The street protests which began in Cairo on 25 January 2011 (known as the “Day of Anger”) and have since spread across the country are unprecedented in recent Egyptian history. Born of a rising tide of popular discontent with food-price inflation, high unemployment, police brutality, government corruption and a lack of fair and free elections, the movement has as its main objective the ouster of 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled the country since 1981.
More than a hundred protestors have been killed in violent government crack-downs. All Internet and cell phone service was blocked the night before a planned massive demonstration on 28 January, to prevent the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to organize. On the 29th, Mubarak dismissed his entire cabinet, but made no offer to resign.
The backdrop to this crisis is the Solar Eclipse of 4 January 2011 at 13 Capricorn, which exactly squared the Saturn of the Mubarak regime (“born” 14 October 1981) on the Black Hole at 13 Libra, exposing the regime’s inherent instability (Black Hole) and undermining its authority (Saturn). This same eclipse more loosely squared Mubarak’s (born 4 May 1928) Sun at 15 Aries and Jupiter at 16 Aries, while opposing his Pluto at 14 Cancer, threatening his power (Pluto), his policies (Jupiter) and potentially, the man himself (Sun).
But the primary instigator would seem to be TNO Rhadamanthus, which stationed retrograde at 20 Libra on 20 January, just five days before the protests began, activating a massive synastric Grand Cross and many additional points.
Rhadamanthus is named for a Greek mythic king and judge, noted for his scrupulous integrity but also the harsh punishments he meted out for wrong-doing. With the station exactly conjoined the Mubarak regime’s Sun/Jupiter pairing and the Saturn/Neptune conjunction of the state of Egypt (the republic declared 18 June 1953, 11:30 PM GMT), as well as sextile Mubarak’s natal Saturn on a Black Hole at 19 Sagittarius, there is much questioning of authority, judging of the government’s actions and policies, and severe consequences, both for the protestors and perhaps for Egypt’s president (Saturn representing also the chief executive).
Astrologer Linda Berry equates Rhadamanthus with rigidity, philosophical myopia, open vs. closed minds or systems, and hierarchic structures which control populations, all very apt descriptors of the Egyptian state, which since 1967 has lived under Emergency Law, with increased police powers, legalized censorship, and suspended constitutional rights.
Rhadamanthus also squares Egypt’s Midheaven/Chiron conjunction on the Black Hole at 19 Capricorn, showing a potential for serious wounding (Chiron) at the highest levels of government (Midheaven), based in a judgement of its performance (Rhadamanthus), and resulting in a sudden, dramatic reversal or change (Black Hole). The station degree further ignites Egypt’s Pluto (destruction, crisis, transformation) at 21 Leo, Moon (the populace) at 21 Virgo, and Uranus (rebellion, revolution) at 17 Cancer, as well as closely opposing fellow TNO Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, currently at 21 Aries.
Although the protest has spread across socioeconomic lines and spans all age groups, it was spearheaded by students and young people, as shown by transit Mercury at 16 Capricorn the day the protests began, creeping up over Egypt’s Midheaven/Chiron at 19 Capricorn and opposing its Uranus (unrest) at 17 Cancer, which was exactly squared by transit Saturn at 17 Libra, fomenting dissent and, perhaps, revolution and true democracy (both Uranus).
There is no asteroid named for Egypt, but there is a Sphinx (#896), among Egypt’s most recognizable symbols, which at 18 Scorpio on the Day of Anger exactly squared Damocles, the doom hanging overhead, at 18 Aquarius.