As I write these words, Theresa May is still under immense pressure (some have called it a threat) from Eurosceptic Tory MPs, on both front and back benches, over her handling of the Brexit negotiations and what they expect her to deliver. These hard Brexiteers (Brexit, seemingly, at any cost) have recently been described as a party within a party and are concerned about her policy vacuum on the future partnership with the European Union.As the iNews website put it:
‘Not for the first time in its modern history, the Conservative party stands at a crossroads. It is again tearing itself apart over the explosive issue of Europe. Long-standing internal divisions have been heightened by the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, and prime minister Theresa May faces an ominous scenario. Like previous Conservative leaders, she could be ejected from office over a deep-rooted ideological dispute about Europe.’1
Tory ‘rebel’ MP Anna Soubry has recently raised the spectre of a leadership challenge that may occur if Theresa May doesn’t deliver what the hard Brexiteers want. She gloomily notes that if she doesn’t, they ‘won’t hesitate to stab her in the back.’ Mrs May is often perceived as being weak on leadership (quite unlike, say, Mrs Thatcher) and – in the words of one commentator – is quite ‘unable to face down’ the hard Brexiteers. And so, the article which follows centres not so much on whether or not a leadership contest will be provoked, but the times when this may occur. Plus, who might just be the replacement if one does occur! I ask again (rhetorically): Will Theresa May Survive As Leader Of The Tories? At least, as we’ll see, there are some interesting transits on the way!
Prime Minister Theresa Mary May – the second female Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader after Margaret Thatcher – was born on October 1st,1956, identifying herself as a one-nation liberal conservative. It is unfortunate that we don’t have a birth time recorded for her. What we do see on examining May’s planets is an apparent unaspected sun in Libra, about which the Oxford Astrologer site notes: ‘If you take out the modern planets, May’s Sun does not receive any strong aspects. An unaspected Sun is quite a thing to find in a career politician.’2
And yet, against the Oxford Astrologer (since we have no time of birth) we simply don’t know if the sun makes aspects, as we don’t know what degree are the angles – the ascendant-descendant axis, and the Midheaven/Imum Coeli . This is the bane of astrology per se, and when birth times are absent, so is a great deal of vital information. What we do know about is that Libran facility for compromise and accommodation of others’ viewpoints – which is perhaps why she is under all this pressure! If I may be allowed to speculate, the perceived lack of forcefulness on her part may stem from a twelfth house sun (making her a Scorpio rising, which she certainly resembles physically). Comments from Mrs May’s peers seem to bear this out, such as when Nick Clegg described her as ‘a bit of an Ice Maiden’ who ‘has no small talk whatsoever – none. I have quite difficult meetings with her. She is instinctively secretive and very rigid, but you can be tough with her and she’ll go away and think it all through again.’ The Labour MP Yvette Cooper also weighed in by commenting, ‘I respect her style – it is steady and serious. She is authoritative in parliament – superficial attacks on her bounce off.’3
This seriousness of purpose, this intensity, suggests a strong Scorpio element, though it could also be a manifestation of Venus in Leo, which both conjuncts Pluto and squares Saturn. This is Theresa May playing the power game (her ambition to be Prime Minister from an early age is well documented). Venus-Saturn tends to eschew the normal, more light-hearted Venusian outlets of expression (like having fun, courtship and romance) for the more serious aspects (like social climbing, being realistic and the pursuit of financial security). Cue, her husband Philip May, a former stockbroker with ties to one of the world’s largest and most powerful financial institutions, controlling over £1 trillion in assets. Being wed to a powerful financier is a perfect, archetypal expression for a Venus making hard aspects to Pluto (power, wealth) and Saturn (security and the ‘real world’). The other stand-out aspect on May’s chart is Mars (Pisces) in opposition to Jupiter, which, from the point of view of personal relationships, suggests a wholly beneficial effect. Mars and Jupiter on a female chart are symbols of that person’s animus – her inner, unconscious ideal-image of males. It says something about her likely experience of men – and here Jupiter is a very supportive factor.
When it comes to looking at so-called predictions, we must tread lightly without a birth time. At least we have the daily degree positions of the sun, and (barring the moon and perhaps Mercury) Venus through to the outer planets. Already in mid-March 2018, there are stresses as transiting Saturn squares the Sun. The astrologer would say: ‘slow down, Theresa, and don’t try to burn the candle at both ends. You’re running on empty. Pace yourself’. But Saturn usually exacerbates something, and the pressures from within her party are is likely to increase just now. It may well be a time of various personal defeats and setbacks.
When we look at May’s transits throughout the rest of 2018, the most significant of the outer planetary movements is that of Uranus – the harbinger of shock and surprise! This makes an opposition to Neptune in early May, repeating in November (and then later, in February 2019). This is a peculiar kind of transit, in that it can coincide with events that are confusing and contrary to the way we think life really is. Mrs May could now be entertaining certain dangerous illusions about others, or even herself, right now; ones which will only become clear later on. Perhaps it’s not a good time to listen to other people’s promises – like those from colleagues in her party! .
Throughout July, August and September 2019, there is another strong Uranus transit (squaring natal Uranus, which repeats in mid-Sept. ) This can bring sudden upsets – disruption to routine, a crisis of confidence (regarding overall life path) and a need to push back against limitations and outside pressure. This transit is accompanied by a Uranus square to Chiron – again, sudden disruption is suggested. If Mrs. May has not already been ousted in 2018, this is a fairly strong indication of it happening. Which brings me to the party to which she belongs …
Brexit and the Chart Of The Conservative Party
I have covered various predictive factors on this chart before, so here I want only to look at the context of a change in leadership, and when the dates occur for such a possibility. It just so happens that there is one in late May/early June (and then mid- August) when transiting Jupiter makes an opposition to natal
Pluto! This is the aspect pertaining to overconfidence, naked ambition and the sense that one’s world needs to expand and become ‘bigger’. Such sentiments may run through the Tory right wing at this time as Jupiter-Pluto hard aspects indicate underhand shortcuts to success. Hence, a kind of coup is suggested – all it needs is a certain number of Tories, forty-eight in fact, to trigger a leadership contest.
After this comes a series of Jupiter transits which, by their very nature, indicate an ease and facility for making changes, sweeping changes if necessary. In mid-September there is transiting Jupiter conjunct natal sun, followed by another powerful aspect. In Raphael’s Newsletter 30, I noted positive indications for the Tory party chart in October (the time of the deadline for a EU withdrawal agreement) when Jupiter crosses the MC early that month. This, traditionally, indicates successful career fortunes and may prove a high point for Conservative PR and self-image, but it would also be a great time for a fresh start! This positive momentum doesn’t slow down until a Jupiter opposition to the Moon and Saturn in mid-October, suggesting a coming to terms with some real world problem or circumstance. But even this is succeeded by transiting Jupiter (again) making a square to natal Jupiter later in the month and through to early November followed, by two promising transits of Jupiter (again) to natal Venus and Mars, mid-month. This is is promising stuff!
Let us now look at two of the most likely contenders for any new Tory leadership, and the qualities evident on their charts. Though such favourites seem to change according to the whims of the party faithful, one constant (described by one wag as the Member of Parliament for the Eighteenth Century) has been Jacob Rees Mogg …
The Chart of Jacob Rees Mogg
Born to a wealthy family, the Eton and Oxford educated financier and practising Roman Catholic Jacob Rees Mogg was described by astrologer Marjorie Orr as ‘a leader for a previous century’, though which century, specifically, one cannot readily say. He was born on May 24th 1969, and is characterised by Wikipedia as a ‘member of the hard right wing of the Conservative Party, a High Tory and social conservative with reactionary, traditionalist, and right-wing populist views.’ Unfortunately – just as it was for Mrs May – we don’t have a birth time for him.
We do know that his natal sun is (widely) conjunct Mercury in Gemini, the latter making an opposition to Mars in Sagittarius. Thus, we have both the lightness of touch of the Gemini and the readiness to argue and state his case before others – in quite a forceful way if necessary. All of this is done very eloquently, of course, and with a great deal of intelligence and articulateness. Watch him in any television interview and, clearly, he enjoys a good argument, fencing and parrying with his (often hapless) interlocutor. He likes winning arguments, too, and is, typical to Mars-Mercury, outspokenly critical of his own party leader. But the imperious manner (probably from moon in Leo) tends to rankle with lesser mortals, and some journalistic commentators.
One also notes that Rees Mogg’s Sun is opposite to Neptune (possibly weakened by being ‘out of sign’), but this sun-Neptune aspect is one of the keys to his public image. Note the way in which he seems to calmly and gently sympathise with certain people, considering their opinions in a polite, perfectly conciliatory way – this is Neptunian to a tee. That potential Mercury-Mars aggression is often controlled, or naturally repressed – the Mars is retrograde after all. He even seemed apologetic for sticking to his (unpopular) views on abortion when interviewed by Piers Morgan. I believe him to be perfectly sincere here, however – but the strict adherence to Catholic dogma doesn’t stem from the sun-Neptune aspect (a more fluid and less rigid influence on one’s values).
Looking carefully at the chart one notices another ‘out of sign’ aspect with Uranus opposite Saturn – here is the struggle to overcome tensions stemming from freedom vs. responsibility; tradition versus progress; reactionary versus radical. Whilst he tries to live up to certain dogmas, rules and societal expectations (Saturn) there is an iconoclast and rebel inside trying to get out, whether he knows it or not! In Liz Greene’s classic, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, the author comments on the Saturn-Uranus pairing, and an individual who identifies with only one half of it, where ‘the conflict tends to produce those people who are furious individualists, with a hatred of everything Saturnian [i.e. traditional], and those people who are furiously loyal to the old system which protects the rights of the individual but has no pity on the individualist.’4
This latter – cleaving to the Saturnian end of the opposition – describes Jacob Rees Mogg quite well, although in one sense he is also playing the Uranian rebel by being so apparently out of date and old fashioned – the eccentric aristocrat in love with an idealised version of Olde England (also quite Neptunian!) It is only when he tries to bring those values in to the present and his daily life that he meets with criticism. Like I have said, there is nothing in the least insincere about him (in a way it is his most endearing quality). It is just that many people find him an anachronism. And the real question is whether or not he could win a General Election for the Conservatives. I will suspend judgement on that one for now!
The Chart Of Boris Johnson
Now we come to the more colourful figure of Boris Johnson, who is, according to Wikipedia :
‘ a controversial figure in British politics and journalism. Supporters have praised him as an entertaining, humorous, and popular figure with appeal beyond traditional Conservative voters. Conversely, he has been criticised by figures on both the left and right, accused of elitism, cronyism, dishonesty, laziness, and using racist language.’
With Libra rising, sun conjunct Venus and – not involved – Mercury in Gemini, Boris Johnson is sociable, quick-minded, mercurial and restless. Like all Geminis he probably loves the sound of his own voice, too. But there are counterweights to this airy quality, with Mercury square Pluto – the need to dig deep and get to the ‘truth’ and speak it. (And we know how much he likes to speak his mind!) And he certainly seems far less remote than Rees Mogg when it comes to ordinary human contact. Put this down to the charming element emanating from Libra, and the light touch of Gemini (which is repeated quite nicely with sun conjunct Venus). Here, then, is someone with immense charisma, a sense of humour and an easy facility for getting along with others.
The moon is in manipulative Scorpio. In light of this, it has been observed by biographer Sonia Purnell, that Johnson is a ‘highly evasive figure’ when it comes to the details of his personal life, and someone who ‘remained detached from others and who had very few if any intimate friends.’ This is Moon in Scorpio to a tee – a brief portrait of the real, ‘lone-wolf’, very private Boris Johnson. It is all that Gemini and Libra that has him refusing to take himself too seriously – at least that’s the public image he likes to project. Purnell also described him as ‘a manic self-promoter’ who filled his life with ‘fun and jokes’ (sun-Venus in Gemini), and hence we get the persona of the upper class buffoon, with his verbal gaffes and foot perpetually in his mouth.
Like Rees Mogg, he has the Saturn-Uranus opposition, the aspect par excellence for a person unconsciously trying to be in permanent control of his life (and do the conventional thing) whilst the other side of him wants to throw caution to the wind and be the rebel, the unique eccentric who is different from the herd. Much of the perennial ‘buffoonish’ image is a part of this psychological dynamic, one which has played out well with the British public. Furthermore, he doesn’t mind being laughed at whilst he manoeuvres himself into a position of power, just like the subtle Scorpio moon he really is. If he is still high on the list of favoured candidates in a leadership election, he is perhaps the most popular choice – remember, the Tories will be thinking of winning the next election.
I note that in the context of Boris’ chances of assuming Tory leadership, transiting Jupiter opposes natal Jupiter in late May and August 2018 – his ‘best moment’ for seizing power, so to speak,
In summary, October and November should – dare I say it – be excellent months for the Conservative party. We have discussed those Jupiter transits ready to bring some creative potential for change, and anytime during Autumn 2018 – Sep to Nov – would be the astrologically opportune moments to have a new leadership contest. Are you listening, Tories?
Thinking the Unthinkable about Brexit – Will The UK Rejoin The EU?
Britain is set to leave the European Union at 11pm on Friday 29 March, 2019. The issues at stake here are how much the UK owes the EU, the fate of the Northern Ireland border and what happens to UK citizens living in the EU (not to mention those EU citizens resident in Britain) But the timetable for the negotiations is – at the time of writing (mid. Jan. 2017) – still quite flexible as 2018 looms, The key months are March, June (times of the EU summits) and October. During January 2018, the EU commission will propose recommendations on the transition arrangements that are to be enshrined in the withdrawal agreement. By March, negotiations are supposed to commence on this withdrawal agreement, which will also entail “preliminary and preparatory discussions” on the final deal. Then, in October 2018, we arrive at the deadline for a withdrawal agreement – approval is required now from at least 65% of the European Union (20 countries) population.
This looks very much like talks about future talks, but it has been pointed out by commentators that Brexit talks will not be at all easy or smooth for the UK. Let’s see how the planetary picture (or what astrologer Alex Brocklehurst calls the ‘cosmic choreography’) has to say about this and how the relevant mundane charts are affected. For one, during 2018 as a whole, progressed Venus is exactly opposite Saturn on the Tory chart (the event chart erected for the formation of the Conservative party on April 12th 1868). This bodes unfavourably for general popularity, it must be said, whether at home or abroad. But if we start to narrow things down month-by-month on the Tory chart, we find the progressed moon exactly conjunct Saturn in March, when important negotiations are due to start on the EU withdrawal agreement. This is another suggestion of some kind of stasis, and strong disagreement with concerned parties in entrenched positions. Also, some sense of disappointment in the air.
There are some good augurs for the party (and do remember this is really all about the Tories, and not Britain as a whole) in the all important month of October (when the deadline for a withdrawal agreement looms). Jupiter crosses the MC (traditionally an indicator of successful career endeavour) early in that month, which may then mean Britain is ‘on time’ in the general scheme of EU negotiations and ready to move ahead. Naturally, the Tories can claim credit. But when we look at October 2018 for the UK chart we find transiting Saturn’s exact conjunction to the MC – thus suggesting that what is good for the Tories (the Jupiter-MC effect) may not be good for the UK as a whole. Saturn crossing the MC means bearing the weight of heavy responsibility, a reckoning through ‘karma’ and the time to reap one’s just desserts. Or, generally, a tough time imposed by ‘authority’ and the establishment. Austerity writ large.
None of this, of course, says anything about what the overall future impact will be of Brexit – even with a ‘soft’ exit. The transits for the UK chart on the day it is scheduled to leave the EU (March 29th, 2019) show something highly symbolic and resonant: Saturn opposing the moon. This is yet another occasion when Saturn has a prominent role in this whole business of separation, leaving, saying goodbye. Saturn-moon contacts (whether at birth or in transit) are typically unpleasant on an individual birth chart – one typically feels isolated and lonely, emotional needs go unfulfilled and one cannot connect with one’s inner feelings, nor reach out to others. Sometimes, one even makes a virtue of this alienation – pretending not to need others at all. An extremely apposite transit for the UK chart at this time!
Plus, some political commentators opine that Brexit will not only be a massive failure but that the UK will have to rejoin the EU at at later date. According to a Daily Express report, Chris Patten has attacked May’s approach to Brexit, noting that it will be ‘unsustainable’ as EU negotiations, even predicting that Britain will ‘eventually have to beg to be let back into the European bloc’ as Brexit would be a “disaster”.
This volte face, presumably, could not happen without a change of government. Under the fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, the next general election in Britain is not scheduled to occur until May 5th, 2022. The progressed chart of the UK for that date shows the moon (in the 4th house, along with the sun) approaching a conjunction with our old friend Saturn – which at the very least indicates the powerful attachment to tradition and the past we saw in the original referendum chart (and why I predicted the UK would leave the EU). It may also mean no change of government, irrespective of whether or not Theresa May is still leading the Tories. Interestingly, there is a Saturn-Saturn opposition (by transit) in late April to the UK chart in 2022, again emphasising ‘security first’, or ‘keep things as they are and don’t risk anything new’. Saturn is ultra cautious! This is in the run up to the scheduled election week (provided that there hasn’t been one already!)
Even the 1066 chart (for England) when progressed for May 5th, 2022, shows a T square involving Saturn, Chiron and Venus (in the 9th house). That two ‘difficult’ planets should square the planet of friendly relations in the house of foreign affairs implies – at the least – some difficulties in getting along with our fellow Europeans. Put another way, this does not sound like an augur of a second referendum on Brexit following a change of government! It sounds just like what Mrs May said it does – Brexit means Brexit!
4. Greene, Aquarian Press, 1977.