Mr Bates vs The Post Office

“When you watch a drama, you’re looking at the screen, and thinking…’Oh, poor me!  Poor me!  That could be me!”

~ Gwyneth Hughes, Scriptwriter

The programme aired at 9 pm on New Year’s Day, and ran for four consecutive days.  I cannot recall a time when a docu-drama has been so influential, and so immediately. It seemed to galvanize the whole population in outrage.  And yet, as we know, the story is decades-long.   I have a friend who left the Post Office twenty years ago, and he said it was common knowledge then, that the computer system Horizon, which caused the scandal of wrongly accused postmasters and postmistresses, was flawed.  The institution has been brought into disrepute (Pluto leaving Capricorn some Astrologers suggest, symbolic of crumbling institutions), and just yesterday a further scandal was brought to light about the Post Office underpaying taxes and overpaying bonuses.  Today’s blog is like a jigsaw with several pieces missing (birth dates which are not available).  If they ever do become available, I will happily fill in the gaps.

The Post Office

Transits to the chart of the Post Office at the time of the broadcasting of the first episode, are very interesting, and apt.  They show Jupiter exactly trine its Neptune, a transit occurring to the day – the Truth comes out.  Uranus is exactly square its Sun in Leo – shock and the demand for Change.  And finally, even more telling:  Pluto exactly square its natal Jupiter, abuse of power exposed.

Mr Bates vs the Post Office

Looking at the chart for the programme itself, the main indicator for the resounding success of the television programme is an exact trine from Jupiter on the cusp of the 9th House of Truth, to the Ascendant of the chart.  Jupiter had just turned Direct, empowering the principle of truth.  The blog reportage of the day was a square between Venus and Saturn (“…Maybe you have felt let down by someone or you disappointed yourself in some way.”)  The programme was addressing a very longstanding wound, connected with working conditions (Saturn was in the 6th House of the workplace).  Episode 1 was billed thus: “Mysterious financial losses lead the Post Office to sack and prosecute village sub-postmasters who have no way to prove their innocence.”

Alan Bates

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We have all been impressed by the man at the centre of attention in the story and its dramatisation: Alan Bates.  How he stood up to the Post Office and gathered other similarly wounded post office holders, and found footholds in the ever convoluted labyrinth of cover-ups and legal contortions, for decades.  His character came across as calm and strong.  He declined an O.B.E. in the face of one of the protagonists, Paula Vennells receiving and accepting a C.B.E.

Toby Jones

We have to content ourselves, for the time being, with the birth chart of the actor who portrayed Alan Bates in the drama, Toby Jones.  It is a well-known phenomenon that actors who portray iconic roles very often reflect those roles in their own birth charts.  Toby Jones certainly made a convincing job of this role.  Toby Jones is a seasoned actor, but his transits for the new year broadcast indicate a special recognition: Uranus conjunct his North Node, a sudden breakthrough, plus Uranus trine his natal Uranus, involved in a sudden breakthrough.  Notice his activist natal trine between his North Node (karmic mission) and Uranus (the Activist).  Another feature of interest is in his relationship with the Post Office.  Of 11 main interaspects between him and the Post Office, ten were squares! (i.e. detrimental), and of those four were exact.  This is so symbolic of the title of the drama he headed, “Mr Bates vs The Post Office”!

Jo Hamilton played by Monica Dolan

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I have to say that Monica Dolan’s portrayal of postmistress Jo Hamilton was one of the most compelling performances in the whole programme.  Jo had to work at a cleaning job to deal with a £36,000 deficit she was accused to have caused.  The actress was so totally believable, and the plight of the postmistress so moving, but also her subsequent courage in the face of The Post Office and the legal challenges very inspiring.  Sadly we do not have birth data for either of them.

Scriptwriter Gwyneth Hughes

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I think that even though the story itself has great poignancy and is highly distressing, the success of the programme owes a lot to the high accuracy of its production and script, and the emotional power of the scriptwriter, Gwyneth Hughes.  I would give it ten out of ten stars.  I cannot imagine the hours of painstaking detail that went into its writing, and the marvellously vivid production.  Not a line was wasted, or overdone.  Again, we have no birth date, but we do have the genius of her work to marvel at.


The manufacturer of the flawed computer system Horizon, Fujitsu, was founded on 20th June 1935.  In the drama, we are shown a scene where one of the subpostmasters Michael Rudkin visits its headquarters and observes at first hand the ability of the system to be directly manipulated, remotely altering subpostmasters’ financial figures. Key components of the chart for Fujitsu are placed in the Air signs, associated with technology.  The Sun is at the end of Gemini (science), and the Moon is in Aquarius (technology).  Chiron (the wounded healer, or is it in this case the wounding healer?) is also placed in Gemini.  So far the company has remained relatively unscathed, though the finger is rapidly being pointed towards it.  Fujitsu bosses will be questioned in the coming week at the enquiry into the post office scandal, which is now receiving widespread scrutiny.  Meanwhile, the government has been continuing to give Fujitsu contracts.  Fujitsu has enjoyed a cosy relationship with the Post Office (the Fujitsu Venus conjuncts Post Office’s Mercury; and Fujitsu Mars sextiles Post Office’s Mercury, Mercury being a key planet for the Post Office).  The transits for Fujitsu at the New Year were: Mars exactly opposite its Sun – a threat; and Neptune trine its Pluto – deep complexity.

Lord Arbuthnot – a Hero

Lord Arbuthnot was born under the sign of the Hero Archetype, Leo, with four planets in that sign.  He was a staunch supporter of the stricken postmasters for many years – I would say he acted as a rock, highlighting their case continually in parliament.  He took the fight first to the House of Commons, and then to the House of Lords.  His synastry with the Post Office shows his Mercury sextile the Post Office Chiron (an interest in its wound and healing); and his Pluto conjunct exactly with its Sun, showing his role in bringing it down.

Paula Vennells

Paula Vennells has been an easily identifiable villain in the scandal.  Although not present at the beginning of the subpostmasters’ woes, she was instrumental in the harsh treatment given by the Post Office, and prolonging the agony over a long period of years.  She was the chief executive officer of Post Office Limited from 2012 to 2019.  She has the Sun in Pisces exactly opposite Pluto, which can be a recipe for deception.  An interesting feature of her chart is Jupiter at the very beginning of, the essence of, Sagittarius.  This may point to an attitude of over-optimism that the whole thing would go away.  It also describes her secondary career as an Anglican priest.  Her synastric relationship with The Post Office is interestingly absolutely enmeshed: The Post Office Chiron squares her Venus, bringing her a wound (ultimately); the Post Office North Node (karma) sextiles her Mars (a dynamic role was handed to her); the Post Office Neptune (her natal ruler) sits on her Saturn, continuingly urging her to come clean, but her Saturn remained resistant.  The Nodal Axis of the Post Office squared her Saturn (karma eventually brought her down); her Uranus was on its Mercury (she had an unexpected effect on its affairs and practices), and finally her Neptune was on its Pluto (the deepest of reflections).  The transits for the programme, were Jupiter trine her natal Saturn (a final reckoning), and Saturn was opposite her natal Pluto (a personal nadir).  Eight days later, under immense public pressure, she handed back her CBE, with Mars trine her natal Pluto (life forced her hand), Saturn squared her Mars (relinquishing something important to her) and Saturn sextiled her natal Saturn (doing the right thing).

Ed Davey

The Lib Dem Leader, Ed Davey, has been unexpectedly caught up in the scandal, for refusing to meet representatives of the postmasters during his time as postal affairs minister between 2010 and 2012.  His transits early this year show Saturn sextile his natal Sun, a testing time; Neptune square his natal Jupiter, involvement in a scandal; but with Uranus trine his Uranus and Pluto, he should not be enormously impacted.

Nadhim Zhahawi

My eyes nearly popped out of my head, when I saw Nadhim Zhahawi, the former cabinet minister, making his acting debut playing himself, quizzing Paula Vennells at an enquiry, in a very robust manner.  He appears to be having some spare time on his hands since leaving office (!)  Will he make a new career out of it?  The planets are undecided: Saturn trined his natal Mercury (serious scrutiny); Neptune trined his natal Venus (a bit of cultural fun) and Chiron opposed his natal Mars (he feels the wound keenly).  He has since been pronouncing on the matter in parliament.

Honestly, I think I have taken up enough of your time today (notwithstanding the utmost importance of the issue), so will not go back to the involvement of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson…

But my heart, as with all hearts, is yearning for a speedy resolution to all the misery caused, compensation and absolution and the healing of such post-traumatic postal trauma.


The early hours of this morning saw Mercury enter Capricorn.  The mental mode of Capricorn is practicality, and systematic and methodical thinking. Mercury in Capricorn favours planning (so helps with planning events for next year. Official documentation may need to be worked on, forms to fill, authorities to interview, etc.  Mercury will be in Capricorn until 5th February.

For our delectation today, Venus trines the North Node.  This can make way for personal karmic breakthroughs (e.g. through forgiveness).  This links karma with harmony and love, and reminds us that love is a force underlying a great deal of human interaction.  In the words of Jo Cox  “we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”.  It also reminds us of the Hindu law of ahimsa, or harmlessness, required to neutralize and promote good karma.

Tuesday (16th) brings another congenial aspect, that of the Sun sextile Neptune.  This occurs in the early hours of the morning.  The saying goes that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but the Sun sextile Neptune gives you the best chance of creating beauty and inspiration in your life.  If spiritual harmony and creativity are some of the goals and aspirations you have for the start of the year, you can safely and profitably cultivate them on Tuesday.

The morning of Thursday (18th) brings another sextile, this time involving Mercury and Saturn.  Thoughts and feelings can be channelled and harnessed into constructive plans and ideas.  Mental foundations can be laid.  The aspect favours documentation and again knuckling down to form-filling etc.  Geminis and Virgos have the chance to regain their balance, if they need to.  You may use some of the inspiration gained on Tuesday to bring your ideas, creativity and impressions into reality.

Another happy aspect occurs in the morning of Friday (19th).  Make hay while the Sun shines, for this is the veritable aspect of good news itself.  This could bring productivity, and good conversation.  .  Mercury trine Jupiter expands our minds and philosophies.  This is an upbeat vibe mentally, and can bring opportunities.  It is also helpful for writing projects and studying, so you may make progress on that novel you’re writing, for instance!

But, don’t delay, for in the afternoon you could run into the effects of Neptune squaring Venus, and you may experience sensitivity around a relationship issue.  Sift out any paranoia, iron out artistic flaws, and financial insecurities. That may assist a smoother passage…and tread softly on the day,  lest you tread on your own dreams, or anyone else’s.  Be alert to any scams or deceptions, or negative examples of A.I., of which there seem to be many these days.

Lunchtime on Saturday (20th) there’s an aspect not to be trifled with (you’ll have to choose a different dessert!).  Pluto conjoins with the Sun, and there may be more drama to be played out today (hopefully in the favour of postmasters and postmistresses).  Today could be a profound wake-up call, both personally and collectively.  Practicing meditation and calming techniques would be a good way to proceed on the day as the deeper issues of life come up for assessment.  Any creativity will have depth to it, and you won’t be able to skim the surface of things. But you will emerge the richer for it.

Almost immediately after this (and the two influences may be combined), the Sun enters the sign of Aquarius.  It may point to the Sun/Pluto conjunction acting as a catharsis, to put the best complexion on it.  With the Sun in Aquarius, we are more open to embracing change,  as we emerge from the stiffness of winter, like snowdrops from the ground.  This has to be symbolic for the beginning of the astrological month, for the weather forecast promises icy conditions.  We still have a way to go before Spring, but are ready to look at different ways of being.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – practical mentality; helpful personal karma
  • Tuesday – spiritual harmony and creativity
  • Thursday – Mental foundations can be laid
  • Friday – good news; sensitivity around a relationship issue
  • Saturday – deep drama; a new broom