The Magical Tide Jewels of Japan

Wednesday March 16th 2011
One of Hiroshige’s Views of Mount Fuji

As a wedding gift, the dragon-king of the sea gave his human son-in-law two jewels – kanju and manju. He wanted to ensure the future prosperity of his semi-divine descendants.

Those jewels were not just decorative though. They had wonderful magic powers. One jewel made the tide come in and the other made it go out. Kanju ruled the ebb; manju the flow.

With the help of the tide jewels, the dragon-king’s son-in-law became very powerful, defeating his rivals with floods and waves. To control the seas was to rule the land of the rising sun.

The offspring of the human and the dragon-princess of the sea went on to found a dynasty that would rule for more than 2000 years. Today’s Emperor of Japan, Akihito, Emperor of Japan, has a little bit of sea-dragon’s blood running in his veins.

The Mikado, or Emperor, is the head of state, with no real powers, but, just like the Queen here in England, he represents something numinous, something indefinable, powerful and ancient. He is, in some sense, the incarnation of the nation itself. He is Japan. And so, that island nation, is partly the offspring of the dragon-princess of the sea – both immortal and mortal, both of the land and the sea, both eternal and ephemeral.

Much of the most beautiful Japanese art, poetry and stories is inspired by the sea.

Blue seas
Breaking waves, scent of rice wine
This moon

– Basho , 17th century

So it’s no surprise to find in the natal chart of Japan, Neptune, the sea god, and Saturn, the old earth god together at the Midheaven. Capricorn rises so Saturn rules the chart as befits an ancient nation. This is the image Japan shares with the world. Both planets are in Libra, the sign of peace.

This chart is courtesy of Marguerite dar Boggia at ISAR and is cast for Japanese independence in 1952. With a country as ancient as Japan, it’s impossible to have a real birth date, so I’ve gone for its most recent avatar. As you can see, it fits like a glove – and the transits for March 11 are remarkable.

Just briefly. These transits are all within one degree.

  • tr Uranus square the ascendant from the 4th house of nation or simply earth and coming up to a square of tr Pluto in the 1st. Also square the Moon on the Desc, which represents the people of Japan. This is an angry angle.
  • Saturn returned – a step change in the maturing of a country
  • tr Neptune conjunct North Node
  • tr Pluto opp Uranus activating the natal cardinal t-square between Saturn, Uranus and Mercury. This natal t-square is inherently dynamic and unstable because of Uranus and Mercury. If you add in Chiron in the 1st it becomes a Grand Cross. tr Pluto slots in to fill out the missing leg, creating a Grand Cross.
  • tr Pluto on midpoint of Chiron/Asc – a cruel wounding
  • tr Venus quincunx Uranus in 7th (her house) and Saturn in Libra (her sign) in 10th. She’s transiting the second house of money. Stockmarket jitters but ultimately OK.
  • tr Venus square natal Sun 2°. Is Japan worth what she seems?
  • tr Jupiter 2ª from natal Mercury in the 3rd house of air – an expansion of the idea of what it means to be neighbours?

What can you see?

With Pluto crossing the ascendant and going through the first house this decade, Japan was bound to transform. (Remember, last time Pluto was in this position, America was still a colony. This is a major transit.) Japan’s progressed moon [not shown here], which indicates an area of focus for the next two years, is in the natal 8th house, which belongs to Pluto and also indicates deep soul searching and transformation.

Unfortunately, Japan’s tense natal set up was hit exactly by the outer planets on March 11 just as Neptune hit the North Node. The country’s destiny will always be linked to the sea but this month that joint destiny reached a turning point. This transit happens – oh every 150 years or so – so again, it’s important.

[Japan’s progressed Venus is conjunct the progressed Sun at 5 Cancer in the 7th, so again, we come back to the sea. Also Sun-Venus conjunction is surely positive.]

The people of Japan have set an example to the rest of us: this is how to behave in a national crisis. Calmly, gracefully, humanely, practically. With natal Sun in Venus-ruled Taurus, Venus conjunct the IC and tr Venus in Aquarius at the MC of the earthquake chart (see this post), it fits.

The Dragon-King of the Sea gives
his son-in-law the tide jewels.

Despite the grief, horror and loss, this catastrophe may (eventually) have some long-term beneficial results for Japan, which has been terrible doldrums for about 18 years – the length of a nodal cycle.  That plus the Saturn Return, plus Pluto in the first says one thing: it is time for change. This is something the country can do. Taurus Sun can be a stick in the mud; that is the government, the rulers. Now they will be forced to change and it will benefit the country.

Unlike the government, the people are flexible, represented by Moon in Gemini – smart too. They will be able to adapt to the new Japan more easily than one might expect.

The Japanese people also have an instinctive connection with Mother Earth (Moon sextile Ceres, powerful in the 4th). The environmental movement there has a solid history and they were vocal objectors to nuclear power back in the 1960s when so many power stations were being built (under the Uranus-Pluto conjunction that dominated the decade).

I think Japan will look again to the sea for her power. From the sea  chaos has come, but also from the sea comes inspiration. Japan will find her tide jewels again.

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  1. Louise says:

    Checking with the Book of World Horoscopes, I looked at transits to all the charts offered for Japan, and the 1952 chart for Japan definitely seems to be the one most strongly triggered. The close conjunction of the secondary progressed Moon to Pluto in the 8th was very striking.
    The triggering of the Grand Cross by transiting Pluto/Saturn/Jupiter too.
    Still sending love, healing and prayers.

  2. Christina says:

    That’s very interesting Louise — thanks so much.

  3. REcent events in Japan affect those of us on the other side of the Rim so insidiously … and not so insidiously. The weather that charges down from Alaska starts over Japan!

    So, between the Chilean quake, the New Zealand event, and Japan’s recent disaster, we’re wondering what will happen here — and when. Of course, Californians are here for a reason: we are the idiots who build trails to the San Andreas epicenter, and went down to the cliffs to see what a tsunami would look like. (I resisted the urge, but many took their cameras, their kids, and so on.)

    Nailing the state’s date is fun. It’s interesting that it’s not attached to admission to the union.

    California constitution — signed at the afternoon session on the 13th of October 1849. Ratified by the people of California at an election held on November 13, 1849.

    New one ratified May 7, 1879 — designed to keep the railroads and large corps from totally dominating the political process & associated powers.

    Admitted to U.S. statehood in 1850, under same constitution, only with slavery (of men) abolished.

    Either October or November 1849 work for me.

    To be honest, I am thinking in several directions at once. The california economy — larger than that of many viable nations — is in such uproar right now, the culture is clashing like a heavy-metal drummer on speed between terrified rightists and terrified centrists looking lefter all the time, laws and civic protections are in the toilet — a major disaster, like a major earthquake popping loose the fourth side of the Pacific Rim could really take it down. Or bring it back to life.

    I’m wondering what the probabilities are. My own vision fails, and I don’t know what to prepare for: survival? departure? a struggle worth enduring? unapologetic flight? or something altogether different?