As above, so below. It’s the guiding dictum of astrology — what’s going on up there in the heavens has a reflection and reference down here on planet Earth. But to what, exactly, does this apply? The ancients who devised this maxim only knew of seven moving lights in the sky. Today we’re aware that almost two million bodies are out there circling our sun – do they all evoke manifestations on this terrestrial plane, or does astrology only apply to objects of a certain size or venerability in our collective consciousness? And if it applies to everything, then how do the movements of these lesser bodies express themselves in the world around us?
When everyone and everything, from individual to nation state, is undergoing the same general transit, as for instance, Uranus square Pluto, why do some people and places stand out more than others? What draws this energy to specific entities who act as proxies for the stimuli we all receive? It may well be these previously ignored “minor” bodies, as the story of the Ukraine’s struggle illustrates.
What has been described by William Hague, the U.K.’s First Secretary of State, as “certainly the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st Century,” has been playing out in the Eastern European state of the Ukraine. (1) Protests against the administration’s pro-Russian policies and trade agreements began in November 2013, and escalated to the point of bloodshed in late February 2014, when the administration enacted a law making it legal to use live ammunition on protestors, resulting in more than 70 deaths. Within days, President Viktor Yanukovych had been impeached by parliament, fled the capital, and sought refuge in Russia, holding a press conference where he termed his ouster a “bandit coup,” while Russia denied the legitimacy of the interim government, which scheduled new elections for May.
Less than a week after that, Russian troops effectively occupied Crimea, a semi-autonomous region of Ukraine on the Black Sea, which houses a major Russian naval port and is predominantly ethnic Russian in population. Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted these facts as justification for the occupation. U.S. President Barack Obama issued harsh statements denouncing the action and threatened economic sanctions, but Western European nations are heavily dependent on Russian natural resources, and their cooperation in any punitive action is uncertain. In early March the Crimean parliament voted to unite with Russia, scheduling a public referendum vote for March 16th, to endorse or overrule that decision.
The Ukraine is yet another nation state currently under the gun of the Uranus-Pluto square, that defining aspect of our times, signaling the clash of the old order of entrenched power (Pluto in Capricorn) and the forces of individuation, freedom, and revolution (Uranus in Aries). Born in the aftermath of the breakup of the Soviet Union, whose member state it once was, the Ukraine gained its independence on August 24, 1991 (5:31p.m. Local Time, Kiev).
The current crisis is part of its normal “growing pains”: with its revolutionary, freedom-loving natal Uranus at 10° Capricorn, Ukraine is facing its first Uranus square, analogous to an individual assuming adult status and responsibility at age 21. But with transit Pluto currently in conjunction to that natal Uranus, these growing pains have taken a bloody and violent turn.
Such is the general celestial backdrop of the turmoil, but we can probe deeper to understand why this region in particular has been so volatile of late. Lots of countries are receiving hard aspects from the Uranus-Pluto square, so why does the Ukraine in particular stand out?
That story begins with the movements of asteroid Ukraina (#1709), named for the country. When the anti-government protests began on November 20, 2013, transit Ukraina was in late Aquarius, simultaneously squaring Saturn and approaching a conjunction with Neptune, and exactly conjunct the Black Hole at 28° Aquarius. The square to Saturn indicates the discontent with the government’s policies; the approaching conjunction to Neptune signals a period of confusion, and upcoming turmoil and chaos, while the Black Hole contact adds the potential for the situation to mushroom out of control and result in an unexpected reversal of the status quo, a dramatic turn of events that completely destroys the current reality.
By late January 2014, Ukraina had moved on to Aries and its conjunction with Uranus (exact on February 8), which remained in effect until February 28th when Russia invaded the Crimea. The intervening period coincided with the protests escalating to full-scale rebellion, then revolution (both Uranus-ruled) with the ouster of the unpopular Yanukovych and the establishment of an interim government.
The saga continues with the placement of Ukraine’s natal asteroid Kiev (#2171), named for the Ukrainian capital, which, at 10° Cancer, exactly opposes the nation’s Uranus. Any revolutionary movement is more than likely to originate here, a pattern already established in 2004 with the “Orange Revolution,” a bloodless coup based in civil disobedience and centered on Kiev, which prevented a rigged presidential election from going into effect. So, it’s not just the Ukraine’s Uranus that is being jostled by the Uranus-Pluto square; this is forming a t-square with the national capital’s celestial namesake. Adding fuel to that fire was transit Jupiter, planet of inflation, excess, and over-reaction, which came to conjoin Kiev and oppose natal Uranus in mid-February 2014, just as things began to heat up. Within days the government’s overreach had killed over 100 people, and Jupiter fanned the Uranian flames of rebellion in Kiev to topple the administration.
But Jupiter hasn’t been traveling alone. Right beside him in the heavens has been another namesake asteroid, Moskva (#787), the Russian name for Moscow, indicating Russia’s involvement in the crisis. Moscow’s importance in the Ukraine’s future is well established by the presence of its natal asteroid Moskva at 22° Scorpio, on the Ukraine’s Midheaven at 27° Scorpio, representing its government, which is to some extent under Russian domination with this placement, all the more so given its additional conjunction with the nation’s Pluto, representing power, control, and manipulation, at 17° Scorpio, and Damocles, that sword of doom hanging unseen overhead, at 19° Scorpio.
On February 27th, Moskva came to its direct station, a period where it is stationary in the sky and packing considerably more punch than normal, at 9°55’ Cancer. The next day, Russian troops occupied Crimea, as Jupiter evoked an inflated, outsized response to the crisis from the Russian capital.
Crimea has its own place in the saga, with its eponymous asteroid (#1140) coming to retrograde station on February 1st at 10° Libra, filling in the gap in the natal Uranus-Kiev, transit Pluto-Uranus-Moskva-Jupiter t-square to form a perfect Cardinal Grand Cross. When the first anti-Russian-policy protests broke out on November 21, 2013, transit asteroid Russia was at 10° Libra, exactly squared natal Kiev, exactly squared natal Uranus, and exactly where transit Crimea would station in little over two months’ time.
Astute Ukrainian astrologers might have intuited Crimea’s topical importance by the pair of Lunar Eclipses that conjoined its natal degree in the Ukraine chart. At 20° Libra, Ukraine’s asteroid Crimea was hit by the Lunar Eclipse of October 18, 2013 at 25° Aries, and will be again at the upcoming Lunar Eclipse at 25° Libra on April 15th. Russia’s involvement in the crisis is prefigured by a pair of Solar Eclipses, one at 5° Scorpio last May in opposition to the Ukraine’s natal asteroid Russia (#232) at 4° Taurus, which will be conjoined by the next Solar Eclipse on April 29th at 8° Taurus.
Major planetary stations had an effect as well. On March 6th, the very day the Crimean parliament voted for union with Russia, transit Jupiter (ruling politicians and foreign policy) stationed at 10° Cancer, exactly hitting the Ukraine’s Kiev-Uranus opposition. Transit Moskva was still conjoined Jupiter, and the two were still square to transit Crimea, then at 6° Libra. Transit Russia was at 22° Scorpio, close by transit Saturn, which had just come to its retrograde station at 23° Scorpio four days prior, with both points closely squared the Ukraine natal Moon (its people), at 22° Aquarius, and forming a t-square with its exact Mercury-Jupiter conjunction at 25° Leo. This is a combination representing political rhetoric and voting. Saturn is harsh crackdowns and repression, but also borders, which Russia violated in its occupation of Crimea.
The referendum in Crimea on March 16th went as expected. With a long history of Russian domination, a majority ethnic Russian population, Russian troops in the streets, and no spot on the ballot for maintaining the union with Ukraine, it’s not surprising to see an estimated 95% vote in favor of secession.
When the votes were cast, the Sun at 25° Pisces was squared asteroid Simferopol (#2141), named for the Crimean capital, at 27° Gemini, which was exactly opposed the Galactic Center at 27° Sagittarius, indicating something of global import or attention. Mercury, ruling the voting process itself, was at 28° Aquarius, on the same Black Hole that asteroid Ukraina had occupied when the anti-Russian protests first erupted. Mercury was trine Simferopol, indicating the dramatic support for the Crimean government’s decision to secede. Asteroid Ukraina, now at 29° Aries, was conjoined asteroid Phaeton at 26° Aries, a point noted for ill-considered decisions and choices leading to disaster.
Asteroid Moskva had returned with Jupiter to sit directly atop the Ukraine’s natal asteroid Kiev at 10° Cancer (exactly opposing its Uranus), with transit Kiev at 4° Pisces closely conjoined both Neptune, ruling secession, and asteroid Pandora, noted for the unleashing of unexpected, dire consequences, at 5° and 3° Pisces. Asteroid Russia, at 24° Scorpio, was prominent in the drama as well, as it conjoined Saturn, ruling governments, as well as repression, at 23° Scorpio, with both trine the Sun and square the Ukraine’s natal Moon (the people) at 22° Aquarius. Asteroid Crimea at 4° Libra opposed asteroid Icarus, noted for rash, reckless actions heedless of the consequences, at 6° Aries, and more broadly opposed Uranus, ruling both revolution and independence, at 11° Aries.
On Friday, March 21, Vladimir Putin signed a treaty accepting Crimea into the Russian Federation. All that remains now is to see what response, if any, will come from the West.
(1) The News
Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org