Friday, September 29, 2017

Pluto’s travels, medieval echoes & a potential renaissance

Mundane astrology studies the longer outer planetary cycles—Neptune-Pluto, Uranus-Neptune and Uranus-Pluto—for their influence on the broad, culture- and civilization-level dynamics at play in any given era. 

In fact, it is the interactions between these so-called “collective” cycles with the shorter, “social cycles”—the ones formed by combining Jupiter and Saturn with the three “Big Guys” named above—that account for how distinctive time periods unfold—say, the “Roaring Twenties” or the “Arts & Crafts” movement in furniture and architecture, as well as longer eras like the Renaissance, that unfolded over the stretch of two consecutive Uranus-Neptune cycles beginning in Scorpio (11/1307 and 12/1478). 

Jupiter and Saturn inspire and manifest those macro-cycle energies in the physical, intellectual, sociopolitical and cultural realms of our daily lives.  
Let’s consider those 1307 and 1478 cycles for a moment—astrologically, they’re not as remote from today as we might think. Both cycles launched in Scorpio, but the first of these Uranus-Neptune cycles also began conjunct Scorpio Saturn, with Pluto and Mars co-disposing all three from the harsh electric realm of Aquarius (see Chart #1 below). 

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the 14th century is forever known for the Black Death (roughly 1347-1350) that wiped out one-third of Europe’s population. Importantly for our discussion here, that sweeping pandemic manifested in the early years of a new Saturn-Neptune cycle in Aquarius, as well. 

Chart #1: Uranus-Neptune Cycle 1307, November 15, 1307, 8:10 a.m. LMT, Rome, Italy. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Ironically, Europe rose in the wake of that medieval plague devastation to rebuild its infrastructures and institutions, and with the powerful patronage of the Roman church, the wealthy classes and some courageous intellectuals, to launch the creative, scientific and technologically innovative Humanist revolution we know as the Renaissance.

Regarding that 1307 cycle and its potent  Uranus-Neptune-Saturn conjunction in the 12th house of institutions and "undoing" (cast for Rome, Italy): in keeping with Pluto’s heavy influence in disposing the conjunction, that same Church—basically the law of the land in Catholic nations—was becoming more and more corrupt. This was compounded by the fact that the rise of Humanism was considered a threat to religion’s power over people. Humanists tended to be more passionate about enjoying this life than about denying their senses and appetites in favor of the next life. 

In fact, humanity was finally seen to have worth on its own terms, and although some early humanists and scientists of that period suffered greatly for their work, people were finally deemed capable of intellectually exploring the world and even the Universe. Copernicus introduced his revolutionary heliocentric model of our solar system in 1543, during the final quarter of a Saturn-Pluto cycle. 

By his actions, Copernicus was challenging the authority of the Church to define the Cosmos and humanity’s place in it, and the Church pushed back hard, but the new role science was about to assume in human affairs was seeded, and there was no going back.

Interestingly, that final Saturn-Pluto quarter launched with Pluto in Aquarius again, as it was in the 1307 cycle, and the Saturn-Pluto cycle in force at the time of Copernicus’s drive to reimagine the solar system had begun in January 1518, in Capricorn. Both of these make that era we now call the Renaissance relevant today for a couple reasons: 1) Pluto is due to enter Aquarius in March, 2023; and 2) Saturn and Pluto are due to begin their latest Capricorn cycle in January, 2020!

In fact, many in the technology and scientific fields are pointing to earth-shaking, life-changing technological (Aquarius) developments with far-reaching economic ramifications (Capricorn) in the near future. We’re told to expect a “robotics/AI invasion,” autonomous vehicles (Dubai just previewed autonomous flying vehicles they intend to release in the near-future!), human beings landing on Mars within 10-20 years, gene therapies to prevent all ills, and so on. 

The fate of human employment in the midst of all this is the 500-lb. unanswered question in the room. 

I’ve probably even heard a few analysts interjecting a “Renaissance” reference, in fact. So, even though we are living in very different times in some regards, we’ve been here before, at the brink of a major evolutionary transition.

The parallels don’t end there, however; anytime developments threaten the hold that the most powerful have over societies and economies, there’s bound to be a backlash. Predictably, the 15th and 16th century loosening of the Church’s narrative over people’s lives (Dante’s 14th century Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso were very fresh in people’s minds and certainly employed by clerics) triggered the “morality police” of those times. 

Today’s backlash is in response to the Obama presidency, for its challenging of deeply-seated racial biases, and its immoral (in their eyes) legitimizing of same-sex marriage. Of course, powerful figures who could care less about all this are exploiting this well of moral indignation for their own purposes, so the distinction between ethical behavior and self-serving rationalizations is blurry. 

I was intrigued by a recent discussion in which a white man openly admitted that it would be so much easier to give up white privilege and work for racial justice if it didn’t mean enjoying fewer privileges! That, in a nutshell, might just be the problem!

It’s no coincidence that right-wing activists have focused on their “religious freedom” rights as a justification for ignoring the civil rights of same-sex couples. The Humanist/Religious poles around which societies always seem to be woven haven’t really changed over the centuries. In fact, the Supreme Court is going to be weighing that perennial clash in regards to the rights of same-sex couples soon, in a case known as Masterpiece Cake Shop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.   

In the 1400-1500s, the Roman Church was the law across Europe (there was no separation between Church and State), so challenging Church authority often led to being hung, tortured, burnt or all three. Even so, as Machiavelli noted, “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and it certainly did.

The Church became increasingly corrupt and vulnerable during those times until the situation began giving way around 1517 to an ideologically conservative revolution jumpstarted by Martin Luther, known as the Protestant Reformation. Pluto was in Capricorn, trine Uranus in Taurus. In the process (and this was probably not directly influenced by Luther himself), the Roman Church, and particularly its head the Pope, was viciously demonized.

More parallels to consider. Pluto entered Capricorn as our recent economic recession was at its height in late 2008, and Uranus will be entering compatible, earthy Taurus in May, 2018. If there’s another “revolution” on the scale of the 1500s Reformation coming, this could be a time period to watch. Hold this thought, please: we’ll discuss why Pluto’s time in the final decanate of Capricorn will be super-significant in a bit.  

So, just as Europe was during the early Renaissance years, we’re faced today with institutional decay that requires a fresh start. Our democracy is under serious assault these days and definitely needs some deep reconstructive surgery. The difference today is that Trump is no crusader or reformer—he’s playing Pluto’s role of destroyer, and when he finally exits the White House, we’ll likely have decades of regeneration work to do. 

NYTimes columnist David Brooks captures this idea brilliantly in a recent article entitled “The Abbie Hoffman of the Right: Donald Trump.” I highly recommend reading the entire article, however the following excerpt summarizes why he compares Trump with the controversial anti-Vietnam war activist Hoffman, a man Brooks calls a master of provocation and “political theater.”

Brooks notes that Hoffman was instrumental in destroying the post-WWII establishment culture—that “tolerated segregation and sexism, led the nation into war in Vietnam and became stultifying”—and replaced it with a culture that Brooks calls “meritocratic.” 

“…They were well educated. They cut their moral teeth on the civil rights and feminist movements. They embraced economic, social and moral individualism.”
Brooks goes on to list the failures of this meritocratic establishment, including the building of a seriously unequal economy, a march to wars in the Middle East at the expense of working class young people, and 

“…cultural snobbery. Its media, film and music industries make members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected.”
This perceived snobbery is a big open wound that Trump has exploited for all its worth. Brooks feels that Trump was elected to tear this establishment down and says, 

“He (Trump) has a nose for every wound in the body politic and day after day he sticks a red-hot poker in one wound or another and rips it open.”
Sounds to me a lot like Trump and Co. are tapping into Pluto, which is working in concert with the fiery grand trine formed between transiting Saturn (Sagittarius), Uranus (Aries) and Trump’s Mars/ASC (Leo). Throw in transiting Chiron, squaring Saturn from Pisces, and the picture is complete! Where does Trump find these wounds to rip open?

“Donald Trump came into a segmenting culture and he is further tearing apart every fissure…He continually goes after racial matters in part because he’s a bigot but also in part because multiculturalism is the theology of the educated class and it’s the leverage point he can most effectively use to isolate the educated class from everyone else.”
This makes perfect sense: we rarely hear Trump talk about education—it’s certainly not a priority he would admit to, and indeed his proposed budget “wish list” would radically cut funds to higher education. So, what’s the likely outcome of Trump’s ongoing assault, according to Brooks?

“Because of him, a new culture will have to be built, new values promulgated and a new social fabric will have to be woven…That’s the work of the next 20 years.”
Let’s hope that this necessary rebuilding will include affordable provisions for quality education for everyone from pre-K through college—could it be that the higher and higher cost of education has fueled the resentment against the educated “establishment?”  

No one would dispute that government needs to be purged of serious corrupting influences periodically (that’s the genius of the Saturn-Pluto cycle, which can both produce and purge corruption!), but as always, there are at least two conflicting ideological visions for that project, so wiping the slate clean and starting over never fails to produce winners and losers. 

As alluded to earlier, from today’s vantage point we might look back at the ideological polarization of the Renaissance/Reformation era and recognize some familiar fault lines: Humanism can be seen as the 15th-16th century equivalent of today’s left-wing ideology, and the Reformation (especially in its more extreme manifestations, like Calvinism) can be likened to today’s right-wing ideology.

The trouble is, no society thrives on all of one and none of the other—if history’s proven anything, it’s that extremism is damaging in both directions, especially to social institutions. This may be the puzzle for our times: I’m not sure we even know what an equitable, balanced society would look like anymore.

Unfortunately, once a system and a set of institutions is destroyed, with little thought for how to replace them, it takes generations—at least one Saturn-Pluto cycle, if not more—to restore sanity, order and economic strength, and a lot of dreams go unfulfilled during those difficult periods. Think of those whose lives were consumed by slavery and Jim Crow, by the 1930s Depression, by World Wars I and II, the Holocaust, and a more recent host of wars, conflicts and environmental crises.

It’s always the average, working class citizen that suffers the most in these situations, hands down. Today it’s our Puerto Rican citizens, and the host of refugees that we won’t be accepting under Trump’s inhospitable regime.  

The horrors inflicted on ordinary people are always caused in one way or another by the failure of human institutions, and if left to fester and corrupt, these failures can eventually warrant the total upheaval of systems and institutions. This is the function of the outer planetary cycles, working in concert, with Pluto playing the necessary role of destroyer in the end. Even so, destruction is only half of Pluto’s job: the other half is regeneration

So, if Trump is playing the role of Pluto in regards to our democracy, what’s on the other side of the rubble he’s intent on producing, and how do we get from here to there? Is resistance futile, or absolutely vital? We wouldn’t tell a person diagnosed with cancer to simply succumb to the disease without a fight, would we? Yet, sometimes resistance only adds to the suffering—another puzzle to ponder.   

Even so, if we think Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have their problems with hurricane devastation, imagine what our entire American society will experience if Trump’s administration continues to devastate our institutions and rewrite the Constitution to his (and Russia’s) liking. 

Never mind that he’s dangling the threat of nuclear war out there against North Korea! 

Never mind that Russia continues to try dividing Americans against each other on social media

Yes, we may be in for a major systems overhaul, of the type caused by our 1860s Civil War—if Russia gets its way, we’ll be in the streets shooting at each other yet!

A serious Pluto passage just got more significant

I indicated earlier that we would discuss the key role Pluto is playing in all this, especially true once it enters the last decanate of Capricorn. We’ve discussed how significant this degree area is in reference to the U.S. Sibly chart’s impending Pluto return several times on this site (the return is first exact in February, 2022), but a recent article by Michael Lutin[1] reminded me of another critical part of this late Capricorn passage: Pluto will be conjoining its own South Node at 21° Capricorn! 

This basically means that the plane of Pluto’s orbit around the Sun is intersecting the plane of the ecliptic (the path of the Earth around the Sun), and that Pluto itself is approaching the descending or southern intersection point of those two planes. Here’s how Lutin characterizes the significance of this convergence:

“A complete re-organisation and re-examination of government on the world, global, corporate and personal level in your own job is being stirred. A revolutionary spirit is occurring as well as the effort to suppress it…This position and motion oddly happens to coincide with the abnormal shift in political and military alliances.” 
Lutin stops short of claiming that these developments will “cause” social upheaval (very controversial topic, he says), but he does say that “Profit, control and personal survival in many cases come before humanity and it’s happening right now.” This is particularly true since Pluto’s south node is also conjunct the 1993 Uranus-Neptune cycle point of 19°+Capricorn—globalization and its discontents are in Pluto’s sites, plain and simple.

Perhaps most disturbingly, but quite understandably, Lutin says,

“There are no political certainties at this time…Pluto in Capricorn will eventually prove to have been about the search for just and proper leadership; or, a frightening grab for money and absolute authoritarian control over others.”
Even a brief look at the news of the day proves that yes, Pluto’s scary potential is a reality for many on this planet, right now: thousands of lives have been upended in natural disasters in the past month; thousands more are in peril in conflict zones like Yemen, the Ukraine, Syria, Malaysia (in their treatment of the Rohingya) and elsewhere. Indonesia and Vanuatu are being massively evacuated due to volcanic activity. The list goes on. Authoritarianism is trending, and Nature is not amused these days, and whether we “believe” in climate change or not isn’t even relevant. It’s our problem to solve.
We don’t know what a modern day equivalent to the 14th century’s Black Death could look like (and hopefully we’ll never have to think about it), but we might want to consider that human ingenuity, compassion and dedication are the intangibles stopping a world-wide crisis these days. Just when we think we’re teetering on that brink, however, Lutin reminds us that Pluto at its south node can be an uplifting passage, opening a “portal” for humanity to adopt planetary consciousness, and a “necessary transformation in human behavior.” 

The ball is in our cosmic court, so to speak. 

I think it’s safe to say that a divisive, inward-focused “MAGA” agenda will feed the lowest, scariest potentials of Pluto’s final degrees in Capricorn: there’s simply too much to lose if we don’t wrap our minds and hearts around today’s global-humanity and earth-centered imperatives. IMHO, focusing outward on what Lutin describes as “dedication to the happiness of all beings” promises to be far more rewarding. 

Perhaps even a new Renaissance. Stay tuned!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 

[1] Michael Lutin, “When Pluto goes south…does the whole world have to follow?” Astrological Journal, Vol. 59, No. 5,  September/October 2017, London, UK, pp. 20-23.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Flying a kite at the UN: of astrological modes and more saber-rattling

Beginning students of Astrology learn that each sign of the Zodiac has its natural mode of expression: Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable.

  • Cardinal energies initiate and generate action, changing the environment by releasing new energy into a situation.
  • Fixed energies give form to and stabilize whatever they touch, maintaining the status quo against the pressure to change (or against overdoing the change promoted by Cardinal energies).
  • Mutable energies destabilize everything they touch, often as part of a clearing out process that eventually redefines and reconfigures our personal and collective realities in some important way. Even though our normal reference points for culture, morality, relationships, etc. can become unmoored in mutable times, mutability allows us (and sometimes forces us) to adapt and adjust to an environment in flux.  

A quick refresher course—here’s how the traditional twelve Zodiac signs break down according to these three modes of expression:

  • Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
  • Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
  • Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

If we consider the natural rulerships and exaltations of the classical 9 planets, we see that certain planetary energies seem to express themselves more fully in certain modes, as follows:

  • Sun: rules Leo (fixed); exalted in Aries (cardinal)
  • Moon: rules Cancer (cardinal); exalted in Taurus (fixed)
  • Mercury: rules Gemini & Virgo (mutable); exalted in Aquarius (fixed)
  • Venus: rules Taurus (fixed) & Libra (cardinal); exalted in Pisces (mutable)
  • Mars: rules Aries (cardinal) & co-rules Scorpio (fixed); exalted in Capricorn (cardinal)
  • Jupiter: rules Sagittarius & co-rules Pisces (mutable); exalted in Cancer (cardinal)
  • Saturn: rules Capricorn (cardinal) & co-rules Aquarius (fixed); exalted in Libra (cardinal)
  • Uranus: co-rules Aquarius (fixed); exalted in Scorpio (fixed)
  • Neptune: co-rules Pisces (mutable); exalted in Cancer (cardinal)
  • Pluto: co-rules Scorpio (fixed); exalted in Leo (fixed)

We could dig into the implications of this breakdown at length, of course, but for my purposes in this post, one key takeaway is that most planetary energies play well in multiple modes. Venus and Mars, for example, are by far the most versatile planets, capable of comfortably expressing their important characteristics and influence in all three modes. 

On the flip side, it’s interesting to see the exceptions to this versatility—Uranus and Pluto—both at their most effective and empowered in fixed signs. Considering the instability these two often promote in concert, this might seem surprising, however the nature of the transformational rebellion they instigate relies on additional forces in play at the time. Mutable energies like the Saturn-Neptune square we experienced during the 2016 presidential campaign definitely “colored” the rebellion with chaos.  

Another interesting note is that there’s a relative shortage of energies that thrive in the mutable mode—Mercury and Jupiter rule or co-rule two mutable signs (Gemini-Virgo for the latter; Sagittarius and Pisces for the former). Neptune co-rules and Venus is exalted in mutable Pisces.

The affinity between Jupiter and Neptune is key here: growth and expansion often depend upon undermining the status quo and on eroding structures that could stand in the way of that expansion. Breaching a dam often precedes a flood. Bigger is not always better, however, even in Texas! We’ve seen this dynamic in brutal relief during this hurricane season. 

Long story short, the “superpowers” of these respective planets often contribute to an increase in chaos and instability. Not bad dynamics in and of themselves—creativity certainly thrives on a modicum of both—but like everything, it’s a question of knowing the breaking points where chaos and instability can become irredeemably destructive, instead of a way to break down outworn realities and jump start a new, productive order of things. 

Not all growth (Jupiter) or engulfing everything in one’s path for the sake of “finding one’s level” (Neptune) is constructive: both can be quite toxic, parasitical and even cancerous. 

This raises a key point: yes, Pluto is generally credited with the job of irrepressible destruction and regeneration, and it’s often the culprit we look to when cancer rears its ugly head, but again, Pluto doesn’t act alone in this agenda: the remaining social/collective planets, including Jupiter and Neptune, often function as agents of that agenda through aspects and cycle dynamics. 

In fact, the chaotic expansive/engulfing agenda of Jupiter and Neptune is not without direction or purpose—notice that both Jupiter and Neptune are at home in mutable signs, but exalted in cardinal Cancer. These exaltations help explain why Jupiter and Neptune are basically operating in a bit of creative tension with Capricorn Pluto these days.  They help produce the chaos, and Pluto capitalizes on this influence.  

IMHO, Pluto seems quite comfy in cardinal Capricorn, and history shows that Uranus and Pluto in cardinal aspects together can be powerfully disruptive—more on this in a future post.

Cancer and Capricorn are both goal-oriented and purpose-driven in their own ways, and so are the planets that enjoy a strong affinity for these signs. Security concerns have always fueled ambition and overly defensive­—even “pre-emptive strike”—dynamics. Donald Trump’s chart features the perfect example of Cancer’s hyper-isolationist extremes with his Saturn-Venus conjunction. Unfortunately, he wants to express these tendencies by building walls instead of bridges and by alienating the U.S. from the rest of the world. 

A planetary shell game

Jupiter and Neptune collude in very interesting ways to various purposes—almost like a “now you see it, now you don’t” planetary shell game that produces very sneaky results. Neptune’s strength in home-sign Pisces has facilitated Jupiter’s time in cardinal Libra because Libra ruler Venus has an affinity for Neptune and Pisces. For example, Trump’s undermining of the EPA’s authority and dismantling of regulatory frameworks (Jupiter and Neptune) in many environmentally sensitive industries has fed those industry coffers and made “friends” (Libra), but at what eventual cost? 

Justifying destructive policies because they may create a few jobs (often in “dirty energy” industries) or because they “give power back to the States” (a favorite policy ploy) only perpetuates and speeds up the downward spiral we’re experiencing on sustainability, but we’ve been blindsided (Neptune) by an economic smokescreen that disguises the dark side of these growth/expansion-oriented energies (Jupiter). 

Long-term planning and doing the responsible thing are generally not in the wheelhouse of Jupiter and Neptuneor any mutable energy, for that matter. This may explain why neurologists are starting to question whether the human brain is “wired” for stopping climate change. We’re simply too captivated and motivated by “shiny objects” to focus on long-term planning. I would like to think that human society was not always this distractible and scattered, unable to focus on long-term survival issues.

I think this is where the “sleight-of-hand” in the shell game comes in: yes, we are genetically wired for survival consciousness, and certain cultures like the Native American ones have proven that humans can privilege the long view over the short one when it comes to the environment, but there are determined cardinal forces in play (Jupiter-Uranus across Libra-Aries and Pluto in Capricorn) that use our distractedness to their advantage: long-term thinking messes with their short-term profit agenda. Mutable forces can be used quite nicely to facilitate.

In this sense, Trump’s “MAGA” agenda—especially as he characterized it in his U.N. debut this past week—reads like part Jupiter-Neptune quest, part Uranus-Pluto crusade: it doesn’t discriminate between moral, ethical or even wise avenues for getting what he wants, and those that are just shockingly dark (we might even say, evil). Why, for instance, does he choose now—in the midst of picking a fight with North Korea’s ruthless dictator—to attack the 1st Amendment rights of our professional athletes? 

Jupiter and Neptune cast a “spell” on everything they touch in concert, combining “rose-colored glasses” and wishful thinking with a tendency toward whitewashing and self-delusion. Saying one thing and doing another is a typical modus operandi, and this certainly doesn’t add to our sense of security. 

Uranus and Pluto rely on “shock and awe”—i.e., Trump’s promise to “completely destroy” North Korea with our overwhelming firepower. Of course, this promise may be, as DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un put it, the “sound of a barking dog.” So the 500-lb. question sucking the oxygen out of our public discourse right now is this: could the vicious war of words and nuclear brinksmanship these two have engaged in ever since Trump’s U.N. appearance be a real threat to the U.S. and to world peace? 

Flying a “kite” on the world stage

I don’t pretend to know Trump’s plans—he’s raised duplicity and unpredictability to an art form, and he clearly relishes keeping everyone guessing. Besides, his chart, as we’ve seen many times in posts here, just doesn’t allow us to eliminate any possibilities. He’s an erratic player who “shoots from the lip,” as one commentator put it—the problem is, the irresponsible game he’s playing is “nuclear chicken.” 

Despite the cloudy “crystal ball,” however, a biwheel cast between Trump’s speech and North Korea’s radix chart does lend insight. Trump verbally affronted several nations in that speech, but the comments he had about North Korea were by far the most outlandish and provocative. As we’ll see, there are some powerful interactions between these two charts. 

First, however, let’s examine the chart for Trump’s speech this past Tuesday at the U.N. on its own merits. C-Span first aired Trump’s speech at 10:00 a.m. on September 19th, so that’s the information we will use. 

As we’ll see, there’s an incredible “kite” formation cutting through the heart of it. The mix of mode influences that we’ve been discussing earlier comes into play here, as well. 

Chart #1: Trump Speaks at U.N., September 19, 2017, 10:00 a.m. DST, New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Kite: Uranus (Aries) trines Venus-No. Node (Leo) trines Saturn (Sagittarius); Uranus opposs Jupiter (Libra). As you can see, a kite formation combines a grand trine—here in fire signs—with an opposition that cuts through the heart of the “triangle” like a kite string. Notice that to be a true kite, the “string” planet (Jupiter) must form sextiles with the other two points of the grand trine. If we were to draw those angles in on the chart, you would see a pretty convincing “kite” figure.

Aspects expert Bil Tierney sees the kite as a very creative configuration that promotes the expression of “special talents or skills.” He sees the planet at the apex of the kite (here, Uranus) as denoting the “nature of the drive to be expressed,” and the fourth planet (outside of the grand trine—here, Jupiter) as the “catalyst,” and its house placement as “where special talents and skills are prone to direct themselves.” 

The opposition thus takes the potential of the grand trine (which can be difficult to express) and “activates” it within some context.[1] So, how would this apply to our question about the Trump-Kim war of words? 

First of all, the cardinal Uranus-Jupiter opposition (Aries-Libra) cuts across the chart’s 6th-12th axis, suggesting a quiet, but active build-up of military strength (6th) behind the scenes (12th). The 12th house is also associated with institutions like hospitals, prisons, and other venues where difficult life passages may run their course, but in the context we’re exploring, this house might also represent the end of one or more international relationships (the 12th is the derived 4th house from the 9th). This makes sense with the horrified response Trump received from other national leaders to a lot of his speech. 

If he ultimately acts on his megalomania, saber-rattling and brinkmanship—especially with nuclear weapons—we may lose many allies.  

The grand fire trine combines planets in all three modes and circulates ego-maniacal, bellicose and defiant energies—something reflected in Kim Jong-Un’s insult that blasted Trump as a “…gangster and rogue who likes to play with fire.” In Sagittarius, Saturn’s power to restrain is compromised by Jupiter’s naturally mutable influence; in cardinal Aries, Uranus is a little too trigger-happy, and in fixed Leo, Venus is prone to rut-bound, ego-driven drama. Interestingly, all three points of this configuration tie into Trump’s natal chart quite powerfully (chart not shown), so Kim may be reading the situation pretty accurately. 

As we’ll see, however, this fiery energy ties into North Korea’s chart, as well, so where will this nuclear playground dispute go from here? With Trump saying, “I know you are, but what am I?”
One way or another, the “war of words” is almost literally reflected in this chart. 

By rulership, the Mercury-Mars opposition to Neptune (Virgo-Pisces) reflects this “war”—harsh, belligerent language can be attributed to Mars-Mercury, and Neptune here provides the collective reach and overwhelming impact of those words. 

Notice the interesting way this opposition ties into the fiery grand trine circuit. Mars disposes Aries Uranus from military-related Virgo; Mars’ opposition to Neptune speaks to the “fog of war,” the inevitable obfuscation and double-dealing that takes over when what’s really being done behind the scenes becomes “classified” information. 

Grand trines tend to unleash energies that require outside outlets (i.e. aspects that tie into it), and as we saw with the “kite” formation, Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus provides the primary outlet. Jupiter, of course, co-rules Pisces, so it serves to amplify whatever Neptune is doing here. Importantly, as we’ll see when we look at the biwheel, this Mercury-Neptune opposition reflects how the hateful rhetoric is playing out with North Korea. 

The biwheel

In fact, this is a good time to take a look at that biwheel between this chart and North Korea’s. Unfortunately, there’s no sugar-coating some of its features, especially considering the context we’re focusing on here, so I won’t even try. It should be noted that the same chart factors can certainly be used for more positive purposes than the Trump-Kim feud—a silver lining we’ll consider in future posts. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) North Korea, September 10, 1948, 12:00 p.m. (noon chart, no exact time known), P’yongyang, NW, N.Korea (Book of World Horoscopes, Chart #179, p. 180); (outer wheel) Trump Speaks at U.N., September 19, 2017, 10:00 a.m. DST, New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: UN Mars-Mercury-Moon (Virgo) conjoin NK Sun (Virgo) and oppose UN Neptune (Pisces); this axis squares NK Jupiter-UN Saturn (Sagittarius). It’s hard to say if the noon time for North Korea is accurate, so the chart MC may or may not be involved here. Even so, this stressful configuration is worth consideration for the emotional impact (UN Moon on NK Sun) represented. North Korea clearly takes its self-identity and dignity seriously—its Sun is disposed by a Libra Mercury, which is disposed in turn by a proud Leo Venus (which takes us back to the Sun via Leo!). Trump’s disrespectful rhetoric did not fall on deaf ears!

We considered this bellicose “flood of words” earlier—here we see how precisely targeted those comments were astrologically—shot right through North Korea’s “heart” (Sun)! Since the Sun in a national chart represents both the nation as a whole and the leader, we can see why Kim Jong-Un is taking Trump’s verbal assault not just in his role as leader, but personally, as well. North Korea’s government is a prime example of this conflation: the Leader is the State, for all practical purposes.

NK Jupiter’s role here is interesting—it’s a strong chart factor, in home-sign Sagittarius. Unfortunately, the unconfirmed timing means we can’t be sure if it’s conjunct NK Moon, as shown here, or not, but the North Korean obsession with being taken seriously on the world stage suggests that their Moon may indeed be involved. In a lot of ways, they’ve been treated like the “ugly step-sister” next to the more vibrant, affluent South Korea over the years, and they’re apparently determined to grab the limelight, whether the rest of the world likes their means and methods or not. 

UN Asc (Scorpio) conjoins NK Mars (Scorpio) and squares NK Venus (Leo). This is a clear flash point for Trump’s hostile remarks—even if it was only a speech, we can expect that it was received as an attack and a serious affront. It was the astrological equivalent of “throwing down the gauntlet,” insulting the other party’s dignity—on a world stage, too!—and  daring them to show up at dawn with pistols loaded. 

It’s also significant that UN Mars (Virgo) trines NK No. Node—the North Koreans may feel that responding to this attack is a matter of destiny (it’s not hard to imagine the official messaging Kim’s government is extracting from Trump’s actions). It’s more hard to imagine that North Korea’s Scorpio radix Mars won’t want to retaliate. 

UN Pluto (Capricorn) trines NK Sun-UN Moon-Mercury-Mars (Virgo). This trine suggests that corporate influence and profit are at stake in whatever happens with this feud, and that there are opportunities for the same. There may even be opportunities to transform their economy in more dramatic ways. The sanctions regime that Trump is pushing for on North Korea is onerous, and with UN Pluto inconjunct NK Pluto (Leo), however other factors in the biwheel suggest that sanctions may not debilitate them as badly as Trump would like. 

One strong instance is the powerful fixed energy in their chart: sanctions certainly won’t make them more cooperative. 

Interchart Kite: UN Uranus (Aries) trine UN No. Node-Venus-NK Pluto-Saturn (Leo) trine UN Saturn-NK Jupiter (Sagittarius); this fiery grand trine is pierced by the UN Uranus-Jupiter opposition (Aries-Libra). As touched upon earlier, the UN chart’s fiery grand trine ties all the players in this geopolitical drama together—we see here that NK Saturn is of particular interest in that regard. It not only suggests that North Koreans possesses the “backbone” required for whatever Trump throws at them, but it also ties into Trump’s chart in a very personal way, conjunct his Leo Mars-Ascendant conjunction (his chart not shown). 

When Kim said (referring to Trump’s UN remarks) that “the frightened dog barks more loudly,” he could have been speaking about these chart interconnections. Who’s intimidating whom?

UN Saturn’s position at NK Jupiter suggests that the DPRK is feeling the pinch of sanctions and other restrictions imposed on them, but the UN No. Node trine their Jupiter also suggests that Trump’s speech will empower them somehow. This Node falls at the NK Pluto/Saturn (midpoint, Leo), something Michael Munkasey equates with: 

“Associating with those who plan and work hard before they proceed with important work; identifying paths to those who have power or influence to wield or sell; a destiny about holding or abusing power.”[2]
This suggests that North Korea may be forging alliances, despite the global outcry against their missile launches and other provocations. Not surprisingly, it also suggests that they view Trump’s use and/or abuse of power as justification for their own power plays, however controversial. We may take a parallel view of Kim’s defiant actions, and the beat goes on… 

Final thoughts

Trump’s U.N. speech came across like a bully’s ultimatum to the world—get with my  program, or be demeaned and attacked, because all that matters is “America first.” Taunting Kim Jong-Un on the world stage by calling him “Rocket Man” demeans the U.S. as badly as it does the DPRK, and Trump seems to be okay with the obvious consequence: the North Koreans will retaliate over such indignations to save face. Trump knows how this works: he does it all the time when he's criticized.

Granted, we shouldn’t just stand by while they lob missiles over our allies Japan and South Korea, and we must defend our own territories as well. Even so, unless I’m missing something, Trump seems to be spoiling for a fight, and he’s behaving like he did in his WWF days. There’s been no attempt at a negotiated agreement—our Secretary of State is basically toothless, and wonder-boy Jared Kushner is nowhere to be seen.

In fact, DPRK’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho responded to Trump’s speech at the U.N. podium, saying that insulting his country would only make an attack on U.S. soil more “inevitable.” Those who closely watch North Korea know that they have more ways of attacking us than nuclear weapons: cyber-warfare is their other weapon, and according to CNN, they’ve been using it more frequently in the past year. Do we really want more of the same?  

Of course, the more North Korea does to defy Trump, the more justified military action will look to Trump and his most bellicose and opportunistic supporters—war is not only great for defense contracts, it’s a great distraction from things like Russia investigations and a wonderful pretext for declaring martial law, stifling 1st Amendment rights, etc. Have to get those pesky NFL players off their knees!!

The big question here might just be, who will speak loudly enough in favor of diplomatic solutions, rather than war? Jupiter is in diplomatic Libra for a while longer—opposite Uranus, we should be able to come up with shockingly proactive ways of mediating this dispute. “Let’s go fly a kite….!!!”

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 

[1]Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS Publications, Reno, NV, 1983, pp. 78-79.
[2] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, 1991, pp. 296-7.