Cabinet Changes

Following the week of Westminster sexual harassment scandals, this week’s domestic politics was dominated by two unrelated dramas: Boris Johnson’s gaffe in the affair of the Iranian detainee Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, and Priti Patel’s resignation over unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials.  Jeremy Corbyn has called for Boris Johnson to resign this morning, for “shaming the nation”.  Theresa May continues to preside as leader of the Conservative Party, but on shifting sands.

Michael Fallon

Rewinding back a week or two, the first major casualty of the sexual harassment crisis was Michael Fallon.  It seemed to me that for the period of his tenure as Secretary of State for Defence (2014 – 2017) he was always sitting opposite Andrew Marr in interviews stubbornly defending the indefensible.  His chart equipped him admirably for this, with 5 (half) of his planets in the Fixed signs, and the Sun, Venus and Jupiter in the tactile sign of Taurus.  He seemed like a dependable rock for Theresa May.

It was an allegation of persistent knee-touching by the journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer (a fellow Taurean) which began his undoing, although there were subsequent accusations by others.  Their charts are similar in many ways, but she has a much more flamboyant personality.  How she managed to trigger the scandal for him is a karmic matter:  In their synastry, her Neptune (in this case scandal-mongering) squares exactly his Nodal Axis (karma).

Timing-wise, at the end of October when the scandal surfaced, Jupiter was opposite Michael Fallon’s Jupiter (chickens coming home to roost) and Neptune (scandal) was making three exact aspects to his planets, albeit harmonious ones: he seemed almost relieved to resign.  Julia Hartley-Brewer’s transits were a little more challenging, e.g. Pluto squaring her Nodal Axis, and notably the transit of Opportunity (Uranus trine her Jupiter) enabled her to bring this allegation forward.

Gavin Williamson

The fresh faced Gavin Williamson (previously the Chief Whip) replaced Michael Fallon on 2nd November 2017 as Secretary of State for Defence.  In her up-to-the-minute satirical programme, Tracey Ullman (see last week’s blog) actually managed to include him in a sketch on Friday, making fun of his ignorance of the armed forces.  Williamson is a Cancerian, and keeps his tarantula totem (named Chronus) on his desk (the tarantula featured in the sketch).  I suspect some Scorpio in the mix of his chart on the grounds of his attachment to the creature, though I don’t have a birth time for him.  He is a bit of a maverick, with Sun exactly trine Uranus, which may account for his sudden rise.  Uranus in Scorpio is also conjunct his North Node, and this may be connected with his karmic mission.  He has a strong desire to change things, and enjoys taking people by surprise.  Rowena Mason, writing in the Guardian, said: “Gavin Williamson has often been likened to Francis Urquhart, the ruthless parliamentary enforcer in Westminster TV drama House of Cards”.  At the Conservative conference he stated: “I don’t very much believe in the stick, but it’s amazing what can be achieved with a sharpened carrot”.  He has a reputation for slipperiness, and that may be connected with his close natal Mercury-Neptune opposition.  He notably helped Theresa May in her campaign to become leader, and assisted the government’s deal with the DUP which enabled her to retain power after the election she called.  Interestingly, in his relationship with Theresa May, his Pluto (power) is exactly conjunct her Sun.  It is always interesting to look at the charts of replacements in relation to those they replace, and Williamson’s Pluto is also conjunct Michael Fallon’s Saturn, and his Mars square exactly Fallon’s Sun.  The power of his Pluto in those relationships also points to a heavy emphasis of Scorpio in his chart.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel is an individualistic, uncompromising Aries, who was the poster girl for the Brexit campaign.  For reasons which are as yet unknown, she met privately with Israeli officials over the last few months, without official endorsement, and Theresa May has had to lean on her to resign this week.  With 6 Cardinal planets, she likes to lead, but with 0 Water planets she can be unemotional.  She is a gambler by nature (Sun square Jupiter), but this was one gamble too many.  An interesting feature of her chart is Mercury exactly conjunct Chiron in Aries: a mind suited to problem-solving, but unusual in its processes.  Thus many this week regarded her jaw dropping actions with puzzlement: “What could she have been thinking?” was a question in many minds, as in the Brexit campaign when it was a question often in the minds of Remainers.  Nevertheless, she says she has received much support, and seems popular within her party, and has kept smiling.  Some have said she has ambitions for the top job.  Her chart has many aspects, and her Mercury also has a square to Jupiter (likes to travel) and an opposition with Uranus (not afraid to be controversial).

A transit which has dominated her chart over the last year, and which was exact when she took office as Secretary of State for International Development (14th July 2016) and again exact when she took her holiday in Israel in August, is Pluto square her Uranus, encouraging her Inner Rebel on a self-destructive path.  It was on this holiday that her most daring act occurred:  meeting Israeli armed forces at the Golan Heights (occupied territories) and offering them financial aid for their medical work with Syrian refugees.  In the relationship of her chart to Israel’s, we find a personal bond of her Venus conjunct its Sun.  Its Pluto trines exactly her Mercury/Chiron conjunction.  Though we can see an intensity of relationship here, we still do not know its motive or source.  This week Pluto was still exactly square her Uranus – it is a deep and lengthy process.  But Jupiter is also sextile her Jupiter, and shows that something is keeping her upbeat.

Penny Mordaunt

Her replacement, Penny Mordaunt, is a different kettle of fish, with Venus, the Sun, the Moon and Mercury in the sign of Pisces (having appeared in the TV programme Splash).  She also has a karmic mission as a political warrior, in her Mars exactly conjunct North Node in Capricorn.  This conjunction sextiles her Sun exactly, emphasizing its power and purpose.  There could be a great deal of subtlety and flexibility in the way she operates (6 planets in Mutable signs), but she can also be strident (with the strong Mars).  She certainly has a love of power (Pluto closely trine Jupiter).  Her Nodal Axis also squares her Chiron exactly, so is used to dealing with crisis.  She is definitely one to watch.  Like her predecessor, she is a Brexiteer.

Boris Johnson

In one of his most damaging and horrifying gaffes in a long history of gaffes, Boris Johnson has endangered the life of a British citizen Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, who is being held in Iran after visiting relatives there to introduce them to her child.  In a casual remark, he stated that the purpose of her visit was to train journalists, and this statement may double her sentence.  He then made a half-hearted retraction in parliament, which went nowhere near a restoration of the situation.  Her future currently hangs in the balance.  Is this the gaffe too far which will unseat Boris?  His erstwhile enemy Michael Gove appeared on the Andrew Marr sofa this morning defending him.  Neptune is opposing his Pluto at the moment, which is a chaotic mindset.  Jupiter was trine his natal Saturn when he made the gaffe (1st November), which would normally make a person more upbeat: in Boris’s case it made him more careless and arrogant.  At the time of the gaffe, Neptune was opposing Nazanin’s natal Mercury, entrenching her incarceration.  At the time she was originally detained in Iran, Jupiter was square her Neptune (idealogical confusion), Saturn was on her Neptune, and Neptune opposite her Mercury (incarceration).  When she was sentenced a few months later, Saturn squared her natal Mercury (depression) and Pluto was square her Pluto (disempowerment). In her synastry with Boris, his Pluto (drama) is on her Mercury (causing additional mental strain).  His Uranus is also conjunct her Saturn (shock, horror!).  They also have opposed Saturns.  There is also a lively energy between them, in her Mars trine his Sun and His Mars sextile her Jupiter, which might help.  Can this crisis be brought back from the brink, and can he save her and his career?  Boris is meeting her husband soon, and there is talk that they may travel to Iran together.


There are two contrasting aspects tomorrow: One in the morning (Venus conjunct Jupiter) and one in the evening (Mercury square Neptune) in the U.K.

Venus conjunct Jupiter brings a jubilant atmosphere, and is one of the most celebratory aspects in the annual round.  Perhaps you are celebrating, or even just experiencing a feeling of well-being.

The evening’s Mercury-Neptune square brings less clarity and certainty.  You may feel you have lost your way, or come across someone who has lost their way.  It is a complicated aspect for travellers.  Confusion and fogginess may be the prevailing influence.  It is not a good aspect for making decisions, for instance.  Wait for a better moment, if a decision is pressing.

Wait, if possible, until Thursday (16th), for the aspects perk up greatly and the rest of the week seems much more plain sailing.  We have two trines on Thursday, and may be winning in more than one area of our lives.  First, Venus trines Neptune, so perfect love is the order of the day.  You can continue from the theme of unconditional love from Monday and add an even more spiritual dimension.  It is an inspired day for the Arts, and especially dance.

This is followed by a trine between the Sun and Chiron, excellent for healing initiatives.  Healing through creativity is especially favoured, as is Creativity through healing.  It is a good day to encourage your Inner Healer to show what it has to offer.  So often we are shy in allowing it to emerge and shine, unless we have an overzealous Inner Rescuer, in which case we may need to practise restraint and subtlety!

Friday (17th) continues the positive theme, with Mercury sextile Mars.  This is much more of a doing aspect than a being aspect.  You can get productive, increase your running and cycling speeds, sharpen your mind, and communicate with directness, under this aspect.  This aspect is busy, busy, busy!

We are working our way this week to a New Moon in Scorpio at 26 degrees of that sign on Saturday (18th).  Therefore we may be clearing out some clutter during the course of the week, to enable a clear space to honour our intentions and plans for the next month.  New Moon in Scorpio is one of the most intense New Moons of the year, and one of the most powerful, as the inner drive comes from the deepest emotions, sometimes those we are unaware of consciously. In cultivating our Inner Scorpion power, it is a good idea to ensure that in our thoughts and actions we are not harming anyone, including ourselves.  The Hindu concept of Ahimsa (harmlessness) is the bottom line for a karma carefree New Moon.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – a foundation of love, and mental confusion
  • Thursday – artistic and musical inspiration, and healing initiatives
  • Friday – productive and brisk
  • Saturday – new beginning