Monday, 9 March 2009

To Hell – and back?

In the current issue of The Tradition journal (link to the right), I've made a fairly detailed study of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in terms of the economy with particular reference to the current crisis. Along with this I discuss our dependence upon fossil fuels, so it seemed apt to follow-through with this chart which refers to a series of aspects that I mention in the article but don't apply therein.

The history attaching to the the Miners' Strike of 1984 to 1985 is long and complex and I won't attempt to go into the details here, but the preceding concern was that Thatcher's Tory government would close large numbers of the nationalised coal mines and privatise the rest. It was on this basis of fear that the strike was announced as 'general' and those miners who were not already on strike, walked out. The beginning of this strike is marked as a few minutes after midnight on 5th March 1984 at Cortonwood Colliery, near Barnsley, Yorkshire.

There are a few selected points of interest here that I want to bring to attention:

  • the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was the most powerful of the unions and its strike of some ten or twelve years earlier, to all intents and purposes, brought the Heath government to an end;
  • the government's propaganda machine was brought to bear with full force against the miners whose financial arguments were overwhelmed and public opinion was anaesthetised by government tirades – until afterwards that is;
  • Thatcher described the strikers as "the enemy within" in comparison to the "enemy without" i.e. the Argentinians who invaded the Falkland Islands (it is generallyaccepted that the military action to recapture the islands kept Thatcher in office);
  • the police were used in huge force to beat down the pickets as if they were enemies and went far beyond the call of duty in this regard. They were brought in from areas outside of those affected by strikes so that their "local sympathies" wouldn't get in the way of their duty! Taunts by some officers of "treble time" (overtime paidat the rate of three times the basic wage) whilst waving their wage packets at the strikers, who were getting nothing, must have been done to stir up trouble;
  • the Tory government effectively 'starved out' the miners. The government took the view that the strike was unnofficial (a general ballot had not been taken) and therefore strikers were not entitled to state benefits. Needless to say, this took the strike to the children of their families who couldn't even get the free school meals they would otherwise have got;
  • from the political perspective, Thatcher succeeded in destroying the trades unions because, as she and her supporters continued to legislate against the unions and the privatisation programme picked up speed, British industry was annihilated and the unions along with it. It might be true to say that as the strike lengthened and frustration deepened mistakes were made by the strikers, too – it is reported that at least two collieries would have survived had they allowed safety workers in to secure those mines, for example. However, there are former mining towns and villages which remain on the EU list of the most deprived and run-down not only in the UK, but in Europe, too. Well over 200,000 miner workers subsequently lost their jobs as colliery after colliery was closed down. Some were sold to private companies, but many of those have also closed down. Some mines were promised security if their workers did not strike, they didn't strike and have had to bear the enmity of their colleagues from other areas, but it's easy to see why they didn't strike. Those too have been closed down.

I don't offer a link to this story because it's easy enough to find from numerous sources. But the full story is nasty and twisted involving the intelligence service, 'dirty tricks', subterfuge, informants and, as you might expect from politicians, lots and lots of lies. In the end, in the massive closures of 1992 and beyond, the miners were threatened with no redundancy payments (the sop with which the Major government got this through Parliament) if they went on strike about those closures.

It goes on because former miners still have to fight for compensation where their health has been affected by their work, those who have survived thus far that is. And, to my mind, the latest and perhaps greatest insult was a firm of solicitors, widely used by miners to process their claims and obtain the payments, has been defrauding them. Some miners got a cheque for just a few pounds.

To hell and back? I would say so.

My reasons for going into such detail here are not purely personal, although I do have fairly strong feelings about it, but because the chart is so clearly descriptive of this awful experience. For all the preceding words, the chart requires little explanation.

I cannot think of a better description of Hell than the one here: Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, above ground only because of the strike. Saturn naturally rules mines and underground matters, Mars naturally rules strikes. So, although the time is approximate, the description tells us that it's not that far out. Scorpio is intractable and persistent and so the strike will be prolonged; Mars is also the strongest planet which gives the strike power and dignity. So, they did have cause and it was for the industry not just their own livelihoods that they did what they did – their leadership may have had other ideas – the miners themselves believed in what they were doing.

The Mars-Saturn aspect series are of particular interest to national or mundane astrology (along with the Mars-Jupiter series), the conjunction, square and opposition are particularly malevolent. This one, perfect on 14th February 1984, is no different and has had far-reaching effects. The next occurred on 28th February 1990, the year that Thatcher was forced to step down, and the next on 6th March 1992, the year of the next round of closures with the loss of 31,000 jobs. Bear in mind that this same period was one of recession.

The Aries Moon in the 5th house is particularly poignant because it was ultimately that their children were suffering that forced the miners back to work. This Moon is void of course and demonstrated the futility of the strike – it would go nowhere. Mars itself is void, too, only receiving a square aspect (in signs of short ascension) from Venus, ruler of the 11th and 6th houses: hard work and hope. Assistance did come in the form of donations of money, food, clothing and so on, but it was never enough to fight the government who, although telling the country that we had to 'tighten our belts', still found the money to wage this war against the miners.

The South Node of deceit and loss is on the cusp of the 2nd house, the Part of Fortune is there, too, but is disposited by fallen Jupiter also in the 2nd. How explicit this is of the strike itself and its poverty and, indeed, of the aftermath. But we should also consider the other angular planets of Sun and Mercury. The 4th house is a dark house and corresponds to mines, but also to hidden matters, to which Mercury's combustion also refers. Mercury rules the 10th house of government and the Sun is the natural ruler of those in authority and power. So we see here an example of the underhanded and secretive nature of the doings of Thatcher's government. Interestingly, though, her handling of this matter, and that of the Poll Tax, proved to be her undoing and we see the mutual application of the Sun and Saturn to a trine.

However, it wasn't only she who was hoist with her own petard, the British as a whole were hoist with it, too. It is commonly known that we could have used the coal from those mines, that their closure was a purely political and idealogical act as the miners themselves had argued. Anger and bitterness are still felt by those who took part in the strike. Public opinion swung against the government afterwards, perhaps guilty feelings about being led by the nose by politicians, which caused difficulties for them in pursuing their programme of closures.

So, "to hell and back in a handcart" probably sums up this event and the chart itself. As my article in The Tradition journal explains, the Earth series of conjunctions has been far from easy, and this event occurred after the first Air conjunction of 1980 when we were all being carried away by the virtues – and profits – of commerce as opposed to industry. Perhaps the advocates of that movement are at least feeling a little silly now as we stand by helplessly and watch commerce disintegrate.

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