July was an intense and eventful month, given the phone hacking scandal that just seemed to get bigger and uglier with each passing day. The situation seemed to spring out of nowhere and develop momentum just days after the solar eclipse in Capricorn on the 1st, with reports that News of the World journalists had hacked into murder victim, Milly Dowler’s phone surfacing in the press around the 4th. Within a week, the tabloid newspaper had been closed down, leaving over 200 journalists jobless and a growing political firestorm brewing over how widespread the practice had been within the British press and whether corrupt members of the police force had deliberately sabotaged an earlier investigation into the matter some years before.
At the heart of the firestorm were damning revelations and shocking allegations concerning institutional corruption, nepotism and abuse of power which threatened to engulf not just News International but the Metropolitan Police as well as Parliament. Astrologically, this situation played out against the backdrop of an on-going square between Pluto and Uranus in cardinal signs. This combination, which first became active in June 2010 but which was mitigated at the time by a Jupiter conjunction, is part of a long-term transit that appears to be pitting the righteous indignation and revolutionary zeal of ordinary citizens against the tyranny of endemic corruption and abuse of power within institutions in need of serious reform. You may be interested in some comments I made about the relationship between Pluto and the rooting out of institutional corruption in previous columns about recent eclipses, which seem to be pertinent, given recent events, including the June-July 2009 and June-July 2010 eclipses, both of which featured Pluto and Uranus prominently.
This configuration, which will not actually become exact this year, will be around for some time, going in and out of orb until it finally perfects in November 2013, suggesting that any other tabloid newspapers, bent coppers or corrupt officials who have escaped scrutiny up til now may not enjoy the safety of anonymity forever. Many astrologers are drawing historical parallels between now and other periods when these two planets were at loggerheads, including the 1930’s and the 1960’s – both times of major economic and political upheaval in the western world. For example, in the 1930’s, we had the Great Depression, which was precipitated by speculation on the stock market, together with the collapse of several major banks in Germany and Austria, leading to a major financial crisis in Central Europe. In the UK, austerity measures, which were introduced to try and reduce a huge budget deficit met with riots in both London and Glasgow – sound familiar?
Interestingly, Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp, was born in March 1931 and so has lived through both of these astrological epochs. In fact, the Pluto-Uranus signature is found in his own natal chart where he has Uranus, also in Aries, square to Pluto in Cancer – the opposite sign to Pluto’s current location in the zodiac (Capricorn). He is thus very much a man whose life reflects the times.
In the context of present events, Rupert Murdoch became a hated and vilified figure in the public mind – until his appearance at a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing where he was revealed to be a frail octogenarian vulnerable to the unceremonious attack of an overzealous youth with a shaving cream pie – a far cry from the image painted of him just days before. So why did he become such a target of revulsion and anger in the public mind?
It could have something to do with the fact that natally, his ruling planet, Saturn, happens to oppose Pluto, which could be interpreted as someone who aspires to wealth and power but who never actually feels that powerful himself. This may be the reason for his rather Wizard of Oz-like persona of someone who appears to be ruthless and power-mad but who at heart is actually more concerned about building up and preserving a sense of emotional and financial security and protecting a family legacy than amassing worldly status and pulling strings behind the political scenes. An anecdote told by his former butler, Philip Townsend, revealed in a recent documentary about Murdoch on Channel 4, suggests that in fact, Murdoch lacked personal confidence and is actually quite an unassuming man.[i]
In The Astrological History of the World, Marjorie Orr describes the common characteristics of those born at the same time as Murdoch:
[T]hose born in 1931 are determined survivors with incredible stamina….Highly Uranian, they are restless, sometimes reckless, bluntly outspoken, and determined to maintain their personal freedom. Often innovators, they can destabilize what is going on around them…with strong Saturn-Pluto aspects they can be obsessive, depressive and regard themselves as outsiders, but they can also be very successful because they push hard to rise up from their beginnings.’[ii]
Is his unstinting drive to amass a media empire more an expression of his need to remain independent from other powerful social institutions rather than someone keen to meddle in world affairs? Again, a speech given by Murdoch’s son and successor, James, may be rather telling. During the McTaggart Lecture in 2009, he told a room full of Sky employees that:
‘The only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of [media] independence is profit.’
On a more upbeat note, Scottish couple Colin and Chris Weir won a staggering £162 millionin the Euro Millions draw held on Tuesday the 12th of July. Interestingly, on the day of the draw, Jupiter in abundant Taurus was just separating from a minor grand trine involving Pluto andChiron, which may suggest that the win had the potential to be both enormously healing for the Weir family as well as dramatically change their lives forever – hopefully for the better. Another terribly lucky Jupiter transit in late August could signify another large Lotto win for someone – read further on to find out more.
[ii] Astrological History of the World, Vega, 2022, p. 111