Astrology of Now: Narrative/Counter-Narrative

Thursday June 18th 2015
Yazidis flee Syria

Yazidis flee Syria. This woman and her children also have names, but part of the story is the non-naming of refugees. Pic from

Three married sisters from Bradford — in their early thirties and with nine children between them — have run away to join ISIS in Syria.

The British media has twisted itself into a pretzel trying to fit this story into a palatable narrative.

The women were “brainwashed”, “radicalised”, “duped” even. The husbands, left behind, are “very emotional”, “bewildered”. The community is “shocked”. They were a “quiet” family. Apparently, the authorities are at fault for “failing to stop the women” and not helping the families track them down. The words used have become familiar: the community is always shocked, no one ever suspects anything, the family is always polite and it’s always the fault of the police.

No one has even bothered to suggest the Dawood sisters are on a humanitarian mission to bring succour to the suffering people of the region. It’s clear they are joining their brother who is already an ISIS fighter.

Dawood family

Probably already in Syria: Top row L-R; Sugra Dawood and her children Junaid Ahmed, Ibrahim, Zaynab, Mariya, and Ismaeel Iqbal; Bottom row L-R Zohra Dawood and her two children Nurah Binte Zubair and Haafiyah Binte Zubair, Khadiga Bibi Dawood and her two children Muhammad Haseeb and Maryam Siddiqui

It seems insane to take your children to a war-zone. But maybe we should try to imagine how in a certain mind-set it could make sense. What if you happened to be brought up in an ultra-conservative family that told you the country you lived in was profoundly corrupt? What if you truly believed that people who were not of your religion were wicked? What if your parents arranged your marriage to an older man you couldn’t bear? You might fantasise about a jihadi with a really big gun, or a “cause” that would help you escape from your boring, drudgy life, and give it power and meaning and purpose.

And you might think that Islamic State was a better place to bring up children than Bradford.

We are told by pundits that it is up to us to provide a “counter-narrative” to the “incredibly clever” propaganda that ISIS releases across the internet. In other words, our story needs to beat their story. But don’t we first need to understand their story?

The reality may be that these women have chosen to go to Syria not because they don’t know what’s going on there, but because they believe that rape, murder, beheading and slave-trading are justified if the people you harm are infidels, and that the world is ready for a new order. For most of history, that’s how a lot of people have carried on. For example, no one ever tried to claim that the many people who rounded up Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and communists and sent them to concentration camps were “radicalised”.  The truth is that people do, sometimes, choose evil. It has glamour.

Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann: we know his name.

In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, the philosopher Hannah Arendt coined the phrase, the “banality of evil”. She did not mean that evil itself was banal, but that Adolf Eichmann, who was a chief architect of the holocaust, was an ordinary, mediocre sort of person. Given the right circumstances, ordinary people can do extraordinarily wicked things.

We are at a moment of huge upheaval in the current world order: Pluto in Capricorn. Remember that the last time we had this transit, the United States were born and the engine of the Industrial Revolution was revving. That’s the kind of change we’re seeing.

Uranus in Aries encourages bold personal initiative, bids for freedom. From the point of view of the Dawood sisters, that is what they have done.

Uranus and Pluto have been squaring each other for long years now — since the Arab Spring — and we have seen how these two giant energies clash. Although, the exact square is over we’ll have fallout for a long time, and every time a planet moves from making an aspect to Uranus to making one to Pluto these same energies emerge.

We see different narratives expressing this energy. Huge international conflagrations and personal stories. The Dawood sisters have taken their freewheeling Uranian adventure into the arms of Pluto, a place of hooded men and death. We have already seen how this worked out for the demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, who started off demanding freedom and democracy and ended up in jail, exiled, dead or working under another military dictatorship more brutal than the first one. It could make you quite cynical.

Today, there are “fears” that the women have crossed the border into the warzone just as Saturn, the planet of boundaries, and fear, slips back into Scorpio, Pluto’s own domain. When Saturn comes back into Sagittarius — which is the sign of international travel — you can bet those borders will rapidly become less porous.

As this family flight to Pluto was taking place (May 28-June 11), Mercury, the planet of travel was retrograde in the sign of the twins. So, of course, this was the Dawood’s second attempt to leave this country.  Also, they first went to Saudi Arabia — on a pilgrimage — before going to Istanbul, so two flights. Mercury loves doubling. Then we had the spectacle of the two husbands in a bizarre television appeal.

Mercury is also the god of liars, and in Gemini he definitely speaks with forked tongue. Who are the deceived and who the deceivers? All may become clear quite soon as Mercury is now moving forward and the trickster may be ready to do the reveal. Mercury is a storyteller and never more so than in the double-sign of Gemini, we have multiple narratives and counternarratives, both within this one story and in the news right now.

Mercury was also squaring Neptune, the lord of illusion at the end of May, a perfect planetary combination if you want to throw on your hijab of piety and go on pilgrimage. The hijab of piety makes it very hard for the police to ask you questions — it might be harassment.

Right now tens of thousands of people are streaming out of Pluto’s territory — four million refugees from Syria alone apparently — and the Mediterranean is filling up with its summer harvest of the dead. Just today, the UN refugee agency released statistics showing that we have the worst global refugee crisis since records began; 60 million people have been displaced through war.

Yet those women with their small lives and hideous dreams think it’s a jolly good idea to go to Syria with their little children, the youngest of whom is three. They are not duped or brainwashed or even radicalised, just banal. It is ironic that their search for personal purpose and meaning, is, in fact, rather Western.






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  1. Dunyazade says:

    Good read, thank you.

    I have a question:

    – Do you think that Europe will eventually, concerning the refugee crisis, will behave in the same manner as Australia?

    • Leonora says:

      A very god article. “people do, sometimes, choose evil. It has glamour…” sums up the time but not only regards evil, but also being a victim or a refugee, an outcast, whatever. Alice Bailey (of Esoteric astrology) wrote extensively about “glamour” – the emotional state which clouds the truth and workings of the higher self. In Bailey’s sense, glamour is emotional patterning which obscures the real Self be it through evil or victimhood etc Neptune in Pisces has rendered a lot of people not only legitimate refugees but made them food for other’s need to rescue them. Not that they shouldn’t be! BUT – every country they go to will have their own lost souls in institutions, hospitals, orphanages, own houses, who also need help but as they are every day invisibles there is no glamour in it. IMO Jupiter opposing Neptune in Pisces shows how willing people are to make gestures of largesse on the one hand and totally ignore on the other. The dual flow of Pisces, the confusion of Neptune, the shimmer of saintliness!

  2. Christina says:

    It would be impossible, I think, if only because of the geography.

  3. Rachel says:

    Well said, Christina! Well-written and perceptive. I loved your take on this and was fascinated by the links between the astrological environment and world events. Quite scary, really…

  4. mimi says:

    Great article, Christina, indeed we look at this from our own Western educated and well-developed points of view and for us this is all very difficult to understand (our lives are not at stake).

    Somehow, I connect these big masses of people that are going over the world right now like waves coming through with Neptune in Pisces.
    We are looking back in history and seeing how people have been wandering the earth in earlier times of war and upheaval, for what else can they do if their lives are threatened ?

    I guess Neptune is showing us the consequences of this big fight between Uranus and Pluto – it is up to us to show compassion for all these refugees who are coming towards us in their attempt to just stay alive – for the time being we have no other option than to help them to stay alive.

    Or look away and then what ???? Be totally ashamed of ourselves ??


  5. Christina says:

    Yes, I agree this about Neptune too: compassion and also simply waves…

  6. Gilly says:

    A brave and refreshingly honest, accurate reflection on what is going on, imo. A lot of what is happening here in Yorkshire is really quite terrifying and no one seems to want to talk about it let alone do any thing about it.

    • Julie says:

      Yes, Gilly.

    • Christina says:

      Yes, I’ve had a couple of people cancel their subscriptions after reading this one — already!

      • Rachel says:

        Why do you think that is? I don’t understand what is particularly controversial about this post.

        Are people so averse to being asked to dig a little deeper? If so, surprising that they would be reading this blog in the first place!

        • Christina says:

          I didn’t think it was controversial at all, either. I’m not into upsetting people but I think they misunderstood what was said here. It may have been the “hijab of piety”? It’s an incredibly touchy subject.

  7. mimi says:

    I think with this article you touched upon the terrible fear people are experiencing in this current crisis.

    There are 2 different things going on : there are thousands of young people who are deluded in thinking they can make a difference and who want their lives to have meaning – so they travel to Syria to set things right themselves (Uranus in Aries).
    This is a very idealistic generation (Pluto in Sagittarius). It is only afterwards the regret comes up (when they are trapped in a situation they can’t get out of because ISIS won’t let them).

    At the same time there is a fight between the old fundamentalist islam and the more modern islam. The parents of these young people have become more Western in their ideas and this is detested by the fundamentalists, who have been feeding their ideas for years already in the schools in Pakistan for instance and who have been using the internet for this as well.
    So, there is a generational conflict playing out here (Uranus versus Saturn).

    At the same time it is also simply a war for power, oil etc. So, it is a political conflict (Uranus versus Pluto).

    And last of all it causes tremendous fear under people in the Western world who feel they are threatened by these people who they feel are so different from them.
    Saturn causes this fear for anything that is different from your own little person or your own simple life and this is easily used by certain politicians for their own gain. People normally don’t think about things outside of their own little world.

    Don’t remember who said this but : a little knowledge can be devastating in the mind of the ignorant). If you feel you know all about a situation but you do not, then you are very much DELUDED (this could be Neptune).

    That is what is going on and we are looking at it. We can understand this because we are astrologers. Maybe we should try and enlighten the rest of the world ????