South Africa Eclipsed

I would like here to share here some observations regarding South Africa’s current state of crisis, and point out what appear to be fairly dramatic astrological indications of an aggravation of the situation in the not too distant future. I do believe there’s a silver lining to the current dark cloud, but before that silver lining shines bright, things could get bumpy.

During 2015 I mused more than once to a friend and astrology colleague of mine that South Africa’s economy, it’s wealth and standing, could experience a severe knock in December 2015. This casual prediction was substantially based on the fact that ‘The New South Africa’ was then to have it’s ‘third quarter Saturn Square Saturn‘ (while entangled with Neptune). I’ll get back to that later on.

As it turned out, this musing proved to be dramatically accurate when Jacob Zuma, on the 9th of December 2015, suddenly replaced South Africa’s finance minister at the time, Nhlanhla Nene, who was apparently doing slightly too good a job at curbing the irrational expenditure projects of Zuma and co., with an obscure individual named David van Rooyen.

Zuma and van Rooyen
Zuma admonishes van Rooyen, dubbed the ‘weekend special’ minister: a meme from the times

This resulted in the ZAR currency losing a quarter of it’s value just about overnight. Barclay’s annouced it was withdrawing from South Africa. Respected liberation struggle veterans called for Zuma to resign. It quickly became clear that nobody was impressed and that South Africans from all walks of life were just about ready to riot- quite literally.

The ANC leaders clearly read the mood right and panicked, and in a desperate bid to placate the markets and a bewildered angry nation, Zuma’s new anonymous finance minister was replaced, a mere four days after his appointment, with the internationally respected Pravin Gordhan, who has previously served in this position.

The Presidency issued the following on the 13th of December 2015, four days after van Rooyen’s appointment:

I have received many representations to reconsider my decision. As a democratic government, we emphasise the importance of listening to the people and to respond to their views

Pravin Gordhan
Pravin Gordhan

This restored some semblence of stability, but has resulted in a national credit rating downgrade to ‘Junk Status’ looming on the horizon. A fate everyone is praying Pravin Gordhan can avert.

President Zuma justified his unfortunate decision on the claim that Nhlanhla Nene’s services were required in a position relating to the BRICS bank. This was news to Nene and there has been no subsequent substantiation of it that I’m aware of.

While the installation of Gordhan averted an immediate calamatious downward spiral of the South African currency, and an avalanche of public fury directed at the President, this debacle helped to further open up a can of worms that had been bursting at the seams for a while. It started to bring under wider public scrutiny the full extent of the inordinate influence on government appointments by the Indian Gupta family.

Many of Zuma’s ministerial and judicial appointments in recent years have raised eyebrows. More often than not the appointments seem nonsensical in that the candidates tend to lack the experience, qualifications or established integrity required to properly fulfill their important functions in the governance of the country. Each time this occured there were grumbles and protestations, but the ANC government were invariably unmoved. However, the appointment of David van Rooyen as Minister of Finance was so farcical that it opened the floodgates of widespread frustration with Zuma and the interference of the Gupta’s in state affairs right accross the spectrum of South African society.

It’s clear that Pravin Gordhan is not a Zuma devotee, but the only man that can reassure international investors that there is some sort of sanity and integrity at the helm of South Africa’s finances. Pravin Gordhan was born on the 12th of April 1949. His time of birth is unknown. Curiously, Zuma happens to be born on the same date, if his official birth date is correct, but is 7 years older. See their charts below with transits for 13 Dec 2015:

Pravin and Zuma


London Riots
Incidentally, the riots in London in August of 2011 occured under a comparable Mars/Uranus/Pluto T-Square configuration.

You can see that at the time Mars had plugged into the longer term Uranus/Pluto Square, and had precipitated this sense of sudden emergency, and explosive public anger.

Zuma has transiting Mars Opposition natal Sun and transiting Sun Opposition natal Mars at that time. It would have been difficult to dodge the many urgent and frank ‘representations‘ addressed to him.

Gordhan, at the time of his unforeseen and reluctantly made appointment, was under Mars Opposition Mars with transiting Pluto slotting into a tight Square to his natal Mars, where it will hover for much of 2016. It’s clear he’s in a brutal environment and in a period of intense self-assertion, and that it’s not going to go away in a hurry. It is widely known that he is against certain Zuma linked plans for treasury expenditure, such as the outrageously expensive nuclear power stations Zuma surreptitiously invited Russia to build for South Africa (not surprisingly Zuma’s son is partnered with the Gupta’s Uranium mining interests).

Zuma March eclipse 2016What’s more, on the 9th of March 2016 there was a solar eclipse that occured at 18 degrees Tropical Pisces, within a degree of Square Zuma’s natal Jupiter, while Saturn at that time was stationary in Opposition to his natal Jupiter. Note also transiting Pluto Inconjunct (Quincunx) natal Jupiter.

At the end of March 2015 Zuma experienced a humbling defeat in a Constitutional Court judgement that found that he, as President of South Africa, had failed to uphold the constitution in the flagrant way the findings and recommendations of the Public Protector relating to his controversial Nkandla homestead had been ignored and distorted. He made a rather feeble apology which failed to awe, by anyone’s standards.

When Jupiter is highlighted in a tense and less than harmonious way it may manifest as legal problems, since Jupiter is inherently related to law and justice and ‘social ethics’. Transiting Saturn Opposing Jupiter alone would be enough to bring about a severe curtailing of one’s freedom to act lawlessly, to spend frivolously, and to ignore social and legal duties. It often further results, particularly in business and professional matters, in ‘separations’, or the severing of ties as a result of unresolvable impasse. In this regard, his colleagues, the Gupta’s, have skipped the country for good, or until things cool down, and under current conditions he’d be likely to notice a thinning of his allies. As Rob Hand puts it in Planets in Transit, Saturn Opposition Jupiter ‘is a useful, if not always pleasant, encounter with reality‘.

As you can see in the graph below showing transiting Saturn in relation to his natal Jupiter, November/December 2016 is another peak in the same process. This coming period may well bring him further social, legal and financial challenges.

Zuma Sat opp Jup

One intriguing fact that arises from the birthday shared by Jacob Zuma and Pravin Gordhan, is that they will experience near simultaneous triggers from transiting planets to their natal Suns (which are both located around 21-22 degrees Tropical Aries), and it so happens that there’s lots of action coming to that part of the zodiac as Uranus first, then Pluto, respectively Conjoin and Square that degree in the years immediately ahead. The following Uranus/Pluto timeline would apply to them both. The straight broken horizontal line represents the natal Sun’s degree.

Zuma Gordhan uran pluto sunI don’t know how it’s going to play out for Gordhan, but from Zuma’s current position, the coming Square of slow moving transiting Pluto to his natal Sun, that only properly climaxes from 2018 to 2020, will almost certainly involve problematic relationships with powerful people and institutions he’s evaded in the past. It’s a very awkward time to have powerful enemies, and Zuma has several both inside and outside of the governing party.

When you add Mars to the picture you can isolate what will likely be vigorous peaks in the longer term process of Uranus and Pluto aspecting the Sun’s degree in Zuma (and Gordhan’s) natal charts. The battles then come out into the open; brewing confrontations become unavoidable.

Pravin and Zuma shared transits mars uran plut

Suffice it to say that South Africa’s current President, whether or not he manages to hold onto that position much longer, will find it rather more difficult in future to contain the pace and intensity of developments. The most severe test to his power to control the direction of events and insulate himself from others who seek his downfall will come in 2018 and beyond, if his birth date is accurate.

Now, quite apart from Zuma’s personal battles, a key motivation in writing all of this is to call attention to indications in the chart of the New South Africa that there’s more where December 2015’s sudden setback came from. The fact that my hunch about the likely effect and approximate magnitude of the December 2015 was accurate does not bode particularly well for the rest of 2016.

As a brief aside, the whole astrological question of whether a country has a birth chart, and then, if it’s accepted that it might, what the determining ‘birth’ moment would be, is not without potential for ambiguity and controversy. It’s far clearer when dealing with the birth charts of human beings, where precise birth moments are easy to identify.

When a nation is ‘born’ or so substantially transformed as to mark an entirely new epoch of it’s existence, the astrological map of the ‘National Birth’ may be pinned by different astrologers to different critical events in the birthing process. A certain amount of intuition may be required to identify the ‘seminal moment’, particularly if you hope to create a complete chart, with an Ascendant and Houses derived from a fairly precise and specific time and place.

I recall in the months and weeks leading up to 27 April 1994 that it was regularly announced on the radio and other media that the New Constitution of South Africa would come into effect at midnight- the first moment of- the 27th of April 1994. It was clear that this was viewed as a vitally important moment in time, since it represented a far more fundamental change than simply having a new party in government; it was an entirely new beginning.

Sensing that this was a momentous event, I decided to calculate the chart that very morning. I used the first moment of the day of 27 April 1994, Pretoria; the moment of the ‘coming into effect‘ of New Constitution.

This, in brief is why I use the chart below:

New Sa natal

So, you’ll see that Saturn is in the 2nd House of the chart, and that may have much to say about South Africa’s ‘finances’ and property. For one thing, it can indicate loss or lack of wealth and property, though it may also point to wealth gained through mining and agriculture, for example, and these are indeed South Africa’s strong suits. At a very basic level of interpretation though, Saturn in the 2nd House does point to ‘money’ and property as a vulnerable area.

The fact that Jupiter (in the 10th) and Saturn are in such a close Trine aspect does suggest that there is hope in the longer run for South Africa to become materially successful, and to enjoy good reputation in the international community. But that’s a more general and longer term indication. Currently, there is a crisis, and it seems to be well borne out in the transits to the ‘national birth chart’.

See the diagram below. This shows the position of the New SA natal Saturn as the broken straight horizontal line, and transiting Neptune as the wavy blue line. Where they intersect they are in exact Conjunction.

transiting netptune conjunct saturn

I was asked, around Christmas of 2014, by the Sunday Tribune newspaper (primarily distributed in the KZN province), to do that astro magic thing and predict on the country’s prospects for 2015.  I had submitted the following with transiting Neptune Conjunct SA’s natal Saturn in the 2nd House in mind:

“One theme that seems to be important in the chart for South Africa, for the coming two years or so, is a type of leaking of money, unaccountable losses, and a general undermining of the structures that provide stability to the economy. Mining and agriculture may be particularly vulnerable to poor management and veiled or deceptive dealings. Corruption is not something new to our country, but it looks like the coming two years will result in this becoming a more critical problem, and the severity of the situation is likely to come into sharper focus. In the longer run this may be a good thing since it will highlight the need for interventions.”

Neptune Conjunct Saturn saps energy and resilience, it’s eroding to structure, and indeed, Neptune is a planet associated with deception and veiled circumstances. ‘Corporate deception’ is easy to read in Saturn/Neptune. It represents a muddling of what should be very well structured and practical. Things tend to fall apart under Neptune/Saturn in hard aspect, often due to avoidance, evasion and fear; this gradually unfolding astrological process by itself would be enough to raise concern about South Africa’s economy and the integrity of institutions and ‘structure’ in society. Saturn/Neptune also answers to a type of weak or absent father image; an absence of ‘spine’.

My musing about the likelihood of South Africa experiencing a severe setback in December of 2015 was due to transiting Saturn getting potently involved in an already compromised situation, as shown in the graph below:

Sat and Nept to satIn December of 2015 South Africa experiened the ‘third quarter Saturn Square Saturn’ that occurs around 21 years of age; three quarters of the way to a Saturn Return. The above diagram shows that South Africa’s Saturn-Saturn Square is entangled with a Neptune-Saturn Conjunction.

These diagrams also indicate the process is far from over; transiting Saturn and Neptune will be very tightly engaging South Africa’s natal Saturn in the second half of 2016. Transiting Saturn will in fact sit stationary at 9 degrees Tropical Sagittarius, during most of August 2016, quite exactly Square South Africa’s natal Saturn at 9 degrees Pisces.

New Sa transits 1 sept 2016If this was not enough to make for ‘strong medicine’, the eclipse of 1 September 2016 seems to bring it all to a grand climax of sorts. This Solar Eclipse occurs at 9 degrees Virgo, exactly opposing South Africa’s Saturn at 9 degrees Pisces, at that time ‘beseiged’ by both transiting Saturn and transiting Neptune. Phew! If this doesn’t make something important happen I’d very very surprised. I don’t know whether it represents the point of ‘rock bottom’ from which a recovery can be hoped for, or whether it’s a ‘knock out punch’ that precedes a crash of some kind. If there’s anything in the chart for the New South Africa, the eclipse of 1 September 2016 will hit it hard!

Eclipse 1 sept

And even if we discarded the South African ‘national chart’ I’m working with altogether, we’d have reason to take a closer look at the 1 September 2016 eclipse from Pretoria’s perspective.

Here’s the chart for that moment, in Pretoria: Saturn is Conjunct the Ascendant within a degree (with Mars in tow), while Square the Eclipse Degree (Sun/Moon) and Neptune.

eclipse 1 sept 2016 pretoria

This is what it looks like on an astrocartography map:

Eclipse astrocartography

Eclipse globe map from wikiThe actual point of maximum eclipse occurs just north of Mozambique. Yes indeed the skies above Pretoria will darken on the 1st of September 2016, and at the moment of Maximum Eclipse, Saturn, who is nobody’s fool and everybody’s teacher, will peep above the Eastern Horizon at that location, to deliver such gifts as he may see fit to dispense.

I won’t pretend to know, for certain, how all of this is going to play out, but I feel almost duty-bound to share these observations, albeit that it portends a rather rocky road ahead for South Africa. In fact, it’s already so patently obvious, without any astrological input, that South Africa is in the midst of a crisis and that it’ll be some time before the current chaos has fully transformed into relative stability and cohesion.

I do think that South Africa’s second Jupiter Return, in the last quarter of 2017, can bring a renewed sense of vision and purpose, improved international standing, respectable leadership, and economic progress; considering that Jupiter is located in the 10th House of the SA chart, Opposing the Sun and Trine Saturn.

I thought it was quite significant from the start that Nelson Mandela’s Moon would be Conjunct the 10th House Moon in the New SA chart. The 10th House is associated with the ‘leader’ and ‘boss’ and also has a ‘father’ connotation. South Africa lost her beloved patriarch as Saturn crossed over this shared Moon. Jyotish teaches that Transiting Saturn Conjunct Moon brings about ‘the loss of those who have protected us’ when we are younger, and our own final demise when we are old.

Cyril Ramaphosa in Tehran.jpg
Cyril Ramaphosa

Musing, yet again, aloud here, I notice one of the top ANC leaders who may well succeed Jacob Zuma, and failing that will remain be very close to helm, is the current Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa. We don’t know what time he was born, but it’s clear that his Moon is very near that of Mandela and the New SA 10th House Moon. If he happened to take over while Jupiter is in Tropical Scorpio, between latter 2017 and latter 2018, I would think it a good omen. See below Mandela, then Ramaphosa, then New SA Moons:

Scorpio 10th with Mandela and Ramaphosa

 Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika