On that fateful day in early September 2001, Americans received a searing wound, a brand in the national psyche that would reshape priorities, policies, and perceptions for years to come. Our naïve bubble of security had been breached, and we spent the succeeding days and months anxiously anticipating a Second Act. The Bush administration’s response was simple and direct: attack the perpetrators, catch them, and “bring them to justice.” Initially, this met a deep, visceral need for revenge, and seemed, as well, an important step toward future security. The War in Afghanistan, aimed at the terrorists and their sponsors, enjoyed universal support. But the administration’s drumbeat soon became monotonous. Anyone who wanted to explore how this could have happened was deemed a traitor and silenced. The spreading mythology was that we were victims of a horrible malignant force, and our sole purpose was to destroy this global evil. How such an event could have bypassed our billion-dollar intelligence network and why we had been attacked in the first place were, for a long time, not part of the national discussion.
After much resistance and continual stonewalling from the Bush administration, the 9/11 Commission was finally formed and has been able to explore, to some degree, the enormous intelligence failure that led to this massive terrorist attack on American soil. But the question of why it happened in the first place has been largely glossed over by phrases such as: “They hate our freedom.” This administration clings to the image of a battle against evil and refuses to acknowledge that, however heinous the acts of terrorism, the perpetrators are a part of our collective human family. In fact, the entire story of the events leading up to 9/11 and the subsequent almost three years would surely be told in an entirely different way from the perspective of those who committed and planned that day and the numerous acts of terrorism which have followed.
In the Biblical tale of David and Goliath, a peaceful shepherd vanquishes the most powerful warrior of a militarily superior nation that had been invading his people’s homeland. Imbued with a profound trust that God would help him, David defeats the giant Goliath with a simple sling and a stone. Although Goliath’s tribesmen, the Philistines, are known for their advanced weaponry and military skill, they flee in panic after the defeat of their hero. In much the same way, those who today commit acts of terrorism against the United States and its Western allies, see themselves as allied with their own God and fighting a militarily superior force of invaders. These terrorists remember the victory of Arab fighters over the superpower Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980’s and hope for another victory over another Goliath, America, using only their homemade bombs and empowered by a willingness to give their lives. In their own minds, ignoring the raw brutality of the means taken to pursue their chosen ends, they see themselves in a heroic role similar to that of the Biblical David who thwarted invaders to his own land.
From the vantagepoint of the West, however, a very different tale might be used to describe the inner essence of this War on Terrorism. Perhaps something along the lines of the Beowulf myth would be seen as more appropriate. In this story, the hero Beowulf has two significant traits: his incredible strength and his willingness to use it to benefit others. After many experiences of killing hideous beasts and foul creatures, Beowulf confronts and kills the monster Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years. He then kills Grendel’s grotesque mother, who seeks revenge for the death of her son. Here the enemy is purely evil and not human. The hero is noble and powerful and eventually prevails, celebrated by the cult of the warrior in which he lives. The War on Terrorism, as presented by the Bush administration to the American people, bears much resemblance to this tale. The enemy is evil and barely human, and America is the strong and noble force that will eventually prevail.
The two sides in this great drama have two entirely different understandings of what the whole story is about. This same pattern of disconnected realities is often found in a dysfunctional married couple. Each blames the other and sees him or herself as the victim. Ideally, the marital therapist will facilitate a dialogue between the two and make sure each really understands the other’s perspective. In addition, each spouse needs to begin to understand how his or her own actions have contributed to the discord. By abandoning the victim role and taking responsibility for being part of the problem, a whole world of possible change and empowerment opens up.
The alternative is to remain in what is known as the Drama Triangle, the three corners of which consist of the archetypal three roles: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. When functioning in the reality of the Triangle, people move from one role to the other, often stuck on the merry-go-round indefinitely. The only solution is to get off the Triangle by accepting responsibility and being honest about motives. Thus, the Victim needs to acknowledge and transform his or her own contributory actions in the conflict; the Rescuer needs to be honest about his or her real investment in keeping the rescued victim dependent; and the Persecutor needs to let go of his righteous anger and accept responsibility for the impact of his or her actions.
In our War on Terror and our War in Iraq we are very much stuck in the Drama Triangle. In our “rescuing” of the Iraqis from Saddam and the Afghani women from the Taliban, we have not admitted our ulterior and self-serving motives. In our victimhood on 9/11 and in subsequent terrorism, we have not admitted how our military bases in the Middle East, our support of repressive regimes, and our subsequent military action in Iraq have fueled the hatred against us that has led to increasing attacks. And in our stoking the flames of our self-righteous anger against terrorism, we have failed to see how our own deeds have been igniting the fires that rage against us.
Until we can be honest about our impact on the situation and take responsibility for changing, we will not move toward a real resolution of this worldwide conflict. Initially, after 9/11, it was considered treason to even speak of American fault in the larger picture of events. Currently, there are some cracks in this façade, most notably in the recent book published by Anonymous, a CIA agent who specializes in terrorism. In Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, Anonymous suggests that it is not who we are that sparks the rage of the terrorists, as suggested by the Bush administration, but what we do – our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, our support of corrupt Muslim regimes, and our uncritical support of Israel. The simple and obvious truth here is that while we cannot change who we are, we can certainly change what we do. We can also strive to understand how our actions have impacted others, most notably, how our foreign policy and oil dependency have impacted reality in the Middle East. And we can work to become increasingly independent from Middle Eastern oil and the contortions it forces on our policies in that part of the world. With enlightened thinking and action, the War on Terror doesn’t have to extend into forever. While we pursue those who want to attack us, we can also siphon the blood out of their persuasive appeal to those who are disempowered and angry at our policies. But we need to get off the drama merry-go-round and reclaim responsibility for having helped to shape the landscape.
For finding periods that seem more vulnerable to unexpected violence and disruption, astrology can be a very useful tool. One chart that seems to be particularly relevant to potential terrorist acts is based on the 1998 meeting of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other jihadists, when they joined forces to create the Islamic World Front for the Struggle against Jews and the Crusaders, now currently known more by the name of bin Laden’s original organization, al Qaida. The indication given is that the meeting took place in the “early morning.” I have estimated the time at 7:30 AM, but this is only conjecture.
Based on the early morning time, this chart has a 12th house stellium in Pisces – Sun, Jupiter, Mercury, and South Node - square to Pluto. This suggests intensity and fanaticism (Pluto) tied to the group’s goals (Sun), thinking (Mercury), and its religious/philosophical understanding of the world (Jupiter). The likely 12th house preponderance adds an element of total abnegation of self and a feeling of sacrifice to an ideal or belief system that can be somewhat disconnected from normal reality. Moreover, the likely first house Mars placement suggests a very forceful and aggressive manifestation of the group’s presence into the environment.
A definite correlation exists between previous terrorist events and the al Qaida chart. During the bombing of the two American embassies in Africa on August 7, 1998, Pluto had moved to an exact square with al Qaida Mercury (5 Pisces 17) and progressed Sun (4Pisces57), and remained stationary there the entire month. In addition, tertiary progressed Sun was conjunct the natal South Node at 10 Pisces 33. During 9/11, the progressed Moon in this chart was conjunct the South Node, and the progressed Sun, at 8 Pisces03, was exactly square the progressed Pluto, and only a couple of minutes past the natal Pluto. This latter aspect suggests months of an intense build-up of energy and secret machinations that culminated when the progression was exact in September 2001. The Madrid train bombing of March 12, 2004, had the transiting Sun at 21 Pisces square to transiting Pluto, with the Sun conjunct the al Qaida Mars at 22 Pisces.
It is not surprising that this al Qaida chart shows tremendous activity during the 2004 and 2005 period. From March through early September 2004, Uranus is conjunct the Sun/Jupiter/Mercury stellium in the 12th house, bringing audacious, stealthy, and surprising moves from the organization. This particular aspect will be very strongly triggered by an opposition from both Mars and Mercury from August 15 through 19. This is likely to be a very dangerous few days, and I am particularly concerned about the Olympics (discussed below) and Iraq during that time. The 1921 Iraqi chart currently has Uranus conjunct its Descendant, bringing ongoing disruption and volatility through August, with this mid-August period being particularly hazardous due to the Mars/ Mercury transit.
Also in 2004, from April through September, the tertiary progressed al Qaida Sun is conjunct the tertiary progressed Mars crossing from 16 to 22 Taurus. In addition, from August 2004 through March 2005, the tertiary progressed Jupiter will be conjunct natal Mars at 22Pisces43. Both of these aspects intensify the militancy of the organization and suggest significant aggression from April 2004 through March 2005. More significantly, they will be triggered by transiting Jupiter from August 8 through 22 2004. They will also be set off by the transiting Mars /Sun conjunction on September 11 through September 15 at 20 to 22 Virgo which falls exactly opposite the al Qaida Mars at 22 Pisces. As for the post-election period, December 2004 through November 2005 will bring transiting Pluto to an exact square with al Qaida natal Mars and Uranus conjunct the natal South Node. These aspects suggest more aggression from the jihadist organization in the coming year.
Another chart that bears relevance in determining potential terrorist events is that of Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the top lieutenants of Al Qaida and likely a mastermind of several of its most dramatic attacks. Zawahiri was born on June 19, 1951, in Cairo, no time given. In his chart we find a natal Mercury/Mars conjunction at 19 and 20 Gemini, respectively, receiving an opposition from transiting Pluto through most of 2004. From June through mid October 2004, Pluto makes a particularly potent station opposing both of these positions. This greatly intensifies Zawahiri’s aggressive and manipulative tendency and affords him the possibility of great power and influence during this time. This will be especially true during the first 10 days of August 2004 when Jupiter will be square to transiting Pluto at 19Virgo/Sagittarius42. It will also be true when the transiting Sun and Mars square Zawahiri’s Mars/Mercury positions from September 9 through September 12. Moreover, from September 7 through September 12, transiting Jupiter will be square Zawahiri’s Sun, suggesting he will be feeling confident, optimistic, and successful.
Further confirmation of possibly significant events in August and September comes from the chart for the founding of Islam, given for July 15, 622 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Mars in this chart is at 19Virgo33. From November 2003 through October 2004, Pluto makes a square to the Islamic Mars, inflaming an explosive rage in the Moslem world, especially directed at the United States, which has its own Mars, also being hit by this transit, at 21 Gemini. Thus, the already strong tension between Islam and the United States, shown by the natal Mars square to Mars, is being enormously intensified in 2004 by the fanatical and ruthless Plutonian energy.
In July, August, and early September 2004, Pluto will make its station (19Sagittarius32) exactly square to the Islamic Mars, while the same station is squaring Zawahiri’s Mercury/Mars conjunction as mentioned above. Acting as a major trigger to this inflammatory aspect, Jupiter will be conjunct the Islamic Mars position from July 31 through August 6. This is likely to bring dramatic events to the Islamic world, potentially stirring up both anger and sense of great empowerment. With Zawahiri’s Mercury/Mars conjunction (19 and 20 Gemini) in a very close square to transiting Jupiter, it is likely that his actions and thus al Qaida’s, will be involved in these events.
Furthermore, both transiting Mars and transiting Sun will be conjunct the Islamic Mars from September 8 through September 11, also setting off the volatile and aggressive Pluto square to Islamic Mars. But unlike the Zawahiri chart which will have Jupiter aspecting the Sun during September, the Islamic chart will have Saturn making its first crossing of the Islamic world’s Sun at 24 Cancer. This suggests that while Zawahiri is happy about the unfolding of events, the general mood in the Islamic world may not be so contented. Although circumstances seem to reach some kind of a dramatic and perhaps violent catharsis in early August, the mood is likely to shift in September to one of more caution, concern, and sorrow, and remain so for several months.
Thus, we have seen that the al Qaida chart, the Zawahiri chart, and the Islam chart all suggest some violent and dramatic events are possible in early and mid-August and from September 8 through September 15 2004. Significant terrorism somewhere in the world with likely profound repercussions is a possibility during these times. The chart for the opening of the Olympic games on August 13, 2004, at 8:45 PM in Athens, unfortunately, suggests one potential arena for this explosive energy.
In the Olympic 2004 chart, Uranus, at 5Pisces22 retrograde, is in the first house, 4 degrees from the Ascendant and opposite both Mercury and Mars. On the 16th, the Moon, and on the 17th and 18th, both Mercury and Mars will have moved to an exact opposition of Olympic 2004 Uranus, setting off the potential in this very violent planetary combination. Uranus at this time will also be conjunct the Sun/Jupiter/Mercury conjunction in the al Qaida chart (4 to 5 Pisces). These are very explosive aspects and suggest, even without al Qaida, some kind of sudden, highly disruptive and likely violent event or events between August 16 through 18 that will impact the Olympics.
The question of a terrorist event occurring again on the US mainland is always lurking in the minds of Americans, especially when dire warnings are streaming out of the White House, as they have been recently. In looking for such indications, significant evidence should show up in the US chart to suggest both violence and sorrow, as well as an impact on the people or the physical homeland (Moon or Ascendant, respectively). The most significant, explosively violent aspect that has been impacting the US since December 2003 and will continue through November 2004 is Pluto opposing US Mars at 21Gemini23. This aspect can be thus far associated with the intensified battle against the Iraqi insurgency and the growing brutality seen in Iraq, including the beheading of prisoners and the abusive pictures emerging out of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. It generally indicates an intense battle between the United States and a fierce, ruthless, and determined enemy. When Pluto turns direct at the end of August, its impact will increase once again as it waxes toward its final opposition to US Mars, culminating in late November 2004. As with the other charts mentioned above, the Pluto opposition to US Mars will be triggered by the Mars/Sun conjunction of September 7 through September 15, when both planets will square transiting Pluto and US Mars.
I have not been able to find any major planetary activity impacting the US 13 degree Sagittarius Ascendant from July through October 2004 as there was on 9/11/01 when Pluto was crossing that point and Saturn was opposed. This suggests that the US homeland will not be directly attacked during this period. However, there are significant aspects from Saturn to both the US Mercury and the US Moon during the fall months to suggest some unhappy circumstances experienced by the US population.
Saturn will be crossing the US Mercury three times between August 29, 2004 and May 2005. The first crossing comes during the first ten days of September. This transit suggests severe strain in the area of investment and hidden resources, savings, and possibly currency. One possible manifestation of the volatility and violence of August and September could be a severe disruption in world oil supplies that then adversely impacts the US economy. With foreign jihadists currently leaving Iraq and returning to Saudi Arabia, the potential for disruption in that country will be increasing considerably. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Kurds are growing restless as they wait for some guaranteed protection for their informal independence and their claim on the oil rich Kirkuk. Disruption in that area in August also looms as a threat with potentially severe repercussions. The significant aspects that suggest a rather dour, oppressive time for some part of the US public are the transit of Saturn stationary quincunx the US Moon, in October and November 2004 and the US progressed Moon square to natal US Saturn from mid-December 2004 through mid-January 2005.
In sum, there is a great likelihood of increased violence and potential terrorism in early and mid-August and during the week surrounding September 11, 2004 (9/8 – 9/15/04). These events are likely to significantly impact the US and its people, but may not actually take place on the US mainland. The al Qaida chart for 2005 suggests some continuation of its aggressive tactics in the foreseeable future. But we can, perhaps, find some hope in the chart for the founding of Islam, which suggests that the increased rage towards the West felt in the Arab world in the past year may begin to dissipate in 2005. With the expectation of new leadership in the White House in January 2005, we can look forward to more enlightened and less provocative policies in the Middle East in the coming years. This would go a long way in drying up the proverbial “swamp” and leading to a saner world.