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On July 25, peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat broke off with no agreement. Though observers say that progress was made, especially on the key issue of Jerusalem, there was not enough movement to end the bitter dispute that has persisted for thousands of years between Israelis and Palestinians.

U.S. President Bill Clinton told both parties they could come back to the bargaining table at Camp David any time for further discussion. Senior officials of Israel and Palestine have been meeting, but resumption of talks between the two leaders could be months away. The coming buildup of planets in September, and especially October, indicates that Israel and the Palestinians must resume negotiations now, before long-simmering resentments suddenly erupt, plunging that area into another period of violence and destruction.

The Peace Summit

Before looking ahead to the fall, it might be helpful to look at what was happening astrologically during the peace talks at Camp David. The peace summit began July 12, shortly after Jupiter, the planet that rules religion and belief systems, entered the sign of Gemini on June 30. This transit of Jupiter indicated that the time was right for dialogue between groups with religious differences. Jupiter is the planet that shows what we believe in, and represents that part of us that believes it knows the truth. In Gemini, Jupiter is more open-minded and is willing to talk and discuss issues. The sign of the twins is eclectic in its approach and can see value in many different theologies and "isms."

Unfortunately, the summit began while Mercury, the planet that rules Gemini and therefore communication, was in retrograde motion. Communications during a retrograde period generally fail to yield satisfying results. So while Jupiter was ready to talk, nobody was listening. Predictably, the talks ended without reaching an agreement.

Palestine to Declare Sovereignty

Back in their homelands, Barak barely survived removal from office because the right wingers in his government thought he was making too many concessions, while Arafat was hailed as a hero by his people for his stance during the talks. Arafat reaffirmed previous statements that he would unilaterally declare Palestine an independent sovereign state on September 13. Clinton responded by saying that if statehood is declared, he would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move would be a staggering blow to the Palestinians because it in effect would say that the U.S. considers Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. Politically the stage is being set for a showdown.

On August 17, however, a ray of hope shone when Arafat, during a visit to Indonesia, said that due to lack of international support he may reconsider the September 13 deadline. There are reports he may defer action until November.

The Jupiter-Pluto Opposition

Now let's look ahead to what will be happening with the planets during the coming months as these crucial decisions are being made. On Monday, September 4, nine days before Arafat's announced deadline, Jupiter in Gemini will transit to an exact opposition to Pluto in Sagittarius. This opposition, which occurs approximately every twelve years, symbolizes a confrontation between ideology (Jupiter) and power (Pluto). Pluto is the planet that decides when things have gone far enough and there is a need for change. Pluto harbors long-festering resentments and decides when it's time to settle things.

When Pluto gets into a face-off with Jupiter, the issue is always ideology of some kind, whether political or religious. Sometimes, when these two planets oppose each other, the world comes to a standstill and watches as tense international events unfold. In 1962, it was the Cuban missile crisis. In 1975, it was the fall of Saigon.

Enter Mars in October

The opposition will occur with Jupiter at 10 degrees Gemini, exactly conjunct Mercury in Israel's horoscope. Pluto will be at 10 degrees Sagittarius, opposite Israel's Mercury. Mercury is the ruler of Israel's Ninth House of religion and international relations. It also rules Israel's Twelfth House of secret enemies.

During this confrontation, matters, while tense, could be put on hold for awhile because both planets will be practically motionless in the heavens. In fact, the two planets will be trying to stare down each other from their positions across the zodiac during most of September and October, and especially during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

The situation could heat up intensely, though, between October 4–13. On October 4, Mars, the planet of aggression and anger, transiting in Virgo, will make square  aspects to Jupiter and Pluto. A square is an aspect of friction, and usually results in action of some kind. On October 13, Jupiter in retrograde motion will back up for another exact opposition with Pluto, with angry Mars still in range of aspect.

Danger from Extremists

At the time this three-planet formation takes shape, Mars will be near Yasser Arafat's Virgo Sun. Pluto and Jupiter will be aspecting his Jupiter, suggesting that he may be feeling unusually assertive and may back up his promise to declare sovereignty with action. But even if he bows to international pressure, and defers action, the real danger lies more with fanatical extremists on either side being set off by the building tension.

The potential for a very volatile situation exists in October, but it can be averted. The key is to heed the underlying message of the Gemini-Sagittarius polarity containing Pluto and Jupiter. These mutable signs represent either wisdom or ignorance. Both sides need to talk, but, more importantly, they both need to listen. Wisdom can conquer ignorance.



John M. Whalen is freelance writer, astrologer, and editor of a business publication based in Washington, D.C. He writes about film, TV, music and travel for various magazines and newspapers. He contributed a chapter on the life and films of director Sam Peckinpah to the new book, The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype.

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For more information about John Whalen, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by John Whalen:

  • Astro-Zen   3/10/2012
  • Astro-Zen   9/10/2004
  • Polarized Politics   8/20/2004
  • Saturn and the Vanquishing of Illusion   11/3/2003
  • The Grand Illusion   1/9/2003
  • Two Degrees of Scorpio   10/10/2002
  • Venus Elements   2/14/2002
  • Timothy McVeigh: The Day of Judgment   5/9/2001
  • Kevin Spacey: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma   4/9/2001
  • Keanu Reeves' Excellent Adventure   3/8/2001
  • Steven Soderbergh: Putting the Cuffs on Oscar   3/5/2001
  • The Christmas Eclipse: Bringing Your Heart's Desire   12/25/2000
  • Robert DeNiro: Master of Form and Essence   11/18/2000
  • Sylvester Stallone: A Fallen Star, Rising Again?   10/28/2000
  • Alec Guinness: Reluctant Jedi   8/19/2000
  • Human Genetics: O Brave New World!   8/16/2000
  • Survivor: Candid Camera Runs Amok   7/8/2000
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Shaft for the New Millennium   7/1/2000
  • Jackie Chan: Fearless Aries with the Comic Touch   6/23/2000

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