Vladimir Putin is kind of a creepy character to me, a quality not usually associated with his Libra Sun since Libras are famously charming and people pleasers. But a look at his birthchart tells a more complete story.

Putin’s four Libra planets (Sun, Saturn, Neptune and Mercury) are all in the twelfth house of karma or self-undoing. Planets in the twelfth house tend to operate unconsciously and often secretively. Twelfth house people tend to be hidden not only from others but from themselves as well; much of their motivation and will tends to operate below the surface where it is difficult for them to access. The Libra stellium, particularly the conjunction of Saturn and Neptune, is squared by Uranus, planet of revolutionary fervor and individuality.

The conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in the birthchart creates an inner conflict between the desire to experience spiritual bliss (Neptune) and a desire for worldly achievement and structure. When the conjunction of these two planets is squared by the radical influence of Uranus there is a tendency to swing wildly between the repression of Saturn and the desire for freedom of Uranus. Putin appears to have chosen the side of repression and rigidity, but within him beats the heart of a revolutionary that refuses to take orders from anyone else.

The chart shows Scorpio rising (although the birthtime is somewhat suspect since Russians did not keep accurate records) which can give the outward impression of an intense personality even though the individual himself may not have that impression of himself. Though secretive, the rest of Putin’s chart is somewhat light with Mars in Sagittarius and so much Libra. The creepiness of his intensity could be a part of the ascendant disguise that he has learned to utilize for his benefit.

The source of Putin’s power lies in the placement of Pluto right on his Midheaven. The Midheaven is the cusp of the tenth house of career and public life; it shows the point of our highest aspirations as well as our worldly goals. Pluto as the planet of power and death finds the highest level of public expression when placed on the Midheaven and mirrors the power that Putin has sought for himself and his country. Pluto in his chart makes a trine to Mars where it takes on additional energy, but it is square to Jupiter which suggests that no matter how much power he achieves it is never enough.

Putin and Bush are strange bedfellows. GW Bush has said “I looked into his eyes and saw the man’s soul.” In fact, the Suns in the birthcharts of Putin and Bush are tightly square to each other and although Sun signs are not very significant in assessing compatibility it does illustrate that at the core they are at working at cross-purposes. Putin’s Libra stellium (grouping of planets) conjuncts Bush’s Libra Moon/Jupiter conjunction which shows that at a basic level Bush feels comfortable emotionally around Putin. With Putin’s Mercury sextile to Bush’s Venus they can be good collaborators and communicate well with each other. But there are larger dynamics at work here that are somewhat more sinister.

Bush’s Venus falls exactly on Putin’s Midheaven (MC) which shows that the relationship (Venus) with Bush is instrumental in Putin’s achievements, although Pluto and Jupiter in Putin’s chart are both square to Venus in Bush’s chart. Pluto in Bush’s chart is conjunct Putin’s Venus, but it is clear that Putin holds the real power in this relationship because of the innate power of Putin’s Pluto being elevated on the Midheaven. The square of Jupiter to Pluto shows that Putin is apt to use the superficial friendship (Jupiter square Bush’s Venus) in order to achieve his goals (Pluto/MC).

Putin is going through some major planetary changes right now, with the opposition between Saturn and Neptune (since last summer) transiting over the square of Jupiter to Pluto/MC in his chart. Saturn is challenging his authority and Neptune (crossing the IC opposite the Midheaven which addresses our inner life) is causing confusion at a deep internal level. While he is feeling somewhat blocked and confused by Saturn and Neptune, though, transiting Pluto is completing a transit to Mars in his chart where it is energizing him and adding to his innate sense of empowerment. Expansive Jupiter is making a sextile to Putin’s Sun which would normally be a minor transit but in light of the other dynamics is significant because of the expansive confidence Jupiter is bringing to him throughout October. Often when we see this kind of confidence combined with a frustrating Saturn transit the result can be an explosion of ego.

President Bush has said that he doesn’t “do nuance,” and the subtleties of relationships are lost on him. His friendship with Vladimir Putin is a challenging one that is filled with nuance, and especially at this time he would do well to keep his eyes open.

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