Tuesday, August 29, 2017

At the crossroads: Hurricane Harvey & Trump’s Friday night specials

Unfortunately, it was no surprise that Trump would hide behind Mother Nature’s skirts to commit his latest controversial acts. As the Texas Gulf coast was bracing for Hurricane Harvey’s onslaught this past Friday evening, Trump’s White House was busily scurrying about: 

rolling out his directives for the Defense Department to begin banning transgender individuals from military service, and pardoning his criminal “co-birther” buddy and disgraced Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio—a white supremacist who has bragged about maintaining a “concentration camp” for people his department deemed “illegals,” whether they were or not. 

Trump’s action was taken before Justice was allowed to take its due course, sending the message (perhaps to those awaiting summons from Mueller’s investigation) that buddies of his will be protected from the law. Arpaio is quoted as saying that if Trump asks him to run for Senate in Arizona (to unseat Jeff Flake, presumably), he "would consider it." Quid pro quo?

As for the timing of Trump's announcement, he’s now denying that he issued the pardon during the hurricane for the sake of “cover,” claiming instead that he was looking for the “ratings” that timing would bring. Does he really think that makes his action sound more acceptable? And by the way, Kim Jong-Un “respects” the U.S. How’s that working out for us?

Trump ticked off multiple controversial, political goals with every move.  Needless to say, there’s been talk in the media that by demonstrating his intention to undermine our justice system to protect a loyal supporter/criminal, Trump is flirting with a full-blown Constitutional crisis.

It’s easy to feel these days that everything that we used to take for granted (i.e., that the Bill of Rights and duly prosecuted crimes against those rights still mean something in our justice system) has fallen into a hurricane vortex, so the timing of all this with Harvey is far from coincidental. Naturally, as a mundane astrologer, I want to understand how all these Friday events and actions are connected. Even Donald Trump can’t order up a natural disaster like he would a take-out meal!

He certainly can, however, plan to blindside the media’s usual scrutiny with a Friday night news blitz in the middle of that disaster! Even so, the synchronicity may run deeper than Trump’s opportunism: powerful transits and long-term influences like eclipses manifest on many different levels: meteorological (i.e., a hurricane), sociological (the devastation being suffered by Texans and our Constitution), political (a storm of D.C. controversy) and personal/psychological (megalomania).  

So, my goal here is to tease out the threads of that synchronicity, and to figure out what the dynamics at work in the various parts of this Friday blitz have in common. Bear with me…I’ll try to keep what follows as clearly focused on why this, why now as possible. First and foremost, our deepest sympathies go out to Harvey's victims.

Let’s consider the “birth” data for Harvey:

“Around 03:00 UTC on August 26, the hurricane made landfall at peak intensity at Rockport with winds of 130 mph (215 km/h) and an atmospheric pressure of 938 mbar (27.7 inHg).[23] Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005 and the strongest in terms of wind speed to hit the country since Charley in 2004. It was the first hurricane to strike Texas since Ike in 2008,[24] the first major hurricane in the state since Bret in 1999, and the strongest in Texas since Carla in 1961.[25]

I won’t even attempt to recreate the litany of horrors that Hurricane Harvey has chalked up thus far; suffice to say here that it has proven to be a storm of epic, beyond-catastrophic proportions and perhaps the worst natural disaster that Texas has ever experienced. Thankfully, the death toll at this point is relatively low for disasters like this, and that’s a tribute to some very well-organized ground efforts by state officials, volunteers, and even neighbors who have taken to the flooded streets to transport anyone they can find to a shelter. Even so, we mourn every loss, and our hearts go out to  Texas.

As we’ll see, however, there are considerable problems ahead and tensions are beginning to rise along with the waters. 

Since Friday, Harvey has devastated coastal cities and towns like Rockport, where it first made landfall, and it has dumped a mind-boggling 11 trillion gallons of water on Texas—hitting the Houston area particularly hard—with several days of rainfall predicted ahead. Of course, here’s where we need to consider not only “why this, why now,” but also “why in Texas?” A biwheel for the storm’s first landfall in Rockport, Texas, set against the Texas Statehood chart provides some interesting insights. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Texas Statehood, December 29, 1845, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon chart, no exact time available), Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Hurricane Harvey landfall, August 25, 2017, 10:00 p.m. DST, Rockport, Texas. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: Harvey MC/Pluto (Capricorn) opposes Ceres (Cancer); this axis squares Texas Asc (Aries)-Uranus/Neptune (midpoint)-Pluto (Aries). The almost apocalyptic scope and intensity of this storm is certainly reflected here, and its specific impact on Texas farm and grazing lands and the livestock on those lands are reflected by Ceres’ position. The Pluto activity here suggests that Texas has reached a transformative moment in its history, and there are lives at stake in that process.

Interchart Grand Fire Trine: Harvey Mars-No. Node (Leo) trine Texas Pluto (Aries) and Harvey Saturn (Sagittarius); Harvey Mars-No. Node (Leo) oppose Texas Saturn-Neptune-Venus (Aquarius). This fiery configuration explains how the recent eclipse figures into the story, among other things. As Mars transits over the degree of the eclipse Dragon Head (No. Node) and then over the 28°+Leo eclipse point itself, it will re-stimulate the eclipse for at least the next 1-3 years, so those belligerent Leo energies, so in tune with Trump’s natal Mars-Asc, could be emboldened during that period. 

After a long retrograde, Saturn turned direct only hours before Harvey made landfall, in that torturous waiting period in which the storm hovered off shore for days. Quite possibly, Saturn helped the storm amass its epic force and concentrated moisture, then unleashing that force as its retrograde gradually lifted. 

Since the eclipse happened opposite the Texas Aquarius stellium, it’s not surprising that the state is experiencing a powerful upheaval involving water (Neptune) and state resources. Damage to the Texas oil industry and levy systems is also covered by the Mars-Neptune opposition (Saturn structures are undermined here, as well)—we may see a hike in oil and gasoline prices. 

The fact that water is the key destructive force at work is reinforced by Harvey Neptune (Pisces) semi-sextile Texas Asc and trine Texas No. Node (Scorpio). This Neptune is conjunct the Texas 12th house cusp, suggesting the looming deluge.  

The magnitude of this deluge is reflected by Harvey’s Jupiter-Moon (over the Texas 7th house of “enemies) trine Texas Saturn-Neptune-Venus (Aquarius)—this is the type of event in which the tendency of trines (especially involved Jupiter and the tides-related Moon) to unleash the energies at work can be destructive. Again, structures, waterways, reservoirs and resources are impacted by the uncontrolled expansion of the waters: Houston authorities have had to make some difficult decisions about channeling accumulated waters into some already inundated areas, in order to save other areas and resources for the “greater good.” 

This same Jupiter-Moon opposes Harvey Uranus (a shock to the Texas 1st house of state identity and vitality), and the Moon quincunxes Harvey Chiron. Texans—the “People” represented by the Harvey Moon—are experiencing a world of hurt, and it’s far from over.

The influence of Mars opposing Texas Neptune is also seen in some panic and hostilities that have broken out between rescue units and desperate residents seeking shelter. This story broke on 8/28 news, from CNN:

“Harvey continues dumping rain on East Texas and the waters continue to rise. People are starting to panic, rushing rescue boats and even shooting at them if they don't stop, said one volunteer rescuer.
Clyde Cain, of the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based rescue force that gained fame during Hurricane Katrina, said in one instance, a boat broke down, and while the crew sought shelter in a delivery truck, people tried to steal the inoperable boat.
Because of the hostile responses, the Cajun Navy has been forced to halt some rescue attempts, Cain said.
‘We have boats being shot at if we're not picking everybody up. We're having to pull out for a minute. We're dropping an air boat right now to go rescue a couple of our boats that broke, and they're kind of under attack,’ he said.”

CNN is also reporting an updated estimate that up to 500,000 people are expected to need disaster relief by the time Harvey’s flood waters recede. Harvey’s Jupiter-Moon square to Texas Moon and Harvey Pluto in Capricorn would account for the steadily growing numbers of dire situations. 

The statehood chart is not precisely timed, so the Moon may not be quite as tightly conjoined this Pluto as it looks here (let’s hope), but the potential for higher casualty numbers is certainly there if there’s a conjunction. Getting the billions needed (Pluto) for rescue and recovery ASAP is important

The latest breaking news I’ve seen at this juncture is: “The levee at Columbia Lakes in Brazoria County have been breached. Brazoria County is just south of Houston.” The Twitter message was unequivocal: “GET OUT NOW!”

The ban, the pardon and the Big Picture 

Moving on, the question shifts to Trump’s transgender ban for the military and his pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which interestingly, were made official almost simultaneously with right-wing extremist Sebastian Gorka’s exit from the White House last Friday (don’t let the door hit you on the way out!). So, aside from Trump’s entanglements with right-wing extremist agendas, Why carry all this out as Harvey was banging on Texas’s door?

Media analysts see the following connections: One, that the ban and the pardon were “red meat” for Trump’s extreme right-wing base (he loves the sound of cheers at his rallies)—clearly, his base has little tolerance for LGBTQ needs or rights; two, that the pardon was meant to signal that he and his cronies are above the law, if Mueller’s “push” ever comes to legal “shove”); and three, that items one and two were designed to deflect his base’s attention from his decision to let Gorka go. 

Gorka’s an unapologetically extreme Bannon ally, so Gorka’s exit isn’t entirely surprising—he may be needed at Breitbart to continue promoting the agenda that Trump can’t promote quite as openly from the White House

Predictably, Gorka denies that he was fired, but claims that he left voluntarily to “better support the president from the outside,” but MSNBC reported last night that a White House security memorandum is warning staffers to “not admit” him. So, by playing both sides against the middle, is Trump messing with his base like he does everyone else? 

Or, is that order simply one smokescreen floated over another? Does Trump want to distance himself from Gorka, whose neo-Nazi background may pose some kind of media/legal jeopardy, while still enjoying his assistance “from outside?” We have no reason to believe that Trump has disavowed what either Bannon or Gorka represents.

Nothing is ever straightforward with this deceptive administration. 

Usually, Friday night is a convenient time for a news “dump” when the person issuing the news wants to minimize media attention. But considering the troubling Constitutional implications of the ban, the pardon and the fact that Gorka even had a place in the White House, does the synchronicity in all these Friday night events indicate a building crisis in D.C.? 

We also have no reason to believe that Trump wants anything but chaos—the question is, how is that chaos likely to impact all of us as this “hurricane” in DC unfolds?

Bottom line, Harvey may indicate a threshold moment that reverberates throughout our Body Politic: Let’s look at the chart for Harvey’s landfall against the U.S. Sibly chart. 

Biwheel #2: (inner chart) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer chart) Hurricane Harvey landfall, August 25, 2017, 10:00 p.m. DST, Rockport, TX. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Harvey Sun-Mercury (Virgo) sextile Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer) and widely oppose Sibly Moon (Aquarius). These sextiles look fairly benign, however they present opportunities for “deal-making” (7th h Venus-Jupiter) that can be used for a range of purposes by those who hold the purse strings. Sibly Venus rules the 6th and 11th houses—military and top-level influence networks, and Sibly Jupiter rules the 1st and co-rules the 4th—our “face” to the world, and the deeper, grass-roots reality the American people are experiencing. 

This 4th house is fairly beleaguered at this time, and certainly a main focus during this evolutionary crossroads we seem to be facing as a nation: besides Neptune and Chiron transiting there, our Sibly progressed Sun has just edged into that house as well. I’ve spoken at length about the progressed cycle our Sibly Sun and Moon are engaged in right now (link here)—launching conjunct the Sibly IC-Asc, it’s a visible “crossroads” that certainly helps make sense of what we’re experiencing now. 

Harvey Mars-No. Node (Leo) sextile Sibly Mars (Gemini) and oppose Sibly Moon (Aquarius). As discussed earlier, this Mars-Node position evokes the Great American Eclipse we just experienced, and its position opposite the Sibly Moon has always been a concern. Here we see how that belligerent Leo energy could trigger the U.S. war machine (Sibly Mars), and North Korea seems determined to provoke exactly that. 

The other serious concern here is the possibility of a nation-wide emergency being called, especially one that Trump can use to justify imposing martial law. He’s just rolled back Obama’s regulations about local police departments being “militarized” with surplus military equipment, and that action would support any emergency powers he plans to claim. 

We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here—the National Guard is certainly being helpful in Texas, but would we want tanks rolling down the streets of all our cities to support Trump’s ideas about “law and order?” His choice to champion Joe Arpaio, whose brutal (some say "sadistic") concentration camps for brown-skinned detainees were maintained at taxpayer expense in the name of “enforcing the law,” should give us real pause. 

Unfortunately, Harvey Saturn (now direct in Sagittarius) trines Harvey Mars-Node as it opposes Sibly Mars (Gemini), making our Sibly Moon a sitting duck for repressive law enforcement and—given geopolitical stressors—the possibility of war. 

This Saturn has been hovering near Trump’s natal Moon for months with its retrograde passage, perhaps steeling his resolve to carry out his “law and order” agenda and to fully assume his “Commander-in-Chief” role (his Sun-Moon opposition straddles the Sibly 1st-7th axis, taking in Sibly Mars). Proving how tough he can be is important to him, and with Sibly Mars at his disposal, he has the tools.  

 Being tough has nothing to do with being wise, but Saturn’s better angels can bring wisdom to bear. Is Trump capable of wisdom? 

We can only hope that the generals Trump has surrounded himself with will be capable where he is not: the eclipse that happened smack dab on Trump’s natal Mars-Asc is likely to encourage his belligerent impulses. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square #1: Harvey Venus-Sibly Mercury-POF (Cancer) oppose Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Harvey Jupiter-Moon (Libra) opposite Harvey Uranus (Aries). This super-charged configuration speaks to the financial dimension of not only Hurricane relief, but of other likely dynamics unfolding, such as defense budgets, the national debt ceiling and spending bills, etc. 

The lobbyists and big influencers (Sibly Mercury and Harvey Jupiter-Moon over Sibly 11th) are pushing their agendas, and the “Market” (Sibly Pluto) is poised for big corporate profits (Harvey Venus opposite Sibly Pluto). Please note that this should not be taken as a Market prediction—I am happy to defer to financial astrologers for those. There’s a backdrop of instability with some key mutable factors, as well, so anything goes. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square #2: Harvey Ceres-Sibly Sun (Cancer) oppose Harvey Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Harvey Jupiter-Sibly Saturn (Libra) opposite Harvey Asc-Sibly Chiron (Aries). Especially given the Sibly 2nd-8th house axes in play here, our ability to plant a field and nurture it through to harvest is at stake here. This can be taken literally (Ceres rules food, agriculture, female/domestic issues), or figuratively, as in public policies that either accomplish their aims or don’t, budgets that fulfill the nation’s needs or don’t (Sibly Chiron). 

These squared-off oppositions thus raise questions about how budgets affect whether Congress (Sibly Saturn) and the Federal government (Sibly Sun) function well, or whether they are corrupted by toxic ideological concerns (Harvey Jupiter squares Harvey Pluto). This fits the CNN story today that questions whether emergency funding for Harvey relief will get hung-up in Congress out of petty retribution. 

In 2012, the Tea Party –including Texas Senator Ted Cruz—refused to fund Hurricane Sandy relief, and other members of Congress haven’t forgotten. Unity or division?  

Final thoughts

As much as I think we need to analyze the dynamics that we are caught up in these days—and take nothing for granted!—I do think taking action is the magic elixir going forward. Here’s where Harvey is telling us something about our broader collective lives as Americans. 

As with  Harvey, everyone has something to contribute, whether it’s a hand up, a skill or a talent, a flat-bottomed boat, a few bucks, or an encouraging word. Trump can’t seem to decide if he wants to unite or divide us (it’s just not in him to do anything coherently), but we know what works best for all of us. 

It’s not the zero-sum perspective that says “if someone else gets something, we must’ve lost out.” It’s the non-zero-sum gains we all make when everyone keeps one eye on personal needs and another on the greater good. Maybe these opposing perspectives capture—in a nutshell—the crossroads we find ourselves at these days? 

Which way do we go? Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Texas!!

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. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Locking horns in D.C.: the astrology of the Trump/McConnell stand off

Even if there’s no other pay-off in it for him, Trump seems to encourage chaos and unrest in his immediate environment for the sheer thrill of the battle—
just don’t try to hold him accountable for the results. 

He is also eager to prove that he can defy the rule of law at will, and to do so for the most crass political purposes: witness his pardon of Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, found guilty of convicted of “criminal contempt related to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.” Long story, for another day.

It’s evident that Trump’s natal Mars-Asc (inner wheel, Biwheel 1 below) endows him with a type of “warrior” personality that demands expression—the challenge seems to be finding a constructive battle to fight. In many instances, his instincts for battle are aimed at building himself up at the expense of someone else. Former president Obama seems to be his favorite target for this, of course, but there’s no shortage of others—including, as we’ve seen this past week, GOP members of Congress who dare to do their jobs independently of his agenda.  

Even though the media has parsed his behavior ad nauseam and “spoken truth to power” the best they can (IMHO, we should we treating them as rock star heroes), the Trump v. Everyone Else battles continue. In fact, the media is caught in a dismal Catch-22 situation: Trump learned early in his campaign that he benefits from destructive chaos-mongering precisely because it brings him more news coverage. With his Leo Mars-Asc disposed by a publicity-seeking Gemini Sun, he has no reason to change his behavior. 

 And it really doesn’t matter whether the coverage is positive or negative—Trump’s mentally manipulative Mercury-Neptune square (Mercury ruling his Gemini points) is working overtime here. If the coverage is positive, he uses it to crow; if it’s negative, he uses it to beat his chest and claim he’s being victimized by “fake news,” which nets him sympathy from his base and further coverage…and on and on and on. Journalists must feel that they’ve fallen into Alice’s bizarre “Looking Glass.” 

We’ve also learned a lot about how transactional a Gemini type can be by following Donald Trump: his Gemini Sun-Uranus-Node work both sides of every “deal,” every conquest, and because of the way his Leo points feed into this, everything is a potential conquest. This dynamic is powerfully enhanced by his “Full Moon” Sun-Moon opposition (Gemini-Sagittarius), but as we’ve seen in previous posts, this wildly mutable axis running through the 4-10 heart of his chart like a live wire is now being moderated (maybe even restrained) by Saturn’s Sagittarius transit. 

It’s probably safe to say that Trump is not enjoying Saturn’s scrutiny (the fact-checking press, his new “handler,” John Kelly, etc.), or the efforts it inspires to hold him to a decent standard of behavior (sort of). Perhaps all these attempts to rein him in remind Trump of being sent to a military academy as a 13-year old, roughly 2 Saturn returns ago. 

As noted, he seems particularly riled with those who exercise power that contradicts his agenda, another expression of Saturn. Cue a host of Republicans in Congress, and especially Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, whose “feud” with Trump has been big news all week. The fuming began, reportedly, after a volatile, profanity-laced phone call on August 9th in which Trump berated McConnell not just for his failure to pass health care reform, but for not protecting him (Trump) from the Senate committee-led investigations into his Russia connections. 

For his part, McConnell’s ire was probably further stoked by Trump’s performance on August 15th, putting his wife’s reputation in jeopardy. McConnell is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whom Trump used as a “prop” for his shameful post-Charlottesville press conference in Trump Tower. She thought she was there to support his so-called infrastructure plans for the country, when his agenda was far different. This was the same press conference in which John Kelly simply hung his head, shaking it periodically and looking like a political prisoner.

Trump’s attacks on other Republicans who have irritated him (Jeff Flake, Dean Heller, John McCain, Bob Corker, etc.) give McConnell another major bone to pick with Trump because he strongly supports the re-election campaigns of these members. So, this past week, McConnell finally threw caution to the wind and the lines of the Trump-McConnell battle appear to be drawn.

Given all this, what can astrology tell us about what’s next for these two power players? What are their respective strengths and weaknesses? Where is each one likely to dig in his heels against the other guy, and why? Are we likely to see the feud grow into a crisis of sorts at some point? Can we make an educated guess at outcomes? 

Before we begin this exploration, I’ll offer a quick disclaimer: those of you who follow this blog might recall that I covered McConnell’s chart in a recent article about (among other things) his handling of the healthcare reform debacle earlier this summer. You’ll know from that article that I had little sympathy with McConnell’s inability to marshal his minions to pass the Republican bill, and I enthusiastically applauded Sen. John McCain for casting the critical “No” vote. 

Just for the record, I still think McConnell has been too intransigent, working far too much on a strictly partisan basis and pandering to the Trump agenda far too intently. I wondered out loud whether his wife’s position on Trump’s Cabinet had influenced his actions in the health care arena, as well. Of course, we may never know if that’s the case because he probably won’t admit to being swayed one way or another. Being obtuse is a finely-honed skill with McConnell. 

Even so, let’s be fair here: McConnell may, ironically, be a critical bulwark against Trump’s pathologies, so it’s important to understand what makes him tick. He’s an unlikely “hero,” but IMHO, anyone who stands up to the looming intimidator in the WH deserves our gratitude. Hillary Clinton’s new book says she wanted to tell him to “back off, creep” during their last campaign debate, so let’s hope McConnell’s taking notes. 

Frankly, it was initially surprising to me that McConnell took a modest jab at Trump’s first round of assault-tweets. He did so by calmly suggesting to the media that Trump’s expectations for the legislative process were overblown from his lack of experience (in so many words). That understated observation, of course, unleashed Trump’s fury, and the damning tweets have been flying ever since. 

With serious issues like passing a spending bill and raising the nation’s debt ceiling looming ahead, and with Trump claiming in Phoenix that he would “shut down the government” in those talks if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall, it’s bound to be a tense fall session in Congress all round. Let’s explore how that’s likely to look between Trump and McConnell.  

The biwheel

Normally the older of two people in a biwheel would occupy the inner wheel—here, however, we have firm birth data for Trump and no birth time for McConnell, so we’ll use Trump’s as the inner, “anchor” chart. McConnell’s birth date and location are published on Wikipedia

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Mitchell McConnell, February 20, 1942, 12:00 p.m. War Time (noon chart, no birth time available), Sheffield, Alabama. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

First, a few general observations
It’s interesting to me that both charts feature important mutable placements, indicating various degrees of adaptability: as mentioned earlier, Trump’s Sun-Node-Uranus in Gemini and Moon in Sagittarius form the chaotic heart of his nativity. His “adaptability” comes off more like instability, a constant shifting from one pole to the next like an out-of-control electric (Uranus) circuit. 

We’ve seen only too often how the pressure builds up on Trump’s mental/emotional “circuit boards”—his angry outbursts are a lot like a circuit breaker being thrown. His fiery Moon picks up on the anxieties that roil his Cancer Mercury, Saturn and Venus, and he responds with his hard-wired default, by going on the attack. Between his forward-thrusting Sagittarius, trine his angry, retribution-seeking Leo Mars-Asc, it doesn’t take much to escalate the situation. His feelings of being unjustly “dissed” (Leo’s kingly trap) perpetuate the fights over the long term. 

Returning to the issue of mutability, we can see that McConnell’s is more subtle: his Pisces Sun is disposed by a mutable Virgo Neptune, and the two points form an uneasy, but politically savvy quincunx. He knows how to hedge his bets, work around inconvenient obstacles, and to obfuscate any situation. 

McConnell's nodal axis stretches from Virgo-to-Pisces—he’s undoubtedly been challenged over the years to “walk his talk”—to make pragmatic use of his ideological leanings in practical public service, but as we know, the So. Node (Pisces) can be a compelling “comfort zone,” so when in doubt, McConnell is not above Neptunian prevarication, passive aggression and denial. 

He’s also willing to “horse-trade” for the sake of getting things done—when he sees the practical utility of doing so—but with his Aquarius Mercury disposing his Virgo points from opposite his Leo Chiron, his ideas can sometimes come back to bite him. Pursuing health care reform as a strictly partisan effort—to the point of blocking Democrats out of the process until the very end—illustrated this very well. 

Was there a bit of toxic pride (Leo Chiron) involved, as well? Enough said!

McConnell Mars-Saturn-Uranus (Taurus) conjoin Trump MC (Taurus) an square Trump Mars-Asc (Leo). These interchart squares evoke a vivid picture of two “goats” locking horns on a narrow bridge—each one has a position to defend and neither plans to give an inch to the other if he can help it. If things go badly, only one will make it across the bridge intact. The obstinacy between these two men is only amplified by the next configuration. 

 McConnell Venus-Mercury (Aquarius) opposing McConnell Pluto-Part of fortune-Chiron (Leo) conjoined Trump Pluto (Leo). McConnell’s Venus disposes his Taurus points, discussed above, so his Leo-Aquarius oppositions and his Venus-Uranus mutual reception lend “punch” to his staunch Taurus stellium. McConnell has been known to pull some legislative “rabbits” out of the D.C. “hat,” so it’s possible that Trump underestimates him when he picks a fight with him. 

Like most bullies, Trump zeroes in on targets with an exploitable weakness, so it’s probably no coincidence that Trump hired McConnell’s wife (Venus) for a Cabinet position. Better to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” Trump may underestimate McConnell’s political backbone, however—his Taurus Mars may be soft-spoken, but it’s staunchly fixed and disposed by his gutsy Venus (opposite his Pluto and Trump’s Pluto!), so Trump could be sorry he tangled with this man and his deeply loyal (as in “I scratch your back, you scratch mine”) friends.   

Reinforced by Saturn and Uranus, McConnell’s soft-spoken Mars may have far more influence in D.C. than Trump realizes.  

McConnell’s Chiron conjoined Trump’s Pluto speaks to the wounds Trump is trying to inflict on the Senate leader, but with his Mercury also tightly opposed Trump’s Pluto, it was only a matter of time before McConnell would “speak truth to power.” His Mercury also ties back into that staunch Taurus stellium via Uranus, disposing Aquarius, and it trines his Gemini Jupiter, so again, McConnell is well-equipped for the word-craft associated with political challenges. 

I have never listened to a longer speech by McConnell, but I’ve been surprised with some of his humorous quips (Aquarius) in the service of politics. I caught one today, in which he described his life as Senate majority leader as being like the “groundskeeper in a cemetery…everyone’s below me, and nobody’s listening.” 

In the matter of humor (and the allies it can inspire), Trump may underestimate McConnell—next to McConnell’s subtle, quirky humor, Trump’s attempts (that I’ve seen) feel like a wisecracking “3 Stooges” skit, with Moe slapping the others upside their heads. 

Interestingly, the action verb I see most often applied to McConnell’s position is “wrangling”—like he’s a cowpoke who’s not only charged with rounding up recalcitrant cattle (Senators), but who also has to deal with a raging bull (the president) tearing up the cattle pen. The more Trump feels restrained and “wrangled” by McConnell (whose Taurus planets sit on top of Trump’s MC), the more Trump wants to rage (MC square his Mars): where does this all end?

Looking ahead

Transits over this coming season look significant for this “feud” between Trump and McConnell, and perhaps by extension, between Trump and the GOP in general (a broader story we’ll revisit soon). For now, let’s consider how the Fall session in Congress is likely to unfold between McConnell and Trump. I’ve cast the following Triwheel by adding a transit chart for September 5th (Congress resumes business) as the outer wheel. This will be a quick-read, just to tease out a few highlights.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (middle wheel) Mitchell McConnell, February 20, 1942, 12:00 p.m. War Time (noon chart, no birth time available), Sheffield, Alabama; (outer wheel) Congress Fall Session, September 5, 2017, 8:00 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

General observations
The fall session is always a Virgo affair—this time, it launches with a distinctly Virgo-Pisces flavor: the Sun exactly conjoins McConnell’s No. Node and opposes his So. Node and transiting Neptune.  Both Trump and McConnell are drawn into this mutable dynamic through interchart t-squares with their respective Gemini planets (Trump’s Uranus-Node; McConnell’s Jupiter). 

Both men perhaps have an overblown concept of their own capabilities, but Trump has the “mad man” (Uranus and its many connections) card to play, and the transiting square from Neptune reinforces his natural illusions of grandeur (natal Mercury square Neptune--“walking on water?”). All of this can potentially wear down McConnell’s (or any “enemy’s”) confidence and make him vulnerable. As out-of-control and random as Trump’s behavior can seem, it appears here to be a consciously deployed tactic for throwing rivals off balance and thus weakening them. 

In fact, both men have been dealing with these transiting t-squares for quite awhile already—at least the whole time that Trump has been in office—and they suggest that there’s been a threat of chaos simmering beneath the surface between these two since day one. The recent eclipse probably provided the trigger, falling on Trump’s Mars-Asc, square to McConnell’s Taurus stellium and Trump’s own MC. So, since an eclipse’s influence unfolds over a period of months (perhaps even years), we “ain’t seen nothin’ yet” on this rivalry.

Let’s examine a couple major highlights.

Interchart T-Square: Fall Session (FS) Node-Mercury (Leo) and Mars (Virgo) conjoins Trump Mars-Asc (Leo) and opposes McConnell Sun (Pisces); this axis squares McConnell Mars-Saturn-Uranus (Taurus) and Trump MC (Taurus). It should be noted that this transiting Mars also conjoins Trump’s Progressed Sun (not shown), so Trump’s naturally angry spirit is unleashed and snorting around the bull pen, with little to rein it in. 

Clearly, this transit does nothing to help the “two goats on a bridge” stand-off discussed earlier. It all boils down to a clash over control, it seems—the healthcare reform debacle challenged McConnell’s control of his GOP minions, and provided Trump with a “weakness” to exploit. Trump's bullying instincts came back to bite him in the health care vote, however: he sent his minions out to intimidate various Senators, which actually solidified some "No" votes! 

Mercury’s role here is interesting: it will have just turned direct before the fall session opens, as if to say, “let’s get something done, folks!” As long as the stand-off remains personal, however, little will get done by these two men: the wise one in this duo will reframe it all as an urgent matter of concern to the American people, who are ironically represented by the Sibly Moon at 27°+Aquarius, tied very firmly into this t-square. 

That reframing would be a start, but the most effective reframing would tap into the resolution point for this t-square, which is opposite the focal planet (here, the Taurus points). A Scorpio solution is therefore needed, which can be exploitative in the wrong hands (Trump, the Neo-Nazis?), but it can also purge our system of impurities and toxins. 

McConnell can help with this by facilitating the Mueller investigations (Scorpio) going forward. Clearly, this would be a serious career challenge for him, but the Cosmos may be handing him “an offer he can’t refuse,” as the saying goes—it would certainly test his dedication to public service (Virgo-Pisces). 

Interchart T-Square:  FS Jupiter (Libra) widely conjoins Trump’s Jupiter Rx (Libra) and widely opposes FS Uranus (Aries); this axis squares Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). Jupiter’s movements over the next Congressional session will be important, especially as the “Big Guy” moves into Scorpio in October (see last post here). By that time, it will have finished separating from its conjunction to Trump’s natal Jupiter Rx, which may help move those investigations along. 

Jupiter’s move into Scorpio will also trine McConnell’s Pisces Sun, energizing his efforts and bolstering his confidence. As of this FS chart, however, Jupiter will still be inconjunct McConnell’s Taurus stellium, suggesting that any support for his efforts will continue to be hard-earned for awhile.

As for Trump’s Jupiterian fortunes, this t-square suggests continued crisis-driven opportunism—or as analyst Naomi Klein puts it, Trump’s “shock doctrine”—for now. It’s not surprising that Uranus has been transiting within orb of a trine to Trump’s Leo Mars-Asc since he declared his candidacy back in June, 2015: with the help of an extended Jupiter return roughly opposite that Uranus, he’s been leveraging that energy ever since. 

The “punch” Trump is able to deliver with all this will weaken, however, as Jupiter separates and moves into Scorpio. There’s just so much shock that our body politic can handle without a strong reaction (Uranus doesn’t move on into Taurus until May 2018), but the mounting resolve to hold Trump accountable (even among Republicans) is a sign that the tables may be turning. Pressure from the American public (our Moon falls sextile this Aries Uranus) and by extension on our members of Congress, may push things over a threshold at some point, putting Trump on the receiving end of some “shock” as well.  

Final thoughts

I am concerned that Neptune’s tight opposition to the fall session’s opening day Sun could undermine Congress’s ability to get anything done. I’m also concerned that it could enable the support network that Trump still enjoys among Congressional ranks. Potentially corrupt trade-offs have been made for the sake of pet GOP priorities that work against the environment, against civil rights, against the integrity of our elections process, and so on, down the list. 

All this, while virtually every Cabinet department is being dismantled or disabled in some way, and very few of us are safer or better off for any of it. Those who are warning us that Trump could be the end of the GOP as the mainstream “Party of Lincoln” could be on to something.

The only silver lining here is that ultimately, “selling one’s soul” is a self-destructive act. This Neptune also quincunxes Sibly Saturn (Congress/Judiciary), so we can probably expect to see a “two-steps forward, three steps back” type of progress, but we could also see a corruption scandal. 

Will it involve or implicate McConnell in some way? His nodal axis is tied into this Neptune, and Chiron is now transiting opposite his natal Neptune, so things could go either way with him. He could be the sacrificial lamb who courageously stands up for the rest of us, or he could experience a personal comeuppance of sorts. Time will tell.

Finally, I was heartened by a Washington Post Op-Ed article written by former GOP Senator from Missouri and now ordained minister, John C. Danforth. He is one of the growing number of Republicans who is alarmed and speaking out about their party—and the nation—in the wake of Trumpism. I’ll leave you with a particularly moving segment of his editorial, entitled “The Real Reason Trump is not a Republican:”

“Now comes Trump, who is exactly what Republicans are not, who is exactly what we have opposed in our 160-year history. We are the party of the Union, and he is the most divisive president in our history. There hasn’t been a more divisive person in national politics since George Wallace.
It isn’t a matter of occasional asides, or indiscreet slips of the tongue uttered at unguarded moments. Trump is always eager to tell people that they don’t belong here, whether it’s Mexicans, Muslims, transgender people or another group. His message is, “You are not one of us,” the opposite of “e pluribus unum.” And when he has the opportunity to unite Americans, to inspire us, to call out the most hateful among us, the KKK and the neo-Nazis, he refuses.
To my fellow Republicans: We cannot allow Donald Trump to redefine the Republican Party. That is what he is doing, as long as we give the impression by our silence that his words are our words and his actions are our actions. We cannot allow that impression to go unchallenged.”

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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.