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Scotland's Referendum on Independence from the UK

Written: March-May 2013
Published: May 2013

In March the Scottish government named the date of the referendum on whether or not Scotland should become independent of the United Kingdom. The date is to be Thursday, the 18th of September, 2014, and polls will close at 10pm on the day. Here is the chart for that date and time, set for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland:

Scotland Referendum on Independence from the UK
Scotland's referendum on independence from the United Kingdom
Set for scheduled close of polling, 10pm BST,
18th September 2014, Edinburgh

Irrespective of the outcome of the referendum, the next elections to the Scottish Parliament are due to be held in May 2016. At the time of writing, a web page published by the campaigners for a 'yes' to independence gives what they hope will be the timescale for concluding negotiations:

"After negotiations are concluded with London, the people of Scotland go to the polling booths in May 2016 to elect the first ever government of an independent Scottish State."

Below is the chart for the 2016 elections:

Scotland's Parliamentary Elections in 2016
Elections to Scotland's Parliament
Set for scheduled close of polling, 10pm BST,
5th May 2016, Edinburgh

The month of May in 2007 marked three hundred years since the Act of Union which created the kingdom of Great Britain out of Scotland, England and Wales. Around that anniversary I wrote an article for this website in which I explained how several of the major events in Scotland's history of independence from and union with England have taken place at key points in the cycles of Uranus, and Saturn-Uranus (as a pair). Now that the date for an independence referendum has been settled upon it is possible to re-visit the findings of that previous article and bring them up to date.

Shown below are updated versions of the previous article's diagrams - they have the new information added to them for the dates of the referendum and the elections in 2016.

First we have the diagram displaying the aspects of transiting Uranus to Uranus's location during the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328, showing that the position of Uranus during the 2014 referendum does not match the key points of this particular pattern:

Uranus Cycle - Scotland's Referendum on Independence from the UK
Aspects of transiting Uranus to its location at
the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328

It is interesting to note, though, that the waxing square of 1603 and the opposition of 1707 were points of union, whereas the waning square of 1978/9 and the conjunctions of 1328 and 1998 were points of independence and separation. As you can see, at the time of the referendum on independence transiting Uranus will be heading in the direction of the waxing square, which could be taken as suggesting union rather than separation or at least the preparation of a shift from one to the other, however this cycle should not be taken in isolation nor should it be made to bear the weight of a predicted outcome. For instance, this cycle could shift to representing Scotland's union with the European Union after leaving the United Kingdom, and thus still bear the symbolism of Scotland uniting with other countries.

Next we have the diagram showing the transiting Saturn-Uranus cycle, i.e. the aspects which Saturn and Uranus make with each other as they both move round the circle of the Zodiac. This first version of the diagram slightly updates the one from 2007 in the previous article by adding the names of the aspects:

Saturn-Uranus Cycle - Scotland's Referendum on Independence from the UK
Transiting Saturn-Uranus cycle
with aspect names added

This second version is updated with the new dates from 2012 to 2016. It shows the angular separation of Saturn and Uranus at the times of the so-called 'Edinburgh Agreement', the date of the referendum on independence and the date of the elections to the Scottish Parliament in 2016:

Saturn-Uranus Cycle - Scotland's Referendum on Independence from the UK
Transiting Saturn-Uranus cycle
with new dates added

The 'Edinburgh Agreement' was signed on the 15th of October in 2012, when Saturn and Uranus were forming a waning septile aspect. If the referendum goes ahead on the scheduled date, it will take place when Saturn and Uranus are forming a waning quintile aspect. Both of these aspects will occur either side of the quincunx aspec, and so some astrologers will consider these two events to be within orb of the quincunx.

The elections for the Scottish Parliament in May 2016 do not show an aspect by the orbs that I use, however some astrologers would consider the planets to be within orb of a trine, and this is why the word 'trine' is shown within parentheses.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Clearly the chart for the SNP is highly relevant to this topic, as is the chart for the party's current leader, Alex Salmond. We will look at both charts, starting with the chart for the SNP. Here it is:

SNP's chart
Birth chart of the Scottish National Party (SNP)
(time not known, therefore this chart has been reckoned for midday,
so please treat the Moon's position with caution)

If you compare this chart with that of the scheduled referendum, what leaps out straight away is the conjunction of transiting Uranus with the SNP's Sun (see next diagram). It sits alongside the transiting nodal axis, which straddles the SNP's natal opposition of Sun-Mars and Jupiter. This represents an extremely strong galvanising of the desire to go-it-alone and fight for self-reliance. However it also symbolises suddent changes of leadership and direction, and has the potential to throw up surprises and unforeseen, disruptive happenings.
SNP & Referendum on Independence from UK
Transits to the SNP's chart for the referendum
 on independence from the UK
 (NB Please ignore house cusps)

Another link which leaps out involves the Moon and Pluto. In the referendum chart the Moon and Pluto hold the reverse Sign positions of their SNP chart positions: in the SNP chart the Moon is at 23 degrees Capricorn opposite Pluto at 23 (rounded) degrees Cancer, whereas in the referendum chart the Moon is at 27 (rounded) degrees Cancer and Pluto is at 11 degrees Capricorn. This seems to me to symbolise ancient, inherited resentments and power-struggles which have become toxic, along with the need and potential for wiping the slate clean to start again.

SNP & Referendum on Independence from UK
Transits to the SNP's chart for the referendum on
 independence from the UK
 (NB Please ignore inner house cusps -
only the outer house cusps are valid)

If independence is achieved within the timescale currently hoped for by the SNP, then transiting Uranus will by then be closer to its position in the SNP's chart. Obviously if independence is delayed it might be that this transit of Uranus to the SNP's natal Uranus could mark the timing of 'mission accomplished'. Transiting Uranus will be exactly conjunct the SNP's Uranus three times: on the 27th of May 2017, the 13th of October 2017 and the 18th of March 2018. Transiting Pluto will be squaring the SNP's Sun-Mars conjunction at that time too, so it is an intense time of 'do or die' for the party, its goals and purpose, and its leader.

Alex Salmond's birth chart

Now we turn to the birth chart of the current leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond.
Alex Salmond's birth chart
Birth chart of Alex Salmond

One of the first things to note about Alex's chart is that he is approaching his second Saturn Return. We all experience this around the age of 59, and it represents a 'reality check' as past experiences that have formed the foundation and structure of our lives meet a kind of 'staging post' of outcomes. It is a significant psychological marker, occurring just before our sixtieth birthday.

For Alex, the exact conjunction of transiting Saturn with his natal Saturn occurs three times: 11th December 2013, 3rd June 2014 and 4th September 2014. Transiting Saturn comes within orb of the aspect a while before the aspect is exact, which means that Alex is already undergoing his Saturn Return experience. By the time of the referendum on the 18th of September 2014 he will be coming out of the other side of it.

But Alex is also going through a major transit of Pluto to his natal Sun. The aspect is a conjunction. For some people this never happens whilst for others it is a once-in-a-lifetime transit¹. As such, it represents something extremely profound to do with identity, fatherhood and life-purpose.

Transiting Pluto first came within three degrees of orb of Alex Salmond's natal Sun in February 2011. In March 2012 the aspect first became exact, and during 2013 Pluto makes another three exact passes across his Sun: January, August and November. Throughout 2014 Pluto remains within three degrees of orb but makes no further exact conjunctions to Alex's Sun. At the time of the referendum in September 2014 Pluto will stop moving backwards through the Zodiac and turn forwards just one-and-a-half degrees away from Alex's Sun, showing that this is not just an intense time for the SNP but for Alex Salmond personally.

Saturn transits generally coincide with conclusions and the need to get to grips with a new state of affairs. With Pluto transits there is a closing of one chapter and an opening of another. Whether the referendum goes the way Alex Salmond wants it to or not these themes are fitting. During Alex's childhood his father switched allegiance from the Labour party to the SNP, and the goals which Alex has pursued during his membership of the SNP have been not his alone, but are influenced by his experience of his father's political understandings. These transits to the Sun - symbolising his father - reflect that. When Alex first became an MP transiting Pluto was sextiling his natal Sun, the sextile being an aspect of sixty degrees. By the time he became First Minister in Scotland's devolved Parliament Pluto had transited across most of those sixty degrees and was approaching a conjunction with his Sun. As Alex is steering Scotland towards the independence referendum Pluto has become exactly conjunct his Sun, and within one week of the referendum (assuming that it goes ahead on the planned date) Pluto will stop and turn forwards, thereafter separating from Alex's Sun never to return.

Other transits which are strongly relevant to Alex Salmond's career are those to the Midheaven in his chart. The accuracy of these depends on the accuracy of his time of birth. In Scotland it is law that birthtimes are to be recorded, however the Midheaven degree moves so quickly that even a relatively small inaccuracy in what is recorded produces a notable difference in the timing of transits.

If we assume that the birthtime is one hundred per cent correct, then Alex became leader of the SNP when transiting Pluto was trine his Midheaven, he stood down from the leadership role when transiting Pluto made a square to his Midheaven, and the referendum on independence from the UK will take place as Pluto makes a sextile to his Midheaven.

By the time of the 2016 elections, Pluto will be on his Descendant - which represents his relations with others, both allies and opponents - directly opposite his Ascendant, whilst Neptune - planet of hopes, dreams, aspirations and disappointments - will have arrived at his Midheaven, the pinnacle of the chart.

These are all major transits in a person's life, with some of them being of the once-in-a-lifetime kind. At the moment I tend to see them as symbolising Alex's standing down from his leadership role, irrespective of the referendum's outcome.


¹ Pluto moves so slowly through the Zodiac that it cannot form a conjunction with all of the Zodiac degrees during even the longest human lifespan. When it makes a conjunction with a planet or house cusp it will go back and forth over it several times, resulting in a series of conjunctions, however they will all occur within one period of a few years and after that Pluto will move away and never return to the same degrees until 248 years later. The series of conjunctions thus constitutes an episode of that person's life which is unique.

Related links:

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Articles on this website:

1707 - 2007: Anniversary of the Act of Union

Scottish National Party (SNP), & Alex Salmond

UK's Identity Crisis & Opportunity

External websites:

Scottish Parliament - the referendum's Bill

Scotland Government - Scotland referendum - official website

'Yes Scotland' - the official campaign for Scotland to become independent of the United Kingdom

'Better Together' - the official campaign for Scotland to continue to be part of the United Kingdom

Here is the direct link to the timeline quoted in the above article

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