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Charles Kennedy, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party
This article was written and published in May 2005

On becoming party leader

Charles Kennedy became the leader of the Liberal Democrats on 9th August 1999 when previous leader Paddy Ashdown stepped down, just two days before a solar eclipse. The eclipse was on Charles' Ascendant/Midheaven midpoint, which just goes to show that the idea that eclipses are negative and to be feared is nonsense. As a more intense version of a new moon, a solar eclipse denotes leaving an old phase of life behind and starting a new chapter. The eclipse was within a few degrees of Paddy Ashdown's Ascendant. Both people experienced an ending and a beginning.

Charles Kennedy's natal chart
In a further contradiction of some astrologers' ideas about how Neptune is no good for achieving success in society (except in areas such as religion, the arts, or healing), Charles became party leader during a series of Neptune transits: Neptune was sextile his Sun, trine his Ascendant, and quincunx his MC. What some astrologers forget is that Neptune is the planet of charisma, broad appeal, and people sacrificing themselves to become a symbol for a cause.

Alongside this, transitting Jupiter was making a trine to Kennedy's Saturn and Pluto, which themselves are trine in his natal chart, thus the trio together made an equilateral triangle. This also put Jupiter on his Saturn/Pluto midpoint. On the day itself there were short-term transitting aspects and midpoints made that were consistent with competition and leadership issues being to the fore.

Links with the LibDems' chart

If we look at how Charles Kennedy's birth chart connects with the birth chart for the Liberal Democrat Party, we can see the astrological view of why the party members considered him a suitable leader for them.

Liberal Democraty Party - inception chart
What leaps out is that Kennedy's Mars - a planet associated with the desire to lead the charge into battle - is closely conjunct the party's Ascendant, which is itself the point of leadership. Straight away, then, we can see that Charles is a natural leader for the party.

The LibDems' chart has a Saturn-Uranus-Mars-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. This is a complex mix of ideals and practicalities. Charles Kennedy's Saturn is less than 4 degrees away from the LibDems' Saturn. With Saturn being the planet of authority and paternalism, this reinforces the idea that the party will consider him a natural leader of them and that with him at the helm, much of practical consequence can be achieved. What is not so immediately visible, but which significantly adds to this, is Charles' Saturn being on the party's Sun/Moon midpoint.

With his MC-IC axis falling across the Cancer-Capricorn pair, conjunct the LibDems' Saturn-Uranus, this is all made very personal for Charles. It brings in his sense of direction and vocation (the MC axis) as well as his need to set down roots (IC), and channels them into the party in a fundamental way.

Charles Kennedy's Moon and Pluto straddle either side of the Liberal Democrats' Midheaven. This speaks of an intense bond with the party's goals and mission. The downside of this is a difficulty in letting go in this area, and a problem with stepping back to take an objective view. The party's achievements and failures will be taken very personally by him.

UK election 2005

In the forthcoming election of 5th May '05 Charles Kennedy and the LibDems are hoping to at least displace the Conservative party by becoming the official party of opposition in Parliament. With the party's Mars being sextiled by transitting Uranus and squared by transitting Jupiter, the LibDems are certainly going to be in fighting mood.

However with Neptune conjunct the party's Mercury there is also the danger of misunderstanding and scandal. The more constructive potential of this latter transit is universal appeal of the party's messages. Neptune is also in septile aspect to the party's Midheaven, so there is great potential for the party's reputation to soar during this period, provided the darker side of Neptune is avoided.

With Saturn moving through a trine to the Ascendant, this period is good for getting the party nose to the grindstone and working towards long-term goals. Some kind of 'officialisation' of the party's position in the establishment is possible during this time, but at the very least it should be easy for the party to make firmer their areas of leadership, resulting in stronger self-definition and a clearer base from which to pursue its goals.

A stumbling block could be Saturn squaring the party's Moon, which can indicate unpopularity or just plain old dullness, failing to capture the imagination of the general public, but with transitting Pluto simultaneously in sextile to the Moon there is a deep sea change going on within the party's members and those in the public that agree with the LibDems' policies, and it could well be that the tide is turning, slowly but surely, to the party's advantage.

We will soon see if the party manages to make the most of these potentials under Charles Kennedy's leadership.
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