Over the past decade Greece has engaged in a debt fest that reached a head in late 2009, provoking an economic crisis that has destroyed the country’s economy; brought down a government; unleashed social unrest and threatened both Europe’s recovery and the future of the euro. Years of unrestrained spending, cheap lending and failure to implement financial reforms left Greece badly exposed when the global financial crisis struck in 2008. Those investigating the crisis uncovered cleverly manipulated figures disguising the true levels of debt and deficits exceeding limits set by the Eurozone.
Greece has been kept afloat for the past couple of years by its fellow Eurozone countries, but at a high cost: the austerity measures demanded by prosperous France and Germany in return for two massive bailout packages have plunged the country into severe recession. With unemployment at over 20%, businesses closing, credit scarce and new wage cuts expected to further decimate the shrinking middle class, the hard left and extreme right are rising in popularity. For Greece (along with Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal), the financial crisis has also highlighted the downside of Eurozone membership. Unable to devalue their currencies to regain competitiveness, and forced by EU fiscal agreements to control spending, they face austerity measures at the very time their economies need that extra boost.
The euro was birthed at midnight on the 1st January 2002 in Brussels, Belgium and celebrated its 10th birthday this year. The euro birth chart has a Sun-Venus conjunction in business minded Capricorn opposite retrograde Jupiter in family-oriented Cancer. Sun-Venus is optimistic and ambitious and Jupiter in Cancer is inclusive, making everyone feel welcome and comfortable. Yet Jupiter is retrograde and somewhat inward-looking. Perhaps those birthday celebrations were enjoyed more by those who created the euro than by the Europeans blessed with the new currency. The Leo Moon opposing Neptune suggests an aura of glamour and charisma and perhaps an attempt to mislead the public with clever PR.
The euro chart also has a Saturn-Pluto-Mars T-square, hinting at control and secrecy, coupled with internal power struggles and fights for ascendancy. These planets can produce great results when they work as a team, but under pressure the combination is associated with disgrace and downfall. When the euro was first launched, it quickly gained value against other currencies, but as the financial problems of Europe become starkly obvious, the markets downgraded their view of the common currency. And with 29° Virgo on the Ascendant and 29° Gemini on the Midheaven, (the final or anaretic degrees of mutable signs), there is a feeling of transition to the euro chart. The word ‘anaretic’ is associated with the idea of death and often symbolises an issue that keeps rearing its head.
Ten years after its promising launch the euro is experiencing some challenging astrological transits. Pluto is approaching the base of the chart by solar arc progression and is currently transiting the euro’s Capricorn Sun-Venus conjunction, sending waves of fear through the European community. Pluto is the planet of death and transformation and it is possible that the euro will not survive the current crisis or at least not in its current form. Erratic Uranus is making a square angle to the Sun-Venus conjunction bringing surprise and shock value.
Some countries may suddenly decide to leave the Eurozone! And finally in 2015, solar arc Pluto will oppose the euro’s Midheaven and square its Ascendant, challenging its very existence. The economic situation in Greece is only the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of years of political manoeuvring have failed to unite the European economy – we are naive to think that this goal can be accomplished by printing bank notes.