Saturday, November 9, 2019

Between Earth & Sky: the Astrology of a broken Paris Accord

Climate change-related damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Mother, I am the reason the birds are missing. I am the cause of salmon who cannot spawn and the butterflies unable to take their journey home. I am the coral reef bleached death white and the sea boiling with methane. I am the millions running from lands that have dried, forests that are burning or islands drowned in water.”

—Eve Ensler, The Apology

“Humankind cannot live wisely, sanely or gently without the Cosmos.”

—Matthew Fox, Original Blessing

November 4th was marked by Donald Trump’s official notification to the U.N. that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord in one year’s time—as it happens, the day after the November 3, 2020 presidential election. This is no surprise, of course—we knew this day would come, based on Trump’s eagerness to pull-out of any kind of international accord from day one of his administration. One that obligates us to be responsible stewards of the only Earth we have?…one that asks us to be responsible global citizens, to act as if the rest of the planet matters?—fuhgeddaboudit! 

Despite the usual Trumpian arrogance toward and willful ignorance of anything scientific, there’s growing evidence that we ignore climate change at our short-term (not long-term) peril. But let’s not get bogged down in all that—we know the story; it’s being told all around us and we can see the ravages of climate change with our own eyes in the news, if not in our own neighborhoods. 

The question here is, what does all this look like astrologically? Assuming we’d like to continue inhabiting this planet with a modicum of comfort and security, what energies are available to tackle the unimaginable scope of this challenge? Even more significantly, what forces are currently posing obstacles to success? 

Clearly, we’re seeing both active and passive destruction of the environment—and in cases like the most recent California fires, we’re getting a sneak preview of the types of intense clashes that loom on the horizon between the interests of humans and the environment. As one expert put it, “California was made to burn”—the forces at work in their ecosystem naturally demand that sort of clearing process, and human settlements are simply in the way. And yes, climate change has made a naturally precarious situation only worse. 

The latest California fires came perilously close to Los Angeles.
So by that logic, it would seem that anything making climate change worse would be avoided as a matter of good policy, right? If Trump’s DC cared about Californians—or the entire nation, for that matter—that would be another story. As for California, he might at least stop threatening to cut federal emergency aid to them, but since most of them didn’t vote for him (how dare they?), they are shunned by D.C. and hung out to dry. 

All of this makes Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Accord (on top of his total decimation of our environmental regulations) such a bitter pill: clearly, he’s not about to put the well-being of citizens or the planet above corporate interests—he’s eagerly pursuing ways to open up protected lands, the Arctic and more for fossil fuel extraction industries, and all this climate change talk must be supremely annoying. 

Bottom line, the States better be prepared to handle any climate-change-fueled emergencies virtually on their own while he’s in office—Trump won’t even admit a problem exists!  Fires decimating communities across the state?  It’s California’s fault for not “cleaning” their forest floors! Huh?!

What astrology can tell us

One key point looms over all else here: the Earth and the Cosmos are astronomical flip sides of the same reality. It’s easy to forget this—how often do we consider that when we examine a geocentric (earth centered) event chart, sitting opposite the Sun in that chart—as the beating heart of our solar system, esteemed as a creative force, a kind of cosmic, yang “father figure”—is the implied presence of Mother Earth. When the Sun transits Scorpio, for instance, the “blue marble” beneath our feet is traversing the Taurus sector of the tropical Zodiac. 

Here’s astrologer Susannah Meel’s take on what happens when we add the Earth to a horoscope:

“Adding Earth to an astrological chart is so easy to picture because whatever sign your Sun is in, the Earth will be 180 degrees from it. So, if you are a 15 degree Leo Sun, your Earth sign is 15 degrees Aquarius (the signs of Leo and Aquarius are opposite to each other.) Naturally it would fall in the opposite house from your Sun as well. This creates an axis, the fulcrum of which can bestow a new sense of wholeness and balance to the native. As far as traits, Earth in the chart does just what you’d think it does. Like the element earth, it grounds the house or other planets and points it touches. It’s about manifestation, fertility, and practicality. It’s also about basic beginnings, the foundation of a project. It represents your earthly mission.”
I would just add that the Earth is already there in the chart—its presence implied if not physically noted. It’s probably well past time that we start acknowledging its presence, too (hopefully astrology software programs will start making this easier), because our relationship with the Earth couldn’t be more critical. Cosmologist and very wise spiritual leader Matthew Fox says we can’t live “wisely, sanely or gently without the Cosmos:” well, we and the planet we inhabit are integral parts of that Cosmos! 

And even though a horoscope is essentially a symbolic blueprint for cosmic energies at work in any given moment and location, there’s a pragmatic reality present in that map, as well: our relationship with the Earth functions on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels, and that’s all reflected in the charts we cast for ourselves. This is a complex story for another day, but for now, let’s at least acknowledge the Earth’s presence.  
This perspective is equally important whether we’re talking about the individual or collective/mundane levels of existence. An important centerpiece in any society’s identity is its relationship with the Earth: is our home planet widely valued as a treasure that children grow up respecting and learning to conserve well into the future? Or is it seen as a windfall of resources to be exploited for all its worth, for as long as it lasts?

Granted, social attitudes can evolve over time: this certainly happened in 1970 when the first-ever Earth Day celebration was held in the U.S. This was the same year that then-president Richard Nixon’s administration established the Environmental Protection Agency; after all those miserable years of war overseas, the time was ripe for developments of a peaceful, life-affirming nature. 

Rachel Carson's work is as relevant as ever these days.

The need for an EPA was at least partially inspired by scientist Rachel Carson’s stunning 1962 study known as Silent Spring, of course, a study that vividly detailed the destructive impact of chemical pesticides on the environment and on public health. Public awareness of environmental issues was profoundly impacted by her work, but now, despite even greater environmental concerns with climate change, the Trump administration would have us believe that none of this matters, as long as there are fossil fuel and other carbon-driven corporate profits to be made. 

This is an apt time to point out that yes, it matters astrologically that the Earth is considered a “feminine” energy, too: that Sun-Earth opposition implicit in every chart reflects the essential yin-yang dynamic around which life on this planet is wound. Kind of like the tension on display between Trump and Pelosi in D.C.—can we imagine how much worse things could get if Trump was allowed to act on every whim unopposed? And, while we’re at it, isn’t it striking that the way Trump treats the Earth tracks pretty closely with the way he’s treated other “women” in his life? Yes, the Earth is our “Mother,” and that can get complicated. 

So how do we conceive of this whole topic astrologically? Since it’s an ongoing, ever-present issue, we will need to pinpoint specific milestones that might tell us something useful. So let’s begin by looking at the chart for Trump’s withdrawal announcement from the Paris Accord (November 4, 2019), set against the Accord’s December 12, 2015 radix chart. The date for the latter chart is based on the following (from the account on Wikipedia):

“The [Paris] agreement's language was negotiated by representatives of 196 state parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.[4][5]

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Paris Agreement adopted, December 12, 2015, 12:00 pm ST (noon chart, no exact time known), Paris (Le Bourget), France; (outer wheel) Trump officially announces Paris withdrawal, November 4, 2019, 12 p.m. ST (no exact time known), Washington, DC . Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Paris Agreement 2015 (PA) Sun (Sagittarius) conjoins Trump-Paris withdrawal (T-P) Jupiter-Ceres (Sagittarius), sextiles both Mars (Libra), squares PA Jupiter (Virgo), T-P Neptune (Pisces) and PA Chiron (Pisces), and trines both Erises (Rx, Aries). To make a long story short here, the PA is a cosmic “hot” topic. Even more connections exist between the PA Sun and transiting points in the outer wheel, but let’s start here. Note the key role both Jupiters are playing—between the December 2015 radix chart and this T-P chart, the gas giant has transited into its first square to itself, so there’s a cyclical milestone at work here that suggests the agreement will suffer “growing pains.” Sure enough it is doing just that, yet this is far from a death blow to the entire effort. 

Instead, transiting Ceres’ presence in this powerful sector of Sagittarius, conjunct that sign’s expansive ruler Jupiter, suggests that the agreement will be nurtured and cultivated, and quite possibly expanded upon. 

Again, growing pains are to be expected—efforts to undermine, obfuscate and corrupt (T-P Neptune aspects with PA Sun and both Jupiters) are likely, but the conjunction of both Mars and their joint sextile to PA Sun-con-T-P Jupiter reflects an opportunity to maintain the momentum of the PA. These Mars points are strengthened (they’re not especially powerful in Libra) by their opposition to both Erises and PA Uranus (all Aries), which reinforces the strident call for change contained in the Accord. 

The goals promoted by the Paris Agreement.

Notice that T-P Uranus (Rx, Taurus) has transited from mid-Aries to early Taurus since the 2015 adoption of the Accord, however—the nations who have signed on are less caught up in their bold actions than they are with finding pragmatic, technology-based solutions for the Agreement’s Sustainable Development goals. This attitude and mindset are reflected in T-P Uranus’s trine to PA Mercury (Capricorn), but we can also see that progress in this direction could be complicated by an inconjunct to T-P Venus (Sagittarius).  This makes perfect sense, given the sheer breadth of change and the financial issues taken on as the signatory nations voluntarily committed to in the agreement. 

Transitioning the world economy away from dependence on fossil fuels—an increasingly urgent goal, according to scientists—will require unprecedented cooperation between the signatory nations and will demand a crazy level of leadership. Is it any wonder Trump wanted out? Clearly he disagrees with (or simply won’t recognize) the goals of the agreement, but his job is supposed to be to act on our behalf, not his own. Why bother to pull out of a voluntary agreement that only asks for a non-binding commitment, in the end? 

Writing for The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer reports on a conversation that offers a theory:

“’We’re withdrawing from something that’s purely voluntary. It doesn’t make any sense,’ says Bentley Allan, a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University. ‘It’s reprehensible—it’s absurd that we’re withdrawing.’ The only reason to leave such a treaty is if ‘you want to actively make the symbolic act of damaging this thing,’ Allan told me.”
We know how transactional Trump’s nature and mindset are, so we have to wonder what he would stand to gain from “damaging this thing.” Ego satisfaction—just to prove he can? The satisfaction of undermining an Obama priority? The satisfaction of “trolling the Libs?” Any one of these fits a pattern we’ve seen since day one of Trump’s presidency.  Someday we’ll explore the picture that emerges when we set Obama’s chart against Trump’s, just to put some of this enmity into context—suffice to say here, there’s no love lost between these two!

Returning to the issue at hand, it’s interesting that the PA Nodal Axis (Virgo-Pisces) squares Trump’s natal Gemini-Sagittarius full Moon-Uranus-Nodal axis). When the Accord was signed on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, this square was nearly exact, in fact (chart not shown). The idea of “doing the right thing by the Earth” (Virgo) simply doesn’t compute with our “stable genius.” 

More on this potentially personal connection between Trump and the Paris Accord in the discussion following Biwheel #2 below—as with so many issues, he tends to see every issue from an intensely self-centered perspective. What’s in it for me? How will this make me look? And, as we’ve become keenly aware lately, what’s the “quo” for my “quid?” Since he’s refused to divest himself from his businesses, we even have to wonder how much his real estate businesses influence his decision making! For now, back to the PA and Biwheel #1.

Interchart T-Square: Both Mars (Libra) oppose PA Uranus-both Erises (Aries); this axis squares T-P Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn) conjoined PA Pallas-Pluto. Here we see that the T-P Nodal Axis falls in a significant sector—along the Cancer-Capricorn axis, with the South Node transiting pretty close to the action with T-P Saturn-Pluto. Clearly, since the PA was adopted and signed, we’ve been through a shocking period of upheaval and discord (Mars opposite Uranus-Eris) and it’s far from over. 

Violent protests have disrupted several nations this year.
Very real parallels seem to exist these days, in fact, between the “shock and awe” being felt in societies (globally, with several nations in the news for serious disruptions, protests, government crackdowns on liberties, and so on) and the shocking disintegration we’ve seen in the environment, with climate change accelerating far more quickly than expected. 

A bit of a side note: We’ve examined the outer planetary cycles that are so critical these days in several blog posts to date, yet it bears repeating that all of Jupiter’s cycles (with Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) and all of Saturn’s cycles (with Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are waning during these times, and three of these major cycles will complete and start fresh in 2020. Waning periods are times to clear out any outworn, toxic energies that have stagnated and corrupted the power dynamics in society, so these periods in major cycles are often marked by disintegrating circumstances. The cycles launching anew in 2020 include Saturn-Pluto (January), Jupiter-Pluto (April) and Jupiter-Saturn (December). 

I bring this cyclical information up now because the Paris Accord will either benefit or suffer from these new cycles. Saturn-Pluto kicks-off at 22°+Capricorn in January, exactly trine PA Jupiter (Virgo)¸so I’m hopeful the Accord will gain in structural integrity and institutional clout. Jupiter disposes PA Sun (Sagittarius), which the Saturn-Pluto launch degree will semi-sextile—challenges and frustrations will remain, but its goals for climate change mitigation and prevention (i.e., “doing the right thing” for the Earth) should gain support. 

Then in April, Jupiter-Pluto joins the new cycle brigade at 24°+Capricorn, also trine PA Jupiter-No. Node (Virgo)—the power dynamics at work among signatory nations in the Accord should keep things moving, whether the U.S. is one of them or not. 

Technological solutions will be critical for tackling climate change.

Finally, the Jupiter-Saturn cycle launches anew in December, 2020 at 0°+Aquarius, square its disposing planet, Uranus (Taurus). Pragmatic solutions based in technology and a radical new approach to environmental justice and stewardship will be the challenge, and that square should help keep the signatories motivated. 

T-P Neptune (Pisces) sextiles T-P Saturn (Capricorn), quincunxes both Mars (Libra), opposes PA Jupiter and squares PA Sun (Sagittarius). Unfortunately, most of these aspects reflect  passive aggressive tactics that could be used to erode and undermine the Accord. Resisting efforts to chip away at the signatories’ stated goals to the point where nothing real can be accomplished will be key. To gain maximum support and create an encouraging collaborative, rather than punitive framework, the framers of the agreement made it voluntary and non-binding, but these loose requirements may also be used to undercut and dilute the entire enterprise.   

Keeping the various players motivated and organized around tangible achievements and goals (Saturn’s role in all this) will be another key; this complex of aspects suggests that focusing on the idealistic dimension of these Neptune connections (and avoiding the pitfalls of corruption, obfuscation, etc.) will help. Transparency will be key.

Finally, given the slippery nature of Neptune, this complicated network of aspects suggests a host of possible, unintended consequences from Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Accord. Here are some relevant thoughts from Foreign Policy

“In one way, the Trump administration’s decision is huge: The United States is the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind only China, and is by far the largest cumulative greenhouse gas emitter in history. With the United States outside the Paris agreement, the pact will now cover only about 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, down from 97 percent previously. That’s bad news now that global emissions are at record levels and rising fast, after several years of apparent success in stabilizing the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere. 
With the United States abdicating any responsibility for curbing emissions, it will be that much tougher to convince China, India, and other growing sources of greenhouse gases that they have to do more.
U.S. isolation could have other second-order effects. U.S. firms may be at a competitive disadvantage in the future, if the European Union dusts off nascent plans for some sort of carbon border tax, which would slap tariffs on all goods coming from countries that don’t tackle climate change. And being outside the Paris agreement could end up making it harder to secure a new trade pact with the EU; France opposes doing a trade deal with any country outside the agreement.
At the same time, formal membership or not in the Paris agreement matters less in practical terms than concrete steps taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and there all Paris countries are falling short. The United Nations found recently that all the voluntary pledges that make up the Paris agreement will still fall well short of meeting the pact’s goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (and that was when the United States was still formally part of the agreement). 
Unless all the signatories to the Paris agreement ramp up their ambition and take steps to cut emissions a lot faster, even the goal of limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees may be out of reach, the U.N. found.”

Greenhouse gases, by the way, are ruled by Neptune, with Pluto playing a role in producing them with its dominion over the extraction of underground fossil fuels. Notice that T-P Neptune conjoins PA Chiron (Pisces) and together they square the PA Sun-Earth axis (Sagittarius-Gemini). I can’t think of a better way to represent the concern expressed earlier in The Atlantic:
“’It’s reprehensible—it’s absurd that we’re withdrawing.’ The only reason to leave such a treaty is if ‘you want to actively make the symbolic act of damaging this thing…’”  

Appearances matter

It is telling that the only natal point Trump has in an earth sign is his MC in Taurus, but he is experiencing a Progressed New Moon as we speak, in early Virgo. Could that be why he keeps insisting his infamous call with the Ukraine president was “perfect?” It’s quite possible that his progressions are delivering a cosmic heads-up on what’s perfect and what isn’t. 

Back to the issue at hand, however: this is a good time to consider more deeply why Trump is so firmly opposed to the Paris Accord, even as a voluntary matter, and the relative deficit of earth signs in his nativity is worth note. Even his earthy MC may not help; it seems to assure that Nature = Real Estate = Power & Influence to him. This thinking was undoubtedly cultivated in him by his father, Fred Trump, whose own history in the cutthroat New York real estate world suggests he was never a fan of government regulations and oversight—environmental or otherwise. Donald Trump’s MC, of course, is a parental indicator, so this connection had a profound influence on him. 

Adding more recent context, Biwheel #2 below sets the Paris Accord (PA) chart we’ve already examined against Trump’s nativity, which should lend us further insight. Let’s begin.

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Paris Agreement adopted, December 12, 2015, 12 pm ST (no exact time known), Paris, France. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: PA Sun (Sagittarius) conjoins Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) and opposes Trump Sun-No. Node-Uranus; this axis squares PA Jupiter (Virgo). It’s interesting to note here that this PA Jupiter exactly conjoins two key midpoints in Trump’s chart, as well: Sun/Moon and Mars/Jupiter. These connections could mean a number of things, but they generally represent areas of emotional identity, self-absorption and recklessness in an individual, which seems to fit his character and the matter at hand. To return to an earlier point, the "Earth" point in the PA chart is conjunct Trump's Sun-No. Node-Uranus; this almost feels like a cosmic "joke" of sorts, doesn't it? 

That aside, the t-square we see here could have inspired Trump with an awareness of opportunities offered by the Paris Accord. This makes sense: for those with cash to invest in new “green” industries, this could be the perfect time to get a foot in those doors, even if it takes a while to reap the benefits. This is especially true since signatory nations are highly motivated to support those industries right now. 

Trump may "dig" it, but the market for coal is dying (a Bagley cartoon).
Trump’s Uranus-charged Sun, however, never hesitates to be contrarian—as the campaign t-shirt says, Trump “digs coal.” To make matters more complicated, his Sagittarius Moon here seems to be emotionally invested in this pro-coal perspective—as though it amounts to an ideological, rather than a rational position. 

This shouldn’t surprise, of course: Trump “digging coal” is well in keeping with his MC’s “Nature = Dollars = Power” equation, and coal-country constituents are some of his strongest supporters. Perhaps the short-term adulation he gains from championing coal-mining jobs is all that matters to him, but it’s also possible that what he really finds satisfying in the end is having the power to exploit that resource for all it’s worth. His own financial security is an issue as well—this MC sextiles his Saturn-Venus (Cancer), but clearly, he’s doing those constituents no long-term favors. 

If this was about them, and he really cared about their futures, he’d make sure that training was available so they could find good-paying jobs outside of that industry. According to the Brookings Institute, market forces will determine the fate of the coal industry, and the trend clearly suggests that coal is on its way out as a major source of fuel. This is reinforced by the fact that the current Saturn-Pluto cycle is in its final balsamic phase—the market for underground fossil fuel sources is waning along with it.

Bottom line, if Trump was interested in pragmatic reality and opportunities for growth for workers (Virgo Jupiter), he wouldn’t maintain his contrarian position. 

Needs no explanation.

Interchart Grand Trine: PA Sun-Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) trine PA Eris-con-Uranus (Rx, Aries), which trines Trump Mars-ASC (Leo).  It’s too wide in places, but we can also view this wild fiery configuration as part of a “kite” formation with Trump’s Sun-No. Node (Gemini), which reflects the very personal challenge he perceives in opposing Paris Accord goals. He is playing a strong hand in this configuration, unfortunately: the situation engages his self-protective “warrior” nature (Mars-ASC) in a “battle” scenario (PA Eris-Uranus), and unless those who support the Accord are able to co-opt his opposition for their own purposes (PA Sun conjoins Trump Moon, etc.), he could do real damage to the agreement. 

Based on the sheer force represented in this fiery grand-trine based configuration, it will be interesting to see if Trump actively throws his weight around on this issue with other national leaders (what stops him, right?), trying to undermine their participation, as well. As the earlier excerpt from Foreign Policy suggested, trade relations will be one critical arena in which those cooperating with the Accord’s goals will perhaps go one way, while those who don’t will have to find alternative opportunities. 

To whom will coal companies sell all that coal Trump wants to dig if the market for it has dried up? Why would any nation want to pollute its air with it if there were cheap, cleaner alternatives?  

Serious issues loom ahead with this and much more, as the U.S. withdrawal becomes a done deal. Bottom line, maintaining a united front is essential to the Accord’s success, so there’s a lot at stake.

PA Saturn (Sagittarius) quincunxes Trump Mercury (Cancer) while PA Neptune (Pisces) trines Trump Mercury. PA Saturn squares PA Neptune. This is a significant complex of aspects which reflects the rather loose framework of the Accord, not to mention its vulnerability to the forces that want to maintain the status quo: no carbon-based restrictions on the extractive industries or on commerce. 

We’re seeing these forces acting out most dramatically in places like Brazil, whose new right-wing leader, Jair Bolsonaro—with Trump’s support—is promoting resource raids that are ravaging the rainforest. The latest egregious example of this is that vast areas are being cleared in the forest (in violation of indigenous land rights) for the sake of mining gold
So will Brazil follow the U.S. lead and leave the Accord as well? Bolsonaro seems to take affront at everything European leaders do (sound familiar?), but it’s still probably too early to predict. Will Trump use his influence to undermine the Accord if he’s given a second term in office? Sounds like a pretty safe bet, given the dynamics we see here. The rather tense connection between PA Saturn and Trump Mercury here suggests that he seriously chafes at the restrictions (and the framework) built into the Accord, and his Mercury rules a lot of what happens in his chart. 

The PA Neptune trine to his Mercury unfortunately supports his climate denialism, although this Neptune, planted in his 7th house for a long-term transit, also quincunxes his natal 2nd house Neptune (Libra), suggesting that he may be experiencing a sinking feeling that the rest of the world is moving on and leaving him behind, and he may fear this will translate into a financial negative (2nd house Neptune rules his Pisces 8th). Rather than admit any mistakes, however, he’s far more likely to work on cashing in on his denialism by influencing others to join or support him. 

PA Mars (Libra) conjoins Trump Juno-Chiron-Jupiter Rx (Libra) and quincunxes PA Chiron (Pisces). PA Mars trines Trump Gemini points and sextiles his Sagittarius points. Notice that we’re seeing the personal stakes Trump may have in opposing the Accord. As a world leader and a nation of 300+ million people who depend upon the health of the environment for their own wellbeing, the U.S. has far different stakes in the success of the Accord. 

In this set of aspects we see that to Trump, being a child born into wealth was a mixed blessing, painfully wounding (Chiron) at times. It may have even stunted his own independent growth (his father’s Sun-Mercury conjunction exactly conjoins son Donald’s Jupiter RxFred Trump bailed son Donald out of several business failures). It couldn’t help, either, that Donald’s marriages (Juno) have twice ended in divorce (Chiron). 

All this combined may have something to do with the bitterness Trump seems to harbor against anyone he thinks is getting “something for nothing” from him. He’s carried this attitude into his dealings as president, which often doesn’t make sense for the nation: the U.S. has always gained important influence (access to sites for strategic military bases, for instance) from the foreign aid relationships it carries on, but he prefers to wield influence in ways that reinforce his “tough guy” self-image. As we can see every day in the news, this preference has gotten him into difficulties, with the Ukraine scandal and impeachment inquiry.   

Final thoughts

I began this post by wondering out loud about the energies available to us to tackle the incredible scope of the global climate change problem, but clearly the chief task at hand is to banish the very real geopolitical obstacles to doing so. The spread of a particularly regressive form of nationalist populism in nations like Brazil, Hungary, Poland, and the re-emergence of social blights like anti-Semitism in parts of Europe that should know better is troubling and counter-productive because it works against collaborative efforts between nations. 

Revolts against any taxes the Macron government has sought to impose to meet the Agreement's goals were the basis for serious "Yellow Vest" protests in France this past year--with right-wing Populist Marine Le Pen's full support. These revenue issues will be a serious obstacle: the responsibilities need to be spread as fairly as possible.

On another, very timely note, Russia’s thuggish war on Ukraine has a lot to do with maintaining its dominance of the natural gas market in Europe by force, if it has to—resources wars are far from a thing of the past, it seems. 

So there’s a lot more at stake here than getting 194 nations to sign a friendly sounding agreement and believing that it will achieve anything concrete. Disputes that threaten the goals of the agreement must be addressed; the financial needs of nations that are falling prey to unproductive populist pressures because of climate-change related immigration need to be recognized and addressed. Even the most expansive good will and cooperative spirit among nations is going to encounter insidious short- and long-term challenges, and unfortunately, our president has chosen to be part of the problem instead of the solution.  

Thankfully, the Millennial generation appears overwhelmingly determined to push back on Trump’s exploitative designs. As the most populous generation since Trump’s post-WWII generation, they feel as strongly about climate change mitigation and a clean energy economy as Boomers felt about the Viet Nam war. They seem to be keenly aware (and a bit angry) that it will be their job to clean up the environmental mess and move forward, and they would like to stop wasting time. They’re probably thinking that if only the older generations would get out of their way… 

Maybe the time isn’t quite ripe for them to take the political reins, but it will be soon, and it will benefit us all if they are allowed to have a strong voice in the environmental policies we adopt between now and then. Even Trump can’t stop individuals, municipalities, states and corporations from working on their own to mitigate climate change, so maybe it’s time to put our efforts there, pinning our hopes on each other instead of on Trump.

Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg stands out as a prime example of what individuals can achieve: such young people are our children and grandchildren—why would any of us stand in their way? 

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.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2019. All rights reserved. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

The geopolitics of “blood-stained sand:” the Astrology of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria

War deeply entangles personal and collective concerns.
One of the most intriguing things about mundane astrology is that, no matter what collective events or phenomena we might  research, if we dig deep, there are moving personal stories at the heart of it all. 

A notable example of this dynamic splashes across our media screens every news hour lately, with reports from multiple nations about unrest on the streets. Citizens of Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, Hong-Kong, France, Haiti, UK and more (even Canada), have hit the streets lately to express frustration—usually with issues of economic and social injustice, but not always. 

Whatever grievances protestors may have, however, the common thread in all such expressions is that people feel personally driven to take collective action. 
Another, less uplifting example of this personal/collective dynamic, however, is the very consequential relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: its optics, not to mention its sketchy, ill-defined substance, are really being brought to the fore these days, and not just because every U.S. intelligence agency concurs that Russia meddled with our 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Trump, and appears to be doing so again for 2020. It’s also top of mind in U.S. news because of Trump’s recent actions vis-à-vis Syria. 

Namely, that Trump has blatantly handed over whatever influence the U.S. retained in Syria—perhaps even the Middle East more broadly—to Russian and Turkish interests, and he’s done this at the expense of the Kurdish allies who bore the brunt of the fight against ISIS in the past few years. We’ll dig into this story more deeply ahead.

Putin’s priorities have been well-known for years: he wants to dominate strategically critical Syria-Iran-Turkey geopolitics, and Trump has now stepped aside to make that possible, so check! Putin wants free rein to continue re-absorbing border nation Ukraine into Russia’s sphere of influence—Trump decided to play political games with nearly $400 million in military aid that Congress allocated, so check! Putin has long wanted to undermine and perhaps even deal fatal blows to NATO—and Trump seems prepared to go along, even as he gives lip service to the alliance. 

There's been evidence of this since day one of his administration, but never more clearly than in his willingness to use and abuse our alliance with Ukraine—a nation that has literally been under military assault by Russia since it expressed a desire for NATO membership (Putin feels very threatened by this idea, apparently). Again, Trump gives lip service to that alliance, but actions speak louder than words here. 

Ukraine's young new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

In fact, Trump’s actions suggest that he’s fine with Russia’s designs on Ukraine—he clearly wants nothing to do with upsetting Putin, so why not dangle aid in front of a young, inexperienced Ukrainian President Zelensky while extorting him for political dirt on a rival—at the same time Russian troops are attacking his country? If it wasn’t for the courage of the so-called “whistleblower,” we may not have known about this betrayal of our ally for months or even longer. 

Little did we know, even so, that the influence of right-wing nationalists on Trump in this regard extends beyond Putin. This excerpt from Foreign Policy puts this into an historical perspective that we might easily overlook:

“Donald Trump has long viewed Ukraine as hopelessly corrupt—or at least that is the reason the U.S. president has reportedly given for his eagerness to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations that could aide his reelection chances in 2020. But Trump’s attitude toward the country may have been reinforced by his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, according to the Washington Post
The role these two leaders played in hardening Trump’s views toward Ukraine was described by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent during a closed-door hearing on Capitol Hill last week as part of the ongoing impeachment investigation, the Post reported. 
Putin’s efforts to salt the earth ahead of Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky come as little surprise. Russia has long sought to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and its relationship with the West. Less well known is Hungary’s own simmering tensions with Ukraine, which the Hungarian leader has made his own cause for complaint.
The dispute centers on the Hungarian minority in the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia. The Treaty of Trianon, which ended World War I, stripped Hungary of two-thirds of its territory, and the border areas of Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine are now home to millions of ethnic Hungarians. 
Almost a century since the treaty was signed, it is still an open wound for Hungary, and the fate of Hungarians living in neighboring countries has long proved to be a sticking point between Budapest and its neighbors. Preserving and enhancing the national identity of ethnic Hungarians in the region has been a cornerstone of Orban’s policy since he was first elected prime minister in 1998. Since 2011, more than 1 million Hungarians in the near abroad have been given Hungarian passports, and in turn they have overwhelmingly supported Orban’s Fidesz [right-wing nationalist] party in the polls. The move angered politicians in Ukraine, where dual citizenship is prohibited.”

So digging up old wounds and resentments is used yet again for political gain—it’s a favorite ploy with nationalist regimes and both Putin and Trump are adept with this playbook. For that matter, it shouldn’t surprise us that Trump would resonate with Hungary’s aggressive politics under Orban: that nation’s radix Jupiter (Cancer) conjoins Trump’s Mercury (Cancer-see middle wheel, Triwheel #1 below) and opposes Hungary’s radix Uranus-Saturn-Neptune conjunction (Capricorn).[1]

Hungary's P.M. Viktor Orban has installed a nationalist regime.

The other major takeaway from all this is that Trump has been very busy shifting U.S. alliances away from traditional European NATO members to a cadre of far-right-leaning Eastern European nations—basically to those nations that Putin also favors and on which he would like to reassert Russia’s influence. The more right-wing the governments the better—a friend of Putin’s is a friend of Trump’s these days. Remember that checklist of priorities Putin flashed at the cameras during that shocking July 2018 Helsinki meeting with Trump? From Washington Post:

“’Trump tried to keep his talks with Putin at Helsinki last year secret from his staff and the world, but Russia's president held up the checklist for the cameras. Syria was on it,’ Julia Davis recalls in the Daily Beast: ‘Trump is moving down Putin’s wish list, fulfilling the Kremlin’s aims at a rapid pace. He is chipping away at U.S. sanctions against Russia, deepening America’s internal divisions on the basis of race, faith, sexual orientation and political affiliation, vocally undermining confidence in our elections, intelligence agencies and institutions, all the while empowering our foreign adversaries and undermining NATO alliances. Trump’s claims that Ukraine—not Russia—is somehow responsible for the 2016 election interference fall right in line with conspiracy theories the Kremlin has been propagating for years.’”
So it's no surprise that Trump could be talked into stepping aside and letting his new-found friends Erdogan and Putin deal with the “problem” of the Kurds and—while they’re at it—exploit the free hands they’ve been given in regards to Syria and the Middle East. Trump has signaled, in fact, that he’s up for a sweeping capitulation in that region—“Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand” he said yesterday, announcing that he’s now lifting sanctions against Turkey because Erdogan promises a “permanent ceasefire” along Turkey’s Syrian border. More on the credibility of this promise ahead. 

The fact that ISIS is now emboldened to re-emerge (and that many imprisoned militants have escaped Kurdish control) doesn’t seem to faze Trump at this point. Nor does his upending of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against ISIS in northern Syria: they are now on the run for their lives, forced to go for help to Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad—all with the heavy taste of U.S. betrayal in their mouths. Trump may be making new friends for his own purposes, but he’s clearly thrown our national honor under the proverbial bus.

Putin and Syria's Assad, meeting in 2017.

It's painful to ask, but we have to wonder if Trump is actively working to strengthen our adversaries? According to The Daily Beast, even the Russian public is starting to wonder:

“Maksim Yusin, the editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant, was amazed by the ongoing stream of inexplicable actions by the American president that benefit the Kremlin. ‘All of this benefits the Russian Federation,’ Yusin marveled. ‘You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular...In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.’
‘This is such a pleasure,” grinned Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes. ‘Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight!’ Skabeeva’s co-host Evgeny Popov added: ‘Suddenly, we have defeated everyone.’ Incredulously, Skabeeva pointed out: ‘This is an American base—and they just ran away! Trump ran away!’”

It was hard to miss the twisted irony in Trump’s announcement yesterday, claiming “victory!”  Victory for whom? explores the long history of animosity between Turkey & the Syrian Kurds.

Kurdish back story

There are long back stories about all of this, of course, but recent events on the ground confirm all of the above pretty simply: Bowing to pressure from Turkish leader Erdogan, Trump decided to pull U.S. troops out of an area of Syria where they were instrumental in protecting an ethnic minority known as the Kurds from Erdogan’s animosity.  It should be noted that Trump first announced his intentions to take this action on December 19, 2018, at which time there was sufficient outcry from those around him to delay implementation. 

For its part, Turkey has a long history of problems with ethnic minorities (their role in the WWI-era Armenian genocide comes to mind), and according to Wikipedia, the Kurds—an ancient Mesopotamian culture—have never been treated very well in Turkey, or elsewhere, for that matter. 

According to Foreign Policy, the Kurds are “the largest ethnic group in the world not to have a state of their own:” after WWI, they were essentially betrayed by Britain and France (the super-powers of the day), who withheld the homeland they promised the Kurds at that time. The Kurds were instead consigned to small slivers of territory in four nations, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Sound familiar?  
This history of oppression—of being treated as “outsiders” who are eternally dependent upon the kindness of strangers—might explain why a small faction of Turkish Kurds have been radicalized over the years and formed the PKK, the group Erdogan regards as “terrorist.”

From Erdogan’s perspective, of course, it’s handy to have a scapegoat in tough times, and the Kurds seem to be providing that service, as well. In all fairness, times have been tough for Turkey recently, with millions of Syrians fleeing civil war and seeking refuge within their borders in the past few years. Even so, is it necessary to displace and victimize one community to help another? 

Syria's Kurdish military was instrumental in defeating ISIS.

During Syria’s civil war years, in fact, the Syrian Kurdish military allied itself with the U.S. to fight ISIS—and more than 10,000 Kurds died in the process, compared to a small number of U.S. troops. This is a victory that should be appreciated by all in that region, not to mention the U.S., but instead the Kurds are now scrambling for protection against Turkish forces who want to clear out their northern Syria territory for a “safe zone” for Syrian refugees. 

So as usual, there are land and resource interests at the heart of state-based aggression and betrayal, and it’s therefore not hard to see why Trump decided to drop the show of resistance to Turkey’s aggression—Trump has the Trump Towers Istanbul and other financial interests of his own in Turkey, so no need to ruffle Erdogan’s feathers against those!  

With all this, is it any wonder that some Kurdish onlookers threw vegetables and stones at departing U.S. troops this past week? Not our proudest moment, by any stretch, but the scene was enlightening in that it captured the deep reality of capitulation that we’re witnessing between Trump and his fellow authoritarians, Erdogan and Putin. 

U.S. troops leaving northern Syria this past week.

The Astrology
So what does all this look like astrologically? Clearly there’s no way to answer that in one post, but perhaps we can examine how Trump has impacted the situation in the past year. For other studies I’ve posted on this blog on the Syrian-Turkey-Trump situation, click here and here

For this post, we’ll focus on the announcement Trump made on a Sunday evening earlier this month, on October 6, 2019, and we’ll consider that event set against Trump’s nativity and the U.S. Sibly chart. 

So why would now be an apt time for Trump to move ahead with these controversial plans? There was considerable pushback on this withdrawal over the past year: in fact, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis (former Defense Secretary) resigned over Trump’s insistence on withdrawing troops at the Kurd’s expense (not to mention the frustrations of serving a president who wouldn’t listen). Although he’s careful not to criticize a sitting president, Mattis was reportedly appalled at the thought that the U.S. would betray its courageous allies. 

Perhaps the so-called “guardrails” around Trump have been lost, one-by-one? Mattis wasn’t the only Defense-related resignation in the past year, in fact, and there were other aides who strongly cautioned Trump against this action because they knew Republicans in Congress wouldn’t support it. So Trump not only threw our allies under the bus, he also betrayed GOP principles and priorities—at the same time he’s been pressuring Republicans in Congress to protect him against the impeachment inquiry when the evidence steadily amasses against him! Is it any wonder GOP spokespeople are looking and sounding frustrated and panicky these days?

As we’ll see ahead, these are tough astrological times for the Sibly chart (and the nation it represents) for more than one reason, but Trump’s consequential green-lighting of Turkey’s invasion against the Kurds living across the Syrian border (despite protestations to the contrary) is a definite low point that deserves a cosmic snapshot. 

Fmr. Amb. Bill Taylor gave tough testimony in the House impeachment inquiry this week.

One point before we proceed: one of the most damning bits of evidence surfacing in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry against Trump suggests that he wanted Ukraine president Zelensky to be put “in a public box” on the issue of investigating Trump rival, V.P. Joe Biden. Think about this for a second: demanding that another nation’s leader go to a microphone to carry through on your priority (honorable or not) is a pretty loaded power play, and it puts the target in question in a decidedly subservient position—something like a “lackey” forced to carry out another’s dirty work, not the respect due a fellow leader. 

Something like Putin and Erdogan have now achieved with Trump, perhaps? According to Foreign Policy, as of October 22nd, these two have agreed about how they’re going to carve up parts of northern Syria between them as part of Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring.” In other words, there were real, tangible gains to be made by Turkey and Russia, at the expense of the Kurds who built a “fragile democracy” in that region, and Trump has basically enabled their plans. 

It’s all incredibly complicated, but the bottom line is that Turkey and Russia are grabbing Kurdish/Syrian lands, forcibly ejecting the Kurds, and the situation sure looks like it could go from bad to worse for those displaced people.  

Always determined to snatch victory out of the jaws of humiliating defeat, however, Trump showed up yet again yesterday at the microphone and declared “victory.”  Will we ever understand exactly what transpired during all this? Not likely, but the planetary dynamics in play right now will shed some light on why now was the time for this Erdogan-Putin-Trump  triumvirate to act on their plans. 

Let’s begin.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) US (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 am, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Trump-Syria pull-out announcement, October 6, 2019, 7 pm DST (approx. time; Sunday evening announcement reported in NYTimes), Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Interchart Cardinal T-Square: Oct 6 No. Node (Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun (Cancer) and opposes Oct 6 Saturn-So. Node (Capricorn); this axis squares Oct 6 Sun-con-Trump Juno-Chiron-Jupiter (all Libra)-Sibly Saturn (Libra). This complicated, stressful set of dynamics reflects serious pressures on the U.S. presidency (Sibly Sun), on Congress and the Judiciary (Sibly Saturn) and on Trump’s wounded sense of entitlement (Juno-Chiron-Jupiter). To hear him talk, he’s the world’s biggest victim; yet, his lawyers were in Federal Appeals Court this past week arguing that he’s basically above the law—that if he “shot someone on 5th Avenue,” not only could he not be prosecuted for it while in office, but the police couldn’t even stop him! 


That argument will hopefully be broken open like the ugly pseudo-legal piñata it is, but clearly, he’s no victim. If he gets his way in terms of Executive power, the victims will be our democratic checks-and-balances, and for that matter, our entire constitutional system

As for the pressure on the U.S. presidency and the nation, at large represented here, Trump’s actions in regards to the Kurds in Syria are far from our proudest moment, but I suspect that many Americans feel as if there are so many concerns with the Trump presidency that it’s hard to even focus on this one, or any of them, one at a time. This is perhaps reflected in the fact that Trump’s Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun (Cancer)—his very presence in the White House creates deep disruptions. 

Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey characterizes this midpoint (as a mundane matter) in both positive and negative concerns, as follows:

“Thesis (+)—Helps modernize and improve secretive agencies; new devices to allow the collection or analysis of secret information; revolutions in industrial management or practices to improve production, trade or goods….
Antithesis (-)—Violent upheavals or rioting which bring changes in government; intruders who cause disruptions of processes; strikes and labor movements which are intent on forcing changes; sudden new criminal acts.”[2]
Clearly, both types of disruptions (+ and -) have been in play—IMHO, we’re seeing more of the negatives at the moment. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square: Oct 6 Venus (Libra) opposes Oct 6 Eris (Aries); this axis squares Oct 6 Pluto-con-Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) opposite Sibly Mercury-Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). Because this stressful configuration cuts across the Sibly 2nd-8th axis, it’s quite possible that there is an economic dimension to the geopolitical intrigues reflected in Trump’s Oct 6th decision. This is reinforced by the involvement of his natal Saturn-Venus conjunction, a pretty reliable sign that his business priorities are an issue. 

For instance, the pressure that transiting Saturn and Pluto are applying by opposition probably helped deep-six his plans to host the next G7 meeting at his Doral resort in Florida: he was attempting to extract from the public treasury (Sibly Pluto) for his personal enrichment (Trump Venus), and he was (thankfully) constrained by the rules (Saturn). 

Did Trump-branded properties play a role in Trump's Syria decision?

As for the Syria situation, this configuration perhaps reflects that Trump somehow has financial interests at stake in the matter. As noted earlier, he does have several business interests in Turkey that could be impacted if Erdogan is displeased, and if Foreign Policy’s reporting about his financial dealings with Russian oligarchs are true, there may be issues there as well. 

One way or another, Saturn and Pluto are clearly putting pressure on Trump’s financial confidence, which may explain why he’s been bragging about his “amazing” properties more than usual lately. 

Interchart Mutable Grand-Square: Oct 6 Jupiter (Sagittarius) conjoins Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Mars (Gemini)-Trump Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini); this axis squares Oct. 6 Neptune (Rx, Pisces) opposite Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Here we see the rough waves of chaos that are rocking our national boat at the moment, and unfortunately, our military (Sibly Mars) has been brought into the fray by an increasingly unstable seeming Commander-in-Chief. First he’s taking troops out and throwing over our allies (a repugnant idea to the military honor code); then he’s leaving them in; then he’s shifting them here, he’s shifting them there. Having vegetables and rocks thrown at them is the least of their problems! 

What this is all doing to our national morale is another story, but let’s keep our eye on the real issue here. This chaos is also providing cover to the forces that are moving into northern Syria, determined to clear out that territory for their own purposes, no matter what. 

Lack of clarity is a key theme in this configuration, and that is certainly reflected in Trump’s shifting military missions. He is reportedly now leaving some troops in Northeastern Syria to protect the oil reserves there from ISIS fighters—so now, he’s not concerned with ending the endless wars? 

Is Turkey's Erdogan launching an endless war of his own in Syria?

Neptune’s impact (especially from Pisces, but factoring in the Neptune-Neptune opposition more broadly) is clearly in play here, and it shouldn’t escape us that Neptune (along with Pluto) also rules subterranean oil reserves! We probably shouldn’t underestimate how important oil reserves are to the overall scheme of things in that tortured region. 

Jupiter is playing a key, multi-pronged role in all this, of course: 1) to embolden Trump’s recklessness by conjoining his volatile Moon-So. Node, 2) to inflate the hubris and impulsivity that he brings to his control of U.S. military forces by opposing Sibly Mars and his Sun-No. Node-Uranus complex, and 3) to trigger his natural bullying instincts by trining his Mars-ASC in Leo. Perhaps we’ll get a break from some of this volatility when Jupiter moves on into Capricorn in December—again, hope springs eternal! 

Interchart Fixed Grand-Square: Oct 6 Uranus (Rx, Taurus) opposes Oct 6 Mercury (Scorpio); this axis squares Sibly Nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius)-Trump Pluto (Leo). I can’t think of a more clear representation of the shocking message (Uranus-opp-Mercury) that Trump delivered on October 6th; this may explain why October 6th presented an opportunity for the entire shocking campaign. The fact that his announcement had an immediate impact on America’s reputation and collective direction (nodal axis) is also seen here. Since Uranus moves somewhat slowly, we can expect more pressure of this sort, perhaps accompanied with more shocking revelations and/or disruptions to power dynamics.

Trump and Putin at 2018 Helsinki Summit.

This same Uranus sextiles Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer)-Trump Mercury (Cancer), suggesting that an opportunity may also exist to seal a trade agreement, or for Trump to spin a satisfying, if potentially delusional narrative (his Mercury squares Neptune). Neither of these may have anything to do with the Syria situation, but if the Justice Department’s announcement that William Barr has opened a criminal investigation into the origins of Mueller’s Russia investigation today is any signal, it’s possible that the next item Trump would like to check off Putin’s Helsinki wish-list is for Russia to be exonerated from any responsibility for meddling in our 2016 election. Barr seems willing to travel the world in search of support for his boss’s quest.

Why this, why now? From the NYTimes

“The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.
Mr. Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry.” 

There is perhaps no direct connection between this move on Trump’s and Barr’s part and the Syria situation, but we might surmise that after caving in to Erdogan and Putin—not to mention watching our former allies throwing vegetables at our withdrawing troops—that Trump needs an ego boost and to feel back in control. The impeachment inquiry is undoubtedly only triggering his desire to punch back at those he sees as political enemies. A Washington Post opinion piece today counsels that Barr’s actions don’t signal that it’s time to “freak out,” however:

“[However,] it is at least possible that this development isn’t quite as serious as it seems — and that this might be yet another effort to calm the Audience of One, the Mad King who is raging at everyone for not shielding him from the impeachment inquiry closing in all around him.”
This could well be the more constructive way to view Barr’s fantasy pursuit, although we shouldn’t let our guard down, either—an independent Justice Department is essential to our checks and balances, and no, American presidents are not supposed to use that department for personal purposes. If nothing else, we’re learning a lot of civics lessons these days, and it’s possible that a renewed appreciation for the elegant machinery of democracy will be a silver lining in this situation in the end.  
In any case, however, we’re likely to be in for a rough ride as all this unfolds over the coming months—there are planetary reasons for that, as we’ve seen—but we’re also graced every day with the committed efforts of so many who are working to preserve our “better angels” as a nation. 

This, too, shall pass.

Syrian refugees have faced unspeakable difficulties, and Turkey wants them gone.

What about Syrian refugees?

Meanwhile, life-and-death issues abound in the Syrian territory Trump has left to Putin and Erdogan to carve up. One dimension of their three-way “Syria victory dance” hasn’t gotten much play, and that is, what happens to the Syrian refugees who are forced to return to their homeland—especially if that means to a Turkish-controlled “safe zone?” This may be where the real tragedy of the situation unfolds. 

Questions abound: will Assad and other forces in that region respect that “safe zone?” What assurance or controls exist to assure that these refugees will be safe as they rebuild their lives?  Amnesty International has published a new report that paints quite a precarious picture: the report claims that Turkey has been forcing the deportation of Syrian refugees back into their war-torn homeland, in violation of international law, for some time now. The following excerpt fleshes out that claim. From Amnesty International:

“This report reveals that, contrary to the Turkish authorities’ claims that they do not deport anyone to Syria, in mid-2019 it is likely that hundreds of people across Turkey were swept up, detained, and transported against their will to one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Many people were deported from Istanbul, and were apprehended while they were working or walking down the street. Amnesty International documented 20 detailed cases of forced returns between 25 May and 13 September 2019, with most in July.
The Turkish authorities disguise these illegal deportations as so-called ‘voluntary returns,’ and claim that over several years, more than 315,000 Syrians have left of their own free will. Syrians, however, consistently say they are being misled about the ‘voluntary return’ forms they are being told to sign, or intimidated or beaten in order to make them sign. Some people say they were also beaten on the journey to the border by the Gendarmerie. All the deportees said they were sent to north-western Syria (either Idlib or Aleppo provinces), with most entering through the Bab Al Hawa crossing.
Most of the deportees were men, but some children and families were also deported. Even when it is only the breadwinner who is deported, sometimes the family members left in Turkey feel unable to survive, and subsequently leave for Syria themselves. If people re-enter Turkey –almost invariably by paying large sums to smugglers –they find that their Temporary Protection IDs have been cancelled.”
Perhaps over time the “safe zone” will be turned into an acceptable homeland for these returning refugees (hope springs eternal!), but the experiences noted above raise troubling doubts. For instance, what about the Kurds? 

Too many questions, too few answers. 

One thing is certain -- our truly honorable U.S. Representative, Elijah Cummings, will be deeply missed...thank you, Sir, for your lifetime of dedicated service! 

Representive Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019.

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.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2019. All rights reserved. 

[1]Data for the Hungarian Republic’s radix chart: October 21, 1989, 12:00 noon (no exact time known), Budapest, Hungary. Source: The Book of World Horoscopes, Nicholas Campion, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK. Chart #150, pp. 154-55.
[2]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, p. 316.