Brexit

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit: This is all we hear about in the U.K. these days. While the social and societal institutions that once made this country a good place to live fall to ruin through neglect and underfunding all around us, nobody wants to talk about anything other than Brexit.

It seems odd to say, but while predicting the future is difficult, predicting the past is not always easy either. As astrologers, we are concerned with understanding patterns, and allowing not so much the fabric but the weave of the fabric we are contemplating to tell its story; this can be tricky to understand, even when events are long past. And when we consider broad entities, such as nations, this is exacerbated by the necessity to look at so-called mundane astrology, which has somewhat different significations than the personal stars we are familiar with.

Nonetheless, the astrology of Brexit has followed a pattern so concise and self-evident that even non-astrologers might grasp it completely.

Although rumblings about the nature of Britain’s relationship with the wider Continent have been audible since the final days of the Second World War, there was no serious desire to examine these bonds outside the very right wing fringes of the British Conservative Party Conservative Party — that is, until, pandering to pressure from that very faction, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to hold an in-or-out referendum. This address, which came to be known as the Bloomberg Speech, took place in central London on January 23, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.

(all charts Placidus houses, Mean node
Bloomberg Speech
Jan. 23, 2013
9:00 a.m. GMT
London, England (51N30, 0W10′)

This places Neptune within a one-minute conjunction with the Ascendant. In the mundane chart, Neptune’s influence is over the mass of people. C. C. Zain describes it thus: “The most pronounced influence of Neptune is to exaggerate the hopes and expectations.” (1) Here, Neptune is powerful in his sign (Pisces) and precisely rising. Zain goes on to say, “He is thus the most active factor in promotion schemes, in vast undertakings … and in utopian enterprises … On his adverse side, he is the particular patron of frauds, swindles, confidence men, and all the more subtle methods by which, without violence, people are taken advantage of.” As the progress of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union continues, the myriad benefits pledged by the advocates of the Leave campaign seem to have slowly evaporated in high Neptunian fashion! The early promise of a cash bonanza for public services has, chimera-like, changed into a worrying deficit, shortages of foodstuffs and medicines, the necessity of selling off public services to American corporations, and the gradual devaluation of Britain’s currency.

The institutions of law and legislature have become embroiled in the argument and counterargument such that the foundations of Britain’s centuries-old parliamentary authority are, perhaps fatally, undermined.

These effects may be presaged by Neptune’s square to Jupiter, significator of law and legislature, weakened by its detriment in Gemini and placed in the 3rd house. Also ominous of future woes and calamity is the exact conjunction of Neptune with asteroid Melpomene, muse of tragedy. Without any doubt, the combination of these deceiving, quixotic visions of a better future outside of Europe have unleashed a legacy of woe upon the very fabric of Britain, no matter the eventual outcome.

At a more esoteric level, the muses are the daughters of memory. This is quite literally true as they are the offspring of Mnemosyne (goddess of remembrance) and her consort, Zeus. Wherever any of the muses is configured in the astrology there is a strong connection to memories, which are an individual retrospection. The recollections of a personal past determine the expectations of how the future might unfold, and approaches to that future are selected or rejected accordingly. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder precisely because the formative experiences of an individual that constitute their expectations are the remembered preferences and aversions of a subjective past.

The muses model idealism based on accepted past norms. We understand what is beautiful in art because we have seen good art and bad, and while there will always be outliers, a consensus is formed, which is itself part of one’s expectations of all that is right and good. The muses represent then, an attempt to personify the process of understanding what perfection looks like. As a result, one can perhaps appreciate the potential of their power in a mundane chart. For a great many people, especially those who are older, whose past travels further back and has thereby been more radically supplanted by change, the difference between what the perfect society is and the society they find themselves in is fundamentally more jarring.

These are the people who have been most hopelessly seduced by Melpomene’s hinted vision of Brexit. It is a vision of Britain once described by former Prime Minister John Major as: “the country of long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers.” (2) The older generation voted overwhelmingly to reclaim this halcyon past, seemingly unconcerned with whether or not it was possible to recapture it.

George Orwell was another who attempted to frame this English utopia which seems to have become a part of the fabric of the Brexit dream. He once described an English civilisation and concluded that it was “somehow bound up with solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes.” (3)

The Brexit chart is fascinating, then, because of its appealing allusion to a better and more comforting past. But let us now examine the broad strokes of the Brexit Bill, the actual piece of legislation that made the referendum possible in the first place. As stated, its name was spoken aloud on January 23rd for the first time. A private members bill was given its first reading on June 19th, the second reading on July 5th, and on November 30th, Parliament approved the bill, promising to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU by 2017. (4)

Let us now compare the passage of the EU Referendum Bill with transits of Pluto to Britain’s Sun.

United Kingdom
January 1, 1801
12:00 a.m. LMT
London, England (51N30, 0W10′)

2013: Transiting Pluto and the British Sun (10°10’ Capricorn)
(1/3 refers to the first of three exact transits, etc.)

The symmetry, despite its disenchanting consequence, is beautiful. There is a 72-hour variance between Brexit’s proposal and acceptance into law with Pluto’s transit to the U.K. Sun, which, let us not forget, is an event that has not happened within the scope of the U.K.’s most current astrology. (5) In the previous chart for Great Britain, that of the Norman Conquest (Christmas Day 1066), the last transit of Pluto conjunct the British Sun occurred through 1767, as the British colonies in America were agitating for independence. (6) At that time the most significant events relating to British sovereignty centred upon the Townshend Acts, which attempted to impose taxes on various trade goods moving in and out of Boston in the American colonies. (7) Of those goods, perhaps the most prominent was, rather prophetically, tea. American patriots responded to the legislation by arguing that they should not be taxed while they held no sway in the Parliament to which they were subject (“no taxation without representation”). It was this series of legislations which really hardened attitudes against British rule and gave rise to the American War of Independence. After this disastrous American experiment, Britain never again dared to impose direct taxation of any of her colonies, and it really marked the beginning of the end for the British Empire.

Two-and-a-half centuries before, during the Pluto-to-Sun transit of 1520–21, the same question was asked of Henry VIII. Who holds the power: King or Pope? The first pretensions to absolute authority must have stirred early on in young King Henry’s breast, married as he was to his brother’s widow but with a famously roving eye. Within a decade, the battle was joined, and after the Protestant Reformation, the Church of Rome never again held so much authority. Under Pluto, the test of sovereignty is absolute and chooses right every time.

If we take a long view of the prevailing dynamics of British rule at each of these transits, it is therefore possible to glean some of the key foundations of the mundane Pluto-to-Sun transit. The principal question of this transit is, “Who really holds the power?” Since the Sun is representative of leaders — traditionally of Kings and Queens, but latterly of elected Heads of State and sovereign bodies — this transit will always conduct a fierce examination of the underlying principles of power. Pluto has this effect, wherever he narrows his focus, of testing for existential validity. To fail the test leads to annihilation, and the old, indestructible crucible of Hades is once again readied for the formulation of new and stronger alloys.

Footnotes:
(1) C. C. Zain, Mundane Astrology: Interpreting Astrological Phenomena for Cities, Nations and Groups, Church of Light, 1935.

(2) Wikiquote

(3) George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, Searchlight Books, Secker & Warburg, 1941.

(4) European Union (Referendum) Bill 2013–14 (see European Union Referendum)

(5) There are four major charts for the U.K., beginning with the coronation of Edgar the Peaceful in 973 C.E. The most referenced chart is for the foundation of the United Kingdom – the legal union of great Britain and Ireland: January 1, 1801; 00:00 LMT; London, England. Please see Baigent, Campion & Harvey, Mundane Astrology, Hammersmith, London: Aquarian Press, 1984, p. 433.

(6) The Norman Conquest horoscope has the Sun at 9°55’ Capricorn; data: December 25, 1066; 12:00 LMT; London, England (51°N30’, 00°W10’). See Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer, Ltd., 1998, p. 337.

On January 9, July 31, and November 10, 1767, transiting Pluto was conjunct the Sun, as shown below.


(7) It is commonly held that there were five Townshend Acts passed by British Parliament: two on June 5, 1726, two on June 29, 1767, and the last on July 26, 1768. Resistance to the Townshend Acts eventually led to the Boston Massacre of 1770.

 

Bio: Jeremy Neal is an astrologer living in Durham, England. He is the author of Orcus (reviewed in TMA 10/13), available via Amazon in paperback or Kindle. See his blog: Jeremy Neal’s Chirotic Journal

Please enjoy Jeremy’s previous guest blog for TMA: Orcus opposite Neptune: then and now

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  • No mention of Scotland who is very against Brexit and the fact our Independence Referendum will soon be held again and are showing a majority who will vote for it this time because of Brexit, or is your interpretation of UK is only England.

    • Hi Elaine,
      The analysis covers the chart of the entire UK, not just England. There are many ways to break down the result and of course one of those is regionally. The result was very close in terms of population. 26% voted to leave, 25% to remain, 19% did not vote, and 30% were ineligible. The Scots vote was 62% remain and 38% to leave. Over 50s voted twice as much to leave as the under 25s.

      Some of the breakdown can be viewed here: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted

      Astrologically, it would be a separate study to consider the impact of transits to the national chart at the time of the Brexit legislation.

      The most commonly used Scottish chart for those who wish to study it, is March 25th 1005, Midday, Penrith. This places the Scots Sun in a 2 minute square to the UK Sun. Evidently, while the UK is undergoing this series of transits, Scotland is experiencing a Pluto-Sun square. This is undoubtedly highly significant, as it indicates that Scotland is also experiencing a fierce examination of its sovereignty as a result of Brexit.

      If there is a future referendum on Scottish Independence then this will of course represent a new ‘birth’ chart for Scotland.

      A brief examination of transits to the 1005 chart suggests that if there are major transformations then perhaps 2026, as Pluto crosses the descendant will be significant. This has the potential to change the nation’s relationship with her primary partner(s) as one might imagine.

      Jeremy

    • Barbara Cowin says:

      Elaine – it is interesting to me that the first minister in Scotland’s birthday is the 18th July so Pluto will very shortly be opposing her natal sun. I am not familiar with the rest of her chart but that opposition alone suggests that a transformation and re-structuring (Saturn also in opposition) will be occurring, which will, of course, also affect Scotland. Interestingly, Angela Merkel’s birthday falls on the 17th July so similar transits to Nicola Sturgeon and she has given notice that she is handing over the Chancellorship of Germany to another woman. So much dredging has been going on but next year’s Saturn/Pluto conjunction along with Jupiter in Capricorn is going to shake it all about!

  • Brexit is more than just recapturing the past. In the past we had something called sovereignty, and not all leave voters were old, or white or live in the countryside. Overwhelmingly remainers are left leaning, middle class, possess jobs that rely on government money and realise that out of the EU will likely make them poor. Out of the EU does not mean a hatred of Europe, even King Henry understood that, he wanted England to be seen as an individual country and not just a cash cow, in hock to the Pope and his cronyism. Mnemosyne might have something to say about individual sovereignty and remembering who you are actually. That is the choice, to be subsumed and forgotten, or break away and renew.

    • Thanks Eve.
      Of course, no single demographic voted entirely for one option, but insofar as we can fact check your assertions, certainly a majority of older, white, right-leaning people outside the cities voted to leave. The left leaning vote was somewhat split down the middle, and metropolitan voters were more likely to vote for remain. I cannot fact check your assertion that they had government jobs however as there appears to be no research on that particular demographic. I am not aware of any government employed voters citing a link between leaving the EU and future poverty, especially since the public sector pay freeze has left many of them in financial difficulty even while in the EU.

      I agree that out of the EU does not mean hatred of Europe, and certainly do not advocate such a viewpoint. Of course, there are many who do dislike the EU and the majority of those people would probably have voted to leave as well.

      With respect to the idea of being subsumed & forgotten vs. leaving & renewing, this is entirely the point of the Pluto-Sun transit. It will be many years before we are able to understand how the referendum and its effects will play out in terms of British sovereignty and independence. In a decade or more we might be able to answer the question of who holds the power. Leaving may be disastrous, or it might lead to a resurgence of British influence, but until the test of Pluto is done, we cannot predict which it will be.
      Jeremy

  • Jean Fairbairn says:

    Although I voted Remain at the time I would not do so again . I agree with Eve that the issue is about sovereignty and not being subjects of a Franco ..German agenda which valorises unity but in which this axis acts unilaterally. Germany seems to pay for the grandiose ideas of the French from that sense of guilt about the Holocaust which haunts that country still even when not voiced.

    On Scotland. ….and I am connected by descent to Scotland and consequently love the people…..some forget that in 1603. Lord Cecil gifted James Vl of Scotland the countries of
    England and Wales and Scotland hit the financial big time and ruled England successfully under James who was a canny man .. however James II s desire to return England Wales and Scotland …perhaps substitute the EU here…. to the sway of superstition and well. all sorts of.mismanagement. … did for the . I mention it just to point out that Scotland dominated then as it did with Blair and Browns Labour government.
    LASTLY….Corbyn s anti Semetism and admiration for terror groups worries me much more than Boris …

    • Thanks Jean,
      I think that the issue you raise where you imply that British sovereignty is threatened by Germany’s Holocaust guilt is an interesting view and not one I had heard before. I can offer no insight except to say that testing the veracity and vigour of British sovereignty in the context of the EU relationship is entirely the purpose of the transit, even if that is putting the cart before the horse. It might be better to say that the EU question is a barometer of the vitality and style of British identity. I say style, because to a person born in the 1940s, British identity is going to mean something very different to somebody born in the 1980s. Similarly for right wing and left wing, white and people of colour, metropolitan and rural, English and Scottish. Pluto clears away all the hot air and gets down to brass tacks and eventually we all get to see what is true.
      Jeremy

      • Interesting points all, thank you for continuing with generosity and obvious personal knowledge without resorting to a slanging match as seen in other astrology groups.
        I agree very much that the whole question of a Brexit has been continuously manipulated by our political masters and so the ideas that there are more than the presented ways of being with the EU have been also manipulated to whoever is in charge. In essence whoever is in gets the mike. My personal astro take is this is where the Jupiter Neptune Pisces aspect takes hold in the political sphere, messianic, overly religious, catastrophic, apocalyptic, just a whiff of an idea that hits a spot.
        The question of guilt ties in very much so to my way of thinking, and I make no apologies for speaking my mind here, with regards identity (Pluto and Sun) and what or whose identity you are shaking off/ taking on. WW2 certainly galvanized that generation’s sense of identity. The rights and wrongs of which are debated, but essentially Good battled with Evil. Millenials of the 80’s do not have this very strong sense identity. Perhaps the Neptune in Capricorn at the time did away with clear senses of authority and history.
        It’s a massive subject and spiritually speaking, which is where my personal astrology studies have taken me, the idea of personal and therefore national sovereignty is paramount here. We cannot have a borderless world if we are being coerced into one. We cannot understand borders if we are encouraged to let go of our personal borders. We cannot be guilty and sovereign at the same time, the dynamic here is overturned and the oppressor becomes the oppressed and is kept that way for political gain. If we want to be compassionate, we need to have a stronger identity.
        Those who have the mike, to my ears, are those who do not understand identity or personal responsibility deeply enough, however they are very willing to give other’s freedoms away. That is not their remit. Pluto makes us see where we have been remiss in our personal responsibilities. Sorry for rambling, and thank you for your intelligent contributions.

        • Mrs J E Joslin says:

          I couldn’t agree more. I am 76 and feel very much feel our place is alongside Europe but not in it. Does this make me someone who just looks at the past wishing we were back to the 1950’s. NO What a terrible thought that is! I consider myself forward thinking rowing our own boat and trading with the world. In fact I find Europe inward looking and claustrophobic. If we are going to invite visitors to our country perhaps we should start with our old colonies who gave so much for us. We need to start being responsible for ourselves and not to be told what to think by nameless civil servants. I have taken on board all the above responses and do understand the depth of feeling. 2020 is going to be about big changes and when all is shaken about I feel it will be as should be. Having said that level heads must prevail.

  • Jeremy – thank you for your detailed and thoughtful consideration of the Brexit charts.
    I find it terrifying that so many people in the UK (not just England, note) have been fooled and lured through notions of ‘sovereignty’ and ‘freedom’ (plus the latent racist tendencies of so many) into lurching further and further towards a far right, neoliberal regime which can only cause harm to the people of our country. Neptune is riding high. and charlatans like Johnson, Farage and Cummings are taking full advantage of it.
    Pluto can be cruel and it doesn’t necessarily clear away the old for something better to take its place. Much pain and hardship will come from these political changes, and the people who are voting for them take no responsibility for the impact of their votes – I am not sure they even realize. But how could they be so blind to the total foulup that the Tories have made of this country in the past nine years? It beggars belief.
    I would be interested to know what you see in the future, both for the UK and for England. I note the Pluto Saturn conjunction opposite the 1801 Moon.