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|The British transport nightmare|
When I came to Britain in the Spring of 1998 after 20 years abroad, it was mild and wet. As the Summer took hold, as I waded through the muddy fields, I was assured that it was an unusually wet summer, and indeed the rain stretched into the August and a mild, but wet, winter. During the course of 1999, the Spring was rather wet, and the Summer too, whilst in the Autumn it was very, very wet. They are not fooling me any more... it's simply a fact: in Britain it rains far too much. Some say it is global warming, but I'm not so sure. In any case it appears that the year 2000 was the wettest year for over a hundred years.
The Indomitable English
The English always seem faintly surprised by their weather. They don't expect it to be very cold in the winter, so they huddle in thin Macintoshes, and stuff bits of cloth under their doors to stop drafts. It's part of the culture... proof of the hardiness of the national spirit. Double glazing and central heating are reluctantly adopted, but temperatures are kept down low. Too much comfort might undermine the rugged spirit. So it was with a certain grim satisfaction that the British saw the United Kingdom grind to a halt in October 2000, as storms ravaged the country and floods inundated low-lying areas. Tens of thousand of people were evacuated from their homes, and at the same time railway lines were damaged or washed away.
On the Road
Coupled with the last of a series of serious rail accidents - the Hatfield rail crash - there was a sense of this country being a disaster area, with a hopeless and outdated infrastructure. The Dunkirk spirit was called forth in the hapless population as they rose above one disaster after another with stoic determination. It is extraordinary what people put up with in their ordinary daily lives. My bank manager told me that he spent two hours travelling by car to the centre of London in the morning, and two hours travelling back. Some commuters are spending 25% of their waking lives in their cars and on public transport! When something unpredictable happens on the railways, then millions of people suffer.
The Latest Train Crash
After the Hatfield crash, which was due to a broken rail, there was an outcry about rail safety which resulted in speed limits on trains which often doubled the time people were travelling. At Hatfield all bar two coaches of Great North Eastern Railway's 12.10 service from London Kings Cross to Leeds, became derailed between Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield at around 12.30pm. The train was estimated to have been travelling at around 115mph, the maximum line speed on this stretch of track, when the accident happened. Four people died whilst a further 26 people have suffered injuries.
The crash happened just before Mercury turned retrograde in Scorpio when it was within one degree of a square to Uranus in Aquarius. As Mercury turned and went back to the early degrees of Scorpio again, it squared Neptune two more times. Thus the initial shock and trauma of the accident was compounded by suffering, confusion and chaos. The Mercury/Neptune square was also reflected by the continuing flooding which made roads impassable and people homeless. In a series of hopeless panic decisions, the rail company (Railtrack) initiated a program of track testing and renewal which is still paralysing Britain even as Christmas approaches.
Looking at the chart for the crash, it can be seen that the horoscope and third house ruler, Jupiter, is in Gemini and opposite Pluto. This is a long-term aspect which happened first in September, then with the crash in October and finally in May 2001. Obviously this relates to the legal repercussions of the previous Paddington rail disaster, and to hidden flaws in the railways and subsequent transformation of long-distant travel. It would seem that the Moon triggered this opposition, translating the energy of Pluto to Mars by square aspect. Coupled with the Mercury station square Uranus, this showed the accident and slowdown of the rail system. Aficionados of harmonics will note that Uranus is square the Sun in the 4th harmonic with an orb of 2 minutes of arc, so the Sun was actually "completing" the Mercury/Uranus square (which did not become exact because Mercury went retrograde).
The 1999 Eclipse
The question remains: why has Britain been plagued by so much misfortune,
both in terms of flooding and transport? One astrological factor is the August
1999 eclipse, whose shadow did pass over the south-west tip of the British Isles
- a place were there has been severe flooding causing several deaths. The eclipse
took place at 18° Leo and powerfully activated the exact Mars/Saturn opposition
at 16 Scorpio/Taurus and Uranus at 14° Aquarius. As Mercury stationed at
15.46 Scorpio in October 2000, whilst Uranus went stationary direct at 16.54
Aquarius, the eclipse energies were violently activated. Looking at the 1801
chart for the United Kingdom, it is easy to see how catastrophic the combination
of eclipse and the October Mercury retrograde could be.
This fixed cross is the "No sex please, we're British"effect. There are no shortage of perversions with Mars in detriment in Taurus and the 8th house opposing Neptune, though the Venus/Saturn opposition maintains a stiff upper lip and a disapproving eye. Apparently there is nothing better for the British spirit than a good spanking, and generations of schoolboys have bent over backwards to prove this point. With the eclipse activating this area there has been a tremendous upsurge of paedophile paranoia, with the focus on children in care. Cases going back decades have been dredged up to the surface to reveal many cases of scandalous sexual exploitation. Cases have also arisen in which children have falsely accused care workers in fraudulent attempts to win compensation. Some of the strongest anti-paedophile reactions have come from the very area of Britain which the eclipse passed over, obviously reflecting the eclipse's activation of Neptune in Scorpio. Angry mothers and children picketed houses where newly-released paedophiles lived and hounded them out. Whilst violent sexual behaviour towards children merits no soft-heartedness, many so-called paedophiles are simply sad repressed men who are not dangerous at all. For them, being victims of the undiscriminating witch-hunts of late in Britain is a terrifying situation.
Transformation of the Infrastructure
Getting back to transport, it has become clear to many people that the infrastructure in Britain is completely outdated. Commuting is simply a nightmare, not just in London but in and around most major cities and towns. Because public transport is a joke, most people use their own cars and the result is gridlock. It is interesting to see that the Ascendant of the Hatfield crash is at 17° Sagittarius, with the Moon on the Descendant at 17 Gemini. This clearly relates to the position of Mercury in the 1801 chart for the UK, which is in the third house also at 17 Sagittarius. Looking ahead into 2001 and 2002 it can be seen that Saturn opposes this degree in June 2002, whilst Pluto conjoins the UK Mercury in February 2002, December 2002, and stationing there for four long months in 2003. As if the attentions of a Saturn/Pluto opposition were not enough, the eclipse cycle traverses this degree in May/June 2002.
The good news, then, is that there will be a total reconstruction of the British
transport system in this period. Still, this is not the time to be a happy commuter.
We can expect to see enormous battles of power as the fight for a thorough transformation
takes place. One thing is sure: decisions will be made at this time which will
change the face of British transport forever. Those who try to retain part of
the existing system will be pitted against those who want total change in an
unrelenting battle for power. The battlefield will cover several major areas
amongst which are:
Mercury in Sagittarius in the 1801 chart reflects many aspects of travel,
but especially international air travel, especially as Mercury rules the 9th
house. To cope with the increasing travel to London Heathrow, there are plans
to build a fifth runway. The argument is that this is the only way London can
compete with other international European airports. The several million people
living in Heathrow's flight path are understandably fed up. Whilst the current
Jupiter/Pluto opposition feeds the frenzy to expand Heathrow, the arrival of
Saturn will surely bring that expansion grinding to a halt. The prediction here
then, is that the proposed expansion of Heathrow will meet a growing implacable
opposition which will fatally delay the project.
Obviously, when Pluto hits the UK Mercury, the major battlefield will be underground. The new London mayor Ken Livingstone is the man who was elected in May 2000, very much against the wishes of Tony Blair, on a platform of revolutionising London Transport. Livingstone opposes the Labour government's plans to partially privatise the Tube and Londoners support him overwhelmingly. As it seems very much as if the woes of the national rail system are due to rail privatisation, very few people think that privatising the Tube is advisable... but the Labour Government plug on regardless. It is probable that the present opposition of Pluto in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Gemini represents the thinking behind a free market approach to Tube privatisation. The prediction here is that privatisation plans will be abandoned as Saturn opposes Pluto, putting the Underground more under the control of the State than of the free market.
The London Mayor
Not that this will in any way go smoothly. As Ken Livingstone has his Moon at 18° Virgo (conjoining Jupiter) sesquisquare Mars and square Uranus, there will be an explosive confrontation as the Pluto/Saturn opposition and Eclipses activate his chart. Still, with his Sun/Mercury conjunction at 25° and 26° Gemini he is sure to have the last word on transport. In the months after August 2002 he will have Saturn on his Sun/Mercury whilst Uranus in Aquarius is in trine... so my money is on him.
As far as the rail system as a whole is concerned, there has been growing public anger at Railtrack, which is the privatised company which actually owns the rail system. Whilst fat cats have benefited from high dividends over the last decade, the infrastructure has become more and more run down. My guess is that the government will make moves to re-nationalise Railtrack in 2002. The public is fed up, and at present the government is already paying vast subsidies to Railtrack in a vain attempt to stop the deterioration. Saturn/Pluto aspects are draconian in their effect, and this would be the best time for deep-rooted change.
These observations are just a small sample of possible influence of the coming eclipse cycle on Saturn/Pluto and the Gemini/Sagittarian axis. Naturally there will be many more manifestations... from a reassessment of the flirtation of the British with all-pervading CCTV cameras for the purpose of "security", to transformation in education. Revolutionary changes in cyberspace and the telephone system are also on the cards, and we will see increasing government control and snooping in these areas. And of course there will probably be a growing crisis in the IT sector... but that's another story. At the end of this period... as 2003 draws to a close... the weather will probably be much the same, and we'll still be plodding through puddles, but one things is sure: the infrastructure will have undergone one of the greatest overhauls in its history.
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