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War between the United States and Iraq at this point, while not certain, seems almost inevitable. The U.S. is building up its military force in the Persian Gulf, despite reports from United Nations inspectors that they can find no evidence of "weapons of mass destruction" being created by Saddam Hussein. The Bush Administration seems determined to link Iraq with the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, yet so far has revealed no evidence to prove the connection.

Iraq meanwhile shoots down U.S. drone planes in the no-fly zone, and accuses the inspectors of spying. Astrologers around the world are busy trying to calculate when the war is likely to begin. Most believe the period between the end of March and early April is the most likely target date.

But perhaps a more profitable endeavor for astrologers would be to assess why, if indeed it is inevitable, this war will happen. And if it is not inevitable, what might prevent it? What forces are driving the leaders of the U.S. and Iraq into this deadly situation that could have enormous worldwide consequences in terms of destabilizing the whole Mideast and plunging the planet into an even more catastrophic period of international terrorism.

The fates of nations lie in the hands of their leaders. Currently the leaders of America and Iraq are locked in a karmic battle of wills that seems to have blinded them to the possibility of any negotiated compromise. A study of the horoscopes of George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein indicates the nature of the struggle going on between these two men and shows that in the long term neither one of them will come out a winner, if they choose to go to war.

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937, in Tikrit, Iraq. The exact time of his birth is not known for certain, although there are several speculative charts in existence. Examining his chart, one immediately notices a scarcity of planets in water signs and quite a few planets in earth and fire. The emotional function represented by the water signs is very weak. Emotions take a back seat to reason, practicality and taking action. The only water planet in the chart is Pluto in Cancer. His early childhood and family life were very difficult. He ran away from home at age 11.

His Taurus Sun is conjunct Uranus indicating extreme individualism that adds to the coolness of emotion and reliance more on practical thought (as indicated by the earth planets) than sentiment. He is an individual capable of surprising, if not shocking, behavior, based on the need to do things his own way. Often, individuals with the Sun in conjunction with Uranus believes the rules of society do not apply to them.

Pluto-Jupiter-Venus T-Square

Saddam's chart contains a planetary formation known as a T-square, consisting of Jupiter opposing Pluto, both squared by Venus. The Pluto-Jupiter opposition is indicative of an individual who is "a law unto himself." A person with this aspect may have problems accepting any point of view other than his own. He believes he has the moral high ground in every and all situations, and can justify any action on the basis of some form of ideology. This person will come into conflict with others in matters or law at some point and be forced to realize their own hubris.

The Pluto-Jupiter opposition is squared by Venus in Aries. Venus is the outlet for the powerful energy of the opposition. Saddam's Venus is retrograde, complicating matters of social orientation. In terms of human relations, this Venus may be somewhat harsh and aggressive, a further indication of a pragmatic and unsentimental approach to life. The aspects to Venus from Pluto and Jupiter suggest possible self-worth problems. On the one hand, Pluto feelings of being unlovable could alternate with Jupiterian feelings of grandiosity.

Saddam's Grand Trine

Hussein also has a planetary formation known as a Grand Trine consisting of Pluto in Cancer, Mars and possibly the Moon in Sagittarius, and Saturn in Aries. The fire grand trine indicates a person who does what he wants. He would not need consultation with anyone regarding the course of action he wants to take in any given situation. This self sufficiency may tend to isolate him from relationships, and repeats the indication of a tendency toward doing things "his way or the highway" presented by Sun conjunct Uranus.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush, born with the Sun in Cancer, is more aware of the emotional, feeling dimension of life. But Saturn in Cancer near his Sun in the Twelfth House indicates that due to parental upbringing, he believes emotion must be controlled and disciplined, kept in check. He is fond of the term "compassionate conservatism," but Saturn in Cancer would be more correctly expressed by the term "conservative compassion."

Like Saddam Hussein, Bush is also strong in fire. His Ascendant is Leo, the sign that also contains a powerful Mercury-Pluto conjunction as well as Venus. The Mercury-Pluto-Ascendant conjunction is the key to Bush's personality and symbolizes his rise to power. Mercury is thinking and communication, while Pluto is the will to power and subconscious behavior based on psychological wounds. The Ascendant is the mask one wears in the world.

This indicates that Bush identifies with the strong Leo facade, but may also still be aware of his true inner self, the far more sensitive and emotional Cancer, which is hidden away in the Twelfth House.

All through his life Bush has benefited greatly from good luck, starting with the accident of birth into a powerful family and including his election due, in part, to mistakes at the polls. The source of his good fortune comes from the fact that all ten of his planets are contained within a trine aspect between Uranus and Jupiter. Jupiter is the good luck planet and Uranus rules unexpected and surprising developments.

The Sun-Pluto Connection

A comparison of the charts of Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush, indicates the nature of the conflict between these two leaders. Bush's Ascendant, Mercury, Pluto conjunction in Leo is in a close square aspect to Hussein's Sun-Uranus conjunction in Taurus. Bush, the man whose thinking is dominated by the will to power is in conflict with Hussein, the man who believes society's rules do not apply to him. A square aspect between the Sun in one person's chart and Pluto in another's is, alone, enough to create an adversarial relationship. When you add Uranus into the mix the conflict becomes uncompromising and inflexible.

In astrology, timing is everything. And it's no coincidence that the Bush-Hussein struggle is coming to a head this year. Both leaders are being impacted by a significant major planetary cycle. In 2002 and 2003 the planets Jupiter and Neptune are opposing each other and are making close contacts to the Sun-Pluto interconnection between Bush and Hussein.

The Jupiter-Neptune Opposition

The Jupiter-Neptune opposition, in itself, indicates that the world is in a period of extreme confusion, a time when thought systems, social, political and religious institutions disintegrate (as with the Catholic Church). The spread of fanatic ideals breeds hate and intolerance. There is a feeling of disillusionment. But even more than that, the contact between these two planets creates what might be called "the grand illusion"-the belief that there is some simple magical cure for the problems we face. Depending on where this opposition occurs in our charts, we all face a period in which false solutions may tempt us to act in ways that ultimately lead us astray.

In the case of President Bush, the opposition is activating his Mercury-Pluto conjunction, convincing him that the use of military power is the answer. Transiting Jupiter is conjuncting his Mercury and Pluto, creating his need to expand power. Jupiter combined with Pluto can produce a feeling of invincibility and sometimes caution is thrown to the wind in the belief that you are acting on a moral imperative. Jupiter squares Hussein's Sun, showing his need to enhance and expand the self (Sun) through success. However, opportunities for success are lacking due to the nature of the square aspect.

Neptune opposes Bush's Mercury-Pluto combination, indicating potential confusion in thought processes (Mercury) and the possibility of making some serious mistakes that can result in an erosion of power (Pluto). Neptune is in Bush's Seventh House (the president's public), which means if he acts unwisely, after an all time high in the polls, he will slip in popularity. Just as his father dropped in the polls after Desert Storm, George W. could suffer a similar fate.

Similarly, Neptune squares Hussein's Sun, indicating loss of ego and prestige. There is no doubt that if war occurs, the US will win. Saddam Hussein will be removed from power. But for the remainder of 2003, Bush will be haunted by the continuing opposition from Neptune.

Exit Jupiter

The US president will have the support of Jupiter over his Leo planets until August. His popularity will probably soar immediately after the war. But after that, Jupiter leaves Leo to enter Virgo, and Bush's Pluto will have to face the continuing erosion coming from Neptune for the remainder of the year without Jupiter's help.

There are larger threats looming from North Korea, and the US may be compelled to maintain peace and stability in Iraq for years to come. Further an increasingly bad domestic economy and growing unemployment will be problems that could bog the Bush Administration down if they are not dealt with effectively. The Democrats are sure to capitalize on these problems by calling the public's attention to them, unless Bush comes up with effective solutions.

Dates to Watch

Jupiter and Neptune first opposed each other, eerily enough, on Sept. 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. They will oppose each other again on Feb. 16 and for the third and final time on June 3. Watch for key developments around those dates. Jupiter in retrograde motion will conjoin Bush's Pluto on Feb. 22, a time when he may feel the urge to exert power. Jupiter going forward again will conjoin Pluto on May 15 for the last time. At the same time, Mars joins Neptune in Aquarius, which could produce some of the most intense fighting. Then Jupiter will conjunct the President's Venus in Leo on July 19, at which time he may be at the peak of popularity.

But then Jupiter moves on. In September and October, Neptune is stationary, in opposition to his Pluto, while at the same time transiting Saturn conjuncts his Sun. Saturn's meeting with the Sun is usually a time when we receive our report card from the universe. If we've acted wisely and well, we gain honors. If we have made mistakes, we will be told about them. In October, the president will know if he followed the right course.

The bottom line is that to be a true leader requires avoiding the snares of illusion and seeing reality as it is. The current battle between Jupiter and Neptune—The Grand Illusion—need not be played out here on Earth if leaders are wise enough to avoid the easy solutions of black and white, good and evil thinking and stubborn fanaticism. Peaceful solutions are always an option. Jupiter and Neptune will continue to circle the Earth untouched by the events that occur below on this planet. And if sound thinking and wisdom prevail, so can we.



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
  • 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
  • Yasser, Ehud, Can We Talk?   8/31/2000
  • 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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