The Moon’s Nodes, Rahu & Ketu change signs (Mean Node) on March 7th 2019. Usually on such an axial shift, Rahu hogs the headlines, especially as – according to some Rishis – it is moving into exaltation in Gemini, but with Saturn and soon Jupiter in Sagittarius, not to mention Pluto, much of the focus now falls on to Ketu.
Rahu rules desire and Ketu rules self-denial and disintegration. Ketu is a subtle, spiritual influence, where we take a step back and reflect, giving spiritual yearning and divine discontent. When paired with a planet Ketu makes it artistic and impressionable, or obscures or undermines it. Both Nodes are extremely maleable and strongly influenced by planets which conjoin and aspect them - benefic or malefic aspects decide if Ketu's influence is sweet and spiritual, or like an extended dark night of the soul. Ketu and Saturn make strange bedfellows with one giving substance and the other taking it away, while the combination sees Saturn giving solidity to Ketu’s ineffable emotion and spirituality.
Between Saturn’s cycle of 29.5 years and Ketu’s of 18, conjunctions of these two occur every approximately 11.5 years, while conjunctions by sign happen every 150 years. Ketu was last in Sagittarius in 2001, where a conjunction with Mars and opposition to the Moon-Jupiter brought the era-defining Twin Towers attack. This gives significance to the current transit, and particularly if one is having a natal nodal return or half-return, or if Gemini and Sagittarius are angular, the 18 years since 2001 will appear in a more complete context.
With the conjunction exact on March 29th 2019, the UK is due to leave the European Union – Saturn, Ketu and Pluto are joined by the Moon,, which represents the public, also in Sagittarius, all within degrees of each other. Historian Simon Schama has said this break-off will be ‘the deepest schism in British history since the Civil War’. Hyperbole or not, emergency planning is in place in the event of food and medicine becoming unavailable and the astrological signature could hardly be more intense. Even the most ardent Brexiteers admit that the UK will go through a period of ‘adjustment’ and that the country may take ‘a hit’.
There will likely be an extension of Article 50, which will delay Brexit and bring the real possibility of rioting. Even more so if there is a hot summer. This is common sense but the astrology more than bears it out. The current confusion in Westminster is not encouraging for a smooth settlement and a Mercury retrograde period just prior to the leave date does not help. In addition to the potent chart for March 29th itself, the UK's 1066 national horoscope is heavily charged. With transit Pluto and Ketu on the UK Sun and Saturn closing in, plus Uranus in Aries at its ascendant, this is a time of once-in-a-lifetime radical change.
UK 1066 Chart (centre) + Brexit March 29th 2019
The Leave campaign was carried largely by the over-50s generation (Saturn). The whole issue has a vague, Ketu-like nostalgic impulse towards an Independent Britain along with a defensive attitude where North Sea serves as a Saturnian wall. The post-Brexit Utopia must somehow embody both of these attitudes. The 2019 conjunction may also have implications for Donald Trump's Mexican Wall
Further back into historical precedent, the previous Ketu-Saturn in Sagittarius, in 1871, saw the Great Chicago Fire that devastated the city and killed at least 300 people, while two Sagittarius conjunctions before this, in 1666 saw the Great Fire of London, which destroyed an estimated 70,000 homes*. Ketu is of the nature of Mars and in a fire sign may see precisely such a conflagration – in both the London and Chicago Great Fires, Jupiter the lord of the conjunction was strong, in Pisces and Cancer respectively.
For this conjunction, Jupiter will also be strong in Sagittarius, at least from March 30th to April 23rd, and then after November 5th until Ketu moves on in September 2020 - these periods may be red flags. On February 27th 2019 there were unprecedented winter wildfires in the UK in both the Peak District and one that destroyed Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood in Sussex, horrors. These incidents came on the UK’s hottest February weather on record and if the country has another long summer similar to 2018, the signs potentially are there.
Further back in history, Dutch sailors first 'discovered' Easter Island at the Ketu-Saturn meeting in Sagittarius in 1722. In an echo of this event 300 years later, the British Museum is reported as being under renewed pressure to give the island's statue back. The omens are looking good.
Going back to 1517, the Ketu-Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius saw Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, the symbolic start of the Protestant Reformation. This was a spiritual statement given physical form, very Ketu-Saturn, and some say religions today could use such a movement to legitimize peaceful theological dissent.
Incidentally, the Nodes change signs by True Node on March 27th. True or Mean is a slightly vexed issue in all forms of astrology. True reflects the Nodes’ actual position in relation to the Sun-Moon barycentre, the two bodies’ respective centres of mass, whereas the Mean represents their average position. Astrological tradition had always used the Mean Nodes, which move retrograde through the zodiac at a consistent rate, until 1975 when an ephemeris was published that took into account the Nodes’ axial wobble. I don’t take a doctrinaire position on this question, but astrology seemed to function okay before this point and perpetual backward motion is in the nature of Rahu and Ketu’s symbolism.
There must have been something in the ether in the mid-1970s, which also saw the rise of so-called ‘Karmic Astrology’ in the West. The ‘North Node is the future, South Node is the past’ reading was simple and exotic-sounding and like viral phenomenon rose without trace, though its provenance is suspect. This modern interpretation has little or nothing to do with any previous tradition, West or East.
*Vedic astrologer Joni Patri notes that the deadliest forest fire in US history also occurred in Wisconsin in October 1871.