As usual, lots of terrestrial BS works its way out as celestial worlds collide (at least, geometrically). Highlighting this autumn season were two extraordinarily bad legal decisions, a familial massacre disaster, but also, for once, a ray of hope on the world stage.
Let’s start on that hopeful note, shall we? On Wednesday, 17 December 2014, US President Barack Obama made a stunning and unexpected announcement – the US would begin to normalize diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba, including an exchange of ambassadors and the reopening of the US embassy in Havana, ending a stalemate which had dominated the Caribbean political scene for almost 55 years. The opening gambit in this post-Cold War chess game was the exchange of prisoners. Cuba disgorged a CIA operative imprisoned for over 20 years and a USAID subcontractor held captive since 2009, and received three of its intelligence agents in return.
Travel restrictions for Americans wishing to visit Cuba will be eased, and the importation of small amounts of Cuban alcohol and tobacco will be permitted, but the majority of the trade embargo remains in place pending an act of Congress (and we all know how often THAT happens!). In a scenario worthy of a Tom Clancy novel, it was Pope Francis who facilitated the first overtures between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, begun secretly more than 18 months prior.
The Sun at 25 Sagittarius is approaching the Galactic Center at 27 Sagittarius, significator of substantial developments on the international scene, events carrying global import. Perhaps more to the point, it’s also straddling the gap between Cuba’s Independence Chart (Noon LMT, 20 May 1902, Havana)with its natal Uranus at 20 Sagittarius, and its Communist Regime Chart (1 AM EST 2 January 1959), with natal Saturn at 29 Sagittarius, showing the sudden and unexpected (Uranus) rapprochement (conjunction) between the US and Cuban administrations (Saturn). The transit Sun also squared Communist Cuba’s natal asteroid Washingtonia at 26 Virgo, highlighting the US influence on the Castro regime.
That government sports an exact opposition from its 11 Capricorn Sun to its 11 Cancer asteroid Cuba (#11094), both of which, along with the US natal Sun at 13 Cancer, have been embroiled in the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square, which witnessed its sixth of seventh exact aspects just two days prior to the announcement, showing Uranus and Pluto at 12 degrees of Aries and Capricorn, respectively.
The USA natal asteroid Cuba at 27 Cancer exactly opposes its natal Pluto, making the island nation a natural choice for bogeyman, a cosmic atmospheric reinforced by having the USA’s natal asteroid Havana (#11095) at 3 Virgo, on Communist Cuba’s natal Pluto at 4 Virgo. Like most plutonic fear fantasies, Cuba was never the looming threat it was made out to be, but a poor, pitiable country increasingly isolated after the fall of the Soviet Union, its main economic support. When the deal was made public, transit asteroid Washingtonia at 3 Virgo had come to conjoin the USA’s natal Havana, bringing the two capitals together celestially and terrestrially, while also squaring Communist Cuba’s natal Havana at 4 Sagittarius, perhaps reconciling the conflicting (square) images of Cuba in the US national psyche.
President Obama has cited Pope Francis’ intercession as vital, and that’s easy to see from the placement of transit asteroid Francis at 1 Taurus, trine transit Mercury (the negotiations) at 0 Capricorn. Francis is also conjunct asteroid Vaticana (for the Vatican), which at 9 Taurus exactly opposes Cuba’s Independence Chart Moon at 9 Scorpio. Reportedly, it was Francis’ concern for the wellbeing of Cuba’s population (Moon) that prompted his involvement. That it was a good day for the Cuban people is underscored by transit Venus at 8 Capricorn exactly squared the Communist Cuba Moon at 8 Libra. The Pope is also represented by transit asteroid Pappos, which at 27 Scorpio conjoins Saturn at 29, exact on the Cuban Independence IC (the foundation of the matter, in this case our animus for the tiny nation), and is exactly trine the US natal Cuba at 27 Cancer, these dual trine aspects denoting Francis’ facilitation of the process.
Transit Havana at 26 Libra tightly T-squares the US Pluto/Cuba opposition, while also highlighting the Cuban Independence natal asteroid America at 26 Cancer. Cuba’s America conjunct America’s Cuba resonates with the independence process itself, after the US “won” Cuba in the Spanish-American War of 1898, then granted them independence four years later.
Transit Cuba at 19 Scorpio is exactly squared Communist Cuba’s natal Chiron at 19 Aquarius, healing those old wounds. Along with Communist Cuba’s natal America at 19 Capricorn, transit Cuba forms a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with the Cuban Independence Mercury (negotiations) at 19 Gemini, denoting that perhaps the timing was right now to make this shift. Transit America at 24 Leo conjoined transit Jupiter, ruling international relations and diplomacy, at 22 Leo, both squaring Communist Cuba’s natal Jupiter at 24 Scorpio.
It’s early days yet in the thawing of this lingering remnant of the Cold War, but hopefully in time the two countries will establish normal ties of friendship and cooperation.
The two apparently flawed legal decisions of course involve the separate grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, two unarmed black men who died because of the direct actions of members of the police force.
We’ve covered the initial story of Michael Brown’s death previously (see my article “Summer 2014 Astro Wrap-Up” in the October Daykeeper Journal). Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson. While conflicting witness testimony may have been a key cause for the decision, a grand jury’s refusal to indict Officer Wilson on any charge whatsoever seems inexcusable on its face. Announced 24 November 2014 at 8 PM, the decision was met with immediate protests, some of them violent, which engulfed Ferguson for days, and elicited protests in cities nationwide.
On that date, asteroid Brown (#1643) at 18 Aries was conjunct Uranus (shocks, rebellions, protests) at 12 Aries, and especially strong in the sky, having made its direct station just the day before. From there, Brown was at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to asteroids Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 17 Virgo, and Themis, named for the Greek goddess of justice, at 19 Scorpio. Themis itself was locked in a combative square with Nemesis at 17 Leo, justice battling vengeance in a no-win scenario. Asteroid Ferguson (#1745) at 8 Leo was trine the Sun at 2 Sagittarius and opposed asteroid Michel (#1348, for Michael) at 12 Aquarius, while asteroid Wilson (#2465) at 18 Gemini paired with TNO Chaos at 21 Gemini, creating a second Yod by sextile to Brown, both inconjunct Themis at the apex.
The national thermostat on race relations was amped up a few degrees more just a week and a half later by the similarly mystifying decision of a Staten Island grand jury which failed to indict another police officer in the death of another unarmed black man. On December 3, the jurors found “no bill” in the death of Eric Garner, who died July 17 after being restrained by police in what has variously been described as a “grappling hold” or “chokehold”. If the Ferguson jury’s decision was inexcusable, that of the Staten Island jury is incomprehensible.
For while there was conflicting testimony in the death of Michael Brown, Eric Garner’s demise was caught on cell phone video, which clearly shows five officers surrounding Garner on the street, after accusing him of illegally selling single, untaxed cigarettes. After backing up and pulling his hands from one policeman’s grasp, Garner is grabbed around the neck by officer Daniel Pantaleo, then forced face down to the ground. Garner repeatedly pleads “I can’t breathe” before going limp, the EMTs failed to perform CPR, and Garner was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. A coroner’s report confirmed that his death was caused by neck and chest compression.
A new wave of protests began, merging with those from the Ferguson decision, and may have led directly to the assassination deaths of New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on December 20, shot to death in their patrol car, targeted simply for the uniform by an African American fugitive who claimed he acted out of revenge.
When the Staten Island grand jury decision was announced December 3, asteroid Eric (#4954) at 23 Themis was exactly conjunct Themis at 23 Scorpio, both within orb of Saturn at 27 Scorpio and asteroid Atropos (named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death) at 29 Scorpio. In this instance, it seems to have been a case of justice (Themis) denied (Saturn) in the matter of Garner’s (Eric) death (Atropos). Incredibly, asteroid Daniel (#2589) exactly opposed Eric/Themis from 23 Taurus.
The horrific “family annihilation” perpetrated by Bradley Stone on his ex-wife and her family occurred December 15, the date of the sixth Uranus/Pluto square. At three separate locations in the Lansdale, PA area, the former Marine and Iraq War veteran hacked and shot to death his ex-wife Nicole Hill, age 33, with whom he was embroiled in a bitter custody battle over their two daughters, in the pre-dawn hours. He then proceeded to his former sister-in-law’s home, where he killed Patricia Flick, 36, her husband Aaron, 39, and their daughter Nina, 14, also critically injuring their son Anthony, age 17. Next stop was his former wife’s grandmother’s home, where he killed Patricia Hill, 75, and his ex-mother-in-law, Joanne Gilbert, 57. The local area was put on lockdown after the crimes were discovered, with several schools closed as the manhunt for Stone continued for 36 hours. On Tuesday December 16,, Stone’s body was found in the woods behind his home, and although he had suffered a self-inflicted sword wound, he had apparently died of a prescription overdose.
The skies eerily reflect the tragedy, with asteroid Bradley (#2383) at 3 Capricorn traveling with Pluto (homicide) at 12 Capricorn, amidst a cluster of Venus (5 of the 6 family members killed were women, Venus-ruled) at 5 Capricorn and several PNAs representing family members, including asteroid Giliberti (#6339, for mother-in-law Joanne Gilbert) at 2 Capricorn and Antonia (#272, for nephew Anthony Flick) at 8 Capricorn. Asteroid Stone (#5841) at 23 Pisces was exactly squared the 23 Sagittarius Sun for the massacre, and also squared TNO Ixion at 21 Scorpio, named for the first murderer in Greek myth, as well as trine Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 29 Scorpio.
Asteroid Patricia (#436), for Nicole Hill’s grandmother and sister, falls at 16 Leo, conjunct Nemesis, goddess of vengeance and retribution, at 19 Leo, and opposed Damocles, that doom hanging unseen overhead, at 19 Aquarius. Asteroid Niccolo (#6952), for ex-wife Nicole, falls at 8 Virgo, trine Pluto and opposed Neptune, ruling victims, at 5 Pisces. Asteroid Nina (#779, for niece Nina Flick), falls at 9 Libra, squared Pluto, and asteroid Aaronson (#3277, for brother-in-law Aaron Flick) falls at 26 Sagittarius, conjunct the Sun and Ixion. Asteroid Joannelee (#7914), for mother-in-law Joanne Gilbert, is there, too, at 29 Sagittarius, while asteroid Joan (#2677), another celestial stand-in for Joanne, is exactly conjunct Mars (ruling knives, guns and violent death) at 8 Aquarius.
Finally, asteroid Hill (#1642), patronymic and maiden name of the women of the family, appears at 25 Capricorn, in tandem with asteroid Rip (which has been shown to function reliably as a death indicator in the form of the acronym RIP, “Rest In Peace”, a common gravestone inscription) at 20 Capricorn and asteroid Tantalus, known for the commission of heinous acts, particularly against family members, at 19 Capricorn.
A sad and tragic end to a year fraught with sad and tragic endings.