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Why the Sudden Surge in Veteran Candidates?

This is the question Lisa Desjardins asked in a segment for a PBS NewsHour episode that I heard on Friday, June 1. (1) Military veterans are running for the United States Congress in record numbers this year. To investigate this trend, Desjardins focused on northern New Jersey’s 11th District where four veterans are running, two in each party and all first-time candidates. When speaking to Memorial Day celebration organizers in the 11th District, Desjardins heard several possible explanations for this phenomenon.

One veteran commented that vets intuitively understand how important it is to put the country ahead of one’s personal interest. He does not feel that all the current representatives in Washington think that way. Veterans also swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. The sergeant to whom Desjardins spoke believes that veterans hold themselves under that oath to serve the Constitution, even after being discharged from the armed forces.

Another Memorial Day celebrant, in answering the interviewer’s question, felt that, as an inductee, he knew that this enlistment lasted for a certain duration and was not a lifelong commitment. This vet sees some current members in Congress becoming professional lifelong politicians. He mentioned the framers of the Constitution as examples of those who left George Washington’s army after their time in the military and returned to their previous occupations.

There is also evidence that voters’ trust (or lack of it) in government is a consideration as to why more vets are running for Congress this year. In a recent NewsHour/Marist/PBS poll, only 25% of adults had any confidence or trust in Congress, and 43% in the presidency, but 88% of adults have confidence in the military!

This upsurge in veterans seeking public office  is not an accident, as there have been groups, like New Politics, formed to help these first-time candidates make a go of it. Historically, before 1975, more than 70% of members of Congress had served in the military; now it is less than 18%, the lowest in history. (2)

One of the winners in the New Jersey 11th District race was Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a Naval Academy graduate, retired Navy pilot, and prosecutor whose grandfather was a Navy pilot in World War II. She is part of the influx of Democratic veterans running this year.

Can we also find an astrological reason why this trend is so noticeable this year?

The first thing that comes to this astrologer’s mind is the condition of the U.S. Mars, the planet  the planet that governs the military, and the 6th house, which signifies the armed forces in a country’s chart. According to the Sibly chart for the U.S., Taurus is on the cusp of the 6th house (using Whole Sign houses), and Venus, its ruler, is in Cancer in the 8th house closely conjunct an exalted Jupiter.

U.S. Sibly chart (Whole sign houses)
July 4, 1776
5:10 p.m. LMT
Philadelphia, PA (39N57 75W10)

(chart created in Time Cycles IO Edition)

Our nation’s servicemen and women can thus be described by Venus conjunct Jupiter in Cancer. Washington’s army was a collection (Jupiter) of state militiamen who left their homes (Venus in Cancer) to fight. Venus conjunct an exalted Jupiter also suggests the growth of the military; placed in the 8th house, this becomes the big business of the military, so obvious today.

I want to consider the Mars retrograde station in the U.S. Sibly’s progressed chart as another indication of the present state of affairs. This is germane as we are looking forward to a transiting Mars retrograde period on June 26. This will be the first Mars retrograde in Aquarius since 1971, when the planet was retrograde between July 11 and September 9, and President Richard M. Nixon was in his first term.

Excerpts from the Pentagon Papers — Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s previously unpublished history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam — began to be published by The New York Times on June 13, 1971. McNamara’s account began in 1954 when President Harry S. Truman secretly sent aid to France to help fight their colonial war with Vietnam. The Vietnamese, having been under French rule for 100 years, wanted independence. (3) The Nixon administration placed an injunction on the Times to cease publishing, but the Washington Post came to the rescue and kept printing the material. The case was heard by the Supreme Court, who sided with both newspapers’ right to publish.

It is interesting to note that McNamara ordered the study on June 17, 1967 and did not tell President Lyndon B. Johnson about it. Transiting Mars was at 17° Libra, conjunct the U.S. Saturn, the planet of accountability. Mars had just finished a retrograde period with its direct station at 15° Libra on May 26. The U.S. progressed Mars was at 11° Libra, within one degree of the progressed IC. So, a study commissioned in 1967, under a newly direct Mars (on the nation’s natal Saturn), was finally revealed to the public during a retrograde Mars period four years later. Might we expect some military secrets to be revealed this summer?

Progressed Mars went retrograde in the Sibly chart on July 19, 2006 at 18°42’ Libra. From this point forward — through March 27, 2086 — our aggressive and assertive tendencies, instead of projecting outward, are being turned inward to our own country — shooting ourselves, so to speak (literally, as it is unbearably sad to say). Our ability to win wars, especially those we initiate, is no longer guaranteed. Might this also indicate that we must look to using the military for a different purpose? Instead of sending the military overseas and fighting no-win situations, perhaps retired servicemen can stay at home and help govern the country.

When a planet goes retrograde, it is changing its orientation to the Sun, which signifies one’s purpose. When a country’s actions are no longer aligned with its purpose and mission, then a readjustment has to take place. In the article “America Attacks Itself,” Francis Donald Grabau wrote: “America is due for an 80-year period of self-examination regarding the nature of Mars, its power, force, and potential aggression.” (4)

Might the U.S. progressed Mars station also indicate how the military is being used in this country? The progressed Mars retrograde station in 2006 took place in Libra, a good sign for generals so that they can see both sides of the conflict  but also for negotiators and peacemakers. Seems to me quite appropriate to have military personnel in Congress deciding when and if the military can or should be used, rather than these decisions being made by professional politicians who have never been on a battleground.

The current Mars retrograde period can also explain the #MeToo movement coming to a head, as well as the continuing struggles for racial justice, more equitable sentencing guidelines, and prison reform. We are not very far from slavery when we shoot and incarcerate so many young black men, while their white counterparts often get lighter sentences. Our violent Mars shadow — our misuse of forceful action, our misuse of will, our misfiring military missions — all of our collective missteps are rising to the surface.


(1) PBS

(2) All of these details are from the PBS episode cited above.

(3) See, for example, Ken Burns’s recent documentary, Vietnam.

(4) This is the subject of Steven Spielberg’s recent movie The Post.

(5) Progressed Mars Turns Retrograde in America’s Birth Chart

© 2018 Kate Plumb – all rights reserved

Bio: Kate Plumb, “cycles scientist,” is a certified NCGR counseling astrologer who teaches monthly at Joshua’s Place in Southampton and sees clients in her home office. She is also certified in Astro*Carto*Graphy. Website: Kate can be reached at or (631) 725-9133.


  1. Thank you, Kate, for this article!

  2. Dear Kate,

    Thank you for a most thoughtful, poignant and stimulating article.

    Couldn’t help thinking about the Chiron in Aries connection, as it’s ruled by Mars. The ‘Returned Warriors’ or perhaps the ‘Wounded Warriors’ seeking to make a difference (heal)?

    Many countries are linked by having Chiron in Aries … Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, the Assad regime, the UK 1922 chart (partition of Ireland) to name a few. A search in Campion’s ‘Book of World Horoscopes’ revealed no less than 83 countries with Chiron in Aries!!! Many of them currently in the headlines.

    So yes, Mars Rx in Aquarius … re-examining ideologies, principles and collective beliefs. Sobering stuff.

  3. Thank you Tem and Melanie. I loved your additions Melanie. Especially Chiron in Aries and the military gets an opportunity to heal by giving back.

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