Erin Sullivan takes a second look at the astrological significance of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US (written September 26, 2001).

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? The Second Coming." -- WB Yeats 1

The attack on September 11th of the World Trade Center is a complex, intricate and labyrinthine subject, filled with so many images that it will take as many astrologers as there are to elaborate on the myriad meanings underlying the event.

The data provided immediately after the attack by the Rodden Data Bank gave us the horoscope of Manhattan; the World Trade Center itself; the timing of the first strike and the second; the first collapse of the tower, then the second; and the chart of the Pentagon itself. The data are eloquent and explicit.

Making some sense of those data requires the muddiness of words and interpretations, but we are in that kind of world. Let's look at various perspectives on our times, and on some of the specifics of the attack on the World Trade Center.

The Big Picture:

The ingress of Pluto into Sagittarius on January 18, 1995, ushered in the motif for the subsequent twelve to fourteen years - global reconstruction in areas that pertain to religion; politics; trade (finances); travel; education; philosophies; ethical concerns; cultural and ethnic roots and cultural migration leading to a diaspora of entire nations. Cultures and their centrality - shifting since the sighting of Uranus - now are really dispersing around the world - through both opportunity and forced circumstances.

These are just a very few of the potent issues that we would expect to emerge over the time of Pluto in Sagittarius. During the fourteen year transit, not only are there cycles of planets that are specific to and contained within the context of the fourteen years, but also there are cycles which track back over historical time. Those historic charts, such as the founding of Manhattan, opening of The Pentagon and the World Trade Center and so on, are all touched by the Saturn, Pluto, Mars and Jupiter transits of March 15th through September 11th. There are many data to look at but I will focus on just a few points that are touched in these charts.

Astrology - Pluto especially - has not failed us here; nor have the astrological signs as archetypal foundations. The astrology of a single moment exemplifies that moment's urgency - and in this case, an urgency toward a unified global community. This is something that has been envisioned for decades now, but in an idealistic fashion.

The event on the 11th of September in New York City has resulted in more communication on how to deal with a single event than ever before in world history. This in itself is truly a hopeful sign. The polarity of Gemini/Sagittarius pertains, in part, to the apparent dichotomies existing between national siblinghood and world family; opinion versus truth. Also the Gemini/Sagittarius axis is about both learning and communicating; local and global activity; facts and the interpretation of said facts all these keywords are currently active in the conversations about the "first war of the twenty-first century".

The statement made in the big picture of the Pluto in Sagittarius phase highlights the duality inherent in the consciousness of humanity as a collective, as an organic whole. The split between body and soul, mind and heart - or in the ancient Greek philosophy: between psyche and soma.

In the ancient western world a dialectic between sophia and doxa, that is, between wisdom and opinion, was the basis of a school of philosophy. The dilemma we are in currently - as a people, as a world - balances on these basic presumptions, that there is a difference between truth and opinion. The problem lies in discerning which is which. Now most of us are not a Socrates, constantly searching the marketplace for an honest person, or the core of truth (sophia), but most astrologers try to live at least a measure of that truth seeking.

The Socratic dialogue between truth and opinion is now 2,500 years old, and was a concern to philosophers during the transition between the Epoch of Aries to Pisces. We are now seeing the peak of the transition period from the Epoch of Pisces into the Epoch of Aquarius. All empires peak and either decline into history or merge with the rising of new values in new generations of empires - or a bit of both, and so do the transitions of astrological epoch to epoch. For the first time in history we as an organic whole, as a human system, have the potential not only to retain our individual/cultural identities and ideologies but also to work in alliance together as a global network of contemporary tribalism.

What a struggle to bring the Age of Aquarius into being! It is not surprising that yet another war of global proportions should arrive to redefine "ally" and "enemy". But, in this period, the war is between the polarities of Gemini and Sagittarius - between how cultures develop their tribes and how the various tribes of the cultures translate their ideas into ideologies. And, ultimately, how effective communication can be between vastly different cultures with a similar goal - freedom.

Keywords that have been bandied about on the mainstream US news - crusades, revolution, terrorism - are words that echo other instances in history, where beliefs, ideology and or religion led to atrocities. For example, unbelievable acts of horror were perpetrated by Christian zealots during the Crusades. (Some deletions) Also, the Inquisition which lasted for five-hundred years, in which time truths were suppressed; freedom of thought, lifestyle and education was not allowed, nor religion nor wisdom. More recently, the Hitlerian Reich in which a "new form" of Christianity molded the more occult side of the SS, and rationalized the ritual deaths of a specific religious culture, eugenics and so on; the "Cultural Revolution" in China under Mao Tse Tung, and currently in the Mid-east, Afghanistan - and on and on. The passion underlying the apocalyptic, messianic ethos of the Taliban is no less than that. Indeed, the Talib philosophy is fundamental to laws laid down fourteen centuries ago, the most extreme being a messianic message, which apparently is to kill all Americans as the anti-messiah.

Periods which were equally horrific, unfair, biased and desperate have passed by and been swallowed by progress. We are simply undergoing another birthing toward the future. With this one, however, there is hope of an alliance between ideas and the powers that enforce those ideas. Keep in mind that the majority of people do not want to be obliterated by nuclear force, nor do they want to be oppressed by others, so the war of words, ideas, religion and cultural choice is upon us.

The Enemy is Us - Gemini/Sagittarius:

Pluto in Sagittarius suggests that the "enemy" is spread out, not local, that it is airborne, not grounded, that it is within us, rather than without; fragmented and undifferentiated by national boundaries - all this points to the form of war being touted in the upper echelons of the world leader's agendas. Certainly the Taliban as the identified enemy itself has been living within our countries, cultures and communities for decades, fermenting and gathering strength, but now has begun to crystallize into pods or discrete tribes that exist within our various cultures (Canada, Britain, Greater Europe, Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, Australia, et cetera).

Pluto is the "unseen one", its name from the Greek Hades, god of the shades, of the underworld, and too, of the place between incarnations. Hades was not only a figure and a deity, but also a place; a place wherein one resided between incarnations, to retire, as it were, between acts.

Pluto is the main planet that receives the projections of hidden danger, evil, bad things, and destruction, and in many ways this is a very real thing. The Taliban are in perfect accord with the tradition of the shadow function - acting out the unacceptable on behalf of the rest of the world. So, now there is a new shadow upon which to project our fears - whatever they may be. And, in the reality of the action today, this is a very real shadow to confront.

I have written and taught before that we should expect Pluto in Sagittarius to bring us into a form of contemporary tribalism. And, this is so. In the USA alone, over the last two decades the gathering of the tribes has been strong - religious, educational, financial, and so on. No longer are tribes based in geography, but now are founded on beliefs, ethics, educational and religious standards. With the internet, and real time television, the global network is established and tribes exist in cyberspace. Not only do we now live on earth, but also in heaven. For example, not only do I have a physical address in my town, but also I have a heavenly address - in the World Wide Web - http://www! We are both on earth and in heaven now.

This is a time of profoundly strong opinions (doxae) requiring people to band together to prevent contamination from other non-believers. Even in the supposedly objective Athenian places of justice in America, prayer meetings are held in secular offices of state. Certainly these prayer meetings are not for Jews, Muslims, Catholics or other orthodoxies but the fundamentalist Christian faiths that dominate the American legislature.

Pluto in Sagittarius is a Holy War. Indeed, that is what the Taliban are calling for. In turn that is what the world is addressing. Pluto in Sagittarius is the rising up of suppressed indigenous peoples, the previous owners of the land upon which western civilization has forged its dizzying culture. All in its own time, things will settle down, give or take a century or two! The amalgamation of the many ethnicities in the world will take time, much time.

The function of Gemini is to create a fundamental language which is basic and uncomplicated, while the function of Sagittarius is to render that basic knowledge into something of a higher level, such as a belief, an ethic, a networked system of truths, and disseminate that information. The problem arising within this polarity is that truth is something immutable and archetypal, but an opinion is relative to the stereotype of the times.

The function of Gemini is to create a fundamental language which is basic and uncomplicated, while the function of Sagittarius is to render that basic knowledge into something of a higher level, such as a belief, an ethic, a networked system of truths, and disseminate that information. The problem arising within this polarity is that truth is something immutable and archetypal, but an opinion is relative to the stereotype of the times.

When the planets line up to portray huge tension and fulfillment of that tension, we must attend to truths, not opinions. The heavens relinquish truths, and we must render them into opinions. This appears to be happening, . In the US there has been more information disseminated in the media on other world cultures than ever before - the majority of Americans tend not to be really comfortable with the "rest of the world", as if the US is so big, so encompassing that the rest of the world is simply an oddity that exists "somewhere else". As a direct result of this terrorist attack on the WTC, there is more general awareness in the US of the value of other cultures "out there", and the intellectual rapport that now is evident among the world leaders is showing the average American that the world is not only clever, but not much different in its desires and goals for future peace.

The attack also has brought acknowledgement of the broad majority of ethnicity which comprises America - the differentiation of cultures within the states is the strength of the country. This all is a very good thing, and is in direct relation to the confrontation between Gemini and Sagittarius.

And Now for Some More Astrology:

I am going to focus on just a few hot spots in the pertinent charts available, and the transits of the year. 2001 is noted especially for the retrogression of Mars in Sagittarius. Mars spent half the year trekking back and forth over the last fifteen degrees of Sagittarius. (For specific and detailed timing of the Mars Rx cycle of 2001, please refer to the printer-friendly article on my website called: "Love and War in a time of Chaos: Mars Retrograde 2001").

The image of the World Trade Twin Towers is depicted in the astrology of its founding - Saturn was 15 Gemini when the WTC was born on April 4, 1973 at noon in NYC. The Descendant of Manhattan itself, is 15 Sagittarius with Pluto Retrograde ascending at 12 Gemini. (February 12, 1653, 12:00 noon).

Those emblems alone are chilling - the Twin Towers with Saturn in Gemini, having their Saturn return whilst Saturn stations-retrograde in a balsamic hair of the return degree! (Refer to charts of these figures on pg X). The transit of Pluto has been back and forth over this degree twice, and stationed-direct in August 2001 signifying the end of an eighteen month cycle.

Pluto remained in the twelfth degree of Sagittarius for around three and a half months this summer - stationary-direct in exact opposition to its natal position in the Manhattan horoscope at 12 Gemini. Transiting Pluto crossed back and forth the Descendant of Manhattan three times from May 2000 to September 2001!

This transit put extraordinary pressure on Manhattan's people (Descendant influence) and has resulted in the devastation of the southern tip of the island, its economic (Pluto) center and now stands for the most consequential terrorist attack in history. The shades of the thousands dead now reside in Pluto's domain. An eighteen month mourning period now follows, because eighteen month from now, from Autumn 2001, Pluto will finally cross the Descendant of the Manhattan horoscope. The reconstruction or memorial of that area will take at least that long. As for the memory, it is in place forever.

Mars Retrograde in Times of Chaos:

The World Trade Center attack, in such an ingenious, strategically brilliant fashion is a major event out of which we need to find meaning . . . and the 'event' we are looking at is one that has been coalescing for years - many, many years . . . but the 'small' picture has the distinct flavor of Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius with Pluto, and Saturn opposed, with war-lord, Olympian Jupiter passing through the opposition/conjunction poles.

During the three days leading up to the attack - the 8th through 11th of September, 2001 - the final planning stages on the part of the attackers were in place, being monitored and measured and, ultimately, enacted. On the 7th of September, the planet Mars passed back over the degree at which it had stationed-retrograde on May 12th. By the time the WTC attack occurred, Mars had left Sagittarius after a sojourn of half the year!

All the planetary aspects that have coalesced to define this event need to be seen in the context of a whole-system astrology, and the cycle of Mars Retrograde plays the most significant role as a single factor, supported by the fast transit of Jupiter to exacerbate and elevate the conditions of the time into monumental, global concerns.

Mars, the old god of the Greek Ares, the god of war, has two moons - Phobos and Demos, Greek for Panic and Fear. Terrorism is just that - low grade panic and an underlying, undifferentiated fear. Anxiety about security, money, one's home, children, one's job, threaten the core of our freedom; the ability to experience travel and freedom of movement - all gone for the time being. The ethic and philosophy of the western world view values freedom and freedom of expression as the highest of human values - this is not what the Taliban proclaims, and thus, the "war" is about Sagittarian values, those of the highest ideals of a culture - every culture.

At the last opposition of Saturn to Pluto, beginning in the middle of 1965, through 1966, the Pluto in Leo generation began the battle cry toward a unified globe, a one-world consciousness, a global village. That opposition occurred with Uranus conjunct Pluto which was the herald-song for the times we now are in midst. The Saturn Pluto opposition currently, 2001-02, recollects the previous one(1965-66), and the arrival to a global village will not come easily, nor soon. In fact, the reflecting back to the heyday of the cultural revolution beginning with Saturn opposite Pluto/Uranus, it has to be realized that the people who are involved in this world conflict are the very people who lived through the active nineteen-sixties aspects.

The full cycle of Mars retrograde began back in March, on the 18th, when Pluto stationed-retrograde with Mars conjunct at 15 Sagittarius, conjunct the Descendant of Manhattan's chart. In retrograde cycles there are very specific aspects that occur and the Sun opposition to the retrograde planet is the prominence of the cycle: In this case, the Sun opposed to Mars was the hot point, the 'turning point' for this cycle of time. This occurred on June 13/14, which was the Genoa riots on "anti-globalism". The symbolism need not be overworked to see the meaning in that. The heating up of the international scenario is encapsulated within this Mars in Sagittarius cycle, a time which encompassed six months of 2001, and has only just ended now in September 2001.

The station-retrograde point of Mars at 29 Sagittarius 03 (May 12) only began the international foment, and during the week of its station in May, the planet Jupiter moved to oppose Pluto from the fourteenth degree of Gemini, which enriched that degree, so when Saturn moved into that slot at the end of August, to reach its stationing position at 14 Gemini, the memory of the degree was loaded with inflated goals, ideals and messianic mania, religious passions, international rules, laws and restrictions and so on.

Mythical in its flavor, Jupiter, the 'sky god' stood in direct confrontation with Pluto, the 'unseen one', the god of the underworld, or psychologically, the shadow of the collective psyche. The overblown and 'righteous' characteristics of Jupiter gives each party the messianic consciousness needed to annihilate the other. (The station-retrograde of Mars fell at the inverse midpoint of Jupiter and Saturn on the WTC chart, which is also a symbolic re-enaction of the War of the Titans, when Zeus waged a holy war against his father, Kronos (the Greek Jupiter and Saturn).

The Event:

Looking at the event chart itself, the first 'hit' on the WTC occurred with Jupiter in the MC. Just ten minutes after that, the midpoint of Venus/Pluto was ascending (VEPL=Asc). Well, the powers of 'high' and 'low' are at work. This is not to say that one is good and one is bad, but this is a struggle for the ultimate right and wrong. (September 11, 2001, 8:42 am, Manhattan, NY)

By the time that the second tower actually collapsed (circa 10:10 am EDT), Neptune was exactly on the IC of the event chart, with 00.56 Scorpio ascending. Now, Neptune on the IC gives the feeling of total confusion and chaos, which there was and still is today, the 12th of September. It also speaks of the mystery surrounding the origins and outcome of the event. Neptune has domain over all things uncontained, and likely the outcome of this event will result both in global conflict and collective sympathy.

On the mundane level, Neptune rules in part, oil, gas and things with no boundaries or limits. And the Taliban are Neptunian in this way: They are spotted throughout the globe, in pockets, in hiding and insinuating themselves as groups and individuals within the existing cultures they hope to contaminate with their ideologies. The Plutonian aspect of the Taliban reflects the underworld' characteristic of Pluto - literally living in hidden places, caves, derelict areas, terrorizing with no discrimination.

From international news sources, we know the US was actively involved in international conflict all through the summer of 2001, both in Afghanistan and Iran, and by the time Saturn moved to 12 Gemini, and opposed the stationing - actually station-direct Pluto - on August 5th, this plan against the US targets obviously was well underway and in the most critical strategic planning stages.

The station-direct of Pluto on the 25th of August was preceded in July by the Mars station-direct at the same degree at which it conjoined Pluto station-retrograde back in March! Then on July 20th, Mars stationed-direct at 15 Sagittarius, while Saturn began its opposition to Pluto. (Recall that Mars passed over 15¯ of Sagittarius conjunct the station-retrograde Pluto on March 18th). The planetary picture is one of undermining and annihilating the status quo - of the great argument between major powers, one secret, unseen and hidden (Pluto), while the other is the status quo(Saturn).

Thus, the whole of August was involved in this tense, frightening conflict between the status quo (US) and the 'underworld powers', and the triggers by the stations of the two planets that are really the keys - Mars and Pluto in Sagittarius - which simply hotted up the situation, blowing it into the scenario with which we are now familiar.

These aspects would have produced something, that much is predictable, but what it has produced is yet to be seen in its fullness. Over the two weeks following, leading to the station-retrograde of Saturn, on the 27th of September, and, then leading into the repeat of its opposition to Pluto in the first days of November promise more international tension. In fact, the Saturn/Pluto opposition repeats itself for the final time, in May 2002. As the newsmakers say, "this is a conflict of long duration and without an end in sight". Of course there will be periods of respite, but the struggle toward the new age - for us - likely does not end either with a war or an agreement, but bumpily evolves toward a new way of existing in a world with no boundaries.

Enter Zeus:

The station-retrograde of Jupiter on the 3rd of November actually may prove to be a blessing - "that which is promised is taken away" - (from my book, Retrograde Planets) and may be just what the world needs for a short reprieve in this major New World struggle. Since around the early nineteen-nineties, I have thought that we were in the Third World War, and thought it would be something as elusive as what we have been experiencing, but I guess there has to be a peak - and this is it.

Jupiter moves to 15 Cancer by early November's station place. Jupiter in Cancer means the social and tribal focus for the year of that transit involves all issues of personal and global security - food, home, money, family, tribe, safety, and so on. The station retrograde brings about a reversal of what it may have promised, and in this case, might just bring about a cessation of threat to national, personal and global security. I am being a positive astrologer in saying this. In fact, it might equally begin a four month period of martial war.

By making security an issue, we aggrandize it. In the US, people are annoyed when they have to wait a half hour for a security check in an airport, however, anyone who has lived or is living anywhere else, Europe, UK, etc, knows that a security check takes around two hours, and one just spends the time reading in the queue or chatting with others in the same predicament.

Security also means money, and the fluency of it. Oddly, the aspects on finance are not as terrible as one might think. It is a recessive time, however, and a corrective time in the marketplace and will continue to be volatile during the retrograde cycle of Jupiter from November right through the spring, but it is not a great depression of the magnitude of the 1929 through mid nineteen-thirties. The upcoming several years will involve a reorganization of world economy, which obviously affects and will reflect our own North American economy adversely.

The Jupiter transit in Cancer through August 2001 means that individual lifestyles now must focus not only on family, one's own money and resources, but also take into consideration a more humanitarian concern for the whole. Collectively, the US growth can only proceed along lines of its relations with the world at large; on expansion through more mundane or homely types of ideals, and a true recognition that Americans simply are an important part of the world, not the most important part of the world.

It seems that the US government is surprised at the support it is receiving from the world leaders! And, perhaps for the first time actually in a meta-dialogue with the world, finding that there is real solidarity that underlies both apparent and real cultural differences.

I get a distinct feeling that the US is in for a big spin, and super persona lift. Whereas on one level the US has been the supporter and feeder of the world (in the humanitarian realm, not in the imperialistic realm) it has also created huge anger and outrage at its invasive, imperialism and military involvement with every badly behaved country!

Now, we find that above all, the world-leaders actually want peace, and thus are very likely staving off nuclear holocausts by saying to the US, "We all agree on one thing, and it is that thing that will bring us together as siblings in the fold of mother earth". There is collaboration and discussion, which the US is actively seeking.

Bush always has his eyebrows raised these days as if in perpetual surprise! As he should - for a man who, prior to becoming president of the most powerful nation to date, had never been abroad, this must be a fast-track course on international relations. He appears to be astounded and bemused by the support and interaction of the rest of the world leaders - with him. One hopes he and his forces continue to communicate, share intelligence, resources and operate on a consensus for the duration. We shall see. Because the US is the most powerful nation financially and militarily, and supplies the greater world with medical aid, food, money and generous support in more ways than imaginable, yet also terrifies parts of the world with its military prowess sends a double message. It is kind of like the mother who feeds you but also beats you - a bad parent, for sure, but one that could learn better parenting - to support the world, but also to be part of it in mutual exchange.

The best outcome of this situation, according to planetary dynamics, is communication, cooperation, sorority and fraternity amongst all people and an ongoing evolution among the vast and changing world population.

The Gemini imagery in the planets, that of sibling-like relating - that is, a world based sorority/fraternity, a family of humanity - is clearly part of this crisis. Gemini rules foundations of communication, the most fundamental of laws and rules, while the Sagittarian concept of a "global village", means that new ways of communication must be learned and translated into new forms of philosophy and ideals. These ideals can only be developed through genuine communication, alliances of a global nature which override partisanship and encompass the Aquarian ideals of humanitarian and dispassionate, objective collective relating.

Ideally - and we are in a time when ideals are rampant - we could achieve that. Give or take a five-hundred year transition to the new age, it will happen. However, the time we are in now, again in the words of WB Yeats, tells us that: The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. 2

Therefore we find ourselves again threatened at the very core of what western civilization hopes to achieve, and in that confrontation must mediate the conflict to further the whole not just the parts. Individuation of a person is a result of mediation of interior and external conflict and so too, the same principle applies to the individuation of cultures.

The crisis of opportunity has arrived to the world once again, and once again, Saturn and Pluto with their warrior attendants, Mars and Jupiter, have brought forth something from the shadow-realm to be purged. May we all gain and grow from this next year to follow, and rather than "lacking conviction", be full of "passionate intensity" for a functional and communicating world-family!

Data Used in Article:

All from Rodden DataBank, various classifications. World Trade Center: April 4, 1973, 12 noon, NY, NY  Manhattan: February 12, 1653, 12 noon, NY  World Trade Attack: September 11, 2001, 8:42 am, NY, NY (first plane into Tower)  The Pentagon: April 29, 1942, 10:30 am, Washington, DC

[1]. WB Yeats. Collected Poems. Pg. 210-11. "The Second Coming". PaperMac. London. 1982.

[2]. Ibid. op.... cit. (all data are from Lois Rodden Data Bank)  © 2002 All Rights Reserved