“To uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice…We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls – but our own “.

~ Mission statement of the “Louise Michel”

This week the artist Banksy privately funded a rescue boat to help save refugees in the Mediterranean. The boat is named the Louise Michel, and he has painted a mural on the side of a young girl holding a heart-shaped float.  The embryonic history of this new boat has already got off to a dramatic start.

Birth Chart

Looking at the birth chart of Banksy becomes an exercise in spotting Archetypes, which emerge very clearly.  His Sun is in creative Leo, and opposes Jupiter: there is more than a touch of rebellious humour in his work.

With the Sun exactly trine Neptune, he’s quite a spiritual person.  Mercury exactly square Mars produces the Critic Archetype (Craig Revel Horwood, the arch critic on Strictly Come Dancing has this aspect).

Uranus squares Mercury in his chart, so he is not afraid to be controversial: the Rebel Archetype (Stanley Kubrick, maker of controversial films, had this aspect, as has Chris Packham the environmentalist, who is currently campaigning against the HS2 railway among other things).

Mercury square Chiron makes him a problem solver, which shows some of the ingenuity about the way he works. Venus in Virgo means that he is perfectionistic about his art, and its exact square to Neptune produces art with a twist!  There are some charitable features about his artistic practices (Neptune represents charity).  In addition, Venus trines the North Node in his chart depicting a karmic mission as an Artist.

The Activist Archetype appears in his opposition between Mars and Uranus (Vanessa Redgrave has this opposition).  Mars conjunct Chiron in Aries is the Wounded Warrior Archetype (Benjamin Zephaniah also has this).

Jupiter sextiles Neptune in his chart, denoting a balanced relationship between religion and spirituality, and a charitable nature.   Jupiter also trines Pluto, a mark of  Power in a chart.  He has a long history of mocking centralized power.  Saturn square Pluto shows a difficult relationship with authority.  And Pluto square Nodal Axis shows the subversive karma element of his work, constantly challenging the current state of affairs.

Life and Work

Banksy has been operating as an undercover street artist since the 1990s.  This undercover element is also a feature of Pluto square his Nodal Axis.  He began in Bristol in the graffiti artist scene, and has developed a distinctive stencilling technique.  His works often appear unexpectedly on walls overnight, and he often uses political themes (he is anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-establishment).  Although he is anonymous, he is widely believed to be Robin Gunningham, born in 1973 in Bristol. He moved from Bristol to London around the year 2000.

His works now fetch record-breaking sums of money, but many have been lost or painted over, and he has painted on walls all over the world.  One of his biggest stunts was in October 2018 at Sotheby’s, when one of his paintings (Balloon Girl) shredded itself on being sold.  He subsequently explained how he had achieved this.  The transits for this stunt were:

Mars on his natal Jupiter (his Clown Archetype) in Aquarius; Jupiter trine his natal Mercury (pulling off a stunt at a sale); Saturn trine his Venus (goodbye to an artwork) and Pluto square his Uranus (destruction and anarchy).

The Louise Michel

The French patrol boat was originally commissioned in 1988, but was refitted this year for its current purpose of assisting refugees in the Mediterranean, and bought by Banksy.  Banksy had announced his intention to purchase such a vessel last year.  Its first mission in this role was on Thursday 27th August, so that will stand as its “birth chart”.  An exact trine between Venus (Art) and Neptune (the Sea) occurred that day, being a very idealistic aspect.  Mars was also still square Saturn that day, showing the struggle and strife which would inevitably be part of its history.  At noon on that day, the Moon was in Sagittarius at the powerful degree of the Galactic Centre.

It started by picking up 89 refugees that day.  Since then, the numbers on board rose to unmanageable levels (over 200), and some had to be transferred to other vehicles.  The boat is now itself asking for international help to manage those aboard and find them refuge.  This has re-ignited necessary conversations and negotiations by European countries on the issue of the sea migrants.

Banksy’s own transits for this new venture show Pluto exactly opposite Mercury: a profound (Pluto) relationship with a transport vehicle (Mercury), and Pluto exactly square Mars (in this act, he is literally going to war over the issue of migrants).  In the transits throughout his life, his Mars (Inner Warrior) in Aries is often highlighted in his actions and events, as being quite a force in his life and character.

European Responses to migrants

Italy have rescued 49 people of the most vulnerable from the Louise Michel.  The rest are awaiting to hear about their fate.

In the years since this exodus from African and Asian countries started, Greece and Italy have borne the brunt of the arrivals.  The United Kingdom was one of the countries reluctant to get involved, but this summer there have been many migrants from Calais crossing the English Channel.  Negotiations with France have been to some extent hampered by the breakdown of relations due to Brexit.

There is an interesting article this morning in the Observer about Angela Merkel, who famously opened her heart to the migrants in 2015, and struggled politically in her own country subsequently.  The article is written by Phililp Oltermann.  Between the years 2015 and 2019 1.7 million people applied for asylum in Germany.  Angela Merkel stated at the time of the original crisis: “Germany is a strong country.  The motive with which we approach these matters must be: we have already managed so much, we’ll manage this.”  There was a severe right wing backlash in her country, and her popularity plummeted.  Her expectation that the European nations would adopt a quota system didn’t happen.  The article informs us:

“Merkel never recanted her words of August 2015, as many even in her own party insisted she should. But she did ensure a situation like the one that followed won’t be repeated on German soil during her tenure.”

The article implies that Germany has managed by and large to integrate its new residents, and many found work, with over 10,000 learning German and attending universities.  Angela Merkel’s  popularity has also risen this year due to her handling of the pandemic.

The whole issue of the Mediterranean migrants and those trying to cross the English Channel is not going away,  and Banksy’s rescue mission seems to have highlighted the issue at this time.


Today’s first aspect is an uncompromisingly challenging one: Pluto opposing Venus.  All Venusian matters (love, relationships, art, music, gardening and money) are put under a thorough psychological searchlight.  You could hear (or utter) phrases such as “Are you absolutely sure?”, “Is it Art?”, “Can we go on like this?”, “Climate change is playing havoc with my gardening” and “Money’s too tight to mention”.

In the early evening there is another opposition: that of Neptune opposing Mercury.  Whereas the first opposition brings uncomfortable feelings, this opposition brings confusion in the mind.  There may be for instance a mental dilemma, or a demand for clarification.  It may be difficult to focus, if you are engaged in documentation work.  Journeys may be long and complicated.

Tuesday (1st September) brings much more mental harmony, with Mercury trine Pluto.  Some of the depth required on Sunday will be satisfied and some of the mental clarity will be revealed.  So if you have been treading water, you’ll meet your rescue vessel, so to speak.  That aspect is conducive to deep thought and psychological reflection, and earnest conversations.

There is a Full Moon at 10 degrees Pisces on Wednesday (2nd), early  in the morning.  It is an especially tender, sensitive and emotional Full Moon, so tears may flow.  Issues which may come up may be the plastic in the sea, or the fishing industry.  The Pisces Full Moon reminds us that we are all One.

Another opposition follows around lunchtime: that of Saturn opposing Venus.  This means having to let go in relationships or in finance.  We have a much loved pet who we currently realize is on his way to cat heaven, possibly this week.  We’ll be consulting the vet early in the week, after the bank holiday.  The message of the power of love may be more difficult to sustain in the face of testing under this aspect.  But the cure for the situation is even more love.

Just after lunch the Sun trines Uranus, and that may bring an unexpected rainbow after the rain of the previous aspect.  It may give you the go ahead to forge ahead with innovative plans and original creativity.

Thursday (3rd) is constructive, with Mercury trine Saturn.  This combines mental work with practicality, and brings focus and realism to the mental activities.  So it is a good day for making plans.  Serious conversations can also safely take place under this aspect.

You may find that you and/or others are letting your hair down on Friday (4th) with Venus squaring Mars loosening the inhibitions.  This square may also have a bearing on the battle of the sexes (within, or interpersonal).

On Friday evening, there is a convivial sextile between Mercury and Venus, so if you have some socially distanced socializing planned, that should be most harmonious.  Conversation will flow, and with much agreement between kindred spirits.  The other main strand of activity for this aspect is writing, so get down to your writing projects, be it a poem, a journal, or a novel.

The last astrological feature of the week is the entry of Mercury into Libra.  The start of September has seen the analytical and applied placing of Mercury in Virgo, which is very appropriate for the first week of the school term (very tricky under the conditions of this year).  Saturday (5th) brings a new mental focus on cultural themes, which could bring more pure enjoyment: art and music being fundamental areas for Libra, and decision-making (do we play Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia with or without the words, or not even at all, that is the question).  Mercury in Libra is slightly more relaxed than Mercury in Virgo.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – psychological searchlight on feelings; mental confusion
  • Tuesday – the rescue vessel arrives
  • Wednesday – emotional high tide; deflated feelings; an unexpected lift
  • Thursday – mentally constructive
  • Friday – loosened inhibitions; conviviality
  • Saturday – new mental focus on cultural themes