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: robertsonraye@gmail.com. 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 

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