While Australia burns … we watch

Capricorn 2020

The heartbreaking images from Australia, especially of the animals, are difficult to look at. I am glad to see donations (and koala mittens) being sent, and ordinary people giving time and effort to support both animals and people in a devastated land. My heart goes out to all those who have lost everything, and to those grieving the loss of animals and their habitats. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like.

australia wildfires

Help services have enough koala mittens now – below is a link showing how you can help.

Many celebrities have raised funds and nearby nations, including New Zealand, whom Australia helped through their own difficulties in 2019, are finally offering help. The US and Canada have sent fire-fighters too. But where is the rest of the world? Unless I have missed it, there seems to be a lack of support from Europe and Asia – rich parts of the world who could help in what is an unprecedented catastrophe.

A new decade dawns

new year 2020

It was foggy on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam so not even the view from the roof cheered me up for the start of 2020.

New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam was not pleasant. It used to be fun, but increasingly there are dangerous incidents, with emergency services being threatened. The fireworks start early and go on for ages. A record 77 million Euros was spent this year in the Netherlands! The noise is frightening for people and especially animals, and the number of calls for bans on consumer use of fireworks is on the rise. I thought we should send all those arrested on New Year’s Eve, down to Australia to help fight fires – after all convicts were sent to Australia in the past!

2020 – it’s one of those years

In my last posts – Scorpio 2019 and Sagittarius 2019, I referred to two cycles that are coming together this year. Astrologically, it is a very important year, and as I write, we are at the critical point of the Saturn-Pluto cycle, which starts and ends on January 12th 2020, although the influence is much longer. This is a turning point and the energies in the world are living up to astrological expectations, as this is a cycle associated with wars and conflicts. The US-Iran conflict is right on cosmic timing, but it is being expressed in a negative way. There is positive change possible, but the patriarchy doesn’t want to give up on power without a “he started it” fight. One hopes that with all the Capricorn energy in the skies – there are six planets there now! – some form of responsible adulthood will prevail.

A video I made for new year with some tips!

Back to Australia

No matter how climate change is caused, it is blatantly obvious that it is a fact, and we have to adapt and change our ways. I use astrology as a framework to reflect on issues, both global and personal, to see if lessons can be learned. So hopefully, as we helplessly watch Australia burn, we are learning something. This is what I wrote at the end of 2019 in my Scorpio post:

At the exact start of the (Saturn-Pluto) cycle she (Ceres) stands between the Sun and the Saturn-Pluto pair. A signature of this new cycle. In the spotlight must be negotiation, coalitions, compromises, women’s rights (and those of others including animals), and especially the environment. Ceres wants fundamental changes that give power to anything ‘green’. She wants us to take responsibility for the earth. To empower women – especially older ones who have wisdom – and the disenfranchised, and to have true democracy for everyone and definitely not only for the rich! I think anyone fighting for these causes has a friend among the planets.

australian bushfires

Nasa photo from wikimedia

Lessons from Australia

Capricorn is all about lessons. We reap what we sow. My highlights in bold are especially relevant for Australia. What this devastation is showing is that we need to develop a new relationship with the earth and her creatures. I think Ceres is using her father (Saturn) and her brother (Pluto) to show what happens when we don’t protect what is dear to her. In the myth, she takes away crops to show Pluto and Jupiter (her brother, who is also in the mix this year) that she is not to be messed with. This suggests to me we have to work with nature (Ceres) not override her, as Jupiter (greed) and Pluto (power) did and still do. Indigenous people have always maintained this – but who is listening?

wildlife australia

The now famous photo from the New York Times by Matthew Abbott taken in the middle of the day in NSW.

Why Australia?

I always have this question when I see important global events. Why there? Sometimes, we can see an answer – usually in hindsight. However, the triggers to the horoscope of Australia offer food for thought. A look at the Saturn Pluto cycle gives us some dates to work with too. These planets were together (start-end of cycle) in 1891-1820, 1851-2, 1883, 1914-15, 1947, 1982 and now in 2020.

A few comments on these dates for Australia …

1819-20

Australia was at the beginning of colonisation and many convicts were arriving to help in the work required. Not long after this, the first gold was discovered in 1823 in New South Wales.

1851

The first coming together of these two planets in 1851 (there were three conjunctions this time) was in the earth sign of Taurus. The gold rush was in full swing, with the earth being mercilessly mined, and not only for gold. Copper and lead were also being extracted and coal had been found much earlier. By 1850, 4% of the world’s gold came from Australia. This, of course, brought an influx of people, including some of my own ancestors.

1883

With another conjunction in Taurus, a massive lode of silver was found at Broken Hill, a name with strong associations with mining today.

1914-15

Australia was of course involved in WWI – this cycle is associated with conflicts and wars too.

1947

A post by fellow astrologer Lynn Bell – see link below – mentions many more newcomers arriving at this time. This increased pressure on resources and also on the indigenous tribes. Already in 1947, a search for Uranium had started and it has been mined commercially since 1954. Australia now has the world’s largest known Uranium deposits. There are more mines planned with hefty opposition, especially as one of the sites is in a national park.

1982

In 1982 the Australian Labour Party introduced the foundations for what became known as ‘The Three-mine Policy’. The idea was that there should be no new Uranium mines. The bill was officially introduced in 1984 after Labour won the Federal elections. At the time there were three official mines – Ranger, Nabarlek and Olympic Dam. Narbalek is no longer running and currently there are still three (Four Mile is the third) with plans to reopen Honeymoon, which was closed in 2013 waiting for Uranium prices to improve. (Of course – money!) This policy has gone backwards and forwards as governments changed. The situation now is that some states ban new mines, however mining is far too big a money-spinner for the big companies to give up the fight, despite the heavy opposition – not least because of the problem of disposing toxic waste.

nuclear waste

From Australiamap.net showing nuclear and uranium sites including dump sites. See the site for an interactive map and more details.

Size and impact

That is just a sample of various dates associated with mining. Suffice it to say that mining brings in a large amount of revenue to Australia. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and, if internet is up to date, the fourth largest producer. In a world where fossil fuels need to be reduced, this makes for tense relationships between government policy and the big mining companies.

Gold is still very important, at third place behind coal and iron ore, and many other minerals and precious metals are mined. Australia has oil as well, which has been on the back-burner so to speak. However, last year exploration increased despite vehement opposition. As a consequence of mining the environmental impact has been enormous.

Scarred landscapes and pollution

It is well known that mining causes loss of bio-diversity, pollution, deforestation and contamination of water, as well as making the land vulnerable to sink holes. Mining has played a role in the loss of large parts of the Great Barrier Reef. I cannot imagine that Ceres, the protector of pure food, air and water and her precious soil, and protector of bio-diversity of species, is happy about any of this. The scars caused by open mining in Australia are now the responsibility of mining companies. They have a legal obligation to restore these landscapes. It’s the right direction – but how? In many cases, no-one knows.

Mt Whaleback iron ore mine showing scars to the landscape. Photo by Kinsley Dixon from WA Today

The rage of Ceres

Of course, as Ceres is involved in this new cycle, she too is in Capricorn, which can be a sign that conjures up images of crusty old punitive school-mistresses rapping knuckles. Punishment. I think Ceres is very angry. She can be a bit ‘tough love’ – taking away rewards (crops) and making the earth barren until we learn to cooperate and listen. She will compromise, but she will not be overridden. Which she has been for far too long.

What made me look at mining?

If Wikipedia is to be believed, then although the fires started in September, it wasn’t until around November 11th, 2019 that States of Fire Emergency started to be declared in several places. So I looked at what was being triggered in the chart for Australia around that time. The chart I use for Australia is for the time of the swearing in of the first Prime Minister of Australia in 1901.

australia bushfires

The chart for Australia in the centre and on the outside the positions of planets on 11 Nov 2019.

The Moon in Taurus

The Australian chart has the Moon in Taurus and this is one of the things being heavily triggered now. For me this has associations with our earthly home. She is being plundered for resources – so mining came to mind because of the deep cuts it makes in the earth and because mining is of such vital financial importance to Australia. Taurus is a sign that has ownership, resources, finance, assets and earthly pleasures among its collection of topics.

The ladies

Ceres is now a dwarf planet and Vesta is still an asteroid – I have written about Vesta before in my post Planets do #metoo when talking of the California fires in 2018. She is associated with fires and the hearth. Interesting then that Vesta in the sky is exactly on Australia’s Moon in November (the red arrow). Fires on the earth, as Vesta tries to make a point of perhaps wanting to get back to the heart of what people need at home and in communities. The central hearth that people used to gather round is not being attended to, the way the Vestal Virgins did, and is out of control.

Ceres is right on Mercury and Chiron (the green arrow). She has found her voice (Mercury) to speak of her wounds (Chiron). With Jupiter nearby, sitting on Jupiter which exaggerates everything! At this stage she is still in Sagittarius – she is judging Australia about the way trade is done (Mercury) and the wounds it is causing to the disenfranchised – the indigenous communities, the animals and the earth.

The Moon

The Moon herself on this day has just entered Taurus too, about to line up with Uranus. The earth wants to shock us and wake us up. With all the feminine planets involved, women must act. We have a role to play in what happens next.

women to the rescue

Perhaps we need this! From the 1966 film Planet of the Female invaders described by IMDb as ‘A group of sexy space vixens who fly down to Earth, set up shop at a carnival, and kidnap some earthlings for use in their scheme to conquer our planet.

The men

And of course the Saturn-Pluto conjunction is also beginning to form, surrounding the Moon in a pincer trine aspect (the purple arrow). Those who destroy, poison and deface (Pluto) the earth, hence homes (the Moon) for people and animals, will be held responsible (Saturn). Pluto has operated as a destroyer giving the opportunity for a new start – the phoenix that rises from the ashes. We don’t need Saturn in his blaming role. We need responsible goals to fix the problem.

Of course it is heart-warming to see the West Australian, ex-mining iron-ore magnate, Andrew Forrest and his wife, donating 70 million dollars to the wildfire cause from his philanthropic Minderloo Foundation. But I can’t help thinking that’s the least they could do after having benefited so much from mining. However, it is throwing money at the problem – which helps – but what is really needed is a fundamental change (Pluto) to laws (Saturn) and political leaders authoritative (Saturn) enough to take on huge corporations (Pluto).

Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

We are all listening

Ceres has caught our attention, but it is a shame we have taken so long to hear her cries. Ceres tried to warn us earlier, but she seems to have been left with few options to get our attention. So destruction it is. Australia illustrates the dilemmas faced by many nations. And it acts as a warning to us all. Ceres has a lot of wisdom in agriculture, the environment and housing. I hope leaders will listen to solutions from indigenous people, women, and the green movement. And then come up with innovative solutions for our precious earth’s protection. This is also the gift from Uranus in Taurus if we use that well.

Faye Blake

Interesting websites of the month

An article on Australia and the First Nations people by Lorena Allam.

An article from 2017 on Australian-first centre tackles mining scars on WA landscape

An article from 2012 but still very relevant  – Mining and the environment

And the post from Lynn Bell on the Saturn- Pluto conjunction

How you can help Australia

For astrologers

Australia: The swearing in chart when the first Prime Minister of Australia took the oath of office. This chart is used by many astrologers: 1 Jan 1901, Sydney, 13:35.

Quote of the Month

On a lighter note

From the Sunday times cartoons maybe still OK in 2020!

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