UK Election: Nigel Farage
I wrote this piece originally for March edition of The Astrological Journal.
Like a certain Transylvanian immigrant, Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, has a habit of rising from the dead. Just when his enemies think it’s all over, there he is again climbing out of his coffin with a Rothman’s in one hand and a pint of beer in the other.
He has almost died twice – for real. He also reinvented his career at least three times, and not so long ago it looked like UKIP was all washed up. Now, of course, like Dracula himself, Farage strikes fear into the breast of the British Establishment; Tories in the shires turn pale at the mention of his name.
This should come as no surprise to astrologers: he has Pluto, Lord of Hell and patron of the undead, on his Ascendant.* It would be unwise to ever discount Nigel Farage, unless you personally have driven a stake through his heart.
Farage’s first recorded brush with death was age 21. He was hit by a van on the way home from the pub and spent a year in a half cast.
After he recovered from that, he was diagnosed with cancer, and had a testicle removed. Nevertheless, by the age of 24 he was a father. How’s that for coming back from the brink?
Then, on Election Day 2010, he almost died when his light aircraft (trailing a “Vote UKIP” banner) flipped upside down and crashed into a field. He was left with broken ribs, a cracked sternum and a coating of fuel oil, which, luckily for him, failed to catch fire. Oh, and later the pilot of the plane threatened to kill him all over again.
Saturn is the planet that rules bones, and Farage has this natally in his 6th house of health opposite to Uranus (surprise!) in the 12th house of hospitals. So maybe it’s no surprise that he has spent time in hospital because of broken bones. Each time this happened under a Chiron transit to Saturn: the first was a square and the second a conjunction. In both accidents Farage landed on his head, and you can see that Mars, which rules the head, is at an awkward but close angle to both Saturn and Uranus, so each Chiron transit would also contact Mars.]
The essential Farage is quite simple in some ways. Using the most straightforward astrology, we can see that he is a gambler and a risk-taker (Moon in Sagittarius, Sun in Aries). Life is a competition (Sun in Aries). And he is a critic (Virgo Rising).
The media narrative around Farage for many years was that he was a fool, a court jester, a clown. This is the Midheaven in Gemini, of course. In this chart, the sign of the twins is ruled by Mercury in Taurus. Farage has a good speaking voice – often a gift of Mercury in Taurus –– and he also has Venus in Taurus close to the MC, which would contribute to this, too. Farage is much better on radio than television. Mercury and Venus are in the 9th house of broadcasting. His is also the voice of “common-sense”, he is “down to earth”, both descriptions of Taurus.
This earthy Mercury is at an exact trine to the minor planet Ceres in Capricorn conjunct the South Node. Ceres often seems to be associated with patriotism, a love of the land itself, and associated with the South Node, this is a well-spring for Farage. Now there is a stellium here that involves the Moon. One suspects that Farage has a deep emotional attachment to the country, which is what motivates him to speak out. Farage also lives just a few doors away from his mother in the beautiful commuter village of Downe in Kent: Moon in the fourth. You can cut this paragraph
The Moon in garrulous Sagittarius trines Jupiter in Aries. He’s comfortable lecturing, but he finds it hard to shut up. Expansive Jupiter in aggressive Aries is in an out-of-sign conjunction with Mercury. Farage is totally in his comfort zone engaging in verbal fisticuffs. It brings out the gambling, sportif Sagittarian Moon. It’s a game, but with serious intention. One of his books is called Fighting Bull, rather appropriate for that Jupiter-Mercury conjunction across Aries-Taurus.
The combination of Gemini on the MC and Virgo Rising gives a talent for words but also for observation. One of Farage’s jobs, as he sees it, is to report back to the people the truth about EU corruption and the navel-gazing political class. But the reverse is also true, he believes he is reporting the real feelings of ordinary people back to the politicians. This is Pluto on the Ascendant, speaking truth to power.
Of course, Uranus, the planet of disruption has been transiting through Aries in the past few years – hitting Farage’s Mars in 2011 and now his Sun.
Specifically, Uranus conjuncted Farage’s Sun in April and October last year and will do so again in February. Uranus is Farage’s friend. It rules his 6th house, so it’s his job to shake things up, and he’s been rewarded for doing that so diligently since becoming a euro-MP in 1999, when Uranus, by transit, moved into that house to take up residence for a while. Since Uranus contacted Farage’s Mars and Sun, his power and profile have radically shifted gear. Of course, at the same time, transiting Pluto has been trining its natal position on his Ascendant and squaring that Sun. His rise has been nuclear powered, but Pluto made its last exact trine in December and won’t be coming back.
Now Farage has another interesting transit going on – a Chiron Return, which is almost exact as I write. This week he went on the wagon. I’d lay money that drinking is a serious problem for him. This would be in the tradition of politicians with the gift of the gab – Charlie Kennedy, Churchill. There are just too many pictures of him clutching a pint, and I’ve spoken to people who’ve met him at 11am already the worse for wear. Not everyone with Chiron in the sign of boozing, Pisces, with an exact trine from Pisces ruler Neptune is going to have a problem with drink or drugs, of course. Throw in an opposition from Pluto, though…
Come to think of it, Neptune in the third house of communications also contributes to his fluency of speech and his ability to articulate the popular mood. Neptune is a planet that rules the collective unconscious, fashion, trends and Neptune is coming closer and closer to Farage’s Descendant. Will he go in or out of fashion? It certainly looks like the right time to dry out.
Natally, Chiron sits in his 7th house of enemies and friends directly opposite to Pluto. He is an avatar of Chiron, the maverick and the outsider. For his followers, he represents the ordinary bloke martyred on the cross of bureaucracy, fighting a one-man battle for common sense. He is outside the establishment, outside the political class. For his enemies, he is jack-booted Pluto, a fascist, a racist.
An opposition across houses 1/7 involving Pluto can make you a target. It can also mean you court that from other people.
Chiron’s position does suggest a sacrifice. Farage’s hero is Enoch Powell, whose famous “rivers of blood” speech ended his own, until then, high-flying career, and turned him into a pariah. Powell is seen as a martyr still by the far right. Interestingly his Chiron is at 11° Pisces, close to Farage’s, his MC is at 22° Scorpio conjunct Farage’s idealizing Neptune, and his Saturn is at 27° Taurus, a couple of degrees from Farage’s Venus and MC. Powell may have been a kind of idealized Daddy figure for Farage, much more stable than his own father, who was stolen by the demon drink when Nigel was five (look at the Saturn in Pisces). One may only speculate of course.
But it’s not unrelated that Farage has taken Powell’s outcast ideology and sought to pull it back into the current political discourse.
On the day of the election Nigel Farage’s progressed Sun will be at 3° Gemini, his progressed Moon will be at 15° Scorpio approaching natal Neptune. Maybe that’s a wave of popular sentiment sweeping him to power. Transiting Neptune will also be nearly at his Descendant, the angle of partnership, transiting Mercury will be on the MC (talking to the public) and transiting Saturn on the IC, squaring his natal Saturn.
That Saturn square is tough though; it’s a curb. There’s a death of some kind. It could be that he gains some power but in doing so has to compromise, or that he gains in popularity but loses in real power. It could be grounding. All the angles in this chart are mutable. The planets that fix Farage are in stolid Taurus, but one of those is Venus at 29’31, wobbling at the very exit. This is a strong Venus in her own sign and at this critical degree. We can guess with Venus in Taurus and a career as a commodities broker behind him, that Farage likes money, and he has said that he sacrificed a lot of cash by going into politics. He probably did.
Progressed Venus will be exactly conjuncting Farage’s natal North Node in Cancer on the day of the election. That’s a ship coming home.
Farage has been lucky that the governing elite – Conservative, Labour and Liberal – seems incapable of delivering what the electorate wants. His star has risen as the UK Sun is transformed by a conjunction from Pluto. The Establishment is being turned inside out.
But UKIP won’t deliver either. Although the party has diagnosed some real problems, it does not offer convincing solutions. It is a negative, critical force. Farage is a starter, not a finisher. What he has done is hollow out a space for someone far more dangerous and charismatic to occupy. Let’s hope that person never materialises and that instead we muddle through. The Establishment needs this particular dose of Epsom Salts administered by UKIP, but its strength has always been the ability and willingness to co-opt its enemies. One day, we may be talking about Lord Nosferatu of Commuterland.
*[Birth data comes from astrodatabank and has an A rating.]