Monday, October 31, 2016

An Underworld quest & our national trail of tears: the North Dakota pipeline protests

I think it’s fair to say that by birth or naturalization, Americans have been cornered into a twisted karmic relationship with Native Americans—those peoples who inhabited these expansive lands from sea to shining sea long before any of us landed. 

Our native populations have been run over roughshod ever since—robbed of their lands and marginalized in American society. Despite efforts to “memorialize” them in a national museum and to write them off with a few meager benefits, however, they are still very present on the lands that remain to them, and they remain focused on living there in a way that accords with Nature instead of against it.

As a matter of principle and culture, Native peoples have been the guardians (if not the source) of whatever earth-consciousness we possess in our national discourse. Which makes the attack on native protestors in North Dakota this past week, calling for “No Dakota Access Pipeline,” especially troubling. This protest aims to protect the Missouri River (the 1200 mile Dakota Access, or Bakken pipeline would run beneath it) from oil pollution, only 10 miles from the only water source available to them, and to protect their sacred burial grounds from destruction.

This months-long protest began on April 1st 2016, when Standing Rock Sioux tribal elder Ladonna Bravebull Allard founded the Sacred Stone Camp on her private property, providing space for the gatherings to come. When police forces from 5 states amassed on October 27th to drive protestors away from the pipeline construction areas, Allard spoke out:

"My people stand for the water, and they attack us. My people stand up for the graves of our people, and they attack us. My people stand up for our sacred places, and they attack us. My people pray, and they stop us, dragging us from our prayer, and throw us in the dirt. I know this is America- this is the history of my people. America has always walked though the blood of my people.
How can we stand in the face of violence? Because I was born to this land, because the roots grow out of my feet, because I love this land and I honor the water. Have we not learned from history? I pray for each of the people who stand up. We cannot live like this anymore. It has to stop- my grandchildren have a right to live. The world has a right to live. The water, the life blood of the world? has a right to live. Mni Wiconi, Water of Life. Pray for the water, pray for the people. Stop Dakota Access- killer of the world."

Mythic underpinnings

Mythology and astrology work like hand-in-glove, so not surprisingly, there’s an interesting astrological story to tell about all this, and as we’ll see, it opens in the U.S. Sibly chart’s 8th house.
In his fine study about the mysteries of the 8th house in astrology, The Gate of Rebirth, Astrologer Haydn Paul says that “the Mystery of the 8th house concerns the reconciliation of Self and Others.” 

It is this concern, he suggests, that energizes the Scorpionic “Underworld quest” represented by this house (Scorpio being the natural ruler of the 8th). He cites the Sumerian myth of Ereshkigal, “the Lady of the Great Place Below” and Inanna, “the Queen of Heaven” as the model for this quest:

Inanna descended into Ereshkigal’s world, and was ‘brought naked and bowed low’ according to the accepted laws and initiatory rites for all those wishing to enter the secret kingdom. Inanna’s fine clothing and regalia, the signs of her power and status, were ritually stripped away as she progressed gradually losing her dignity, pride, identity, and certainties in deference to her accepted surrender to something greater than herself. This divestment was enacted at each of the Seven Gates to the Underworld where sat Ereshkigal at the center of her Mystery, attended by her servants, the Fates.[2]

Paul reminds us that the realm Below was revered by ancient matriarchal cultures as the province of the “life-bearing goddess-womb”—a key reason such cultures were so inextricably bound to Earth-centered wisdom.  As the Queen of this Underworld, Ereshkigal was a “chtonic earth Mother,” ruling over the prosperity and fertility of the land.

Those who think of the 8th house as the province of Pluto (ruler of Scorpio) are not mistaken, but that’s not the entire story. Pluto (Hades in Greek mythology) was originally conceived as ruling the Underworld and all its resources (fertility, minerals, oil, subterranean waters) hand-in-hand with Persephone, his feminine “better half.” Scorpio is indeed considered a feminine archetype because of its deep, chtonic connection with Nature.

As we see above, to be whole, even a “Queen of Heaven” must eventually submit to the primal power of the Earth. Survival—wholeness—is not, in the end, a cerebral or abstract (i.e., “heavenly”) phenomenon—it’s gritty and a gift of the Underworld—where “the roots grow out of [our] feet.” Ancient cultures—including today’s tribal forebears—knew that reconciling with the “Others” in their midst was required for harmony in Nature (and by implication, prosperity for all). They kept up their end of the bargain by ceding vast tracts of land to their invaders in exchange for treaties (rarely honored by the U.S. government).

 It’s very significant, then, that this latest abuse of power against the “NoDPL” protests pits government-backed financial power against survival-minded guardians of water, as well. Scorpio is a fixed water sign and the importance of water for the sake of survival falls squarely in its domain.
On the other hand, Pluto and thus, Scorpio, also likes to turn a corporate profit, so there are deep, dark choices to make. In fact, the balance between financial interests and environmental health is always a matter of reconciling two opposing priorities—“Self & Other,” in psycho-social terms. How does this Underworld quest work on the social level?

In fact, citing renowned astrologer/philosopher, Dane Rudhyar, Paul seems to be saying that personal and social choices on this journey are inextricable: 

‘It is in terms of eighth house types of experience that a person has to make perhaps his or her deepest and most vital choices. These choices will affect not only the individual but society as a whole. In that sense, the Existential philosophers are right in saying that every man is responsible for the whole of mankind.’[3]
Perhaps it’s no accident that our Sibly Sun—the luminary Self of our nation—falls in the social 3rd quadrant of the chart, in the 8th house? We have, from day one, built this nation on a tortured, exploitative relationship with Others, from our indigenous tribes to the unwilling Africans we brought ashore.

Choices were made in regards to both groups, and power abuses for the sake of profit, land and resources resulted. The 8th house is also a financial domain, pertaining to the resources one receives from others—quite appropriate when viewed from the Native perspective. These choices have been driven by irreconciliable perspectives, it seems: land as Sacred Life (the Native perspective) v. land as Resource (Government).

In a perverse twist on the Native belief that people are part of nature, not apart from or above nature (the “Sky goddess” perspective), the slave trade merely extended this “land as Resource” viewpoint to people—bought and sold as essential tools for extracting wealth from the land.

Whereas reconciling Self and Others creates an indivisible whole (Inanna utterly surrendered and became one with the Underworld), Scorpio consolidates (fixed sign) two entities around a power-relationship—again, its nature is a matter of choice. These choices can be made consciously or unconsciously—the 8th house is also where we process unconscious material. On the personal level this process evolves into interpersonal intimacy; on the social/collective level it often smacks of an imperfect assimilation with uneven benefits.

Native peoples have been expected to play the surrendering role of Inanna, but the role wasn’t freely chosen. They became part of something “greater than themselves” by force, and not much has changed. Astrologically, it’s high time we get this relationship right, for the sake of our collective health going forward. To do this, we need to process the unconscious, 8th house material that seems to be erupting to the surface these days—more on this to come.

To their everlasting credit, Food & Water Watch sheds light on what the power relationship is behind this “Underworld quest” by revealing the financial interests supporting the pipeline’s construction. Suffice to say here that a long list of international banks and corporations, another 8th house-related reality, are involved. Interestingly, the horrendous attack on pipeline protestors hasn’t been deemed front-page material in the mainstream media yet, but alternative outlets like NPR,  Facebook Live and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now podcast are covering the story to varying degrees.

Sowing karmic blowback

The official reports about militarized police forces descending upon the protestors on October 27th are horrendous enough, but some of the earlier personal stories from protestors surfacing on are even more chilling:
As of mid-October there have been over 140 arrests. Some protesters arrested for minor misdemeanors and taken to the Morton County jail have reported what they considered harsh and unusual treatment. Sara Jumping Eagle, a physician on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, was required to remove all of her clothing and "squat and cough" when she was arrested for disorderly conduct. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who founded Sacred Stone Camp, said that when her daughter was arrested and taken into custody she was "strip-searched in front of multiple male officers, then left for hours in her cell, naked and freezing."
Allard said her daughter was repeatedly asked by guards, "Who is your mother?" Cody Hall from Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota also reported being strip-searched and required to "squat and cough". He was held for four days without bail or bond and then charged with two misdemeanors.[53] Tribal chief David Archambault II was also strip-searched. When asked if strip searches were common during arrests for disorderly conduct he replied that he didn't know since he had never before been arrested. He said that jail officials searched his hair braid for weapons, which he found to be odd since he doesn't have a very thick braid.[54]
Actress Shailene Woodley, arrested on October 10 along with 27 others, also said she was strip-searched, adding, "Never did it cross my mind that while trying to protect clean water, trying to ensure a future where our children have access to an element essential for human survival, would I be strip-searched. I was just shocked."[55]

As with Inanna, Natives are being stripped once again not just of their regalia, but of their “dignity, pride, identity and certainties…,” and the U.S. is literally processing its 8th house nightmare on the backs of its Natives. Scorpio may tolerate power imbalances and demand total surrender for the good of the collective, but when the purpose served is antithetical to sustainable life and the respect the Self of this nation owes its Others, there will be karmic blowback.

Pandora's Box

The official justification for this pipeline is to transport oil across country “to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.” This phrase, of course, masks an unsustainable national energy policy, based on destructive extraction for the sake of outsized financial gain—a real Scorpionic Pandora’s Box. If we open this box and unleash “all the evils of the world,” as the myth goes, we run serious risk of environmental disasters that will cost us far more than the banks plan to make on this pipeline.

But how will we do anything different, if we keep prioritizing the finance sector above the environment? The North Dakota situation represents a much broader imperative, and we might find that Native protestors are doing us a real service.  Let’s examine the relevant charts.

Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Sacred Stone Camp (Dakota Pipeline protest begins), April 1, 2016, 6:44 a.m. DST (sunrise chart), Standing Rock Reservation, ND; (outer wheel) NDPipeline Protest Attack, Octobr 27, 2016, 12:00 p.m. DST, (noon, no exact time known), Cannon Ball, ND. Tropical Equal houses, True Node.

Protest Camp Sun (Aries) widely conjoins Camp ASC and trines Camp Mars/Saturn (Sagittarius). An Aries Sun can often be impetuous and rash; here, these passionate impulses are reined in and placed in a spiritual context by elder Ladonna Bravebull Allard’s decision (trine to Mars/Saturn) to establish (ASC) the physical home for the protests to come. Also in keeping with the Mars/Saturn midpoint, Allard encourages action and models determination.

Attack Sun-Mercury (Scorpio) trines Attack Neptune (Pisces). We’ve considered the importance of Scorpio and its mythic Underworld quest is to all this, so the timing of this attack is no surprise. The Neptune trine reflects the spiritual idealism expressed in the protest, especially in its concern for the life force contained in healthy water (Neptune). As we’ll see ahead, the protest’s founder was motivated by collective, existential (Neptunian) concerns.

Protest Uranus-Mercury (Aries) conjoins Protest ASC trines Protest Saturn (Sagittarius) and squares Protest Moon (Capricorn). In founding this protest, Allard articulates (Mercury-Uranus) the tribe’s position, goals (Mars/Saturn) and deep emotional longings (Moon), which are better expressed in her eloquent words:

Of the 380 archeological sites that face desecration along the entire pipeline route, from North Dakota to Illinois, 26 of them are right here at the confluence of these two rivers. It is a historic trading ground, a place held sacred not only by the Sioux Nations, but also the Arikara, the Mandan, and the Northern Cheyenne.

The U.S. government is wiping out our most important cultural and spiritual areas. And as it erases our footprint from the world, it erases us as a people. These sites must be protected, or our world will end, it is that simple. Our young people have a right to know who they are. They have a right to language, to culture, to tradition. The way they learn these things is through connection to our lands and our history. If we allow an oil company to dig through and destroy our histories, our ancestors, our hearts and souls as a people, is that not genocide? [5] 
The Protest Moon in earthy Capricorn evokes the Natives’ long, emotional history of loss as Others in American society, particularly of land and dignity (Saturn rules Capricorn); elevated in the chart (10th house), this Moon speaks to the significant timing of this protest effort. There’s an existential threat contained in the Moon-Uranus square, as well: Not only are the land and its resources at stake (Capricorn), but everything the land signifies for Native culture and history is in jeopardy.

More broadly, the manner in which this protest is resolved will impact the nation’s environmental future relationship. This, at a time when we really need to be healing our relationship with the environment for what Natives call “the seven generations.” Depleting our lands of resources for the sake of investor interests (Pluto falls in the Sibly 2nd house of finances, shown in Biwheel 2 below), even if there’s short-term economic gain to go around, is simply the road to nowhere.

In fact, this road to nowhere is the trap that many developing countries have fallen into as a consequence of the debts they owe the IMF and World Bank. In astrological terms, an extraction-based economy is a Faustian bargain with Pluto, and Pluto always wins in the end.

A Capricorn Moon seems very fitting here: like the Native protestors, it is brave, determined and persistent, taking its knocks and getting back up for another round. Perhaps the square to Protest Uranus-Mercury will stimulate more mainstream media coverage and support.

Attack Mars-Pluto (Capricorn) conjoin Protest Moon and square Attack Uranus-Protest Uranus-Mercury-ASC (Aries). Mainstream media coverage of the protest and the October 27 police attack has been scant, but high profile politicians such as Bernie Sanders have come out to support Native efforts. His efforts are powerfully countered by the corporate and banking heavyweights (Capricorn Pluto), however, who are equally determined to fight the protest and clear it away (Capricorn Mars). The reported brutality of the attack is reflected in this duo’s assault on the Protest Moon and in the violent means used (square to Uranus in Aries).

Protest Chiron-Venus-South Node (Pisces) sextile Protest Moon-Attack Mars (Capricorn) and oppose Protest Jupiter-North Node (Virgo). The opposition aspects to Jupiter are a bit wide here, but the proximity of the nodal axis suggests they are still important. We can see that, with the help of significant relationships (Venus), Natives are revisiting the historical “trail of tears” they’ve walked before (south node-Chiron), hopefully this time to heal those wounds (Chiron-Venus). The sextile aspect speaks to the protest’s opportune timing and to the emotional support the protestors are receiving from tribes around the nation, from social media and the environmental movement.

Protest & Attack Chiron-Venus-South Node squares Protest Saturn-Attack Saturn (Sagittarius); Protest & Attack Neptunes square Protest Mars-Saturn (Sagittarius) & Attack Venus-Saturn (Sagittarius). It’s easy to imagine from this complex configuration that both sides of the Dakota pipeline dispute perceive the other side as a wounding, chaos-producing force; the odds that these two sides will be able to see eye-to-eye on anything are very low, but distortion and obfuscation of the facts are very likely. Attack Venus-Saturn (Sagittarius) also trine Protest Sun-Uranus (Aries), so legal assistance for the protestors may be forthcoming.

Interchart T-square: Attack Jupiter (Libra) disposes the Sagittarian points and opposes Protest Sun (Aries); this axis squares Protest Pluto (Capricorn). Attack Jupiter (in mutual reception with Attack Venus) also sextiles Protest Mars/Saturn & Attack Mars-Saturn (all Sagittarius). All of this suggests that the protestors may enjoy some legal leverage in this situation, although any progress will be a frustrating, confusing uphill battle. The scope of this challenge will be more clear when we consider how all this interacts with the Sibly chart. Suffice to say here that  this story is likely to touch a national nerve once it’s more widely known.

Our national 8th house journey

Will this protest be resolved with anything resembling fairness and respect for Native priorities? Can the U.S. finally resolve its long, tortured relationship with these Others living in its midst? In fact, the Sibly Sun (Cancer) has been experiencing a long transiting opposition from Capricorn Pluto since its first exact hit in March, 2014. This was the first of five exact hits (2 of them retrograde), so there’s been a deep fundamental transformation going on in the nation itself, the presidency and in the “Washington establishment” (this opposition forms a t-square when Sibly Saturn in Libra is factored in)—a larger story for another day. We’ve certainly been seeing some of these changes in Election 2016!

The question here is how the nation’s relationship with its Native population will be impacted by this transformation. To appreciate the challenge involved, let’s briefly consider how the Attack chart interacts with the U.S. Sibly chart.

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) USA Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) NDPipeline Protest Attack, Octobr 27, 2016, 12:00 p.m. DST, (noon, no exact time known), Cannon Ball, ND. Tropical Equal houses, True Node.

Attack Sun-Mercury (Scorpio) squares Sibly Nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius). It’s interesting that the Scorpio points also oppose the Taurus Pluto-Saturn-Uranus conjunction in Taurus featured in the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux  (chart not shown) between then-Minnesota territory Sioux Natives and the U.S. Government, a treaty that Allard says pertains to this new struggle. Westward expansion into Native lands was in full swing in 1851, and this belligerent fixed Taurus stellium spoke to the government’s quest for land.

Attack Sun and Mercury opposing these historical points summons those old ghosts of broken treaties past, while squaring the Sibly nodal axis; of course, the 1851 Taurus stellium also squared that same nodal axis, suggesting that the land grabs of the 1850s were soul-destroying for the nation, despite the excuses we’ve made for them over the centuries. The current Attack square to our nodal axis again cuts deep, but it presents an opportunity to right some wrongs.

Attack Venus-Saturn (Sagittarius) straddles Sibly ASC (Sagittarius), opposes Sibly Mars/Uranus (midpoint, Gemini). In Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius, Venus-Saturn at the Sibly ASC evokes a sense that a “just cause” is being revealed to the nation for liberating action (Mars-Uranus). That action may be somewhat restrained (Saturn), but with Mars-Uranus energy afoot, there could be violence nevertheless. 

America’s working class (Sibly 6th house Uranus disposes Aquarius Moon) is implicated here, and their economic priorities (the price at the gas pump) are often used to prioritize short-term profits over long-term clean energy plans. The North Dakota protest raises these issues in a tangential way, but public reaction to the protest will be colored by economic anxieties that have been over-inflamed already this election season.

Interchart T-Square: Attack Pluto-Mars (Capricorn) oppose Sibly Sun (Cancer); this axis squares Sibly Saturn (Libra). The opposition here cuts across the Sibly 2nd-8th house axis, reflecting that “Underworld quest” we need to pursue, to resolve the deep disparities between what we say we’re about (freedom, equality, opportunity) and the reality on full display in North Dakota these days. The 2nd-8th is the axis that rules personal-collective values, and these seem to need some serious reconsideration.

As mentioned above, Pluto has been transiting the Sibly chart in this tense relationship for years now, and we have been seeing the resurgence of troubling forces: neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements (let’s go back to the “good old days” of segregation and slavery?), not to mention anti-government militias such as the one acquitted in Oregon the same day that Natives were attacked in North Dakota. Cosmic irony is working overtime here.

Certainly connected, if not a direct consequence of all this negativity, we’ve been living through the most degenerate political times since the Watergate crisis—and not because of a batch of misplaced emails. The venomous will to destroy the Other (minorities, immigrants, the government, opposing candidates, etc.) has characterized this election year like none I can remember. But what do we do when the Others are also “Us?” Pluto loves to throw down an existential challenge, and these issues just might be that.

We’ve been down this road in the 1860s, and it wasn’t pretty. We can’t “free the slaves” again; we can’t give lands that have long been developed back to the Natives; we can’t put minerals and resources back into the earth; we can’t undo centuries of discrimination. So where do we go from here to resolve these karmic relationships and make ourselves whole once again? As Inanna knew, future prosperity depends upon surrendering differences to this greater purpose.

For now, the question is, how will this play out in North Dakota?

Attack Jupiter (Libra) conjoins Sibly Saturn (Libra). As Jupiter perfects this aspect it also falls into place in the tense T-square just discussed above. This is likely to raise the stakes for all players in the North Dakota dilemma—encouraging the prevailing power structures (Saturn-Pluto) and financial interests (Pluto opposed Sibly Sun). Jupiter will be transiting square Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) for much of the coming year, opposing Uranus (Aries), however, and this could open space for a deeper social awareness of needed changes and a path to get there.

This transit could be helpful, but true resolution of this dilemma may have to wait for transiting Pluto’s return to Sibly Pluto in early 2022. The return of all these repressed Other-related issues suggests that change will be forced upon us whether we’re ready or not. The choices (as with all Underworld quests) will probably range between a deeply cathartic resolution (supporting wholeness), or a karmic comeuppance (supporting division). Who, or what sets the priorities of this nation, and do those priorities serve the right purposes? We will need to resolve this question before our relationships with Others can be resolved.

A sobering footnote

One last thought about the Plutonian 8th house “quest” we are caught up in as Americans. Our collective Cancer 8th is ruled by the Sibly Moon in Aquarius, so our current dis-ease with each other always has the potential to spill over into serious disruption. Happily, Jupiter will be transiting trine that Moon for most of the coming year, but it will also oppose transiting Uranus in Aries, itself sextile Sibly Moon, so while the consciousness-raising efforts of Jupiter-Uranus may be positive, the potential for a volatile backlash (Uranus in Mars-ruled Aries) will remain.

Unfortunately, we may see more violence out of North Dakota before this is over. I hope I’m wrong, but from what I’ve seen thus far, the gathered police forces really seemed to relish what they were doing on October 27th.  An NPR radio journalist reported the eerie scene of police choppers chasing down Indians on horseback, like something out of another century. Perhaps that’s the problem here—Natives have been consigned to the dustbin of our collective memory, and they are not taken seriously as stakeholders in American democracy. Trouble is, they are not frozen in amber somewhere; their needs are as present today as anybody’s.

That same NPR program pointed out that the Sioux tribe wasn’t even consulted when the pipeline project was planned; its route through their watershed and ancient burial grounds wasn’t considered worthy of discussion. The Natives simply had no voice, but they want one now, and they don’t show signs of simply disappearing into the landscape again with no satisfaction.  They fully embrace their role as the guardians of the environment, and it’s high time to make our collective peace with them.

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] Haydn Paul, Gate of Rebirth: Astrology, Regeneration and 8th House Mysteries, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, ME, 1993, p. 15.
[2] Paul, p. 15.
[3] Paul (p. 19) cites Rudhyar’s The Astrological Houses, p. 110. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thumbs Up or Down? The “End of Civilization” and the Jupiter-Saturn roots of Election 2016

Donald Trump is out there these days complaining that he’s been victimized, that “the system is rigged,” and warning everyone that a Clinton victory will “end civilization” as we know it. He apparently wants us to be very afraid to pull that lever marked “Clinton” on November 8th.  

Needless to say, this fear-mongering shtick he’s decided to adopt is already getting old, but I simply can’t get past how strange his sudden, curious concern for “civilization” is. We can only wonder how Trump even defines that term. Perhaps this is just my Libra sensibilities, but to me, civilization looks nothing like “Reality TV,” or Wrestlemania. Once in awhile I enjoy the spectacle of people shrieking at each other across Hell’s Kitchen, but do we really want to run a nation (or a political campaign) that way? 

Maybe this reflects how the media has reframed conflict in our lives over the years. Trouble is, the media works hard to deliver what its consumers are looking for—including in the political arena—so the “buck stops” with us on this one.

Conflict has certainly been one of the key forces shaping civilization as we know it, but history shows that as humans evolved into more complex, interdependent societies, these conflicts required basic rules of honorable conduct. Honor and justice are tightly related, of course. For starters, facts matter and accusations need to be founded on them. Facts should be vetted independently and must, in the end, be respected by both contenders.

Character and integrity matter because the messenger is the message; emotions are welcome (passion is a positive for public servants), but emotions need to be balanced carefully against the facts; logic and reason are positives, yet must also be tempered by ethics and basic respect for the humanity of both sides.

Last, but certainly not least, in honorable combat, family members are off limits, and opponents accept their victories and losses with dignity and grace. Though rarely exercised perfectly, these basic rules have enabled our democratic system’s success over the years. Even in times of great change and public unrest, the peaceful transition of power has been a hallmark of American elections--and its civilization.

Neptune and Pluto at the Games

To my mind, this campaign has violated all the tenets of civilized conflict. Neptune and Pluto rule the evolution and eventual decay of civilizations, and it’s worth considering how busy this duo has been in our 2016 politics.

We could say that this campaign has echoed the gladiatorial games in ancient Rome—where torturing and killing the Empire’s defenseless “enemies” (or the “disposable” enslaved groups) provided salacious entertainment for the privileged. It seems every decaying empire reaches a point where maintaining power over the masses serves no purpose other than perpetuating the status quo, and this demands serious distractions, “spinning” (the truth is the first casualty), and—for want of a better word—magic shows. In 2016’s bloody contest, our ability to make well-informed, rational decisions is the real victim.

In this campaign’s “magic show,” we’ve been served up a toxic blend of paranoid innuendo and unsubstantiated claims—and it hasn’t all been about Donald Trump. This compendium (click on link) of the long history of conspiratorial claims about Clinton is amazing: we have to marvel reading them that she’s still able to walk upright and function under daylight. How in the world are people expected to trust what they’re reading and hearing and make rational decisions?

Yes, Neptune and Pluto are working overtime on this election, and the paranoid illusions are not particularly constructive on the local level. Astrologically, local concerns and economies fall in the domain of Jupiter and Saturn, and to some extent, Uranus, but these are not the focus of impersonal planetary forces like Neptune and Pluto.

Instead, Neptune and Pluto fuel the ever-transforming power dynamics that civilizations are subject to over long stretches of time (their cycle lasts approx. 492 years). These transformations can be very difficult to follow because we’re more likely to watch the “sleight of hand”—what’s being said and done up close to distract us—than to keep our eyes on the “background,” the broader, long-term picture. This lack of perspective only fuels conspiracy thinking.

We know that personally, something’s not going right, but we just can’t put our finger on it: enter the opportunistic scapegoaters with an ax to grind; enter the bellicose hotheads that have a long list of who’s to blame, but have no solutions; enter the passive aggressive illusionists, for whom responsibility is victimization. Do any of these provide a viable path forward?

This election is, of course, unique in its gender mix, and Clinton’s campaign is probably fueled as much by a desire to crack that “highest of ceilings” as it is by other priorities. Clearly, civilization hasn’t been even-handed with women: we’ve only had the right to vote in the U.S. for less than a century, and as the past two weeks have proven, we still have a long way to go before the tacitly-accepted power dynamics holding us back will be healed.

If we didn’t already know as much, Nicholas Kristof’s “If Hillary groped men” crystallizes the double standard of behavior for men and women very powerfully. Can a modern society call itself civilized and still persist in this duplicity?

Truth be told, Clinton and Trump are perhaps both symptoms of the rotting civilization we see around us, and the astrology suggests that we need to move beyond them both, when the time is right. Unfortunately, this sorely needed social/political rebirth is still roughly 4 years away—after we’ve completed what’s left of the present Jupiter-Saturn breakdown/clearing out phase. This is a complicated story for another day, but suffice to say here that Election 2020 could be refreshingly different.  

Meanwhile, the imperative in this election is to choose which of our intensely disliked candidates is best fit to carry us through that clearing out process without selling out our national soul, totally shredding our economy and getting us into senseless wars. The policies laid down by this next administration will either provide a bridge to a better reality for all of us in the 2020s, or they will set us back for decades.

I will argue here that the difficult—or as many feel, the “nonexistent”—choice we are faced with in 2016 has been powerfully impacted by where the final quarter of the current 2000 Jupiter-Saturn cycle began in August, 2015. This was around the time both candidates were announcing their intentions and those dynamics have colored everything since. Let’s consider the relevant charts.

Bring on the games

In May, 2000, Jupiter and Saturn began the cycle we are still completing today by conjoining at 22°+Taurus—a fixed earth sign that is intensely focused on material progress. Ironically, this cycle opened during the waning days of then-President Bill Clinton’s prosperous, but troubled administration (Clinton left the last national budget surplus we’ve enjoyed). 

Difficult times (for the 99%, not so much for the 1%) took over almost immediately with the new cycle, but fast forward to August 3, 2015 and Jupiter and Saturn form their final square in this 2000 cycle, falling at 28°+Leo and 28°+Scorpio respectively. The broad dynamics of Election 2016 thus fell into place between these hard-headed fixed signs. In retrospect, this chart seems to call the primary results before the races even got going.

With his hot-headed angular Mars-ASC conjoined 3rd quarter Jupiter (itself conjoined by Mercury and Venus) in late Leo, Trump saw his opportunity and descended his golden elevator to grab it. He’s been considering a run for decades, and I can only imagine that an astrologer pointed out the cosmic opening. On the other side, Clinton probably sensed—with her keen Scorpionic antennae (Sun-Chiron-Venus-Mercury) and steely Leo backbone (Mars-Saturn-Pluto)—that the time was ripe for her to run, as well. See Biwheels 1 and 2 below for these details.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) 3rd Quarter Phase, 2000 Jupiter-Saturn Cycle, August 3, 2015, 05:37:52 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Equal houses, True Node. 

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 26, 1947, 8:02 a.m. (contested time) ST, Chicago, IL; (outer wheel) 3rd Quarter Phase, 2000 Jupiter-Saturn Cycle, August 3, 2015, 05:37:52 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Equal houses, True Node. 

One last Boomer presidency? 

Besides, both candidates probably realized that it was “now or never”—at roughly 69 and 70 respectively, Clinton and Trump may be the last Pluto in Leo (Boomer) presidential contenders ever. This is a side story for another day, but aside from it’s not being my generation’s finest hour by a long stretch, this campaign represents a generational step backwards (Obama has Pluto in Virgo). Unfortunately, it feels like a step backwards in other ways, as well. If this bizarre campaign has proven anything, it’s that we could benefit from new ideas and fresh faces.

It is what it is

Still, these two candidates are the hand we’ve been dealt, with good astrological reason, so I’m willing to believe that we had to take this step back in order to clear the way going forward. Clinton is, for better or worse, among the most experienced candidates we’ve ever had, and she has the battle scars to prove it. Trump, for his part, is inspiring a lot of national soul-searching, which isn’t all bad. Getting beyond a Trump defeat with that soul intact will be another story.

Let’s consider the insights this 3rd quarter Jupiter-Saturn chart offers; for context, we’ll consider the cycle chart against the U.S. Sibly chart (Biwheel #3 below).

Biwheel #3: (inner wheel) U.S. Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) 3rd Q 2000 Jupiter-Saturn cycle, August 3, 2015, 5:37:52 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Equal Houses and True Node.

3rd Q Sun (Leo) conjoins Sibly Node (Leo) and sextiles Sibly Uranus (Gemini) and Sibly Saturn (Libra); 3rd Q Pluto (Capricorn) squares Sibly Saturn. We’ve seen how this campaign has leveraged the economic anxieties of working class Americans (6th h. Sibly Uranus) to challenge the “Establishment” (3rd Q Pluto in Capricorn squares Sibly Saturn). 

This challenge is only exacerbated by 3rd Q Mars conjoining Sibly Mercury (Cancer) and opposing Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). All this works together because Mercury disposes Sibly Uranus (Mercury rules Gemini).

Bottom line, American workers have been feeling stressed out, anxious and angry at “politics as usual” (3rd Q Mars also inconjoins Sibly Moon in Aquarius, representing the “People”).

The fixed nature of this 3rd quarter square—strongly reinforced by its Leo Sun-Sibly Node—reflects the difficult time many Americans are having accepting the demographic changes we’ve seen since immigration was opened up in the 1960s. The unfolding transformation we’ve seen in the American job market, in jobs lost to trade deals and globalization, and in the nature of work itself has fueled other anxieties that aren’t going to go away any time soon. People have made it clear that they want to return to more stable, prosperous times for their families, and this 3rd Q phase has given them an outlet for expression.

Trump’s 10°+Leo Pluto ties in tightly with this configuration, which reflects how powerful these hot button issues have been for Trump—it’s no surprise his announcement speech went right for the jugular on immigration policy, offering broad sweeping solutions (“build a wall”). 

On the other side, Clinton’s Leo-Scorpio planets tie into the same configuration and reflect her more “policy-wonk”-style of discussing these issues. We won’t see the end to this story on November 9th, and in the nature of a 3rd quarter, it could get worse before it gets better.

Interchart T-square: 3rd Q Mercury-Jupiter-Venus (Leo) oppose Sibly Moon (Aquarius); this axis squares 3rd Q Saturn. Mercury and Venus here added glitz and charisma to Trump’s campaign—especially early on. So closely tied into his Mars-ASC, this certainly evokes Trump’s “star power,” and the people (oppositions to Sibly Moon) ate it up. From descending on an escalator to a “winning” soundtrack, to flying in for rallies on his private jet, he has pulled out all the celebrity clichés, until reality—and societal standards of behavior (square to 3rd Q Saturn)—started catching up with him.

Even so, Leo Jupiter has the arrogant chutzpah to confront the powers-that-be, so this t-square also represents the “screw you” message Trump’s campaign has issued establishment politics. “Trump will be Trump” is a phrase often heard when he defies decorum, and is certainly reflected here.

Clinton has a more complicated relationship to this T-square, with her Leo-Scorpio groupings tying in to the 3rd Q groupings in these signs, but not as tightly as Trump’s Mars-ASC do.  3rd Q Saturn conjoined her Jupiter (Sagittarius) in an out-of-sign (or dissociate) conjunction, which reflects how hard she’s had to work for every bit of growth her campaign has realized. This is probably also her saving grace as a candidate, at least for those who look less for charisma and more for substance and depth of experience. If there really is a legitimate contest between the candidates over stamina, her Leo-Scorpio squares give her an edge.

Clinton is up against the nagging issue of trust, however—the lack of trust that seems to dog her campaign, no matter how many hours of intense Congressional/FBI scrutiny she undergoes.  This almost gut level response to her speaks to her Scorpio squares to these 3rd Q Leo points, and to the square between her Mercury-ASC-South Node and Sibly Moon (Aquarius). Being a Sagittarian nation, we seem to fear the more closed Scorpio persona we see in Clinton—trouble is, like Trump, “Hillary will be Hillary.”

Astrology textbooks emphasize the light and dark expression of each Zodiac sign: at its best, Scorpio (co-ruled by Mars-Pluto) promotes a commitment to the right use of power, which we certainly need in our politics. This commitment evolves over a lifetime, however, so it’s no wonder the public is challenged to understand a Scorpio native’s journey. Clinton has proven she is able and knowledgeable and willing to do the work of governing, but we can’t really know what’s going on in her heart, any more than we can know what goes on in Trump’s mind, in his taxes, in his international ties, his relations with women, and so on. 

I think it’s fair to say that neither contender passes the “WYSIWYG” test entirely.

In general, however, nothing is ever made easy for Clinton, so even if she wins in November, the path ahead looks very difficult—3rd Q Moon-Chiron (Pisces) fell tightly conjunct her Moon (Pisces), hitting the one vulnerable “soft spot” of her chart. I would venture that she feels the brutal attacks that Trump and others launch at her more deeply than she lets on. She could pull out the “victim” card as easily as he does, but he’s beat her to it with this same 3rd Q Moon squaring his intense Gemini-Sagittarius opposition.

Besides, Clinton knows that the double standard for men and women would act against her if she starts crying “victim,” so she’s basically opted to maintain strength in the face of attack. And the attacks don’t seem to ever stop—between her husband’s baggage, Trump’s smears, Wikileaks, and the Russians feeding Wikileaks with questionable, hacked documents, Clinton is called upon to have the fortitude of several men. Without really laying it out in so many words, she’s letting us know more about her inner life than we might think.

Interchart T-square: 3rd Q Mars-Sibly Mercury (Cancer) opposite Sibly Pluto squares 3rd Q Uranus-MC-Eris (Aries). These Aries points trine 3rd Q Mercury-Jupiter-Venus (Leo). This configuration works closely with the following, so it’s simpler to discuss both together:

Interchart Grand-square: Uranus-MC-Eris (Aries) conjoin Sibly Chiron (Aries), oppose Sibly Saturn (Libra); this axis squares 3rd Q Pluto (Capricorn) opposite Sibly Sun (Cancer).  We’ve discussed the Leo emphasis in this 3rd Q chart, but these aspects involving disruptive Uranus-Eris explain the passion and desire for change-at-all-costs that has characterized this anti-Establishment campaign. This passion has emerged from deep national wounds (Sibly Chiron) brought to a head by the 2007-8 recession. The Sibly 2nd-8th house axis speaks to the economy and the oppositions reflect the many ways in which inequality is always possible in our system, so it’s no surprise that those issues have been so powerful in this election.

The radical transformation of what it means to “be presidential” is certainly seen here, as well, with 3rd Q Pluto opposed Sibly Sun. Countless commentators have noted that any one of Trump’s outrageous pronouncements would have sunk his campaign if these were different times, but his behavior has somehow been acceptable to his diehard followers. As happens often with oppositions, the double standard lives to see another day.

This configuration also evokes the national “gladiator games” mentioned earlier—the “victims” that have been devoured in this campaign, however, are the important issues (Sibly Mercury) that deserve frank discussion and dedicated policy (Sibly Pluto) responses. 3rd Q Neptune (Pisces) trines Sibly Venus-Jupiter-Sun, and as we’ve seen, this has only added to the spectacle and has obfuscated important 7th and 8th house issues. With 3rd Q Saturn-Neptune square, the confusion extends to our public institutions and the very ideals of democracy.  

Many key questions have emerged during this campaign, but the ones reflected here are: What is the true value of our alliances and international agreements (7th house Venus-Jupiter), and how do we proceed from here? Is there unacceptable meddling (Neptune trines Sibly Venus-Jupiter -- i.e., Russian hacking undermining public confidence in our election) going on that we need to address? How do we move forward in a globalized economy (2nd-8th house Cancer-Capricorn) without causing even greater distress at home?

A final thought

As countless commentators have reminded us, supporters on both sides have legitimate concerns that deserve consideration, but if Debate #3 follows the pattern set by #1 and #2, the destructive entertainment will win out over those issues. Millions will tune in for the spectacle—SNL will undoubtedly capture the new round of absurdity—and the news will be abuzz with Trump’s latest pranks and outrage, as both candidates claim victory. So far, these exercises have only further debased our politics, and that debasement is already the “end of civilization” as we know it. 

IMHO, the serious needs of our times deserve better - two disgusted thumbs down!

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. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hurricane Trump shreds the GOP – the astrology

Trump and the GOP have hitched their fates to each other, but clearly there’s no love lost between them. Trump doesn’t equate his own personal success...with party success, and the GOP’s purposes aren’t very well served by Trump’s agenda and followers, either.

This past March, I posted an article that analyzed the astrology surrounding the GOP’s fractured state and its parallels to California’s precarious, earthquake-prone status. Of course, at that time the political dilemma was the Republican primaries and way in which the GOP was being co-opted for Donald Trump’s even then-controversial campaign. Little did we know then just how controversial that campaign would become, and how disastrous it would be for what remained of GOP party integrity. The threat of earthquake seemed like an apt metaphor at the time—now, I’d have to say the situation has evolved into more of a cataclysmic hurricane. Coincidental?

I said then that “the Party is crumbling from within”—a development illustrated convincingly by the astrology—but in the wake of this past Friday’s (10/7) release of Access Hollywood tapes showing Donald Trump bragging in the most disgusting possible terms about being able to “do anything” to women because he’s a “star” (gag me with a stick), the Party of Lincoln is more like a coastal city being shredded by Hurricane force winds.

Indeed, astrology shows that these timely convergences (Hurricane Matthew with the GOP’s latest crisis) are never accidental: GOP leaders and down-ballot candidates have staged a mass evacuation from their positions of support and are fleeing for higher moral ground. Or at least higher, voter-friendly ground. On this post-Debate #2 morning (more on that stalk-fest going forward), House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated that he will “no longer defend Donald Trump.”

“In a conference call with members Monday morning, Ryan told members ‘you all need to do what's best for you and your district,’ according to someone who listened to the meeting.”
Reportedly, Ryan has not taken the important symbolic step of un-endorsing Trump, but—to the anger of some GOP members—he is withdrawing any further efforts to support him.

I’ve analyzed Trump’s chart and his chaotic tendencies repeatedly over the past year, and Trump—and the entire lunatic event we’ve been calling an election—have been the most intensely analyzed subjects ever in my experience.  I’m really starting to think that the fascination we’ve all had for this lunacy has been part of the problem:  by focusing so much attention on this man’s antics and on his disregard for even the most basic rules of civility and humanity, we only feed the ego-fire that seems to consume his every moment.

With fiery Mars in Leo on his Ascendant (middle wheel, triwheel below), we shouldn’t be surprised that Trump radiates narcissistic rage whenever he feels unfairly challenged (which is any time he’s challenged). In fact, this Mars loomed large on the debate stage Sunday night, as he impatiently paced the stage, scowling, and at times looming behind Clinton as she answered questions.

News commentators noted this body language, finding it threatening, creepy and, as one put it, a "pre-assault indicator." Visually there was no missing the fact that his large bulk often overshadowed Clinton’s smaller stature in the television frame. As a well-seasoned media “star,” Trump clearly knows how to upstage others, and he deployed that skill in a very menacing way here. When he was speaking, his demeanor was similarly aggressive, and though no one mentioned it much this time, he was also sniffing the whole time he was speaking.

It’s not likely Trump had a cold during both debates, but he certainly sniffed his way through both. If he has sniff-causing allergies, he could have medicated them away for an hour or two, but this time the sniffing came across even more like a nervous need to draw attention and upstage his opponent. His Leo Mars is disposed by a Gemini Sun, disposed in turn by Cancer Mercury square Aries Eris (at 6°41’ Aries, not shown), so it’s quite possible the sniffing reflects the Raging Bull persona we witnessed onstage last night, courtesy of his Mars-ASC.

The Mercury connection here speaks to how he manages to turn language and words (and maybe even sniffs) into pre-emptive strike weapons. We heard a lot this past week about the destructive nature of hurricane storm surges—Trump’s incessant word surges and aggressive over-the-top exaggerations are similarly overwhelming and destructive (to our collective morale, if not to his opponent), and they certainly speak to the aggressive restlessness of his Leo points.

In fact, Trump is very familiar with the wrestling arena (Jake La Motta was a boxer, to be fair, but the arenas are similar), and it showed in his belligerent behavior Sunday night. He seems comfortable in the aggressive, no-holds-barred, “me against the world” universe he’s created for himself in this campaign, and indeed, his Cancer-Aries square—especially involving Eris—speaks to a pugilistic worldview.

This, I believe, explains a lot about his threatening tactics, his worldview and policy stands, and his misogynistic view of women as “conquests.” The Access Hollywood and Howard Stern Show tapes should be evidence enough of this.

An epidemic of “scary clowns”

For now, let’s bring the discussion back to the long term stakes. Trump provides intoxicating entertainment for news watchers, but if we’re lucky, he’ll disappear back up that golden escalator once this circus we’re calling an election is over. Again, there are no coincidences in astrology, so it’s little wonder that we’re seeing an epidemic of “Scary Clown” incidents these days. This entire election has been shot through with mistrust over the “masks” our candidates seem to wear, and each side is more terrified than the other over what lurks behind those masks. Meanwhile, the election looms in less than a month and one of our major political parties is in crisis.

As we’ll discuss much more by the end of this story, the GOP’s future and its critical role within our 2-party system will play out over several years to come. Significantly, while Trump’s campaign has downgraded and divided the GOP, Russia appears to be attempting similar damage by hacking the Democratic party. Is it just me, or is our entire system of representative government under fire? A story for another day.

First, let’s briefly update the issues discussed in my March 1, 2016 posting by examining the chart for the second debate against the GOP’s founding chart and Trump’s natal chart. This debate was largely considered an impossible situation for Trump (in the wake of Friday’s revelations), but as many would admit, he did “better” than expected (who knew what to expect?), keeping Hillary Clinton on the defense for large segments of the event. Did he do the GOP any service with his performance last night?

In a grotesque and vicious pre-debate ploy, Trump staged a “press conference” that featured four women who were supposedly there to accuse Bill Clinton of past sexual misconduct. As Greg Sargent, writing for the Washington Post so aptly put it, this ill-conceived “gambit” was designed not to address the feminist issue at the heart of sexual misconduct, but more to humiliate and rattle Trump's opponent—who Trump wants to paint as “guilty” of enabling her husband’s philandering. All things considered, Trump's ploy ended up being an even uglier twist on misogyny than his usual. Sargent feels strongly that Trump did not do the GOP any service with his performance last night.  

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt reportedly believes the campaign is all but over, with the only question being how badly the GOP will lose in November. Relevant to our discussion here, he states that Trump’s candidacy reveals the “intellectual rot in the Republican party….” Bottom line, Schmidt doubts that the party will have sufficient integrity left to promote the conservative agenda it claims to represent. 

Let’s consider the triwheel:

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. Republican Party, March 20, 1854, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon chart, no exact time known), Ripon, Wisconsin; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m., DST, Jamaica, New York; (outer wheel) 2nd Presidential Debate, October 9, 2016, 9:00 p.m. DST, St. Louis, Missouri.

First, a few sweeping generalizations

This triwheel reads like a study in frustrating, oppositional forces—an exact reflection of how the debate came across on television. We find numerous interchart t-squares and grand crosses, depicting the Jerry Springer-type sparring we witnessed from Trump’s side. Clinton appeared to be trying to go high” when Trump “went low,” (as Michelle Obama counseled), but she took some deeply wounding blows which we'll consider another day.

Interchart Grand Cross: Debate Sun (Libra) conjoins Trump Jupiter (Libra) and opposes Debate Uranus-Eris (Aries, Eris not shown); this axis is squared by Trump’s Saturn-Venus (Cancer) opposed to GOP Chiron-Jupiter (Capricorn). I’ve cast the GOP inception chart for noon because there’s no published time for its founding meeting in 1854. That limits our use of angles and Moon degrees, but there’s certainly enough drama in this triwheel without those details. If noon were the correct time, this grand cross configuration’s intensity would be heightened by its proximity to the GOP Cancer-Capricorn horizon. I’m guessing that an astrologer rectifying this GOP chart might want to consider this dramatic triwheel—the current crisis certainly seems to be an existential threat to the GOP as we know it, so perhaps the timing seen in this chart is not that far off.

As for Trump’s role in this triwheel, his natal Jupiter (Libra) is literally “in the heart” (cazimi) of the Debate Sun, perhaps reflecting his “better-than-expected” performance. His defenses (Cancer Venus-Saturn) were finely tuned and he was laser-focused on (close square to Debate Uranus) destroying his opponent (Debate Sun-Trump Jupiter opposition to Debate Uranus-Eris).

His tactics, however, only further debilitate the GOP’s chances of success (his Cancer planets and Libra Jupiter t-square GOP Jupiter-Chiron) along with his own prospects. Analyst Michael Gerson says Sunday night’s debate was the “worst possible outcome for the GOP” because Trump didn’t even try to appeal to mainstream GOP voters with his talking points. Uranus-Eris has been transiting widely trine his natal Mars-ASC (Leo), unleashing Trump’s combative nature and furthering his oppositional relationship with the Party.

Doubling down rather than courting party support, Trump has taken to lashing out at GOP members and the party in general for their perceived lack of support (Cancer planets opposed GOP Jupiter-Chiron). With Trump’s Saturn-Venus conjunction (Cancer) trine the GOP Sun (Pisces) and his Mars (Leo) exactly inconjunct that Sun, it appears the Party has been railroaded into supporting its own demise.

This fatal attraction is reflected even further by the addition of Debate Pluto (Capricorn) into this grand cross. Indeed, the Debate Moon/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) ties in very closely with the GOP’s Jupiter-Chiron and opposing Trump’s Saturn-Venus—it’s no wonder that Trump’s depraved approach to women featured prominently in the past week’s run up to the debate. His cavalier attempt to dismiss the so-called “hot mic” revelations as “locker talk” is already coming back to bite him—and the party.

With Uranus-Eris’s long term transit squaring all these Cancer-Capricorn points, it appears that Trump’s “success” (Jupiter) in disgusting women everywhere will severely wound the party (GOP Jupiter-Chiron). Trump and the party have hitched their fates to each other, but clearly there’s no love lost between them. Trump doesn’t equate his own personal success (i.e., the ego-gratifying glory he cultivates with his most loyal base) with party success and the GOP’s purposes aren’t very well served by Trump’s agenda and followers, either.

Commentators continue to ask whether Trump really wants the presidency, or if he’s simply using the GOP to cultivate a following he can leverage for other purposes after the election. The fraught convergence of oppositional cardinal forces we see in these charts suggest that these commentators may be on to something.

Interchart T-Square: Trump Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini) oppose Trump Moon (Sagittarius); this axis squares Debate Chiron (Pisces)-GOP Sun/Neptune (midpoint, Pisces). The GOP’s Sun/Neptune midpoint is strongly triggered here by its relationship with Trump, evoking the problems that can arise when a one partner in the relationship lives in an “alternative” or delusionary reality; such relationships are often exploitative, codependent and ultimately destructive. As columnist Maureen Dowd put it on October 9th:

“In Trump’s alternate universe, he is always the winner. If he’s not, the system is rigged, the mike is faulty, the media is biased. Narcissists can see only themselves in a fun-house mirror, either larger or smaller than they really are at any given moment, so it is impossible for others to convey a true picture to them.”

In fact, the delusions are probably equally shared between the candidate and his beleaguered party in the present instance: despite serious misgivings from the get-go (again, see March 1 posting) GOP members made a calculated decision to support Trump’s nomination early on because they were dazzled by his primary victories and loyal following. Unfortunately, they failed to see that Trump would be unable and probably unwilling to broaden his very limited base.

At a time when the GOP knows (at least theoretically) that it needs to expand its base to meet today’s changing demographics, Trump wants to drag them back into the good ‘ol pre-Civil Rights era. It isn’t going to work because denying reality (a comfortable default for Trump, but not a very sound political strategy for a party) is a dead, delusional end.

Fateful turnings

Interchart Grand Cross: Debate Neptune-South Node (Pisces) conjoins GOP Neptune and opposes Debate North Node (Virgo); this axis squares Debate Saturn (Sagittarius) and Trump Uranus. Additional points factor into this configuration—especially if we consider progressions—but we’ll consider those as needed to flesh out the story. Clearly, the GOP is caught on the horns of an outer planetary dilemma; for starters, as an organization, they are experiencing their Neptune return in Pisces, which explains the almost hysterical tone of their candidate’s appeal and the blind faith his following continues to have in him.

Neptune has inspired hysteria and a mob mentality throughout history because those who know how to use Neptune’s power tap into a society’s primal depths of insecurity, perceived victimization and existential fears. There’s nothing rational about Neptune—“Make America great again” has little to do with a future plan and everything to do with perceived wrongs and anxieties about changing times. The passive aggression associated with Neptunian idealism (seen in insinuating rhetoric like “People tell me that…”) morphs into overt aggression when the mob takes over.

Of course, used wisely, Neptunian energies are compassionate, uplifting and even euphoric, but there are light and dark sides to every planetary energy, and the GOP (and the country, by extension) has had front row seats for negative Neptune. It’s significant that as the Party of Lincoln, the GOP is also the Party of Neptune, their Venus and late Pisces Sun disposed by Neptune. They were “blessed” by Neptune from the get-go, with Venus exalted in Pisces, disposing their Taurus Pluto, Uranus and Saturn. These roots speak to Lincoln’s determination to end the victimization of slavery—not just for compassionate reasons, but for economic reasons (Taurus) and to build a stronger nation going forward. As we know, that transition challenged the GOP to its core, but they survived and evolved into the party we see in crisis today.

People tend to fear Pluto’s more overt destructive force, but Pluto merely finishes the job Neptune starts. Neptune breaks down existing realities using erosion, disillusionment and overwhelm—we’re seeing all of these with the breakdown of GOP unity, the obfuscation of its traditional core messages and strengths. By allowing their party to be co-opted by divisive extremism, we are seeing the destruction wreaked by both Neptune and Pluto.

Interchart Grand Cross: Debate Jupiter (Libra) conjoins Trump Neptune (Libra) and opposes GOP Mercury (Aries); this axis squares Trump Mercury (Cancer) opposed to Debate Mars (Capricorn). We considered earlier how Trump’s Mercury-Neptune square enables his conspiracy-driven mindset, but here we see why that tendency loomed so large and to such depressing effect in the debate. Debate Mars exactly opposed Trump’s Cancer Mercury from Capricorn, a water-earth sign combination (“mud”) that Trump put to very mean-spirited effect, using language and threats ("you'd be in jail") to lash his opponent with what could have been crippling verbal blows to a weaker target.  

Luring Clinton into the muck for a knock-out didn’t prove to be that easy, however. Clinton anticipated Trump’s plans and sought higher ground (when an emotional water sign like Cancer “floods,” flee to the earth sign “hills”). There was stunning irony in Trump’s accusing Clinton of having “hatred in her heart” when he was the one radiating vitriol from every pore. The young Muslim lady who ventured a question to Trump about how he would assure her safety in this country going forward probably understood Clinton’s pain, and the strength it took for her to calmly confront the bully looming over her shoulder.  

A word about progressions

On debate #2 night, Saturn fell opposite the GOP’s progressed Saturn (15°+Gemini), the GOP’s progressed Mars (1°+Scorpio) opposed the GOP’s radix Pluto (Taurus) and transiting Pluto fell within orb of the party’s progressed Jupiter (retrograde at 18°+Capricorn). This complex of energies certainly evokes the need for a structural overhaul (Saturn); as for the Mars and Pluto dynamics, they reflect to a tee the brutal “thug” energy Trump has brought into the party’s discourse. As we’ll see ahead, the party’s Uranus (Taurus) also plays a role here.

Bottom line, the party is not likely to thrive until it does the soul-searching a retrograde progressed Jupiter calls for, clearing out the old destructive energies and restoring a productive raison d’ětre (progressed Saturn).  

Instinctive power

Thankfully, rational Saturn (Sagittarius) has been challenging Neptune’s erosion of the GOP’s democratic principles in favor of a Mars-Uranus-Pluto influenced “strong man” candidate, but challenging Trump with fact-checking and extensive media analyses that would be damning to any other candidate hasn’t been enough to disengage his core following. He simply has a deeper hold on them than anyone could have anticipated.

It’s not too big a mystery how he’s accomplished this: it appears he’s been able to tap into the GOP’s Taurus Uranus (the more radical fringe) with a belligerent square from his 12th house Leo Pluto: he has simply followed his instincts and drawn in these hidden denizens of the GOP (white supremacists, etc.), who are usually ignored and marginalized. Best of all, they’re angry because they don’t feel they’ve “gotten theirs” (Taurus)strong-man governments never thrive without the energies of an angry, minimally-educated following. Anger and angst become the life force of such movements and the results are always painful.


The transiting nodal axis’s presence during the GOP’s Neptune return perhaps reflects the critical turning point that the party’s has been stumbling over these days. The Debate Pisces South Node here evokes the party’s past, perhaps explaining why they’ve twisted themselves in ideological knots over the years trying to leverage constituencies that are, by nature, at odds. How can any party try to accommodate the super-wealthy and the uneducated white working poor? Throw in the religious conservative cohort and the gun lobby and the mix becomes even less workable. The agendas are bound to clash eventually, and Trump leveraged the dissatisfaction of some groups to the detriment of all the others.

Indeed, his core message hasn’t been entirely off-base—it resonates for valid reasons with many working people. He simply doesn’t know how—or isn’t willing to—broaden his agenda to fit today’s pluralistic democracy and demographics. Instead, he’s continuing to court one, mostly marginalized constituency with his message, ensnaring the party at large in the process. Left to scratch its collective head in disbelief, the party is now reportedly in a state of “civil war”—the RNC falling over its feet to reassure the media it is 100% behind their candidate, while House Leader Paul Ryan issues an “every member for themselves” alert for the sake of Congressional majorities.  

On the other end of the axis, the Virgo North Node represents the desirable path forward for the party—a return to a true spirit of public service, perhaps? This node speaks to all politicians, not simply the GOP—public service is often the last thing on their minds, it seems. As for the GOP, this would be impossible without becoming more inclusive, a major challenge they acknowledged from the top levels of the party after Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. 

As with many paths forward, however, the GOP was waylaid and its weaknesses were horribly exploited. Their progressed Jupiter doesn’t turn direct for approximately 16 years, so they may not return to anything resembling the Party of Lincoln for several election cycles. We can hope they at least try.

Whether we have ever agreed with the GOP about anything or not, we have to appreciate their central importance to our 2-Party electoral system. If they continue the unhealthy track they’re on, we will all suffer (witness this horrendous election). As Rep. Greg Walder (R, Ore.) put it, “navigating the election is now like landing an airplane in a hurricane,” and as we see in today’s news, Hurricane Trump has no plans to exit peacefully offshore. 

The destruction he’s left in his wake has brought down the promising careers of what Republican consultant Rick Wilson calls “a generation of GOP stars,” adding that “everything Trump touches dies.” Harsh words, but being able to admit the problem is the first step to solving it. If we want to get anything productive done in this nation, we need to wish our GOP friends well.   

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.