Friday, September 18, 2020

The view from a Cosmic leaping off point: the Oil industry's Neptune-Pluto drama

 


The first purposely-drilled oil well in the United States struck oil on 8/27/1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania, with the goal of distilling the bubbly black goo that emerges from the ground to produce kerosene for lamps and other useful household products.   

As I’m sure we’re all aware, this one event, which immediately attracted investors looking to profit from all phases of oil and (related) natural gas production, was the onset of a long tortured saga in which fossil fuel behemoths (there’s nothing human-sized or subtle about these industries) have basically called the shots in the global economy, and in the process have determined a lot about how the nations of the world are governed.

Astrologically, we’re on Neptune-Pluto’s turf here—not a comfortable realm for those who believe the People should wield more power over their own destinies. It’s more like a realm of dis-empowerment for the masses, in fact, because trying to overcome the forces of misinformation and obfuscation (Neptune) when they are arrayed in the service of chthonic ruthlessness (Pluto) can be daunting indeed, as we’re learning in the course of Election 2020. The average citizen has little to no idea what actually transpires in the fossil fuel industries—those who see conspiracies-to-rule-the-world everywhere they look should look there. Unfortunately, under Trump and his regulations-busting regime, fossil fuel behemoths have been recast as job-providing saviors who should be allowed to ravage our environment and poison, drown and/or burn out future generations with impunity. Maximum wealth and clout, minimum accountability. 

 


We have a culturally-engrained model for this challenge in the story of David and Goliath, of course—a familiar “underdog” story that pit a small man with brains, courage and quick wits (David) against a gigantic man armed with vicious brawn  (Goliath), but perhaps we forget that their famously uneven stand-off was about proving which of the men was fit to be King over all Israelites. Thankfully, King David won out, but that was then; this is now, when dollars and corporate influence seem to speak louder every day, and we have a leader who’s determined to leverage every bit of it.

Trump came to the presidency near the tail end of Pluto’s rapacious resource extraction “party,” but he’s embraced its objectives from day one by shifting U.S. alliances away from our traditional post-WWII ties, and towards oil-producing nations like Saudi Arabia and Russia. The fact that major oil-producing nations often have authoritarian leaders is far from an issue for Trump: the fewer democratic restraints to deal with, the better.  

Which reminds me of a loaded comment I caught this past week: that “Trump is not interested in remaining president; what he’s really interested in is remaining in Power.” The first desire requires him to answer to or take care of the People, at least enough to put on appearances; the second means he’s home free for a long-term, authoritarian engagement, as long as he can continue manipulating the levers of power and surrounding himself with sycophants—a task for which powerful, well-heeled friends in high places (especially oil-rich nations the U.S. has armed to the teeth) come in very handy.  

 

Why pump it out of the earth if there's no need?
 

Writing for Sierra, published by the environment-driven Sierra Club, Antonia Juhasz mapped out in a recent article what she calls “The End of Oil,” observing that, “the global oil industry is in a tailspin. Demand has cratered, prices have collapsed, and profits are shrinking. The oil majors [behemoths] are taking billions of dollars in losses while cutting tens of thousands of jobs…It is clear that the oil industry will not recover from COVID-19 and return to its former self. What form it ultimately takes, or whether it will even survive, is now very much an open question.”[1] 

Juhasz justifies this view by pointing to the “tanker invasion” that has “turned the oceans into aquatic parking lots—floating storage facilities holding, at the highest levels in early May, 2020, some 390 million barrels of crude oil and refined products like gasoline.”[2]  

In other words, there’s a global oil glut that signals trouble for the industry ahead because it’s only one of several crises Big Oil has been facing. Smaller players are bailing out or shifting gears in new directions; bankruptcies abound; investors have been fleeing. Some of this can be attributed to COVID-19 and the stresses it has placed on economies, but there was a global trend away from dependence upon fossil fuels long before COVID hit, and it’s not likely that this will change post-COVID.

That raises the question about why companies continue pumping millions of gallons of crude oil out of the earth on a daily basis, only to stockpile it on some floating barge. Aside from how this flies in the face of common wisdom that we should take from Nature what we need and no more, what is the point of producing a glut that only drives prices down? For all the damage oil-and-gas drilling produces to people and to the earth, why not just let it stay in the Earth until it is needed? Apparently, there are a number of reasons for this, including a fear that future restraints will be placed on oil production for environmental reasons. So, perhaps what we’re seeing is a literal expression of Pluto in earth-sign Capricorn: Death to Earth?  Quick, vampire industries, suck the Earth dry while you can!

 

 

An apocalyptic scene from Oregon this past week.
 

Climate change is only real if your house is burning

So California and the Pacific West are burning, with residents fleeing and gasping for breath; multiple potential hurricanes are swirling off our Gulf coast, and rather than have anything constructive to offer on any of it, Trump basically blames the victims and dismisses the role hydrocarbons-driven climate change has visibly played in creating the conditions for these disasters. “It’ll start getting cooler…just watch” was the best he had to offer when local leaders stressed the need for sane forest management strategies that work with the science going forward. Those concerned about forest fires that burn millions of acres should “rake their leaves,” Trump says.  

Scientists know we need a national plan to act urgently and with great, focused commitment, as if our lives depend upon it, because they do. Yet, Trump’s response was to say, “I don’t think scientists know…”  

No surprises here, of course—willful ignorance-cum-denialism is a frequently-used weapon in Trump’s arsenal: he’s used it in a very parallel fashion with the pandemic and with any other issue he simply doesn’t want to tackle. Besides, he’s made it clear that shoring up certain players in the fossil fuel industries is key to his political worldview and his plans for remaining globally influential through his “deal”-making. Is it any coincidence that his efforts in the Middle East have centered on pushing Arab nations to make nice with Israel (and his family friend, Netanyahu) and to thus form a coalition that’s united in the region against oil-producing country Iran? To fortify potentially fruitful relationships, there must be a common enemy.  

So why would Trump want to focus on climate change mitigation?—It’s not useful to him, so how can it matter? He didn’t take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords for no reason; he actively opposes its objectives! Denying a problem like climate change exists does not make it so, however—it simply reveals the intentions of the deniers.   

Clearly, these “end times” (or not) of Big Oil will have existential implications for American democracy—not to mention the planet—if we don’t begin handling our current Neptune-Pluto dilemma better than we have been. Neptune is currently opposing our Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and squaring Sibly Mars, while Pluto is inching up on Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) for that return. Not only are the nation’s power dynamics shifting, they are shifting in potentially volatile ways. 

 

Life on earth depends upon the sustainable use of the Commons.
 

Pluto’s tour of Capricorn has undoubtedly favored corporate resource extraction interests—especially given its impending return to the U.S. Sibly Pluto position in late Capricorn; over a course of this transit, the drive to privatize the Earth and all its resources has been given free rein, at the expense of Humanity’s claim on the Commons—“the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit.”   

Fact is, however, times are changing, and the world is going to move on from its fossil fuel addictions (Neptune)—not surprisingly, however, the U.S. will probably encounter more difficulties with this shift than many others will because too much of its geopolitical influence is entangled with Big Oil. My hunch is that we’ll see much more development towards a clean energy world as Pluto finishes out its final few degrees in Capricorn (it enters Aquarius in March, 2023), but progress will be an uphill battle (especially in the U.S.) until Pluto enters Aquarius, when Science- and Technology-based solutions and perspectives might start prevailing over the sheer greed of resource extraction.  

It’s anyone’s guess what will be left of the Earth’s critical ecosystems by then, but we know what needs to be done, and we know the task is urgent beyond belief. We also know that (especially if Trump has anything to do with it) the oil-producing nations will fight tooth and nail to keep their markets intact.  

Even so, there may be a light at the end of this very long Capricorn tunnel, and we may have the pandemic (Neptune!) to partially thank for it. Juhasz cites more than a decade of serious volatility in the global oil markets that to my astrological viewpoint says a major transition is underway. From Juhasz:

“After reaching a record high of $148 a barrel in 2008, which helped spark the Great Recession, the price of a barrel of oil in November 2019 was just $60. The growth in demand for oil worldwide in 2015 was more than two and a half times greater than in 2019; it plunged precipitously between 2017 and 2019. Despite the contraction in demand, companies kept pumping larger amounts of oil. By 2018, the global oil supply had outstripped demand, causing a glut. The situation was dire enough that the research consulting firm McKinsey & Company warned oil-producing nations in 2019 to begin ‘sufficiently diversifying their economies for a post-[oil] peak demand world.’…Between 2012 and 2017, the oil majors’ profits collapsed. BPs…by 68 percent, Chevron’s by 65 percent, ExxonMobil’s by 56 percent, and Shell’s by 50 percent. In December 2019, Chevron was forced to write off $10 billion in losses.”[3] 

Obviously, Trump and the other would-be oil potentates he’s mobilizing in the Middle East would rather find a short term cure for this situation than to overhaul it fundamentally—environmental impact is likely the least of their concerns, only relevant if they are forced to deal with regulatory agencies. Big Oil is like the Emerald City, and Trump and company are like the Great and Powerful Oz and his minions, pulling strings from behind a screen to maintain a glorious fantasy world in which Reality—i.e., the need for green energy—is unwelcome and threatening.   

 

What was that glowing orb?
 

So it would be hard to believe that oil and the power it confers wasn’t a major attraction when Trump made Saudi Arabia the first nation he visited upon taking office in 2017 (remember the “glowing orb?”)—oil looms in the background with everything Saudi-related, so it probably also factored into why Trump has basically ignored Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the brutal killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.   

Besides,Trump has pursued multi-billion dollar arms deals with the Saudis in the midst of all this—one that’s still under investigation by the House Foreign Affairs Committee for its potentially shady origins. From The Washington Post:

“The U.S. State Department inspector general was investigating the Trump administration’s use of an emergency declaration to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia when he was fired, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Monday.

President Donald Trump announced late Friday that he was firing Steve Linick, the inspector general since 2013, which sparked a backlash from Democrats, who suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was responsible for what ‘may be an illegal act of retaliation.’”

The U.S. has always exported arms to allies, of course, sometimes as military aid and sometimes to achieve some strategic goal, such as locating a military base somewhere within that ally’s borders. However, there’s a deeper connection between Oil and Arms than we might expect. The Conversation explores this connection in greater detail than most journalism does, however, and the results are worth consideration:

“To test the idea that energy dependence leads to a higher volume of arms transfers between countries, we assembled a large dataset with information on oil wealth (such as production, reserves and recent discoveries) and oil trade data, to measure energy interdependence and the potential damage of regional instabilities to oil supplies.

We found the existence of a “local oil dependence”, which indicates that the amount of arms imported has a direct relationship with the amount of oil exported to the arms supplier. Speculatively, arms export to a specific country is affected by the degree of dependence on its supply of oil. The larger the amount of oil that country A imports from country B, the larger will be the volume of arms that country A will transfer to country B.

But we did not only find the existence of a direct oil-for-weapons relationship. Our results also reveal the presence of a “global oil dependence”. The more a country depends on oil imports, the higher the incentives are to export weapons to oil-rich economies, even in the absence of a direct bilateral oil-for-weapons exchange. The idea is that by providing weapons, the oil-dependent country seeks to contain the risk of instabilities in an oil-rich country.” 

 

This exploration also focuses on ways in which the ups and downs of the global oil trade directly impacts governments and strategic alliances around the globe—no doubt, a serious drop in oil prices (cited earlier by Juhasz) can be very destabilizing to volatile regions of the world. According to David Ignatius with the Washington Post, it has certainly done as much to Saudi Arabia’s influence in the Middle East, which has basically thrown the power relations of that entire region into the air, with a new crop of “winners” ascending and some surprising “losers” (including Saudi Arabia) falling with a thud. Trump’s attempts at coalition building there are designed, in fact, to pick “winners” and to then strengthen them through trade alliances, etc., against the “losers.” Syria is still a roiling mess; Yemen is still suffering catastrophically; the Palestinians now have even less hope that Israel will deal fairly with them.

Bottom line, helping the people of the region was far from the point of Trump’s “Abraham Accords:” my guess is that Trump views what those accords accomplished as geopolitically beneficial to him. Full stop.

Meanwhile, all of these Neptune-Pluto-fueled entanglements and maneuverings make the shift from oil-dependence to a clean energy economy incredibly complicated—but all the more urgent. The oil industry traces its origins back to the so-called “Pennsylvania Oil Rush,” which started with Edwin L. Drake’s discovery of “rock oil” at a drilling site in Titusville, Pennsylvania in August, 1859.

Let’s see if the “birth” chart for this industry (Outer wheel, Biwheel #1 below) set against a noon chart for its progenitor (Inner wheel, Biwheel #1) can tell us anything.

 

 

 
Biwheel #1. (inner wheel) Edwin L. Drake, March 29, 1819, 12 p.m. LMT (noon, no time known), Greenville, NY; (outer wheel) U.S. Oil industry, August 27, 1859, 12 p.m. LMT (noon, no time known), Titusville, PA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Industry Neptune (Rx, Pisces) conjoined Drake Saturn-Chiron-Pluto (Pisces) and squared Drake Neptune-Uranus (conjunct in Sagittarius). It’s difficult to imagine a more fated outer-planetary event, especially one involving crude oil—ruled by both Neptune and Pluto. With his natal Pluto in Neptune’s home sign of Pisces and nearly all the outer planets in his chart being transited by a late Pisces Neptune Rx, we might say that Drake was motivated by forces much larger than himself. By the time Drake employed his innovative and ultimately successful techniques for drilling through bedrock to reach and release crude oil, the presence of the substance in Pennsylvania had already been established—it just hadn’t been exploited in any marketable way.

And, lest we forget the raw material power endowed on those with control over oil supplies, Industry Pluto (Rx, Taurus) squared Drake’s Jupiter (Aquarius). Drake mustered the technology innovations needed for the job—technology that’s still in basic use today—and he applied it in ways that extracted great wealth from the earth (Pluto in Taurus). Unfortunately, however, the wealth didn’t end up in his pockets. According to Wikipedia:

“Drake set up a stock company to extract and market the oil. But, while his pioneering work led to the growth of an oil industry that made many people fabulously rich, for Drake riches proved elusive. Drake did not possess good business acumen. He failed to patent his drilling invention, and proceeded to lose all of his savings in oil speculation in 1863. He was to end up as an impoverished old man, and in 1872 Pennsylvania voted an annuity of $1,500 to the ‘crazy man’ whose determination founded the oil industry.”

This unfortunate, but not unusual situation of well-heeled, ruthless individuals capitalizing on the innovative efforts of the worker bees among us (with little consideration for who should get credit), seems reflected here in Industry Chiron-No. Node (Rx, Aquarius) conjoined Drake Venus (Aquarius)—all of this compounded by Drake Pluto-conjunct Chiron (Pisces).

Interestingly, 1859 was the year the term “robber baron” was coined in a New York Times article:

“…to characterize the business practices of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Historian T.J. Stiles says the metaphor "conjures up visions of titanic monopolists who crushed competitors, rigged markets, and the corrupted government. In their greed and power, legend has it, they held sway over a helpless democracy."[2]

J.D. Rockefeller, the founder of the oil refining and distributing giant Standard Oil Company (deemed an illegal monopoly by the Supreme Court and broken apart in 1911) was, of course, one such robber baron—he’s still considered the wealthiest man ever. Many of those who rose to such levels during Pluto’s tour of Taurus were known to be ruthless—overall, their heyday brought us the post-Civil War “Gilded Age” in which staggering levels of wealth inequality ruled the day. They also inspired decades of labor unrest—a story for another day.

It’s worth quick consideration that the oil industry, with all its ramifications for geopolitical power over the years, was “born” during the lead-up to the U.S. Civil War, with Neptune (Rx, Pisces) transiting opposite Sibly Neptune (Virgo, chart not shown)—as it is now—and with Uranus (Gemini) returning to Sibly Uranus (Gemini). And not to be left out, Industry Pluto (Rx, Taurus) echos Uranus’s current position in Taurus. It’s no wonder the industry is dealing with a difficult transition these days. These correlations also point to how deeply enmeshed the fossil fuel industries have become in American power relations both domestically and abroad. These power relations have become only more deeply enmeshed with every war we’ve fought since Drake’s discovery.

Which leads us back to a final key dimension of the oil industry that we forget at our peril.

 

The arms trade is routinely used to insure access to oil.
  

Oil and Arms

We noted earlier that Trump has pushed through more than one big arms deal with the Saudis (one still being investigated); it makes sense that by doing so he is basically guaranteeing that any volatility in the Middle East (which is probably inevitable as oil prices continue to be unstable) will be handled with force, or at least the threat of force—and that he might have some say in the matter. It’s hard to know what the Saudis want $8 billion dollars worth of arms for, but the lack of transparency surrounding these arms sales is troubling, especially since the current Saudi leader (Mohammed bin Salman) is a known ruthless leader whose actions have been alternatively progressive (some loosening of rules regarding women) and genocidal. From Wikipedia:

“Despite praise for his strides towards the social and economic liberalisation of Saudi Arabia, international commentators and human rights groups have been openly critical of bin Salman's leadership and the shortfalls of his reform program, citing a rising number of detentions and alleged torture of human rights activists,[19] his bombing of Yemen in which war-induced famine could cause 13 million civilians to starve,[20] the escalation of the Qatar diplomatic crisis,[21] the start of the Lebanon–Saudi Arabia dispute, the start of a diplomatic spat with Canada, the arrest of members of the Saudi royal family in November 2017, a crackdown on feminists,[22][23][24] and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.[25][26] He has been described by observers as an autocratic leader, with no tolerance for dissent against him or the Saudi royal family.[27]

Bottom line, bin Salman may not be the guy we’d like to empower any further, but he’s good buddies with Trump and so, such sales have happened because Trump has gone around Congress (which should have a say here) to make them happen. So, in a world in which we need all nations to employ sane, measured policy approaches as they shift away from oil to clean energy alternatives, we have a build-up of force in the hands of questionable leaders in strategic places that may only prolong the problem Big Oil represents to global stability. Trump doesn’t stick his neck out to build alliances without some self-serving reason: do we need to wonder what a bin Salman could do with those arms if Trump called in a favor?

 

Ice-free shipping in the Arctic is a goal for Putin.

 

Final thoughts

In fact, the Middle East may be on the wane when it comes to the world’s oil supplies, but that certainly isn’t stopping those who want to pump every last drop out of the earth. Both Putin and Trump think the Arctic is the next big “coup” in terms of new reserves, and more geopolitical power. Foreign Policy summarizes Putin’s arctic ambitions well:

“Rapid climate change and the fallout from Moscow’s annexation of Crimea have made the Russian Arctic’s vast oil, gas, and mineral deposits an increasingly attractive development play for Moscow. President Vladimir Putin’s government is also looking to transform the country’s Arctic coastal waters into a serious commercial shipping lane—one capable of handling not only more domestic traffic but cargo vessels transiting from Asia to Europe as well. With its economy in shambles and international reputation in doubt, Russia today sees the Arctic’s potential as a rare glimmer of hope. 

Russia’s evolving relationship with the High North is exemplified by two ambitious projects—the construction of the Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and the propagation of large-scale shipping along the Northern Sea Route. If successful, these initiatives will bring in badly needed revenue and cement Moscow’s reputation as the preeminent Arctic power. Most important, they will also serve to connect Russia’s economy more closely to the Asia-Pacific region, emphasizing Putin’s much-vaunted Asian pivot.”

It’s possible that Trump sees an opportunity to jump on Putin’s Arctic bandwagon for a cut in that “deal,” as well. After years of fierce resistance from environmental groups (there is a lot at stake in keeping the Arctic off limits), Trump has just released a plan for opening the the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to drilling—so is it any wonder neither he nor Putin are willing to admit the human causes of climate change? A warming planet (the higher the better) is helpful to their arctic plans, especially to Putin’s dream of an ice-free shipping route through the Arctic to points in Asia.

So, before they collude to bring on the end of the natural world as we know it…

Finally, since we’ve focused intently on the Neptune-Pluto challenges of our world's addiction to oil,  we might as well shift gears for one moment to consider the Neptune-Pluto dimension of the other very present threat to life on this planet, the COVID pandemic. As shocking and amoral as it sounds, Trump has tried to shift the national COVID conversation to a new goal of “herd immunity.” I can’t think of a colder, more impersonal, collective Neptune-Pluto perspective on what is of course, extremely personal for those who are closely impacted by COVID. Only those who believe they are above the fray and “untouchable” would promote such a perspective—yes, Trump speaks at mass gatherings these days, but he’s risking everyone else’s lives with his narcissistic need for an audience and for reassurance of his own “greatness”—he’s not risking his own life.  

Speaking in terms of “herd immunity” is to adopt the perspective of Actuarial Science, a branch of Statistics that reduces human beings and demographic differences to mere numbers on a page, assigns "insurance values" to their lives in times of disaster, etc. It’s a perspective that comes natural to those who can escape to their ivory towers and hold everyone else responsible for their needs and their safety. 

It’s the perspective, finally, of those for whom empathy (Neptune’s higher angel) is a meaningless concept. In a recent PBS New Hour interview, journalist Bob Woodward cited a discussion he had with Trump regarding the need to “walk in the shoes of others,” (especially of Black Americans who are suffering multiple challenges at the moment).

True to form, Trump answered, “I’d rather walk in my own shoes.”[4]

So if that's how it is, may he walk those shoes right out of the White House so we can get back to the true business of a nation—taking care of each other.

Be well, be safe!  

 

 


  

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 Publications tab 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

on the order of a major war plan.

We all know that

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/15/politics/donald-trump-science-california-wildfires-coronavirus/index.html

 

“The President has fixed priorities: For instance, promoting big oil companies. Accepting that climate change is real would require him to take some steps to address it. Since he is loath to do so, the President finds that ignoring the problem -- and using his propagandistic Twitter feed, which is a gusher of misinformation and falsehoods -- suits him better….Rejecting the advice of highly educated scientists and expert government bureaucrats also sits well with the President's political image as an outsider and scourge of elite political, academic and scientific establishments. It helps to solidify his bond with supporters, who prize that image and may themselves share Trump's reluctance to accept changes to traditional lifestyles -- which a national effort to combat global warming, for instance, might entail….Now, Trump's indoor campaign events, like a crammed rally in Nevada on Sunday, are a huge act of defiance against the scientific community and the counsel of experts -- another political play….Caputo, who confirmed to CNN the statements made during a live video hosted on his personal Facebook page, accused career government scientists of "sedition" in their response to the coronavirus. He also claimed without evidence in the video that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts had become "political animals" and given up science. A federal health official told CNN on Saturday that Caputo's communications team pushed to change the language of weekly science reports released by the CDC in a story first reported by Politico…Trump’s twisted definition of the American Dream is White flight from urban poverty and decay.”

 

https://www.aoghs.org/petroleum-pioneers/american-oil-history/

Sierra Club

First purposely drilled oil well

“When we write off corporations as inherently corrupt, we accept the cost, too.”

Solnit, Rebecca. Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) (p. 52). Haymarket Books. Kindle Edition.



[1]Antonia Juhasz, “The End of Oil,” Sierra, Sept./Oct. 2020, Vol. 105, No. 5, p. 38.

[2]Ibid.

[3]Ibid.

[4]PBS News Hour interview, September 17, 2020.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Clinging to the Ark of Sanity—the Astrology of tyrannical lies

(Note: please excuse the formatting irregularities in this post--
the Blogger platform made some changes that are causing
formatting nightmares -- thank you for your patience!)

It’s always been a mystery to me how one planetary energy could combine such sublime positives with such horrifying negatives, but Neptune—Poseidon in myth—was no nice guy. 

If one specific planet can be said to represent the wrathful Old Testament-style God, he’s the one. Creator extraordinaire on one side, yet, get him in a bad mood and he morphs effortlessly into the god who ordered the torrential rains to fall and the seas to engulf all but a few “select” creatures from his Creation. So, by definition, the periods when Neptune transits its home sign Pisces can be true roller-coaster rides.  

Astrology commonly attributes the epidemic/pandemicspread of disease, addiction of all types, and the spread of cultish conspiracy thinking, mass hysteria, addiction and their inherent delusions to hard (often Pluto, Saturn, and/or Jupiter-enhanced) Neptunian times. In the hands of demagogues, times marked by these deep social dysfunctions can be leveraged to tyrannical effect, of course, so it’s perhaps no surprise these days—given the transits afoot—that the world has seen a definite rise in the number of autocratic regimes springing up—sometimes even in nations where the seeds of democracy had already taken root.
Belarussians have been protesting their dictator for months now.

Belarus is one prominent example in the news, of course—as with Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych some years ago now, Belarus’s determined autocratic leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka counts on support from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to hang on to power. Ukraine had to fight an actual war to defend its sovereignty against Russian attempts to appropriate two of its territories, Crimea and Donbass: it’s significant here that Putin’s efforts have been unfolding during Neptune’s tour of Pisces, trine the Scorpio Pluto that prevailed when the Soviet Union broke apart into the Russian Federation and a host of offshoot republics (including Ukraine and Belarus), each declaring its own independence.


This Neptune-Pluto combination enables the vast, manipulative potentials of both these planetary “heavies,” and in the wrong hands, a collective trend toward propagandistic autocracies can be made all too real. 
 
It’s also significant that the Soviet Union’s offshoot republics are all experiencing their first Saturn returns these days. Independent Belarus was made official on August 25, 1991, with Saturn at 01°+Aquarius –a point that Saturn and Jupiter will both be transiting together at the end of this year.

Given this recent history, if Putin doesn’t succeed in keeping his puppet Lukashenka in place in Belarus, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next. Analysts seem to assume that Putin’s drive to re-establish Russia’s Soviet Union-style regional dominance will not end there.   
Then there are nations like Venezuela and Phillipines, with their human rights records now hobbled by parasitical tyrants (parasites are also ruled by Neptune) who saw an opportunity to move in and take over, using the nation’s military to shield them from the popular will.


And then there are “strong-men” leaders dominating Hungary and Poland and attempting to consolidate further power. Thug energy is certainly represented in China’s designs on Hong Kong, as well, while war-ravaged nations like Syria and Yemen have been reduced to rubble and misery by their own leaders, often with the assistance of other autocratic regimes, such as Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Where does the U.S. fit into this picture? Judging by Trump-inspired events of these past years, in fact, the U.S. is walking a precarious tightrope between autocracy and democracy, and there’s very little in today’s astrology to guarantee on which side of that rope we will land.

  
By definition, tyrannies and autocracies attack the human rights of their citizens, and on that note the U.S. has regrettably made the U.N. Humans Rights Council’s list of nations with serious human rights problems. See here for more. Neptune-inspired forces wash away structures—often the structures that protect the interests of the most vulnerable from the biases, greed and indifference of the most powerful—and if left to its most toxic devices, Neptune will “drown out” people’s voices by enabling the overwhelming force of corruption and deception that in far too many places, clearly aims to make democracy a thing of the past.

  
But Neptune also has its light side that can be tapped into and deployed by the mass movements of people now demonstrating for human rights and democracy around the world. Protest is, at its core, a creative enterprise—one that forges unity around a common goal through collective action. It’s no wonder, therefore, that everywhere there are would-be tyrants, there are mass demonstrations that oppose their autocratic designs. No wonder Creation theologian Matthew Fox says creation is a “survival mechanism”—it’s also the only power available to oppressed people, and use it they must.

 
No surprise, however (autocrats are also creative when it comes to control tactics), everywhere people are demonstrating, their agendas are being characterized as “criminal,” “radical,” “dangerous,” “threatening,” and so on—anything to inspire fear so the people who don’t quite know what to make of the tumultuous moment they’re living in will work against their own best interests and passively accept (Neptune) the status quo. Without sane safeguards, a”return to law and order” can very easily enable tyranny.

Early American colonists fought an entire revolutionary war over this. Neptune also trined Pluto (Virgo-Capricorn) when we declared our independence from Britain (Sibly chart, not shown)—this key dynamic can also liberate oppressed people. 

More often, however, societies sink into serious divides under these and similar energies: there’s nothing new in autocratic “divide and conquer” strategies, of course; we’ve seen the heinous results in every war and genocide in history. Clearly, it’s the same strategy Trump displayed in a recent press conference when he defended calling those who have died during their military service “losers and suckers” by accusing military chiefs of war profiteering. This particular instance of “divide and conquer” deserves a deeper look:

“During a press conference on Monday, the president said he's ‘not saying the military’s in love with me... But the soldiers are.’

‘The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t, because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy, but we're getting out of the endless wars, you know how we're doing.’ 
 

So he’s trying to drive a wedge between the rank and file and their military leadership for his own benefit. Nothing new here:  Trump routinely doubles down on his troublesome behavior whenever he’s criticized or challenged to be accountable for that behavior. If he can’t answer the reporting directly, he’ll try dividing others by casting doubt on their intentions—a Neptunian diversion, if ever there was one.

Considering that Trump has had nothing to say about the credible reports about Russian bounties placed on American soldiers’ heads in Afghanistan, however, his attack on military leadership is even more cynical than usual for him. Both the breathtaking deception and the cynicism involved here are toxic instances of Neptunian manipulation and its undermining impact on Saturnian (institutional) structures.  


Salem citizens unleashed a wild hysteria on each other that cost many lives.


The power of mutable signs 
We often think of power issues in terms of cardinal signs, and rightly so—a lot of power dynamics thrive on the forward thinking, proactive approach of Cardinal energies. However, we disregard the power inherent in mutable signs at our peril: Jupiter rules Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces with Neptune. There are many historical instances that show Jupiter and Neptune aligning in Pisces or in other ways to overwhelm and subvert the power dynamics in play, even during heavily cardinal-influenced times.
   
One of Neptune’s most toxic “super-powers” in mutable signs, but especially in home sign Pisces is the epidemic spread of fear and distrust—an especially powerful weapon for twisting and radicalizing minds and gaining (or maintaining) Power, writ large. Jupiter amplifies these dynamics and turns them to some advantage. Nothing new here, but the results are often tragic.




Chart #1. Salem witch trials, February 29, 1692, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon, no time known), Salem, MA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

For instance, when mass hysteria led to the Salem witch trials in February 1692 (Chart #1 above) in Massachusetts (a colony then), Neptune was in mid-Pisces, t-square Saturn-opposite Mars-conjunct-Chiron (Sagittarius-Gemini), and Pluto was in cardinal late-Cancer. Jupiter fell in Taurus, but still within the new phase of its 1690 cycle with Neptune that launched at 12°+Pisces, so these mutable energies supported the excessive vulnerability people of that time and place had to religion-based fear-mongering.
  
With Jupiter in earthy Taurus, inconjunct Saturn- conjunct-Pallas (Sagittarius), we can suspect that the hysteria, which led to a number of women and men being irrationally accused, hung or otherwise tortured to death, worked to someone’s material advantage at the cost of Justice. Just like it has in other periods of mass racial terror, lynchings, and so on.

Dial forward less than a century, and the American colonies were becoming more and more intent on breaking away from Britain’s tyrannical George III—with Neptune in mutable Virgo and Pluto in cardinal Capricorn. Jupiter was in early Cancer in July 1776, but more importantly, in May of that year it had just formed its 3Q square with Neptune (in their 8/1766 Virgo cycle), from 22°+Gemini-22°+Virgo. So despite all kinds of cardinal placements, mutable energy is quite a powerful, if not immediately visible current running through our Sibly chart. Perhaps a combination like this is what it took to beat the strongly-Gemini tyrant of that time, Britain’s King George III.

Just to illustrate, see Biwheel #1 below:




Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) King George III, June 15, 1738, 7:48 a.m. LMT, London, England; (outer wheel) USA – Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software. 
 
This won’t be a detailed interpretation, but a few interactions between these two charts are especially relevant to our discussion here. For instance:

  • Sibly Mars conjoined and Neptune squared King Saturn-Sun-Mercury (Gemini) and quincunxed King MC-Jupiter (Aries). We know that the King would go on to develop serious mental health issues after the Colonies broke away—possibly porphyria, a really pernicious form of dementia (hence stories about the “Madness of King George”), so it’s quite possible Neptune was planting the seeds for that mental disintegration in these charts. It certainly undermined the King’s reputation and stature in the world (quincunx MC).  
  •  
  • Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) squaring King Jupiter-MC (Aries) probably also exacerbated the so-called Regency Crisis involving the King’s eldest son at the time (Jupiter ruled the King’s 5th). All of these factors weakened the King’s rule in one way or another, providing an opportunity for the Colonies to make a break. Remember—the Sibly chart represents the Colonies’ stated intention to break away and establish themselves as a sovereign nation, which laid the foundation for actual revolt.  
  • Sibly Jupiter (Cancer) conjoined King Saturn (Gemini) and King Neptune (Cancer) and opposed King Uranus (Capricorn). We’ve already seen how the power of this Sibly Jupiter can be traced back to its 5/1776 3Q mutable square with Neptune (Virgo) that would have taken in the King’s Sun-Mercury (Gemini)—this would have transpired during a strong point in the States’ growing revolutionary fervor, so it’s not like the revolution was a one-shot deal…it had been developing gradually right along with that significant Jupiter-Neptune cycle. Keeping that background in mind, we see in this biwheel just how a combination of cardinal and mutable energies were “conspiring” (for want of a better word) to disable the King’s rule during those years. Normally, Jupiter transiting over the King’s “heavies” (Saturn, Neptune, Uranus) might portend good fortune or support for his institutional rule, but instead this transit seems to have leveraged the difficulties the King may have always had with an out-of-sign Saturn-Neptune conjunction opposite Uranus. Had he ever agreed to sit down with Colonial leaders and offer compromise solutions for their grievances, history could have been quite different.     

Fast forward a bit from there, and in 1850, when the U.S. Congress passed a landmark “Compromise” that attempted to head off a serious rupture between so called “free” and “slave” states (chart not shown), a volatile new Uranus-Pluto cycle was beginning in militant cardinal Aries, while Pisces Neptune squared Chiron (Sagittarius) from early Pisces and quincunxed Jupiter (Libra). These mutable-cardinal quincunxes can be quite disruptive and uncompromising, in fact—especially during times of social unrest (Uranus-Pluto). Any possibility of finding a lasting accord was seriously undermined and resulted in the nation’s most serious example of “divide and conquer,” the secession of seven southern states to form the Confederacy.

When actual Civil War hostilities broke out at Ft. Sumter at 4:30 a.m. on April 12th, 1861 (chart not shown), Mercury-conjunct-Neptune rose at the ASC (Pisces) and t-squared the MC-IC (Sagittarius-Gemini) from late Pisces, with mutable Chiron opposed Saturn (Pisces-Virgo), and Saturn trine an earthy Taurus Pluto. A torrent of Neptunian propagandistic “spin” (now known as misinformation and disinformation) created a glorious/heroic picture of the “cause” on both sides, with Jupiter ruling the Sagittarius MC, co-ruling the Pisces points and reinforcing that sense of heroism in lordly Leo. The grandiosity faded quickly into tragic destruction (Saturn-opp-Chiron), and it soon became clear that economic interests on both sides were calling many of the shots.

True, there was an idealistic (Neptune) drive to abolish slavery afoot, yet with the benefit of hindsight we can see that there was far less commitment to fully-integrating freed slaves into American society as citizens. Close to a million lives lost later, the ruined nation woke up in 1865 to the horrors of destruction and grief, rife with wounds which still haven’t healed.
 
It was one thing to forcefully end slavery as a source of cheap labor; it was quite another to do the hard work of changing the economic system that supported such exploitation, and while they were at it, of changing people’s hearts about their new fellow citizens. In the end, little social progress was actually achieved. 





A perfect storm
 
Which brings us to today’s quite troublesome, multi-faceted Neptunian peril.  Between an administration that lies shamelessly and refuses to be held accountable for anything, and the widespread dissemination of misinformation and disinformation that originate—according to Trump’s own intelligence services—from Russian GRU intelligence “trolls,” the pandemic is only one small sliver of the challenges we’re facing right now. The misinformation campaign represents an ongoing attempt to sow discord between Americans and to thereby weaken our democracy overall, and there are many who feel the effort is working. Writing for the New Yorker, Robin Wright begins her frank (and depressing) assessment of the situation by saying:

“The United States feels like it is unraveling. It’s not just because of a toxic election season, a national crisis over race, unemployment and hunger in the land of opportunity, or a pandemic that’s killing tens of thousands every month. The foundation of our nation has deepening cracks—possibly too many to repair anytime soon, or, perhaps, at all. The ideas and imagery of America face existential challenges—some with reason, some without—that no longer come only from the fringes.” 

There’s no doubt the U.S. is facing a “perfect storm” of undermining forces—the transits of Pluto and Neptune alone (conjunct Sibly Pluto and opposite Sibly Neptune, respectively, chart not shown) account for the broad context in which these forces are operating, and it’s not hard to see how the super-potent movements of Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus have been “piling on” in many ways—forcing us all to prove what we’re made of, if you will.
It all happens so gradually and incrementally—Neptune and Pluto operate just outside of our usual consciousness, and just ambiguously enough that the overall picture is difficult to pin down as a host of incremental, systems-eroding changes and harsh wake-up call energies are ushered in. We’ve seen slight, but significant shifts in how power is exercised; we’ve seen the constant erosion of ethical  boundaries that pile up into serious corruption over time; we’ve seen agencies rendered political against all norms, all to serve Trump’s obsession with personal loyalty; we’ve seen the blatant ignoring of traditional safeguards used to prevent costly conflicts of interests; and on and on.

It’s like the proverbial “frog boil:” the pot of slowly heating water is the broad Neptune-Pluto context; the gradual, incremental temperature increase is the pressure applied by the remaining cosmic forces. Hotter and hotter the pot becomes until the “frog”—at first enjoying the nice cozy bath—doesn’t know what hit him. Which is not to say we don’t have choices—we most certainly do!
 
Still, it’s clear from his actions over the past four years (which, if you’ve frequented this site you will know I’ve watched pretty carefully), that Trump has viewed the weakening of America’s key institutions as a personal goal. Questions have naturally arisen about his true loyalties, of course—he’s far too solicitous with Putin and has far too much history with Russian oligarchs and their money for comfort, and as we saw with Trump’s impeachment earlier this year, he’s more than willing to exploit his position vis-√†-vis other national leaders (like Ukraine in this example) to “deal” away the security of our elections. He keeps telling us who he is—shame on us if we don’t believe him!


 
I could list an entire litany of horrors in describing how he’s taken advantage of American naivet√© to bring us to an existential brink, but to do that would be to keep the focus on a person who, IMHO, doesn’t deserve the publicity. If we can take any positives from Trump's time in the White House, it will be the deep national soul-searching he’s inspired among those who take our democracy seriously. In fact, his narcissistic, “bull in a China shop” approach to our highest office has revealed quite a few flaws in our Constitution that I would hope will be fixed, and so on.

For instance, we’ve relied far too heavily on democratic and cultural “norms” to protect certain key institutions from being politicized, never dreaming that a president would come along that possesses no compunction about smashing norms and traditions for his own purposes. On another note, we’ve never had to worry about a person reaching the presidency with no apparent moral core or empathy for the struggles of others, and certainly no public service ethos—the only way to fix that is to never allow another sociopath to take advantage of our natural Sagittarian (Sibly ASC) optimism. Character matters in a president—that can’t be emphasized too much.

These revealed flaws may require banishing our Electoral College system to fix, so the popular vote is the vote. It will probably also mean a renewed effort to educate our young people in Civics and History—disciplines that have lagged behind in recent decades. If they don’t even know how our democratic institutions are supposed to work, how are they going to feel moved to defend them from would-be demagogues?

And, if we’ve learned anything else in this time of Pluto returning to Sibly Pluto and rocking us to our foundation, it’s that yes, the mighty U.S.A. has feet of clay, and the worse we treat others, the more we will need to defend ourselves. Clearly, it’s time we dial back Trumpian “MAGA” arrogance and simply work on being a “good” international player again. That doesn’t mean we have to write “love” letters to dictators as Trump has done with Kim Jong-Un, but we need to create good will once again. We need to banish detention cages at our border, reunite families and get serious about structural problems that just keep redefining slavery for a new era, instead of providing a truly just, economically vibrant society for everyone. We need to renew our commitment to international agreements that address critical issues like climate change and nuclear disarmament.
...
In short, we need to stop accommodating ourselves to Trump’s asinine behavior and start holding him responsible, as we would any other official. For instance, Attorney General Bill Barr’s decision to call the rape allegations made by prominent writer E. Jean Carroll a matter for the Justice Department to defend (at taxpayer expense) is outrageously inappropropriate. It doesn’t take much to see that Barr will do whatever he has to do to squash that suit, as he has with lawsuits against Trump friends Roger Stone and others. These allegations simply cannot be swept under the rug, dismissed like the long list of similar complaints about Trump’s behavior before Election 2016 were. The man told us who he was in the infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy" tape in October of that year: why does the world (not just this country) keep enabling, accommodating and saving him from responsibility?
...
Lest we forget, Neptune also rules addictions of all kinds—could it be that Trump has cast himself in the codependent role of “abusive spouse” (his natal Mars-ASC in late Leo is certainly capable of playing that role) and has projected his expectations that the American people are his “battered wife?” Why else would loyalty to himself be one of the few values he espouses?   



Calling out the lies doesn't always help.

The liar’s dividend 
 
Needless to say, the past four years have been a learning experience that I sincerely hope we will survive as a society, but in this planetary climate, we can take nothing for granted. One reason I say this is that there is no overstating how dicey and significant our relationship with the Media has been during these destructive, mutable times. The Media is a mutable (Mercury) institution, after all, so when Neptune is bobbing along swimmingly for a nice long tour of Pisces, the truth-telling function of the Media can be (and has been) easily compromised and challenged.
...
On a positive note, however, journalists, investigative reporters, documentarists and podcasters have stepped up and kept us informed during these risky times. They’ve confronted the risks of the pandemic, not to mention the risks of working in today’s precarious environment.  Of course, the outpouring of lies and distortion we’re still seeing from some sources begs for responses, but is that the best way to respond to a Neptunian “flood?”
...


Media people deal with this dilemma constantly: their job is to report the “news,” but often what results is anything but, and they end up chasing baseless stories down the proverbial “rabbit hole” of delusion and spin. For instance, it should be news that a president lies and dissimulates so regularly. However, to cover every Trump lie is to give away free “earned media” for the wrong reasons. It’s not news anymore that he lies and distorts reality—unfortunately, that’s the exact pattern he used to dupe media people into giving him all kinds of free coverage during the 2016 election. Thankfully, many media outlets have woken up to how they’ve been used.
...
Some remain addicted to every word, every Tweet and every crude comment, however, because they think it sells; too many players within the Media industry itself have transformed themselves from being news outlets into being outrage machines. More “eyeballs,” more money—what’s the problem? From Neptune’s perspective, no problem at all, but key institutions and the well-being of people are at stake, and some much-needed Saturnian responsibility would be helpful. 
...
The greatest casualty in this transformation from news to outrage factories, of course, has been people’s access to the truth—to even their very ability to tell the difference between “real” and “fake.” Factor in the outside interference that has exploited our dysfunctional media landscape, and it’s easy to see that news consumers can be played for fools.
...
So is it any wonder that people’s confidence in the media and government as important players in all our lives has plummeted in recent years? There are ethical questions at stake here, of course, which is where the so-called “liar’s dividend” comes in. The Poynter Organization explains this phenomenon and how to fight it:

...
 “You can hear Green’s entire explanation [of the “Liar’s dividend”] from the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security Symposium in the video below. Here’s the concept in a nutshell: Debunking fake or manipulated material like videos, audios or documents, ultimately could stoke belief in the fakery. As a result, even after the fake is exposed, it will be harder for the public to trust any information on that particular topic.

This is a bigger problem than the Oxygen Theory, which argues that by debunking a falsehood, journalists give the claim a longer life. The Liar’s Dividend suggests that in addition to fueling the flames of falsehoods, the debunking efforts actually legitimize the debate over the veracity. This creates smoke and fans suspicions among at least some in the audience that there might well be something true about the claim. That’s the “dividend” paid to the perpetrator of the lie.”[1]

So, in true Neptunian fashion, it’s not enough to defend the truth and call out the lies—that only fuels more lies and distortions. Better to cut off the “oxygen” by simply ignoring any statement that is demonstrably false. Not always easy to do, unfortunately, but worth a try.
...
When I was a corporate writer, we were held responsible for the veracity of every story that went out the door. Fact-checking was a constant challenge, and it was taken seriously because that was the quality standard expected of us. Why should we expect anything less of our leaders and the statements they issue? Lying and its passive cousin, withholding the truth, have consequences, as we’re seeing with the release of Bob Woodward’s new book about the Trump administration, entitled Rage. An extended excerpt from the Washington Post’s coverage of this release is relevant here:
“President Trump acknowledged Wednesday that he intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus last winter as an attempt to avoid a “frenzy,” part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers to contain the fallout from a forthcoming book by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.

Trump’s comments came hours after excerpts from the book and audiotapes of some of the 18 separate interviews he conducted with the renowned author were released, fueling a sense of outrage over the president’s blunt description of knowing that he was not telling the truth about a virus that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans.

Democrats, led by their presidential nominee Joe Biden, denounced Trump’s actions as part of a deliberate effort to lie to the public for his own political purposes when other world leaders took decisive action to warn their people and set those nations on a better path to handling the pandemic.”
 
To decry Trump’s constant habit of lying for political purposes is like decrying his habit of breathing, but his apparent lack of understanding about why lying is a problem (since when does he try to spare us from fear?) doesn’t mean that we should give him a pass for those lies. He’s supposed to work for us, not the other way around, and knowing the truth about COVID’s severity back in January would probably have spared many, many lives. Passive acceptance is complicity. The truth matters.  
...
   
One practitioner of the difficult art of telling people the hard truths they need to hear is New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo. His leadership shepherded New York City from a dire situation early in the U.S. COVID crisis because he told the truth and didn’t hold back from demanding strict compliance from New Yorkers. The only recourse for a Neptunian flood is a Saturnian flood wall, and the foundation for that wall is the truth. 
...




Played like a piano
 
Unfortunately, we need to entertain the possibility that the lies are the point with Trump and others—that they constitute a strategy for weakening an adversary, for making an advantageous “deal.” And with Trump, the American people are the adversary. His lies are often framed in metaphors, too—one favorite one he’s been using against Biden is the “Trojan horse,” suggesting that a Biden administration will unleash the “Radical Left” on all of us.
...

One juicy image like that can, of course, be quite potent, fixing a fear-laden “invasion” scenario in people’s image-sensitive minds. Naturally, the Trojan Horse is just a different version of the “immigrant caravan” images that Trump deployed against Hillary Clinton and for his ridiculous border wall (only partially built and already crumbling in places).

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It’s not difficult to conjure up fear during Neptunian times, of course, but Trump is especially fixed on deploying Neptunian invasion imagery because it generates so much useful fear. Biden’s a Trojan Horse, hiding an invading army; protesters are invaders taking over our city streets; immigrants are invading our borders like the Mongolian hordes of yore, and now, they’re carrying the “China virus.” 
...
   
Trump’s fear-mongering act may be wearing thin, however: Biden is a known quantity in American politics and he’s been far from a radical his entire career! He doesn’t “invade” spaces like Trump does with his COVID-producing rallies these days—Biden sits down with people and talks with them.
...

In other words, we may be seeing a time when Neptunian imagery crashes on the shores of factual reality, and the reality is left standing. In fact, now that we know from his own words on tape that Trump lied about and downplayed the seriousness of the COVID virus for months—months when full transparency and determined action were critical—perhaps his Neptunian tide is coming back to engulf him. Trump is trying to characterize the Woodward book as a “political hit job,” but these are Trump’s own words, freely given to Woodward over the course of 18 interviews that are so damning.
...
 
Some unknowable, but significant number of people died as a consequence of his lies and obfuscation: chances are the city of New York could have avoided being ravaged by its early spring COVID crisis if Trump had done the right thing. But Trump has no love for New York these days—why bother? As if his job calls for helping only those parts of the country that support him. That’s not leadership.
...
  
After all is said and done, perhaps we’re coming to understand a toxic Neptune’s most pernicious power—to simply exhaust and deplete everything it touches. The pandemic is exhausting; the election is exhausting; the cycles of lies and lunacy paralyzing the White House and its codependent boosters are depleting, drowning out everything good about this nation.
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Bottom line, aren’t we all simply exhausted from being played like pianos?





Final thoughts…Mars turns back

Interestingly, the release of excerpts from Woodward’s book coincided closely with Mars’ station retrograde at 28° 09’ Aries on the 9th (Chart #2 below).  We’ll save a deeper dive into its significance for Election 2020 for a later post, but it’s worth pointing out some highlights here:



 
Chart #2: Mars stations retrograde, September 9, 2020, 6:22:56 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

  • Mars conjoins Eris (both Rx, Aries) and squares Pluto-Saturn (both Rx, Capricorn). Sluggish action goes hand in hand with disruption—inactivity is called out here for the damage it can create, especially square these potentially death dealing “heavies” in Capricorn.
  • Saturn (Rx, Capricorn) and Uranus (Rx, Taurus) rules this Aquarius rising chart, but from a waning aspect (about 256°) that could support the ending of one governmental order and the beginning of another.  These points span the 12th (Saturn) and the 3rd (Uranus): hidden realities (Saturn) are revealed and are roiling (Uranus) public perception. The horror of these revelations is only enhanced with Pluto’s proximity to Saturn—the issue of death is in the air.
  • Neptune (Rx, Pisces) opposes Sun (Virgo); this axis squares Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius); Neptune sextiles Jupiter (Rx, Capricorn) . This could portend an awakening on some deep level in the collective psyche. We could cross a threshold of some kind in regards to the pandemic (the world needs viable vaccines, the sooner the better), but again, we’re in a season of waning cycles, so this Jupiter-Neptune sextile could be less impactful than we would hope.  

A fiery Mars becomes a bit more introspective and less impulsive in retrograde motion—hopefully more careful than a similar Aries Mars was behaving in February, 2017 when Trump and Kim Jong-Un were exchanging nuclear threats. Amazingly, Trump also revealed to Woodward (again, the story is on tape) that we have a “new” nuclear weapons system and that “nobody has ever seen anything like this.” It’s clear from his conversations that his own belligerent Leo Mars (chart not shown) relishes the power he possesses at his fingertips, so it’s not surprising that today’s Mars is restimulating that February story and his natal Mars (by trine).
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It’s significant here that we have three (count them!) final dispositors (planets in their ruling signs) in this chart: Mars (Aries), Saturn (Capricorn) and Neptune (Pisces). This tells us where the most potent energies are flowing, and since Saturn co-rules the entire chart, we definitely have to take its presence and its square with Mars seriously.
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Finally, the Saturn/Uranus midpoint falls at 18°+Pisces, conjunct Neptune. So we’ve come full circle, back to the potential abrupt changes, if not tyrannies (small and large) that can be imposed through passivity and deception (in all its forms). These dynamics could impact the roll-out of any vaccines on the horizon (pharmaceuticals are heavily Neptunian), not to mention what remains of this already compromised election.
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So, it’s up to the Saturnian institutions of our society to protect us and to be ever-vigilant. And it’s up to us to keep our eyes open and our critical faculties engaged. Verifiable facts are the “Lysol” to our present epidemic of lies and misinformation—spray liberally!!







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 “Publications” tab 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.







[1] Chesney, Robert and Citron, Danielle Keats, Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge for Privacy, Democracy, and National Security (July 14, 2018). 107 California Law Review 1753 (2019), U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 692, U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3213954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3213954