Here Are Refugees

Saturday August 22nd 2015

According to the on-line Oxford English Dictionary a migrant is

“A worker who moves from place to place to do seasonal work.”

A refugee is

“A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster:”

It’s a disgrace that the BBC and The Guardian are still calling the people pouring out of Syria and Iraq migrants. Words matter. These people are refugees.

There’s a holocaust on Europe’s doorstep. We have seen this insanity before: in Rwanda, in Congo, in Cambodia, in Germany. The behaviour of ISIS or Daesh or whatever you choose to call them is familiar — and it has not come out of nowhere: we’ve been witnessing the ravaging of the Middle East for years. Because of a chain of bad choices, in the past few years there’s been a horrible sense of the last inevitable slide to chaos.  Back in 2012, before anyone had heard of ISIS, I wrote, “If the international community does not contain Syria, the blood-dimmed tide could roll over the whole region.

This is not to mention those escaping Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan.

The current opposition between the mighty rulers of Pisces, Neptune and Jupiter is pulling old rules apart and changing the shape of long-established borders. The sheer weight of human misery bursting out of the Middle East is challenging compassion and dissolving old boundaries. Both these planets tend to magnify events and when they work together we can expect mass experiences. Virgo-Pisces is the axis of healing, of course, but also of service, suffering and sacrifice. Right now they are at their maximum distance, embracing the whole Zodiac.

When Saturn moves into Sagittarius, the sign of international law, in September, this will only become more acute and perhaps more practical solutions will start to be implemented. One possibility is that Saturn may become a brutal enforcer of borders, but a certainty is that international agreements will be rewritten or strengthened.

The Schengen Agreement, signed in 1985, which created open borders within the European Union had its Saturn Return last year (24° Scorpio). No one considered then that the outer borders of Europe would be under so much pressure 30 years on. Whose responsibility is it to look after the people washing up on the shores of Lampedusa and Lesbos? Surely, if this were a real Union, then all member states would have to help. Why are the countries so keen to make Greece pay its debts failing to help with the refugees on Kos?

Saturn in Sagittarius will demand that this becomes organised. Maybe Europe needs an Ellis Island. At the moment, the process is random, chaotic and partially in the hands of criminal gangs.

Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune will be in a wide mutable T-square for much of this winter. Compassion, organisation and attention to detail will need to work together.

Set for noon.

Set for noon for lack of an exact moment.

But the international agreement that is most clearly activated astrologically at the moment is the 1951 Refugee Convention,  — and this may explain the BBC’s mealy-mouthing. Maybe if we don’t call them refugees, we don’t have to do our duty and look after them.

“No Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social or political opinion” (Article 33(1)).

Here is the chart for the Convention — and it is remarkable. Look what bounces out of it — an opposition between Neptune and Jupiter just as we are experiencing this month. Just to put that in perspective, it’s about a once-a-decade phenomenon.

This Convention came about to legalise the situation of the millions of people across the globe displaced by WW2 — and protect their human rights. This attempt at rebalancing a situation using the law is Libran, and of course, Jupiter is the planet of long journeys, and foreigners. Aries is the sign of new beginnings, so we have foreigners getting new, legal starts in this chart.

The chart for the 1951 Convention is being massively activated.

Tr Saturn is making an exact sextile to the natal Saturn,  tr Jupiter is right on the Mercury and about to oppose trNeptune over the Nodal axis. Meanwhile, trPluto opposes the midpoint of Mars-Uranus, and trUranus opposes Neptune. trMars went over the Sun a few days ago and trVenusRx is on the Pluto today.

You can see what a dynamic chart this is anyway, with that active Cardinal T-square, currently so alive. The Uranus-Pluto square whammed into this, and Pluto is still hammering away from the “empty leg” of the T-square, creating a Grand Cross. It’s never been under so much pressure. The Convention is being tested.

Astrology really works though: Jupiter and Neptune will reach an exact (partile) opposition on September 17 at 8°, nearly on the Nodal axis of the convention chart. Then Jupiter will cross the South Node. Words are important with all that Virgo emphasis, and we could immediately give these people the dignity and protection of being called refugees.

Neptune and Jupiter face off against each other once a century in Virgo-Pisces. In 1849, it was the same configuration we have now – Neptune in Pisces, Jupiter in Virgo. In 1939, it was reversed. At the moment these two opposed, Hitler was planning his invasion of Poland — busting borders.

We don’t need more incidents like this one.

June 4, 1939  – The St. Louis, a ship carrying a cargo of 907 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida after already having been turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi death camps during The Holocaust. — Wikipedia

Instead we should remember the Kindertransport which took place in that same year. Ten thousand Jewish children were rescued from the Nazis and found foster homes in this country between November 1938 and 1940.

This is a time for maximum compassion — Jupiter and Neptune are telling us so.

Jewish children disembarking in London from the ship Warschau, February 1939. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons & Bundesarchiv

Jewish children disembarking in London from the ship Warschau, February 1939. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons & Bundesarchiv


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  1. Les says:

    Brilliant. I’ve been wondering about the flood of refugees and what’s going on astrologically. I hope maximum compassion and actual direct action results as the transits move forward.

  2. George Brock says:

    Christina, you are so right. Thanks for your compassion.

  3. mimi says:

    I fully agree with you, this is a worldwide crisis and we (the fortunate ones who are living in such safe circumstances) ought to at least help those refugees get to a safe place where they can escape these horrors that are taking place.

    Just picture yourself in a place like Syria or Northern Iraq and you can see how cruel it is to turn these people away.

    I certainly hope Mrs. Merkel will succeed in forcing all the European countries to really start working together and provide safety. It is the least we can do and we should not hide behind the fact that indeed there will also be people amongst them who are just seeking ‘better economic circumstances’. So be it!


  4. KATARINA KING says:

    While some of the above is factually correct, to call the crisis a Holocaust is both ethically and historically incorrect. The article shows compassion but does not really start diving into the real reasons of this tsunami of people coming to the smallest continent. While one wants to think about refugees, the reality is that most who come are young men without education from countries that do not value women, have no animal laws and in general are places that are hell holes. So, now GB and France and Germany have the pleasure of welcoming people who are massively destroying the social net. I assume that the author is aware of Jews fleeing France because of the influx of refugees who are Muslim and anti semitic? So, in this context to call the wave of muslim immigration a Holocaust is a slap in the face of everybody who knows better. My grandfather survived a KZ. Anti-Semitic people are forcing Jews out of Europe, especially France. The reality is very different. Historical ignorance is one thing, insulting the families of Holocaust victims by comparing anti semitic people to the Holocaust, is another. Ignorance is neither bliss, nor is it an excuse for propagating untruth. You are aware of anti semitic sentiments among muslims? So, let’s throw the Jews out and welcome the Muslims, great solution, and then call it Holocaust. (for the refugees, bien sur!) Brilliant. I suggest reading French and German newspapers in the original language to get a taste of reality. Do some research before calling anything Holocaust. I would have expected some historical knowledge from somebody living in Oxford.

    • Meri Axinn says:

      There is no Saturn return, nor is it 30 years! “The Schengen Agreement, signed in 1995, which created open borders within the European Union had its Saturn Return last year (24° Scorpio). No one considered then that the outer borders of Europe would be under so much pressure 30 years on.”

    • Eleonora says:

      While you are somehow right with the term „Holocaust“, since it describes a particular historical moment, there is still a genocide going on. Of course, Europe has to protect the Jews, but what you suppose us to do? To watch 100,000s people beeing slaughtered, only because some of them (!) are antisemits? And sending the refugees back to the war zones, just because they come from the countries without animal rights really is hypocritical. However, the fear of refugees (saturn in sagittarius) you describes are part of that T-squere, so there will be no easy solution.

      • Christina says:

        In fact, the ex Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks made the same comparison with the Kindertransport a few days after I wrote this article.

  5. James says:

    Christina, this is a superb astrological analysis, rooted in compassion and the singular importance of language. I am fascinated that on Wednesday August 19th, the German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, stated that by years end Germany will have taken in 800,000 people “ refugees or seeking asylum”and, further, that Germany should expect high numbers “for years to come” but that “We can master this challenge. We can handle this”. He is talking about humans beings fleeing “war, violence and poverty” in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.”

    [Further, Germany understands that accepting refugees into their community is essential to a reversion of the demographic trend, shared with the UK, of an increasing elderly population being cared for by a reduced workforce. They understand the economic benefit of allowing refugees into the workforce.]

    And, whilst many are coming from Syria, an equal number are fleeing Libya, a country so broken that we hardly dare mention it. These refugees, if they do not drown, find themselves in Italy and Greece. Given that Germany has broken the economy of Greece and placed that of Italy under extreme pressures, the political response is going to be both complex and contradictory.

    The British Government is obsessing about the Schengen Agreement and preventing people from EU countries rights of movement into the UK whilst the Office of Budget Responsibility [OBR] stated in March that unless the UK maintains immigration at 298,000 a year for the next 5 years, then their analysis of UK economic growth will have to be reduced resulting in further cuts in public expenditure or an increase in taxation.

    As for people outside the EU seeking refugee status in the UK, the immorality of our Governments response requires no comment. We can only hope that Germany forces the UK to accept more refugees as part of Mr.Cameron’s negotiation of EU membership.


  6. Compassion is very difficult. We tend to focus on our differences not on our human-ness. And sometimes we build walls of indifference and hatred based on history…. and so history repeats itself.
    I pray that we may all look beyond those walls and into the eyes of humanity with laws that entitle freedom and safety to all.

  7. Jane Lyle says:

    Thanks Christina, and how fascinating to see the Refugee Convention chart, and how it will be intensely activated over the coming year. As you say, we will need to work with Saturn in the travellers’ sign to begin to bring dignity and order to this current complicated, heart-breaking situation. Re the word ‘refugee’ it just seems to have gone out of fashion, and I wonder whether there was some politically correct reason or other at one time? It has been used in judgemental contexts in the past. I suspect they use the word migrant because they don’t know how to distinguish between those seeking refuge, most of whom come from Syria and Afghanistan, and those seeking work or education – such as people from Nigeria, Pakistan, and Gambia.

    Out of curiosity, I looked at the planets for Ellis Island, 1st January, 1892. Between 1880 and 1920 there were 23 million legal emigrants to the USA. 4 million of these came from Italy, and about 2 million were Ashkenazi Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. Ellis Island is a Capricorn, with a Capricorn Moon and Mercury. Very sensible! Jupiter was at home in Pisces (14), moving away from a square with Neptune in Gemini (7). Neptune was conjunct Pluto then too, but as Pluto had not been discovered I imagine it’s presence was somewhat submerged? By April 1892, Jupiter had moved into Aries, and was now sextiling Neptune (and Pluto). Saturn was exalted at 0 Libra for the January Ellis Island date, so would have been opposed by Jupiter that spring. So the three planets, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn are connected then and now. I do feel that Jupiter and Neptune can represent something very beautiful and compassionate, yet there’s danger there too, for Neptune’s higher vibrations are not easily channelled. Refugees and economic migrants are both commonly referred to in Neptunian terms – waves, tsunamis, floods, streams… any numbers they are perceived as something akin to the conquering armies of Genghis Khan. Plus, they often travel by sea, and this year more than 2,000 souls have perished at sea having been deceived (Neptune) by criminals. I hope that some Saturnian practicality can help to disperse or contain these age-old perceptions, and perhaps offer a more rigorous approach to the problem of ‘people smugglers’. What’s a bit dispiriting is that one can read newspaper reports and political speeches from the early 20th century and find identical descriptions, fears, and responses to immigrants, emigrants, refugees, and new arrivals. Can we see through Neptune’s mirages this time around?

    • Christina says:

      Jane, thank you for that. Fascinating parallels again.

      It’s interesting where astrology takes you, and with the choice of charts there is often an element of synchronicity involved. After all, I suppose one could have chosen to look at any number of charts when considering this crisis, but that was the one that came under my gaze immediately.

      I think I may draw up this Ellis Island chart and publish it. Thank you again for bringing it to my attention.

  8. Jane Lyle says:

    Christina – you have a gift for sparking off curiosity and imagination! I looked at the Jupiter-Neptune opposition of 1849, when Uranus and Pluto were conjunct in Aries too. And there’s the Californian Gold Rush in full swing, with thousands of people travelling by land and sea in pursuit of a very Neptune-Jupiter dream of wealth. A popular nick-name for gold prospectors was ‘forty-niner’. On the other side of this astro-coin, this year fell in the midst of the mass migration of poverty-stricken Irish citizens, escaping the horrific effects of the Potato Famine. 300,000 sailed from Ireland in 1849 alone. And they were not met with open arms either, but feared and stigmatised for their numbers and their extreme poverty. Clearly, these events are part of a wider astrological picture involving the cycles of Uranus and Pluto – another resonance with our own times. The world was in a state of revolutionary turmoil then, with Europe in chaos. Same old song, but maybe time to write some fresh lyrics? I think the real test will be Saturn square Neptune…..

    • Christina says:

      I wonder if later generations will talk about the fifteeners.

      There is no doubt that the mid-19th century has remarkable parallels to now. As well as these examples, there is the revolutionary turmoil of 1848, which I wrote about at the time of the Arab spring.

  9. Jassi says:

    It’s true refugees is the appropriate name when referring to those fleeing countries in distress. I think the reason BBC labels them migrants is because they are moving from one place to another. If there was an Ellis Island place where they could be processed, then refugees would probably be used in the media.

  10. Meli says:

    Brilliant. I am very interested in international law so you gave me good food for thoughts.

    Just some additional info: in Ireland there was the Irish potato famine from 1845-1849 and lot of people were forced to emigrate from their country by ship to the US mainly.

  11. I find it interesting and probably significant that the last solar eclipse was at 29 Pisces, traditionally the worst, or one of the worst, on the zodiac and involved with murder, suicide, drowning, suffering, refugees, loss, theft (which is itself involved in a lack of borders and you name it). It is significant because we are in effect now, symbolically, on the 29th degree of the Piscean era itself.

    I should say Katerina has a point. There is a danger in not seeing the wood for the trees in this issue. What we may be witnessing is the end of Europe itself as we know it. These refugees, though happy enough to accept and even demand acceptance, belong to a culture and belief system which teaches you should not make friends with infidels, you can lie to them for the benefit of your faith, that Jews are descended from monkeys and pigs (yes this is in the Koran) and much else outside the European democratic range of values and we see even recently what is happening in Bradford the case of a family converted to Christianity being relentlessly persecuted by Pakistani immigrants with no real help from a frightened police and legal system. Would these frantic refugees be generous to refugees from any troubled Europe? Have their forebears ever been truly generous to Christian minorities? There is a danger in harmony with anaretic, last degree extremism of compassion, though needed right now, becoming just one sided and itself a discrimination with no truly larger views. In fact it can sometimes be quietly behind the scenes vicious like the Swedish system that has let in numerous refugees but has controversially deported out Christians expecting almost certain death, certainly torture, in such as Iran. When Slovakia says it wants only Christian refugees or the PM of Hungary warns of dangers to the whole Christian tradition that Europe broadly represents, people are up in arms. But isn’t there a point here which late Piscean era compassion and indifference to all history and ideology is overlooking?

    The more appropriate objects of anger for what has happened might be such as Tony Blair and his government for allowing problematic immigration policies, Obama for speaking of the red line that must be crossed in Syria but which he let get crossed opening up the way to ISIS, Assad of Syria who has been a curse on his nation, and numerous politicians or even countries like Germany which haven’t much idea what they doing and what is really happening in the streets and ghettoes of their own societies. As it is, in some circles just to question whether all the refugees are truly refugees and not economic migrants can be to finish the object of unthinking wrath and condemnation. The times well and truly are out of joint! What we need is clarity, compassion yes, but also some thinking which is not only emotion and image driven.

  12. Julie says:

    In 2007 I attended an introductory, voluntary programme in London as a counsellor for children in schools. We were to run an arts-based therapies programme. This was overseen by a private agency called ‘ThePlace2Be’. We were told that a large percentage of our caseload would be children who had English as a second language, hence the use of creative arts in therapy. One of the slides showed the London boroughs and the %age of people in those boroughs who had lived there for 2 years or less. In every London borough it was between 92-95%, which I didn’t believe at the time. I also worked at a primary school in the West London Borough of Ealing which had 200 pupils who spoke 67 different first languages. This was before austerity measures. Of course we should take in refugees, but when the refugees start to demand which countries within Europe they want to go to ?? Throwing their wives and babies onto train tracks because the trains won’t take them to Germany and they won’t apply for asylum in Hungary?The EU politicians have lied to us for years and there simply isn’t a sustainable infrastructure to support huge numbers coming into Europe.

  13. Dennis Dey says:

    (1) The Imam of Al-Aqsa mosque’s Top Iman Sheikh Muhammad Ayed recently gave a speech in which he asserted that Muslims should use the migrant crisis to breed with European citizens and “conquer their countries”.

    (2) Four out of five migrants are NOT from Syria: EU figures expose the ‘lie’ that the majority of refugees are fleeing war zone. They are from countries like Albania, Pakistan and Afghanistan

  14. […] up the reality of one planet, one people. The last time Jupiter opposed Neptune, we created the UN Convention on Refugees. Interestingly, at the time, the Nodes were in the Family and Community channel where Jupiter and […]