Sunday, June 3, 2018

More on the Astrology of zero-compassion & incarcerated children

"I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart."

Fmr. First Lady, Laura Bush, 6/18/2018

“Family is everything.”  
 Miguel Rivera, Coco (Disney/Pixar, 2017)

What follows updates an article I posted originally on June 3rd: a lot has happened since then, and it seems worth the repetition! 

Judging from the outcry in the news over the weekend, We the People have been rocked to our moral core by the specter of even the youngest children being torn from their parents' arms and incarcerated, so their parents can be prosecuted. The parents--often fleeing mortal danger for themselves and their children--are being prosecuted for "illegal entry" whether they actually do attempt to enter at some unofficial crossing, or whether they willingly present themselves at an official border station and ask for asylum. It appears from where I'm sitting that the Trump administration's new "zero-tolerance" policy is basically being used to trap gullible families, who were told or somehow led to believe that America still welcomes asylum seekers. Or at least respects and treats them humanely.

Wrong. Even Amnesty International is chiming in on the situation, calling it "nothing less than torture."

Instead, these families are met with the administration’s deliberately cruel treatment of themselves and their children. Even worse, this new Trump policy at the border appears to be cynically holding these migrant children hostage as leverage to negotiate the money needed for Trump's border wall.

The outcry has reached Trump himself, but when questioned about these kids, he falsely claimed the family separations were Obama's policy!  It's true that Obama dealt with a migrant crisis in 2014, as waves of unaccompanied minors came to our border seeking asylum. It's true that they had to be detained temporarily while placements were found for them during asylum proceedings.

But that was an entirely different situation, and the Obama administration did not allow family separations then, or in general. In fact, he did his best to work out a path forward (the DACA program) for the so-called "Dreamers," that didn't involve separating them from their parents, who had brought them here illegally as children. Still, all of today's heinous cruelty is Obama's fault.

Welcome to Trump's Neptunian magic show.

DACA "Dreamers" are in a precarious situation now.

Without a doubt, today’s situation under Trump’s Congress and Jeff Sessions’ DOJ has reached a troubling new level: the DACA program has become a political football, tossed around with no regard for the human beings involved. Judging by the disagreements in Congress, even if the "Dreamers" get to stay, their parents may be deported--again, separating families. 

Meanwhile, families presenting themselves to immigration authorities in the southwest are being separated and prosecuted instead of being given due process as legal asylum seekers.

Happily, the public outrage over this family separation issue has had a bipartisan flavor, with many Republicans speaking out against the practice along with their Democratic colleagues. The outrage ranges far and wide on the Internet, although I have no doubt that our lesser angels are out there stumping for a zero-compassion stance, as well, blaming the victims for showing up at the border with their children.

Even so, high profile voices such as former First Lady Laura Bush--and even Melania Trump--are coming forward, and that's hopeful. Congress people are showing up at the detention centers, insisting they be allowed in, and even though they're met with police resistance, how long can that go on before something gives?

I'm heartened by this, from, which captures why this bipartisan outcry may have legs:

“There would seem to be at least one thing all sides can agree on: Any policy that puts children in difficulty or danger is morally inexcusable. We don’t need to agree on abortion, gay marriage, the Mueller investigation, gerrymandering, Russia policy, or basically anything else to grant that premise. So let’s do it. Let’s grant the premise together and then, with our full force, demand that politicians of both parties do better to protect children.”
When it comes to immigrant children, let’s agree to do it better--Patrick A. Coleman May 29 2018

We'll know that progress is being made when we see that the welfare of children is the moral/ethical line in the sand for diehard Trump supporters. Considering the xenophobia afloat at Trump rallies, and the sealed echo chamber that perpetuates Trump’s fear-mongering narrative about immigration (they’re all “animals” and M13 gang members, pouring across our borders like an invading force), these defections will undoubtedly take awhile, but we're seeing Evangelical leaders of all stripes speaking out against the separations, along with the AMA, the APA, and a host of state-level politicians. 

We're seeing what is probably an even stronger outcry than happened when Trump was newly-elected and he zealously tried to shut our borders to people from several Muslim nations. So there's hope that we can turn this tide of inhumanity back. 

The astrology

So, what is this all about astrologically?  Before we consider a couple specific event charts below, let's first consider two important facts about the astrological State of the Nation. These realities form a cultural/political/collective backdrop for everything that's going on these days. First, with Pluto edging into the 2nd decanate of Capricorn, our national radix Sibly chart is experiencing the final stages of its Pluto return (exact in February, 2022)--a key, transformative period in our evolution, and it shows!  

Second, we are also experiencing the waning 3rd quarter of our national progressed lunar cycle (much more on that in the 5/3/16 post here), and that denotes a period of clearing out whatever karmic baggage we're carrying as a nation and preparing for a fresh, new start. Unfortunately, we have corrupt, destructive forces wielding the levers of power during this period, and we may not recognize, or even like the nation that emerges from all this during the 2020s.

As for the specific event charts below, we'll see that they feature a rather startling complex of cardinal and fixed energies—quite an interesting story, with deep mythological undertones. First, let’s establish the context and timeframe. reported in the late evening (10:19 pm) on April 6th that the Trump administration had made a two-pronged effort that day to crack down on border crossings: first,
“The president issued a presidential memorandum ending a policy commonly called ‘catch and release,’ which released illegal immigrants from detention as they awaited an immigration court hearing.”
Several directives for implementing this policy switch were detailed in the memo, including one that involved rounding up all the available federal facilities along the border that might be “repurposed” for immigrant detentions. Hence, the cages and the barren-looking facilities with meager mats on the floor for detainees.

In lockstep with Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced his new “zero-tolerance” border crossing policy that same April day—a policy that specifically targets “first time offenders” and provides guidelines for implementation. Sessions said nothing about honoring the international protocols the U.S. signed on to in 1951 and 1967 for seeking legal asylum at the border, and it’s doubtful that these will be honored by the Trump DOJ. Hence, those who make the treacherous trek across Central America to appeal for asylum are met with handcuffs instead.

Children shouldn't have to protest to stay with their parents!

What happens to the children? The authorities claim to place them with sponsors (family members already here, if possible), but they are making no guarantees that the families will be reunited, and they take little responsibility for the children once they’re placed. Parents may have a difficult time finding their children if and when they’re released from detention. Rumors of thousands of unaccounted for children (where are girls and babies, for instance) have been swirling, and the administration is doing little to allay people's fears. A thick Neptunian fog of bureaucracy and obfuscation is making things look worse by the day. 

As Trump's new zero tolerance policy has rolled out, controversies over tearing even the youngest infants from their parent(s) surfaced and Sessions felt compelled to explain. CBS News reported the following in regards to a May 7th press conference (one of our event charts) Sessions gave near San Diego:

“’We don't want to separate families, but we don't want families to come to the border illegally and attempt to enter into this country improperly,’ Sessions said. ‘The parents are subject to prosecution while children may not be. So, if we do our duty and prosecute those cases, then children inevitably for a period of time might be in different conditions’…
‘Every law enforcement agency in this country separates parents from children when they're arrested for a crime,’ Homan said alongside Sessions. ‘There is no new policy. This has always been the policy. Now, you will see more prosecutions because of the attorney general's commitment to zero tolerance.’”
What Sessions considers a “proper” attempt to enter the country is unclear because there doesn’t seem to be any legal way to apply for asylum at the southern border at this time. Many critics believe the Trump administration is breaking international laws with this zero tolerance (also “zero compassion”) program.

For the purposes of teasing out the astrology of this situation, we’ll use the April 6th announcement as stage one and the May 7th statement as stage two. Considering Saturn turned retrograde on April 19th and will remain so into September, it’s not surprising that we would see a two-staged attempt to dig in for the long-term. Any ambiguities and loopholes (Saturn dislikes these) needed to be addressed for the long-term. Repression is such a bureaucratic affair! Much more on Saturn ahead.

For stage one we’ll set the April 6th chart of Trump’s executive memo ending “Catch and Release” against our national Sibly chart. I’ve set the chart for 10 p.m. because announced the White House move at 10:19 p.m. and called it a “late” development. Because the time is imprecise, Moon and angle placements will not be our primary focus. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Trump “Catch & Release” executive memo (“zero tolerance” announcement), April 6, 2018, 10:00 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. . Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

This biwheel features one amazing configuration that lends considerable insight into the issues we’ve been discussing, so we’ll focus on that and then turn to “stage two” in the next biwheel. 

Zero T Sun conjoins Zero T Eris; Eris conjoins Zero T Uranus (all Aries); Zero T Mars/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) squares Zero T Sun. There’s a distinct warrior vibe (Eris, Mars) and an intentional battle footing in all this. Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey characterizes the Mars/Pluto midpoint in this way:

“The dispersal of military weapons or resources without safeguards or intention from others that they will pay for these; aggressive actions against the nation by hostile countries; treaties broken by warlike acts.”[1]
In regards to immigrants, of course, we have no actual “hostile country” attacking us, despite Trump’s favored narrative; Trump’s policies are turning us into a hostile country, and we’re breaking treaties and international protocols left and right. Could this midpoint also pertain to weapons deals Trump has made and/or suspected Russian incursions into our next election? Stories for another day! 

As for the involvement of the Zero T Sun here, this points to the executive office and to what Munkasey calls “a need to dominate during meetings where your views are presented for comment or criticism…”[2]

Zero tolerance, or zero compassion?

 Interchart Grand-Square: Zero T Capricorn stellium (Vesta-Moon-Saturn-Mars, and more distantly, Pluto) oppose Sibly Cancer stellium (Venus-Jupiter-Sun-Mercury); this axis squares Zero T Mercury (Aries) opposite Sibly MC/Saturn (midpoint, Libra). Again, we can’t say with certainly if the Moon was at this exact degree when the memo was signed, but it’s probably close. It certainly fits the situation, if we consider that the Moon rules those migrant children and mothers, and a repressive regime (Saturn rules Capricorn) is weighing on them here. 

It’s no surprise that all this is happening across the Sibly 1st-7th house axis—the axis attributed to the nation’s identity and any significant Others, respectively. Notice also that our radix Sibly Eris (Capricorn), our national warrior spirit, ties into all this, which may explain why solidifying control over the continent, from sea to sea, was such a hot priority during the first hundred years of our national existence. 

This led to a war with Mexico from 1846-48 for territorial acquisition (and economic growth, with Sibly Jupiter-Venus in our 7th). We nabbed a lot of territory in the end, including what are now Texas and California—Mexico surrendered about one-third of its sovereign territory to the U.S. at that time. 

All this helps put Trump’s mean-spirited idea that Mexico should now pay for a wall across our southern border into context: wouldn’t it be simply rude and offensive to anyone who knows our history? Trump’s rallying cry (“Who’s going to pay for the wall?”) and his venomous attitude towards Mexico could well be rubbing salt in a long-festering wound. 

Since Saturn transited into Capricorn earlier this year, however, the repressive rhetoric coming from the White House has been put into militant, police-state action, ordering National Guard troops to the border, staffing up ICE and Homeland Security and treating our border like a war zone (Zero T Mars and Saturn conjoin and square Sibly MC/Saturn). Munkasey attributes this midpoint to:

“Restrictions on development within the enterprise; may end the struggle for independent activity after repression or colonialism; formal and strict rules for conducting transactions.”[3]
The “formal and strict rules” are certainly reflected in how difficult it is now to mount a “proper” appeal for asylum without ending up behind bars. I would add also that repression in the name of not just “colonialism,” but any “ism” is covered here—isolationism, imperialism, fear-based populist nationalism, and so on. 

With Zero T Mercury forming the 4th leg of this tense configuration, Capricorn Moon-Saturn-Mars square to Aries Mercury (Mercury disposed by that aggressive Mars), it’s not surprising that the outrage people have been feeling since April about Trump’s immigration policies has been a media-based phenomenon. 

To make a super-complex grand square even more interesting, we need to consider the role that Vesta is also playing here. Vesta typically conjures up the image of “hearth and home,” but asteroid experts Demetra George and Douglas Bloch argues that the essence of that image is an intense focus on goals. 

Sibly Vesta falls in our radix 6th house in Taurus, trine our “American Dream” Neptune in Virgo (4th house co-ruler): is it any wonder that Americans typically aspire to comfortable middle class material lives? Shop-til-we-drop is considered a matter of 6th house public service, even—fueling  the economy! 

The issue of the family hearth is key here because Vesta is a naturally fiery energy: at the center of every family is the yin fire of desire for that family’s welfare and wellbeing, and dreams for its future, so parents who flee violence and chaos in their homelands to seek better lives for their children certainly evoke the intense focus of Vesta. This is all more relevant today when we consider that Zero T Vesta is transiting Capricorn, square Sibly MC (Libra) and closely opposite Sibly Venus (Cancer). Some thoughts on the Capricorn placement:

“Vesta in Capricorn individuals work best in a structured and disciplined fashion. The work effort is often motivated by personal ambition and the drive to succeed…Yet Vesta in Capricorn’s strict adherence to rules and regulations can denote excessive rigidity.”[4]
The rigidity of the Trump administration’s approach to immigration is evident in the news, but here we see the added dimension of how the administration is using our allies (Vesta opposes Sibly Venus) to achieve its ambitions regarding border control. His executive order claimed this program was necessary for “national security” reasons—these migrant families are “invading” us and bringing their future M13 gang member children with them, the narrative goes. Similar to his “national security” excuse for slapping tariffs on our Canadian ally, this is a dubious and unjustified claim. 

In fact, astrologically we might wonder what’s in all this for Trump, personally, as well. His natal Mercury-Neptune square (8°+Cancer-5°+Libra, chart not shown) is tied into this entire cardinal configuration, conjunct Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer) and Sibly MC (Libra). Trump’s natal Mercury disposes his Gemini stellium (Sun-Node-Uranus) as it squares his Libra Neptune (5°+Libra), which explains his preference for “alternate realities.”

In turn, Trump’s Sagittarius full Moon disposes his Mercury, so Mercury is entangled throughout much of his chart. It’s not hard to see this impact in his Twitter feed, and in regards to immigrant families (Cancer), we can also see it in his overly-defensive, fear-driven mindset. If people haven’t treated him badly, in his mind they simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. What a great excuse to attack first! So a rigid dependence upon “law and order” provides the perfect tool. 

Law and order is a very blunt instrument, but it’s a whole lot easier than diplomacy and doing the hard work of crafting a sane immigration policy, too. 

Zero T Pallas (Gemini) conjoins Sibly Uranus (Gemini); Zero T Saturn-Mars (Capricorn) quincunx Sibly Uranus (and widely, Pallas). George and Bloch write that “Pallas, as goddess of justice and protectress of the state, rules over political activism,”[5] They also call her a “defender of minority groups” and “racial/ethnic” justice. So, the tension on Pallas from the heavy authoritarian Mars-Saturn here comes as no surprise, given today’s situation. Trump’s deployment of military forces to the border is seen here, as well, with Pallas hovering near Sibly 6th house Uranus. 

It’s worth noting also that Zero T Pluto (Capricorn) is applying quincunx pressure on Sibly Mars (Gemini) and trining our Sibly Neptune (Virgo) as well: we’re officially “spoiling for a fight,” it seems, and we probably have reason to doubt the official “national security” pretext for shutting the border. Reportedly, claims that multiple border agents have been killed by migrants have been disproven by the FBI, but that hasn’t altered the official Trump narrative right now. He wants his wall, despite a chorus of voices who say it’s a waste of resources and a wrong-headed approach to border security. Even so, any ambitious marketer knows that the way to sell a product is to create the need for the product.  

Why would people go through this unless they were fleeing serious problems?

Stage Two

As mentioned above, this stage kicked in on May 7th, when Sessions gave a press conference near San Diego to explain the official Zero T policy and why families were being separated by border control agents. As we’ll see, not a lot changed astrologically from April 6th to May 7th, but the planetary dynamics that did change tell the story, so we’ll focus on these.

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Sessions Zero T press conference, May 7, 2018, 12:00 p.m. PST, San Diego, CA Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Zero T Chiron-Juno (Aries) oppose Sibly MC (Libra); this axis squares the cardinal oppositions noted in Biwheel #1. Here’s where I need to digress a bit from our main topic, but I think you’ll see where the threads connect pretty quickly. Here goes:

It’s a little unclear which planet/asteroid represents the First Lady in a nation’s chart, but Juno’s a distinct possibility, being the wife of Zeus in mythology. Sibly Juno is in lovely Libra, which seems to be a pretty good fit for Melania (what we know of her, anyway), and the fact that it falls trine Sibly Mars—to my mind, a better fit for Trump’s executive style than the Sun is (his natal chart is tightly interwoven with Sibly Mars)—only confirms this hunch. I don’t doubt that they have their differences (how could she not?), but she shows up at his side when the occasion calls for it, and seems to enjoy planning state dinners. 

Interestingly for our topic here, during the same period that Trump was unfolding his “zero tolerance” program for the border, his immigrant wife was suddenly hospitalized for kidney surgery, so perhaps this transiting Chiron-Juno conjunction in the nation’s 4th house (its official “home”) reflects this experience. We’re still not entirely sure what Melania’s health status is, but her extended recuperation period seems to suggest that her “wounds” (Chiron) run deeper than anyone is admitting. 

We should probably just respect her privacy on this matter, but her presence as our national “wounded wife” holds symbolic weight for today’s issues, and that bears consideration. Does her health reflect the nation’s, in some metaphysical way? Kidneys exist to flush toxins from a person’s system: boy, could this nation use a good flush! 

Our Sibly 4th house is ruled by Virgo Neptune, which is now being opposed by transiting Neptune in Pisces. This transit has seriously eroded our national sense of unity: in our Sibly 3rd of education over the past several years, it undermined our infrastructure, our “esprit de corps,” as well as our ability to think as one nation (even the ideas that in better times we simply agreed upon as being the “American way” are up for grabs). 

Also in this house, our Sibly Moon (in Aquarius, denoting the People) was under Neptune’s sway during the Obama years, probably deluding us into thinking that we were ready for a level of social change that has since caused heavy backlash, paving the way for Trump, et al. Even Obama has been musing lately that his presidency may have happened “too soon.” That perhaps we were still more interested in falling back into our respective “tribes” than in really moving forward. 

IMHO, perhaps the greatest delusion (although many spoke out against this) we suffered from under the Obama years was that our economy could continue channeling 99% of the goodies to the top, with no consequences. 

And now Neptune is well into our 4th—the homeland¸ the house governing grass roots “bread and butter” issues, issues related to land, mining, environment, agriculture, etc. It’s no wonder that Russian efforts to undermine our democracy by exploiting our natural divisions and manipulating the 2016 election were so successful. Transiting Neptune is still just applying to its full, semi-cycle point with Sibly Neptune, so unfortunately, things could get worse before they get better.

The opioid epidemic could certainly be implicated here: it’s a crisis that will probably be far more damaging to us in the long run than an influx of immigrants would be, yet Trump is paying very little attention to it. Our crumbling infrastructure and lack of readiness for natural disasters is probably also far more damaging than those immigrants would be, yet here we are, spending much more on border control (and potentially a wall) than on rebuilding our systems. 

Such are the delusions spawned by Neptune, and those who trade in Neptunian power. 

One last point here: Zero T Chiron (Aries) is transiting opposite our Sibly MC, reflecting the damage that is being done by Trump’s policies to our image abroad. Perhaps we forget the pains this nation went to in building that reputation and our esteemed place in the world? This comment from The Economist captures the urgency of this issue:

“Moreover, how countries treat migrants is an important advertisement of their character and values, which Americans underrate to their cost. America’s reputation for being fair and decent attracts highly skilled people. It is also among the reasons foreigners trust American diplomacy and admire its culture—despite the erosion of its reputation that has followed Mr Trump’s election.”
Maybe we should be glad that people wanted to migrate here? 

Detained parents often go for months without knowing where their children are.

Zero T Mercury-Eris-Uranus conjoin in Aries, square Zero T Pluto-Mars (Capricorn); this Mars conjoins Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). This is all very brutish, hard-edged energy; those with compassionate impulses need not apply. Blatant power-grabbing and Big Finance machinations are the order of the day, and migrant families are simply one grist for their mill. Federal contracts for various border-securing operations are likely at stake. The rhetoric is hard (Aries Mercury), the narrative is belligerent and crisis-driven, and the crises grabbing the focus seem frankly manufactured for Trump’s “reality show.” 

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is facing the new hurricane season in a sorry state of readiness, not having fully recovered from last year’s tragic destruction of its infrastructure. This past week we’ve learned that perhaps thousands more people were killed by Hurricane Maria than the Trump administration reported. The jury is out on whether these numbers were intentionally distorted, but the implication is afloat. 

Immigration numbers are actually down this year as opposed to many years, yet the focus has been yanked away from pressing problems like Puerto Rico to make shutting our borders a top priority. The National Guard has been slowly making progress there with infrastructure rebuilding, however the funding is stingy and the focus is weak—perhaps because there’s no militarized “law and order” solution for Puerto Rico’s problems? Are we seeing a theme?

Sibly Chiron (Aries) conjoins Aries stellium discussed above. One last point about Trump’s zero tolerance program leaps off the page here. Chiron speaks to a deep wound in our national soul that festers and re-ignites during times of stress. In Aries, it’s our national ego-driven “rugged individual” ethos that seems to resonate strongly with Trump and his supporters. This ethos is being challenged and perhaps triggered all the more by the Aries conflagration transiting our Sibly 5th right now. 

Unfortunately, cool heads need to prevail to solve the nation’s problems right now, and while pumping up our national Ego (“MAGA?”) may play well as a media ploy, it falls far short of solving actual problems like sub-standard schools (children are a 5th house issue), rotting infrastructure, environmental degradation, rising costs in healthcare, and so on. 

Attacking immigrant families and children out of some thuggish “zero-tolerance” policy is no substitute for progress in these needed areas.

Happily, since this May 7th chart, Uranus has moved into Taurus and thrown a little earth on our cowboy camp fire, but it will revisit Aries (by retrograde) during November (election time), so whatever issues are too hot to handle right now could resurface then. 

Final thoughts

We hear a lot in the news these days regarding the Trump administration’s quest to undermine our constitutional institutions of checks and balances, and to consolidate his own power. The day I first posted a piece regarding this topic, the news talk shows were buzzing with Rudy Giuliani’s claims that Trump is basically untouchable by investigations and the Justice Department—in other words, that he is above the law. Thankfully, saner voices have poked numerous holes in this blowhard claim, but we can see the contours of Trump’s ambitions here. He wants to wield absolute power, and he has an unfortunate track record of getting most of what he wants.

Even some Republicans are speaking out against this argument that basically dissolves our constitutional checks and balances. Trump’s bald-faced attempt at a power grab (remember those cardinal energies at work) evokes King Louis XIV’s famous dictum, “L’Et├ít c’est Moi” (“I Am the State”). 

Neptunians (and Trump definitely is one) marshal power by weakening structures and assurances, triggering fears and cultivating free-floating anxieties: these are well-sharpened arrows in Trump’s quiver. So are a tolerance for corrupt practices, for denying responsibility and claiming to be a victim at every turn. 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt—a polio victim who didn’t even want the American people to see him walk on crutches because he knew they needed him to be strong—had it right in 1933 when the nation was still reeling from the Great Depression, and Hitler was consolidating his power under the Nazi banner. In his first inaugural speech, FDR set the theme for his entire 4-term presidency: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Those times were mirror-images of today, from Neptune’s perspective—it was transiting early Virgo in 1933, and the nation was embarked on a pragmatic, problem-solving period in which no challenge could keep it down. It overcame the Depression with practical works programs and sane, idealistic economic policies, built a great deal of the national infrastructure that we see crumbling around us today, and there was no time for self-doubt and delusions. It seems that the nation enjoyed a sense of destiny and the spirit of public service (Virgo) ran deep. America was far from perfect at that time, but we were moving in a constructive direction. 

I hope we can recapture that spirit for our times, but to do so I suspect that we will need to resist the shaky pretexts the Trump administration is using for its gratuitous cruelty towards migrant families. 

From the NYTimes:

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly hails family separation as a “tough deterrent” and shrugs that “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”
So what’s next, Mr. President? Minefields at the border would be an even more effective deterrent. Or East German-style marksmen in watch towers to shoot those who cross?
We as a nation should protect our borders. We must even more assiduously protect our soul.”

We can do better than this!

[1] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, pp. 248-49.
[2] Ibid, p. 249.
[3]Ibid, pp. 308-09.
[4] Demetra George & Douglas Bloch, Asteroid Goddesses: the Mythology, Psychology and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, Ibis Press, 2013 (updated edition), Lake Worth, FL, p. 138.
[5] Ibid, pp. 100-01.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day 2018: the Astrology of the military’s role in today’s government

This Memorial Day weekend feels like a good time to reflect on what’s going on astrologically with our U.S. military these days.

The military is an American institution that—from afar—seems to be avoiding the worst undermining instincts of the Trump presidency, but is it really? The answer might depend upon our perception of the military’s role in our collective lives. This is a far more complex issue than we might think.

Full disclosure: I grew up during the height of Viet Nam war protests and so was greatly relieved that my sons, born during the 1970s and 80s, were coming of age after the military draft was discontinued. This was a purely selfish sentiment, of course—if they had been critically needed for the nation’s defense and a draft was reinstated, I would have had to suck it up like any military mom and pray for the best. That’s one of the many hard realities of citizenship. 

Instead, my young adult sons and I were able to enjoy a couple family “outings” to Washington, D.C. to protest (in late 2002 and early 2003) the fraudulent excuses being given at that time for attacking Iraq. The memories of the 9/11/2001 attacks were fresh, of course—a real “coming of age” moment for my sons’ Pluto in Libra generation—but something about the way the narrative underpinnings of the Iraq war were being manufactured before our eyes just stunk of corrupt intent and fraudulent misdirection. 

I was convinced that the sons and daughters going off to that war were being deluded and used by powerful entities for whom human life is a mere “resource” to be deployed. These entities find the military a useful tool, and their motives are not always honorable or ethical. Long story there.

Looking back, I have no regrets for doubting our leaders’ motives for attacking Iraq in 2003; quite the opposite, the nation has much to regret about the Iraq War.

Thank you for your service!

 Even so, one of the hard lessons of the Viet Nam era and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been that it’s one thing to protest an unjust, corrupt war, and it’s quite another to vilify or under-appreciate military service in general. If one or more of my sons had sincerely heard that call to serve, I wouldn’t have stopped them from following their own lights.

The life of a warrior is a calling like any other, and it can be an honorable, character-building profession. Since mythic times, warriors have been revered and lionized for their vital contributions, their strength in the face of battle, and for their courageous sacrifices. Simply put, we need these brave, committed individuals. 

There is, however, a major pitfall built into this vocation: its dependence upon the character of its commanders. Military officers and personnel follow orders, so in one respect, their actions will only be as good, ethical or honorable as those who issue the orders. Unfortunately, the military virtues of bravery, selfless dedication and loyalty (“Semper Fi”) can be, and over the centuries certainly have been, used and abused for dubious purposes.   

The Iraq War fits here in my estimation, and if we end up going to war with Iran and/or North Korea under Trump, I’ll probably feel the same way about those conflicts. To unite people behind such causes would require a much more trustworthy, honorable leader.  

We have seen vivid results from our leaders’ past abuses of power in the horrific suicide statistics among both veterans and the enlisted. In the callous disregard for vets after their service concludes, as they’re trying to find post-service jobs, medical and psychological care, and of course, when they’re trying to find affordable housing. The statistics are alarming:

Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night.
As one vet I know put it very succinctly, “we were expendable materiel.”

Despite all this, the military is a noble profession whose first mission is to protect the Constitution. All of the military’s other duties flow from that mission. Here are the two oaths administered in the U.S. armed forces:

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlistees):
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." 

The Oath of Office (for officers):
"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." 

So we have to wonder what happens when the Commander-in-Chief (who would ideally deserve that “Semper Fi” allegiance) is him- or herself not protecting the Constitution, but abusing the power of the presidency. And what happens when the “enemies, foreign or domestic,” are entangled with the sitting president? 

And—worst case scenario—what happens when the sitting president was probably not elected legitimately, as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (a career military defense professional) affirmed in a recent interview? If the Constitution is the military’s guiding light, how can it proceed when heavy shade has been thrown on that light by its Commander-in-Chief, his enablers and cohorts? Will the military ultimately be part of the problem, or part of the solution? 

These are serious questions for our murky, troubled times, but as we’ll see, astrology can provide some insights into why we’re going through this, and why now. Let’s begin with a consideration of the U.S. Sibly chart, from the perspective of military service and national defense. These concerns are usually considered the business of the 6th and 7th houses respectively, yet confining the impulse to defend the nation to these limited sectors of the chart seems counter-intuitive. Even so, let’s start there and see where this leads.

The astrology

What follows is a biwheel featuring the sunrise chart for this year’s Memorial Day against the nation’s Sibly chart. As we’ll see, the affairs of both 6th and 7th houses are firmly interwoven and permeate throughout the chart.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Memorial Day 2018, May 28, 2018, 5:46 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Sibly Taurus 6th house is ruled by 7th house Venus in Cancer; Sibly Venus conjoins Sibly Jupiter (Cancer) and is opposed by MDay Vesta-Saturn (Capricorn).  One key takeaway here: security-conscious Cancer Venus is the glue that binds the 6th and 7th house together here, and she may be inspiring the defensive, fear-mongering rhetoric we’re hearing out of D.C. these days. Trump is the shrillest voice, of course, telling our Homeland Security Secretary to basically lock down our borders and ignore the rule of law when it comes to people crossing our borders. “We’re closed!” he says. 

Apparently, immigrants = criminals in his mind—an irrational (many would say hateful) position that mirrors Saturn’s transit opposite Trump’s Cancer Mercury (chart not shown), as well as the nation’s Venus-Jupiter. It’s important here that Saturn and Vesta are transiting the nation’s 1st house: this explains the stressful time We the People have been having lately, up to and including the issue of public health and welfare (the opioid crisis comes to mind).

Being dominated by a cruel, fearful bully also comes to mind as a stressor (Trump’s bullying Leo Mars also exactly opposes our Sibly Moon, as well), and this is no small concern for our national soul. His constant angry assault on the truth and his attempts to destroy our trust in institutions such as the FBI and the Justice Department is an assault on our minds and hearts—again, no small concern.

But is Trump truly that fearful of outsiders coming in (he married two of them and he’s super-cozy with foreign nationals who want political access), or is he simply fear-mongering for political effect?  

Importantly for today’s exploration, Trump has already used his executive power to place the National Guard at the border, as though we’re being invaded by a hostile power. They’re already being overly abusive, separating parents from their children at the border and overturning centuries of tradition in regards to granting sanctuary to deserving individuals. This makes us a much crueler nation: will these domestic armed forces be called upon to violate their humanity and break the law to satisfy the Commander-in-Chief’s hateful campaign promises? 

And what about the quasi-military, Homeland Security forces of ICE? Besides the fact that ICE’s very existence reflects how we’ve officially criminalized immigration, perhaps its cruel treatment of longtime immigrant residents under Trump is one reason we’re seeing bipartisan pressure to get an immigration bill on the floor for a vote? Congress (Saturn) really needs to do its job on this issue and stop allowing Trump and his ICE storm troopers to call the shots entirely.

From its position in the 7th, Jupiter rules the Sibly 1st house of identity and national outreach, so the opposition by transiting Saturn also implies stress to our national relationships, i.e., our allies (7th). We’re seeing it in the on-again-off-again talks with North Korea, with our European allies pursuing a way to preserve both the Paris Accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal without the U.S., and that’s just for starters. 

All of these broken and undermined relationships could have military ramifications down the road: how will we know if our military is being used for honorable purposes or not? Will any military action that results be legitimate, or Trump ego trips?

Chiron transiting into Aries is highlighting this situation, too: directly opposing the Sibly MC from the Sibly 4th, it’s currently forming a grand-square with transiting Vesta (Capricorn) and Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Aries Chiron is a “wounded warrior,” but this configuration suggests that the pain could motivate all parties to push for balanced geopolitical relationships. Here’s where our honorable, experienced national warriors can help tame the Commander-in-Chief’s natural volatility: those who know the pains of war (Trump enjoyed multiple deferments) are the least likely to see war as the solution to all disputes. 

In fact, a short month after Chiron last entered Aries in February 1969, “wounded warrior,” WWII hero and 33rd president Dwight D. Eisenhower (natal chart[1] ruler fell opposite at 2+Libra, among other issues) was laid to rest. Richard Nixon—a troubling model Trump is often compared to—was sworn in that January, just before the Aries ingress. During the course of that year he began drawing down U.S. troop levels from Viet Nam, but caused a lot of domestic controversy with his methods. From Wikipedia

“On 27 October 1969, Nixon ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union, in accord with the madman theory, that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam War ("Operation Giant Lance").[212][213]
At 3+ and 11+ Aries respectively that October day, the Chiron/Eris (midpoint, Aries) was quite snugly conjunct Nixon’s natal No. Node (6+Aries), with transiting Uranus adding a “mad” erratic punch from (6+Libra), square Nixon’s natal[2] Mercury-Jupiter in Capricorn. Eris also brings a warrior mindset to bear: Nixon was clearly looking to exploit the power in madness and unpredictability, but what of the military forces in harm’s way at the time, not to mention the stakes of such nuclear brinksmanship? 

The parallels between Nixon’s “madman theory” and Trump’s “fire and fury” tweets with Kim Jong-Un should be troubling, but perhaps not for the obvious reasons. Interestingly, at 5+Libra, Trump’s natal Neptune ties into this 1969 early cardinal stress pattern, and into Nixon’s chart. Has he been instinctively (or perhaps even intentionally) channeling Nixon for a new military conquest?

L-R, David Frost and Richard Nixon--a memorable, Watergate-era interview.

Other parallels leap to mind, as well: Nixon was known to rely on the defense that “national security” depended upon him being allowed to act with impunity, right or wrong. “If the president does something, that means it’s not illegal” was his response to a famous question asked by David Frost during the Watergate investigation.  Early in his presidency, Trump claimed that “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” And he and his family have been exploiting this controversial loophole in our conflict of interest norms ever since. 

Trump clearly resonates with Nixon’s mindset and views of executive power, but perhaps that’s where the comparison ends. As one writer put it, “Don’t insult Nixon by comparing him to Trump!” Among other issues, Nixon had the decency to resign when his impeachable offenses were uncovered. 

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: Sibly Vesta (Taurus) trines Sibly Neptune (Virgo), trines MDay Pluto (Capricorn). Demetra George and Douglas Bloch[3] characterize Vesta-Pluto aspects as signifying “a sense of destiny and personal commitment to the transformation of society,” and with Neptune, they suggest there’s a tendency for Vesta (here in the public service-oriented 6th house) to focus on spiritual ideals. This can certainly be construed to be the military ideals of honor and valor, but we might want to be wary about any attempt to “transform” our society into a more military-style state. 

As noted above, we’re seeing too much militarization already in local police forces, along our borders, and with ICE. This is not militarization in the service of democracy—it’s an erosion of democracy for the sake of what Trump perceives as “national security.” Or perhaps his own security? 

The houses linked by this earthy triad are key here, of course: as a mutually-reinforcing circuit of energy and resources, the Sibly 2nd-6th-10th house triad represents what Dwight Eisenhower dubbed the “Military-Industrial Complex.”  It’s no surprise that under Trump our Defense budget has skyrocketed. From DefenseNews:

“Senate leaders have reached a two-year deal that would set defense spending at $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019.
Those top-lines, part of a deal announced by Senate leaders Wednesday afternoon, hews to those authorized by National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 and President Donald Trump’s expected 2019 defense budget.
Not all of the details were announced immediately, as bipartisan talks continued, but sources close to them said spending limits for defense and non-defense combined would be raised by $300 billion over two years.”

We also know from Trump’s own comments that updating our nuclear arsenal is a major priority for him: Pluto’s role opposite Sibly Mercury (Cancer)—ruling the Sibly 7th—is spelled out pretty clearly here. We’ve been down this “arms race” path before: it’s a sure path to crippling national debt and insecurity. It’s also a sure path to great moral dilemmas for our military: can our military leaders refuse to follow a Commander-in-Chief order that involves dropping a nuclear weapon for unjust or fraudulent reasons? Doomsday scenarios abound, for good reason.

But, like a schoolyard bully or worse, Trump insists on boasting about the size and power of our nuclear arsenal. Then there’s the issue of nuclear energy production itself, which Trump wants to boost, but only in concert with efforts to boost the much more polluting coal industry. He’s been working, in fact, to claim wartime powers that hark back to the Korean War for the sake of boosting these industries. From Bloomberg News

“Under the approach, the administration would invoke sweeping authority in the 68-year-old Defense Production Act, which allows the president to effectively nationalize private industry to ensure the U.S. has resources that could be needed amid a war or after a disaster.”
While an updated, more secure nuclear energy infrastructure could be a positive, and while some states, like coal-rich West Virginia, welcome any boost to their industry, there’s no consideration of the “big picture” here—the environment is probably our greatest security threat (Vesta would agree here), and sacrificing that on the altar of defense (when we seem to be taking mostly offensive positions in the world) is more than troubling.

Pluto transiting trine to Neptune is very busy energizing the “Fog of War” machine, it seems, and as always, our military will pay the heaviest price for these machinations. The fact is, we’ve been attacked by Russian interference in our 2016 election (an ongoing threat): is anyone talking about using military action against Russia?! No, we’re talking about the threats posed by other countries who haven’t come anywhere near our shores!

7th house Sibly Mars (Gemini) quincunxes MDay Pluto (Capricorn) while MDay Saturn/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer). This Saturn/Pluto midpoint falls in the Sibly 2nd (ruled by Saturn), which may explain the harsh, aggressive tone permeating our national economic discourse (Sibly 2nd) these days. Trump’s trade negotiations (opposition to Sibly Sun, the Executive) are often characterized as battles for total conquest, with “what’s in it for the U.S.?” being his only concern. 

That’s probably why his about-face on the Chinese telecom firm ZTE is so suspicious and considered a “national security risk” by a bipartisan group in Congress that is pushing back on the idea. There are also suspicions that Trump’s turnabout was inspired by a Chinese plan to put $500 million towards a Trump “theme park” project planned for Indonesia. The corrupt possibilities for this conflation of personal and national financial ambitions here are breathtaking. 

The security risks seem related to China’s breach of sanctions the U.S. placed on Iran, and indeed, ZTE’s role in helping the Iranian government to spy on its citizens. We might wonder whether Trump envisions having some use for similar services, in fact. If it sounds too much like Orwell’s “Big Brother,” it’s because it is. Perhaps this is another reason to avoid over-militarizing domestic law enforcement.

Orwell's dystopian vision is not as far-fetched as it seemed.

This Saturn/Pluto midpoint falls square Sibly Saturn (Libra)—we need to hope that Congress will continue pushing back on any movement toward a “Big Brother” state. Remember the “Thought Police” in Orwell’s 1984? This may sound too “Hollywood” to be taken seriously, but other peoples have suffered through this (Iran may be the latest) and we’re in no way exempt, given our present circumstances and the transits bedeviling our national chart at the moment. 

Another ethical and moral dilemma for our military to puzzle through. Who will they serve in the end: the Executive, or We the People? 

And now we come to the all-important issue of Mars in our Sibly chart and its current challenges. The quincunx with transiting Pluto (Capricorn) speaks volumes: our military (Mars) is caught in a powerful web of power dynamics right now, and the Plutonian crowd will probably win out because their financial clout trumps all (pun intended). I don’t foresee this situation improving until after this Pluto completes its return journey into its radix Sibly position at 27+Capricorn in 2022.

Unfortunately, by then, the nation and the military may have well experienced a transformation that crowds out all other priorities. Worst case scenario, we’ll be committed to a corporate-financed perpetual war footing because the military has been essentially privatized. With accelerating climate change, natural resources will perhaps become scarce enough to justify (to those corporate powers, at least) a new wave of imperialistic adventures. Anything that amounts to a war footing will allow the Executive to wield broad powers the Constitution reserves for wartime--martial law, among other onerous possibilities.

This is a story for another day, but the Sibly Pluto return chart for February 20, 2022 features Capricorn Mars-Venus-Vesta widely conjunct Pluto, again stressing out our radix Gemini Mars by quincunx. Resource wars will be quite possible if the intervening years haven’t been marked by progress against climate change. That’s the best case scenario here: that we all wake up to what’s being lost and do something about it!

Crumbling beneath our feet?
Interchart T-Square: MDay Neptune (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and this axis squares Sibly Mars (Gemini). This murky, mutable configuration is a preview of things to come, as well—at Pluto’s return to its Sibly position in 2022, Neptune will be exactly opposite (within minutes) of its radix Sibly position, as well. Between now and then we will likely be “dis”-illusioned by our so-called “American Dream.” 

Lifestyle changes will be required for the new, far more resource-conscious world we will be inhabiting. Housing needs to become more efficient and compact; water needs to be stretched beyond anything we’ve imagined, and every hectare of land (Neptune transiting Sibly 4th) needs to be used sustainably. All of these imperatives will be matters of national security (Sibly Mars). 

It’s hard to miss that Trump’s natal Sun-Node-Uranus stellium in Gemini (chart not shown) conjoins Sibly Mars, while his aggressive Sagittarius Moon opposes: this, along with the fact that this Sun disposes his chest-thumping Leo Mars, probably explains why he’s so emotionally invested in his role as Commander-in-Chief . Bring on the parade! 

Unfortunately, none of this bodes well for waging peace, as opposed to war—a former ambassador to Panama under the Trump administration likened Trump’s competitive style to a velociraptor, saying that Trump “has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference, he kills you.” This style impacts every level on which Trump exercises presidential power, of course—domestic and foreign. It will certainly impact the outcome of the Special Prosecutor’s  investigation. 

At this writing the investigation looks vulnerable, like it could be fatally undermined by Trump’s demands for classified information he shouldn’t be able to access at this juncture. Rod Rosenstein needs all the support (and backbone) that we can lend him. 

Needless to say, Trump’s “velocipator” style will tremendously complicate the lives of our military personnel. The tone is set at the top, and that tone is pretty oppressive right now.

The ambassador also pointed out that, while his approach to diplomacy has always been to seek out “win-win” solutions, Trump’s own book, The Art of the Deal reveals that Trump doesn’t believe in “win-win” solutions. It’s all or nothing for him. We’ve all heard him complain to high heaven that other countries have “taken us for a ride.” Even children are taught to share and play nice with others, aren’t they? Not in Trump’s world. 

This uncompromising, give-nothing approach to foreign affairs (except, strangely, to Russia, China and ZTE) can’t help but cause problems, and our military will bear the heaviest brunt for them.

Final thoughts

It would be disingenuous of me to soften what the astrology seems to be saying these days for the sake of a “feel-good” ending. Unfortunately, the astrology confirms the red flags that many, many political analysts are waving these days for our democratic system of checks and balances. The importance of Election 2018 cannot be overstated here, but even a shift in Congressional dynamics may not entirely stop Trump from using his executive power to diminish this nation and recreate it in his own image. Megalomania in a leader demands nothing less. 

We may, unfortunately, be stuck with him for the duration—even if Mueller does finally bring some charges against him. Trump’s insistent mantra that Election 2016 was being “rigged” against him was the perfect, hermetically-sealed defense against ever being held accountable for anything, and the country fell prey to it, with a lot of help from Russia and other outsiders, like Wikileaks. Now he’s deploying that same strategy to avoid taking responsibility for what appear to be some breathtakingly corrupt entanglements.

Bottom line, the heavy, divide-and-conquer dynamics of Neptune and Pluto transiting our national chart have been pretty overwhelming, and we’re still not out of the woods. From one coast to the other, we can’t even agree on the facts of our current politics, so uniting to protect ourselves from the current dangers is going to take some doing.

So, there’s more rocky road ahead, but my hope is that we will emerge from this dark passage with transformed appreciation for the mechanics of democracy and renewed kindred feelings for each other, as co-creators of that blessed order. Like our military, we’re all part of the solution!

Thank you for your service!

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. The critical ways in which our personal and collective dimensions overlap in everyday life is a particular area of study these days. Several of Raye’s articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

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

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved. 

[1] Eisenhower’s birth data (featured by Kepler 8.0 software) is October 14, 1890, 3:40 a.m. ST, Denison, TX. Disputed birth time—see  
[2] Birth data from birth record (listed in Kepler and January 9, 1913, 9:35 ST, Whittier, CA.
[3] Authors of Asteroid Goddesses: the Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, 2003 updated edition, Ibis Press, Lake Worth, FL, pp. 148-49.