The announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling on February 17 that troubled mortgage lender Northern Rock is to be nationalized by the UK government, has erupted a storm of criticism, particularly from the Conservative party and Northern Rock shareholders.
Northern Rock was born from the merger of Northern Counties Permanent Building Society and Rock Building Society on July 1, 1965 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Northern Rock’s founding Sun is in Cancer (real estate). The founding chart features a stressful alignment between the business cycle planets Jupiter and Saturn that form a square to Pluto (debt/lending). Transiting Uranus (shocks/surprises) first began to adversely impact Northern Rock in spring 2006, becoming more pronounced from February 2007 onward. This coincided with the general transit of Saturn opposite Neptune; their final alignment last summer ushered in the credit crisis. Saturn represents tightening conditions. Neptune rules credit conditions and asset bubbles. As the planet of illusion, credit availability can disappear.
When Northern Rock became a publicly traded company on October 1, 1997, Venus (banking) was in Scorpio in the second house (banking) of its stock chart. Scorpio rules loans and lending practices. Scorpio was ruled by Mars before Pluto was discovered. Mars and Pluto are also in the second house in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of optimism and expansion. According to the Daily Telegraph, it was at this time that Northern Rock began borrowing money from the financial markets in addition to lending out its deposits from savers. The cycle of Pluto in Sagittarius (1995-2008) facilitated a more relaxed approach to lending worldwide, with the attitude that asset values would continue on an ever upward trajectory. On September 14, 2007, transiting Saturn in Virgo challenged Northern Rock’s stock chart natal Mars, indicating a run on the bank.
Eclipses are harbingers of major change. The February 6, 2008 Aquarius solar eclipse challenged Northern Rock’s founding chart Neptune in Scorpio. The UK chart* also has Neptune in Scorpio in the second house of banking, showing the government felt the only way Northern Rock could be saved and eventually resurrected was through nationalization. The solar eclipse also aligned with the UK’s Venus in Aquarius, highlighting banking issues. In addition, the eclipse opposed Venus in Leo in the chart** for the start of the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The February 20 lunar eclipse squares the Sagittarius Moon in the second house of banking and the economy in this chart, showing the public is not happy with how these issues are being handled. Brown himself gets eclipsed as his birthday is today.***
Pluto in Capricorn will fundamentally change the very foundations of world governments and corporations between now and 2024. It is already challenging the UK’s Uranus in Libra. Libra is the other sign ruled by Venus. With Venus such a prominent energy in the UK chart, many more financial surprises are in store.
* United Kingdom Act of Union: January 1, 1801 12:00 AM GMT Westminster.
** Brown Government: June 27, 2007 1:30 PM GMT.
*** Gordon Brown: February 20, 1951 8:40 AM UT Glasgow, Scotland.