We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;”

~ Thomas Jefferson

Liberty has meant many different things to people over the centuries.  Shami Chakrabarti, a regular on the political television circuit, has just published a book entitled “On Liberty”(doing well in the book charts), offering a re-evaluation of the subject, in an age where the issues are confusing, and often are a double edged sword, dividing opinion.

Sometimes it seems to be that Human Rights is a dirty word (or phrase) here in the U.K. so entwined has it become with the membership of the European Union, and seeming inequalities being caused by the promoting of one right over another.  Admittedly there does need to be some priority in the system, such as not promoting criminal rights over the rights of a victim, but patently human rights are generally a good thing.  Home Secretary Theresa May threatens to pull out of the Human Rights Act, which Shami regards as throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Shami Chakrabarti

Shami Chakrabarti has a unique life path, and stands out in the world of human rights and liberty.  She is sure of her convictions, and a brave warrior when it comes to expressing the inalienable right of human liberty.

Her life was marked by an amazing act of destiny when on 10th September 2001 she left a longstanding position as legal adviser in the U.K. Home Office to work at the institution known as “Liberty”, a post which was so much the antithesis of the previous one that she delayed joining Liberty in order to obtain the right endorsement from her previous employer.  The very next day was the assault on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, commonly known as 9/11.  That sometimes causes confusion in the U.K. because we would know it as 11/9.  Strangely enough, I find myself writing now on 9th November…there may be a numerological nuance in that.

Shami’s Chart and Transits

Shami has Sun in Gemini, so she is quite an intellectual thinker, and Moon in Cancer, so she has empathy and  emotional sensitivity.  We do not have her Ascendant, and do not know the shape of her chart.

She has three interesting sets of conjunctions:

Mars loosely conjunct Neptune, which is a physical sensitivity to suffering

Venus conjunct Saturn, which is a sensitivity to repression, and the depression of feeling that comes with incarceration, plus a sense of responsibility and commitment to those issues

Pluto/Jupiter/Uranus in conjunction.  Jupiter conjunct Uranus gives entrepreneurship, so she is a good flagship for her cause.  Jupiter conjunct Pluto is an innate understanding of issues around power, both the positive aspects, and the pitfalls.  Pluto and Uranus together are the rebel, the freedom at all costs, almost anarchic side to the mix.  A very powerful triple conjunction, all told – one which she has used for the common good, without the abrasiveness of some who have taken similar roles in society.

Her North Node  (karmic mission) is in Pisces, signifying that her spiritual path is to work towards a more compassionate society.  The powerful triple conjunction lies at the South Node, depicting past lives learning to understand the uses and misuses of power.  Her Sun exactly squares the Nodal Axis, so she takes a central role of leadership in the groups which work along these lines.

Jupiter exactly sextiles her Neptune, so she is absolutely on point when it comes to religion and spirituality, and understanding the part that they play in war, peace and terrorism and the human psyche.  She says: “The idea of walking in another’s shoes and doing to others as we would have done to us is universal in all cultures of the world”.

On the day she left the Home Office to work at Liberty the day before 9/11, Chiron was opposite her natal Sun, so there would have been some crisis or shock factor in the process, but a working towards healing.  She does describe the change of workplace as a culture shock, but acknowledges the significance of the timing certainly in relation to world affairs.  She realizes that the world changed at that time, and with it the demands and nuances of human rights, e.g. the greater emphasis on issues of security, fighting terrorism, and the detaining of suspects at Guantanamo Bay without evidence.  It seems as though the Universe moved Shami to Liberty on that day as a secret weapon for human rights.  It does not seem overly dramatic to say that.

Neptune was also squaring her Saturn at that time, increasing her sensitivity to the suffering of physical and spiritual incarceration.

She went on to become Director of Liberty in 2003, about a year after she gave birth to her son.  She writes:  ”My work at Liberty been second only to motherhood as the joy and privilege of my life.”  Motherhood  brought out the very protective nature of her Moon in Cancer – she says that it intensified her feelings about those who are vulnerable and changed her as a person.  Her progressed Sun was sextile with her natal Uranus (revolution) during this period.

In her book, Shami writes thought-provokingly about terrorism, movingly about extradition and authoritatively takes us through the moral maze that is Liberty.

Liberty’s Chart

The organization Liberty was founded in January 1934.  The  issues of the time were scarring from the 1st World War and economic hardship from the Depression.  The chart of the organization has one of the same conjunctions as Shami Chakrabarti, Venus conjunct Saturn which I described earlier as: “A sensitivity to repression, and the depression of feeling that comes with incarceration, plus a sense of responsibility and commitment to those issues”.  While Shami has Jupiter/Pluto/Uranus in a conjunction and this empowers her to heal divisions, the challenging nature of the time when Liberty was founded has these planets in a more difficult tension:  A T-square composed of Jupiter opposite Uranus and Pluto square to them both.  Liberty celebrated its 80th birthday this year.

John Stuart Mill

The 19th Century saw the first book entitled “On Liberty”, written by philosopher and eminent scholar and social theorist John Stuart Mill, who promoted the ideas of Utilitarianism (the “greatest good for the greatest number”).  I thought it would be interesting to look at the portrayal of this theme for his day.  His book of the same title was published in 1859, when he was 53.  His chart has an iconoclastic exact conjunction between Uranus and Saturn, which I think of as “The Groundbreaker”, the conjunction which coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  He wrote the book “On Liberty” when married to Harriet Taylor, who died just before the book was published.  He did not alter a word of the book after she died, as it was as much her work in terms of ideas.  For Mill, liberty was an essential counterbalance to state influence.  He slightly softened his stance on Utilitarianism for this book, and emphasized the role of the inward journey to freedom for the individual.  Much of the focus of Harriet’s work was centred around feminism, and the book promotes the idea of votes for women, an idea well ahead of its time.  Their relationship seems to have been a distinctive and specific Soul Contract, with his Chiron trine exactly her Sun (he was able to fulfil her life’s work) and his North Node (karmic mission) exactly sextile her Uranus (desire to change society).

“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

~ John Stuart Mill


Hold on to your hats this week – there’s a bumpy ride ahead!Turn away now if you would rather not engage with this in a conscious way…

There are bright spots, however, and today’s square between Venus and Jupiter (the two “benificents”) is not likely to do too much damage, if any.  There may be a casual tactless remark, or a faux pas, which niggles.  Otherwise, any humour is likely to be just plain silly.  It may be good to get your laughs where you can today.

Tomorrow (Monday 10th) Mars conjuncts Pluto.  It is just as well that police services in the U.K. claim to have foiled a terrorist plot for Remembrance Sunday, as that is uncomfortably close to tomorrow’s potentially destructive conjunction.  Another potentiality is that of mould breaking, so have a look at your moulds and coolly decide what can or needs to be broken, and how to do that in the safest possible way, without harm to humans or animals.  The mould breaking may occur in the realm of ideas, so have a look at your fixed beliefs and see if you can throw any of them out.  They may be outmoded.

On Wednesday (12th) Mercury trines Neptune, and you may experience an oasis of serenity.  You may be able to look at any early dramas of the week from a spiritual angle.  If beliefs were challenged, you may segue smoothly into new ones.  Health issues, too, may seem easier.

Mars also sextiles Chiron, so body and mind will be more co-ordinated and open to healing methods.

On Thursday (13th), Venus conjuncts Saturn, the aspect contained in the chart of both Shami Chakrabarti and the organization Liberty.  An injustice may spur you on to greater responsibility and commitment.  Especially if it concerns someone being repressed or psychologically chained.

Hard on the heels of this difficult aspect, Mars squares Uranus, inducing breakaway actions and random acts of rebelliousness.  The combination of the two aspects may need careful monitoring: Venus conjunct Saturn is depressing and Mars square Uranus rash and reckless.  If you have any loose cannons in your vicinity watch them carefully.  Sedate the Mars square Uranus elements (if they are not channeling their energy constructively), and uplift the depressive elements to a point where they can deal with things, and wait for the aspects to subside.  Of course you may not have any control whatsoever over what anyone else is doing, and may need to just attend to your own process.

Friday (14th) brings another square, the Sun square Jupiter, which is not as unpredictable as Mars square Uranus, but not as genteel as Venus square Jupiter (which occurs today).   It is a day when people can go over the top in their enthusiasms, and in some cases in their actions.  If you yourself are bursting with enthusiasm, you can put that energy into something creative.  Not everyone may feel as you do about that particular issue, but they may have their own passions to pursue.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – silliness
  • Tomorrow – confrontation
  • Wednesday – soothing balm, and healing
  • Thursday – challenges
  • Friday – the fire of enthusiasm