The story of the two journalists, is a complex tale of hopes and disappointments, ups and downs. It can be summarized in 5 parts - the incident, the decision, the trial, the plan, and the release. PART 1: THE INCIDENT - Journalists Captured The story began in March with Mercury, the ruling planet of reporters opposing Saturn, the ruler of boundaries and confinement. The opposition occurred at 17 degrees, with Mercury in Pisces, the sign of idealism, Ruled by Neptune who is known for blurring the lines and flowing over boundaries. Driven by their ideals, two American journalists crossed the border into North Korea. With Saturn analytical Virgo, the fault finder of the Zodiac, their action did not go unnoticed. They were captured and detained. A third planet figures predominantly in this story, Uranus - the planet of freedom. It the time of their capture Mercury was 5 degrees from conjoining Uranus, suggesting that freedom was in their future. However, freedom was 5 degrees away, about 5 months from happening, with a new twist in the road every 5 weeks.
PART 2: THE DECISION - They Will be Indicted In mid April Mercury in Taurus formed a Trine with Saturn (a slow planet who has moved very little since March). Trines represent a harmonious flow of energy, and at the same time Mercury formed a sextile, the aspect of opportunity, to the point where he was in mid-March. A few days later, 5 weeks after the journalists were captured, it was announced the journalists would put on trial. It seemed their captivity, an expression of Saturn was moving along smoothly, yet a trial was also the first opportunity they had for a change in their situation. Mercury was also just entering the retrograde zone, a period of time before a retrograde when he is covering the same area he will return to. Events during this time tend to be revisited during the retrograde.
PART 3 - THE TRIAL - Indicted and Convicted Although there was much talk of a trial, the two were not formally indicted until late May, just prior to the end of Mercury's retrograde cycle - and 5 weeks after the trial was announced. The trial began in early June. With Mercury squaring several planets in Aquarius, the sign of the humanitarian, it did not look promising they would be shown mercy. On June 7th The Full Moon fell at 17 degrees in Gemini and Sagittarius. Both signs relate to journalism, with Gemini being the sign of reporters and Sagittarius the sign of freedom of information. This Full Moon was exactly squaring the mid-March Mercury/Saturn opposition. On this day the journalists were officially convicted. With Jupiter, the planet of optimism, turning retrograde within a week, the situation seemed bleak, and hope began to fade. United states pleas for their release were yielding no results. However, Mercury was also making one sextile, the aspect of opportunity, at this time. The planet providing a glimmer of hope was Uranus - the cosmic wall breaker, the planet of freedom and changes, as well as the co-ruler of Aquarius. Despite the dismal outlook, there was a sudden turn of events 'in the stars'. There was no change in the situation for about a month.
PART 4: THE PLAN - Bill Clinton, the Diplomat On June 30th, after another 5 weeks, Uranus turned retrograde, suggesting secrecy, something was happening behind the scenes. There was no news around this time, although on June 29th the Washington Post had reported that the U.N. secretary general said he was making personal efforts to free the two. He told the post he had worked behind the scenes in similar situations before. A few days later, on the eve of the Unites States Independence Day, Mercury entered Cancer. The ruling planet of reporters transiting through the sign of home, had to set in motion the events finally leading to their return. Although Mercury would remain in cancer for only two weeks, it would host pivotal events. The Solar Eclipse on July 7th was the first in a rare series of three. Through these three powerful eclipses we have seen the story turn from one of lost hope, to one of success and freedom. This was in the signs of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, and Cancer, the sign of home - as well as the sign currently occupied by Mercury. At the moment of the eclipse, both Sun and Moon were in sextile to Saturn. That day Laura Ling made a phone call to her sister, Lisa. Lisa Ling said the her sister had admitted guilt, saying they had defiantly broken the North Korean law - in fact she said, this point was made with great emphasis. This also brought about an important shift in U.S. policy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the United States would accept the guilt of the Journalists, and seek a pardon rather than a release on humanitarian grounds. Mid - July, both the Sun and Mercury formed trines to Uranus. Hillary Clinton officially called for the pardon of Ling and Lee. It was later reported that Ling and Lee told their families, during conversations in mid-July, that North Korea would be open to negotiations with Bill Clinton. The second eclipse in this series, was the Solar Eclipse on July 21st. This was the beginning of the Waxing Moon phase, the time of beginnings, occurring in Cancer, the sign of home. The potent energy of the this eclipse (see my Solar Eclipse post) was all about changes, breaking restrictions, the blending of endings and beginnings. It brought the official beginning of the plan that finally worked. On July 24th and 25th National Security advisor Jim Jones spoke with Bill Clinton about traveling to North Korea. The morning of July 26th Moon crossed Bill Clinton's Ascendant - at 5 degrees Libra, the sign of the diplomat. There was little official news during this time, fitting with the degree of uncertainty carried by the Solar Eclipse. As it was the middle in a series of three eclipses, we look to the final eclipse for resolution.
PART 5: THE RELEASE - Home at Last! On August 3rd the Moon was in Capricorn, having arrived back at the point she was during the first eclipse in this series as Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea for negotiations. The next day, August 4th marked the was exactly 5 weeks after Uranus turned retrograde. This was exactly 20 weeks after the journalists were first detained; about 5 months, broken down in 5 important chapters. With the energy of the eclipse already building, only one day before it occurs, the Moon formed a sextile with Uranus. The same day she would enter Aquarius. This is the sign ruled or Uranus, and the sign hosting this final eclipse, the very next day. This coming eclipse was one of changes, crossroads, and events coming to a head (see my Lunar Eclipse post). It also formed quincunxes (known as fated aspects, bringing adjustment or change) to the original Mercury Saturn opposition under which they were first detained. On August 4th Laura Ling and Enua Lee were pardoned. August 5th, with Venus, the planet of harmony at 5 degrees Cancer, the sign of home - and only hours before the final eclipse - Lisa Ling and Enua Lee arrived home.