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Astrological Reflections on the Gulf Oil Disaster & Australian Politics

Malvin Artley
June 2010


Greetings, Friends!

I have given over a lot of time recently to reflect on my life and to see what has real meaning for me and what is best laid aside. The clock and the months and years tick on and time has a way of slipping into memory. Events since the start of this lunar year (Year of the Iron Tiger) have been going pretty much as expected and maybe one of the things that has been coming to me is a uniquely Tiger-esque quality/experience/quirk: I want to be certain that the things that matter to me are not left undone when I leave this life for the Heavenly Fields. Tigers are renowned for having regrets later in life if they feel they have failed to fulfill their sense of destiny. Now, I am not a Year Tiger (i.e. born in the year of the Tiger), but the qualities of any given year have their way of making imprints upon our consciousness. In conversations with several of my close friends they have stated that they been having similar musings as I have of late - "Does what I am doing with my life have any meaning?" There is a general sense among people I know that it is time to get on with things and that one does not necessarily have all the time in the world any longer. It is not that there is any sense of impending doom or the like. Rather, the sense about the place, in a manner of speaking, is that life could be lived more earnestly and pointedly, and especially that, in the words of B.B. King and the rest of the world's great philosophical and religious thinkers, "Life should have Soul".

Levity aside, one of the things that stands out to me at the moment in terms of what I see and hear in the world is the clear idea that life can change dramatically in an instant and that one should devote at least a very significant part of one's day every day to those activities and practices that give one's life a sense of real purpose: a sense of spiritual destiny and movement forward along those lines. Every decision and action in every moment sets one up for the future, and not simply the future of this life. This life is actually not the key consideration in the larger scheme of things, although the choices we make now can set us up pretty well for future lives. These days there is no security in worldly matters (money, home, jobs, governments and the like, even the very ground that we walk upon) and that the only thing we can ever really rely upon and that will bring us any long-term and lasting happiness is our own peace of mind. It is this peace of mind toward which all the great teachers and religions of the world, and even our life experience, direct us. It is that peace of mind that ensures happy future lives, along with this one.

In our innermost nature we are blissful, radiant and peaceful, and in the bliss of the womb of the Great Mother, the aura of our local universe, we find the nurturing and care we need as we progress toward the ultimate realization of our own divine nature. It is that bliss and sense of care that lies at the root consciousness of every Cancerian type, which is at the root of all sense of community and which, curiously enough, gave birth to human consciousness countless millennia ago. Every choice we make to realize that light and bliss gets projected onto the world and creates a corresponding change in and lifting of outer life. So, here is the thing: How do we nurture that light and sense of blissful joy in ourselves and help others to realize that same state of being, and what is the world showing us about all that at the moment? It is that very question which is presented to us at every Cancer solar festival.

I just mentioned that the Year of the Iron Tiger is going as expected, so in that regard it might be helpful to look at what has happened in the last six months to get a sense of where the year is headed. In the Chinese New Year letter for this year I mentioned that there would be a higher than likely number of transport accidents or disasters, and that has come to pass, although it is not the number of crashes that has risen per year, but the number of fatalities per crash. There have been three major air crashes so far this lunar year - the Afriqiya Crash, the Air India Crash and the Polish Air Crash - and the year was presaged on the 25th of Jan by the Ethiopian Air Flight 409 Crash. We just heard here in Australia of the crash of the light plane in the Congo where the executives of the Sundance Resources Co. perished. In the four large crashes combined close to 450 lives were lost, and we are only halfway through the year. Earthquake and seismic activity has been higher than normal in the last six months, too, with respect to the number of lives affected or lost. We saw the Haiti Quake, the Chilean Quake and resulting tsunami (one of the largest quakes ever recorded), the Qinghai Quake and the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano eruption in Iceland, which had much of European air traffic grounded for a number of days. There has been huge flooding in central Europe, Brazil, the southern US, Queensland and southern France and sinkholes in Guatemala.

Scientists have just succeeded in producing the first completely synthetic genome. We have finally succeeded in creating an organism on our own. Nature has taught us well. Let us hope that we make good and proper use of the gifts we have uncovered in that regard. We also found out that our ancestors likely interbred with Neanderthals. This is a year of bold and decisive action or of complete and spectacular stuff-ups. Several of the nations of Europe are in difficult financial strife, the stock exchanges of the world are volatile and uncertain, and the Middle East is fast becoming very unstable. There is ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan and terrorist bombings in the world seem to be on the rise and deadlier.

Perhaps the biggest single disaster this year, however, has been the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico with the resultant huge oil slick that is still generating. That single event will likely go down in history as a major turning point in the life of big oil as a dominant economic force. It will also be the trigger, as I see it, of some revolutionary thinking in the realms of science, transport and energy. Necessity for rethinking current policy on such matters is upon us. We will see how inventive we can be and what the call of the collective Soul evokes in us. We need to take a brief look at this disaster, as it is important in several respects. Firstly, oil underpins a huge sector of the world economy. Secondly, one of the world's major spawning grounds and most important marine environments is confronted with possible ruin. The security of millions (possible tens or hundreds of millions) of people has been put at risk by it, and it is literally leaving a black spot on industry, government and the nature of our desires for modern convenience and way of life.

The explosion and subsequent events that led to the eventual sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, with the resulting oil slick, occurred on 20 Apr 2010 at 9:45 PM in the Gulf of Mexico (24N44, 88W23). There are several striking features to the chart, some of the most notable being the Moon/Vertex conjunction in Cancer in the 8th House (indicating a major world development in the fields of foreign finance, public sentiment, public safety and possibly crime), a strong quintile triangle involving the Moon, Mercury, Chiron and Neptune (denoting the calamitous nature of the event along with the great creative potential that can be realized through the solutions to it), an undecile triangle involving the Moon, Saturn and Pluto (denoting the initiatory nature of the event, as well as its underworld/world subconscious overtones) and the significant involvement of certain asteroids (asteroids always pinpoint specific aspects of world consciousness when in a mundane chart).

In addition, Saturn is at the apex of a yod with the Sun and Chiron/Neptune at the base, indicating the possibilities of huge financial losses, loss of face of certain officials and the very deep effect it would have on public consciousness, since the apex planet (Saturn) is in the 10th house of the disaster figure, not to mention the fact that Uranus is in opposition to Saturn from the 4th House, highlighting the need for new ideas and striking a blow at the old. Uranus in the 4th House of the figure, highlighting the shake-up of people's securities, the need for a better sense of community and showing what a lack of proper care and attention can and will wreak on the environment. The US Sun is in Cancer and in the disaster figure the Moon/Vertex conjunction is conjunct the US Mercury/Vertex conjunction. Commerce, family business along the Gulf coast and the general sense of security in the US will all be strongly affected by this event. Since the vertices of both charts are conjunct there is also the strong sense that this disaster is a date with destiny for the US. This is certainly a highly significant world event.

The sign Cancer is most often associated with family, motherhood and women in general. In that regard I have been looking recently at the 'family structure' of our solar system, specifically with regard to the minor planetary bodies, of which there are thousands. By 'planetary bodies', I mean natural bodies that orbit the Sun - asteroids, minor planets, comets and the like. There are many classes of such bodies and they tend to have a group effect, I have found, especially the comets and asteroids. I will not go into detail about my findings here, save to say that significant world events are marked by specific classes of asteroids, and the type of asteroid involved has a lot to say about the type of event that is described by their presence. A colleague and I are planning to present some of these findings in a workshop here in Adelaide within the next couple of months. It is not so much that asteroids bring these events to pass. Rather, they stand as descriptors and indicators of the types of consciousness in the world that any given event is meant to evoke or address. That is my view of them, anyway. Asteroids and comets are generally tiny, seldom more than a few kilometers across, so their net effect on world events is correspondingly small. However, these bodies represent 'fragments of consciousness', or shall we say, aspects of a more inclusive consciousness. As such, they have a lot to say about the specificity of life and events and they thus warrant our consideration. There were a significant number of asteroids of various classes on the angles of the Deepwater Horizon chart. It is often not the case that there are so many associated with an event chart, which is surprising considering there are so many asteroids. There were nine in total for this chart in the groups I examined. The fact that there were so many on angles of the chart points to the fact that this event has a lot to say about world affairs. To name a few and without going into the classifications, we have the following, just to show how descriptive these bodies can be:

  • Daedalus, the 'cunning worker", skilled craftsmanship and striking ingenuity, and who could not bear any rivals, is on the ascendant of the figure, opposed by
  • Cerberus, the three-headed hound that guarded the gates of Hades and whose task it was to prevent those who had passed on to Hades from escaping, on the descendant.
  • Klotho, the spinner of the thread of human life and goddess of birth, is on the nadir of the chart.
  • Chiron, the noblest of the centaurs and renowned as a great healer, squares the horizon and is conjunct.
  • Neptune, god of the seas.
  • Chaos, the primeval state of existence, the mother of the elements, squares the meridian axis from the 7th House.

To go into the other asteroids for this figure would simply take too much space. The Ascendant in a mundane chart always indicates the purpose and the leaders behind the event. With the asteroid Daedalus there we see the skill and striking ingenuity at work at trying to extract the rich resources beneath the surface of the Gulf. It is opposed on the Descendent (representing obstacles, enmity, litigation and open enemies) by Cerberus, who would figuratively seek to keep the resource beneath the ground and ferociously guard his charges. The Descendant indicates the opponents to the main players in the saga. Daedalus was an architect, and interestingly the architect of the labyrinth which held the minotaur captive, representative in this case of going about his business in the most skilful manner possible, while the opposition by Cerberus shows that it was perhaps not the wisest course to drill in this particular spot or, at the very least, to take special care and be respectful of safety in the process.

It may be of interest to know that Deepwater Horizon drilled the deepest oil well in history, the one that is leaking, at a depth of 10+ miles beneath the surface. It is also of interest and perhaps worthy to note that drilling a hole that deep into the Earth's crust has the same effect as placing an acupuncture needle in a point on an acupuncture meridian - or perhaps misplacing one. If a needle is placed wrongly it can bring very deleterious results. The Earth is an organism. Practitioners of Feng Shui know that placing objects in the earth has to be done with care and precision, otherwise things can go very wrong with a site. Also, in the case of this destroyed oil rig, the deeper in the crust one goes the higher the pressure, which is simple physics, hence the enormity of the leak. The astrological statement being made is that BP should not have drilled there or should have been a lot more conservative in its estimates, or at least much more aware of the possible consequences. Daedalus was a very proud man, which got him in trouble from time to time. Being on the Ascendant of this chart, there is a statement there about not letting pride in one's work blind one to the realities of the situation and become careless. Just because one can do a thing does not mean that one should.


The meridian of a mundane chart shows the public and private face of an event. The 10th House shows authorities, prestige and heads of government. BP certainly got a black eye out of this event. Though there were no asteroids on the Midheaven of the chart, Saturn was in the 10th House, representing falls from grace in this case and highlighting the responsibilities of the officials and heads of government, while Uranus is in the 4th House. Obama is getting a bit of a black eye from this one, too. Before this event is all said and done, I think a great many heads will roll and some serious thought will be made, finally and thankfully, about oil, environment and consumer demands. The 4th House in a mundane chart indicates the land, agriculture and opposition to leaders. In this case the 4th House represented the ocean floor and the resources below it, as well as the Gulf of Mexico in general.

I have heard it stated that the oilfields of the Gulf are vast - of the extent at least of the Saudi oilfields - and are nowhere near their peak, making a lie of many of the statements made about 'peak oil'. If what I heard is true, then peak oil has simply been a ruse by the powers that be to keep the oil prices artificially high. Regardless, Deepwater Horizon represents a crossroads of a sort. This event will no doubt get the populace and leaders to rethink oil and how we go about meeting the demands of energy. This will inspire thought in a few bright souls. If one oil well out of the 3000+ already in the Gulf can bring about this sort of damage, what if we get a few more like this? Are these wells safe against seismic activity? Are they safe against extreme weather? We are now officially in hurricane season. One little hurricane can do a lot with a little oil. One little hurricane can ruin your whole day, to paraphrase a bumper sticker. This is all speculative, of course, but we currently have one of the most potent t-squares in recent history on Aries points. As a colleague of mine recently pointed out, Saturn is about earth and rocks, Pluto is about the depths, Jupiter does things in a big way and Uranus brings the unexpected and disruptions of old structures with it. All four of those planets are in the just-mentioned t-square. Deepwater Horizon is a perfect example of the manifestations of those energies, and both have the possibility in them of bringing down or changing some structures and offices that were long held to be untouchable

Chaos, the mother of the elements, squaring the meridian from the 7th House shows that disrespect for the elements can bring chaos of a different and negative kind, which has certainly happened. It also means that we are up against the elements (7th House) as we try to get the riser pipe capped. The water (liquid) element has been upset, to the point where we now have a volcano of oil on the sea bed. It would be of interest to note that there are great devic (angelic) lives that oversee the physical elements, for those readers who are not familiar with such a concept. Even the elements have a life force. The Iceland volcano disrupted air traffic, whereas the Gulf 'volcano' is bringing disruption to the water and shipping. I saw on the television the other night that one cannot get fresh oysters in New Orleans, for instance. The Gulf fisheries are threatened now, with parts of it shut down. Neptune and Chiron square the horizon of this chart further emphasizes the stresses placed on the ocean by this event. Klotho on the nadir represents the common thread that binds us together. We are said by science to have evolved from the sea and the salt content of our blood is the same as that of seawater. Klotho represents the fish hatcheries in this chart, since she ruled over birth. It was said that she had the power over life and death. The nadir of a chart is about endings as well as birth and is one of the significators in forecasting death from a horoscope. To finish with this chart, the Sun in a mundane chart represents the supreme authority (heads of state). It is in the 5th House, representing national pleasures and leisure, but it is in a Magi link (quincunx) with Saturn, which brings falls from grace and takes away from any real sense of enjoyment in this case. This event will highlight a direct concern with the avocations and leisure pursuits of the US and Mexico. Mexico's Moon is conjunct its Vertex, same as in the Deepwater Horizon chart and both are conjunct the US Vertex, (for one of the best explanations of the Vertex I have seen, look at: http://aliceportman.com/?p=135 ) and they are all within 9 of each other. So, the US and Mexico are both very much linked in this event, astrologically considered, as well as both countries having to suffer the ill effects of the spill. Lastly, the symbol for the degree rising at the time of the disaster is:

Two men playing chess 3 Sagittarius

I think this symbol is a pretty apt description of what is unfolding around this disaster. There is a lot of strategizing going on at the moment and the monied concerns and power brokers are watching all the developments with great interest, although they might downplay it. Big business and government are faced off in this saga, as well as the general public, and the very energy that keeps our nations running is at the center of it all. The Moon on the Vertex of the disaster chart states clearly that the public will be the ultimate arbiters of the fates of those concerned, or perhaps they will be the pawns in an even bigger game. Then, once the governments of the region have finished with BP, the civil suits will start and we will likely see new legislation come out of this. There will be a total solar eclipse on the Moon/Vertex of that chart on the 11th of next month, and that will really seal the fate of whatever is supposed to come of this event (more on that eclipse in a couple of weeks). Lastly, we just had the Cancer solstice, and a fine one it was indeed, with a Great Cross on or near all the cardinal (Aries) points. The next three months are going to be intense and life-changing, and one of the best opportunities we have had for a long time for true creative and ground-breaking work. If you have planets or angles within a few degrees of any of these Aries points, seize the day!

Although this letter has been a departure from my usual esoteric considerations about the signs and indications, it is important from time to time that we look at what is going on in the world. After all, world events are simply manifestations of the greater plan working out and if we are attuned to the symbolism of events we can get a pretty good idea of what is happening spiritually in the world. As well, Cancer, in a way is about where we live and one's immediate environment. With that in mind and being watchful of what is unfolding in the world, let's take a quick look at the lunation chart for this solar Festival of the Ashram (as I call it).

The full moon of Cancer (full moon in Capricorn) takes place at 9:30 PM AEST (11:30 AM UT) on the 26th of June 2010. It is a partial North Node lunar eclipse, and a powerful one at that, rated 5 out of 5 on the scale. One might think that a partial eclipse would not be so powerful, but this one is keyed into the t-square we have near the Aries points involving Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter and Pluto, making a Great Cross. In fact, Pluto and Mercury are the lords of this eclipse, and we further find an interlinked pattern of undecile aspects involving Jupiter, Venus, Chiron and the South Node. This is a disruptive pattern, yet it brings healing. This is supported by the fact that the Saros series of this eclipse is 12 South, which means successful outcomes for old problems or illnesses - a healing crisis and then success - things getting worse and then turning to the good. What we have ultimately with this eclipse is what we might term 'karmic readjustment', which is supported by the Sabian symbol for the degree of the Sun, which reads:

At a railroad crossing, an automobile is wrecked by a train. 5 Cancer

I am quite familiar with this degree, as it features strongly in my own chart. What will come of this eclipse is indeed a readjustment, which we will see beginning in September, with a fuller activation in December by Mars. Remember, North Node eclipses are about beginnings, so we will see an initial shake-up and then and opportunity will present itself. What that will be will depend upon the planets or angles affected by the eclipse. What is being shaken loose and readjusted is represented by the symbol for the degree of the Moon, which reads:

Indians on the warpath. While some men row a well-filled canoe, others in it perform a war dance. 5 Capricorn

What we are primarily being called upon to address and subdue in this figure is aggressiveness and anger. Illnesses caused by anger are numerous, but they are largely inflammatory and heat-related. I remember one of my ex-supervisors once saying to me some years ago that anger was a wasted emotion, and he was right. It is said that violent emotion destroys one's merits and brings nothing but misery, setting one up for difficult karma in the future. Deciding a course of action under such conditions is fraught and can only lead to a bad result. That is the very thing we wish to avoid right now, given the state of the world and the fact that we have an opportunity for healing during this period. This eclipse will initially breed a large amount of discontent (remember the revolutionary tendencies of the Year of the Iron Tiger?) and it will affect the US, Afghanistan, China, Canada and Australia. As I sit here and write the conclusion to this letter Julia Gillard has just been sworn in as Prime Minister, and she is our first female Prime Minister. It was a huge upset and a surprise to most everyone here. She was sworn in at 1:02 PM in Yarralumla, ACT. The swearing in chart is difficult and marks the first sorts of events we can see from the eclipse on Saturday. The symbol for the rising degree of the chart reads as:

An eagle and a large white dove change into each other 26 Libra

This symbol speaks of the need for the evocation of right relations and compassion when critical need arises. We are certainly in such a state of affairs at the moment. It was big money, the unions and the mining tax that brought down Kevin Rudd. He should never have pushed such a tax with Saturn on his Sun/Mars conjunction, especially with Uranus opposing and Pluto squaring by transit. He had suffered big drops in the polls of late and his proposed tax made a lot of the working sector of Australia very nervous. A huge part of the economy is tied up in the resources sector and the spin from the opposition and the mining interests was in overdrive to try to kill the tax before it even got introduced. There is a foul odor in the air about this event, and I think it will play badly for some in the months to come. We will see how much light Julia Gillard can bring to bear and how skillful her means are.

The eclipse on Saturday is opposite the Midheaven of the Melbourne chart for Australia (Melbourne was the acting capitol at the time). The details for that chart are 1 Jan 1901 at midnight in Melbourne, which gives the 5th degree of Cancer at the Midheaven. The eclipse also falls on the Sun/Saturn conjunction for the nation. In some ways this marks a new start emotionally for the nation. The eclipse is on the IC for the nation (the land and family life) and Ms. Gillard may just be able to pull off a coup for the country in relation to those matters, but she will have to play her cards very, very carefully and close to her heart. She will have Saturn across her own Sun in mid-September. I see her as a mover and shaker behind the scenes in Australian politics and she certainly has the ability to keep a lot of irons going in the fire at once with Libra Sun and Gemini Moon. She will do her best work out of the public eye, though she has a need for public acclaim. Five of her planets are in the 12th House of Australia's chart, with her Sun on the nation's Ascendant, just over in the 12th House. I have mixed impressions about what has just occurred, but there is a possibility here for her to become an Australian icon, or at least someone well-remembered by the Australian public.

The eclipse on Saturday will bring a fresh start for the country. The eclipse on the 11th will be a deciding factor for her present administration, as that eclipse occurs on the Midheaven of her swearing in chart. Really, from a standard interpretation of a mundane reading, the timing for this event bodes badly for Gillard and the Labour Party. However, for someone who has a strong fiber and a pronounced spiritual core, the times right now and through the next few months can set the country on a brilliant new course into the future. A strong leader can pull this off and make good of the energies present. There will be repercussions for some of the players in this drama for certain, and as I was talking with another colleague earlier, the way it was done was indeed, as we say here, on the nose. I will be very interested to see what comes out over the next few months over this, as will so many of us here - leaked documents, conversations with key players, etc., but I will tell you this much: If anyone is under the misconception that Julia Gillard will be a soft touch and will just roll over in terms of past policies, they may just well feel the iron fist in the velvet glove for which Librans can be famous. Yes, the next few months will be very interesting indeed, in so many ways!

Oh, and as for the asteroids of the swearing in chart, we have Demeter (the goddess of agriculture) on the Sun, with Orpheus (love lost due to carelessness/not looking back) opposing, Mithra (all-seeing protector of the truth) in opposition to the government and setting on the horizon. Midas (the fortunes and misfortunes of wealth - and this would have to do with the mining tax) on the Midheaven. Prime Minister Gillard needs to bring her agenda forward and assuredly and not get caught up in the past, nor be careless with those who matter to her career. Big money and its consequences will have to be addressed and her administration will have a thousand eyes upon it, ready to pounce at the slightest indiscretion. Dealings have to be straight with this administration, no-nonsense and decisive. The public is uncertain. She may well have an agenda around agriculture to put forward as well, so be on the lookout for that. Will she lay waste to innocents in the search for her goals, like Demeter, or will she be the healing force in Australian politics? We will have to wait and see. Hmmm … This event will keep Australian astrologers happy for a long while.

Though it is not my usual letter, we needed to have a timely look at some very major events. In all, the Cancer festival this year looks to bear gifts, so be on the lookout. Though it will mark an uncertain time and one of great change, I think in the long term a lot of good will come from it. Always with Cancer we have to look after the ones we love, whether it is family or the whole of humanity. If there is someone who suffers, help must be given. If one asks for aid or guidance, then the door must be opened. To quote the words of our new Prime Minister in her acceptance speech:

"Can I say to the Australian people there will be some days I delight you; there may be some days I disappoint you. On every day, I will be working my absolute hardest for you."

And so it is with any high-minded Cancerian type, no matter what their background, for the nature of Cancerians is to work their hardest without thought of reward for those under their charge, and to bring forth the best in every one of those. She was inaugurated on a Cancerian day, and her words reflect it. Let us hope she lives up to those words. It is thus with any good parent and it is the same in every true ashram and with every true disciple in the world. The soul of every person exemplifies Cancerian energy and is 'the light within the house', the 'house' being our own persona. May we all come to a fuller realization of that throughout this present period.

Blessings, my friends, and keep an easy mind.
Malvin
24Jun10