The Beijing Olympics is going to be one of the big events of 2008, and given what’s going on in Tibet it’s not just going to be about sport. Of course it’s often claimed that politics isn’t – or shouldn’t – be involved, that sport can somehow stand aloof from the world and it’s problems. This is perhaps reflected in the announcement horoscope, when we first learnt that Beijing would be hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.
On the day of the announcement, July 13 2001, Venus, the planet of harmony, image and PR, was making a conjunction to Saturn, the planet of restriction and control. You don’t have to be an astrologer to make sense of this symbolism. A tightly controlled image, a mask with a smile cast in concrete. Or maybe a lead fist in a silk glove? And on July 13 both Venus and Saturn were in Gemini, which can be a two-faced sign. Being warm and friendly on the outside, being cold and calculating on the inside. And the idea that something powerful is lurking beneath the surface is emphasised by the fact that both Venus and Saturn were making an opposition aspect to Pluto, who in Roman mythology is the God of the Underworld.
The years pass. The 2004 Olympics takes place in Athens, and the sporting world gets ever closer to the Beijing games. And then we’re reminded of the inseparability of sport and politics. First China is criticised for not putting enough pressure on Sudan, regarding events in Darfur, and then trouble flares in Tibet. Suddenly the build-up to the Beijing Olympics attracts protests, and there’s talk of boycotts. Yet the Olympic spirit doesn’t bat an eyelid, and on March 24 2008, at around eleven in the morning in Athens, the Olympic flame is lit, and it starts its convoluted world journey.
If we look at the horoscope for this lighting ceremony, we get a rather disturbing signature. The Moon is ruler of the Ascendant, and it’s in the Fifth House, at three degrees of Scorpio. In astrology the Fifth House is associated with competition and sport, so it’s a perfect place for the Moon to be in. However the Moon is not happy in Scorpio, and it’s in a part of this sign that’s particularly unfortunate. In the jargon, the Moon occupies an area of space know by ancient astrologers as the Via Combusta – in English, the flaming path. When the Moon’s in the Via Combusta thinks often go wrong, and the unexpected should always be planned for. For example, I took my driving test with the Moon in the Via Combusta, and I had an accident on the way to the test centre. And to have a flame-lighting ceremony with this configuration seems to me extraordinary, and I can only assume that an astrologer wasn’t consulted beforehand. But maybe it was fate? The cosmos set the stage, for a particular moment in time, and the players had no choice but to turn up.
Looking at the Olympics themselves, and there’s nothing random about the timing of its opening ceremony. The Chinese regard the number eight as being lucky, and as many eights as possible have been packed in. This opening ceremony takes on the eighth of August 2008, August being the eighth month. And the time of the official opening? Eight minutes past eight in the evening. In fact, eight seconds past eight minutes past eight in the evening. Which strikes me as being a bit of cop out. If you use the twenty-four hour clock that’s 20:08:08, not 08:08:08, so some of the eightness is surely lost? Shouldn’t they have gone for a ceremony just after eight o’clock in the morning?
I know very little about Chinese number theory, but I do know that the horoscope for the opening of the Beijing Olympics is less than perfect. As in Athens at the torch-lighting ceremony, the Moon’s in Scorpio in the Via Combusta. Furthermore, as in the 2001 announcement horoscope, there a conjunction between Venus and Saturn. To make matters worse, there’s an opposition aspect between Mars and Uranus, affecting the horoscope’s main axis.
Mars and Uranus make for a troublesome and sometimes violent combination, and with the Moon in the Via Combusta I doubt very much that the Beijing Olympics will be entirely without incident. Furthermore, Venus, the PR planet, is very weak. It’s in Virgo, the sign of its fall, and as we know, it’s also making a conjunction to Saturn. I think it’s going to be very difficult for China to turn the Olympics into a PR success. Especially as Venus and Saturn are in the Seventh House, of open enemies. In other words those who oppose China, for whatever reason, will, I believe, find it easy to spoil the party. Nonetheless the Moon, in spite of its bad position, is making a favourable aspect to Jupiter, the planet of good luck. The party might be spoilt, but it’s unlikely to be ruined.