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Astrological Musings

Bradley ManningIn the story of the Wikileaks cables that has dominated the news over the past month or so there are two big players.  The first is Julian Assange, whose mysterious past and controversial present has captivated the curiosity of newshounds everywhere.  The second player in this drama is Private First Class Bradley Manning, who actually leaked many of the cables and documents regarding Afghanistan and Iraq to the Wikileaks organization.

Julian Assange is free on bail today, staying in a 10-bedroom mansion in England while awaiting trial over extradition to Sweden, but Private Manning is incarcerated at the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico.  Today (December 17th) is his birthday. 

Bradley Manning (born December 17, 1987, time unknown, Crescent Oklahoma) has an interesting chart as one would expect.  His Sagittarius Sun is tightly conjunct Uranus, the planet of radicalism and sudden change.  He shares this tendency towards revolutionary behavior and radical ideas with Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, who has the Sun in a square formation to Uranus.  

Manning has four planets in Sagittarius (Uranus, Sun, Saturn, Mercury), revealing his love of adventure and the desire for a life that expands beyond ordinary boundaries.  Sagittarians seek to live a life that is bigger than life – where there are no limits, and the inclusion of Uranus, the boundary-buster, into the mix gives him a reckless quality, especially since Jupiter, the planet of confidence and expansion, is in a harmonious aspect to his Sagittarian planets.  Because Jupiter rules Sagittarius, this expanded confidence and sense of inner glory bestows an Icarus-like overconfidence that can lead to one’s flying too close to the Sun.  In fact friends have described him as having “delusions of grandeur.”  However, the planet Saturn which bestows an inner sadness and lack of connection is also part of the Sagittarius stellium, disclosing an inner struggle between a deep lack of confidence (Saturn) and the pull of the desire to live a great life (Jupiter/Sag).

We also see a deep sense of shame and isolation as revealed by a challenging opposition between Chiron (wounding and healing) to the Sagittarius stellium.  The Chiron/Uranus opposition often shows someone who is extremely sensitive energetically and can have difficulty managing their emotions.  Chiron opposite and Saturn conjunct the Sun suggests someone who feels alienated and rejected from the father.  Chiron opposite Saturn indicates a powerful inner wound that is painfully persistent.  Messages between Manning and a friend contained diatribes such as this one: “”Ive been isolated so long . . . i just wanted to figure out ways to survive . . . smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything . . . no-one took any notice of me,” he wrote at one point. Another time, he wrote: “im a wreck.””

Like Assange, who has a Scorpio Moon and Scorpio Ascendant, Manning has a strong Scorpionic element to his chart with Mars, Moon and Pluto all conjunct in Scorpio.  Scorpio is the sign of intensity, passion and drama, and the Scorpio Moon has a deep craving for the Truth that lies beyond all artifice.  There is also a complex relationship with power in those with a strong Scorpio component to their charts, and for Manning this is particularly true with Pluto, Scorpio’s ruler, conjunct his Moon and doubling that intense passion and drive.

This is an extremely complicated chart with a dueling set of powerful emotional needs.  As Assange is being feted by the glitterati throughout the world, Manning has been virtually forgotten in his solitary confinement.

Bradley Manning was arrested in May of 2010 as Jupiter and Uranus formed an exact square to the Sun/Uranus/Saturn complex in his chart.  Jupiter is usually considered a lucky planet, but often the confidence that Jupiter instills in us can cause us to take unnecessary risks.  The square of Uranus in the sky to Uranus in our charts inspires us to question everything in our life and desire changes.  Manning already has a personality that leans in that direction, as we have seen from his other planetary aspects, so the additional influence of these planetary cycles was a perfect storm for the creation of a large-scale Uranian disruption such as the Wikileaks phenomenon.  

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