|Planets visiting Pisces have many manifestations, and when depicted in an upbeat light, they can be said to be uplifted, transcendent, creative, caring and spiritual. These qualities are arrived at by a process of refinement of the grosser manifestations of human behavior. In Pisces, humans can no longer get away with how they might like to act as a normal member of society – it just does not seem to work. Perhaps that is why so much suffering is associated with Pisces; material pleasures pall, ambitions seem empty, desires run riot but do not bring satisfaction. Learning spiritual lessons comes at the cost of having to give up the ways of the world. So when the astrologer tells the client that he or she is entering a great period for spiritual growth, that’s often code for a long and trying period.
The Fate of Pisces
Many Pisceans, or people affected by a difficult Neptune aspect or transit, will be able to tell a story of repeated efforts ending in dissolution, of a sense that the world is weighted against them, that they are misunderstood or hard done by. Hence the tendency of Pisceans to withdraw – either mentally into a world of fantasy and imagination, or physically to remote places. Undisturbed by the dreary demands of so-called reality, they can pursue their errand with who or what they perceive to be God. Some discover that the world is nothing more or less than what you perceive it to be, and rejecting martyrdom make life a playground for their creative ideas, often becoming rich and successful in the process. Others identify with fellow sufferers, and become shepherds for lost souls. Others still discover that, yes, the world is out to get them and fight imaginary battles against imaginary enemies. But even those Pisceans who descend to the absolute depths find redemption through giving themselves up totally to the battles within their soul.
And it is possible to imagine these battles right now, in the souls of those imprisoned in the world. With the transit of Uranus through Pisces from March 10th 2003 to March 12th 2011, prison is just one of the areas that will be highlighted. And with the current movement of Mars back and forth through Pisces from June 17th to December 16th – six long months – 2003 will be the year when the greatest trouble and suffering will manifest. Problems to do with prisons in this period will capture the public imagination… and they won’t go away.
That is the significance of the closely-guarded Guantanamo prison camp in these months, which has all the qualities of the Mars/Uranus conjunction in Pisces. It’s a prison housing religious militants on an island . Therefore, by following the aspects to Uranus and Mars in Pisces over the coming months, it should be quite possible to predict how things will develop. Guantanamo is an American outpost on the tip of Cuba, which is not technically a part of America (and obviously the Cubans don’t dare demand it back). Guantanamo is not a country, so it’s not subject to international law, which is quite useful, because prisoners can be held indefinitely and without charge for as long as the American military want. The militants – Mars/Uranus in Pisces – are having a hard time there particularly because they have no status, no international protection, and no way of knowing when – if ever – they will be released. The prison houses almost 700 people most of whom are very young, teenagers really. Three are between 13 and 15 years of age. Ten attempted suicide in 2002, and 11 more in the first three months of 2003.
The only journalist to enter the camp is Ted Conover (Note 1), who reports that prisoners can see documentaries about the ocean, Disney cartoons – and the only feature film: Cast Away (with Tom Hanks starring as a man surviving alone on a desert island.) Like Tom Hanks, these prisoners dropped from the sky onto some unknown island to experience indefinite detention. The slogan at the camp’s main gate is “Honor bound to Defend Freedom”. (Slightly reminiscent of war-time Germany’s “Arbeit mach frei”?)
As Guantanamo holds combatants from 42 countries, it’s a bit of a foreign relations disaster for the USA, especially as some are allied nationals, coming from countries like Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Australia and England. There are conventions ratified by the UN, which protect child prisoners, but then Guantanamo is not part of the UN. Each prisoner lives in a 7 ft by 8 ft cell (about 2½ meters by 2 meters) with wire mesh walls, and is allowed out 3 times a week for 20 minutes of solitary exercise, and when leaving the cell must be shackled. Had the inmates been designated as prisoners of war, then they would have enjoyed protection from the Geneva Convention that would have prevented solitary confinement and interrogation, but with their status legally undefined, they are subject to repetitive interviews from different US intelligent agencies who all have an agenda.
In April this year, Secretary of State Colin Powell – chided by foreign ministers around the world – sent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a strongly-worded letter pointing out the dangers to America’s reputation which Guantanamo represents. Here in July 2003, matters are reaching crisis point. Tony Blair, already under pressure from member of the Labour party to assert his independence from Bush, is facing concerns that the coming military tribunals in Guantanamo could result in the death penalty – also for the British prisoners. Apparently officials at Guantanamo have begun planning for construction of court facilities and an execution chamber.
Activation of Uranus/Jupiter opposition
The first obvious crisis in this respect is the coming opposition between Jupiter and Uranus, which happens on August 30th at 0.34 Virgo/Pisces. This opposition takes place on the borderline between two signs. Looking at the graph, it can be seen that retrograde Mars goes back to oppose Jupiter on September 7th and then goes direct at 0.07 Pisces at the end of September, narrowly avoiding a second conjunction with Uranus. This period will be a time of uproar about justice. There will be world indignation about matters of international law. The fact that zero degrees is activated emphasizes the issue of borderline matters – that Guantanamo is on (the edge of) an island and outside international law and that detainees have no official status is part of the picture. Although there can be many other crises in the difficult month of September, Guantanamo will certainly be a major one.
It is interesting to note that the chart for Cuba (Note 2), when it was granted independence from the USA in 1902, shows an Ascendant/Descendant axis of 0.17 Virgo/Pisces. This further emphasizes the focus on Guantanamo in the months to come. This chart for Cuba shows a Mercury/Pluto conjunction at 17-19 Gemini in opposition to Uranus at 20 Sagittarius – just the spot for extreme manifestations of the law perhaps. The current Pluto transit of this aspect will show upheaval in the legal status of Cuba, and radical change in its international relationships over the next year. Actually, the Cuban government ended a 3-year moratorium on the death penalty this year, and sentenced to death three hijackers in April provoking bitter international protests. America has obviously chosen the right place for it’s future trials of the detainees.
Consequences for Washington
The astrological picture is clearer looking at the chart for the New Moon around this time, calculated for Washington.
Here, with the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus about to form, the new Moon also draws the Mars/Venus opposition into a massive constellation of tension, which falls on the MC/IC axis in the US capital. As new moon charts tend to describe events over the following month, this presages many troubles and worries for the US government. It’s a time when the US progressed Mercury retrogrades to conjoin the Sun – a very rare event which takes place coincidentally on September 11th (happening extraordinarily synchronistically just as transit Mercury retrograde also conjoins the Sun and squares Pluto.)
The Venus/Jupiter conjunction in early September is a force for peace and mercy, but both planets are weakly placed, suggesting that their influence will be ineffectual and swept aside. The Mars/Uranus conjunction is perhaps a more powerful influence, indicated continued anxiety about terrorist threats – an anxiety that is probably justified. During September opposing forces will be arrayed, one representing the voice of logic and reason, the other the presenting the specter of irrational fears. Obviously there will be virulent criticism of the US government, both from within and from abroad.
The Jupiter/Uranus cycle
The fact that Mars is retrograde until September 20th shows many old issues returning to haunt the administration, not least the misleading of the country about those infamous weapons of mass destruction which Iraq was supposed to possess – part of the big lie of the earlier Neptune/Jupiter opposition. Thus there will be battles on many fronts, and the planets in Virgo will strive to get clarity, whilst the planets in Pisces will strive to maintain the smokescreen. The backdrop for all these developments is the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, which takes place every 14 years, bringing revolutionary justice, battles for intellectual freedom, and struggles for transparency in international law. Going back 14 years, this was the time of revolution in Eastern Europe, and subsequent freedom of movement between borders. 14 years prior to that, when the opposition took place from Taurus/Scorpio the US high court upheld that the death penalty did not constitute unnatural punishment. It is very likely that the death penalty will loom large as an international issue as Jupiter moves away from its opposition to Uranus to make a square to Pluto in July 2004. However unnatural it is, anxiety will probably win out anyway at this time.
After the September crisis in international relations through developments in Guantanamo, the next key period will be in November. At this time Mars, now direct in Pisces, will again oppose Jupiter and go on to square Pluto. Of course, a major theme of Mars in Pisces is self-immolation and suicide. This relates to suicide bombers just as it does to the Iranians who set themselves on fire in June (just as Mars entered Pisces) to protest at their political party being branded as terrorist and banned in Europe. Not just prisoners at Guantanamo are affected either – the whole issue of prisoner releases in the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Palestine is part of the larger picture. It is possible that that as Mars stops at 0 Pisces (imprisonment), and does not go into Aquarius (freedom) that neither prisoners in Cuba, nor in Israel will be released in significant numbers. November will again see these issues coming to ahead amongst a growing atmosphere of extremism.
These developments reach their finale in April 2004 with a Mars/Venus conjunction in Gemini opposing Pluto, which by this time is exactly opposing US Mars at 21.23 Gemini). There can hardly be any doubt that the USA will assert its power at this time notwithstanding international opposition, and they are unlikely to be intimidated into avoiding the death penalty. It is in these months, leading up to the US election, that America’s military will be high on the political agenda. A vast restructuring of the US army is unavoidable, and indeed it is part of Donald Rumsfeld’s grand plan for change to have highly mobile and smaller elite forces placed strategically around the world. What is likely however is that the Mars in Pisces will show US troops getting bogged down, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that restructuring can be more far-reaching than anyone in the State Department imagines right now.
It is unlikely that the current US government will bow to pressure about the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. But the polarization of world opinion regarding this peculiar manifestation of American justice will be a volatile issue for months to come. Guards at Guantanamo have cut a large hole in the canvas that had been shielding the prisoners from a view of the bay, and say that the prisoners now derive great pleasure from looking at the ocean. Well-fed, and with the requisite health care, they have put on weight, and can learn more about their hosts through watching Walt Disney cartoons. Yes, torture has many forms.
Adrian Ross Duncan 14.07.2003
Note 1. The Observer: 13.07.2003