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The Astrology of the "Brink"BrinkcoverImage

I just finished reading a book titled “The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983” by Marc Ambinder. I was aware of this event but Ambinder provides a detailed, blow-by-blow account and delves deep into the technicalities and politics of nuclear readiness in the 1980s.


In Nov. 1983 the United States, along with its NATO allies conducted war games in Europe and around the world. This was a regular exercise, but the recent introduction of a new generation of nuclear armed missiles into Europe by the US and the belligerent rhetoric of President Reagan had put the Soviets on edge. There was a growing belief on both sides that a nuclear war could be winnable, but only by the side that struck first. The scale of the 1983 war games convinced many in the Russian government and military that such a first strike was imminent, and they rushed to ready a devastating response.


There are many ways of looking at the astrology of this event, but I was interested in what was going on in the horoscope of President Reagan during this period. We don’t have time of birth for Reagan, though we do have several different rectifications (educated guesses) of his chart. (Click here to see Joan Quigley’s rectification of Ronald Reagan’s chart.) However, the aspects I am looking at don’t necessarily require a complete horoscope.


During 1983 there were two important transits impacting Reagan’s chart. One was the opposition of transiting Saturn to his natal Saturn, a major Saturn Cycle aspect. The other was the opposition of Pluto to his Saturn. It is difficult to read the latter aspect because we can’t be sure of which house Saturn occupies or rules. However, I feel that the fact that it comes on the heels of the Saturn opposition gives this Pluto aspect special significance.


One thing that Ambinder’s book makes clear is that Reagan, along with just about everyone in his administration, had no idea how close the world came to nuclear conflict in 1983. It was only months afterwards that analysists in the C.I.A. and the Pentagon recognized the degree to which the Soviet forces had been mobilized during the 1983 war games. Disaster had been avoided mostly because of spies. Russian spies in the US intelligence network convinced the Soviets that, despite all appearances, they were not under attacks, while spies working for NATO gave their bosses a true assessment of how scared the Russians really were.


One of the things that had the Russian on edge in 1983 was a speech made by Ronald Reagan in March of the year calling the USSR the “evil empire.” This happened three months after Saturn made its first contact with his natal Saturn. Reagan, like most Sun sign Aquarians, was an idealist. His mind operated in a rarified world in which there were no grey areas, only right and wrong, good and evil. While many of his advisors saw this remark as inflammatory and counter-productive, he considered to to it to be a demonstrable fact.


However, despite these fixed principles, Reagan was conflicted. He felt that the destruction of the Soviet Union was his Christian duty. He also prone to apocalyptic thinking. He often talked about living in the “end times” and seemed to think that Armageddon was just around the corner. At the same time, however, Reagan feared nuclear war and felt it was also his Christian duty to avoid such a holocaust.


The opposition of Saturn to his natal Saturn seems to have brought this conflict to a head. Just a month or so after the “evil empire” speech, and arond the time that Saturn made its second opposition, Reagan made a peculiar turn-around. He decided to present the Russians with what was called a “zero-zero” proposal, in which both the US and the USSR would eliminate all nuclear weapons.  His aids saw this as a political ploy, impossible to implement but sufficient to silent the anti-nuke protesters who were bedeviling the administration at the time. Reagan, on the other hand, saw it as a legitimate offer. Where everyone else sees impossibilities, Aquarius visualizes the possible.


Just a week before Saturn made its last opposition to Reagan’s natal Saturn a civilian 747 was shot down by a Russian fighter. The fighter pilot had been tracking a US spy plane that had encroached on Soviet territory and mistook the airliner for his quarry. It was a tragic accident. Nonetheless, the event spurred the “evil empire” side of Reagan’s internal argument and, ignoring the advice of his intelligent services, he claimed in a broadcast speech that Soviets had intentionally targeted the civilian aircraft.


By the time the war games were being held, Saturn had moved on and Pluto was within a degree of an opposition to Reagan’s natal Saturn. Saturn has to do with our responsibilities to our self, our family, our community, our country, our world. Pluto represents powers beyond our control. This could be big government or big money, but it can also be the vagaries of human nature and passage of time. During his tenure in office Reagan had dealt with three Soviet leaders from the old guard, all of whom felt that their first duty was to protect the Revolution and the communist system. In March 1984, the last of these men died and a new generation took over.


Pluto brought clarity and perspective to the back-and-forth of Reagan’s Saturn opposition. Once he was informed of how close the US and the USSR came to blowing up the world, it dawned on Reagan just how fearful the Russians were of him and the US. The rise of Mikhail Gorbachev gave the president a chance to start over, which he did. Eventually, he and Gorbachev negotiated the largest reduction of nuclear arms in the history of the world.

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