by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Astro-Newsviews: Strauss-Kahn and Vicksburg/Mississippi Flooding

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Charged in New York

 Dominique Strauss-Kahn, official IMF portrait (2008)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was born on April 25, 1949 and grew up to be head of the IMF – the International Monetary Fund. By any accounts he became a very important and powerful man.

On May 16th, this very powerful man was charged with sexual assault. The offense concerns a maid and a fancy New York City hotel where Strauss-Kahn was staying prior to dashing off to the airport where he was arrested before he could board a flight bound for Paris.

As an aside, reporters have commented on the possibility that had this not happened, he might have been running for (and win) the Presidency of France.

But instead of heading back to the land of fabulous wine and haute couture, Monsieur Straus-Kahn was arrested. And after he was charged, the judge invited him to enjoy ( assumes I put the term lightly...) some of the standard fine accommodations offered by the state and city of New York on Rikers Island.

In the initial hearing, the arraigning judge agreed with prosecutors: if one was to consider who might be a flight risk, Dominique Strauss-Kahn would seem to fit the bill. So with bail denied, into Rikers Monsieur Strauss-Kahn did go.

From the look of a lineup of transiting squares and semi-sextiles to the societal Nodes and 'what society doesn't want to know of you' Black Moon Lilith on said date of arraignment, it doesn't look like Monsieur was having a very fun day.

As for the International Monetary Fund, since it’s really not a great idea to not have the functioning head of an organization critical to global finance depending on using the prison phone, Monsieur Strauss-Kahn was temporarily replaced by John Lipsky as CEO.

And that didn't last long: Stauss-Kahn officially resigned (from jail) on May 18th.

 Current IMF Account Balances as percent of individual
national GDP (October 2010)

In case you haven't been following this story, there have been a smattering of rather interesting comments made online and on TV. One recounts Strauss-Kahn – who has been accused of such things before – simply brushing off accusations here and there with a simple ‘I like women – so what?.’

But this time, probably the home-run comment was made by a French reporter who in full florid accent considered Strauss-Kahn’s conduct and observed that it's thought of as being over the line…even for a Frenchman.

Even for a Frenchman?

By Thursday (May 19th), jail had evidently begun working its wondrous effect on its new resident: not only had Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF, but he was ready to offer up his luxe Georgetown (Washington DC) residence valued at around USD $4 million to try and get the judge to reconsider the 'no bail' ruling. If they want his passport - or to put a monitoring bracelet on him? That was all fine with Monsieur.

(One assumes the Warden at Rikers was either smirking or very hurt at Strauss-Kahn was so unhappy with his new accommodations.)

Transits from the date of incarceration to point of the re-plead for bail were full of aspects to and from Mars, suggestion a 'violation' of Monsieur's sense of 'what he wants he can have'...which come to think of it, is exactly what prison is supposed to do.

And that the judge saw things the Frenchman's way would be signaled by Jupiter conjunct Mars (in Aries). As ruler of Sagittarius, Jupiter rules not only judicial system but the idea of being able to expand one's world. So when Jupiter meets assertive Mars (especially with Mars in the very personal sign of Aries), getting out of jail seems a fine interpretation.

And that Strauss-Kahn has done the 'fair' thing by resigning from the IMF? We will never know if he did it in part to curry favor with the court but that idea would be consistent with Jupiter conjunct Mars.

Not that his getting out of jail didn't cost Monsieur dearly. Jupiter connections with Mars often carry an aura of 'expansive cost' (or earning, on occasion) and in this case liberty was earned at the price of USD $1million posted in cash, another USD $5million in bond and house arrest - complete with a 24 hour-a-day armed guard, the price for which is to be footed by Strauss-Kahn to the estimated tune of around USD $200,000 a month.

They say justice is blind. In this case, justice is expensive. reports have the original offer to the court having including something more. With Strauss-Kahn's willingness to offer up his Georgetown home, with the surrender of his passport and international papers, with the ankle monitor apparently there was one other thing: a stated willingness to stipulate that "even should he be found in a country which has no extradition treaty with the US, Strauss-Kahn would agree to be returned for prosecution."

But why would this be necessary if he was indeed not a "flight risk" (as his lawyer insisted) and as someone who has surrendered his passport?

It all sounds a bit like grand Jupiter/Mars gestures. Strauss-Kahn was determined to "buy" his way out of  less than pleasant circumstances and he succeeded. Yet Monsieur Stauss-Kahn's chart suggests his situation is unlikely to leave him 'personally' unscathed.

 Dominique Strauss-Kahn (b. April 25, 1949)
no time known/Aries wheel - no Moon

With Saturn moving back and forth across a 13 Libra natal Neptune trined to Juno at 10 Gemini, we have a pretty good picture of Monsieur’s fantasies and rather grandly domineering images of his male self. And that back in 2002 - when was similarly accused – Saturn was transiting the Gemini Juno end of this aspect very much tells us this is the marker in his chart for such behavior.

But this isn’t just Saturn trine Juno, no. This is Saturn trine Juno with Juno also in opposition Chiron in Sagittarius.

Looking first to Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius), we find the big red planet positioned in societal/social Aquarius. So on one hand, it’s a pretty safe bet to think that part of Stauss-Kahn’s fantasy is in part one of elitism: I can do what I want because I’m… what? Male? Head of the IMF or whatever organization? Rich?

Let’s just go for ‘better than you, more powerful than you.’ Especially with Saturn – entrance/choice ruler of Aquarius - involved in the planetary picture, the Aquarian negative side of ‘societal strata’ (i.e., class and caste’) seems part of the picture.

The classic lesson coming from that would be how (a.) you can’t have everything you want just because you want it and how, (b.) where Aquarius is concerned, you have to function as an individual and within the group – by the group’s standards – lest the group oust, fine, reject or punish you.

And what better device to signal that the time has come for the ‘learning of the lesson’ than an eclipse? With the 11 Gemini solar eclipse now conjuncting his 10 Gemini Juno, opposing Strauss-Kahn’s 8 Sagittarius Chiron and trining that 13 Libra Neptune…

…especially since July’s 9 Cancer solar eclipse will also conjunct his 5 Cancer Pallas natal emblem of wisdom (or lack thereof) which is itself in a challenging square to a 7 Aries Eris (discord)…? Oh, it looks like Monsieur Strauss-Kahn is going to be taught (Jupiter) a hard (Saturn) Aquarian social lesson (correcting his Pallas/wisdom quotient) about what Juno leadership is supposed to be about. The combination of Neptune and Chiron in aspect to Juno? That’s such a clear call to consider others (Neptune). And to do what you can, not just what you want (Chiron) when it comes to all things Sagittarian. You know…like the laws and the Jupiter-as-ruler-of-Sagittarius poised social standard?

Someone asked me if I really thought Strauss-Kahn had committed this assault, or if perhaps he had merely propositioned the maid who then caught whiff of who he was (!!!) and claimed rape.

Looking at the transits for when this assault is alleged to have happened, we see Vesta (service) opposition Ceres (doing what needs to be done to produce results) and that pesky Juno of his semi-sextile (in for an ego bruise) with Ceres.

Something happened, that's for sure. So how many times does all have to go up in smoke for us to catch on that little Johnny is an arsonist?

As Monsieur Strauss-Kahn went through various legal hoops and the media got on the story his transits show Jupiter conjunct North Node (doing what one has to do on a grand societal/Jupiter scale).

This story is unlikely to just 'go away.'   

Whether or not Strauss-Kahn is guilty, the basis of the tale astrologically seems to be about losing mental perspective (Juno/Neptune). And how working to better life rather than taking from it as you please - how causing grief for others (Pallas square Eris) is something people around the world seem to hold as in common disdain.

As for his running for President of France and whatever else, a solar eclipse of this type, so prominently placed in his chart suggests that there is at least a three-year run before Monsieur Strauss-Kahn is going to be considered less than radioactively toxic by the public. Juno in communicative Gemini trine Neptune in the ‘what I put out there’ sign of Libra has given this man the gift of charisma which he has no doubt worked to his advantage. But his Sun – which is conjunct Venus in Taurus (a very strong position) has not been affected by this eclipse. It’s not even involved! Nor is his Nodal structure, one end of which (the North, indicating what he needs to do) is conjunct Mars, assertion.

We don’t have a time of birth, but with this Nodes+Mars structure as part of a magic rectangle (Vesta, South Node, Uranus, North Node/Mars) there is every chance that Monsieur can rehabilitate himself. And when he does that, he may find a better and more functional path of action to follow.

After all, eclipses don’t take away what we need, only what we’re used to and have been ‘making do’ with. That alone may be yet another way for that old lesson about how ‘money doesn’t buy you happiness’...thus there is a possibility - one we cannot without a proper time of birth dismiss - that Monsieur will end up living, and being in time actually happier living life as a farmer. Or maybe a grocer. Or perhaps a restauranteur.

Don’t kid yourself...Sun/Venus in Taurus? it could happen!

Mississippi Flooding Threatens 
the Historic City of Vicksburg

 Battle of Vicksburg by Kurz and Allison (c. 1888)
source: Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Some hundred and fifty years ago (in 1863, to be exact) Ulysses S. Grant attacked, then set up a siege at Vicksburg, Mississippi. This became a very famous moment in the Civil War, one which embodied all the brutal boredom of a siege and which proved that indeed, the side which controlled the Mississippi would indeed end up winning the Civil War.

More to today's point, that siege was begun on May 18th (and ended on July 4th). There are actually many notable aspects in a chart set up for the beginning of this siege which - thought I don't have any precise time for the start of military actions is set at 6am. Back then, most folks were pretty early risers...up with the Sun was a common saying. So we set the chart at 6am, and what we get is this…

May 18, 1863 - Aries Wheel (6am/LMT)

….but three seem apt to this moment. The Mississippi River is not just experiencing flooding, but some of the highest river levels ever known. As such, many towns and cities along the river - such as Vicksburg - are being threatened and damaged.

But Vicksburg is notable partly because it's so obviously part of an astrological cycle. So take a gander at the chart above and let's think in terms of the 'notable aspects' mentioned.

The first such aspect (one which fairly jumps off the page like a fish pursued by a 'gator) is Neptune at 5 Aries opposition to Juno at 5 Libra. Juno as a sign of ‘domestic leadership’ is very much the two generals facing off: Grant saying he’ll take that darn city, and Confederate General John C. Pemberton insisting oh no you won’t!

But apart from that, let’s remember that Neptune, as outcome ruler of Pisces, has a ‘deep water’ quality. Back then it pointed to the fact that the general in command of the water (Grant) would win. Now, with a flood on the Mississippi, it suggests nothing can really hold back the power of all that water.

This is added to nicely by Mars at 12 Cancer (conjunct Black Moon Lilith at 14 Cancer) in opposition to Pallas at 18 Capricorn.

Mars in Cancer is something of a surly combination which especially being in combination with Black Moon Lilith (the things we don’t want to know about our society or that it doesn’t approve of in us) back then would have spoken to the entire basis of the Civil War. The Confederacy didn’t want to know from slavery as an evil institution and the North didn’t want to hear that the South thought it could just up and cede from the Union.

This opposition being part of a t-square with Jupiter at the apex, it’s really another way of saying two things.

One, that America’s liberty and justice for all really means ALL – not just whites. And two...well, this being  good picture of a siege (Jupiter in Libra pictures the ability of Vicksburg’s commercial ties with the outside world, ties which were obviously severed during that time) it's a timely reminder of the ongoing debate (and   global commentary) on state-versus-federal funding, on 'one nation or global community?' and all such things of that ilk.

Limiting this for discussion's sake to the US, in a nation currently entrenched (under siege, one might say!) in a rather pesky, frisky, even fervent and a times vitriolic debate about whether the federal (versus state) government should have the money – or whether taxes levied at a “high” or “low” level are important, hardly anything else points out the need for such as well as a flood which spans multiple states. Are individuals going to fund flood control spanning the whole of the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys? Probably not. Will states make banding together to do that a priority? Uh, probably not.

The US of America is a very big place. It requires federal projects to run as a nation.

The flip side of this is that which has been spoken of in the US many times: why are people allowed to build in flood zones? It is, after all, one thing if you flood out a bunch of farm land. Yes, there are costs. But that cost is a far cry from that involved in rebuilding homes and lives.

People don’t want to hear such things (Mars/Black Moon) but the higher wisdom (Pallas in Capricorn) is to recognize that the federal government (Capricorn=Government) was designed intelligently (Pallas) to function as an impartial (Pallas) source of service to all…and that those who aren’t benefitted by a particular project in first person (Mars in Cancer) should stop ignoring the greater benefit.

After all, that lesson about the Mississippi still holds: whether or not we recognize it in everyday life, the mighty Mississippi is still a key channel in the life of US national commerce.

The last aspect to consider here is Moon/South Node united at 6 Gemini as the “object” of a t-square which starts with the North Node in Sagittarius and gets bolloxed up/challenged by Eris (discord) and Chiron (needing to do what you don’t know how to do) in Pisces.

Granting (all puns intended?) that we don't have a time when U.S. Grant set all into motion the Moon's degree may have been as much as some 7 degrees later...but anything more than say 4 degrees would have had Grant ordering the siege to begin after sundow.

In any case...back to that Eris/Chiron in Pisces. As I was saying...ah yes…deep water Pisces. It's a picture of discord (Eris) coming from the river...and a situation that we don’t know how to (Chiron) escape. Or do much more than cope with learning about as we go along.

That's actually very Chiron. Chiron is all about the thing you learn about as you do it and in this case, the experience of what digging in and hoping to wait out a siege against the North was something the South had not yet really figured on. Or experienced.

Positioned as it is at the apex of rich farming lands along the Mississippi river, Vicksburg has had its share of watery problems over the years, notably during the Great Flood of 1927. At that time Pluto was moving over the Mars/Black Moon points of this siege chart as Saturn was transiting the North Nodal point.

The lesson would seem to be that Vicksburg is going to be ‘under siege’ at various times. The current flood was  forecast to crest on May 19th – one day after the solar return to the Civil War siege chart.

Telling time with charts of the past only teaches us how cycles repeat and that the fabric of space/time truly has its own continuity.

Apart from that, it also seems worth noting that this flood happens 148 years after the original siege. Why is that number particularly noteworthy? Because we are one half-cycle through where TNO Deucalion was at the time of the Civil War. Time out half a Deucalion cycle after the start of the war and we have Barack Obama being elected President of the United States. One half Deucalion cycle after the siege of Vicksburg we have the US as a nation again debating federal-versus-states rights.

Will we get the drift…or be swept away on our currents of emotion?

That would seem to be what this flood is all about in the greater metaphysical sense.

And in real time? Well, back when, Pemberton finally gave in to Grant. He had to – there was no more food in Vicksburg. But as soon as he cried ‘uncle’ (or the military version of same) Grant did what Grant would go on to do the minute General Robert E Lee surrendered at Appomattox: he got food sent to starving soldiers – and in the case of Vicksburg, regular people too.

  Ulysses S. Grant (with the wife he evidently entirely adored
and son Jesse) at City Point in 1864
photo credit: The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes (Vol 3, pg 13)/The Review of Reviews Co., New York (pub. 1911)

Remember that old saying about ‘an army travels on its stomach’? Never was there a general who understood that better than U.S. Grant.

And why was he so aware of the food thing? No, he doesn’t seem to have been a ‘foodie’ – Grant was known among his men for eating this or that and not really much of anything. No, his ‘food awareness’ came from the whole US military having gone off to fight the Mexican-American War - on the same side - in the years before the Civil War pitted West Point classmates against each other.

In that Mexican-American War, while Robert E Lee was already showing brilliance as a tactician and getting recognized for same, Ulysses S. Grant was serving in the Quartermaster’s Corps. Yup…his job was making sure his army had not just guns and ammo, but food.

Evidently that lesson took. All throughout the eastern campaign he dogged Lee here and there, pausing only to rebuild…what? Supply lines. Grant was not a general to run out of anything.

Thus we learn that though people can argue all the high-fallutin’ ideals they want to, when it comes down to it, basics rule the day. Survival reigns. Thus it is to be assumed that when all the debates and critiques are loftily aired that the Federal government will provide ‘basics’ and protect the ‘basic’ needs of its people. And because the Federal government does that, US citizens will live to love – and scoff – another day.

As for Vicksburg, hopefully it will be dry and well (re)stocked by July 4th so it can celebrate liberation from siege yet again.

We can learn the lessons of the Civil War now…or we can just keep repeating them over and over again. Apparently the choice is still – as individuals and an Aquarian (Age) people, ours.

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