Weekly Update » December 27, 2007- January 2, 2008
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Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto Slain
On Saturn Return of 1979 Death of Her Father
Planetary Build-Up on World Axis
Proved Fatal to Former Prime Minister

By Shelley L. Ackerman

[From Shelley's weekly Shimmering Stars' column in
The Westchester Guardian, © 2007]

As was hinted at in recent weeks, the applying Mars Pluto opposition (right after solstice) has been bothering me as well as many other astrologers for months. Unfortunately, the worst has happened and it isn’t over yet: Former twice-elected Pakistani Prime Minister, and the first female leader of the modern Muslim world, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber who shot her after attending a rally in Rawapindi, near Islamabad on December 27. She was pronounced dead at 6:16 PM local time. At least 20 others were killed in the blast. At the time of her death, she was the leader of the opposition party to the current Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf. Elections were to have taken place on January 8th, but the validity of those elections were challenged by Bhutto and others. In a prophetic e-mail to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Bhutto said that if anything happened to her it would be Musharraf's doing.

Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953 @ 7:32 PM in Karachi, Pakistan (birth time provided by Amer Abbas). She was killed 16 days after the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction which opposed her 29 Gemini 54 sun. Her 2 degree Capricorn ascendant was being transited by Jupiter and opposed by Mars at the time of her death. The Dec 23 full moon was one degree off of her ascendant-descendant axis. Amy Goodman's interview with Tariq Ali and Manan Ahmed provides extraordinary insight into the inner workings and relationship between Pakistan and US and Bhutto's complex role. Mars will oppose Pluto again in early March 08. Suffice it to say that we are not out of the woods, not for a while.

Chart: Bhutto
Click for larger view

Venus Enters Sagittarius,
Mars Backs into Gemini and Opposes Pluto as 2008 Begins;
Romantic and Travel Advisory in Effect for
New Years Eve & Jan 2nd Back-to-Work Commute

Before getting into this week’s planetary aspects, what one should or shouldn’t do on New Years’ Eve, and a celestial preview of 2008, there’s important news regarding media ownership to talk about:

The day before Jupiter (media) went into Capricorn (business) the Federal Communications Commission voted to ease restrictions on media ownership. According to the NY Times, Michael J. Copps, a Democratic commissioner who led a nationwide effort against relaxing the media ownership rules, said the ruling was nothing more than a big Christmas present to the largest conglomerates.

“In the final analysis,” Mr. Copps said, “the real winners today are businesses that are in many cases quite healthy, and the real losers are going to be all of us who depend on the news media to learn what’s happening in our communities and to keep an eye on local government.”

Out Like Lion? On New Year’s Eve There’s No Place Like Home

The last few days of 2007 have been rocky and could (gulp) get worse. On the one hand, there’s a positive aspect between Mercury and Uranus, making for inspired and effective communication (great for Virgo and Gemini) and a favorable aspect between the Sun and Saturn (spectacular for Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo). On Dec. 30 Venus enters Sagittarius (through Jan 24), in itself an uplifting placement and a boost to fire signs Sagittarius, Aries, and Leo. But as Venus moves into the sign of the archer, she makes a most incongruent aspect to Mars, inconveniently- at a time of year when people want New Years’ Eve to be special and romantic. I say skip it. Adding to it, Mars retrogrades back into the critical 29th degree of Gemini and in a tight opposition to Pluto, a lousy transportation picture if ever there was one. On the world axis, this opposition is tense and threatening, but somewhat modified by the Moon in neutral Libra in a flowing aspect to Neptune at the stroke of midnight January 1.

In the weeks before Pluto enters Capricorn, we must strive to keep tempers in check and hope that there are no explosive surprises to deal with. As for drama, 2008 will not disappoint.

Chart: Midnight - 2008 Begins
Click for larger view

Weekly Horoscope

ARIES: This week: Resist the temptation to settle a score with a sibling or neighbor, no matter how mad they make you. If you sense a confrontation coming, leave the premises before it erupts. When on the road, let someone else drive. In 2008, resolve to strike a better balance between your pragmatic and intuitive self. You’re likely to make excellent headway professionally, especially if you develop patience and a love of the process itself. Be kind to underlings and open to guidance and/or ‘help’ from unseen realms.

TAURUS: This week: Remain calm as unexpected expenses crop up. If a friend or relative needs a hand, be generous-within reason. In 2008, resolve to simplify your life in every way possible and make room for the new. Sleek is where it’s at. Ridding yourself of what you no longer need will get your creative juices going, and that in turn will yield several financial opportunities. Make sure you have a good legal team in place to assist with formalizing new ventures. Keep your bags packed: you’ll be traveling more than before.

GEMINI: This week: Though it’s holiday time, the practical aspects of life must still be tended to. Dream all you want, but stay focused on the economic details of your living circumstances. Do your best to consider the welfare of others involved, and you’ll benefit in the long run. In 2008, resolve to take full responsibility for your long term economic circumstances and restructure, if necessary. Spend time on making your home as sustainable (energy efficient) and as rock solid as you can. You’ll need the stability to anchor you as your careermorphs into something unexpected and exciting.

CANCER: This week: Though the calendar says otherwise, stay in work mode and ready to help a partner at a moment’s notice. An agreement may finally be reached between you and a party who up until this point has dragged their feet but who is now raring to settle up before the year is out. In 2008, resolve to face your fears about asking for what is due you. Being vague, indirect, or wearing rose colored glasses just won’t cut it. Remain open to seeing others as they really are, and up for working as part of a new team.

LEO: This week: Your greatest pleasure won’t be found at a bar, casino, or party, but through keeping your nose to the grindstone and your work momentum going. Venus in Sagittarius and in your 5th house of fun and romance will tempt you to throw caution to the wind, but don’t. The favorable aspect between the Sun, Saturn and your Midheaven indicates that no matter where you are, you’re to be inspired but productive. In 2008, resolve to create and stick to a work schedule and health routine that supports you. Slow and steady wins the race.

VIRGO: This week, a visit from a female overseas and company dropping by to your home is likely, so spruce up a bit. The social interaction does you a world of good, but arrange for help as your energy may not be up to speed. In 2008, resolve to allow your romantic life to transform. You’re about to undergo a creative renaissance and many of your relationships will change dramatically. The way you relate to lovers, children, and even the way you see yourself will be different. Go with it.

LIBRA: This week, work on clearing the energy in your home as if your life depended on it. Even if it means saying ‘no’ to some great sounding invites, plow through and get rid of the stuff you haven’t looked at in years. If you’re not ready to toss it, consider storage. In 2008, resolve to eliminate any limiting thoughts about the kind of home you deserve and can have. You’ll be purging ancestral demons by the truckload and as scary as it is on one level, you’ve no choice but to enjoy the ride and relish the new scenery.

SCORPIO: This week, your co-ruler Mars retrogrades back into chatty Gemini and into your very sexual 8th house of other people’s money and shared resources. Though the opposition to Pluto (your other ruler) creates a tense financial situation, think twice about backing out of something you agreed to. How would you like it if someone pulled the rug out from under you? In 2008, resolve to be more forthcoming in your communication and to transform relationships with siblings and neighbors into something more dignified.

SAGITTARIUS: This week, with Venus in your sign on the 30th, you’ll be that much more appealing but that can be as much a problem as it is an advantage: You could easily attract someone questionable- so have a trusted buddy along as a watch dog just in case. A conversation re: potential work in your home with a contractor could set you on a positive course of action. In 2008, resolve to invest in yourself. Sock away whatever you can and build something solid. If you’ve put in the work, you career will take off big time.

CAPRICORN: This week, a chance conversation with a local or a sibling could change your perspective and favorably influence a pending financial decision. A confrontation that seemed unavoidable suddenly dissipates and vanishes into thin air. Whew! In 2008 resolve to get ready for a brand new you. Pluto will enter your sign for the first time since the 1770’s and a restructuring is assured. Pluto equals power, so part of that ‘renewal’ includes a deeper sense of empowerment that you never thought possible. Jupiter in Capricorn expands your base.

AQUARIUS: This week, while you’re busy with something, a partner, spouse, or someone very close, goes to bat for you and saves the day. Though you’d rather have been in control of the situation, do not feel betrayed by this person, they have done you a great favor. In 2008 resolve to be patient as you figure out whether you want to play it safe forever or opt for something unfamiliar, challenging, and ultimately much more rewarding. We all need to take a leap of faith- you just need to decide when the timing’s right for you.

PISCES: This week you couldn’t blend into the woodwork if you tried. Venus, at the top of your chart says you’ve no choice but to be pleased with being the center of attention. Think about what you want- and it’s yours for the asking. In 2008 resolve to do some house cleaning where friends are concerned. A major 15 year renovation will begin. You can help it along by recognizing that while you love everyone on a soul level, there are but 24 hours in a day and discernment is necessary. Those who need to move on will. Let them.