Ukraine protests oust President as planetary stations force the issue

(23 February 2014) Ukraine's ongoing violent protests against its authoritarian pro-Russian government came to an abrupt end this week as a defiant President Yanukovych escaped the chaos by helicopter.   A new unity government was sworn-in the next day.  After months of street battles and violence had destroyed Independence Square of Kiev, the end came more suddenly that most of the protesters could have hoped.  The victory of this so-called Ukrainian Revolution will likely once again orient the former Soviet Republic towards Europe and the EU.  Although freely elected, the previous government had become increasingly intolerant of criticism and free speech in recent years and had moved away from Europe and into closer alliance with Russia.  It is an open question if Ukraine's political system is pliable enough to handle the deeply-rooted divisions in the country as half want closer ties to Europe and half want to be closer to Russia. 

As an astrologer, I am naturally curious about how the current planets might have related to the natal chart of the Ukraine.  Certainly, there is an unusual amount of energy in the sky these days as we approach a rare quadruple station of Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter all within one week of each other.  A station occurs when planets change their apparent direction from our vantage point on Earth.  Stations are therefore marked by unusually low planetary velocity and for a day or two the planet does not appear to move at all.  It is completely stationary, hence the term, "station".  Planets become more powerful around these stations and usually correlate with significant situations and developments in the world. 

It seems that a good portion of this energy is restless and negative, however, as Ukraine has removed its sitting President, while Venezuela is also in the throes of violent civil unrest  around an upcoming election.  Violence is also increasing recently in Thailand where ongoing political protests against the government appears to be entering a new and deadlier stage. 

The Ukraine chart is one cast for the moment that Ukraine was declared independent as the USSR quickly collapsed in 1991.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how much instability and affliction there is in this chart.  The Jupiter-Uranus square aspect sets up on the 4th and 7th house cusps and thus directly aspects the all-important Ascendant.  Jupiter is benefic of course but Uranus is quite unsettling and when it is parked over an angle as it here, it can reflect situations of change and disruption of the status quo.  The Jupiter influence here may be one reason why there appears to be a happy ending of sorts and a cessation of violence.  And we can see that Uranus may have played a special role here because the Ukraine was "born" with Uranus rising.  This is a clue that any subsequent transit of Uranus to any of the angles (1st, 4th,7th, 10th cusps) would be more likely to coincide with major events that affect the nature of the nation as a whole.  Transiting Pluto exerts extra pressure on the Ascendant and suggests major transformational change, especially using coercive means.  Pluto is a background sort of influence due to its very slow motion but it is clearly part of the larger picture of change. 

We can get a glimpse of the level of suffering and dislocation from the protests from Saturn's approaching retrograde station at 29 degrees of sidereal Libra.  This is just three degrees short of a perfect forward square aspect to Mercury and Jupiter at 2 Leo.  Jupiter is the 1st house ruler (lagnesh) symbolizing the nation and Mercury is the ruler of the 10th house representing rulers and leaders.  This was not a good aspect for the incumbent government.  The extent of the sacrifice and suffering is also reflected in the closer square aspect between Saturn and the Moon.  The Moon symbolizes "the people" and the national mood.

Of course, the Sun is the planet that best typifies leaders and the head of state.  As it happens, it was under close affliction by transiting Ketu (6 Aries).  The South Lunar Node is usually malefic by transit and is especially antithetical to mundane affairs such as daily governance.  Ketu-Sun aspects are therefore usually bad news for sitting governments.  Yanukovych's bad luck here was that the Ketu-Sun aspect happened at the same time as all these other very stressful aspects.  One affliction to the Sun or to the Ascendant is rarely enough to force a regime change.  Even two such aspects from slow moving planets may only reflect a serious scandal or resignation.  But when there are four or five simultaneous afflictions to a national chart, you have to start to consider the possibility of a revolution in which the entire ruling party will be removed and major alliances will be redrawn.

The transit of Saturn into Scorpio next year will likely bring another round of pressure on any new government.  Saturn will square the Sun and Venus in in the spring of 2015 so it is possible that the government will undergo another major change.  Transiting Rahu will conjoin the 10th house cusp at this time so that is confirmatory evidence that the new Ukranian government will likely be forced out.  A more optimistic reading of these planets would be that the interim government is simply replaced by an elected government sometime in the first half of 2015.  However, the precariousness of the situation and the malefic nature of the planets involved suggests that is not a probable scenario. 

Financial markets update

Financial markets were mixed last week as winter weather made interpreting the weak US economic data more difficult.  US stocks held mostly steady while Indian shares rose smartly.  Crude oil and gold also moved higher.  We did get some weakness midweek around the Moon-Mars conjunction as US stocks pulled back on Wednesday.  But it seems the market is still being fueled by the Jupiter-Uranus square aspect.  This is a bullish pairing and when both planets are moving more slowly than normal as is the case now, there is a greater probability for markets to rise. 

This week could see some troubles around the Venus-Saturn aspect early in the week.  However, the ongoing Jupiter-Uranus aspect offers hope for a rebound, especially later in the week when the Sun aligns with Jupiter.  The larger question is whether this rare series of four planetary stations over the next week will coincide with any major trend reversals.  There are no hard and fast rules in this regard, although some telling correspondences have been observed.  Most recently, the Venus direct station on February 1st coincided with a significant interim low in most global markets.