The euro was launched in a blaze of euphoria on 1st January, 1999. We take midday in Frankfurt as the natal moment. You can look at the euro’s natal chart here
Appropriately for a currency, the ascendant Libra’s ruler is Venus, a key indicator of wealth and prosperity. But Venus is in Capricorn, indicating that this wealth must be hard-won. Clearly the young currency has some painful growing up to do. The Sun too is in Capricorn, and Saturn – ruler of both Sun and Venus in this chart – is in Aries.
Saturn is the disciplinarian of the horoscope. Modulated through Aries, Saturn will be an enthusiastic but headstrong and impulsive teacher, without the patience and compassion that a young, vulnerable Capricorn currency needs to feel secure. Even more challenging is the opposition with Saturn’s ruler Mars in Libra. This is ennervating, as the energy to gets things done is bogged down in endless Libran talks on the Saturnine themes of discipline and austerity.
So how is the deadlock broken? Where is the ruler of Mars in this chart? It is of course none other than Venus, which is remarkably in the T-square position. So there is a hugely frustrating and ultimately unresolvable dynamic playing out here, as definitive action (Mars) needs vast amounts of money (Venus), but can’t have it (Saturn).
The chart contains a second T-square between Mercury, Moon and Jupiter. Jupiter in Pisces rules here. Optimism is an understatement of Jupiter in Pisces – to infinity and beyond! It’s historic! It’s transcendent! This Jupiter, and the Neptunian idealism behind it, is the motivating force behind the euro’s creation. Jupiter’s infectious sextile to the Sun underlines why the potential problems of uniting 17 different economies under a common currency were brushed aside to be sorted out later.
Modern Europe itself can be traced back to the Treaty of Paris, signed on 18th April 1951, creating the Europe Coal & Steel Community. Jupiter is in Pisces again here, showing the idealistic motivation, which was that there should be no more war in Europe. Conveniently, warlike Mars is to be found in in earthy Taurus where he can be seduced by Venusian comforts.
In the 1951 chart, Jupiter opposes Saturn in Virgo – the devil in the detail – but here the unstable equilibrium between expansion and contraction is productive of prosperity, represented by Venus in favourable aspect to both. The Sun itself in Aries is opposed by Neptune in Libra showing how impressionable is this community to the grand vision, and Neptune’s ruler Venus is in favourable aspect to Jupiter, again good for prosperity. It’s a far less troubled chart than that of the euro.
Back to the euro’s chart, Jupiter came back to its Piscean birth point in April 2010. But now, not far into the second Jupiter cycle, its very survival is in question.
Perhaps we should look to Pluto for clues about survival. The euro chart has Pluto in Sagittarius under the rulership of expansive Jupiter. Sails were set fair and bubbles were expanding. Then, in January 2008, Pluto entered Capricorn before going retrograde in April 2008 and crossing back into Sag in June. One cold touch was enough for the bubbles to start bursting, culminating in the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy on the very day that Pluto started going direct again.
Pluto entered Capricorn for the second time in November 2008. The global financial crisis was now in full swing. In December, the EU announced a €200bn stimulus package to counter its effects, while believing that it was basically an “Anglo-Saxon” problem.
As Pluto went retrograde again in April 2009, the complacent eurozone felt the first stirrings of real unease. The EU ordered France, Spain, Ireland and Greece to reduce their budget deficits. Pluto went direct in September. Now Pluto had truly arrived in Capricorn. In December 2009, following elections in October, the new Greek administration started to reveal the depth of its problems – a towering sovereign debt, and a massive budget deficit 4 times over the 3% Maastricht “limit”.
Pluto reached 5deg25 of Capricorn before going retrograde again in April 2010. On 2nd May, as Jupiter started its second 12-year cycle in Pisces the Greek bailout package was announced, followed by the Irish bailout in November. Amazingly, Estonia only joined the eurozone on 1st January 2011! There was still plenty of infectious optimism about.
Then, in February, the first €500bn permanent bailout fund was rolled out. By April Pluto was at 7deg30. In May, as Jupiter crossed native Saturn, the Portuguese bailout was announced. All three bailed-out countries were facing daunting Saturnine austerity measures.
At the end of October, transiting Saturn crossed over native Mars in Libra, and crisis talks intensified. New announcements were eagerly anticipated and as quickly trashed by the markets for their lack of firepower. Venus/Saturn: not enough money. The limitations of the eurozone’s armoury were becoming painfully apparent. The problem lay in its very structure. The founders had failed to ensure that there was a lender of last resort. The eurozone lacked both the political and fiscal mechanisms to properly underpin a major currency. Now the same paralysing inertia that delayed the “Anglo-Saxon” crisis was standing in the way of any resolution.
The Germans were having none of it. Optimism is replaced by hubris. They had spent years digging themselves out of the last visionary hole that Helmut Kohl had dug them into by foolishly offering parity with the East German Mark. Now things are much better, thank you. The euro problem was not of our making and, OK, so it’s not the Anglo-Saxons’ fault after all, it’s those lazy Mediterranean types. They need the same medicine we’ve had to swallow. And they will still go on buying our cars, won’t they?
Saturn reaches full opposition with native Saturn in December. Banks won’t lend to each other. Even the bail-out funds already approved are tied up in bureaucracy. Fear, uncertainty and deadlock prevail.
Then Venus in the shape of the ECB’s Mario Draghi, a man with an exact Sun/Venus conjunction, breaks the Mars/Saturn impasse. He gets the euro printing presses rolling overtime, with unlimited loans available to eurozone banks at 1% interest. €500bn of new liquidity overnight. The euro falls to 1.20 to the pound for the first time in a year. Discussions on the precise terms of the Greek default edge towards agreement. Fearmongers start talking about Portugal as the next defaulter. Then the Davos talking shop opens, and some more nuanced themes emerge – austerity packages must be tailored to each country’s situation; austerity must be tempered with growth-promoting measures.
Incidentally, with €24bn in gold reserves, Portugal is unlikely to be the next to default.
Saturn goes retrograde on 8th February 2012, and reverses over its native opposition point in April. It goes direct in June and passes back over the opposition point in September. The Saturn Libra transits emphasise the dangers of austerity alone and focus energies on finding a balanced solution, but progress is difficult and painful.
Pluto will reach the euro Sun’s native position for the first time on 22nd January, 2013 and, during this series of Pluto/Sun transits in 2013, the euro must at minimum undergo a fundamental transformation – a metamorphosis. The euro will survive, but only under a new treaty – a redefining moment with new chart, so that the action paralysis of the Mars /Venus/Saturn T-square can be left behind.
By the beginning of 2014, the crisis will be over.
Because here’s the thing – inspirational, visionary Neptune, the ruler of the euro’s Jupiter, entered Pisces for the first time in April 2011. It retrograded back into Aquarius in August, and now it’s re-entering Pisces definitively in February 2012. Neptune is the ruler of Pisces and at its strongest there. Neptune is about fashion, glamour, idealism, spirituality and illusion. It’s Venus at a higher vibration. It’s the urge to merge.
The last time it entered Pisces was in February 1848. This year – the original “Spring of Nations” – saw many uprisings and revolutions. They started in France and spread to over 50 countries. There was a pan-European collapse of traditional authority, fired by disruptive ideas such as democracy, socialism and even nationalism – not the nationalism that seeks to exclude the “other” – but an inclusive or pan-nationalism that seeks to bring people of a common background together. This uncoordinated mass expression of idealism mostly fizzled out, but the ideas stuck around. Some of them stood the test of time, while others – the Communist Manifesto for example – were eventually revealed as illusory and unattainable.
And what is a currency today but a grand illusion? I promise to pay the bearer on demand…not gold, only another paper promise. Whether it has masonic symbols on it, or a picture of the queen, it’s still paper.
The defects in the euro set-up have been laid bare. The remedy – basically federalism – is unpalatable, especially when it seems to involve nothing but austerity. But is a “federalised” euro better for European prosperity in the long term than 17 different currencies? I would say so.
It would help if eurozone politicos did a better job of selling the federal vision – a single and more competitive market, shared humanitarian ideals, respect for the individual, free speech, an independent judiciary, and the best social safety net in the world. It’s actually a compelling story. They just need to get the boring but essential mechanics right. Then we can all get back to believing in the grand illusion.
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