What Now for Julian Assange?
Today, 3rd July is Julian Assange’s birthday and he turns 51 years old. The date also marks the fourth year he has spent imprisoned without conviction. Assange has been an enigmatic figure in world politics, journalism and international affairs: to some he is a fearless freedom fighter exposing the wrong-doing of different states while to others he is a dangerous and fanatical cyber-terrorist. Over the last twelve years he has been hounded, accused, and been isolated in asylum refuge and now languishing in prison, fighting extradition to the United States.
The latest development in this decade-long saga is that on 17 June 2022, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved his extradition to face charges of violating the Espionage Act, alleging that material he released endangered lives. In the USA, Assange is expected to be charged with 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse. Assange’s lawyers have been given fourteen days to appeal the extradition. So where to from here for Assange and what can the astrology tell us?
Assange came to prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
In November 2010, Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for Assange over allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange said the allegations were a pretext for his extradition from Sweden to the United States over his role in the publication of secret American documents.
After losing his battle against extradition to Sweden, he breached bail and took refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in June 2012. He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 on the grounds of political persecution, with the presumption that if he were extradited to Sweden, he would be eventually extradited to the United States. Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation in 2019, saying their evidence had ‘weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.
First, considering Assange’s Firdaria [i], we see that he is about to enter his Jupiter period, having spent the last ten years in a Saturn period which started in 2011 bracketing the entire period to the present when he has been battling the ‘long arm’ of US influence and the difficulties he has faced as a consequence of his releasing of information.
If we look at his natal Saturn to gain an insight into his personal experience of Saturn, we see Saturn in Gemini in the Seventh house (Placidus -right) but in the Eighth sign (Whole Sign - left). The movement of Saturn from the Seventh to the Eighth suggests that relationships especially with those in authority, contention, enemies and control issues cause grief and are a source of loss and vulnerability. That is indeed what has coloured the last decade, if not more of Assange’s life.
In the current and last sub-period of the Saturn Firdaria, the Saturn-Moon, Assange married long-time partner and mother of his two children, Stella Morris. This occurred after a prolonged period of refusal of permission to marry with the couple accusing Deputy UK Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Jenny Louis, governor of Belmarsh Prison, of denying their and their two children's human rights by blocking and delaying their marriage. Assange and Morris then announced they were preparing legal action against them and permission was granted in November 2021 and the couple married on 22 March 2022.
The period has also had a significant impact on Assange’s physical and mental health with his First sign, Twelfth house Scorpio Moon receiving transits from both Saturn and Uranus over the last eighteen months. This eroding effect has sent shivers through Assange supporters world-wide as the pressures of alienation and powerlessness are taking its toll.
The Firdaria Shift
From his birthday in July, 2022 we see a major shift in emphasis with the major Firdaria as Saturn hands the baton over to Jupiter. In order to judge the quality of this time, we turn to the condition of natal Jupiter in Scorpio, which is retrograde in the First house, in a tight sextile to Pluto. Jupiter is also in munakara [ii] or contention, a condition in which a planet’s dispositors are literally in contention – struggling for both influence and power. In Jupiter’s case, it is a diurnal planet, Jupiter in Scorpio, whose dispositor, Mars a nocturnal planet in Aquarius, is disposited by Saturn, a diurnal planet. Here we have the crossing-over the sect boundaries and rendering Jupiter, whose grandiose or excessive nature becomes a real problem as it can alienate others, create obstacles which undermine or deter ambitions and success, and create a feeling vulnerability and lack of protection.
Mars in Aquarius is also in munakara: it is a nocturnal planet, disposited by a diurnal Saturn in Gemini which in turn is disposited by a nocturnal Mercury[iii]. The crossing of sect boundaries makes Mars reckless, combative and extremely competitive. Mars’ condition may also be expressed in bullying or confrontational behavior. Both Mars and Jupiter are square each other bringing these behaviours to prominence especially with the First house Jupiter and Mars’s rulership of the Ascendant.
Assange has experienced this most of his life with Jupiter ruling the Second house of finances and the Fifth house of both children and reputation. Promising much, but often ‘crossing boundaries’ and alienating the source of bounty or success. In a 2011 memoir Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, author Daniel Domscheit-Berg said that Assange had told him he had fathered several children including a son and a daughter. He also claimed that one of his children was French and that his family had faced treats and harassment, forcing them to change their identities and minimize contact with him.
As to his reputation, Assange has battled with maintaining a sense of integrity amidst some who have turned from admirers to antagonists, angered by what they have seen as arrogance and a sense of entitlement. Mars rules the Scorpio Ascendant and his Primary Motivation is about a need for emotional security realized through Mars in the Fourth house. Assange has always been on the defensive when the basis of his actions or the foundations of his life are threatened. The combination of Mars-Jupiter in angular houses and in munakara presents a volatile mixture which has propelled his image as a fighter for the right to information while at the same time alienating many with his arrogance, grandiosity and belligerence.
Former employee and right hand person, Domscheit-Berg once characterized Assange as “brilliant, paranoid, and obsessed with power” and accused him of turning WikiLeaks into an “ego trip” that he had “tied too closely to himself and his belligerent personality.” [iv] Elsewhere, the German magazine Der Spiegel quotes Assange as saying “When you are much smarter than the people around you, you develop an enormous ego — and you get the feeling that any problem can be solved if you put your mind to it.”[v] One could say that Assange is his own worst enemy.
What then does this Jupiter promise as he enters a period of Jupiter dominance? Many supporters among them distinguished investigative journalists believe that there has been a “character assassination” of Assange and that this has contrived to make him persona non grata. This has been used against him by various governments who have contrived to use much of his predilections such as the rape allegations in Sweden as evidence and then manipulating this for political reasons. Jupiter’s nature of expansion has enabled him to inspire many to take on the giants of the geo-political sphere but its munakara condition has ensured that he has not been able to enjoy the blessings promised. Many have admired Assange for his courage in taking on the super powers of the world and Mars is the ticket to this but again Mars’s munakara condition undermines this as he is also known for his vindictiveness and recklessness.
Jupiter’s combination with a square to Pluto brings a drive to succeed, sometimes without scruples, often punctuated with conflict with authority and executors of power or money towards the pursuit of fanatical aims. Jupiter also brings in Mars and Assange has used his drive and ruthlessness as well as his influence and inspiration to bring about an awareness of the great underbelly of geo-politics. He is considered by many as the father of modern investigative journalism. As he moves into this Jupiter period, we can anticipate that this will highlight a fight to the ‘death’ so to speak, as far as Assange is
At the next level of predictive work, we see that Assange will be in a Fourth house profected year from his birthday in July 2022. Aquarius is on the Fourth, continuing the Saturn flavor of the last decade but more especially the last twelve months when he was in a profected Third house year which has Capricorn on the cusp. We’ve seen that his natal Saturn brings with it the sorrow, grief and loss from contentions and enemies. Additionally, the Fourth (Whole Sign) has a Mars-North Node conjunction which squares the prominent Jupiter in the First setting up a serious confrontation between his own innate sense of justice and desire to succeed against those who wield power. The Mars-North Node conjunction speaks of essentially a warrior and Assange has set himself up, for most of his life as a modern Quixote, battling against the windmills of influence and power. Mars rules the Ascendant, is the dispositor of both the Jupiter, which will colour his incoming Firdaria, as well as his Scorpio Moon.
Traditionally, the combination of Mars-Jupiter can be problematic as they are an antithesis of each other. Both are exalted in signs opposing each other and each other’s Fall[vi] suggesting that this natal square echoes the antagonism inherent between Jupiter and Mars. Jupiter is about life, hope and expansion while Mars is about battle and destruction. Mars squares the Ascendant and the battles Assange has undertaken have always been about challenging the power, influence and secretive nature of institutions such as government and the military.
With its rulership of the Scorpio Ascendant and its conjunction to the North Node, Mars is the driver of the life purpose sometimes to the detriment of the person’s health, happiness and well-being. It is interesting to read in an unauthorised biography, Assange is described as:
"….. a man who dismissed all views but his own; who showed an apparent indifference to any human cost of leaking documents; and whose behaviour towards women has resulted in charges laid against him for sexual assault and rape,"[vii]
With both planets in munakara, we see the Mars-Jupiter combination at play here running roughshod over everyone who stood in his way and the impact of these actions can be seen in the placement of Mars’s dispositor, Saturn in the Eighth house of sorrow, grief and vulnerability. Unfortunately, Assange has been the author of his own difficulties to date, giving those with an axe to grind, a lot of ammunition.
But what of his ‘enemies’? What role do they play? Enemies and contentions stem from the Taurus Seventh house and its lord, Venus is in Gemini in the Eighth. Additionally, Venus in square to Pluto adds drama and crisis especially in relationships. Assange has been a polarizing figure both personally and politically. In an interview Assange was asked, “So you think the various people who’ve worked with you and ended up in conflict with you — the Times, the Guardian, your former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, WikiLeaks activist Birgitta Jonsdottir — those people are all just jealous?” Assange responded that WikiLeaks was a large organization and:
“…..we are proud of the many hundreds of relationships that we have had that have been strong. We’re a large organization, span many continents and have many agreements and we’re also proud that when people break their agreements, as in the case of the New York Times, they are — we don’t work with them again. Or in the case of employees who need to be suspended, we’ve only suspended one person in our history, but of course others may try and reinterpret those events in order to draw attention away from their own behavior.” [viii]
Supporters like Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former colleague at WikiLeaks have criticized Assange for his behavior:
“I left Wikileaks when Julian Assange started behaving like a dictator. He admitted that he enjoys exercising power, and as he gained more power, he became more ruthless.” [ix]
However she still supports what he stands for:
“No matter how wrong Assange is with his egocentric and dictatorial behaviour with WikiLeaks, …..I will continue to defend him against extradition…. This prosecution by the U.S. government criminalizes news gathering and represents a great danger to the freedom of information and to the position of journalists.” [x]
The Fourth house focus in 2022 will bring family issues to the fore. He has recently married and has two young children and we will see that there may be a move to compromise in the favour of being with his family and perhaps a reorientation of the basis of life. The Fourth house also signifies “endings” and we may extrapolate that perhaps this transition from one major Firdaria to another and the ‘return’ to the Fourth house profection will bring some sort of ‘end’ to the current situation.
Twelve years ago Assange’s world was totally upended when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and as a result the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and set up the scenario that today dominates Assange’s life. In 2010, Assange was in the last sub-period of his Moon-Mercury Firdaria when WikiLeaks published the Chelsea Manning leaks and by July 2011 as he transitioned to the Saturn Firdaria the US government (Saturn) flexed its muscle and announced an investigation into WikiLeaks and Assange in particular with a view to prosecuting them under the Espionage Act of 1917[xi].
Another interesting incident was that Assange travelled to Sweden in August 2010. On 20 August, he became the subject of sexual assault allegations from two women. The threat of extradition and eventual transfer to the USA eventually found Assange granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in August 2012, when he was still in the initial Saturn-Saturn period.
Now, twelve years later, Assange is in another Fourth house profected year with Saturn as the lord of the year but the difference is that the background Firdaria now moves from Saturn to Jupiter. We have seen the condition of both planets and their connection and their expression in his life. How then will they be manifest in this coming year?
2022 Solar Return
Assange’s 2022 Solar return chart is on the right and we see Saturn, Lord of the Year in the last degrees of Aquarius in the Solar Return Twelfth house, in the terms of Mars highlighting the Martian flavour inherent in the Jupiter-Mars square that is being activated by the Jupiter Firdaria. The Solar Return chart features a partile trine between the Lord of the year, Saturn and Mercury at 24 Gemini. We can anticipate that the issue of information and perhaps negotiations play a critical role in Assange’s life during the year. We see the natal Ascendant of 17 Scorpio falls in the SR Ninth house in a tight conjunction to the SR South Node suggesting that the natal issues arising are those of beliefs and world view, as it has supported his life. In the meantime, the SR Ascendant at 7 Pisces sits in the natal Fifth house highlighting that Assange’s focus is on his children and reputation.
His future sits precariously on a submission to the UK High Court to appeal against a decision to extradite him to the USA to be prosecuted for up 18 counts of spying and leaking documents and he then faces up to 175 years in prison.
So far, we have seen several testimonies that highlight Jupiter, Mars and Saturn which are all connected by natal aspect, firdaria, profection and solar return. All suggest that the struggle is now centered on the judgement of Assange’s character versus the criminality or otherwise of a publisher. One of the major points of contention is that he was the publisher as opposed to the source of the information and therefore responsible for any leaks of, or transmission of classified information.
The transits this year heighten the issues already addressed: Heavy-handed Saturn has been conjuncting natal Mars since May while at the same time squaring natal Jupiter. As Saturn is the Lord of the Year, its impact by transit across the natal Fourth house highlights the struggle that will be played out in Assange’s duel with the courts and his stand on principle and justice. With natal Saturn in the Eighth house, transiting the Fourth and ruling the Third and the Fourth we will see a last ditch effort to gain him liberty because the alternative is extradition and imprisonment in the USA.
Transiting Uranus on the Descendant promises some unexpected moves by his enemies and his allies as they struggle to mount a case for both an extradition on one hand, or a pardon or dismissal of charges on the other. I think that it will not be as clear-cut as that but there are certainly indications that there will be surprising moves in this area whose outcome will deliver some level of success although it may not be quite what is expected. Transiting Jupiter trining the Leo MC supports this while Jupiter’s rulership of the Second and Fifth houses suggests that the impact of these actions could be measured in terms of dollars and children.
We may also see some hidden ‘ deals that when revealed will cause both surprise and unexpected reactions. We might also see that support from an unexpected quarter may be revealed and this may start to unfold with possible outcomes starting to be evident by October.
A period of transition for Assange as he moves from a Saturn dominated period but he will have to be careful as his personality will be used against him especially if this case goes to trial in the USA. An unexpected turn of events (Uranus) possibly no later than October may see this upended. Venus, the lord of the Seventh also receives a trine from Neptune suggesting that what seems to be initially a setback may bring unexpected benefit although this should not be the basis of success. It may come in the form of a woman (his wife and attorney) or his previous colleague, Birgitta Jonsdottir. We have seen that another woman, Priti Patel, the UK Home Secretary chose to sign the documents of extradition and she may again be placed in a position to rescind them. This may come not as a change of heart but probably due to pressure from other quarters including British MP’s, international pressure groups and prominent journalists.
“Americans … had even suggested that more extreme measures should be deployed against the ‘guest’ to put an end to the situation”. This might involve staging an “accident” that “would allow persons to enter from outside the embassy and kidnap the asylee”.[xii]
Although the Spanish court has admitted it has no jurisdiction to bring charges against Pompeo and Morales, they have caused, according to a commentator, “… a flutter, mocking the politicised process that has characterised the vengeful, Kafkaesque effort against Assange.”[xiii]
These all have the capacity to bring pressure to bear both on the US and the UK and would fit into any undercover or backroom deals done especially with the Uranus and Saturn transits. Although both planets are no longer in a tight transiting square, both still have the capacity to exert their influence, Uranus on the one hand calling for a break in the stand-off while Saturn hangs out for some sort of penalty at best or a continuation of the stalemate, to exact maximum punishment. What breaks this nexus?
Transiting Mars thunders through the Seventh house to square the Nodal axis and conjunct the Descendant in late July and right through August it will square natal Mars, oppose natal Jupiter and conjunct natal Saturn while transiting Saturn conjuncts natal Mars, all these between the 6th and 23rd of August. This could very possibly be the sword that cuts the Gordian knot. Whether this delivers Assange total freedom immediately is doubtful. We may look to Uranus’s final pass over the Descendant and the Nodal axis as Saturn makes a third hit to natal Mars in November and December. These may perhaps deliver the final denouement in the Assange saga.
3 July 2022
Copyright M Garcia 2022
Notes [i] For those not familiar with Firdaria, it comes from Persian Astrology and has the same Greek origin as the English word period. Basically, Firdaria means periods of life, each governed by a planet and each large period subdivided into smaller periods. For more information go to https://firdaria.com/
[ii]Munakara is a Punjabi word meaning apostate, disbeliever, repudiator or atheist. A planet in munakara is one that has crossed the sect lines twice hence the notion of repudiation viz a diurnal planet disposited by a nocturnal planet who in turn is disposited by a diurnal planet.
[iii]Mercury in this chart in considered a nocturnal planet as it rises after the Sun.
[iv]Julian Assange: Saint or Sinner? DW 2 January 2021. Source: https://www.dw.com/en/julian-assange-saint-or-sinner/a-56045372 Accessed: 27/6/22. [v]Ibid.
[vi]Mars is Exalted in Capricorn and Jupiter is Exalted in Cancer. Both signs are opposite each other and the planets’ relationship reflects the fact that each is Exalted in the sign of the other’s Fall viz Mars is in Fall in Cancer and Jupiter in Fall in Capricorn.
[vii]Brooke, Heather. The Revolution Will Be Digitised. As quoted in an excerpt published in the British newspaper, The Mail on Sunday. Source: https://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/failed-experiment-gave-assange-white-hair/news-story/c5e3e6906d41574dd8cd9a92246fcdfc Accessed: 27/6/22.
[viii] Ohlheisser, Abby. A Brief History of Gawker’s awkward relationship with Gawker guest Julian Assange. The Washington Post. 15 September 2014. Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2014/09/15/a-brief-history-of-gawkers-awkward-relationship-with-gawker-guest-julian-assange/ Accessed: 28/6/22.
[ix] Olsthoorn, Peter. Birgitta Jonsdottir finds silence after decade of turbulence. NetKWesties. Source: https://www.netkwesties.nl/1473/birgitta-jonsdottir-finds-silence-after.htm Accessed: 28/6/22.
[xi] The Espionage Act of 1917 prohibited obtaining information, recording pictures, or copying descriptions of any information relating to the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information may be used for the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.
[xii] Dr Binoy Kampmark A Spanish Court Calls: Mike Pompeo, We Want You. Australian Independent Media. 8 June 2022. Source: https://theaimn.com/a-spanish-court-calls-mike-pompeo-we-want-you/ Accessed: 2/7/22