Olympics: Looking Backward To See Forward
What with all those shiny bodies flinging themselves around giant stadiums filled with cheering crowds – the marching, the uniforms, the survival of the fittest, the faux-historical ceremonies – there’s always been more than a touch of fascism about the Olympics.
|Jesse Owens going for gold in 1936.|
The Olympic ideal is young, strong, shiny, people only: “may the best man or woman win”, pure sport: perfection. There is beauty in sport. The beauty seduces us. Just look at Leni Riefenstahl’s masterpiece, Olympiad, still probably the greatest visual celebration of male beauty ever filmed. That was the 1936 Games. How seductive the images are – and yet it was a piece of Nazi propaganda.
Last time fascism was fashionable Uranus was in Aries (where it is now) and Pluto was in Cancer (opposite its current position). The planets were in square aspect in the early 1930s, just as they are today, and so prominently in the Olympic chart.
From the lighting of the torch by pretend priestesses to the ever-increasing pomposity of the opening ceremony, you have to ask yourself what the iconography of the Olympics is telling us, or selling us.
Back in the fascist 1930s, planet fashion, Neptune, was in the sign of health, Virgo – that’s in opposition to where it is now, Pisces. One of the qualities these two signs share is perfectionism. Virgo seeks to perfect the real world, to clean out anything that does not conform to its ideals. You can see how taken to an extreme, Neptune in Virgo might put to death anyone with the wrong shaped nose.
Neptune in Pisces also yearns for perfection, the ideal. But Pisces is a water sign, and the final sign of the Zodiac. That perfection sometimes means a union with God, the numinous. The dissolution of the self. (What a contrast to Uranus in Aries.) So fashion today must be veering towards a kind of self-annihilation – how this will work out, I’m not prepared to predict. I leave it to you to imagine (Neptune in Pisces).
And there is no doubt that the organisers of each Olympics are perfectly aware that the Games offer an opportunity to create a series of images that embed themselves in the public imagination. And perhaps none more consciously than this Olympics with Neptune and Uranus in the 12th house of dreams.
Here is a chart for these Olympics. The opening ceremony begins at 9pm, but the games do not officially start until the cauldron is lit by the Olympic flame. This is scheduled to take place at the climax of the ceremony, which finishes around 11pm. No matter how you slice it, Pluto dominates this extraordinary chart.
Pluto in Capricorn is the heavy hand of corporations. And these last few weeks the games have been dogged by complaints about the extraordinary lengths the sponsors are taking to stamp out any trace of other companies. For example, one of our local schools is participating in the opening ceremony, but woe betide any child who turns up wearing anything other than Adidas on her feet.
This Plutonic influence is emphasised by the Moon in Pluto’s own sign Scorpio and possibly just in Pluto’s own house, the 8th. There’s a darkness to these Games. Expect competition to be fierce, and policing like a hammer.
Pluto also stands for state security. There have been major problems with the hefty security involved with such a huge event. You’d expect this with a square from agitating Uranus to Pluto. But Pluto does tend to out-punch Uranus, and now the military have been roped in, and the private company pushed out. This is probably all to the good, because there could be problems.
Pluto at the top of the chart is certainly going to attempt to purge any corruption – that is drugs, ticket-touts or the Olympic committee itself. The transformation may be the way the organisers “do” the games: we shall have to see.
The other looming issue is strike action. It’s already scheduled for the day preceding the Olympics – and it’s by the people who are supposed to be protecting our borders. This is tremendously Uranian: disruptive but not constructive.
You can expect flashes of disruption throughout the Games. The general public feels rather disgruntled. Tickets went to corporations first (Pluto again), and we feel left out. Mercury is retrograding all through these Olympics, so again there could well be problems with communications and transport.
I’m hoping that Uranus in Aries Rising (the sign of competition and sports par excellence) bodes well for record-breaking personal bests. Uranus in Aries is, after all the triumph of the individual. It is stealing fire. It is glory. I think the athletes, despite the dreary hand of Pluto, may well explode into our imaginations (12th House).
|Nadia Comaneci: the first gymnast to score a perfect 10|
Uranus opposes Mars in Libra, a poor placement for the athlete’s planet, but good for sports that need pairs – doubles tennis, sculls, some gymnastics, and also for sports that see single combat – boxing, judo, tennis, fencing. (In fact, I wonder if there are any tickets for fencing left?) That combines with the planet of luck, Jupiter, in Gemini (also a doubles sign).
Great Britain, in the form of Britannia herself (Pallas Athena) is rising in this chart, so for sure the organisers aim to publicise UK plc will work. But is all publicity good publicity? As well as conjuncting Uranus, Pallas sends a lovely trine to the Sun, in the 5th house of games, so I feel perhaps we’ll come through well. You can see that Uranus, Pluto and Neptune are all making eyes at that flamboyant Leo Sun. The 5th, by the way, is the house where the Sun shines best. Britannia is at her most endearing when she’s being eccentric, and London, the rather dog-eared peacock feather in her cap truly is a place of marvels.
It won’t be filled with tourists, but it will be filled with TV cameras, showing the world just how brilliant this city is; a place where nation already speaks unto nation every day in the queue for the tube, at the corner shop and down the Holloway Road. London, at her best, truly is the city of the future when it comes to people not just living side by side in a grumpy but genuine harmony, but getting together and making babies with every race, creed and craziness all mixed up together. How Uranian is that.
Pluto back in the fascist 1930s was in Cancer, the sign of motherland (or fatherland), nationalism; today it’s in Capricorn, the sign of supranational organisations – which has its creepy side – but also of international co-operation.
Undoubtedly the overall feel of this chart makes me uneasy. The lid (Pluto) is screwed down tight, containing a lot of explosive energy. If that energy can be channelled into sport, then we should be fine.
But there’s something about the London 2012 Olympics that’s a game changer. It’s as if the Olympics reach a moment with these Games when they have to renew themselves or die, transform themselves or be finished. One noticeable difference already is the foregrounding of the Paralympics (Chiron-Neptune sextile Pluto).