The Astrology of the Arab Spring
Usually here on the PAB we cover American politics, but we endeavor to cover politics from all over the world, so we would be remiss not to investigate the astrology of events as consequential as the Arab Spring. I can’t say this will be an exhaustive astrological explanation for why it has occurred, but I’d like to highlight some astrological points of interest about this story, and as you might guess from the title, it involves eclipses and the planet of revolution and rebellion, Uranus. The Arab Spring has affected many countries, so in the interest of brevity, I will focus on the three countries that have been the most dramatically impacted: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Lunar Eclipse at 29 Gemini square Uranus at 26 Pisces on December 21st 2010, The Revolution Begins
With the light of a match, 26 year old Mohamed Bouazizi ignited himself on fire, as well as the fuse to the frustrations of the youth of Tunisia, which quickly spread across North Africa and the Middle East. Bouaziz was born on March 29th, 1984, in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, which is also where he set himself on fire at 11:30 am, December 17th, 2010. His suicidal protest against injustice (literally, the police stole his scales which he needed to sell vegetables) inspired demonstrations within hours of the event. He was born while Uranus was conjunct the South Node, close to a Uranus retrograde station. On the day he lit himself on fire, the Sun was square Uranus, while the Moon was 4 days away from being eclipsed, by which time the protests had swept the nation.
Tunisia’s Uranus Transit
Tunisia had been a French colony since 1883, and by 1907 they were getting pretty sick of it. Their gradual quest for independence was interrupted by WWII. After the war ended, it took a few years of increasing hostilities between the Tunisians against the French for France to finally relinquish its colony. On March 20th, 1956, Tunisia declared its independence as the Tunisian Republic. On that day, the Sun was at 29 Pisces, which at the end of 2010 and into 2011 was right where Uranus was transiting when the country erupted in revolt.
Solar Eclipse at 13 Capricorn square Saturn at 16 Libra on January 4th 2011, The Fall of Kings
On the very day of the solar eclipse, Mohamed Bouazizi died from his injuries, which kicked the protests into high gear. Understandably, since the eclipse occurred exactly on the degree of the Tunisian Republic’s Mars. Almost exactly one lunar month (28 days) after the lunar eclipse which started the protests, on January 14th 2011, Tunisian President Ben Ali resigned and fled the country. Tunisia’s neighbors took notice. Egypt was the next to spring.
Egypt’s Saturn Revolutions
Saturn in Libra (Oct.7, 1921-Dec.19, 1923/Apr.6-Sep.13, 1924)
Egypt had been a French and/or British colony since 1798, and it was getting pretty tired of European invaders, especially after the various indignities placed on them by the British during WWI. After the war, a delegation of Egyptian activists led by Zaad Saghlul formally requested independence from Britain. The British government, aware of the growing discontent and civil disobedience by the Egyptian people tried to avoid a revolution. They did this by doing the very thing that would cause a revolution: arrest Saghlul and his buddies. Immediately, violent protests broke out in March to April 1919, known as the First Revolution. The protests persisted until finally Britain granted Egypt conditional independence on February 28th 1922.
Saturn in Libra (Nov.20, 1950-Mar.7, 1951/Aug.13,1951-Oct.22, 1953)
About 30 years later (a Saturn cycle), WWII had just ended and Egypt was trying to dethrone King Farouk, to throw off the last shackles of British-backed authorities (again). British-backed Egyptian police began protecting Egyptian resistance fighters called the fedayeen. On January 25th 1952, after a particularly devastating attack by the fedayeen, the British tracked them down to Egyptian police barracks. The police refused to give up the fedayeen to the British. A British officer was killed by a fedayeen during negotiations, and the British retaliated with tanks, killing and wounding over a hundred police officers. Egypt exploded in revolt the next day, starting what was known as the Second Revolution and the Cairo Fire (arson was involved). January 25th would come to be celebrated as National Police Day to recognize the sacrifices of the police who stood up to the British. In another Saturn in Libra period in 2011, it was the date chosen to begin the protests against the Egyptian government in earnest, where the world would recognize the sacrifices of the people who stood up to the police. The protests finally led to a military coup staged by the Free Officers Movement on June 23rd 1952. Future Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assigned to announce the news of the revolution, beginning his career in Egyptian politics which would end in about 30 years. On June 18th 1953, the monarchy was abolished and Egypt declared itself as the Arab Republic of Egypt. On that day, the Sun was at 27 Gemini, which means that like Tunisia, Egypt experienced a Uranus transit to it’s Sun in early 2011 when protests erupted.
Saturn in Libra (Sep.21, 1980-Nov.29, 1982/May 6-Aug.24, 1983)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated on October 6th, 1981, after a fatwa was placed on him for his success in establishing peace between Egypt and Israel. It was an interesting reversal for Sadat, whose cause in the Second Revolution a Saturn return earlier was partly about blaming King Farouk for causing Egypt to lose in the war against Israel in 1948. He was a hero among Arab nations for launching several wars against Israel. A Saturn return later, and Sadat was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for his role in the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979. Hosni Mubarak succeeded him on October 14th 1981, whose rule would last for about, you guessed it, 30 years.
Saturn in Libra (Oct 29. 2009-Apr.7, 2010/Jul.21, 2010-Jan.1, 2012)
And that leads us to the present Saturn in Libra period where Egyptians protested for 18 days beginning on National Police Day, January 25th 2011, ending with President Mubarak’s resignation on February 11th 2011. Mubarak himself was very close to his own personal Uranus return. The government was dissolved and now the military is in control. As in the previous revolutions in Libra Saturn periods, there has been the sense that the people are fighting against some form of a foreign power, or an authority beholden to foreign interests. This isn’t an entirely baseless view since Mubarak did turn out to be a key strategic partner for the United States in the Middle East, and Egypt received more money from the United States than any country in the region. Based on past iterations of the cycle, I’d imagine that a new Egyptian entity will become formalized, one that will at least for now, aspire to a democracy. Only time will tell if Egyptian distrust of Israel will be a secondary concern to a democratic society, especially in about 30 years!
Libya’s Uranus Transit
Libya was an Italian colony from 1911 until the end of WWII, when Italy had to renounce its claim to various colonies as part of its peace treaty with the Allied powers. Libya was then divvied up between Britain and France, until finally Libya declared its independence as the United Kingdom of Libya on December 24th 1951. The Sun on that day was at 1 Capricorn, which means that just like Tunisia and Egypt, Libya too was very close to having a Uranus transit to its Sun when protests began in February 2011. Additionally, Gadhafi has been in power for 42 years, which is a Uranus half-return of Libya’s revolution on September 1st 1969. Things were just about to get more interesting for Libya however…
Full Moon at 28 Virgo square the Nodes/opposite Uranus at 0 Aries on March 19th 2011, UN/NATO Intervenes in Libya
Eclipse series are always spaced about 6 months apart, but I find that all the lunations that occur from eclipse to eclipse tend to punctuate developments in a narrative that starts at an eclipse. Of particular interest are the lunations that occur midway between the eclipses (when a new or full moon is square the Nodes). The lunation between the eclipse series in December 2010 and June 2011 was the full Moon at 28 Virgo on March 19th 2011. It was in fact on the very day of the full moon when American and European powers militarily intervened in Libya in compliance with a UN resolution to protect innocent civilians from being killed by the Libyan government. This eclipse hit the transits of Libya’s independence hard, particularly as Uranus closed in on its square to Libya’s Sun.
For the United States, it was an interesting reversal from just 8 years before (to the day!), when it invaded Iraq against international will. The human, political and financial cost of that war soured the public on the idea of humanitarian interventionism, not to mention the damage done to America’s image and relations abroad, particularly with France. 8 years is of course a cycle of Venus, which is purported to repair relations and redeem wrongs. It is interesting then, that 8 years after the Iraq invasion, the United States was a cooperative partner in an internationally sanctioned action of a humanitarian military mission, and France led the way! It is also somewhat ironic that historically, the French, British and Americans, have at times acted as and been perceived as oppressors in Africa and the Middle East, and now they are liberators of their former colonies which have turned into oppressors.
Solar Eclipse at 11 Gemini on June 1st 2011, Lunar Eclipse at 24 Sagittarius on June 15th 2011, Solar Eclipse at 9 Cancer on July 1st 2011
On May 30th, 2011, a day before the solar eclipse, media outlets reported that Libyan President Gadhafi is indicating his desire for a ceasefire. Almost like clockwork, stories about the situations in Libya and Egypt began appearing on news headlines after having not heard about them for a while. There have also been reports that Congress is considering invoking the War Powers Act against Obama for his military actions in Libya without congressional approval, which seems fairly relevant given the event of the midway lunation.
The only thing I can say for certain about what might happen is that eclipses always represent some logical development from the events of the previous eclipse series, as well as the midway lunation. In fact, I would speculate that the more relevant eclipse to this story is going to be the one that is still configured with Uranus and Saturn. In that case, the special eclipse to look out for is the solar eclipse at 9 Cancer on July 1st 2011, since it is more closely configured with Uranus at 4 Aries and Saturn at 10 Libra. By the time the next eclipse series rolls around this winter, the eclipses will not be forming aspects to Saturn or Uranus, so we might expect by that time, that the time for these dramatic upheavals in these countries will be over.