Venezuela – is it the end of an era?

Venezuela is heading into an election this weekend which if played fairly would see the downfall of autocrat Nicolas Maduro, who took over in 2013. His administration has overseen a wrecking of the economy of the oil-rich state with GDP down 80% and has precipitated the emigration of eight million people, a quarter of its population. Despite promises to pull back on corruption, which eased US sanctions briefly, the election is likely to be rigged as the Opposition party streaks ahead in the polls.

 The favourite Maria Corina Machado has been banned from standing on trumped up charges so she is campaigning for Edmundo González, a year-old former diplomat. Many of her campaign staff and volunteers have been arrested.  Observers say the regime will meddle to the end, setting the stage for a contested result and possible post-election violence.

  Venezuela, 5 July 1811 3pm Caracas, is edgy this year with tr Uranus opposition the Mars in Scorpio through until early 2025; with a disruptive Solar Arc Sun square the Uranus later this year into 2025. And an undermining SA Neptune conjunct the Sun come 2026/27.

 Maduro’s First Presidency chart 19 April 2013 2.05pm, has a yod onto control freak Pluto which makes sense and a forceful Sun Mars in Aries which is catching the final tr Pluto square this September to late November = frustrated, high-risk, trapped. With two legs of the yod being buffeted by tr Uranus square the SA Moon and tr Saturn square both the natal Jupiter and SA Jupiter over coming months.  If the start time is accurate then he will being give a sharp elbow in the ribs come mid 2025 onwards with tr Uranus conjunct the Midheaven.

His personal chart, 23 November 1962 9.03pm Caracas, has a stroke of luck and a confidence boost now till early August, followed by a disruptive, possible violent few weeks till late September; with jeopardy through December into spring 2025.  If he does finagle his way through to a tainted win, he will face his moment of significant change as tr Uranus moves to opposes his Mercury and Sun in Sagittarius from July 2025 into 2026.

Kamala Harris – a shaky replacement

Kamala Harris has been endorsed by Joe Biden in his belated withdrawal from the presidential campaign with other senior Democrats pitching in support.  But the delegates of the convention  on 19 August are not legally bound to back Harris. If one candidate steps forward to oppose Harris, the dam could break and several others could enter the race. Given that the convention opens on a Full Moon square Uranus divisions and upsets seem more than likely.  Harris is not universally popular with a shaky track record; though there will be issues around the handover of Biden’s campaign war chest which may be influencing endorsements of her at the moment.

  She looks like a sure bet to lose if she leads the race. Tr Neptune will be in a discouraging square to her Mercury/Saturn midpoint now to early September. Tr Neptune then is square her Sun/Saturn and Moon/Saturn midpoints through September to mid October.

   She also has a catastrophic-setback tr Uranus conjunct her Mars/Saturn midpoint late November to late December; repeating in spring 2025. Tr Uranus conjunct her Jupiter through this phase will tug on her Neptune which will probably undermine Jupiter’s lucky touch. Tr Saturn is also hovering around the blocked, high-tension opposition to her Uranus, Pluto Venus in Virgo throughout this year and early 2025.

  Her relationship chart with the USA is edgy and aggravated. With Joe Biden the relationship with the US had a degree of affection alongside anxieties; and with Trump there is a fairly well knit-together bond along with doubt and disappointment.

 Trump’s relationship with Kamala has implacable dislike with a composite Sun, Mars, Pluto, Venus conjunction – which won’t subside until well after the election is over.

 Barack Obama has hints of disappointment in his relationship chart with her.

  The summer of churning chaos looks like continuing.

Bangladesh – student Gen-Zers say enough

In Bangladesh, student protestors are  embroiled in violent demonstrations against the government over corruption and unemployment. The army has been deployed with at least 105 reported dead so far, a curfew has been imposed and the internet shut down. The protests began this month as students demanded an end to a quota system that reserves 30% of government jobs for family members of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 against Pakistan and benefits members of the ruling party, led by Sheik Hasina. She  has ruled since 2009, overseeing a severe crackdown on political opponents and critics while corruption has flourished. “Enforced disappearances” by paramilitary forces are frequent and and tens of thousands of political opponents have been jailed. She won a fifth term in January in an election widely documented as being heavily rigged.

 About 40% of young people in Bangladesh are unemployed as the economy has foundered post-Covid. A commentator said: “With no real alternative at the ballot box, discontented Bangladeshis have few options besides street protests to make their voices heard.”

 Bangladesh is the eighth-most populous country in the world and densely populated countries with nearly 170 million living in an area of 57,320 sq miles. (USA covers 3.8 million square miles and UK 94,000 for comparison). It shares land borders with India and Myanmar.

 Gen Z Movement in Kenya are posting in support with a rallying cry to move into ‘a leaderless, tribeless, genderless’ Revolution. (See previous post: Kenya 15 July 2024).

 Bangladesh  became independent on 26 March 1971 at 6pm, Dacca,  which gives a New Moon in Aries square Mars in the 4th hinting at an argumentative populace. Pluto in the 12th on the focal point of a yod to Venus sextile Mercury would point to behind-the-scenes dirty-dealings, power-play and corruption. Tr Neptune is opposing that Pluto through this year until early 2025 undermining the power structure. Tr Uranus is also squaring the Venus on one leg of the yod now and into almost mid 2025 which will also bring pressure to bear for a change in the country’s direction.

  The Solar Eclipse this October and next March are also rattling up the Bangladesh Uranus – so long overdue change will become an even more pressing issue.  The early years of tr Neptune and Saturn in Aries will not be easy as they cross over the Bangladesh Moon and Sun in Aries and square the Mars between 2025 and 2028. 2026 looks particularly undermining with SA Mars square the Neptune.

 Sheikh Hasina, 28 September 1947, has a deceptively charming Sun, Neptune, Venus in Libra but she is also one of the tough, unyielding Saturn Pluto in Leo generation; with Jupiter in money-magnet Scorpio opposition a plotting-and-planning Taurus North Node square her Saturn – which is obstinate to the nth degree and will make her reluctant to share the driving seat with anyone. The Libra Solar Eclipse this October and Aries Eclipse next March will elbow her Neptune Venus in Libra which could see her initially evading problems but it will be upsetting.

 Her initial prime ministerial chart for this five term run, 6 January 2009, has a ruthless Mars Pluto conjunction, as well as an autocratic Saturn opposition Uranus. It is facing considerable setbacks at the moment from SA Saturn square Mars, though will remain bullishly confident to the end of this year. Thereafter there will be a gradual undermining of her authority with tr Saturn Neptune square her Administration Pluto from mid 2025 onwards; with further shocks in 2026 and more disasters for her in the years following if she is still there.

  Interesting question from a reader – how the boomer generation politicians align or otherwise with the Gen Z generation.

  The boomers start in the last 1940s with the enduring and stubborn Saturn Pluto in Leo – and another Saturn Pluto hard aspect (opposition) was around in 2001.  So bulldozer meets brick wall for some old and young.  The Gen z-ers also mainly have Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius which will seek to undermine those early boomers as it opposes the 1940s Saturn Pluto in Leo. And the later boomers in the 1950s had Uranus square Saturn Neptune so will clash with the Gen Z-ers with similar Uranus Neptune. I’m never too sure of these wide categorisations of the generations since they don’t really fit the astrology neatly.  

Crowdstrike – the problems of interconnectivity

Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike says a “defect” in one of its software updates hit Windows operating systems, causing major IT outages across the world with flights cancelled and banking, healthcare and shops affected. 9bn was wiped off the firm with CEO George Kurtz, losing nearly £250million of his personal fortune.

Many thanks to Hugh for tech background:

“I spent 30 plus years in the IT world before retiring in 2023. Most of my colleagues would tell you that an event like today has been coming for a long time. Ostensibly the issue is the release by Crowdstrike of an update to its network security products but the real issue was the way it impacted the Microsoft Windows operating system causing it to abort with a Blue Screen of Death. Without going into technicalities it once again highlighted the fact that Windows is at core not a particularly well designed product. It was originally developed as an operating system to be run by a single user on a single computer. Over time it has metamorphosed  into an enterprise wide product running on a variety of hardware platforms. At heart, however, it still has many of the weaknesses that were present when it was first built. The biggest of these flaws was the fact it allowed third party software providers to modify parts of the core operating system. This meant it was always likely to fail badly if there was a fault in these products. This is essentially what happened today. A properly designed operating system would have recognised the fact the CrowdStrike software update had failed, flagged the error but would have still started. What has caused todays issue is that thousands of desktops, servers and other devices in many businesses have collapsed in a heap and refused to restart. Moreover, the problem has been compounded that most of them are protected by BitLocker disk encryption so they can’t be easily restarted in a safe mode so a fix can be applied without a recovery key being entered. In some cases these are stored on other Windows  Servers which are themselves down because of the Crowdstrike issue.

In Astrological terms today’s issues started at about 05.00 UTC with the Moon at 28 Sagittarius squaring Neptune at 29 Pisces. Mercury at 23 Leo was square Uranus at 26 Taurus. Mars was opposite the Crowdstrike 2011 Pluto Saturn midpoint at 29 Scorpio and squared the natal Mars at 28 Leo. Pluto at 0 Aquarius squared the Crowdstrike Pluto/Mars midpoint at 1 Scorpio. As the day progressed the Moon moved over the Crowdstrike 2011 Pluto at 5 Capricorn.”

Crowdstrike was incorporated 7 November 2011 which gives a Scorpio Sun with Uranus at 1 degree Aries, the latter having a disruptive tr Pluto sextile to the Uranus. And more significantly Mars in Leo opposition Neptune which is catching the tailend of the transiting Mars (Uranus Algol) square and the Solar Arc Sun also square – which would flare up into a massive publicity event (Mars Neptune involving panic (Mars Neptune) and aggravation (Mars.)  The revolutionary Uranus square Pluto in early Capricorn will be undermined as tr Neptune Saturn move into early Aries circa 2026/27.

 The Crowdstrike IPO, 12 June 2019, launched on an aggravated Mars North Node in Cancer opposition Saturn Pluto  which has moved by Solar Arc with the SA Mars now exactly opposing the Pluto as it hits the buffers.

  Microsoft, 20 November 1985, has its Scorpio Sun exactly square the Crowdstrike Mars opposition Neptune, so it is also catching the tr Mars (Uranus Algol) square and that will ramp up next year as tr Uranus gets to the exact opposition to the Microsoft Sun.  There is also a pressured SA Pluto conjunct the Microsoft Mercury exactly now – with a huge upheaval approaching as the SA Pluto is conjunct the Uranus by 2027. By 2028 there is a collision-type experience from SA Mars conjunct the Sun which will bring a setback and then forced change.

 Additional thoughts from today’s papers: Electric vehicles are packed with much software that it is not clear whether they would still run if all the central cloud systems were down. Soon we will soon be relying entirely on the National Grid for all our heating and transportation, as well as keeping the lights switched on and that is vulnerable to computer glitches. Will the wind turbines and solar farms that Ed Miliband is busily building still operate if there is a systems failure in the background? Your guess is as good as mine, but probably no-one has bothered to ask. The new range of digital phones won’t work when the web or the electricity goes down, unlike the old copper wire systems.

Having lived in rural France where the electricity grid is erratic and unstable, keeling over at the first lightning strike, the only sensible system is at least one wood burner, cooking with butane/propane and a copious supply of large candles.  Going all electric is a total horror if there is a several day outage. The eco-nuts may appreciate living in tents but the rest of us would prefer to have belt-and-braces back-up schemes.

Bob Newhart – raising a smile

Bob Newhart, the American comedian, who won fame through deadpan monologues that reflected wry bewilderment at everyday aspects of 20th-century life, has died. One award described him as “a person whose gentle satire and wry and irreverent wit waft a breath of fresh and bracing air through the stale and stuffy electronic corridors”.

 Born 5 September 1929 9.10am Oak Park, Illinois, he started as an accountant who turned to stand-up and became a hit with best-selling albums like The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, which topped the US album charts for 14 weeks in 1960; as well as tv shows with multiple Grammys, other awards and an Emmy for his role in The Big Bang Theory.

   He had a Virgo Sun on the cusp of the 12th with an influential/controlling Pluto in conjunct his Cancer Midheaven. What probably drove his quirky take on life was Mercury, Mars, Moon in Libra opposition Uranus and trine Jupiter. Although he appeared mild-mannered his Mars Moon opposition Uranus would be sparky and at times short tempered.

   What intrigues me is that he has Chiron closely conjunct his Taurus North Node in the 8th which is deep and would have made him all too aware of the destructiveness inherent in daily living no matter how mundane it seemed on the surface.  

  His wife of six decades, mother of his four children, Ginnie, 9 December 1940, tapped into his 8th house with her Saturn Jupiter in Taurus on the cusp of his 8th close to his North Node Chiron and her Mars Venus in Scorpio in opposition. It would not always be an easy bond but she clearly spoke to his deeper needs. In an interview he said: “The marriages of comedians, no matter how stormy, seem to last a long time, and I attribute it to laughter.” And with a composite Uranus opposition Sun Mars square Pluto in their relationship chart it would get heated at times.

Some examples of his wit to raise a smile:

“The driving instructor bends over backwards to make every allowance for his student: “You want to start the car? You turned on the lights. The controls all look alike, don’t they? All right, let’s pull out into traffic. What’s the first thing we are going to do before we pull out into traffic? I mean besides praying, let’s say. No, what I had in mind was checking the rearview mirror. DON’T PULL OUT! Haha! Please don’t cry. I’m sorry, but there was this bus . . .”

Another from “The Driving Instructor”: “How do you do, you are Mrs Webb, is that right? Oh, I see you’ve had one lesson already. Who was the instructor on that, Mrs Webb? Mr Adams. I’m sorry, here it is: Mr Adams. Just let me read ahead to kind of familiarise myself with the case. How fast were you going when Mr Adams jumped from the car? 75! And where was that? In your driveway! How far had Mr Adams got in the lesson? Backing out, I see, you were backing out at 75 and that’s when he jumped.”

 He even had historical telephone conversations the best known being between Sir Walter Raleigh and the non-comprehending head of the West India Company in England on the subject of Raleigh’s new discovery, tobacco:

“You can chew it! …

Or put it in a pipe! …

Or you can shred it up …

And put it in a piece of paper. Ha! Ha! Ha! …

And roll it up… Ha! Ha! Ha! …

Don’t tell me, Walt, don’t tell me. Ha! Ha! Ha! … You stick it in your ear, right? Ha! Ha! Ha! …

Oh! Between your lips! …

Then what do you do, Walt? Ha! Ha! Ha! …

You set fire to it! Ha! Ha! Ha! …”

  He had a talented array of harmonic charts, ranging from the build-a-successful-life 5H; seeking-and-searching 7H; giving and finding pleasure 9H; victim/healer 12H; and global influencer 22H.

Helen Pitcher – unrepentant Pisces

‘Unfit to fulfil her duties’ is the damning judgement of the Justice Secretary on Helen Pitcher, the head of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which has been found in an independent barrister’s report to be ‘a broken safety net’, guilty of serious failings. Pitcher has astonishingly said she  believes she is the “best person for the job” and will not step down from her role.

  What is fascinating (enraging) is how similar her chart is to Paula Vennells, former Post office head, who oversaw the Horizon debacle.

Background: Last year Andrew Malkinson was released after 17 years in prison, his sentence quashed, for a 2003 rape he did not commit.  There was no DNA linking him to the crime and he was convicted on contested eyewitness accounts, even though he did not resemble a description of the suspect or bear a deep facial scratch injury that the victim had inflicted on her attacker. Three years after he was jailed, forensic scientists, using new DNA techniques, found key evidence from an intimate part of the victim’s clothing that pointed to a different unknown man. The damning report concludes he could have been freed five years after receiving a life sentence for a 2003 rape. The CRCC dismissed further pleas for help and considered turning him down a third time in 2022. (See post 28 July 2023.)

Helen Pitcher, born 16 March 1958 (birth date from Company Check from her appointment to a series of limited companies all named ‘Boardroom Excellence’.) Beyond parody.

  She is a Sun Pisces square a serious and can-be-self-righteous Saturn in Sagittarius. With a yod of Mars in final degree Capricorn sextile Sun and inconjunct the apex planet Pluto, giving her issues about the handling of power. Her Mars is also square Jupiter Neptune North Node in Scorpio which in turn is square Uranus – and the downside of that is opportunistic, can-be-stubborn even when faced with incontrovertible evidence, over-hopeful, scandal-prone due to bad judgement. [There will be better ways of using those energies but on the face of it none of them seems obvious here.)

 Her focal point Pluto is being opposed by her Solar Arc Saturn now blocking her progress; and tr Pluto is in a trapped conjunction to her Mars from September to late November this year. Plus tr Pluto is square her North Node through this year – so it looks like the end of this particular road for her.

 The CCRC, 31 March 1997, has its Solar Arc Sun Saturn exactly square its Uranus at the moment for an almighty shunt – and its final degree Neptune in Capricorn is also under a devastating assault from tr Pluto to the end of the year.

What is  of note are the similarities between Helen Pitcher to Paula Vennells, 21 February 1959, Post Office chair from 2012 to 2019, which saw the continuing prosecution of innocent subpostmasters. Vennells is also a Sun Pisces with her Sun opposition Pluto square Mars opposition Jupiter. So a similar Pisces Sun connection to the do-or-die-determined and can-be-ruthless Mars and Pluto. Vennells had her CBE revoked but that apart from a barrage of criticism has not suffered financial or legal penalties. If Pitcher is dragged away from her position with the CRCC it is unlikely she will face repercussions either.

 Andrew Malkinson on the other hand despite being due compensation is still living hand to mouth, surviving on food banks, while the mills of state grind very slow.

  I would hold all senior employees of state responsible for such miscarriages of justice criminally responsible.

Ukraine – on tenterhooks about Trump ++ Zelensky and DT

Ukraine’s agony drags on with the additional concern about Trump getting elected, blocking US aid and cosying up to Putin. The one chink of sunshine on the Ukraine 24 August 1991 2.31pm chart is tr Uranus square the Jupiter running through this November but disappearing before the month’s end and returning in April 2025. This should bring a sigh of relief and some reduction of tension.  And there should be more good news and lucky breaks from early 2025 on and off till late 2026.  There will also be more calamities around June 2025, and on into 2026 so it won’t all be positive.

  The relationship charts between Ukraine and Russia December 1991 looks discouraging right through 2025 with some chinks of improvement in 2026. Ukraine with Russia 1917 which is inherently aggravated at any time is gridlocked this year with tr Saturn opposition the Pluto Mars conjunction and undergoing a massive upheaval with tr Pluto conjunct the composite Uranus and square Venus until late this year.  

 Trump’s astrocartography puts his Mars close to the Midheaven located to Kiev; and for J.D. Vance it puts his Mars in vengeful Scorpio on his Ascendant – so for both it is an area which arouses their anger. (Though VP’s don’t matter when it comes to foreign policy decisions.)

 There is not much to be gleaned from the Ukraine Invasion chart itself though tr Saturn will conjunct the Jupiter across the election and throughout November which should dent Russia’s confidence as aggressor (if it follows the WW11 example.)

 President Zelensky, 25 January 1978 2pm Krivoj Rog, Ukraine is labouring under a trapped, frustrating tr Pluto opposition his Mars which picks up late November running to late December this year so he will be on tenterhooks. Plus he has a disappointing tr Neptune square his Jupiter mid October to early February 2025; and another blocked, high-risk tr Pluto square his Sun/Mars from late January 2025 on and off till late 2026.

 He must be utterly exhausted and there is no saying he will last the course as president. His Term of Office chart shows some lucky breaks and light relief from mid 2025 but major setbacks in 2026 which may be more political than military – or could be both.

ADD ON: Trump and Zelensky are not a good match to understate it by a mile with Z’s Saturn in Leo conjunct DT’s Mars and Ascendant which indicates an irritable and discouraging chemistry. Z’s Pluto is also conjunct DT’s Jupiter for a tussle over who gets the last word. Z’s Sun Venus in Aquarius opposes DT’s controlling Pluto  for another power struggle. DT’s Sun is conjunct Z’s Ascendant which can be competitive.

  Their relationship chart has a serious-dislike composite Mars Saturn North Node conjunction which is trine Sun Mercury and square Neptune  = seriously one sided with elements of cruelty or unkindness and/or trickery about it. This December looks blocked between them with tr Saturn opposition the composite Pluto but that is not an indicator of anything much – relationship charts continue even when there is no real-life connection ongoing.  

Strictly Come Dancing – scrape off the glitter

The lid has come off complaints about certain former Strictly Come Dancing professionals apparently bullying their celebrity partners in training for the television show. Contractual confidentiality agreements have evidently made it difficult to speak out before now. Strictly Come Dancing is a hugely successful asset and the format has been exported to 60 different countries.

 Strictly launched on 15 May 2004 probably at 6.15 pm giving it an intense and earthy 8th house Taurus Sun, widely square an imaginative Neptune and inconjunct Pluto. Plus a passionate Venus opposition Pluto. Where the problem comes from is possibly an overly disciplinarian Mars Saturn conjunction in Cancer trine a Uranus opposition Jupiter – a mix of adventurous and hard.  An Aries Moon in the workaholic (and illness-prone) 6th house is trine Pluto and square Saturn so not exactly nurturing. The 4th house Neptune on the focal point of a yod inconjunct Jupiter sextile Saturn may hint at an internal blindness/evasion about what was actually going on.  Emphasise the dream and ignore the pain – which was always the reality of the ballet dance world.

  There is now talk of chaperones being put into training sessions or even the show ending though the BBC is usually remarkably resilient in the face of criticism having its Sun and two other planets in Scorpio trine Pluto and Mars in stubborn Aquarius.  

 The Strictly chart does have tr Uranus conjunct the Taurus Sun as these complaints broke into a full blown scandal and that influence repeats on and off into spring 2025. Changes will be made.

 The relationship chart between Strictly and the BBC is having a rocky ride which started in May this year and jangles and jolts its way right through till spring 2025 with tr Uranus square the composite Sun and Saturn. But equally there is a hint of more success and positive change from tr Pluto trine the composite Pluto and Jupiter running on for a few years yet.

Bullying is not great but I can’t help feeling the furore is a touch overblown.

Mary Anning – succeeding against the odds

There is an inspiring tale of Mary Anning born into poverty in 1799, under-educated in the way of the time and ignored because of the prejudice against women, who left her mark as a fossil collector and palaeontologist. Earlier this year the Royal Mail issued a set of four stamps celebrating her discoveries and in 2021, the Royal Mint issued commemorative coins in recognition of her as ‘one of Britain’s greatest fossil hunters’. The coins have images of Temnodontosaurus, Plesiosaurus and Dimorphodon, which she discovered.

 She was born on 21 May 1799 in Lyme Regis, Dorset and her cabinet-maker father used to supplement his income by selling Jurassic marine fossils he found in the cliffs along the English Channel. She was the first to correctly identify an ichthyosaur skeleton when she was twelve years old. She was largely ignored by the scientific community of the day with a few exceptions who helped her work to become known; and she had little money throughout her life.

   She was one of ten children named after a sister who had died in a fire just before her birth. Only three of the children survived to adulthood. On 19 August 1800, when she was 15 months old, an event occurred that became part of local lore. She was being held by a neighbour under an elm tree when lightning struck, killing all standing below it apart from the infant who was revived in a bath of hot water. Her family said she had been a sickly baby before the event, but afterwards seemed to blossom. The community would attribute her curiosity, intelligence and lively personality to the incident.

  She did have a confident, determined and lucky chart with a Sun Jupiter in Gemini square Pluto, a passionately enthusiastic Venus Mars conjunct in Cancer; with Mercury in earthy Taurus conjunct the North Node in an inquiring trine to Uranus and opposition Neptune. Out of unlikely beginnings, she made a considerable mark.

  When the lightning struck in 1800 a transiting accident-prone Mars square Saturn was tugging on her Mercury and more usefully tr Jupiter was exactly conjunct her Saturn in Cancer allowing her to escape alive.

 She died before she was fifty of cancer but she had packed in remarkable achievements before then.

 Her get-it-together 5th harmonic was well aspected and utterly determined. As was her leaving-a-legacy 17H and her global influencer 22H. Her ‘victim/healer’ 12H was also notable.