On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, one of the major formative persons of our era, passed away at the age of 95 after a long decline. Born of royal stock into an apartheid-ruled South Africa in 1918, Mandela was the figurehead and spiritual leader of the anti-apartheid movement, spent nearly 30 years in jail for his political opposition to the regime, and eventually rose to be the country’s first black president.
Mandela stressed nonviolent opposition to the apartheid system, and as a lawyer, was instrumental in devising campaigns of resistance by the African National Congress, the leading opposition organization in South Africa at the time. Tried for treason in 1956, Mandela beat that rap, but was convicted in 1962 of conspiring to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life in prison. During his 27-year incarceration, Mandela became the living symbol of the anti-apartheid movement, and an important spur to international support for ending the racist policies of the South African state. Sanctions and western divestment eventually brought the regime to its knees, and Mandela was freed in 1990, in an attempt to neutralize the rising tide of civil strife. Then president F. W. de Klerk joined with Mandela in negotiations to bring the country’s apartheid policies to an end and establish fully democratic multiracial elections, which in 1994 swept Mandela into power as South Africa’s first black chief executive.
Already 76, Mandela served just one four-year term, but remained influential in South African politics as a revered elder statesman, much beloved by his people (to whom he was known as “Madiba”) and respected internationally. In 1993 he received the Nobel Prize for Peace and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. His last public appearance was at the closing ceremonies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer championship, which were held in South Africa.
After his death on December 5, more than 80,000 mourners and dozens of world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and three former US presidents, appeared at his memorial service December 10. Mandela was interred in his home town of Qunu on December 15.
Mandela was born 18 July 1918, at about 3 PM local time. Rspected astrologer Noel Tyl has rectified his birth time to 2:54 PM EET. This gives Mandela a 24 Sagittarius Ascendant, very close to the contemporary coordinates of the Galactic Center at 25 Sagittarius, a point noted for making an international or global impression when activated. This certainly describes Mandela, globally famed for 50 years, and also defines his ability to inspire and enthuse others, a typical Sagittarian trait.
The Sun at 25 Cancer is caught in a Galactic Grand Cross comprised of four Black Holes, at 27 Cancer, 22 Libra, 22 Capricorn and 24 Aries. Black Hole Sun natives are capable of transforming their world, reversing conditions and altering the status quo reality in ways which are dramatic and lasting, surely evidenced in Mandela’s effect on South Africa’s political system. These individuals have the ability to pull others into their orbit almost effortlessly, for good or ill, and have vast reserves of energy from which to draw in the performance of their tasks and duties.
Also in the mix of this Grand Cross are TNOs (Trans-Neptunian Objects) Deucalion and Haumea at 20 Cancer, and asteroid Sisyphus at 27 Cancer, in conjunction with the Sun, as well as asteroids Atropos and Kassandra, and TNO Borasisi at 22, 25 and 28 Libra, in square. Deucalion (named for the Greek mythic equivalent of the Judeo-Christian Noah) is noted as a point defined by the struggle to find the moral path. Haumea (named for the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth) represents the emergence of something new into the collective. Sisyphus (named for a resident of Hades doomed to forever roll a rock uphill only to have it roll back down again) represents persistence in the face of impossible odds. All these elements are clearly defining facets of Mandela’s personality and life work.
The squares to Borasisi (named for a fictional deity worshipped in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Cat’s Cradle”) and Atropos (named for the Greek mythic Fate who severs the thread of life at death) represent a challenge to authority’s web of lies and deceit (Borasisi) and a desire to end this (Atropos), likely via conflict and struggle (the square). Kassandra (named for the seer of Troy doomed to see the future but never to be believed) relates to Mandela’s long struggle to bring his vision of racial equality for South Africa into reality, and the disparate views of him throughout his lifetime. Sometimes described as a traitor and Marxist terrorist, Mandela was also revered and honored for his exceptional integrity and trustworthiness, showing a gradual overcoming of Kassandra’s burden of proving her credibility.
The Sun is also inconjunct to a pairing of TNO Chaos with Uranus at 23 and 26 Aquarius, symbolizing both the turmoil and creativity (both Chaos traits) of Mandela’s struggle to end apartheid, as well as his revolutionary nature (Uranus). Creating something new from the void of potential is a Chaos hallmark, and something reflected in Mandela’s enduring legacy to his homeland. Mandela gave South Africa a new constitution, worked to right past injustices in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and enacted land reform, expanded healthcare and reduced poverty, all Uranian concerns tending toward greater equality and justice.
A combination of Jupiter and Pluto at 1 and 5 Cancer indicates his drive toward a total overhaul, dismantling and restructuring (all Pluto) of South African politics (Jupiter). In broad square to Mars at 12 Libra we see Mandela as the fighter, the leader, the champion of this cause, while a T-Square formed by a second square to Chiron at 3 Aries suggests the severe wounds needing to be addressed and resolved in this process. Mars exactly on a Black Hole indicates the ability to dramatically transform the status quo reality via conflict, but also Mandela’s unorthodox insistence upon nonviolent confrontation, subsuming Mars’ need for aggressive action and combat in the Black Hole’s insatiable thirst, rendering his fight in pacifist colors normally alien to the planet of war.
Mercury and Saturn conjunct at 16 and 14 Leo represents both the penalization by the government (both Saturn) for his thoughts and words (Mercury), as well as the taciturnity for which he became famed. Never a great public speaker, Mandela nevertheless managed to inspire others and lead them, though he was notoriously difficult to interview, particularly about personal matters or attitudes. The square from Mercury to TNO Logos at 10 Taurus indicates an extremely rational, deliberative frame of mind, one focused on finding solutions which make sense and are appealing to the sense of order and reason.
An exact conjunction of asteroids Nelsonia (#3538, for “Nelson”) and Photographica at 19 Cancer, within broad orb of the Sun, defines the image (Photographica) of Mandela (Nelsonia) as pivotal in his story. It was the image of him, an prisoned leader of a popular movement, which galvanized the world’s support and brought his dream to fruition. Transit Jupiter was exactly conjunct this combination at his death, forever reinforcing his impact and effectiveness, and emphasizing his fame and renown, crystalizing his reputation.
Also at his death on December 5, transit Nelsonia at 29 Libra opposed asteroid Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 28 Aries, roughly highlighting the natal solar Galactic Grand Cross. Transit Atropos at 11 Virgo was coming to conjoin natal Requiem at 12 Virgo, also opposed by transit Osiris (named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead) at 12 Pisces and forming a T-Square with the transit Sun, the day’s events, at 13 Sagittarius.
In his remarkable, transformative life, despite almost an entire Saturn cycle spent in the isolation of prison, Nelson Mandela managed to change the destiny of a nation. His legacy lives on.