Saturday, November 10, 2018

A Cosmic Minuet: the waxing and waning energies that brought us Election 2018





This is my attempt to raise an astrological “finger” into the historical breeze and test what just happened this past week in the 2018 midterm elections.

As you might have noticed, each side won something, so all sides are declaring victory. Not to downplay the hard-fought victories—some quite historical—but overall, the night unfolded like a strained, cosmic “Minuet” of sorts. Both sides got to take a victory bow, the codependent circling around each other has already begun, but will anything of critical substance get done?  As we’ll see, the astrology of that “Minuet” and its place in our recent history is pretty fascinating. 

Trump, of course, has spun what happened as a “tremendous victory,” and in some respects, he’s justified. 

We know that because Trump promptly decided that he can abuse his power within the DOJ with impunity—with the newly fortified GOP majority in the Senate, who in that body will have both the desire and the clout to stop him? Trump showed his cards by firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installing a loyalist, Mark Whitaker—who many legal scholars immediately proclaimed to be an “illegal” choice—to oversee the Mueller investigation. 

Whitaker has been vocally opposed to the investigation, especially its scope, expressing repeatedly that anything involving Trump’s finances should be off the table. He also expressed that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted by the FBI, so Trump has multiple reasons for wanting Whitaker at the top of the DOJ.  

For now, that is. A Senate-vetted nominee is required (not likely to be Whitaker), but Whitaker could carry out a lot of Trump’s grudges in this dicey interim, before the new Congress convenes in January. Strangely, Whitaker has potential legal problems of his own—including a multi-million dollar fraud scheme presently under investigation by the FBI. Trump continues his habit of installing individuals in key agencies who have reasons to undermine what those agencies are about. 

The good news is that a bipartisan Senate bill could now gain steam to protect the Mueller investigation (it’s been blocked by Majority leader Mitch McConnell to this point)—a chorus of voices out there is saying that Whitaker must recuse himself from the investigation he’s clearly biased against, however Trump seems willing to risk that, weighed against the prospect of a new, Democratic-controlled House. He may have had a “tremendous” night on Tuesday, but there were losses, too. 

So Trump is now counting all the more heavily on the Senate to be “loyal” to him (that’s not their job, but that’s how he sees it), and he may be justified. With the new GOP seats that he campaigned for, the death of moderate John McCain and the retirement of other prominent moderate GOP Senators like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, the Senate could now be even less independent from him than it was. We don’t yet know who the Speaker of the House will be, with Paul Ryan retiring, but whoever it is, the 2019 Senate is less rather than more likely to challenge or check Trump or his agenda. 

Not too surprisingly, Democratic women running to keep their Senate seats in red states had a rough time of it—ND’s Heidi Heitkamp and MO’s Claire McCaskill both lost their races, and Trump played a role in that. Even so, perhaps none of the Senate races felt as good to Trump as Ted Cruz’s narrow win over “rock star” Dem, Beto O’Rourke in Texas: now Cruz—once a bitter opponent—owes him.

Trump might also feel that the Texas race rewarded his heavy-handed, race- and fear-baiting tactics—especially his focus on immigration (the “caravan” invasion he hyped to the point of stoking hysteria). Texas is a border state, and the Latino vote so hotly-prized by Dems didn’t quite get the job done for them in the end. Was this a function of voter suppression tactics, or just a demographic reality, given the record turnout on both sides in this election? For now, Trump is crowing about his “very big win.”


Of course, the Dems have reasons to crow, too, taking back control of the House with at least 35 new seats—the most they’ve gained in one election since Watergate. So it did turn out to be an historical wave, despite some races being undecided. Dems gained back over 300 seats on state legislatures, 7 governorships (the Georgia race is still up in the air), and a majority of state attorney-general seats. Some important seats went to ground-breaking candidates—two Native American women, two Muslim-American women, openly gay candidates and more. 

And, as disappointing as the Senate results were in Texas, the close-call between O’Rourke and Cruz was likely a good sign for Dems in 2020, opening the way for more such challenges. Not to be overlooked, two House seats switched to Texas Dems, and Beto O’Rourke’s vacated House seat went to Veronica Escobar, a Democratic Latina. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Nancy Pelosi is now on deck to resume her old job as Speaker of the House when the new Congress convenes—not a victory to sniff at. The Dems last took control of the House in the 2006 midterms (midway in George W. Bush’s second administration) when Pelosi first took the gavel. They subsequently lost it in the Obama administration’s 2010 midterm elections—a Tea Party/GOP backlash against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), passed earlier that year, swept control of Congress away from the Dems. As Obama famously put it, the night was a “shellacking.”


Passed in March, 2010--defended by 2018 vote.
Of course, the irony shouldn’t escape us here, that so many of the Dems’ campaigns in the 2018 election cycle focused on health care—specifically, on saving the popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, like protection for coverage of pre-existing conditions, and that this issue probably helped them prevail to the extent they did!  

With all that said, however—and with important victories on both sides—yesterday’s election didn’t happen in an historical or ideological vacuum. In fact, analysts Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann claim that similar dynamics have been flaring up and roiling our politics for decades now. They put this well even before the returns came in last night:

“All of the attention on control of Congress, the individual races, and President Trump’s campaign activity has obscured a much bigger story at play in American politics – we’re on the cusp of the House changing hands for a third time in the last 12 years (2006, 2010, 2018?).

Another way to look at it: This could very well be the fourth-straight change midterm election, where at least one chamber of Congress flips (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018?).
We haven’t seen this level of volatility since after World War II, when control of the House changed hands several times in the 1940s and 1950s. And like after World War II and the Great Depression, this country is in the midst of a political realignment that has created this volatility. The contested 2000 presidential election. 9/11. The Iraq War. The Great Recession. Obama. Trump…And whichever party wins tonight will have just won a battle and not the war in these politically volatile times.”

We will consider a chart for Tuesday’s elections in due course, but I’m particularly interested in putting that longer historical context that Chuck Todd and associates flagged for us above to an astrological test. Is the connection between this week’s election and the 2000 election key? What does “political realignment” look like in terms of planetary dynamics? Is today’s Trump-fueled volatility simply a continuation of past dynamics, or something discernibly different? 

Obviously, we can’t answer all these questions thoroughly in one post here, but they’re good questions to keep in mind as we try to understand what happened in yesterday’s election a bit more deeply. 





The astrology
Whenever long-term trends are at the heart of an astrological inquiry, it helps to examine how the outer planetary cycles wax and wane during the time span in question. In fact, every moment in time is represented by not just the placement of planets around a chart wheel, but by some combination of waxing and waning cycles. 

In my observation, these cycle dynamics reflect the dominant tone and power relations of the times—about what forces are in play, to what extent those forces can work together smoothly or not, whether one type of energy (waxing or waning) is dominant, and so on. Naturally, there's much more to all this, including the signs, elements and modes in action in these cycles, but there's a lot to be learned from simply observing the waxing and waning dynamics, as well. When gridlock prevails in D.C., it shows up in these dynamics; when some “wave” (ideological or otherwise) overwhelms the collective, even if we didn’t consciously vote for it, it’s clear to see. 

Consider the following cycle phase tables: first, one calculated for the very contentious Election 2000 in which the Supreme Court ended up intervening to name Republican George W. Bush the victor over Democrat Al Gore. The GOP had had eight years to build up anti-Bill Clinton steam for this victory over a Democratic-held White House, and there was no turning back, “hanging chads” or no. 


The flood gates of election money were wide open, it was all political guns blazing, and the cycle dynamics in Table 1 below (all waxing!) reflected that. In fact, Bush did not win the popular vote that year—it was one of those frustrating election years in which the whims of the Electoral College (and in this case, the Supreme Court) overwhelmed the popular will. 

That, we’re told, is just our system—some Founders weren’t fans of the popular vote calling all shots.  In the 1780s, that might have made sense—public education was scant and many lacked the information they needed to make decisions on the federal level, but did they anticipate the power of unlimited money circulating in our elections today? 

This may be why Chuck Todd and company point to this popular-vote-thwarting 2000 election as an echo of our present electoral malaise. The popular vote didn’t carry the day in 2016, either, although as we’ll see, the broad dynamics—the “prevailing winds” were quite different. Table 1 illustrates the cycles in force for Election 2000.  

Table 1: Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/7/2000
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
11/7/2000-Election 2000
Cycle phase in force 11/7/2000
Jup-Sat
12/1980, 9+Lib
waxing
Jup-Ura
2/1997, 5+Aq
waxing
Jup-Nep
1/1997, 27+Cap
waxing
Jup-Plu
12/1994, 28+Sco
waxing
Sat-Ura
2/1988, 29+Sag
waxing
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waxing
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waxing
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

Waxing cycles have an unleashed, “sky’s the limit” feel to them—possibilities abound; people are looking forward. This sounds very appealing on one level—who doesn’t like to start fresh with an empty bag in the Cosmic Candy Shop of life? On the other hand, there’s an untethered, impulsive and/or irresponsible feel to these energies as well, and actions taken under these overwhelming times are often regretted later. 

A heady array of unleashed, waxing energies can also result in violence: on September 11, 2001, all but two of the cycles shown in Table 1 were still waxing, and the cycles that had gone into waning mode were significant because they helped to make things happen. When a cycle hits opposition and begins to wane, a “manifestation” phase has begun in the cycle. Whatever seeds were planted in that cycle’s inception will find expression in the second half of the cycle. The finer nuances of this would require a detailed breakdown of the waxing and waning halves, but we’re only concerned with the broad strokes here.

This wound has been very slow to heal--if it ever does.

So on September 11, 2001, a newly-waning Jupiter-Pluto (these two were quincunx that day) enabled Osama bin Laden and company to manifest their ideological, economic and political animus towards the U.S., Wall Street and the “evils” of international finance. Saturn-Pluto were opposite within 2 degrees that day, but Saturn was on the waning side, which reflected the long-term structural change set in motion that day for all concerned. September 11th changed this country forever, arguably precipitating the strained global geopolitics we’ve been caught up in ever since. 

As for the tendency to lunge forward opportunistically under dominant waxing energies—and to regret the results later—we can look to the U.S. invasions of both Afghanistan (October 7th, 2001) and Iraq (March 19, 2003).  In both instances, the nation was still surfing on those heady waxing cycles, with the waning exceptions still being Jupiter-Pluto and Saturn-Pluto, but these two cycles channeled the reckless overreach of the other waxing cycles in risky, long-lasting consequences (see Table 2 below). 

The wave of public support left over from the 9/11 tragedy (waxing cycles) drowned out the very real efforts to protest and dispute the administration’s decision to invade Iraq—the Afghan invasion would soon become an expensive occupation, and no real evidence surfaced that Iraq had WMDs to justify that invasion. We were falling into geopolitical traps that still haunt us today. 

Table 2: Outer planetary cycles in force on 3/20/2003
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
3/20/2003-Iraq invasion
Cycle phase in force 3/20/2003
Jup-Sat
12/1980, 9+Lib
waxing
Jup-Ura
2/1997, 5+Aq
waxing
Jup-Nep
1/1997, 27+Cap
waxing
Jup-Plu
12/1994, 28+Sco
waning
Sat-Ura
2/1988, 29+Sag
waxing
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waxing
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

Waxing energies feel especially liberating and even “Utopian” when Jupiter and Neptune are involved, but there are clear pitfalls to these particular overreaching energies. A tragic case in point is the so-called “Opioid epidemic,” which began attracting attention in this country in 1999, but has disappeared off our national radar screens for long periods. Even so, this less visible, rolling tragedy has weighed on the nation and stoked our political volatility in ways we need to recognize—the reason it’s worth considering here. 

Since a specific date is difficult to pin down, I’ve used the Winter Solstice (Capricorn ingress) of 1998 as the beginning point for its emergence as a national problem. Not surprisingly, Table 3 below shows another incredible outpouring of waxing energies, with two key cycles (Jupiter-Uranus and Jupiter-Neptune) being very new. The first is in liberating, but potentially shocking Aquarius, and the second is in late Capricorn, exactly conjunct Sibly Pluto (chart not shown). It appears that the “corporate” pharmaceutical connection to this epidemic—and the FDA’s complicity with Big Pharma’s profit concerns—was baked in from its inception.

Table 3. Outer planetary cycles in force on 12/21/1998.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
12/21/1998-Opioid Crisis
Cycle phase in force 12/21/1998
Jup-Sat
12/1980. 9+Lib
waning
Jup-Ura
2/1997, 5+Aq
waxing
Jup-Nep
1/1997, 27+Cap
waxing
Jup-Plu
12/1994, 28+Sco
waxing
Sat-Ura
2/1988 29+Sag
waxing
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waxing
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waxing
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

Perhaps the waning Jupiter-Saturn cycle in this Table points to the difficult ways in which this epidemic would manifest in society. Hundreds of thousands have died of overdoses—how would we begin to calculate the damage this has done to society? Our policies, laws and practices for treating drug addiction have had to adapt, child protection agencies have been overwhelmed with opioid “orphans,” families have been ripped apart—the list goes on. Neptune, of course, is associated with addiction and epidemics, and as we see in this table, it’s totally unleashed in all the cycles.


I don’t know what the planetary cycles were doing when Noah had to launch his ark, but I would expect that cataclysmic “inundation” chart to look something like what we have here. To many families impacted by opioid addiction, it’s probably felt like the end of the world. 

Needless to say, unleashing pharmaceutical companies to flood the market (waxing) with addictive pain killers and holding them responsible for none of the consequences is something we can all regret, but from the amoral perspective of capitalism, these overwhelming waxing energies delivered handsomely and will continue to do so.

Because Saturn is the best countervailing force to Jupiter and Neptune (especially when these two are acting in concert), the only way to stop an epidemic is to impose some controls from outside—one such control we might think is on the job is the FDA, but unfortunately, its latest move to approve even more deadly opioids for distribution suggests that its priorities are questionable. Trump delivered lip service about addressing the crisis during the election and threw some money behind prevention, etc., but why would the FDA follow that up with its latest decision if Trump hadn’t blessed their corporate-friendly direction? 

As we’ll see, the cycle dynamics have changed considerably since 1999 and the inception of the Opioid crisis, but Neptune and Pluto still seem to be calling the shots, cloaking deadly profit motivation under the illusion of helpful action—more on this when we look at the 2018 dynamics.   
Final thought here: waning energies seem to be more hospitable to any controls that we might seek to apply as a society—if we’re a “rule-of-law” society, a system of controls is essential, even if it needs periodic “tune-ups.” 

The central role played by the health care issue

So what does all this have to do with the political intensity that we’ve experienced from 2000 onward? Consider the important role that health care played in the 2018 midterms. It was the most important issue on voters’ minds, but it didn’t become that way overnight. Despite its horrors, the Opioid epidemic may have helped in this because affordable access to health care and medical therapies became more essential to more people than ever. 

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance was difficult and prohibitively expensive to come by for anyone with a pre-existing condition, and an addiction or chronic pain would have qualified as one. Besides, health care was becoming an increasingly hot-button issue for everyone—not just those impacted by addiction.  In June, 2007, documentarist Michael Moore released Sicko—his exposé of the American health care system—and it’s clear from the waning cycles in place then that the mood was shifting in regards to regulations and the need to build a system that served more people’s needs better. 

Not coincidentally, this was transpiring while the Dems held the reins in Congress, leading into the Obama era. Let’s quickly consider the cycles profile for that 2006 Midterm election (Table 4) in which the Dems took over. This was one of the significant recent “change” elections that Chuck Todd and company pointed to, so it’s important for this discussion. 

Table 4. Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/7/2006.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
11/7/2006-Elec 2006
Cycle phase in force 11/7/2006
Jup-Sat
12/1980. 9+Lib
waxing
Jup-Ura
2/1997, 5+Aq
waning
Jup-Nep
1/1997, 27+Cap
waning
Jup-Plu
12/1994, 28+Sco
waning
Sat-Ura
2/1988 29+Sag
waxing
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waning
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

Despite the backlash to George Bush’s Iraq war and the resulting successes for Dems in this election, the regulatory environment remained pretty lax—there was divided government (reflecting the half and half profile here?), with a Republican president whose fiscal policies weren’t about to disappear overnight. We didn’t get rid of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, either, despite mounting frustrations, but the die was cast for a 2008 presidential candidate opposed to these wars. 

The lax regulations were especially enduring in the Finance sector (Saturn was trine Pluto, even if the cycle was waning)—supported by the strong waxing Uranus, Neptune and Pluto cycles that privileged globalized capital and trade. The closer balance between waning and waxing cycles here, though, indicated that a shift was in progress. 

Unfortunately, that shift took the form of a major Stock Market meltdown, a vicious housing crisis-led recession that was close on the horizon at this point. The trigger for this meltdown (September, 2008) could very well have been the new Jupiter-Pluto cycle that launched in late Sagittarius in December, 2007: it emboldened the subprime mortgage “magicians” who were spinning gold out of nothing, heating up the housing market and pumping up the Stock Market for a bust. 

Table 5 below displays the cycles in place on September 15, 2008, when Lehman Bros. collapsed and the Stock Market went into a spasmodic tailspin.

Table 5. Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/7/2006.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
9/15/2008-Lehman
Cycle phase in force 9/15/2008-Lehman
Jup-Sat
5/2000, 23+Tau
waning
Jup-Ura
2/1997, 5+Aq
waning
Jup-Nep
1/1997, 27+Cap
waning
Jup-Plu
12/2007, 28+Sag
waxing
Sat-Ura
2/1988 29+Sag
waxing
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waning
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

There was a preponderance of waxing energies afloat—Lehman Bros. had built the proverbial “house of cards” with risky business decisions, and the thirst for more and more growth (Jupiter-Pluto) turned against them. This was pretty much the same problem other banks on the verge of collapse were having, but that same Jupiter-Pluto energy might have promoted Obama’s controversial bank bail-outs, too. He wasn’t even on the job yet when he was called upon to help save the economy from melting down. Bubbles do burst, and three waning Jupiter and two waning Saturn cycles facilitated by issuing a “reality check” no one could ignore.  

As it was, the losses were catastrophic, financially. Massive damage was done to employment numbers, to people’s retirement funds and ability to get credit, to their ability to get and pay mortgages, and it didn’t stop at our borders (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto made sure of that). One especially destructive development from this period, however, was the intense anger that manifested so troublingly in the 2016 election, and is still roiling our body politic today. 

To that point, the resurgence of white nationalism in this nation didn’t come from nowhere—could it be that some young people we see in Neo-Nazi rallies and on vicious websites these days went through something crushing with their families during that 2008-10 crisis? This doesn’t excuse racial hatred and violence (threatened or actual), but we might be able to better address the problem if we understand where it’s coming from. 

from "The Closet Liberal"
  

In the midst of all this, calls for a more sane health care system mounted—alongside the difficult financial times brought on by Wall Street, people were having to choose between paying for health care and keeping a roof over their heads; medical bankruptcy became a “thing.” So it was only natural that more people started to feel that a system could be created without destroying capitalism as we know it (even though opponents of national health care still think we’re going to hell in a socialist hand basket).  

Even so, the seed had been planted and candidate Obama had sensed that it was time to highlight this issue in a big way in 2008. He echoed and amplified the question that many had started asking already: why were we the only advanced western nation that didn’t provide affordable national health care to all? 

Notice that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is still asking this in his quest for a single payer, Medicare-for-all system; Obama’s solution was too corporate-friendly for Sanders’ less centrist, left-wing politics. Judging from Table 6 below for Election Day 2008, however, Obama’s cautious, compromising approach to nationalizing health care suited the moderating energies of the time. Considering all the clashing public/private priorities his administration had to navigate, it’s a wonder any program was passed! 

Notice that the Saturn-Uranus cycle was at opposition, with Saturn only 1” from turning it into a waning cycle. Important structural changes were coming to Washington, in the wake of the Finance sector’s collapse. By March, 2010, the Affordable Care Act was passed, to howls of protest from the conservative Tea Party, and by mid-2010, a more demanding set of financial regulations was passed called the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank, for short).

An important creation of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The waning Saturn-Neptune and Saturn-Pluto cycles probably had a lot to do with the principles and ideals, not to mention the structural realities of a vulnerable financial system.  Years of political wheeling and dealing went into crafting these programs: we can see that with the robust mix of waxing and waning energies. Take a little, give a little!  

Table 6. Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/4/2008.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
11/4/2008-Elec Day
Cycle phase in force 11/4/2008
Jup-Sat
5/2000, 23+Tau
waxing
Jup-Ura
2/1997, 5+Aq
waning
Jup-Nep
1/1997, 27+Cap
waning
Jup-Plu
12/2007, 28+Sag
waxing
Sat-Ura
2/1988 29+Sag
Waxing-by 1”!
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waning
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

By the time the ACA passed through Congress and was signed by Obama into law, the cycles were still supporting breakthrough regulatory change and new programs, but that momentum would soon be squashed in the 2010 midterms when the gridlock “Grinch” stole Washington, D.C. This is another of the key elections that Chuck Todd and his associates feel have contributed to our present volatility. Let’s see what happened, in terms of the cycle dynamics, in Table 7

Table 7. Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/2/2010.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
11/2/2010-Elec 2010
Cycle phase in force 11/2/2010
Jup-Sat
5/2000, 23+Tau
waxing
Jup-Ura
6/2010, 0+Ar
waning
Jup-Nep
5/2009, 26+Aq
waxing
Jup-Plu
12/2007, 28+Sag
waxing
Sat-Ura
2/1988, 29+Sag
waning
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waning
Sat-Plu
12/2007, 28+Sag
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

With four waning cycles and three of those being the Saturn cycles, public sentiment seemed to have shifted away from its enthusiasm for Obamacare (the program roll-out just that October did have its problems), which gave opponents like the conservative Tea Party a foot in the political door. The Republicans delivered Obama a “shellacking” (as he called it) in this election, with control of both houses of Congress going to them. 

Meanwhile, despite enrolling several million of its first members, Obamacare became a convenient political scapegoat. The GOP was in charge, but didn’t really have the answers for what was ailing the country that year. As noted earlier, the jobs recovery for many from the 2008-9 recession was torturously slow, thousands of home foreclosures had torn people down, and a lot of attention was being paid to the pernicious problem of wealth inequality (or as the Occupy Wall Street movement put it then, the 1% v. the 99%). 

Corporations were fully recovered and doing well by this time, but they were doing so by not overreaching and taking on too many new employees: we can see this trade-off in the cautious drag that the Saturn cycles provided in Table 7. Things were moving; they just weren’t moving fast enough. Those in a position to invest (Jupiter-Pluto) were doing well again, but the prosperity wasn’t widely enjoyed, and too many people were still feeling pretty insecure.


He alone can solve our problems?

Along comes Trump with someone to blame for all that—Obama, for starters, and immigrants, above all. “I alone can solve your problems” was his constant refrain, his solutions usually focused around barring “invading” immigrants from entering the country (we saw a reprise of that tactic in this week’s election) and claiming that our trading partners will no longer “laugh at us” and take advantage of us. All agreements and treaties were suddenly up for grabs. 

These ideas resonated with those who had lost good-paying middle class jobs to globalization—this certainly was the message in the critical Midwest region.  Bottom line, Trump’s “storm and fury” act has always seemed to target the bitter, the cynical, and those who feel victimized—not for the sake of truly curing what ails them, but to validate their feelings (thereby stoking their resentment) and to convince them that he alone has their back. Let’s take a quick peek at the dynamics for Election 2016 in Table 8, to see why this approach worked for Trump.

Table 8. Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/8/2016.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
11/8/2016-Elec 2016
Cycle phase in force 11/8/2016
Jup-Sat
5/2000, 23+Tau
waning
Jup-Ura
6/2010, 6+Ar
waning
Jup-Nep
5/2009, 26+Aq
waning
Jup-Plu
12/2007, 28+Sag
waning
Sat-Ura
2/1988 29+Sag
waning
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waning
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

The mood was darker (literally!) in the nation, and Trump knew just how to leverage that mood politically. As we’ve seen, the heaviness was justified, and it presented an opportunity for Trump’s particular brand of persuasion. To the extent that he aimed to create a loyal following, he needed to convince people that he was all the change they needed, and as illogical as it seemed at the time (a billionaire as champion of working people?), he carried it off because he knew how to play to people’s fears and anxieties. 

Importantly, Trump continues to stoke people’s anger—that energy is vital to his continued success, but he seems to be doing this very strategically—in his defense, and in support of his agenda. As far as I can tell, his rallies are about him complaining to his supporters about how badly the media treats him, how unfair, evil or stupid the Dems are who want to stand in his way (“Lock her up!”), and how we’re all being invaded by dangerous, diseased and criminal immigrants.
So, if his followers aren’t making the economic progress they thought they would under his administration, he’s provided targets to blame. Is it any wonder that alleged pipe bomber Cesar Sayoc took Trump’s stoking seriously?  




Election 2018

I find it interesting that, because we can tell when planetary cycles are about to shift from waxing to waning, or vice versa, we can anticipate important shifts in our public discourse. This applies to the “prevailing winds” we experienced in Election 2018, of course—Table 9 below illustrates.

Table 9. Outer planetary cycles in force on 11/6/2018.
Planetary Cycles
Cycle in force on
11/6/2018-EDay
Cycle phase in force 11/6/2018-EDay
Jup-Sat
5/2000, 23+Tau
waning
Jup-Ura
6/2010, 6+Ar
waning
Jup-Nep
5/2009, 26+Aq
waning
Jup-Plu
12/2007, 28+Sag
waning
Sat-Ura
2/1988 29+Sag
waning
Sat-Nep
3/1989, 28+Cap
waning
Sat-Plu
11/1982, 27+Lib
waning
Ura-Nep
2/1993, 19+Cap
waxing
Ura-Plu
10/1965, 17+Vir
waxing
Nep-Plu
Aug. 1891, 8+Gem
waxing

Surprise, surprise…at first glance, nothing looks different from the Election Day 2016 table! Again, all the Jupiter and Saturn cycles are now waning, explaining why we’re still caught up in a very heavy public discourse—will anything ever be right again in this divided nation? Are we headed towards a second Civil War of some kind?

If we think about it, however, this 2018 line up of cycles is what we should expect a “change” election to look like, with the dynamics pretty seriously imbalanced, and about to tip over into change. This latter point reveals the difference from the 2016 profile—there were no new cycles close on the horizon in November, 2016. 

So Trump was not the type of “change” candidate he made himself out to be—he’s challenged plenty of traditional norms, refused to live up to our expectations of presidential behavior, attempted to tear down multiple institutions and change the way we relate to the rest of the world, but he didn’t change the essential fortunes of a broad swath of the American people. He gave lots of money to people who already have lots of money with his tax cut—that’s just more of the same. 

And as hard as Trump has tried to undo Obama’s signature accomplishments, Obama’s administration did change the fortunes of many, with one key health care rule: guaranteed insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. That’s the policy that the majority of those voting in Election 2018 said they cared about the most. 

Structural/societal changes with financial and political ramifications are coming, with new Jupiter-Saturn, Jupiter-Pluto and Saturn-Pluto cycles beginning in 2020 (December, April and January, respectively). How we channel these new cycle energies into manifestation will decide what this nation looks like for the next couple generations, if not longer. Needless to say, what happens between now and Election 2020 will be critical. 

There’s much more we could say about all these waning cycles, but with all of this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what just transpired this past Tuesday in the event chart itself. Elections are becoming less and less about when you vote (you might vote early, or by absentee ballot, etc.), and more about when the votes are counted, but I’ve chosen to use the traditional sunrise time because of its symbolic value.







Chart #1: Election Day 2018, November 5, 2018, 6:39 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Venus conjoins Ceres (Libra) and opposes Eris (Aries)-Uranus (Taurus); Venus disposes Taurus Uranus Rx. Women (with a few exceptions) had a really good day on Tuesday—Stacey Abrams is still battling it out (Eris) in the Georgia governor’s race as I write this, and she’s refusing to concede until every vote is counted. She’s championed voting rights against corrupt racially-biased voter suppression in that state, so whatever happens, she’s a hero. Venus is dignified in Libra—it “ain’t over til it’s over!”  

Jupiter (Scorpio) conjoins Mercury (Sagittarius), semi-sextiles Venus-Ceres and squares Mars (Aquarius). These aspects reflect how big money fuels political messages, message that were often distorted by the square we see here between Mercury and Neptune (Pisces). Something about this “heavy” 1st house Jupiter, disposed in Scorpio by Pluto, evokes Trump’s attempt to dominate the election narrative. He used scare tactics about a “caravan” invading our southern border to the very end, which may account for 7th house Juno Rx (Taurus) here, directly opposite Jupiter

Trump seeks out an enemy to get his brand of political messaging across—this caravan was his “consort” this time around. Judging from his post-election press conference, Republicans who lost did so because they didn’t “embrace” him (his word, not mine).  

People we need to fear?

The truth is, many Republicans running to save their House seats were not helped by Trump’s over-the-top anti-immigrant ads, especially the final one that delivered a blatantly racist message. Majority Leader Paul Ryan tried to tell Trump these ads weren’t helping his members—Fox News even pulled them, but Trump wasn’t taking suggestions. His belligerent natal Leo Mars t-squared this chart’s Jupiter-Juno opposition (Trump’s chart not shown), and the election results reflected this stand-off.
He may have declared “victory,” but it’s likely he was feeling more ticked off than victorious. 

This showed in the way he bullied journalists at the press conference—he specifically treated three black female journalists with serious disrespect. He may have opened a Pandora’s Box with those final ads that will be difficult to close. 

Mars in Uranus-ruled Aquarius often delivers “shock and awe” of the violent kind, and we’ve seen way too many instances of this in the past month. The last post here discussed three high-profile instances, but we just saw another, with yesterday’s mass killing of 12 people (mostly 20-something, young adults) in a Thousand Oaks, California bar. Mars is now within orb of the Sibly Moon (Aquarius)—unfortunately, we might want to gird ourselves for more such senseless violence during this transit. 

Did the former military man who shot these young adults “snap” in reaction to the election? He killed himself, too, so we may never know, but the timing is suggestive—perhaps we’ll learn more in the news soon.

Moon (Libra) squares Pluto (Capricorn) and quincunxes Neptune Rx (Pisces). The Moon represents the “People” here, but it also reflects the central role that the health care issue played in this election; unfortunately, the forces in play with this issue are tense. Pluto reflects the corporate, “Big Money” side of the industry (often at odds—square—with people’s needs) and the Neptune quincunx makes it difficult for people to feel secure and cared for (as in health care). 


All of us, impacted directly or not, should hope that the Opioid epidemic (a Neptune phenomenon) is contained.  How ironic (and bitterly disappointing) that under essentially the same energies in this chart, the FDA announced it will approve an even more deadly opioid for distribution than Fentanyl. This may be the Neptune retrograde in action—it will be interesting to see if this approval is rescinded under protest.  

Saturn (Capricorn) trines Uranus Rx (Taurus); Jupiter (Scorpio) inconjoins Uranus Rx. Notice that the lower hemisphere of this chart contains those seven waning outer planetary cycles we saw in Table 11, and the aspects noted here are prominent drivers for those energies. Both Saturn and Jupiter tie into Pluto here: Saturn disposes Capricorn and Pluto disposes Scorpio, so it’s not surprising that the geopolitical games being played these days seem a bit sinister.  

Saturn trine Uranus Rx sounds innocent and flowing enough, however as discussed in the last post here, this type of trine can unleash troubling volatility. As we’ve seen in Florida since Election Day, the vote counting continues (absentee, provisional, etc.), and the legal issues and challenges are mounting. 

We’re probably going to see a hand recount in the Nelson-Scott Senate race, even though GOP Scott has claimed victory and tried to shut down any further counting. Likewise with the Gillum-DeSantis race, in which the lead DeSantis thought he possessed is narrowing, the more votes they count. Both sides are taking legal measures—Scott and DeSantis claiming voter fraud, with Trump chiming in and threatening to “get involved.” Will justice prevail and flow unimpeded? With Uranus retrograde, the fight is likely to be prolonged. 

Will the Supreme Court ultimately step in, as it did in the 2000 presidential race? If it does, we will have an opportunity to see what the new Trump-friendly Court is made of.   

Difficulties with the mechanics of voting are nothing new, obviously—remember, the cycles profile for 2018 looked quite the same as the one for 2016 in terms of the waxing/waning imbalance (Trump was howling about the “rigged system” back then, when it looked like he might lose), however the waning cycles are now closer to completion and putting added pressure on all our systems. It’s more than time to clear out the outmoded structures and technologies that have been bedeviling our voting systems for a long time. 

Some states have thrown their resources behind getting this done, and others have been dragging their feet. The systems in five states—including Georgia, where this year’s vote is so fraught with conflicts of interest and questionable practices—do not even provide a paper trail so votes can be confirmed! This gives whoever oversees the elections in those states an inordinate amount of potentially corruptible political power. 

This sorry state of affairs holds true for all our national infrastructures, as well (they received an overall D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2017), but here we’re concerned with the mechanics for exercising our democracy: these mechanics are also creaky at best and in need of serious repair. A D+ sounds about right.  

Final thoughts

Speaking of those waning Saturn cycles, we might want to pay closer attention to the troubling structural changes that Trump has set in motion within our system of constitutional checks and balances. Under the guise of “dismantling the Deep State”—a conspiratorial Saturn-Pluto idea if there ever was one—he’s challenged the ability of Congress and the Courts to check his actions, and as we’ve seen, he’s threatening to take closer control of the vote, which has always been left to the states because centralized control can have serious anti-democratic pitfalls. 

Most recently, Trump has proven by firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installing a loyalist in his place that he’s serious about destroying the independence of the DOJ, transforming it into his protector, with loyalty to him over the Constitution. This is an aggressive use of today’s waning Saturn-Pluto energies, which, as presidential historian Michael Beschloss put it, signals the beginning of a serious constitutional crisis that could be “ten times worse than Nixon.” Dems in key House committees will have their hands full in January.  
   
Threats to our democratic institutions (Saturn) that arise during the final stages of key waning cycles can be serious because those institutions are vulnerable. The whole point of such “end times” is to clear outmoded structures and systems for a fresh start, and it matters who’s in charge during these critical times. This is not to suggest that Dems have all the answers—far from it—but at this moment in time, they and what’s left of our impartial Courts are the only institutional checks we have on this wholesale re-engineering of our democracy. 

As the Saturn-Neptune cycle wanes to completion in 2026, we should be able to shed some of the toxic illusions we’ve been operating under as a nation for several decades, but the sooner we do this, the better. This process will be brought home in a big way in the years prior to the new Saturn-Neptune cycle in 2026 at 0+Aries. During that time, transiting Neptune will oppose our Sibly Neptune—this planet’s “half return,” in other words. 

If that isn’t enough intensity, at basically the same time, transiting Pluto will be within orb of its return to Sibly Pluto’s position in late Capricorn. These times are likely to try this nation’s Soul in ways we can’t even imagine at this point, and the more karmic baggage we can resolve before all this, the better. 

Clearly, Election 2018 didn’t happen in a vacuum, and the past few decades have seen an important planetary story unfold like a dance, to the rhythm of waxing and waning cycles. Election 2000 resonates with Election 2018 in important ways (we’re back in Florida recounting ballots!); Elections 2006 and 2010 both rhyme with Election 2018 as “change” elections (one party in, one party out); never mind all the echoes we’re living through between the Trump administration and the even earlier Watergate era! 

All of these intricacies and echoes are what makes cosmic politics so fascinating—and what makes understanding "the Dance" so absolutely critical!







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: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved.