The chart I use for the United Kingdom is 1st Jan 1801, which is the date the Act of Union came into effect. On that day Saturn was at 23 degrees of Leo, a degree Saturn has just recently hit again on July 10th 2007, indicating the UK is in the process of a Saturn Return.
The Saturn Return happens once every 28 to 30 years to everyone, being the time it takes for Saturn to complete a cycle around all 12 zodiac signs. It's associated with time, the past, responsibility, authority, maturity and limitation - all are food for themes running through events at the time of any Saturn Return. (Read more about the S.R. here). The kind of themes that are active in a person's life, or in this case, a nation's life, at the time of a Saturn Return are the seeds or foundation for the unfolding cycle as a whole, so what is important in UK news at Saturn Return time embodies the essence of the cycle in store somehow.
The UK got a new Prime Minister just a few days before this S.R. date, and Gordon Brown exudes that sensible-shoed Saturn spirit, in a 'parent just back from hols after leaving Tony the teenager home alone' kind of way. Even though he's a devil for his stealth taxes, and messed up badly with the pensions fiasco, it still feels like there's a responsible adult just taken charge of the country. But as he's a huge fan of identity cards and all that dodgy biometric database doings, the question of who is really in charge (Saturn) of our identity (Leo) is likely to be a major theme for the UK during this Saturn cycle.
It seems that in the two years Saturn has been moving through the sign of Leo, surveillance, especially from CCTV cameras (Leo) has brought the UK closer than ever to a big brother (Saturn) society. Apparently with 4.2 billion cameras now knocking around, your average Brit can make up to 300 appearances a day on camera; probably more than that in the parts of Wales that have 73 cameras on one street. And it's getting more daft and more sinister in equal measure by the day, with stories of the cameras set to guard the cameras (link), and of the talking CCTV, whose control room operators are under strict instructions about what commands they can give... it appears even the watchers are watched...
"Yelling 'Oi you, stop that', is not permitted. Instead, their instructions make the following suggestions: 'Warning - you are being monitored by CCTV - Warning - you are in an alcohol-free zone, please refrain from drinking'; and Warning - your behaviour is being monitored by CCTV. It is being recorded and the police are attending.'
Mr Bonner said: 'We always make the requests polite, and if the offender obeys, the operator adds 'thank you'. We think that's a nice finishing touch". (article here)
Saturn in Leo = Authority Figures of Fun
Saturn is the law enforcer - the planet of rules and regulations - and boy do we love our rules and regulations in the UK; the unfortunate legacy of Blair's Britain is that we are actually now up to our ears in daft laws and political correctness that defy common sense or usefulness. Fingers crossed that this new Saturn cycle indicates it's time for a law prohibiting daft laws, as well as some on the spot fines for P.C. behaviour. However, on the positive side Leo is the sign of the entertainer and sometimes there's nothing quite like the drama of deciding whether to laugh or cry at the tragi-comedy born from some of the more hardcore P.C. stories...
For example, how about the council who kept the lights of a disused school burning for years so vandals wouldn't fall and hurt themselves? (link) Or the village Christmas fete that was going to be cancelled unless a risk assessment was carried out on the mince pies? (link) And just in the past few days two classic stories have emerged, firstly in the banning of armbands for children at a local swimming pool because of the danger of disease that might arise from the required mouth to armband inflation method (link), and finally with a local councillor asking a restaurant to change its name from 'Fat Buddha' because, she says, Buddhists will be offended. Strangely she is sticking by her comments, even though the restaurant owner, Mr Fung, is a Buddhist who pointed out he's not offended. A spokesman from the Buddhist society backing him up did nothing to sway her either (story here).
Neptune, Bringer of Cloud and Rain
Planet Neptune, ruler of boundless waters and flooding, has been standing opposite to Saturn in the skies for months, and this aspect reached it's final peak at the time of the UK Saturn return; the time when Britain was hit by the worst flooding it has seen for years (link). Though while some are quick to use the summer weather as evidence of global warming, it's not as clear cut, or as unusual as they would hope it to be (link). Last time the UK saw weather like this was back in the early 1950's, when powerful Pluto was in the process of crossing the 23 Leo degree position of the nation's Saturn. There were serious floods, storms and even killer smog over a period of months that eventually led to thousands of deaths. And in true Pluto style, there's even a conspiracy theory developing around those events, with a mysterious tale of the RAF conducting weather experiments at the time of the flooding. Read that story here, and the scoffing of it here.
While Saturn is wrapping up its stay in the sign of Leo (not to return till 2034), in readiness to move into Virgo for the next couple of years, these and other Saturn/Leo themes will continue to resonate in the UK chart, and from an astrological point of view, in the UK psyche. In Saturn Return terms this is a cycle that has only just begun.