Thatcher’s Legacy, Saturn and Iron

Saturday January 28th 2012
Thatcher: Saturn Rising

Recently, I asked a businesswoman friend, who was complaining about bankers’ bonuses, when she thought the rot had set in.

She answered with one word: “Thatcher.”

And she’s right, what we are experiencing now, financially and socially is the result of decisions that were taken back in the 1980s. The planet of consequences, Saturn, has made one complete loop of its cycle through the Zodiac and returned to where it was in the early 1980s, to Libra, the sign of justice and balance.

So it’s interesting that The Iron Lady, the biopic of that Libran Mrs Thatcher, who became Prime Minister in 1979 should be released now, and set us all thinking about her period in power.

Thatcher has Saturn Rising in Scorpio, one of the warrior signs. Scorpio is ruled by Mars the planet of iron. Her daughter Carol wrote this about her: “I always thought of Mum as being 100% cast-iron damage proof.” It was the Russians, apparently, who dubbed her the Iron Lady.

When Saturn conjuncted Thatcher’s Midheaven at 8 Virgo, she was elected Prime Minister.  It was the culmination of 30 years hard work. Saturn often brings great rewards and enormous responsibility when he crosses the MC, the angle of career and one’s public self.

As the lady said herself, “One’s life must matter.” Saturn on the MC asks us to make our lives matter; in her case to make a commitment to public life possibly at the expense of family. In the natal chart the MC is opposed to the house of home and family, so making those two parts of one’s life work together is a challenge for all of us.

When Saturn entered the sign of the scales in 1980, Thatcher was already the most hated prime minister of all time. Yet by the time Saturn left Libra 1983, she was (widely) adored and she won a resounding electoral victory.

What had happened to change her fortunes? The Falklands War. It was in some ways the perfect war: someone else started it, it was short, the objective was clear and victory was complete. Coming after the decade of decline that was Britain in the 1970s, it was a triumph and a symbol (for some) of Britannia getting back to her feet. That helped her popularity.

Thatcher, who has Mars, Sun and Mercury in Libra had spent those two two years, thanks to Saturn, getting even more steel in her already stiff backbone. Saturn favours the hard worker.

Her 1983 election victory cleared the way for her government to make sweeping economic and social reforms from which we are now suffering the results. The seeds of the extreme consumerism and unbridled capitalism were sown.

The deregulation of the City (London’s Wall Street) took place in October 1986, by which time Saturn had moved into expansive Sagittarius, where it was at 7°, exactly sextile the UK’s Libra Ascendant, which seems pivotal in the country’s economics. The Big Bang, as it was called, led directly to the swollen pay-packets of today’s “bankers”.


Thatcher destroyed the British mining industry,
but the miners and their families put up a hell of a fight.

And as the ruler of iron passed through Thatcher’s 12th, 1st and 2nd houses, it put  yet more steel in her backbone. The left side of the chart is the personal side. She became more and more rigid, more autocratic, finally an unrestrained bully. Thatcher’s downfall came soon after Saturn passed over her North Node, the point of destiny, and into her third house of neighbours, siblings, people very, very close to you. Thatcher was despatched with a knife in the back from her own cabinet colleagues, who realised that she had become calcified.

Saturn’s back in Libra now. When it went over the UK Ascendant at 7°, we got Chancellor George Osborne’s frightening first budget, so reminiscent of that 1981 Budget from Geoffrey Howe (also delivered with Saturn at 7° Libra), which, by the way, even Thatcher had to rein in in the end. (There is a scene about this in the film, although it must be hard to fathom if you don’t know the history.)
Looking back at her period in power now, it’s possible to see a bigger theme – and ironically (because she never identified with feminism at all and really did not have much time for women), it is a robustly feminist one. She was intent on dismantling and freeing up networks of male power – the union “closed shop”, the old boy network that ran the City, the nationalised industries run by the mediocre, the miners. Thatcher broke all of those open.

In her natal you can see this tendency to tear things down.

Saturn in Scorpio: you have to destroy in order to rebuild.
Pluto, the destroyer, in Cancer, the mother exactly opposite Jupiter in Capricorn, power structures. Her Pluto is 4° from an exact opposition to the UK Sun. According to rumour, the Queen really couldn’t bear her.
So it’s a bit depressing now to see that the Conservatives in power now far less diverse than they were 30 years ago. Not a single one who didn’t go to private school. While Labour was in government the Tory party was retaken by the toffs. She wouldn’t like that. Socially, we’re looking back behind from where we came.

Economically, we’re looking into a mysterious fog, as Neptune starts to envelop the UK’s natal Pluto, our power. (Last time that happened, of course, we came back fighting with a wonderful PR stunt called The Great Exhibition, a bit like the Silver Jubilee and hosting the Olympics, but that is another post.)

Canary Wharf now. The Docklands Development Corporation was a
Thatcher initiative that rebuilt a huge part of London’s
derelict East End. Now it’s the home of fat cat bankers.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t saturn also confer a restricted view point? Myopia ? The real paucity of her political vision is now obvious . A 30 year spree of irresponsibility and hedonism leading to disaster for many in the present and the for the young of today an impoverished future. Now we will have to do the hard work constructing this society that we should have done back then.It is now revealed that in reality she was a rod for our back.A consequence of our collective laziness.Initially she only got in because there was no opposition.

  2. Christina says:

    @Anon – She had a very narrow world view. And the fact that the gap between the rich have got so much richer and the middle has been so squeezed is certainly a direct result of Thatcher’s time.

    On the other hand, some of those things did have to go (in my opinion) – nationalised industries, closed shop, old boy networks – but the way it was done was no good, and what replaced them was often badly thought out.

    Don’t you think it’s almost always the lack of opposition that allows people in and then keeps them in power. Where the hell is opposition now?!!

  3. Julie says:

    She got in because the unions became greedy – it swung too far one way and then the other. I don’t mind nationalised industries as long as they’re properly regulated – hello Northern Rock, for a start! But I also remember the boom and bust years, and there being no jobs when I came out of college. People could sell off/buy their council houses, everyone became rich, or thought they could, but it was all built on a sham. Mrs ‘There is no such thing as society’ certainly dismantled it. Clause 28, Battle of the Beanfield and the right to free assembly. Awful, awful woman.

  4. […] Margaret Thatcher British Prime Minister (1979-1992) “The Iron Lady” More on her legacy and astrology here. […]