Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013; Saturn rules the Iron Lady

(12 April 2013)  Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minster, died last weekend at the age of 87.  She was the longest serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and was the first female to achieve that post.  While the "Iron Lady" may have been a highly divisive politician known for her uncompromising views and never backing down from a fight, Thatcher nonetheless pioneered radical reforms to deregulate the moribund British economy that helped to reverse years of economic stagnation and labour unrest. 

Not surprisingly, Thatcher's horoscope is very strong and reflects may of her well-known attributes.  Right off the bat, we can see that she was born with Saturn rising in Libra thus creating a powerful Sasa yoga.  Saturn is said to be exalted in Libra and here Saturn is just one degree away from 20 degrees, which is believed to be its most exalted degree where its most positive qualities are likely to manifest.  Saturn in the 1st house confers practicality and prudence and natives are often thinking ahead for ways to further advance their goals.  This placement tends to produce strong-willed people who are naturally given to commanding others.  This placement of Saturn in Libra also confers a significant amount of career success and public recognition.   The esteemed Indian astrologer B.V. Raman wrote that persons born with this yoga can be the head of a village or town or even a king, although their character may be questionable and may have a wicked disposition.  Certainly many on the left of the political spectrum would concur with Raman's remarks here, although there is an important exception here.  Raman himself suggested that if the person's Moon was strong, then the negative side of this Saturn-based yoga would be neutralized.  As it happens, this is indeed the case as Thatcher's Moon is strong and unafflicted in the sign of Leo in the 11th house. 

I would nonetheless point out that Thatcher's Saturn does have an important weakness: its dispositor Venus is closely aspected by malefic Rahu (North Lunar Node).   Thus, the Rahu influence runs through Venus and back into Saturn and thereby can be a way through which some of Saturn's more negative qualities can manifest.   Therefore, we can see that Thatcher may have exhbited a good amount of Saturn's cold and harsh approach to problems.  She likely favoured the strict orderly logic of numbers ahead of any consideration of the feelings or living situation of the people who suffered under her policies.  In this sense, Thatcher's Saturn is immensely powerful and capable of doing great things but this blemish to its dispositor -- the Moon notwithstanding -- is one reason why she was so unmoved by her many critics and the working people who protested against her rule.  Saturn steeled her resolve and perhaps also hardened her heart.

The Moon in Leo placed high up in the chart suggested she was a natural and gifted charismatic leader.  The Moon was ruler of the 10th house (status, career) as was placed in the 11th house of gains.  This is usually a very good placement for successful people as it means their wishes and desires are more likely to be fulfilled.  Moreover, the Moon was closely conjunct Neptune, the planet of ideals.  Thatcher was one of the few modern politicians who acted on philosophical principles rather than political expediency.  Her belief in the abstract principles of conservatism, individualism and the efficiencies of free market lay at the core of her mandate.  We can also wonder if her destiny as one of the world's most powerful leaders was due to the Moon's exact conjunction (just 12 arc minutes away) with the star Regulus at 6 degrees of sidereal Leo.  Regulus is one of the four "royal stars" ancient peoples traditionally associated with kingship.

One important aspect of Margaret Thatcher was her independent and contrarian nature.  She often delighted in taking unpopular positions and then trying to persuade others to come around to her view.  She adopted free market monetarist economic policy at a time when left-leaning Keynesianism was the fashion.  At the depths of the UK recession in 1980, she confronted opposition within her own party who wanted to back off her unpopular economic liberalization policies with her famous phrase that became a sort of motto: "You turn if you want to.  The lady's not for turning!"    This kind of maverick and contrarian nature is often found in the charts of people how have a prominent Rahu (North Lunar Node).   Rahu is the planet of radical freedom that is indifferent to social convention.  It can sometimes have disruptive effects as it induces a kind of restlessness.  In Thatcher's chart, we can see that Rahu is in a close aspect with Venus.  This is one of the better Rahu aspects actually that tends to have fewer negative effects.  It is associated with people who admire originality and creativity and who themselves may like to do things differently.  The key here is that Venus is the ruler of the 1st house (Libra) in the horoscope and hence the Rahu aspect to Venus is a way of distributing that independent and restless energy throughout her whole life.  The Rahu influence is the key to her natural streak of independence and rebelliousness.

Margaret Thatcher 13 October 1925 9.00 a.m. Grantham, England


Margaret Thatcher was also famous for her fierce determination in the face of opposition.   Part of this determination may be seen in her massively powerful Saturn.  Saturn is associated with planning, methodical application, and shrewdness, and these qualities would be heightened through its placement in the 1st house near the Ascendant.  But determination and ambition are more properly reflected by the 3rd house.  Thatcher's 3rd house is incredibly strong as Jupiter is in its own sign of Sagittarius sitting exactly atop the equal 3rd house cusp at 22 Sagittarius.  Jupiter is very much a benefic influence here and is one important factor for intensifying her drive to succeed, no matter what the odds.  The extreme confidence she exhibited in the Falklands' War ("Defeat -- I do not recognize the meaning of that word!")  can also be understood from this almost perfect Jupiter placement in the 3rd house of determined action.  The extra dimension here is that Jupiter receives an exact 60 degree/3rd house aspect from Saturn.  The Saturn aspect to Jupiter likely intensified her resolve to epic proportions and is one very important reason why she was called the "Iron Lady".  Through its aspect with Jupiter, Saturn made her tenancious and indefatigable.  The downside, of course, was an unwillingness and inability to compromise.  This inability to work with others would eventually cost her her job as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. 

We should also note some peculiarities of the chart.  It may seem a bit strange that such a widely recognized and indomitable leader should have both the Sun and Mars tucked away in the 12th house in Virgo.  Many textbooks talk about Sun and Mars in the 12th house as bad placements and not conducive for gaining recognition or acting in a leadership capacity.  While this may be true in some instances, I think the strength of Thatcher's Saturn and Moon more than compensate for any deficiency in her Sun and Mars.  More specifically, I think much of the typical escapist 12th house qualities of the Sun and Mars are significantly lessened because of the placement of Virgo's ruler Mercury in the 1st house with exalted Saturn.  Therefore, by virtue of the Sun and Mars disposited by that Mercury in the 1st house, the Sun and Mars do enjoy some beneficial 1st house effects.   In other words, Thatcher's Sun and Mars are not archetypal 12th house placements as they are powerfully boosted through dispositorship.  Mercury is arguably further leveraged since it is in close aspect with Neptune and Uranus, planets that are associated with creativity and innovation.  Given Mercury's somewhat pivotal position in the chart, it follows that planets in Mercury's signs such as Sun, Mars should benefit from its formidable energy.

In terms of timing, it is worth noting how the dasha periods may have reflected the events of her life.   She got married in 1951 and had her children (twins) in 1953 during the Sun dasha.  This may not seem like a very good fit as the Sun does not rule the 7th or 5th houses.  But at least we can say that the Sun is conjunct Mars, the ruler of the 7th house of marriage so that is one possible avenue to which that marriage energy can flow.  The Sun is also disposited by Mercury which is conjunct Saturn, the 5th lord of children. 

She was first elected to Parliament in October 1959 during the Moon dasha.  The Moon is extremely strong of course due to its proximity to the Midheaven (MC) or unequal 10th house cusp symbolizing status and achievement.  The Moon is the lord of 10th house and nicely placed in the 11th house of gains and wishes fulfilled.  And as I noted above, the Moon is exactly conjunct the star Regulus, a royal star closely connected with governing and leadership.  The Moon would seem to be a very appropriate dasha for her to begin her political career. 

Her leadership of the Conservative Party (1975) and her three terms as Prime Minister (1979-1990) all occurred during the Rahu period.   Rahu is also a powerful planet for Thatcher because it is placed in the 10th house of status.  While Rahu may be regarded as a natural malefic, it does very well in the upachaya or "growth" houses (3,6,10,11).  Rahu's natural tendency for insatiable grasping and restlessness is better suited to the areas represented by these houses.  These include determination (3rd house), defense and protection (6th), career and ambition (10th) and gains and income (11th).   And it probably helped her Rahu period that Rahu is in a close aspect with 1st lord Venus.   The dasha lord can often reap benefits from its association with benefic planets (e.g. Venus), even if the aspect is supposedly flowing the other way from Rahu to Venus.

Interesting, her fall from power in 1990 and subsequent retirement occurred under the Jupiter dasha.  Jupiter was a good planet for her in terms of the 3rd house and its qualities of courage and determination.  However, Jupiter was not closely connected with the 10th house.  Perhaps this absence of any clear connection with the house of status and achievement was one reason why Thatcher could not hold on to power during her otherwise positive Jupiter dasha.  Jupiter may also have sustained some damage from that exact Saturn aspect in the natal chart. 

Perhaps the astrological bottom line of Margaret Thatcher's chart is a reminder that all planets have the potential to be "good" or "bad".  It all comes down to their specific condition in the horoscope.  Saturn usually gets a bad rap as it is so often implicated in negative situations.  Saturn transits often bring hardship and loss, while natal Saturn aspects to the Moon and Venus often correspond with lives marked by loneliness, depression and lost love, to name a few.  And yet it is also very possible that a person can benefit enormously from Saturn if it is well-placed in the natal chart.  This is clearly the case with Margaret Thatcher who was born with Saturn rising on the horizon.  People born with Saturn rising are typically serious and methodical and often shrewd and ambitious.  But the extent they will be successful and happy in their lives depends on the condition of Saturn with respect to the zodiac signs and the other planets.  Thatcher was born with Saturn exactly conjunct its degree of highest exaltation in Libra.  Thus, her Saturn formed an enormously powerful Sasa yoga which would translate that methodical and prudent Saturn approach into great career success and a natural flair for leadership.  Much of Margaret Thatcher's success should therefore be understood in terms of her Saturn.  Rather than being a "bad" planet that oppressed or burdened her, Saturn was likely the single most important astrological factor for her historic success.