Greece: Archipelago of Dreams

Wednesday June 22nd 2011
The island of Santorini

“In tempi come questi, la fuga è l’unico mezzo che rimane per mantenersi vìvi e continuare a sognare.

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and continue dreaming.”

The Italian film Mediterraneo (1991), begins with this quotation from the work of the French thinker Henri Laborit. The main action of the movie takes place on a Greek island during World War II. A troupe of Italian soldiers is marooned there and they find themselves living in a beautiful bubble of peace and harmony in the midst of war.

The Greek islands have that effect on the rest of us. For so many of us, they mean escape.

Mamma Mia: the effect of Greece on foreigners is legendary.

In May we start arriving, the Germans and the Austrians, the Swedes, the odd Brit and the Danes; by June the beaches are covered with bodies the colour of toast. Then the charter flights come in to Kos, Mykonos or Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Agios Nikolaus, Kalata, bringing their loads of pale northerners here for two weeks of ouzo, olives and sun to return home brown (or hog pink), rested, revived and filled with the pure magical light of Greece.

How is it that, ravaged every summer by the depredations of mass tourism, Greece is still so very lovely? The hills smell of wild thyme, the sea is the colour of heaven and the lovely lisping language of Sappho (sort of) lilts on the soft Adriatic zephyr. Hellas – where Europe comes to dream.

Oh alas – thou art sick, sweet Greece. Here is the sea where myths were born and the mountains from which the gods look down; here modern nationalism claimed its first victory and Byron died; here islands fill every spring, summer, autumn with people on leave from real life, inhabiting the dream of Greece.

Knowingly or not, arguably perhaps, Greek ideas are at the core of Europe; at the centre of European identity.

Venus: born in Cyprus, imagined in Florence.
The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,—
Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.”
from a much longer poem by Lord Byron. He was writing about Greek independence but you could apply the setting sun image to the Greek economy.

Greece is much more than a country; it is an idea,  a dream. At the same time, of course, it is a real place, brought to its knees by bad governance. What is astrological story?

Transiting Pluto, the destroyer, as been conjuncting Greece’s natal Uranus-Neptune, romantic revolution. Greece’s battle to throw off the Ottoman yoke (1821-29)  ignited the imaginations of revolutionaries, artists, philosophers and even statesmen and women across Europe in the 19th century. There could be no stronger planetary signature for this than Uranus-Neptune (1 minute apart) in Capricorn, the sign of the big state (Ottoman empire). Here is our dream (Neptune) with the Sagittarius Moon applying and aspecting every other planet in the chart. (I wish I had a time for this chart.)

Please see my note for this
chart at the bottom of the page.

Transiting Uranus, revolution, is sitting on Greece’s natal Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, Chiron knot in early Aries. Greece was the first country to establish a nationalist government in the Balkans, hence the pioneering Aries.

I think you could say that the current Pluto-Uranus square is punching Greece straight in the chops. The Uranus-Pluto square hits this chart exactly – and the opposition from transiting Saturn, that caller-in of old debts, makes the energy even harsher. This square carries on and on what’s more. In 2015, Uranus will sit on Greece’s natal Saturn (which represents structure) and Pluto will square it.

This is very, very serious for Greece. And I think it will lead to a complete re-invention of the state, and the journey may be pretty rocky.

Greece’s finances have always been dodgy. Corruption is a serious, endemic problem. You can’t run a democracy effectively if the judiciary is corruptible. Greece’s Saturn needs a good shake up, so the astrological advice is go with change, initiate change, go with Uranus, because if you don’t Pluto will slap you in the face.

So where’s Venus? She is money in a national chart.

Natally she is squeezed between belligerent Mars and Pluto, which certainly speaks of skulduggery, especially in Pisces, which in its less wholesome manifestations is underhanded and has a real problem with boundaries. Whose money is it anyway? Is your money my money?

Of course, Venus and Pluto in Pisces also shows how Greece’s wealth comes from the sea: shipping and tourism. Pluto suggests the possibility of great wealth in fact. I think we’re seeing vast wealth concentrated in the hands of plutocrats who will fight to keep it.

Greece’s massive stellium starts in the collective soup of Pisces and bursts forth into the sign of beginnings, Aries. It’s as if the dreams that have been floating around in Pisces were made manifest in a surge of Aries energy, to use an image from another culture, it’s like the churning of the sea of milk at the beginning of the world in Hindu mythology or from Greek mythology, like the bull from the sea.

So how do the Greek chart and the EU chart match up?

Well hello there my little Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn (1 minute apart), fancy meeting you again. So you can see that Greece and the Union itself share the same ideals.They are ideals, of course, about governance. However, there the similarities between the charts end.

I have to confess that in principle I’m all in favour of a united Europe – but this chart is so sinister it makes me shudder. Look at that unaspected Sun in Scorpio; look at the Mars-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio opposing the poor Moon in Taurus (that’s the people of Europe, rooted in the soil). The power in the EU is hidden, shadowy and violent.

When the merde hit der Ventilator (as we like to say in Europe) back in 2008, the EU’s progressed Sun was at 23° Scorpio activating that nasty opposition. Progressed Mars was on the North Node, so there was a date with destiny. The pressure is still on that opposition because the progressed Sun has only moved about 4 degrees.

Believe it or not, the story this chart is telling us is: there’s more to come. Pluto has been hitting the EU Sun at 8° Scorpio, but from a teasing sextile position. This is the unraveling that we’re watching now. It’s like Pluto is a long crochet hook unpicking and unpicking. Uranus will zap that spot from the 9th house of foreigners in 2013.

Will the European dream be shattered when Pluto reaches 18 Capricorn hitting that Uranus-Neptune conjunction and squaring Venus in Libra (justice) and sextiling Mercury in Scorpio? That’s not for another few years, 2017, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Europa rides the bull from the
sea in a fresco from Pompeii.

One thing’s for sure though, Europe herself is eternal and the archipelago of dreams lives in all our imaginations forever.

As you probably know already, there are quite a few possible charts for Greece – see Nick Campion’s famous book. The most recent chart is the one for the republic, re-established in 1974, when the fascist generals were finally ousted and democracy established. This is the chart I would naturally turn to, but in the case of Greece, there is no doubt in my mind that the establishment of the nation in the 19th century is the birth of modern Greece. Then the question is, which date to choose? Unsurprisingly, modern Greece was born in a swirl of misty myth and there are quite a few dates to choose from, but we are dealing in stories here and the story of the revolution is that Archbishop Germanus blessed the Greek flag on 25 March, 1821 sparking the war of independence against the Ottomans. (When we cast the chart of the USA, we generally use 4 July, right. This is the same thing.) I think when you look at the transits you’ll agree that this is the chart. If anyone has an exact time, I’d like to know.)

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  1. KL says:

    This Greek chart catches the winds of change like a mainsail in a hurricane.

  2. Christina says:

    Doesn’t it just. No wonder the Greeks are being battered. It’s made worse by being so lopsided. There’s nothing holding the sail down when the storm gets up.

  3. Oh yes, I do remember that film that I saw many years ago…

    What to say… In a certain sense, Greece has always represented the place of the “origins”, where the “classical” civilization – of whom Italy is not at all son of but that undoubtedly represents one of its main roots though finally cut and denied – took its start…

    Well, in those days, I mean the Nineties, you could still think of refuging in Greece. Now consider what they did of Greece!

    What I mean is that “they” theft the dreams, they theft and finally cut off the origins, the roots…

  4. Christina says:

    Greece will come back stronger – in the end – like a rosebush that has been brutally pruned – but it’s not going to be pretty.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh that first time in Greece! The blue of the sea and the white of the houses; the light…

    My thoughts are with them during this crisis

  6. christinarodenbeck says:

    Yes – it’s thoroughly depressing and awful

  7. “Greece is much more than a country; it is an idea, a dream.” True… But remember how that film ended: They returned in Italy, hoping there things would have – finally! – start to change, only to come back in the Greek Isle after so many years: Nothing, absolutely nothing had changed!

    That film expressed a current state of feelings in the Italy of those years…
    To say what Italy has become today…

    I do not know if there will remain Greece, if it will there is no other choice: To return in that Isle, wherever it may be, Italy is a total mess, completely incapable of any change ever, capable only to make and remake the same old errors in a different sauce, to fight – and lose! – the battles of some else and of others…

  8. […] — Archipelago of Dreams — is a post I wrote about Greece in 2011. The chart I drew up puts transiting Uranus, the […]

  9. Thank you dear Christina for your sympathetic article on Greece! I like the metaphors in it! But I strongly oppose the idea that the NATIONAL horoscope of Greece stems out from the March 25, 1821 date. You see, the March 25, 1821 is the date when allegedly the Greek REVOLUTION against the Ottoman Turks was proclaimed. But even the date March 25 is a conventional one (on that date the Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated in Greece) and in reality the Greek revolution started a few days before! In any case this is “the Greek Revolution against the Turks chart” and not the NATAL CHART of Greece, not the NATIONAL HOROSCOPE of Modern Greece.

    As you may read below, the NATIONAL horoscope of Greece stems out of the date January 1st 1822 (OS), when that is the Greeks declared their INDEPENDENCE from the Ottoman Turks, who had militrarily occupied Greece for almost 400 years!

    You may read my relative article below:

    You may see also the entire article on the NATIONAL horoscope of Greece here:

    Thank you!

    • Christina says:

      And thank you Thomas.
      I see what you’re saying. And perhaps this chart of mine is better for the dream of Greece and yours is better for the Greek nation.