Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Killing “the bird that made the breezes blow:” the EPA’s Neptune challenge

Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.
-Samuel Coleridge, “The Rime of the   Ancient    Mariner”

In October 2003, the Pentagon released a report—far from confidential, easily available in PDF form on the Internet—entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security.”[1]  Its title basically states the report’s purpose, “…to imagine the unthinkable—to push the boundaries of current research on climate change so we may better understand the potential implications on United States national security.” 

This report was issued under the George W. Bush administration, so it certainly wasn’t an exercise in bleeding heart liberalism—it was an exercise in foreseeing security issues before they smack us upside the head. It was very much in keeping with Bush’s preference for “pre-emptive strike” before problems develop. 

In fact, it’s a startlingly frank document that puts to shame Trump’s recent executive orders rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations, the Clean Water Rule, and Trump’s all-out assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), now under Cabinet Secretary Scott Pruitt’s direction. Pruitt is an Oklahoma oil industry booster to the core and claims to doubt any science that says carbon dioxide emissions play a key role in climate change. Vested interests, anyone?

It’s hard to tell if Trump knows or even cares one way or the other on climate change, but we know that the issue has no caché for him—it’s like a “chick flick” in the movie theater of his mind, and he’s only interested in action films where things get blown up. Never mind that Mar-a-Lago is vulnerable to the physics of sea level rise—that’s an inconvenient fact.

From his perspective as the “9/11 president,” Bush had more reason than most U.S. presidents to be hyper-sensitive to national security issues, so the contrast between his response to climate change and Trump’s attitude is striking. The irony, of course, is that Trump attempts to justify all kinds of environmentally-destructive actions on the basis of national security. 

Interestingly, the 2003 report foresees the possibility that “The United States turns inward, committing its resources to feeding its own population, shoring up its borders, and managing the increasing global tension.”[2]
Obama chose to address the broader dangers head on by cooperating with 200 other nations in the COP21 Paris agreement; Trump is choosing the self-protective option. The scenarios offered in the report’s vision of “the unthinkable” may very well be at the heart of Trump’s obsession with closing our borders and building that ridiculous wall. 

So, even though a celebration of science (including a powerful video by Neil deGrasse Tyson seen here) was great to see, it’s still pretty troubling that on this recent Earth Day 2017, the world’s scientists felt they had to take to the streets in search of a little respect and support, not to mention the freedom to pursue the very important work they do on behalf of all of us. 

Even if we understand little of what they do, we should at least be grateful that they are the keeper of the FACTS—the experimentally confirmed and peer-reviewed realities of the physical world that we rely on for our wellbeing and survival. 

Consider the migration crisis of the past few years, for example—it’s been directly impacted by the climate-based degradation creeping up on Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East. We just finished a ten-year drought in California! Scientific facts predicted all that. These facts also show us a way forward, towards halting climate change before it becomes globally catastrophic—why wouldn’t we want to cooperate in that project? 

The 2003 Pentagon report thus anticipated a long-term, but eventually dire situation (Neptune’s forte is in slowly unfolding situations) by saying: “Either way, it is not implausible that abrupt climate change will bring extreme weather conditions to many of the world’s key population and growing regions at the same time—stressing global food, water and energy supplies.”[3]
Especially in these doubly Neptunian times (transiting Pisces), there’s no exaggerating how seriously we need the expertise and dedication to objective facts that scientists provide. 

Killing the albatross 

By actively undermining and potentially even eliminating the EPA, Pruitt and Trump are threatening to set U.S. environmental policy adrift on a leaky raft, so-to-speak—an appropriate metaphor if we consider that the EPA (12/2/1970) has been experiencing its first transiting Neptune (Pisces) square to its radix Neptune (Sagittarius).  

This transit—considered one of three transitional “mid-life” outer planet transits—is hard on any entity, personal or collective, and the stakes are often high. Here’s what transits expert Robert Hand[4] has to say:

“During this period you are likely to intensely question your life, your goals and how far you have fulfilled your ideals…It is very important to use this period for self-scrutiny, but it is not a good idea to act yet…Many of the insights you receive during this period will be real, and many will not be real. Only the passage of time will allow you to determine which are which.”
In the poem excerpted above, Coleridge’s “ancient mariner,”—a truly tragic Neptunian character—despairs that he has brought down calamity on his shipmates by killing an albatross, then considered the spirit of a successful sea voyage. “And I had done an hellish thing, and it would work ‘em woe: For all averr’d, I had kill’d the bird that made the breeze to blow.” 

Stranded in a deathly still sea of undrinkable saltwater, the crew was condemned to die. Such tragic irony reflects Neptune’s darker moods and the real perils we face today.  By removing funding and attempting to delegitimize the EPA’s mission, the Trump administration is thumbing its nose at the potentially dire, real physical consequences of this choice in the natural world. Trump is setting us adrift with no wind at our backs. 


In fact, the ancient mariner’s plight echoes a growing danger with the earth’s oceans that scientists are monitoring closely: the potential shutdown of the ocean system’s “thermohaline circulation”—our planet’s natural circulatory system, if you will. This is a complicated physical phenomenon that I encourage you to explore at the links provided. Suffice to say here that this system directly impacts the climate on planet earth and determines whether that climate renders this “3rd rock from the Sun” uninhabitable over time or not. 

The fact that 20+ million people are suffering famine or near-famine conditions at this moment (now in 4 regions at once) is a shrill troubling sign. Climate affects weather, which in turn affects agricultural conditions (water supplies, soil health, pestilences, etc.), and if people can’t grow food, famine follows. Sometimes politics and power struggles are involved, but resource shortages always cause turmoil and tension. 

This is not Trump’s “Chinese scam.” If anything, China has been stepping into the leadership vacuum we’re leaving open in the fight against global climate change because it recognizes it will benefit, too. The 2003 report projected what might happen to China this way, and they seem to have gotten the message:

“Longer, colder winters and hotter summers caused by decreased evaporative cooling because of reduced precipitation stress already tight energy and water supplies. Widespread famine causes chaos and internal struggles as a cold and hungry China peers jealously across the Russian and western borders at energy resources.”[5]
Trump would have been briefed on all this: what, we might wonder, is he trying to accomplish or to prove by ignoring the dangers, rolling back progress and possibly pulling the U.S. out of the Paris agreements? That it’s “U.S. against the World?” This is a fruitless, delusional (Neptune) position, given the interconnected, global scope of the challenge.

As ruler of the oceans, Neptune thus has a lot of say-so in whether humanity survives into the next centuries on this planet or not (the planet will survive without us, by the way—in fact, it might thrive without us). The fate of the EPA matters, not just for its own sake as a distinctive government agency (founded by Richard Nixon, believe it or not)—it matters because its problems are our problems. 

We’ve been focused on the rug being pulled out from under health care—if we care about health, we can’t be complacent about the EPA, either. These dynamics work together seamlessly—on the local and the global level. That’s how Neptune rolls.  

So, will Trump and Pruitt be allowed to destroy America’s environmental progress in the name of corporate profit? Let’s examine the astrology for some clues. 

To manage the scope here, we’ll use the U.S. Sibly chart as “ground zero” for this study, next to the EPA’s effective “birth” chart. To represent the present challenge, we’ll complete the triwheel with the Election Day 2016 chart. We have every reason to believe that Trump’s election marked a challenging threshold in this issue, so it will undoubtedly lend some insight. 

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) US-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) EPA, December 2, 1970, 12:00 p.m. ST (no exact time known), Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Election Day 2016, November 8, 2016, 7:20 a.m. ST (sunrise chart), Washington, D.C..

Interchart Mutable T-Square: EPA Sun widely conjoins EPA Neptune (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Uranus (Gemini); this axis squares Election Neptune (Pisces). The tension in this configuration sort of says it all, if Trump’s motives for undermining the EPA (Sun) are to remove any obstacles to building up our military and fossil fuel sector jobs (6th house Uranus). The square from Election Neptune (Pisces) helps to cloud the nation’s thinking (Neptune over Sibly 3rd house) regarding the benefits and risks at stake. 

Unfortunately, with the EPA’s radix Sun under the influence of its Neptune, maintaining its integrity and ideals can be a challenge. It was also, from its inception, at odds with Sibly Jupiter-Venus (quincunx from Cancer)—economic interests have always had a love-hate relationship with environmental efforts and the regulations that go along with them.  This is reinforced by EPA Chiron (Aries) square Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer). Allowing security issues (Cancer) to “trump” environmental priorities is sort of baked into the cake.

Interchart Mutable Grand-Cross: Sibly Neptune (Virgo) is opposed by Election Chiron (Pisces); this axis squares Election Saturn/Venus (midpoint, Sagittarius)- EPA Mercury (Sagittarius) opposite Sibly Mars (Gemini). Transiting Chiron has finally separated from transiting Neptune, but here, it’s threatening to wound the nation’s “dreams and aspirations” (Sibly Neptune); enter Election Saturn/Venus (Sagittarius-incidentally, conjunct Trump’s natal Moon) with its compelling quest to grow America’s military as a route to financial gain (opposite Sibly Mars), and we can see the potential for misguided adventures. 

War has a curious way of loosening restrictions on some (the corporate world) while it puts added restrictions on others (travelers, refugees, immigrants), so clear minds and dedicated corruption watch dogs (a rare commodity in Neptunian times) are needed. 

Interchart Cardinal T-Square: Election Pluto (Capricorn) opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer); this axis squares Election Jupiter-EPA Uranus-Sibly Saturn (all Libra. It’s good to remember that this election chart would have been the same, no matter who won the presidency, but this configuration suggests that, even though Trump crows about his role as a change agent, the presidency and the nation (Sibly Sun) would be undergoing a Plutonian transformation anyway. 

The added factors of Election Jupiter and EPA Uranus suggests that a “shake-up” of Congress and the EPA is right on cosmic schedule. There are positive and negative ways to navigate these changes, of course, which is where Trump’s influence matters. 

Jupiter isn’t particularly powerful in Libra, but being in mutual reception with Sagittarius Venus gives it a bit more clout. Interestingly, we usually equate Jupiter with the GOP and Saturn with the Dems (the GOP hates regulations that restrain business in any way; the Dems believe regulations can be an important tool for balancing out the inequities inherent in capitalism). 

It follows that in this tense t-square, we see the GOP at odds with POTUS (Sun), which isn’t too far from the reality. The GOP is probably more responsible for slowing down Trump’s legislative aspirations than anyone, and some of them are even speaking out against Trump’s “holy grail”—his “big, beautiful wall.” Lawrence O’Donnell characterizes the relationship as “Trump v. Capitol Hill” in his latest report. 

As for the EPA’s prospects with this “shake up,” it’s helpful to notice that its Uranus is also sextile its radix Sun and Election Saturn (both Sagittarius) and trine EPA progressed Sun (Gemini, not shown), so it may be fairly resilient. Even so, with Election Pluto (Capricorn) square radix Uranus, a certain amount of turmoil and transformation can be expected. That’s Scott Pruitt’s job in a nutshell, so the challenges are far from over. 


Election Moon-EPA Node-Sibly Moon conjoin (Aquarius) and semi-sextile/quincunx Sibly Pluto opposite Sibly Mercury (Capricorn-Cancer). We can expect that the EPA will be forced to give corporate interests (Capricorn) precedence over environmental ones, but this interesting convergence in Aquarius suggests that public outcry and activism will be the most important countervailing force.
It’s also interesting that these Aquarius points directly oppose Trump’s natal Mars (Leo, not shown): it’s very possible that his will-to-overpower public sentiment on important issues like the EPA will meet with sufficient resistance. It does appear here that public sentiment is aligned with the EPA (Moons-Node) and more likely to oppose Trump. 

Interchart Cardinal T-Square: Election Mars-EPA Moon-Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) oppose Sibly Mercury (Cancer); this axis squares Election Uranus (Aries). The Moon is a bit uncertain here, since the EPA chart is a noon chart, but we can see here that Wall Street (Pluto) has been riding high on the promise of environmental regulation rollbacks. Even so, gone are the days when fossil fuels drive the Market entirely: billions are being invested in clean energies and clean energy-based industries, and many Market watchers feel that the “good old days” of carbon-intensive industries like coal are simply never coming back, no matter how protectionist we become. Oil and natural gas pipelines are another story, and the controversies will undoubtedly continue there.  

Final thoughts
Returning to that important Neptune-square-Neptune transit that’s in progress at the EPA, the orb is already very generous, so the period for soul-searching and re-envisioning its mission is rapidly turning into a call for action. Unfortunately, the agency is not out of the woods and free to move full-steam-ahead, yet—Neptune will continue transiting square the EPA Sun well into 2018. 

This will probably mark Scott Pruitt’s tenure as Secretary of the agency, unless being actually involved in its mission wakes him up to its importance. Coming out of a Neptune transit is a lot like waking up, so stranger things have happened. 

It’s enlightening to see how tightly the EPA’s destiny connects with public sentiment (the Aquarius connection discussed above). It makes sense: transiting Neptune also squares Sibly Uranus, the planet disposing our Sibly Moon, so long story short, what happens to the EPA happens to us. So, if we allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency and delusionary thinking about the environment’s resilience and of our rightful “dominion” over Nature (after all, our IRAs aren’t doing so badly these days), we’re coming down on the wrong side of this Neptune transit.

If we allow ourselves to fall into the “false choice” mindset—i.e., that we can either create jobs and feather Wall Street nests, or we can steward the environment, but we can’t do both—then again, we’re on the wrong side of this Neptune transit. With Neptune, the answers are never either/or; they’re always all of the above, and then some

Since Coleridge envisioned his infamous shipboard calamity, the “albatross” has come to signify an onerous burden that somehow never goes away. In fact, the “albatross” was a blessing—a sign of a safe voyage—on that ship, and killing it was the tragic error. About as bad an idea as killing the EPA would be. Nature calls the shots in the end, and the hubris of denying its power is a “hellish thing,” indeed. 

There’s a lot of talk about the next wave of innovation in technologies on the horizon—robotics, AI, “smart” everything: instead of designing autonomous vehicles and destroying more job sectors for human workers, how about directing some of this massive innovation to creating that clean energy-powered infrastructure that other nations are achieving even as we speak? 

Neptune transits undermine progress by overwhelming us with inertia—we may go through the motions of activity (the kind that happens in a recurring, labyrinthine dream), yet nothing really breaks through as progress until we “wake up.” I’m hopeful that the Trump administration will, for better or worse, be the “wake up call” that we need. This need extends to many key areas of government, and even to our role as the “leader of the free world,” but the time has never been more critical for our relationship with the EPA and with the environment itself. 

Efforts to roll back federal control of public lands and national parks, to drill for oil in the Arctic wildlife refuge, among other environmentally-sensitive areas (remember the BP oil spill in the Gulf?) are all on the table right now. Can we shake off Neptune’s inertia before it’s too late? A few thoughts from the New York Times puts it all into perspective:

“President Trump’s environmental onslaught will have immediate, dangerous effects. He has vowed to reopen coal mines and moved to keep the dirtiest power plants open for many years into the future. Dirty air…kills people. It’s much the same as his policies on health care or refugees: Real people (the poorest and most vulnerable people) will be hurt in real time.
But there’s an extra dimension to the environmental damage. What Mr. Trump is trying to do to the planet’s climate will play out over geologic time as well. In fact, it’s time itself that he’s stealing from us.” [emphasis added]

Next stop, the budget battle!

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] Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall, “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/v1003/readings/Pentagon.pdf. Accessed 4/25/2017.
[2] Schwartz and Randall, p. 13.
[3] Schwartz and Randall, p. 12.
[4]Robert Hand, Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living. Whitford Press, Atglen, PA, 1976, pp. 462-463.
[5] Schwartz and Randall, p. 13.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Delusions & Drama in DC: the Astrology of Saber-rattling

“A violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth—that is what I am after. 

I want to see in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence, of prey. I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin to my young men.”
                                                                                                              - Adolf Hitler

There’s been a lot of talk during this past week about the difference between hard power—the kind demonstrated by Trump when he ordered missiles to be shot into Syria and the “Mother of all bombs” to be dropped in Afghanistan—and soft power, the type of power that helps prevent violent confrontations before they get stirred up. 

Diplomacy, humanitarian projects, scientific collaboration, economic development assistance—these are all soft measures designed to keep the peace and to create constructive relationships. All of these capabilities are being severely cut back by Trump’s administration.

Hard power seeks to dominate by means of brute force—remember, no “intellectual training” required—the bigger the bombs, the better. Astrologically we expect to see a prominent Mars—among other factors—when brute force and saber-rattling are the order of the day, so it’s not too surprising that Trump’s natal chart features an alarmingly dominant Mars. With soft power, the astrological situation is far more complex—more on that to come. 

MSNBC.com’s AM Joy Show captured the essence of Trump’s Mars placement when journalist Sarah Kendzior suggested that Trump has “no geopolitical strategy beyond a sort of fetish for aggression.” In this same discussion, Reid’s guest Jack Rice (former CIA officer and terrorism expert) opined that “Donald Trump is a hammer, and to him everything is a nail, and from his perspective, everything becomes personal…” Both comments spoke to the fiery, self-focused nature of Trump’s Leo Mars, pressing on his “personal” Ascendant

Repeatedly, in responding to questions about the military actions and shows of power he has ordered, Trump has framed his actions as being stronger, or more effective than the actions of past presidents (who were invariably “weak” in his mind). His Mars has an insatiable need to win, or at least to appear to win (Mars at ASC). 

In March, when Trump revealed his national budget wish list, we learned a lot about his value system, and it’s all about ramping up the nation’s hard power capabilities ($80 billion increased spending for Defense—at the expense of soft power and domestic priorities). Most career diplomats with the State Department have been let go, with no signs of replacements on the way.

Diplomacy is too soft an approach for Trump’s taste, apparently—or Trump wants (along with his military) to be in total control, or we’re seeing his Bannon-led efforts to “deconstruct the administrative state.” It's unclear which it is, but the lack of staffing is certainly deliberate. 

Anything that might help cultivate a humanistic, intellectual, arts-conscious younger generation was also slashed in this budget—for starters, Trump called for both the National Foundation for the Humanities and for the Arts to be eliminated. If an organization doesn’t promote a show of lethal, military or economic force, it simply doesn’t register on his radar screen, or in his value system. 

Golf and professional wrestling (him), skiing (the Kushners) and big game hunting (Donald Jr.) seem to be approved family activities. Does he find anything uplifting and humanizing in the arts to be of value?

Another one of Trump’s major budget cuts is simply mind-boggling: to the Environmental Protection Agency. Nature is another resource to be exploited and dominated, apparently—throw up an ostentatious tower, surround it with golf courses, waste millions of gallons of water keeping the fairways lush, use executive power to allow companies to frack every last drop of oil out of the earth, roll back pollution protections…drive endangered species into extinction…you get the picture. 

“A violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth—that is what I am after. I want to see in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence, of prey…” Hitler took his aggressive tendencies to their maniac extreme, however it’s too soon to know what extremes Trump is capable of (or not). His chart—especially his full moon Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions (see outer wheel, Biwheel 1 below)—suggests that he is capable of extreme temperament, behaviors and moods, but we’re not sure if we’ve seen the worst possibilities yet. 

In fact, there’s a major trigger point looming later this year—a powerful total solar eclipse that falls conjunct Trump’s fixed, volatile, willful Mars. This event has astrologers concerned (much more about this is a future post), and it suggests that we will need cooler heads to prevail (now would be a good time for this). 

As resistance to his geopolitical recklessness grows, as calls for him to release his tax returns mount and threaten to obstruct his plans for tax reform, as more incriminating information emerges from the various investigations into his Russia ties, Trump will naturally feel threatened and anxious to regain control of the narrative. 

The pressure vent, or release point for that threatened Mars is always the point opposite, at his descendant/7th house cusp, so we can expect that he will lash out at his perceived enemies in shocking/unconventional ways (Aquarius 7th).  Because his 7th is co-ruled by Uranus—conjunct his Gemini Sun and opposite his Sagittarius Moon—and Saturn, conjunct his Venus in security-conscious Cancer—all threats are taken personally. 

Because he likely sees no distinction between his personal security needs and national security needs, he will have a catch-all justification for lashing out militarily at will. 

Aside from all this, Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Eun are already locking horns, creating cause for serious alarm—if Trump does have a “fetish for aggression,” as the journalist noted above observed, what does that do for his judgment when confronted with an irrational adversary? 

Let’s explore the astrology of this dicey situation a bit: first, a look at how Trump’s chart plays into the U.S. Sibly chart, since as a nation, we’ve hitched our cosmic “wagon” to him for this ride. Then, we’ll consider how Trump’s chart and North Korea’s chart interact (as a family dynasty from day 1, the nation equals its “glorious leader,” so we will use it). 

We will consider how the Sibly Moon (We, the People) is likely to fare in the wake of all this as we go.

Tapping into Sibly power

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA-Sibly Chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Trump Sun-No. Node-Uranus (Gemini) conjoins Sibly Mars (Gemini) and squares Sibly Neptune (Virgo); Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) oppose Sibly Mars and Trump Gemini points. This is a highly volatile set of oppositions, stretched across the Sibly 1st-7th axis. It explains why Trump’s belligerent, reckless rhetoric regarding America’s self-interests and relations with allies appealed to his supporters during the campaign; it now gives us insight into the risks associated with that rhetoric and recklessness.

This saber-rattling complex is also sobering because it taps so directly into the nation’s already super-sensitive Gemini Mars, disposed by security-conscious Mercury in Cancer. For one thing, this trigger point caters to the Commander-in-Chief’s whims: we saw how that worked with George W. Bush’s doctrine of “pre-emptive strike” (Bush’s natal Uranus falls conjunct Sibly Mars).

It’s the way these Trump points tie into Sibly Neptune (Virgo) that should amplify our concerns, however. Mobilizing the nation’s military (Virgo) under false or distorted pretenses (Neptune) is always a danger with our foreign policy, and Trump has demonstrated his willingness to say one thing about foreign policy and do another, repeatedly.

That may simply be the result of an exaggerated desire to “surprise” our adversaries, but his erratic, duplicitous tendencies  also leave the American people in the lurch, wondering what’s next.

The debacle regarding the whereabouts of our USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier (is it streaming towards the Sea of Japan for a show of force against North Korea, or is it in fact participating in military exercises off the coast of Australia?) is just the most recent case-in-point, and is the subject of a good deal of alarm because the erroneous claims Trump made were parroted by his national security team.

Granted, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Pluto are all transiting retrograde at this time, but we are alarming our ally, South Korea (and probably China), with this behavior. Where are the cooler, more rational heads when we need them?

Here’s what Rachel Maddow’s blog had to say about the Trump team’s “dissembling” on this matter and the “crisis of credibility” these claims are causing for our allies and our adversaries:

“Under normal circumstances, developments like these would be the subject of congressional scrutiny, with some fairly obvious questions in need of answers: did the president and his team deliberately mislead? Did the president make an order that the military ignored? Did Trump’s Pentagon not know where its aircraft carrier strike group was and in what direction it was headed?”

According to Maddow’s video piece on this dilemma, the latest issue of Foreign Affairs examines how Trump’s practices could be leading us inexorably into three separate wars and a state of “competitive authoritarianism”—but if these possibilities aren’t alarming enough, their editor questions whether these scenarios will result from the administration’s ineptness, or its deliberate intentions. In their words, the publication questions whether the administration is simply “stupid, or nefarious.” 

It's deeply troubling that we're even having this conversation, but for what it's worth, the involvement of Sibly Neptune (nearing opposition from transiting Neptune, enhancing the problem), suggests the latter ("nefarious"), although there may be a third possibility, as well: mental illness.  

We have to believe that Trump’s well-respected security team (Generals H.R. McMaster and James Mattis) did not accidentally lie to the media about the USS Carl Vinson’s whereabouts. These are questions that arise under heavy Neptune influence (with the retrogrades named above chiming in). It should be pointed out here that Sibly Neptune falls in Trump’s natal 1st house, with transiting Neptune cruising along in his 7thhouse of “enemies.” Sounds like an aircraft destroyer lurking in enemy waters, doesn't it?

Taken together, this all suggests that Trump sees deception and distortion—being as unpredictable as possible, in other words—as simply the “tools of the trade” when pursuing his self interests (1st) and dealing with adversaries (7th). This may be a workable strategy when dealing with a rational adversary, but what about the irrational situation with North Korea? 

Is Trump just trying to force China to be the “adult” in his “madman” act? Xi Jinping must be really eager to get those Ivanka Trump product patents moving. 

There are so many things wrong with this picture that we better just move on. The pull to simply give up in exasperation and surrender to the prevailing insanity and corruption is another manifestation of Neptune in this story. Which brings us to the role Trump’s chart plays against the Sibly Moon

Trump Mars-Asc (Leo) opposes Sibly Moon (Aquarius) and semi-sextiles/inconjoins Sibly Mercury-opposite-Pluto (Cancer-Capricorn). This could be deemed Trump’s “conflicts-of-interest” connection with the Sibly chart. It’s sort of built into the Sibly chart that top-level decisions are not always made with the interests of the People (Sibly Moon) in mind; so often, big financial/corporate interests call the shots (2nd-8th h. Sibly Pluto-Mercury), and we only hope that something beneficial will “trickle down” on our heads as a result.

Here, we see Trump promising one thing to us (Sibly Moon) in his attitude-laced, “in your face” manner (opposition), while it appears that competing priorities (semi-sextile/inconjunt) are tugging at him from behind the scenes. Some commentators are speculating that  financial/corporate priorities are the reason he now refuses to release White House visitor logs—the steady stream of visiting lobbyists (many of whom have received ethics waivers from him to pursue jobs within the administration) doesn’t look too good for a president, but he did say he wants to run the White House like a business

What is less certain is whether he’s looking to build his personal business (or Ivanka’s) in the process.  Evidence is mounting that he is not only reaping a great deal of profit from Mar-a-Lago (a lot of it on the taxpayer's dime) since taking office, but that Ivanka's business is also booming.

If we simply consider the visual orientation of these planetary oppositions, we can see that Trump’s will-to-power (Leo Mars) is elevated above our Sibly Moon (the People), putting him in a dominant position. Even so, the relationship remains a two-way street, and an Aquarius Moon is far from powerless—it’s the power that overturned the throne (Leo), once upon a time!

Interchart T-Square: Trump Chiron-Jupiter RX (Libra) conjoins Sibly Saturn (Libra) and opposes Sibly Chiron (Aries); this axis squares Sibly Sun/Mercury (Cancer). Trump’s seemingly insatiable need for everything he touches to be larger-than-life and better than anyone else could possibly accomplish at least partially stems from this Libra conjunction, which has been powerfully reawakened by transiting Jupiter since the November election. 

Jupiter  progressed into direct motion in Trump’s chart very early in his life, but he may still harbor a nagging sense of inadequacy or a feeling of not being supported as a consequence of the natal retrograde, and this may explain why he radiates a defensive, “me against the world” kind of energy. 

Because his Libra points also widely square his Cancer Saturn-Venus, feeling “big” enough is a matter of security for him. Now, with him at the helm, these Libra points—which also tie into the Sibly Mercury-Pluto oppositionimpact the nation’s economy security, as well. Tax reform is going to be a dicey issue here: it was a major campaign promise that Trump may find impossible to deliver; we need cool heads in charge of Wall Street, too. 

As for the Sibly Saturn-Sun t-square that Trump’s Jupiter-Chiron ties into here, we’ve already seen attempts on his part to undermine our normal checks-and-balances for the sake of eliminating obstacles for his agenda (i.e., the travel and immigration bans). Rolling back regulations is more than a GOP/business-friendly ploy on his part—this configuration strongly reflects his Bannon-inspired plans to “deconstruct the administrative state.” 

This deconstruction would presumably wrest power from the other branches to build up the Executive—similar to what Trump just congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdoganfor achieving in Turkey. It’s hard to miss that Trump views the other branches of our government as “the competition.” 

Trump Mercury-Sibly Venus-Jupiter (all Cancer) square Sibly MC-Trump Neptune (Libra). Trump’s Mercury-Neptune square speaks to his notable tendency to play fast and loose with the truth (or to outright lie), and to claim that any inconvenient facts others present are “fake news.” His Mercury disposes his Gemini placements (Sun-Node-Uranus) and his Virgo progressed Sun (not shown), and this acts to radiate his security-first mindset throughout his chart. Not surprisingly, these points span his natal 2nd-11th houses, so clearly, his financial stature is a matter of security to him in more ways than one. 

Given all this, releasing his tax forms may feel pretty threatening to him—the truth about his financial status would come out, and it may not be as flattering as he needs it to be. It may also open up a Pandora’s Box of questions—this is not a particularly “ethics”-minded configuration. Even some conservative supporters are now looking askance at Trump's claims to "drain the swamp." 

The close ties with Sibly MC and Venus-Jupiter (Cancer) suggest that Trump’s interest in the presidency is, indeed, largely about the economic challenge—as long as Wall Street continues to tip its “hat” to his policy ideas with climbing numbers, he’s feeling good. 

Unfortunately, if strict ethical guidelines aren’t followed, Trump could be free to handle the national treasury (Sibly Jupiter) like a personal piggy bank—there to curry influence with corporations as he awards federal contracts to them. As we saw in his handling of the Trump Foundation, he’s happy to exhibit largesse with someone else’s money

While he claims that his proposed infrastructure projects are aimed at job creation, the arrangements he proposed early on sounded more like corporate give-aways—it will be interesting to see how many jobs are actually created. Trump’s Neptune squares Sibly Venus, ruling the 6th house of employment, so the potential for exaggeration, dissembling or flat-out corruption is real.

Case-in-point: Trump’s signing a “Buy American & Hire American” Executive Order yesterday looked good in the media—we’ll have to see what it actually accomplishes. The UK’s Independent was quick to point out that Trump’s companies, in fact, manufacture their products in 12 different countries! Neptune is working overtime here. 

Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer) conjoins Sibly Mercury (Cancer), sextiles Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and opposes Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). This Mercury rules U.S. trade, so the extensive promises Trump made in that area during the campaign are beginning to come due in his followers’ minds. Unfortunately, the Neptune factor lurks in the background here, too—as one article just out today in Marketwatch put it, Trump has “just double-crossed the American working class” by “coddling China” and executing a 180° about face on our trade relations.  

Trump got himself into this mess of conflicting priorities; we have to wonder why he wouldn’t see this coming, or if he simply doesn’t care. It’s possible that his natal Mercury-Neptune square clouds his judgment, or deludes him into believing that a new Executive Order will magically wave the conflicts away. Appearances are unfortunately not reality in America’s Rust Belt!

Diego Rivera
Real, or Reality TV?
This brings us full circle, back to wondering how Trump is likely to deal with an irrational adversary like North Korea’s Kim Jong Eun. Maybe we can imagine what Trump looks like to North Korea—the childhood taunt “it takes one to know one” comes to mind. Will we see a contest to outdo each other with irrational behavior, perhaps? Let’s consider Trump’s chart against the North Korean independence chart: interestingly, Trump is roughly 2 years older than this so-called “rogue nation,” so his chart is the inner wheel. 

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. ; (outer wheel) North Korea Independence, September 10, 1948, 12:00 p.m. ST (no exact time known), Pyongyang, NW, North Korea. Source: BWH[1], Chart 179, p. 180. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Interchart T-Square: Trump Sun-No. Node-Uranus (Gemini) opposes Trump So. Node-Moon-NK Jupiter (Sagittarius); this axis squares North Korea (NK) Sun (Virgo). North Korea’s Moon may also be tied into the Sagittarius part of the opposition here, but because we don’t have an exact time for North Korea’s chart, we’ll keep that as a side possibility. Even without that point, this t-square is dramatic, especially if we consider that Neptune is transiting opposite the NK Sun in Pisces, creating a Mutable Grand Cross! The Virgo Sun reflects the militaristic character of the nation.

All the dramatic displays of force (on both sides, in one way or another) are quite theatrical—worthy of Neptune’s opposition: if that’s what it takes to defuse the tension, bring it on, but don't think anything has been solved!

Instability and erratic tension are definitely the order of the day, and with NK Sun falling over Trump’s 1st house, the threat feels very personal to him. NK Jupiter’s intrusion on Trump’s Moon (Sagittarius) and opposition to his Gemini points can’t help but provoke a response—with Trump’s Uranus involved, we can imagine the response being surprising, and potentially explosive. 

The Trump Sun-NK Jupiter opposition feels like two Sumo wrestlers in a stand-off (maybe there’s some comic relief to be had here, yet). NK Jupiter is strong in Sagittarius, suggesting a desire on North Korea’s part to expand its influence; South Korea is very nervous about this possibility.

NK Saturn (Leo) conjoins Trump Mars-Asc (Leo), squares Trump MC (Taurus) and trines Trump Moon-NK Jupiter (Sagittarius). We know from Biwheel #1 above how essential this Mars placement is to Trump’s entire persona; in North Korea, he has met an equally ambitious, heavyweight opponent (NK Saturn) whose ego needs (especially in regards to expressing strength and power) and hyper-security consciousness (NK Mars in Scorpio) approach his own. 

Trump and company need to take this nation seriously—to dismiss Kim Jong Eun (KJE) as a “crazy fat kid” (as some in DC have referred to him) is not going to be helpful. The State = the Leader in North Korea, and it’s not hard to see Kim Jong Eun’s public persona in his nation’s chart. The “glorious leader” is a father figure in NK—the lordly Leo Saturn says it all, even if we don’t quite see that dignity reflected in the “kid.” 

KJE is undoubtedly highly motivated to prove himself on the world stage, to carry his father and grandfather’s work forward, so to speak. Trump seems to have dynastic aspirations himself—if he could just empathize a bit, he might see why empty threats are not the solution here. Here’s where that Neptune transit in his 7th house could help, if he would use it that way.

NK Mars conjoins NK So. Node (Scorpio) and trines NK Uranus (Cancer)-Trump Mercury (Cancer); NK Pluto/Saturn (midpoint, Leo) trines NK Jupiter-Trump Moon (Sagittarius). It’s only too easy for Trump to allow this geopolitical stand-off to become personal (Trump’s Moon and Mercury), but trading threats like a playground game of “Chicken” would be very short-sighted. As long as NK is one of the poorest nations, left behind in the economic dust by its super-prosperous “other half” to the south, its leaders will probably see belligerence and a war-like stance as being the only way to save face. 

The need to save face and to be taken seriously is seen here with their Pluto/Saturn midpoint trine their ambitious Jupiter. Saber-rattling really isn’t the solution for NK’s real problems, either, but the Mars-So. Node conjunction suggests it’s the “hard power” default mode they have known and it’s their “comfort zone.”  The trine between these points and their Uranus (Cancer) suggests a super-sensitive trigger finger when it comes to security issues. Do we really want to tempt fate here?

If Trump reacts (Moon, Mercury) to North Korean provocations from a purely personal, condescending perspective (i.e., saying they should “behave”), trying to chalk up saber-rattling points, he will miss an opportunity to accomplish something really important. Whether he’s capable of reacting in any other way is, unfortunately, an open question. 

NK Mercury-Neptune (Libra) conjoins Trump Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter (Libra) and sextiles NK Pluto (Leo). Here we see an illusory self-image (NK Mercury-Neptune, with Mercury disposing NK Sun), wrapped in the trappings of power (NK Pluto)hence the importance of military parades to North Korea. 

Trump’s Libra stellium (Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter) fuels his own brand of illusions and ego needs—his Neptune squares his Mercury, and we’ve seen how interwoven those energies are throughout his chart. Psychiatry has a name for this deluded state of mind, and it applies to states as well as to individuals: megalomania—also known as narcissistic personality disorder. I don’t use this loaded term lightly—consider this definition from Wikipedia.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which there is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others' feelings.[4][5] People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.[5]

North Korea’s long history of holding the population of South Korea hostage in a state of terror for the sake of extorting monies from other countries (like the U.S.) is certainly “taking advantage of people around them,” and there’s no condoning that behavior. 

But there’s also no condoning the cavalier way in which Trump treated South Korea’s security dilemma by claiming to send a “great armada” (the USS Carl Vinson) to the Sea of Japan when it was actually on its way the opposite direction. When this sort of “taking advantage” and lack of empathy happens once in a great while, it’s arrogance; when it happens as a matter of personality and habit, we’re in clinical territory. 

This is probably one reason Trump thrived in his reality TV persona on The Apprentice—being in total control with no expectation that people’s feelings matter (in fact, the more brutally he treated them, pitting them against each other, the higher his ratings), appears to be a comfort zone for him. 

This “comfort” is probably reinforced by his Libra Jupiter square his Cancer Saturn-Venus: disposed by his volatile, over-reaching Moon (quincunx these points in Sagittarius), these Cancer points suggest that his emotional/ego needs require constant tending. 

 Sibly Moon in the crosshairs
We discussed earlier how Trump’s Mars lords it over our Sibly Moon (the People) from late Leo; when we add North Korea into the mix, the dominance (Trump Mars) is amplified with repression (NK Saturn in Leo). Any new war Trump might start will be financially draining for ordinary Americans because war time always justifies austerity measures and the imposition of martial law (or what autocracies like Turkey these days are calling a “state of emergency”). 
Even without a war, Trump is planning the corporate boondoggle to beat all boondoggles, the border wall with Mexico—after all those billions are spent, he’ll have a long list of corporate builders that he can call in favors from for his sons, as they mind his real estate empire, traveling with Secret Service protection, on our national treasury’s dime. 

And, even though the 1% will continue to soak up the lion’s share of wealth, the inconjunct between NK Saturn and Sibly Pluto suggests that even they will feel challenged if things get serious with North Korea. Tax reform that benefits them is stalled and will likely remain so, for at least the near term. 

Even if there is no war with North Korea, the extortionist/extortion-ee NK/U.S. relationship will not be healed unless we suddenly develop some very talented diplomats with a more refined sense of how to use “carrots and sticks.” 

NK’s Saturn will remain in place, aspecting our Sibly Moon and Pluto with the same frustrating force, and it will continue holding South Korea hostage as it plunges ahead with its nuclear program. Our national Moon—now being sextiled by transiting Uranus (Aries), will unfortunately absorb the shock waves from any reckless moves. 

North Korea is feeling cautiously empowered, its dignity thoroughly offended right now, with Saturn transiting retrograde, trine its radix Saturn from the Sagittarius Galactic Center, and Pluto transiting retrograde, trine its Sun from Capricorn; these same transiting planets (Sagittarius Saturn Rx and Capricorn Pluto Rx) are squaring our radix Gemini Mars and widely t-squaring our radix Cancer Mercury-Capricorn Pluto respectively. 

Our Mercury is, of course, disposed by our Sibly Moon, bringing the impact squarely back to “we the people.” IMHO, this would be a very bad time to provoke an attack for all concerned. 

Final thoughts
America has long had a fascination with larger-than-life people who climb to the top on the backs of others, and now we have this type of behavior in our president. Unfortunately, Trump is no longer on reality TV—the stakes are real for millions.  

Besides, it’s not enough that there’s an “axis of adults” in charge of foreign policy, with the Generals and son-in-law Jared Kushner at the helm. Is that the best we can expect from this administration? Healing the wounds of the never-quite resolved Korean War after all these years is long overdue—the issue didn’t go away with the last episode of M*A*S*H, unfortunately. A story for another day. 

Maybe reality TV does have the answer for our dilemma with North Korea: Trump and Kim Jong Eun can dress in loud-colored tropical bandanas, meet on the set of Survivor with their respective teams, hurl accusations at each other and beat their chests on camera—maybe then we could all turn our televisions off and the whole miserable situation will disappear. Unfortunately, NOT!!

Or maybe the State Department should be given free rein to regain its “soft power” edge and find a peaceful solution to this ridiculous drama: the stakes are too high in today’s world to set our expectations so low!

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] Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer, 2004 ed., Bournemouth, UK, p.180.