Germany welcomes Middle East refugees

(9 September 2015) As the European refugee crisis continues to dominate the headlines, Germany has emerged as the world's conscience in responding to the scenes of desperation played out in various locales.   The Merkel government has pledged to accept at least 500,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq as the flood of displaced persons from that war-ravaged region shows no signs of abating. 

The refugee crisis is still a divisive issue within the European Union as some countries have been more open to receiving refugees than others.  Even within Germany, significant parts of the population are skeptical about the ability of the country to absorb such a large number of newcomers who differ from natives in terms of language, religion and culture.  But for now, it seems most of the German people are welcoming the refugees with open arms in an inspiring display of their common humanity.

When this story first drew worldwide attention last week, I wasn't sure what the astrological angle might be.  As a general guide, I thought we should see Saturn and Rahu (North Lunar Node) prominent in some obvious way since these two planets symbolize foreigners and outsiders.  Saturn has the added meaning of dispossessed or poor people.  Amazingly, the different horoscopes for Germany do place these two planets front and center.    But there is more to this story than just refugees coming to Germany.  It is also that they are being warmly welcomed.  As it happens, we do see exactly that. 

If we use the 1871 chart (and yes, the 1990 re-unification chart shows a similar picture), we can see that transiting Saturn (5 Scorpio) exactly casts its full strength 3rd house aspect (i.e. sextile) to both Mercury (4 Scorpio) and the Sun (6 Scorpio).  Saturn transits tend to coincide with obstacles, stress and challenges and that is very much the case here.  Germany has never been particularly open to immigrants or refugees before so its current policy is very much a departure from the norm.  Saturn (= foreigners, outsiders) should be a seen as representing the national task of coping with the influx of these refugees.  Interestingly, the Sun rules the 4th house (Leo) which is represents the homeland and population.  The Saturn transit is highlighting the nature of the German people and the larger question of citizenship. 

As I have written about previously, Saturn has been especially powerful this summer due to its direct station on 2nd August at 4 Scorpio.  It has basically been sitting on or near that degree since June.  It's closer aspect to Mercury  in July may well have described the ongoing tension with the Greek bailout since Mercury symbolizes business and finance.  But now that Saturn has moved forward a bit, it is tightening its aspect with the Sun.  The Sun not only rules the 4th house of population but is also the planetary karaka for government.  We could say that Saturn is challenging the German government and its people to deal with this refugee situation.

Transiting Rahu (7 Virgo) is also right in the thick of it as it casts its 5th house aspect to the Sun within just one degree.  Rahu is the other planetary karaka for foreign-born people.  Therefore, both Saturn and Rahu are very prominent in this chart at the moment as they focus the attention of the government (Sun) and the people (4th house) on this situation.

Not surprisingly, a similar planetary signature is found in the current Venus-Ketu dasha period.  Venus is placed in the 9th house in Capricorn, a sign owned by Saturn, but more decisively, Ketu (17 Sagittarius) is in the 8th house in a conjunct with... Saturn.  As major dasha lord that lasts for 20 years, the Venus influence is largely a background influence so it is Ketu is more pertinent.  And this Ketu period is bound to be strongly influenced by Saturn through that conjunction -- in other words foreigners who have serious problems (8th house).    Natal Mars (13 Virgo) also aspects this natal Ketu by square so there will likely be some significant conflict and perhaps even violence during this Venus-Ketu period which runs until August 2016.  While the situation seems fairly stable now, the Mars influence here strongly indicates that the refugee policy will remain controversial within Germany.

But it is the planet Jupiter which rounds out the whole picture.  As a nation, Germany has lived in shame for its past actions in the 20th century.  This refugee crisis is an opportunity for partial redemption for its Nazi misdeeds and it is Jupiter which is providing the hopeful fuel for that opporutnity.  Jupiter (12 Leo) is currently transiting the 4th house in the natal chart.  As we know, Jupiter is the planet of expansion, hope and optimism.  It is a benefic influence that inclines people towards generosity and openness.  People (and countries) are more likely to take risks under Jupiter's influence (e.g. stocks rise when Jupiter is strong) because they have faith in a better future.  Since the 4th house represents the German people are as a whole, we can see how this Jupiter influence is one reason why they are rallying to this cause to welcome their fellow humans in need. 

Moreover, transiting Jupiter is closely aspecting both Saturn (!) and Ketu by its 120 degree 5th house aspect.   I would say that without this Jupiter influence, this refugee crisis would be playing out very differently in Germany.  We could see the influx of desperate people (Saturn, Rahu) but the public support for the government openness would be lacking.  The Jupiter influence to the 4th house and to the minor dasha lord Ketu and Saturn in the 8th house completely changes the situation from one of defensive caution where security or short term economic concerns are paramount to one of helping and sharing.  That impulse towards generosity is inherent in the symbolism of Jupiter. 

But how long will this generosity last?   Sad to say, I think the situation will become more difficult in the weeks and months ahead.  It's actually very much a mixed picture.  The good news is that Jupiter will remain in the 4th house for the next year or so.  This suggests that a good portion of the German public will continue to support the government's refugee resettlement efforts.  However, the Mars affliction to natal Ketu tells me there will be a signficant backlash in some parts of the country.  I think we could see some of this early enthusiasm fade by October after Jupiter makes its exact aspect with natal Ketu.  Then November looks more difficult with serious conflictual situations quite likely. Criticism of the government and opposition to the refugees is more likely then as transiting Mars conjoins its natal position in Virgo and thereby aspects Ketu, the minor dasha lord.  With that double dose of Mars operating at that time, unfortunately violence is a definite possibility.  Certainly, this refugee crisis will be a big test for Merkel's leadership in Germany and in turn for Germany's leadership in the EU.