It was in 2011 and 2012 during his Saturn Return, that Edward Snowden’s conscience directed him to right a wrong he witnessed as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA). Normally it is our responsibility to right the wrongs we ourselves commit. That’s one of Saturn’s jobs; it gives us conscience, a knowing that what we do has its consequences. Gathering information and betraying the American public, doing surveillance on innocent, unknowing and average citizens, who are minding their own lives, was not what Snowden believed to be necessary to keep our country safe from terrorism. And to top it off, “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress.” as Snowden pointed out in 2014, was the breaking point. That’s the way Saturn functions in human consciousness; it tells you when you are doing something wrong, and it also allows you to judge others for the right and wrong they do. Observing an infringement on the rights and privacy of the American public just didn’t sit well with Snowden, to say the least, and there was an impulse to right the wrong by an act of exposing, or whistle blowing. Consequences are not a consideration when you feel it is your duty to act, to protect, and enlighten. It’s simply a sacrifice of your life for the welfare of others.
Because of the ubiquitous presence of the personal computer and especially the cell phone that Steve Jobs and others gave to the world, the US government has been able to track the time and location of all calls made from a private cell phone. The US government imposed mandates on large corporations to supply them with detailed private data. There were files, and there was access to them for Snowden as well. He was respected in the NSA for his exceptional brilliance and therefore was trusted. That gave him the open door to gather information and expose it to the world to set things right according to his perspective.
Snowden believes that one should be concerned about what your government is doing, even if you have nothing to hide. It’s a matter of principle. And the principle is that your privacy is not a matter that is your concern alone, but the entire population must at some point be the monitor of the nation wherein it abides. There has been a lot of controversy over this issue and in the US the conversation has been whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor. “That is beside the point,” the genius and self-proclaimed watchdog pointed out. The point is that you are being spied on without your knowledge or permission, and that is an act against your freedom, privacy and rights as stated in the US Constitution.
Although the Transit Saturn Return had already passed its natal position in his chart, Snowden was still within the orb of its tense and sensitive influence. Snowden spent a day at the Hong Kong airport seeking to escape being noticed by authorities. His search for asylum elsewhere was excruciatingly intense for him and his adviser, protector and WikiLeaks researcher, Sarah Harrison. But as luck or fate would have it, the US government had not yet canceled Snowden’s passport, so he and Harrison were able to board a flight to Moscow, where to this day Snowden is in exile. Saturn rewards as well as corrects, if living in exile in a foreign country could be considered a reward.
Saturn Return’s are known to bring the father of an individual into one’s immediate circumstances. And so it was that Lonnie Snowden was approached by the US government asking if he would assist them in the initial contact with his son in Russia. Of course the senior Snowden was willing, however, the son saw it as a trap. He believed that the US government officials were going to lure him onto a airplane and lock the door behind him. And so that scenario did not take place.
Ed Snowden has Natal Pluto Conjunct his Natal Saturn and this greatly amplifies his ability to sense and be aware of things beyond the normal scope of actuality. And this Conjunction transforms a normal Saturn Return into something of much greater significance. Great depth of wisdom is manifested through this type of planetary pairing. Pluto represents all manner of complexity and profundity, and brings an otherwise personal experience into the realm of penetrating the greater community’s psyche. In some ways it is difficult to understand the demands of a Pluto aspect, but coupled with Saturn it points to the seriously deep political and moral issues that have been raised by Snowden’s covert gathering of information that was ultimately revealed to the masses through the vehicle of traditional journalistic media.
The Sabian Symbol for Natal Saturn at 28 degrees Libra is A man in the midst of brightening influences. No matter what anyone thinks of this young man, he did take it upon himself to act in defense of those unaware of the intrusions into their privacy that lurked within their personal computers and cell phones – all in the name of national security. It was Saturn’s consciousness, enhanced by Pluto’s obsession with Truth that motivated Snowden to expose wrongdoing.
The complete symbol 28 Libra:
LIBRA 28 A man in the midst of brightening influences This is a symbol of the enduring rewards of life whenever it is taken seriously in its own fundamental terms or accepted with a realization of the underlying friendliness of the world at large. Implicit in the intangible symbolization is an encouragement on which any individual may count, knowing that his unflaging courage in pressing forward on his pilgrimage from darkness to light is the best of all guarantees of his achievement. Circumstances here are seen as they dramatize his mood and confirm his potentiality. The keyword is RESPONSIVENESS. When positive, the degree is a complete spiritual fellowship with human kind, and when negative, self-stultification through wishful thinking.
The chart has an Opposition in Mutable signs giving Snowden a *Mutable Natural Disposition, and therefore people-oriented. It was with thought of the welfare of others that he exposed the US government’s covert activities. Snowden’s Sun is also in a Mutable sign bringing real depth to his commitment to his fellows. It is necessary to point out that the Natal Uranus Opposite Natal Mercury indicates the brilliance that comes to those with this combination of the planet of mind with the planet of ingenuity and genius. It also gives the native the potential to act apart from society’s usual restrictions.
The Declaration of Independence states:
That its people are: . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Snowden and other so called whistle-blowers have not come out and said they are exposing truths and hidden agendas for the purpose of abolishing the government, but to create change for the better within the rights a citizen holds. They are committed to protecting privicy and freedom in the only way they can, and that is by revealing what they have discovered to an population unawares their rights are being threatened. They are not accusing, but exposing evidence, and leaving it up to the public to decide the fate of an otherwise duped populace. Whistle-blowers reveal information they have access to that pose an infringement on the unalienable rights of people and society as a whole. They are guardians of justice, although their tactics border on unlawfulness, they are brave, they take risks, and lay down their lives for their “friends.” And in whose hands is it to judge who is acting on behalf of the principles of moral integrity and a compulsion to improve the status quo? Are we to rely on “officials” at every turn of events? Can we not practice our right to free-speech, even when it involves laying the situation bare in the name of probity?
In the future, Snowden will have Progressed Jupiter turn Stationary Direct. That is in 2021 when Snowden is 38 years old. Progressed Stations mark off great transitions in life. The ephemeris graph shows the Station Direct of Jupiter circled in purple at 2 degrees Sagittarius: The ocean covered with whitecaps.
*A Mutable Opposition in a chart shows an interest in the welfare of people – the humanitarian type. If the Opposition is in Cardinal signs the native is politically minded and interested in self-development, and is immediate and restless. The Fixed Opposition indicates an interest in ideas and the meaning behind things – the philosopher.