Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Not-so-Close Encounters: the Astrology of Trump-Merkel relations

Trump tweeted that the U.S. trade deficit with Germany is "bad for the U.S.," despite the fact that our trade relations are mutually beneficial. Is it that he simply doesn’t like win-win situations, and is he driven to be the sole “winner?” 


If so, that’s a lonely place to be...

CNN made a point of highlighting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Barack Obama (about an unrelated issue) before she met with Trump this past Thursday at the NATO G7 summit—clearly Merkel gets along better with the former U.S. president than she does with the current one.  Her post-G7 statement seemed to capture the situation perfectly:
“The days that Europe could completely rely on others are "over to a certain extent," Merkel warned at a rally in a packed Bavarian beer tent, Reuters reports. "I've experienced this in the last few days."
Her impassioned comments indicate her disappointment with the past week's contentious meetings of NATO in Brussels and the Group of 7 in Italy. Merkel had described the climate change talks at the G-7 meeting as "very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying."
Obviously, we need to distinguish between personality differences and geopolitical priorities and goals here; Merkel’s misgivings with Trump seem to be centered on two key issues: Trump’s reluctance to recommit to Obama’s agenda with the Paris (climate change) Accord, and his belligerent refusal to unconditionally support the NATO alliance. This latter failing played out in a particularly awkward, insensitive way—vintage Trump. 

We heard all during last year’s campaign that Trump’s gripe with NATO members is that they don’t pay enough toward their own defense—i.e., they don’t meet the 2% of GDP standard that was established some years ago. I’ve never seen an accounting of why this should worry our bean-counters’ little heads (i.e., does that really mean that we’re taking up the slack?), but this 2% principle is generally acknowledged as a goal to be met over time by the various countries, and Germany reportedly comes pretty close to that mark. 

Never one to let a grievance go, however, Trump lectured the convened NATO powers about all this in the midst of a solemn memorial for the victims of 9/11—perhaps the most insensitive moment he could have found. This was actually Trump’s opportunity to thank our European NATO allies for coming to our aid during the aftermath of 9/11, fighting next to our soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The salient point here is that NATO’s mutual defense Resolution #5—basically, that an attack on one NATO member will be deemed an attack on all—was the basis for that mutual support that we benefited from post-9/11. In fact, that was the only time Resolution #5 has been invoked. This is the resolution that Trump should have recommitted to at that memorial, but chose not to.

So, Merkel’s reservations about Trump are probably well-founded, and many are wondering why Trump seems to be signaling a break away from our roughly 80-year commitment to Europe. Who stands to benefit from this new protectionist, isolationist stance? We’re left to wonder.

In the meantime, the Trump-Merkel encounter was not-so-close, and this is sending shock waves across Europe and rattling our own foreign policy visionaries. A rather grisly coincidence: we lost one giant among those visionaries over the weekend—Zbigniew Brzezinski (National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter, among many other things). Brzezinski was famously vehement about the possibility of America becoming “irrelevant” in the world if we lack leadership in Europe and Asia. Writing in 2012 in his very prescient Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, he says:

“America’s global standing in the decades ahead will depend on its successful implementation of purposeful efforts to overcome its drift toward a socioeconomic obsolescence and to shape a new and stable geopolitical equilibrium on the world’s most important continent by far, Eurasia.”[1]
Brzezinski talks at length about the volatility of Eurasia (we’re certainly seeing that play out) and he highlights the importance of consensus in America’s direction forward, because to regularly act without that consensus—in response to crises, for instance—will damage our democracy. Perhaps the crisis mentality we’re seeing with Trump explains his impatience with democratic processes?

Given Trump’s apparent preferences for supporting dictators over democratically-elected leaders (on display in the Middle East leg of his tour, if not from day one of his presidency), it’s easy to see here why Merkel is feeling somewhat grim about the U.S.-NATO relationship going forward. We may not feel it yet, but there’s a radical transformation happening in front of our noses. It’s not easy in these foggy, Neptunian times, but we need to pay attention. 

So, let’s explore what’s going on astrologically with Trump and Merkel: it does appear that they could accomplish some important things together, but there are clear obstacles, as well. If the meeting on May 25th was rough, there are good reasons why. The triwheel between their two nativities and the noon chart for their meeting (no exact time available) gives us quite a bit of insight.   

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (middle wheel) Angela Merkel (neĆ© Kasner) July 17, 1954, 6:00 p.m., Hamburg, Germany (rated “B” for biography); (outer wheel) Merkel-Trump Meeting, May 25, 2017, 12:00 pm. (noon, no time available); Brussels, Belgium. Tropical Equal Houses, True Nodes.  

Interchart Cardinal Grand Cross: Merkel Sun-Uranus-Trump Venus-Saturn(Cancer) oppose Meeting Pluto (Capricorn)-Merkel Chiron (Capricorn); this axis squares Merkel Neptune-MC (Libra)opposite Meeting Venus-Uranus (midpoint, Aries). Trump’s security concerns (Venus-Saturn in Cancer) are likely agitated by Merkel’s “no-nonsense,” but somehow charismatic personality (Sun-Uranus). She radiates a willingness to think “outside-the-box” for the sake of security—her Cancer stellium (Part-of-Fortune-Mercury-Jupiter-So. Node-Uranus-Sun) is disposed by a staunch Aquarius Moon, so she is keenly focused on pushing social and technological boundaries for the sake of prosperity and security.  

This is a combination that has kept her in power in German politics since 1990, and she is now regarded by many as the “de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and the leader of the free world.” It’s easy to see how Trump may feel threatened by that. He certainly did his best to destroy the last powerful woman he was up against!

Importantly, this doesn’t mean Trump and Merkel can’t see ”eye to eye” on a lot of things: their Cancer Mercuries are conjunct, with Merkel’s Jupiter also conjunct Trump’s Mercury. 

Returning to the Grand Cross, we can see the intense pressure for a geopolitical “rebalancing” at work these days—Merkel was born to the task of shepherding Germany through significant times with her natal Uranus-Neptune square, and those points have been powerfully stressed by the transiting Uranus-Pluto square (Aries-Capricorn) for some time now. In fact, Merkel has led the European Union through very difficult times with the near depression of 2008-10 and the migration crisis of the past few years. 

Clearly, her government’s compassionate liberal stance on admitting migrants and refugees (on display this past summer) is at serious odds with Trump’s views on such things (and it has given her some domestic problems, as well), but compassion characterizes her public image (Neptune conjoins her MC) and seems to come from a sincere place. 

Merkel has also spearheaded Germany’s aggressive drive for a clean energy economy, and has undoubtedly encouraged similar progress in other European countries as well. Her commitment to the Paris Accord is palpable, which fits her protective Cancer Sun. Trump’s Cancer impulses seem to be more concerned with financial security; if saving the Earth costs his business constituency anything, the trade-off may be too dear for him.

Besides, cooperative agreements like the Accord are not really in Trump’s wheelhouse: he much prefers a “top-down” model for wielding power (his full Moon-Node-Uranus 10-4 stellium). 

That being said, Trump could conceivably cooperate with Merkel on some things—his Venus-Saturn conjoins her Sun-Uranus, after all. He probably needs to feel in charge of whatever that would be, however, and it will remain to be seen whether anyone has patience for such games. With Merkel’s Capricorn Chiron opposed her Sun-Uranus, it’s my guess she’s been in similar situations before. 

As for the role that Meeting Venus/Uranus (midpoint) is playing here, Michael Munkasey characterizes that combination as “unpredictable vanity shown by leaders or executives.” Factoring in Merkel’s natal Neptune opposite this midpoint, he says, “deception within new and different forms of art, finance, or music; confusing impersonal responses when demonstrating affection.”[2] 

Trump’s ambiguity regarding NATO and its climate accord priorities seems to fit well here. Deception is a real possibility, too—Meeting Neptune falls in Trump’s 7th house, so dealings with allies could be anything but transparent and above board.

Interchart Kite Formation: Meeting No. Node-Merkel Pluto-Trump Mars-ASC (Leo) trines Meeting Saturn-GC-Merkel Mars (Sagittarius), trines Meeting Venus/Uranus (Aries); Meeting Mars-Trump Sun-No. Node (Gemini) sextiles these Leo and Aries points and opposes the Sagittarius points. This is a rare configuration (although not as rare between charts as within a single chart), which suggests a significant, mutually beneficial relationship. As we’ve seen clearly over the months with Trump, “winning” (Mars) is everything to him. He’s even grousing about the U.S. trade deficit with Germany, despite the fact that our trade relations are mutually beneficial. Is it that he simply doesn’t like “win-win” situations and is driven to be the sole “winner?” If so, that’s a lonely place to be, but his nose for profit may overrule his narcissism, after all. 

Merkel’s also determined to win, clearly, and her Mars-Pluto trine (Sagittarius-Leo) may get the better of Trump’s Mars-ASC (Leo). Even so, they are both subject to the pressures and opportunities presented by Aries Venus/Uranus, and it appears here that Trump would be “cutting his nose off to spite his face” if he distances America from Merkel and (by extension) Europe.

Europe is well ahead of the U.S. in terms of clean energy technologies, and it stands to benefit from the fact that the world is going to keep moving in that direction whether the U.S. is on board or not. If America pulls out of this scene, the void left in trade agreements will be quickly filled by China and others. 

Could it be that the U.S. and Russia will be left alone to champion the diminishing returns of a fossil fuel economy? Something to ponder—things are moving quickly and Trump’s decisions will determine if we’re relegated to providing arms for dictators, or if we’ll continue playing a larger, more positive role in the world.

Final thoughts

Parents know that their children are absolutely influenced by the company they keep: this same concern applies—highlighted in flashing neon lights—to nations and their leaders. Trump’s obvious affinity for strong-man dictators is no longer “quaint,” or “curious”—to my mind, it’s progressed, through sheer repetition and brazeness, into a major warning signal.

As his administration continues unraveling civil rights protections wherever they are found in government (another disturbing story this week), we shouldn’t look the other way and rely on vague hope that somehow he’ll be impeached or “see the light” and change his ways. 

No, Trump’s on a mission to “streamline” government more to his liking—to make it more “like a business”—and all those pesky civil rights regulations are simply in the way. This is cutting him some slack, by the way—others are claiming that he’s simply a racist and that he’s surrounded himself with a racist administration. 

Which brings me back to why we so desperately need a new generation of cool-headed and brilliant thinkers like Brzezinski (may he rest in peace). Born under a totalitarian regime in Poland, he knew the true value of democracy and appreciated how fragile it can be:

“Democracy is simultaneously one of America’s greatest strengths and one of the central sources of its current predicament. America’s founders designed its constitutional system so that most decisions could only be made incrementally. Therefore, truly comprehensive national decisions require a unique degree of consensus…propelled by the persuasive impact of determined national leadership. And since in America only the President has a voice that resonates nationally, the President must drive America’s renewal forward.”[3]
IMHO, we need to remember that the Cosmos doesn't particularly care what form of government we live under--it's truly up to us to steer the energies of our times in the direction we choose!

Maybe for starters we should question whether our much-needed “renewal” has been hijacked out from under us. If it has, as it certainly seems, who stands to benefit?

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] Zbigniew Brzezinski, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, Basic Books, New York, NY, 2012, p. 121.
[2] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, p. 205.
[3] Brzezinski, pp. 121-2.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Sibly Moon under Siege: “there’s gold in them thar hills!”

“I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was naked and you did not clothe me” (Matthew 25, 42).

“There’s gold in them thar hills!” (M.F. Stephenson)

MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren responded to the attack in which 22 individuals at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England were killed—many of them children—by saying, “How could anyone have such evil in his heart…it’s unthinkable…” 

As horrified as I was by the Manchester event (and not just because I have granddaughters who could have well been there), I couldn’t help filling in the blanks at the end of her thought, wondering out loud why Manchester should be any different…from what I can see, there’s a lot of evil in a lot of hearts these days. It’s not all expressed with heinous suicide attacks—some of the coldest, most calculating evil is happening in our GOP-led government right now. 

Even the scant information we’re getting in the media is supremely upsetting, and we can only imagine what’s going on behind closed doors. I can just see the calculations being made: "let's see...if we axe healthcare for this many, we lose this many votes...hedge our bets with voter suppression laws over here and gerrymandering over there, and we're good...23 million it is!" And, if Trump’s ruthless budget is any indication, there’s political will for even more damage to our safety net.

The Trump/GOP budget threatens to gut Medicaid, SNAP (food assistance for the poor), the Social Security Disability fund, Planned Parenthood, Meals on Wheels, Education budgets, School lunch and after school programs, Science research, EPA funding, and on and on; this doesn’t even scratch the surface of those who will be hurt. Elders who need residential nursing care won’t be able to afford it (Medicaid); people with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to afford health care; children with special needs will lose programs in their schools (a little-known Medicaid fact); the list goes on. 

All, while redistributing the $1.7 trillion dollars squeezed out of people in the next ten years to the wealthiest Americans, in the form of tax breaks. Cha-ching!

As far as I can tell, this is the reasoning that Trump and the GOP are using to justify this ruthlessness: the poor (and their children, who under this regime will likely continue the cycle of poverty) aren’t being productive, after all, and they’re stealing from the next generation if we have to pay for these programs with deficit spending. 

Meaning, life itself is just another commodity, only worth as much as it can “produce” in the marketplace. Quite a fascist abstraction being juggled there: D.C. salaries are stealing from the next generation, too!

I’m with Greta…and with Senator Bernie Sanders, who describes the Trump/GOP budget as “grotesquely immoral.” Yet, Mick Mulvaney (Director, Office of Management and Budget), is sporting a big smile these days, spinning the narrative that what matters with this budget is that taxpayers should no longer be expected to pay for the benefits about to be axed—the people who need the benefits to live are hereafter on their own.

We must, above all, shield the wealthy from this “burden.” 

As one journalist characterizes Mulvaney’s convoluted argument, “We must lower the debt for unborn children by taking food from existing children.” Those who preach about the sacred “Right to Life” should be gagging on this one. Besides, maybe if the billionaires paid their fair share in this world (or alternatively, weren’t allowed to suck up 99% of the wealth), we could help all our children thrive in the future!

So, let me get this straight: the way to make taxpayers feel good about themselves is to take life-sustaining assistance and public services away from their neighbors and their neighbors’ children? I don’t recall anyone campaigning on this platform: “elect me, and I will make sure your neighbors suffer deprivation and hardship so billionaires can feed their greed.” 

IMHO, the so-called “American Dream” has clouded our political thinking over the years: somehow we got the idea that it’s possible to make something out of nothing, that a person can be raised in the worst possible deprivation and desperation, and somehow pull himself up by the bootstraps because “anyone who wants a job can find one.” I’ve always felt this was a convenient excuse for those who don’t want to understand or feel what the other person is going through. Is being poor a crime?

So, what’s going on in the American soul—our besieged Sibly Moon—that we’re about to wage an all-out war on the least among us? A strong work ethic is important in this world, of course, but the vast majority of the poor are hard-working—they simply aren’t finding jobs that pay living wages, and that’s by corporate (and government) design.

For the record, I don’t believe that what’s going on in Washington reflects the hearts of all, or even a majority of Americans, but that doesn’t stop the empowered minority in charge from being particularly vicious in the name of protecting "taxpayers."

So, where in our national chart do we look for the quality of “conscience?” Where do we look for the nation’s attitude toward things like poverty and the social “safety net?” What transits or progressions can we look to for at least some insight into all this? 

I believe that our history reveals our national soul, and that it’s a “whole-chart” phenomenon, so here I’d like to look at one of those seminal moments in history that revealed that American soul (and our American mythology), for better or worse. We will then consider the U.S. Sibly chart in reference to that historical backdrop. 

This event—the discovery of gold flakes in the soil during a construction project—occurred on January 24, 1848 at Sutter’s Mill, on the banks of the American River, at Coloma, California. It’s known in the history books as the beginning of the California Gold Rush, even though the height of the phenomenon is often associated with 1849 (gold rushers were often called “Forty-Niners.”). According to Steven M. Gillon:

“Men quit their jobs, sold their businesses, and moved to California. They caught ‘gold fever,’ a term which seemed appropriate since many observers thought of it as a contagious disease. The Sioux holy man Black Elk called gold ‘the yellow metal that makes Wasichus [whites] crazy’…The gold rush inspired perhaps the largest mass movement of people in world history…”[1]
People flocked to America from all over the globe to mine the gold in “them thar hills.” It was a major wave of immigration—as Gillon put it:

“The principal street in Coloma was alive with crowds of moving men…blacks, Jamaicans, Hawaiians, Peruvians, Chileans, Mexicans, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Irishmen, Yankees, Chinese, and Native Americans…The gold rush helped colonize the country’s open land, fulfilling the dreams of those who believed that America’s manifest destiny was to create a nation that extended from coast to coast.”[2]

Clearly Americans—from all backgrounds—have been fortune seekers from the get-go, which is perhaps not surprising: this was a land of incredibly rich natural resources, and undoubtedly the reason we came to be known as the “Land of Opportunity.” Trouble is, we’ve depleted or even tapped a great deal of those resources out, especially the non-renewable ones like minerals and fossil fuels. Our myth is floundering—perhaps the reason Trump’s “Make America Great Again” resonated so deeply. 

It’s easy to see that today’s struggles over the resources lying beneath protected Federal lands hark back to this 1840s period when the land was flush with riches, there for the price of a miner’s pickaxe and a sifting pan. To believe the advertising, the poor could become fabulously wealthy overnight, if only they hitched their wagon to that fabulous glittering star.

And so was born our “Go West, Young Man” mythology, and IMHO, there’s a direct line from that myth and our current politicians’ magical thinking about poverty, natural resources and jobs programs: “if the poor wanted to prosper, they could. So, by extension, if they don’t prosper, it must be their own fault, and who can save them from that? 

Never mind that there could be serious systemic reasons why upward mobility has become so difficult in recent times. A story for another day.

To really scrutinize the gold rush analogy, however, is to realize that thousands who streamed westward in search of riches did not make it. The way was treacherous, even for the mostly adult males making the journey. Some few did “strike it rich,” but many more didn’t find anything, even if they managed to get to California. For these dreamers, it was a fantasy with no happy ending. Like drug dealing; like running any number of scams.

Like Trump selling voters a bill of goods—that the “safety net” would not be touched. As we know now, this promise was a major lie. 

Even so, I think we need to look inward on this one, because so many of us fell for Trump’s promises. Maybe we have to even wonder if taking care of people is really the American way. Or, are we cut out of rougher cloth, and it’s “every man for himself,” with little sympathy for those who can’t seem to create their own opportunities?

We had a ruthless history around these issues until FDR’s “New Deal” programs rolled out during the Depression, and today’s budget battles are all about the GOP’s efforts to dismantle that “New Deal.” Kind of ironic, with the man who wrote the Art of the Deal in the White House.  

So, let’s examine the astrological echoes from that magical time when the hills were filled with gold just waiting to be picked up by one and all, against the Sibly radix and progressed charts (progressed for May 23rd, the day Trump released his budget).

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) California Gold Rush, January 24, 1848, 12:00 p.m. LMT, Coloma, CA; (outer wheel) US Sibly Chart (see inner wheel), Day-for-Year progressions for May 23, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. GMT. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Rush Neptune (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius) and trines Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). This one set of aspects speaks to the genesis of the American Dream (Neptune)—the American public (Sibly Moon) was lit up like a fireworks show about the gold “in them thar hills,” which is understandable. This fortune-seeking mania was a revolution (Aquarius) of sorts, and by the time the rush subsided, the country was hardly recognizable. 

The trines to Sibly Venus and Jupiter are “out-of-sign” (not in the same element), which may account for how spotty the results were for the “Forty-Niners,” even though the effects on the overall American economy were probably positive. 

Interestingly, Sibly progressed Mercury is applying to Sibly Moon-Rush Neptune, suggesting that our mindset is becoming more in tune with radical change and revolution. This will affect our media communications. 

Rush Jupiter Rx (Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun and Progressed Sibly Jupiter Rx (both Cancer). Clearly, the mood in the nation was ebullient during the Rush; it was a period of rapid expansion and acquisition—the Mexican-American War was in progress, California was joining the Union and everything was coming up gold nuggets. 

It’s very interesting that the mood in 1848 echoes in today’s Sibly progressions, but the buoyancy of the Stock Market (despite serious instability in D.C.) attests to it. There is a sense in the business news these days that something “big” is on the horizon—a whole new wave of technology is about to launch all at once, producing an AI-empowered robotics revolution, for starters.

As a consequence, there’s also pressure for the public think-tanks to figure out what workers are going to do when even more jobs are eaten up by automation, while Trump ramps up for war (is that what the thousands of good “jobs” on the horizon are about?). If the budget and health care news is any indication, the D.C. gurus have decided that a major “die-off” (like a deer “cull”) is a good plan.

This line of thinking is not surprising, unfortunately: the Sibly Sun forms a stressful sesquiquadrate (±135 deg.) aspect to Sibly Moon, so if we’re feeling that the powers-that-be (Executive) have a love-hate relationship with We the People, it’s well-founded. 

Like many dysfunctional families, any “love” we receive from the Executive (or the Nation itself, by extension), needs to be “earned.” Not that we shouldn't do our best to earn our way, but things have definitely gotten out of balance, in this era of radical wealth inequality.

Our Sibly Sun is a narcissistic “parent,” it seems, and the person embodying that energy in the White House at the moment is especially so.

Rush No. Node (Libra) conjoins Sibly MC (Libra) and squares Sibly Venus-Jupiter and trines Rush Sun (Aquarius). The Gold Rush just felt “right” for the young United States, like it was a defining and destined passage; Gold Rush Sun also conjoined Sibly So. Node, so while the rush to riches might have felt right, there was a raucous, uncouth quality about it—not quite worthy of our Leo North Node and our “Old World” alliances (Rush Sun inconjoins Sibly Venus-Jupiter).

That period probably sanctified our survival of the fittest “Wild West” ethos—embodied in every cowpoke who ever swaggered out of Dodge. 

There’s no doubt that only the tough survived during that period—and it’s equally true that it was often the corrupt who prospered the most—but we celebrate those times for a reason: our national soul revels in that brand of toughness, and if corruption is part of the package, we tend to accept that as just part of the package deal. 

This same ethos explains our media celebration of the archetypal “Gangster” (the “Big Man”-Jupiter) who stops at nothing to achieve his aims and protect/avenge his “Family”—a particularly appealing idea to our national Cancer Sun and Sagittarius ASC—ruled by Jupiter in Cancer. IMHO, this Wild West heritage is coming back to haunt us today. 

The U.S. Mint began the mintage of gold coins in 1849 (not surprising) and the California state Constitution was ratified (a precursor to the early schism between slave-owning and abolition states that led to the Civil War). Trade relations were perhaps also impacted (7th house Venus-Jupiter); most of Europe had already abolished slavery by that time, and the more urban/industrial North was determined to follow suit. 

Interchart T-Square: Sibly Mercury (Cancer) opposes Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Rush Pluto (Aries). Aries Pluto in this tense cardinal configuration probably felt something like the hot poker prods that were used in circuses to train elephants (long before PETA)—nothing like some intense heat to get things moving! If the economy was sluggish before the Gold Rush, it probably lit up during the “Rush,” which lasted until roughly 1855. 

The amount of gold that was discovered stimulated the economy, for sure, but it may not have been the most important stimulus during that period. The boom in travel (a special steamship line was launched just to accommodate people who didn’t want to travel over land), the boom in equipment manufacture and sales, in lodgings, in horses and wagons, and in the goods successful “Forty-Niners” purchased with their wealth, all added up. 

Importantly, the migration helped settle the nation and establish local economies and populate fabulous cities like San Francisco all along the way. It was, in the nature of Pluto, a transformative passage.

Was there a dark side to it all? Absolutely—Rush Pluto conjunct Sibly Chiron reflects the pain inflicted on our Native populations during this westward expansion, and Saturn, square Sibly Uranus and trine Sibly Sun reflects the role that military power played in supporting the westward migration, for the sake of solidifying Federal power over the continent. 

Trump’s rush to exploit the nation’s remaining reserves of oil, natural gas and minerals (in the name of “jobs”) strongly echoes the exploitation of that 1840s period—and as we saw with the North Dakota pipeline controversy, the same native peoples are in the crosshairs. An extraction economy is a poor substitute for an economy that produces goods, however; by definition, the extraction industries are unsustainable. Good for a nice Jupiterian “rush” of expansion, but once it’s over, it’s over. A story for another day.

Rush Mercury (Aquarius) reflected the rapid construction of railroads (high-tech for those times) that was ongoing during that period. 

Interchart T-Square: Sibly Saturn (Libra) opposes Rush Uranus (Aries); this axis squares Sibly Sun-Progressed Jupiter Rx (Cancer). This second cardinal configuration speaks to the sudden aggressive, radical expansion involved in the Gold Rush, and the catalyst for change it represented in the young U.S. government of the time. As mentioned above, this was a critical period of pre-Civil War development, and there were deeply divisive issues being debated in Congress (Saturn). 

These debates culminated in the so-called “Compromise of 1850”—an attempt on the part of some great statesmen of that era to keep the nation from splitting in two over slavery, and whether the new territories gained in the Mexican-American war (which ended in 1848) would be slave states or free states. 

Notice that Rush Uranus is fast approaching Rush Pluto here—their new cycle began at the end of Aries in 1850, and in pretty short order unleashed the national upheaval we know as the Civil War. Perhaps it makes sense that Sibly Progressed Chiron is now within orb of Rush Uranus—we’re still experiencing the wounds opened during that tumultuous pre-Civil War period today.

Making sense of it all

This is a good place to pause and reflect on how resilient the American experiment has been overall, but the Gold Rush also revealed how central the “rush to riches” has always been to our national soul. Slave-holding was first and foremost an economic issue at the time, and the same divisions that opened up with a vengeance in this past election—between the “coastal elites” and “down home people just trying to make a buck”—are the same divisions that stoked the Civil War. It’s not hard to see why there’s been an upsurge in race-based hate crimes during these times. Too many unhealed wounds, too much residual hatred. The moment economic hardship hits, the scapegoating resumes.  

It is hard to say where ethical concerns figure into all this because from what we’re seeing in the Trump/GOP budget, the Golden Rule and “Make America Great Again” are like oil and water in GOP minds--they just don't mix. As mentioned earlier, there’s a 21st century “Gold Rush” underway in high-tech industries—hotly anticipated by the stock market, judging by its behavior—and anything that stands in the way of fully capitalizing on that is likely to fail.

Besides, the billionaire class is not going to say no to a windfall trillion dollar tax break, courtesy of the nation’s besieged healthcare (Moon) system. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan characterizes all public policies in terms of budget goals met, or not met—a cynically clinical way of saying that people don’t really matter in the end. We’ll consider his chart in a future post: rumors are swirling that he may not return to Congress in the next session. Ryan is famously quoted for his characterization of the “safety net:”

“But we don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.”
That so-called “hammock” is a gross distortion of what’s actually happening. In slashing budgets to health care, food assistance and education at the same time, the federal government is not only taking food out of children’s mouths, but is taking away their access to a better path forward. 

Meanwhile, the lies and obfuscations gather steam regarding the “compassionate” vision for America expressed by Trump’s budget.  It’s about as compassionate as the 1830-1850 Indian Removal campaign and the Trail of Tears (or the current mass round-ups of immigrants by ICE), if you ask me—in fact, Sutter’s Mill was being built on land that belonged to a local Indian tribe[3] when the first flakes of gold were discovered. For the record, the tribe didn’t benefit from the rush to riches that followed.  

There’s still gold in them thar hills! But, for whom?

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] Steven M. Gillon, 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, The History Channel, Broadway Books, NY, NY, 2006, pp. 63-64.
[2] Gillon, p. 67.
[3] Gillon, p. 59.