The Astrology of the Durban Conference on Climate Change

Depending to whom you are listening to the results of this historical conference is hailed as a promising and unexpected breakthrough or an irresponsible and dangerous failure. The two extreme sides of the debate, conservative climate skeptics and militant greens, seem to agree on the latter assessment. The Horoscopes of the start and finish of this event seem to prove both viewpoints right, with lots of positive and promising stuff as well as many grave difficulties showing.

In 2009 and 2010 I posted few articles on the astrological significance of the international conferences on Climate Change, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Cancun, Mexico (to access the Cancun and Copenhagen’s articles try the Eco-Culture link on the top menu or click HERE).  This year I deliberately gave a miss to the Durban’s Summit, disappointed by the lack of progress of previous years.

Even now that the Summit is officially over it is difficult to decide if the outcome can be considered a success or a failure in the titanic war against Global Warming.  Something of importance has been achieved, but, according to many green activists, what has been deliberated stops very short of what it would be needed to check the dangerous raise of temperature in the near future. A long term package has been agreed upon, but no short terms, effective measures, the dire situation demanding urgent action instead.

Astrologically one aspect that really differentiated this Summit from the recent ones was the fact that it began during the Waxing cycle of the Moon, a more positive time to start anything. The Waxing Moon in fact allowed more life blood to run through these negotiations, the Full Moon ahead working as a beacon, a luminous goal within its reach. The phase of the Moon in Copenhagen was close to the Last Quarter, and in Cancun it was just past the Last Quarter, critical and not necessarily productive times of the Moon/Sun’s cycle; but rather representing the end phases of the old cycle.

This time instead the Moon, in Cardinal Capricorn at the start, was Waxing Crescent, part of a cycle that began with the New Moon in Sagittarius, also a Solar Eclipse, on November 25, just three days before the opening date.  Due to the fact that the Conference was protracted beyond its set limits of 12 days (by about 48 hours, I think), it ended up including the Full Moon in Gemini and therefore the Lunar Eclipse (happening in Durban on December 10 at 4.36 pm). It finished then just few hours past this cosmic event, and it was during the time of the Eclipse itself, until 12 hours or so later, that the most vital negotiations took place and finally a compromise was reached.

Thanks to the propitious Moon phase the conference didn’t end up a complete disaster. It could have been, considering that it was held during a Mercury Retrograde period. And Mercury is such an important influence in all types of transactions, being the planet of communication and contracts. It is obvious that none of the organizers bothered to consult an astrologer about the all important commencing date; or they would have been advised not to have it while Mercury traveled in retrogradation. No surprising then the whole thing was marred by controversies from start to finish (Mercury will turn Direct only on December 15), and issues that have been amply covered in the past had to be dealt with again and again in order to find some common ground. Mercury is also in Detriment in Sagittarius (the opposite Sign to the one he rules), so that, despite Sagittarius’ great ideas and ability to visualize the future is also a somewhat overly militant, opinionated, self righteous and often uncompromising Sign, as well as naturally given to talking a lot, sometime just for talk sake, no the best when we needed to come out with practical decisions and realistic goals.

Here are two  Horoscopes: the Charts for the start and finish of the Durban Conference: the first is calculated for 10 am of November 28, the official opening time, while the second is cast for 3.30 am, the actual time the delegates put their signatures on the dotted lines, on December 11.

Durban’s Climate Change Conference Opening Ceremony

Durban’s Climate Change Conference Finish Line

The most significant transits of Mercury occurred on December 4 and 5. As I wrote in an earlier post on this Retrogradation of Mercury: “When Mercury reached a right angle to Mars in Virgo, a semi-square (45 degrees angle) to Saturn in late Libra, and, most importantly, a conjunction with the Sun. These aspect permeated the whole week around these dates. The square to Mars will increase the heat of any conversation and expression of viewpoints, Virgo adding the knack for criticism and nitpicking. If not careful we may get lost in endless diatribes on semantic points of not real importance. The semi-square to Saturn (Mars involved in the configuration as well) could foster a tendency to interpret words and ideas we share with a touch of pessimism, perhaps having a positive sobering effect on Sagittarius’ flamboyant self-righteousness, but exacerbating Virgo’s critical attitude. The conjunction with the Sun (Inferior conjunction) is part of the overall Mercury/Sun’s cycle. Our Little Brother is changing roles, from Evening Star to Morning Star. The Inferior Conjunction represents the start of a new Mercury’s cycle, promising a more outgoing and optimistic mental outlook, especially by the time Mercury will turn Direct in mid-December“.  Around the same dates Venus formed a harmonious trine to Mars and Jupiter a positive sextile to Chiron, showing a brighter side and a more cooperative general mood (Venus-Mars), as well as the opportunity to heal old wounds (Jupiter-Chiron). Venus, by the way, was applying to a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the opening ceremony, a positive aspect in this context, showing the willingness to change our values in order to achieve some higher collective purpose or goal, transformation of values being a key word for this transit.

Notwithstanding the last minute agreement that has been reached I feel that the Retrogradation of Mercury during the conference means that, in some ways, we have taken a step backward in Durban, due to the dangers of the Kyoto protocol being abandoned by many countries before new safety measures can be implemented. Canada yesterday was the first country to abandon its commitment to the Kyoto’s agreement, and that cannot be a good thing, showing also a trend that may be followed by other countries in the near future. As defective and limited as the Kyoto Protocol has been considered by many, it is the only thing we have at the present time, and throwing it in the bin at this early stage could be a disastrous move for the environment, because the legally binding agreement decided at Durban will not be in place before 2017 or 2010, a long way away.

Sun, Moon, Ascendant, the triad of every Horoscope, were appropriately placed for the task in hand at the start of the enterprise : the Sun was is in Fiery Sagittarius, the most future oriented and speculative Sign of the Zodiac. Anything can be conceived under the rays of this visionary Sun, but how much of the vision can be achieved depends on many other factors. One of them, the most important, was the Moon. The Moon was Waxing Crescent, therefore strong, thus providing a suitable vessel for the expression of the solar light. The Moon was transiting Earthy, Cardinal Capricorn, the type of practical, no nonsense, ambitious vessel that could help to contain and nurture the Sagittarean promises, by imposing necessary limitations on it, bringing the vision down to the Earth’s level. Negatively the dichotomy between the very hopeful Sun Sign and the ultra pragmatic Moon Sign could mean that much of what the Sun was projecting and hoping for would be limited and even thwarted by merely materialistic considerations and the general conservatism of the major players. Capricorn is traditionally a conservative and utilitarian Sign, not inclined to take too many risks, inclined to put business before ideals (Sagittarius). The Moon was also in sextile to Ceres in Pisces, the Harvest Goddess who has much to do with ecology, from this all inclusive Sign asking compassion for the plight of the planet and the poorest people who are the ones at greater risk from the deteriorating climate and environment. This harmonious angle has certainly helped to avoid the complete failure of the negotiations that we came very close to witness.

The Ascendant in every Horoscope, Natal or Mundane, always represents the physical channel through which the combination of Sun and Moon’s energies can find expression in the outer world. At the time of the Opening Ceremony the local Ascendant (Placidus Houses) was smack in the middle of Aquarius, the humanitarian Sign of reforms and revolutions. Because the summit was held in South Africa it has been referred to, especially by the African media, as an indaba, a Zulu-Xhosa word meaning a meeting of elders during which each is given the same rights to talk but also the same duty to listen to what the others have to say, a truly democratic system. What an appropriate word for egalitarian Aquarius on the Ascendant, Decan Gemini (brotherhood and sisterhood), on the Sabian degree that reads ‘boys and girls in gymnasium suits‘, a symbolical statement of the equality and basic identity of all people.

The way the conference ended gives credit to these initial placements: taking a conservative stand (Moon in Capricorn) the conference delegates managed to achieve a global commitment in the long term, Capricorn not a Sign to hurry up anything. By being pragmatic they avoided certain disaster, but also bitterly disappointed the idealistic crowd who wanted to see a more courageous and uncompromising stand (Sagittarius Sun trine Uranus and square Mars).

The Sun was applying to a square (90 degrees angle) to Mars in Virgo describing in a vivid way the fierce confrontations that took place in the Durban’s arena, ’til the conference’s very last minute (the aspect became exact on December 2). Often the arguments escalated because of different interpretation of the wording of documents, and other such cavils, just the types of battle a Mars in nit-picking Virgo would thrive on.

The Sun was also applying to a trine (120 degrees angle) to Uranus, showing that there was a powerful drive to take a different, less conservative approach, considering collective interests above selfish ones. The Sun then went to form a semi-square to Saturn in Libra on December 3, stalemate time.

Venus became trine Mars on December 5, the same day that Jupiter formed a sextile to Chiron.

On the last day, December 11, the Moon in Gemini was trine Saturn, sextile Jupiter and applying to a trine to Neptune in Aquarius. These are all auspicious angles, especially the Grand Trine Moon-Saturn-Neptune. Started on a serious, even somber and pessimistic note (Capricorn) the Moon ended in the light and socially eclectic and adaptable Sign of Gemini. On the last day also Jupiter formed a perfect semi-sextile to Uranus, encouraging a more innovative and risk taking approach to the issues on the table.

Not to be underestimated was also the Grand Trine configuration still active between Mars in Virgo, Jupiter in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn, a grounding influence involving planets in the three Earth Signs. This could promise more positive results by staying realistic, working hard and utilizing the world resources in a less wasteful way.  A conscious transformation has to occur though in our every day living and habits (Mars in Virgo), our use of resources (Pluto in Capricorn) and our philosophy of life (Jupiter in Taurus) before we can take full advantage of this planetary opportunity.

One important aspect that remained in force throughout the conference was the trine (120 degrees angle) between Saturn in Libra and Neptune in Aquarius, even by itself giving a lot of hope that something of importance could be achieved, the aspect harmonizing practical needs and utilitarian considerations (Saturn) with ideals of inclusiveness and compassion (Neptune). This slow forming aspect is still maturing. It will be exact on January 19 2012, Saturn becoming Stationary on the last degree of Libra in February 2012, just as Neptune will be moving into Pisces for good. So this is a long lasting influence, destined to have far reaching effects on the planet, one positive trend among many difficult ones.

Last but certainly no least was the fact that Uranus turned Direct on December 9. Now this is something because Uranus represents, among other things, the urge to embrace radical changes and to take new directions in life in order to align ourselves better to the destiny we are meant to fulfill.

I like to end this post with these words from the Daily Maverick: “Behind the save-the-world rhetoric of global climate change negotiations lies a murkier realpolitik. The multilateral process is tedious, but in Durban, it at least lent a semblance of inclusiveness to the negotiations“.


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