Treasury Department at the Full Moon

Last week my blog took a more pleasurable turn — towards Venus and her potential to charm — but today I am looking again at the U.S. Sibly and President Obama’s charts.

Obama has had several aspects in his progressed chart perfect in these past few months. Perfected progressed aspects are always significant in a life time; since they move slowly and gradually, once they are exact, an important life theme may be noted. Looking back a bit, in June 2008 his progressed Mercury conjoined progressed Mars at 23° Libra, aligned with the beautiful fixed star, Spica.

Progressed Mercury (23° Libra) squared progressed Saturn (23° Capricorn) on November 11, a few days after the election. This is certainly the signature of serious business at hand, an inner readiness to face Saturn’s realities, and maybe even the ability to be gracious, eloquent and inspiring at the same time (Mercury in Libra with Spica).

Now, Obama’s progressed Mars (ruler of the Aries progressed Ascendant) is square to progressed Saturn. This was exact on March 3, within a few days of front-page news (and photos) of Obama’s hair starting to turn white since the inauguration. Leave it to Saturn to leave his mark of sobriety and gravitas whenever he can.

My interest was piqued this weekend by an NPR report saying that the administration has been caught off guard by the magnitude of the problems and that the financial crisis is happening so quickly that events are running away from them. A New York Times article this morning made similar points. Basically, the staff, i.e., the people needed to run the Treasury Department, is not in place to deal with the complexity of problems.

Granted, the Treasury Department has inherited an unprecedented mess. “With the economy plunging into its deepest recession since the early 1980s, the Treasury has been put in charge of vast swaths of the economy, including rescuing the financial system, the housing market and the automobile industry.” (1)

We know that one keynote of this time is the ongoing opposition between Saturn and Uranus. The necessity of keeping systems and structures (Saturn) up and running, and at the same time, flexible enough to respond to unprecedented challenge (Uranus), is obvious everywhere we look.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, was born in the same month as the president. (2) Both are sun sign Leos — Geithner was born on August 18, 1961, and the President on August 4. Obama has already had the transit of Neptune opposite the natal Sun (2003-04). Geithner has the Sun conjunct Uranus and the North Node, suggesting a unique capacity for visionary leadership. However, the transit of Neptune opposite his Sun will be exact for the first time on March 19, then in August 2009 and Jan 2010. Hopefully, this Neptune transit will increase the Secretary’s ability to surround himself with people of creative imagination, and diminish any tendency to deny what is happening in the economy.

Being an astrologer attuned to Pluto’s just-beginning long passage in Capricorn, I generally agree with commentators who say that the government is not recognizing what is really going on, i.e., the depth of change that is necessary to address the demands of the time.

I think many of us recognize that the people in charge need to think differently and act quickly in response to what is unraveling. I found it disheartening that the same Wall Street minds who, in part, are responsible for the financial mess were chosen by the Obama administration to fix it. (Geithner was former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, currently working in the Treasury Department, were secretaries of the Treasury under Bill Clinton.)

And, I think that much of the current criticism of the President is childish; this is a long-term problem and there will be no quick fixes. I also trust something about Obama — his presence, his heart, his capacity to sense the future, not to mention the astrology that ties him so strongly to this moment in history.

President Obama gave his very well received address to Congress on February 24, within a few days of Jupiter’s one-time exact opposition to his regal Leo Sun. (If you missed it and want to see Jupiter at his best, watch it on YouTube.  It may very well lift your spirits. (3)

Interrupted continuously by standing ovations, this was Jupiter on display with a Leo Sun. Most reporters praised the talk as striking the right tone between optimism (i.e., “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before”) and a sober assessment of the country’s economy.

A quick sketch of the U.S. chart reminds us of some of the rough roads ahead: The first exact transit of Pluto opposite the U.S. Venus at 3° Cancer is not until May 2, to be followed by partile aspects again on December 26 and August 9, 2010. To say that actual loss of assets – as well as a pervasive fear of even greater loss – is a nationwide concern might be an understatement.

Saturn rules the U.S. second house, which symbolizes the banks and financial institutions of the nation. In August 2009, when transiting Saturn gets to 22°25’ Virgo it will conjunct the U.S. natal Neptune. Looking back for a moment, on December 31, 2008 transiting Saturn stationed retrograde at 21°46’ Virgo, within a degree of the U.S. Neptune. But it doesn’t cross exactly until August. This certainly gives credence to the widespread suggestion that many more U.S. banks will fail before we are out of the woods.

The U.S. progressed Moon (how the people feel now) is square both natal and progressed Uranus. Next week, on March 19, the progressed Moon (6°59’ Virgo) is square progressed Uranus (6°59’ Gemini). On May 16, the Moon’s square to natal Uranus is exact (8°55’ Virgo to 8°55’ Gemini). We all know that Virgo has a tendency to worry, and squares in mutable signs can increase nervous energy and heighten anxiety. The national psyche has the jitters; we can’t find anything to settle in to. CNBC commentators notwithstanding, maybe the whole country should switch to decaf for these next few months.

Notes:

(1) Geithner, With Few Aides, Is Scrambling

(2) Timothy Geithner’s birthday, August 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, found on his Facebook page.

(3) Many thanks to my good friend, Peggy Markel, for the suggestion.

Venus Stops and Looks in the Mirror

Venus, planet of beauty and love, is remarkable in the evening sky now. On February 27, she reached her maximum brilliance of 4.8 magnitude and, if you’ve had clear nights where you live, you’ve been able to see her at her very best.

She’s now as far from the Sun as she can be; she stands on her own out of the Sun’s rays and appears at her brightest. Venus is following the Sun; she appears after the Sun has set in the western sky. When she reaches this far distance from the Sun, she is also moving very slowly and about to turn retrograde. (Venus goes retrograde every 18 months for about 40 days each time.)

On March 6 Venus stations at 15° Aries and starts her deliberate walk all the way back to 29° Pisces.  (She actually gets to the degree of her station direct on April 11.) Since she is moving very slowly again, Venus stays at 29° Pisces until she moves direct on April 17.

Venus is the Evening Star now; the Greek astrologers called her Venus Hesperus (i.e., “setting in the West”). As she stops and goes retrograde, Venus is moving closer to the Sun. As she gets closer to the Sun she is less visible, and Venus will disappear from the sky for about two weeks beginning around March 23. Still retrograde, she will reappear in the sky before sunrise on April 3, now the Morning Star, or Venus Lucifer (“the light bearer” to the Greeks).

This period, when Venus disappears from the sky, was famously important to the Mayan astrologers who saw it as Venus’s descent into the underworld. The Babylonian astrologers considered Venus’s reappearance in the morning sky as the time to go to war.

Significantly, during the time Venus is invisible, she will conjunct the Sun. This occurs on March 27: Venus retrograde conjuncts the Sun at 7°16’ Aries. This is an important moment in this backtracking process. For all of us, Venus going back to meet the Sun suggests an opportunity to align our desires and our sense of delight with our creative purpose. The Sun symbolizes the drive for realization and fulfillment of purpose in each of us. Venus is in Aries, pioneering her own way, and impetuous and eager for the newest pleasure. She’s stopping soon, though; she can’t go any farther and must reevaluate and reconsider what it is she really wants. With the infusion of solar intent on March 27, we may find ourselves hearing a deeper — or subtler — call to what is our true heart’s desire. Whatever comes into our minds or hearts at that time may be showing us a notion of happiness that is truly sustainable.

Venus will go back to the very poignant last degree of Pisces. From April 12 to 23, Venus stays at 29° Pisces. This is in her sign of exaltation and a critical degree.  It’s as if we’re collectively reclaiming some deep sorrow, offering, or sacrifice. If that degree is sensitive in your chart, it may be a deeply personal experience of an exquisite yearning for love, tinged perhaps with an awareness of loss or impermanence, that somehow is revisited or rediscovered. Transiting Mars is also conjunct Venus on April 21 at 29° Pisces. Certainly that will be a passionate moment for some; a union of the masculine drive and feminine desire nature suggests a powerfully creative force. Venus, after all, has gone back to allow her mythological consort Mars to catch her again. The personal desire nature is focused and strong; how will we direct it?

Venus is now at 15° Aries, the degree of her station on the 6th, and her stories are starting to appear.  I’m thinking about a few people I know well and seeing hints of the retrograde themes thus far. One friend with Taurus rising has Venus stationing retrograde in her 12th house, near natal Juno in Aries. In a conversation this morning, she said she was feeling drawn to have a past life regression, or some sort of process to uncover what it is from the past that is impacting her current relationship life. Her natal ruler, Venus, is in Sagittarius, which is inclined to keep looking forward; this desire to look back and in to find a possible hidden motivation is not her usual style.

Someone else has Libra at the Midheaven. Venus is now turning retrograde in her 4th house and will cross back over the nadir before going direct. This person is weighing what she really wants to do in her career. A newly diagnosed health issue has suddenly gotten her attention. (Venus also rules Taurus, which is on the cusp of her natal 6th house of illness.)  She told me that she’s feeling like she needs to discover what she really loves to do and make that part of her work life.  She has made the association that when she figures out the next career move, it must be toward what she really loves to insure her health will improve. (She is not an astrologer.)

A gentleman (with natal North Node in Aries in the 5th) has been in a relationship for several years and has felt certain about wanting to move forward with a more serious commitment. Taurus is on his 7th-house cusp. Now, as Venus is slowing down and becoming more guarded and deliberate, his partner is talking about a commitment and my friend is suddenly unsure. He says this sudden feeling of caution has surprised him.

Another person I’ve spoken to recently also has Venus ruling the 7th house. She is happily married and feels confident with her partner, but she’s noticing that her circle of friends may be changing. There are friends in her life to whom she suddenly is not feeling connected. Nothing traumatic or difficult has occurred, just a gentle and gradual awareness that her values and her life have changed and certain people may not remain as close as they have been before.

We can all look to the houses ruled by Taurus and Libra to see where we have a chance to carefully reevaluate what we have and what we may really want. The degrees of Venus’s stations are also very important; in this cycle, that is 15° Aries and 29° Pisces.  In her regular motion Venus moves about a degree everyday. With the retrograde cycle, she moves slowly and spends about 12 days in each of those sensitive degrees.

Look in your own chart for where these degrees fall. If you have planets or angles at 15° Aries or 29° Pisces, this period will be especially important and personal for you.

For all of us, Venus retrograde is a chance to look again at what we cherish, to let assumptions about what is dear to us fall away, to acknowledge what has changed, and to move onward with confidence that our real heart’s desires are within our grasp.

For a wonderful sojourn with Venus, I highly recommend Anne Massey’s Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols and Myths. She explains beautifully the geometry of Venus’s stations in the sky and a great deal more. I reviewed it for TMA here.

The Seventh Harmonic

On February 19, Neptune and Pluto were exactly septile. This is just one in the current series of septiles between the two planets (beginning in 2001 and ending in 2012). The septile is a 7th-harmonic aspect, which is 1/7 of 360°, or 51°26′. This time, transiting Saturn has also been in a 7th-harmonic aspect with each planet – it is biseptile (103°) to Pluto and triseptile (154°) to Neptune.

What to make of all these crazy numbers?

First, let’s consider the number seven: In mathematical terms, it is an irrational number, i.e., a number that cannot be represented as a simple fraction, a number that is “uncountable.” To the mind of the symbolic thinker, the number is associated with all that is strange and unusual.

To quote an anonymous web author: “If we were to examine every class of occult teaching from the Hindu, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, or modern school, whichever one may choose, in every case – and without a single exception – we will find that the quality of the number 7 stands for the expression of that mysterious God force in Nature.”  (1)

We get a glimpse here of why astrologers associate the septile with larger forces of destiny at work, or fated events.

While trying to get a grasp of the septile aspect, I went back to John Addey (1920 – 1982), a key voice in bringing Pythagorean understanding of numbers into modern astrology. He wrote Harmonics in Astrology in 1976; it is now back in print after many years. He writes that the number seven (and the 7th harmonic)  ”is a difficult number to pin down” and “somewhat elusive to interpret.”

I tend to trust him in this matter, as the gentleman had two natal septiles: between Saturn in Virgo (6°) and Mercury in Cancer (14°), and between Jupiter in Leo (15°) and the Sun in Gemini (24°). (2)

More recently, Michael Meyer and Edward Gillam have written extensively and thoughtfully on the topic.

Closer to home, TMA publisher Tem Tarriktar wrote in his 2004 article that it was the “dominant planetary aspect of this decade.”  Do read it here, as Tem references the aspects’ previous appearances at significant moments in history. I also mentioned this septile in an earlier article, having been taken with Robert Wilkinson’s name for it: the aspect of “grand irrationality.”

And now, here we are with the aspect partile in the sky again. Almost all of the earlier partile aspects in this series (16 out of the 17 aspects that formed between 2001 and 2008) had Pluto in Sagittarius, and now Pluto is solidly in Capricorn.

Whereas barely a few months ago, media outlets hedged around suggesting any similarity between the current situation and the Great Depression, now, with Pluto firmly ensconced in Capricorn and joined by Saturn, there is a media fixation on the worldwide financial meltdown, and words such as “collapse” and  “catastrophe” are part of the daily headlines. In an article called “Soros sees no bottom for world financial ‘collapse,’ ” published on the very day the septile was exact, for example, financier George Soros said, “the world financial system has effectively disintegrated,” adding that “there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. (3)

This is occurring at the same time that others are anticipating widespread euphoria about the Age of Aquarius: “When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars,” etc.  Although Jupiter and Mars have been conjunct in Aquarius many times since 1900, now Mercury, Neptune, Chiron, and the North Node are there as well. This is a moment when the Aquarian capacity to unleash heretofore untapped creative potential for the good of the whole is quickened enormously.

Neptune and Pluto, the higher octave planets, have us feeling as if we’re on a precipice. Joined by Saturn, the feeling is tangible. In many sectors, people are deeply anxious; there is a pervasive fear of what’s ahead. Others are tuning in to the great possibilities and mysteries of an unborn magnificence that our time is about to witness.

Many of us are experiencing both, along with other strange permutations as well!

I’d like to include a heartening interpretation of Neptune septile Pluto (as if it appears in your natal chart) from the book Astrology 101: Beginner’s Guide to Reading Your Chart by Gyan Surya.  (4)

“You have a destiny to fulfill as a midwife of the spirit, having the need and ability to transform and transmute the deepest reaches of your being. This is felt as a divine imperative in your life, and despite any personal sacrifice, you never waver from the path. It is your mission, and you realize you are meant to share the fruits of your efforts to assist others with their transformation. You have great insight, compassion, understanding, and imagination, as well as a profound acceptance of and reverence for the cycles of life, death, rebirth, and transformation. You gravitate naturally to the role of the spiritual surgeon, supporting and nurturing while also prodding, testing, and tempering. You are deeply committed to penetrate through illusion and uncover the bare, unvarnished truth. Any work in the area of depth psychology would be ideal for you. You may often be aware of the hand of Spirit guiding your decisions and directing your process of unfoldment.”

Many thanks to my sister, Kate, a very fine astrologer, for suggesting this septile as a topic for a blog. And to my esteemed colleagues and good friends, Tem Tarriktar and Robert Blaschke, for taking time for conversations with me as I tried to formulate my thoughts on such a big idea. Thank you all. This blog is truly a group effort. Yeh Aquarius!

References:

(1) the number seven

(2) John Addey, June 15, 1920; 8:15 am BST; Barnsley, England (53N23, 1W28); birth data:  “A”

(3) Reuters article

(4) Astrology 101

Hugh Hefner: Leader of an Empire

After reading a short interview with Hugh Hefner in Time magazine, I became curious about his 8th house and decided to investigate.

Hugh Hefner is the famous American entrepreneur who founded Playboy magazine in 1953. He is now a film producer and book publisher; he owns a record company, theaters, a model agency, gambling casinos, and a limo service — and he also markets Playboy bunny paraphernalia. (You’ve undoubtedly seen those mud flaps with the image of a Playboy bunny on trucks in the U.S.). By the time Hefner was 40, he was worth well over $100 million.

He was raised in Puritanical fashion by Methodist parents in a typical Midwestern home. It would seem that he has fallen pretty far from the tree, though. In 1960, he founded the Playboy Club and began to live the lifestyle that is now typified by the word “playboy.” Let’s see what his chart can tell us.

Hugh Hefner, April 9, 1926; 4:20 p.m. CST; Chicago, IL, USA (41°N51’, 87°W39’); AA: Birth certificate in hand.

Hefner has no planets in the 8th house — only Chiron.

Hefner chart

Since he was raised in a household where demonstration of affection was not allowed, perhaps the presence of the Wounded Healer means that intimate relations with other humans (of the feminine persuasion) serve to compensate for the lack he suffered in childhood. But he has the Sun in Aries (close to the 8th-house cusp), so whatever he does, he will do it his way. The Aries Sun, ruled by Mars, symbolizes intimacy based on eroticism.

Hefner has Mars in the 5th house of play, and Mars is in Aquarius, lending him detachment (as opposed to intimacy). Since Hefner brags that he has slept with at least 1,000 women, he does not appear to favor longevity in his sexual relations.

He is definitely in a Venusian business, and he has the Moon and Venus in sensitive Pisces. In our culture, the expression of vulnerability is not appreciated in the male of the species, so Piscean men tend to hide their sensitive nature. The Moon in Pisces speaks of dissolving boundaries — ignoring or rebelling against societal rules, which Hefner certainly did when he first pushed the envelope of allowable nudity in a respectable magazine. He is quoted as saying: “I never intended to be a revolutionary. My intention was to create a mainstream men’s magazine that included sex in it. That turned out to be a very revolutionary idea.”

It is interesting that he has Puritanical Virgo on the Ascendant, but that placement would certainly give him a strong work ethic.

I would certainly expect to find a prominent Jupiter in this man’s chart. Well, it’s in the 5th house, where it exaggerates the recreational aspects of sex. And he has inflatable Jupiter square Saturn in Scorpio in his chart.

Lastly, Hefner has Uranus on the cusp of the 7th, leading to unconventional relationships. But this man is beyond unconventional; he himself did quite a bit to demolish the existing conventions in the 1950s, when he first pioneered his own unique recipe for success in a male-dominated world.

 

Biographical data is from Lois Rodden’s AstroDatabank software.

Jan de Prosse is Managing Editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine.

Eclipses and the President

The January 26 solar eclipse was at 6°30’ Aquarius, exactly conjunct President Obama’s natal Saturn/Ascendant midpoint (6°41’ Aquarius). The Saturn/Ascendant midpoint speaks of self-confidence, responsibility and serious personal demands, as well as suggesting a hint of isolation and sensitivity to confinement. Occurring so soon after the oath of office, we can assume this to be one of the keynotes of his term. This eclipse was also conjunct the US Sibly second house South Node (6°36’Aquarius), i.e., “Where did all the money go?”

On February 6, a news article began with the question: “Is President Obama already feeling cooped up in the White House?” (Yes, according to the White House press secretary, his boss is “a restless soul.” (A reflection also, I think, of natal Sun square Neptune.)

Today’s Full Moon eclipse (21° Leo/Aquarius) is on the President’s Ascendant, 18°03’ Aquarius and Descendant, 18°03’ Leo. His progressed Moon (20° Aquarius) is also in this eclipse lineup. This is surely giving him a great surge of energy, as well as indicating the correctness of him going out selling his stimulus plan to the public. i.e., the Moon. There is a town-hall meeting today in Indiana, a press conference scheduled for tonight, and another trip scheduled for tomorrow to Florida.

A report from this morning in Indiana: “Making his case in the most dire terms, President Barack Obama said that if Congress does not quickly pass an economic stimulus package, the nation will slip into a crisis so deep that ‘we may be unable to reverse’ it.”

It’s interesting that the President’s natal Venus is at 1°47 Cancer, so transiting Pluto opposed it for the first time on January 15. (The exact aspect repeats on June 30 and November 17 of this year.) The US Sibly Venus is slightly later by degree, at 3°06’ Cancer. Pluto will perfect the opposition for the first time on March 8, to be followed by four more exact aspects, i.e, on May 2 and December 26, and then again in August and October 2010.

I realize the stimulus plan has not only been watered down in concession to conservatives, but is also complex and open to criticism from many different fronts, but I am inclined to trust Obama about the urgency of the matter. His personal Venus has already experienced the need to change in the deepest ways imaginable, while we as a country have a long confrontation with Pluto ahead of us.

Saturn stationed retrograde on December 31 at 21°46’ Virgo, within a degree of Obama’s natal Mars (22°35’ Virgo). Mars (with Pluto) rules his Midheaven at 28°53’ Scorpio. Saturn will be exactly on his Mars just once, on August 28, 2009. Transiting Uranus opposed natal Mars, ruler of the Midheaven, on June 12 and July 10, 2008, and makes the last opposition on March 12 of this year.

This suggests that Obama’s public role (i.e., signified by Mars) is very much being played out in the story of the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition, which was, of course, exact for the first time on Election Day. The second (of five) exact Saturn-Uranus oppositions was on February 5 when opposition to the President’s stimulus plans reached a crescendo in Washington. Republican lawmakers were very vocal in their disapproval of the plan, saying, in part, that we need to slow down the process. This of course comes after Rush Limbaugh’s notorious statement (on January 21) that he wants Obama “to fail.”

Okay, everyone, we can do better than this. Let’s try elevating the dialogue of Saturn-Uranus on to remembering the great creative possibilities inherent in seeing that we really are in this together!

Hello TMA Readers

Hope you are enjoying our February/March 2009 issue, and look forward to your comments on the articles, especially the articles exploring the Lunar Nodes in-depth. Feel free to post any comments about that issue, or the magazine in general, here. We are currently working on the April/May issue, which includes a major article on President Obama’s chart.

I wanted to write a quick note to call your attention to three new things available on this site. First, we have posted an article written by expert financial astrologer Ray Merriman from our October/November 2005 issue. In that article, he projected likely economic trends and events in the years ahead. Second, we posted the entire June/July 2007 issue as a free pdf download, so that visitors to this site can view a complete sample issue of TMA. Third, we have a special Back Issue sale in effect through March 31; you can get them for only $3.50 each, plus shipping charges. In our “Back Issues” section, you can view the table of contents of the 50 issues we still have available, dating back to 1999. If you are new to TMA, this is an incredible opportunity to get these for your library before even more of these gems go out of print.

We also plan to update our article index in early February, to make it easier to find more of your favorite topics and authors in astrology. And finally, many thanks to our webmaster Mary Plumb for her fortitude in keeping this site updated!
Tem Tarriktar
TMA Publisher

Obama’s Inaugural

What a tribute to a very public Mercury retrograde as we watched the eloquent President Obama taking the oath of office and stopping to sort out the garbled words! (Not to mention repeating the oath the next day.) The very public event was watched by 38 million TV viewers, the most to watch a presidential inauguration since Reagan’s first inaugural in 1981. (Mr. Bush’s second inaugural in 2005 had the lowest rating since records have been kept – 15 million.)

Mercury’s prominence is seen astrologically – it is the most elevated planet as well as Cazimi (the “heart of the Sun” i.e., within 17 minutes of arc) with the Sun, giving it maximum strength and brilliance.

The chart for the oath on the following day has Virgo rising and the chart ruler, Mercury, back into Capricorn. This is a more sober chart, with an emphasis on hard work and service.  Apparently, the President offered to just do it again as a precaution against any attempts to discredit the first oath. Maybe it was an easy moment for Obama’s Gemini Moon to speak: let’s just have two? Why not?

So far, my personal favorite Mercury retrograde statement is the report on the condition of the Bush administration’s woefully inept computer systems: Obama’s Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages. To quote the essence of the article: “Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.”

How’s that for a snapshot of an Aquarius stellium, with Mercury heading back into Capricorn?

There are lots of wonderful comments out there regarding the inauguration. A good place to start is with Jeff Jawer’s Inauguration Confusion and Competence. Jeff finds a big connection between today’s solar eclipse and Chief Justice John Roberts’s natal horoscope.

Jude Cowell has some words on the historical meaning of the Void-of-Course Moon, and an astute observation about the VOC Moon at this inaugural.

British astrologer Dharmaruci posted a clear, non-technical article several weeks ago on the inaugural chart. (He also looks at Obama’s natal chart and that of the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.)

Terry Lamb’s Astro-Pol blog is rocking with a four-part series on Obama’s first term, including key dates for him in these next four years. (She also has a post on the Mercury redux of the oath.)

Fixed star watchers must read Bernadette Brady’s article on the stars at the inauguration. This extensive article looks back at previous Inaugurations and what has transpired as the date and place of the U.S. presidential inauguation has changed over time. Her views on the “melody of place” are unique and evocative, as is Darrelyn Gunzburg’s “When the Crown Prince becomes a King: the Journey of Barack Obama.” Both articles are part of the January 2009 issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter at the same link.

Astrologer Lynn Hayes posted Happy Inauguration Day! A look at the chart for the US on January 20th. She considers transits to the U.S. Sibly chart, especially Pluto square the Midheaven and the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition.

For those readers who enjoy astrological detail, here’s a splendid, specifically timed analysis of the inauguration. Martin Bulgerin takes us through the timing of Obama’s address to the nation, including minor aspects, the Galactic Center degree, and major asteroids. He even has the precise time that Mr. Bush boarded the heliocopter for the last time!

I hope I found something for everyone in this assortment of bloggers.

Enjoy yourselves, and please do come back with a quick (or long and thoughtful!) comment. We love to hear from you.

Yeah, Aquarius!

Tomorrow is the big day and the symbolism of the Inaugural Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius is blazing brightly over the land and being reported all over the media.

There are many polls, blogs and interviews about the vivid sense of optimism and hope felt around the country. For example (Happy Birthday, Dr. King) a CNN poll found that more than “two-thirds of African-Americans believe Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for race relations has been fulfilled”. (This is sharply up from a survey in early 2008, when, as astrologers remember, Jupiter was in Capricorn.)

There’s a multi-media feature on the N.Y. Times web site featuring “What are your hopes for Obama?” Responses have been organized into 29 “hopes” which have both written and audio comments from more than 200 people in 14 states. (The listed “hopes”, by the way, include such topics, as Ending the War, College Tuition, Border Security, Environment, etc. You can add a comment to an existing topic, or add a new category of “hope.”)

What a great demonstration of Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron and the North Node in Aquarius. (The Sun, with its vigor and purpose, enters the sign today at 2:41 pm (PT). Aquarius, of course, is the sign of the zodiac that relishes community and communication, and has the technological wits to pull it off for everyone.

As far as Mercury being retrograde, which many people have asked me about, I think it’s clear that the Obama administration will be going back over (and re-thinking) decisions and policies made by the Bush administration. When at its best, Jupiter in Aquarius is concerned with civil rights and human liberty. The Sun is high in the sky with Jupiter at noon tomorrow, and Mr. Obama has Jupiter in Aquarius in his natal horoscope.

Regarding his early appointments, although progressives are not universally happy with Obama’s choices thus far, I think the Aquarian concern for social justice and human rights will get some much-needed airtime. On January 5, Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers wrote:

“In filling four senior Justice Department positions Monday, President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he intends to roll back Bush administration counter-terrorism policies authorizing harsh interrogation techniques, warrantless spying and indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects. The most startling shift was Obama’s pick of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to take charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit that’s churned out the legal opinions that provided a foundation for expanding President George W. Bush’s national security powers.”

I also looked back at how often Mercury has been retrograde for presidential inaugurations, since we know it happens three or four times a year. In the 20th century, Mercury was retrograde at nine inaugurations, the most recent being that of George Bush, Sr., in 1989. Since it was direct for Clinton’s two terms, and George W. Bush’s two terms, perhaps it is not a stretch to think of this new administration as looking back over both of these presidency’s to rethink direction and policy.

In any event, it is not a rare thing for Mercury to be retrograde on Inauguration day. It might, in fact, be an interesting (and painstaking!) study to look back at the administrations that did have Mercury retrograde, and look at what happened during those terms when Mercury went direct, and when it returned to the degree of the retrograde station (sometimes referred to as the “shadow period”).

In that line of thinking, we can watch for shifts in tone in this new administration around February 1, when Mercury goes direct, and again on February 21 when Mercury gets back to 8° Aquarius, the degree it turned retrograde in January.

In the meantime, onward and upwards, may the celebration continue and be of benefit to all!

Barak Obama’s Moment

Most of us are looking ahead to the inauguration with a hope for a better time to come. I found an article on a new blog, The Political Astrology Blog, which captures well the altruistic side of Neptune in Aquarius.

Astrologer Patrick Watson has a fine article called Barak Obama’s Rise to Power, which focuses on his natal Neptune and the eclipse patterns in his recent life.

(One thing I’d like to add is that Barak Obama’s prenatal solar eclipse is at 26°25′ Aquarius, conjunct the US Sibly Moon at 27° Aquarius. I noted Michelle’s prenatal solar eclipse degree and her husband’s chart in my previous blog post, Michelle Obama.)

In case Watson’s charts don’t look familiar to you – he is using Whole Sign houses, with 0 degrees of the sign on the first house cusp and the Ascendant and Midheaven degrees marked in their respective houses.

Thanks Patrick for your fine work.

Take good care one and all.

Mary