Thursday, November 19, 2020

Poised at the doorsill: more astrological challenges during transition time

 

 

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep…”
—Rumi, The Great Wagon

 

 

It’s no surprise, of course, that Trump will still not admit that he lost his re-election bid. To admit defeat is simply not in his vocabulary. But he will say that he didn’t win, as long as those words are accompanied by because he was cheated. The implication of this strained and fact-free nuance seems to be that in his mind, votes for Biden were by definition, illegal or fraudulent. This self-serving fantasy—that anything he doesn’t want to hear about or admit to must be fake, nonexistent or a plot against him—permeates everything he’s doing during this transition, and unfortunately, this mindset is contagious and threatens to continue taking others down with him.

The dangers are especially keen because they impact how the federal government will respond to the COVID pandemic going forward. Despite several urgent statements in the media by our new president-elect Biden, the Trump administration is thus far refusing to share critical COVID data with the incoming administration, and this, Biden emphasizes, could put the vaccine roll-out effort seriously behind.  Trump’s team could well begin that roll-out, but it will undoubtedly fall to the Biden team to carry it forward. Coordination between the two teams would be exceedingly helpful, of course, but Trump is apparently not interested. 

Meanwhile, COVID infections are growing alarmingly in most states across the nation at this time, and Trump’s denialism clearly hasn’t been helping—now or during his recent electioneering blitz. Whatever the causes and circumstances, however, the spiking numbers are about our fellow human beings who may or may not come out alive in the end.

The frustration of this situation was captured very well by New Day, retweeting a message by a nurse on the front lines of the intense struggle in Red-state South Dakota: 

A South Dakota ER nurse @JodiDoering says her Covid-19 patients often “don’t want to believe that Covid is real… “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real.’ And when they should be... Facetiming their families, they’re filled with anger and hatred.” 

Being stripped of illusions is painful in the best of circumstances, but clinging to them in the situation Doering describes is tragic beyond belief.  As so many scientists have said, pleading with people to pay attention to the facts they have to offer, the virus doesn’t care about politics or where you live or how you feel about wearing a mask; all it’s looking for is its next host so it can keep on replicating, and by its logic, your individual rights are meaningless. 

 


As a Neptunian phenomenon, of course, the virus spreads most vigorously when we fall into its passive traps: our simply not bothering to take it seriously because it’s an “invisible” threat supports virus spread, but the virus really hits the jackpot when denialism existsit gets to run amuck and persist much longer than it might otherwise manage to—leaving, as Doering says, only death and “anger and hatred” behind. We might as well be back in the so-called “Dark Ages” of the 14th century bubonic plague in Europe, for all the good our modern scientists are able to do for the deniers. If we’re lucky, maybe they’ll take the vaccine when it finally reaches everyone because Trump says it’s okay?

This points to another Neptunian trap, of course—our difficulty with thinking and acting collectively—a peculiarly American hang-up. Allowing ourselves to fall for calls to “rise up” against anything that infringes upon our individual liberties (like wearing masks, limiting our Thanksgiving celebrations and accepting other locally-imposed restrictions) is a current example we’ve seen in the news this past week, much to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s chagrin and frustration. Over this past year she has had to contend with everything from a kidnapping/murder plot, to Trump & Company’s non-stop harassment over social media—just for trying to keep her state’s COVID numbers from overwhelming its health care systems.

Whitmer’s not alone among besieged Democratic governors, of course, although being a woman seems to have made her one of Trump’s favorite targets. And he’s wondering why he didn’t carry the so-called “Blue Wall” states? Why would he?

 

 

Transition astrology

We’re faced with a uniquely complicated set of astrological conditions between now and Inauguration Day, 2021—some of which I’ve covered in the Nov. 6th post herebut today we’ll focus on an event that may put a lot of the cosmic complications into focus for the shorter term. Before we get to that, however, let’s recap the key highlights:

·         The 2000 Jupiter-Saturn cycle is in its final few degrees (due to launch anew at 0°+Aquarius on December 21st), but Jupiter (though in forward movement) will remain hung up in its post-shadow retrograde period through December 6th. This transition period between cycles is more complicated than it looks and probably has a lot to do with the obstacles the Biden team is experiencing. See the Nov. 6th post here for more about such Jupiter cycle issues.

·         Registering almost like “background noise,” the final days of Pluto’s (Capricorn) return to its position in the Sibly chart are upon us, a return that will be first exact in February, 2022, which only sounds distant. Almost in lock-step with that transit, Neptune is transiting into its exact “half-return” (opposition) to Sibly Neptune (Virgo), which will be first exact in May, 2021. It’s possible this impending Neptune milestone will usher in some progress with COVID, but probably only if we actively cooperate to make that happen. More on this ahead.

·         At this writing, five outer-planetary cycles are now waxing and five are waning—quite appropriate for an important transition, but even though the Jupiter-Pluto cycle is waxing again (see Nov. 6th post here for more on why this matters) the cyclic index numbers are still deeply negative, at -1259.48.

As for the impending event we’ll expand upon here, the overall situation created by the transits and cyclical realities listed above will probably find some expression in the December 14th total solar eclipse—a chart worth considering as we continue to navigate this transition period.

 


 

Chart #1. Solar Eclipse, December 14, 2020, 11:16:26 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Eclipse Point (Sagittarius) conjoins Mercury and So. Node Rx (Sagittarius); these points trine Mars-Eris Rx (Aries). This Eclipse Point falls in the 10th, suggesting an important passage for the government and the nation’s place in the world. This is a so-called “Dragon’s Tail” eclipse, meaning the South Node is nearest the Eclipse Point. This type of eclipse tends to demand some service or karmic “payback” from whomever it touches, as opposed to delivering new developments of some kind. If you’re familiar with Trump’s natal chart, you’ll know that this Eclipse Point also conjoins his Sagittarius Moon and So. Node, so it’s likely this eclipse will be a significant emotional passage for him.

Mars-Eris Rx (Aries) are likely to play a confrontational role here—perhaps becoming a tool for accomplishing some aim of leadership—unless they are contained by the squares from Saturn and Jupiter (both Capricorn. This raises uncomfortable questions that the news is already answering in some cases: apparently the Trump administration has moved to rush through a $23 billion arms deal with the U.A.E.—Trump clearly likes the influence he gains with these deals and he’s not going to give that up willingly. 

On another note, will Trump look for some pretext to start a military conflict before he leaves office that puts Biden in a foreign policy mess from day one? Some of his closest allies (Israel and Russia) would be happy to support an attack on Iran, for instance, and sure enough, stories are now hitting the news saying that Iran is enriching more uranium than the JCPOA agreement allowed for. Considering how intent Trump seems to be on creating chaos for his successor, will we have the cool heads we need in the Defense department when it comes to volatile possibilities like this?  

 

Military heads fear that Trump's shake-up will politicize the Pentagon.
In fact, Trump just replaced several top Defense officials with yes-men, so it’s hard to say if the more cautious, deliberative Capricorn voices we need to prevail will do so. Let’s hope the “Dragon’s Tail” nature of this eclipse will tamp down any such adventurism.

The Sagittarius points in this eclipse chart also form one leg of a mutable grand square by opposing No. Node Rx (Gemini); this axis then squares 1st house Neptune (Pisces) opposite Vesta (Virgo). The Nodal axis has been t-squaring Neptune for some time already, notably the election’s peak campaigning season, a period marked by rapidly escalating COVID case numbers. It’s likely these numbers won’t begin to level off until after the Nodal axis moves well out of orb of Neptune—sometime in late spring 2021, that is. 

Meanwhile, it’s likely that our public affairs and national direction will continue struggling against Neptunian confusion and attempts to undermine the election—the chaos Trump has sown by not respecting the will of the People in the election will take time to overcome. Ed Yong, writing for The Atlantic, captures the almost panicky dynamic underlying this situation really well in an article entitled “America is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral.” An excerpt is worth considering here:

“Army ants will sometimes walk in circles until they die. The workers navigate by smelling the pheromone trails of workers in front of them, while laying down pheromones for others to follow. If these trails accidentally loop back on themselves, the ants are trapped… They march endlessly until they’re felled by exhaustion or dehydration….They are imprisoned by a wall of their own instincts. This phenomenon is called the death spiral. I can think of no better metaphor for the United States of America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In fact, this state of confusion is likely to persist through at least the rest of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle, which is now deep into its waning 3rd quarter. Significantly, the new cycle launches in April, 2022, at 23°+Pisces, square this December 14th Eclipse Point, which suggests a turning point in which the toxic Neptunian expressions we’ve been used to experiencing with the Trump administration may finally give way to a more hopeful, visionary and creative use of these beautiful energies. Jupiter rules this December 14th eclipse, of course (ruling Sagittarius), so anything we can do to manifest its positive expressions will help steer the eclipse energies more constructively. 

 

Possible Biden Cabinet picks: Lael Brainard, Michele Flournoy, Sally Yates & Susan Rice


For instance, Jupiter-Saturn sextile Venus-Juno (Scorpio) in this chart, which suggests opportunities for our governing institutions and economy to benefit on the international stage (9th house Venus-Juno). The feminine energies at work probably speak to not only Biden's V.P. pick, Kamala Harris, but some of Biden’s Cabinet choices going forward. More generally, they probably indicate that women will play a critical role in restoring our government institutions and recovering our international credibility. I would expect to see a strong female presence in Justice-related areas, as well.

Interestingly, this Venus-Juno also conjoin Biden’s Sun-Venus conjunction (Scorpio, chart not shown)—I take this to be a good sign for the ultimate success of this transition period.

 

 


Final thoughts

Total solar eclipses are thought to have an average “life” (or impact) of about 3-1/2 years—in other words, Chart #1 should wield influence through much of Biden’s administration. There will be highlights and key moments within that period, however. For instance, in January 2022, well within his tenure, Mars will have transited around to re-stimulate the 23°+Sagittarius eclipse point, at the same time it squares transiting Neptune (still in Pisces). This will be within a few months of the new Jupiter-Neptune cycle that will relaunch at 23°+Pisces, square that still potent eclipse point. Given that Sibly Mars and Neptune tie into these mutable points, it’s possible that volatile military situations could hit the news at the time, but there are other distinct possibilities as well—a story for future posts.

To my eye, this 2022 period will be a critical turning point we will want to keep our sites on—barring disaster, we should be feeling the more redemptive possibilities of our Sibly Pluto return and Sibly Neptune “half-return,” by then, but even though we may not have entirely overcome the Neptunian undertow that has so threatened to sink our democracy by then, there will be hopeful energies on the horizon that we will be able to seize and leverage to some effect. If COVID or some offshoot of it is still a threat, we should have an opportunity for serious improvement; if we haven’t gotten back to seriously addressing climate change by then, it will be better late than never.

And above all, this period should be a critical time for rebuilding faith in our collective destiny as a nation, around more life-affirming principles.

Is that too much to ask?

 

 


 

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 and other publications over the years; see the Publication link on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.

 

For information about  individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

 

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

 

 

 

Friday, November 13, 2020

New developments in a special, shared astrology: UK & US


“One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be…”

—Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, “Paul Revere’s Ride”

 

 

There’s been considerable talk since the election about how UK’s tousled-hair PM Boris Johnson will come to grips with Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump: Johnson has congratulated Biden on his win, apparently, so no lapses there, but Johnson’s conservative government was apparently depending upon support from Trump for the UK’s post-Brexit phase of building trade relations with the U.S. and elsewhere. Trump reportedly approved of some of the more controversial moves Johnson’s party wanted to make to economically distance the UK from the EU—especially one notable move that could potentially endanger the hard-won Good Friday Agreement between the two Irelands.

Perhaps because he’s of Irish descent, but probably for more than that, Joe Biden is already making it known that he won’t approve of any trade deal that endangers that Good Friday Agreement, which is a perfectly understandable position: trade is important, but a return to turmoil between the two Irelands, or an actual relapse into the Troubles as a consequence would be much worse. At issue here is that Southern Ireland has remained in the EU (and so will continue to trade with EU countries and follow its regulations), while Northern Ireland has not. This makes working out the logistics within the UK tricky, at best.

It’s no secret that the U.S. and the U.K. have a “special relationship”—historically, of course, the U.S. is an offshoot of the British Empire, a relationship that lies deep within our national psyche and has persisted, despite our 1770s rebellion, and as we’ll see, that’s saying quite a lot.

For one thing, we share the experience of being one, united cultural, political and social entity on one day, and not being all that the next day. I’m speaking of course, of the American Revolution—our gain of an independent nation was their loss of a sizeable chunk of empire. This split was first marked by our 7/4/1776 Declaration of Independence (now the basis for our national Sibly chart), but it was finalized by the 9/3/1783 Treaty of Paris. Just like an “old stroke” that can appear surprisingly on an otherwise healthy brain scan, all of this has to show up astrologically, don’t you think?

As it happens, we’ve spent a lot of time on this site considering how the impending return of Pluto to the U.S. Sibly chart’s Pluto and Neptune’s transiting opposition (half-return) to Sibly Neptune is reflected in the difficult transitional times we’re experiencing here, but we haven’t yet considered the British perspective on these transits—how they’re impacting our friends across the Pond. Logically, there could be challenges since our histories are so entwined: the Sibly chart marks the declaration of our independence against Britain and then-King George III, so wouldn’t the same transits today inspire an existential crisis of sorts in the UK and its government? 

American racial history unfolds from here.

There’s much more than an origins story and a revolution between us, however: for instance, it was an English privateer, with the help of a Dutch ship, who brought the first 20 Africans to our shores in 1619, having captured them off a Portuguese slave ship, so we also have our relationship with the Brits (and others—the Brits were not our only slave-trading influence) to thank for the race-based caste system we developed back then and that dogs our steps even today.

Isabel Wilkerson reveals the power of this incredible 1619 turning point really well throughout her 2020 book, entitled Caste: the Origins of our Discontent, but this one passage of hers speaks volumes about the significance of race as a way of distinguishing people:

“It was in the making of the New World that Europeans became white, Africans black, and everyone else yellow, red, or brown. It was in the making of the New World that humans were set apart on the basis of what they looked like, identified solely in contrast to one another, and ranked to form a caste system based on a new concept called race.”[1] 

Just look at the history of so many American families with Anglo roots to see how the tacit acceptance of slavery, race and caste worked their way into our national consciousness. According to the Legacies of British Slaveownership database, for instance, one-hundred-forty-eight UK-born Robertsons (my Scottish forebears’ surname) were slave-holders—mostly it seems in the Caribbean and Virgin Islands, but judging from the number of African-American students with the surname Robertson (or Robinson, Robeson and other variations) that I have taught over the years, Robertson slaveholders were also active on this continent.

The list is mind-boggling: those profiting from the trade of human beings for labor in the New World were not all tough-looking guys with whips in hand: many were women and their estates, doctors, and even aristocratic (and probably very learned) families. Yet, the opportunity to profit clouded everyone’s humanity: like animals in a stable prepared to pull a plow, African and Caribbean slaves were passed down from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and there was obviously no social stigma attached to owning them. My guess is that slave-owners were envied and respected as solid citizens helping their Empire by paying taxes on slave-earned profits. The inhumanity of the situation was very neatly subsumed beneath the patina of corporate investment banality. 

In fact, when Britain decided to end slave-holding in 1833 (the British slave trade had already been abolished by 1807), the nation took on the burden of recompense, but not the way we might think. There was no compensation paid to those who were enslaved or their descendants—no, it was to the slaveholders for the loss of their “property!” Interestingly, these issues have re-emerged in the UK consciousness of late, similar to the way they have in the U.S. (more on why in a bit). From Holly Williams, writing for BBC Culture:

“If we hear at all about Britain’s involvement in slavery, there’s often a slight whiff of self-congratulation – for abolishing it in 1833, 32 years ahead of the US, where the legacy of slavery is still more of an open wound. Less well known, however, is the enormous cost of this decision for the taxpayer – the British government spent £20 million, a staggering 40% of its budget in 1833, to buy freedom for slaves. That’s equivalent to approximately £20bn today, making it one of the biggest ever government bailouts. The cost was so high, the vast loans the government took out to fund it were only just paid off in 2015.

Which is mind-boggling stuff, but if you’re thinking you can’t put a price on freedom, brace yourself for bad news – the money didn’t go to the slaves, but to their owners. That’s right: the British taxpayer, until five years ago, was paying off debts that the government racked up in order to compensate British slave owners for their loss of ‘property’. Records show that ancestors of former Prime Minister David Cameron and authors George Orwell and Graham Greene all profited at the time from these massive pay-outs, as did Prime Minister William Gladstone, who helped his father claim for £106,769. That’s a payment of around £83 million in today’s money, to just a single family.”

So, as Afro-British playwright Juliet Gilkes Romero put it upon learning about this bailout:

“What blew me away was here I was, a working woman, a descendent of the transatlantic slave trade, and I helped pay off this massive loan.”

This was not the Britain of Downton Abbey, obviously; there’s no benevolent Lord of the manor here, prepared to do anything for his land tenants. This was the British government abolishing an inhumane institution that had made it lots of money, turning around and forcing its taxpayers to foot the bill so the upper crust didn’t suffer the loss for their owning and exploiting of human beings. Is it starting to sound like Pluto was involved? We might also wonder to what extent slavery-based profits allowed that upper crust to keep up its genteel appearances—Neptune’s illusion-spinning magic played a serious role in our shared history, as well. 

There are too many layers of injustice at work in this history to even comprehend, but if Britain hadn’t abolished slave-holding when it did, would the U.S. have gotten around to it 30-some years later, as imperfectly as that went down? Hard to say, but we can say that among the deepest historical, genetic and sociocultural ties that bind our two nations is our shared race-based caste system. Clearly we’re both faced with the challenge of taking a long, hard look at this system if we’re ever going to heal deep-seated wounds. If the Irish (especially the mostly Catholic southerners) weren’t simply “assumed” by the British version of this system to be of lower value than upper crust Protestant citizens, would there even be a question about endangering Irish welfare for the sake of new trade agreements? 

This was from July--the stats are now even worse.


Likewise, the Trump administration has shown in myriad ways that it values Americans of color far less than it does white citizens: if it didn’t, would it have approached the high COVID mortality rates among non-white Americans with a bit more concern?  Adam Serwer with The Atlantic wrote an article back in May, 2020 entitled “Coronavirus was an emergency until Trump found out who was dying,” that kind of said it all. Time to re-open the economy, come what may for so-called “essential workers!”

The concept of systemic racism is difficult to understand for Americans, but we’re not alone: it appears that Brits are as divided these days over racism and social justice as we are:

Racism in Britain may attract less global attention than in the United States, but it is no less present -- and Black Britons say it is past time for the country to face up to its colonial history and act to stamp out racial inequalities.

 

The police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis sparked global protests over police brutality and racial inequality despite an ongoing pandemic which has had a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities in the UK and US.

 

In Britain, where public trust in institutions has been eroded by examples of systemic racism over decades, thousands have turned out to join Black Lives Matter protests despite pleas from the government for people to stay home.

And an exclusive CNN/Savanta ComRes poll reveals a divided nation, where Black people are twice as likely as White people to say they have not been treated with respect by police. Black people are also about twice as likely as White people to say UK police are institutionally racist -- among White people, just over a quarter believe it.

 

Exposing further division, nearly two in three Black people say the UK has not done enough to address historical racial injustice, twice the proportion of White people who say that.”

So it seems both our societies are caught up in similar deep-rooted issues, and to my astrologer’s eye, it’s clear that this may come down to our shared heritage and some potent shared astrological milestones.  Let’s see how this translates into charts.

 

The British surrender at Yorktown in 1781 was earth-shaking.

 

The astrology

First, I’m struck by the many ways in which our U.S. Sibly chart (the U.S. as an independent entity) ties into the UK-Great Britain radix chart that would have applied in the 1700s (May 12, 1707, marking the constitutional union of Britain and Scotland and with that, the creation of the “kingdom of Great Britain”).[2] It’s not difficult to see how this overgrown American “pear” fell off that British island “tree,” so let’s take a look at a biwheel between these two charts.

 


 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel)UK-Great Britain, May 12, 1707 (NS), 12:00 a.m. LMT, Westminster, England-BWH Chart #358; (outer wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Interchart Grand-square: UK Sun-opposes MC (Taurus-Scorpio); this axis squares Jupiter-Pluto (Leo) opposite Sibly Moon-Pallas (Aquarius). This certainly speaks to Great Britain’s long-earned reputation as a dignified, “Lion-hearted” powerhouse who knew how to wear the trappings of power very well. Preserving a figurehead monarchy after the 1689 “Glorious Revolution” that put Parliament in charge of government affairs has probably always helped in that regard. Here, the Sun (Taurus) seems to represent Parliament’s everyday practical leadership, while the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction seems to capture the leonine majesty of the monarchy as a potent, if not entirely “in charge” institution.

Clearly, Britain wouldn’t be “itself” without its monarchy, yet in the 1760s and 70s Enlightenment period, monarchy was on the defensive all over Europe because people were waking up to the power of reason and self-determination in ordinary individuals. The American People (Sibly Moon) were divided (there was a strong royalist faction that resisted the Revolution), but our Founders were steeped in Enlightenment-era thinking and, like Thomas Paine in Common Sense, they came to consider King George III a “royal brute” and a “tyrant.”  In fact, there are scholars who feel that the King’s intense involvement and feelings about the American conflict at the time may have been part of Britain’s problem with the war (we’ll see more about George III’s nativity in a bit). From Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy’s The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire:

“The guests really wanted to know how George III had reacted to the news [of Cornwall’s surrender at Yorktown]. They were well aware that the king would find it especially painful, as it was the most humiliating event of his reign. George III had become the driving force behind the war and had threatened to abdicate rather than accept defeat. …The king wrote defiantly that the news did not make the smallest change in his views and that he was ready to continue the war. He would not admit defeat.”[3]

A kingly ego is a force to be reckoned with, as the U.S. has been learning with Donald Trump lately (a comparison story for another day). There was no turning back for the nascent United States, however, as Justice (Aquarius Pallas) was on the side of enlightened People Power (Sibly Moon) in 1776, and the rest is history.

Interchart Yod: Sibly Mars (Gemini) sextiles Sibly Chiron-UK Neptune (Aries); both these points quincunx UK MC (Scorpio). If we take the UK MC to signify British authority and stature, it’s clear that those managing Britain’s war effort met with frustrating challenges—both military (Sibly Mars) and perhaps less tangible, but equally frustrating “soft power” and ideological disadvantages. Britain had the disadvantage of trying to wage war at ocean’s length from home, of course: the U.S. definitely had the “home court” advantage and some of our founders like Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine proved adept at the public relations task of unifying the colonists against the enemy (in the Sibly 7th-10th Mars-Neptune in mutable Gemini-Sagittarius). Thomas Paine was a particularly good “trash-talker”—witness the following quote from a 1774 letter “To the People of England:”

“Your failure is, I am persuaded, as certain as fate. America is above your reach…her independence neither rests upon your consent, nor can it be prevented by your arms. In short, you spend your substance in vain, and impoverish yourself without hope.”

At his most self-assured and preening, champion boxer Muhammad Ali couldn’t have psyched out his opponent any better. 

Washington often made up for troop numbers with cunning strategy.
 

It’s interesting to me that both US and UK national charts feature 7th house Mars square their respective Neptunes (UK’s in 7th-4th in Cancer-Aries. So both our nations can be quick to leap at and glorify military solutions to challenges. From another angle, the two Neptunes speak to our nations’ respective military “styles:” the British were famed for their aggressive, sea-faring battles (defeating the powerful Spanish Armada in 1588 helped make them a major sea power); their rebellious American offspring were more likely to use surprise, subterfuge and insight into the destructive force of Smallpox (Neptune rules such disease, especially in Virgo) to throw British forces off their game.  

Too late now, of course, but some scholars speculatte that if King George III had been more open to diplomatic solutions with the rebel colonists after he received the Declaration of Independence with its long list of grievances against his treatment of them, things could have ended differently. Instead, his kingly ego had the final say. That might be a stretch, but Americans are still enamored of the British royals—who knows?!  

Interchart Cardinal Grand Square: Sibly Saturn-Juno (Libra) conjoins UK Eris Rx (Libra) and opposes UK Neptune-Sibly Chiron (Aries); this axis squares UK ASC (Capricorn) opposite UK DSC-Mars (Cancer)-Sibly Sun/Mercury (midpoint, Cancer). The U.S.-related parts of this major configuration point to the very helpful provisional government structure that had been put in place by the Americans before taking the fateful step of declaring independence. Logistical/administrative challenges abounded for the Brits, which probably bogged them down somewhat (the downside of their Mars-Neptune square).

UK Venus (Aries) squares UK Chiron Rx-ASC-Sibly Eris Rx (Capricorn), trines UK Uranus (Leo); UK Saturn (Gemini) sextiles Venus and Uranus; Sibly Uranus conjoins UK Venus/Uranus (midpoint, Gemini). Shocks to the UK’s treasury were certainly triggered with the American situation—this, after a long protracted French-Indian War that was famously expensive and caused so much post-war rancor over taxation in the Colonies. By late 1773, when a band of colonists dumped British tea in the Boston harbor to protest duties on tea and the Tea Act, bailing out the East India Company, the King was convinced the colonists were a bunch of ingrates who didn’t want to contribute to their own protection.

Sibly Eris Rx’s (Capricorn) position at the UK ASC-Chiron Rx suggests that the colonists had found a wounded, “hot button” in the Kingdom’s psyche (UK Chiron Rx) and they chose to push it, hard. A short two years later, British forces staged a dawn attack on American rebels on April 19, 1775, at Lexington, Massachusetts. It wasn’t the first war ignited over finance-based politics and disagreements about who’s ultimately in charge, and it probably won’t be the last.

 

 


King George III—tyrant, or ruler caught in the crosswinds?

We’ve already seen that George III was not amused when the American colonies succeeded in breaking away forever in 1783, but according to O’Shaughnessy’s study of the British perspective on that break, it’s quite possible that American history textbooks tend to exaggerate the King’s “tyranny” at the expense of a more nuanced truth. For instance, O’Shaughnessy says the following:

“George III did not instigate the colonial policies that triggered the American Revolution. The government ministers, not the king, were the architects of those policies, whose origins predated his reign…George III not only did not initiate the policies that led to the breakdown in imperial relations, but he was even a restraining influence on some of the more extreme measures proposed by his ministers. His first statement about affairs in America recommended that the colonies receive proper compensation for their expenses in the French and Indian War. He discouraged George Grenville’s government from including a clause in the Quartering Act (1765) that permitted the billeting of soldiers in private houses in America. He later remarked that the Stamp Act was ‘abundant in absurdities,’ having ‘first deprived the Americans, by restraining their trade, from the means of acquiring wealth, and (then) taxed them.’ He supported the conciliatory colonial policies advocated by the Duke of Grafton’s ministry in 1769.”[4] [21]

 In other words, it’s likely that the King was willing to work with the colonists and to acknowledge some of their grievances, but then, the Boston Tea Party happened and the King decided that he and Parliament had to reassert imperial authority on the colonies, or risk losing the respect of the people. Not unlike Trump’s gut instinct when people he couldn’t empathize with were protesting in the streets this summer—send in the troops! As O’Shaughnessy puts it, “As the revolutionary movement became more republican, he [the King] became ever more passionate about crushing the rebellion and defending the dignity of kingship.” So we might say that he ended up taking our rebellion personally.

As it happens, we have a pretty well-timed chart for the King’s birth—“somewhere between 7 and 8 a.m.”(I’ve gone with Kepler 8.0’s 7:48 a.m.)—so we can examine such personal responses astrologically. Brits enjoy the same right to protest and peacefully assemble that we do, but as theatrical as it was at the time, the act of colonists (whose relationship to the Crown was even more precarious) destroying a ship-load of merchandise from the East India Company was apparently taken as quite radical and incendiary. Let’s briefly consider Biwheel #2 below for what it tells us about the King’s perspective on that event. Why would it have so steeled his resolve to squash the American rebellion, when he was more intent on diplomacy before that? Was his response to the protest the exact fuel the colonists needed to fuel their own resolve? Let’s see.

 

  

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) King George III, June 15, 1738 (NS), 7:48 a.m. LMT, London, England (Kepler 8.0 source); (outer wheel) Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773, 12 p.m., Boston, MA. Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Interchart T-Square: BTP Sun (Sagittarius) opposes KG Sun-Mercury-Saturn (Gemini); this axis squares BTP Saturn-Neptune-No. Node (Virgo). It seems very fitting that Saturn-Neptune would be involved in a protest involving subterfuge, costumes (the rebels dressed like Natives) and loss (tea in harbor). These particular squares alone would explain why King George was so deeply affronted by the event—and why he felt his authority was grievously harmed—and from the North Node’s position, he probably would have sensed a trend that was bound to get worse, not better, if allowed to stand. Fact is, he was right—the colonists were clearly trying to make a point on their way to starting something. The question was undoubtedly, how serious to take it?

BTP Uranus Rx (Taurus) conjoins KG Moon (Gemini), semi-sextiles KG Mercury-Sun (Gemini)and squares KG Nodal Axis (Leo-Aquarius). This event was clearly emotionally shocking and threatening to the King’s sense of his own destiny. This same Uranus trines/sextiles BTP Nodal Axis (Virgo-Pisces), so the shock value (on the water-Pisces) is probably what the Tea Partiers were after.

Interchart T-Square: KG Neptune (Cancer) opposes KG Uranus-BTP Mars-Mercury Rx (Capricorn); this axis squares BTP Jupiter-Chiron (Aries); the latter points inconjoin KG Pluto Rx (Scorpio). The rebels were taking opportunistic action that would be good for their campaign’s public relations (BTP Mars-Mercury) and that probably dealt an economic blow (the King was apparently trying to bail out the East India Company by allowing them to ship tea directly to the Colonies), but even more significantly, the tea dump felt like an assault on his very status as the leader of an empire that took itself very seriously. The King had considerable natal Aries energy himself (Jupiter-MC-Mars)—perhaps that also inspired him to respond more pugilistically than might have been warranted?

And, as we know, if it hadn’t been for a lot of help from France and Spain and the courage and dedication of our Founders and the rag-tag armies they mustered, we’d still be stopping for a nice cup of tea every afternoon and walking backwards out of royal audiences. Even so, this biwheel does seem to represent a turning point (for the worse) in the King-Colonist relationship; I’d venture to say that judging from what came after the Tea Party, the King appears to have walked into the Colonists’ “trap” here by over-reacting and taking the Tea Party personally.

 

Parallels yes, but considerable differences, too.
Fast forward

So how is all this astrological history coming back to haunt our respective nations at this fraught juncture? Clearly, both the U.S. and the U.K. are in transition mode, which seems to be a global phenomenon at this time with so much resurgent nationalist populism in the air, but we two with the “special relationship” have been experiencing a number of parallels that are worth a quick look. Start with our respective leaders in the past few years, for instance.

We’ve talked about Trump more than enough on this site, but just for the sake of the parallels, consider these issues between him and UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson:

Birth – both men are born in June, in New York City—Trump in the Jamaica Queens borough and Johnson in Manhattan. They’re both Sun sign Geminis.

Physical appearances – Johnson may not bother to comb his tousled straw-blond hair as carefully, but he and Trump certainly have similar “dos” and stocky, overweight physiques. It’s tempting to say that Trump looks like an older, taller brother.

Behavior & Political leanings – both men are known for having a string of relationships that produced children, and both have been quite controversial for their treatment of women and others. Both claim to be diehard conservatives, although Trump’s politics were all over the map until he decided to launch his 2015 campaign. Both embrace nationalistic “one nation” ideals and both have demagogic inclinations. Apparently Johnson’s first ambition as a child was to be “world king.” Trump is still working on it. 

Entertainment backgrounds – we know Trump’s history with television; he carried his on-screen persona into the White House. Johnson also worked his way into politics from something more entertainment oriented, although he actually held several political offices before winning the Prime Minister’s role in 2019. So he’s far more experienced and probably competent for the role he’s playing, despite the controversy he’s stirred among Brits with his uncompromising approach to Brexit.

So, for what it’s worth, our two nations have been dealing with leaders who bear many resemblances, share a privileged background, and as noted earlier, Johnson was kind of counting on Trump’s support going forward for some of his plans. Could our replacing Trump ping off UK politics and trigger a change there, too? Let’s take a moment to consider Johnson’s chart next to Joe Biden’s (Biwheel #2 below) with that question in mind. It’s unusual for the U.S. and U.K. to be too far out of synch in terms of politics, although we’re not always operating in the kind of lockstep that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan did.

That said, I doubt it was “coincidence” that brought us both the extreme conservative nationalist politics we’ve been experiencing lately. It was no coincidence that so many Americans gave up on normal international relations and politics so they could put Trump in office, around the same time that Brits threw their politics overboard for the sake of leaving the EU. No surprise, Brexit-booster Nigel Farage was a big Trump booster in 2016.

So what’s the chemistry likely to be on Johnson’s calls across the Atlantic going forward? Will Johnson write the final chapter of the “divorce” between us that began in 1783, or acknowledge how seriously we still need each other? Let’s look at the charts.

 

Mutual respect exists between these two-a positive sign.
Boris and Biden

Obviously, these two men come at leadership from very different backgrounds and it shows in their political differences, which are considerable, as well. No need to go into too many details here—one gives his upper crust conservative leanings a populist twist; the other characterizes himself as a centrist liberal warrior for the working middle class. So where will these two see eye to eye, and how will they work together (or not)? Note that I’m posting Johnson’s chart separately first, so that when we discuss house placements between the two men, it will be simpler to tell where Johnson’s planets fall natally. Even so, we’ll reserve commentary for the biwheel.

 


 

Chart #1. Alexander de Pfeffel Boris Johnson, June 19, 1964, 2:00 p.m. DST, New York, New York. Rated Rodden: A. Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

 

 


Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Joseph Biden, November 20, 1942, 8:30 a.m. War Time, Scranton, PA; (outer wheel) Boris Johnson, June 19, 1964, 2:00 p.m. DST, New York, New York. Rated Rodden: A. Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Biden Sun-Venus (Scorpio) inconjoins Johnson Sun-Venus Rx (Gemini); Biden Moon (Taurus) opposes Johnson Moon (Scorpio). We might just stop the analysis here—what more do we need to know? These aspects pretty much guarantee that dealing with each other will demand frustrating adjustments; not surprisingly, these two have very different emotional styles (Moons). Johnson wears that moody Moon in his 1st house—he’s known for being very closed mouth about his personal life and relationships, whereas Biden really is quite refreshingly open about all that. We see evidence of Biden’s 5th house Moon in his close history with his sons and of course, his romance with wife Dr. Jill Biden. His challenges raising two sons after the death of his first wife are on full display with his Moon-Pluto square (Taurus-Leo) too.

When Biden’s daughter and wife died on December 18, 1972, Mars was transiting over his Scorpio Mercury, applying to his Sun-Venus conjunction, and Pluto was transiting his Neptune (Libra), quincunx his Venus-disposed Moon. Saturn was transiting his Gemini 7th, almost out of orb of his natal Saturn. In other words, the climax of a very weighty Saturn return in which he had already totally changed his life by being elected to the Senate.

Johnson Mercury (Gemini) t-squares Biden MC-Ceres opposition (Virgo-Pisces); Johnson Saturn (Pisces) squares Biden DSC-Saturn-Uranus conjunction (Gemini). We see Biden’s close family ties here again—just try getting through a speech without hearing about his family at some point! His natal MC-Ceres opposition (among others) attests to how deeply authentic his concern for family is—nothing matters more, I would guess, and it will be to Johnson’s advantage to tune into that. He appears capable with this mutable t-square and because his Moon also sextiles Biden No. Node (Virgo) and trines his own No. Node (Cancer). Johnson may hide a lot of his personal life from view, but he could be harboring an inner “maternal” instinct that has yet to be revealed.  

NPR says Johnson's plans for Brexit could produce "chilly days ahead."
It will be particularly interesting to see how these two leaders connect on issues of social justice and the environment/climate change. Johnson Uranus-Pluto conjunction (Virgo) squares Biden Uranus-Saturn (Gemini), which reminds us that Johnson and V.P.-elect Kamala Harris are members of the same mid-1960s generation. So it’s clear that Biden can connect with that generation—in fact given these potent squares, he may consider this generation to be instrumental in making any social or environmental progress over the coming years. The question is, with their two Mercuries inconjunct (Scorpio-Gemini), will Johnson meet him halfway?

Knowing this, it’s possible Harris would be the better person to deal with Johnson in cases when that generational advantage would help; clearly, that Mercury inconjunct will require some diplomacy, but it doesn’t appear that either man will be absolutely close-minded towards the other. Johnson’s Mars-to-Uranus-Pluto square ties in to Biden’s Uranus-Saturn, so they may have more in common that meets the eye. Many of today’s major concerns bridge the two generations they represent, and finding common ground could be a definite positive. 

 

Will the sentiment last?

Final thoughts

We don’t often think about the international impact of our elections, but perhaps there are good astrological reasons that Britain has been following this election like hawks. How they emerge as a nation after the next few post-Brexit years may, in fact, track pretty closely with how we emerge from what’s left of Pluto’s return to our radix Pluto and Neptune’s half-return to its Sibly counterpart. There’s no denying that our Sibly chart represents a devastating hit to their national psyche that resurfaces on occasion; it was a really bad Pluto-Neptune transit to their radix chart in 1776 that they recovered from over the years, but the current return process we are experiencing also seems to be unearthing a lot of old wounds and triggering a lot of national soul-searching on both sides of our mutual “Pond.”

So not surprisingly, the UK also finds itself at a serious crossroads, and this raises the stakes for our “special relationship.”  A passage from writer Tom McTague’s recent article in The Atlantic, entitled “Britain is holding its breath,” explains it well:

“Britain’s security and economy are so closely tied to its special relationship with the U.S. that the election poses particularly difficult questions. How, for example, can Britain develop a security strategy if it cannot rely on American support for NATO? How can it design a trade strategy outside the European Union if it does not know whether the U.S. will support free trade, the World Trade Organization, or the idea of an agreement with Britain from one presidency to the next? This leads to a truly existential question for Britain: If the potential election of Biden—the most centrist, cautious, trans-Atlantic, status quo candidate imaginable—causes apparent soul-searching in London, then perhaps the problem lies not with America, but closer to home. Indeed, if the election of one president or another is an existential challenge, then perhaps the issue is Britain’s strategy itself. If Britain’s global trade policy is dependent on reaching a deal with the U.S., then is that strategy wise to begin with? If Britain’s national defense relies on an America that is now stretched and resentful of its burden, is this sensible either?

To ask such questions invites an even deeper discussion about the very nature of what Britain wants to achieve with its foreign policy. For example, it has long been taken for granted that Britain should seek to maximize its influence in Washington. But few officials or advocates in London ask: to what end? We are told we must invest in our military to protect our standing in America. But again, to what purpose? Will spending more than Germany on defense mean that Biden visits London ahead of Berlin, or gives Britain preferential treatment on trade or, well, anything? If no, then why spend the money? Does the British national interest require sending warships through the South China Sea? Does Japan suffer by not sending ships to the North Sea? Does Germany suffer by doing almost nothing, by comparison, for international defense?”

In other words, would the UK be better off declaring its “independence” from us?! Is that perhaps the wisdom contained in our astrological times? Or do we need each other—and perhaps even enjoy each other’s company—still? 

 


 

 

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 and other publications over the years; see the Publication link on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.

 

For information about  individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

 

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

 

 



[1]Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: the Origins of our Discontent, Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, p. 53.

[2]Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, Revised/updated edition, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK, 2004, p. 342 (Chart #358).

[3] Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire, Yale University Press, New Haven/London, 2013, p. 21.

[4]Ibid, p. 21.