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.
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: email@example.com.
© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved.