Tuesday, February 21, 2017

“The Widening Gyre:” Saturn, Neptune, Chiron & the February 26th Eclipse in D.C.

Difficult-to-diagnose illnesses or “syndromes” that waste away an individual’s vitality over long periods of time, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), are considered Neptunian

I would argue that Chiron—with its wounding influence, designed to help us bridge the physical/spiritual divide in our lives—may also be lurking in the background during such illnesses, as well.

CFS is rarely seen as being a fatal disease, but the inactivity and generalized debility brought on by this syndrome can, over time, undermine the individual’s already compromised immune system, making it vulnerable to a host of other ailments that are fatal. 

Nebulous, difficult to diagnose (Neptune) conditions like CFS test a subject’s physical/spiritual mettle and constitute a Chironic journey of healing and/or transcendence. Some astrologers believe the Soul chooses its path with Chiron.

We can certainly see a social corollary to CFS in today’s political reality—widespread economic stress has enabled a passive dissolution (Neptune), an implosion of sorts that has resulted in toxic nationalist (Us against Them) populism. Throughout history, this type of Neptunian passivity has disordered and weakened the political organisms it targets—simply put, a system divided against itself cannot stand. 

Neptunian passivity undermines structures, blurs the lines of responsibility (Saturn) and pits delusionary narratives against objective facts. As William Butler Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming,” put it so vividly:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

Chinua Achebe used these lines in his seminal novel, Things Fall Apart (1959), which described the breakdown of African tribal systems and the British colonial empire, yet we can certainly see how these lines apply with today’s political chaos. Chaos—a full systems breakdown—truly is the operative word.

With election 2016, the U.S. has, in a nutshell, been caught on the horns of a Neptune-Saturn dilemma: confusion, prevarication and incoherence have transformed our national discourse into meaningless babble to many. Our ability to deliver a factual, coherent narrative is seriously compromised, along with our confidence and institutional integrity.  

As this past weekend’s Munich Security Conference suggested, our European allies are looking for that coherent narrative from the U.S. and they’re not getting it; importantly, they’re not sure where we stand in regards to Russia because we’re talking out of both sides of our collective “mouth” about it—members of Congress are saying one thing, the president is saying another—all while troubling and inappropriate communications between Russia and the Trump team are being investigated in seven Congressional committees.

Is it any wonder that critical peace talks regarding the Ukraine are set to commence without direct U.S. participation? Russia would reportedly like us at the talks, but diplomats from Ukraine, France and Germany don’t feel our presence would be constructive.

Could it be that  reports of big money collusion between Trump’s first campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and two corrupt, pro-Putin, Ukrainian figures, deposed dictator Viktor Yanukovich and oligarch Dmitry Firtash, have something to do with it? Whatever the truth is, we are clearly in over our heads with a web of suspected Russia-Ukraine-Trump entanglements, and perhaps it is better that Europe takes charge of any peace talks for now.  

Whatever results from those impending peace talks (apparently planned for a few weeks from now) could be impacted by the February eclipses we’ve been exploring here. History chimes in quite intriguingly here, too—much more on that to come.

First, let’s consider the upcoming annular solar eclipse on February 26th. The path of this eclipse cuts across the southern tip of South America and on in to Africa, so those areas may be most directly affected by the event; even so, every eclipse represents a potentially powerful transit that bears watching everywhere. There’s a lot more than the Ukraine peace talks at stake here.

Chart #1: Solar Eclipse, February 26, 2017, 9:58:31 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal houses, True Node.

Eclipse Point (EP) conjoins Neptune-SNode-Mercury (Pisces) in the 10th house. We can’t miss the Neptunian theme to this eclipse chart, with these Pisces points elevated in the powerful 10th house, but we shouldn’t forget that 6th house Jupiter co-rules Pisces with Neptune, so there are two “Lords” of this watery event. A couple interesting details emerge from that: first, at 139°+ apart, Jupiter and Neptune fall in a wide biquintile aspect (144°) linking DC’s outwardly manifest power (10th) with the military 6th.

Significantly, Bil Tierney says this aspect family (the 5th harmonic) has been traditionally associated with “the use or abuse of power and authority.”[1] Sounds like what we’re seeing in Washington these days, and if Trump does call out 100,000 National Guards troops to round up the nation’s undocumented immigrants, the military dimension of this chart—reinforced by its Virgo NNode—will manifest as well.

Second, Tierney adds that this harmonic expresses a “composite of Jupiter and Uranus principles (with Mars undertones). Uranus in this context does not appear to represent its higher humanitarian expression, but instead seems to indicate its more willful, untamed, lawless and inconsistent side.”[2] As we can see, one of the strongest aspects in this chart is the strident Jupiter opposition to Mars-Uranus (Libra-Aries)!

So it appears the softer feeling Pisces character of the event masks a more volatile, cardinal potential. This opposition is, in fact, the high point of the Jupiter-Uranus cycle that launched with a bang at 0°+Aries in June, 2010. Concerning the growth and awakening of social consciousness, this cycle can promote both positive and negative revolutionary efforts, as well as extremist campaigns.

This dynamic pushes against any and all limitations, so judging from the Trump administration’s behavior to date, challenges to the Constitution and the rule of law continue to be predictable. Add Mars into the mix and the potential for volatility and destruction—possibly the military variety—increases.

Factor in the slow erosion of our nation’s “immune system” by this heavily Neptunian chart, and we need to wonder here what the constant “drip, drip, drip” of Trump’s fear-mongering messages (about the “fake Media”…about criminal immigrants...about Sweden, of all places?) is about. Is he trying to erode our common sense ability to discern what’s true and what isn’t? Which voices we can trust and which we cannot?

Is it about shrouding us in the “fog” of war, perhaps? Or, imposing a state of domestic martial law to clamp down on protests while immigrants—Trump’s favorite scapegoats for all our national ills—are rounded up? The latter seems more likely right now.  

Venus-Mars-Uranus (Aries) square Pluto (Capricorn). I haven’t overlooked the cardinal T-square lurking in this chart (more on that ahead), but this set of square aspects is interesting on its own because Venus rules this chart’s Taurus ASC. We’ve been seeing a lot of active, aggressively outspoken women in protest movements these days, and these aspects point to the power wielded by those women. It may also pertain to women in high places like Germany’s Angela Merkel, whose voices are being heard.

It’s also interesting that the Venus-ruled ASC exactly inconjoins Libra Jupiter, which is itself disposed by Venus: whatever agenda Washington tries to promote in the coming eclipse period will be heavily influenced by this strident, even militant energy.

It bears noting that a Taurus ASC also speaks to the fixed, conservative times ahead. This may be a welcome development—many may feel we need some fixed, earthy energy to stabilize the crazy mutable stuff. This could also speak to the dead rush the fossil fuel industry is in to open up public lands to drilling, to complete the controversial Dakota Pipeline, and so on.

Based on Venus’s position in Aries and the other strident cardinal energies in this chart, it seems likely we will see armed conflict and/or martial law used to squash protests on the pipeline sites. Native Americans are the earthiest group imaginable; it’s a safe bet that this Taurus energy will impact them one way or another. In fact, this ASC is the focal point of a Yod configuration with Jupiter-sextile-Saturn (more on that below); the fossil fuel takeover is not likely to be smooth and easy.

On a historical note, the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation by the Oglala Lakota Sioux began under a Yod formed by the Saturn-Chiron sextile (Gemini-Aries) to asteroid Pallas (Scorpio). Deep injustices (Pallas) against the Natives were the focus of this peaceful (sextile) action that devolved into violence over the roughly 2 months it lasted. Amazingly, this configuration echoed another Yod involving Pallas found in the chart for the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre. Pallas has a clear connection to Venus/Athena through the principle of wisdom and “just warfare.”

Cardinal T-Square: Mars-Uranus (Aries) opposite Jupiter (Libra); this axis squares Pluto (Capricorn). Judging from Pluto’s 8th house placement here, it seems there are powerful financial interests at stake in taking aggressive, possibly military action. World disorder  (spawned by Neptune, etc.) presents ripe opportunities for conquest and exploitation (remember, “America First!”). Unfortunately, this disorder echoes a much earlier period, according to foreign policy expert, Richard Haass.

“Disarray” is the precise term used by Haass to describe today’s world disorder[3], and he begins his new study by recounting how we arrived at our present state. We need to learn from the period leading into World War I, Haass argues, and it appears that the astrology concurs. As we’ll see ahead, there are interesting parallels between that period and today’s brand of disarray.

Saturn (Sagittarius) trines Mars-Uranus (Aries), sextiles Jupiter (Libra) and squares Chiron (Pisces). Saturn is a real social butterfly these days with all this, but most importantly, it’s engaged in all this from the final stretch of its approximately 33-year cycle with Pluto. A complete post could be dedicated to this array of cycles, but for now let’s consider some highlights.

The trine suggests that Congress may simply look the other way with the volatile changes on the horizon in Washington institutions—i.e., at the hands of Trump’s Cabinet appointees who fundamentally disagree with the mission of their departments, with Trump’s illegal conflicts of interest, and so on. If the seven distinct Congressional investigations now happening to examine the relationship between Trump, his team and Russia finish under this trine (not likely), we can expect he’ll receive a slap on the wrist and little more. It’s not a particularly tight trine, however, so pressure may build on Trump et al as the aspect separates.

The Saturn-Jupiter sextile will also be moving in and out of orb over the coming months, so the opportunity it poses for institutional change will be somewhat hit or miss. As noted above, under the Venus discussion, this sextile is part of a tense Yod configuration that is likely to manifest in several different arenas.

Again, the Native American protests against the Dakota pipeline (which are currently not being covered by mainstream news very well) will probably boil to the surface in some way. Resource development in general will be a tense focus, especially with Jupiter (ruling the 8th) in Venus-ruled Libra, opposite the Aries points discussed above. It’s interesting that Saturn also falls sextile Pisces Mercury, which rules the chart’s Gemini 2nd house of resources.

Strengthened by its wide conjunction to the Eclipse Point, this Mercury also rules the Virgo 5th house of power plays and the “Old Boys’ Network.”  With Virgo this powerful gathering of forces could involve the military as well—resources and heightened Defense spending go together like Forrest Gump’s “peas and carrots.” It appears likely that the resource-driven agenda Trump wants will be rolled out, and that “national defense” will be a big justification used for whatever federal revenues are put towards that purpose.

It’s also important here that Jupiter and Saturn are closing in on their new cycle that begins in December 2020. In fact, we are in a period of several waning outer-planetary cycles, (Jupiter-Saturn, Jupiter-Uranus, Jupiter-Neptune, Saturn-Neptune, Saturn-Uranus, Saturn-Pluto) marking serious, even somber, troubled times during which things tend to unravel in preparation for a new beginning. Such uneasy times always seem to support military buildups, as well, so we can expect that many of the domestic jobs Trump takes credit for will be in the Defense industry.

Given Trump’s desire to bring us back to those post WWII times when America was “numero uno,” it makes sense that we’ll see the cliché that “war is good for the economy” reemerge. With WWII that was the case for a couple decades, but economic historians say this happened because a very different Keynesian model was enshrined in our economic system after the war. Under our current finance-industry dominated economic and labor relations regime, the rich would have gotten richer and the middle class never would have developed the way it did.

President Obama attempted to return to some aspects of that Keynesian model during his tenure, but Trump is already busily rolling back those efforts with executive orders and a Wall Street-packed Cabinet. Certain higher ups in select industries will get obscenely wealthy if we go into full-scale war mode; how did Iraq, Afghanistan and various other adventures work for the rest of us?

Bottom line, this chart suggests that we might want to pay close attention to all of this: the number of military heavyweights on Trump’s Cabinet is probably not accidental, and the number of waning cycles noted above says we need to watch what’s going on behind the scenes. This is not likely to be good for the environment—time to support the free press and resist any effort to restrict access to the Internet!!

The Saturn-Chiron square is perhaps the most evocative relationship that Saturn is flirting with these days. While the orb isn’t particularly tight in this eclipse event, it will be tightening again in the coming months, as Saturn retrogrades and turns direct again. This is a long-term square, and historically, Saturn-Chiron aspects tend to happen during war times, or just prior to those periods.

This aspect often reflects a paternalistic authoritarian figure who inflicts great harm, but down-the-road, there is potential healing. The psychological wounding (Chiron) Willy Wonka experienced at the hands of his parents and particularly, his authoritarian “dentist” father (Saturn) who forbade him to eat candy, reflects this aspect. The healing of their relationship in the end was the “happy ending.”

It’s no accident that Trump’s natal Sun-Node-Uranus Gemini stellium is tied into today’s Sagittarius-Pisces square. He also had a somewhat fraught relationship with his father, an authoritarian man who demanded that he and his brothers be tough above all. Donald Trump’s brother Freddy Jr. died of alcoholism-related illness; Donald himself has “issues” with authority and an apparent need to win, no matter what. 

His many conflicts of interest as president and stubborn refusal to acknowledge any authority over his actions (to release his tax forms, for example) suggest that those early wounds cut deep.

If his first month in office is any indication, Trump simply needs to prove—as his lackey Stephen Miller put it—that his power “will not be questioned.” Sure sounds like a father-related Saturn-Chiron crisis. There’s always a void that can never be filled with this aspect: how many will be sacrificed to his need?

Returning to the connection between Saturn-Chiron and war, it seems that mutable Saturn-Chiron aspects are particularly pernicious. The run-up to WWI featured the Gemini-Pisces square (Saturn-Chiron)—the waxing counterpart of today’s waning square in Sagittarius-Pisces (begun in 12/2016 and running through the end of 2017). 

The decade-long run-up to the Vietnam War (officially declared Aug. 4, 1964) featured the conjunction in Pisces (at the declaration they were still 14° apart; the U.S. Civil War featured the Virgo-Pisces opposition—are we starting to see a pattern here?

At first glance, at least, it appears that such mutable aspects reflect conflicts in which the structural integrity of the societies at war is seriously challenged. Civil wars (or at least serious internal divisions, as the U.S. fell into over Vietnam) seem to be a particular focus. As noted earlier, Richard Haass speaks to how this played out in WWI (see note 3), which he offers as a model of the haphazard traps nations divided get themselves into:

“…what makes the history [of WWI] so frustrating even one hundred years later was the carelessness of it all…History is filled with examples of individuals and countries acting against their own self-interest. World War I was obviously not in anyone’s interest, but it happened all the same.”[4]
Clearly, this year-long Saturn-Chiron aspect could impact the rebuilding of so many Middle Eastern and African nations that have fallen into chaos in the past decade—Syria, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, etc. The so-called Arab Spring uprisings launched with Chiron tightly conjunct Neptune in late Aquarius (ruled by Saturn); several of the societies in crisis since then were caught up in this revolutionary fervor and have been sorely wounded (Chiron) since.

Fighting a paternalistic (Saturn) dictator inflicted dire catastrophic wounds (Chiron) on Syria, and with Russia’s support, Bashar al Assad shows no signs of giving up power. It’s hard to say at this time what the prospects for healing are in that country, the broader Middle East, and in places like South Sudan that just today has declared a state of famine.

Other notable wars or military campaigns feature cardinal Saturn-Chiron aspects: World War II (Cancer-Libra) and the 1990 Invasion of Kuwait (1st Gulf War-Cancer-Capricorn), for example. The Iraq War (2003) launched as a hybrid mutable/cardinal exception—with Gemini Saturn opposing Sagittarius Pluto instead, and Chiron in Saturn-ruled Capricorn.

Final thoughts

There’s so much more that could be said about this eclipse in regards to the Trump administration, but I will end here with a note about how this event is likely to impact the U.S. Sibly chart. In fact, this eclipse is playing “Tag, you’re it” with that chart’s progressed lunar cycle’s 2nd quarter, the one we are finishing out this month. 

That quarter began on Christmas Day 2008—the height of the financial crisis—at 4°+Pisces-Virgo, a mere 4 degrees from the eclipse point and 1 degree from the eclipse chart’s nodal axis (see this May 2016 post for more on this progressed cycle).

Not surprisingly, the instability and breakdown we are seeing in Washington was probably triggered during the 2008 crisis, and may, in a painfully twisted way, be cosmically right on schedule. Given the economic damage done to so many at that time, this makes perfect sense.

This interesting synchrony also suggests that Mutable times are here to stay for several years: the 3rd progressed quarter launches on March 2nd at 12° Pisces-Virgo, and the new progressed cycle in 2024 pushes off from the shore at 19°+Pisces. As a nation, we will need to make our peace with creative chaos—it just may be our new normal!

The question is, will our highly-structured democratic system of checks and balances weather all this instability, or will our system simply erode into some type of authoritarian regime?

Stranger things have happened, and Neptune’s remaining years in Pisces will probably tell the story. Such structural erosions do tend to attract “strong-man” types who benefit from claiming that things are worse than they really are, and that they have all the answers and know all the right “enemies” to blame.

The pattern replicates itself like a Neptunian virus, whenever the various “body politics” are compromised by corrosive inner divisions. Immunity of any kind (personal, social, political) relies on the structural integrity (Saturn) of an organism and its systems, so it’s no surprise that after a year-long Saturn-Neptune square, that we would be seeing systems breakdown.   

The only antidote for Neptunian invasion is to shore up Saturnian containment efforts as quickly as possible. We can be hopeful that a stronger Saturn is on the horizon as the planet moves into home-sign Capricorn this coming December. Unfortunately, a strong Saturn can also benefit a would-be dictator, so striking the right balance will be key.

It would help if we didn’t make every decision on the basis of potential economic gain (Capricorn’s dark side), relinquishing important values, resources and structural safeguards every time a few jobs are dangled like a carrot in front of us. We need to access the better angels of this potentially wise sign.

It will also help if the military and para-military forces that are deployed to implement Trump’s mass deportation raids, etc. begin questioning what cause they are serving and whether it requires them to sacrifice their own deeply held beliefs and principles. Their help and integrity is going to be sorely needed on the road ahead.

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. 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.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 

[1] Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS Publications, 1983, p. 46.
[2] Ibid, p. 47.
[3] Richard Haass, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the World Order, Penguin Press, 2017, pp. 28-29.
[4] Haass, p. 28.


  1. Hello, Raye,
    Thank you for your blog. You succeed in presenting the complicated situation with admirable clarity. I appreciate your discussing "the details" that accompany the U.S.'s Pluto return. Best wishes that you continue your valuable contribution to our understanding our "interesting times."
    Peace and courage,
    Boris Matthews

  2. Thanks so much for your comment, Boris - these certainly are challenging times, so it's very encouraging to hear from readers like you! Best regards, Raye