TMA This Week

Why Astrology Can’t Predict the Next President

By Kevin Burk | June 27, 2016

You may have heard the story of the blind men and the elephant. It’s a parable that has been around for quite some time, and then turned into a poem by John Godfrey Saxe in the early 19th century.

A group of blind men encounter an elephant, each feeling only one part, and then attempt to make sense of the whole. The man who feels the side thinks the elephant is like a wall. The man who holds the trunk thinks the elephant is like a snake. The one who grabs the tail insists the elephant is like a rope. Their individual observations are valid, but their conclusions are wrong because they missed the big picture. 

Every time I encounter astrologers asking big questions, such as who will be the next President of the United States, I think of the blind men and the elephant. Each astrologer insists that his or her predictions are accurate, but no one sees the big picture.

The big picture is that astrology has limits.

Astrology can answer a lot of questions, but astrology can’t answer every question. Astrology can only answer questions that are specific, precise, and have a limited set of possible answers. At the moment, the question “Who will be the next President of the United States?” fails on all counts.

Astrologers started asking this question more than a year before any candidates had officially entered the race. I’m writing this in June 2016, and it’s still not a specific enough question because there are not yet definitive candidates for the general election. Astrology doesn’t work with hypotheticals or presumptions. Until the candidates are official, the question is not valid.

But there’s a bigger problem than the fact that the question is not yet valid. Every attempt I’ve seen to answer the question uses triggers to the natal charts of the candidates.

You can’t use natal charts to answer the question of who will be elected president.

The question itself is not contained in the natal chart. The question is objective, about mundane events, and the natal chart only contains answers to subjective questions — experiences that directly affect the individual.

Astrology can answer specific questions about the future, but only if those questions can be contained within a single chart. Attempting to use astrology to forecast the next president by looking at the natal charts of the potential candidates is pointless. There’s no objective standard you can use to evaluate the data and therefore no way to get a clear answer.

This hasn’t stopped many astrologers from predicting winners and losers based on how “good” or “bad” the transits, progressions, or directions are to the charts of the potential candidates. Their observations may be valid, but their conclusions aren’t. They’re describing the elephant’s tusk, not the whole elephant.

“Good” and “bad” triggers to a natal chart are subjective.

When you work with predictive natal astrology and look at triggers or derivatives of a person’s birth chart, you can forecast upcoming events for that individual. You can identify the timing of events, and often the nature and quality of those events. But you can’t identify the specifics of the event.

If you’re looking at triggers to a candidate’s natal chart around the time of the November election, all you can tell is whether that person is going to be privately and subjectively happy with the outcome. That’s not the same thing as knowing what the outcome will be.

An objective win for Trump would be a subjective loss.

In the June/July 2016 issue of The Mountain Astrologer, I explored the predictive natal astrology for Donald Trump covering the entire election cycle. From the beginning, I suggest that Donald Trump has never wanted to be elected president; he only wanted to run for president.

Running a country is an incredibly difficult job. The stress is unimaginable. Trump has no interest in taking on those responsibilities. Whatever he may say in public, in private, he’s terrified. Yes, a loss would be a blow to his ego, but in the long run, subjectively, Trump will profit the most from not winning the election. An objective loss will be a subjective win for him.

You can’t answer these kinds of objective questions by looking at natal charts. The presidential election is an event, so you need to consider an event chart. Of course, it’s still not that simple. The election is actually a series of events.

The first event is the moment a candidate declares his or her candidacy.

As J. Lee Lehman explored in her blog, the declaration charts, the charts of the moment each candidate entered the race, have a lot of practical value. (1) The charts describe the path to the convention and how the campaign will play out during the primaries. The declaration charts provide insight into the campaign and the candidates, but they can’t tell you the outcome of the general election. They can’t even tell you the outcome of the primary elections.

The problem is that you’re evaluating multiple charts. Each chart gives you a different perspective on the same event, that is, becoming the party’s nominee in the general election. Even when considering only two charts, you may not be able to draw any conclusions. It’s possible that one chart shows triumph and the other shows disaster, but you can’t count on that. For example, the declaration charts for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are inconclusive. (2) Neither one suggests a clear winner or a clear path to the nomination.

The next event is the moment a candidate accepts the party’s nomination.

The campaign towards the general election is not a continuation of the primary campaign. It’s an entirely different event, and it has its own chart. These charts would represent the campaign of each candidate heading towards the general election. But even these charts can’t reveal the outcome of the election. We’re faced with the same problem we had with the declaration charts: two different perspectives on the same event and no clear, objective path to a definitive answer.

This brings us to the general election, which is an event. In fact, it’s a competition with a winner and a loser. And that’s the kind of question astrology can answer.

Theoretically, the chart for the general election should show which of the two parties will win.

J. Lee Lehman and Bernadette Brady developed a model for predicting the winners of major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl. At the start of the season, it can’t tell you which specific team will win because there are too many options. But it can tell you which conference will win.

You consider the chart for the start of the game. The challenger is the 1st house, and the defender is either the 7th house (for open warfare) or, if they have a home field advantage, the 4th house (for castle besiegement). You then evaluate the dignity and debility of the planets that rule the houses, using a specific point system, and determine the winner.

In theory, this could work for the presidential election. The chart would be for the moment the polls open in Washington D.C., the capital of the country. Because the Republicans do not currently hold the presidency, they’re the challengers, and the Republican candidate is the 1st house. The Democrats are defending, but because there’s no incumbent, there’s no home field advantage. It’s a 1st-7th open warfare model, rather than a 1st-4th castle besiegement model.

It’s an interesting idea. But it still won’t work.

There’s more than one race and more than one winner.

If there were only one choice on the ballot, it might be valid to look at the chart of the election to determine the winner. But we’re not just electing a new president in November. We’re electing congress and voting on various state and local initiatives. And every one of these issues is tied to the event chart of when the polls open.

Yes, you could argue that the most important election is the presidential election, and that’s why most people come out to vote, but that doesn’t matter. The chart isn’t even specific enough to answer the question of which party will win the presidential election.

So let’s review, because these points are important:

• Astrology can’t answer every question. The question has to be specific and there must be a finite choice of outcomes. 

• Predictive natal astrology that uses triggers to the natal chart to answer questions can only provide answers to subjective questions. It does not answer questions about objective events.

• You can see the outcome of an event by interpreting the chart of the event. However, the event must have a clear beginning, and the chart is only good for the life of the event. If there’s a significant change in context, the original chart will no longer be valid.

• The event must be discrete for the chart to be valid. You could interpret the event chart of an election with only one race, but not the event chart of an election with multiple races and multiple winners.

The big picture matters.

Some very talented astrologers have weighed in on this election and provided accurate reporting on different parts of the elephant. But the elephant — and the question, “Who will be the next President of the United States?” — is just too big to know.

Footnotes:
(1) The Declaration Chart, by J. Lee Lehman, PhD.
(2) Data for their declarations in in Lee’s blog.
 
Bio: Kevin B. Burk is the Headmaster of The Real Astrology Academy, which provides astrological information, education, and training to astrologers and astrology students around the world. He’s the author of eleven books, including Principles of Practical Natal Astrology: Talented Astrologer Training Book 1. Read more of his articles in the Talented Astrologer Blog.

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Solar eclipse: a moment in a longer cycle of time

By Mary Plumb | May 2, 2016

We are in the aftermath and continued rolling waves of the March eclipse, which had Sun, Moon, Mercury, Neptune, Chiron, Ceres, and the South Node in Pisces, the sign that can easily dip into sorrowful endings.

The solar eclipse on March 9 (18°55′ Pisces) was a total eclipse — that is, the Sun was within 5° of the node. Total eclipses are thought to have a stronger or longer lasting impact.

The eclipse was not only total, but also exactly opposite its (traditional) dispositor Jupiter at 18° Virgo, both squaring Saturn at 16° Sagittarius, bringing the impact of those slower-moving planets into the eclipse picture.

(I set this chart for where I live; you can set it for where you were for the eclipse, or for Washington D.C. or any capital city for a mundane analysis. The angles are sensitive to location and, in this case, these angles happen to connect to my natal chart, one of the indications that this eclipse would be meaningful for me.)

Total solar eclipse
March 5, 2016
5:54 p.m.
Ashland OR

Solar eclipse March 2016

Here are a few times when this eclipse might be particularly activated (no matter what the location):

Mid-May when the Moon progressed from the eclipse gets to 21° Pisces, the south node (and nodal axis) of the eclipse, always a sensitive point.

July 8 – 12: Jupiter (turning direct on May 9) arrives back at 19° Virgo, opposite the eclipse degree.

September 9: Mars in Sag will conjoin the eclipse Saturn (16° Sag) right before squaring eclipse Jupiter (18° Virgo) and the Sun/Moon (19° Pisces). Mars went retrograde at 9° Sag in mid-April, so it will not square the eclipse degree for many months. (The transiting Sun will also oppose the eclipse degree on September 10.)

December 10: Saturn in Sag squares 19° Pisces. (As with Mars, the retrograde motion delays Saturn’s exact square to the eclipse degree.)

Although events close to the day of the eclipse assume great significance, and transits to the eclipse also can mark how events are developing, eclipses are also part of longer cycles, which connect to larger cycles of time.

There are two primary ways of tracking these cycles:

The Metonic cycle is the repetition of the same eclipse degree every 19 years. (This explains why on birthdays that are 19 years apart, the Sun and Moon repeat the birth degrees — birthdays 19, 38, 57, 76, etc.) (1)

The previous eclipse in the Metonic cycle of the March eclipse — 19 years ago — was on March 9, 1997 at 18°31′ Pisces. You can check 18° – 19° Pisces in your birth chart to see what houses and planets may have been suddenly awakened, then and now.

The Saros cycle, on the other hand, connects eclipses at 18.3-year intervals and were understood by the earliest known astrologers, the Chaldeans. (2) Events in the same series are tied together; both Metonic and Saros cycles are used in mundane forecasting.

I have looked at both cycles over the years, in both personal and mundane work. Recently, though, in my personal life — and following up with a few friends and clients — I have a new respect for the Saros cycle. (3)

Bernadette Brady described a profound new way of interpreting eclipses in her 1992 book, The Eagle and the Lark. (4) Essentially, she looks at the original eclipse of the Saros series and delineates its most essential features (i.e., closest aspects — and midpoints — to eclipse degree or node, etc.). Those features will carry through all eclipses in the series.

The March 9 solar eclipse is part of the 18S Saros series. The first eclipse in the series was on August 20, 1096, and its key theme is:
“Node=New Moon/Neptune=Venus/Saturn.”

Brady delineates this pattern: “This family of eclipses is concerned with endings and separations. Thus when it affects a chart, individuals will find themselves dealing with a parting. This parting can be anything from a friend traveling overseas and the saying of goodbyes at the ending of a relationship with a loved one, which could bring much anguish and grief. However, the pain of separation is lessened by encountering new situations which lead to very positive outcomes.” (5)

This description is particularly meaningful to me as I did lose a very close family member at the time of the previous eclipse in this series on February 26, 1998 — 18 years ago.

I suggest that you look at both cycles in your life and see what you find that may feel similar to what you are experiencing in this eclipse cycle. The eclipses that conjoin or oppose sensitive places in your natal chart — the Ascendant, Midheaven, Sun or Moon, chart ruler — will no doubt have more significance for you. (As we know, it’s not a one-size-fits-all system.)

(To look ahead: The next solar eclipse is an annular eclipse on September 1, 2016, at 9°21′ Virgo. That is part of Saros 19N about which Brady writes: “This Saros Series is about realism, a coming down to earth. The individual will become aware of an old situation and see it for what it is rather than what he or she thought it was. This can be a constructive time for tackling the truth.” (6)

Onwards! Have a good week, everyone.

Footnotes:

(1) Although they were recognized earlier by the Chinese and Babylonians, Metonic cycles were written about by the astronomer Meton of Athens in 500 BC.

(2) There are cuneiform tablets from 670 BC marking this cycle. The cycle lasts about 1300 years and is comprised of approximately 75 eclipses.

(3) Resonating with my experience, I recently heard eclipse master Bill Meridian mention that he finds the Saros cycle to have a deeper or more lasting impact; the Metonic cycle triggers the degree and its connections to other planets, either in the horoscope you are looking at, or the aspects that the eclipse itself makes. The repeating degree sets it off, maybe dramatically, but the Saros series seems to have an impact of greater depth. (I’m paraphrasing Bill from his webinar in Nina Gryphon’s wonderful RubiCon series.)

(4) Republished in 1999 as Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark.

(5) Bernadette Brady, Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark, Samuel Weiser, 1999, pg. 334.

(6) Ibid., p. 335.

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The Goddess of Discord, The U.S. Chart and the 2016 Election

By Arielle Guttman | April 4, 2016

Eris is not the first thing people think of in terms of the astrology of the current election cycle, but Eris may hold the secret that we need to understand the strange scenario we are witnessing in the political arena.

Clearly, there appears to be some disruptive quality affecting U.S. politics of late, and it’s more than just the mutable t-square involving Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, though that in itself could qualify for a bewildering set of circumstances. The U.S. Sibly chart is the most frequently used by astrologers. The Sibly chart has 12° Sagittarius rising, the exact territory of the above-mentioned mutable t-square. But there’s something else beneath the surface view that you wouldn’t notice unless you happen to focus on the darling and mischievous little dwarves that reside just beyond our Pluto.

The largest of these dwarves is Eris, classified as a large dwarf (sounds like an oxymoron) planet beyond Pluto, discovered and named about a decade ago. Her orbital cycle is both long — 560 years — and elliptical around the Sun. So we are dealing with a very slowly moving body whose influence over one degree of the zodiac can last up to, and even beyond, a decade. For example: Eris entered Aries in January 1927 and sat on the 0° Aries World Axis through 1929. She has slowly been making her way through Aries since then and is now passing over the Washington D.C. Geodetic Ascendant at 23°11’ Aries. She will not clear that degree until 2022, clearly affecting the 2020 U.S. presidential election. (1) Let me emphasize that singling out that degree is important because it is the degree of the Washington D.C. Geodetic Ascendant. We have never witnessed this particular event before and now it is unfolding right before our eyes.

U.S. Sibly chart using the Geodetic Zodiac
(created by the author in Solar Fire)

Koch houses, True node
July 4, 1776
Washington D.C.

US Geo Washington DC

So, who is this Eris? The Greeks tell us that she was the uninvited guest at an important wedding that all the other gods and goddesses attended. She was not invited because she was known as a disrupter. Eris crashed the affair when she turned up suddenly and tossed into the assembled crowd a golden apple bearing the message: For the Fairest. This sent many goddesses scrambling to claim the apple as their own. Paris was chosen to decide which of the goddesses was the fairest, and he ultimately chose Aphrodite, whose prize to him was Helen of Sparta, then married to the King. Paris shuttled her off to Troy, and when the Greeks learned of this, they proceeded to respond in the dramatic event known as the Trojan War. Helen has come down to us as “the face that launched 1,000 ships.” (Brush up on your reading with the Iliad and the Odyssey for the full story on this.)

Meanwhile, Uranus, who we know so well as the revolutionary voice of liberation and change, has been in Aries since 2011 and quite coincidentally is also about to conjoin the Washington Geodetic Ascendant. Bam! Immediately I understood the nature of the chaos that has been disrupting the Washington political scene in 2015 and 2016, during which time we’ve witnessed the Republican Party limping around like a wounded, aimless army.

Then, more recently, it has been noted that the death of Chief Justice Scalia will ultimately cause an upset in the balance of justices, including the disruption of how a justice is actually selected following the passing of a prior member. And, finally, how Washington insiders are being treated with scorn and disdain, while the outsiders are hailed as the new messiahs.

Welcome to the world of Eris and her shenanigans. Who, then, does Eris pick as her representatives? The two outsiders, of course. The uninvited guests to the good old boy party system: Trump to the right and Sanders to the left.

Let’s start with Trump. The portrait of the current Donald Trump is one of total disrupter, the uninvited guest, as Eris was in the above story. There is a fascinating amount of press and presence that this uninvited guest has claimed, regardless of how the establishment party, the media, and most political analysts are in total bewilderment about how much attention he has received and how long it has lasted. In a short period of time, he has managed to alienate and disgust large segments of the population by his words and actions, a man whose Mars rising in Leo engages in combat as sport and delights in watching his enemies perish. He was easily able to knock out the old guardians of the Republican Party in no time at all — especially the establishment candidate Jeb Bush. (Though, in his favor, there was nothing substantial there for him to challenge, either in Jeb or the other Republican offerings, as the Republicans themselves are in a state of crisis, hanging on for dear life right now.)

Meanwhile, another disrupter, Bernie Sanders, appears on the political scene, this time challenging the Democrats and their establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton. He has similarly given the old guard Democrats something to be worried about. Once again, as in 2008, Hillary must fight her way to the top after having almost been assured of the nomination barely one year ago. The current Leo Venus Star Point (22° Leo) — begun in August 2015 and running until June 2016 — and the current Eris-Uranus pairing at 22° Aries, tightly aspect her natal Saturn (21° Leo). (2) What does natal Saturn want? What does Hillary want? How long can she ride both sides of the fence, catering to the billionaires who finance her and also promising to take out the billionaires who help her get the vote? Like Trump and Sanders, her Nodal axis (23° Taurus/Scorpio) is being activated, but in the challenging quincunx and square — an uphill climb.

Hillary Clinton (3)
Oct. 26, 1947
8:00 p.m. CST
Chicago, IL
Koch houses, True node

 

Hillary, natal

So, what is the message of Eris, Uranus, and that 22°- 23° Aries Geodetic Ascendant (for Washington) for both of these disrupters?

Donald Trump
June 14, 1946
10:54 a.m. EDT
Jamaica, NY
AA data
Koch houses, True node

Trump, natal

Trump’s Sun is 22° Gemini, his Moon is 21° Sagittarius, and his Nodal axis is 20° Gemini/Sag. Eris has been trine and sextile them all since his rise (oh, the power of enabling trines and sextiles!). Soon, when she gets back to 23°, she will square his Saturn. He could literally fall off the podium right before our eyes. Donald will ultimately go down, but, meanwhile, what a spectacle to behold.

Sanders has natal Mars at 23° Aries.

Bernie Sanders
Sept. 8, 1941; time unknown; chart set for noon
Brooklyn, NY
Koch houses, True node

Bernie, natal

Eris and Uranus is right there on it. Bernie Sanders is also an activist, with a pure Aries Mars. Bernie’s Mars clearly shows in his Martian demeanor, but it looks so much better on him than Trump, since it is backed by wisdom and compassion. He has consistently, without wavering, continued to rouse the masses, challenge the system, and loudly broadcast his socialist reform ideas no matter how few people have been listening through the years. His message resonates with such a large part of today’s America; it’s like watching an idea whose time has come. The activation of a pure Mars in Aries — let’s see what kind of power and force that has. Some people would see his Mars in Aries as indicating someone who gets out of the starting gate at the pace of a speeding bullet, but then burns out and can’t sustain the pace. Yet, observing his natal Mars right smack on the Washington Geo Ascendant for the entire 40-plus-year history of his political career would signify that he’s been the perfect embodiment of an activist who continually reminds us that Washington needs to be shaken and awakened. His Nodal axis, like Trump’s and Clinton’s, are also the subject upon which the spotlight shines in the current transit pattern.

His Nodes at 22° Virgo/Pisces have been the recipient of the transiting nodes at 22° Virgo/Pisces, while Jupiter at 22° Virgo and Chiron at 22° Pisces illuminate the heart, soul, and compassion behind his political agenda. (An interesting side-note here is that the nodal axis of all three leading candidates are at 20, 22, and 23 degrees of their respective signs, receiving direct activation from transiting Uranus, Eris, the nodes, Jupiter, Chiron, and the Leo Venus Star Point at this time.) Another noteworthy point: All three leading candidates have Mars in a fire sign — Trump and Clinton in Leo and Sanders in Aries, demonstrating their forcefulness in engaging in intense combat with their rivals.

If there’s any doubt that the revolution is upon us, let’s just wait until the Eris/Uranus pairing plays out this year and into the whole term of the next presidency. We are only in Act I of this mystery play, with several more acts to follow.

Eris and Uranus may be affecting many of us. Look at your charts. Where is 22°- 23° Aries? How might we deal with this uninvited goddess of discord in the best possible way? What type of revolutionary changes are we in need of making? New viewpoints, habits, awareness are in store for the collective.

One way to satisfy Eris is to include her presence and perspective rather than pushing her away, whether you agree with it or not. Both Trump and Sanders have been pumped up by a citizenry who feel they have been ignored and forgotten and are hailing their leaders somewhat like gods. Clinton may have a strong following, but her fans are not exactly bowing down and kissing her feet, like the two aforementioned male counterparts. Sometimes things need to be disrupted in a dramatic fashion to point out the absurdity of it all. The stories tell us that Eris delighted in the chaos and confusion she caused for humans when she worked her magic. She enjoyed watching them being thrown completely off balance. In some stories she was paired with Ares (Mars). Their glyphs resemble one another; hers is the shape of Mars, with the arrow pointing downward. Eris and Mars do seem like a pair that one would want to give a fairly wide berth.

No matter what side of the political fence they reside on, there are literally millions of people across the country delighting right now in the disturbance of the established two-party old-guard system. The Republicans certainly didn’t invite Trump and would love nothing more than to shove him out of the picture entirely, and as this is being written, plans are underway to do just that. The Democrats did not invite Sanders, but his Mars is shining now and he is gaining strength and recognition as the process unfolds. The current three leading candidates — Sanders, Trump, and Clinton — are positioned on an interesting part of the political spectrum. At one extreme is Trump and at the other is Sanders. Hillary sits in the middle, trying to decide where she actually belongs in terms of the people whose votes she would like to garner.

Stay tuned for this rendezvous. Uranus and Eris tango around the Washington D.C. Geodetic Ascendant in the coming months, as follows:

Uranus:
June 1, 2016
September 28, 2016
March 22, 2017

Eris:
May 3, 2016
October 5, 2016
April 12, 2017
October 29, 2017


Footnotes:

(1) Author’s note: The Geodetic Zodiac is my go-to house system for analyzing anything political and mundane, and I think it works quite well in the U.S. chart. My article Geodetic Angles and the U.S. Chart (TMA, Nov. 1995) detailed some major events affecting the U.S., and in each case there was an outer-planet transit or an eclipse over the geodetic angles of Washington.
(Editor’s note: Here is an explanation of the Geodetic Zodiac from Arielle’s 1995 TMA article:
“To briefly summarize how this system works, imagine the 360 lines of longitude around the world applied to the 360° of the zodiac. Each line of longitude becomes a degree of the zodiac. The most universally agreed upon starting point is 0° longitude which occurs at Greenwich, England. Therefore, Greenwich = 0° Aries Midheaven (MC). West of Greenwich, the MC becomes Pisces; east of Greenwich it becomes Aries, and so on, all the way around the world. The Ascendant and other house cusps are derived from the local MC. For instance, the MC for 0° Aries at 51° north latitude (London) yields an Ascendant of 26° Cancer (therefore London’s geodetic angles are 0° Aries MC and 26° Cancer Ascendant) — yet the Ascendant for the same degree of longitude as the equator gives an Ascendant of 0° Cancer.”

(2) Editor’s note: The Venus Star Point (VSP) is the author’s terminology for the degree of the most recent conjunction of Venus with the Sun. Venus retrograde was conjunct the Sun at 22° Leo on August 15, 2015. The next conjunction will be on June 6, 2016 at 16° Gemini.

Here is a TMA blog on the subject.  And, Arielle’s web sites (linked in her bio below) have more information on her work.

(3) Hillary Clinton’s birth time is unknown – Rodden rating DD, conflicting or unverified. There is a discrepancy between her birth time as 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. The author is using the p.m. time herein, although it is unverified.

Bio: Arielle Guttman began her formal studies in astrology in 1974 in San Diego, CA. Based in Santa Fe for over 25 years, she recently relocated to Oakland, CA. Arielle’s work primarily focuses on private one-to-one client sessions, group seminars, and writing books on astrological subjects. Conversant in the many fields of astrology, her specialty areas are reflected in the five volumes she has written and published for the astrological community. Since the publication of her fifth book, Venus Star Rising, Arielle has been touring the country to introduce the Venus Star Point® theory, a revolutionary new astrological point that transforms a person’s chart and their perceptions of how they can function most harmoniously in life.
Contact Arielle via email: arielle@sophiavenus.com, or, visit her websites: SophiaVenus and VenusStarRising.

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Looking back, looking forward: the Volatile Cycles of Election 2016

By Raye Robertson | March 21, 2016

(Editor’s note: See Chart Data below for details on birth times used herein.)

Election years are great times to explore outer planetary cycles. History is being made (and possibly repeated) during these years, and providing a cosmic framework for historical trends, events, social change, and evolution is what these cycles are all about. Election 2016 has been an especially good study because we’re “blessed” with: 1) an unconventional set of candidates and, 2) a deeply polarized, angry electorate that’s pushing the country’s ideological limits. Not surprisingly, these extremes and the general desire to “shake things up” are reflected very well in planetary cycles, so we have a lot to explore.

A key premise here is that history repeats itself through the individuals who resonate with significant planetary cycles and carry forward the agendas signaled by the inception charts of those cycles.

For instance, in history, both the Saturn-Uranus cycle and the Saturn-Neptune cycles have marked times of social and economic change along ideological extremes. As we’ll see with examples below, this has been especially true against a backdrop of cardinal Uranus-square-Pluto. The platforms of Election 2016 candidates embody all of this at the same time — an ongoing mutable (change-oriented) Saturn-Neptune square, a rapidly-perfecting Saturn-Uranus trine in fiery Sagittarius-Aries, and of course, the enduring cardinal Uranus-Pluto square.

Not to be underestimated, the waning Saturn-Pluto cycle (a new cycle begins at 22° 46′ Capricorn in January 2020) is clearing out outworn power structures and creating a new social context for the upcoming cycle. This post will focus specifically on the 1988 Saturn-Uranus and the 1989 Saturn-Neptune cycles prevailing in this election year, and on the upheavals they are creating. Whatever transpires from the election in November will lay the groundwork for the new Saturn-Pluto cycle in 2020 .

Right, Left and all of the above
Right-wing political leanings relate to the Saturn-Uranus cycle, according to Andre Barbault, who says this approximately 45-year-long cycle is “…essentially conservative/authoritarian” — deeply concerned with law, order, individualism, and defensive positions. (1) Barbault also associates capitalism with this cycle, so perhaps today’s waning trine (exact for the first time in December) explains why even normally conservative voters are questioning capitalism’s preference for channeling wealth to the top.

Barbault views the Saturn-Neptune cycle in history as more left leaning, promoting more broadly-shared prosperity, along the lines of socialism or other forms of collectivism. Grass roots movements tend to thrive under Saturn-Neptune, which explains not only physical movements like the migrant crisis overseas, but also the new civil rights movement (i.e., Black Lives Matter) and the record voter turnouts inspired by this year’s unconventional election candidates.

In everyday practice, these cycles influence the roles we assign to government in our private and public lives, but as we’ll see, even the most extreme governments employ some mixture of right- and left-leaning policies. Depending upon the mixture, however, radical imbalances can take over such societies, and it is these imbalances that trigger either warfare or revolutionary times. Which brings us back to today.

Saturn, a  “social” planet that helps organize and structure societies and their governments, combines with Uranus to shake up those structures, usually for a more orderly “strong man,” or hero-centered alternative. Donald Trump’s campaign certainly taps into the longing people have for a tough-guy “hero” who has a simple answer for all problems. These heroes tend to have strong ties in their natal charts to prevailing Saturn-Uranus cycles, and Trump is no exception, as I will show below.

On the other hand, Saturn and Neptune combine to wash away old structures and manifest the dreams and ideals (or negatively, the delusions) Neptune is inspiring in the collective. In a startling example, the 1989 Saturn-Neptune conjunction marked the rapid demise of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. Bernie Sanders’ liberal call for a “political revolution” to rescue the U.S. middle class from oblivion fits the Saturn-Neptune idealistic mold, but implementing his ideas might require some “tough guy” maneuvering.

As we’ll see, both right- and left-wing extremes in history have employed both cycles to their advantage, and we’re seeing this same phenomenon in 2016. Let’s consider a couple of  “archetypal” examples from the World War II era.

On the extreme Right

Trump has been labeled a “fascist” in the course of this election year, and, in all fairness, his immigrant-bashing, tough guy rhetoric does conjure up images from that extreme right pole, whether that’s his intention or not. The historical milestones highlight some compelling astrological parallels:

Germany’s Third Reich was established on January 30, 1933: Uranus was square Pluto in the cardinal signs Aries-Cancer, the so-called cardinal “power axis,” which is active again today. Saturn in Uranus-ruled Aquarius was at 7° Aquarius inconjunct Neptune at 9° Virgo (amazingly, exactly opposite its current Pisces placement).

Hitler’s consolidation of power under the Nazis: This process took place during the early 1930s, which was the waning Capricorn-Aries square of the 1897 Saturn-Uranus cycle (beginning at 27°39′ Scorpio). This 1897 cycle gave way to the next Saturn-Uranus cycle in May 1942 (29°19′ Taurus), conjunct Hitler’s Neptune-Pluto conjunction in early Gemini. This new cycle exactly conjoined the natal Pluto of then-President Roosevelt, helping to bring the U.S. into the fight.

Interestingly, Saturn had also transited opposite Neptune in Virgo during 1936 and 1937, and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party was powerfully enabled by Neptune’s added influence. During the 1930s, Hitler built popular momentum for his genocidal ideology with vitriolic rants about Germany’s economic victimization (Neptune) at the hands of the World War I peace agreements and to the ever-present “Others,” i.e., German Jews. In doing so, Hitler was leveraging the August 1917 new Saturn-Neptune cycle (at 4°45′ Leo), which was conjunct his Midheaven and sextile his Neptune-Pluto conjunction in Gemini. This Neptune-Pluto conjunction (first exact in 1891 and marking the beginning of a new 492-year cycle) marked a major turning point in civilization, and Nazism embodied its “dark side” to a tee.

Also attuned to both cycles

Drawing parallels from Election 2016 to 1930s Germany will hopefully prove shockingly wrong, but Trump’s natal chart also resonates strongly with both the current Saturn-Uranus and Saturn-Neptune cycles. He’s “talking the talk,” that is, sounding like 1930s Germany, so we have to wonder. The Saturn-Uranus cycle seems to anticipate the powerful tactics we’ve seen him deploy.

(All charts use Tropical Equal houses and the True Node.)

Inner wheel: Natal, Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. EDT, Jamaica, NY (40°N41’29” 73°W48’22”). Source: Astrodatabank, AA.
Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Uranus, Feb. 13, 1988, 04:04:41 p.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Trump natal, Saturn-Uranus cycle

The 1988 Saturn-Uranus conjunction (new cycle) at 29°57′ Sagittarius trines Trump’s natal 12th house Mars (26°47′ Leo) and Ascendant (29°58′ Leo) and widely opposes his natal Sun (22°56′ Gemini). A “knight-in-shining-armor” aspect, this configuration blessed Trump’s fortune-building quest and perhaps reflects his tendency to view the world in terms of “winners” and “losers.”

The Saturn-Uranus conjunction chart has Jupiter and the Midheaven at 24° – 25° Aries, which square Trump’s natal Saturn-Venus conjunction at 23° – 26° Cancer. This reflects his deft use of extreme defensiveness and verbal “pre-emptive strike,” and perhaps the particular vitriol he saves for women (Venus) who challenge him. Hillary Clinton in November?

The Saturn-Uranus conjunction chart has Chiron and Mars in opposition to each other (24°15′ Sag – 23°15′ Gemini), which conjoins his Sun-Moon axis (Gemini-Sagittarius). This reflects the tough guy character he’s created and his ability to leverage criticism to his advantage. Archetypally, heroes are victims who overcome their enemies for the good of all. What better battle cry than “make America great again?

Inner wheel: Natal, Donald J. Trump
Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Neptune, March 3, 1989, 04:01:17 a.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Trump natal, Saturn-Neptune cycle

The 1989 Saturn-Neptune conjunction degree (11°55′ Capricorn) opposes Trump’s natal Mercury (8°52′ Cancer) and squares his Neptune, Chiron, and Jupiter (5° – 17° Libra). This cycle marked a major milestone for Trump’s career, promoting him and the sales of his 1988 book, Art of the Deal. Trump clearly anticipated the powerful cardinal energies that 1989 would bring to bear, and he continues to benefit. In his 2016 campaign, he’s demonstrated that political deal-making is all about deploying cardinal energies: build rapport (Libra), stimulate fears and promote defensive action (Cancer), control the narrative (Capricorn).

In the Saturn-Neptune chart, Mars and Jupiter were conjunct (25°- 29° Taurus), and conjoin Trump’s Midheaven (24°22′). Aggressive Uranus in Capricorn (4°45′) closely squares his Neptune (5°51′ Libra).
The 1989 cycle signaled a strongly conservative Capricorn cycle and robust growth for Trump’s “brand.” Trump has managed to leverage his wealth as a campaign plus (despite the negative feelings about billionaires these days) and is using this final waning square of the 1989 cycle to solidify his political “brand.” The conservative movement re-engineered the U.S. economy so wealth is driven largely to the top. Trump profited greatly from that movement, and he is now profiting from the backlash to that movement. Whatever we think of his platform, his deal making has worked for him thus far.

On the other side…
In the U.S., the 1930s period that manifested Nazi Germany saw the rise of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) as our only 4-term president (1933-1945), serving from the end of the Great Depression of 1929 through all but the end of WWII. FDR’s administration transformed the U.S. economy and society for generations to come. He gave us the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act restraining banks and Wall Street (legislation dismantled under Bill Clinton) — the same Act that Bernie Sanders wants to reinstate. FDR also passed Social Security legislation and a robust public works approach to recovering from the Depression.

What does it mean to be a “progressive” these days?
So, which of our current Democratic candidates is more “progressive?” Not surprisingly, Clinton’s chart ties in most tightly with the Saturn-Uranus chart, which probably reflects her more centrist liberalism (“conservative lite”). Competing with Sanders has drawn her leftward, but her natural tendencies are more centrist and technocratic.

Inner wheel: Natal, Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 26, 1947, 8:02 a.m., Chicago, IL (41°N51’ 87°W39’); Rodden rating DD, conflicting or unverified. (There is a discrepancy between her birth time as 8:02 a.m. or 8:02 p..m. The author is using the a.m. time herein, although it is unverified.)
Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Uranus, Feb. 13, 1988, 04:04:41 p.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Clinton natal, Saturn-Uranus cycle

Interchart t-square: The 1988 Saturn-Uranus conjunction (29°57′ Sagittarius) was opposite Clinton’s natal Uranus (25°56′ Gemini), square her Pisces Moon (22°51′). Emotions seem to take a back seat to more technical and administrative concerns in Clinton’s policies. As for her “softer” agenda, promoting programs that benefit women and children, Clinton’s Pisces Moon trines her Venus-Mercury in Scorpio, and those points square her powerful Leo stellium.

Clinton’s 9th-house Saturn (21°59′ Leo) trines the conjunction degree (29°57′ Sag) and trines Jupiter, the dispositor of the conjunction (25°27′ Aries). The 1988 cycle’s inception was powerfully ambitious and bellicose as well, ushering in the most tumultuous geopolitical times since WWII. So it’s not surprising that Clinton found herself in the powerful role of Secretary of State during several years of it. We can see here that global statesmanship becomes her, and that she had the mental/physical stamina to tackle the incredible rigors of that career (natal Saturn exactly squares Mercury in Scorpio). This Saturn-Mercury connection and her heavy Scorpio 12th-house energies probably speak to the “trust” issue that dogs her steps. Whether she can be trusted to promote a true progressive agenda is an open question.

Inner wheel: Natal, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Neptune, March 3, 1989, 04:01:17 a.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Clinton natal, Saturn-Neptune cycle

Clinton’s 11th house Neptune (11°21′ Libra) squares the 1989 conjunction degree at 11°55′ Capricorn. The new-cycle degree is in her 2nd house and sextiles her natal Venus in Scorpio (16°14′). This conservative 1989 cycle was also good to the Clinton political partnership, ushering in Bill Clinton’s centrist liberal presidency and building their joint wealth and influence. There were tough moments that steeled Hillary for the challenges to come as well. In retrospect, key milestones that have challenged the Clintons’ political careers have tracked with this cycle:

1992 – 2000 as First Lady: Saturn’s waxing square to Neptune unfolded over 1998-99, during the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal and Bill Clinton’s impeachment and subsequent acquittal in February 1999. Hillary Clinton characterized the crisis as a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” which isn’t far-fetched during a Saturn-Neptune square, enhanced by Jupiter (then) in Pisces. This may reflect her distrust of Neptunian tactics and idealism, which can be easily distorted and difficult to control.

2006-2008 as presidential candidate: Saturn opposed Neptune from mid-Leo to Aquarius from mid-2006 to mid-2007 during the conception of the 2008 campaigns. This probably helped her build early support, but in the end, Neptunian dynamics left her run aground — on Obama’s celebrity-style pull with young voters and his “Audacity of Hope” theme. As with her husband’s impeachment, there was a silver lining: her career in the State Department was just getting started. The trust issue hurt her in 2008 as it still does, but her fixed planetary energies and ambitious 1st-house Jupiter just keep on ticking.

2016 presidential campaign: Now, in the final, waning Saturn-Neptune square, Clinton’s campaign is promising to clean up the excesses of the lingering conservative cycle, but her promises ring hollow to many, the primaries are far from over, and if she ends up running against Trump, a nasty, bruising campaign lies ahead. Could she still end up being the “default” candidate this year — the one people vote for because they can’t stand the idea of President Trump? A plausible scenario, with today’s planetary picture, but Sanders has an equally strong (if not stronger) relationship with that picture.

What about Sanders?
A lot of would-be revolutionaries are “Feeling the Bern” these days, and the Sanders’ campaign certainly evokes the post-Depression, New Deal policies of FDR in its populist appeal. Sanders is old enough to have experienced the perks of that New Deal era, and his chart taps into both 1988 and 1989 cycles in strong, uncomplicated ways that reflect his “what you see is what you get” candidacy.

Inner wheel: Natal, Bernard Sanders, Sept. 8, 1941, 12:00 p.m. (no time available), Brooklyn, N.Y. (40°N38’ 73°W56’) DST. Source: Astrodatabank, XX (no time).
Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Uranus, Feb. 13, 1988, 04:04:41 p.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Sanders natal, Saturn-Uranus cycle

The new-cycle degree (29°57′ Sagittarius) is inconjunct Sanders natal Saturn-Uranus conjunction (28° Taurus, 0° Gemini) and trine Mars in Aries (23°42′);  as noted above, Jupiter in the conjunction chart is at 25°27′ Aries. The authoritative energies and conservative agenda of Saturn-Uranus have likely rubbed Sanders the wrong way for decades and have inspired a career-long commitment to action. His Taurus-Gemini conjunction suggests an ability to project his own authority with strong determination and sufficient adaptability. This has probably helped him survive as a self-professed Socialist/Independent in Congress since 1991.

Sanders natal Saturn trines Neptune (28°33′ Taurus – 26°59′ Virgo) and Neptune conjoins the North Node (22°54′ Virgo). This is a generous-feeling Saturn-Neptune, reflecting Sanders’ confidence in a liberal agenda that spreads tangible wealth (earth signs). His North Node conjunct Neptune confirms that his “socialism” is an idealistic mission.

The conjunction degree (29°57′ Sagittarius) squares Sanders Neptune-Node in Virgo; his natal Mercury (2°40′ Libra) trines his Saturn-Uranus conjunction.
Achieving this mission runs counter to the aggressive, belligerent nature of this Sagittarius cycle, and Sanders is well aware of the forces he is fighting. Every speech (Mercury) contains an identical litany of these forces (some which implicate Clinton), and he’s convinced many with his relentless messaging.

Inner wheel: Bernard Sanders
Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Neptune, March 3, 1989, 04:01:17 a.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Sanders natal, Saturn-Neptune cycle

The Saturn-Neptune conjunction degree (11°55′ Capricorn) trines Sanders Sun (15°35′ Virgo). This aspect suggests that Sanders fully embraces the liberal agenda of Saturn-Neptune, and that his career (which is difficult to separate from the person) will somehow thrive in what remains of this Capricorn cycle.

In the Saturn-Neptune conjunction chart, Mars and Jupiter (25°- 29° Taurus) conjoin Sanders natal Saturn-Uranus and trine his natal Neptune (26°59′ Virgo).
Taurus Mars and Jupiter reflect not only Sanders’ persistence in the face of enormous opposition, but also suggest a pragmatic principle underlying Sanders’ career: that wealth creation and prosperity are not the sole province of conservatism, and that some conservative principles can be deployed for liberal purposes.

Wheels within wheels…

To my mind, this election is proving too volatile for generalizations, and although I respect the many efforts, predictions feel more like wishful thinking than true insight. I do believe, however, that we can begin to understand the unconventional dynamics we’re faced with by digging into these Saturn-Uranus-Neptune cycles and considering what part of history we wish to repeat. If radical change is upon us — as today’s astrology suggests — what does that mean to us, and to what purpose? It’s all there in the cycles, in those “wheels within wheels.” Let’s choose wisely!

Footnote:

(1) Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion, Charles Harvey, Mundane Astrology, Thorsons, 1984, p. 181.


Chart Data and Sources

Chart 1. Natal, Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. EDT, Jamaica, NY (40°N41’29” 73°W48’22”). Source: Astrodatabank, AA. Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Uranus, Feb. 13, 1988, 04:04:41 p.m., Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”) ST.
Chart 2. Natal, Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. EDT, Jamaica, NY (40°N41’29” 73°W48’22”). Source: Astrodatabank, AA. Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Neptune, March 3, 1989, 04:01:17 a.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).
Chart 3. Natal, Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 26, 1947, 8:02 a.m., Chicago, IL (41°N51’ 87°W39’); Rodden rating DD, conflicting or unverified. (There is a discrepancy between her birth time as 8:02 a.m. or 8:02 p..m. The author is using the a.m. time herein, although it is unverified.) Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Uranus, Feb. 13, 1988, 04:04:41 p.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”) .
Chart 4. Natal, Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 26, 1947, 8:02 a.m., Chicago, IL (41°N51’ 87°W39’) ST. Rodden rating DD, conflicting or unverified. (There is a discrepancy between her birth time as 8:02 a.m. or 8:02 p..m. The author is using the a.m. time herein, although it is unverified.) Outer wheel: Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Neptune, March 3, 1989, 04:01:17 a.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).
Chart 5. Natal, Bernard Sanders, Sept. 8, 1941, 12:00 p.m. EDT (no time available), Brooklyn, N.Y.C., NY (40°N38’ 73°W56’) DST. Source: Astrodatabank, XX (no time). Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Uranus, Feb. 13, 1988, 04:04:41 p.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).
Chart 6. Bernard Sanders, Sept. 8, 1941, 12:00 p.m. EDT (no time available), Brooklyn, N.Y.C., NY (40°N38’ 73°W56’). Source: Astrodatabank, XX (no time). Outer wheel: Saturn-0-Neptune, March 3, 1989, 04:01:17 a.m. EST, Washington, D.C. (38°N53’42” 77°W02’12”).

Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer, and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. She can be contacted at her blog, Diary of a Mundane Astrologer, or by email:  robertsonraye.com.

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Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and the U.S. Orcus Return

By Barbara Eaton | March 7, 2016

The U.S. 2016 presidential election cycle is producing a never-before-seen enthusiasm for two non-establishment candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  Could this be a reflection of the impending U.S. Orcus Return?  (1)

In the U.S. natal chart (Sibly), Orcus falls in 9°09’ Virgo, in the 9th house. Transiting Orcus came to 8° Virgo in November 2015, stationed there in early January 2016, and will retrograde back to 6° Virgo in July.  By August, it will resume direct motion and station at exactly 9°09’ in mid-December. Although Orcus will move forward and retrograde over 9° Virgo for almost three years, it is well within a 3° orb of its Sibly return point at this time.

There are similar ties that connect the Orcus positions of these two unconventional candidates with the U.S. Orcus during this return. In the birth charts of both Sanders and Trump, the natal Orcus position squares the U.S. Orcus position. Trump’s natal Sun is in a stellium with Orcus (19°58′ Gemini), Uranus, and the North Node, all of which square the U.S Black Moon and Neptune. It is also conjunct the U.S. Mars (21°22′ Gemini).

Orcus in Trump chart: 19°58′ Gemini
Trumo

Orcus in Sibly chart: 9°09′ Virgo
US Sibly natal

 

Sanders’ chart boasts a Virgo stellium of the Sun, North Node, Neptune, and Mercury, all of which conjunct the U.S. Black Moon and Orcus. This stellium also squares natal Orcus (14°33′ Gemini), and his North Node (22° Virgo) exactly conjuncts the U.S. Neptune. His Orcus/Jupiter conjunction falls on the U.S. Mars. Unfortunately, there is uncertainty about Sanders’ birth time, but if we use the birth chart showing a 25° Scorpio rising, the U.S. Orcus at 9° Virgo conjuncts Sanders’ Midheaven.

Orcus in Sanders chart: 14°33′ Gemini

Bernie natal

To add to the drama, there will be some additional celestial activity at 9° Virgo this fall.  A New Moon eclipse occurs at 9° Virgo on September 1, 2016 and the North Node of the Moon comes to 9° Virgo in late November 2016.

Some astrologers teach that eclipse points become “sensitized” degrees and that the first celestial body to transit the eclipse degree can be a trigger for an event.  The event is then colored by the nature of the planet, the aspects it makes, and the house and sign of the eclipse. After the September 1 eclipse, Orcus will be the first significant body of our solar system to make this transit about a month after the North Node.

In mundane astrology, Virgo is associated with health and healthcare, employment, wages and the conditions of our everyday work environment, labor unions, disaster preparedness, and the military. Since it is an earth sign, it may also have some association to the natural environment. Typically, 9th-house affairs include higher education, religion and philosophy, the courts, air travel and shipping, imports and exports, immigration, and weather conditions around the coast. Quite a few of these seem to be big issues in this election cycle. Might we see catalyzing events of a dramatic nature or perhaps a clearly defined turning point with the September 1 eclipse?

The Sabian Symbol for 9° degrees of Virgo is “two heads looking out of the shadows.” This is a fitting symbol for these two candidates, who are an expression of voters of both parties who seem to be looking for a way out of “politics as usual.”

Perhaps the influence of these two candidates and this U.S. Orcus Return will usher in a new era in U.S. politics that will culminate at the Pluto Return in 2025.  Even if neither of these men get the nominations for the two major political parties, their influence will likely be felt for some time to come as they clearly have mobilized strong anti-establishment forces in the electorate.

Footnotes:
(1) Readers may enjoy Jeremy Neal’s recent TMA blog: Orcus opposite Neptune: then and now

(2) The author is using these times:
Bernie Sanders (unverified time)
September 8, 1941
12:27 p.m.
Brooklyn, NY

Donald Trump
June 14, 1946
10.54 a.m.
Jamaica, NY – AA data

Bio: B.A. (Bee) Eaton is a retired educator and holds a Master’s Degree in education and degrees in art and design. She coordinated a large educational research project at Kent State University in Ohio, and worked as a public school teacher. She began her love affair with astrology at the age of 15, and now devotes her time to learning, practicing, and teaching astrology in between short excursions to her garden. You can visit her astrology blog at The Living Sky

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The Startling Success of the Insurgent Bernie Sanders

By Pat Paquette | February 8, 2016

I have to admit that I’m taking a wicked amount of pleasure watching the news media flail about trying to explain how a Socialist upstart from a state known for maple syrup and a ban on billboards could have interrupted the “inevitable” election of the long-presumed next president of the United States.

When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced last April that he was running for president, he gave fair warning: “People should not underestimate me.” The media did just that, politely calling him a “long shot” who couldn’t even get the support of the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party. That the longest-serving Independent in Congress chose to run within the two-party system was somewhat newsworthy. However, the pundits expected him to have little impact other than perhaps moving the political discussion to the left. There was zero chance, they said, that voters would elect a Socialist. Besides that, he had no money and no campaign infrastructure, and he was running against a candidate with near universal name recognition and a political machine to match. (1)

Nine months later, with millions of dollars in small campaign contributions and a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders is finally being taken seriously. Most major media outlets continue to predict that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, but Sanders has changed the race, and likely the political landscape, for years to come.

The pundits may be falling all over themselves trying to explain why they didn’t see this coming, but for astrologers, the charts tell the story. Before we take a look, though, let’s review his bio.

Bernard Sanders, known to his constituents simply as “Bernie,” was born on September 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, NY, to lower-class Jewish parents. His father immigrated to the United States from Poland when he was 17, barely escaping the Holocaust, during which most of his family was killed. In high school, Sanders was a long-distance runner and captain of his track team. He also made his first venture into politics, running for student body president. In a three-way race, he came in third. (2)

After graduating from high school, Sanders spent a year at Brooklyn College and then transferred to the University of Chicago. It was 1960, when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing and the campus radicalism that helped define the sixties was just beginning. Sanders joined several activist groups, at one point getting arrested for protesting segregation in off-campus housing. In 1963, he made his first trip to Washington, D.C., where he and other members of his activist groups joined Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March for Jobs and Freedom. He also joined the student affiliate of the Socialist Party of America, and he applied for conscientious objector status as a protest to the war in Vietnam.

As the counterculture movement of the sixties gathered steam, Sanders and his older brother Larry went to live on a kibbutz in Israel. The egalitarian, collectivist way of life on the kibbutz made a lasting impression on both brothers, but it was Bernie who saw it as proof that socialism could work. (Larry Sanders now lives in England and ran last year as a Green Party candidate for Parliament. He lost.) Virgo Bernie Sanders had another epiphany while living on the kibbutz: he loved growing vegetables. When he returned from Israel, he moved to rural Vermont and bought 85 acres of undeveloped land for $2,500. For the next decade, he became more involved in grassroots politics, while managing to scrape together a living by working odd jobs. He also fathered a son, Levi, with a live-in partner. (3)

Throughout the 1970s, Sanders ran in several statewide elections as a candidate of the anti-war Liberty Union Party. He started out with 2% of the vote, gaining a little more each time but never winning a race. He finally gave up, but was then persuaded to run against the long-time conservative mayor of Burlington in 1981. In a stunning upset, he won by 22 votes, which was reduced to ten votes on a recount. The victory gained him national recognition as the “Socialist Mayor of Vermont.” The city council, however, was not amused and tried to block him at every turn. His first year in office was essentially a war, but then things started to change, and by the time he’d finished his fourth and final term in 1989, Burlington was being hailed as one of the most livable cities, and Sanders as one of the nation’s 20 best mayors. (4)

Sanders lost his first run for the House of Representatives in 1988, but he ran again two years later and won. He was re-elected by wide margins and, in 2007, made a successful bid for the Senate. He is the longest-serving Independent in Congress and, despite campaign rhetoric as an extremist who refuses to compromise, his colleagues have called him a pragmatist, realist, and result-oriented — just what we would expect of a Virgo. (5)

To date, we have no birth time for Sanders. A chart began circulating last fall with a time of 12:27 p.m., attributed to an unnamed former Sanders campaign worker. Until last week, AstroDatabank was using it, with an inexplicable “A” rating that gave the chart credibility among astrologers. Fortunately, high standards prevailed, and the entry was reverted to “time unknown” with a note: “There exists no reliable source, it is all hearsay and speculation. The time has to be considered unknown, until substantial evidence comes forward.” The chart is out there, though, and I suspect there will be those who continue to work with it, in the absence of a verified birth time; in other words, it’s “better than nothing.” Really, it’s not. Better to go with a noon or sunrise chart (I prefer noon). (6)

Bernie Sanders, natal noon

Although we don’t have the advantage of a birth time, we can detect planetary patterns in Bernie’s chart that reflect his temperament, political ideology, and drive. Aside from his Sun in pragmatic, hardworking Virgo, the first thing that jumps out at me is the Moon-Mars conjunction in Aries. This aspect alone can account for his enormous energy. His age is often mentioned as a liability, but this aspect indicates he’ll stay quick on his feet (he has more energy than I had at 25). Of course, it also accounts for his temper and the loud, angry tirades. Many see him as an “angry old man,” but age has little to do with it. In 1985, novelist Russell Banks followed Sanders around Burlington as research for a profile in The Atlantic. He describes a scene in a restaurant bar, where Sanders comes to have a beer with voters to explain how they can get a rebate on their property taxes.

“It’s more a private than a public occasion, but Sanders’ intensity, heating up as he speaks, is unmodulated and is almost inappropriate. He’s on a roll now and moves to a rapid-fire discussion of the Burlington Airport and how he wants the city to get a part of the money the airport is making and that now goes instead to the state.”

The article was never published, but editors of The Atlantic dug it out of the archives last October. It is filled with the kind of personal observations astrologers can use to put flesh on the bones of chart interpretations. It’s also a good read, whether or not you’re a Sanders fan. (7)

Indeed, the Moon-Mars conjunction could provide some clues for a rectified birth time. Marcia Starck, in the December 2015 issue of ISAR journal, used some life events to come up with a late afternoon birth time with Aquarius on the Ascendant and a very tight Moon-Mars conjunction. (8)

In the noon chart, Venus is in Libra, in tight opposition to Mars. Mercury is also in Libra. The Venus-Mars opposition speaks to events in his love life, which was very active before he met his second wife, Jane O’Meara, with whom he has been married for 27 years. Sanders doesn’t like to talk about his personal life, but Jane Sanders, in media interviews, has described their marriage as a close, equal partnership. Venus and Mercury in Libra also provide some balance to the Moon-Mars conjunction and convey the ability to compromise mentioned by his colleagues in Congress. Conservative Republican John McCain, with whom Sanders hammered out a bipartisan bill to overhaul the Veterans Administration healthcare system, told a reporter for The Huffington Post that Sanders has “the gumption to drop F-bombs one minute and counteroffers the next.”

“Negotiating with Bernie was not a usual experience, because he is very passionate and he and I are both very strong-willed people and we spend a lot of time banging our fists on the table and having the occasional four-letter word,” McCain said. “But at the end of the day, Bernie was result-oriented.” (9)

The outer planets — particularly the conjunctions of Saturn in late Taurus and Uranus in early Gemini, and Pluto and Chiron in Leo — hint at an ability to transform social structures. I have many thoughts on this, but will have to save them for another day.

And then, of course, there’s his Virgo Sun. Virgo is the quintessential political and social critic who can zero in on problems that others overlook. It’s also the sign of service. In his first appearance on C-SPAN, in January 1988, Sanders was asked why he got into politics. He responded that even as a child, he looked around him and could see so many things that were wrong, and he wanted to do something about it. (10)

Rather than looking at the transit chart for Election Day, which several astrologers and astrology students have already been studying intently, and will continue to explore for the next several weeks, I’d like to focus on Bernie’s transits last week, when a new nationwide poll was released showing him within two percentage points of a tie with Hillary Clinton. Until now, Clinton has maintained a comfortable double-digit lead. This poll, conducted by Quinnipiac, is just one of many and could be an anomaly, but it was picked up by most major news outlets and was seen as significant in light of a last-minute debate last Thursday (February 4) and the upcoming New Hampshire primary on Tuesday (February 9). (11)

Bernie biwheel

The most striking transit supporting positive polling for Sanders has been the conjunction of Jupiter and the North Node, which has been close for the past several weeks and in tight conjunction with Bernie’s natal North Node at 22° Virgo. Jupiter moved into conjunction with his Sun toward the middle of October, then turned retrograde in January. It will pass back over his Sun in late March and early April, then again in mid-June. Meanwhile, the transiting North Node moved into partile conjunction with his natal North Node on January 22, with Jupiter also in partile conjunction.

At the same time, transiting Pluto in Capricorn has been in a trine with Bernie’s Virgo Sun. Last Friday (February 5), when the Quinnipiac poll was released, the Moon, Venus, and Pluto were in triple conjunction. Pluto will remain in a tight trine with his Sun through Election Day.

There are also very difficult transits on the way for Sanders, a couple in particular that are of concern not just in terms of winning or losing an election. But for now, he’s got a fair wind.

Footnotes:

(1) Bernie Sanders is running for president
CNN

(2) Wikipedia

(3) Straight Outta Brooklyn, by Way of Vermont: The Bernie Sanders Story
Tablet
Leaving Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders Found Home in Vermont
NPR

(4) As Mayor, Bernie Sanders Was More Pragmatist Than Socialist
NY Times

(5) Bernie Sanders, the Wide-Eyed Pragmatist
Huffington Post

(6) September 8, 1941, Brooklyn, NY. Source: AstroDatabank. Rating X, date without birth time. Placidus houses.
AstroDatabank

(7) Bernie Sanders, the Socialist Mayor, by Russell Banks The Atlantic

(8) Marcia Starck rectification, ISAR journal, December 2015, p. 42

(9) Bernie Sanders, the Wide-Eyed Pragmatist
Huffington Post

(10) First appearance on C-SPAN, January 1988
YouTube

(11) Sanders nearly tied with Clinton nationwide
The Hill
RealClearPolitics, aggregate polls
RealClear Politics

Bio: Pat Paquette is a writer, editor, and astrologer living on Vashon Island, WA. She has been blogging on astrology since December 2005. Her weekly astrological forecasts appear on the blog of her website, RealAstrologers.com, where you also can find a collection of her past articles.

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The Donald’s Celestial Trump Card

By Alex Miller | January 11, 2016

Donald Trump, GOP frontrunner?  What’s up with that?

Real estate magnate and Reality TV star Donald J. Trump has taken the GOP presidential field by surprise, and the GOP electorate by storm, confounding critics and pundits alike. Creating a whole new meaning for the phrase “the Teflon Don,” Trump violates political wisdom, convention, all rules  — right and left — often with great relish, and does nothing but rise in the polls in consequence. As of this writing his solid base of support seems to be just north of a third of the electorate, but with the establishment wing of the Republican Party fractured into bits by multiple, squabbling contenders, that’s more than enough to bring Trump the victory he so clearly craves.

What can be sussed out from a quick examination of The Donald’s “minor factors,” astrologically speaking? What info can we glean from a perusal of how PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) and other minor points impact his character, campaign, and chances of sitting in the Oval Office?

Let’s start, as always, with the birth chart: he was born on June 14, 1946 at 10:54 a.m. EDT, in Jamaica, N.Y. (Rodden rating AA).

Donald Trump, natal
Placidus, True node
Donald Trump, natal

We can see at a glance that Trump has Sun conjunct Uranus (at 22° and 17° Gemini, respectively), so we know he’s a born rabble-rouser, someone who delights in shaking up the establishment, rocking the boat, messing with the status quo, defying convention and pulling off an unthinkable upset, and he’s not overly concerned about who he offends or disrupts along the way.

But lots of folks have Sun-Uranus, and they don’t all become billionaires, TV stars, and upstart presidential contenders. What’s the secret of Trump’s appeal to voters?

Time and again, supporters refer to one standout quality they admire in the man — “he tells it like it is.”  No political correctness for Trump, no politesse, no conventional demurring and sidestepping awkward topics. He’s blunt, he’s outspoken, he’s brash and in your face, and people like that. Where in the heck does that come from?

Trump has two very prominently placed asteroids in the natal horoscope. Asteroid Truth falls at 7° Virgo, conjunct the 29° Leo Ascendant — Trump presents himself to others as a truth-sayer, and that’s how they see him. To back this up, asteroid Veritas (Latin for truth) falls at 1° Sagittarius, conjoined Trump’s own PNA referent, asteroid Troemper, at 2° Sagittarius, and within orb of the IC at 24° Scorpio, granting these points angular focus and energy. I know the Troemper/Trump match isn’t exact, but trust me — I’ve been doing this a long time and this point works very well as Trump’s celestial stand-in, as we’ll shortly see. What this combination does is to reiterate the Truth/Ascendant image — Trump looks truthful, and Veritas/Troemper indicates that this isn’t just some crafted PR ploy, it’s a very real part of him, or at least how he sees himself and feels himself to be at his core. Since he sees himself, via Veritas/Troemper, as essentially truthful, he can genuinely project that to others via Truth/Ascendant. What he says may not actually be the truth, but it’s the truth as The Donald sees it, and that internal certitude translates as authenticity to others.

Asteroid America (27° Leo) and Mars (26° Leo) are also on the Ascendant. The symbolism here couldn’t be clearer: Trump presents himself (Ascendant) as the champion (Mars) of the nation (America), as exemplified in his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” America/Ascendant makes it easy for him to identify with the nation and its populace to identify with him. Trump’s public persona meshes nicely with his image of the country — he sees himself as its standard-bearer. And having Truth right there makes it possible for others to see him that way, too.

Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems. Trump also has asteroid Lie prominent — it is at 17° Taurus on the 24° Taurus Midheaven, squared Pluto at 10° Leo, conjunct asteroid Narcissus at 15° Taurus, exactly semisextile Uranus at 17° Gemini, and exactly inconjunct Jupiter at 17° Libra. What does that tell us? Well, for one, he’s not overly shy about “stretching” the truth when it suits his career agenda (Lie/MC). For decades, Trump has allegedly inflated his net worth, although Forbes and other financial magazines have disputed his own estimations. Bravado and braggadocio, both components of lying and exaggeration, are meat and drink to him.

Next, he’s also willing to use these untruths, half-truths, exaggerations and “misstatements” in the pursuit of his own power and aggrandizement (the square to Pluto). And the lies aren’t willy-nilly or haphazard — they’re focused on his own deep-seated internal sense of his innate worthiness. That’s the conjunction of asteroid Lie to asteroid Narcissus — he’s totally in love with himself. Just listen to him — he’s the best, everybody else is a loser; he’s got his head on straight, everybody else is crackers; he’s the biggest, bravest, boldest thing to hit the planet since Adam, excels at whatever he does, and knows exactly how to do what needs doing.

Taking the exact semisextile of asteroid Lie to Uranus next, we see the potential for disruption or revelation in Trump’s less than completely truthful statements or exaggerations, as well as the sort of staccato interjection style of the “truths” he utters. His stump performance is essentially one long rapid fire stream of Uranus/Lie/Narcissus consciousness — it’s unexpected, nonconformist, and somewhat shocking (all Uranus), but with a flavor of insight/awareness (also brought by Uranus); based in essentially half-truths, braggadocio and opinion (Lie); and completely focused on himself, in the extreme first person (Narcissus).

But it’s asteroid Lie’s exact inconjunct to Jupiter that’s most telling for Trump’s political rise. His massaging of the facts, from allegedly seeing “thousands” of jubilant Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, to unsubstantiated statements that he’ll make Mexico pay for a border wall with the U.S., or will rewrite all our trade deals to bring back jobs, are all focused on one goal — to increase his political standing and thus his reputation generally (both Jupiter).

Lie/Jupiter is also the source of Trump’s unyielding characterizations of his rivals. He doesn’t so much lie about his political opponents, but exaggerates what he sees as the kernel of truth about them. Since Jupiter is already prone to exaggerate, adding Lie’s proclivities in this area can ramp up the hyperbole to overdrive, especially in politics (which is Jupiter-ruled), and some of Trump’s statements can seem shockingly excessive (e.g., John McCain isn’t a war hero just for getting captured; Jeb Bush is “low energy;” Hillary Clinton is the worst Secretary of State in U.S. history; not many evangelicals come out of Cuba — a dig at Ted Cruz’ ancestry and professed faith). Yet Trump pays no price for his disparagements, because his natal asteroids Truth and Veritas back him up. It doesn’t matter if these statements are true; all that matters is that Trump believes them and expresses them genuinely.

There’s a lot more to garner from “minor” points in Trumps nativity, but let’s move on to real-time events, after giving the nod to one other factor. Trump has asteroid Whitehouse at 4° Capricorn opposing Mercury at 8° Cancer — his verbal skills, his ability to connect with others, and his populism (all Mercury) that are his surest path to the Oval Office (Whitehouse). And hold on a second — what’s been going on upstairs lately in that region of the zodiac? We have had lunar eclipses at 4° Aries/Libra and 3° Libra/Aries (September 2015 and March 2016), both forming tight Grand Crosses with Trump’s natal Mercury/Whitehouse polarity. As Trump, a real estate magnate, well knows, it’s all about “location, location, location,” and Trump’s personal celestial connection to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue couldn’t be better placed to capitalize on current energies.

When Trump formally announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, the skies naturally reflected this moment in fine detail. Asteroid Troemper at 9° Sagittarius opposed Mercury at 5° Gemini, a signal that Trump was ready to make an announcement. There is also a Grand Cross formed by a squared opposition from transit Neptune at 9° Pisces, exactly squared Troemper (9° Sag), to asteroid Icarus at 5° Virgo, exactly squared Mercury (5° Gemini). This announcement (Mercury) concerned The Donald’s (Troemper) dearest held dream (Neptune), to hold the office of president of the United States, but it also represented a point of great risk (Icarus). Trump had given up a lucrative contract with NBC for The Apprentice, his Reality TV show, and would be imperiling future business dealings as he took time off to focus on running for office.

We might see asteroid Icarus in this decision as a rash, reckless act, with little hope of success. Indeed, The Donald paid the price for rash statements about Mexican immigrants in his announcement speech — NBC and Univision cut all ties with his Miss America and Miss Universe pageants, costing Trump millions of dollars. If you have any lingering doubts about the utility of Troemper as a celestial cipher for Trump, consider that asteroid Hybris, named for the Greek goddess from whom we derive our word hubris, meaning “extreme arrogance,” is exactly conjunct Troemper at his announcement, and “arrogance” is one of the most frequently cited descriptors of Trump in early voter focus groups.

Asteroid Busch (8° Sagittarius) was also with Troemper the day of his announcement. This conjunction has been unfortunate for fellow candidate Jeb Bush, beginning with Trump’s grandiose announcement, which stepped on his own simpler statement, made the day before. Since then the two asteroids have been in constant conjunction, never more than a few degrees apart, and the effect of that celestial chafing has been apparent, as Trump singled out Bush for special attention, defining him early on as “low energy,” a characterization that stuck. Even after helping to drive his rival’s poll numbers into the low single digits, Trump has relentlessly kept up the pressure long after Jeb Bush ceased to be a serious threat to his own candidacy. As if Bush were a burr under his saddle, Trump simply cannot leave “destroyed enough” alone, prodded by the constant struggle for metaphoric lebensraum between their celestial namesakes. (1)

As we’re approaching Iowa, what do the stars say? The Sun at 12° Aquarius, representing the theme of the day, conjoins transit Troemper at 6° Aquarius, showing Trump in the spotlight, the focus of all eyes. Everyone will be watching to see if those Trump voters actually show up and do their stuff. Is the Trump phenomenon real or just a sideshow attraction, as some pundits and politicos still claim?

Who else is there with him? Asteroid Cruz, for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, falls at 21° Aquarius, just entering the Sun’s orb of influence. He and Trump have been running neck-and-neck in recent Iowa polling and will likely finish first and second, in whatever order. Also within the solar rays is asteroid Christy at 15° Aquarius, for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, gaining momentum in the New Hampshire contest but still only a potential dark horse candidate in Iowa. And trailing just behind Troemper at 5° Aquarius is asteroid Busch, still in Trump’s shadow, though its proximity to the Sun suggests that a strong showing in the Hawkeye State could revivify Bush’s flagging campaign.

What of the election, assuming the Trump juggernaut cannot be derailed and he gains the GOP nomination? On Election Day, November 8, 2016, asteroid Troemper falls at 22° Pisces, in trine to the transit Sun at 16° Scorpio. Troemper is in a particularly powerful position, having made its direct station just the day before, one of the still points upon which the energies of the day revolve. Troemper also squares transit asteroid Whitehouse at 26° Sagittarius, perhaps a signal that Trump’s fondest dream may come true, of residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But there’s someone who may have something to say about that outcome. Asteroid Hillary at 16° Cancer is also at its station degree, about to turn retrograde two days after the election, and is exactly trine the Sun and opposing Pluto at 15° Capricorn, as well as trine Troemper. With Venus at 25° Sagittarius conjunct Whitehouse lending support, might we be seeing a woman (Venus) in the Oval Office?

(1) Editor’s note: lebensraum: “space required for life, growth or activity” Merriam-Webster

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at glaktix@verizon.net

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Orcus opposite Neptune: then and now

By Jeremy Neal | December 14, 2015

Between now and September 2016, Saturn applies to a square with Neptune, a 36-year cycle that makes a hard, 4th harmonic contact every nine years. The received wisdom about this difficult combination is that it serves as a “reality check” in human affairs. It’s time to take off those rose-tinted spectacles and get real! Your flight of fancy goes into flat spin, and here’s a massive wet blanket for good measure!

Well, that’s true enough, Saturn does have a deleterious effect on Neptune. But at the same time, that sobering quality serves our best interests by restoring balance to our idealism. If we are to be adepts of the arcane, then we must be practical adepts, or there’ll be no pudding! We all have a good idea of just how the perfect pudding must be constituted, right? But it’s not much use if nobody knows how to make decent custard. So we have to get busy with eggs and flour, and whatever other ingredients are in that vision of gastronomic nirvana, and make it happen! And we’re going to have a few flat pancakes along that road, because experience isn’t worth experiencing without a few failures. The trick of the Saturn-Neptune square, then, is to not take the un-risen cakes and the hard-as-tack biscuits to heart. Eventually, with practice, effort, and dedication, we can realise our dream — and with extra Crème Anglaise.

But that’s only one side of the conundrum of a Saturn-Neptune square, because Neptune works on Saturn too. I see this most often in the principle of undermining authority. Take a look at 1783, when Saturn was in his prime in Capricorn and square Neptune (only the second time in over 300 years that a Saturn in outright dignity has squared Neptune), and you’ll note that —despite the fact that the United States declared independence in 1776 — this was the year that Great Britain actually signed off on the whole independence deal. King George’s formidable authority was finally undermined by Neptune’s vision of a better, more equal society. Only 12 days after the crucial middle pass of this intimidating square, the Treaty of Paris was signed.

So, on the whole, this is a tricky, but not impossibly daunting, aspect that forces us to put in hard work to manifest our dreams, which also has a tendency to challenge orthodox positions and authorities; that challenge is not born out of pure malcontent, however, but rather because we see a better possibility. With Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, there is a decidedly religious flavour to the square — Saturn organises Neptune’s spiritual quality into a religious vein. So, on the whole, this is a sobering and challenging aspect that requires hard work and patience to actualise, but it’s not necessarily extreme.

Except, that’s not the whole story, because Neptune has been opposing the Plutino named Orcus for several years. (1)

For an Orcus primer, it’s key to understand that Orcus is a Hadean archetype, and, alongside Ixion and Pluto, completes a trinity of mostly unconscious, often challenging drives and compulsions, which, through their deteriorating influence on our human condition, gradually help to bring us to self-awareness. Where Pluto is intense and personal and represents the compulsion to attempt control of situations and people in our lives, Orcus is detached and impersonal and attempts to manage challenging circumstances, not with Pluto’s habitual power struggle and its attendant unpleasantnesses, such as humiliation and subjugation, but rather through cold, inhuman disinterest. In archetypal terms, Pluto is the Mafia boss pulling everyone’s strings and Orcus is his henchman and willing executioner with a heart of stone. Pluto is impassioned, Orcus passionless. Orcus rules extreme human qualities: the determination to survive in pitiless conditions, as well as the drive to overcome all odds in sports. (For example, Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson both evince strong Orcus signatures.) Orcus has a strong correlation with oaths, and, when negative, rules swindlers and liars, while when positive, persons of integrity. Keywords for Orcus: integrity, authenticity (2), implacability, ruthlessness, loneliness, isolation, “dark night of the soul,” alienation, meditation and prayer, spiritual depth, determination, diehard, unbreakable, detached, merciless, inhumane, cruel.

The Orcus-Neptune opposition came into play tentatively in 2008, and has been with us ever since. Neptune moved into a three-degree opposition with Orcus in May 2008 before separating. (The closest application was on May 21, 2008, with Neptune at 24°14’ Aquarius and Orcus at 27°59’ Leo.)

And what’s more, this opposition will still be making waves until well into 2019, when Neptune and Orcus will still be within orb. In this astrologer’s view, this is one of the most profound and influential aspects of our times, and its repercussions will be with us for many years to come.

Let’s explore the broader themes of the Neptune-Orcus contact. Orcus, now in Virgo, struggles in this sign because the extremism and implacability of this Hadean energy is applied to details, to the accounts (just look at the concept of austerity to get a sense of this), to the broad masses (Virgo and the 6th house rules the working class), to nursing, the police, postal workers, doctors, Baghdad, Iraq in general, trades unions, libraries, Paris, charities, teachers, and the entire principle of welfare. Orcus in Virgo pushes all of these ideas, groups, and institutions to their absolute limits.

Neptune rules, among other things, spiritual principles and impersonal idealism. So if we apply Orcus’ implacable and extreme tendencies to Neptune, we are presented with extreme spiritual ideals, and inhumane, often cruel, ideologies, but also, when in opposition, a kind of dogged, unbending determination to stand against spiritual or religious dogmas and accepted ideological positions.

Currently then, we can see the rise of ISIS as a manifestation of the Neptune–Orcus opposition. ISIS is considered to be a radical offshoot of the Islamic faith. It’s not the first radical, religious splinter group the world has seen, but it is among the most extreme. It’s interesting that the ideological schism that has opened up between radical and moderate Islam is based, for the most part, on a single verse of the Quran, the so-called Verse of the Sword:

“But when the forbidden months are past,
then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them,
and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war);
but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them:
for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
(3)

Taken alone, the verse seems to encourage Muslims to take up arms against non-Muslims. This single verse has been used by extremist groups such as ISIS as a call to Jihad, and is more or less the sole justification for their armed and violent struggle against non-believers, despite the fact that there are hundreds of verses in the Quran that contradict the Verse of the Sword, charging Muslims to live in peace with people of all faiths.

And further, when placed in context, the Verse of the Sword is speaking about a particular incident where a group of non-Muslim Arabs broke a covenant with Mohammed, who offered them amnesty if they should convert to Islam. Were they to resume hostilities, however, Muslims were charged with putting them to the sword. Taken out of context, the verse seems to approve of a wider armed struggle against all non-Muslims, but when put back into context, the verse’s true meaning is entirely unambiguous: that this instruction relates to a specific historical circumstance.

But here, Orcus’ inhumanity is let loose through the nitpicking partiality of his Virgo placement. It is a lawyer’s device that serves as a pretext for unleashing the Orcan mandate upon the world. It’s interesting to note that the first mention of ISIS was reported in May 2007: “A radical plan by Al-Qaeda to take over the Sunni heartland of Iraq and turn it into a militant Islamic state once American troops have withdrawn is causing alarm among US intelligence officials.” (4) In November 2007, Orcus made its first ingress into Virgo.

So we see the cerebral effect of Orcus in Virgo on the broadly peaceable Neptune-in-Pisces movement of Islam. The Neptune-Orcus opposition has been in effect since the mid 2000s, when Orcus was at 25° Leo, but made first partile contact in April 2012 at 27°59’ Leo. (5) This was the first of nine oppositions that will continue until January 13, 2016, a few hours after the first ominous transiting Pluto square to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s natal Sun. (6) Most partile contacts were accompanied by jihadi atrocities. (For example, on the day of the middle pass — the fifth of nine — on February 24, 2014, the militant terrorist group Boko Haram massacred 59 boarding school pupils in Nigeria.) (7)

So we can see that it is irrefutably an Orcan dynamic that is driving religious and militant extremism in the world today. What we are seeing is a fanatical challenge to Islamic orthodoxy such as has never been seen before, and, as a result, it is unlikely that the Islamic world will ever be the same again.

But such schisms are not without precedent. If we travel back in time to the last series of Neptune–Orcus oppositions, we find ourselves in the early 16th century. And if we look at the last time Saturn exactly squared Orcus while Orcus opposed Neptune, forming a loose NE/OR = SA midpoint and t-square (8), we find ourselves at the 11th of September 1514: four days before Thomas Wolsey was made Archbishop of York, an accession that presaged the struggle with Rome and the eventual English Reformation. Echoing the contemporary darkness that engulfs Syria and Iraq, a period of struggle ensued between Protestant reformers and the Orthodox Church, during which many were branded heretics and burned or beheaded. It was a time of violence, darkness, and cruelty, much of it motivated by divisions over scriptural meaning and the interpretation of God’s will. In 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses and nailed them to Wittenberg’s infamous church door, just as Neptune moved into opposition with Orcus. This previous series of oppositions between these distant behemoths occurred in the latter degrees of Leo–Aquarius. There was a battle between the central Papal authority (Leo) and the Reformists, like Martin Luther and John Calvin, who wanted to make church doctrine available to all the people of the church (Aquarius).

But even so, the Reformation didn’t fully take hold until Orcus moved into Virgo on October 22, 1522 — a much more difficult placement for the Hadean planet of extremism and defiance. The cerebral effect of Virgo creates the tendency to adhere to the letter of the law, in defiance of its spirit. We note that 1523 was the year that Anne Boleyn first caught Henry’s roving eye. A study of the English Reformation begins with Henry’s assertion that his marriage to Catherine was blighted in the eyes of God. Henry, who had entered into a levirate marriage with his brother Arthur’s widow — as cited in Leviticus 20:21: “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonoured his brother. They will be childless.”

Much of the history of the English, and indeed the wider European Reformation, centred upon a highly nuanced deconstruction of law, scripture, and doctrine. Oaths were demanded and variously refused or sworn. Positions became entrenched, undermined, and retaken. Religious and political luminaries were variously beheaded and burned. An archetypally Orcan lack of compromise became characteristic of the entire debate over the future of Christendom.

So let us return at last to the square of Saturn to Neptune. The dispiriting pressure of Neptune undermines the organising quality of Saturn, making progress more difficult under this influence. Extra effort is required even when results are already slow to manifest. Indeed, a common experience of a Saturn–Neptune transit is to have to work twice as hard as usual just to stand still. Inevitably, this begets suffering, and suffering is therefore the key quality of this combination. At the same time, shifting to a non-attached perspective becomes harder, because we have to satisfy Saturn’s demand for hard work, responsibility, and patience in order to get Neptune’s redemption, relief, and absolution.

Saturn also formalises Neptune’s spiritual dimension; a good example of this is where laws might be made that dictate spiritual policy. As an example, note how the Saturn–Neptune square of May 23, 1532, finalised a series of legislations brought by Henry’s enforcer, Thomas Cromwell, to curb the power of the Catholic Church. On May 15th, just eight days before this final Saturn-Neptune square, the Submission of the Clergy decreed that the King was supreme over the church, and the power of Rome in English society was irreparably broken. At the ingress of the next series of Saturn-Neptune squares, in December 1538, Henry was excommunicated, and by its completion, Henry and Cromwell had together completed the dissolution of the monasteries.

So, taken together, we can see that the normal function of Saturn and Neptune is challenging enough, but when Orcus is thrown into the pot, the resulting gruel makes for a repast so unpalatable that only the strongest stomachs might digest it.

In the context of today, while there are different players, each with their unique exits and entrances, the broad themes are no different than those that caused the cataclysm of a half millennium ago. The theological and scriptural impasse is repeated. The burnings and the beheadings go on. Empires are threatened and great leaders weave tangled webs as history repeats itself. And the great opposition will occur once more — on January 13, 2016, to be precise — making a final t-square to Saturn in the process. The Islamic Reformation seems to be done, and all that remains is for hearts to harden and the dreadful apportioning of judgement to be meted out, on both sides, for, what is the stamping out of jihad if not the new crusades? In the purview of Neptune, Saturn makes doctrine and Orcus makes extremism. The resultant mix requires handling with extreme caution.

Footnotes:

(1) Editor’s note: “Orcus, discovered in 2004, is a transneptunian object known as a Plutino. This is a category of celestial bodies, first described in 1993, which are smaller than Pluto and follow a similar orbit.” (From Mary Plumb’s review of Jeremy Neal’s book, Orcus, TMA 10/13.)

(2) The sign and house of natal Orcus is where you learn to create authenticity in your life, often starting out from a weak position, but learning integrity and depth in this area.

(3) Wikipedia

(4) “Al-Qaeda planning militant Islamic state within Iraq” Sunday Times.

(5) The exact dates of the Neptune–Orcus opposition: April 7, 2012; July 17, 2012; March 15, 2013; August 15, 2013; February 24, 2014; November 9, 2014; February 5, 2015; October 7, 2015; January 13, 2016.

(6) David Cameron, October 9, 1966, 6:00 a.m., London, England. Rodden Rating: A.

(7) Reuters

(8) On September 11, 1514, Neptune was at 15°39′ Aquarius, Orcus at 21°38′ Leo, and Saturn at 21°38′ Scorpio.

Bio: Jeremy Neal is an astrologer living in Durham, England. He is the author of Orcus (reviewed in TMA 10/13), available via Amazon in paperback or Kindle. See Jeremy’s blog: The Chirotic Journals

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Some thoughts on the astrological houses: Placidus, Equal — or what?

By Anne Whitaker | November 30, 2015

Sooner or later, it dawns on the student or budding astrologer that the method of dividing the space in a horoscope into 12 sectors or spheres of life, known as houses, poses some problems.

Firstly, since there are a number of different house systems, which should you choose? 

Secondly, to a varying degree, depending on your chart, planets can move house. In my chart, for instance, using the Equal House system, I have six planets in the 12th house. However, when I first saw my horoscope in Placidus houses, one planet of those planets, my ruler Mercury, had migrated to the 11th house. O joy! I need all the help I can get here, I thought then. But, as you will soon see, it’s not as simple as that.

Then there is a further problem. In Placidus, the MC/IC axis always defines the cusp of the 10th/4th houses. If you use Equal Houses, the MC/IC axis can fall within any pair of houses, from the 8th/2nd to the 11th/5th. How do you deal with that? 

I have worked with only two systems over the years, Equal House and Placidus, the most commonly used ones in the U.K. I used Equal House from the early 1980s perfectly happily, finding that the system worked well for me. Then I changed to Placidus in 1995. I didn’t choose it for any carefully thought out philosophical reasons; it was simply the system used in the Diploma course I was doing. Now, in 2015, I am moving back to using Equal House again — for philosophical reasons this time, as you will see shortly.

A class experiment
Ever since a small group of my “old” students persuaded me to run a refresher class in August 2014, I have enjoyed returning to teaching astrology. Those students were all very rusty and wanted to cover the basics again. Inevitably, the question of house division came up. Having covered the core meanings of the houses in an introductory class, we recently spent a whole tutorial looking in more detail at the issue of house division. 

The methods I adopted on this occasion were twofold: firstly, I gave the class copies of their charts in Equal House to compare with their existing Placidus charts. Then I drew up a grid for each chart, of which we all had a copy. This listed all the planets, Chiron and the North Node as well as the pair of houses through which the Equal House MC/I C axis ran. Thus, we could see at a glance those features which stayed the same in both systems, and which ones changed. In some charts, many features changed. In others, such as my own, there was very little difference. 

We worked our way around everyone in the small group, discussing how interpretations might change, and most importantly, how much that mattered by potentially altering the emphasis on key horoscope themes.

For instance, the Moon in one student’s horoscope changed from the Placidus 9th house (a location she really liked for her Moon, being both a teacher and an education junkie!) to the 10th by Equal House, which emphasised the importance of her vocational/career life, but not the dimensions of teaching and learning which are both 9th-house concerns. However, we pointed out to her that this didn’t really matter in terms of overall accuracy of interpretation; she really was very well endowed with Jupiterian energy anyway, given her Moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aries, as well as her Sun’s square to Jupiter.

This was just one example in which, whatever shift we saw of planets from one house to another, there was invariably an underlying theme in the birth chart, so that the emphasis being slightly shifted in one context made little if any difference to the overall accuracy of interpretation of the whole horoscope. Interestingly, more than half of our small group, despite my having worked with all students with Placidus since 1995, said they preferred the relative simplicity of the Equal House system.

In my own case, although ruling planet Mercury moved from the sociable, group-oriented Placidus 11th house to join five other planets in the reclusive 12th by Equal House, I have an exact semi-square from Mercury to 10th-house Uranus in both systems. Uranus also strongly aspects the Sun and Moon, so the Aquarian/Uranian/11th house “tone” remains strongly emphasised. The Mercury energy also flows from the 12th house in an exact sextile to Neptune, and a square to 3rd-house Jupiter in both systems. So any reclusive tendencies brought about by the move into the 12th are augmented by other horoscope factors!

The students could see from our small experiment something that is fundamental to the accurate reading of any horoscope: strong themes will shine through, whatever way you divide up the circle. As U.K astrologer Robin Heath so memorably observed in TMA a number of years ago: “…astrology appears more and more to behave like a hologram. You can perform almost any technique with the data, turn the chart inside out or slice it up, and still the symbolic pictures remain….” (1) Both this statement and our class experiment bore out the conclusion to which I had arrived some time ago. It doesn’t really matter much what system you use — you will get the same overall picture.


Houses for different approaches

Some astrologers use different house systems for different purposes. Since the Equal House system is based on the Ascendant/Descendant axis, which is the axis of “Here I am in relation to you,” this system can be used when the client wishes specifically to address matters pertaining to relationship. 

Since the IC /MC axis can be seen as an arrow flowing from the person’s deepest self and origins (IC) to their future direction (MC), issues of roots, vocation, and life direction are most appropriately contemplated, some astrologers think, via the Placidus lens, since that system can be seen to emphasise the MC/IC.
Also, although I have never worked with the Koch system, I know that some astrologers swear by the accuracy of its house cusps in plotting transits and progressions. 

The Equal House MC/IC “problem”?
The placing of inverted commas above gives you a clue that I do not see the shifting placement of the MC/IC axis in the Equal House system as a problem at all. Quite the opposite: I think that working with the MC/IC axis against the backdrop of either the 2nd/8th, 3rd/9th, 4th/10th, or the 5th/11th adds a layer of richness to the interpretation of the MC/IC which, of course, should remain just as focal and important in the Equal House system as in any other where the MC/IC is always the cusp of the 10th/4th houses.

For example, I have often encountered clients or students with 2nd/8th backdrops in professions involving finance and collective money, and those with 4th/10th backdrops having a strong life focus on career/vocation. With the 5th/11th backdrop emphasised, I’ve often found “creative” types who work co-operatively and collaboratively in the pursuit of their careers. In my case, the 3rd/9th backdrop is highly appropriate, since writing and higher education have been central to all the diverse vocational paths I have pursued throughout my working life. 

Equal House: the return
In conclusion, the students were very keen to know why I had decided to return to working with the Equal House system.  For giving me the final shove in that direction, I want to thank Phoebe Wyss and her excellent recent book, Inside the Cosmic Mind. I would urge any astrology student or practitioner to read this book if they are inclined to perceive astrology as a “top down” art, the practice of which reveals that we are expressing in micro form the shifting macro patterns of the whole cosmos.

In Phoebe Wyss’ words: 
“Archetypal astrology is an approach to astrological chart interpretation that is based on this cosmological view. The meanings of the chart factors such as zodiac signs, houses, and planets are then seen to derive from the twelve basic categories of meaning associated with the astrological archetypes. These fundamental cosmic principles and their inter-relationships are symbolised in the geometry of the zodiac …” (2)

Wyss’ book — which builds on the recent work of Richard Tarnas, Kieron Le Grice, and other pioneers in the field of archetypal cosmology — has taken me back and regrounded me in the basic geometry of sacred numbers, whose symbolism reflects the core shaping principles or archetypes governing the movement of energy throughout the whole cosmos. The number 12 is one of those sacred numbers. 

From that symbolic, geometric perspective, dividing the inner space of the horoscope symbolically into 12 equal parts seems more appropriate than using any other house system, including Placidus, whose devising arises purely from measurements limited by the view from planet Earth in relation to the solar system in our tiny corner of space/time. 

Footnotes:
(1) The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 78, April/May 1998, Letters, p. 11.
(2) Phoebe Wyss, Inside the Cosmic Mind, Floris Books, 2014, p. 93.

Bio: Anne Whitaker is an astrologer, astrology teacher, and writer based in Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. Anne blogs at Writing from the Twelfth House, and Astrology: Questions and Answers. Her two FREE research studies “Jupiter Meets Uranus” and “The Moon’s Nodes in Action” can be downloaded from astro.com or either of her blogs.

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Paris — The City of Light Is Shocked

By Mary Plumb | November 16, 2015

I was imagining a gentle and subtle conversation about Saturn and Neptune for this week’s blog when world events took another dramatic turn. With the aim of offering astrological perspectives to TMA’s wide readership, we decided to link to some early commentators on the terrible event in Paris. (If this is too soon after the event for analysis for some of you, maybe just scroll to the song at the very bottom.)

Leah Whitehorse at Lua Astrology articulates many specific planetary aspects in the horoscope of the attack in Paris, including Uranus at the apex of a yod aspect and the Sabian symbol for the rising sign. She concludes by noting the significance of the south node moving into Pisces with these words:
“But if we really want change in the world, each of us must look to the details of our own lives, to resolve our own conflicts, to deal with our own inner demons, to shake off our fears of the unknown. The politics surrounding who did what to whom and why is mind-boggling and we may never know the entire truth of what is really going on. With the South Node entering Pisces, it is too easy to despair, but our collective task is not to give in but instead pick up the pieces and make this a better world.”

Here is an interview with Jean Jullien, the artist who created this image: Paris/peace symbol
“I can’t say I’m happy because it’s such a tragedy and such a horrible event,” he says. “I can just say that in all this horror there’s something positive that people are coming together in a sense of unity and peace.”

British astrologer Steve Judd has a short video on the event:

An article called Why attack Paris? is on the web site Astrology in Crime, hosted by an anonymous writer, Mountain Misst. This blog focuses first on the horoscope for France (the 5th Republic, October 6, 1958) and considers the asteroids and Black Moon Lilith. The attack chart is also written about in detail. “The 22 degree features strongly once again with the ascendant/horizon axis at 22°36′ Cancer (security breach).”

Tara Greene’s Pray for Paris – The Astrology of the Terrorist Attacks begins by a delineation of the chart for France: “France’s Moon at 21 degrees Cancer in the 4th house is all about food. It’s so feminine, home-loving and all about nurturing, very emotional and sentimental. The French are not known to be fighters, but defenders.”
She expresses a clear point of view in looking at the chart for the attack and what is ahead. “As I predicted last year and continue to predict for 2016, large scale detention camps will be set up in all major European cities and in the U.S. to detain Muslims and any suspected radical groups as a result of these acts of terrorism. Borders will be closed all over Europe. Astrologically, Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces will be a huge wake-up call for strong borders and to stop Sagittarius refugees, and the end of the Pisces compassion that has been shown by allowing religious fanatics so much freedom. This then allows them to become Pisces martyrs and internal enemies (like cancer cells) and we also then become their martyrs.”

Alison Gunn, Ph.D at Beyond the Stars, includes Arabic Parts in her quite detailed assessment. Among her points: “Further, the Arabic Part or Lot of Death is also conjunct the North Node, in Libra at 1°46′. This grouping falls in the 4th house within 1 – 3 degrees of the Imum Coeli, what I see as the most sensitive point in the chart, since it represents the ‘dark underbelly’ of hidden, deeply-felt psychological motivations.
The Arabic Part of Suicide (three of the assassins wore suicide vests, and apparently seven out of eight of the killers committed suicide) at 27°22′ Gemini, falls in square to the Node/Mars/Part of Death (from the 12th house to the 4th house/IC).”

Mundane astrologer Ed Tamplin begins his weekly blog: “It’s very difficult running any commentary on the Friday 13 events of Paris. It’s difficult dissecting any human tragedy. Life is not supposed to be the theatre of war. Neither was the Bataclan Concert Hall. In an instant it became one. A series of six coordinated attacks from 9:16 p.m. brought the horrors of the Middle East reigning down upon the City of Lights. Paris became a war zone.”

Adam Elenbaas at Nightlight Astrology writes his thoughts in Paris Attacks and the Saturn-Neptune Square. “First, let’s remember that the Saturn-Neptune square easily creates the feeling of simple, obvious victims and simple, obvious enemies. Scapegoats, martyrs, sinners, and saints. Black and white. And this is the stark literalism of Saturn as well as the deluded or intoxicated haze and victimhood of Neptune. To put it simply, there are bombs being dropped on innocent people by ‘democracies’ day in and day out, and these events are justified because of similarly extreme beliefs that uphold the western/capitalist/consumerist/materialist way of life. We are just as fiercely complicit in ideological violence (or at least we should sincerely consider this if we haven’t) as any other group. Our finger may not be on the triggers, but that’s because we’ve dissolved the cold feeling of the trigger with the Neptunian warmth of media, film, wealth, and Starbucks idealism about the reality of things (notice the Saturn-Neptune themes again!).”

 
If you like Michael Franti, here is a song that has a special poignancy now: Hey World, (Don’t Give Up)

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