Britain and Iran

This week there was a marked escalation of tension in the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf involving a British oil tanker named Stena Impero being taken by Iran, seemingly in retaliation for the seizing of an Iranian vessel in Gibraltar on 4th July (for carrying oil assumed to be bound for Syria).  The validity of our action at that time has been questioned. A second tanker was stopped on Friday, but then allowed to continue.  But since Friday, diplomatic moves seem to have further deepened the crisis.

The trigger for the current crisis was our own action on 4th July, so in looking at transits for the U.K. on that date, we find  Jupiter closely conjunct the UK Sun in Sagittarius in the 7th House of direct relations.  This transit becomes exact on 29th July, so that may be a defining moment in relation to this issue or for this country generally (and again on 24th August).  Jupiter is usually a positive and expansive influence, but in this instance it may have the gung ho quality associated with this planet.  These dates may also be connected with our having a new ebullient Prime Minister, also descriptive of Jupiterian energy.

The other, more fitting transits for the oil tanker event are Saturn square the UK natal Saturn, and  the Nodal Axis square its Saturn (a serious karmic event, or even an error). These two transits suggest a very difficult atmosphere for diplomatic negotiations, like being held in a tight spot karmically.

The transits for Iran on the same date were Jupiter on its 5th House cusp trine its Ascendant in Leo; Jupiter square Iran’s Nodal Axis (in 1st/7th Houses, involving relationships directly), something karmic going down, or a karmic opportunity; and Saturn square Iran’s Pluto in 3rd House of Communication, something gravely serious being communicated, menacingly destructive or self-destructive; or it could be seen literally as the interception (Saturn) of transport (Pluto in the 3rd House of Transport).

How did all this start?

U.S and Donald Trump

It was recently reported that the former U.K. Ambassador in the U.S. (Sir Kim Darroch) in a leaked memo stated that Donald Trump dismantled the nuclear agreement with Iran because he wanted to spite Obama.  This was hardly a revelation, as we all knew Donald had set out to reverse every good thing Obama had done in his presidency.  We didn’t need a leak.

So Donald Trump reintroduced sanctions/tariffs on 8th May 2018 (which have had a crippling effect on the Iranian population), and the E.U. has been trying to stabilize the situation ever since.  At the time he took this action, Saturn was opposite his natal Mercury (not a great judgement call) and Uranus was trine his natal Ascendant (on cusp of 9th House of Foreign Lands) – he decided on shock tactics.  The transits for the Iran chart at the time were: Mars sextile its Mercury – alarm bells; Uranus square its Jupiter – infringement of its freedom; Saturn trine its Saturn – serious decisions; and Pluto sextile its Uranus – a strong arm being exerted.  Iran recently decided to start rebuilding its enriched uranium stocks.

Following Friday’s event Iran’s foreign minister tweeted that the UK “must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US” painting the chilling possibility that we are being used by the US if the implication is true.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, as our current serving Foreign Secretary, has been making all the right noises e.g. “We are not looking at military options. We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation.” But he may not even be in the post beyond this week, as it looks likely that Boris Johnson, and not he himself, will be Prime Minister by Tuesday’s deadline for the party leadership contest.  There is pressure on him to look statesmanlike at the moment, both as a Foreign Secretary and as a possible future Prime Minister.  There is a possibility however that Boris Johnson might keep him on at his post.

Hunt’s transits for the beginning of the current crisis on Friday shows up Saturn trine his natal North Node exactly to the day, so this is a karmic responsibility for him to measure up to, and definitely connected with the event as it was exact on the day.  Also Uranus exactly opposed his Venus, so  he was caught on the backfoot in diplomacy, and Pluto sextile his natal Chiron – strength under pressure.  It has been suggested that in its preoccupation with the Tory leadership contest the government has taken its eye off the ball regarding the Iranian situation, and maybe some of that criticism is being levelled at Jeremy Hunt himself.  These transits are similar to those of the conclusion of the leadership contest on Tuesday, and as we will see they are not as spectacular as Boris’ transits.

Boris Johnson

160.000 Conservative Party members (or their majority) seem set to vote in Boris Johnson as our next Prime Minister, despite the fact that he was a disaster as Foreign Secretary, and with his inept words has consigned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to an extended prison sentence in Iran.

The focus for Boris at this time is with the Tory leadership contest which wraps up on Tuesday, and here the stars are with him. Saturn from Capricorn in his natal 4th House of Home trines his natal Jupiter in Taurus in 8th House – could be a prestigious new House move (requiring apparently all new furniture, post divorce).  Uranus from Taurus in his 7th House trines his natal Uranus in Virgo in his 11th House – Successful realization of his long held dream and ambition.

Natally, Jupiter exactly opposite Neptune in his chart represents this blown up long cherished dream and ambition 8th/2nd House which may not turn out to be realistic, or all he wanted it to be (winning the contest has no bearing on what sort of Prime Minister he will be).  Saturn from Capricorn in his 4th House sextiles his natal Neptune in Scorpio in his 2nd House, helping a dream become practical reality.

Boris has a strong Winston Churchill Archetype which stirs him from deep within, but may discover that it is only an Archetype or a role, and that may not be enough, and that he does not have the substance underneath to back it up.  One shudders to think of his future gunboat diplomacies.  That Winston is his guiding light is shown by Winston’s Neptune (inspiration) being exactly sextile Boris’ Sun.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Her situation in Iran seemed to worsen and deteriorate further this week, when she was transferred to a Psychiatric Hospital with no contact available with her family.  This after a period of hunger strike.

One fears for her if Boris gets into power, governing the whole nation let alone just foreign policy.  Her current transits are: Uranus trine her natal Saturn (a change to her circumstances), Jupiter on her Neptune (which may drive her inwards psychologically), Jupiter sextile her natal Pluto (normally that would be strengthening, but it is not likely in this situation), and Saturn square her natal Pluto (more grief).  In other words, a mixed batch of influences.  It is difficult to know what is going on behind the closed doors of the Iranian Psychiatric prison/hospital.  But it is not likely to have its compensations (especially having no contact with family).  Unless they are preparing her for release, but at this moment they are using her as a valuable pawn.

Of course the current worsening of U.K./Iranian relations is not likely to make her situation any easier.

U.K./Iran Charts

The intrinsic relationship of the U.K. and Iran shows: the UK Venus trine Iran Mars, friendly enough!; UK Jupiter sextile Iran Saturn, again fairly balanced; but the UK Saturn conjunct Iran Pluto [a crucial and very difficult conjunction in their relationship].  I don’t usually take note of asteroids, but Pallas Athena is currently transiting that conjunction – she was a goddess who represented warfare and strategy as well as justice and fairness.

In other interaspects, the UK Uranus sextiles Iran’s Midheaven, and the UK Pluto also sextiles Iran’s Midheaven, a strong balance under normal conditions.  Our natal trine of Uranus and Pluto is one of our greatest strengths.  The UK Neptune sextiles Iran’s Pluto, and that too is  manageable; but the UK Pluto squares the Iranian Sun, which can occasionally set up a power struggle.  It may be that if it were not for the complicated situation with the U.S. relations would be more straightforward.  However we are caught up in wider conflicts, such as the nuclear power struggle in the Middle East, with Israel and the U.S. fearful of Iran’s nuclear status and ambitions.

We as a country are in a historic week in a state of flux, on the brink of a deadline to solve the Brexit riddle, and this current crisis just adds to the tension.  One question is, will our politicians swan off on their holidays abroad, or stay to try to solve our immense challenges?


Pluto opposing Venus is the first aspect today, which can symbolize brinkmanship in relationships, such as the current crisis between Britain and Iran. In negotiations, people may be using negative tactics such as project fear, or threats of no deal. If your struggles are in the realms of art or music, you may have to go back to the drawing board on a creative project, or fundamentally change the values behind what you are creating, taking them to a higher level or a deeper level psychologically.

Some of that tension might clear from lunchtime, with the clarity of a conjunction between the Sun and Mercury at 28 degrees Cancer.  Recognizing that people’s feelings and emotions must be part of the equation and honoured to an extent, may help matters.  In a negotiation, for instance, it is good that each party saves face, or there is an attempt at a win-win outcome.  You may find yourself switching tasks and applying and focussing to something easier and more rewarding, or looking at other relationships (there is an emphasis on the family, with the conjunction falling in the sign of Cancer).  So it may be refreshing to turn your attention to other preoccupations, and you may have a sudden revelation which may help the more problematic area(s).

The Sun enters Leo in the early hours of Tuesday (23rd), ushering in the month of hopeful hedonism.  Holiday plans beckon (except for politicians, who need to get on with the job!).  Even if you do not have definite holiday plans, you can look at the quality of life and living within your current horizons and means.  Inner enjoyment is just as important as outer enjoyment, if not more so.

Thursday (25th) brings us a delightful conjunction of Mercury and Venus at 26 degrees Cancer, conducive to the Arts, but also to diplomatic negotiation at a modest level.  I will be seeing Shakespeare plays in the York pop-up theatre, as I did last year, which is a suitably cultural activity for this conjunction.  That particular day I will be seeing “Twelfth Night”, one of the bard’s comedies, also reflecting the light hearted quality and possibilities of this conjunction.  The audience of his day may have found it a light relief from the gunboat diplomacies of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (being written way after the invasion of the Spanish Armada).  So get out and about, meet friends in coffee shops, or create something beautiful at home – Venus with Mercury is very conducive to story telling accompanied by illustration.

Emphasizing Thursday as a day of play, at lunchtime we have Mars trine Jupiter, which boosts energy and combines it with enthusiasm.  It is a day for your favourite activities.  If you are self-employed, give yourself the day off and pursue your hobbies.  Any sports will be heightened by this trine, for instance.  The aspects end on a high this week, so make the most of it!

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – major challenge; rewarding mental focus
  • Tuesday – hedonism beckons
  • Thursday – cultural delight; enjoyable activities