Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Venus Wars: Gender, Election 2016 and the looming Roe v. Wade battle ahead

These wars didn’t really sneak up on us, of course—the signs have been there all through the election, but perhaps women who value their rights will want to pay close attention going forward. 

I’m still trying to process this one. Breaking that highest, most difficult glass ceiling could have happened this past week, but even though Clinton won the lion’s share of women’s votes (many normally Republican women, as well), those votes just weren’t enough to overcome an abnormally high Republican male turnout, accompanied by disaffected Bernie Sanders’ voters, and so on.

To be fair, women who rejected Clinton to vote for Trump were not her only problem—and the Atlantic cautions us therefore that it’s unfair to blame women for Clinton’s loss. Still, in pondering a number of factors and astrological charts in play on November 8th, I have to say that the gender dynamics of this election deserve a deeper look.

For starters, there’s been more hatred and vitriol spewed about women this past year than I care to catalog, and it hasn’t all been from Trump-jazzed men. Some of the hateful rhetoric against women unleashed by Trump’s campaign is being meted out by other women. Witness today the bizarre case of a female mayor in Clay, West Virginia resigning over remarks she made on Facebook  (yes, women can be more venomous against their own than men):

“The mayor of a tiny town in West Virginia has resigned amid a firestorm over racist comments about Michelle Obama, according to the town recorder.
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling, who had commented approvingly on a Facebook post comparing the first lady to an ape, turned in her letter of resignation Tuesday. Joe Coleman, the town recorder, said Whaling’s resignation was effective immediately, according to the Associated Press.”
The wellbeing of a nation is often considered an extension of that nation’s chief executive—astrologically, the national Sun—so it’s logical to see the wellbeing of its women in the executive’s wife—here, the First Lady, or FLOTUS.

So, if Venus represents the nation’s First Lady (the Moon would be reserved for the executive’s mother) and the nation’s female population in general, this race-laced “mean girls” comment raises questions about Venus’s role in our schizophrenic national psyche (see Nov. 12th post). Especially this week, in the wake of an aggressive takeover of all branches of the government by the very alpha male Trump camp, what can we expect for women’s issues and wellbeing going forward? 

To be fair, 112 women candidates who ran campaigns this past election for Congress and other State elected offices won—including the first ever Somali-American Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, elected in Minnesota despite Trump’s 11th hour attempt to divide Minnesotans against their black, Muslim Somali community. So that’s one statistical bone to chew on. Without a lot deeper dive into each candidate’s background and history, however, it’s hard to say whether typical women’s issues like reproductive freedom benefitted from these numbers or not.

As we can see with former Mayor Whaling, there’s no guarantee that women in power will support (or even respect) the so-called feminist agenda, much less individual women in power. It all seems to depend upon the filters through which we see the world, especially our view of a woman’s “place” in the scheme of things. Clinton and her supporters felt strongly that that place was in the White House, blazing new trails for women; female Trump supporters passed over that opportunity for a confusing mix of reasons—from the alpha male perspective, the election was a real exercise in gender-based “divide and conquer.”

Maybe the charts we’ll examine ahead will help explain why the lack of solidarity between women should be no surprise—we are individuals, after all, and gender loyalty is just one of the many challenges we have to navigate. A little historical background is in order.

The ill-fated ERA and the infamous Roe v. Wade

Case in point, the 1970s Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that sought to enshrine women’s equality in the Constitution (guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, equal protections under the law, etc.), was  both supported and fatally undermined by women, the most damaging blows dealt by the women who followed the conservative Eagle Forum’s founder, Phyllis Schlafly.

The ERA would “disadvantage housewives,” Schlafly argued—an argument that unfolded in several directions, but Schlafly seems to have viewed women as handmaidens who stand to benefit in a man’s world if they simply don’t rock the boat. That the ERA would serve “career women” was a loaded adjunct to that argument—conservatives were very suspicious of this growing minority of women who wanted to forge more self-empowered pathways and disrupt the status quo.

Another big issue at the time was military conscription—few at that time could envision women being drafted, or even serving in anything but support roles. It’s hard to reconcile the serious gains that “liberated” women were making in those days with these conservative reservations, but this resistance swayed several state legislatures that decided not to ratify the amendment. It should also be remembered that by the time the ERA was pronounced dead for lack of state ratification (1980), Roe v. Wade (1/22/1973) had been passed by the Supreme Court.

Even though that 7-2 decision was based on a successfully-argued privacy argument—that the choice to terminate a pregnancy is a private matter between a women and her physician—Roe v. Wade has seriously deepened the divide between women over the years. Not only couldn’t we agree that women should be paid equally to men in the same positions, but we still can’t agree about who should control what goes on in our uteruses.

We’re familiar with the 80/100 wage gap between women and men (in equal jobs), but the complexities of the wage gap far exceed that simple ratio, and the percentage is much worse for women of color. Incredibly, any time the issue surfaces—as it did during Obama’s tenure—a certain number of women line up to make sure that wage parity doesn’t happen.

The best Obama could manage was to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a federal statute that sought to reverse loopholes in the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ability to protect minority workers from wage discrimination. Though Ms. Ledbetter was a woman, this 2009 action didn’t help women in general to any extent: in fact, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) estimates that we’re not likely to see full wage parity before the year 2152! That’s assuming we haven’t bickered ourselves out of existence by that point.

On the issue of reproductive rights, the divide between female factions is very much in play right now: Trump supporters are expecting their candidate to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat with an anti-Roe v. Wade super-hero, and those who want to block Trump nominations will fight hard. It’s already on. So, how do we make sense of this astrologically?

Ladies, choose your sides…

In looking at the chart for the Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973 (inner wheel, biwheel below), one of the key factors that leaps off the page is that Venus conjoins the North Node in Capricorn, even as it exactly opposes the Sibly Sun (Cancer, chart not shown). No matter one’s view of the decision, American women (Venus) had a date with destiny (Node) that day. Because Venus has played such a key role in this issue, the point of that planet’s return to the Roe v. Wade chart may tell us something important.

Significantly, this return is about to happen this November 23rd, so let’s consider the biwheel between the radix (natal) Roe v. Wade chart and this Venus event. No one is likely to decide anything about Roe v. Wade that very day, but November 23rd appears likely to set the tone for the battle everyone expects to happen in the coming year.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Roe v. Wade Decision, January 22, 1973, 12:00 p.m. ST (no exact time known), Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Venus Return, Roe v. Wade decision, November 23, 2016, 11:10:32 ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: Return Venus-Pluto conjoin RW Venus-Node (all Capricorn) and oppose RW South Node (Cancer); this axis squares Return Jupiter (Libra)-RW Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Libra). Tremendous power over women (Jupiter square Venus-Pluto) looks to be at stake here, which could certainly mean an attempt to overturn or undermine Roe v. Wade. Significantly, this power-over would essentially impose a religiously-held belief (Jupiter) about the issue of abortion on millions who do not share that belief. Of course, Roe v. Wade doesn’t force anyone to have an abortion; those who have religious misgivings are simply not allowed to impose their views on others who do not. This has been the stubborn sticking point for this issue from day one.

Big money (Pluto-Venus-Jupiter) is also at stake for politicos driven by campaign contributions. The Supreme Court has fully enabled such entanglements with its Citizens United decision (2010), so it will be interesting to see how many billions are poured into this issue going forward. There are billions on both sides of it, so something to watch.

Neptune (Pisces) square radix Neptune (Sagittarius). This “midlife crisis” transit certainly speaks to the urgency so many millions—on both sides of the issue—seem to feel about Roe v. Wade’s future. There’s a true clash of ideologies (Neptune) at work, and there’s a fair amount of Neptunian distortion and disinformation at work in the public discourse. It probably is a good time to revisit the decision and re-evaluate the decision’s original intent for coming generations, but cutting through the rhetoric to reach the facts will be a challenge. Any changes that result will likely reflect the mutable energies below.

Return Mercury-Saturn (Sagittarius) conjoin RW Mars (and widely, Neptune-both in Sagittarius) and oppose RW Saturn (Gemini). It’s worth noting that these mutable aspects tie in pretty tightly with Trump’s natal Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions (not shown), which likely reflects his freedom (Sagittarius) to make Supreme Court nominations impacting this issue (Jupiter disposes Sagittarius). 

These energies remind us also that it’s dangerous to view the Court’s likely actions through a gender prism alone—the original court was entirely male, and the vote supporting Roe v. Wade was a generous 7 to 2. There was a decided liberal bias to the Court in the 1970s, and this bias is clearly endangered, despite the fact that three of the eight Justices on the Court at this time are women (2 of them appointed by President Obama).

The legal mind-set (Mercury-Saturn) that the Court is likely to bring to its re-evaluation of Roe v. Wade should be relatively open and philosophical (Sagittarius), but the standing of the decision’s legal precedent may be challenged (Return Saturn opposed RW Saturn), and we know challengers will probably base their argument on language (Mercury) that redefines the status of a fetus as a full person, with full human rights. This also speaks to the broad ideological arguments (Neptune) in play here.

Interchart Grand Trine: Return Mars (Aquarius) trines RW Saturn (Gemini) and Return Jupiter (Libra). This powerful air-sign configuration appears poised to unleash revolutionary action (Aquarius Mars) into the judicial discourse (Gemini Saturn-Libra Jupiter) surrounding the reproductive rights issue. The outcome could feel decidedly authoritarian—Aries Uranus disposes Return Mars and trines Return Mercury-Saturn, at the same time it opposes Libra Jupiter.

It’s also worth noting that Return Uranus opposes RW Uranus, yet another “midlife crisis” transit. Unfortunately, this transit often inspires rash action that is deeply regretted later—the challenge being to make needed adjustments without destroying everything positive about the original situation. Importantly, Return Mars and Uranus are in mutual reception (inhabiting each other’s ruling signs), increasing the probability of rash action.

A few additional points

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Saturn (Gemini) formed a tight trine with the Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Libra). We were roughly 2 years into Pluto’s tour of Libra at that time, so the issues of power, justice—and reproductive control—(Pluto) for women (Venus disposes Libra) loomed very large. Judging by the Return Venus-Pluto conjunction, this desire for control is no less important today, but the square to these points from Aries Uranus and the semi-sextile from Aquarius Mars may present a daunting challenge.

Given the “yang” nature of Uranus and Mars—especially in mutual reception between the very masculine feeling signs of Aries and Aquarius—we may need to brace ourselves for a revolutionary-end run, designed to put women back in that “place” the patriarchy and its handmaidens reserve for us. Is this what it means to "make America great again?" 

Face it—if this election's misogynistic tone and the hundreds of reported hate crimes against women that followed are any indication, there are angry men out there (and some women) who blame women's progress for usurping their power. If this dynamic is allowed to fester unanswered, we could see some unfortunate gender wars on the horizon. It would be disingenuous, for that matter, to say we didn't see the signs of gender conflict looming—these signs have been there all through the election, for those who were listening and watching. 

Perhaps women who value their rights will want to pay close attention going forward. There are better ways to use the energies in this dramatic Venus return, so let's pay attention to the warning shots!

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.