Friday, July 29, 2016

The Astrology of Free Trade—NAFTA as a watershed moment, TPP on the horizon

So what kind of changes could we expect a new President Clinton to make in the controversial TPP? By birth, she’s deeply tuned into the Scorpio forces that pushed NAFTA into existence, so if anyone can apply the antidote to that “barrel of venomous snakes,” she could be the one. Only time will tell, but at least she acknowledges she doesn’t have all the answers!

I must begin this post by applauding the outstanding Convention the Dems put on this week. Besides making gender equality history with Hillary Clinton’s nomination, this Convention celebrated the ability of American politics to produce a sane, well-prepared presidential candidate. This may sound like low aspirations, but it was certainly not a foregone conclusion this election season. 

For delegates supporting primary candidate Bernie Sanders, however, it was a bittersweet week. Sanders proved himself to be a dignified statesman throughout, working with Clinton to craft the Democratic platform, and encouraging his supporters to make the leap in her direction. When it came time to vote, he gallantly rose to the floor and moved that the Convention nominate her by acclimation for the sake of party unity. Tears streamed down many faces, but the thunderous “ayes” took it.

Despite Sanders’ encouragement, however, many of his convened supporters simply refused to give up the ghost of his candidacy, staging protests throughout the Convention. The good news was, their voices were never squashed or rebuked, and many speakers applauded Bernie Sanders for his contributions to the campaign and the platform; the bad news was, their most stubborn grievances weren’t given much attention.

Among those was their vehement opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP), which Sanders demonized repeatedly throughout his campaign. His followers carried “NO TPP” signs throughout the Convention, yet there was no serious discussion of that specific deal and what Clinton plans to do with it. We know she’s not a fan of the TPP as it is written, even though she allies herself with TPP booster, Obama, but what changes would she make? Would the changes be enough to roll back the worst excesses of free trade, as far as the American middle class is concerned?

Clinton’s momentous speech last night acknowledged a number of ways that corporations need to start “giving back” to those who give them tax breaks, but how those ideas would impact trade bills, past and present, remains unclear. My guess is that a comprehensive discussion needs to happen before Sanders’ supporters (and others) will feel truly comfortable getting on board.

So, this post aims to look at the astrology of “free trade”—specifically regarding NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement passed in 1993, that kicked open the door to today’s globalized trade reality.

A barrel of venomous snakes
For starters, why do so many Americans react to the idea of free trade like it’s a barrel of venomous snakes? It’s not hard to fathom—even my outdated exposure to the corporate workplace suggests that a lot of people who have reached into that barrel have gotten bit. 

My last corporate job was, in fact, “downsized” and “consolidated” during the first couple years  of NAFTA—the much-maligned agreement signed into law by former President Bill Clinton (and possible “First Gentleman” in January) in December 1993. I was a public relations manager in charge of managing communications during this downsizing, which meant my job also went away, once the dust of two massive layoffs settled.

Long story short, NAFTA—and every free trade agreement the U.S. has signed since—has caused major dislocations in American workers’ lives. A predictable pattern has evolved: decently paid jobs are lost, then replaced by more stressful, lower-paying jobs with fewer and more expensive benefits. Reality TV paints a picture of a nation of entrepreneurs, roiling in a shark tank—how many of us does that feed?

The writing on the wall
Sadly, a lot of the vicious anti-Mexican rhetoric we’re hearing this year from Trump’s campaign only mirrors the antagonism caused by NAFTA when it was passed, over widespread objections. As feared, thousands of good American jobs did move to Mexico because of its cheaper labor force and lack of environmental regulations. These were still the early days in the erosion of American manufacturing, but the writing was clearly on the wall: until a level playing field is created for American workers, those jobs are not coming back. And the jobs that do come back will offer lower wages and shakier benefits.

Every presidential race since NAFTA’s passage has been at least partially consumed by this issue, but the rhetoric has been abnormally volatile this year, as people have become increasingly exasperated over grotesque levels of income inequality, stagnant wages and so on.

The amazing irony of the Bill Clinton years was, he presided over the “roaring 90s,” a time when the nation’s overall economy was booming. He never hesitates to brag about the budget surplus he left behind for G.W. Bush. Ironically, there were a lot of jobs created during that period too—IT, for example, was a relatively new, vibrant field that was gushing middle-class wage jobs for young adults straight out of tech school (I taught Communications at one, so I saw this happening), so not all American workers were imperiled, but the groundwork was laid for growing problems ahead as globalization really took hold.

I can only wonder whether my students still had those good-paying jobs once the 2007-8 recession hit.

It seems that, even though national economic priorities began their shift away from American worker-security to global investor profit well before Bill Clinton’s presidency, (even NAFTA had its origins with George H. W. Bush’s administration), the economic measures Clinton’s administration passed, such as repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, produced a finance industry-fueled prosperity that powerfully supported that shift.

Picking up on NAFTA in 1993 where Bush had left off, did Clinton purposely undermine American workers for the sake of channeling wealth to investors and big banks? I don’t really believe there was a negative intent, but according to John R. MacArthur’s study, The Selling of “Free Trade,” [i] the welfare of workers is rarely factored into trade negotiations. The fact is, Clinton’s administration insisted on two supplements to the original NAFTA agreement that addressed labor and environmental cooperation guidelines, which helped pass the agreement in Congress with bipartisan support.

I remember vividly how the 1990s press claimed that globalization was “inevitable,” so if we can understand the forces that colluded to make NAFTA so fated, perhaps we can influence how future trade agreements are crafted. These forces are visible in the astrology we’ll consider below.

A truly comprehensive study of all this is impossible here, but we can learn quite a bit from dipping even lightly into the charts for NAFTA’s evolution—from concept under George Bush (Biwheel 1) to an approved bill in Congress (Biwheel 2), to a signed agreement under Clinton (Biwheel 3). I’ve set these charts against the U.S. Sibly chart for national context. Let’s begin.

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Radix, U.S. Sibly, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m., LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Radix, NAFTA—George Bush signs, December 17, 1992, 12:00 p.m., Washington, D.C.

Interchart T-Square: Signing Sun conjoins the Galactic Center (both Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Mars (Gemini); Signing Node (Sagittarius) widely conjoins Sun-GC and exactly opposes Sibly Mars; these oppositions square Sibly Neptune (Virgo). The Galactic Center seems to be involved in major developments that feel “inevitable,” like ideas “whose time has come.” George Bush coined the term “new world order” during this period to describe a seamless world of “industrial economies woven together into one,”[ii] and trade agreements were touted as the peaceful means to do this during his administration. We could talk at length about the dark side of multinational corporations taking over the world; suffice to say here, this Sun-GC-Node alignment opposite Mars reflects the enormity of this idea, and of the times.

The Soviet Union had recently dissolved and the European Economic Community was quickly morphing into the European Union (11/1/1993); all of this made the new trading order Bush envisioned feasible. The opposition to Mars here reflects the military might that the nation had at its disposal to enforce the ideas hatched at this time, which, in retrospect, have been far from peaceful. The square to Neptune reflects the distorted use of the “American Dream” (and sole superpower status) made to sell NAFTA—MacArthur called it “capitalist triumphalism… justifying everything that happened everywhere.”[iii]

Signing Sun-GC (Sagittarius) sextile Sibly Moon (Aquarius); Signing Mars (Rx, Cancer) conjoins Sibly Mercury (Cancer) and opposes Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). Clearly, there was an aggressive thrust of activity that “rammed” NAFTA—an important foot-in-the-door for multinationals into the world of globalization—into existence. The opportunity to leverage the energies of American workers (sextile from Signing Sun-Node) was open and this initial stage of the agreement walked right through.

Interchart Grand Air Trine: Signing Venus-Saturn (Aquarius) trined Sibly Saturn (Libra)-Signing Jupiter (Libra) and Sibly Uranus (Gemini); Signing Venus-Saturn inconjoin Sibly Sun (Cancer). This aspect perfectly represents the “fast track” authority Bush sought from Congress to expedite negotiations. As it happened, there were Congressmen and constituencies with deep reservations, so there were delays that prevented its passage before Bush’s term ended (inconjunct), which is why Clinton had to shepherd NAFTA into existence from there.

It’s significant that Signing Saturn and Jupiter were in their cycle’s waning trine here and that they tapped into Sibly “power centers”—this pushed the powers-that-be to complete business left unfinished from the December 31, 1980 inception of this cycle in Libra, which ushered in the Reagan administration. Reagan famously promoted the idea that “government is the problem,” meaning the less regulation on corporations, finances and the environment, the better. NAFTA certainly delivered on this idea—the relaxation of regulations that would protect workers and the environment from over-reaching corporations was at its core.

Interchart T-Square: Signing Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) oppose Sibly Sun and this axis squares Sibly Saturn (Libra)-Signing Jupiter (Libra). A cardinal t-square is always a call to action, but the successful completion of that action may take longer than one would like. With Saturn and Jupiter at the apex (the planets that are being squared by the axis), there’s a rush to take advantage of an opportunity, but there’s no instant gratification—time is needed. This held true with Bush (impatient to fast track the agreement) and others had to see his project to completion. (Not related to NAFTA, necessarily, but Bush’s “unfinished business” with Saddam Hussein had to also be completed by another—his son, G.W. Bush).

Even more important than the frustrating delay Bush endured, however, was the significance of NAFTA being conceived while the powerful Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn (exact at 19°+Capricorn on February 2, 1993) was quickly perfecting. This duo’s long-term (roughly 172 years) cycle is about dissolving outmoded forms (especially relevant in Capricorn), promoting the “cult” of materialism, building ideal structures (i.e., the global Internet infrastructure that enables commerce, a massive fleet of container ships for transporting foreign made goods around the world, the European Union, Al-Qaeda and a “Caliphate” for ISIS, etc.), promoting nebulous fears and strengthening collective channels of authority.

So many of today’s challenges—including NAFTA (and all the other trade agreements that followed)—the increased power of multinational corporations and ideology-based terrorism—trace their inception back to this conjunction. 

Fast forward to July 2016, and Transiting Pluto (Capricorn) is now within orb of conjoining the 19°+Capricorn inception point of the 1993 Uranus-Neptune cycle, so it’s not surprising that the early fruits of that cycle are now coming under fire and causing major disruptions (migrant crisis, etc.). We shouldn’t forget that in Capricorn the seed impulse of this cycle is grabby, earthy, materialistic and resource-oriented. Ideological ambitions become a quest to take over territory and resources—and ideology is often used to justify raw material ambitions. There’s a very harsh edge to this cycle that applauds no-holds-barred ambition at the expense of others—perhaps this explains why Election 2016 has been so coarse and angry.

Signing Pluto (Scorpio) sextiles Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) and trines Signing Mars (Rx, Cancer). This sextile provided Bush with a window of opportunity to leverage (Scorpio) the American finance/investment system (Pluto) for the purposes of the aggressive (Mars) “new world order” he envisioned. I have seen no confirmation of this, but the idea to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act keeping banking, investing and insurance separate may have been Bush’s idea as well—breaking down those protective barriers was essential for NAFTA and later globalization efforts.

The NAFTA vote in Congress
If anyone thinks astrologers are no longer working to help government officials plan their important events, the following biwheel should convince you they are. The timing of this vote was documented, so we can consider house placements as well. We won’t go into a great deal of detail, but a quick look at a few key placements will add context for the eventual signing of the agreement and its life since then.

Biwheel 2: (inner wheel) Radix, U.S. Sibly, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m., LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Radix, Congress votes yes on NAFTA, November 17, 1993, 7:30 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C.

Vote Sun-Pluto (Scorpio) sextiles Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), squares Vote Saturn-Sibly Moon (Aquarius) and trines Sibly Mercury (Cancer). A very hard-nosed complex of aspects, this suggests that this vote probably involved a combination of arm-twisting (the squares), especially in regards to the public (Moon), and behind the scenes manipulation (12th house Scorpio). The vote seized upon a solid opportunity (sextile) for the finance industry (Pluto), enabled by the opening of trade (trine to Mercury).

This harsh Saturn-Pluto square, tying into the Sibly Moon (the People), reflects the hardship many could expect to experience with NAFTA-driven labor dynamics, and it reflects the hard-nosed attitude Congress took towards the public—especially unionized workers—in this vote. According to MacArthur, the Bushes were in “…the traditional mindset about trade, which is: trade is good on any terms; the world is the way it is; we can’t change anything, so let’s just get in there and get as much trade as we can…labor and workers and environmentalists are just not at the table.”[iv] The Bush mindset was typical for Republicans and in growing numbers at that time, Democrats.

Vote Uranus-Neptune-Moon conjoin in Capricorn, square Sibly Chiron (Aries) and trine Sibly Neptune (Virgo). This potent Capricorn gathering united Congress around an ideology (trine to Neptune) that said trade and capital should flow freely like water (Neptune); the pain inflicted on the nation (square to Chiron) was—like labor and environmentalists—not on the table.

Vote Jupiter-Mercury and (widely) Venus (all Scorpio) trine Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). These trine aspects focused Congress’s attention on the revenue potential promised by NAFTA, especially for the finance industry (Jupiter also forms a wide, out-of-sign square to Sibly Pluto). Seventh house Sibly Venus-Jupiter are always interested in the benefits our relationships hold for us (and how our national security is impacted), so trade is a natural focus that tends to bleed over into security and defense issues.

Stage three—Signing NAFTA into law
There were many who didn’t buy the promised economic benefits of NAFTA to the U.S.—and in retrospect, they may have been right—but passing it was driven by Clinton’s enthusiasm and political coalition-building skill. Clinton’s support for unregulated trade represented a move to the center for traditional Democratic values, but he radiated a fresh-faced, idealistic confidence that somehow open, unregulated (“free”) markets would help build democracy abroad, and many other prominent Dems agreed with him.

Free market theory was almost a delusional “Kool-aid” that Ivy League conservative economists were selling at the time, and even though American workers weren’t buying it, the delusion prevailed and the bill was signed into law on December 8, 1993. Again, the day was perfectly chosen—if the goal was to prevail philosophically over very legitimate reservations.

Biwheel 3: (inner wheel) Radix, U.S. Sibly, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m., LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Radix, NAFTA, is signed into law, December 8, 1993, 12:00 p.m. ST (no actual time known), Washington, D.C.

NAFTA Sun-Mars (Sagittarius) oppose Sibly Mars (Gemini); NAFTA Sun conjoins Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly DSC (Gemini). These aspects read like an angular assault (Mars) on the nation’s ability to balance Self interests with the interests of Others. Where do we focus our efforts? The amazingly tight Mars-Mars opposition is like an ideological (Sagittarius) “shot across the bow” to our trade partners (Sibly 7th house) that day. In fact, if these energies were viewed from a different context, they might reflect a violent exchange (an incoming or outgoing attack). Perhaps the damage done by NAFTA was shared by all partners to some extent?

NAFTA Saturn (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius) and trines Sibly Mars (Gemini); Saturn disposes NAFTA Uranus-Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. With its trine here, transiting Saturn ties the “violence” of the Mars-Mars opposition into a far-reaching corporate juggernaut (Uranus-Neptune in Capricorn) with grave consequences (Saturn) for the People (Moon). We can’t argue that it was all bad—some sectors of the economy benefited, but NAFTA represented the first major wave of a damaging shift away from a manufacturing economy into something far less secure for American workers, even if they weren’t in manufacturing.

Uranus’s involvement, of course, reflects how important technological developments were to enabling this process. Neptune, for its part, was the standard bearer for the material dreams (Capricorn Neptune) of underdeveloped and developing countries that would soon be sewing our clothing and manufacturing our cell phones in modern day sweat shops.

The pressure to level wages out across the globe was also covered by this Neptune—water and capital flows always seek their own levels. 

NAFTA Pluto (Scorpio) sextiles Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), squares Sibly Moon (Aquarius) and trines Sibly Mercury (Cancer). This heavy placement for Pluto opened the door to the entanglement of global financial and geopolitical power dynamics that followed on NAFTA’s heels. Here we see Pluto’s transformative force applied on the People (Moon)—the Capricorn-driven evolution of the economy took time, but Pluto colluded with that effort from Scorpio and the force was inexorable.

Did Bill Clinton know what a Pandora’s Box he was opening as he signed this bill? Could anyone have foreseen all that has transpired since then? This Pluto continued transiting the Sibly 12th throughout the period during which globalization established itself as the “new world order.” Its placement points to the behind-the-scenes way in which global realities unfold. Perhaps we should have paid attention to coming dangers when the World Trade Center was first bombed in February, 1993 under this strident Capricorn-Scorpio nexus of energies. 

When corporations (enabled by global organizations like the IMF and World Bank) are given the authority to rule exchanges between nations and heavily influence local economies, there are winners and losers, and enemies are easily made. Unfortunately, innocent bystanders pay the price. Is that the new corporate risk/benefit calculus?

Clearly, Pluto played a critical role in NAFTA—and in the “new world order” that followed. In fact, if we trace the geopolitics of the period between 1993 (this chart), Pluto’s ingress into Sagittarius in 1995 (enhancing the ideological thrust of the power dynamics) and Pluto’s passage back and forth over the Sibly ASC between 2000 and 2001, we can see there are deep astrological links between growing tensions in the world—especially terrorism—and the rapid, disruptive way in which a new global financial order was imposed.

That was then…this is now
Again, we see how key the new Uranus-Neptune cycle in Capricorn was to jumpstarting the globalization trend. Anti-globalization economist David Korten sounded a warning about the “new world order” NAFTA represented in his 1995 book, When Corporations Rule the World, which certainly fits the global thrust of this powerful cardinal cycle. Reviewer Tom Nickles introduced this study by saying that Korten “awakened many Americans to the destructive systemic impacts of the global economic system and the depths of the structural problems.” A global economic system with structural problems reads like a keyword phrase for Uranus-Neptune in Saturn-ruled Capricorn.

So what kind of changes can we expect a new President Clinton to make in the controversial TPP? By birth, she’s deeply tuned into the Scorpio forces that pushed NAFTA into existence, so if anyone can apply the antidote to that “barrel of venomous snakes,” she could be the one. Only time will tell, but at least she acknowledges she doesn’t have all the answers!*349/AP_

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. 

[i]John R. MacArthur, The Selling of “Free Trade:” NAFTA, Washington and the subversion of American Democracy, Hill and Wang, NY, NY, 2000, p. 105.
[ii] Jerry Mander, The Case Against Free Trade, (a collection of essays by 16 authors), Earth Island Press, 1993, p. 17.
[iii] MacArthur, 8.
[iv] MacArthur, 105. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The astrology of Wikileaks’ tactical strike on Hillary Clinton

Is Clinton worthy of the leap of faith Sanders wants his supporters to make? If she takes nothing else away from this Convention and the attempts to derail her, I hope it’s a new (or renewed) determination to be just that. 

After last week’s chaotic gloom-fest hosted by the RNC, a lot of media players were expecting a real snooze-fest from the DNC. This was far from the reality, however: thanks to Wikileaks and the suspected meddling of Russian intelligence players (who would prefer a Trump presidency), the Democratic Convention started with more than a bang—a resignation—on the part of embattled DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Despite some rowdiness, empassioned tears from Sanders’ supporters, and the powerfully embarrassing mischief waged against her from abroad, Day 1 of the Convention was far from a rout of Clinton and her candidacy. Even so, looking at the astrology of the situation, we’ll see that Clinton was clearly targeted at an opportune time—if the goal was to inflict deep personal pain. It’s hard to say if this pain will derail her success in November, but the Cosmos is definitely testing her mettle.

Let’s consider the biwheel for Clinton and the Wikileaks DNC Email dump (which is documented by with the exact time of 10:30 a.m.).

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Natal, Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 26, 1947, 8:02 a.m., ST, Chicago, Illinois. (HRC’s birth time is still considered controversial, but this time seems to reflect many key events in her career); (outer wheel) Radix, Wikileaks DNC Email release, July 22, 2016, 10:30 a.m. DST, Stockholm, Sweden.

Release Moon (Aquarius) conjoins HRC Jupiter/Node (midpoint, Aquarius), sextiles Release Uranus-Eris-Part of Fortune (Aries), squares Release Mars (Scorpio)-HRC SNode-Jupiter (Scorpio-Sagittarius), trines HRC Uranus-Release MC, and quincunxes both Release ASC (Virgo) and Sun (Cancer). Clearly, the Release Moon—ruling the day’s Cancer Sun—is a major player in this chart and in this crazy assemblage of aspects; in the powerful final degree of Aquarius, it is focused on wreaking havoc on whatever it touches. The fleeting duration of Moon aspects suggests that the Wikileaks attack was carefully timed (probably with the help of an astrologer) for maximum opportunism and impact, but in the nature of Moon aspects, its impact may be short-lived.

Let’s unpack this tangle of energies and then attempt to synthesize the “big idea;” please note that as the aspects listed here radiate outward into other connections between the charts, we’ll consider those as part of the extended configuration.

Release Moon (Aquarius) conjoins HRC Jupiter/Node (midpoint, Aquarius). The email dump was Wikileaks’ attempt to shed light (Moon) on the pro-Clinton biases of the DNC. Clearly, whoever turned over the emails to Wikileaks was trying to influence Clinton’s success (Jupiter/Node), especially with women (Moon).  

.sextiles Release Uranus-Eris-Part of Fortune (Aries). Release Uranus-Eris-POF also sextiles Clinton’s Uranus, which is conjoined the Release MC in Gemini, so the opportunity to shock and disrupt her campaign in a dramatically public way (MC) may endure for awhile.

…squares Release Mars (Scorpio)-HRC SNode-Jupiter (Scorpio-Sagittarius). Revelations (Moon) designed to challenge (Mars) Clinton’s growth and success (Jupiter-Node). Release Mars also squares HRC’s elevated Leo Saturn, so the damage is meant to impact her reputation and authority as well. It also, of course, challenges her to take responsibility for whatever went wrong. Donald Trump’s immediate reaction was to accuse Clinton of throwing Wasserman-Schultz “under the bus,” over the revelations, but other reports have said that Wasserman-Schultz chose to resign “after the Convention.” Her demise seems to have its roots in more than one set of revelations, however: she was nowhere to be seen on Day 1, her departure being expedited to heal divisions.

…trines HRC Uranus-Release MC. Release MC-HRC Uranus also squares Clinton’s Moon (Pisces), which is in turn being assaulted by wounded healer Chiron (Pisces), so the release impacted her in a shocking, deeply personal way. Can Clinton transcend this attack to heal Democratic divisions—perhaps this will be the week’s major theme. Is it her destiny (her Jupiter/Node trines this Gemini grouping) to heal the nation in some potent way? At the moment it hardly feels that way, but crazier things have happened and time will tell.

…quincunxes both Release ASC (Virgo) and Sun (Cancer). Release ASC and Release Sun also sextile each other here, and even though these dual quincunxes do not constitute a yod (that requires slower-moving points involved), there’s still plenty of frustration to go around here. Cardinal full Moons are known to be aggressive, and the Cancer-Capricorn Moon on the 19th (during Trump’s Convention) did not disappoint, so this waning aspect is pushing for action against some frustrating resistance. The Release was a “venting” of a seed idea sown at the July 4th New Moon (12°+Cancer), conjunct the Sibly Sun (representing the Executive or President). Preventing Clinton from capturing that prize was clearly an objective.

To put things into context, it should be added here that the DNC acknowledges their computer systems were compromised by Russian hackers (the Russians deny this, of course) as long as a year ago; undoubtedly, we’ll see more about this Russian connection as the election heats up with two official candidates.  

Release Venus-Mercury conjoin HRC Mars-Pluto and HRC Sun/Node (all Leo), square HRC Venus-Chiron (Scorpio) and trine Release Saturn (Rx, Sagittarius). Communication which results in a loss of respect for the impacted person (Sun/Node midpoint) reflects Mercury’s role here, but Venus transiting HRC’s powerful Mars-Pluto while it trines Release Saturn Rx suggests that the attempt to “frame” Clinton could ricochet back on the perpetrators, especially once Saturn goes direct in August.

Venus and Saturn here also validate HRC’s defensiveness about “right-wing conspiracies” (Release Venus squares her Scorpio Venus-Chiron). A big part of the mistrust many people feel for HRC has its roots in her Mars-Pluto square to Venus-Chiron; demonstrating that she can make the “right use of power” (her Mars-Pluto and transiting Venus-trine-Saturn) would go a long way towards healing that damaging mistrust.

Release Jupiter (Virgo) opposes HRC Moon-Release Chiron (Pisces); Release ASC/Jupiter sextiles Release Mars (Scorpio)-HRC ASC-SNode and squares HRC Uranus-Release MC. It is abundantly clear that Wikileaks’ actions were launched as a tactical (Virgo) cyber-attack, or worse, an attempt to incite a physical attack (impacting her ASC-SNode). Jupiter’s ongoing opposition to Pisces Chiron seems to enables extremist viewpoints, which could also have incited the stubborn “booing” she received from disgruntled “Sanders or Bust” supporters on Convention Day 1. This fits the “emotional catharsis” one commentator proposed to explain that outpouring. It could have also inspired the protective “circling of the wagons” attempt to unify/heal the party which we saw in Day 1’s primetime speeches.

Release Uranus-Eris-POF (Aries) inconjoins Release Mars (Scorpio)-HRC Mercury-ASC-SNode (Scorpio) and Release Jupiter/ASC (Virgo). Again, the malicious intent (Uranus-Eris-POF to Mars) of the Release is clear, and it’s not surprising that a foreign nation’s (Russia) “fingerprints” are thought to be all over this (Jupiter/Node). Political and religious interests may also be entwined somehow (Chinese nationalists reportedly prefer Trump’s approach to Muslims than Hillary’s), and anti-HRC players may seek another legal inquiry (also Jupiter/Node related). Whatever one feels about HRC, there’s a clear feeling of her being harassed and threatened in these abrasive aspects.

Release Pluto conjoins HRC Jupiter/Juno (all Capricorn), sextiles HRC Chiron-Venus, squares HRC Part of Fortune (Aries) and HRC Neptune (Libra), trines Release Node-Jupiter (Virgo) and inconjoins Release Mercury-Venus-HRC Mars-Pluto (Leo). This is another crazy-complicated network of powerful energies, which we’ll unpack below:

Release Pluto conjoins HRC Jupiter/Juno (Capricorn). This would seem to indicate that the “Powers-that-Be” (political and economic) are behind HRC, who just happens to be a Juno-type herself, a stateswoman in her own right and the wife of a former leader who was at one time infamous for his Jupiter/Zeus-like unfaithful behavior. Still, Bill Clinton retains his Jupiterian charm and popularity, despite his excesses (like meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on a tarmac when he clearly shouldn’t have). Pluto’s other connections here don’t quite indicate a “coronation” of HRC, however.

…sextiles HRC Chiron-Venus. Power is available to HRC, but comes at a painful price. We’ve certainly seen this with Pluto’s long transit to this point, encompassing investigations, and so on.

…squares HRC Part of Fortune (Aries) and HRC Neptune (Libra). Another long-term transit, Pluto’s square here completes a transiting t-square with these two opposition points, which reflects the grit and determination HRC has shown in this grueling campaign. This t-square also ties into the Sibly chart, forming an interchart grand cross with its Cancer Sun (the Executive, chart not shown) that takes in Sibly Saturn (Libra) as well. While this provides a deeply motivating context, there’s also a sense that she sees the presidency as a higher calling (Neptune-POF), not simply a personal ambition.

… trines Release Node-Jupiter (Virgo). As we’ve seen in the earlier discussion, this Jupiter in Virgo is not all sweetness and light and it connects with several of Clinton’s personal points, so Pluto trine this point reads like a potential trap. Could this reflect the trials of Sumerian nature goddess Inanna (Virgo) at the hands of her Underworld sister, Erishkegal (Pluto in Capricorn)? In one version of the story, Inanna is essentially trapped in that Underworld, humiliated, stripped and hung up on metal hooks; in another version she is released, but only when she trades her husband for the favor.

Clearly this is not to be taken literally, but it does suggest attempts to entrap HRC in a network of forces beyond her control that radically undermine her. With Release Jupiter also opposing Chiron and Clinton’s Moon, the intent to wound her on a deep primal level is obvious. Ironically, her self-confidence and refusal to be sidelined by the male establishment were sorely needed to bring her this far, but her outward bravado may be something of a mask. Would voters like her better if she caved into these power plays? Could Pluto transform her bravado so it feels more authentic to the unconvinced?

…inconjoins Release Mercury-Venus-HRC Mars-Pluto (Leo). Pluto (especially in Saturn-ruled Capricorn) can be a deeply misogynistic energy, and nothing offends a misogynist more deeply than a powerful woman who refuses to be sidelined. This aspect taps into Clinton’s fixed Leo-Scorpio energies, which provide that staunch resistance, so the power struggle represented here is far from over. Michelle Obama’s motherly advice to go “high” when the opposition goes “low” (paraphrased from her powerful Day 1 speech) is good advice.

What’s it all about, ultimately?
These are heavy times in world politics, and if this chart says anything, it’s that power dynamics have become pathological. Can we take an uplifting high road when so much of the world (including the U.S.) seems intent on taking the very low alternative? At the risk of sounding biased, I would say that last night’s Convention speeches were hopeful in this regard. The anguish in Bernie Sanders’ supporters was palpable as he urgently encouraged them to take the leap of faith in Clinton that he’s decided to take. His most diehard supporters, however, are simply not ready to give up the dream he inspired in them and “get real.”

We didn’t touch upon Saturn and Neptune’s transiting square above (saving the best for last?), but this long-term square has bedeviled the campaign for months and continues to enable chaos. In this biwheel, the square spans Clinton’s 1st and 4th houses, so she’s been feeling the chaos in deeply personal ways. She seems to have strong recuperative powers, however, with her 12th house Sun (Scorpio) and other personal planets, so her “steady hand” on the helm may be more than just a campaign slogan.

The Saturn-Neptune square has also left open from day one the possibility that reality and dreams would clash in the end. Is Clinton worthy of the leap of faith Sanders wants his supporters to make? If she takes nothing else away from this Convention and the attempts to derail her, I hope it’s a new (or renewed) determination to be just that. 

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. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Astrology of Law & Order - Uranus stations retrograde on July 29th

Well, GOP Convention rhetoric reached new dark lows by the time the balloons dropped, and Donald Trump clearly wasn’t channeling Ronald Reagan—who, despite some radical moves that set the nation on the road to our current globalized mess, was a basically sunny, congenial and optimistic guy. 

In retrospect, even if you vehemently disagreed with some of Reagan’s policies and perspectives, he left the Constitution basically intact, played well with others, and was therefore a real sweetheart of a president.
In his nomination acceptance speech, Trump veered to the extreme opposite pole. We can only surmise that his objective was to scare his followers into following him blindly, because in a nutshell, OTHERS (people who don’t quite look like them) are to blame for whatever ails this country, and it’s all so bad that HE ALONE is their salvation. Trump’s speech played the victim/savior card masterfully.

Perhaps Trump supporter and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s announcement today (7/23) that he’ll seek a Republican Senate seat in Louisiana was a vote a confidence in Trump’s promise? Duke has never been coy about his core mission, which is to promote white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and the racist agenda of Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Clearly this mission includes rolling back any progress in Civil Rights for minorities, and now that Trump has brought bigotry into mainstream politics, he apparently feels free to paint the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as a “terrorist organization.”
Duke’s not the only champion of rolling back hard-won civil rights: empowered by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to invalidate a key principle of the 1960s Voting Rights Act, several Southern states have been busy curtailing access to the vote for blacks—a key point of protest for groups like BLM. Just today, a federal judge upheld North Carolina’s new restrictive voting laws, despite a Department of Justice’s suit against it on the basis of discrimination.
Duke’s presence on the Louisiana legislature can only enflame the situation and lead to further division. Duke claims that his decision to run this time (he’s run for various offices in the past) was inspired by the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge: if Trump’s “law and order” agenda prevails in November, Duke—and the fringe groups he speaks for—will be given free rein to interpret that call to action. Anyone who remembers the grim activities of the KKK during the 1960s Civil Rights Era knows this is a truly dreadful prospect.

Astrological considerations
So, what does this quest for “law and order” look like, astrologically? Privileging the rights of the police over the people (one reason it’s so hard to prosecute the police killings of unarmed black men) is one hallmark of the “law and order” agenda, so we might expect a heavy Mars-Saturn emphasis. Withholding important rights such as voting from people, to achieve such “order” also suggests a heavy Saturn component, but there’s a delusional Neptune undertone, as well.
The relentless fear-mongering narrative, claiming that minorities and outsiders (the OTHERS) are taking something away from the rightful (assumed to be “white”) owners of this country, threatens to produce a mob mentality that is classical Saturn-Neptune in hard aspect—panicked and chaotically focused on regaining a perceived loss of control. This perception—creating perceptions is Trump’s forté—finds especially fertile ground in those who have experienced hard times and need someone to blame (Saturn). Those who can’t quite empathize (Neptune) with the OTHERS being demonized are especially prone to this panic, and are especially likely to appreciate a Savior (Neptune) solution. When Trump promises “I alone can fix this,” he knows exactly what need he’s tapping into.

The importance of shock value
Nothing feeds the above panicked mindset and the “law and order” agenda like rebellion and violent unpredictability—potentials that Uranus offers, especially in combination with Mars. Unfortunately, the world has delivered more than enough chaos lately to fit the narrative and make people legitimately uneasy. What’s actually causing the level of violence we’re seeing is another story, though—the typical “law and order” agenda has simple pat answers for very complicated situations, and if we start labeling every violent event as “terrorism,” the door is left open for Constitution-free remedies.
The long-term, cardinal Uranus-Pluto square (Aries-Capricorn) we’ve been experiencing since 2010 has strongly supported this hard-nosed, belligerent agenda: a great deal of violence (Uranus in Aries) has been used to ramrod the priorities of a global economy favoring the wealthy (Pluto in Capricorn) down everyone’s throats. Realistically, the hardship and chaos resulting in the U.S. has been mild compared to that suffered abroad (witness the migrant crisis, spawned by the intertwined drivers of geopolitical chaos and environmental degradation).
Which is not to say that one set of suffering is more important than the other—Trump may want to frame the challenge as “Americanism over Globalism,” but Uranus and Pluto challenge us to figure out a solution that takes all needs seriously because we’re all in this together, like it or not. The choices are stark: cooperate and craft solutions that lift us all up, or retreat within a walled fortress and live in a perpetual state of turmoil and restriction. As this generational square separates in the coming year, it’s extremely important that we get this right.

Misogyny as a tool for “law and order”
Pluto is also clearly involved in a law and order agenda from another perspective: in the kangaroo court “witch-hunt” that overtook GOP Convention rhetoric last week, Hillary Clinton was framed as the scapegoat—“Lucifer, himself”—for all the chaotic forces (Saturn-Neptune in mutable signs) this mob wants to exorcise. The narrative spun by New Jersey’s Chris Christie painted her as the antithesis of “law and order,” and you can bet there are those who’ve taken that a step further and painted her as the “Anti-Christ.”

The fact that Clinton is a powerful WOMAN—to historical law and order types, “the feminine evil”—is no accident. According to archaeo-historians Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor, this deadly misogyny, deeply-rooted in patriarchal Western civilization, “led logically and directly to the religiously targeted murder of women as witches during the Great Inquisition in Europe.” Things aren’t much different today: women are particularly vulnerable in all the war-torn areas of the world. Rape—a constant threat that is swelling the numbers of migrants desperately trying to reach European shores—is the weapon of choice in many conflicts.
In the end, obsession with “law and order” is about consolidating power-over a rival that threatens one’s authority, whether that authority is legitimate or not.
Horrifically, women and homosexuals were apparently burnt at the stake together in many documented Inquisition incidents, and Pluto also rules homophobia. Homosexual men were used as “tinder” for these hideous fires—hence the origin of the demeaning term, “faggot.”[1] Trump’s nod toward LGBTQ rights is perhaps real, or perhaps calculated for effect, but his venomous approach to women who challenge him has never varied.
It's disturbing enough that Trump apparently believes himself authorized to defame and assassinate the characters of opponents (imposing power over them and modeling that behavior for followers), but it’s hard to know what to make of the physical death threats made by his followers to Clinton. Trump hasn’t overtly supported them, but he hasn’t publicly denounced them and told his supporters to lighten up, either. Ambiguity can be a powerful Neptune-Pluto tactic: by maintaining a nebulous inferred threat for which he can’t quite be held responsible, he works to keep his opponent off balance.

A chart to consider
At least some of the turmoil we witnessed in last week’s Convention was driven by Uranus, gradually slowing down as it approaches station retrograde on July 29th—inconjoining Mars in Scorpio as it does. Uranus will turn retrograde, of course, as the Democratic Convention is winding down, and Mars will still be inconjunct, so there could be more than a little turmoil in Philadelphia, as well. The chart for this important station is worth considering here for what it says about the tone of the remaining campaign: will “law and order” be the order of the day? Will Clinton’s more upbeat agenda be overwhelmed with drama from the other side?  Uranus will be transiting retrograde through nearly the end of December, so it’s an important turning point.

Uranus stations retrograde at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia
As we know, Uranus instigates change, setting off a “cause-and-effect” chain reaction that is often surprising and unconventional. There is potential for both positive and negative change, but more than the change itself, Uranus has an uncanny way of revealing the “truth” of the collective, producing disruptions that express the energies of that collective at any given time. We may think we’ve moved beyond some of our darker impulses as a people, but events have a way of erupting that show us what we’re really made of. As co-ruler of Aquarius with Saturn, these eruptions are an opportunity to work on ourselves—or, an excuse to withdraw into our troubled “comfort zone” for the sake of security. As painful as it can be, Uranus produces necessary upsets in the end.

Chart 1: Radix, Uranus Stations Rx, July 29, 2016, 5:06 p.m. DST, Philadelphia, PA.
Uranus (Aries) semi-sextiles Chiron (Pisces), trines Venus-Mercury (Leo) and inconjoins both Jupiter (Virgo) and Mars (Scorpio); Jupiter (Virgo) opposes and Mars (Scorpio) trines Chiron (Pisces). There’s a lot of frustration and irritability contained in these aspects, so considering the importance of Uranus here, the tone of the remaining campaign is likely to be annoyingly wounding (Chiron). The extremist agenda on display in Cleveland is likely to persist as long as Jupiter opposes Chiron, and it may feel like we’re seeing a tug-of-war between random terrorism and militarism (Virgo).
Fiery speeches will be a staple of the campaign, with both candidates heavily invested in personal magnetism and claims of authority (5th-9th house Aries-Leo trines). There may be an almost gladiatorial feel to the back and forth between the candidates; the tone of their respective rhetoric will be especially reflected in how transiting Mars (Scorpio) connects with their nativities (Clinton’s Scorpio Mercury-ASC-South Node-Sagittarius Jupiter conjoin and Saturn squares; Trump’s Mars-ASC in Leo squares). Uranus also trines the ascendant here (Sagittarius), creating a grand trine with Mercury and Venus (Leo), so we can expect some fireworks (literal and/or figurative) while this configuration holds together.
Who will make the most effective use of today’s turmoil for his/her campaign (Uranus grand trine and Mars trine Chiron)? Ideally, as Uranus turns retrograde, the candidate who best turns a reflective eye inward and commits him-or-herself to healing our social divisions will prevail. Unfortunately, the choice to stoke those divisions for the sake of “power over” (enabled by disruptive dwarf planet Eris transiting conjunct Uranus) will remain. This will be reinforced by Uranus's opposition to the Mars/Jupiter (midpoint, Libra); political solutions for social unrest are reflected here, but the choice to make knee-jerk social changes also exists.

 Mutable Grand Cross: 12th house Saturn (Rx, Sagittarius) opposes 6th house Moon (Gemini); this axis squares 3rd house Neptune (Rx, Pisces)-Nodal Axis. Mutable grand squares are famous for promoting chaos and incoherence, so we can expect the messaging (Gemini Moon-Pisces Neptune) in the remaining campaign to take us out on the emotional ledge. The timing of this aspect suggests that this could be the impression Convention attendees (and the viewing public) take away with them.
Promises could be made indiscriminately—the perception that Trump “tells it like it is” may start looking empty and incoherent. Clinton will probably still be dealing with perceptions of dishonesty (the Trump campaign will do its best to upstage her), but she may have a good week, nevertheless. Taking responsibility for the words (Gemini) thrown around and the perceptions (Pisces) created, and for steering their campaigns in sound tactical directions (Virgo Node), will be important.
Saturn trines Sun (Leo). This aspect taps into Trump’s natal Pluto (Leo), supporting his agenda and “aura of authority” while it persists. By November, Saturn will be within orb of trining Uranus and conjoining the chart ascendant.  As this develops, the candidates will have choices: to take responsibility for, and thus facilitate positive Uranian change—answering the hard questions, considering all angles and all stakeholders, etc.—or to use these fiery energies to destabilize and dominate. The first half of August may be a particularly volatile period, with Sun transiting Leo; it will conjoin Trump’s Mars-Ascendant before moving into Virgo.  

T-Square: Jupiter (Virgo) opposes Chiron (Pisces) and this axis squares ASC (Sagittarius). We’ve seen Jupiter’s involvement in the mutable grand cross discussed above, but this configuration stands on its own and highlights an important dimension of this presidential election. In Virgo, Jupiter celebrates service; opposite Chiron in Pisces, this service is ideally directed towards healing the collective. Not surprisingly, however, this opposition taps into the U.S. Sibly chart’s Neptune-Mars square (Virgo-Gemini—see Biwheel 1 below), which raises key issues for the next president’s policies.

Will that president wield his/her Commander-in-Chief role responsibly (Virgo=military, square Gemini Mars), or as a misguided tool for restoring the so-called “American Dream?” (Neptune). There’s a lot of nostalgia for the “good old days” of WWII, when the American middle class was booming and America was “great,” but the war alone would not have bolstered the economy; it took a coherent, multi-faceted combination of factors after the war (unionized industries, support for education and home ownership, vigorous technological opportunities, and so on) to support that unprecedented period of broadly-shared prosperity. Certain industries thrive tremendously in times of war, but the past decades have shown clearly that war is not a shortcut to overall prosperity.  

Granted, Jupiter wants growth at any cost, but Virgo demands we sweat the details and proceed logically and pragmatically. Jupiter is transiting Trump’s 1st house, opposite transiting Chiron in his 7th; we will likely see more emphasis on “I alone can fix this,” directed at wounding Others (7th). As for Clinton, Jupiter is transiting her 10th (8:02 a.m. chart) and Chiron is transiting her 4th house Moon (Pisces); this certainly reflects the emotional bashing she’s been taking from Trump, and the fact that she’s one of the Others he is intent on wounding. The 10th-4th axis here suggests a growth of authority on the world stage for her, gained at the expense of deep personal pain.

Jupiter trines Pluto (Capricorn). This aspect always reflects our use of power, and spanning Virgo to Capricorn, the choices have tangible, economic ramifications. Globalization has strategically redistributed the tangible “goodies” of this planet to those at the top (Pluto), and we’re seeing the results in the form of terrorism (ideology/Jupiter seems to be used to keep the “foot soldiers” inspired; beyond that, a great deal of money/Pluto circulates in terrorist networks, which seem to have a lot in common with organized crime).
Clinton and Trump have Pluto transiting their 2nd and 6th houses, respectively, which taps into her values (2nd) and his attitudes toward service (6th). Clinton clearly values prosperity and her platform (perhaps moved to the left by the Sanders challenge) reflects a moderately liberal approach to economic issues. Trump has leveraged the economic anxieties of his followers, but his ideas seem to entangle economic and defense policies. Telling NATO members that they have to pay up before the U.S. will honor its treaty obligations in their defense may seem pragmatic on the surface (6th house), but apart from the mercenary tone of that idea, what happens when we need allies? When we want to build healthy trade relations to bolster the economy? Etc.

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Radix, U.S.A. (Sibly), July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Radix, Uranus Stations Rx, July 29, 2016, 5:06 p.m. DST, Philadelphia, PA.

Stay tuned
As with Trump, the big question for Clinton during the coming Convention week will be whether she can happily unite her party behind her candidacy. Vice presidential choice Tim Kaine seems to be a net positive for now, but time will tell whether he helps bring Bernie Sanders’ supporters into the fold or not. Surprises undoubtedly await in Philadelphia—stay tuned!

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]Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth, Harper & Row, N.Y., N.Y, 1975, pp. 298-9.