“You Americans kick around your country like it’s a football. But it’s not a football. It’s a Fabergé egg. You can break it.”
Thomas Friedman, citing an immigrant friend.
Republican victories in presidential years are always a bit visually unnerving, if only because a large swath of the electoral map turns a shocking fire-engine red, drowning out the less eye-assaulting blue of the Dems. With Donald J. Trump as the candidate amassing that bleeding sea of red, the visual seemed fitting, indeed. Anger, rage and hostility towards so many—coupled with a passion for grinding his opponent into the ground by any means necessary—were expressed not just in that ferocious looking map, but throughout his candidacy. This man proved to be a bully from start to finish, and he is now going to be our next president.
Despite some gestures of civility in his acceptance speech, those Trump insulted, demeaned, defamed and verbally assaulted during his campaign know better. Trump is no teddy bear with a gruff exterior that can be hung up in a closet somewhere; he is a truly mean, unapologetic human being with an agenda that the majority of the country is not going to like. Apparently, the new ruling cohort is okay with that.
The mainstream press got it all wrong going into Tuesday, and it’s been falling all over itself trying to make sense of it all ever since—for themselves if not for the rest of us. Liberal wise man Michael Moore was one of the few voices in the media who did get it right—he knew, as only a populist documentarist would, that the country is hurting far more than most pundits and politicians were realizing. Moore predicted that the Rust Belt states could go Trump, and sure enough they did. Moore isn’t taking Trump’s victory lying down, either:
"Any Democratic member of Congress who didn't wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that's about to begin," filmmaker Michael Moore wrote in a widely shared call to arms.”
Pastor T.D. Jakes told commentator Tamron Hall that “…we can’t go into forgiveness mode yet…there’s a certain amount of trauma…” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow counsels activism and says it’s time to compile “doomsday lists” of what we can do to preserve our national values over the next 4 years; she goes on in another segment to say that Trump is practicing a “twisted form of populism”—something we’ll come back to ahead. Maddow also hosted an important conversation titled “How to spot signs of authoritarianism’s creep:” not surprisingly, Trump’s proposals regarding Muslims in America were at the heart of the conversation.
Representative Maxine Waters (D, CA) says (I’m paraphrasing) that she’s not ready to accept this new president: she wants to see whether he releases his taxes, reimburses students defrauded by his so-called University, or apologizes to the disabled reporter he mocked. She says she believes nothing he says and wonders out loud if the divisive, deceptive man he was during campaign 2016 will be the same man who shows up for the job in the White House. There’s no word whether she supports #Calexit—the campaign to secede from the Union that many Californians want on the ballot next year.
Senator Bernie Sanders pledges to support any Trump legislation that he believes would help the struggling middle class, but to strongly oppose any policy that attempts to do that on the backs of minorities, or at the risk of our civil rights.
I respect all of the above voices, and many more I haven’t cited, and just to be clear, I am unapologetically biased about what happened on November 8th. Like the greater half of the country (Clinton won the popular vote by a comfortable margin), I fear that we’re about to relive the corrupt Nixon years, only worse. I don’t think we even need to look to astrology to confirm this collective gut feeling, but I believe astrology can help us respond more thoughtfully and confidently.
In a future post we’ll explore the astrological ties between that corrupt 1970s era and today, but in this post, I feel we must reach back even further to a time when another presidential election tore the country apart: the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln.
Oddly, that election mirrors our own in a twisted, “we’ve-fallen-through-the-Looking-Glass” sort of way. Trump is more of an anti-Lincoln, judging by his campaign and demeanor—but I think it’s safe to say that Trump is equally likely to tear us apart along racial, ethnic and class lines. This is just too close to the 1860s for comfort.
Just to recap the basics of that tumultuous period, Lincoln’s anti-slavery stance and narrow victory (southern states offered no help) prompted the secession of seven slave states and—before the new president was even inaugurated—the founding of the Confederacy on February 4, 1861. Here’s a quick summary from Wikipedia:
The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860, and was noteworthy for exaggerated sectionalism in a country that was soon to dissolve into civil war. Voter turnout was 81.2%, the highest in American history up to that time, and the second-highest overall (exceeded only in the election of 1876). All six Presidents elected since Andrew Jackson won re-election in 1832 had been one-term presidents, the last four with a popular vote under 51 percent. Lincoln won the Electoral College with less than 40 percent of the popular vote nationwide by carrying states above the Mason–Dixon line and north of the Ohio River, plus the states of California and Oregon in the Far West. Unlike all of his predecessors, he did not carry even one slave-holding state, and he received no votes at all in ten of the fifteen slave states.
We’ll consider some details from the Confederacy chart as they become relevant, but first, to consider the forces that were tearing the country apart in November 1860, we’ll take a look at that Election chart against the U.S. Sibly chart. It won’t take long to notice the substantive and emotional echoes from that period in the 2016 election—we’ll discuss that event chart ahead.
Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) 1860 U.S. Election, November 6, 1860, 6:41 a.m. (sunrise) LMT, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
1860 Moon-Part of Fortune-MC-Jupiter (Leo) oppose Sibly Moon-1860 Mars-Chiron (Aquarius). The American people were ideologically “enflamed” by these powerful fiery Leo forces overlaying the Sibly 9th. This emotion—quite possibly rooted in a sense of woundedness (Chiron)—cried out for radical action (Aquarius Mars). The South was feeling genuinely alienated (Aquarius Chiron) from and dishonored by the Federal government in those days, believing that their rights were being violated by the more heavily-populated—and thus proportionately more represented—North.
It should be recalled that slavery was at its heart an economic issue (which still exists in many forms throughout the world), and the agriculture-dependent South simply wasn’t ready to let go of the economic edge that slave labor gave it. We can see this resistance in the Confederacy chart’s (Chart #2 below) Jupiter (Leo) opposed Sun-Mercury-Chiron (Aquarius), and Mars (Aries) trine Jupiter. The grandiose, plantation-based Southern lifestyle (Leo)—not to mention the entire regional culture and mindset that formed around that lifestyle—felt threatened.
Interchart T-Square: 1860 Mercury-Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) opposes Uranus-Sibly Uranus (Gemini) at Sibly DSC; this axis squares 1860 Saturn (Virgo). Similar to 2016, this 1860 election was a protest vote (1860 Mercury opposed Sibly Uranus)—on all sides. The abolitionist movement had taken root in the North by that time, and anti-Northern sentiment had taken root in the South—everyone was protesting everyone, creating a fierce moment of reckoning (Virgo Saturn overlays Sibly 9th and disposes Sagittarius Mercury at Sibly ASC).
As we seem to be faced with again in 2016, Americans in 1860 were struggling to figure out what kind of country America was going to be (pressure on Sibly horizon axis)—a proto-aristocracy that reserved Constitutional rights for its white citizens alone, or a far more inclusive democracy. We’re still struggling with this choice.
The 1860 Mercury-Uranus-Saturn stand-off here reflected the revolution in the wings—it’s truly no surprise that the Confederacy was formed under an Aquarius Sun-Mercury conjunction (Chart 2).
Sibly Neptune (Virgo) conjoins 1860 Venus-Sibly MC (Libra); both oppose 1860 Neptune (Pisces); 1860 Neptune semi-sextiles Sibly Moon (Aquarius), sextiles Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) and trines Sibly Mercury (Cancer). Powerful fears (Neptune aspects) of a dying lifestyle and encroaching economic injustice (on the part of Northern-imposed “Big Government”) were unleashed during the 1860 campaign, swaying a deeply emotional vote (1860 Neptune overlays Sibly 4th).
I’ve mentioned above that the Southern powers-that-be felt disempowered by Northern domination. It was easy because of this to stoke outrage and rebellion in the population that would go on to fight the coming war. Fast-forwarding to 2016, we can certainly hear the echoes of this persuasion in the Trump campaign's constant harping about job-killing trade deals and immigration (supported by "Crooked Hillary" of course). Whether trade deals and immigration really are the source of all our economic woes is another story (many respectable economists disagree)--the resentments hit home with working class voters.
1860 Venus lights up the nation’s Libra MC here, however, which may look like a silver lining of sorts, but there’s more going on. This Venus also trines 1860 Uranus-Sibly Uranus-DSC (Gemini), drawing attention to the fact that Election 1860 coincided with the nation’s Uranus return. Explosive change was perhaps inevitable, and with Uranus disposing the nation’s Aquarius Moon, the change would greatly impact the American people. The bankers and industrialists who stood to gain from the ensuing Civil War (Venus-Uranus trine) didn’t die on those killing fields—working class American men on both sides, including many immigrants and former slaves, did. It’s worth noting here that the Confederacy chart features Uranus at its exact degree of return to the Sibly chart.
The values and ideals (Venus-Neptune) embodied in the 1860 Election were positive on their surface—a repudiation of slave-holding as a way of life and the basis for our economy. But these values were also subject to distortion and fear-mongering (opposite Neptune), and in its sextile to Sibly Pluto, 1860 Neptune served as a smokescreen that disguised the economic gains at stake in our national disintegration.
Industrial and infrastructure development (importantly, railroads) were fast-tracked by the Civil War—not a bad thing, on the face of it—but millions of victims died for to restore this Union and enable all this development. Was this necessary, or simply useful to some “powers-that-be” in those days?
Perhaps most damagingly, the divisions of the 1860s seeded deep-seated resentments that have polarized us ever since. We should remember that the seeds of the Civil War were sown by the June 1850 Uranus-Pluto conjunction at the end of Aries.
The Confederacy (Chart 2 below) was founded when Uranus and Pluto went on to form their waxing inconjunct (30°-Gemini-Taurus), with Uranus exactly square and Pluto exactly trine Virgo Saturn. A harsh revolution that seriously challenged the existing order is clearly seen in this chart, and a serious transformation was unleashed on the nation.
In the 1960s, the never-entirely repressed resentments sown by the Civil War exploded into view in the struggle over civil rights; in 2016, as touched upon above, they resurfaced with a vengeance in what the Reverend Al Sharpton has labeled Trump’s “George Wallace populism.” We have to wonder whether the Confederacy (the mindset and economic frustrations, if not the geographical reality) ever really surrendered, or if it just faded into the national unconscious, ready to spring forth when conditions fall into place. Let’s consider a couple more highlights from the Confederacy chart before we move on to the 2016 election:
Chart #2: The Confederacy, February 4, 1861, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon chart, no exact time known), Montgomery, Alabama. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Mutable forces at work. Three key outer planets in this chart fall in mutable signs: Uranus (Gemini), Saturn (Virgo) and Neptune (Pisces). We’ve discussed why this Uranus placement is significant—it provided our cyclical 84-year “wake-up-call.” The next time this happened we were in the throes of World War II. Saturn here denotes the hardship inflicted on Confederate citizens by this decision to secede: stress on the military, on the working lives of people, and on agriculture. The devastation caused by this secession was very real. The sesquiquadrate aspect between Saturn and Venus (Capricorn) reflects the economic aspirations underlying secession, but the frustrating aspect suggests that they were always a long shot.
We can’t help noticing the most expansive mutable echo between those times and today—Neptune in Pisces, in many ways the driving force in both times. While Neptune finished out its comfortable tour of its watery home sign, it carried the confederate rebellion on a wave of buoyant emotion. Once Neptune moved on into militant Aries in April 1861, however (the month the war broke out), its romantic rebellion became painfully real.
Cardinal forces at work. Venus is powerfully placed here conjunct the Confederacy North Node and Sibly Pluto in Capricorn, but she’s also square Confederacy Mars in cardinal Aries. Economics was a persistent challenge in waging this rebellion, even though the South had its wealthy aristocratic class. Its source of wealth was in the land (Capricorn) and in the slaves working the land—both targeted by Union forces (Mars). Plantations were decimated and thousands of slaves escaped with the help of the North.
Once Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, this process of freeing the slaves accelerated. This satisfied the North’s ideological stance against slavery, but it was also a tactical move designed to weaken the Confederate cause. It’s no accident that Venus squared Mars at that time from Capricorn to Aries, as well (chart not shown).
Fixed forces at work. There is also considerable fixed energy in the Confederacy chart: Sun, Mercury and Chiron inhabit rebellious Aquarius, with Jupiter opposing from fiery Leo. This opposition provided “fire in the belly” for the rebellion and a determination to defend the Southern lifestyle. The same wounded sensibility (Chiron) we saw in the 1860 chart is present here, which supported the ideology (Jupiter) behind the revolt. Changing a culturally-entrenched lifestyle would be a long, if not impossible process, and the victimization rhetoric we’ve seen in Election 2016 (“Make America great again” was an easy mantra for the KKK and other reactionary forces to co-opt) suggests we’re not quite there yet.
It should be mentioned that, despite the stark North-South divide in the Civil War, the conflicting mentalities at stake were not so evenly distributed then, and they still aren’t. Trump fueled his victory across the country by forcefully stoking the resentments and fears people harbor about “losing their country” to minorities. If the election proved anything, it’s that the Confederacy lives on in people’s hearts and minds. What goes around comes around, apparently—the Confederate agenda, embodied in a “Yankee,” has now captured the White House.
We can see this more clearly by considering the Confederacy chart next to Election 2016:
Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) The Confederacy, February 4, 1861, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon chart, no exact time known), Montgomery, Alabama; (outer wheel) Election Day 2016, November 8, 2016, 7:20 a.m. ST (sunrise chart), Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
There are some truly startling echoes between these two charts, which may help us make better sense of this election. I should say before we begin that there are some correspondences that we can’t confirm for sure—i.e., the Confederacy Moon-Election Saturn (Sagittarius) conjunction that we see here. This lack of an exact time also limits what we can say about house placements and angles, unfortunately, but there are plenty of other points to discuss!
Let’s consider the other strong echoes first:
2016 Election Moon (Aquarius) conjoins Confederacy Chiron (Aquarius). Since the Moon in a national chart represents the People, we can see here that the same wounded resentments in play in 1861 were also in play this election. This speaks to a point mentioned earlier from Rachel Maddow, that Trump is practicing a “twisted form of populism”—are resentments harking back to losing the use of slave labor really appropriate in the 21st century? The KKK and other white nationalist “alt-Right” groups who endorsed Trump seem to think so because Trump’s rhetoric and platform (and his Breitbart backers) legitimized these reactionary wounds.
From the protests that erupted immediately after Trump’s win, we can also surmise that wounds are being felt on all sides of the electorate—Trump leveraged his supporters’ wounds to get where he was going, and his victory rips open wounds in Clinton supporters.
It’s also interesting that these late Aquarius points conjoin the Sibly Moon; the will to revolt for the sake of security is built into our American DNA, so issues like wealth inequality and Wall Street’s abuse of Main Street America were bound to erupt eventually. The Moon likes to stay secure within her natural Cancer “shell,” too, so the appeal of a protectionist “Wall” wasn’t surprising.
2016 Election Saturn/Venus (midpoint, Sagittarius) sextiles Confederacy Aquarius stellium, squares Election Chiron (Pisces) and trines Election Uranus (Aries) and Confederacy Jupiter (Leo). These aspects confirm many fears that anti-Trump forces hold: that law enforcement will be empowered to make violent, possibly militant changes (Saturn/Venus to Uranus), and will be channeled into abusing people (Saturn/Venus to Chiron). Those who support such changes seem to be roiled by resentments that resonate with Confederacy times, about being told how to live by “Big [i.e.,“liberal Northern”] Government.”
In Election 2016, these resentments seem to be targeted at reversing liberal-minded decisions by the Supreme Court (Saturn-Uranus trine, Saturn disposed by Libra Jupiter), and Jupiter’s proximity to Sibly Saturn confirms that the Court was an election target. On another note, the Election Venus-Uranus trine (Sagittarius-Aries)—especially with Uranus and Pluto still square—suggests that financial turmoil is possible, as well. We saw a bit of this on Election day itself, with a quick roller-coaster ride on Wall Street, but we’re likely to see more of it going forward.
Finally, the Confederacy had its aristocratic (Leo) power structure, which many expect to resonate in Trump’s style of governing (Saturn/Venus trines Uranus and Confederacy Jupiter). His installation of family members in powerful positions certainly feeds into this fear.
2016 Election North Node-MC (Virgo) conjoin Confederacy Saturn (Virgo), widely square Election Saturn (Sagittarius) and the North Node trines Election Pluto (Capricorn). A desire to keep the Confederacy alive in people’s minds has caused its fair share of turmoil over the years because the racist baggage is simply too incendiary, especially for African Americans who make their homes in the South. The Saturn aspects shown here suggest a difficult legal threshold, which we certainly saw in this year’s outpouring of Republican-backed litigation attempting to suppress the minority vote, and in Democratic-backed efforts to fight back such attempts.
Significantly, the Dred-Scott decision mentioned above is relevant here, as well. Those deciding this case sought to establish the legal foundation for a federal, pro-slavery policy—and a ban on citizenship for freed slaves. Citizenship enables a person to vote, so there’s a direct connection between the Dred-Scott decision’s intent and today’s voter suppression attempts. A brief summary of this 1857 decision from Wikipedia follows:
“…a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on US labor law and constitutional law. It held that "a negro, whose ancestors were imported into [the U.S.], and sold as slaves", whether enslaved or free, could not be an American citizen and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court, and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an enslaved man of "the negro African race" who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the court denied Scott's request.
Thankfully, this same article says that the case was quickly superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and is viewed by at least one former Justice as “the Court’s greatest self-inflicted wound.” It also notes that the decision was inappropriately influenced by then President-elect, James Buchanan, who wanted the political hot-potato of slavery to be “settled” before he assumed office later that March. The case wasn’t overturned until after the Confederacy and the war, of course, but preserving the spirit of Dred-Scott was certainly one of the aims of those breakaway states.
Election 2016 Pluto/Mars (midpoint, Capricorn) conjoins Confederacy Venus (Capricorn), squares Election Uranus-Confederacy Mars (Aries) and quincunxes Confederacy Jupiter (Leo); Election Uranus-Confederacy Mars trine Confederacy Jupiter. There’s a whole lot going on here and most of it pertains to echoes between the two era’s power struggles. Let’s break these complicated aspects down:
- The 2016 Pluto/Mars midpoint raises concerns about how security forces and the police are used by the powers-that-be—concerns that many protestors are voicing even as we speak. The Trump campaign gave people plenty to be concerned about here—Michael Munkasey says a negative use of the Mars/Pluto midpoint can denote: “A police state with rigid military controls; the use of suppression and torture as a means for enforcing policy, exporting upheaval and political theory to others as an objective, wars, rape, mayhem, chaos.”
The positive uses aren’t much friendlier, portending a heavily-weaponized police force and military—many fear that Trump’s “law and order” agenda will operate along these lines.
In combination with Confederacy Venus, this midpoint could, according to Munkasey, denote “great projects to increase wealth and power.” It will be interesting to see who or what interests prosper under a Trump presidency.
It’s worth noting that this Pluto/Mars midpoint opposes Trump’s Saturn-Venus conjunction (Cancer)—there’s a good chance that corporate dollars funding Trump or other financial entanglements (he was not entirely self-funded), are implicated here, and that there’s a potentially militant agenda underlying those relationships. Russia is a Capricornian state—this suspected relationship needs to be closely watched.
In combination with Election Uranus-Confederacy Mars, again this midpoint suggests the use of power (potentially violent) to stir things up for reactionary purposes; the Confederacy Mars-Jupiter trine reflects how the Southern aristocratic landowners stirred up their local male population to defend Southern honor (an easy emotional hook), but also for the purpose of fighting their pro-slavery battles for them (Aries Mars).
In terms of the 2016 Election, Uranus (which happens to conjoin Eris, as well) is unabashedly disruptive and militant. The protests we’re seeing on the streets these days are no surprise, and they probably would have happened whoever was elected. Trump’s response once he’s holding the reins will determine how this unfolds.
Interchart T-Square: Election Neptune (Pisces) opposes Election North Node-Confederacy Saturn (Virgo); this axis squares Confederacy Uranus (also Sibly Uranus-Gemini). It’s no surprise that many view Election 2016 as the most unhinged, irrational and deceptive display of politics they’ve ever seen—this perception is certainly reflected in the strained opposition here. The Uranus connections here say that the country needs to blow off a lot of steam right now—we’ve been stressed out by all this for almost two years. I’ve examined the stress all this is having on the Sibly horizon in other posts—this, unfortunately, is likely to get worse before it gets better.
The nation is presented with an important turning point here—do we succumb to irrational fears and wreak chaos on the streets and on each other (Pisces Neptune), or do we take the more rational, pragmatic approach (Virgo Node)? There is a time to fight and a time to make peace with our divided national Soul—interesting times ahead!
Seventy-some percent of the nation falls into an ethnic and/or religious category Trump has maligned in the course of his campaign—we have to wonder how those millions of people move forward with him at the helm. The difference between now and 1860, of course, is that today's disenfranchised people are not geographically concentrated in “north” or “south”—they are everywhere among us. So, again, we need to decide what kind of country we want to be. It appears we’re going to be forced to process some festering old wounds in the process.
The hostility—from day one—of the Republican Congress to our first African-American president should have been fair warning that we were heading into this breach. In retrospect, I think it’s fair to say that President Obama’s determination to achieve positive progress despite the venom is deeply inspiring. A story for another day!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.