This article was prompted by my friend Nicholas, who asked me for some opinions on the astrology of the referendum on Scottish Independence, which is to be voted on by the residents of Scotland on 18th September 2014. Since I have only been back in Scotland since August, after more than 32 years away from the country, I have a limited perspective and limited information about this rather complicated issue. I do, however, have a few charts to look at, and I’ve also been listening to the opinions of other Scots that I have talked with since returning. I should point out that my primary expertise is in natal astrology and helping people understand the spiritual ramifications of their time on planet Earth, but I do like to keep an eye on other branches of astrology, and I do have a particular fascination for mundane astrology, the astrology of countries and nations. So I’m by no means an expert, but am interested in stirring some debate on the issue. On the surface, this is a simple issue, of whether Scotland should return to its status as an independent sovereign state, that was relinquished when it joined the United Kingdom in May of 1707. The ramifications of such a move are not fully clear, and are thus subject to all of the usual political machinations and manipulations.
The astrology of the United Kingdom and Scotland is somewhat complex, and there are at least four birth charts to consider. The Grandfather of all British horoscopes is for the coronation of William The Conqueror in 1066, although this one has minimal bearing on Scotland, as it was long before any union existed. Unfortunately there are no early horoscopes for Scotland itself, so most astrologers use the 1707 chart, and it is certainly being strongly activated this year. 1707 was not the final say in the formation of the modern United Kingdom, because Ireland joined the union in 1801, the birth date used by many astrologers as the chart of modern Britain. The most recent adjustment was in 1922, when Southern Ireland split off to become the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland remained as a member of the United Kingdom. I will be including all the above charts for your perusal, as well as the chart for Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, and the primary proponent of Scottish Independence.
It’s not really in the scope of this article to provide a full analysis of the astrology of the referendum, but there are some obvious factors that are worthy of comment. The first thing that caught my eye is the current transit of Saturn through Scorpio, which places it almost precisely on the Midheaven of the 1707 chart on the day of the referendum. There is no question that such a transit of Saturn could indicate a change of government and status in the world, but it could also mean a reconsolidation of what already exists. It might simply be a symbol of the fact that independence, with all of its ramifications, is under consideration. Other significant transits to the 1707 chart include a close square from Neptune to the chart ruling Saturn, suggesting a “dissolving” of the status quo, Uranus closely squaring the Ascendant, which suggests a “shake-up” of some kind, and Saturn opposing the Sun, which prompts much soul-searching and a quest for a deeper sense of identity. Together, these transits speak to some kind of shift, suggesting either a break in the union, or perhaps the whole issue of Scottish independence being put to rest. Even if an outcome is not clear, the astrology shows that the questions are being asked. Of course, it is entirely possible that the challenges that are indicated in this chart have to do with issues other than independence, but there’s no question that major change is in the air for the British Isles. I’ll speculate on this a little more once I have revealed the rest of the charts.
I was born in Scotland and spent most of my first 24 years here, and have always been proud to be Scottish, so in that sense there is a certain romantic appeal to independence. On the other hand, I have always identified with being British as well, and since Scotland has had it’s own government since 1999, the Scots have much more of a say in their political world than they used to. Full independence would create a lot of uncertainties, from whether Scotland would be allowed to stay in the European Union or would have to reapply for membership, to questions about economics, and whether Scotland would have to have it’s own currency, or even adopt the Euro. There’s also the question of whether a separate Scotland would be financially better off than remaining a part of Great Britain. I certainly don’t have all the answers (or even many of the questions), but my instincts lean me towards retaining the status quo, because I fail to see a compelling argument for change, except the emotional feel-good concept of independence.
I do find it interesting that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has so much water in his birth chart, in the sense that his strongest chance for separation may be to launch an emotional appeal, banking on patriotic fervour to win his case. It is the opinion of the majority of Scots that I have spoken to, that Salmond is a very slippery character, and though clearly very intelligent, he has used tactics that run from subtle misinformation to outright falsehoods, in his desire to sway the public to support his cause. Having spent the last 32 years of my life living in the USA, Salmond certainly appears to be an American style politician, willing to say whatever it takes to win his political battles. In early September of 2014, he will experience the final phase of his Saturn Return, suggesting a new beginning, and a time of reaping the rewards/consequences of his actions over the past 29 years. Interestingly enough, the Midheaven of the 1707 chart is also close to the same degree of Scorpio, which means that not only does Salmond have his Saturn on the Midheaven of the 1707 chart, but both are being currently “lit up” by transiting Saturn, right before and just after the referendum. By far the most significant transit is the ongoing conjunction of Pluto to Salmond’s Sun, something that only about half of us experience, once in our lifetime. This transit has been active in his chart for the past couple of years, and though technically past its peak, it will still be very close to an exact alignment on referendum day. Pluto transits have long been associated with the exposing of hidden secrets, the revealing of hidden agendas, and the punishment of “hubris”. If it’s true, as many in Scotland believe, that Alex Salmond has been manipulative and deceitful, in pursuit of his political ambitions, then we will probably see his campaign “crash and burn”, but on the other hand, if he really is a man of integrity, then he may take on the added power of being the leader of a newly independent Scotland.
The chart for January 1 1801, when Ireland joined the UK, is what many astrologers have been using for years to signify modern Britain. What strikes me the most is the position of the Sun, at 10 degrees of Capricorn, which means that the 1801 chart is getting the same Pluto conjunct Sun transit as Salmond, who was born on December 31. So there’s no question that the theme of transformation is very much alive in the astrological symbols, and perhaps it suggests that somehow the “Yes Scotland” campaign will prevail, with Scotland rising anew from the ashes of the old UK. At the time of writing, the polls show only a 30% support for independence, with a much larger majority wanting to maintain the status quo, but perhaps things will swing dramatically over the next few months as the full campaign gets underway.
As I mentioned earlier, December of 1922 was the last time that the United Kingdom made a major adjustment, losing Southern Ireland to independence, with the formation of Northern Ireland. This came about after many years of bloodshed and religious conflict between protestants and catholics, a tension that continued to play out throughout the rest of the 20th century. The most interesting thing astrologically is that when Northern Ireland was created, Pluto was in an exact opposition alignment with the Sun in the 1801 chart, the very chart that represented Ireland joining the United Kingdom in the first place. Clearly Pluto brought things to a head back then, and now in 2014 we find Pluto exactly opposite its 1922 position, once again aligned with the Sun in the 1801 chart, as the future of the United Kingdom is decided.
There is a final chart to reveal, the one for December 25 1066, when William the Conqueror was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. This is not a chart that is often used for Scotland, but it is a significant date in the history of the British Isles, and by a quirk of destiny, it has the same exact Sun position as the 1801 chart. This of course means that Pluto is currently conjuncting the Sun in both British charts (and closely moving up on the Capricorn Ascendant in the 1707 chart), clearly revealing that something big is waiting to happen. Since it seems that Scottish independence is a long-shot, at least from the current polling, perhaps these major transits are referring to something else altogether. Given the age of the current Queen, this could be the time that her long reign comes to an end, through her death or abdication. It is also possible that the Pluto transits will uncover a scandal that strikes to the heart of the British establishment. For the past couple of years there has been a slowly unfolding story involving sexual child abuse by various celebrities (including DJ Jimmy Savile) over a 40 year period, which is rumoured to involve senior members of the British government (particularly during the Thatcher years), the BBC, and even the royal family, so perhaps this will prove to be part of the momentous changes that lay in store for the UK.
I hope that this blog stimulates some ideas and opinions from some of my readers. I don’t pretend to know how all of this will play out, but am fascinated by astrology’s ability to track current events and changes in our world. Please add your thoughts and comments and any analysis that might help further illuminate this topic.