Baghdad "Falls" and SARS Epidemic Rises

By Mark Lerner

Dateline: April 10, 2003, 7:40PM PDT, Eugene, OR -- I write this update to our series about 36 hours after the now-historic toppling of a large statue of Saddam Hussein in the heart of Baghdad. Just so you know, I happened to see the event live and had been watching the entire scenario developing for about 90 minutes beforehand. Talk about earth-shaking symbolism! I mentioned in a previous part of this series -- see Parts XIII through XVII on the Iraq War -- that this invasion of Iraq will be eventually known as "The Television War." I just heard a reporter on TV use this almost identical phrase after three weeks of live coverage throughout the western world.

To View the Horoscope for Toppling of Saddam's Statue, click on this link:

Whether one has been a supporter of the war effort, an opponent of the war or somewhere in the middle, the live broadcast of toppling this giant statue of Saddam Hussein -- the dictator of Iraq -- was truly remarkable. You could sense and see that as the scene was unfolding, this might prove to be a central graphic image of the downfall of Saddam Hussein and his 23+ year-old tyrannical and murderous regime. After all, what are the odds we will actually capture the REAL Saddam Hussein? And all the journalistic people on TV claiming that if a body is found, we can check the DNA to verify it's Saddam -- what are they talking about? Exactly where -- in the West -- is Saddam's DNA hanging around so that there can be some kind of verifiable confirmation he has been found and declared deceased? Even if, say, the American military or our government claimed that we had his body and checked the DNA and it's definitely him and he is dead, who in the Middle East -- and in many other parts of the world -- will believe us? Saddam Hussein has always wanted to go down as a hero to the Arab population -- linking up with the legendary Saladin who was born in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Now back to toppling the statue. As the entire process unfolded, one saw newly-freed Iraqi citizens attempting to bring down this enormous statue of their feared leader. One man was hacking at the base with a sledgehammer. Others were climbing up and putting a rope around the neck of the statue. But they couldn't make it fall. It took the appearance of a U.S. tank, along with our soldiers -- working in concert with the Iraqis there in the center of Baghdad -- to finally bring down this "graven image" of the most recent "God" who had viciously controlled this ancient land. Because I was watching the event live, I was able to record the exact moment when the statue first toppled over. [About 30 seconds later, the largest part of the statue was pulled off the pedestal entirely, falling to the ground.] Once this happened, dozens of jubilant Iraqis jumped on top of the statue. Later on, the TV networks showed a couple of Iraqis dragging off the head of the statue -- with a young boy slapping the head of Saddam's statue, as it was dragged along the ground.

Watching this, tens of millions of people around the world were reminded of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the death of Romania's Communist leader (and his wife) back at the close of the 1980s. Even before I calculated the chart for this immensely symbolic moment, I realized that the transiting Moon (in the build-up to the toppling of the statue) was in Cancer -- conjunct the USA Sun, President Bush's Sun and the brightest star in the sky, Sirius -- which, esoterically, is considered one of the most crucial sources of divine love and wisdom streaming into our solar system, the Earth and our Spiritual Hierarchy of enlightened masters and teachers. I also realized that the war had begun (see my charts for the start and unfoldment of the war in the last three parts of this series) with the Moon in Libra and that now, after three weeks of fighting, the transiting Moon was approaching a sharp square (90-degree, frictional, tense aspect) to that Moon placement at the launch of the war. Nevertheless, there is a much deeper meaning for the fall of this statue.

The greater truth to all this is that Saddam Hussein was born on April 28, 1937 (time unknown) with the Sun at 7+ Taurus conjunct revolutionary Uranus at 9+ Taurus. Most students of astrology know that each zodiacal sign is connected to a vital part of the human body. In medical astrology, utilized for several thousand years, Taurus is always connected to the neck and throat. The day before the statue was toppling, President Bush met with Prime Minister Blair in Belfast, Northern Ireland. When asked a key question by a reporter, the President responded with an interesting image. He said that Saddam Hussein formerly had all 10 fingers around the throat/neck of the Iraqi people and that gradually each finger was being removed due to the military action of the coalition. Amazingly, the next day in central Baghdad -- as so many TV networks were declaring the "fall" of Baghdad -- the toppling of the statue was occurring. First, the rope "hanging around the neck" of the Saddam Hussein statue was so appropriate because the actual Saddam Hussein is a Solar Taurus, whose life force (Sun), amplified by electrifying Uranus, has been concentrated in his neck -- symbolized by his extreme stubbornness, bull-headed nature, determination to "hang on" to power at all cost. Second, the rope wasn't strong enough by itself. The U.S. tank along with American soldiers were required to assist the Iraqis in bringing down the statue. By using some kind of steel cable, attached to the tank, the statue was finally brought down -- from the neck!

What's also significant -- and I have shared this point several times in previous articles -- Jupiter is a key planetary energy representing America. That's because the USA was born on July 4, 1776 with Sagittarius rising -- a zodiacal sign ruled by Jupiter. In addition, Jupiter is in Cancer conjunct the USA Sun at America's birth. Also -- Jupiter was always the "King of the Gods" in Roman and Greek mythology and was lord of the skies and sky power. Thus, of all the planets in the solar system -- in my humble opinion -- Jupiter is usually the key archetypal symbol of America and its dominant role in the world. So, here's the clincher to this shocking occurrence in Baghdad: Jupiter just made its direct station last week (April 3) at 8+ Leo. As the statue fell and Baghdad was fundamentally overrun by U.S. military forces, and Iraqis began to rejoice, Jupiter (still hardly moving on a daily basis) was exactly SQUARING Saddam Hussein's natal Sun-Uranus conjunction in Taurus! Again, the astrological pattern here is precise. Jupiter at 8+ Leo (clearly representing the USA) is exactly squaring Sun/Uranus united at 8+ Taurus for Saddam Hussein (with the 90-degree aspect symbolizing the attack against him, his regime, and the old forces of manipulation in this nation). Even the signs involved are significant with Jupiter in Leo (signaling fire, warmth, heart, freedom) and Saddam Hussein's Sun/Uranus in Taurus (signifying resistance to change, inertia, holding on to land, billions of dollars hidden away and stolen from oil proceeds (rightly owned by the Iraqi people), presidential palaces and material possessions, including weapons of mass destruction, still being searched for throughout Iraq).

Looking at the chart itself, there is much potent symbolism. The toppling of the statue happened in the two-hour period just before sunset. The Sun (always a symbol of the leader of a country in Mundane Astrology) setting is the perfect symbol for the downfall of a head of state. The Sun was in Aries -- representing the pent-up anger of the Iraqi people and also the militant warring vibration and violence perpetrated by Saddam Hussein and his forces for over two decades in Iraq. Notice the Moon almost exactly overhead. The Moon in Mundane Astrology is always a strong symbol of the masses, the emotions and feelings of the people. And this is at its peak when the Moon is in its home sign of Cancer. The Moon at the Midheaven of the horoscope for the toppling of the statue is a fantastic symbol for the spontaneity of the event and the joy of the people dancing on top of the fallen statue. You will also see that the precise degree of the 10th house cusp is 13+ Cancer -- that degree is America's Sun degree and that for President Bush. It is important that the Moon last united with Saturn and is approaching Jupiter. One of the factors often overlooked by astrology students and even professionals is what planet has the Moon last conjuncted and what planet will the Moon next conjunct? This shows continuity in real life as the Moon has so much to do with the public life, deep-seated feelings, the shifting moods, rhythms and cycles affecting the population of a nation. Therefore, the Moon moving from Saturn to Jupiter is a perfect representation of the Iraqi people leaving their Saturnian oppression behind and opening the door toward eventual freedom (Jupiter in Leo). There are many other keynotes in this map -- the approaching Sun-Moon First Quarter Phase (symbolizing a "crisis in action" according to Dane Rudhyar), Libra rising (symbolic of the beginning phase of restoring justice and law to Iraq) and Venus ruling the map. Venus is a major symbol for peace in Mundane Astrology work. And Venus is also exalted in Pisces in this chart. Furthermore, Neptune -- often considered the higher octave to Venus -- is almost exactly trining the Ascendant of this horoscope from its place in Aquarius.

Speaking of Neptune, I reported to you in Part XVII that at the Spring Equinox in Baghdad, Neptune was almost exactly rising in Aquarius in that map. I suggested that Neptune rising for Iraq in the three-month cycle beginning on March 21 signified the coming mass confusion, nebulosity, chaos and dissolution. This is happening with full force even one day after Saddam's statue came down. Today there are numerous reports of anarchy, sniper killings, looting on a vast scale, another suicide bombing at a Marine checkpoint (injuring at least 4 people), two Shiite Muslim clerics being hacked to death in Southern Iraq (probably by people still loyal to Saddam Hussein), a possible missile attack against Saddam Hussein's half-brother (probably killing him), a potential discovery of a secret nuclear weapon facility (along with Plutonium) in central Iraq, finding what may be a mobile bio-weapons facility with biological or chemical weapons (first discussed by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations awhile back). In addition, Kirkuk -- a main oil city in the North -- was liberated today, mainly by Kurdish forces. There, another statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled and, at the same time, the U.S. will permit anxious Turkish observers to come to Kirkuk to make sure the Kurds don't take control of this key city. [Turkey is desperately afraid of the rising up of a Kurdish nation in the north of Iraq, which might create waves of dissent and revolt within the powerful Kurdish population in Turkey's border region with Iraq.] Also -- in the key city of Mosul, in the North, an Iraqi general or commander was preparing to surrender his forces to coalition troops. There is also a major controversy (equate this with Neptunian fog) concerning the disappearance of several thousand Iraqi leaders. No one knows where they are, although it is suspected that many have fled to Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit or have attempted to flee the country via Syria. In fact, we still don't know if Saddam Hussein and his sons are dead or alive. Many experts believe he may try and go to Syria. [Note: Secretary of Defense has been warning Syria not to assist these fleeing Iraqi leaders and many people fear the U.S. may now target Syria for the next attack, following such a successful military operation through Iraq.]

As I share this information, it's important for you to understand that I am attempting to provide you with insights about how astrology is working in this war. As I mentioned near the beginning of this feature, it doesn't matter whether you are on the left, right or somewhere in between, the sight of exuberant Iraqis tasting a little freedom -- many for the first time in their lives! -- is truly amazing. None of this changes the fact that the future for this country and region is completely unknown. In the last part of this series, I offered up many questions that need to be answered in the future. It's impossible to know right now how long American and British troops will need to remain in this country. And who knows when an interim government of Iraqis will be established? Will the Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites and dozens of other ethnic and religious minorities find a way to get along? How will the Iraqi people respond to an American General "running the show" in their nation -- once all the initial giddiness and excitement evaporate? And what about the constant fear of homicide or suicide bombings happening against coalition troops in the future -- and Iraqi citizens -- conducted by extremists? Iraq could become another Israel in this sense -- always at the mercy of extremist forces out to wreak havoc and prevent a lasting peace/democracy at all cost.

On the other front (medically and health-wise) -- coming from China and Southeast Asia -- we find another deadly war happening: The rise of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Oddly enough, this has developed (in intensity and panic) almost exactly as the coalition forces seized the initiative in Iraq and surrounded Baghdad. Had the Iraq war not been happening, the attention to the SARS epidemic would be widespread by our media in America. Most of you probably know about the origins of this flu-like illness, but to set the record straight, it appears to have begun in Guangdong Province within mainland China in November 2002. The Communist Chinese didn't report the extreme nature of the illness until by February 2003, the cat was out of the bag when a Chinese doctor (who was sick with SARS) flew to Hong Kong on February 21, 2003 and started infecting several tourists at the Metropole hotel. From there, all hell began breaking loose regarding the spread of this illness. Travelers flying to Toronto, Singapore and many other countries starting passing the illness on to other people. To date, over 100 people have died and around 3,000 have become ill. While it is being reported that approximately 3-4% of these infected die from the illness, that is really no consolation as this truly can become a pandemic and no vaccine is yet on the market. Researchers don't know whether the illness is spread by air or by droplets (or both), but the illness appears to be a type of coronavirus (close to the common cold, but far more virulent). It also appears to be very resilient in that the virus remains potent for several hours (on clothing, furniture, doors, seats, walls, railings, utensils, etc) and that increases the spread of the disaster. Even President Bush on April 4, 2003 said that quarantines will be permitted if outbreaks become more severe in the USA.

As I will share in a moment, the planet Neptune is the chief culprit involved in the dissemination of this illness. Back in Part XIV of this series, I shared a whole article about Neptune's Power and the importance of transiting Neptune in Aquarius now conjunct its own Heliocentric South Node (as a crucial reflection to its crossing its own Heliocentric North Node in Leo from 1919-1921). It was back in 1918-1920 -- at the close of World War I and with Neptune on its own North Node in Leo -- that the Spanish Flu circled the globe (killings tens of millions) and killed more individuals than those that perished during WWI! Now that Neptune is back in conjunction with its own Heliocentric Orbit/Nodes, there is an enormous potential for another type of Spanish Flu -- and it is already happening with SARS!

To View the Neptune Discovery chart, click on the following link:

While the Neptune Discovery chart is fascinating in and of itself and connected back to my feature on Neptune's Power (Part XIV), you may find it valuable in researching this new epidemic called SARS. By the way, the main symptoms of the illness are running a fever, developing a dry cough and having profuse sweating. Neptune was discovered at 25+ Aquarius (and exactly conjunct Saturn)! Right now Neptune is located at 12+ Aquarius and it will station on May 16 (13+ Aquarius) -- during the time of the Full Moon of May, that is also a Total Lunar Eclipse. This is also known as the Buddha Full Moon or Festival of Wesak. In esoteric circles, it is considered the high point of the spiritual year and it is said that the Buddha (as a divine teacher and great master of wisdom) returns from his high place, blesses the faithful and strengthens the Spiritual Hierarchy that help guides the destiny of human souls and Humanity as a species on Spaceship Earth. It may very well be that this May Full Moon, with Neptune stationary, and the following Annular Solar Eclipse two weeks later will be of critical importance in either the spreading of the disease or the appearance of a vaccine.

Think about this: Neptune represents mass consciousness and mass movements around the globe. It is strongly linked to the solar plexus, deep-seated emotions and water (oceans, seas, all bodies of water). On the shadow side, it is connected to confusion, chaos, nebulosity, illusions, panic, contagious disease, epidemics and pandemics. As a strong planet connected to Pisces, it has a rulership over hospitals (along with the traditional ruler of Pisces, Jupiter). Aquarius -- where Neptune is currently placed -- is the sign of aviation, air travel and is considered the "universal air sign." SARS is passed on via water droplets (Neptune) or through the air (Neptune now in Aquarius) or BOTH. In the last few days, major world airlines have declared places like China, Hong Kong, and Singapore off limits. This can become a ripple effect -- causing a massive worldwide economic disaster, as Neptune is also the higher octave of Venus, and Venus rules money, banks, personal assets and resources. Neptune has much to do with the global circulation of money, weath and trade. If people cannot travel to the Far East and if the illness spreads all around the world, the already crippled major airlines may finally go under financially. In addition, even the U.S. Navy is reporting that their ships will not dock at Hong Kong and Singapore, etc. So, all of this is shaping up as a major medical crisis.

Back in November 2002, Neptune was located at 8+ Aquarius -- exactly opposing its placement from 1918-1919 (8+ Leo), when the Spanish Flu suddenly appeared, wiping out tens of millions around the world. The main reason SARS is rapidly spreading right now is that Jupiter has just stationed at 8+ Leo -- precisely opposing Neptune's placement from this past November, when the disease materialized in China. Jupiter, while often and usually a benefic, always represents something BIG and GIANT -- as it is the largest planet in the solar system. Thus, Jupiter -- during all of March 2003, now at the beginning of April and into the rest of this month -- is igniting Neptune from the start of the SARS illness and spreading it around the globe in a LARGE-SCALE, JUPITERIAN manner. [Note: By the way, as a further proof of SARS connecting to Neptune in Aquarius, realize that Communism is ruled by Neptune. Neptune has always been linked to Communism, Socialism and strong group-communal connections. SARS originated in Communist China and, as appropriate to the shadow side of Neptune, that nation chose to cloak and veil the illness, so that the rest of the world wouldn't know about it for fear that people would stop traveling to China. China itself was born as a country on Oct. 1, 1949 with both the Moon and rising sign in Aquarius. Thus, transiting Neptune is now moving through China's first house of national self-expression and close to their Moon (the population; mass emotions). China's Sun degree is 8 Libra and transiting Neptune in October/November 2002 made its station at 8 Aquarius -- exactly trining China's Sun. The Chinese leaders probably felt that could get away with keeping SARS hidden or that it might die down and not become so contagious and powerful.]

In the weeks ahead, I will have more updates on the Iraq War, the fight against SARS, problems developing in the chart of President Bush, further analysis of the Korean Crisis, and other current events. Keep tuned to this web channel and let your friends know more about Welcome to Planet Earth astrology online.

© 2003 by Great Bear Enterprises, Ltd and Mark Lerner. All rights reserved.

[Mark Lerner is the publisher of Welcome to Planet Earth. Please reach him at PO Box 12007, Eugene OR 97440 or via e-mail at You can also utilize the following link in order to visit the Index Page of our astrology web site. Mark has been doing professional astrology consultations for 30 years on 90-minute cassette tapes. For more on his sessions, see the section entitled New! Special Offer on Consultations and 2003 Calendars on the Index page of our astrology web site.]