|I knew a woman once who met a whale. Becalmed in the vast expanse of the Atlantic it swam under the small boat she was sailing in. Wondering where it had disappeared she donned goggles and swam under the boat, and that’s where she met it. Vast head and enormous calm eyes staring into hers. She went quiet after that, and two years later, when she consulted me, she was still quiet.
Her progressed Mercury had retrograded, and in the year of her transatlantic trip it went stationary direct conjoining Neptune. I guess the ocean trip was Mercury/Neptune in the third house and being becalmed for two weeks mid-ocean was related to Mercury being stationary. The conjunction took place in Scorpio, and though the meeting took place in utter silence, it transformed her life, because, as she explained, she met another kind of intelligence.
Uranus/Pluto and the sixties
Whales and dolphins occasionally play a pivotal role in transforming the lives of individual human beings. They are used therapeutically with autistic children, and various courses offer transcendental experiences with dolphins at sea. However, there was an occasion when a whale changed the policy of a whole nation, and this happened at the time of the exact conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in 1966.
These two distant planets meet on average about once every 130 years, and the 1966 conjunction in Virgo was partially related to dramatic industrialization processes that automated production and liberated workers from repetitive tasks. It was the beginning of the robot age and digital decision-making. It could also be regarding as the culmination of a long process of industrialization, which had left the Earth poisoned, the seas depleted and rivers polluted. And of all the rivers in the world, the Rhine – rushing down from the Swiss alps, and winding its way through Austria, Germany and France, before entering the North Sea – was the most polluted, becoming known as the sewer of Europe. The huge industrial complexes of the Ruhr had been pumping out chemicals into the river for decades, and the government of the country, as in most industrialized countries of the time, was oblivious to the obliteration of river life. Nature had been sacrificed on the altar of materialism.
Moby swims up the Rhine
In May 1966 a white beluga whale entered this murky, lifeless brown water. People nicknamed it Moby. Perhaps it had developed a soft spot for humans – for it had encountered them earlier. Captured in Canada’s Hudson Bay a decade earlier at the request of a European zoo, it had been transported in a huge tarpaulin tank on the deck of a ship across the Atlantic. Towards the end of the Atlantic crossing there was a huge storm, and as the ship heaved in the heavy seas, a freak wave caught the tarpaulin and whisked the whale back into the ocean from which it came.
It was this intrepid whale who made is way up the Rhine on a two month long journey into the heart of the Ruhr. As the weeks went by the whale became a huge attraction in Germany, with people swarming to the banks of the Rhine to watch its progress. As time went by it appeared to sicken. Large black spots appeared on its skin, and with no food available in the polluted river it became thinner and thinner. Strategies were evolved to capture it after it appeared to get lost in a complex of canals in Germany’s most heavily industrialized area, but it evaded capture. It disappeared for some days and people began to suspect it died. Then it was suddenly sighted in a tributary to the Rhine on its way to Koblenz, where it could make its way out to the open sea via a canal gate.
Moby reaches Bonn
There was national relief as it approached the outlet into the North Sea, but then it made an inexplicable move. Visibly weakened and sick it turned once more, and headed back into the heart of Germany. By this time there was scarcely a soul in Germany who was not fully conscious of the lamentable state of the river that was the heart’s blood of their nation. The dearth of fish, the lack of oxygen, the dumping of chemicals and industrial waste – people now knew about it, and were upset. Moby swam on, and after a few days he reach the point at which he would stop and go no further. This point was in the capital city Bonn, and he stopped directly opposite the German parliament. Here he entertained the people who thronged to the river to see him, including the members of parliament, who adjourned their debate on the environment and strolled out on the balcony to view Moby’s performance just 100 meters away.
The chart for this event – cast for noon – tells the story. With the Uranus/Pluto conjunction dominant, and squared by the Sun and Mars in rational Gemini, there is a picture of everything that is wrong with science – theory without feeling; men talking but amputated from their feelings. The white beluga whale is Jupiter in Cancer, and his visit to talk with men coincides with the conjunction of Mercury with Jupiter. Clearly he has come with a message, and the message is one of compassion. Perhaps Saturn in the last degree of Pisces conjoining Chiron shows an ocean at the end of its resources, just as it shows an old beluga whale, wise but now sick.
Moby did not use words, but exhibited the fact of pollution through the state of his own body. At this time, the Moon’s nodes had moved into Taurus/Scorpio, which is related to the resources of nature and renewability, and the conjunction of Neptune with the South Node illustrated the fate that awaits the rivers and oceans if Man does not take remedial measures. Neptune/Node conjunctions are invariably related to pollution events – for example there was a conjunction in Capricorn when Iraq torched Kuwait’s oil wells in 1991.
The politicians heard the message from the whale, and enacted legislation to clean up the Rhine. At the end of the 19th century the Rhine was a salmon fisher’s paradise, with over 250,000 salmon netted yearly. In 1958 the last known salmon was caught in the Rhine. However, after a massive clean-up campaign after the mid-sixties, salmon re-entered the river in the nineties, and can now be caught once again.
Moby returns to the Ocean
Moby had not been lost or disoriented during his trip up the Rhine. Mission completed, he set out for the entrance of the Rhine, and in just three days he was seen entering the North Sea at the Hook of Holland.
The return of Moby to the ocean was timed to the minute, and it shows an exalted Moon in Taurus setting on the western horizon activating the Neptune/Venus opposition on the nodal axis. A fitting astrological signature for the large white beluga whale whose only mission was one of love for nature, and, it would seem, for man. With the powerfully placed exalted Jupiter and the Moon, and a strong Venus, it is a happy chart. I hope for Moby there was a sense of mission accomplished, even though the beluga whale population is still under threat from pollution today – particularly in the St. Lawrence seaway in Canada.
Mars in Pisces 2003
I happened to see the documentary about the whale by German director Stephan Koester ( The Tale of the Great White Whale ) in June 2003, just as Mars entered Pisces to activate the great water trine between Uranus and Saturn in Cancer. Obviously the direct and retrograde movement of Mars through Pisces in the last six months of 2003 can be related to a great many events, but it seemed to me that the legendary feat of Moby contained ingredients which could be a solution to some of the intractable political problems of today. If he is alive today, perhaps he could venture up the Euphrates into the heart of Iraq. War proponents might say this symbolic journey has already been undertaken by coalition forces in “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, as the 2nd Gulf war was called. However, whereas Moby made his mission to Germany’s capital with benign Jupiter exalted in Cancer, coalition forces came to Baghdad with the authoritarian flag of a Saturn in detriment in Cancer. Now, as the Iraqi people simmer in revolt, it seems that Mars/Uranus shows gunboats than whales.
It’s 37 years since Moby’s exploit, which means that the nodal axis is once again in Taurus/Scorpio, and the focus is on resources again – here the resources of Iraq. Moby showed the way. He was ready to sacrifice himself to initiate a process of transformation to return a country to health. The Rhine is not just a river; it is a life-giving force for Germany. If the river is sick, the country is sick. Saddam Hussein was not a healthy force in Iraq, and was toppled (or his statue was) – as all dictators should be – as the Sun in Aries trined Pluto. But only one scenario will work in Iraq: the USA and it reluctant band of allies must restore Iraq to health and rebuild its damaged economy and administration, then withdraw as quickly as possible. Only Germany knew how to clean up the Rhine, and only Iraq knows how to govern itself.
If America were to emulate Moby, it could be a catalyst for democratic change in Iraq. This is a sacrificial process – it will hurt America but they can retire with honor. The story is told by the opening moment of the war – the highly questionable attempt to assassinate Iraq’s leader through a bomb attack. The Saturn/Pluto opposition on the MC/IC axis is reminiscent of the same opposition at the time of the World Trade center attack. Saturn is stationary on US Mars. Those bunker busters went deep, but they missed their target. Laura Bush is no Nancy Reagan, and there was no astrologer to whisper in her ear that a combust Sun in the last degree of Pisces could presage a never-ending chaos. In the early days sandstorms meant visibility was down to zero and advance slowed to a halt. Curiously it turned out that the soles on the footwear of the British soldiers melted in the desert heat and emergency replacements had to be issued. That’s combustion in Pisces.
As the war began Uranus had moved from Aquarius into Pisces. USA abandoned the fig leaf of the United Nations at this time, and went in alone. As Uranus at the time of writing (September 2003) retrogrades back into Aquarius there are frantic diplomatic efforts to involve the UN in administrating the country. This will not happen. By the new year Uranus returns to Pisces, and the USA together with the coalition of the “willing” will be on their own again. America has to prove it is not a superpower following a self-destructive impulse towards supremacy and global hegemony. There is no maneuver that can extract them from the growing chaos except for a selfless offering of money and resources to establish a government, and a fast withdrawal. If they do that the Iraqi people are sure to gather on the banks of the Euphrates and cheer.
Adrian Duncan 15th September 2003
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