Welcome to the Halloween 2023 Cosmic Weather Forecast by Curtis Lang with Jane Sherry. Last week we enjoyed a beautiful hike near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.Colors are not yet peaking in the Southeast, but the air was clean and crisp at 4000 feet, and the area's energy signature was powerful, energizing and uplifting, the perfect antidote to this month's steady stream of horrifying global news about terrorism and war crimes in Israel and Gaza.
View from Saddle Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd Virginia
Altitude 3381 feet, photo by Curtis Lang
During the last week of September, Saudi Arabia and Israel were successfully forging a landmark peace agreement. “Such a peace will go a long way in ending Arab-Israeli conflict and will encourage other Arab States to normalize their relations with Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained, adding that the agreement would also enhance prospects of peace with the Palestinians.
After five months of intense negotiations, Iran released five imprisoned Americans and President Biden agreed to lift the freeze on $6 billion of Iranian oil revenue, paving the way for further negotiations designed to decrease regional tensions while continuing to monitor and regulate Iranian nuclear programs.
Even as his government was negotiating a historical peace agreement with Saudi Arabia, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu unveiled his new, provocative map of the Middle East at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This new map completely erased Palestine, and showed a massively expanded Israel, in contradiction to every UN resolution on the Palestinian issue, making it clear that the extreme right wing theocratic Israeli government would feel free to initiate a forced removal of Palestinians from their homes, and an expansion of Israeli settlements throughout Palestinian held territories.
During the holy week of Sukkhot, on October 5, 800 Israeli settlers launched an attack on the Al Aqsa Mosque, in Old Jerusalem, and attempted to conduct Talmudic rituals in that sacred space, the third holiest site in Islam.
The Mosque stands within the Temple Mount compound, which is the most sacred site venerated by the Jewish people.
"The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as Har HaBayit, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is considered one of the holiest sites in Judaism and Islam, and is central to the Christian Gospels," according to The American Jewish Committee.
To prevent conflicts, entering any part of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound is forbidden for Jews.
The Dome of the Rock : a part of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, courtesy Wikimedia
Nirvana dwaik1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Signs by the compound clearly state: NOTICE AND WARNING: ENTERING THE TEMPLE MOUNT AREA IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN BY JEWISH LAW DUE TO THE SACRED NATURE OF THE SITE- ISRAEL CHIEF RABBINATE.
These Israeli provocations were the proximate trigger for the most dramatic, bloody Palestinian uprising in history.
Prospects for improved Middle East relations went up in flames on October 7, as Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian governing body in the Gaza Strip, unleashed Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, firing 5000 rockets into Israel, invading Israeli occupied territories, destroying Israeli military targets and killing 1400 Israeli civilians, 299 soldiers and 58 police officers while wounding another 3600 Israelis and taking over a hundred hostages.
Map of Hamas-Israel War, October 2023, showing Hamas Incursions into Israel in Blue
Ecrusized, influenced by user Rr016., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This terrorist attack constituted a heinous war crime that cannot be condoned under any circumstances.
Israel's response has been disproportionate, and has violated basic tenets of international law governing warfare and treatment of civilian populations during wartime.
Israelis immediately declared war and voiced their intent to invade Gaza, punish the terrorists who killed so many Israeli civilians on October 7th, and completely destroy Hamas at any cost.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
at The Kirya in Tel Aviv, October 16, 2023.
U.S. Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant "has said the Israeli government’s plan for Gaza includes a ground invasion, a long-term presence, a new 'security regime' in Gaza, along with 'the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip'", as reported in The Middle East Eye.
In this scenario, a much smaller much more intensely monitored Gaza would be the responsibility of the international community. It goes without saying that Israel would then expand its settlements into areas formerly part of Gaza. This plan involves the forced expulsion of a million or more Palestinian civilians from their homes.
The end result would be a much larger state of Israel.
During the weeks that followed Al-Aqsa Flood, Israel has positioned hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks, and other military hardware on the Gaza border, cut off all power and water to the Gaza Strip, and has conducted an ongoing shock and awe bombing campaign of Gaza.
"Since 7 October Israeli forces have launched thousands of air bombardments in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 3,793 people, mostly civilians, including more than 1,500 children, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza," as reported by Amnesty International. "Approximately 12,500 have been injured and more than 1,000 bodies are still trapped beneath the rubble."
More than a million Palestinians have fled their homes in an attempt to escape Israeli counterattacks, but there is no safe haven for them in Gaza and the only exit, into Egypt, is blockaded, since Egypt does not want to allow a million Palestinian refugees into its relatively impoverished and conflict torn country.
Flickr-_Israel Defense Forces - 188th Brigade Training Day, March 2008.jpg: Israel Defense Forces from Israel derivative work: MathKnight • talk, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
"As Israeli forces continue to intensify their cataclysmic assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, Amnesty International has documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes," according to the Amnesty International website.
“In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives," said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
"They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel and electricity. Testimonies from eyewitness and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by,” Callamard concluded.
"It remains helpful to remember, amid the sorrow and anger over the ongoing violence, that the core principles of humanitarian law are simple. Civilians must be protected. They cannot legally be targets of violence, or disproportionately harmed by it," writes Amanda Taub in The New York Times. "And those obligations apply to all parties involved in the fighting, even if the other side has violated them."
Israeli officials proclaim that Hamas regularly uses Palestinian civilians as "human shields" and places its operations in civilian buildings, so there is no choice but to demand they evacuate before an Israeli ground offensive, and that if Israeli forces do kill civilians, the Palestinians are themselves to blame.
Three days ago, on October 22nd, "Israel's military . . . warned Gaza residents that they risk being identified as accomplices 'in a terrorist organisation' if they do not move south, Palestinians there said, amid growing humanitarian fears with little aid being allowed in," as reported by Reuters news agency.
It is worth mentioning that when asked to justify the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden said that all Americans voted for governments committing war crimes and thus are collectively guilty. This was bin Laden's justification for killing civilians during the 9/11 terror attacks.
“'The American people,' bin Laden declared, 'should remember that they pay taxes...."They are, therefore, on the grounds of the collective guilt he and other militant Islamic fanatics indiscriminately assign them, 'responsible for American policy,' and so are deserving of the indiscriminate terror attacks he admitted ordering against them," according to a 2002 report entitled Jus Post Bellum - The Importance of War Crimes Trials, published by the US Department of Defense.
Americans in general and the vast majority of people around the world do not support a doctrine of collective civilian punishment, which is recognized universally as a war crime, even in cases such as this, when Israel has been terrorized by armed extremists who have no claim to real legitimacy, since the last elections in Gaza were in 2006, and Hamas had only 44% of the vote, but then proceeded to take power by killing their political rivals.
“The messages in these [Israeli warning] leaflets cannot be considered an effective warning to civilians and instead provide further evidence that Israel aims to forcibly displace civilians in northern Gaza," reports Amnesty International. "These threats also may amount to the war crime of collective punishment for holding hundreds of thousands of civilians responsible for acts they did not commit, based solely on the fact that they are staying in their homes when they have nowhere safe to go amid a relentless campaign of Israeli bombardment across the entire Gaza Strip.”
In the wake of a Israel's deeply flawed conduct so far in the war against Hamas in Gaza, regional powers have been remarkably restrained.
Hezbollah parade in south Beirut, Lebanon
Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Hezbollah, a Shiite political party in Lebanon with close ties to Iran, has repeatedly promised to enter the war if Israel conducts a land invasion of Gaza, an invasion which has been postponed in the wake of President Joe Biden's recent trip to the Middle East.
Hezbollah boasts a well equipped, seasoned army of somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 soldiers and 150,000 rockets and missiles and an unknown number of drones. Hezbollah is perhaps the most powerful and fearsome nonstate military actor in the world.
Hezbollah is a client of Shiite Muslim Iran, so if Israel and Hezbollah go to war, Lebanon and even Iran would be under pressure to join in the fray. Iran, which boasts a modern, well trained army 1,000,000 strong, recently unveiled new hypersonic missiles designed to reach Israeli targets and also to sink aircraft carriers, like the US carrier groups in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The number and efficacy of these next generation weapons is currently unknown. So if you start a war with Iran, you'd better be feeling lucky because you're fighting blind.
It would be very difficult for Israel to fight a war with Iran and win, even with direct US intervention, unless Israel is ready to use nuclear weapons.
If Iran is drawn into the war, almost certainly the United States would also become a direct combatant. Russia and China, who have ties to Iran, could also be drawn into the conflict.
Fortunately, for now, the Israeli ground invasion is on hold, but the two sides continue attacks and the war could escalate at any time.
Most important to understand, the escalating war between Israel and Hamas has already triggered a major confrontation between the three most powerful nuclear armed states, who are all engaged in a provocative show of force in the region.
America has sent two US Navy aircraft carrier groups to the Mediterranean Sea, off the Gazan Coast.
China has sent six warships, including a a Type 052D guided-missile destroyer, to the Middle East in the wake of the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war. This destroyer is an intelligence gathering vessel, modeled after the American Aegis warship, and also has multiple missile defenses designed to protect aircraft carriers. Missiles onboard the Chinese destroyer are also capable of delivering precision ground strikes over a distance.
Russia has deployed MIG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in the neutral airspace above the Black Sea. Kinzhal hypersonic missiles are nuclear capable next generation weapons with a range of up to 2000 kilometers, and the distance from the Black Sea to Israel is some 1,375 kilometers, so Russian jets could easily target Israeli and American forces from their Northern perch.
If Israel launches a ground invasion of Gaza, Hezbollah and Lebanon will be drawn into the war, and more than likely Israel will attack Iran and Syria as well, to cut off supplies to Hezbollah.
That kind of escalation would be a declaration of war on Iran and Syria, drawing in nuclear armed Chinese and Russian forces very quickly. At that point the risk of a world war featuring nuclear weapons would become palpable and even probable.
Hezbollah and Iran are very aware of this danger. So far, the Iranian backed Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, on Israel's northern border, continue to sporadically fire missiles into Israel, but the frequency and intensity of these attacks have pretty much been business as usual so far, and do not represent a significant escalation of the conflict.
President Joe Biden visited Israel last week, after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken conducted a diplomatic tour of the region's major powers, designed to limit the size and scale of the conflict, but observers noted that there is little appetite in the Middle East to enlist America as a mediator in this catastrophic conflict.
Biden had planned to visit Arab leaders at a hastily called summit in Jordan after his trip to Israel, but Jordan canceled the summit at the last minute.
Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Al Jazeera the Amman summit is canceled as “there is no use in talking now about anything except stopping the war.”
Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marwan Muasher meets with
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in the Pentagon on December 5, 2003.
U.S. Department of Defense, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Asked how the US diplomatic initiatives were seen in the region, Former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher told PBS that "To be candid, it's being seen in extremely negative light, not because the president did not — did show empathy for the Israeli civilians that have been killed — I mean, nobody should condone targeting civilians, nobody — but because he did not show the same empathy towards the Palestinians who are being harmed, towards the collective punishment of two million Palestinians in Gaza.
"And the Arab world today is asking, what about the day after, not just who will rule Hamas and Gaza after that, but if we are to have a political process that deals with the root cause of the problem, which is the occupation, can the United States — this is what the Arab world is asking — can the United States be counted on as a broker?"
Joe Biden wheels down in Baghdad, 2016.
The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
"Forget the word honest broker, but as a broker, period, between Palestinians and Israelis. Today, the United States' image in the region as a leader in trying to effect a political solution has been severely damaged," Muasher concluded.
Unfortunately, as we shall see, the United States appears weakened politically and is an unlikely candidate to remain the predominant power broker in the Middle East.
No one respects an Imperial power that fails to discipline its own allies.
It appears to many that President Biden was unable to restrain his Israeli counterpart, or uninterested in doing so.
US news sources said that Biden did tell Netanyahu that he should beware of emotional over reaction, and that the US had learned that lesson the hard way after 9/11.
If Biden wanted to prepare the ground for a ceasefire and negotiations, he needed to obtain Israel's cooperation, but the only concession offered by the Israelis has been to allow a few trucks with humanitarian supplies to enter the Gaza Strip, when the need for food, water and fuel for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the Israeli bombing and threatened imminent blitzkrieg, is hundreds of times greater than that.
We have to hope that Israel's postponement of the provocative ground invasion of Gaza, which is a clear red line for Hezbollah, will provide much needed time for all parties involved in the region to muster a diplomatic response to this crisis.
Although President Biden and the vast majority of Congresspeople have not called for a ceasefire as a prelude to negotiations, 66% of likely voters agree that the U.S. should call for a ceasefire and de-escalation of violence in Gaza to prevent civilian deaths.
Former president Barack Obama released a statement on Monday that defended those on the left worried about the plight of Palestinians, writing, “it is possible for people of good will to champion Palestinian rights and oppose certain Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza without being anti-semitic.”
The longer that America takes to call for a ceasefire and multilateral negotiations, the more America's soft power will be eroded worldwide.
It is not just America that has lost face in this month's war.
Israel, America's military partner and surrogate in the Middle East, was blindsided by a sophisticated, well planned Palestinian attack that gave the vaunted Israeli intelligence services a big black eye and called into question Israeli abilities to govern their fractious territories.
The Israelis no longer look invincible. The Americans no longer look like preferred mediators in the oil rich region the US has dominated since World War II.
Both the Americans and the Israelis appear at this time to be on course to perform an act of ethnic cleansing that would remove millions of Gazans from their homes as part of the War against Hamas -- a potential war crime.
Worst of all, Israeli insistence on a no-holds-barred war in Gaza threatens to re-ignite and escalate the global war between Islam and the West, a quagmire that America appeared to be slowly exiting during the last few years.
Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) transits the Mediterranean Sea.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Angel Contreras,
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
America, which had withdrawn two naval carrier groups from the region a couple of years ago, has now re-inserted them into Eastern Mediterranean waters.
This move signals a basic failure of Biden's US foreign policy, which was designed to de-escalate tensions and normalize relations in the Middle East, as part of the foreign policy pivot to the Far East begun by Barack Obama.
Speaking of Russians, recent reports from Ukraine indicate that the vaunted offensive against Russia has stalled and failed, and in the face of mounting opposition to the Ukraine War from Republicans in Congress, the future of this military stand-off now appears cloudy at best.
So that's yet another major Biden foreign policy failure, and another example of America's growing weakness as global hegemon.
But foreign policy is not the only area where America's leaders are bogged down and perceived as ineffectual, as they confront intransigent problems poised to escalate with incendiary effects around the world.
Back in Washington, there is growing concern about massive government spending, and now, with what looks like long term war in Ukraine and a potentially catastrophic regional war in the Middle East, military expenditures are sure to grow even larger, year by year.
But not to worry. Former Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says America has plenty of money to fight two major wars simultaneously.
However there will be no new money for these wars and other essential US government functions if Congress fails to act to lift the debt ceiling before November 17th, only a few weeks from now.
You may recall the debt ceiling debacle we discussed in the September Cosmic Weather Forecast.
I wrote, "The debt ceiling is a recurring issue because of a seemingly unnecessary and arcane rule that requires an annual Congressional agreement to raise the debt limit to accommodate the budget expenditures already agreed to by Congress and the President."
"In May, President Biden and Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy announced their agreement approving a budget through January 2025, specifically so there would be no Congressional game of chicken when the time came to lift the debt ceiling -- and no nasty head-on collision with immense collateral damage."
But in September we were rapidly approaching an October 1 deadline to lift the credit limit, at the time of a pernicious Venus-Uranus square.
Give War Bonds for Christmas advertisement, Office for Emergency Management.
Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. Public Domain
National Archives at College Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
"Absent Congressional approval of a new higher debt ceiling, in the near term the Treasury Department would not be able to meet all its obligations, including interest payments on US Treasury bonds, payments to veterans and Social Security recipients, and salaries for government employees."
"This would undoubtedly cause financial markets to panic."
California Republican Kevin McCarthy, then Speaker of the House, brokered a last minute deal for a temporary funding package that would have to be renewed by mid November.
Extreme right wing Republicans were so incensed by McCarthy's deal with hated Democrats that they engineered McCarthy's removal as House Speaker on October 5th, in the run up to the incendiary Mars-Pluto square that kicked off the current Israeli-Hamas war.
Since McCarthy was removed as Speaker of the House, the GOP were unable to unify their people for weeks, but today, Wednesday October 25th, Republicans elected Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-04) is Speaker of the House.
Now, extremely right wing Speaker Johnson will have to broker a deal with Democrats to keep the government open. Will he be able to do so? Unless new legislation is passed in both houses of Congress, the government will run out of funds on November 17th, and a government shutdown will begin.
Get ready for a monumental game of chicken to unfold inside the Beltway. Let's hope collateral damage can be minimized.
You could say in hindsight that it's all written in the stars. In the January 2023 Cosmic Weather Forecast I wrote that. . ."in mid-November Uranus in Taurus will square Mars in Scorpio, another extremely powerful, incendiary aspect that could indicate a . . . financial and economic shock to the global financial architecture."
In the midst of multiple ongoing military crises around the world, America cannot seem to maintain the smooth functioning of its political and financial systems essential to its democratic form of government.
Allies and enemies alike sense American decay and weakness, at home and abroad.
All in all, it's been a very bad month for America. In retrospect, we can see that America's month from hell was written in the stars. The US Pluto return has been reactivated once again.
The Al-Aqsa Flood attack on October 7th took place the day before a potent, inflammatory square perfected between Mars at the Libra-Scorpio cusp and Pluto in late Capricorn.
Pluto by Franz von Stuck, 1909 Public domain
As we warned in last month's Cosmic Weather Forecast, "Immediately after the Full Aries Super Moon, on October 1, Mars in Libra moves into a square with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn, still at the position Pluto occupies in America's Birth Chart. In short, we are going to see yet more fallout from America's Pluto Return, which we have discussed extensively in newsletters past."
As I wrote then, "Astrologically speaking, two solar eclipses during the climax of America's Pluto return seem to me to signal a pronounced decline in America's standing in the world, a darkening of the American spirit and a potential journey into the Plutonic underworld for all of us."
That same day Russia escalated bombardment of cities in Ukraine.
Israel reiterated calls for the entire civilian population of North Gaza to evacuate to South Gaza. Bordering Egypt shows no willingness to allow Palestinians into their country, so the refugees have nowhere to go, and no shelter, food, power or water available to them.
In Washington, with mere weeks to go, Congress faces the prospect of a government shutdown for the second time in about a month. America looks like a banana republic, if you'll pardon that anachronistic, politically incorrect expression.
The energy signature of America's Pluto Return involves the failure of major institutions, confrontations with multiple existential threats, paranoia and over-reaction to perceived threats, and the resurfacing of old conflicts, old wounds, and old grievances.
We can all see potent manifestations of Plutonic upheaval this month around the world.
We may have difficulty hearing it, but the short term and long term Cosmic Weather Forecast suggests that the curtain is rising on a worldwide drama that may very well feature the onset of a super-slo-mo eclipse of America's role as global hegemon.
Taurus Full Moon Eclipse, Scorpio Solar Festival Cosmic Weather Forecast
Constellation of Scorpius, Hevelius Star Map, Public Domain
On Saturday, October 28, at 4:24 P.M. Eastern Time, we celebrate a Full Moon Eclipse at 5º9’07” Taurus and the Scorpio Solar Festival.
La Luna is conjunct Jupiter in Taurus. We can more easily access Higher Mind and experience the Jupiterian ability to view the world with eyes of loving wisdom. Let us resolve to act with heart-centered Lunar compassion informed by empathic connection to others.
We are in the midst of a tragic revenge melodrama being enacted in the Middle East, but the energy of this Full Taurus Moon arouses sympathy in all nations of the world for all the victims of this tragic, self-perpetuating Israeli-Palestinian War.
Now is the time to demand that leaders around the world come together to bring about a ceasefire and to engage in negotiations designed to provide both Israelis and Palestinians with a framework for peaceful co-existence.
Ideally, these negotiations would be multilateral and include major regional powers as well as representatives of the US, China, Europe and Russia.
The negotiations will not be easy. Both parties want blood.
The roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict go back over 75 years, and both parties to the conflict have endured generations of revenge dramas that catalyzed the October 7th Al-Aqsa Flood terror attack on Israel.
On May 15, 1948 the state of Israel came into being. The birth of the nation coincided with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the near-total destruction of Palestinian society.
"Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians from a 1.9 million population were made refugees beyond the borders of the state," reports AlJazeera. "Zionist forces had taken more than 78 percent of historic Palestine, ethnically cleansed and destroyed about 530 villages and cities, and killed about 15,000 Palestinians in a series of mass atrocities, including more than 70 massacres."
Despite the many obvious obstacles to a peace settlement on both sides, there are potential avenues for dialogue and negotiation which deserve sincere, multilateral exploration.
With the Full Moon Eclipse in Taurus conjunct Jupiter, an expansive energy conducive to peace talks will support such efforts for the next few weeks.
"Any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately backfire," former President Barack Obama said on his blog at Medium on October 23rd. "Already, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region."
"In an age of constant rancor, trolling and misinformation on social media, at a time when so many politicians and attention seekers see an advantage in shedding heat rather than light, it may be unrealistic to expect respectful dialogue on any issue — much less on an issue with such high stakes and after so much blood has been spilled," Obama continued. "But if we care about keeping open the possibility of peace, security and dignity for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children — as well as for our own children — then it falls upon all of us to at least make the effort to model, in our own words and actions, the kind of world we want them to inherit."
Jupiter Photo by Webb Telescope, courtesy NASA
President Obama dispenses high-minded rhetoric about acting to secure a truce in the Israeli-Hamas War, but America's actions seem often to be at odds with America's ideals.
On October 18th, "In the aftermath of an air strike on a northern Gaza hospital that marked a sharp escalation in the ongoing Israel-Gaza crisis, the Security Council today failed to adopt a resolution put forth by Brazil that would have called for humanitarian pauses to allow full, safe and unhindered access for United Nations agencies and their partners, due to a veto cast by a permanent member of the Council, the United States," according to a United Nations Press Release.
The good news is that an overwhelming majority of nations want a ceasefire and negotiations before the entire region is embroiled in a war that could escalate into a nuclear conflagration.
The bad news is that both the Israelis and Hamas are consumed by a desire for revenge for all the blood that has been spilled over the last 75 years, and it appears that bloodthirsty extremists are in control in both Tel Aviv and Gaza.
This difficult environment for potential peace talks is mirrored by the Sun, Mercury, and Mars conjunction in Scorpio opposing Moon and Jupiter on the night of the Taurus Full Moon Eclipse.
Mars in Scorpio represents the combination of the energies of the 4th ray of harmony through conflict and the 6th ray of idealism and devotion.
If higher mind is energized, Scorpio can be the Eagle, soaring above personal concerns and conflicts, able to see the big picture and to offer solutions that would never be visible otherwise.
On the other hand, if the 6th ray energy is strong within the collective consciousness of a group, a nation, or a religion, Mars in Scorpio could manifest as the mindset of the fanatical warrior, willing to transgress any and all boundaries in pursuit of victory for the group as a whole.
Self-sacrifice and the willingness to sacrifice the lives of others could be seen in that case as highly desirable outcomes. Terrorism, collective punishment, and scorched earth warfare would be seen as simply the necessary steps on the path to victory during a time of existential crisis.
Mercury and Mars, NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
With Mars in Scorpio conjunct Mercury in Scorpio, the belligerent groups' warrior mindsets will be activated, and both sides are likely to reject calls for a ceasefire.
On the other hand, for those who can activate their inner Scorpionic Eagle, connect with Higher Mind, and allow intuitive guidance illuminated by loving wisdom to lead them forward on their path of Spirit, this Full Moon Eclipse and the weeks to come can bring golden opportunities for accelerated spiritual advancement.
After this Full Moon Eclipse weekend, Mars will continue to create hard aspects with other aspects from time to time for the next couple of months.
It may take more than one or two bumps in the road to peace before it's perfectly clear to everyone what must be done.
Eventually, Europe, the United States, and Great Britain will have to demand that Israel allow a ceasefire and engage in negotiations. This is the only path forward.
Wars after all, are merely political instruments, designed to pursue political goals, and if the entire region is decimated in a holy war between Jews and Christians on one hand, and Muslims on the other, then no one will achieve their political goals.
When Saturn goes direct in Pisces on November 4th, it may be possible to achieve forward motion in all areas of life that are confusing and littered with intractable obstacles impeding our progress. Saturn represents social and political structures, so perhaps our national and international institutions will begin to deliver some positive results for a change.
That could be good news for international peace talks, and for a last minute deal between Congressional Republicans and the White House to fund the government -- at least until next year.
However, towards the end of next month, on November 25th, Mars at 0°54 Sagittarius squares Saturn at 0°54 Pisces and we encounter our next difficult Mars transit.
Here we have a conflict between structure and will forces, as an unstoppable force encounters an immovable object.
This is another red flag concerning escalation of conflicts. In this case idealistic Mars in Sagittarius encounters a morass of social entanglements and misunderstandings that could thwart attempts to achieve visionary goals.
It appears we have a long and winding road ahead of us for the next moon cycle.
Long term, there are some potentially troubling historical correlations with epoch making outer planet movements over the next few years.
Pluto entered Aquarius in March of this year, and is now retrograde in Capricorn, but will waffle back and forth until it finally leaves the sign of the Goat for the last time on January 22, 2024, to remain in Aquarius for the next 19 1/2 years.
Constellation of Aquarius, Johannes Hevelius - Prodromus Astronomia -
Volume III "Firmamentum Sobiescianum, sive uranographia"
Pluto was last in Aquarius from 1777 through 1798, the time of the American and French Revolutions.
We may see the United States seized by a revolutionary fervor in the mid-2020s, and fundamental changes to the Constitution and the basic rules of governance could be implemented at that time.
Certainly the desire for deep transformation of the institutions that have decayed during the Pluto in Capricorn transit will be cresting next year, when Pluto enters Aquarius, just as the campaign to elect a President gets fully underway.
The conflicted, paranoid and spooky US Pluto Return, which has taken place with Pluto in Capricorn since February 2022, will begin to dissipate as Pluto enters Aquarius, and over the next several years, it is quite likely that the United States will see the manifestation of a new social compact and a new set of legal and political frameworks for its democracy.
This revolutionary fervor at home will take place against a backdrop of potentially incendiary outer planet aspects indicating the possibility of major wars across the face of the Earth.
In the January 2023 Cosmic Weather Forecast and elsewhere, I warned that Uranus in Taurus transits have seen several major wars, such as the global conflict known as the Seven Years' War of 1756–1763, which involved most of the European Great Powers, and was fought primarily in Europe, the Americas, and the Asia-Pacific.
England won the war but went deep into debt, and England's demand that Americans bear a large part of the debt burden by paying new, onerous taxes, played a large part in the alienation of American elites from the British crown. Ultimately of course there would be a revolution.
This time around, will America run into trouble trying to pay for hot wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and a major Cold War with China, all at the same time?
Whether or not America can pay its debts, and whether or not Americans revolt against their impoverishment brought about by decades of military adventurism and Imperial over-reach, the astrology of 2024-2026 indicates a tsunami of civilizational change.
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the planets governing the trans-personal collective consciousness, all change signs.
Pluto in Aquarius could bring war and financial ruin to the American Empire and signal a major restructuring of global relations.
The last time Pluto was in Aquarius was from 1778 until 1798. During that time, Western colonization, revolution and reform engineered historic global transformations. Britain colonized Australia, the Industrial Revolution introduced large scale machine manufacturing to England, the American Revolution created the United States, the French Revolution ended the rule of the aristocracy, and progress was made toward the gradual abolition of the international slave trade, which was made illegal in America in 1800, and in Great Britain in 1807.
Values, morals, political alliances, technology and collective belief systems will undergo a lengthy, thorough overhaul during the Pluto in Aquarius transit, lasting until March 2043.
Neptune enters Aries in early 2025. Astrologers across the Internet have been writing about this transit already, because of its potential impact.
Neptune with Rings, Composite Picture courtesy NASA via Wikimedia
The American Civil War decimated our country's youth between 1861 and 1865 when Neptune was last in Aries, so there are resonances with that tragic struggle.
Neptune and Aries are polar opposites, so a clash of energies can be predicted amid the fog of war, whether hot or cold.
On February 20th of 2026, Saturn will conjunct Neptune at one degree of Aries, the primal birthing point of the Zodiacal round.
Something will be born in the collective consciousness, and yet the birth will be shrouded in an astral fog, so exactly what is being born will be extremely unclear at the time, and only in hindsight will we be able to understand the importance of that moment.
There will be a strong impulse to empower social structures that reinforce spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. This could be a very positive manifestation involving group work around the globe in support of humanity's transition to a more mature, balanced relationship with the web of life on this beleaguered Ocean Planet.
An upwelling of Oceanic feelings, epitomized by Neptune in Aries, can also imply the overwhelming of the individual consciousness in the collective astral glamours of a group mind.
With Saturn, the planet of institutions and communities, also in Aries at the same time, there is a potential for the creation and expansion of large communities of like minded believers to gather in cohesive, potentially aggressive formations, which might then clash with one another over religious and spiritual beliefs.
Saturn leaves Aries in 2028, but Neptune remains in Aries through 2039, so it may be years or decades before the true meaning of the 2025-2026 transits will be revealed.
Constellation of Gemini, engraving from celestial atlas entitled:
Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uronographia, by Johann Hevelius (1611-1687), Gdansk
Last but not least among these upcoming earth shaking outer planet aspects, Uranus enters Gemini on July 7, 2025 and will remain in that sign until it finally moves into Cancer to stay in 2033.
Uranus in Gemini unleashes unexpressed creativity by fostering self-confident individuality, and can enable sudden, unexpected visions and direct experiences of Higher Worlds in those prepared for the experience, and sometimes in those woefully unready to ground the rush of energy being channeled into body and mind.
As a transpersonal planet, Uranus governs the unstoppable momentum of the collective unconscious in pursuit of its freedom from mental constraints of any kind.
During this quality of time, everyone is their own prophet, their own mage, their own high priestess, and will have to learn to take responsibility for their self-expression.
Groups will rebel against authorities, power structures, and conventional social norms in every area of life.
We will all be inundated with a tsunami of novelty. New ideas, new technologies, new social relations, and new ways of being in the world will all suddenly appear in fully constellated form.
The last time Uranus was in Gemini was from August 1941 through June 1949. World War II was in full swing. A global existential crisis crystallized a universal multi-polar power struggle between competing nations, ideologies, economic systems, and religions.
Soviet soldiers on the attack, Stalingrad
RIA Novosti archive, image #44732 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Suddenly, pre War ways of being in the world were rendered utterly irrelevant.
Women were transformed from homemakers to managers and factory workers.
Russian peasants became generals fighting against entitled Prussian aristocrats.
Everywhere new possibilities arose.
Everywhere the shock of the new overcame the habits of lifetimes.
The atomic bomb eradicated entire large cities in Japan.
A holocaust engulfed European Jews as the world stood by and dithered for years.
Global Map of Cold War Alliances, circa 1975
Vorziblix, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
And after it was all over, by 1949, as Uranus prepared to exit Gemini, Israel was admitted to the UN, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb, ending America's monopoly on nuclear weapons, oil was discovered under the Caspian Sea, the Berlin Crisis put a war weary world on the precipice of yet another World War, and NATO was formed as a response to the emerging Communist Bloc.
The Cold War had begun.
This time around, as Uranus transits Gemini between 2025 and 2033, the structural integrity of NATO, BRICS nations, the UN, Israel, Russia, and America will be severely tested.
It remains to be seen whether these structures survive the Uranus in Gemini transit intact.
Partial Lunar Eclipse, Photo by Mark Tegethoff on Unsplash
As of this writing, as we approach the Taurus Full Moon Eclipse, the Israelis have not yet launched a full scale ground invasion of Gaza. That does not mean that Israel has backed off of plans to demolish Gaza and expel its residents. It's just that preparing for the invasion could take a while.
"Israel has agreed, for now, to a request from the U.S. to delay its expected ground invasion of Gaza so the Pentagon can place air defenses in the region to protect U.S. troops, according to U.S. officials and people familiar with the Israeli planning," The Wall Street Journal reports.
That's not a good sign for peacemakers at all.
This Full Moon week we would all do well to offer up our prayers for peace throughout the world, to send love and light to the collective consciousness of humanity, and to perform rituals and practices designed to elevate the hearts and minds of those bent on war and destruction.
Fortunately, the energy signature of this Full Moon Eclipse in Taurus is very supportive of such efforts because of the prominence of Jupiter at this time, as we discussed earlier.
We could all benefit from meditating upon the Sabian Symbol for this Full Moon, which is A Cantilever Bridge Across a Deep Gorge. This symbolizes efforts to overcome deep divisions through co-operation among groups over time.
It takes consistent efforts over a long time, focused concentration, empathy and diplomatic skill to build a bridge between warring peoples. It takes only a short time to destroy entire cities.
Two of Swords, Schizophrenia (or Peace), Osho Tarot
Peacemaking requires us to serve as a bridge between two opposing worldviews, two opposing groups, and to remain calm and steadfast in our willingness to see both sides of a conflict with some degree of objectivity. We have to refuse to take the easy path of choosing sides or any peacemaking process will be doomed from the start.
This difficult work is symbolized in traditional Tarot decks by the two of swords, called Peace. In the Osho Tarot, the two of swords, pictured above, is called Schizophrenia. Here we see a person stretched over an abyss, in a state of unbearable tension, unable to choose between two options.
Osho says this is the common mental state of the great majority of human beings. We are taught that the Universe is composed of dualities, such as materialism vs. spirituality, good guys vs. bad guys, aggressors vs. victims.
We tend to limit our choices to either black or white when we live in a technicolor world, and we tend to project our shadow side onto the people perceived as belonging to the "other side", creating conditions for misunderstanding and even violence.
Yes, reality is not dualistic. There is always a third option, if we can summon the will forces and strength of mind to manifest the synthesis that will bridge the abyss and allow for peaceful solutions to seemingly insoluble conflicts and dilemmas.
This Full Moon we are all asked to stretch ourselves to accommodate an understanding of all sides embroiled in conflicts around the world, and to stay strong despite the difficulty involved in bridging the abyss between warring worldviews.
Jane and Sophie on our balcony Curtis Hiking in Floyd, Virginia, 2023
Jane and I affirm that we all receive the grace and guidance we require this Full Moon week to rest in that state of creative tension that will serve to bridge the divides that threaten to open into an abyss of destruction threatening our entire civilization.
Meditation Moment: Mimesis by Fady Joudah
wouldn’t hurt a spider
That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
Until it left of its own accord
If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking
She said that’s how others
Become refugees isn’t it?
From Pome, a Poetry service by Matthew Ogle