Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Cosmic Do-Si-Do: Retrograde transits, Super Tuesday and the July Nominating Conventions

This could get real messy, of course, which shouldn’t surprise us, with the wild astrological “Square Dance” we’re saddled to these days. Well, the dance is about to get even more interesting...

As promised in the last post, it’s time to take a closer look at the so-called “establishment” candidates and their likelihood of overcoming the “insurgents,” Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Several pundits seem to feel that both July nominating conventions—beginning July 18th in Cleveland for the Republicans, July 25th in Philadelphia for the Democrats—may end up being brokered—“a sanitized term for describing the hard-nosed horse-trading carried on by the party bosses.” 

Technically, any convention that requires more than one ballot to nominate the party’s nominee is brokered, and although it rarely happens in this age of state primaries, caucuses and early delegate commitments, it’s still quite possible. “Party bosses” are a thing of the past, as well, which means this year’s conventions could be “winging it.”

This could get real messy, of course, which shouldn’t surprise us, with the wild astrological “Square Dance” we’re saddled to these days. Well, the dance is about to get even more interesting, as first Saturn (on March 25), and then Mars (on April 17) will pivot and join Jupiter in a few months of backward motion. Their comings and goings are detailed in the Table below, along with the major aspects each major candidate’s chart forms with the various milestones. Perhaps by examining how these charts interact, we will get a better read of the likely dynamics each candidate will carry into the July conventions.

Interestingly, both Jupiter and Mars turn direct before the July conventions, but Saturn holds out until August 13—after the conventions. Political conventions have become fairly predictable and ceremonial—the results pre-determined on day one. Historically, however, some of our less predictable election years have featured Saturn retrograde just before or during the conventions. For instance, the last brokered Democratic convention was in 1952, when Adlai Stevenson was nominated—on a third ballot—to run against Republican war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower. There were no retrograde planets in July, 1952, but Mars, Saturn and Neptune had turned direct just that June.

And a do-si-do... 
Like the planets that July, the Democratic party was playing catch-up that convention—starting out with one candidate and deciding to switch to Stevenson (who hadn’t even been running) in mid-convention. This sounds like the retrograde “do-si-do” to me.  Importantly, Stevenson didn’t win that year—we have to look back to 1932 and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s nomination for the last successful brokered nominee. Both Saturn and Venus were retrograde for the June 1932 Democratic convention, with Venus turning direct in July and Saturn turning direct in early October. So let’s consider what’s happening this year.

Retrogrades keep rollin' into primaries
As the Table below displays, Jupiter turned retrograde on Jan. 7 at 23°+Virgo. Despite that transit hitting his 12th house on Feb. 1, Ted Cruz won the Iowa Caucus over Donald Trump on the GOP side; Cruz’s positive aspects included a wide Jupiter conjunction with his Pluto, a sextile with his Scorpio Jupiter and a trine with his Taurus Saturn. Neptune formed a transiting grand trine with Cruz’s MC (Cancer) and Mars-Venus (Scorpio)—a long-term transit still in force—making Cruz’s win feel more like a “sweep” than a modest 3.3% win. This was a good feeling in the coveted Iowa caucus, but the Saturn-Neptune square (also long term) is preventing him from gaining traction.

Election 2016 Candidate aspects to Mars, Jupiter & Saturn retrograde/direct transits
Jupiter Rx -23+Vir
Jan. 7
Saturn Rx – 16+Sag
Mar. 25
Mars Rx – 8+Sag
Apr. 17
Jupiter Direct 13+Vir
May 10
Mars Direct  23+Sco
June 29
Saturn Direct – 9+Sag
Aug. 13

11th; 60-Me; 90-Ur; 120-No; 180-Mo
1st; 120-Ma-Pl; 90-Mo
1st; 90-MC; 0-Ju (wide)
10th; 30-Pl-Ma-Ne; 60-Ve
1st; 0-AS-Me; 120-Mo; 150-Ur
1st; 60-Ne; 90-MC; 120-Ma-Pl
12th; 60-Ju; 180-No
3rd; 60-Ur-Mo; 150-Sa
3rd; 60-As; 150-MC
12th; 30-Ura-Mo; 60-Ma; 120-Sa-Me
2nd; 0-Ve-Ju; 90-No; 180-Sa (both wide)
3rd; 60-Ur-Mo; 150-MC

2nd; 0-Pl;
4th; 60-Ma; 150-Ve-Me-MC
4th; 0-Ju-Ne wide); 60-Ma; 180-Su
1st; 120-Ve-Me-MC
4th; 0-Ju-Ne (wide); 60-Pl; 120-Mo; 180-Sa;
4th; 0-Ju-Ne (wide); 60-Ma, Ur; 150-Ve-Me-MC; 180-Su

10th; 0-No-Nep; 90-Ju; 120-Sa; 150-Ma
1st; 90-Su-No; 120-Ma; 180-Ju
1st; 90-MC-Su (wide); 120-Pl; 180-Ur (wide);
10th; 0-Su-MC
12th; 0-AS; 60-No-Ne; 150-Ma; 180-Sa
1st; 90-Su-MC; 120-Pl

1st; 60-Sa-Ve; 90-Su-No-Ur-Mo; 120-MC
4th; 0-Mo; 60-Ju; 120-Pl; 180- Su-No-Ur;
4th; 120-Pl; 150-Me
1st; 90-Ur
3rd; 90-As-Ma; 120-Sa-Ve; 150-Su
4th; 120-Pl; 60-Ju/Ne

Trump took his modest drubbing in Iowa as expected, with Jupiter Rx transiting his 1st house of ego and identity—he lashed out defensively and offensively, stepping up the rhetoric to make sure the “loser” label would stick to others, not him. Retrogrades often inspire this Janusian (looking both ways at once) response.  Interestingly, his natal Jupiter is also retrograde, although it went direct by progression by his 1st birthday.

On the Democratic side, Jupiter was transiting Hillary Clinton’s 10th house on February 1, opposite her Pisces Moon, trine her Node and square her Uranus in Gemini—perhaps explaining her whisker-thin .3% win over Bernie Sanders. Sanders rightly points to Iowa as a victory, however—he was not expected to challenge Clinton so seriously; Jupiter Rx was also transiting his 10th house, but conjunct his Node-Neptune (deferring the win, but allowing the dream to live on), trine his Taurus Saturn and inconjunct his Aries Mars. In the realm of downplayed expectations, he gained momentum by losing—it’s hard to ask for more from a retrograde!

Fast forward to Super Tuesday…
Tuesday, March 1 will see primary races in 12 states and the U.S. territory of American Samoa. Jupiter remains the only retrograde planet until March 25, when Saturn does an about face at 16°+Sagittarius. Interestingly, only the New York primary election on April 19 remains after that, and two planets will be retrograde at that point, with Mars having joined the Rx dance on April 17 at 8°+Sagittarius. It makes sense that this April timeframe may be a turning point for the overall race, but let’s get through Super Tuesday, first. Texas is considered most critical for the Cruz campaign, since losing a home state usually puts a candidate out of the race, so let’s start there:

Biwheel: (inner chart) Ted Cruz; (outer chart) Super Tuesday (7 a.m., Austin, TX)
Super Tuesday (ST) Sun conjoins Asc and Neptune (Pisces); these Pisces points square ST Saturn (Sagittarius); . Saturn-Neptune squares often manifest in extreme ways since the impulse is to overcome limits or “build the dream.” Cruz is considered a s extreme conservative in Republican circles, appealing even to Libertarian-leaning voters, but in sharing the Republican stage with Donald Trump, his platform has seemed to lose focus and force—undermined by not only Jupiter Rx, but more importantly, by the Saturn-Neptune square.

ST Neptune-Asc-Sun trine Cruz MC (Cancer) and Mars-Venus (Scorpio). This transiting grand trine (discussed above) should net him some “favorite-son” love from voters and some success (MC) asserting the Christian “values” he serves (2nd house natal Venus-Mars trine Pisces transit of his 6th house), but leveraging this trine into an actual win that day may be a tall order. The ongoing Saturn-Neptune square spans Cruz’s 3rd and 6th houses—not the strongest houses, ruled by Jupiter (Rx) and Neptune. This said, Cruz’s campaign counts heavily on the Evangelical vote, and the Neptunian energies may help there, but his campaign is vulnerable to Donald Trump, who’s proven quite capable of stealing Cruz’s thunder with his own slippery Neptunian tactics.

Interchart T-square: ST Pluto squares ST Uranus opposition to Cruz Uranus-Moon (Libra). Cruz’s political career has benefitted from the long Uranus-Pluto square transit, but falling over his 4th-7th house, it hasn’t made him many friends in powerful places (especially when he tried to shut down the government over the debt ceiling). Cruz’s Moon-Uranus conjunction projects a rather dogmatic personality from the 1st house, and dogmatism feels disruptive to people these days (Uranus transiting 7th). Those who work well with mutable energies have the edge this year, and Cruz does not appear to be that candidate. He is a formidable debater (improvises well), but his policy positions are entrenched and unmovable.

Biwheel: (inner chart) Hillary Clinton; (outer chart) Super Tuesday in Minnesota (7 a.m., Minneapolis)
Clinton’s challenge on Super Tuesday is to capture more of the progressive liberal vote than Sanders does, perhaps making Minnesota a representative battleground, for its traditional progressivism. Let’s see what that landscape looks like for her:

ST Saturn (Sagittarius) trines Clinton Mars-Pluto-Saturn (Leo); ST Neptune (square Saturn) opposes Clinton MC (Virgo). Saturn’s transiting aspect activates Clinton’s potent Leo planets, giving her the fixed determination to methodically work out the personal challenges (legal/ethical, Sag Saturn in her 1st) that Republicans hope will be her Achilles heel. Even so, her Super Tuesday may not suffer too badly from it. She is vulnerable to Saturn’s retrograde here—Saturn will be backing off from these planets as the election progresses, perhaps opening up possibilities for those legal challenges and for Sanders, especially in the late primary states. By election day, however, Saturn will have turned direct (August 13) and returned to mid-Sagittarius, so we can’t count her out over this.

ST Jupiter (Rx)-Node in Virgo opposes Clinton Moon (Pisces) and sextiles Clinton Asc-Mercury-Venus (Scorpio). ST Jupiter squares ST Saturn. The legal scrutiny her career is receiving (Jupiter square Saturn over her 10th-1st houses) by the FBI has a bruising effect on Clinton (Chiron is also transiting her Moon), but it’s nothing she hasn’t handled before. The sextile to her Scorpio stellium holds open a door of opportunity for her at this point, but the retrograde and the square may temper her success on Super Tuesday. In May, when Jupiter turns direct at 13°+Virgo, Saturn remains retrograde, suggesting legal action may still be pending; when both points are direct in August, there should be a resolution of some kind. By that time we’ll know if she’s the nominee (July convention).   

On to Cleveland…
If Donald Trump does well on Super Tuesday, the delegate count suggests that he will be the Republican nominee in July, but the GOP organization would prefer not, so the big question is—can they somehow engineer a nomination for their preferred candidate, Marco Rubio? Let’s examine his biwheel for July 18th in Cleveland:

Biwheel: (inner chart) Marco Rubio; (outer chart) 2016 GOP Convention opens (July 18, 2016, 7:00 a.m., Cleveland, OH). *Note: this is based on a noon chart for the candidate—no birth time available. His natal Moon would range between 22°+Cancer-5°+Leo.

GOP Sun-Asc-Venus-Mercury may conjoin Rubio Moon (see *note above) and GOP Sun sextiles Rubio Saturn; GOP Uranus is inconjunct Rubio Pluto and possibly square Rubio Moon. This configuration suggests there will be an opportunity (sextile) for Rubio to be nominated, but he has an uphill slog to power (inconjunct) that may or may not be helped by any GOP Uranus aspects.

GOP Pluto (Capricorn) squares Rubio Uranus (Libra); GOP Uranus (Aries) squares Rubio Moon. Pluto transiting his 5th house of personal power could help Rubio leverage that inconjunct mentioned above, however the square to his 2nd house Uranus in Libra suggests he’s not quite on the right side of history with his values and policies—Uranus in Aries is the prevailing revolutionary theme. The Uranus-in-Libra generation will definitely have their turn at the helm, but this may not be the moment, especially with transiting Uranus square Rubio’s Moon.

GOP Saturn (Rx-Sagittarius) squares GOP Neptune (Rx-Pisces); GOP Saturn sextiles Rubio Uranus and is inconjunct Rubio Venus-Mercury (Taurus). We can’t say which natal houses are being impacted here for Rubio (noon chart), but we can see that his nice Jupiter-Neptune conjunction (Sagittarius) doesn’t really profit as much as the Party might like from this transit. On August 13, Saturn will turn direct in close sextile to Rubio’s Uranus, offering an opportunity for progress, but will it be strong enough?

As the convention progresses, the Sun will form a dissociative trine with his Jupiter-Neptune, but this uneasy aspect may not hit the mark, either. The difficulty Rubio has with focusing his message and making it stick (GOP Saturn inconjunct his Mercury-Venus) is written all over this chart. Neptune’s transiting sextile with his Mercury-Venus could appeal to some—he is likely to give a stirring convention speech—but Neptune may only further confuse Rubio’s stance on issues like immigration, making him an easy target for Trump.

GOP Sun trines GOP Mars (Scorpio); this Mars conjoins Rubio Jupiter-Neptune, sextiles Rubio Pluto and opposes Rubio Saturn (Taurus). This fixed sign Mars may help Rubio focus his message against the odds discussed above, and should also open the door to fund-raising (sextile to Pluto). GOP Sun also sextiles Rubio’s Pluto, further supporting such fund-raising, however it remains to be seen whether dollars will decide the nomination battle—Trump has financial weight of his own to throw around. Rubio’s earthy Saturn-Pluto trine may be his “ace-in-the-hole” yet, but a lot will depend upon how he employs that GOP Mars opposition.  

So, does Trump prevail in Cleveland?
I’ve covered Trump exhaustively in prior posts, so I’ll add just a few observations about the Convention here. For starters, the Convention is not likely to be friendly territory for Trump, despite endorsements from the likes of Gov. Chris Christie. Trump will not control the narrative and setting as thoroughly as he likes to, and it’s more than likely the theme will be chosen to highlight Rubio’s conventional politics over Trump’s “sideshow antics.”  

That said, the Party knows that Trump’s loyalty to them is sketchy, at best, and that there is a very real possibility Trump will launch a third-party run if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination (the agreement he made early on with the Party not to do this, notwithstanding). That disruptive prospect gives Trump important leverage that Rubio may not be able to overcome, especially since the Party organization won’t know at that point which Democrat will be running. Yes, a brokered convention is a very real prospect—the Sun is squared by disruptive Uranus and trined by Mars in Scorpio (direct since June 29) as the Convention opens, and the energies that day play to Trump’s strengths:

Biwheel: (inner chart) Donald Trump; (outer chart) GOP Convention
GOP Sun conjoins and GOP Uranus squares Trump Venus-Saturn (Cancer); GOP Mars trines Trump Venus-Saturn, squares Trump Mars and opposes Trump MC. Trump could score an outright “coup” (Uranus square), or the Uranian shock could reflect his decision to run on a 3rd party ticket. The Mars-Mars square (a t-square if his MC is factored in) also suggests the 3rd party move is a real possibility—he’s likely to feel the Party doesn’t appreciate his contributions.

GOP Jupiter (now direct) forms a t-square with Trump’s Gemini-Sagittarius points. I’ve discussed this complex at length in the last post about the Michigan primary election—please see that for details. Suffice to say here, Jupiter turning direct in his 1st house will only encourage Trump’s ambitions.

GOP Asc-Venus-Mercury (Leo) conjoin Trump Pluto (Leo) and trine GOP Saturn (Rx); GOP Neptune falls inconjunct Trump Pluto. With transiting Saturn Rx-Neptune in his angular houses (4th-7th), Trump will continue being able to “manage” these mutable energies to some advantage—certainly, continuing his knack for “simulated intimacy” with his followers. Transiting Saturn (Rx) is also trine his Pluto, suggesting money will not be a problem, especially once Saturn goes direct in August. Whether he stays with the GOP or not, there is bound to be tension and acrimony at the Convention—Trump may emerge a winner in his own mind, but he’s not likely to get everything he wants.  

Stay tuned…on to Philadelphia’s Democratic Convention in the next post!

 Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. 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. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Potholes & Eclipse politics: Michigan’s March 8th primary election

Quite possibly, the Michigan primary will shed light on two burning questions: 1) can Trump be stopped? and 2) is Sanders succumbing to Clinton’s establishment-fueled assault? 

As a mundane astrologer working in the urban wilds of Michigan, I was taken aback by the Republican-controlled legislature’s decision to schedule this year’s presidential primary election on March 8—the same exact day as a potent total Solar eclipse at 18°+Pisces. Originally planned for a week later, the primary date was shifted earlier for unclear reasons—not unusual with this legislature. Of course, if Saturn and Neptune have anything to do with it (and they will), we haven’t seen the last of the “unclear” moves this primary season.  

The March 8th eclipse chart is as tense, change-oriented and complex as the election itself, and as the only total solar eclipse preceding November’s general election, it is likely to impact the results. Importantly, the Virgo-Pisces axis is prominent in this eclipse, which not only continues the pattern set by the March 20, 2015 eclipse (the one that ushered in last year’s presidential candidacy announcements), but also echoes the powerful mutable outer planetary aspects we’re seeing these days. Simply put, the ground is shifting beneath our feet, astrologically.

Out on a limb…
Going out on an astrological limb here, it appears to me that the primary winners in Michigan may be the candidates on the ballot in November. My reasoning follows—your comments and well-considered additions are always welcome!

First, a caveat: the chart for Michigan’s primary election is set for the opening of the polls at 7 a.m., while the eclipse’s moment of exactitude happens at 8:55 p.m., fifty-five minutes after polls close that evening at 8 p.m. The eclipse will be visible in areas of Indonesia and the south Pacific, so that softens the impact a bit here in Michigan, but it will still constitute a transit to be reckoned with.  Let’s look at the chart itself:

 Total Solar Eclipse 3-8-2016 Chart, set for 8:55 p.m., Lansing, Michigan

Eclipse point (Sun-Moon conjunction) = 18°56’ Pisces. 
Element: Water
House placement: 6th 

Type of eclipse = Total (happening at the New Moon), 
conjunct “dragon’s tail”

Co-rulers = Jupiter (Virgo) and Neptune (Pisces).

Major aspects to Eclipse Point 
(traditional orbs apply):
aspects that are likely to carry the most weight are 
marked with an “*”
                Jupiter – opposition*
                Ascendant - inconjunct
                MC - trine
                Saturn – square*
                Pluto - sextile
                Uranus – semi-sextile
                Neptune, Chiron* – conjunction

Minor aspects to Eclipse Point:
                Mars tredecile (108°)

Angular placements:
                Pluto, Uranus


A day to watch…
With so many strong aspects in this chart to the Eclipse point in Pisces and to the Eclipse rulers, this will be a day to watch—and it will be the start of a process that unfolds over the life of the eclipse (at least the remaining months of the campaign). Dragon’s “tail” eclipses often demand “payback” of some sort, so it’s possible the day will bring some long-festering, key issues to a head (we have plenty to choose from). With the primary in Michigan and all the restless Pisces energy involved, we can be assured that candidate views on the Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis will figure heavily into voter decisions. Before committing to a likely scenario, however, let’s examine the Primary chart itself in more depth (chart follows):

 Michigan primary election, March 8, cast for the State capital Lansing, and for the 7 a.m. opening of the polls.

Sun and Moon (applying to new Moon/Eclipse) straddle the Ascendant and oppose Jupiter-Node (Virgo) at the Descendant; Sun conjoins, Jupiter opposes Chiron (Pisces). An idealistic (Pisces) message will draw voters in, but should benefit candidates with convincing ideas for pragmatic growth (Jupiter-Node). Voters may act on their hopes for a more ideal “relationship” with a candidate. Chiron’s placement reinforces what we know about voters feeling “wounded” by the government and their eagerness to cast votes for change (a perceived “Other”) on that basis.

All of the above forms a T-square with Saturn-MC in Sagittarius. This configuration presents an amazing mix of potential change and restraint, although Saturn lacks its usual strength in Jupiter’s ruling sign (reinforced by the actual square to Jupiter!). Nevertheless, the agendas of both Jupiter and Saturn here would be to temper Neptunian excesses (or at least demand that Neptunian idealism be packaged in some intelligible form), which should impact voting results (MC). Voters may try to “hedge their bets” (Jupiter-Neptune opposition encourages speculation) with their votes. Saturn’s position near the MC suggests Michigan needs to take its responsibility in this election seriously, but (as we’ll discuss more below) these Saturn squares could also indicate efforts at voter suppression.

Chart ruler Neptune (Pisces) conjoins Mercury and the Moon; Moon-Neptune widely oppose Jupiter. These aspects seem doubly significant since we know Jupiter and Neptune also co-rule the Eclipse point that perfects later that evening. The Moon in a mundane national chart represents the People, so here, Michigan voters are likely to be influenced by Media-spun illusions (Mercury-Neptune). They will be receptive (Moon) to messages of change (mutable signs), and (not too surprising) will vote for the candidate who most convincingly empathizes with their needs and emotions.

Uranus squares Pluto (Aries-Capricorn); Uranus inconjuncts and Pluto trines Jupiter; Uranus semi-sextiles and Pluto sextiles Sun. The considerable influence of the Uranus-Pluto stand-off on the overall presidential election will be channeled through this duo’s respective aspect networks. In this primary, Jupiter will expand upon the usual force of Pluto’s big money and powerful connections (the media assault has already begun). Jupiter may thus also frustrate attempts at revolutionary upheaval (Uranus inconjunct), but Uranus may leverage that frustration into a coup nevertheless. Placed in the 2nd house, Uranus could surprise the state bean-counters with a referendum on their values.

Saturn in Sagittarius disposes Pluto (Capricorn) and trines Uranus. If this primary election is a “map” of Michigan’s contribution to the electoral process, the Saturn-Uranus trine (applying) reflects a revolutionary impulse waiting to manifest. Indeed, early polling suggests a serious mood in favor of deep changes, but Pluto’s commanding presence in the 11th house of public power, its sextile to the Eclipse point and trine to eclipse ruler Jupiter will temper any change Saturn and Uranus might produce. We’ll consider how this may impact the two “insurgent” candidates in a bit.

Venus in Aquarius inconjuncts (wide) the Node and is disposed by Uranus; Mars in Sagittarius squares Mercury in Pisces. The Node gains added importance in an eclipse, so this rather low-key Venus aspect may carry more weight than it would in a non-eclipse related chart. In the 12th house, edging near the Pisces stellium, Venus seems to suggest that the spoils of this election may be hard to access until Venus transits over the Eclipse point later in March. Perhaps the delegate count will be slow to resolve? In general, change-oriented votes (Uranus disposes Venus) are likely to succeed over establishment ones.  

On another note, the Mars-Mercury square promises to promote harsh, deceptive rhetoric and “smoke and mirrors” tactics. Voters are likely to encounter “irregularities” in their access to the voting booth. This, combined with the Saturn T-square described above, could certainly signal voter suppression efforts. 

Michigan mirrors the nation
Michigan mirrors the nation at large in a number of ways, but especially in its critically polarized politics, with the state’s progress often skewered by conflicting liberal urban agendas and staunchly conservative rural agendas. It’s a gun-happy state, with gun owners currently using the threat of homegrown terrorism to push for “open carry” everywhere. Michigan schools are struggling to educate our children to national standards, with truly egregious failures in cities like Detroit (we do have some really great universities—go figure).

As with the nation’s, Michigan’s infrastructure is crumbling (a factor contributing to the Flint water crisis), and though Detroit has emerged from its Plutonian bankruptcy a better, much more vibrant city, deep problems persist. The birth place of many American labor movements, Michigan is now a “right-to-work” state, thanks to some hotly-protested, behind-closed-doors legislative maneuvering. Wages are predictably stagnant; poverty is painfully real for too many, and although job opportunities are expanding, Michigan’s middle class has as many “potholes” as the roads.

Last, but certainly not least, like many states, Michigan is coming to terms with corporations looking to exploit our natural resources. Flint’s tragic situation perfectly embodies the state government’s value system. As with the nation-at-large and its lackluster response to global warming, there’s constant tension between public health, environmental and business agendas.

Enter the candidates
Of the candidates, Trump and Sanders best combine both establishment and “insurgent” credentials. With his big money and “celebrity” status, Trump is able to leverage the energies of Uranus-Pluto and Neptune. With his brash, offensive rhetoric he assumes the mantle of “rebel” (Uranus), tearing down any critics, bragging about his billions, and stoking his target audience’s anger (Pluto). Spinning every situation like a top (Neptune) has allowed him to package his swagger as a political platform—all supporters seem to care about is that “he speaks his mind.” Trump’s momentum coming out of a win in South Carolina is rattling the GOP establishment, but there are interesting astrological hurdles ahead we will touch upon. Many pundits feel his South Carolina win defied all normal campaign logic, but we can see that astrologically, defying logic is what Trump does best.

Sanders’ political career as an unapologetic independent/socialist has delivered a similarly devoted following, especially among Millennials. Sanders, however, employs Uranus-Pluto and Neptune energies quite differently than Trump—he projects a rebellious, protective “father” figure, daring his target audience to dream big (as in a revolution) and demand change to the out-of-control capitalism he claims has destroyed our middle class. Like Trump, Sanders also defies logic—in this case, the logic of our socio-economic system and the limits it imposes on “electability.” His candidacy may still be overwhelmed as Super Pac money floods (Neptune-Pluto) the election, but astrologically, we can’t count him out quite yet.

The burning questions…
Quite possibly, the Michigan primary will shed light on two burning questions: 1) can Trump be stopped? and 2) is Sanders succumbing to Clinton’s establishment-fueled assault? Let’s briefly examine MI primary biwheels for both.

Candidate Trump

Inter-chart Grand Square: Trump Sun-Node-Uranus opposite Moon (Gemini-Sagittarius) squared by Primary Sun-Moon opposite Primary Jupiter. Primary Saturn conjoins Trump Moon and opposes Trump Sun-Node-Uranus. This amazing configuration suggests intense agitation and “cross purposes,” especially since the Primary Sun-Moon is fast becoming an Eclipse point. Trump’s strategy depends heavily on ego glorification (full Moon) and illusions (Pisces/Neptune) of pragmatic leadership (Jupiter in Virgo), but can he deliver? The fact that Saturn is disposed by Sagittarius ruler Jupiter tempers Saturn’s repressive force here, however, so his ego may be only bruised, not broken.

All the same, the rhetorical “shock” factor may not work for Trump as well in Michigan as it has thus far (Uranus-Primary Saturn)—not because Michiganders are less vulnerable to his message, but because his charmed candidacy may hit a cosmic speed bump. With the grand square, he may start to feel less in control of his political narrative and more at the mercy of how others frame his story. A loss would certainly present that challenge, but so would a weaker than usual win (more likely).

Primary Mercury-Neptune-Moon trines Trump Mercury (Cancer). Primary Sun-Chiron trine Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). Neptune has been transiting trine Trump’s Mercury for some time, allowing him to “walk” on political “water,” defying campaign etiquette and acceptable demeanor. The Primary Moon’s trine to Trump’s Mercury will support his habit of—as one analyst put it—“simulating intimacy” with his audiences. Neptune also supports his tactic of overwhelming the Media with outrageous behavior (his Moon and Uranus, Moon disposing Cancer Mercury figure into this), effectively blocking coverage of other candidates. This tactic may lose strength, however, as the inter-chart grand square (described above) promises to challenge Trump’s command of the media.

The Primary Sun-Chiron trine to Trump’s Moon-ruled Saturn-Venus may reflect a wound inflicted on the candidate’s ambitions by the electorate, but his narrative promising to “make America great again” implies a healing path (Chiron has been transiting his planets for awhile now) that he could continue to leverage. Even so, the inter-chart grand square will push him to be more specific about the details (Jupiter in Virgo).

On the Sanders’ campaign trail
Sanders’ chart interactions with the Primary chart are equally dramatic—also including an inter-chart grand square, for starters—let’s consider the highlights:

Inter-chart Grand Square: Primary Sun-Chiron opposition to Sanders Sun-Node is squared by Primary Saturn-MC opposition to Sanders Jupiter. The relative weakness of Saturn tones down the pain of this grand square (as it does for Trump), but Sanders will be feeling the bind. The 1st house Saturn transit is holding his “feet to the fire,” especially square his Sun-Node—the vitality of his health and his message will need a booster shot during this period.

Interchart T-square: Primary Uranus conjoins Sanders Moon-Mars (Aries) and opposes Sanders Venus; Primary Pluto squares both ends of that opposition. We’ll know which side of destiny Sanders is on when we see whether this aspect hurts or helps his cause. If the grand square doesn’t bottle up his message too badly—or doesn’t allow Clinton to continue co-opting his message—Sanders could realize an upset victory from this configuration. At the very least, Pluto’s position transiting Sanders’ 2nd house could respond to his (and his supporters’) anger and frustration (Aries) with the system (Uranus-square-Pluto) and stimulate 8th house fund-raising.

Inter-chart Grand Trine: Primary Venus trines Sanders Venus (Libra) and Jupiter (Gemini); Primary Venus squares Sanders Saturn-Uranus (Taurus-Gemini) and sextiles Sanders Mars (Aries). The flowing energies of a grand trine should keep Sanders afloat through this primary, and the sextile to his 5th house Mars could provide encouragement and a “foot in the door” in terms of delegate numbers. Jupiter’s retrograde placement in his 10th house suggests his goals remain alive, although reworking his strategies could be important before Jupiter goes direct in May, within two degrees of his Sun. As with Trump, many people are looking to hear more details from Sanders about how he would accomplish his policy aims.

Bottom line…
Lots more could be said about these two charts, let alone the remaining primary candidates and their charts! Before we consider those two “burning questions” posed earlier, however, a caveat: the candidates will be coming off Super Tuesday the week before Michigan’s primary, so the delegate counts and standings will be different than they are today, influencing voter perception (important with all the mutable energies afloat) and probably, voter decisions. With that said, however…   

First, can Trump be stopped? I don’t believe the Michigan primary will nail his electoral coffin, but the charts suggest he may lose momentum. This will probably prompt an even more shrill tone to his rhetoric, which may or may not continue to serve him. If he’s come out of Super Tuesday polishing his trophies and crowing, a slow-down in Michigan could be laughed off (publicly, at least). If Super Tuesday hurts him, Michigan could follow suit, although he will probably sweep certain areas of the state, regardless.

Second, is Sanders succumbing to Clinton’s establishment-fueled assault? Again, Super Tuesday may tell chapter one of that story, but the charts here suggest that the Michigan primary/eclipse could be leveraged to his advantage.

Interestingly, both Trump and Sander have fixed points in their charts that should shore up their endurance—Leo rising (Mars conjunct) and Taurus MC for Trump; Scorpio rising and Saturn in Taurus for Sanders. Speaking of fixed energies…

We’ll consider Clinton’s chart—along with the other serious “establishment” candidates—next!  

 Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. 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. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved.