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. 

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