The Independence Group

Last Monday we were driving to Leicester and it was suddenly announced that a group of Labour MPs were lining up for a Press Conference, which helped to while away the journey.  We were riveted as we listened to each one and their reasons for leaving the Labour Party and their hopes for their small group.  I was dismayed at the damage to the Labour Party, but understood where they were coming from, and then two days later the “three Amigos”, female MPs from the Tory Party, made a similar attack on the Tory Party and Theresa May’s effort to keep her Party together, and joined the seven (who had by then become eight).  The aspects for last Monday were full on, and the Sun sextile Uranus particularly conducive to seizing the day:

“This sets up a sense of excitement early on.  There may be a sense of anticipation about the day, or the week.  Perhaps you have something special you wish to accomplish during those time frames.  It may be a radical change of direction, or some bold changes.”

The stated aim for the group, not yet a Party as such, was to try to heal, by setting up a central group in politics, what is now evidently broken in our nation’s politics.

This chimed with another astrological feature that day, the ingress of Chiron into Aries:

“You may be able to clarify some healing issues on Monday.”  Chiron entering Aries will certainly take a fresh look at current problems.

It will be interesting to look at whether there are any common astrological themes which bind the group together, and what are the strains and stresses in their transits which made them break away from their Parties at this time.

Chart of the Press Conference

A chart of the time of the Press Conference is a good starting point for studying the evolution of this group.  The Ascendant is in Taurus, close to Mars.  The Venus-Saturn conjunction (a leave taking in relationships) is on the Midheaven in Capricorn (the political scene).  But most interesting is the position of the Sun, about to go into Pisces, at 29 degrees Aquarius.  It symbolizes the desire to change things.  As we move from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, which is a retrograde motion in the zodiac, 29 degrees Aquarius would be our position if we had just entered the Age of Aquarius.

Cast in Order of Appearance:

I apologize in advance for the necessary length of this blog – if you cannot bear to read every one, just pick your favourites!

Luciana Berger

I have become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour party”

Of all the members of the Independence group, Luciana has the most emotive reasons for leaving, and has been through the most difficult time.  She has without question been subject to anti-semitism in her constituency of Liverpool Wavertree, and not received any support from the leadership on this, despite protestations that anti-semitism “has no place in the Labour Party”.

In her birth chart, she has Sun/Venus opposite Uranus (the Rebel Archetype) and Sun also conjunct Chiron (a Healer and Problem-Solver). Life would rarely stand still for her.  Mars also conjuncts Chiron (woundedness: in December 2014 she was subject to 2,500 hate messages in three days).  Plus she has a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which can make it difficult for her to move forward, and it requires a balancing act when she does.

She is the great-niece of the late Labour MP Emmanual Shinwell.  In 2013 she became Shadow Minister for Public Health.  She increased her majority at the 2015 general election, and though she was appointed Shadow Minister for Mental Health, she resigned on 27 June 2016 (just after the Referendum) amid concerns about the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.  Mars was exactly opposite her Sun at the time (anger).  She again increased her majority in 2017.  On 7th February this year, her constituency reported two motions of no confidence brought on by her criticism of Jeremy Corbyn.  For her this may have been the final straw, when examining “why now?”  Pluto was exactly trine her Sun – a call for transformation in her life.  Pluto was also exactly square her natal Pluto, almost a force beyond her control.  And so to last Monday, when astrologically Pluto was still trine her natal Sun, Chiron was opposing her Jupiter in Libra (acknowledgement of a wound), and Pluto squared Pluto to the day.

Chris Leslie

“The evidence of Labour’s betrayal on Europe is now visible for all to see”

Next up was Chris Leslie.  His main complaint was about Labour’s stance on Brexit.  One common belief among the eight Labour MPs forming the Independence Group was that they were all in favour of remaining.  Chris was on Question Time on Thursday evening, and found himself under fire from all sides of the panel.

Chris has Sun in Cancer and Moon in Capricorn.  With Mercury conjunct exactly Mars, he has the Critic Archetype.  These two planets sextile Pluto, so he is strong minded.

He served briefly as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer under Harriet Harman while the Labour Leadership contest was under way in 2015.  In 2018, he too lost a vote of no confidence at his constituency.  Many Labour MPs are currently under threat of deselection.  Nine years older than Luciana Berger, historically he sits firmly under the New Labour/Blairite banner, which is anathema to the Momentum movement.  When elected to his current seat in 2010 at Nottinham East, transiting Saturn (politics and stability) was conjunct his natal Pluto and sextile the natal Mercury/Mars conjunction.  In May 2015 he replaced Ed Balls as Shadow Chancellor, who had lost his seat.  But he resigned in September 2015, critical of Jeremy Corbyn.  His transits for the foundation of the Independence Group are:-

Transiting Uranus square to his natal Mercury/Mars – a mental breakout, and a major disruption

Chiron trine his Mercury/Mars – for him, a mental solution, and a personal healing

Mars trine his natal Jupiter a physical sense of freedom

Angela Smith

“Our politics is broken and all the main parties are incapable of inspiring confidence in the future.”

Angela Smith, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge (not Baroness Angela Smith of Basildon) found herself soon after the launch of the Independent Group apologizing for referring to a person of colour as having a “funny tinge”.

Her birthchart has a satellitium in Leo, and the Moon in Libra.  Like Luciana, she has the Rebel Archetype, showing up in her chart as the Sun/Mercury/North Node conjunct Uranus in Leo.

She joined the Labour Party early in life, at the age of 16, and also worked for the N.H.S.  In 2011-2012 she was voted Constituency MP of the Year.  In 2013 she worked with Brian May in opposing the badger cull.  However, she supported fracking and last November received a no confidence vote from her constituency.

Her transits last week were:- Neptune trine her natal Venus (poignant feelings), Chiron opposite her Mars (registering a wound), Uranus trine her Jupiter (a new direction) and the South Node on her natal Saturn (a serious karmic decision).

Gavin Shuker

“Today, the Labour party…is perfectly content to enable the hard Tory Brexit that will directly and negatively affect people in Luton”

Born in 1981, the same year as Luciana Berger, Gavin shares the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which encloses his Sun in a triple conjunction in Libra.  He too has a strong Inner Rebel, with Uranus exactly trine his natal North Node, and Mars square his Uranus.  He has strong religious convictions with Jupiter sextile Neptune, with Christianity as his chosen religion.  He has strongly opposed the far right in society.

A motion of no confidence was passed against him last September.  His transits at the founding of the Independence Group show up Saturn square his natal Sun (a time of difficulty, sadness and decision), Mars opposite his Mercury (expressing his anger), and Jupiter sextile his Jupiter (at the same time, a feeling of freedom).

Ann Coffey

“Any criticism of the leadership is responded to with abuse and accusations of treachery”

Ann Coffey’s career began in social work, and she has a special interest in the protection of children.  Born in 1946, she has a long history in politics, having made her maiden speech on 12th May 1992.  Ann Coffey is a Virgoan Sun Sign, but with 5 planets in Libra.  She is the third of this group to have Mars closely sextile Pluto, the others being Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie (who have it exact).  It would confer a deep and determined drive.  Her transits this week included Jupiter sextile her Chiron (the solution to a problem, for her).

Mike Gapes

A Corbyn government would threaten our national security and international alliances”

In their brief speeches, a number of the group described their working class roots, and Mike Gapes was the son of a postman and a shop assistant.

Another Virgo, Mike Gapes made his maiden speech in May 1992 like Ann Coffey.  With Mercury square Jupiter, he has travelled widely to many countries on parliamentary business.  He has been enthusiastically pro-European.  He is also a staunch defender of Kurdish human rights, and a critic of UKIP.  Like Ann Coffey and Luciana Berger, he has a strong Inner Entrepreneur (positive connection between his Jupiter and Uranus).  His transits this week were Chiron opposite his Venus (a wrench, relationship-wise), Saturn opposite his Uranus (a personal earthquake), Jupiter sextile his Neptune (doing the right thing by his Soul).

Chuka Umunna

“If you are sick and tired of politics as usual, guess what, so are we.”

By far the best known name among the Labour group, Chuka Umunna withdrew from the contest for the Labour leadership in 2015 because he was protective of his family.  That was a few years ago, and he has not elaborated on that view more recently, as far as I know. He sees this opportunity to join with other disaffected Labour MPs and Remainers to create something more moderate than the left leaning tendencies which currently hold sway in the Party.

Chuka would seem to be the natural leader of the group, though maybe reluctantly so.  He is a Libran, but has four planets in Scorpio.  Six of his planets are in the Fixed signs, so he is more strongwilled than the average Libran.  Some added Scorpionic steel is present with a conjunction between the Sun and Pluto, Scorpio’s ruler.  The Moon was closely conjunct Chiron at Noon the day he was born (no birthtime available), which may account for his great protectiveness when it comes to his family.  Mercury squares his Jupiter, and he has a wide ranging knowledge and retention of facts, figures and statistics.

He was Shadow Business Secretary from 2011 to 2015.  On his appointment, Jupiter was conjunct his natal Chiron in Taurus (business); Pluto was sextile his natal Mercury in Scorpio.  He resigned when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader.  He has been an enthusiastic proponent of a second referendum, or People’s vote.  His transits this week show Pluto sextile his natal Venus (a new, deeper set of alliances), Neptune trine his Uranus (sensitive change), Neptune square his Neptune (some disorientation), and Saturn square his Pluto (you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs).

Joan Ryan

“The values that led me to join the Labour party are the same values that have led me to leave it today.”

Joan Ryan resigned from the Labour Party the day after the initial seven.  Joan is another Virgoan (that makes three so far).  She was the subject of an expenses scandal in 2007 and  lost her seat in 2010, but was re-elected in Enfield North in 2015.  Her transits when she decided to leave were: Saturn trine her Mercury (a serious decision), Saturn sextile her Saturn (taking back control), Neptune opposite her Sun (feeling a bit at sea), Neptune trine her Saturn (a balance between practicality and idealism).

The main uniting factors for these MPs are a dissatisfaction with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, favouring a People’s Vote on Brexit, and dismay in relation to the Party’s lack of satisfactory action on anti-semitism.

Anna Soubry

“The right wing, the hardline anti-EU awkward squad that have destroyed every leader for the last 40 years, are now running the Consdrvative party from top to toe”

It has often been stressed this week that the group that have come together have been like-minded friends for some time (probably since the Referendum).  Anna Soubry in particular is close to Chuka Umunna.  So it is now on to the Conservative wing of the group, and Anna more Tory than most, in that she waxed lyrical this week about George Osborne’s austerity policies.  She harks back to the grand old days (?) of the coalition, in which she played a part.  As soon as Theresa May was elected leader of the Conservative Party, she became a vociferous critic of her government, having been a passionate Remainer.

Anna is a colourful Sagittarian, with Mercury also in that sign, not afraid to speak her mind.  Half her planets are in Fire Signs.  She has the Critic Archetype in her birth chart, in the form of Mercury closely square Mars.  Like Chuka and Mike Gapes, she has the wide ranging mind of Mercury square (exact in her case) Jupiter, the type of mind that doesn’t like to be fenced in.  According to the Independent newspaper “she has a record of unusually free speech”.  She also has the Warrior Archetype, with Mars in Aries trine her North Node (karmic mission) and Mars opposite her ruling planet (Jupiter).

Soubry started her career as a journalist (a Sagittarian occupation).  She became an MP in 2010 (a relative latecomer, for this group).  Like Angela Smith, she has supported fracking.  Her transits on Wednesday were Uranus trine her natal Mercury (a surprise announcement), Neptune square her Sun (disorientation) and Neptune trine her Venus (relationships which are more in harmony with her spirit).

Sarah Wollaston

“The Prime Minister simply hasn’t delivered on the pledge she made on the steps of Downing street to tackle the burning injustices in our society.”

Sarah Wollaston, the second of the Tory three, is an Aquarian.  Sarah is an Ex-GP and an Ex-Brexiteer, but of the three smiling faces on Wednesday, hers was the broadest grin.  She is strongly Aquarian, having the Sun, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in that sign, so may be assumed to be forward thinking.  Her chart has a phenomenal 8 out of 10 planets in Fixed signs, so she is extremely strong willed and would not change her mind on a whim (though she has changed her profession and her stance on Brexit).  Like Anna Soubry, she became an MP in 2010.  Like Gavin Shuker, she has a go ahead Sun conjunction with Jupiter (the broad grin testifies).  The Sun exactly opposite Uranus depicts the Rebel Archetype.  In fact, she has an interesting match with Luciana in that her Sun conjuncts Venus in different signs (one at the end and the other at the beginning of the next sign) opposite Uranus in the same sign as the Sun.  Perhaps that (disruption in relationships) is one of the signatures for the group, as it is unusual.  She also has the Critic Archetype (Mercury conjunct Mars).

When she put herself forward as a candidate for Totnes she admitted she had no background in politics but did have “real life experience, approachability and enthusiasm”.  Since becoming an MP, she has voted against having a referendum in 2011.  She has voted in favour of suspending Universal Credit.  She voted to maintain the ban on hunting.  She warned David Cameron of the consequences of his policies on the N.H.S.  So not necessarily the average, toe the line Tory.  Her transits on Wednesday were:  Mars sextile her Venus (a great pleasure), and Uranus sextile her Uranus (the power of surprise) – hence the big grin.

Heidi Allen

“I can no longer represent a government and a party who can’t open their eyes to the suffering endured by the most vulnerable…”

Heidi Allen was bright and breezy on Andrew Marr’s couch this morning.  As the final of the eleven strong group, with Sun in Capricorn she does not fall into a pattern in terms of Sun signs.  Some of the group share aspects and characteristics, but we do have 3 Virgos out of the eleven.  Heidi has the Rebel Archetype, in Sun square Uranus.  She also has a very literary and futuristic conjunction of Mercury and Venus in Aquarius (she may write books in the future).  Jupiter trine Saturn provides a useful balance in her chart, especially for a Centrist.  And she has a very profound karmic mission to play out, with Neptune conjunct her North Node and Pluto sextile her North Node.

Heidi has a degree in Astrophysics from University College London.  She was inspired to become active in politics after seeing the Tottenham riots.  So having become an MP in 2015, she seems to be the newest to politics though not the youngest in the group (who are Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker).  In 2017 she stated that if Jacob Rees-Mogg became leader of the Conservative Party she would leave the Party.  She also spoke up in a parliamentary debate about having had to have an abortion on health grounds.

Her transits on leaving the Party and helping to form the new group were: Saturn sextile her Jupiter (a balanced decision), Mars opposite her Uranus (an expression of anger at desire for change, at the same time)

Reaction and conclusions

Many people believe that the Independents should submit themselves to by-elections, as they were elected under the banner of their respective parties.  That would certainly be a test of their mettle, and I think it is fair to ask that they do.  On Andrew Marr’s couch this morning, Luciana Berger said she had had a lot of enthusiastic feedback this week from her constituents, and still had the same values as when she increased her majority in 2017.

On the issue of anti-semitism, I feel that it is very much a question of the definition of the word, and there are many definitions and opinions.  I think some of the manifestations of anti-semitism which have offended some Jews are not regarded as anti-semitic by the leadership of the Labour Party, hence their denial.

The eleven are hoping that this is the beginning of a brave new politics. Luciana Berger mentioned this morning that tomorrow will be their first meeting.  They have angered the Parties they left behind, but at the same time many people wish them well and would like some sort of  new politics.

Forthcoming Transits to the chart of the Independence Group

The next few month do not look easy for this new birth.  Dates to watch:

3rd March 2019 – Jupiter in Sagittarius semi-sextiles its natal Pluto in Capricorn in 9th House – issues around power, for example choosing a leader

21st March 2019 – Neptune sextiles natal Venus in Capricorn in 9th House – some harmony

22nd/23rd March 2019 – Neptune sextiles natal Saturn in Capricorn in 9th House – ideals expressed and an attempt at practicality

18th March 2019 – Uranus semi-sextiles the natal Chiron in Aries in 11th House – a possible healing crisis

5/6th April 2019 – Chiron semi-sextiles the natal Mars in 12th House – a possible wound or defection

25th April 2019 – Uranus reaches the natal Mars in 12th House – sparks will fly!

19th May 2019 – Jupiter in Sagittarius quincunxes its natal North Node in Cancer in 3rd House – a karmic moment in terms of its stated aims and mission

15/17th July 2019 – Saturn retrogrades over the natal Venus/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn in 9th House – a firming up of resolve, or a disappointment; definition needed

13/14th August 2019 – Saturn retrogrades over the natal Midheaven in Capricorn in 9th House – more defining of aims and image needed, and possible talk about leadership


The pendulum has swung right back again this week, with a bare minimum in the way of aspects.

Make a note in your diary that Mars is sextile with the Sun on Thursday (28th).  This is a dynamic combination of ideas, and action.  A good day to formulate some policy if you have a new project, or are forming a new Party.  A good day for men, dogs and cars.  A concentration on the male side of life.

Friday (1st March) brings a square between Venus and Uranus, which is more tricky.  There may be sudden disagreements, or sudden defections from your new Party.  It is not an easy day for meetings (business or personal), though you may have to negotiate them if you have already planted them in your diary.  If so, be diplomatic, and use your intuition; try to see the overview of the situation.

In the afternoon, Venus enters Aquarius at 16.45 Hrs in the U.K.  If your meeting runs on, you may experience a slightly friendlier mood at that time, a shift in energy.  This may make a difference between arriving at a deal and not, though if you are negotiating a Brexit deal the effect may not be powerful enough.  Venus will be in Aquarius until 26th March, so for most of the month the general tone will be more affable.  Negotiations will be conducted more in the spirit of what is best for society.

The week in bullet points:

  • Thursday – dynamic
  • Friday – disruption in negotiations; later, more friendly