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In the early hours of Wednesday November 8, whilst burning the midnight oil writing my astrology column I could hear the sounds of a surveillance helicopter constantly patrolling the night skies. It was in close vicinity and clearly visible from my window. I finally retired about 3 am as the chopper persisted over the same route. Sleep was impossible, as something big was going down.

Right on cue, a fierce electrical storm broke across the Sydney skyline. Lightning flashes replaced the heli-spot, and rolling thunder drowned the choppers engine. The one solace was that the hazardous storm conditions might force the helicopter to land. It's certainly a lot easier to sleep with rain on the roof than a rotary motor. I turned to my partner Sherrynne, also an astrologer, and remarked, "Well that's the Grand Cross for you…the Mars and Neptune part must mean big storm." Somewhere in that musing we dropped off to sleep.

As we slept and the fixed Grand Cross comprising Mars in Taurus, Saturn in Leo, the Sun in Scorpio, and Neptune in Aquarius came to exactness, Australia's first homeland terror crackdown was underway. New anti-terrorism legislation had been hastened through Parliament by PM John Howard on the day of the Scorpio New Moon. Howard's Labor opposition supported the new laws. They were in expectation of a major terrorist threat, not unlike the chemical bombings of London or Madrid. The New Moon chart of 12:24 pm November 2, cast for the Australian capital of Canberra, shows the planet linked to chemicals and subterfuge, Neptune, rising in square to the overhead Sun and Moon, and opposed by restrictive Saturn. Legislative Jupiter sits on the Midheaven.

Six days later the largest counter-terrorism operation ever conducted in Australia began in earnest from 2:30 am November 8. Simultaneously in state capitals Sydney and Melbourne, federal police rounded up terror suspects overnight, allegedly shooting one in self-defense at 9 am Sydney time. By then the Sun and Mars were in exact square to Neptune. In all seventeen terrorist suspects were arrested.

The Australian Settlement horoscope (January 26 1788, 5:23 am LMT, Sydney) fully describes the precarious situation. Currently the secondary progressed Sun (leadership, the force) is in partile opposition to progressed Saturn (confinement and constraint). Additionally the progressed Ascendant (projection and national image) also opposes progressed Pluto (extremists and underworld) within a degree. The second opposition, in the middle of the fixed signs of Leo and Aquarius, additionally receives the energy of the current transiting Grand Cross. It will continue to do so for the next few months. We should see significant further developments by the mid January period as Jupiter joins the Cross formation.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, born July 26 1939, early in the morning, has his own Grand Cross. Howard, a right wing conservative Liberal, has the perfect horoscope for terror. He is a penetrating close Sun/Pluto union in the regal sign of Leo. Howard was dismissed as leader of his own party, and has risen from the political grave to become Australia's second longest serving Prime Minister. It led to one political commentator once describing him as, "Lazarus with a triple bypass." His four consecutive election wins have now made it quadruple.

Howard's Sun/Pluto is opposed by assertive Mars and square to inflexible Saturn. Completing the last leg of the Grand Cross is the North Node in Scorpio. The result of all this is a persistent workaholic. Despite obstacles, Howard is both the irresistible force, and immovable object. He regularly rises at daybreak for a brisk walk before getting down to the business of running the country.

Howard excels as a political strategist. On the eve of an election he claimed that refugees were throwing their children overboard in order to gain Australian rescue and access. It was enough to get him over the line. Despite expertly manipulating public opinion, and outfoxing his political opponents, it's his tenacity and toughness that keep him ahead in a growing atmosphere of fear.

His personal Grand Cross falls across the angles of the Australian chart. They're a combination the revered German cosmobiologist Reinhold Ebertin, in his masterwork The Combination of Stellar Influences, described as, "brutality, the rage and fury of destruction, intervention of a higher power, and the death of a great many people." Coincidentally, the first month after he was elected, Howard headed an Australia wide gun recall. It followed a mass slaughter by Martin Bryant, who took 35 lives in a crazed killing spree at Port Arthur, Tasmania.

Since then Howard has sadly witnessed Australian lives sacrificed in two terrorist bombing raids in nearby Bali, and the Australian Embassy bombed in Jakarta. He has been branded both hero and villain in his homeland for actively supporting U.S. invasions into Afghanistan and Iraq. Have these actions invoked the terrorist spectre in his own backyard? Whether or not they have, it's the national horoscope that would reflect such a consciousness. And that it does. In the meantime Howard, with his work doctrine, oversees new right wing industrial relation laws, giving much more muscle to business. When implemented, they have the potential to have a far greater divisive effect on the populace. But in the midst of the chopper's spotlight they remain a hidden factor.


Ed Tamplin is a consultant, writer and researcher of astrology specializing in mundane. He is a regular lecturer on the Australian circuit and co-hosts an astrology talkback show on Sydney radio 2GB-AM every Saturday night. With partner and fellow astrologer Sherrynne Dalby he teaches at the Sirius School of Astrology and maintains an active personal practice.

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Other StarIQ articles by Ed Tamplin:

  • Presidents and Neptune   12/14/2013
  • Uranus in Aries   5/5/2012
  • Saturn in Libra   10/30/2009
  • Saturn in Virgo   8/31/2007
  • Jupiter in Sagittarius: Nothing Exceeds Like Excess   12/8/2006
  • Mars and the Commonwealth Games   3/17/2006
  • Gods or Monsters: Jupiter in Scorpio   10/25/2005
  • USA, Uranus & Iraq   9/5/2005
  • Saturn in Leo   7/8/2005
  • Election 2004   10/29/2004
  • Election in Oz 2004   10/1/2004
  • Jupiter in Libra   9/24/2004
  • Jupiter in Virgo   6/18/2004
  • Australia: Birth of a Nation   5/14/2004
  • Terror in Spain   3/25/2004
  • Pluto and Mars - Fiery Encounters   1/22/2004

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