New Year New Life

April — the hottest month — is the time to start over in Myanmar, better known as Burma. Where, you say? It’s stuck in that space between India, the second-most populous country and home of Bollywood, and Thailand, favorite Asian vacation spot. Myanmar is almost as little known as North Korea. (Decades of military rule doesn’t help make a country attractive.)
The weather there come April is usually so hot that folks typically welcome a dousing with water. So folks make a festival of it, and base their year on the lunar cycle.
Apparently this is year 1381 in the Myanmar Calendar — I have no idea why that would be so — which has alternating months of 29 and 30 days. Since six pair only comes to a total of 354 days, and an actual complete revolution by Earth around Sol takes about 365 days, those folks throw in an extra month every three years to make up for the messiness.By April the weather is so dang hot that everyone agrees that throwing a lot of water on each other is pretty much the thing to do. People smile and say thank you and bless you. The people have built up a belief that all the sins they have committed during the past year can be cleansed away with the water that’s thrown on them. All sins and delusions are washed away from body, mind and soul. Instead of resolutions soon forgotten, New Year starts with a purified existence.
The Thingyan festival is held at the Full Moon, and lasts for three or four days, depending on what the astrologers there decree. Apparently it’s much the same across the border in Thailand, where they call it Songkran.
The Myanmar version literally means “moving from one thing into another,” or “changing over.”
It’s long been a customary time for political and legal amnesties, though one has to wonder how long a lot of those freed remain so.
Perhaps 1381 — a numerological “four” year — for some reason is the occasion for an especially large amnesty, since thousands were released on two days in April, another 6250 on 6 May.
What brought a wave of notice around the world was the release on the latter date of two Reuters reporters who had been held in detention for over 500 days. They had been touching on a subject which the military government doesn’t want publicized.
“Before their arrest in December 2017, they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017. The operation sent more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, according to U.N. estimates.”

Hmmm . . . August 2017, what was happening celestially back then? Oh yes, there was a certain solar eclipse, late in the zoidion of Leo, with Mars just then emerging from the solar rays, at twenty-one degrees Leo at that moment. That made a strong connection with the Burmese independence chart of 4 January 1948: independence accepted from Britain five months after the deadly partition of Pakistan from India as those gained independence from the Empire. (According to reports documented in Nicholas Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes, the Burmese moment was elected, i.e. chosen, by selected astrologers.)
Mars at that eclipse moment in 2017 was closely conjunct Saturn in the Burmese national chart, and widely conjunct the Pluto placement in that chart. That spells activation of repressive currents in the collective: currents that involve elements of the population regarded as foreign: in this case, the Rohingya.

Mercury (planet of journalism) in the eclipse chart is retrograde and closely conjunct the national Mars placement, signaling an uneasy connection between reporters on the one hand, and military and police forces on the other. No wonder there was a high-profile detention.
There are other indications of a testing-time for the country: The eclipse placement of Saturn in the first house (national identity and security) of the independence chart, bringing to the forefront a sense of threat to the collective well-being; and Neptune at the lower meridian, reflecting conditions of dissolution of the established state of affairs.
Within months of the eclipse, Saturn moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn, joining Pluto there and beginning a crucial period reminiscent of 1948, when Saturn and Pluto were also traveling together. Such astrological recurrences coincide with major episodes of dealing with issues of control, repression and restructuring. A time marked by much pain and loss. The expulsion of three-quarters of a million people, and unknown numbers of lives lost, is only the most obvious.
Political entities never welcome the holding of dark deeds to the light of day. Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had to have known of the grave risk they were undertaking. Yet they persisted in maintaining their innocence and dedication to their roles.
The last release date — the day after the New Moon that followed the Thingyan Full Moon — coincided with a Mars-Jupiter opposition, in itself a combination of generally uplifting energies. And Mars-Jupiter connected exactly with Uranus (liberation, reversal) in the national chart. It was an auspicious moment for opening a new chapter, perhaps with greater openness than before.

Big Yellow Taxi

“Don’t it always seem to go / that you don’t know what you got / til it’s gone” — sang Joni Mitchell so many decades ago. The thought, the sentiment, seems to capture the perverse human tendency to require shocking loss to awaken people sufficiently to provoke movement.

Irish journalist Lyra McKee was killed senselessly on 18 April 2019 at about 11:00 p.m. in a riot zone in Derry, Northern Ireland.(1) She was twenty-nine years old, and so at the watershed life stage known as the Saturn return, with Saturn in political Capricorn.(2) Her life story includes hard beginnings and determined application to a purposeful life of reporting the doings of her troubled community.

Her last published story, on 14 April, was an analysis of the increasing rate of youth suicides since the ceasefires and the Good Friday Agreement (signed 10 April 1998). (3)

Tough stuff, reflecting the symbolism of Sun and Mercury in Aries vs. Uranus, Neptune and Saturn in Capricorn in McKee’s birth pattern.

The Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn generation was born into a milieu of epochal political chaos — the transition from the Cold War to the New World Disorder — with the collective task of developing ways of negotiating new patterns of social organization free from the rigid distinctions of the past. So many of them have embraced and cultivated deep connections across former boundaries of race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, norms of sexuality.

McKee had written for many publications, including Buzzfeed, Private Eye, The Atlantic, and others; she had signed a two-book deal, and her book The Lost Boys has been slated for publication in 2020. The timing is in the wake of the much-discussed Saturn-Pluto conjunction, exact in January 2020, but close together and “stationary” against the zodiac in late April 2019. The book, collecting the stories of eight boys who went missing in Belfast amid the political turbulence between 1969 and 1975, is sure to have even greater impact because of her own sacrifice.

On the personal side, McKee’s birth pattern included both Venus and Mars in Aquarius in a right-angle to Pluto in Scorpio. She lived these out in her queer relationships and embrace of high-danger situations.

A born mold-breaker, she nevertheless followed in the footsteps of the late war-zone journalist Marie Colvin, famed in later life for her eye patch covering one of her wounds. Colvin shared the Mars-Pluto combination. (4)

Not much has been widely reported on recent doings in that part of the world since the Troubles that peaked in the late 1970s have quieted — somewhat. The status of that remaining part of the United Kingdom on the island of Eire remains unresolved. Prime evidence of that: Northern Ireland has had no government since January 2017, at which time the enhanced-level-of-breakdown combination of Jupiter – Uranus – Pluto dominated the zodiac.

But the funeral for McKee, attended by top-level politicians from Northern Ireland, the Republic and Westminster, has stimulated a new round of talks on the region’s political future. They are scheduled to begin on 7 May, as Mercury (discussions) closes in on Uranus for the first time since Uranus’ entry into Taurus. This seems an appropriate lineup for an intended breakthrough in the stalemate, though any agreement is likely to be quite slow in coming: Taurus is the zoidion least amenable to change.

As so often, notable shifts in the political landscape are accompanied by a dramatic weather event: Storm Hannah has prompted red-alert warnings for 26-27 April for southwesternmost Ireland, and lesser alerts for the rest of the island and parts of England and Wales. This is the first such alert since October 2017, and is reflected in two recent astrological emphases. The line for Mercury at the upper meridian at the Aries solar ingress on 20 March 2019 fell along the westernmost tip of Ireland — Mercury denoting the wind factor. And in the chart for Mercury’s ingress into Aries (where Mercury passes from 17 April until 6 May) shows Uranus (disruption of the existing pattern) on the ascendant.

Yes, change is coming, and how tragic the cost. Once again.

(1) “The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said that a gunman fired shots towards police officers in Derry’s Creggan area at about 23:00 BST on Thursday [18 April].” (BBC News)
(2) Birth date: 31 March 1990 in Belfast.
(3) On that date, Sun was joined by Saturn, Mars and Mercury (retrograde) in Aries, with nearly-full Moon in Libra.
(4) Birth date: 12 January 1956 in Oyster Bay, New York, with Mars additionally conjunct Saturn in Scorpio for a large further measure of harshness of experience. McKee had been booked to speak at a screening of the recent film about Colvin’s life and work, titled “A Private War.”