Monday, April 26, 2010

Land of ice and fire

Iceland is a well known country despite the fact that it has a small population and is remotely placed. Many famous artists, notably Björk, hail from the island. Iceland has recently been in the news following the collapse of its international banking system in early October 2008 and a volcanic eruption in mid April 2010 which closed down air travel in Europe.

Facts
Iceland is an island, with a total area of 104,000 km2 (or 40.000 sq mi), in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its size is equivalent to that of the US states of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware and Maryland combined. Located on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, the island is geologically active, with frequent earthquakes and eruptions. At the same time, the population (about 320,000 in 2009) enjoys the advantage of renewable geothermal energy. The island has abundant fresh water, clean air and open spaces. The population mostly lives along the coast of the island. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with the surrounding area being home to some two-thirds of the national population. The interior mainly consists of a plateau characterised by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite its high latitude just below the Arctic Circle. The ocean shelf has abundant fishing and likely mineral resources, including oil.

History
The history of Iceland includes several periods. The first period is the age of settlement (874-930 A.D), which includes the discovery of the island by Viking seafarers, the arrival of the first permanent settler and the general settlement of the country. The second period is the Commonwealth (930-1262 A.D.), during which time the Althing, a parliament of free men, was established. It is the oldest surviving parliamentary body in the world. In the year 1000, the Althing agreed to replace Nordic paganism with Christianity. The Commonwealth ended in a civil war and a “little ice age,” which made Icelanders dependent on outside supplies. The third period is Iceland under Norwegian and Danish kings (1262-1944). During Danish rule (1662-1944) the Protestant reformation came to Iceland. In the 19th century an independence movement emerged, leading to home rule and sovereignty in the early 20th century. During World War II, Iceland became independent from Denmark, marking the fourth period of the Republic of Iceland (1944-). During this period Iceland became a member of NATO and other international bodies. The Cod Wars (1951-1976) broke out. Iceland’s integration into formal European cooperation began with membership in EFTA in 1970 and the EEA in 1994. The opening up of the economy resulted in considerable economic reform and expansion. In 2008 a financial crisis wrecked havoc with the economy, with Iceland applying for membership in the EU in July 2009.


Economy
Iceland developed an advanced fishing industry in the 20th century. The economy is based on free markets but also a Nordic welfare system, which includes universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. In recent years, Iceland has been one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 2007, it was ranked as the most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, and the fourth most productive country per capita. In 2008, the nation's banking system systematically failed, causing significant economic contraction and political unrest that led to early parliamentary elections. A new left of centre government has dramatically raised taxes to balance the budget while boosting the welfare state.

Birth of a Republic
Many consider the Republic of Iceland to have been born at 14.00 on June 17, 1944, when the new nation celebrated the founding of a new Republic. This event obtains a chart with 10° Virgo rising and one that does not explain well all of the events in the history. Prior to this, a national referendum had been held on two issues, whether to cut the legal tie with the Danish Crown and whether to form a Republic in Iceland. The referendum took place over four days, May 20-23, 1944. The turnout amounted to 98.6 per cent of the voting age population, with 99.5 per cent of those voting approving to sever the ties and almost as many favouring the creation of a Republic. The referendum is described thus:

"The referendum began around the whole country on Saturday 20. May at 12.00 noon and lasted until Tuesday evening. The weather was fair during the referendum. In most places the turnout was good on the first day, in some places entertainment and merriment. An emphasis was placed on getting as much of the voting done on the first day to have ample room for voting on the remaining days. In many places (communities) the referendum was finished with a 100% turnout already on the first day."[1]
In other words, the population made a formal decision to sever the ties with Denmark and create a republic. This event may be considered the true birth of the modern Icelandic nation. Importantly, the horoscope that obtains explains many of the events in the history. The referendum ended at midnight on the evening of Tuesday, 23 May, as is made clear in the front page story in Morgunbladid (literally: the morning paper), the main newspaper in Iceland, on May 25, 1944:
"When the casting of ballots was finished in Reykjavik at midnight yesterday, a total of 25,277 votes had been cast out of about 26,300 registered to vote. That is just over 96 per cent." [2]
In this regard, it should be noted that, as is the case for a morning paper, the article was written during the preceding day, or on May 24. The reference is thus to midnight of 23 May. Finally, the horoscope is set for Reykjavik, the capital of the new country.

Astrology of the Referendum horoscope
Scorpio is the rising sign of the horoscope, with 19° 52’ as the rising degree and the most effective point of each house.

According to astrologer & Author V.K. Choudhry,

“Scorpio is a watery sign ruled by Mars, the significator of energy, and it is weak. Ketu, the planet of secrecy and intuition, is exalted in this sign and the Moon, the significator of change and tenderness, is debilitated. These factors render the Scorpios intuitive and rigid...Scorpio is a fixed, negative, rajasic, kapha, female, mute, violent, fruitful and multiped sign and signifies severe sentiments. Depending on the influences on the ascendant, the sign Scorpio usually renders their natives determined, disciplined, self-restrained, fearless, persevering, energetic, intense, dynamic, decisive, self-centered, straightforward and tough or very sensitive, introverted, secretive, stubborn and ready to defend themselves.”

Mars as 6th lord is debilitated at 7° 43’ Cancer but well placed in the 9th house. However, it suffers on two accounts. It’s dispositor, 9th lord Moon, is weak in infancy and badly placed in the 8th house of obstacles and endings. It helps slightly that the Moon is conjunct Saturn as 4th lord of fixed assets, natural resources and communal harmony, bringing some luck to those indications even if they tend to involved in obstacles. More importantly, Mars is conjunct the Moon’s north node, the functional malefic Rahu, which indicates that the nation is destined to experience crises of conflict and financial stability which involve manipulations, as well as enduring a harsh nature, such as through volcanic eruptions and natural disasters. The Moon’s south node, the functional malefic Ketu, in addition to aspecting Mars, also aspects the 10th lord Sun, well placed and strong in the 7th house of foreign policy. This suggests seperative influences on the Sun. However, this aspect is not so harmful given the strength of the Sun in the sign of Taurus and 7th house of foreign policy. Jupiter as 2nd lord is exalted and well placed in Cancer and the 9th house - a sun-like house. Along with the strong Sun, this placement assures the country a good status in the world. As Jupiter is in old age and its dispositor is weak, the strength of its indications is reduced somewhat and thus more vulnerable to setback when the planet is transit afflicted. Mercury as 11th lord is placed in the 6th house of conflict, which suggests income and ideals and friendships are sometimes caught up in adversity, conflict or instability. Venus as 12th lord of foreign matters, is in infancy and thus weak, but well placed in the 7th house. This placement suggests either losses linked to selfish actions in foreign policy or seperation in foreign cooperation. Overall, the chart indicates a few weaknesses and difficulties in the national life, but the strength of the state, and luck with status and wealth offer counterweight.

MARS major period
Modern Iceland came into being in the Mars main period and Mercury sub-period, which began on August 25, 1943. As Mercury, 11th lord of income, is placed in the 6th house of conflict, the economic conditions were improving but not problem free.

RAHU major period
Things got quite interesting in the 18 year Rahu major period from February 24, 1947, as would be expected due to its natal configuration, with Rahu mutually afflicting Mars as 6th lord of conflict and financial stability.

-Natural disasters
Rahu also rules smoke and the first notable event was one of the largest eruptions in mount Hekla on March 29, 1947. On October 16, 1961, a volcanic eruption in Askja began at noon, lasting until 7 December 1961. As the Rahu period came to a close, on Nov 14, 1963, Iceland got a new island, Surtsey, when a volcano pushed its way up out of the sea five miles off the southern coast. The eruption lasted, with diminishing force, until June 1967. These events attracted international attention.
- Foreign policy conflict
As Rahu is placed in the 9th house, which has to do with foreign matters, Iceland was a founding member in international organisations like the UN, IMF and World Bank. In 1949, Iceland received the Marshall aid. On March 30, 1949, it was the decision by the parliament to become a member of NATO that resulted in a major riot in the town square, which police had to break up with force. On May 7, 1951, the American army returned to Iceland following Defence agreement during Korean War. A week later, on May 15, 1951, Iceland began to protect its fishing grounds from foreign exploitation, which led to the outbreak of the Cod Wars with Great Britain, by expanding its economic zone from 3 to 4 nautical miles. This effort resulted in a series of foreign policy disputes and direct confrontations with primarily Great Britain. The economic zone around Iceland was expanded in stages. The next extension took place in 1961, when the economic zone was pushed out to 12 miles, to 50 miles in 1973 and, finally, to 200 miles in 1976. The British government and Navy and the fishing fleet did their best to defeat the efforts of the Icelanders, a nation only a fraction of the size of Britain. In the end, however, David beat Goliath. The victory came in the Jupiter major period, and in the sub-period of the strong and powerfully placed Sun in the 7th house of foreign policy. Interestingly, the description of Scorpio is not inconsistent with the ironic comment by chief UK Cod War negotiator, Lord Hattersley, that Icelanders were “bloody minded” when it came to negotiating .[3]
- Accidents
There were many accidents and disasters during the Rahu period. On 31 January 1951, Glitfaxi airplane crashed during the afternoon, killing 20 persons. Six young sailors perished in a storm on January 6, 1952. On April 2, 1953, 2 perished in a snow avalanche. A boat sank on November 17, 1953, with 9 dying. On January 26, 1954, a trawler, Eric the Red, perished in a storm at sea, with 5 dying. On June 7, 1954, 3 young sisters perished in a house fire. On 5 January 1959, a small airplane crashed, killing 4. Sometime during February 9 and 10, 1959, the trawler Juli perished, with 30 drowning. On February 18, 1959, gale force wind caused destruction in the North and the lighthouse ship Hermodur perished, with 12 drowning. On May 24, 1959, a small plane transporting patients crashed into a mountain, with 3 being killed. On October 11, 1959, 2 children perished in a fire. On January 4, 1960, Motorboat Rafnkell perished, with 6 dying. On September 15, 1961, Motorboat Helgi perished at sea, with 7 dying. On February 10, 1962, the trawler Jupiter saved 26 men from the sinking trawler Ellidi. On January 18, 1963, an accidental gas poisoning of crew of Trawler Rodull results in 1 dying and 12 being seriously injured. On April 4, 1963, a storm with frost hit the country, resulting in 16 sailors dying.
- Labour conflict
Not surprisingly, there were many episodes of labour conflict during this period, given the conjunction of 6th lord Mars and Rahu. A tense labour strike for six weeks took placed from March 18 to April 29, 1954. In early January 1961, sailors around the country went on strike until March 25. Women labourers went on strike March 27, 1961, until a law concerning equality in wages for men and women was approved on May 29, 1961. A general strike of labourers began on July 18, 1961, a strike of road construction workers took place. On July 24, 1961, there was a strike of engineers, which lasted for 16 weeks. On June 4, 1963, a strike of pilots began. On June 27, 1963, a strike of engineers began; ending with a judgement on October 28. On January 1, 1965, musicians went on strike along with motorboat sailors, lasting until February 3. On January 9, 1965, waiters also went on strike, in sympathy with muscians, ending on January 13.
-Criminal case
On November 19, 1974, a famous criminal case began with the disappearance of Geirfinnur. It was tied with the disappearance of another man. After the case went cold in 1975, it erupted in January 1976 with accusations of leading politicians of a cover up. Even though the case led to some convictions, it was never considered solved.
- Achievement
There were a few events boosting the national pride. One took place on October 27, 1955, when Halldor Laxness received the Noble prize for literature. A year later, on November 27, 1956, Vilhjalmur Einarsson won the Silver medal at the Olympic Games in Sidney. On August 16, 1963, an Icelandic woman, Gudrun Bjarnadottir, was chosen Miss World.

JUPITER major period

The status of the country got a boost during the 16 year Jupiter period from February 23, 1965. Iceland won the Cod War in 1976.
- International relations
On March 28, 1966, an agreement was signed for Swiss Aluminium to build aluminium smelter plant at Straumsvik. This was a major event for the diversification of the economy, using the abundant hydro energy in the country. On March 1, 1970, Iceland's membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) took effect, opening the country up to free trade in industrial goods. On June 22, 1970, the world famous band, Led Zeppelin, held a concert in Iceland. While there the band wrote a new song about the country, the Immigrant Song. The World Chess Championship between American Robert Fischer and Soviet Boris Spassky was held in Reykjavik in the summer of 1972, with Fischer crowned world champion on September 1, 1972. A meeting of US President Nixon and French President Pompidou took place in Iceland on May 31, 1973.
- Domestic advances
On May 4, 1966, the parliament passed a law to allow the building of Silica production plant at Myvatn lake. On May 13, 1966, the Icelandic stated bought Skaftafell and made it into a state park. On September 30, 1966, the Icelandic TV Broadcasting Service began operation. On June 24, 1967, a new jet Gullfaxi arrived in Iceland, shortening travel distances to neighbouring countries by almost half. On November 24, 1967, the Icelandic krona was devalued by 25% in the wake of the depreciation of the British Pound Sterling. On May 26, 1968, right side traffic rules were adopted in Iceland, aligning with the practice of most other countries. On June 1, 1967, an olympic size swimming pool was opened at Laugardalur. on November 11, 1968, the Icelandic krona was devalued by 35,2%. On September 11, 1970, Audur Auduns became the first woman to become a Cabinet minister. At 09:00 pm on June 29, 1980, the world's first female President was elected.
- Natural disasters
Mt Hekla erupted on May 5, 1970, lasting until July 5, 1970. The Vestman islands eruption began on Jan. 23, 1973 and ended on July 3, 1973. The population of 5,000 was evacuated on the first night. Lava flows laid to waste a substantial part of the town. The long standing Krafla eruption began on Dec. 20, 1975 and ended on Sept. 18, 1984. Mt Hekla eurpted on Aug. 17, 1980, but it only lasted for three days.

- Tragedy
On July 10, 1970, the Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, died in a fire with his wife and grandson.

SATURN major period

The 19 year Saturn major period began on February 23, 1981. This period would be expected to accompany obstacles for fixed assets, but also some good fortune, as Saturn is conjunct the lord of luck, Moon, in the chart. Indeed, inflation in the month of April, 1981, exceeded 100%, affecting investment patterns and undermining the stability in the economy. There were some notable international events, with the historic summit on arms reduction held on Oct 11, 1986 between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. On November 14, 1985, an Icelandic woman, Holmfridur Karlsdottir, was selected Miss World. In 1988, another Icelandic woman received the title, Linda Petursdottir. On Jun 27, 1996, gay marriages were legalized in Iceland.
- Tragedies
At 04:00 pm, on January 22, 1983, 4 persons were killed in snow avalanche in Patreksfjordur. At 07:50 pm, on November 22, 1991, five drowned on boat. At 06:25 am, on January 16, 1995, a snow avalanche killed 14 in the town of Sudavik. At 04:05 am, October 24, 1995, a snow avalanche killed 19 in the town of Flateyri. At 01:00 pm, on April 5, 1986, 5 were killed in small plane accident.
- Economy
On February 2, 1990, a national agreement on wage and price stability was reached. On February 12, 1993, the parliament approved a law for Iceland to join the European Economic Area agreement, a milestone in the integration of the domestic economy in European economy. A major foreign direct investment in power intensive industry took place in 1996-1997, resulting in a manageable boom in the economy.
- Natural disasters
Mt Hekla erupted on Jan. 17, 1991, lasting until Mar 11, 1991. An eruption in Vatnajokull on Sept. 30, 1996 resulted in a destructive flood. It ended two weeks later. Grimsvotn eruption took place on Dec. 28, 1998, lasting only one week. At 03:40 pm, on June 17, 2000, a 6.5 on the richter scale earthquake struck in the south of Iceland, causing considerable property damage.

MERCURY major period

The 17 year Mercury major period began on February 24, 2000. It began with a minor eruption of mount Hekla on Feb 27, 2000. As 11th lord Mercury is badly placed in the 6th house, this period would be expected to be associated with conflict concerning the aspirations and some issues of financial stability.
- Foreign direct investment boom
Following a minor recession in 2001-2002, major investment took place in power intensive industry during 2003-2007, which along with a boom in the banking sector and lending, caused an overheating of the economy, with rising inflation and large trade deficits.
- Banking collapse
The boom was followed by a dramatic collapse of the banking system on in early October 2008, during an international credit crunch. The dramatic decline in the value of the currency, increased debts of households and firms. At the same time, real incomes dropped significantly while unemployment soared.
- Political turmoil
Political turmoil followed, with riots breaking out. The riots peaked in late January 2009 with the government resigning and a new left of centre government taking power. A parliamentary committee was established to identify wrong doing in the banking collapse. The findings were presented on April 12, 2010, singling leaders of the previous government and governmental bodies out for dereliction of their duties.
- International conflict
The year 2009, was also marked by conflict over the terms by which the Icelandic state would make good on deposits of foreigners in the branches of an Icelandic bank abroad, the so-called Icesave dispute. At the same time, an IMF stand-by-arrangement was held up by the delay in resolving the dispute.

- Natural disaster
A major eruption took place in Eyjafjallajokull glacier around midnight of April 14, 2010, which emitted ash into the atmosphere. This ash drifted over the UK and other countries, bringing air traffic to a halt.[4] The economic repercussions of the disruption in travel are considered greater than those associated with the terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11, 2001. The large eruption was preceded by an eruption at nearby Fimmvorduhals from Mar. 20, 2010 to Apr. 12, 2010. Earlier, Mt Hekla erupted on Feb. 26, 2000, lasting for less than two weeks. An eruption in Grimsvotn in Nov. 2004 lasted for one week.

Prediction update
On April 27, 2010, Astrologer & Author V K Choudhry made the following prediction based on the new horoscope for Iceland:

"Worsening of situation is seen on 4th and 5th May, 2010. There can be possibility of additional stress of volcanic erruption." [5]
On April 16, 2010, Cosmologer made the following prediction based on the chart.
"It is likely the natural event taking place will be felt [for some months] ... also as the transit nodes will become stationary in the MEPs of the houses they now occupy." [6]
Future periods
The KETU major period will begin on February 23, 2017. It is expected to be somewhat challenging, having to do with seperative or isolating influences. The VENUS period will begin on February 24, 2024, and it will have to do with foreign matters. An excellent SUN period will then begin on February 24, 2044. At this time, Iceland will enjoy a prominent place in the international community. This period will be followed by the period of the MOON, from February 24, 2050, which should be attended by good fortune but also obstacles.


References
[1] The Republic Celebration 1944 (in Icelandic), Leiftur H.F. publishers, Reykjavík, pg. 60.
[2] "Election turnout in Reykjavik (in Icelandic), Morgunbladid, May 25, 1944
http://timarit.is/view_page_init.jsp?pubId=58&lang=is
[3] Hattersley, Roy (2010). “May I introduce the bloody-minded Icelanders”, The Times, London, UK. January 8. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6979915.ece [4] Stranded in Britain
http://cosmologer.blogspot.com/2010/04/stranded-in-britain.html
[5] Message #18617 on SAMVA list at 4:24 am, April 27, 2010
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SAMVA/message/18617
[6] Message #18568 on SAMVA list at 12:44 am, April 16, 2010 (in attachment)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SAMVA/message/18568

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