to develop a visionary strategy for the future. He will have to struggle to succeed against David Cameron, and this could leave on-going problems should he become leader.


David Cameron was born close to that infamous 1966 Uranus-Pluto conjunction. With Venus and then the Sun rising in the first house and Jupiter and the Moon in Leo late in the tenth, his public persona will be that of a friendly and accommodating natural leader. His unfortunately unaspected Mars in Leo in the eleventh has now progressed to the midpoint of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the twelfth, which opposes Saturn and Chiron in Pisces in the sixth. Could this indicate a strong determination to address the revolutionary issues of the time he was born, the consequences of which (US power, the arms race, Vietnam and dramatic social change) are seminal to those we face today? It was interesting that as soon as it seemed very possible that he could be the next leader of the Conservative party, he was asked to make a statement on his use of illegal drugs. Whether he fully answers the questions being put to him may well determine whether he becomes the new kind of conviction leader politics needs; but would the answer he wishes to give be acceptable to Conservative Party members? Tony Blair made his breakthrough by telling the Labour Party he was going to change it; at that time, it was so desperate that it would accept almost anything to make a comeback. With Saturn building to oppose Neptune in August 2006 and February and June 2007 such questions and issues will not go away. They will need to be fully addressed, not spun out of "relevance".

With a strong focus of Scorpio and Virgo in his progressed chart and progressed Venus due to enter Sagittarius and conjoin his party's natal Venus, Mars and Mercury during the years immediately after the next General Election, it seems foolish not to accept him. Will the Conservatives have the courage and will to open up to the changes that his twelfth-house progressed Mars might bring? If they do, we may indeed be about to see a change in British and even world politics.


1 "Working with the Planets" Astrological Journal, Vol. 47, No.6, November 2005.

2 Source: New York Times, 8 October 2005, via Associated Press

3 Using time-zone-based local clock time can distort the actual local LMT MC by up to 15 degrees. Also, latitude affects the Ascendant.

4 All dates and places of birth are from Caroline Gerard's The House of Commons 1992 to 1997, except for the date and 06:00 time for David Cameron, for which thanks to Annabel Herriott. Annabel also gives 10 p.m. for Liam Fox. Both her times were obtained from the men themselves at the 20:05 Conservative Party Conference. Caroline gives 10:55 p.m. for Scots-born Liam Fox from the birth certificate. Conservative Party data from Nicholas Campion's Book of World Horoscopes.

The importance of declination

During a planet's progress along its path around the Sun and its apparent path through the zodiac, as seen from the Earth, it moves up to twenty-five degrees above and below the celestial equator. This is measured as its declination. When two bodies are at the same degree they are parallel.

When they are at the same degree number at the opposite side of the celestial equator they are contra-parallel. Again my thanks are to Andy Quellshire for his research into the importance of mass-parallels and also when planets are at extreme declination. Andy has pointed out that between 4 and 6 February 2006 the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto are all parallel at 16 degrees south, while Mars is moving strongly in the other direction to reach its extreme north position around 25 degrees through April 2006.

In the first ten days of November 2006, Mars joins the other planets at 15-16 degrees south. Such concentrations and extreme positions can indicate turning points in the financial markets and the social traumas that lie behind such changes. A graphic ephemeris, set to declination (not longitude) is the best way to find these key moments and then consider them alongside events that occur - another dimension to help us see and understand how the planets work and pressure events on Earth.

Roy is President of Astrological Association of GB and Britain's Astrolabe Software distributor. He has published diaries with daily transit interpretations from 1979 to 1990, A Model of Health and, in 2001, two new books Zen for Modern Living and The Essence of Buddhism.

Email: roy.gillett1@ntlworld.com

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