Bernadette Brady
July 2005

In the summer of 1800 Napoleon was taking advantage of what was known as the “campaign season” and was continuing his conquest of Europe. In that summer Saturn was in Leo and Mars was in Aries and then later in Taurus. With the sun moving towards a conjunction with Saturn, that planet – that is, Saturn – was effectively disappearing from the night sky in a phenomena known as “to be with the sun” . Additionally as the king (Saturn) disappeared from view in that summer of 1800 Mars, known as Nergal, the god of pestilence (Rochberg, 2004:46), rose shining brightly amongst the stars of the Pisces.  With Jupiter also below the horizon, for a short time Nergal owned the entire night sky. 

Every night bright Nergal (Mars) rose earlier and earlier dominating the night sky for the summer months. Now Napoleon had been conquering Europe since 1796, so his activities of the summer of 1800 (his defeat of the Austrians, his advance on Vienna and, finally, his conquering of Italy) was a continuation of his activities. Given the dominancy of Nergal, it can be argued that the Chaldean priests would have warned their king that a well-known and recognised warrior, an external force claiming territory that shouldn’t be his, would once again gain an upper hand and threaten to overthrow the kingdom. However, within this style of thinking, they would also have announced that when Saturn (the king) returned in early September, then the balance of power would shift to him, rather than stay in the hands of Nergal.

Not since 1800 has Nergal had such a clear run of the summer skies in Europe, that is, not until this European summer of 2005.

Saturn, the king moves towards the zodiac sign Leo and as the sun moves into Cancer and Leo, Saturn joins the sun, causing it to disappear from the night sky, while Marduk, (Jupiter) who had been so visible in the early evenings, also slips from view. But the sky is not empty, for just like the summer of 1800, into this empty sky rises Nergal, the god of pestilence or war, bright and shining in full strength.  He rises on the back of Cetus, the great sea monster (see the images below). Now we do not have a Napoleon rampaging through Europe but the threat that dominates the world at the moment and has done so since September 11, 2001, is, of course, terrorism. Based on these patterns, we may well be seeing a return of terrorist activities in Europe in this coming summer and if this is the case, then it will not be until the return of Saturn in late August early September that the authorities are able to gain an upper hand or to have some form of victory.

We are entering a time of Nergal and whatever the events, they will be, at the very least, a little rocky: a clash with authority, maybe further riots by the people or, in extreme cases, more terrorist activities. 

For Nergal is a known warrior, a known threat, a known challenge to order.

These could be an interesting few months and whatever unfolds will give us all an insight into the role of Mars in visual astrology.

Special Note : Given the news of the last few hours, we can unfortunately start to see the the story unfolding in the streets of central London and with this being the opening events of this drama, we may be able to conclude that this will not be in isolation and that a major arrest or step forward in the battle against terrorism will occur as the king finally returns to the sky in late August.

Rochberg, Farncesca (2004) The Heavenly Writing, Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture. Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press.