So what is up with this cartoon furor that has millions demonstrating around the world? Back in September a Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten, publish some cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed in a negative light. Muslim belief forbids drawings of their prophet for fears of idolatry. Instead of dismissing the cartoons as the work of some idiots and trying to educate the perpetrators or the readers of the publication, what the global Muslim community has decided to resort to is violent protests which involve torching embassies and western structures. So the question is why did the latter happen instead of the preceding? Let us consult the stars.

The first couple of planets that shed some light on this issue are Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter, the planet of religion and philosophy, is in Scorpio. Scorpio is about power and the depths of the mind and the hidden feelings. Jupiter is squaring Neptune in Aquarius. Neptune is about spirituality, illusions and delusions, and is the planet associated with fanaticism. It is in the sign of Aquarius, knowledge, brotherhood and revolution. Jupiter is a social planet whereas Neptune is a collective planet suggesting this conflict has been lurking in the collective consciousness for a while. To make matters more difficult the planets are both in fixed signs which mean that they are both rigid in their outlook.

These planets are square to each other or at 90° which indicates a conflict. Jupiter has an expanding quality to it which will result in exaggerating. This aspect has brought fanatics from both sides to a head, triggering a religious conflict. The fact that Jupiter is in Scorpio, suggests that there are two groups trying to exert control. I believe that if the US was not in Iraq, this could have planetary configuration could have played itself out in a different fashion. However with the deep rooted resentment of the occupation of an Islamic country by western forces we are now face with this current scenario. The Sun connects to Neptune on February 6th to bring the matter to light.

Jupiter is at 17° of Scorpio. Isidore Kozminsky in his book Zodiacal Symbology describes this point as “A dagger, with a jewel hilt, stuck in a document”. The point of 17° of Aquarius is “A crab on an inverted triangle, above which two hands tug at a laurel”. He describes it as one hanging on to ideas with tenacity and is a symbol of strife.

The other pair of planets fuelling the fire is Mars in Taurus and Pluto in Sagittarius. Mars, the planet of aggression, uncomfortable and slow in Taurus represents a fight for ones values. Pluto, planet of power and of death and transformation, is in philosophical, worldly and religious Sagittarius. These planets are in a quincunx to each other (150° apart). This aspect is one of struggle, tension and discomfort forcing a new way to look at things.

The religious and values factor, us versus them, comes into play with these two planets. In mid-February these planets will form an exact quincunx at 26° of Taurus and 26° of Sagittarius. Kozminsky states that 26° of Taurus is “A giant of benevolent aspect, with his foot on a broken sword, tearing up the laws of the world by which men have been governed for centuries. Behind him are broken bags of golden coins, which are falling in a shower over a precipice. This is a symbol of Iconoclasm.”

So with warring Mars here, this suggests that the treasures for which the fight is for will be spilt. 26° of Sagittarius is described as “Two girls on a see-saw gaily dressed, a man in motley in the centre holding a cup of wine in his hand. This is a symbol of pleasure.” Secretive Pluto suggests there are some people who may gain from pitting these two sides against each other. They sip their wine while the two sides bob up and down.

Could it be the hidden side of these planetary combinations are really highlighting the Mars in Taurus, war for goods in tension with Pluto in Sagittarius, oil/nuclear power in foreign lands? This aspect has been going on for a while but these could be the issues that are fanning the flames!

This part of the conflict will probably dissipate by the end of February as Mars moves in to the thinking, communicative Gemini so when it opposes Pluto in this sign in early April let’s hope that is it is more a debate. Mars will come back into a quincunx aspect to Pluto at the end of May but this time in Cancer possibly bringing struggle into the homelands. In early September, Mars will square Pluto from Virgo – bio-weapons to promote the religious power? Hmm!! I hope not! Maybe with Mars in Virgo it will be a more of a critical/analytical battle.

Jupiter and Neptune will continue to spar as both meet in a square at 18° early in March. Jupiter at 18°of Scorpio is “A ballet dancer who has just left the stage talking to some men who are flattering her”. Kozminsky describes this as a warning and a symbol of inflaming. Neptune at 18° of Aquarius is “A lion running along a dreary and barren field at the end of which is a V-shaped road. On the one side are hunters armed, on the other a rocky entrance leads to sunlit lawns”. He says the Earth will be violent or peaceful as it is will and this is a symbol of doubting. This does not bode well for peace.

At this time Jupiter will begin to retrograde or travel backwards in the sky. Neptune will go retrograde in May. Jupiter will go direct in early July and the planets will exactly square each other again at 17° by the end of September. The proverbial log will be on the fire until November, 2006. However, the fallout unfortunately could go on longer than that.

Buckle up and let us hope that cooler minds prevail.

Peace, Nemaste.

Follow up: In September 2006, Pope Benedict, in a speech, repeated criticism of the prophet Mohammed made by a medieval scholar which again upset the Muslim world. In November, the Pope made his way to Turkey to visit Christians in that country and to have a dialogue with Muslim scholars. Things seemed to have quieted down now.