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Posted April 5, 2008

The Day Pluto Stood Still
by Mary Plumb

Pluto stationed retrograde at 1º09’ Capricorn on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. On that day, an infamous memo, dated March 14, 2003 and written by John Yoo, the U.S. Defense Department's former general counsel, was published in full. Although Congress has been asking for the memo to be declassified, it is only now, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union, that the full document has been released. The basics of the memo had been understood by everyone who was following administration policies on civil rights, but the full document’s release allows a far more thorough appraisal. Written the month the U.S. invaded Iraq, the memo’s purpose was to address treatment of prisoners.

One of the early commentators on the memo, Glenn Greenwald, writes: “Yoo wasn't acting as a lawyer in order legally to analyze questions surrounding interrogation powers. He was acting with the intent to enable illegal torture and used the law as his instrument to authorize criminality.” [1] A former lawyer in the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel comments: "It is, in effect, the blueprint that led to Abu Ghraib and the other abuses within the armed forces in 2003 and early 2004." [2] And Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University, is quoted in the April 2, 2008 New York Times: “This is a monument to executive supremacy and the imperial presidency. It’s also a road map for the Pentagon for fending off any prosecutions.” [3] Sanctioning abuses, legalizing torture, and “authorizing criminality” could be phrases out of a Pluto dictionary — and they speak to the vivid impact of a stationary planet.

The Sibly chart for the United States shows that, on March 14, 2003 when the memo was written, transiting Saturn was at 22º31’ Gemini conjunct the U.S. Mars in the 7th house. To make a blunt analysis of this combination: The two malefics, Saturn and Mars, are never a happy pair and often form a cruel or ruthless combination — quite a signature for giving authority (Saturn) to brutal treatment of our enemies (Mars in the 7th house). (Chart 1)

That same day, the U.S. progressed Moon was at 20° Gemini, caught in the web of Mars and Saturn. The Moon symbolizes the public; in a sense, the people were trapped by the fear (Saturn) of our open enemies (Mars). (Chart 2) Transiting Pluto, co-ruler of the Scorpio 12th house, was at 19º56’ Sagittarius, opposite the progressed Moon (20º34’ Gemini) as well. The 12th house is the domain of secrets, hidden actions, and one’s own undoing. One interpretation is that covert actions against (opposition) the will, or without the knowledge, of the people (Moon) have also contributed to our nation’s self-undoing.

Mars, co-ruler of the country’s 12th house, being in the Sibly 7th house suggests that a part of our national psyche (our self-undoing) is expressed by an overly aggressive stance against others. The horrifying photos from the Abu Ghraib prison were first made public in May 2004. Our treatment of prisoners there, magnified by the broadcast of these photos to the Arab world, is not something that our nation will easily recover from.

As mentioned, when the 2003 Yoo memo basically gave the green light to torture, the U.S. progressed Moon was conjunct transiting Saturn and radix Mars. Now, with the Pluto station, the U.S. progressed Moon at 25º Leo is coming close to the progressed Ascendant of 27º Leo, which is opposite the U.S. Moon. (Chart 3) We might say that the American people will be aware of the bigger picture for these next few months. We are not constrained by Saturn and Mars now, but are able to have a collective instinct for who we are as a nation.

Pluto moving into Capricorn could signal that corruption in government and misuses of power may paradoxically be both strengthened and exposed. Pluto’s function, in part, is to expose what needs to be changed. We can count on the continued disclosure of information that some would prefer to keep hidden.

Another Pluto station revelation from the same day: An equally sordid story (and, therefore, Pluto at its worst) that became public on April 2 is from the May 2008 issue of Vanity Fair magazine; this article reports on decisions from the Bush administration’s highest-ranking lawyers, who “argued for extreme interrogation techniques, circumventing international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the army’s own Field Manual.” The article claims that the lawyers, while considering guidelines on how to interrogate an early detainee at Guantánamo in 2002, “broke their ethical codes of conduct and took themselves into a zone of international criminality, where formal investigation is now a very real option.” [4]

This first Pluto station in Capricorn is square the U.S. midheaven at 1º 04’ Libra. The midheaven of a nation’s horoscope has to do with reputation and standing in the larger world.  No matter what happens domestically as revelations such as these are made public, the square aspect certainly suggests a profound change in perception of the U.S. in the wider global community.

1. www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/04/02/yoo/index.html
2. tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/04/todays_must_read_308.php
3. www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/washington/02terror.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
4. www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/guantanamo200805?printable=true&currentPage=all

© 2008 Mary Plumb – all rights reserved

Mary Plumb has been studying astrology since the 60s. She has practiced as an astrological counselor since 1985 and has been the Book Review and Web Editor for The Mountain Astrologer magazine since 1993. She has written numerous articles for TMA over the years. She is available for consultations, in person in Ashland or via phone: 541.488.3048. You can read her blog www.maryplumb.com, or contact her via e-mail at: mary@maryplumb.com


© 2007 The Mountain Astrologer. All rights reserved.