7 Jul 2006

The Battle of the Somme

This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in World War 1. It will be remembered in England and France. At 7.30 am on 1st July 1916, allied troops went "over the top" in an all-out assault against the German army. The battle proved to be the most devastating in living memory, as the many war graves in this area of northern France bear witness to. The attack took place along a 30 km front from Arras (which is where the chart is set up for) to Albert. The battle continued until 18th November, when it was called off. On the first day alone, 58,000 British troops were lost.

I was curious to see if the chart for the start of this battle held any symbolism which reflected the sacrifice and carnage which followed. It's not the sort of chart which can be interpreted on a personal level as it doesn't relate to an individual, so I've approached it more on a symbolic level. I was struck by the large stellium of planets in Cancer, grouped around the 11th and 12th House. My immediate response to these was to see a visual image of a group of soldiers leaving their trench and going over the top. Flashes of the final episode of "Blackadder" came to mind, along with the many graphic black and white photographs and grainy films of troops leaving trenches.

All three ego planets - Sun, Moon and Saturn, are lined up in the stellium, along with Venus and Pluto, which is on the Low Point of the 11th House. Intuitively, this feels significant, as does Pluto's position as leader of the group....going over the top to almost certain death? The stellium itself is in Cancer, the Sign of home, family, neighbourhood, belonging, nurturing and caring, reminding me of the many groups of "Pals" from towns around the country who all joined up together, many of them perishing together in the battle. And strains of the First World War song "Keep the home fires burning" come to mind, continuing the Cancerian theme.

Jupiter is in the 10th House, right at the top of the chart but very weak by Sign; was too much expected from this battle? Was the optimism set too high? The North Node is in the 6th House of service to others, on the Existence axis. It's opposite Neptune with its qualities of illusion, dissolving and, on the highest level, sacrifice and love; all these are graphic symbols of the ultimate service and sacrifice that so many made "for king and country".

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