The earth shakes: Mars-Uranus-Rahu in Taurus
We've seen astrology like this before—at two radical moments in history
This article deals with heavy themes in history and speculates about future events, including the possible trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. If that’s the kind of thing that tends to worry you or make you anxious, I’d suggest giving this piece a miss.
I’ll go to the grave saying there’s never anything to be gained from worrying about transits. The longer I’ve practised astrology, the less I’ve fixated on challenging-looking future events, whether they’re affecting the world at large or me personally. We can’t predict what’s coming with enough certainty to worry. Nor can we understand its purpose, even if we grasp at it. What will come will come.
That said, I’ll admit that I don’t much like the look of the triple conjunction of Mars, Uranus and Rahu appearing in the Taurean portion of our skies on the 1st of August this year:
We see an incredibly tight triple conjunction of Mars, Uranus and Rahu at 18° Taurus. The planet of action and conflict meets the harbinger of revolution and disruption at the North Node, the eclipsing point known as the Dragon’s Head, linked with everything from ravenous hunger, to excess, to worldly gain, to fate itself.
That looks explosive and—dare I say it—perhaps even epoch-defining. In Taurus, we have to wonder about the removal or destruction of things we take for granted, of expectations subverted, of the comforts of everyday life being dramatically snatched away. The earth will shake.
Added to that is an overcoming square from Saturn at 22° Aquarius, opposed by Mercury at 25° Leo to complete the picture. In other words, we have a Grand Cross in the fixed signs, which, for the past 18 months or so, have had little respite from heavy astrological symbolism. Venus contributes a sympathetic sextile from Cancer, but that sweet regard will surely not be enough to offset the disruption.
Needless to say, we’re already living in a jittery and shaken world. We see rampant inflation, supply chain issues across the planet, and a paradigm-shifting war in Ukraine. The earth already shakes. But Mars has now entered Taurus and is heading for that striking triple conjunction. It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that a serious escalation in the disruption we’re already living with is coming.
This is where it can help to look at historical precedent. The sky is never exactly the same twice, but we have seen similar configurations before. I looked for instances where Mars, Uranus and Rahu were conjunct in Taurus and squared by Saturn in Aquarius. I found two—and both coincided with epoch-defining events in history.1
June 1520: Emperor Moctezuma deposed
We have to go back to June and July of 1520, the Renaissance period, to find the last time Mars, Uranus and Rahu met in Taurus, squared by Saturn in Aquarius. The chart, to be clear, has some key differences with that of 2022, but enough similarities to make it worthy of interest:
The Mars-Uranus-Rahu configuration wasn’t as tight, with Uranus 7 degrees distant when Mars met the Node. Saturn was square by sign, but in the very early degrees of Aquarius. And, importantly, Jupiter was conjunct the South Node in Scorpio. As in 2022, Pluto trined the Taurus planets from Capricorn.
Wikipedia’s notable events of June 1520 are quite something. That month, the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma was deposed and died after being put under house arrest months earlier by the ruthless and opportunistic Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. The overthrow of the Aztec Empire by a ragged band of gun-toting Spaniards must surely count as one of the defining episodes of the past 1,000 years of history. It marked the true beginning of the European colonial conquest of the Americas, with all the blood, tears and tragedy that followed.
That wasn’t all that happened that month. From the Vatican, Pope Leo X issued a bull threatening to excommunicate the renegade theologian Martin Luther, who, in 1517, had nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. Luther had criticised the Catholic Church for its selling of “indulgences”—taking payments to excuse sinners from having to go to purgatory. Luther was essentially accusing it of corruption. He also argued that Christians should be able to read scripture themselves, rather than through Catholic priests as intermediaries. His critique laid the groundwork for the emergence of Protestantism. He was no less significant a figure than Cortés.
Before we draw conclusions, I’ve found one more chart resembling that of 2022.
September 157 BCE: ‘Carthage must be destroyed’
In September 157 BCE, we find a chart that gets closer to August’s configuration:
Here, Uranus, Mars and Rahu are closely conjunct in Taurus, not far from 2022’s conjunction. Saturn overcomes the configuration by sign from Aquarius, opposing Venus and Jupiter in Leo.
This chart takes us back to the era of the Roman Republic. At this time, Rome’s great rival on the opposite coast of the Mediterranean, Carthage—an imperial city in today’s Tunisia—was thriving once again after losing two wars against Rome. The last, the Second Punic War, was now 60 years in the past.
In 157 BCE2, the Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato, known as Cato the Elder, was sent to Carthage to negotiate a settlement between the Carthaginians and a rival people in North Africa, the Numidians. The negotiations failed, but more importantly, Cato didn’t like what he saw: namely, a Carthage that had returned to prosperity. The city that had twice battled Rome was, to Cato’s mind, once again a threat to Rome’s security.
From soon after his embassy, Cato famously began to close every speech he gave to the Roman Senate—no matter the subject—with the words Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("Moreover, I advise that Carthage must be destroyed"). The Australian historian Ben Kiernan has argued that this was the first call to genocide in recorded history.
Cato died in 149 BCE aged 85, but not before seeing the early machinations of his wish come true. Rome went to war with Carthage that year. The war ended in 146 BCE with the complete destruction of Carthage. According to Britannica: “Of a city population that may have exceeded a quarter of a million, only 50,000 remained at the final surrender. The survivors were sold into slavery, the city was razed, and the territory was made a Roman province under the name of Africa.”
Conclusions and predictions
In mundane astrology, the planets never symbolise just one thing. Rather, they speak to the archetypal field within which the countless stories of the moment take place. On the face of it, Mars-Uranus-Rahu in Taurus seems to suggest disruption to everyday necessities. The obvious prediction to make would be a serious exacerbation of the supply chain issues we’re already seeing around the world. Perhaps the ground will shake—literally.
In addition, a financial calamity looks like a strong possibility. The mortgage crisis unfolding in China right now looks like a likely candidate for delivering on that. According to the report below, homebuyers in at least 86 Chinese cities are taking part in an organised boycott of their mortgage payments.
The report asks: are we seeing an echo of the financial meltdown of 2008, this time centred on China? Saturn and Uranus have reached the waning square of their 45-year cycle, and given that every hard aspect of that cycle has correlated with market meltdowns—Black Monday, the Dotcom Crash, the 2008 debacle—that wouldn’t be surprising:
But we should also consider our historical examples of the larger Mars-Uranus-Rahu-Saturn configuration. In both 1520 and 157 BCE we see the initial stages of bloody campaigns of conquest against people deemed a threat to the imperium. In the case of Martin Luther’s condemnation by the Pope, something similar takes place on theological territory.
This inevitably puts us in mind of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. And, as it turns out, we’re right to go there. The natal charts of the two countries, as well as those of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are all closely tied into this configuration.
In the case of Russia, Mars-Uranus-Rahu is close to culmination in the 10th house, almost square to the chart’s Ascendant at 20° Leo. Saturn is just two degrees from the Descendant in the 7th house of allies and enemies, and in a partile square with the 4th-house Venus.
In the case of Ukraine, the chart is hit just as directly, if not more so:
Mars-Uranus-Rahu is two degrees from the IC, the foundation of the country. Venus, in the 7th house, sits a degree from the nodal and Ascendant-Descendant axes. Saturn is in a partile conjunction with Ukraine’s Moon, symbolic of the people of the country, an ominous detail.
Vladmir Putin’s chart is rated “DD” by Astro Databank, meaning it’s not considered reliable. KGB officers aren’t known for being generous with their personal information. But assuming at least the day is correct, his chart is also hit remarkably directly. Mars-Uranus-Rahu is just one degree from conjunction with his natal Jupiter and one degree from a square with his nodes:
That’s enough charts for one day, but I’ll add that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chart is also being directly hit by the configuration. Look it up and you’ll see. With all this in mind, it’s hard not to worry about what’s coming for Ukraine. Of course, we didn’t need astrology to feel that way.
One thing to note is that in the cases of both 1520 and 157 BCE, the events I’ve described were essentially preludes. They were episodes of deep symbolic resonance that didn’t, in themselves, involve many people. But what followed soon afterwards reverberated through the lives of millions. The North Node shows us where eclipses are taking place, which are said to foretell great change, sometimes years in the future.
Going back to our present moment, and noting the influence of Mercury—the messenger—in the August chart, I wonder if we may see a declaration of war against Ukraine by Vladimir Putin. We’ve seen how these Mars-Uranus-Rahu conjunctions have served as signposts. It may surprise you to learn that Russia still officially considers its actions in Ukraine merely a “special military operation”. Declaring war would allow the country to institute conscription and significantly bolster its invasion force. It would also make clear that the country is in this conflict for the long haul. The consequences for Ukraine are sad to contemplate.
Alternatively, perhaps Russia will speak with deeds, not words. We shall see—and pray for the best possible outcome.
I love history. And what I *love* doing in consultations is using powerful traditional techniques to dig into *your* history: unearthing hidden threads of meaning running through your life; helping you into moments of revelation; and giving you clarity about where things are going. I recently opened my books for August and September, and I’d love to go on this journey with you.
Thanks to my friend, the astrologer Kira Ryberg, for her help with this article and suggestion I dig into this research.
There’s some confusion in the sources for the year when Cato made this visit. Multiple sources say it was 157 BCE, although some claim it was actually 156 or even 153 or 152 BCE. Regardless, given that the North Node signposts the future, I still believe this is relevant.