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.”

 Our thoughts and prayers go out to Texans in the hurricane's path..."Don't mess with Texas," Harvey!!

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. 

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