Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Fated Cosmic Juggling Act in D.C.: Yods & Double Quincunxes, Oh My!

Yes, the D.C. circus has been dazzling us with quite a juggling act this past week: fun-house mirrors and long-handled knives, flying in all directions...

...and Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been the hapless clown scrambling to keep everything in the air. 

Nunes is caught in a trap, but it may not be entirely of his own making, when all is said and done. He served on Trump’s transition team, and for some reason we may not yet know, he felt “duty-bound” this week to compromise the House intelligence committee’s investigation of the Trump administration’s Russia connections—the same investigation he’s supposed to be leading. 

This sense of loyalty to Trump, of course, makes Nunes the perfect toady for Trump’s latest trickster routine: Trump’s Fun-House mirrors of deflection, derailment and obfuscation are enough to blind anyone, but the act is really starting to wear thin. Today, Trump called for investigations into Russia connections—by Clinton, rather than his own. 

To my astrologer’s eye, this week has been an object lesson in fated, almost absurd connections, and I have to wonder if Nunes even realizes what he’s gotten himself into. The charts tell a pretty startling story. 

First, a little background from the week’s news timeline. The whole juggling act came to light on March 22nd, but events reportedly got moving the night before, on March 21st. Because this was one day into the astrological “New Year,” the Sun’s ingress into Aries (see article here for much more on that), we’ll use that ingress chart as the larger context for our exploration into how the whole Trump/Nunes circus act unfolded.   

Here’s how characterizes the event timeline related to all this:

March 15 - Trump promises that “evidence” would be provided “soon” to back up his claims about Trump Tower being wiretapped.
March 21 - (Tues) Late – “in a dead of night excursion” - Nunes receives a text message, gets out of the car he’s riding in with staff members, takes an Uber to an undisclosed location—nobody knew why or where, and Nunes wouldn’t say.
Mar 22 – Nunes holds a press conference, without briefing his House intelligence committee, and claims that he had acquired information showing that communications were intercepted during the Trump transition period that may have compromised the identities of American citizens involved in that transition. When questioned on whether Trump’s communications were intercepted he first answered “yes,” and then he said it was “possible.”
Nunes announces he would be going to the White House that afternoon to share the info he obtained, and “to confirm what he already knew.”
Once he was finished there, he took more questions from the press on the White House lawn. His answers were vague, but enticing enough that they created the aura of an urgent unsolved mystery. In the meantime, more and more observers began suspecting that Nunes was actually “revealing” information that that White House itself gave him.
Perhaps Nunes’ whole “dead of the night act” was his attempt to offer Trump cover for his outrageous wiretapping claims, acting, as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi wondered out loud, as a “willing stooge” for Trump.
Nunes was also a member of the Trump transition, and many are questioning if he has a vested interest in “smoke-bombing” his own committee’s investigation.
By the end of the week, Nunes had basically dismantled and fatally compromised his committee’s ability to hold an impartial hearing and investigation. He claimed it was his “duty” to share what he found out with the president—even though that would gut his own committee’s investigation.
First he canceled a planned open hearing in which important testimony was likely to come out; he then claimed to replace that hearing with a closed door session, then he went on to cancel the closed door session, reverse that decision, and right now, it’s unclear what’s happening, if anything.
In the meantime, Trump takes a victory lap by saying he feels “somewhat vindicated” by the information Nunes announced, while Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said he had "grave concerns" about Nunes's actions. Schiff, House Democratic leadership and senior Republicans Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have questioned Nunes’ ability to continue leading that committee.
Which brings us more or less to the present day, with Trump still trying to control what the investigations are about, and what information they have access to. In another peevish “tweet,” he claimed that the Clintons are the ones who should be investigated. This, while attempting to block any testimony by former Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates (the one he fired in his first ten days in office) from being given to the investigation. Such deflections didn’t work for Nixon—they shouldn’t work here, either.
In the meantime, Nunes refuses to recuse himself from his compromised committee, so the next act is just beginning. Is he going to be allowed be an agent for destroying the Trump-Russia investigation in the House? His actions are raising suspicions about a cover-up—we’ve been here before, and it wasn’t pretty. 

 As discussed in the last post here, events like this have always evoked the Saturn-Pluto cycle, and this one is no different. John McLaughlin, former Acting Director of the CIA, claimed yesterday that the Nunes dilemma threatens our fundamental system of checks and balances—certainly a Saturn-Pluto issue. 

We’ll be talking more about that connection as events develop.  

In the meantime, we’ll start by exploring how the natal charts for Nunes and Trump interact. Perhaps the big picture will rack into focus if we can better understand this pivotal relationship.

 Ladies and Gentlemen…in the center ring….!!

First, a couple of general observations before we dig into the particulars of the biwheel below. I could find no birth time available for Devin Nunes, so we won’t discuss his house cusps and angles. Here, his chart occupies the outer wheel, with Donald Trump’s chart the anchoring inner chart. 

This fits the situation in any case: Nunes put himself at Trump’s service, threatening his own integrity in the process, so it makes sense to view him against the backdrop of Trump’s more definitive nativity. There are several apparent reasons here for Nunes to identify with and probably look up to Trump; there are also several astrological factors that would suggest their lives are pretty deeply entangled. 

As we’ll see, there’s an interesting astrological theme linking these two charts—the interchart double quincunxes, and even more powerfully, a composite yod. This latter, unusual configuration is comprised of two interchart quincunxes held together by a sextile, in which the focal planet is slower-moving than the other two planets. 

 Pluto, Neptune or Uranus are usually found at the apex of such yods. In fact, aspects expert Bil Tierney suggests that the true yod (“Finger of God”) evokes a Plutonian principle[1]—I would expect that this carries over into composite yods between charts, as well. 

In fact, Tierney illustrates this Plutonian point using the composite yods between notorious partners in crime as examples—Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (bank robbers), and Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (child murderers). Tierney does qualify his choices by saying the following:

“Now understand that I am not suggesting that Composite Yods bring out the undesirable, lower potential of a relationship in the extreme manner of these two given examples. I have merely used them to exemplify the Yod’s characteristic trait of sometimes unforeseen but often extreme alterations of individual life direction, with its proclivity for fated turning-points.” [emphasis added]
It’s clear then, that these tense configurations between individuals have a fated quality, especially when they occur in unequal relationships that, by definition, demand constant adjustments and lend themselves to power plays. The dynamics between such individuals are often marked by what Tierney calls “accelerated change in circumstances of a somewhat unexpected nature, rather than by slower, carefully structured development." 

Which brings us back to Devin Nunes and his chaotic “Trickster” buddy, Donald Trump. We’re going to focus this analysis primarily around the yod and the double quincunxes between their respective charts. If we added a current transit chart into the mix, it would just add another level of chaos, so let’s just focus for now on these two men:

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Devin Nunes, October 1, 1973, 12:00 p.m. DST (noon chart, no time available), Tulare, CA. All charts use Tropical Equal Houses and True Nodes.

Composite Yod: Nunes Neptune (Sagittarius) quincunxes Nunes Saturn-SNode (Cancer) conjoined Trump Mercury (Cancer); Nunes Neptune also quincunxes Nunes Mars (Rx, Taurus); Nunes Mars sextiles Nunes Saturn-Trump Mercury. We see here that the apex planet of this composite yod is Nunes’ Neptune in fiery Sagittarius. The fact that this natal configuration in Nunes chart also pulls Trump’s sensitive Cancer Mercury into the mix is key: this Mercury disposes his powerful Gemini stellium and his Progressed Sun, recently transitioned into Virgo (not shown). It’s easy to see why Trump may latch onto Nunes for the sake of his own security (Cancer). 

These men also share Moon signs: they both feature a fiery, somewhat reckless Sagittarius Moon: Nunes’ would have ranged from 3°-15° of the sign that day (we can’t know for sure in a noon chart), so it’s very possible that his Moon was conjunct this apex Neptune, and/or that it fell opposite Trump’s Gemini Uranus. It may also be within orb of Trump’s entire Gemini-Sagittarius “full moon” complex, so these individuals may be on at least the same emotional “wavelength.” Nunes may even feel that he’s being heroic and rebellious all at the same time (Sagittarius), as he stakes his reputation on standing up for Trump’s interests. 

The conjunction between Nunes’ Saturn and Trump’s Mercury would reinforce this point—any perceived danger in the situation would trigger both their security alarms. In fact, as part of Trump’s transition team, Nunes could well have had compromising contacts that he wouldn’t want revealed, either. Nunes was appointed to his present committee by his Congressional mentor, former House Speaker John Boehner, but it would be interesting to know if Nunes was chosen for Trump’s transition team precisely because of his leadership of the House Intelligence Committee. It’s useful to keep people in high places close at hand.

It is worth pointing out here that Nunes’ progressed Saturn is now retrograde, putting him at a disadvantage vis-à-vis Trump, who’s sporting a kingly Leo progressed, direct Saturn (charts not shown). What Nunes may feel is his Saturnian “duty”—running to the White House with information that looks a lot like it came from the White House, with the purpose of helping Trump—may come back to haunt him, as his own authority (Saturn) is compromised in the process. There’s a definite “servant-master” relationship here, although as we’ll see, this relationship may be subject to some fireworks yet.

Let’s pull back from the Yod implications for a second to consider what these two powerful quincunxes in Nunes’ chart would mean apart from Trump: Saturn quincunx Neptune suggests an uneasy relationship between ideals/aspirations and responsibilities and the rules, and there would be pressure to throw the rules out the door for the sake of those ideals. This might actually be a quintessential “political” aspect—one that manifests as a willingness to push the limits for the sake of gain (Jupiter disposes Sagittarius Neptune). 

With Saturn in Cancer, performance anxiety or family-based fears could also be involved. It’s easy to see how those buttons could be pushed with someone like Trump.  

Nunes’ Mars (Rx) quincunx Neptune pits staunch, earthy (Taurus) energy against the same fiery Neptunian ideals and ambitions, only here there’s a more straightforward willingness to distort and obfuscate for the sake of those ambitions. He probably finds himself dragged out of his comfort zone pretty regularly, but with both his natal and progressed Mars retrograde, he’s willing to push hard for whatever he really wants to accomplish. 

This tenacity and determination probably plays well with his constituents, but whether he can simply plow forward with the Intel Committee that he has so clearly compromised, when so many are calling on him to step aside, is another story. 

Importantly, Nunes’ Mars (Taurus) does double duty here, as the apex planet for what follows:

Interchart Double Quincunx #1: (not a Yod this time because the faster planet is the apex).  Nunes’ Mars quincunxes his Neptune (Sagittarius) and his Pluto-Sun (Libra), conjunct Trump’s Neptune (Libra). Nunes’ Mars-to-Sun-Pluto quincunx alone places his will-to-power (which is probably frustrated in some way) in the hands of Trump’s Neptune. This is not Trump’s most obviously powerful point, but in its square to his Cancer Mercury, it’s at the heart of his skill at deflection and famously loose relationship with reality (if he says or “hears” something, it must be true). 

Mix Nunes’ reputation for being a tenacious “bulldog” (fixed Mars) on issues he holds dear (like ditching environmental regulations regarding water that roil his conservative California farm constituents), and there’s a vested interest in Nunes’ loyalty to Trump. 

This interchart configuration may have driven a great deal of the “intrigue” and apparent attempt at “cover-up” that we’ve seen this past week. Power, intelligence (as in the type his committee oversees) and an instinctive feel for subversive techniques are all at in the mix here. 

Acting upon an inconjunct or Yod is often, a clumsy, frustrating affair, however, and things don’t always go according to plan. We’ve certainly seen that in the fall-out over Nunes’ activities this past week. 

Interchart Double Quincunx #2: Nunes’ Saturn-SNode (Cancer) is at the apex (conjunct Trump Mercury), with quincunxes to both Nunes’ Neptune (Sagittarius) and his Jupiter (Aquarius). This may seem like a replay of the composite Yod we considered earlier, but this one highlights the frustrations Nunes has had to overcome in his chosen profession. 

With an airy, rebellious Jupiter (Aquarius), he has found unique opportunities to feed his ideals and ambitions (Jupiter disposes his Neptune, which falls sextile), but this side of his nature has probably driven him to act less straightforwardly than his Taurus Mars would like him to. His Mars squares his Jupiter—a challenging fixed aspect that keeps him motivated. 

It’s likely that Nunes finds ways to project his insecurities (Cancer) onto others (almost a necessity with Sun-Pluto conjunct), so his mindset meshes with Trump’s in this regard. This is reinforced by Nunes’ Uranus-Mercury (Libra) square Trump’s Saturn-Venus (Cancer), and Nunes’ Venus (Scorpio) trine Trump’s Venus: clearly, there is an expectation of mutual support and reciprocity between these two. 

Both men share an air-sign UranusNunes’ Uranus conjoins Trump’s Jupiter (Libra) and Nunes’ Jupiter (Aquarius) benefits from its trine to Trump’s Neptune (Libra). The ties run very deep. Is Nunes’ another “sidekick” like Chris Christie, or Rudy Giuliani? Time will tell.

The whole escapade Nunes conducted this past week was designed to help Trump project any improprieties of his own (or his campaign’s) out onto Clinton, Obama, an army of anonymous “leakers” (read Democrats), the CIA, and so on. Nunes carries on that work in what’s left of his committee, directing the conversations away from the real concerns onto the “leaking” and surveillance issues that Trump would prefer. As the New put it today:

Since then [this past week], Nunes and the White House have kicked up a cloud of peripheral issues that have distracted attention from Comey’s testimony and that of Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; Nunes and the Trump Administration have essentially shut down the investigation.
The scope of the damage that might be done by the apparent collusion between Nunes and Trump is hinted at in this final powerful, fated tie:

Interchart Double Quincunx #3: Nunes’ Venus (Scorpio) is at the apex; these points quincunx Nunes’ Chiron (Aries) and Trump’s Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini). This configuration would seem perhaps less momentous if Nunes’ Chiron wasn’t also conjunct Sibly Chiron (both Aries-chart not shown). As it is, Nunes’ Venus disposes his potent Sun-Pluto conjunction in Libra and his Mars in Taurus, so this signal only confirms that he’s willing to be the “wounded warrior”(Chiron) that Trump needs at this juncture (Nunes’ Sun is sextile Nunes’ Chiron), and that Nunes probably believes there’s “something in it for him” (Scorpio Venus) to do so.

This mutual benefit is reinforced powerfully by Nunes’ progressed Mars (26°+Aries) now falling trine Trump’s natal Mars (Leo), but there may be a downside to their progressed connections at some point as well—the August 21, 2017 total eclipse will be something to watch for this (a hot topic for another day). 

Nunes’ progressed Mars also falls square Trump’s progressed MC-Moon (which were themselves tightly conjoined on March 20th), so any flack Nunes experiences for fighting Trump’s fights for him could impact Trump’s approval ratings, if not his political career altogether. 

Likewise, Trump has been known to throw his supporters under the bus when it suits him, so Nunes may want to watch his professional back. Even before that happens, however, several powerful voices are calling on him to either recuse  or remove himself as the intelligence committee’s leader, and some are even calling for an investigation into his antics of the past week. 

The juggling act is far from over!

The reaction points, and things to watch for

Double quincunxes and yods are thought to create sensitive degrees known as “reaction points”—directly opposite the apex planets. Individuals whose planets fall within orb of those sensitive points tend to have fated synastry relationships with the bearer of the original aspects. Simple transits and progressions to those points can also stimulate any dynamics related to the quincunx or yod, so it’s good to keep an eye on such things. 

The Table below lists the reaction points worth watching between these two charts (based on the major configurations named above), along with any significant connections to these points (existing or near-term):  

Reaction Point range
(includes 3° orb on either side of exact opposition point to apex planet)
Key ties to these points
Composite Yod
T Mars conjoins in late April/early May 2017
Double Quincunx (DQ) #1
5°-11° Scorpio
T Jupiter conjoins in Nov/Dec 2017

DQ #2
1°-7° Capricorn
Nunes’ NNode conjoins; T Venus opposes Aug 2017, trines Sep 2017
DQ #3
18°-24° Taurus
Trump MC conjoins; T Venus conjoins late June/early July 2017

Clearly, there will be many other influences on these reaction points, but this gives us a quick sense of things to watch.  The fated nature of connections between Trump and Nunes is seen clearly in the sheer richness of these chart interconnections, but even more specifically in Nunes’ North Node opposite the Cancer apex of DQ #2. This Capricorn sector will be a real “hot-spot” with transiting Saturn and Jupiter in the next couple years, as they close out their 1982 cycle and unite in Aquarius for their 2020 cycle. 

The new Saturn-Pluto cycle launches at 22°+Capricorn in January, 2020—trine DQ #3’s reaction point and Trump’s MC.  Will we still be sorting through this mess then? 

Stay tuned! 

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:

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 

[1] Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS Publications, Reno, NV, 1983, p. 145 and (quote) 151. The entire Chapter 8 of this work is well worth further study.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Connecting the Saturn-Pluto dots: McCarthyism 2.0?

It’s hard to focus on anything these days but the cruel attempts to decimate American health care on Capitol Hill, but today, I’m focused on another shady, destructive story that’s been unfolding right under our noses. There's an important astrological story here.

So my purpose here is to connect some important astrological dots. 

First dot
A quietly weird, but forgettable story emerged on March 19th, when we learned that the Trump administration has been installing “monitors” in Cabinet-level meetings to make sure that nobody questions or works against the president’s agenda, and that the Cabinet secretaries are “loyal” to him. This, from the Washington Post:
“Most members of President Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged — above all — with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty, according to eight officials in and outside the administration.”

Second dot
The story above was largely forgettable because a much more dramatic event was looming on March 20th, and the nation is still trying to digest and make sense of it: the Senate Intelligence Committee’s open hearing into Russian interference in Election 2016 and the possibility of ties between that Russian effort and the Trump campaign. 

Two key revelations emerged from that hearing: FBI Director James Comey testified and 1) repudiated Trump’s baseless wiretapping claims, and 2) confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation into connections between the Trump camp, Election 2016 and the Russians. Clearly, we’re starting to see a much more complex bigger picture, with deeper and deeper layers of deceptive intrigue emerge in this whole story. Have we fallen into a 1940s “Noir” spy thriller dream? Sure seems like it!

Congressional investigations can’t help but evoke memories of the 1970s Watergate hearings—and as we’ll see, there would be a good astrological reason for that—but there’s another, even juicier astro-historical precedent for these shocking Senate hearings that deserves a look-see because it, too is being echoed persistently. I’m speaking, of course, about the 1940s-50s McCarthyist era

Third dot
In fact, as I write this on March 21st, it's the 60th anniversary of Truman Executive Order 9835—the order that unleashed that seriously paranoid, repressive era in American history.  Here’s a quick summary of the McCarthyism phenomenon from Wikipedia:
“McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.[1] The term refers to U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1947 to 1956 and characterized by heightened political repression as well as a campaign spreading fear of influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.
It originated with President Truman's Executive Order 9835 of March 21, 1947, which required that all federal civil service employees be screened for "loyalty." The order specified that one criterion to be used in determining that "reasonable grounds exist for belief that the person involved is disloyal" would be a finding of "membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic association" with any organization determined by the attorney general to be "totalitarian, Fascist, Communist or subversive" or advocating or approving the forceful denial of constitutional rights to other persons or seeking "to alter the form of Government of the United States by unconstitutional means."— Robert J Goldstein [2]
Artists and writers in Hollywood and on Broadway, and union leaders across America, were particularly targeted for official loyalty “screenings” by McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In fact, McCarthy’s ally in paranoid power at that time, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, was always on hand to investigate and intimidate anyone with even a shred of liberal-thinking. 

Hundreds of careers were thrown on the rocks by this intimidation, which often involved forcing interviewees to “name names” and implicate colleagues and others as “communist sympathizers.” The specter of “Commie infiltration” danced in front of McCarthy’s eyes like a band of sugar plum fairies—and no one was safe from his committee’s twisted scrutiny.

To be sure, there were card-carrying communist and socialist party members among American citizens at that time: in fact, it is perfectly legal to have such affiliations under our First Amendment. By 1947, however, the powers-that-be had developed a high stakes reason for not welcoming Soviet influence within the country, and it was a simple “connect-the-dots” exercise in their minds between that influence and those holding left-wing views. 

Among other priorities, we were, at that point, the only nation with a nuclear weapon, and the powers-that-be wanted to keep it that way. The reasoning behind Truman’s Executive Order may have been sound, especially so soon after confronting the horrors of Nazi Germany, but its intent was too easily abused.  

In retrospect, since we had actually used the “Bomb” to end the war with Japan, it was perhaps a good thing that we didn’t continue monopolizing that horrific power. The “MAD” (mutually-assured-destruction) balance of powers that developed between the U.S. and Soviet Union over nuclear power helped to check against recklessness, even if the arms race itself seemed ludicrous.

 Fourth dot reports that on August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first nuclear weapon, triggering the nuclear component of the Cold War (and a major panic) in U.S. security circles. When Truman announced this test to the public in September, the so-called “Second Red Scare,” which had been heating up like a bed of coals, burst into flame and spread quickly. 

This panic presented a major opportunity for McCarthy and those of like-paranoid mind: his hearings became the equivalent of a 20th century “Inquisition” in which he was the “celebrity” windbag fanning those “Red Scare” flames. 

To begin appreciating the astrological dynamics at work during this period—and to see why this paranoid period resonates today—let’s consider the charts. First, a triwheel between the U.S. Sibly chart, Joseph P. McCarthy and the 1st USSR Atomic Test in 1949. We will then consider how that history echoes today, as we live out the last 3+ years of the current Saturn-Pluto cycle.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) US-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Joseph R. McCarthy, November 14, 1908, 3:00 p.m. ST, Grand Chute, WI (rated A: memory); (outer wheel) 1st USSR Atomic Test, August 29, 1949, 12:00 p.m. (noon chart, no exact time known) ST, Moscow, Russia. All charts use Tropical Equal Houses and True Node.

Interchart Cardinal Grand-Cross: Test Mars (Cancer) opposes Test Jupiter (Capricorn), overlaying Sibly Mercury-Sibly Pluto opposition (Cancer-Capricorn); this axis squares McCarthy Mars (Libra) opposite Sibly Chiron-McCarthy ASC. Setting off that atomic test was certainly a “shot across the bow” of the powerful Sibly 2nd-8th axis on the Soviets’ part, and we can appreciate here why it panicked an array of American interests. 

National security (Cancer) is always very closely related by house placement (and by Pluto’s role in Capricorn) to resource-related and financial interests in this nation, and the American press (Sibly Mercury) is always an important player, as well: this one Mars-Jupiter opposition set off alarm bells in all those arenas and steeled American opposition to the new Soviet threat. 

The connections to McCarthy’s chart are stunning here, tapping his enemy-conscious 7th house Mars (Libra) on the shoulder and calling him to be the heroic warrior (Mars-ruled Aries ASC) he probably felt himself to be—born to heal the “wounds” (Chiron) inflicted on the nation by the “Reds.”

It’s hard to say if the perversions and abuses of power that arose over the course of his anti-communist campaign were inevitable, but with McCarthy’s Mars sextile Sibly Neptune (Virgo), the cause that drove him was empowered by the myth of American “exceptionalism,” so prominent in those post-World War II days, a myth that’s easily corruptible (Neptune). McCarthy’s Mars also trined Sibly Mars (Gemini), suggesting he was fully invested in battling American adversaries. 

This 1949 Mars-Jupiter opposition (outer wheel) was an expression of “expansive power” and clearly there was an aggressive power-consolidating intent, masked as a “security” concern (Capricorn-Cancer). The Soviet Union wanted parity of power with the U.S. then, and its spin-off Russia wants it again now—the only difference is the choice of weaponry. 

As we’ve seen in Election 2016, cyber-warfare can undermine an enemy just as effectively as building a nuclear arsenal ever has, and it’s also a lot cheaper.

 We would expect the Soviet atomic weapon test to be a literally shocking, explosive event, and we certainly see that here, with Test Uranus (Cancer) conjoined Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer)—the test was also clearly aimed at making an impression (Sibly Jupiter rules the chart’s ASC; Venus rules the military Taurus 6th house and the legislative Libra 11th)

The Soviets might have exploded their bomb somewhere else, but its message was definitely aimed at us, and McCarthy saw the opportunity.  His Part-of-Fortune-MC (Capricorn) opposed Sibly Venus-Jupiter and Test Uranus, and this axis fell square his hardnosed Saturn (Aries): it seems that the Soviet Test presented him with an opportunity to shine by waging his own brand of war. 

Interchart Cardinal Grand-Cross #2: Test Venus-Neptune-SNode-McCarthy Venus-Sibly Saturn (all Libra) oppose Sibly Chiron-McCarthy ASC-Test NNode (all Aries); this axis squares McCarthy Neptune-Sibly Sun (Cancer) opposite McCarthy Uranus (Capricorn). This complex set of tense oppositions and squares reinforce how well-suited McCarthy was to the ideological crusade he brought to Congress and how controversial and stressful it all became. 

Eventually, his opportunism (his Neptune conjoins and Venus squares Sibly Sun, as well) and aggressive power overreaching (Capricorn-Aries points) seemed to overtake any positives his “loyalty screenings” might have accomplished. By the time he was censured and basically shut-down by the Senate in 1954, one fellow Senator’s famous rebuke was simply, “Senator, have you no shame?”

It’s a well-worn cliché that if we don’t take history seriously, we’re doomed to repeat it: unfortunately, it appears there is an effort to purposely repeat the McCarthyist era, only this time, replacing the anti-Communist angle with an anti-Muslim one. 

It’s an easy swap—simply retool the basic authoritarian state apparatus that became so controversial back in the 1950s for today’s more technologically-advanced society.  

Rachel Maddow from connects the dots on this rehabilitation effort, as championed by Trump advisor, Steve Bannon and the Alt-Right:

“While interviewing an author in 2013, Bannon mocked the idea that McCarthy was some kind of “villain.” On the contrary, Bannon argued that the Republican senator and his allies were right in their hunt for traitors.

“The place was infested with either traitors that were on the direct payroll of Soviet military intelligence or fellow-travelers who were kind of compliant in helping these guys get along,” Bannon said at the time. “I mean, there’s absolutely no question of it. How has pop culture so changed it that white is black and black is white?”
Bannon went on to equate his vision of communist infiltration in the 1950s with Middle Eastern influence in contemporary America.”
Looking back at that fraught period, President Truman famously said that McCarthy’s HUAC (the “loyalty” committee) was “the most un-American thing in the country today.” Yet, the fringe-right GOP and now the denizens of the White House feel it’s a period worth revisiting.
As mentioned earlier, the administration is closely monitoring all Cabinet members for “loyalty” to Trump. How big a leap is it from this to something far more pervasive and deeply unconstitutional?

Knowing that McCarthyist-style measures are now viewed as positive certainly puts Trump’s efforts vis-à-vis immigrants (from within our borders and outside them) into a chilling perspective. How big a leap is it from the new “electronics ban” on people entering this country from eight Middle Eastern countries—no one seems to be questioning its legality—to the normalization of much more oppressive measures? 

Astrologically, there is an important cycle involved in both time periods that deserves a look if we’re going to understand all this. The August, 1947 Saturn-Pluto cycle that took off at 13°+ Leo, and the upcoming January, 2020 Saturn-Pluto cycle that launches at 22°+Capricorn. This approximate 33-year cycle transforms and regenerates the broad power structures and dynamics in societies, influencing the evolution of cultures and civilizations as it does. 

Needless to say, this rather unforgiving duo can wreak hardship and destruction on societies as part of that evolution process.  

There was, of course, one additional Saturn-Pluto cycle sandwiched in between the 1947 and 2020 instances—the November, 1982 cycle that launched at 27°+Libra. This is the cycle we are presently seeing through to its completion, so we’ll consider more about it as the discussion warrants. For now, however, let’s investigate how this cycle might have laid the groundwork for that harsh, “Red Scare” McCarthyist era. 

For that purpose, we’ll set the U.S. and Soviet charts against the 1947 cycle chart in the triwheel below, paying special attention to how the Saturn-Pluto dynamics play out.

Triwheel #2: (inner wheel) US-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) U.S.S.R. created, December 30, 1922, 12:00 p.m., Moscow, Russia (BWH[1] Chart 272, p. 263); (outer wheel) Saturn-Pluto cycle 1947, August 10, 1947, 7:23:37 p.m., Washington, D.C. All charts use Tropical Equal Houses and True Node.

1947 Sun-Saturn-Pluto-Venus conjoin Soviet Neptune (all Leo), semi-sextile Sibly Sun (Cancer) and sextile U.S. Saturn (Libra); the 1947 Sun (Leo) also sextiles Soviet Saturn (Libra). This means, of course, that the U.S. and Soviet Saturns are also conjunct—more on how that plays out in a cardinal t-square in a bit. 

The Saturn-Pluto cycle favored the U.S. chart in some regards, enjoying a more complex sextile grouping than the Soviet chart did. Even so, bracketed between the Sun and Venus, this cycle conjunction (Saturn-Pluto) almost appears to be a “gift” of sorts—on some levels, to both the U.S. and the Soviets (sextiles to their respective Saturns). 

This is the period during which both built their super-power status, which in no small way was nurtured by their new adversarial relationship. This relationship basically drove global politics and the balance of power for the next 50 years. 

On the other hand, the Leo-Cancer semi-sextiles in the U.S. chart (to Sibly Sun) suggest that a great deal of adjusting was also required. This was the post-WWII era, of course, so the U.S. was taking on a greatly-expanded role of leadership in the world, and there were serious challenges. 

For instance, we had little choice but to help rebuild Europe from the war’s devastation, and not every American politician was on board with the Marshall Plan that helped do this. In addition, some of the agreements forged at the end of the war—especially with the Soviets—opened up their own Pandora’s Box of complications.!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.jpg
The Bretton Woods Conference had just taken place that July (1947), creating a framework to “regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.[1]This agreement called for open trading markets between member countries and their cooperative management of the “Western political-economic order.” 

The U.S. played the lead role in this new organization and the “new world order,” so the timing just prior to the new Saturn-Pluto cycle was more than appropriate. 

All of this imposed a massive, long-term responsibility on the Truman administration and the nation—in fact, the U.S. presidency and our role in the world were decisively changed during this cycle. Among other developments, the so-called “security state” was established, with the CIA launched in September, 1947 and the NSA in November, 1952. A lot of this threatens to come unraveled under the Trump administration and this lead-in to the 2020 cycle.

NATO is another organization that arose during the first couple years of this new cycle—one that is intimately tied in with the Soviet post-WWII “threat”, and a serious concern in today’s tense geopolitical climate. NATO is “an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.”  

Pluto was still conjunct the 1947 cycle point in Leo on that day, trine Venus-Mars-Sun (Aries), while Saturn had moved on to the final degree of Leo. An alliance of warriors (Venus-Mars) was blessed by both Sun and Pluto in that chart. 

Recall that the Soviet Union set off its first nuclear weapon test in August of that same year—without doubt, the threat they felt from the NATO alliance was one reason for that show of strength. The existence of NATO didn’t make the “Red Scare” any less of a panic here in the U.S., however—if anything, the new burdens of leadership placed on the U.S. appear to have raised the volume. 

To shore up their own defenses, the Soviet Union established an alliance with Warsaw Pact nations in the early 1950s. Some of these former allies joined NATO since the Soviet Union’s demise and are now feeling intimidated by Russia’s attempts to draw them back into its sphere of influence. 

This is a big reason that Europe is a bit freaked out by signs that the U.S. commitment to NATO is on the wane. 

It’s not surprising that institutions born under the 1947 cycle might be up for reconsideration by now, but this is the type of globally-significant institution that needs careful handling, not reckless, ideological destruction.
1947 Uranus-Mars (Gemini) conjoins Sibly Mars (Gemini), squares Sibly Neptune (Virgo)-Soviet NNode (Virgo) and inconjoins Soviet Venus (Scorpio); Soviet Venus sextiles Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). This set of aspects seems to foreshadow the abusive, delusionary period we call McCarthyism to a tee: The Gemini challenge (1947 Uranus-Mars at our 7th house Mars) would have made the world feel very unstable and unpredictable to Americans, who were undoubtedly still adjusting to post-WWII realities. This would have been reinforced by those Gemini squares to our “American Dream” Neptune. 

With the Soviet’s Scorpio Venus (sextile our Sibly Pluto) lurking in the background (over our 12th), it’s not surprising that McCarthy could trigger fears of communist “infiltration” (they’re hiding everywhere). The effect this had on America’s ability to discern truth from insinuation and paranoid accusations—“the fake news” of the McCarthyist era, echoes a little too closely today. The Soviet Venus also trined Sibly Mercury, which reflects how deeply our media was caught up in the fear-driven hype. 

1947 Neptune (Libra) squares Sibly Jupiter/Sun (midpoint, Cancer) and sextiles 1947 Venus -Sibly NNode (Leo); 1947 Neptune squares Soviet Sun-MC (Capricorn). It would be naïve to assume that stirring up McCarthyist paranoia (Neptune square to Sibly Jupiter/Sun) didn’t serve a political purpose—while it denigrated many, it effectively united the average American against the Soviet Union and (even more importantly), the communist system. The Cold War was, in the end, a dialectical war of ideas and economic systems—communism v. capitalism, oppression v. freedom, and while we’re at it, official State-sanctioned atheism v. religious freedom. 

Stories built around these stark opposing choices and the political intrigue involved became a staple in American pop culture—from “noir” spy thrillers (i.e., James Bond) to productions like Fiddler on the Roof that evoked earlier Russian persecution of Jews. One way or another, Russia and the Soviet Union were cast as the shady, criminal bad guys. 

Bottom line, the threat narrative was drawn around the freedoms and prosperity (Sibly Jupiter/Sun) we would lose if communist infiltrators weren’t rooted out and banished from society. Vilifying the enemy and painting it as the most extremist threat possible, hiding in the shadows (1947 Neptune squares Soviet Sun), was an effective tactic that carried us into the next generation of anti-communist wars in Korea and Viet Nam.  

These “perks” provided by McCarthyism are not lost on today’s new generation of paranoid politicians (Bannon, especially—Putin, maybe?)­, only now the “threat” they hope to rally around is Muslim. On that note, let’s consider our current national charts alongside this year’s Aries ingress.

Triwheel #3: (inner wheel) US-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Russian Federation, December 25, 1991, 7:45 p.m., Moscow, Russia (BWH, Chart 280, p. 273); (outer wheel) Aries Ingress 2017, March 20, 2017, 6:16:48 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. All charts use Tropical Equal Houses and True Node.
Looking at this triwheel should dispel any doubts we might have about Russia being a U.S. friend or foe.  Clearly, the Soviet Union’s “rebirth” as the Russian Federation (middle wheel) did nothing to soften our relationship: if anything, Vladimir Putin’s destructive designs on us are illustrated pretty clearly. 

Let’s consider the dynamics between the Sibly and Russian charts first, before we bring the current Aries ingress into the story.  

Russia Sun (Capricorn) opposes Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer) and squares Sibly MC (Libra); Russia Saturn (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly SNode (Aquarius) and trines Sibly Uranus (Gemini). This illustrates how staunchly opposed Russia is to our ideology (Jupiter) and why they might target our prosperity and security (Sibly Venus-Jupiter). Their hard-nosed Sun is disposed by an equally hard-nosed Aquarius Saturn, conjoined our SNode and trine our Uranus—an interesting “hook” that reflects how they have been using technology (Aquarius) to exploit our weaknesses. 

The trine suggests that the cyber attacks flow from both sides; certainly it’s common knowledge that surveillance tactics are used by both. 

Interchart T-square: Russia Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer); this axis squares Sibly Saturn (Libra). It was quite an “accident” of history that the Russian Federation rose from the ashes of the Soviet Union under the final stages of the 1821 Uranus-Neptune Capricorn cycle, and a mere year and a half from the new 1993 Capricorn cycle. 

There are civilization-transforming implications in this, but there is also a continuity of hard-nosed ambition and a deeply held sense of their powerful place in geopolitics, and in the history of civilization itself. 

It’s not hard to see that our government institutions are in the Russian crosshairs here, with the aspects to Sibly Sun (Executive) and Saturn (Congress). Current news is filled with examples of Russian efforts to undermine our structures and national reputation (recall the Russian Sun squares Sibly MC, as well).

The situation gets even more intense:

Russia Venus-Pluto (Scorpio) trine Sibly Mercury (Cancer). Influencing our Mercury is a multi-layered operation: manipulating public perception through a cyber-avalanche of paranoid “fake news,” which is then used to undermine our relationships and defense capabilities (Gemini 7th house is ruled by Mercury). There’s no accident that Trump’s Gemini stellium (Sun-Node-Uranus) plays into all this, conjunct Sibly 7th house Mars—is it any wonder he and his campaign are being investigated for enabling this Russian influence? 

Interchart Mutable T-square: Russia Mercury/Mars (midpoint)-Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) opposes Sibly DSC-Uranus/Mars (midpoint, Gemini); this axis squares Russia Jupiter (Virgo). Russia’s restless aggression shoots across the Sibly horizon here, destabilizing our self-image (ASC) and 7th house defense capabilities; the t-square reflects that there’s a connection between their growth (Jupiter) and the use of “information war” (Mercury/Mars) against us (7th house Sibly Mars/Uranus).  

Russia’s Jupiter is elevated over our Sibly 10th house, very widely conjoined Sibly Neptune (Virgo), so it’s not surprising they might use our “American Dream” against us in some way in their “infowar” (which is ongoing, we’re told). Attacks on social media were the obvious way to leverage our biases, preconceptions about politics, and so on. The oppositions in this t-square reflect Russia’s perennial ambitions for a “parity” of power with us, and their Jupiter provides some  leverage.

On an interesting, related, but totally unsubstantiated note, there are theories circulating that Russian steel is being brought in through Canada for the pipeline projects that Trump has green-lighted, much to the dismay of environmentalists and Native Americans. If this were true, it would be the cynically ironic about-face that many would expect from him, considering he claimed U.S. steel pipes would be required for these projects and then reversed course. 

This becomes relevant here because Russia’s Sagittarius Mercury/Mars opposite our Sibly Mars/Uranus suggests the involvement of steel (Mars) on both sides. We are seeing more about confirmed connections between Russian oligarchs and Trump, (Russia Jupiter  sextiles and Russia Pluto-Venus widely trines Sibly Sun), and business deals would not be inconceivable. This is a wait-and-see possibility—again, unconfirmed. 

Following the dots…

Let’s turn now to the impact this month’s Aries ingress (outer wheel, Triwheel #3) has on these two national charts and what it might portend for that relationship in the coming year. 

Interchart T-square: Russia Sun (Capricorn) opposes Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer); this axis is squared by Ingress Sun-Venus (Aries). The Aries ingress stresses out our Russian relationship every year, given these cardinal points, but the addition of an Aries Venus at the ingress suggests that more is at stake this time around. 

This Venus actually squares Russia’s entire Capricorn stellium (Sun, Node-Uranus-Neptune) and pulls the Sibly Sun into the mix, as well, so they have something to gain or lose from their anti-U.S. ambitions this year. A friendlier presence in the White House, perhaps?

Interchart Mutable Grand Cross: Ingress Neptune (Pisces) turns the Mutable T-square discussed above into this more stressful grand cross. This certainly reflects the use of distortion and ­“fake news” that will likely continue to destabilize our relationship. It was certainly powerfully reflected yesterday, in House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ decision to blow up his committee’s investigation into Trump/Russia ties. 

Ingress Neptune’s quincunx to Sibly Saturn challenges our ability to get to the facts—the cover of Neptunian “fog” is a constant struggle. Neptune’s trine to the Sibly Sun enables Trump’s fluid use of this distortion and cover—constant vigilance and truth-telling is needed to cut through the “fog.”

Ingress Saturn-Moon-GC (Sagittarius) sextile Sibly Moon (Aquarius), square Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and trine Ingress Uranus (Aries). The gathering at the GC will continue inspiring leaks and whistle-blowing, and the sextiles suggest that this could benefit the American public. The square to Sibly Neptune (Virgo) will continue stressing out our national “spin-doctors.” We have to wonder how much longer Press Secretary Sean Spicer is going to hang on. 

The volatile Ingress Uranus (Aries) trine to these Sagittarius points suggests that some revelations may literally be explosive or at least, brutally shocking. Could such revelations cause shocking, or uncontrollably volatile responses? 

These Sagittarius and Aries points do tie into Russia’s Leo Ascendant, creating a fiery grand trine, so this possibility isn’t too far-fetched. We may see some recklessness on their part, where they would normally calculate their moves carefully (their Scorpio Pluto-Venus squares their ASC). 

Another wait-and-see—this Uranus conjoins Russia’s Part-of-Fortune and Sibly Chiron, so they are perhaps enjoying the chaos we find ourselves in these days. On the flip side, Russia’s Chiron (Leo) conjoins Sibly NNode (Leo), so we may also benefit from their pain—so goes the project of having an “enemy.”

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: Ingress Mars (Taurus) conjoins Russia MC (Taurus), trines Russia Sun-NNode-Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) and trines Russia Jupiter (Virgo). The year ahead seems to support Russian ambitions, especially in substantive, “earthy” ways. Mars isn’t particularly comfortable in Venus-ruled Taurus, but its placement there fits a determined plan to build its world image (MC) around resource-based revenues (keep an eye on that steel deal). Ingress Mars inconjoins Russia Mercury, so they may try to “spin” any plans they have in the works.
Interchart Cardinal Grand Cross: Ingress Jupiter (Libra)-Sibly Saturn (Libra) opposes Ingress Uranus (Aries); this axis squares Ingress Pluto (Capricorn)-Russia Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) opposite Sibly Sun/Mercury (midpoint, Cancer). This tense cardinal tug-of-war pits Congress (Libra) against the volatile unknown (Aries), and whatever happens there will impact U.S.-Russia power dynamics. 

How Trump communicates (Sibly Sun/Mercury midpoint) reflects that relationship, especially with Ingress Neptune trining that point, enabling a constant river of false claims and obfuscations. The tension in this configuration reflects the difficulty at getting to the bottom of the ongoing investigations. We will probably see some subpoenas issued to Trump surrogates and associates (Ingress Saturn quincunxes Sibly Mercury). 

Whether the Trump camp will be able to count on more Wikileaks releases timed to distract from the investigations remains to be seen, but with the fiery grand trine discussed above, there will likely be more surprises before it’s all behind us.

McCarthyism 2.0?

So, is a newly reimagined wave of McCarthyism supported by all this intrigue and mounting tension between the U.S. and Russia? The chilling thing about the alt-right effort to rehabilitate this dark period of our history is that there’s a new “enemy” fixed in their paranoid sights, and it’s Muslim, rather than Russian. Russia, in fact, is seen by people like Steve Bannon as a possible ally in a new anti-Muslim “Scare” campaign. 

It’s not hard to imagine how this goes: first, there’s a travel ban (or watered down, the new “electronics ban”), then a story blows up in the news that convinces people immigrants from Muslim countries are the enemy, much to be feared (UK just provided one), then enough of us look the other way as the ban on travel is quietly reinstated. 

What’s next? Cover for those who commit heinous hate crimes? Round-ups within our borders? They’re already happening for many immigrants—if it looks like tyranny taking over in baby-steps, it probably is.

Bottom line, exaggerated concerns about “national security” can wash away a lot of our human and civil rights overnight, if we’re not vigilant. Trump’s Cabinet secretaries are feeling the heat of suspicion, our welcoming image in the world is already being destroyed, and Trump and Co. are just getting started. 

Those who want to slam our borders shut and roll-back the civil rights progress we’ve made since the 1947 Saturn-Pluto cycle launched are counting on the power of suggestion, innuendo and insinuation. We may not have just one enemy to vilify in McCarthyism 2.0—anyone who threatens Trump priorities in any way could find their way onto that list.  

It’s worth remembering that the Viet Nam/Watergate crisis of confidence in our government (early 1970s) marked the waning phase of that staunch 1947 Leo cycle; the remainder of that cycle was spent in a serious recession at home and a stubborn Iran Hostage Crisis, both of which destroyed President Jimmy Carter’s chances of re-election. 

Reagan’s presidency may have been controversial in some ways, but it ushered in the new Saturn-Pluto cycle (1982)—in airy Libra, it was time for the public’s mood to lighten up and shake off the 1970s gloom. As Monty Python put it, “and now, for something completely different…” 

And now…

We are now in the waning 3+ years of that 1982 Saturn-Pluto cycle (Libra), and we have a situation that is eerily similar to the 1970s, with another president being investigated. This time, however, the potential crimes at stake are orders of magnitude more serious. In fact, judging from our dicey internal and external power dynamics, the situation warrants urgency. IMHO, we need to hope that Bannon’s stated intent to “deconstruct the administrative state” (we can read, “to facilitate an authoritarian takeover”) isn’t a preview of things to come. 

The closing days of a cycle like this usually do involve the dismantling of outworn structures and a “de-cluttering” of bureaucracies—even some notable cultural and demographic shifts; however, there’s a difference between a productive clearing process and purposeful, systems-busting destruction. We have some choices about how close to the bone this clearing out process should cut, but unfortunately, it appears this time around that we can’t take our leaders’ commitment to democratic ideals for granted. Maybe it’s time to hold our “hired hands” (we do pay their salaries) to account? 

In the next post, we’ll examine that new 2020 Saturn-Pluto cycle in greater depth—the road between now and then is going to be an interesting ride!   

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:

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 

[1] Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, 3rd ed., The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK, 2004.