Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Regretix?" The astrology of the UK's Brexit vote...what's next?

“And now, for something completely different…” 

It’s September 24, 2016. The airwaves have been abuzz all day with the British public’s shocking decision to leave the European Union behind and go it alone—the vote was close, but decisive, at roughly 52% leave to 48% remain. Immediately after the news broke at 7:22 a.m. (London) this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would be resigning his post by October, so not only will Britain be trying to negotiate new trade agreements and rebuild an economy that is now falling out from under them, they will also be called upon to elect a new PM. 

Markets fell around the world on the news, and the pound Sterling lost as much as 10% at points during the day, a speculative buzz closed out the week’s trading. Why do these things always happen on Fridays? one person asked. Will other disgruntled EU members follow suit? Will the UK itself fall apart as well?

This latter is a concern because Scotland and Northern Ireland (UK members) voted decisively to stay in the EU and both are already considering whether exiting the UK is their next step, post-Brexit. Needless to say, these important UK members are not amused, and we can only wonder what the royal family thinks about it. Perhaps it’s not their business to have an opinion—after all, many traditionalists voted in this referendum to “Return Britain to the English”—so, they have built in job security. 

Young UK voters—the ones who will live with the consequences of Brexit for decades to come—voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and many are quite upset with the older generation for complicating their futures.
Maybe the traditionalists would like to return to pre-Battle of Hastings (1066) times, too? One woman interviewed on television seemed particularly keen on closing the Euro-tunnel that runs beneath the English Channel, connecting Britain with France. “Close the damned thing!” she shouted repeatedly. Is this visceral bile a sign of isolationism and nationalism at their worst, or perhaps a well-founded weariness with globalization? 

There’s a good argument for both, and today’s dramatic biwheel has something to say about both, but going forward, the larger story will be told in what happens to the United Kingdom as an entity apart from Britain.

The United Kingdom may not be so united
Within the UK, Britain and Wales voted to leave the EU; Scotland and Northern Ireland voted decisively to stay. As a consequence, Scotland and Northern Ireland could now be faced with a choice between their participation in the UK and the EU. This is a story for another day, but we can in the meantime consider how astrologically vulnerable the UK might be to such change in the coming period. Is Brexit the start of enduring radical change—perhaps even the disintegration—of the UK? 

Or will there be more temporary disruptions, but ultimately a manageable transition? Let’s examine the biwheel:

Biwheel : (inner wheel) Natal, United Kingdom, January 1, 1801, 12:00 a.m. LMT, Westminster, England[1]; (outer wheel) “Brexit” vote (poll opening time), June 23, 2016, 7:00 a.m. DST, Westminster, England.

Interchart Grand Square: Brexit Jupiter-Node (Virgo) opposes Brexit Neptune (Pisces); this axis squares Brexit Saturn-UK Chiron/Mercury (midpoint Sagittarius) opposed to Brexit Mercury (Gemini). The People are represented in a national chart by the Moon, but the People’s vote is signaled by Mercury, so it’s not surprising here that Saturn (elders and those who favor restricting borders, etc.) dealt the potentially wounding (UK Chiron) vote to the UK. Third house Mercury represents the UK's youth, as well, so we can see why they felt their futures were being limited by the older voters (Saturn). 

Mercury rules the 12th house of the UK chart, and Brexit Jupiter-Node positioned there, opposed by Brexit Neptune, reflects the surprising magnitude of the vote, among the “hidden” masses, the working classes. Neptune’s position over the UK 6th house reflects the nostalgia, fears and perhaps the delusions of  British Boomers and working classes who were heavily represented in the “leave” camp. Any confusion caused by misinformation reportedly circulated by the “Leave” campaign would be included here. A strong Saturn-Neptune influence can also trigger fears of open borders, since it all feels too uncontrollable. The tension of the grand cross probably acted to get out the fear-driven vote (UK Mercury).

Interchart Yod: Brexit Jupiter (Virgo) inconjoins UK Venus (Aquarius) and UK Part-of-Fortune-Node (Aries). The economic (Venus) consequences of Brexit could linger like a hangover and be fairly frustrating. This configuration suggests that maintaining the UK’s standard of living (Part-of-Fortune) will be a challenge, and the thrill of victory for the Brexiteers may be short-lived. As we’ll see later, however, there are some positives built into this Sun-Venus placement as well.

Brexit Pluto (Capricorn) conjoins UK Sun (Capricorn) and opposes UK Moon (Cancer); Brexit Uranus (Aries) squares UK Moon and trines UK Saturn (Rx Leo). As with all Pluto transits, this one has applied pressure on the UK (Sun) and its people (Moon) for years now—pressure that’s been made more tense by a lingering square from transiting Uranus. The British pound’s immediate drop in value could also be reflected in the Uranus-Moon aspect—the Moon rules silver. On a social note, it’s not surprising that those who have borne the brunt of world changes—the working and middle classes—might be feeling it’s time to reverse course. Election day kicked off with the Brexit Ascendant (Cancer) conjoined UK Jupiter (Leo) and square Brexit Uranus—an “independence day” upset was in the making.

Big choices remain about how that desire for change will play out, but clearly Uranus transiting the UK 7th house trine the UK Saturn Rx facilitated the radical change the Brits have wrought. This flowing aspect also spoke to the sense of danger and instability (Uranus) that people want their government (Saturn) to remedy. It also speaks to the almost “shell-shocked” demeanor (Uranus) of today’s news commentators and the surprising use of government (Saturn) to overturn the UK’s long-standing relationship with an international organization (Uranus).

Interchart T-square: Brexit Sun-Venus (Cancer) conjoin UK MC and oppose UK Sun (Capricorn); this axis squares UK Asc-Uranus (Libra). UK Mars (Taurus) trines Brexit Pluto (Capricorn) and squares UK Progressed Sun-Jupiter (Leo-chart not shown); Brexit Sun-Venus also trine UK Pluto (Pisces). The Brexit vote feels like a positive to many people in terms of the burning issue of sovereignty (Sun), so it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the British pound (Moon and Sun)[2] and the British image at large to recover from the initial shock (Asc-Uranus) of Brexit. The BBC reports that Moody's has already downgraded the UK's credit outlook (UK Sun) to "negative" in light of the uncertainty that is sure to follow this election. Transiting Venus will soon oppose transiting Pluto and sextile UK Mars (which is in turn trines Brexit Pluto); unless something more serious intervenes, whatever credit difficulties persist should be resolved without too much trouble.  

The day’s Sun-Venus trine to UK Pluto reinforces this notion, reflecting resilience in the UK economy (the 2nd largest in Europe) and the support that the UK will continue to enjoy from the U.S. (Sibly Venus-Jupiter conjoin the Brexit Cancer points). The UK’s cosmic economic profile is complicated, however: Pluto is disposed by and in mutual reception with Neptune (Scorpio), but Neptune squares Venus in Aquarius. Financial affairs are largely driven by policies made “on high,” and there’s more than a little mystery involved.

To complicate things even further, UK’s Pluto inconjoins both Uranus-ASC and Leo Jupiter Rx, forming a tight yod. This suggests the UK economy depends heavily on close coordination (not always smooth) between a number of forces; the question with the Brexit vote will be, is the EU one of those essential forces? Would Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving the UK knock that careful balancing act even further out of whack?

Because the U.S. counts on the UK having a place at the negotiating table with the rest of Europe (i.e., regarding sanctions levied on Russia, etc.), the U.S. will likely try to influence how the UK relates to the EU going forward (apparently there are choices in the matter).  

Brexit Mars (Rx Scorpio) conjoins UK Neptune (Scorpio), squares UK Saturn (Rx Leo) and trines Brexit Chiron (Pisces). The hard, fixed square here speaks to the malaise the Brexit vote may cause to the UK as a structured organization. The decision at stake probably felt like being “between a rock and a hard place” to many voters, and the UK’s ideals (2nd house Neptune) could be compromised by the Brexit vote. There are already reports that some players in the Labour Party took a less-than-enthusiastic approach to promoting the "Remain" message, signaling a bit of Mars-Neptune collusion with the "Leave" camp, perhaps. Resignations in the Labour "shadow cabinet" are pouring in. We'll probably learn a lot in the next few days in this regard. 

The Mars-Chiron trine in force for the vote (over the UK 2nd to 6th houses) reflects how cathartic the vote felt to working people (6th) who won the majority, but Chiron also fell inconjunct UK Saturn, so the “relief” is not likely to be felt by those in government. This could represent David Cameron’s immediate announcement that he will step down; electing a replacement to stabilize the government could be a complicated, messy affair.

Long live bangers and mash…
Time will obviously tell just how complicated this transition away from the EU will become—thousands of young protestors are already submitting petitions for a “do-over” of the referendum, claiming the vote was fueled by misinformation, etc., and it’s widely recognized that the government has no plan in place for running the UK’s new EU-free existence. In fact, it will have no Prime Minister soon!

In the meantime, U.S. politicians are throwing their backs out trying to frame the UK’s dilemma in a positive light for their respective camps. More soon on the prospects going forward for the EU!

[1] Chart data source: Stephen Erlewine, The Circle Book of Charts (Tempe, AZ, American Federation of Astrologers, 1991), p. 261. Cast by Charles E. O. Carter and cited in Eclipses, by Celeste Teal, 2006.
[2] It’s possible the UK Moon represents the physical pound Sterling (Moon = silver) instead of the Sun, but the currency reflects a country’s potency in other ways, so the UK Sun is certainly implicated in the pound’s drop in value.

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. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Neptune’s desperate river: is a new "Marshall Plan" the cosmic path forward for Europe’s migrant crisis?

Perhaps this is my natal 4th quadrant stellium speaking, but I am always intrigued by the ways in which the personal and collective realms intersect in our lives. Even though the geophysical and the geopolitical realities of life on this planet are often off our personal radar screens, these realities—traditionally considered by astrology to be “collective”—do impact us in the end. Anyone who has physically moved away from wildfire- or earthquake-prone areas, or from dangerous, war-torn areas, know that climate and other so-called collective realities are deeply personal.

So what can we make of the unimaginable scale of today’s global refugee crisis? The U.N. Refugee Agency reports that more than 65 million people are now classified as refugees. These numbers reflect the dire toll that social, economic and environmental degradation and of war have on the masses of everyday people—the ones who in most cases didn’t directly create the crises. The effects of that crisis—a river fed by many desperate streams—will be felt by all, however, respective of national borders and the Atlantic “pond” separating Europe from the United States.

Calling the situation “the worst crisis of forced displacement since World War II,” activist Bono recounted his experiences in an April 12th article, after visiting migrants and refugees stranded (sometimes for decades!) in squalid, purgatorial encampments—“in the countries that have accepted their presence but not their right to move or to work.” The situation has become only more dire since April, of course. 

In 2005, Americans were devastated by news of the flooding disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans: the migrant crisis abroad makes Katrina look like a walk in the park. Can we make sense of all this astrologically? If so, how do the collective dynamics speak to us individually?

The cosmic dance goes on
As in any investigation, we need to look first for the “usual suspects,” and the cardinal Uranus-Pluto square (Aries-Capricorn) is a good place to start. Social upheaval (Uranus in Aries) caused by resource exploitation (Pluto in Capricorn—water, food and jobs are all scarce) that stimulates long-term social transformation (also Pluto in Capricorn) is fair game with this duo. Thick volumes have been written by experts about the environmental and geopolitical causes for these upheavals[1]; suffice to say here that populations are fleeing war torn and decimated Middle Eastern and African regions for good reason.

We’ve been living with the Uranus-Pluto square since 2010, and it’s become something like cosmic “ambient noise,” but we shouldn’t underestimate its long-term clout, even as the planets gradually separate over the next couple years. This square first perfected during an incredible period of volatile outer planetary activity that included a 7-year long mutual reception between Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. The dance between these geopolitical heavies encompassed the U.S. wars with Afghanistan and Iraq, and contributed to their discouraging aftermath.

During that period Jupiter also transited Pisces, beginning a new 14-year mutable cycle with Uranus at 26°+Pisces (January, 2011) in the process. Uranus thus finished out its mutual reception ride with Neptune on a breathtakingly unstable note, setting the tone with Jupiter for the volatile years of revolution (i.e., the Arab Spring uprisings, the Syrian Civil War) and extremism (i.e., ISIS) ahead.

The possibilities for instability and chaos only deepened in April 2011, as Neptune entered Pisces, the home sign it shares with Jupiter, feeding the delusions of extremist ideologies that prey on victimized populations. In fact, this post will argue that this powerful Pisces ingress holds an important key to why we’re seeing rivers of humanity seeking refuge, and perhaps a path to solving this massive catastrophe.

Fast-forwarding to 2016…
The unfolding of a March 18th European Union agreement with Turkey to swap economic migrants who are not eligible for asylum in Europe with those who are eligible, but detained in Turkey, coincided with retrograde transits of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars: Jupiter—ruling Sagittarius, the sign of hopeful travelers and religious pilgrims—was retrograde from January 7th, turning direct on May 10th ; Saturn, still square Neptune, has been retrograde from March 25th (direct again on August 13th); and Mars has been retrograde since April 17th (direct again soon, on June 29th) . 

Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse since Jupiter went direct in May—the casualty numbers keep rising.  No one, unfortunately, expected the Turkey-EU agreement to stem the expected onslaught of roughly 3 million people seeking asylum outside of their native lands in 2016. These 3 million are thought to be only one twentieth of the total number of “forcibly displaced people” across the globe (2014 statistic). These figures encompass internally displaced people, as well as the swelling numbers of refugees and asylum seekers.

These expansive statistics have been reflected in Jupiter (co-ruling Pisces) in Virgo, opposing Neptune in Pisces (within a 5 degree orb) since mid-March (soon to move out of orb). Migrations tend to peak during summer months, so the timing of Jupiter’s station direct in May was apt.

Bono’s 3-point plan
Based on his face-to-face conversations with stranded migrants and officials tackling the problem, Bono proposed a three-pronged solution: adequate funding for the international agencies trying to address the problem where it already exists; a comprehensive development program that educates and prepares refugees for constructive working roles in their new countries; development assistance to those countries teetering on the edge of collapse, to prevent further population displacements. Given that many refugees would prefer to return to their native lands, any support extended to those countries (where politically feasible) could help.

Which brings us to the “big idea” at the end of Bono’s article, and a point I want to explore astrologically here: “Actually, some people are thinking bigger. I keep hearing calls from a real gathering of forces—Africans and Europeans, army generals and World Bank and International Monetary Fund officials—to emulate that most genius of American ideas, the Marshall Plan.” When a critical mass of insightful people begin agreeing on a solution to a problem, there’s usually some astrological evidence for why in current outer planetary cycles. So I decided to explore the idea of a “New Marshall Plan” by looking back at the chart for the 1948, post-World War II model—officially known as the “European Recovery Plan.”

Could such a plan help rebuild and restore order to the Middle East? Does the situation call for a comparable massive undertaking? Since Neptune’s Pisces transit seems to have been a geopolitical turning point with regards to the political and refugee crises, I believe we can learn something from comparing the Neptune ingress into Pisces with the 1948 Marshall Plan chart.

Biwheel: (inner wheel) Natal, Marshall Plan (legislation signed), April 3, 1948, 12:00 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Ingress, Neptune in Pisces, April 4, 2011, 3:01:25 a.m., Washington, D.C. 

Please note: the Marshall Plan chart is a noon chart, so we won’t be analyzing placements related to the Moon and to chart angles or houses.

Ingress Sun-Jupiter (Aries) opposition to Ingress Saturn (Libra) overlays Marshall Plan (MP) Sun (Aries) opposition to MP Neptune (Libra) and t-squares Ingress Pluto (Capricorn). First, an interesting parallel—powerful social programs and movements (the Arab Spring and migration, in the case of the ingress) often involve the middle degrees of cardinal signs, and we certainly see that here. These powerful cardinal interconnections suggest that the magnitude of the 1948 Marshall Plan (heroic for its times at $13 billion) would need to be vastly enlarged (ingress Jupiter) to meet today’s need—no surprises there.

Interestingly, the Ingress Jupiter-MP Neptune opposition mirrors our current (2016) Jupiter-Neptune opposition, marking the expansive global scope of today’s crisis. The Ingress Jupiter-Saturn opposition reflected the urgent tipping point that required action back in 2011 (many of the crises that have fed the present situation escalated from there), and as we know, many actions taken since then (such as the atrocities in Syria) have been anything but compassionate. In fact, the interchart t-square we see here foreshadowed the disabling of several national governments that followed, including hot-spots that are gushing refugees today, such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and Syria.

There was good reason for not being able to act when the time was right in 2011, however: MP Neptune and Ingress Saturn conjoined in this biwheel reflect the tangled web of nebulous boundaries and tribal animosities that has complicated any clear plans of action in crisis areas. The current (2016) Saturn-square-Neptune transit echoes and ratchets up the tension of these difficulties—probably inspiring the many emergency meetings called by the European Union in the course of this crisis. The square also speaks to why so many voices (including the U.S. State Department in their recent memo of dissent to President Obama) feel compelled to join the call for urgent action.

Ingress Neptune conjoins Ingress Chiron (Pisces); this conjunction sextiles (out of sign) Ingress Node-conjunct-MP Jupiter (Sagittarius); Ingress Nodal axis overlays MP Jupiter-Uranus opposition (Sagittarius-Gemini). The generosity and ethical basis of the Marshall Plan (Jupiter) stimulated economic growth and technological development (Uranus) across post-WWII Europe, but its largesse was also intended to head off the ideological extremism (Jupiter-Uranus) feared at those times—Communism. Are we hearing echoes today?

 The original Marshall Plan also offered to help with the Soviet Union’s reconstruction efforts, but was refused by the Soviets, who probably sensed the underlying, anti-Communist purpose. In a bit of stunning irony, Russia has intervened this past year on the side of Syria’s leader, Bashar al Assad (whom many consider a war criminal), so would a new “Marshall Plan” also be useful to undercut Russian influence?

The convergence of the Ingress Nodal axis with the Marshall Plan’s powerful Jupiter-Uranus suggests that those promoting such a program today are tapping into something important, perhaps even “destined.” Importantly, the North Node-Jupiter points conjoin the Galactic Center—a point that evokes ideas and movements whose “time has come.” In 2011 there was probably a missed opportunity (Ingress Neptune-Chiron sextile Ingress Node) to act on behalf of victimized Syrian refugees and others, but better late than never. Neptune is still in the first quarter of its new Pisces cycle, and—Neptune being Neptune—it’s no surprise that we grope for a way forward until an overwhelming crisis galvanizes us. What more will it take?

Ingress Mars conjoins Ingress Uranus (Aries); both square Ingress Node-MP Jupiter (Sagittarius) and Ingress Pluto (Capricorn). These are separate squares (Ingress Node and Pluto are too far apart to create one combined square), but they are powerful nevertheless. They seem to reflect the fiery-aggressive potential we’ve seen played out between 2011 and today, as if to say, “solve these problems…or else!” 

Interestingly, the geopolitical unrest and violence spawned by the so-called Arab Spring fits this timeframe perfectly, from its initial spark in the Tunisian uprising in December 2010, to the waves of protest, bloodshed, war crimes and ideologically-charged (Neptune) extremist terrorism that followed and persist today. Mars, Uranus and Pluto are all about shock tactics that leverage the power of fear—constant themes in the news during this volatile period. 

Clearly there are parallels between post-WWII Europe and the crisis-ridden Middle East that may respond to a new “Marshall Plan.” One way or another, the impressive Aries gathering in this Ingress chart suggests that inaction is the worst possible approach as this Neptune cycle progresses.

Predictably, there may be more support for yet another armed conflict than for compassionate action, however strategically wise the latter might be. Mars and Uranus in Aries love a good fight and Pluto in Capricorn is poised to capitalize. In Pisces, Neptune throws down a particularly tricky gauntlet, but we must be willing to overcome a long legacy of addiction (Neptune) to violent solutions (Mars-Uranus-Pluto): should we error on the side of compassion…or chaos? We could very likely be having this conversation in 2017, if not before—see the May 3rd post here for more on that topic.

And the boats keep arriving…
With this season’s retrograde transits, the trip has continued being more treacherous and more desperate for the migrants, but desperation wins out and the flimsy boats overflowing with hundreds of migrants every day keep flowing into European waters. The waters have literally become a test of human compassion (both Neptune). Unfortunately, the news is also filled with stories about how the crisis is seriously stressing the limits of compassion, with several European countries (and potentially the U.S.!) throwing up barriers and fences instead. 

The so-called Brexit campaign in the UK is directly connected; the recent close race in Austria where a far right-wing candidate narrowly lost their national election was connected; the rise of right-wing figures in France like Marie Le Pen is connected, and so on.

Unfortunately, Mars’  has been retrograde (since April 18th), beginning at 8°+Sagittarius, conjunct Saturn (Sagittarius) and t-squaring Jupiter’s opposition to Neptune (Virgo-Pisces), which has complicated things even further. Europe should not be facing this crisis alone.

[1] Brahma Chellaney’s Water, Peace and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis (Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2013) is an outstanding example of such a study.

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. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Deluded lone crusaders: cosmic parallels echo from Charleston to Orlando

First, a disclaimer. It hurts my heart to dwell on the topic at hand: I’d far rather be exploring positive ways to apply mundane astrology in today’s world. Yet, I am reminded that this week marks the one-year anniversary of yet another mass shooting in America, and the astrological echoes with this past week’s massacre in Orlando are simply too compelling to ignore. Two shootings hardly make a general pattern, but there's more than mere coincidence between them, and that deserves discussion.

One year ago in Charleston, SC

On June 17, 2015, then 21-year old Dylann Roof—a lanky, blond, mop-headed white man—attended a late evening Bible study meeting at the Emanuel AME Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was the only white person at the meeting, but that apparently raised no red flags in the African American attendees he targeted that night. In a horrific turn of events, at 9:05 p.m., after disagreeing with a point made during a Scripture reading, Roof is reported to have opened fire with a Glock 41 .45 caliber hand gun, killing 9 of the attendees, shouting racial epithets the whole time.

Roof had apparently planned to take his own life, as well, so he spared one woman in the group, telling her to report on what he had done. Instead of taking his own life, however, he fled the church and was apprehended by police the next day. By way of confession, Roof told the police that his purpose for the killings was to “instigate a race war.” Immersed in violent white supremacist ideology, and clearly filled with hate, Roof deliberately planned and carried out his attack.  Probably much to his disappointment, the good people of “Mother Emanuel”—long a symbol of the American civil rights struggle—responded to the horrific death of 9 members with forgiveness. No race war ensued.

The media has been awash this past week with details of this horrendous June 12th killing of 49 victims (with over 50 additional wounded) in Pulse, an Orlando gay nightclub, but let’s quickly consider the highlights. The perpetrator, 29-year old Omar Mateen—the American-born son of Afghan immigrants who fled the Soviet invasion of their country in the 1980s—died in a gun battle with the police. The first shots reportedly rang out at 2:02 a.m. between Mateen and a patrolling police officer, who was unable to prevent Mateen from entering the building with his semi-automatic rifle and Glock handgun.

A massacre/hostage situation ensued—Mateen threatened to use explosives (we now know there were none), which made the police response much more complicated. A three hour standoff with the police ended (approx. 5 a.m.) when a SWAT team stormed the building and engaged Mateen. During the standoff, Mateen coolly contacted the news media, 9-1-1 and his wife. He took responsibility for the shooting—of “sodomites,” as he put it—on behalf of ISIS, and he praised victims he knew of Syria’s civil war. During his rampage, Mateen claimed he was acting in response to the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and Syria, and he texted his wife to make sure she was watching the news.

An important disclaimer

In both these events, I’ve chosen to examine the biwheels with the perpetrator’s natal chart as the inner wheel. There’s a good argument for flipping this to put the perpetrator’s chart on the outside, as well, but my interest here is to explore what astrological pressures may have existed on the shooters that finally exploded into the events themselves. Charts representing violent outbreaks are unfortunately fairly predictable; if we are to ever understand the root causes of these horrendous events, we need to better understand the dynamics the shooters were experiencing and responding to.

Let’s be clear, however: the natal charts of these two men do not necessarily represent an astrological stereotype for a potential mass murderer; this is emphatically not the issue here. An individual’s response to stress or environmental factors (including the contents swirling around in his or her mind for whatever reason) is unique, and yes, there are unfortunately evil and/or disturbed people in this world, too. A natal chart should not ever be used to pass judgment of that type, for two good reasons: 1) there is always a range of ways to express even the most stressful planetary dynamics; and 2) we are, after all, creatures with free will.

Let’s examine the biwheels for these two events.

A tragic April evening at “Mother Emanuel”

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Natal, Dylann Roof, April 3, 1994, 12:00 p.m. DST (time unknown), Columbia, SC; (outer wheel) Emanuel AME Shooting, June 17, 2015, 9:05 p.m. DST, Charleston, SC.  

Shooting Pluto (Capricorn) squares Natal Sun (Aries). As we’ll see, Pluto, Mars, Saturn and Neptune were tightly woven into the tragic actions Roof took at Mother Emanuel, and here we see all four and their various interactions brought to bear in one aspect (Aries Sun disposed by Mars; Pisces Mars disposed by Neptune). This event tragically killed nine victims, but it also transformed (Pluto) Roof’s life in a matter of moments. Imprisonment (Neptune-Saturn) and the possibility of a death sentence (Saturn-Pluto) are also baked into this chart.

Shooting Uranus (Aries) trines Shooting Jupiter (Leo). This powerful trine supported the imposition of power over others by shocking means—a pretty clear description of Roof’s tragic actions. In cases like this, we look for personal ties to this dominant aspect of the day: we see that with Roof’s Sun-Part of Fortune (Aries) tying into both transiting planets by conjunction Uranus) and trine (Jupiter). These connections likely translated as “today’s the day” in Roof’s mind. As we’ll see below, transiting Jupiter also formed a stressful yod with Roof’s chart—nothing went quite according to plan.

Shooting Sun-Mars (Gemini) square Shooting Chiron (Pisces) and square Natal Mercury-Mars (Pisces); Shooting Chiron conjoins Natal Mercury-Mars. This painful set of squares suggests that Roof’s mind was steeped in deep wounds to his sense of manhood and to his ability to communicate and act in his own best interests. The Sun-Mars conjunction that day, along with the fiery Jupiter-Uranus trine, seems to have triggered risky, aggressive behavior in Roof—probably not the deepest “cause” for his actions, but powerful triggers that speaks to his possible motives or his mental state at the time.

Shooting Moon (Cancer) opposes Shooting Pluto (Capricorn); Natal Moon (Capricorn) possibly conjoined Shooting Pluto or Natal Neptune-Uranus (Capricorn). Because we don’t have a firm birth time, we can’t know for sure how close Roof’s Moon was to that day’s Capricorn Pluto, but the range of degrees would have been 14°-26°, so it was somewhere between an exact conjunction to the event Pluto and a conjunction to Roof’s natal Neptune-Uranus conjunction. Either way, the eruption of deeply felt emotion embodied in this tragic shooting (Saturn rules the Capricorn points) is certainly reflected.

Roof reportedly felt mission-bound to right the wrongs he believed were being done to white people by African Americans. Within an environment that cultivates such feelings (via home and community life, education, Internet and other media choices, etc.) Pluto and Saturn in hard combination—especially with an emotional (Moon) trigger—are certainly capable of self-righteous desires to play the “grim reaper.”  Putting those desires into action, however, requires opportunity and means—different types of triggers.

Shooting Part of Fortune (Capricorn) conjoins, Natal Mercury-Mars (Pisces) sextile and Natal Pluto (Scorpio) semi-sextiles Natal Neptune-Uranus (Capricorn); Shooting Saturn (Rx Scorpio) conjoins Natal Pluto; Shooting Neptune (Pisces) conjoins Natal Saturn (Pisces). A few words need to be said about the stressful generational Neptune-Uranus conjunction in Capricorn (exact in Feb., 1993). It’s an aspect that has heavily influenced the broad economic upheaval and demographic shift we’ve seen in the past twenty-five years, producing major stress for many with its tendency to sort populations into economic “winners” and “losers” (Capricorn can be brutal that way) with ever more distance between them—then expecting those on the losing end to simply accept the new reality.

The potential for anger set up by this long-term cycle has instead become a true backlash, to the point that the media speaks about an “angry white man phenomenon.” This phenomenon is palpable not just in Roof’s generation, but for anyone who feels marginalized and forgotten. Somehow it’s not surprising that a young suggestible man (Pisces Mercury-Mars sextile the Capricorn conjunction, Neptune disposing his Pisces points) was prone to absorbing this cloud of anger and finding an opportunity to act on it. With a cardinal Aries Sun widely square his Capricorn Moon, Roof valued action.

Transiting Saturn Rx conjoined his natal Pluto and semi-sextile his Capricorn outer planets Saturn applied even more stress to Roof’s disturbing agenda. Saturn-Pluto in Scorpio can overwhelm a vulnerable mind, and to make things worse, slow-moving Neptune had been transiting within orb of Roof’s natal Saturn in Pisces (ruled by Neptune) for months. This certainly reflects how vulnerable he seems to have been to twisted, irrational ideology.

The force of that transiting conjunction was only exaggerated by Roof’s Capricorn Moon. Capricorn Moons can reflect a person with a deep, ancestral sense of responsibility—clearly an impulse that can become twisted by environmental factors, by the individual’s mental state, and by a sense of destiny (Part of Fortune). Here, these ancestral and environmental factors seem to have overwhelmed his mind (trines from Scorpio to Pisces Mercury-Mars) and triggered action. Were there positive uses for those same dynamics? Absolutely! Thousands of young Millennials have experienced similar transits to their generational aspects, and the vast majority channeled those energies into something far better.

A sea of inconjuncts

When tragedy strikes, we often look for the transiting squares and oppositions in operation: interestingly, this case features an unusual number of inconjunct (approx. 150°) aspects between the two charts—in fact, enough to form three yods (one planet inconjoins two other planets that are sextile each other): 1) Shooting Sun-Mars (Gemini) inconjoined both Natal Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) and Natal Pluto-Transiting Saturn (Scorpio); 2) Shooting Jupiter (Leo) inconjoins both Natal Mercury-Mars (Pisces) and Natal Moon-Neptune (Capricorn); 3) Shooting Node (Libra) inconjoins Natal Venus (Libra) and Natal Saturn (Pisces). Yods create “damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t” situations—we can only imagine the mental pressure cooker that resulted here.

We’ll probably never know for sure, but it’s feasible that Roof felt—feelings being by definition irrational—that he was faced with an urgent do-or-die situation that night in Mother Emanuel. Was the attack his chance to act on a toxic fantasy (Pisces Mercury-Mars) of being a great warrior for justice (Leo Jupiter, Libra Venus in Libra)? We’ll never know for sure, but the chart offers that possibility. As mentioned above, he spared one woman in the group so she could report on his actions, so getting the word out was important to him. He may still consider himself to be a wounded hero or martyr of sorts—Neptune’s rule of his Pisces points could nurture such delusions. 

Imprisonment and the death penalty may regrettably feed his deluded cause in those of like minds. Hopefully Roof doesn’t get the posthumous race war he wanted.

Echoes in Orlando

One year later, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen joined Dylann Roof’s deluded crusade to kill people he didn’t like or trust. Before discussing further parallels and differences between the two events, let’s consider Mateen’s biwheel.

Biwheel 2: (inner wheel) Natal, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, November 16, 1986, 7:00 p.m., ST, New York, NY; (outer wheel) Orlando Mass Shooting, June 12, 2016, 2:02 a.m., DST, Orlando, FL. Source:, rated AA.

Natal T-square: Natal Sun (Scorpio) opposes Natal Moon (Taurus); both square Natal 8th house Mars (Aquarius). A full Moon type who finds himself attracted to the dark side of these fixed signs can exhibit belligerent, hateful behavior, and this concurs with reports from Mateen’s schools about his behavior growing up. The addition of a fixed Aquarius Mars square to both luminaries suggests that Mateen’s sense of identity and comfort depended heavily on his ability to aggressively shock those around him.

The 8th house placement of his Mars is sobering for what it says about the killings in Orlando. For starters, a Uranian 8th house can indicate unconventional sexuality—a point of great speculation in regards to Mateen’s choice of LGBT victims. The 8th house's Scorpionic connection to death (rendered shocking by the Aquarius cusp here) is another sobering detail. 

Shooting Sun-Venus (Gemini) conjoin Natal Chiron (Gemini) and oppose Natal Uranus (Sagittarius); Shooting Uranus (Aries) trines Natal Uranus. An opportunity for the shocking attack in Orlando opened up that day, with the Sun-Venus’s sextile to aggressive Uranus in Aries. The trine between Aries Uranus and Mateen’s natal Sagittarius Uranus reflects the unstoppable ease with which Mateen took over the nightclub and proceeded to terrorize people for three hours. It also perhaps reflects the shocking way in which the SWAT team literally broke through the nightclub walls to intervene, resulting in the shootout that ended Mateen’s life.

Shooting Moon (Virgo) squares Shooting Sun and trines Shooting Pluto (Capricorn). It’s also significant that Mateen chose the stressful 1st quarter Moon to launch his attack—from Virgo the Moon trined Pluto, supporting Mateen’s deadly outpouring of self-righteous emotion and tapping into Saturn’s rulership of Capricorn. In mundane charts, the Moon represents the People, so the trine also represents the darkly generous opportunity Mateen had to kill large numbers of people. As we’ll see, Saturn figured heavily into this event.

Interchart T-square: Shooting Jupiter-Node-Moon (Virgo) opposed Shooting Neptune-Natal Jupiter (Pisces) and squared Natal Saturn (and Saturn/Uranus midpoint-Sagittarius)-Shooting Saturn (Rx Sagittarius). The opposition in this t-square reflects that Mateen’s deluded sense of ideological mission (Neptune-Jupiter) had reached a critical point—the square to his volatile Sagittarius points provided an outlet for expression. Mateen may have also been harboring a toxic “martyrdom” fantasy that we’ve come to equate with terrorism—his elevated Jupiter in Pisces, conjunct his MC suggests an inflated sense of destiny that was perhaps blocked or frustrated with his natal Jupiter-Saturn square.

A few words about Mateen’s Saturn return are in order: with that critical passage happening square his natal Jupiter-MC, it’s likely Mateen struggled in the few years prior to this attack to prove his worth to others. Divorced by one wife early on and left by another more recently, Mateen was clearly not succeeding in marriage. His attempts to break into a career in law enforcement were never successful, and as we’ve heard, he was on the FBI’s radar screen for long periods.

Mateen’s first wife reported that his behavior was unstable, characterizing him as abusive and bipolar; in fact, news reports now show that he had a history of violence towards others throughout his school years—a temperament likely reflected in his fixed T-square (see above). His father routinely dismissed complaints from teachers and students about his son’s behavior, according to school officials, so perhaps his initial response to the nightclub shooting should be no surprise. A Saturn return demands that individuals take responsibility for their own lives, growing into full adulthood in the process. In a tragic way, Mateen’s actions at Pulse accomplished that aim—no one would be able to save him from or dismiss the consequences of his actions.

Natal Venus-Pluto (Scorpio) trine Natal ASC (Cancer), Natal Jupiter (Pisces) and sextile Natal DSC-Neptune (Capricorn); Shooting ASC (Aries) squares Natal ASC-to-DSC-Neptune axis. The easy connection between Mateen’s Venus-Pluto (Venus is retrograde; Pluto is dignified in Scorpio) and his ASC-DSC angles suggests that defensiveness (Cancer-Scorpio) and harshness (Scorpio-Capricorn) were his “modus operandi.” Neptune’s placement at Mateen’s DSC in Saturn-ruled Capricorn (also sextile his Venus-Pluto) adds an aggressive edge towards others. His attitude towards women, in particular (Venus-Pluto) would likely be less a romantic one than a demanding, discipline-oriented one. 

Ruling recreational pursuits, the 5th house placement of his Venus-Pluto in Scorpio trine his Pisces Jupiter (which in turn disposes his Uranus) may explain why he was seen partying at Pulse several times. LGBT sexuality was clearly compelling to Mateen, whether he was a closeted gay or not.

More inconjuncts…

As with Dylann Roof’s biwheel, Mateen’s biwheel features a few strong inconjunct aspects, including two yods: 1) Shooting Sun-Venus (Gemini) and Shooting Uranus (Aries) inconjoin Shooting Mars-Natal Sun (Scorpio); 2) Shooting Moon (Virgo) inconjoins Natal Mars (Aquarius) and Natal Node (Aries). The first yod tapped into Mateen’s natal need to be the most powerful person in the room at any given time. The second yod leveraged whatever desire he felt to act out, feeding his delusionary mission to “punish” LGBT individuals, avenge Afghan and Syrian victims, impress ISIS, launch himself onto the world stage as a heroic martyr, and so on.

Parallels and differences

Both Dylann Roof in Charleston and Omar Mateen in Orlando seemed to need the “cover” of a twisted heroic narrative for their compelling (if deluded) destinies. Both “sat in” with their future victims before opening fire, suggesting there was a certain level of curiosity at work, or the need for experiences with those victims that they could use to mentally justify their tragic rampages. Both men’s charts feature suggestible, water-signed Mercury placements—not necessarily a negative, but in these cases, Mercury seems to have supported their delusions and possible mental illness.

Delusions are often related to a person’s natal Neptune dynamics; in both cases here, Neptune falls in Capricorn and is closely tied into personal chart points. The punitive impulses of Saturn-ruled Capricorn certainly came into play. The difficulties of integrating outer planetary with personal energies could fill an entire article.   

There are also clear surface differences between the two shootings: Charleston’s was a racially-motivated hate crime with relatively few victims (any victims is too many); the massacre in Orlando was a much larger scale terrorist/hate crime with seemingly mixed motivations. Was it against Americans in general (because the U.S. is bombing Afghanistan, etc., because Mateen wanted to support ISIS, or wanted to use ISIS to publicize his act, etc.)? Against the LGBT community (homophobia, possibly inspired by the shooter’s repressed gay sexuality)? Against Latinos (why target “Latin night” at Pulse, if not)?  

Another important distinction between the two shooters is their age, since that has important astrological ramifications. Dylann Roof was 21 at the time of his crime; as we’ve seen, Mateen was 29 years old, dealing with the completion of his Saturn return. Roof was waking up to his power as a young man, clearly confused about what that means in a healthy sense; Mateen had been through a prolonged period of pressure with Saturn, which could have produced in him an urgent, if misguided, need to prove his worth in the world. Unthinkable choices were made in both cases.

Thankfully, the overwhelming response to the mayhem in Orlando has been outpouring of caring for the LGBT community there, and for all who fear the anger and hostility of others because of who they are and whom they love. Perhaps there's hope, after all.

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. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Shooting the rapids on a cosmic river boat: September’s mutable eclipse

The essence of mutability is change—as in, you never step into the same river twice...that’s generally a good thing because “same” means stagnant when it comes to rivers. Must change mean senseless, hateful tragedy, however, as we've seen this weekend in Orlando? We must help each other navigate this change, wherever it's leading us. Our hearts and condolences go out to our fellow Americans in Orlando.

The way forward between now and March 2, 2017 (the beginning of the U.S. chart’s new Progressed Lunar cycle—see 5/3/16 post here) is bound to be rocky, disorienting and elusive—how could it not be, with a transiting mutable t-square dogging our steps?

Despite the certainty of uncertainty, however, this year’s astrological puzzle is missing another major milestone before year’s end: a total solar eclipse on September 1st at 9°+Virgo—right in line with the now familiar mutable t-square. As we’ll see with the U.S. Sibly chart, this eclipse will turn a somewhat disruptive mutable configuration transiting that chart into a 4-way mutable grand square.

As I pointed out in a June 6th post, a mutable grand square (as was active during last week’s California primary) can be quite a romp: Hillary Clinton made history; Bernie Sanders continued to show that his integrity can weather just about any storm; and Donald Trump began flailing to the tune of lower poll numbers. Whether he’ll overcome the flood of bad will he created with his most recent rants remains to be seen—perhaps with this upcoming eclipse.

Let’s consider the highlights.

First, an important caveat: Eclipses unfold their influence over time, and the power of the event will be re-stimulated by subsequent transits (especially conjunctions and oppositions) to the Eclipse point. Neptune’s very slow transit (including a retrograde period) opposite the Eclipse point alone will take us to the end of 2017—an indication that the period ahead will continue to be disruptive and incoherent. Other, more fleeting transits will chime in as we go.

A case of the jitters for the U.S. Sibly chart
Here we’ll take a brief look at a triwheel for the U.S. Sibly chart (inner wheel), the Sibly chart progressed to 9/1/2016 (middle wheel) and the Solar Eclipse on 9/1/2016 (outer wheel)—all three charts set for Washington, D.C. As we’ll see, the mutable t-square (Eclipse point in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces, all square Saturn-Mars in Sagittarius) also falls over the Sibly ascendant (12°+Sagittarius) and pulls Sibly Uranus (8°+ Gemini) into the configuration to form the final leg of an interchart, mutable grand square. Let’s consider some insights from aspects expert Bil Tierney regarding the mutable grand square:

“This restless configuration seems to operate best in all fields of mental expression. However, the stress created by the four squares often manifest as agitated nervousness and extreme restlessness…The Mutable Grand Square poses frustrations due to undue changeability, poor concentration ability, indecision, negative suggestibility, and a tendency to give in to external pressures rather than resist or challenge.”[1]
In the case of a grand square that impacts a chart ascendant, Tierney adds:

“…the urges of the three planets [legs of the grand square] interact with a great level of tension and filter themselves out thru the ASC point, according to the behavioral expression of the ascending sign.”[2]
So, how is the eclipse mutable t-square likely to express itself through the Sibly ascendant? Let’s break it down:

Interchart Mutable Grand Square: Eclipse Sun-Moon oppose Eclipse Neptune (Pisces) and both square Eclipse Saturn-Mars at Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) opposed to Sibly Uranus/Mars (midpoint, Gemini). This grand square misses the Sibly MC-IC axis (Libra-Aries), but the sensitive 10th-4rd axis (Equal houses) is pulled into the fray here even so. Interestingly, the Eclipse impacts more Sibly houses than might be expected through sheer placement: the Eclipse point and Node straddle the 9th and10th houses; Eclipse Neptune and the South Node straddle the 3rd and 4th houses; Eclipse Saturn-Mars straddle Sibly’s 12th and 1st houses; Sibly Uranus and Mars straddle the 6th and 7th houses. At the risk of overstating the case, I’d say this unusual happenstance speaks volumes about the time period ahead for U.S. politics and society.

The interchart grand square thus formed also pulls the Sibly progressed Moon (Sagittarius) into the picture, suggesting the American people are clearly in tune with the unrest and volatility of this configuration and are likely to express themselves with Sagittarian passion and vigor, especially once the Progressed Moon reaches the Sibly ascendant in March (see 5/3/16 post for more on this). Those who now believe Bernie Sanders received unjust, corrupt treatment from the Democratic establishment will probably still be feeling that sense of bruised justice (Eclipse Saturn-Mars-P Moon), and the eclipse may provide an opportunity to vent that frustration legally (E Saturn-Mars sextile Sibly Saturn in Libra). This same dynamic could operate for disenchanted Trump supporters who feel cheated or marginalized in some way.

The President may find himself on the horns of a dilemma with these disgruntled populations, and with any issues raised by the Eclipse—E Saturn-Mars fall inconjunct Sibly Sun in Cancer. Tierney also suggests that grand squares stretching across a chart’s horizon tend to be expressed externally rather than internally, because the Descendant is involved. Meaning, there’s a good chance our internal frustrations will be channeled into external conflicts rather than being resolved internally. This would certainly fit the role of Sibly Uranus/Mars in this grand square, at the Sibly Descendant. 

Historically, Sibly Uranus and Mars have been charged with venting internal frustrations—in fact, each time we’ve gotten involved in a major overseas conflict, the decision to call up the troops was preceded by an economic downturn and/or civil unrest of some kind (a long story for another time). Bottom line here, the conditions could well exist here for a major overseas involvement, and with our involvement in Afghanistan growing again as we speak, further escalation won’t be surprising.

Eclipse Jupiter-Mercury (Virgo)-Venus (Libra) widely conjoin Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and trine Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); Eclipse Jupiter-Mercury widely square Sibly Mars (Gemini) and inconjoin Sibly Moon (Aquarius); Eclipse Venus trines Sibly Uranus and squares Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). The influence of Jupiter-Mercury-Venus richochets throughout the Sibly chart, suggesting a well-financed (trine Pluto), expansive, tactical approach (Virgo) to responding to a volatile threat (Mars in 7th). The security imperative is seen with Venus’ square to Sibly Venus-Jupiter; needless to say with Venus, there’s an economic imperative and a question of social justice (Libra) in play as well.

Eclipse Venus also conjoins the Sibly MC (Libra), suggesting that societal challenges could register as security threats that the military or national guard (Virgo Jupiter-Mercury) will be called upon to address. 

Eclipse Uranus (Aries) conjoins Sibly Progressed Venus (Aries), sextiles Sibly Mars and Sibly Moon (Aquarius), squares Sibly Mercury (Cancer) and Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) and inconjoins Sibly Neptune (Virgo). One key energy (Uranus) here literally electrifies the entire Sibly chart. Unless an unlikely technological revolution is about to overtake us in a big way, this volatile configuration suggests a shocking event or series of events. Financial, with Pluto? Terrorist, with Mars? Election chaos, with Mercury-Moon? Eclipse Uranus also widely conjoins Sibly Chiron (Aries) and squares the Sibly Progressed Node (Cancer), so a natural or man-made disaster is not out of the question.

Considering Eclipse Saturn and Mars are conjunct the Sibly Ascendant and Sibly Progressed Moon in the midst of all this, civil unrest on the order of the 1960s is not inconceivable. There are deep astrological parallels between today and then that we won’t go into here, but Uranus’s inconjunct with Sibly Neptune here reinforces the possibility of civil unrest, bringing to mind Langston Hughe’s poem, “A Dream Deferred”. Perhaps the continued frustration of the “American Dream” for so many could, indeed, “explode?” 

Sibly Progressed Sun conjoins Eclipse Neptune (Pisces) and both square Sibly Uranus (Gemini), trine Sibly Sun and inconjoin Sibly Saturn (Libra). Misinformation (Neptune) is likely to abound when it comes to any of the many volatile scenarios discussed above, involving Sibly Uranus. The election (two months into this Eclipse period) will provide a distraction and may even produce a certain amount of euphoria (Neptune-Progressed Sun). Whatever happens, it will be over!

It should also be mentioned here that Neptune’s environmental implications (not a metaphor, unfortunately)—water, lots of water (or alternatively, not enough)—may continue to challenge areas of the country with flooding and drought. This is especially reinforced by Saturn’s continued square with Neptune and Neptune’s square to the Sibly ASC and DSC. On another note, we’re looking at a long mosquito season ahead, suggesting a Zika epidemic (Neptune) could also become a greater concern, if preventive measures are unsuccessful.

Trump & the Eclipse
The September eclipse appears to offer Trump a pivotal astrological moment, but the eclipse will only stimulate what’s already there in his natal and progressed charts. I’ve written at length about Trump’s path ahead recently (see 6/6/16 post), so what follows is meant to build upon, not repeat what’s been said. So, let’s consider a few dynamics brought to bear by the eclipse.

Eclipse Point (Virgo) widely conjoins Trump Progressed Sun (Virgo); Trump P Sun opposes Trump Part of Fortune. Trump is being drawn way out of his comfort zone with his P Sun’s transition into his 1st house in Virgo—especially as it attracts more scrutiny to his behavior, past business practices, etc.. We’re seeing the discomfort level with his focus in speeches on perceived wrongs to himself—his legal tussle with the so-called “Mexican” judge, etc.  Whining, pickiness and racial discrimination are not the higher expressions of Virgo, and they don’t play well in the media or with GOP leaders (who find they have to answer for them), but coming to grips with the higher, more service-oriented side of his new Virgoan reality will take time.

We have seen attempts to focus (with the help of a teleprompter) on how his campaign promises to help people—the dilemma here is (opposition to Part of Fortune), will a kinder, softer (more “presidential”) Trump alienate the voters who have resonated so strongly with his tougher demeanor?

Interchart Grand-Square: Eclipse Mars (Sagittarius) widely conjoins Trump Moon (Sagittarius) and together oppose Trump Uranus-Node-Sun (Gemini); all of this squares Eclipse Point-Node-Trump Progressed Part of Fortune (Virgo) opposite Eclipse Neptune (Pisces). Please note: Eclipse Saturn is just out of orb to oppose Trump’s Gemini points, but it  does figure into the rest of the grand square. Since Eclipse Saturn-Mars are also applying to Trump’s South Node, this grand square blushes a couple shades more stressful. The South Node points to a person’s default modus operandi, reinforcing Trump’s agitated (Mars-Saturn) emotional (Moon) Sagittarian “wild man” rants and arrogant, offensive rhetoric. Philosophy is a Sagittarius domain—placed in Trump’s 4th house of “true inner self,” we shouldn’t expect a teleprompter will change his ideological stripes. As we've seen in his post-Orlando shooting comments, he leapt at the chance to label the event as "Islamic terrorism," and to repeat his calls for a ban on Muslim immigration.  

The reason grand squares tend to be so nerve-wracking is that we find ourselves run aground in a sea of opposing forces, and that creates agitation in the best of us. We’ve seen that Trump lashes out when confronted, so we can expect more of that. With Neptune transiting his 7th house of enemies, it may be difficult for him to distinguish between real and imaginary enemies. Hillary Clinton will, of course, provide a real enemy he can work on, and enemies that reinforce his worldview (they are out to get us) will undoubtedly materialize (Neptune opposes his 1st house Part of Fortune).

Eclipse Jupiter-Mercury (Virgo)-Venus (Libra) trine Trump MC (Taurus), sextile Trump Progressed MC and Jupiter-Mercury widely square Trump Moon (Sagittarius) and inconjoin Trump Part of Fortune (Aquarius); Eclipse Venus conjoins Trump Neptune-Progressed Mars (Libra) and squares Trump Mercury (Cancer). The square to Trump’s Moon adds to his agitated emotional state, but the trine to his MC from his 1st house bolsters his ambitions in the midst of frustrations (inconjunct to Part of Fortune). His confidence is only slightly dampened these days (in fact, it's emboldened with the latest in Miami), so it will be interesting to see how long he persists with the teleprompter.

Trump’s financial life (2nd -8th house axis) is ruled by Mercury and Neptune, so Venus tying into both these natal planets points to benefits and challenges there. The elusive “audit” of his taxes may become an issue with Neptune ruling his 8th and the Eclipse Point semi-sextile his Progressed 2nd house Mars-Neptune: Uranus is also transiting his 8th house, so maybe his tax records will finally be released?   

Clinton & the Eclipse
As with Trump, I’ve spoken at length about Clinton’s road ahead as well (see 6/6/16 post), but the impact the September eclipse is likely to have is worth considering for her, as well. Significantly, the eclipse does not form a mutable grand square when laid over her natal chart. The t-square it does form will be stressful, as well, but t-squares tend to be more readily resolved. Let’s consider the highlights:

Eclipse Point (Virgo) conjoins Clinton Progressed Mars (Virgo), semi-sextiles Clinton Progressed Moon-Neptune, sextiles Clinton Chiron (Scorpio), squares Clinton Progressed Jupiter (Sagittarius), trines Clinton Progressed Sun-Mercury (Capricorn) and inconjoins Clinton Progressed Venus (Aquarius). In other words, the Eclipse point itself is tightly tied into key points in Clinton’s progressed chart, but not so tied into her natal chart. As we’ll see, other planets in the Eclipse chart do have more impact on Clinton’s natal chart. As for the key factors listed here—the conjunction to Clinton’s P Mars and the trine to Clinton’s P Sun-Mercury in Capricorn could well support Clinton’s “glass-ceiling shattering” quest. It appears she will have the energy (Mars) and the tangible support (earth trine) needed for the uphill, emotionally-wrought battle. Even if she’s well-supported, however, Clinton’s Moon and Venus are likely to feel like they’ve been scrutinized (Virgo eclipse) to death.

Interchart T-Square: Eclipse Point-Node (Virgo) conjoins Clinton MC-P Mars (Virgo) and opposes Eclipse Neptune; all of this squares Eclipse Saturn-Mars-Clinton P Jupiter (Sagittarius). This t-square stretches across Clinton 10th-4th axis, squaring the points in her 1st. Challenges to ego (1st), reputation (MC) and self-assurance (Neptune transiting 4th) are likely to follow her into Election Day, but her natal chart provides little traction for these stressors and she’s overcome worse during this campaign.   

Eclipse Mars-Saturn (Sagittarius) conjoin Clinton P Jupiter (Sagittarius), semi-sextile Clinton Chiron-Venus (Scorpio) and trine Clinton Mars-Pluto-Saturn (Saturn only widely-Leo). Mars and Saturn can be harsh taskmasters, especially when working in concert, but here they seem to be more like strong motivators for Clinton’s powerful Leo grouping. That said, Mars-Saturn may also challenge her to convince voters that she can be as tough as the times demand, since Sagittarius’ ruling planet Jupiter is still in Virgo, the sign ruling the military. Will her gender be a deficit or a plus in this regard (semi-sextile to Chiron-Venus)?

Eclipse Jupiter-Mercury (Virgo)-Venus (Libra) square Clinton Uranus (Gemini). These aspects span Clinton’s 11th to 8th houses, suggesting her rational (Virgo) approach to policy-making and political power (11th) will be challenged by shocking claims (Uranus in Gemini) that may or may not be true (we can guess what those might be about). She herself may be accused of political “double-speak” as well.

Eclipse Uranus (Aries) trines Clinton Saturn and inconjoins Clinton ASC-Mercury (Scorpio). A Uranus trine can register like a surge of electricity—either it’s welcome energy that keeps things humming, or it’s an overload that burns out a few circuits. The inconjunct to Clinton’s ASC-Mercury suggest that some unpleasant shocks or revelations may put Clinton on the defensive. Whether those would be more than her campaign can absorb and manage (Saturn in Leo) to her advantage remains to be seen.

Eclipse Pluto (Capricorn) conjoins Clinton P Sun-Mercury and inconjoins Clinton Mars-Pluto (Leo). It appears Clinton will enjoy powerful support—especially financial support from well-heeled interests, with Pluto transiting her 2nd house. The eclipse point trines this Pluto, which appears to benefit Clinton. Do we trust politicians who have Pluto’s blessing?—quite another story, perhaps addressed by the inconjunct to her powerful Mars-Pluto. This aspect brings to mind the famous saying by Machiavelli, “It is better to be feared than loved if you can’t be both.”

Sanders & the Eclipse
So, assuming Bernie Sanders makes it to the Democratic convention in July without having capitulated entirely to Clinton (hopefully a safe assumption), how is the September eclipse likely to treat him going forward? As noted in the 6/6/16 post here, I will be using the 11:43:40 a.m. version of Sanders’ chart, rectified by Isaac Starkman. Again, the key highlights:

Interchart Grand Square: Eclipse Point-Node (Virgo) conjoin Sanders Sun (Virgo) and oppose Sanders Progressed Part of Fortune-Eclipse Neptune (Pisces); all of this squares Eclipse Saturn-Mars (Sagittarius) opposite Sanders’ Uranus/Jupiter (midpoint, Gemini). If Sanders’ natal chart timing is accurate, these oppositions straddle his 10th-4th and 1st-7th houses, basically the same houses we’ve seen so heavily involved in the other candidate charts. Career, reputation, personal ideals, Self and Other issues are all important here. With Uranus and Saturn in his natal 7th, he’s used to butting heads with opponents (standard for a career-long “independent” Democratic Socialist in the U.S. Congress), but it will be interesting to see how his campaign message morphs now that Clinton is presumed to be the Democratic nominee and he is charged with shepherding his supporters in her direction.

Eclipse Saturn-Mars (Sagittarius) trines Sanders Pluto-Chiron (Leo). Turning over his supporters to Clinton is a bitter pill to swallow for Sanders (and his supporters) because they do have fundamentally different ideas about the limits of progressivism in this country. However, swallowing this pill can also be a profound turning point (trine to Pluto-Chiron) for Sanders that may—if gracefully executed—secure his ideas (if not him personally) for another run at the highest office. With Aquarius on his 4th house cusp disposed by his 7th house Saturn-Uranus conjunction, there’s mileage left in his quest for a political revolution, and he’s gathered millions of young voters who would support the idea.   

Eclipse Jupiter-Mercury (Virgo)-Venus (Libra) conjoin Sanders Neptune (Virgo)-Mercury (Libra) and trine Sanders Uranus (Gemini); Eclipse Jupiter-Mercury oppose Eclipse Chiron (Pisces). Sanders’ pragmatic ideals (Virgo points - i.e., an economy that works for everyone) and sense of justice (Libra points) will continue to fuel his 7th house fight (Uranus), and Venus falling on his Mercury suggests his message will benefit from the eclipse.

Eclipse Uranus (Aries) conjoins Sanders Moon-Mars (Aries), trines Sanders MC (Leo) and inconjoins his Neptune (Virgo). Assuming the timing of this chart is close to accurate, Uranus transiting Sanders’ “working class” 6th house evokes the “revolution” he promotes so sincerely (Moon). These Aries points in his chart certainly speak to his “what you see is what you get” demeanor. The trine to his MC suggests a powerful opportunity for change in his career and in the public’s perception of him.

Eclipse Pluto (Capricorn) conjoins Sanders Progressed ASC-Progressed Venus-Progressed Moon (Capricorn), sextiles Sanders ASC, squares Sanders Moon (Aries) and trines Sanders Sun-Node (Virgo). Pluto has been transiting Sanders’ 2nd house for years now, so perhaps it’s not surprising that his campaign was so successful at fund-raising. It appears the Eclipse will bolster the authoritative image Sanders projects (ASCs and trine to Sun) and the respect he garners from many, but it’s hard to say what the emotional/health toll (Pluto square natal Moon) might be going forward.

Final thoughts…

The essence of mutability is change—as in, you never step into the same river twice, and that’s generally a good thing because “same” means stagnant when it comes to rivers. Must change mean senseless, hateful tragedy, however, as we've seen this weekend in Orlando? We must help each other navigate this change--wherever it's leading us. Our hearts and condolences go out to all concerned.

A lot of people are feeling that “same” is bad when it comes to our government, too, but the big question evokes another watery metaphor: do we throw the baby [what works] out with the bath water [what doesn’t work]? Whatever the outcome in November, it appears we’ll be “shooting the rapids” on this cosmic river boat (final water metaphor, promise!) clear into 2017—hang on tight!

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. 

[1] Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS, 1980, p. 89.
[2] Ibid, p. 92.