Monday, October 30, 2017

Dropping a bombshell: An astro-perspective on today’s FBI indictments






We all knew there would be big news today: how could there not be, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s actions on Friday? 

Friday's news dropped a bombshell—that Mueller had entered the first grand jury indictments in his sprawling investigations. That was the first act in a multi-staged process, of course, so today we learned who Mueller’s first targets from the Trump campaign are, and what potentially illegal connections he found between them and Russia, especially as those connections relate to last year’s presidential election.

Again, no surprise, three key players from the Trump campaign were ordered to show up at FBI headquarters today:  former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, his “right-hand-man” and successor as Trump campaign manager, Rick Gates, and “special foreign policy advisor,” George Papadopoulos.  According to ABC News.com, An indictment issued by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., against Gates and Manafort contains 12 counts, including conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy of money laundering and failing to disclose work as foreign agents.”

As for foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, ABCNews.com further reports that he “pleaded guilty to making false statements and making material omissions to investigators in January probing interference in the 2016 presidential election in relation to his contacts with a Russian professor with ties to the Russian government.”

Anyone watching the Trump camp these past two years knows that none of its players (including most notably, Trump himself) ever admits guilt about or responsibility for anything, so we’re off to an interesting start with these indictments!

So, let’s briefly consider the astrology at work in all this. No doubt, much more information will be forthcoming soon, so this will be a quick read, just to establish a framework for deeper exploration down the road.

Unfortunately, we don’t have complete birth data for any of the players, with not even a date for Gates and Papadopoulos, so we’ll be relying heavily on a noon chart for Paul Manafort, whose April 1, 1949 birth in New Britain, Connecticut is documented on Wikipedia.com. With no birth time, we will have to ignore any information related to his chart angles, houses or Moon placement.

Even so, we’ll forge ahead with what we have – there’s plenty to explore! Because so much of Mueller’s investigation pertains to actions taken during Trump’s campaign, and inevitably to Trump himself (whether he wants to admit it or not), the triwheel below sets both those charts against what we know about Paul Manafort.  According to news accounts, Trump announced his campaign on June 16, 2015 at 11:08 a.m.—in Trump Tower, of course.




Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (middle wheel) Trump Campaign Announcement, June 16, 2015, 11:08 a.m. DST, New York, NY (news report); (outer wheel) Paul Manafort, April 1, 1949, 12:00 p.m. ST, New Britain, CT.  Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.



Interchart Fire Kite: Manafort Venus-Mars-Sun/Node midpoint (all Aries) trines Trump Pluto-Announcement Venus/Jupiter midpoint-Manafort Pluto (Leo) trines Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius). This grand trine is intersected by Manafort’s Neptune (Libra), opposite his own Sun, sextile his and Trump’s Pluto (Leo), Announcement Venus/Jupiter midpoint and widely sextile Manafort Chiron (Rx, Sagittarius).  This mind-boggling fiery circuit of energy likely explains why Manafort would have appealed to Trump as an asset to his campaign. Manafort’s strong Aries energy radiates strength, combativeness and the ability to get things done, and those are traits that appeal to Trump. Manafort’s timeline with Trump’s campaign ranged from March-August, 2016, when he was let go as Trump’s campaign manager. Trump’s announcement was timed to take maximum advantage of the situation financially (his Pluto conjoins Announcement Venus/Jupiter midpoint), and when Manafort came along in early 2016, he probably struck him as a useful “helper” in this regard.



By August 2016, Manafort’s history of lobbying for foreign entities like the corrupt, pro-Russia politicos in Ukraine (to the tune of millions of dollars) had come out in the news, and that made him radioactive. Manafort’s willingness to take enormous risks may have been an attractive Aries characteristic, but when Trump himself began feeling the heat, Manafort had to go. He left behind his “right-hand-man,” Rick Gates, who took over managing the campaign and even planned Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Gates is described in some places as a Manafort “protégé,” but he seemed to fly under the media radar for the most part until now.

Neptune’s involvement here, turning the grand trine into a Kite configuration, is significant, in that so much of what actually went on during the Trump campaign, especially with Manafort at the lead, is nebulous—and purposely so, it seems. “Alternative facts” have ruled from day one. Manafort basically hid his involvements with pro-Russian lobbying over the years (he only registered retroactively as a foreign agent when his activities came to light in the news), and we still don’t know what Trump saw in him as a campaign manager apart from that. Maybe, in fact, Manafort’s foreign activities were the appeal for Trump—Trump was still pursuing a big hotel project in Moscow, even as he campaigned for president!

Manafort Uranus (Gemini) conjoins Announcement Sun-Moon and Trump Sun-No. Node, sextiles Trump Mars-ASC (Leo) and opposes Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius). Manafort’s Saturn (Virgo) also plays into this configuration through its out-of-sign conjunction with Trump’s Mars-ASC, and with Trump’s Progressed Sun (Leo). This Sun was on the verge of progressing into Virgo at that point, where it would exactly conjoin Manafort’s Saturn, so there appears to be rather fated timing involved in the relationship between these two men.

Reinforcing this notion is Manafort’s No. Node (Aries) in close trine to Trump’s Mars-ASC, and sextile/trine to Trump’s nodal axis. The presence of transiting Uranus applying to Manafort’s No. Node (Aries) when Trump announced his candidacy adds another surprising bit of “kismet.” In fact, the depth of the connections we’re seeing raises a lot of questions. Manafort now stands accused of “conspiracy against the U.S.,” and these late Aries points (Manafort’s No. Node and transiting Uranus, especially during 2016) square Sibly Pluto at the same time they tie in so comfortably with Trump’s Gemini-Sagittarius axis. Trump makes no secret that his goal is to dismantle the Federal government (the so-called “Deep State”) as we know it, but to what ultimate end?

 

Trump’s campaign promises always dangled some vague connection between dismantling the government and “mak[ing] America great again,” but how the first goal would facilitate the other was never explained. “Believe me, it’s going to be great,” was a common response to questions. Now we have to wonder how closely Manafort’s pro-Russian activities were aligned with Trump’s goals. Something to watch going forward.

We can’t draw any conclusions yet, but astrologically, we should keep in mind that Vladimir Putin’s Sun is exactly conjunct Manafort’s Neptune and a few degrees from Trump’s Jupiter (all in Libra, charts not shown). If these players weren’t already known to have connections, we would probably discount all this as happenstance, but since there are known connections, both direct and indirect, who knows what’s at the heart of this tangled maze?

Manafort Jupiter (Capricorn) opposes Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer), trines Trump MC (Taurus) and inconjoins Trump Mars-ASC (Leo). It’s hard to miss that Manafort’s Jupiter also conjoins Sibly Pluto, so his lucrative career as a top-level D.C. lobbyist (lucrative enough that he allegedly laundered a lot of money to keep from paying taxes) makes perfect sense—particularly during this administration, given the connections we see here between Manafort, Trump and his campaign. 




It was clearly a mutually beneficial relationship up to a point, but the inconjunct between their charts suggests that Trump and Manafort experienced some frustrating encounters along the way, as well. This may be why Manafort was terminated as campaign manager and not simply reassigned.

It’s possible that the two men have continued to benefit each other, but it probably became risky to do so from close quarters. We’re seeing this type of “long-distance” relationship between Trump and Bannon as well, since Bannon was let go from the White House, so there may be a pattern at work here.



Finally…for now

This is just the beginning of a long legal story that will unfold over the rest of Trump’s administration. For anyone paying close attention, it’s hard to believe that Trump himself is not implicated, however for the moment, he’s eluded the net that Mueller’s investigation is casting over its first targets. The White House is trying its best to shift the public’s focus from Trump onto Trump nemeses Clinton and Obama, but few outside Trump’s core base are buying what he’s selling. In a future post we’ll examine how all this is working against the U.S. Sibly chart—lots to talk about there! 

In the meantime, Happy Halloween!!







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. 














Wednesday, October 25, 2017

On critical times for the GOP: Pluto weighs in





I’ve talked at length here about Pluto’s difficult transit into the depths of Capricorn, and about the tough evolutionary process our American democracy is experiencing, as a consequence. 
  
Pluto’s hold on our daily lives is at times very covert— yet, as long as we inhabit earth’s material plane, this astrological “god” of the Underworld reserves the right to take a regular bite out of us. Political parties are no exception to this rule, and it appears that the GOP can attest to that these days.

Conventional astrological wisdom says that Pluto rules “death, sex, and taxes”—which is true enough, but this is only half the story. If we pull the right string, each of these dreary sounding areas unravels, revealing a rich, deeply profound dimension of life. The past week’s news reads like a compendium on these dimensions of life:

- Four Marine Green Berets patrolling (for unknown reasons) a treacherous area in Niger are ambushed and killed, raising all kinds of Plutonian questions about how our nation—and regrettably, our president—handles the death of American service people;

- The Internet explodes with high-profile cases of sexual assault in the workplace (Harvey Weinstein’s and many more), while thousands of women come out and #MeToo, sharing their experiences in solidarity;  

- Congress struggles with Trump’s pet project of tax reform, and if the royal tweets are any gauge, falling behind Trump’s wishes in this area is a litmus test for “loyalty”—in Trump’s eyes, a matter of life and death. The GOP is beginning to realize that it’s the life and death of the party itself that is at stake here, as high-profile senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake stage a mutiny against Trumpism and those demands of “loyalty.”

So, Pluto’s fingerprints are all over our news, and the destructive power we associate with Pluto is equally manifest. It’s curious to me that the GOP—the party that hosted Trump’s rise—would be such a target of this destruction, but that’s what happens in parasitical relationships, isn’t it? Once the invader latches on and establishes itself, it begins sapping the lifeblood of the host (vampires are the ultimate Plutonians), to the point of no return. 



Without serious intervention, in fact, the invader becomes the host. Let’s take a look at a biwheel cast between Donald Trump and the U.S. Republican Party to gain some insight into the effect he’s having on them. Please note that the GOP chart is a noon chart–there’s no precise “birth” time available, so we won’t be dwelling on the party’s angles, houses or Moon placement. 




Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. Republican Party, March 20, 1854, 12:00 noon LMT (no precise time available), Ripon, WI; (outer wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: Trump Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini) opposes Trump Moon –So. Node (Sagittarius); this axis squares GOP Sun/Neptune (midpoint, Pisces). Again, we can’t say much about the GOP’s Moon, but the noon placement falls conjunct Trump’s Moon, and it’s plausible that both Moons fall within orb, no matter the time. Even without that conjunction, however, this is a remarkable connection between the two charts, and if we factor in the GOP’s Sun/Neptune midpoint, it’s even more so. According to Michael Munkasey[1], this point has positive and negative expressions (like every midpoint does), and it’s worth looking at both of them:

Thesis (+) “A leader with the ability to thrill the masses through visions of a great future; projection of the ‘good times,’ an ability to respond to the needs of the consumers by offering products based on popular concepts.

Antithesis (-) “A leadership which goes to excess and exhausts itself on impractical schemes; inflation which drains resources; budget deficits; drug problems; promises made but not backed with substance or intention.”

How much more accurately can we describe the situation? Trump thrilled the masses and seduced the GOP into supporting him, against the better judgment of several key players. Trouble is, the “antithesis” side of the equation could become the GOP’s downfall because they will answer for their parasite’s shortcomings. 

As so many Plutonian dilemmas dictate, they’re “damned if they do, and damned if they don’t”—if they desert Trump one by one, the “loyalist” brigade led by Steve Bannon will pick them off like flies, installing the extremist candidates he and Trump prefer in their place. If they remain loyal and swallow whatever pride and dignity they have in return for Trump & Co.’s blessing (it’s really embarrassing to watch), they may survive into the 2018 election season, but the voters could also clobber them for being such toadies.

We might feel tempted to feel sorry for the GOP’s dilemma, but unless they “grow a pair” as Stephen Colbert put it, they will probably deserve whatever treatment they get! It seems to me that the only power they will have in the situation is to desert Trump en masse, reassert Congress’s total independence from the Executive Branch, and take whatever beatings their home districts want to hand out. At least they would go out with their principles and self-respect intact! 




Unfortunately, Trump has them where it hurts—hoisted on the petard of tax reform—a legislative opportunity they’ve been drooling over forever, especially since Trump hit the scene. Munkasey characterizes the connection between Uranus and a Sun/Neptune midpoint as “upsets caused by ignoring reality while you are dreaming…” Another quite accurate description of the situation—Trump is not going to stand by while they craft a tax reform bill to their liking; he’s going to undermine their efforts just like he did on health care reform, and it’s anyone’s guess if a bill will actually reach Trump’s desk.

Interchart T-Square: Trump Venus-Saturn (Cancer) oppose GOP Chiron-Jupiter-Pallas (Capricorn); this axis squares Trump Jupiter (Rx, Libra). We’ve seen in earlier posts here that Trump’s Cancer points are key to what Jeff Flake just called his “outrageous, undignified behavior”—hateful fear-mongering, insecure bullying (Trump’s Mars helps here), ready to project his own shortcomings out onto others and avoid responsibility at all costs.

This t-square captures all that, with the GOP’s economy-focused Capricorn Jupiter as the target for Trump’s projections. He knows what buttons to push to demean and wound them (Jupiter-Chiron conjunction), and he’s undermined any remaining principles of justice and ethics (Pallas) the GOP may cherish. If “loyalty” to him is all that matters now, how can they be ethical or just?  This loyalty is represented by Trump’s Jupiter in this equation: growing his brand, expanding his reach and deepening his hold on power (and the goodies that come along with it, if you lack ethical scruples) is the goal here.

It’s in the nature of t-squares that if things get “stuck,” and goals aren’t being accomplished, the way through is at the point opposite the focal planet. In this case, that would be opposite Jupiter, in mid-Aries, which suggests more adolescent, belligerent behavior. As Corker says, “Alert the Daycare staff!” 




Is the writing on the wall for the GOP?

There’s a lot of media doom and gloom afloat about the GOP’s future as an intact party, and clearly, Election 2018 will tell the story in the short term, so let’s quickly explore that biwheel. Here, because the noon-chart is the inner wheel, we won’t be discussing angles, houses or the GOP’s Moon. Even with all those vagaries, this arrangement gives us a better visual feel for the impact Election 2018 is likely to have on the party.  


Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) U.S. Republican Party, March 20, 1854, 12:00 noon LMT (no precise time available), Ripon, WI; (outer wheel) U.S. Election 2018, November 6, 2018, 6:40 a.m. (sunrise) ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: Election Saturn (Capricorn) trines GOP Mars (Virgo) trines Election Uranus-GOP Pluto (Taurus). The transit of Uranus over the GOP’s Taurus Pluto portends a period of rapid, revolutionary change. Robert Hand’s transit “bible”[2] puts it this way:

“Forces that have been gathering slowly in your environment or within yourself have reached such a critical point that changes begin to occur now in a swift and sometimes rather devastating manner…”

Combining this powerful conjunction with the trines to the Virgo and Capricorn points suggests that financial/material concerns will “grease the skids” of this radical change, and depending upon the nature of those changes, the party may look back in horror to see the trap they fell into. This could be a real Dr. Faustus moment: if the party’s sold its “Soul” in return for material favors, Pluto will be calling the shots! 

Which brings us to Election Pluto conjoins GOP Chiron-Jupiter-Pallas (all Capricorn). Clearly, the GOP is getting hit by Pluto from both sides, from within (its radix chart) and from without (transits), so the Faustus metaphor applies even more deeply. We should note that Pluto has been transiting the GOP Chiron-Jupiter since the beginning of 2016, so it’s clear that they were subject to the “carrot-stick” routine by Trump from way back then.

Thinking back, he more than likely convinced them that he was their only “salvation” (in terms of the 2016 election and their pet issues), and that to survive was to throw their lot in with him. Didn’t anyone realize that his “art of the deal” is all about the willingness to stiff anyone who’s foolish enough to think they’re going to profit from him?  


It’s key here that so many outer planets are occupying earth signs at the same time—there will be such a heavy focus on material goals that we can perhaps understand why the GOP is so willing to keep its blinders on and just forge ahead with the tax reform issue right now—they really do believe it’s necessary for the next wave of economic growth, and they see that as their “salvation” in the end.  

Agree with them or not, Jupiter will be celebrating its homecoming into growth-oriented Sagittarius right after the election, so the push will be on. Watch out for inflation and ballooning deficits!

Election Mars (Aquarius) squares GOP Saturn (Taurus) and trines Election Venus-Ceres (Libra); Election Venus inconjoins GOP Saturn and GOP Sun (a Yod). The GOP’s infrastructure (rules, guiding principles, leadership hierarchy) is under considerable stress here, and it’s quite possible that they will be held responsible for things they have little power over. The stress will likely be at least partly financial—Election Mars is also stressing out their coffers with its wide conjunction to GOP Venus (Pisces). Will some big Republican donors be lured to Trump/Bannon’s more nationalist wing of the party and bypass their usual party affiliation? Such funding choices could fragment the party more effectively than anything.

Election Saturn (Capricorn) squares GOP Mercury (Aries). This aspect illustrates why Saturn’s ingress into Capricorn will probably be a key moment in how these threats to the GOP evolve between now and Election 2018: as Corker and Flake have both demonstrated with their courageous decisions to speak out, the party can’t continue enabling behavior that so completely clashes with its founding principles if it wants to survive. As we see in this square, Saturn is going to demand that they walk their talk (Mercury)—if they want to be known as the “Party of Lincoln,” they have to act like it. They can’t condone Trump & Co’s radical right-wing agenda of shutting our borders, dismantling 1st Amendment guarantees and oppressing minority citizens. And so on.

Election Neptune conjoins GOP Neptune (both Pisces). A Neptune return is a transit that we mortal humans never experience in our lifetimes, but in this case it forces us to consider where the GOP got its start: as a pre-Civil War effort to consolidate around a national ideal of slavery-free enterprise. The so-called Compromise of 1850 was top-of-mind, no doubt: it sought to keep the nation united, despite serious disputes over which new states and territories would be allowed to hold slaves and which would not. We know how that story ended, but the GOP has prided itself on its anti-slavery position all these years.

With Neptune returning to the party’s original Neptune position, however, their original ideals will be either confirmed or washed away with the changing tides. It’s hard to imagine that this wouldn’t be a key passage in their history!




Final thoughts

Death is, of course, the nether extreme of Life, as a cyclical phenomenon—it’s the tipping point at which an individual life gives way to the collective, creative ferment all around us, becoming one with the material that nurtures future generations. There’s a reason Pluto transits through the Zodiac are used to examine the astrology of the various generational “signs.” Pluto rules every one of the organic stages of the life cycle: conception, gestation, birth, degeneration, death, transformation and regeneration.

We can even imagine this cycle in mechanistic terms: each new population cohort is literally generated by the energy output of its parents, and those children—unique as snowflakes on their own—are also born into the collective, demographic reality represented by each Pluto generation. As such they tend to inherit a zeitgeist, or worldview, that is typical of Pluto in a specific Zodiac sign.

In raw, material (or even scientific) terms, our biological selves are both dependent upon the generations before us, and in time, will be transformed into the generations that follow us. Even those individuals who never produce children end up contributing to future generations in one way or another: through their mental and creative output, their material possessions and resources, and perhaps even their physical organs. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is more than a romantic notion—it’s a matter of species survival—another key Plutonian concept.

Not surprisingly, the serious, right-ward shift in political viewpoints that plagues global politics these days is related because many societies and cultures fear for their survival today. Toxic potentials lie dormant in every society, awaiting a trigger, and when survival fears creep up on a society and consume its energies, what transpires often reflects the “dark side” of the Pluto generation(s) in power.  

 
We don’t have to look too far for examples: many of the adults now in positions of power were born in either the Leo or Virgo generations, and members of both generations are complicit in this right-ward shift. Despite the considerable progress made in Civil Rights legislation during the Leo generation, this cohort also resonates with Pluto’s authoritarian alliance with Saturn in Capricorn, and that connection can definitely be twisted to right-wing purposes. We’ll examine this generational chart to explore why this is true in the next post here.

The second cohort that launched when Pluto entered Virgo in 1956 can be drawn into a dark maelstrom by its focus on “purity” and “perfection,” and its earthy resonance with Capricorn makes this generation particularly prone to that right-ward drift. This is especially true with Neptune now transiting opposite their sign, distorting their vision and triggering their anxieties. This is the generation that gave us Andrew Breitbart (b. 2/1/1969) and his right-wing media website phenomenon.



Pluto rules genetics, so the unfortunate emergence of “blood and soil” right-wing extremism on American soil makes twisted sense to at least a segment of the Virgo cohort. In fact, Pluto’s tour of Virgo from 1956-1971 was marked by a long list of hate crimes against African-Americans and other minorities, including the high-profile assassinations of civil rights workers and leaders.

The KKK was heavily involved, of course—it took until 2005 for one of its ring leaders to be prosecuted for his role in the 1964 murders of civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner (the so-called “Mississippi Burning” murders). Clearly, that era helped promote the cause of civil rights in the end (martyrdom is a Virgo-Pisces phenomenon), but not without heinous costs that still weigh heavily on our nation.

Where individuals fall in these tragic situations—on the side of the perpetrators or the victims, or somewhere in between—is also a Plutonian puzzle. This is a tough world for those prone to survival anxieties, whether justified by reality or not. When—by circumstances or delusion—it’s “kill or be killed”—what are the choices? Even if they don’t physically murder anyone, those caught up in fearful delusions poison our social discourse with the hatred and fear they harbor. In these Capricorn-heavy times, we need to ask who profits from all this.

We shouldn’t lay the responsibility for today’s anxieties on the Virgo generation alone, however. We have a Leo generation, would-be “king” in the White House, and his destructive agenda is enabled by several from that same cohort, including Steve Bannon and 11 of his current Cabinet-and Executive-level appointees.

In fact, there’s a fairly even split between Leo and Virgo generation Cabinet members, with one lonely Libra generation representative in United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley. This Leo-Virgo preponderance shouldn’t be surprising, of course—we would expect to see those age groups involved in the top level positions of government.   

Even so, the individuals sitting in those Cabinet seats carry the torch for their Pluto generations in some way, so it’s worth exploring those generational perspectives a little more deeply. We need that understanding to envision a more positive way forward!

Stay tuned – more on this topic in the next post!









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

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 
    


[1] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, pp. 88-89.
[2] Robert Hand, Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living, Whitford Press, Atglen, PA, 1976, p. 413.