Benazir Bhutto and the Nuclear Axis

Dear Friend and Reader:

YESTERDAY’S assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the beloved former prime minister of Pakistan and candidate in next month’s general election, was not merely the martyring of yet another pro-democracy leader. It was not just the murder of a dynamic, articulate and intelligent woman in a region of the world where women are not regarded as people.

Rather, her murder pushes the world closer to a nuclear threshold, one where we get to start making conscious decisions if we want.

Pakistan, often spoken of as a key US ally, is the world’s most unstable and arguably most hostile nuclear-armed power. It’s the only nuclear-armed Islamic state, which is in an almost constant standoff with India. Many charts from today’s event point to the central theme involving a nuclear issue.

As reported in this space recently, we are currently in an extended phase of Aries Point events, described in the Dec. 21 edition of Planet Waves. This is a time when the news has profoundly personal implications. Mars is now retrograde in the earliest degrees of Cancer, and had recently opposed Jupiter in Capricorn (these planets directly aspect the Aries Point). We now have a picture of how this is raising issues of world security. It’s also opposite Pluto in late Sagittarius, and the Mars-Pluto opposition can be forceful, even fatal, if it is not handled carefully.

There are so many conflicts about the details of what happened Thursday that it’s not even clear what any of the salient facts are, except that there was a bomb blast in the vicinity of a Benazir Bhutto rally, and that shots were probably fired. The initial report by the Associated Press saidshe survived the incident, but a report followed soon after saying she had been killed.

After searching the Internet for hours, scanning about 58 pages of Google news returns, it appears impossible to determine a verifiable time of the shooting if there was one, or for the explosion, or even a death time (I have seen four different ones already). This is in an era when even disposable pens have digital clocks, and involving an incident where reporters for the Associated Press, the BBC and numerous news agency photographers were all eyewitnesses. Remember, digital cameras time stamp every photo. [Getty Images senior staff photographer John Moore, one of the witnesses, has described the scene in some detail in this report, but did not state a time.]

Benazir Bhutto was part of a political dynasty. Here she is with India’s foreign minister in 1972 in Simla, where her father, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, met India’s Indira Gandhi. Photo: AFP.

The most commonly stated death time and the one likely to be recorded in history is 6:16 pm local time, only because it appeared in The New York Times. That is the chart that we have used.

What is clear is that Bhutto, perhaps the most revered woman in the Islamic world, is widely believed to have been assassinated and probably was; that it happened in Pakistan on the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2007; and that it’s thrown the most dangerous nuclear-armed state into political and social turmoil.

We also know this is in a region where talk of nuclear war — with another country, Iran — has been in the news for well over a year. We know from listening to the rhetoric coming from the White House that the Bush administration has been looking for any excuse at all to go into Iran. It is not difficult to envision a scenario wherein Iran is somehow blamed for this assassination and thus established as a public enemy on a new level. We would be wise to recognize that if we happen to see it.

What is not speculative is that aspects for this day point directly to a chart called the Nuclear Axis. That is the horoscope of the first self-sustaining atomic reaction. [For background, check my coverage of this chart for]

To briefly sum up the Nuclear Axis, it’s the chart for the first time a nuclear reaction sustained itself in a laboratory. This was accomplished during the experiments that led to the first atomic bomb, as part of something called the Manhattan Project. This chart contains a collection of planets across early-to-mid Gemini and Sagittarius, hence it’s referred to as an ‘axis’. That chart includes Saturn at 8+ degrees of Gemini, the first of the four mutable signs.

When transiting planets make aspects to that axis (particularly from the mutable signs), there can be serious nuclear consequences. It does not happen every time, but then many very serious events involving nuclear weapons and nuclear power never make the news, being known only to government and industry. However, nuclear incidents happen often enough under transits to this chart that there is a clear pattern. The most significant was when transiting Saturn in Sagittarius made an opposition to Saturn in the nuclear axis chart. That was the Chernobyl incident in the Ukraine, the worst known nuclear meltdown in history.

When Pluto was on the axis in 1998 — also making an opposition to Saturn — India and Pakistan engaged in a tit-for-tat series of nuclear tests in their respective countries, effectively plunging the world into a new nuclear arms race.

Benazir Bhutto yesterday after she was assassinated on the cover of

It is therefore not comforting that today, Saturn was precisely square Saturn in the nuclear axis chart, something that happens every 14 or so years. Joining Saturn were three of the newer planets that together formed what is called a mutable grand cross or grand square — four planets at 90 degree angles to one another. In other words, Saturn in the Nuclear Axis chart was (and still is) taking transits from four directions, from all of the mutable signs.

The current aspects to Saturn are as precise as the right angles of a bookshelf — precise to less than one degree. Saturn is a significant planet in the Nuclear Axis chart because it represents solid matter, which was split into energy in order to release the power of the atom. In Gemini, it also stabilizes divisions of opinion and various other polarities. The aspects are as follows:

— Chaos, a slow-moving planet in our solar system slightly beyond Pluto, is exactly conjunct the Nuclear Axis Saturn in Gemini. Few astrologers use Chaos or have even heard of it, but as a slow-moving planet in the region of Pluto, it’s worth paying attention to.

— Saturn, currently in Virgo, is exactly square Nuclear Axis Saturn. It is square Saturn in the Chernobyl chart. Saturn is about structure, government, boundaries and time. In Virgo it represents basic intelligence; square itself, something is at a turning point.

— Pallas Athene, one of the first asteroids, with many themes involved in politics, is exactly opposite Nuclear Axis Saturn from Pisces. Pallas is about protection, strategy, law and government.

— Pholus, the second Centaur planet (a planet in Chiron’s group), is exactly opposite Saturn from Sagittarius. The energy of Pholus is like a rapid release of energy. In Sagittarius, we have this placed in a sign whose first keyword is ‘international’. And here, Pholus occupies what appears to be the crucial degree — opposite the Nuclear Axis Saturn. Remember that the key phrase for Pholus is, “Small cause, big effect.” So we need to watch this one carefully.

The problem with the nuclear crisis is that we forget that it exists. We forget we were raised in the nuclear shadow, and that the Doomsday Clock is currently set for five minutes till midnight. Perhaps you never saw Dr. Strangelove or The Atomic Cafe and were moved to the point of actually caring about this issue.

It may seem productive to push the nuclear crisis to the backs of our minds, and of our collective awareness. It may be easier to get through the day this way, and nobody will think you’re paranoid. But as long as we do that, we cannot work for a solution, nor will we be reminded of the insanity that has put the world where it is: in particular, the belief that the more weapons we have, the safer we will be. The less we think about it, the more likely we are to forget that we have some choice in the matter. The more we deny consciousness, the more intractable the nuclear situation will seem.

We’ll be more likely to forget that it was people who made the bomb, and people who are the only ones capable of getting rid of it. The Nuclear Axis does not predict disaster. The future is always different than the past, so at the least, it predicts that the discussion is up for grabs. It is very much up at the moment, and the governments of the world know this. World leaders are staring right at the crisis they know they have created.

Television screen-capture image of the first nuclear test performed by Pakistan, 28 May 1998. Photo Wikipedia.

Bhutto’s death will take on mythic status, as Neptune, Saturn and the Moon all sit at the top of her natal chart. We are about to witness something the likes of Princess Diana, but Islam-styled. With so many planets in her personal chart in positions of extreme popularity and public resonance, there will be a tremendous outpouring of grief. Pakistanis will see her as a martyr, the ideal and idealized leader that could have led their country into the 21st century with the destruction of extremism and restoration of democracy.

She is gone, but that opportunity is not over. Indeed, it may have just begun. It may seem impossible today as we watch the insanity spiral in the Middle East and the stupidity spiral wildly out of control in Washington, DC. Yet there will come a day when enough people get so sick of the constant horrors that they will stop. Stranger things have happened in the history of this planet, but few will be more welcome.

Until then, we simply must be vigilant. That is another word for aware; awareness is always our choice here. If you need an image to help you visualize how ending the nuclear arms race might begin, let’s borrow from Jonathan Schell, who wrote The Fate of the Earth.

The countries would start by disconnecting the warheads from the missiles and leaving on the floor of the silo. Then, eventually, they would move them to a separate building. Then, to a different facility. Eventually, the bomb delivery systems could be dismantled. It would go one step at a time.

As we will see in the next few days as the Aries Point works its strange wonders, a message will come through — a message that is very likely to make us want to make a conscious choice in the life or death matters of the world we have inherited.

Yours and truly,

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