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UK's Neptune transit to Venus: Political, social and economic choices for 2005 and 2006
From 2003 until 2008 the UK is going through a major transition period that occurs once every 168 years: the planet Neptune is conjunct the UK's Venus.
Because the UK was created in 1801 this transit has happened just once before to the UK as a political, legal, social, and economic entity. We can infer from this fact that this is a very important time for the nation as a whole.
Emphasising this is the fact that the UK's Ascendant is Libra, and as Venus rules Libra, any transit to Venus is likely to resonate very strongly with all areas of the nation's life and behaviour.
One thing that immediately springs to mind: the public are unlikely to be in the mood for more wars over the next two years, although they may be more easily duped into supporting a 'humanitarian intervention.' Tony Blair has had 5 wars in 6 years, so the question in terms of the UK election in 2005 is, which of the parties and party leaders is more in tune with this transit of Neptune across the UK's Venus? Whoever articulates it most or best, may well ride the wave to become the next Prime Minister.
With the USA undergoing a Pluto transit to Mars, this UK transit is a complementary opposite. Is the war-based ideology of Blair and Bush about to be pulled apart by the UK people?
Dates of the transit in the 21st Century
The table below shows the different orbs - 5 degrees, 2.5 degrees, and 1 degree - that we can use to ascertain when the themes of this transit will be present in UK life. The months are approximate - I haven't specified exact days within the month - because the life of the collective on social, economic, and cultural levels is not clearcut in a binary (on/off) sense from one day to the next, rather it ebbs and flows in a more complex manner.
Note: Normally astrologers will use a 1 degree orb, however when we look at recent and past events we'll see that this is far too narrow. An orb of 2.5 degrees is the minimum for this type of evaluation, in my opinion which I formed after looking through historical developments. An orb of around 5 degrees is also useful for a broader view: collectives the size of nations are slow to modify themselves, and if you're watchful much earlier than usual you'll see the cultural, economic, and other changes beginning. A 5 degree orb for a conjunction in a national chart is therefore useful, and you can even widen it slightly beyond that if you want to do some finely-tuned detective work on the national psyche.
This transit is preceded by Neptune trining the UK's Ascendant, Neptune squaring the nation's Mars, and Neptune square Neptune.
In the UK's natal chart [view chart], Mars is almost opposite Neptune across the 8th-2nd axis, which are the houses of finances, banking, insurance, and so on. So this transit is a key transit to watch in terms of the UK economic structure, policies, and performance. The Mars/Neptune midpoint is located where Venus is, so when Neptune transits Venus, it simultaneously transits this whole configuration.
The transit to Venus is followed by Neptune opposite the UK's Saturn (which is on the Venus/Pluto midpoint) in 2007, and then Neptune conjoins the UK's Pluto. Shortly after that it moves out of the 5th house.
In summary, this series of transits colours approximately a decade of time.
Understanding the meaning of the transit
The government's controversies over the reclassification of cannabis (people now tend to think that it's legal, when it's not - even medicinal cannabis isn't legal), the introduction of 24 hour opening for pubs (Licensing Act 2003), the strange desire to create 'supercasinos' (Gambling Bill, draft bill Nov. 2003) that Australia has already shown lead to world-leading problems with gambling, are all definitely part of this transit.
During the first phase of this transit there has been a major bank raid in Northern Ireland - one of the biggest ever in the UK's history. Another change has been the banking industry's introduction of the 'chip and pin' credit card system, ostensibly to cut down fraud.
There are some interesting parallels here with the 19th century transit, which will become apparent later in this section. However, if these are three primary current developments signifying this transit, then there's a lot of work to be done in making real the higher potentials of this time.
[Note added 3rd Feb '05: while the Sun conjoined Neptune, about a week after publishing this web page, the government announced plans to reform the welfare system, two of the UK's biggest unions announced a possible merger into a 'super-union' and invited a third union to join them, the IRA withdrew a pledge to put its weapons beyond use, and it was reported Nelson Mandela is to speak to what is expected to be around 10,000 people in Trafalgar Square at a Make Poverty History rally which is taking place prior to a meeting of the G7 finance ministers in London.]
To understand the themes of this period of change we can do three things: (1) examine the astrological symbolism of the transit, (2) look at what happened last time the transit occurred, and (3) highlight what's already been happening since the transit began in 2003/4.
We'll do each of these in turn now.
This table shows primary associations of the planet Venus, which is the natal planet being transitted, and of the planet Neptune, which is the planet doing the transitting. During a transit like this, the associations of the natal planet will go through the type of change represented by the transitting planet. In other words, Venus themes and areas of the nation are being mixed with Neptune energy.
Note: Venus is in the 5th house of the UK's chart, and Neptune has recently crossed the cusp of the 5th and is now moving through it for the next few years. The 5th house needs to be added to the above table of associations. The 5th house representes things like: children, royalty, sport, leisure and recreation, sex, gambling and risk-taking activities, creative self-expression.
During this transit the listings in the right hand column are being brought to the fore to mix with and influence the listings in the left hand column (NB any of the right hand column listings can mix with any of the left hand column listings - they don't have to be on the same horizontal line in the table, nor is there a limit to the different ways they can mix.)
A straightforward brainstorming session, connecting the Neptune column items with the Venus column items in various ways, will give us lots of clues about what issues, dilemmas, crises, and opportunities the UK will be dealing with during this 3 to 4 year period. Once that's been done, adding the 5th house symbolism into this mix will yield further insights.
However, it's not about sitting back and waiting for things to happen to us. It's up to the population of the UK to use this transit creatively and wholistically, so that the highest potential of it can be brought into play.
Transits to the national chart aren't impersonal or distant, as if they're nothing to do with individual people and are happening to a separate entity that is 'the nation'. On the contrary, they're to do with everyone. Each of us is 'the nation'. Therefore, to get the best out of this time, every person needs to view this transit as their own, and consciously approach it from a creative and proactive position. Ask yourself 'What shall I do with this transit?' rather than 'What will this transit mean?'
Looking back to the 19th Century
Now let's look at what developed in UK society the last time this transit took place. This can be a good way to inspire our thought processes to generate creative uses of the themes this time around.
The dates for the transit in the 19th century are:
This transit was preceded by Neptune trining the UK's Ascendant, Neptune squaring the nation's Mars, and Neptune square Neptune, and was followed by Neptune opposite the UK's Saturn in 1844, and then Neptune in conjunction with the UK's Pluto.
'Mercy to the poor'..... to 'lengthen the tranquility of the rich'
In the 1830s (Uranus transitting Venus during this time) and 1840s (Neptune's transit of Venus) a series of reforms gave the middle class more influence and began to undermine the position of the landed aristocracy (the upper class). This period also saw the rise of the working class, the birth of socialism, the labour movement, and the cooperative movement. There was a widespread increase in consciousness of class divisions, coupled with agitation for equal rights and representation.
Robert Peel became Prime Minister for the second time in June 1841. It was a time of economic difficulty with many people out of work and the country's international trade also struggling. The steps that Robert Peel took (mainly the implementation of Free Trade) helped create the conditions for a strong recovery. He also introduced an income tax, which has been in place ever since; prior to that, income tax was only used during wars.
The UK's Industrial Revolution had, by this time, transformed the nation socially and economically. The UK was now 'the workshop of the world.' However other countries - the USA and Germany most notably - showed signs of catching up.
The UK adopted the doctrine of Free Trade, combining it with encouraging, advocating and assisting the Constitutional system in foreign countries. The idea was that countries operating on such a system would be of like mind and like values to the UK, and therefore easier for the nation to trade with. As a part of this Free Trade policy, the government slashed import duties to realistic levels, and as a consequence large-scale smuggling - a very Neptunian activity - was wiped out within about a decade. The UK also adopted a simpler system for company incorporation, and this again had a revolutionary effect on the economy.
In 1840 Queen Victoria married Albert, and the nation lived out a romantic fantasy (Neptune-Venus) through the couple. Victoria's image on the penny black stamp circulated throughout the nation, as people began sending twice as many letters as before, and the Victorian era worked its magic on art, design, architecture, and values - all Venus associations.
Two classic Neptunian associations also went through change during this time. Cannabis reached Britain in the 1840s and was widely prescribed as a medicine. Queen Victoria used cannabis and opium to ease her period pains, and the drug was legal in UK until the 1920s. The UK's habit of dispatching offenders to offshore colonies began to be opposed in the 1840s. Prisons and prisoners are traditionally associated in astrology with Neptune.
During his premiership, Robert Peel introduced many laws that helped the working class, e.g. the Mines Act 1842 forbade the employment of women and children underground, the Factory Act 1844 limited working hours; the Railway Act 1844 made inexpensive and regular train services compulsory. He also removed around a hundred offences from the list of those punishable by death.
In 1843 Thomas Carlyle wrote the book 'Past and Present', which took an uncompromising stand against the injustice of working conditions. In it he said:
"We have more riches than any nation ever had before; we have less good of them than any nation ever had before. Our successful industry is hitherto unsucessful ... In the midst of plethoric plenty, the people perish..."
By 1840 the railways were criss-crossing the UK and during the 1840s this national network developed extensively. This, combined with Robert Peel's introduction of compulsory cheap railway fares, brought train travel to the masses. In conjunction with the various laws of the 1830s and 1840s that reduced working hours and forbade women and children below ten from working underground, and the increasing agitation for more equality, more rights, and less exploitation, this led to the birth of leisure time: in the 1840s places like Bournemouth set out their now renowned green spaces. These parks all over the country often included areas for sport as well as general recreation.
Both Venus and Neptune are planets that seek pleasure and happiness; they're not planets of toil and 'nose to the grindstone'. They remind us to stop and smell the roses, to play, to have fun, and to regard one another as equal parts of the whole. People campaigned for less time working, more time for leisure - holidays for the masses were brought about as a consequence of the changes during this Neptune transit to Venus, and so the tourist industry was born. Venus is also the planet of buying things and spending money, and it was in this era that consumerism began to rise.
Back to the future: exploring what the UK people could do with this transit
Returning from our mental expedition through the 1840s, we might begin to wonder what images, ideas, and people - especially couples or iconic women - the UK will fall in and out of love with in a more profound way than usual. Given the 5th house association with royalty, the female members of the royal family and also the future girlfriends of Princes William and Harry immediately come to mind, however the 5th house is also the entertainment industry and celebrities in general, so there is plenty of scope here for the nation's anima to be constellated. It could even echo the 19th century event where there was a craze of paintings of Lady Godiva - maybe there is a painting lurking out there now that is about to come to prominence, symbolising something in the national psyche?
We may also wonder what changes the art world may go through, at our instigation. What about leisure time, or as we know call it, work-life balance, more accurately called work-life imbalance? What about marriage, where same-sex marriage is now being put on the agenda partly due to human rights law? What about governmental diplomatic systems and diplomats themselves, who negotiate for results rather than fight wars? What about the peace movement, reborn in February 2003? Are the people of the UK sufficiently aware of the power they now have to bring about constructive changes in these areas? The time is right for us to become more aware of and stimulate progress within all of them. Personally, I think the UK should use this time to understand and promote real peace and non-violent conflict resolution, not the fluffy nicey-nicey nonsense that is often passed off as a poor imitation.
The Indian Ocean crisis is prompting a general resurgence of 'mercy to the poor', but is it partly to assuage our guilt, to 'lengthen the tranquility of the rich'? Using the symbolism of this transit as guidance, we can conclude that we must ensure that it is a sustained, genuine, practical, and transparent resurgence. This upsurge of caring directly follows the success of the 20th anniversary of Band Aid which had already 'primed the pump' for the compassionate spirit to revive in the UK, however the re-recording of the Band Aid song met with great resistance to helping those less fortunate than ourselves. So far, helping the 'have nots' in the UK does not seem to be attracting much government attention.
In the 19th century when women and girls were removed from the mines it was great social progress, but it was motivated partly by patronising views of women and partly by the scandal of people having sex underground. We now have an opportunity to be genuinely compassionate, but Neptunian delusions could also abound and we could convince ourselves that we are being selfless when actually our motivations - or those of our political representatives - may well be dubious. Scrupulous honesty is always required during Neptune transits (just ask Tony Blair who's had three years of them already and is still in the thick of one!).
The British Railway Act of 1840 laid the basis for much later company law, and required the appointment of auditors to supervise the accounts. Fast forward to 2005 and there are now just a handful of large accountancy/auditing firms dominating the UK market, widely regarded as having blurred the boundaries between what were once separate functions of accounting and audition. Additionally, the accountants/auditors are now themselves international corporate players, doing business with similarly large clients, at the same time as working for government departments. UK accountants are the highest paid in the world, and in greater number than the rest of the European Union member states combined. In February 2002 the University of Essex's professor of accounting said:
"With 250,000 qualified accountants, Britain has more accountants than the rest of the EU put together, and one of the highest numbers of accountants per capita in the world. This unparalleled investment in economic surveillance has failed to deliver better corporate governance, company accounts, audits and freedom from frauds or scandals. Yet the ranks of accountants continue to swell."
Note the Neptunian references to fraud, scandals, and evasion of accountability. In 2005 and 2006 therefore, there is an opportunity to deal with these issues head-on. That opportunity may well present itself as an increase in rumours, scandals, leaks, or reviews of auditing procedures/laws, or in exposés of 'fuzzy boundaries' between corporations and governments, particularly as it's now very common for 'fat cat' directors to be recruited from the accountancy and finance industries.
In December 2003 a respected and prominent accountant named James Spooner resigned from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, he complained that its pronouncements were:
"opaque, occasionally, inane, and almost always designed to obfuscate rather than clarify in simple terms."
The former chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which is the ultimate regulator, said in July 2002:
"The difficulty is that it is a global issue and probably only the merger taskforce at the EU and the US Department of Justice can take this on effectively. I hope that in due course they do."
This transit of Neptune to the UK's Venus is 'crunch time' for the UK accountancy, auditing, governance, and company law issues, in this regard.
The owners of the UK stock market have been determined for years now to sell it to Germany or France (it was made a Plc a few years ago in preparation for the sell-off, and was even renamed the London Stock Exchange, getting rid of national identification with it, in line with the EU plan to try to make us identify with large cities as hubs of regions rather than identifying with our nation as a whole). Throughout the past year or so this plan has almost come to fruition, and at the time of writing the latest price offer has been rejected but the talks - and the determination - continue. This would be a very significant event because it would resonate with the Neptune transit to Venus. The reason why the current and previous offers have been rejected is that the price does not reflect the value of the market - this is a classic Venus-Neptune issue that the UK must especially beware of at this time. Attracting low offers is a sign of deep patterns in the national psyche that undermine the national interest - classic self-undoing.
The question remains though, would any sell-off be an undermining event to the UK's deteriment, or a freeing event to the UK's economic advantage? The style of Neptune is cunning and stealth, where all is not what it seems. The EU system is rife with continuing and long-standing fraud, according to its own official figures and statements. As a nation, the UK must ensure watertight business and social cases, accounts, and financial reckonings are thoroughly triple-checked before doing deals. Financial self-undoing is a far greater-than-usual risk at this time. The EU's plans for a European stock market system may well be seriously flawed.
The Euro currency debate has temporarily died down but lingers on the back-burner to return post-election. A referendum has been promised. The risks are identical to those outlined in the paragraph above. Extreme caution is necessitated. Due to EU fraud, UK finances are already leaking (Neptune) vast quantities of money. The nation must think carefully about how to plug those leaks, which are more likely than usual to get worse during this period.
This year (2005) the UK will host the G8 summit. This is the summit of the world's richest countries, plus Russia. Given that this summit is due to take place during the peak phase of this Neptune transit, and that it is an economic summit, the timing is critical. Already, Bob Geldof and the Band Aid/Live Aid campaigners have lobbied the Prime Minister to deal with extreme world poverty (echoing the 1840s linking of the arts (Venus) with social justice (Neptune)). Now, the Make Poverty History campaign carries the torch. All this is in line with the themes of this transit and therefore theoretically stands a good chance of success. The UK public is already showing signs of responding favourably to these initiatives, which confirms that the astrological principles of these planets are showing the public mood: people want equality, justice, fairness, and compassion. The politicians that are likely to be successful during this time are those who respond accurately and in a timely manner to this shift in the public mood.
Appendix: 1838 to 1845
For further study, included below is a detailed list of the major events and ideas being given expression from 1838 to 1845. These make fascinating reading, and give lots of clues as to how we can make the most of the transit this time around.
This diagram shows the transit of Neptune as a green line, snaking from left to right towards the horizontal black line that represents the the position of Venus in the UK's chart. The diagram begins in January 1838 and ends in December 1844. As the green line moves closer to the black line, the aspect comes within orb. As the lines cross the aspect is exact, and theoretically most intense in terms of the themes, issues, and public moods it symbolises. As the lines then separate towards the right of the diagram, the aspect is moving away from exactness, and gradually out of orb.
1838 Public opening of the National Gallery at its new, specially built Trafalgar Square premises - so positioned because it was considered the centre of London, within easy reach of the rich west-enders AND the poor east-enders. People's charter was published, constituted six demands: a universal male suffrage (but not votes for women); secret ballot; annual parliamentary elections; equal electoral districts; the abolition of the property qualification for MPs; and the payment of MPs (to allow working-class representatives to sit in parliament).
1839 British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society founded. The London Treaty signed - all the European powers guaranteed Belgian neutrality. Public campaign mounted to back the People's Charter of 1838, over 1.25 million people signed it, presented to Parliament in June but rejected by a majority of almost five to one. Chartist Movement continued to agitate and expand and in 1848 (a year of revolutions across Europe) had over 5 million signatures, which marked the high-water mark of the movement but the petition was again rejected. John Herschel took the first glass plate photograph. Beginning of war with Afghanistan.
1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention held in London - two women denied seats because of their gender. New Houses of Parliament completed. Queen Victoria marries Albert. First penny post and penny black stamp - alters the way postage is paid, resulting in millions more letters being sent. Queen Victoria was on the stamp (mass market art?). Chimney Sweeps Act. Population Act relating to taking of censuses. UK has 24% of world steam tonnage, and 24% of world trade. Grammar Schools Act broadens curriculum from classical studies, i.e. Latin & Greek, to include literature and science. John Martin painted 'Assuaging of the Waters.'
1841 Royal Botanical Gardens opened to public for first time. Art Union of London founded. Sir Henry Fox Talbot invented Calotype process of positive-negative photography. Elizabeth Barret's poem 'Pippa passes' published. 'Punch' magazine founded - "destroy the principle of evil by increasing the means of cultivating the good" - it stuck up for the poor and for social justice. First full census in Britain in which all names were recorded. Thomas Cook's first excursion - a train journey for 570 people to attend an anti-alcohol rally - the modern tourist industry was born from this event. Miners' Association of Great Britain and Ireland formed.
1842 First Palace of Westminster fresco competition. Mines Act stopped employment underground of women and girls, and also boys under 10, plus it supervised boys working underground. Plug Riots (strikes) in response to wage cuts in mining and impending wage cuts in factories. Statue of Nelson placed on its column in Trafalgar Square, having been exhibited at Charing Cross. Second Chartist Petition presented to Parliament. Income Tax reintroduced - we've had it permanently ever since. Edwin Chadwick (social reformer and leader of the Poor Law Commission published the landmark national report 'The Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population'. Depression: e.g. 60% of Bolton cotton mill workers and 36% of Bolton ironworkers out of work. End of Opium War – UK gains Hong Kong & forces China to agree to Free Trade with several trading ports opened. Tennyson Poems established his fame. Turner painted 'Steamer in Snowstorm'. Revision of the 1814 Copyright Act gave protection to musical works, not just literary, and made registration voluntary. Chartist Riots. End of war with Afghanistan.
1843 Alfred Tennyson published his poem 'Godiva', initiating a vogue for the subject in UK painting. Theatre Regulation Act reinforced censorship but also removed the privilege of the major theatres and allowed all theatres to present 'legitimate' drama - farce, tragedy, comedy - it also banned drinking in theatres but allowed it in 'music halls', so taverns started to metamorphose from rooms with drinking, smoking and communal singing, to eventually having a stage and holding variety performances. Exhibition at Westminister Hall of cartoons entered for the competition to paint frescoes in the New Palace of Westminister (Houses of Parliament). Michael William Balfe's 'The Bohemian Girl' at Drury Lane was also played at three different theatres in Vienna at the same time (one of the very few British operas that have ever achieved such a distinction). First Christmas card designed and sent. First cooperative wholesale society formed in Rochdale by the Rochdale Pioneers - birth of the modern cooperative movement. National Temperance Society founded. Thomas Carlyle's critique of developing capitalism 'Past and Present' is published. Wordsworth becomes Poet Laureate on the death of Southey. News of the World mass-market newspaper begins publication. First tunnel under the river Thames finished. The Economist first published. Brunel's 'Great Britain' launched. Factory safety regulations enacted. Tennyson's 'Morte d'Arthur'. Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' - featuring Tiny Tim, Scrooge, miserliness, social justice, and child poverty. 'Punch' magazine published Thomas Hood's poem, The Song of the Shirt, a powerful indictment of capitalism, with cartoons such as Capital and Labour and Cheap Clothing, illustrated the growth of inequality that was taking place.
1844 First photographically illustrated book published. Regulations of Railways Act introduced compulsory cheap trains - one penny per mile. First YMCA opened - 'social services in slums' - "seeking to build a human community of justice with love, peace and reconciliation." - young men were spending their leisure time in taverns, brothels and engaging in other 'temptations of sin'. Joint Stock Companies Act - initiated a system of incorporation by registration, rather than by Act or Charter, paving the way for corporate legal identity and the divorce of accountability from business people - a pivotal reform that signalled the acceptance of the legitimacy of corporate capitalism - large impact on UK economy. Bank of England Charter Act - first move towards nationalisation, it also tied the issuing of notes to gold and gave the bank exclusive rights over the issuing of notes except outside London where existing banks could continue to issue them but were required to deposit security at the Bank of England against the notes they issued. Polka introduced to Britain.
1845 National Association of United Trades for the Protection of Labour formed. National United Trades Association for the Employment of Labour set up.
This diagram shows the cumulative amount of Neptune 'energy' in relation to the UK's national birth chart from January 2000 to December 2009. It shows the peak intensity of 2005 and 2006.
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