Edward Snowden receives support from NYT

(12 January 2014)  Things are looking up for the former NSA employee Edward Snowden. The ex-intelligence analyst received support from The New York Times as its editorial of January 1 called for clemency in his case in light of his contribution to the preservation of individual privacy in the internet age.  This week the EU Parliament asked Snowden to testify via video in its investigation into US surveillance practices.  Snowden has been a polarizing figure since he revealed the extent to which the NSA was spying on its own citizens without proper legal oversight or controls. 

Although he considers himself a whistle-blower of illegal government actions, Snowden has been a fugitive from the US justice system since his daring flight from his home in Hawaii back in May 2013.  The Obama administration and many officials on both sides of the political spectrum consider him a traitor for having leaked state secrets.  However, he has become something of a folk hero amongst both right leaning libertarians and left leaning progressives for unmasking the full extent to which citizens are subjected to illegal cyber-surveillance.  Over the course of the past months, each new revelation of unwarranted NSA intrusion into the private lives of citizens has gradually shifted public opinion towards the need for greater privacy and stricter oversight of the US security apparatus.  This, in turn, has boosted Snowden's reputation as a legitimate whistle-blower.

We can see how the motion of the planets reflect the recent improvement in Snowden's reputation.  As is often case, good things happen when Jupiter is in the mix.  On January 1, transiting Jupiter was located at 22 Gemini thus forming a very close trine (120 degree) aspect with the natal Moon at 19 Libra.  Jupiter symbolizes rewards, achievement and abundance while the Moon represents the emotional self and the public face. Snowden's Moon is situated in the 6th house of opponents and conflict, so this aspect from Jupiter to the 6th house Moon is a very nice representation of some kind public victory over opponents.  When you have members of both political parties calling for your imprisonment, it is usually good to have the influential New York Times on your side. 

The significance of the editorial is underlined by the unusually high number of planetary aspects to his Ascendant.  We can see that the Sun-Pluto conjunction at 17 Sagittarius sits almost exactly on his equal 8th house cusp (secrets, obstacles) while Mars is at 17 degrees of Taurus on the exact 5th house cusp (intelligence, authorship).  Together, this transit hits suggest some event that involves his secret or scandalous authorship.  These exact hits to his Ascendant are not completely free of tension, especially in light of the activation of the 8th house which can represent some difficult situations. I believe the 8th house is symbolically in keeping with the nature of the ongoing Snowden controversy and scandal.   But it is the presence of Jupiter's aspect to the Moon that brings everything together and produces a positive result for him.   The EU testimony request this past week not as a suspect but as an expert witness can be seen in a better light as Jupiter (20 Gemini) had moved even closer to its aspect to the Moon.  Suddenly, Edward Snowden is a respected authority on US surveillance for the rest of the world.

Snowden has a very appropriate horoscope for someone who earns his living with computers.  Mercury rises on the Ascendant and is in opposition aspect to Jupiter and Uranus in the 7th house.  Mercury represents intelligence and the rational mind and is closely identified with writing and analyzing.  Jupiter tends to enhance Mercury's intelligence while Uranus speeds up the mind and gives it a special affinity for innovation and novelty, particularly involving computers and science.  Mercury-Uranus aspects are often found in the charts of people who "think different". 

But in addition to his obvious computer skills and high intelligence, Snowden is skeptical about the intentions of authority and his government.  Where is this in the chart?  Part of it may come from the Uranus influence on Mercury and the Ascendant since the more problematic opposition aspect can sometimes indicate an innate sense of rebelliousness and the need for independence.  This aspect may make keeping quiet and simply "doing one's duty" more difficult. 

The other anti-authority impulse likely comes from the Sun-Mars-Rahu conjunction in Gemini in the 2nd house.   Any close aspect with Rahu tends to create "distortions" or instability in the planets affected.  Sun-Rahu people can therefore have problems with authority whether it be difficult relations with their fathers, with bosses, or indeed with their governments.  The additional presence of Mars in this conjunction makes his need for action and freedom that much more urgent and possibly impulsive.  Mars-Rahu people act quickly, often without thinking.  They are quite determined and focused in their actions but they may not necessarily think things out.  Many people wondered about Snowden's flight from the US in 2013 since he went first to Hong Kong, China and then Russia -- two countries who are on less than friendly terms with the US.  Potentially consorting with the enemy raised more questions about Snowden's intentions and made it easier for the "traitor" label to stick.  

We can also see that the Sun-Mars-Rahu conjunction is opposite Neptune.  This introduces an element of confusion and deception into his anti-authority stance.  There may be several ways of interpreting this, however.  It may represent his achievement as a whistle blower/advocate for privacy (Mars) who exposed (Rahu) government (Sun) secret spying (Neptune).  But less charitably, it may reveal something may be amiss in Snowden's own mental make-up since Neptune has a way of undermining the planets it aspects.  His motives may be more complex than we have been led to believe.  And even he may be confused about his ultimate goals and purpose.   Mars-Neptune aspects are commonly found in people who are deceitful or who are victimized by others who are deceitful.   The presence of the nodes Rahu and Ketu there only increase that potential for difficulty.  I would not make a value judgment on Snowden one way or the other since it is possible that the Neptune effect could reflect the fact that he may eventually be captured and tried for treason. That would be very much in keeping with the symbolism of Mars and Neptune, with a little bit of Rahu and the Sun thrown in.  The fact that his Moon is relatively strong and unafflicted in Libra suggests that he is sincere and perhaps less prone to some of those more negative Neptunian self-deception scenarios. 

Edward Snowden may come under renewed stress in the coming weeks, however.  While Jupiter will station at 16 Gemini which is in fairly close aspect to his Moon, on March 1 Mars will station quite close to his Saturn-Pluto conjunction in early Libra.  Transiting Rahu will also be very close by at 5 Libra in early March.  This Mars-Rahu conjunction is often found in situations that are high energy, high-stress and may require Snowden to think and act quickly.  Fortunately, his Saturn is exalted in Libra, so there is some chance he will be able to deal with the double assault from these transiting malefics.  However, transiting Saturn will be stationing in close square to his MC/IC (i.e. unequal 4th house cusp).  This is often a difficult pattern that characterizes situations where are aspirations are disappointed in some way.  It may also be linked to removals and relocation since the 4th house of home is involved.   Overall, the pattern does not look good for Snowden.  He may be put on the defensive in late February or early March.  Perhaps there will be new charges laid against him.  Or he will be forced to leave Russia.  It is hard to say.   At very least, there will likely be some important new developments in his life.

Financial Markets Update

Meanwhile, financial markets were mixed last week as the US jobs report showed a disappointing December data.  US markets were mostly flat while Indian stocks retreated modestly on inflation worries.  I had been fairly non-committal about the planets last week although the prominence of Saturn suggested that a gain was unlikely.

This week may revolve around the midweek Mars-Venus square aspect.  This looks like a fairly negative influence that could take stocks lower.  The early week Mercury-Rahu looks somewhat more positive, as does the late week Mercury-Uranus aspect.  The overall direction is therefore harder to say.