Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Finding the Balance: The Pluto in Libra generation revisited, Part 2

It is perhaps one of the higher purposes of the Libra generation to get the balance between these imperatives of privacy and security right...

Snowden’s ostensibly “criminal” actions certainly illustrate the dilemma we are all in with regards to privacy and security—this is not just about Snowden— but about how his overall Pluto in Libra generation (known hereafter as "PL") is finding its strengths and place in the American continuum, and raising important questions as it does. 

Great tension exists between truth-telling and transparency on one hand, and the tendency for government to push our Constitutional protections until somehow cries foul on the other. It is perhaps one of the higher purposes of the Libra generation to get the balance between these two imperatives right.

A lot is at stake in this generation's collective well-being going forward. For starters, the astrology of 2020 fits their “fire and air” inception chart very nicely (see Chart #1 below), so it’s just possible one of the the next U.S. presidents could be from their generation. One way or another, PLs are found today in every corner of government and public service—they’re scientists and doctors, technicians and astronauts, educators, engineers and inventors, journalists, politicians, screenwriters, producers, artists, social movement leaders, and so on. 

Chart #1: Pluto Libra ingress, October 4, 1971, 9:52 p.m. DST, Washington, DC. Tropical Equal houses, True Node. 

Of course, these broad strokes in no way represent the experience of every PL individual; cultural and environmental differences (and the endless cycling of transits, progressions, etc.) make for countless individual variations on the PL “theme.”

Broadly speaking, the PL generation was born feeling responsible for saving the world—like good Libras they value fairness and justice, and growing up, they didn’t watch all those “super-hero” movies for nothing. College and other life experiences (they are a more highly-educated generation than their parents) inspired them to achieve great things, and though many came back to “reality” with a thud when they found jobs for super-hero types were not that easy to find, they’ve proven resilient.

For that matter, many PLs are contributing in larger-than-life ways. Chris Martin of Coldplay is heading up the Global Citizen’s Festival in New York City’s Central Park (happening this past week), to support the United Nation’s sustainable development goals to end extreme global poverty. Sergey Brin and Larry Page—the founders of Google—are both PLs, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg missed having Pluto in Libra by 5 days during a retrograde Scorpio phase in 1984. 

A latter-day Pluto in Virgo—Elon Musk—may be the visionary who finally electrifies an affordable car for the mass public, and moves the exploration of Mars forward, but PLs (and Millennials, to be fair) will energize these efforts. The transition to a “fire and air” (solar and electric) energy economy is on the horizon, and they will carry it through the obstacles.

PL women are full partners in these exciting times, playing prominent roles, as well—Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg was born in 1972; YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was born in 1971; Marissa Mayer, the embattled CEO at Yahoo, was born in 1978, and so on. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t crash that highest glass ceiling, after all, a PL woman is likely to do so, and soon.

The ranks of TED.com are crowded with PL speakers (both genders) touting fabulous ideas for the future: bottom line, PLs are a thoughtful generation that wants to make a difference, and they are doing just that.

Sub-generations and upcoming Saturn issues

There are 5 Saturn “sub-generations” within the Pluto in Libra cohort:

Saturn in Cancer:        8/73-1/74; 4/74-9/75
            Saturn in Leo:             9/75-1/76; 6/76-7/78
            Saturn in Virgo:          7/78-9/80
            Saturn in Libra:           9/80-11/82; 5/83-8/83
            Saturn in Scorpio:       11/82-5/83; 8/83-11/85 (Pluto leaves Libra in 8/84)

All five cohorts have navigated their first Saturn returns and have overall (there are always exceptions) become responsible adults raising children, juggling today’s economic and work pressures along with the rest of us.

By Election Day (outer wheel, Biwheel #1, below), Saturn will have transited over their generational chart’s Sagittarius DSC, suggesting a time for assuming responsibility and authority in more visible ways. Challenges tend to follow this transit, but PLs appear positioned for success: this Saturn falls between and sextiles both their Aquarius Mars and their Libra Sun-Uranus-Venus, suggesting they will have renewed opportunities to apply dynamic technical brilliance (Mars-Uranus in air) and diplomacy (Libra) in their professions going forward.

The country is long overdue for a technical revolution that plants us firmly in the post-fossil fuel age and comes to grips with climate change, and PLs will probably drive rapid developments in these areas in the 2020s.  Their generational chart’s Aquarius Node-Mars-MC will resonate nicely with the new Aquarius Jupiter-Saturn cycle launching at the end of 2020 at 0°+Aquarius (not shown), exactly trine their generational Pluto. Pluto's Aquarius ingress in 2023 should empower them even further.  

As for PL diplomatic skills, we are faced with some of the most intractable situations ever right now, involving North Korea, Russia and Syria: we can use all the help we can get!

Election Saturn and Venus (both Sagittarius) individually trine transiting Uranus-PL Moon (both Aries). “PL power” is likely to rise in the public sphere during the post-election period, likely on the strength of their skills: diplomatic (Libra) and technical (Aquarius Mars disposes Aries Moon). It might behoove the next President to appoint a number of PLs to the new Cabinet: Secretary of State and Secretary of Energy, for starters.

A peace-loving Pluto

Pluto leads a five-planet, 21+ degree Libra stellium in the PL chart, so this generation would prefer peace and harmony to war. This is not to say that they are a generation of pacifists—this Pluto also gets why conflict that helps restore balance to volatile situations might be necessary here and there. The simple fact that PLs see peace and harmony as their preferred default, however, says we need their help in Washington.

This stellium also reflects how intensely they  need balance in all things for their collective well-being: their generational Sun falls in the center of this stellium, bracketed on one side by Mercury and Pluto, on the other by Uranus and Venus. They “get” the power invested in technology, communications and human relations—these three are second nature to PLs (cozied up to their Sun) and help them maintain their balance.

With its stunning Air/Fire oppositions, the PL chart reflects the polarized times this generation came into. They cut their teeth on East-meets-West, and came of age in a crusader climate of “U.S. vs. Them.” Libra requires an Other, so it’s fitting that each of their generational planets has its Tango partner—except for Mars. Mars dances with everybody—from their 9th house, he conjuncts the Node and provides the 3rd leg of an Air grand trine. It’s his job (in Aquarius) to keep things exciting.

Mars provides an outlet for the chart’s tense oppositional forces, channeling them into principled action. Like kids in the back seat, saying “are we there yet?” PLs have eagerly awaited a societal shift to more Aquarian principles: with their Sun/Uranus trine to Mars in Aquarius, they should feel entirely in their element when Jupiter and Saturn begin their Aquarius cycle in December 2020.

We'll consider this more deeply in a future post, but the Aquarius cycle should liberate this generation’s inner “superpower”—thriving in extreme oppositional situations. The “9-to-5” drill has never been enough for them because with a generational Aries Moon disposed by Aquarius Mars, they love pushing limits.

Chiron’s children

I often think of Pluto in Libras as Chiron’s children. Their generation debuted with Chiron in their collective 10th house—a parental house—during the same decade in which Chiron was discovered (1977). In this biwheel, Election Saturn trines this dynamic Chiron (Aries) and sextiles their generational Libra Sun. Clearly, the self-esteem and confidence issues that seemed to haunt so many of them growing up are healing with time—they are finding their personal, moral and ethical (Aries, Libra, Sagittarius) centers. They’ve always known how to connect with each other—social media is their babygoing forward, they will apply their deepening sensibilities to healing global connections.  

Mercury/Sun/Uranus opposite Chiron. In 2005, I wrote that this one aspect captures the oppositional nature of the entire PL chart. In myth, Chiron was a dual creature: both mortal and divine, man and beast, he mirrors the PL’s split between Fire and Air, mind and heart. Chiron in Aries counters the driven, instinctual “beast” with the cerebral, balance-seeking Libra Sun. Chiron wounds cut deep in Aries, threatening Libra’s fragile self-confidence, but by and large the generation has worked hard to prove its worth, and the world is taking notice.

Besides, time is healing. Election Chiron (Pisces) squares their Gemini-Sagittarius horizon (ASC-DSC) and quincunxes their generational Venus (Libra), so some insecurities will surely remain, but there will be an opportunity to resolve and heal these as Chiron completes its return to their Aries placement in 2021.

This healing process will proceed along with the gradual fading of their parents’ generation (we’re in no hurry, but that’s reality)—Election Pluto (Capricorn) marks the early days of a long transit through their generational 8th house, which suggests that for years to come, they will be dealing en masse with life and death issues and the task of caring for aging parents. Deeper wisdom and compassion-driven connectedness (Chiron in Pisces) are the gifts of this transition, and these profound internal changes will benefit the generation going forward.

Mercury and Uranus also speak to globalized business, communications and trade: perhaps this generation will figure out how to reconcile the corporate world's global trade goals with the needs of their workers and local populations. Logically, world economies can not keep up this "race to the bottom," taking jobs away from the people to keep the flows of capital moving!

Election Uranus (Aries) conjoins PL Moon and both oppose PL Venus (Libra). This aspect speaks to the uniquely aggressive femininity manifesting in this generation. Between two cardinal signs, passivity is not an option. As we saw earlier with the growing number of female top executives, this opposition reflects women who are focused, determined and capable. Gender does not imply limits for them, and PLs have little tolerance for female victimization. Their generation actively seeks gender balance and harmony.

Like this aspect, PL women’s fight for equal treatment in the military has been a double-edged sword—abusive situations abound. Another irony is how embattled women’s rights have been since Roe v. Wade (1973) was passed in the early days of their generation. Their generational Moon-Venus opposition is in a tense semi-square/sesquiquadrate aspect with the chart’s 12th house Saturn in Gemini—there’s been an undercurrent of passive aggression towards women’s progress that persists today, despite impressive exceptions.

Aside from gender, the Moon and Venus represent how we all attract what we need. This is where PLs are faced with balancing needs (Moon) with desires (Venus). Seeking out community (11th-friends, associates) as they’ve formed their families (5th -children) has been top priority lately, with relationships a constant concern.

With Mars in Aquarius ruling this Moon, it’s not surprising that overall, PLs dislike homophobia and see sexual preference as a civil rights issue. They are continuing the reinvention of the family begun with Uranus in Cancer—parenting and marriage are not necessarily linked. Settling down and having children has often come first with this group, followed by marriage if things are working out well.

Of course, sometimes they don’t work out well. Pluto supplies quicksand for all his playgrounds—in Libra, the playground is relationships.

Election Neptune (Pisces) t-squares PL Jupiter-Neptune (Sagittarius) opposite Saturn (Rx, Gemini). Pluto entered Libra just weeks after the new Jupiter/Neptune cycle began at 0°+ Sag in Sept. 1971. This 13-year cycle speaks to how ideals and belief systems develop and evolve. As such, it set the stage for the growth of conservatism in this country, powerfully supported by the January 1984 cycle at 0°+ Cap (square the PL Pluto, the youngest PLs were still being born—Bush #1 rising), and the January 1997 cycle at 26°+ Cap (square the PL Moon/Venus, Bush #2 rising).

Sandwiched in between was the first president PLs could vote for—Bill Clinton. The liberal/conservative divide was blurred, but the Capricorn coup proceeded, snatching many PLs up into Wall Street fervor, mega-mergers and globalization. With Neptune t-squaring their natal Saturn to Jupiter-Neptune opposition on Election day, this ideological momentum in one direction is more shifting and malleable.

This generation is looking for a balanced approach that works for all as a practical matter—they haven’t rolled back the corporate juggernaut, but they’ve pioneered kinder, more magnanimous workplaces like Google, Inc., employee-owned cooperatives, and other novel arrangements. The hard-lines of hierarchical corporate life are being softened with all this mutable energy, and with the help of their younger Millenial generation associates, they are redefining the terrain.

Unfortunately for some, PLs may also preside over the predicted transition to a “jobless economy”—all but the skeletal managerial crews will be “gig” workers or entrepreneurs—that’s a long story for another day. Suffice to say here, these diplomatic souls want everyone to get along and respect each others’ needs—they don’t want to be corporate robots themselves—they’ll deploy actual robots for that—and they don’t expect others to be, either. 

PL Saturn (Gemini) trines and PL Jupiter-Neptune (Sagittarius) sextiles PL Pluto-Mercury (Libra). These connections are also impacted by both transiting Neptune (Pisces) and Saturn (Sagittarius), suggesting that PLs working in the media professions and arts will be challenged to communicate more clearly, and to be the “fact-checkers” in a world where perception is often misinterpreted as fact.

Creative freedom is precarious, however (Gemini Saturn opposes Sagittarius Jupiter-Uranus); as we saw with Snowden’s quest, the Internet and cell phones provide unprecedented mobility and independence (Jupiter in Sagittarius), but these devices are also marvelous tracking and surveillance devices (Saturn in Gemini). Information is power—and if Snowden is any indication, this is another double-edged sword PLs are figuring out how to wield.

PL Saturn-Neptune opposition (Gemini-Sagittarius). The stark ideological polarization in this country is often attributed to Pluto in Sagittarius, but clearly, the PL Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn threesome laid the groundwork for it.

The PL Saturn/Neptune opposition deserves separate attention: it is waning—the last half of the cycle begun in November 1952 (22°+Libra). As such, the Libra generation made its debut in a time of dissolving structures and relationships: the WWII alliance with Russia dissolved and the balance of power was re-engineered around the Cold War and MAD-“mutually-assured destruction.” By 1971 this all culminated in Vietnam and Watergate, and the end of the so-called “Establishment.”

Instead, the Establishment morphed (Neptune) and regrouped by the next Saturn-Neptune conjunction in November 1989, (10°+Cap). This cycle t-squared the PL Libra Mercury/Sun/Uranus opposition to Chiron, leveled the Berlin Wall and dissolved the Cold War (no longer useful), reinventing nations around globalized market forces and trade agreements. Bush #1 hit the campaign trail; Bush #2 found his Evangelical base in the process. The first Iraq War was close at hand and world power was being steadily redeployed around the latest mutation (Neptune) of MAD—terrorism.

Many PLs are now coping with their mid-life Neptune square Neptune transit, a force that add spiritual depth and broader perspective at best, terrifies and inspires addictive behavior at worst. With Pluto now transiting mid-Capricorn, we can see that the younger half of the generation will be facing its Pluto square Pluto passage

The older half of this generation has been experiencing this with Pluto transiting their collective 7th house of enemies, so the threat of terrorism has been a gut-wrenching reality (PL Pluto in 4th) for them. The “big questions” are fast upon them, as this transformational, collective transit unfolds. To whom or what are they ultimately responsible? 

Snowden decided he was most responsible to his own moral sensibilities; it will be interesting—for the sake of this generation’s future—to see how his case is resolved.

“Riders on the Storm," revisited…

PL Grand Trine in Air: Libra stellium trines Node-Mars-MC (Aquarius) trines Saturn (Gemini). This dynamic GT circulates the chart’s opposing forces into every facet of PL life via rulership and dispositorship: “networking” and balancing opposite extremes is literally built into the PL character. Connectedness and relationship are anchors for a world that won’t stand still. The interplay between personal and outer planets is key here.

PL Saturn (Gemini) trines Pluto (Libra). PLs born between October, 1971 and Nov. 8, 1982 were born into the waning third of the August 1947 Saturn-Pluto cycle (began at 12°+ Leo)—this cohort is better attuned to the Cold War mentality of their parents than the younger cohort, born after the Nov. 8, 1982 cycle  began at 27°+Libra. This latter group (today’s 34 year olds) watched the Berlin Wall crumble on TV, never dreaming that the nation would be talking about building new walls today.

As we’ve discussed, the power of relationships is ingrained in the entire generation, and as the current Saturn-Pluto cycle wanes in the next 4 years, roughly square the 1982 starting point (a new cycle begins in January, 2020 at 22°+Capricorn), we should see leaders among this cohort take on powerful positions going forward. This will be happening in concert with transiting Pluto’s return to its position in the U.S. Sibly chartan important period that I’ve covered in some detail in earlier posts here (and will be reposting).

PL Saturn (Gemini) trine Uranus (Libra)PLs were born into the waning half of the Saturn-Uranus cycle, begun in May 1942, at 28°+Taurus. In earth, it resonated with the Uranus-Pluto cycle (Sept. 1965, 15°+Virgo) that ignited social turmoil in the mid-60s. PLs have been building their families and professional lives under the Uranus (Aries)-Pluto (Capricorn) square phase, so many are adept at the chaotic balancing act it has required. Saturn-Uranus cycles draw us (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the future, where brilliant new ideas and inventions manifest, and outworn technologies and institutions are re-engineered. PLs have been more drawn to tech fields and the sciences than some preceding generations, so this nice trine was a generational boost.

Interestingly, the Election chart shows that we are again headed into a waning Saturn-Uranus trine, this time for the cycle that began in February, 1988 at 29°+Sagittarius. This 1988 cycle facilitated the creation of a new high-tech military alongside policies of aggressive expansion into the Middle East that ultimately led to the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Another “no-win-situation” is fast evolving in Syria, but as this cycle wanes, the task will be to extricate ourselves from all these Faustian traps. The PL and Millenial generations will probably be left to actually heal our geopolitical entanglements in that region. As I said in the 2005 article, PLs always find dilemmas to resolve, and this is a big one.

PL Saturn opposes PL Jupiter-Neptune; PL Uranus (Libra) opposes PL Chiron (Aries).  By nature, PLs seek a balance between mind, heart and spirit, and this equips them to grapple with ethical questions in a cool-headed, but compassionate way. Big questions they’re faced with include: who “owns” DNA and “creation”—in humans, in plant seeds? To whom should science answer? How can science and technology be used to create, instead of to control and destroy? PLs are already the vanguard when it comes to climate change research and activism—perhaps the total lack of Earth in their generational chart compels them to act?

The "Dark Side" revisited

Astrologer Ed Gillam’s research suggests the 7th harmonic symbolizes chaotic, destabilizing forces, along the lines of Carl Jung’s collective “Shadow,” so the 7H flavor of this chart deserves an updated look. Set for Washington, D.C. (the 2005 article used the global chart, set for Greenwich, England), there are several septiles in their chart: Sun-Neptune, Mercury-Neptune and Jupiter-Uranus. Notice that all three aspects set outer planets (Neptune, Uranus) against personal planets (Sun, Mercury, Jupiter), confirming that as a generation, PLs are caught in a web of potentially chaotic forces.

PLs have been living through the Saturn-Neptune square (Sagittarius-Pisces) along with everyone, but their charts are perhaps more attuned to those chaotic, structure-dissolving energies than most because of their generational dynamics. Many born with Neptune in Sagittarius have been experiencing Saturn transits to those points—if they weren’t feeling the figurative floor dissolving beneath their feet before that, they probably are now. Snowden is one such PL—if his fate isn’t resolved before Saturn conjoins his Neptune (27°+Sagittarius) in 2017, he may find he has little control over what happens. 

A final word

When all is said and done, the PLs’ basic Libran “mission” hasn’t changed since I last looked in my 2005 article: it’s to balance and harmonize the discordant world they’ve inherited. What I might have missed in 2005 was how important this generation will be to the critical transitions our world needs to make, and soon. Revisiting their many accomplishments and the likely path forward, I’m convinced that PLs have matured into their Libran natures as a generation, and we should rest easy that they will be taking over the helm on this crazy “ship of state” we call America.

They’re going to need those light sabers!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: robertsonraye@gmail.com. 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Children of Fire & Air: The Libra Generation & Edward Snowden’s dilemma

“I want to be a lion tamer!”…

“What qualifications do you      have?”…

“I have a hat…”

--"And Now, for Something Completely Different"
   Monty Python’s Flying Circus, 1971

What follows is a look backward and a look forward—back to an article I wrote for The Mountain Astrologer’s June/July 2005 issue; forward to a reconsideration of the often ignored “Gen X” generation I wrote about there, and to the dilemma of one particular son of that generation—Edward J. Snowden. First, a few words about the generation itself.

This astrological cohort was born as Pluto transited Libra between October, 1971 and November, 1983. The oldest among them is now 45 and the youngest 33. Astrology studies generations according to Pluto signs, and although the time frames that result usually differ a bit from mainstream sociological studies (generally 1967-early 1980s is considered Gen X), the characteristics uncovered by both disciplines are remarkably similar.

I noted in 2005 that the Libra generation was born in proverbial “interesting times:” in 1971, the Vietnam war was still escalating, although the tide was slowly turning. Richard Nixon was playing “Ping-Pong” diplomacy with the Chinese Communist government—if we couldn’t “win” in Viet Nam, or erase their influence in Indo-China, we were at least going to pry open their markets for our corporations!

The Watergate scandal was on the horizon because Election 1972 was even dirtier than Election 2016 is proving to be. What 1972 lacked in openly despicable rhetoric and tweetstorms, it made up for in “cloak and dagger” maneuverings and paranoia. Our confidence in American politics and government officials took a severe bruising then—lampooned so cynically (and hilariously) by the humor of the times, with Monty Python's Flying Circus and others. Perhaps, in fact, we’re seeing the fall-out of those times in this election.

Our Gen X kids thus grew up with that toxic political atmosphere poisoning any sense of national unity in America. As young adults, their Boomer parents had witnessed the “dark side” of politics with Viet Nam—echoed for PLs in their rude “coming of age” reality on 9/11/2001 and what followed. While many PLs marched in Washington, D.C. to protest the coming wars (something I witnessed twice with my PL sons), the military ranks for both the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts were also filled by their numbers—both PL men and women. They are a generation that wants to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Female warriors were built into this generation’s pop-culture DNA: Star Wars character Princess Leia was quite a fighter, even if being a “Jedi” would have to wait for the next generation’s episodes, and female kung fu fighters were all the rage, if you believe the Kill Bill series during that period.

In Afghanistan and certainly in Iraq, these young adults gained their own first-hand, deeper perspective on the horrors of war and politics—perhaps one reason the PL generation hoped for fundamental change with Barack Obama in 2008. Computer genius and ex-CIA and NSA technology specialist, Edward Snowden, reportedly voted for a third party that year, but he hoped nonetheless that Obama would correct the government’s “dragnet” access to everyone’s personal information—no warrants needed. This was his experience at the CIA and the NSA. 


Snowden became intensely disenchanted very quickly (as perhaps Obama himself did, once he learned his new job), but Snowden, as we know, put his discontent to controversial, life-changing use. Here’s a quick introduction to his very complicated work history from Wikipedia:

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without prior authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.
In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA.[4] On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists…”

According to this same account, on June 21, 2013, Snowden was charged by Obama’s Department of Justice with violating the 1917 Espionage Act and stealing government property—charges that could carry a long prison sentence. He then fled Hong Kong, but became stranded in Russia, where after living in the airport hotel for weeks, he was granted 3 years asylum. He remains somewhere in Russia today, but unless his asylum is being extended, he’s probably looking for another refuge, or hoping to come home.

In fact, The Guardian.com reported on September 13th that Snowden is hoping—and trying to make a “moral case”—for a presidential pardon before President Obama departs office. Snowden argues that “I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it's clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The [US] Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result.”

Snowden’s argument “threads the needle” of ethics very carefully: he hopes to qualify for a pardon because—even though his actions may have looked like crimes at the time, over time they have proven to be a conscientious, beneficial exception to the rules. This is a well-reasoned intellectual stance that reflects his natal chart’s intense Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions. If any president would pardon him, we might expect a rational intellectual like Obama would be the one, but there’s more at play in the end than cool logic.

For insights into the possibility of a pardon, let’s briefly consider Snowden’s natal and progressed charts (progressed for Election Day, since that’s the approximate time these pardons typically happen) against Barack Obama’s natal chart:

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Barack Obama, August 4, 1961, 7:24 p.m. ST, Honolulu, Hawaii; (middle wheel) Edward Snowden, June 21, 1983, 4:42 a.m. DST, Elizabeth City, NC. (rated AA: from birth record); (outer wheel) Day-for-year Progressions, Edward Snowden, November 8, 2016, 7:20 a.m. (sunrise), Washington, D.C.

First a word about whistleblowers

In her study of the charts of so-called whistleblowers in history—including Edward Snowden—astrologer Mandi Lockley has found a correlation with natal aspects to the Galactic Center (GC)—the massive black hole at 26°-27° Sagittarius. Please refer to her wonderful article for details on this interesting find and for her compelling argument about the GC’s importance in the “truth-telling” dimension of our society. I have studied the connection between the GC and prominent U.S. politicians—especially our revolutionary forefathers. Suffice to say here, the ties are fairly uncanny.

Interchart T-square: Snowden Sun-Node-Mars (Gemini) opposite Neptune (Sagittarius)-GC squares Obama Mars (Virgo). We can’t miss the startlingly tight connection between Snowden’s Neptune, the GC and his South Node, and their opposition to his Sun-Mars-North Node. Snowden was clearly born for the aggressive (Mars) “truth-in-information” mission (Gemini-Sagittarius) he took on, and with his Gemini Mercury opposing Sagittarius Jupiter-Uranus, his computer skills provided the obvious path.

Mercury rules his Gemini-rising chart from the 12th house, reflecting the results of his mission thus far: virtual imprisonment as an exile. If the film account of his story is accurate (and not just “Hollywood”), having top secret security clearance is a very isolating (12th house) prison in and of itself.

The t-square to Obama’s Mars here suggests that the president is between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” in regards to a Snowden pardon. These so-called "lame duck" pardons weigh heavily in a president’s legacy, so Obama’s faced with leaving office under a choice of “clouds:” if he pardon’s Snowden, he will appear “weak” to those who believe national security provides carte blanche for wide, sweeping privacy intrusions (“the ends justify the means”); if he doesn’t, he will further disappoint those who believed his presidency would strike a better balance between civil rights and security.    

Virgo is the sign ruling the military, so Obama’s Mars does not like to appear weak (a vulnerability Trump likes to exploit). And, even though Obama seems to be an essentially compassionate person, his Scorpio Neptune—widely conjunct Snowden’s natal Moon, suggests that he is comfortable with subterfuge in the service of higher goals. There’s a Faustian trap here, of course—who gets to decide what the “higher” goals are, and to what extent are those goals enmeshed with lower, less honorable goals? The film does a good job of depicting the entangled priorities our security services are called upon to serve.

Snowden’s Moon-Venus square (Scorpio-Leo) perhaps explains why he felt drawn to security-oriented positions after his brief military stint—he “gets” the need for information-gathering, but he has a love-hate relationship with the idea.

Besides, Snowden’s progressed Sun has only recently moved out of security-oriented Cancer into Leo—not a bad time for a “film debut,” even if (as reported), the film’s production wasn’t a very comfortable experience for this essentially shy young man.

Snowden Progressed Moon (Capricorn) conjoins Obama Saturn (Capricorn) and sextiles Obama MC (Scorpio). The connections seen here provide Obama with an opportunity to exercise his Scorpionic mission (MC)—security, and tracking down threats—by punishing Snowden (Saturn-Moon). There is, however, a small chance that Obama’s 7th house Virgo Pluto—disposing his Scorpio MC—will respond to its conjunction with Snowden’s Progressed Venus (Virgo) by extending an olive branch. Unfortunately—in the nature of Pluto—it may be an olive branch with “strings attached.”

Election Day Venus (chart not shown) conjoins Snowden’s South Node-Neptune-GC, suggesting that Snowden’s mission will be “blessed”—the film may certainly speak to that. It’s good to have friends like director Oliver Stone—a sort of whistleblower in his own right, with a long list of exposé-type films to his credit. The question is, will Obama feel free to extend clemency during these challenging times of terrorism and cyber-hacking?

He might feel inclined to, if he follows the lead of his natal Leo Node-Uranus conjunction tightly trine to the GC, but election results and the mood of the nation will undoubtedly weigh into his decision. If documents Snowden handed over to journalists continue to be leaked before Obama finishes his term, the possibilities for a pardon seem slim. Snowden’s Chiron (Taurus) opposite Obama’s MC (Scorpio) reflects the added possibility that Snowden could become the wounded “sacrificial lamb” that Obama’s national security goals mandate.

So, Snowden may not directly experience the olive branch mentioned above for now: even without astrology, it’s easy to imagine his fate becoming entangled in the larger, intractable U.S.-Russia dilemma in Syria. Russian president Vladimir Putin (well acquainted with the politics of information and disinformation) may view Snowden’s extradition to the U.S. as a bargaining chip, and Obama, for his part, may see an opening for a mutually face-saving deal with Putin in regards to Syria. Snowden may be forced to “face the Piper” here in the U.S. if that happens. All may not be lost, however: it’s more than likely that the next president will play a role in all this, as well.  

In fact, the second half of 2017 looks like a time of momentous change in Snowden’s life, with Uranus (Aries) transiting exactly opposite Snowden’s Saturn-Pluto (Libra), sextile his Gemini Sun-Node-Mars and exactly trine Snowden’s natal Neptune-GC (Sagittarius). His 2017 solar return chart offers some interesting possibilities, as well -- a story for another day!

The year 2017 is in general a period to watch, going forward. Stay tuned for the next post -- more about this interesting Libra generation!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: robertsonraye@gmail.com. 

© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved.