Americans may be experiencing peak polarity in their viewpoints these days, but I bet most of us can agree that this state of maximum divisiveness didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t accidental. In fact, it seems that our present situation evolved in fits and starts over an extended period, and there were both nebulous and well-defined forces promoting these deeper divisions, for the sake of their own power and influence.
One consequence of all this is that issues that should be prioritized by the country have not been. Another consequence is that U.S. presidential elections have become progressively more chaotic over the past two decades, a trend that this article will discuss in light of the dawn chart for Election Day on this November 3rd.
Various mundane astrologers in the past have suggested measurements we can take to understand the prevailing tone of our times, and to glean how that tone may oscillate over its entire trajectory. Such useful information can be found by calculating the “cyclical index” of a given year, or even a string of years. For example, by following this information, compiled from all ten outer planetary cycles over the entire length of Jupiter-Saturn cycle, about 20 years (as I’ve done here), we can better understand the overall astro-social “climate” of those years.
In their classic work, Mundane Astrology, Baigent, Campion and Harvey (BCH) cite the methods André Barbault and Claude Ganeau promoted to calculate the cyclical index. While very similar, I’ve employed Ganeau’s technique here, which I find more accessible. He explains it pretty clearly in the following, from BCH: (1)
“The stability or instability of the world is directly related to the difference in the sum of the phases of all waxing cycles of the five outer planets, and the sum of the phases of waning cycles of planets. Whilst the resultant figure remains positive, the earth will tend to experience relative stability and a period of evolution; when the resultant figure is negative, the earth enters a period of crisis and involution.”
Obviously, a bit of algebraic math is called for here, but nothing difficult. I applied this technique to the years 2000-2020 — the span, roughly, of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle that is within a month or so of completion at this point (exact on December 21st). The results are somewhat stunning — certainly affirming the increasingly difficult tone of events on the ground since that critical turn of the 21st century.
To obtain the following numerical values, I cast charts for January 1st of each year between 2000 and 2020, and I did the calculations Ganeau calls for in each one. Detailed below are the numerical values I obtained in that process — notice that some are positive, some are negative, and that there’s an obvious trend towards increasing negativity over the years:
2000: +240; 2001: +890; 2002: +652; 2003:-1; 2004: -81; 2005: -22; 2006: -42; 2007: -907; 2008: -604; 2009: -806; 2010: -660; 2011: -637; 2012: -549; 2013: -494; 2014: -804; 2015: -816; 2016: -1220; 2017: -1645; 2018: -1748; 2019: -1846; 2020: -1946.
Note that the trend we can see in the bold numbers above is inextricably related to the number and “weight” of the waxing and waning cycles in play in any given year. Waning cycles tend to be “heavy” because the angular distance numbers between any two given outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) will fall between 180.01° and 359.59°, so subtracting these figures from the smaller numbers produced by waxing cycles (0°-179.79°) often produces a negative difference.
Simply put, years in which there are several waxing cycles (see tabulations below) tend to produce positive numbers, and years in which there are several waning cycles tend to produce negative numbers. Not to be overlooked, there will be years in which strong positive numbers are flattened out somewhat by just a couple of deeply waning cycles. This could be cycles very near completion, measuring in the 300°+ range — probably indicating a transition point of some kind. Here’s how the balance of waxing (wx) to waning (wn) cycles broke down during the years 2000-2020 (again, calculated for January 1st of each year):
2000: 9 wx, 1 wn; 2001: 10 wx, 0 wn; 2002: 9 wx, 1 wn; 2003: 7 wx, 3 wn; 2004: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2005: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2006: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2007: 5 wx, 5 wn; 2008: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2009: 5 wx, 5 wn; 2010: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2011: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2012: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2013: 6 wx, 4 wn; 2014: 5 wx, 5 wn; 2015: 5 wx, 5 wn; 2016: 4 wx, 6 wn; 2017: 3 wx, 7 wn; 2018: 3 wx, 7 wn; 2019: 3 wx, 7 wn; 2020: 3 wx, 7 wn.
I bring all this up because it speaks to the cascading negativity we’ve been experiencing on so many levels leading into this 2020 election, and while it’s beyond the scope of this piece to analyze all the ups and downs, we can certainly flag a few key moments between 2000 and 2020 that seem really well-represented in the numbers.
For instance, 2007 was a turning point in which a slightly negative number (-42 in 2006) all of a sudden dropped precipitously — certainly a reflection of the Wall Street/Housing crash that ensued between 2007-08 and eventually impacted the entire world. The slowness of that recovery (for everyday people, not the banks) is certainly seen in the 2009-2012 range, when the numbers remained fairly consistent, yet stubbornly negative.
Of course, the 2016 election was considered by many a new low — yet another election (like Bush v. Gore) in which the person winning the popular vote did not become the president, and the numbers absolutely reflect that uniquely negative moment, with four years of seriously cascading lows to follow. Of course, the onset of a major pandemic in an already tense U.S. election year explains how horribly the numbers have bottomed out to an abysmal -1946 for the U.S., but the entire world is experiencing these cyclical numbers, so the potential for widespread misery has been very real.
Notice that the balance between waxing and waning cycles has been firmly weighted towards the waning side during the 2016-2020 period, but because I made all these calculations for January 1st of the respective years, what we’re not seeing here is that two major cycles completed in early 2020. This means two more cycles are now waxing than was the case on January 1st, and of course, another new cycle will be waxing by the end of the year when Jupiter and Saturn come together for their new cycle at 0°+Aquarius in December. When Jupiter conjoined Pluto in April, the new number reflecting that new balance of 5 waxing and 5 waning cycles became -1288.56. Yes, a bit of a lift from the number on January 1st (-1946 ) but still deeply negative. Importantly, the 5/5 balance of waxing and waning cycles underlying this new number affirms that we are now experiencing a critical turning point.
All of this is a useful backdrop for fully appreciating what’s going on in the November 3rd chart for Election Day 2020, cast for dawn in Washington, D.C. Let’s focus in on some key highlights.
Election Day 2020 – a moving day
Since this is a dawn chart, the Sun is naturally rising at the Ascendant, here in Scorpio (where it tends to mostly be in early November for charts set in Washington D.C.). So Mars and Pluto rule the day, and they happen to be forming a wide square between Aries and Capricorn — perhaps a reflection of the tension inherent in this all-important election? (I will look at the larger array of aspects further down.) Returning to the chart horizon, it’s perhaps interesting that Uranus has just set below the Descendant by roughly two degrees, at 8°+Taurus.
This means that in the course of this daylong event (as the wheel turns ever clockwise), Uranian shocks or surprises (the force of change, in one way or another) may be felt throughout the lower sector of the chart — by workers and public servants (6th), by local influencers (5th, representatives), by the “grassroots” (4th), by local public institutions (3rd), by financial institutions (especially in so far as they assign values to resources and investments (2nd), and to the nation’s identity and self-image (1st). * [See Editor’s note below for further explication of the author’s house designations.] The bottom line, Uranus could well set the tone for the day with a Taurean focus on economic issues and changes needed in that arena. Uranus’s placement in earthy Taurus should also contain this planet’s “shock” value a bit — more on the key relationship between Uranus and its dispositor Venus below.
By the time the polls close at 8 p.m. across the nation (using Los Angeles, CA as a western reference point), Uranus will have circled up and over the Ascendant and landed in the 11th house which it naturally rules, and the house that especially pertains to political associations and activities. It will at that point form a quincunx (or inconjunct) with dispositor Venus (Libra), which will, when the polls close, sit in the 4th house, directly opposite Chiron in Aries, elevated in the 10th. To my eye, this suggests a “blessing” on the grassroots and on the frustrating road it will have traveled by the end of this Election Day. Martin Lass points to the potential for transformative, healing paths opening up with this quincunx also a hopeful take away from the day, perhaps. For now, let’s return our attention to what the chart looks like at dawn. (2) (see chart #1).
There are two key t-squares shooting through the heart of this chart that seem to tell the story: first, Neptune’s square from Pisces to the Gemini-Sagittarius nodal axis, and second, the multiple t-squares created between Pallas-Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn in Capricorn square Mercury in Libra’s opposition to Eris and (more widely) Mars in Aries. Some of the Mars aspects included here exceed normal orbs, but as co-ruler of the chart, strong in home sign Aries, and dispositor of that disruptive Eris, Mars shouldn’t be underestimated.
We’ll consider these two significant t-squares individually, but I think it’s equally important to consider how they will play off each other: the volatile drive, activity and will-to-power and justice (Pallas) signaled by the cardinal t-squares will provide the fuel for the nodal axis trend towards mutable instability across the collective. We’ve been living with this unstable trend and some of the t-squares since the summer months, but it’s significant in chart #1 that Mercury (Libra) disposes the Gemini North Node, and Jupiter (not at its best in Saturnian Capricorn) disposes the Sagittarius South Node, essentially linking the mutable and cardinal t-squares in this chart.
The tone of the power drives we see in motion here is unfortunately still caught up in the negative waning energies of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle — both planets have already begun new, separate cycles with Pluto, as discussed earlier, so the will to power embodied in those cycles is strong here, but the socio-political framework for putting that power to constructive use over the coming decades is sadly debilitated and corrupt. As Mark 2:22 put it, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost.” Energies need an outlet and a form that will channel them productively, or they come to little good.
To my mind, that says about all we need to know about the Mars-Eris conjunction and its volatile role in the cardinal t-squares on Election Day. Trump’s persistent narrative that claims the election can’t possibly be legitimate unless he wins has already incited his volatile militia-style supporters to action (more on this ahead) — a dynamic that’s reflected pretty clearly in the Mercury-to-Mars-Eris oppositions here.
In addition, Trump’s “official” sanctioning of such a dangerous narrative can be seen in the Capricorn stellium — all proceeding here in direct motion after months of retrogrades (and happening to fall opposite his natal Saturn-Venus in Cancer ), but astrologically, this situation is not unique. (3)
In fact, when the first shots were fired in the U.S. Civil War in April, 1861, the 1842 Jupiter-Saturn cycle (a Capricorn cycle, significantly) was deep into its waning days, with all the other outer planetary cycles waxing. So there was an overwhelming amount of pent up energy, looking for a social/governmental outlet that was not prepared for the challenges. This was, of course, a situation that allowed the Confederacy to severely test the structural integrity (Saturn) and sovereignty (Jupiter) of the nation, in defense of “state sovereignty” and slavery.
Many would probably argue that the Civil War was a fissure that has yet to be fully healed, and clearly, it’s a fissure that has resurfaced with a vengeance during the waning days of today’s Mars-and-Eris challenged Jupiter-Saturn cycle. This time around we have extremist militia groups (many of whom are openly anti-government and present themselves as latter-day Confederates, in fact). Their stated and demonstrated intentions (see Michigan’s unfortunate recent experience with them here) have led the FBI to regard them as domestic terrorists. The bottom line — they have lots of pent-up, pandemic-driven frustrations and grievances, and they’re armed to their teeth.
Interestingly, when the first cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. were revealed in January, the nodal axis spanned 8°+ Cancer-Capricorn, perhaps picking up on the energies of the 1842 Jupiter-Saturn cycle (launched at 8°+ Capricorn) that ended with a Civil War bang. In Michigan, at least, the governor’s efforts to keep people safe by shutting things down inspired a lot of the violent backlash we’ve been seeing. On April 12, 1861 (the outbreak of Civil War hostilities), the nodal axis bridged 17°+ Capricorn-Cancer. Flashing forward, this Capricorn point is now being transited by the Election Day combination of Pallas-Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn. Calls for a “new civil war” are common with militias and hate groups, and I would say (a story for another day) that astrologically, things definitely can get worse if we don’t take the warning signs all around us seriously.
Even so, despite the volatile cardinal t-squares and the troubling historical precedents, this Election Day 2020 chart contains five waxing cycles and five waning cycles, which will hopefully allow a bit of balance in the way we experience the election. (4) This, despite clear efforts by Trump and company to upset the apple cart, instill fear about voting and to undermine the results before they’re even tallied. Early indications are that people are determined to vote, no matter what.
Despite that determination, however, all this volatility will continue to fuel the instability inherent in the Election Day mutable nodal axis, but when the confetti and balloons settle to the ground and the polls close at 8 p.m. on November 3rd, the North Node will have led its axis around the lower hemisphere, will have stirred up the grassroots and crossed over the Ascendant into the 12th and 6th houses, where it actually feels oddly appropriate, with North Node conjunct the Moon, the People. (See chart #2).
Remember that all this is happening with Neptune square the nodal axis: We the People (Moon) will undoubtedly feel exhausted, mentally depleted and stressed (12th) by the end of that day — many will have experienced efforts to suppress their votes and/or to confuse them into voting against their own interests. I can only imagine that everyone will feel relieved that it’s over — I know I will, as a poll worker! As ready as we will all be for the end of it, however, the absentee votes won’t even be counted in most states by that time, so the wait for firm results will be on.
I started this exploration by citing cyclical index numbers that showed 2020 numbers at the bottom of a very steep decline into negative territory. As new cycles have launched, of course, the numbers have rebounded slightly, and this will improve even further when Jupiter and Saturn conjoin in Aquarius on December 21st and open the way for the first Air-sign synod (series of cycles in one element) since the 1500s. Bottom line, this election is only the beginning of a very daunting, but exciting period for humanity on this planet, and I pray that the amazing amount of energy people have been putting into this election will be matched by our dedication to what comes next. A new president can make a difference (heaven knows this is important), but there’s no legislating collective dedication, open-heartedness, generosity and loving kindness — for nature, as well as for our fellow travelers on this planet.
With that, I would suggest that we have a chance in the coming Jupiter-Saturn cycle to apply a new wave of technologically-enhanced human ingenuity towards solving humanity’s most urgent problems, and there is not a moment to spare for denial — a sad distortion of the human Spirit. There is also not a moment for hesitation.
(1) Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey, Mundane Astrology: An Introduction to the astrology of nations and groups, Thorsons Publishing, London, 1995, p. 174.
(2) Martin Lass, Musings of a Rogue Comet: Chiron, Planet of Healing, Galactic Publications, Nyack, NY, 2001, p. 384.
(3) Donald J. Trump birth data: June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. Rated AA: BC/BR.
(4) The Jupiter-Pluto cycle launched anew in April, 2020, so even though Jupiter retrograded back over Pluto over some months, I’m considering it a waxing cycle here.
* The author attributes “local influencers” to the 5th, those “so often wield local political power. Not the big national politicians, but they wield power through their local stature.” Referring to the 3rd as “local institutions,” Raye finds “key public/community institutions like education, public safety and transportation that are governed on the local level by public servants living in the neighborhood, more than those on the national level.”
Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. 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. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer, UK’s Astrological Journal and other publications over the years; see the Publication link on her blog, at Diary of a Mundane Astrologer for two recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org