Friday, January 13, 2017

A “thousand cuts:” The lesser angels of Neptune & Chiron storm through Washington

Mundane astrology usually assigns mortality-related issues to Saturn and Pluto, with the former ruling over karma (the responsibility factor) and the latter ruling the entire process of  “death, transformation and rebirth," but this post argues that we need to also consider the corrosive, debilitating roles played by Neptune and Chiron. 

While the tactics of Saturn and Pluto are perhaps more dramatic and overt, Neptune and Chiron tend to operate very quietly, but insidiously, beneath our drama radars, often escaping notice.

Then, in what only seems to happen out of nowhere, realities and relationships that we have long taken for granted—from the most personal level to the level of societies, systems of government, traditions, and so on—simply dissolve before our eyes. One day—as on this past election evening—everything looks different.

Of course, political pundits are still falling all over themselves trying to figure out what in the world happened. Not that we haven’t been through shocking elections in the past—this one just seems to be qualitatively different. Did we wake up in the same country? What happened to the democratic values that seemed so written in stone before November 8th? What happened to the standards of decency—the rules and norms that have kept our national discourse at least somewhat civil until now? One article today takes a stab at answering these questions:

“Over the last eight years, McConnell and congressional Republicans have blown up one norm after another, casting off the habits and expectations that allow our government to operate in something resembling an efficient fashion, all with the goal of grinding that government to a halt.
What if we filibustered just about every bill? What if we threatened not to increase the debt ceiling, basically threatening global economic collapse if we don't get what we want? What if we shut down the government? What if we just refused to consider the president's nominee to the Supreme Court until we get a president from our party?”
This may all just sound like sniveling Democratic party angst, but indeed the same gradual, relentless breakdown of institutions and norms is happening across Europe and elsewhere these days—witness, the wave of right-wing “populist” (called “authoritarian populist” by Secretary of State John Kerry) threats we’re seeing to that continent’s liberal democracies. In the wake of February’s “Brexit” vote in the UK, the European Union itself is under threat from the pressures.

Suddenly the values of egalitarian democracy, rooted in a delicate balance of powers, the American Bill of Rights and (in Europe) the French revolutionary ideals of “libert√©, egalit√©, and fraternit√©,” are being back-burnered. Stagnant economies roiling the working classes and the perceived threats of trade arrangements and job-killing immigration have spawned an atmosphere of anger and irrationality in national debates everywhere.

In the process, voters have chosen leaders who promise to recklessly upset the post-World War II order. It appears that dismantling that order—particularly the NATO alliance—is a Russian objective. Putin’s meddling in the elections of not just the U.S., but of Eastern European, Baltic nations, and most recently, Germany, is all over the news these days, and the techniques reportedly used to meddle are classic Neptunian subterfuge: use the media to spread rumors, misinformation and disinformation, with the goal of sowing doubt in the integrity of election processes and blurring the distinction between real facts (even those gathered by reputable intelligence agencies) and “fake news.” Then, when caught, deny any involvement.

It’s almost humorous, in these mutable times (powerfully maintained by Neptune’s long transit through Pisces), that we’re seeing “plumbing” analogies in the news—specifically information “leaks.” Leaks of any fluid entity (information qualifies) are pure Neptune, which is always pushing to exceed existing limits!

The irony is, for a Neptunian strategist like Trump, the perception of leaks can be used to the same advantage as actual leaks—hence Trump’s admiring comments about “Wikileaks” during the campaign, and as PEOTUS, his Tweets yesterday about Nazi Germany and the press. 

It’s all one powerful, Neptunian “shadow play”—witness Trump’s performance in yesterday’s press conferenceTrump’s claims that the intelligence community leaked an incriminating dossier to the media (that he denies ever hearing about and denies even exists) are simply a pretext allowing him to impose his power over both the intelligence community and the media in one fell swoop, sending the message that they better not tell him anything he doesn’t want to hear, or ask him questions he doesn’t want to answer.

That Trump’s claims are factually false is unimportant—for those who now serve in his new administration, the ground rules are laid down and made just ambiguous enough to keep everyone off balance. Intelligence personnel say that they felt responsible for letting Trump know what documents and stories were circulating out there about him; Trump turns that responsible impulse on its head and uses it against them.

Another fluid (besides information) that is much-discussed these days is oil—thought by many astrologers to be ruled by Neptune, as well, although Pluto is probably also involved, as ruler of the “Underworld” from which fossil fuels are extracted. I would suggest that both planets have a hand in both the resource itself and the shady manipulations that always seems to accompany this geopolitical “black gold.”

The nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Trump’s Secretary of State is a testament to the entangled nature of oil politics: he is friends with Vladimir Putin and probably resentful of Obama’s sanctions regime against Russia for its effects on Exxon-Russia dealings, so Tillerson is the perfect choice for what looks to be Trump’s pro-Russian foreign policy. 

That Tillerson claims to have “no knowledge” of Trump’s financial interests in Russian oil is pure Neptune-Pluto obfuscation—where entanglements do exist, they are rarely acknowledged openly, and those who dig for the truth are vilified (the “deceptive media”). 

Trump continues to meet calls to release his taxes (Pluto)—so these questions might be put to rest—with signature Neptunian sleight-of-hand (the eternal “audit”).

To establish at least some of the astrological facts in this wildly complicated situation, let’s examine the chart for yesterday’s press conference alongside Trump’s natal chart, first—then, we’ll follow up by adding the U.S. Sibly chart into the picture for further context. There’s quite a story to consider here.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1947, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, New York; (outer wheel) Trump Press Conference, January 11, 2017, 11:00 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.
Interchart Cardinal Grand Cross: Press Conference (PC) Sun-Pluto (Capricorn) oppose Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer); this axis squares PC Jupiter-Trump Jupiter opposite PC Uranus (Aries). Let’s examine one axis at a time here:

Press Conference (PC) Sun-Pluto (Capricorn) oppose Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). A Capricorn Sun conjunct Pluto wields great power and reflects great ambition; while not a close conjunction (4°+orb), it’s clear that this conference gave Trump a weighty platform for his action plan and messaging. Saturn’s rulership of Capricorn reflects the punitive, reprimanding attitude Trump adopted towards the media (particularly Buzzfeed and CNN), U.S. intelligence agencies and Big Pharma.

Clearly this confrontational stance is a matter of strategy (Pluto) going forward. The immediate losses experienced on Wall Street by pharmaceutical stocks certainly speaks to Pluto’s manipulations—Trump’s stated objective is to provide lower drug prices, so a shock to their bottom line can’t hurt. Broadly, he’s laying down the groundwork and power dynamics for future healthcare program deal-making (if such a healthcare program actually happens).

PC Jupiter-Trump Jupiter opposite PC Uranus (Aries). Trump is still enjoying the Jupiter return to his chart that lifted him on election day, but the opposition from transiting Uranus to this point has been a mixed bag. On one hand, although we never know what the next day’s official “Tweets” will be about (Jupiter makes strategic use of these Uranian surprises), we can usually assume that these pithy communications will be defensive and/or pre-emptive offensive: either deflecting inconvenient or damaging information, or tearing down some perceived opponent. 

Tweets in which Trump takes credit for something he may or may not have actually done are the exception. Many analysts have commented that it’s time he stops being a candidate and starts being the president-elect—we shouldn’t hold our collective breath.  

Regarding the tense relationship between these cardinal axes. Those caught up in cardinal grand cross energies tend to act impulsively, sometimes in an agitated manner, often with scant regard for their impact on others. We’re seeing this in Trump’s insistence that the Affordable Care Act be repealed NOW, with replacement to come (does anyone believe this?).

Trump’s ambitious Saturn-Venus (Cancer) are definitely “caught up” in these energies, and they likely speak to his need for constant validation (they’re inconjunct his Sagittarius Moon), not to mention his defensive/offensive strategies for growth (this duo squares his Jupiter). These specific planets point to rapid social change and a need to coordinate personal ambition (Trump Jupiter return) and social trends (PC Uranus).

It’s sobering to realize that Trump will oversee at least the early days of the coming wave of Uranian tech advances (automotive, AI-based automation and robots, etc.). In light of this agitated grand cross dynamic (which continues into the inauguration), can we imagine that he will patiently help workers navigate the treacherous job market that results from all the new automation? Just how many new service sector jobs will the economy sustain? Workers are going to be the “losers” in that brave new world, and we know that Trump only respects “winners.”

Hopefully time will prove this wrong, but nothing we’ve seen so far suggests that Trump will transcend his need for personal power and aggrandizement for the sake of collective needs. The pile of folders stacked on the dais at the press conference were designed to suggest he is divesting from his businesses for the sake of the presidency, but few believe there was anything substantive in those folders. Those who oversee government ethics certainly aren’t buying his plan.  

On another note, he’s appointing Cabinet members who disapprove of the goals of the agencies they will take on: aside from the chaos this incoherence is likely to produce, what can we expect to get done for the People in this atmosphere? Simply cutting funds on the pretext of returning them to the “taxpayers” would give Trump a personal boost (Cancer planets) and would certainly be Capricorn Pluto’s Wall Street-friendly preference, but what would that accomplish in the end?

Interchart Grand Fire Trine: Trump Mars-ASC (Leo) trines PC Uranus (Aries) and Trump Moon-So. Node-PC Saturn-Mercury (Sagittarius). This particular configuration (minus Mercury) has persisted pretty much throughout Trump’s coup, and as the fiery emotional engine of the election, it probably fueled his rise. With his Moon tied in so closely, Trump was able to be the passionate emotional “voice” his followers were looking for, so it’s no coincidence that his message caught on “like wildfire.”

PC Mercury’s placement here, trine Trump’s fiery Mars-ASC, explains his anger at the unconfirmed “Russian dossier” revelations—anything that challenges his image (ASC), power (Mars), and provides an alternative narrative (Mercury) to his own is going to be rejected forcefully.

On another note, this configuration also reflects what CNN called “the strategic crush of confirmation hearings” designed to rush Trump’s Cabinet nominations through Congress so that no one hearing can attract too much attention (or take a very in-depth approach). Scheduling his own press conference in the middle of such a harried day only reinforced the pressured pace Trump wants to maintain. It’s hard to see this strategy winning out in the end, but we shall see.

Like all wildfires, the one that has supported Trump “no matter what” will eventually run its course. It seems that Trump’s boast that he can “shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one will care” simply isn’t going to hold true forever. The next aspects explain my reasoning here a bit further.

Interchart T-Square: PC Saturn-Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) oppose Trump Sun-No. Node-Uranus (Gemini); this axis squares PC Chiron-Mars (Pisces). Saturn has moved into closer aspect to Trump’s points since moving out of square with Pisces Neptune, so this t-square is likely over-taxing Trump’s thinking processes, not to mention frustrating his emotional life (Moon in cerebral Sagittarius). With Pisces Chiron-Mars involved, to say that Trump feels his agenda is being challenged is probably fair. He wants what he wants, NOW.

PC Saturn’s inconjunct to Trump’s Saturn-Venus further compounds the effects of the t-square. In fact, PC Chiron is doubling down its influence by also trining Trump’s Cancer duo while it squares his Sun—it’s quite likely that despite his bravado, he’s a mass of insecurities and fears at the moment. The ethical concerns with his conflicts of interest simply won’t be dispelled as easily as he would like, and he is probably caught on the horns of a very wounding (Chiron) dilemma. He can’t be totally responsible (Saturn) without giving up on a great deal of wealth and prestige (Venus sextiles his Taurus MC—could his name have to come down off all those buildings?). Can he choose between being president and being the world’s biggest real-estate mogul?

On being president—adding in the Sibly chart

We could certainly tease more out of the biwheel above, but the most critical remaining points need the larger context of the nation itself. Three specific issues are considered here: what roles do Sibly Neptune and Chiron and Trump’s natal Neptune and Chiron play in all this? How is the pre-inauguration chaos we’re seeing likely to impact the nation-at-large? Let’s consider the triwheel.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1947, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, New York; (outer wheel) Trump Press Conference, January 11, 2017, 11:00 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.

PC Venus-Neptune (Pisces) trine PC Moon-Trump Mercury-Sibly Sun-Jupiter-Venus (all Cancer). Many analysts concurred that Trump’s press conference was a masterful performance—as one said, he “set the tone” of his administration going forward. The emotional (Moon) and performative content (Venus-Neptune) of the day is represented here; Trump’s tone-setting message was supported by the watery trine with his Mercury, and that message began overtaking the Sibly Sun (presidency and nation-at-large). For better or worse (trines to Sibly Jupiter-Venus) Trump is becoming our “avatar” on the world stage.

PC Venus-Neptune squares Sibly Uranus. Wall Street is still a bit giddy about the prospect of fewer government regulations coming soon (see trines described in last paragraph), yet working Americans (Sibly 6th house Uranus, disposing Sibly Aquarius Moon) are likely to feel more disrupted and deceived (PC Neptune square) than giddy. Many are wondering if they will have healthcare going forward, and the promise of major infrastructure/transportation projects (creating thousands of jobs) may prove illusory (Neptune overlays Sibly 3rd).

On another note, the Sibly 6th house’s connection with the military may leave us vulnerable to threats. The pressure on Sibly Uranus could also reflect ongoing cyberhacking—we need to secure our essential systems!

PC Mars also squares Trump’s natal Uranus, so we can expect continued impulsive attacks on any and all opponents.

Trump Chiron-Jupiter-Sibly Saturn (Libra) squares Sibly Sun (Cancer); Trump Jupiter opposes Sibly Chiron-PC Uranus (Aries). Trump may have a fairly detrimental impact (Chiron) on the checks and balances we can normally expect to be exercised by Congress on the Executive Office (Sibly Saturn squares Sibly Sun).  Trump clearly expects Congress to support his personal growth agenda (his Jupiter conjoins Sibly Saturn); this was evident in his statement about repealing Obamacare quickly, despite the misgivings of some GOP members.

There appear to be some mutually wounding influences here: Trump’s Chiron and the nation’s Chiron are essentially opposite, even though the orb is fairly wide. Will Trump accept the awesome responsibility that comes with the presidency, transcend personal ambitions and smooth over some rough edges? Or will the nation become a more savage, narcissistic collective under his lead?

Trump Neptune (Libra) conjoins Sibly MC and squares Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Promises, promises, promises…media reps at the press conference did their best to pin Trump down on the pledges he so vehemently promoted during the campaign, but it’s clear the waffling will continue. 

At the Sibly MC, Trump’s Neptune may influence our reputation on the world stage. Trump himself has stated that he sees the advantage of being unpredictable—keeping other countries guessing what we’re likely to do.

Exaggerated praising of his nominees and of others he favors seems to fit here: at several points in his press conference he fell back into this tactic for cloaking a basically substance-light policy. Using unpredictability and hyperbole tactics with allies (Sibly 7th house Jupiter-Venus) who count on our support (even more importantly, on our steady leadership) may backfire. It appears from this configuration that Trump will leave himself “wiggle-room” in any economic policies or agreements. “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” is a prime example.

These aspects are not limited to the press conference event, of course, so we can expect the ambiguities and nebulous accountability to persist (Mexico will reimburse us for the wall someday). Trump’s business practices should be instructive here.

Interchart T-Square: PC Chiron-Mars (Pisces) oppose Sibly Neptune (Virgo); this axis squares Sibly Mars-Trump Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini). Martin Lass describes Chiron’s aspects to Mars as eliciting “the physical manifestation of our Woundedness and its subsequent Healing path, i.e., the things we do or not do, the actions we take or do not take and the decisions we make or not make.”[1]

This sounds like a warning to my ear—is Trump’s presence on that podium itself the “Wound,” (his Gemini points overlaying the Sibly 7th—an “enemy?”), or were the dynamics that brought him to power the lancing of a long-festering wound?  Mars signals a call to action, but in mutable Pisces, the path ahead was far from clarified by the press conference.

One specific hazard reflected here is very troubling. Pisces is the sign ruling epidemics and addictions, and the nation is in the throes of an opioid epidemic that fits the sign precisely. Trump’s continued insistence that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced (with what?) should give us serious pause here, for two reasons: addictions seem to follow on the heels of illness and/or hopelessness, affecting those who (for whatever reason) are vulnerable. Chiron opposite Sibly Neptune (the American Dream) certainly points to a possible epidemic of despair being felt in America.

Will there be a healing counterforce of compassion and care (and opportunity, if that’s the “care” needed) available? If hopelessness is the root problem, which policies being promoted by Trump or the GOP-dominated Congress are going to solve that problem? 

Those who disagree with the very concept of national health care (Trump’s nominee for Health & Human Services and most Republicans) love to question why those who are “responsible” and take care of their health should have to pay for those who do not—we can only imagine how that translates into care for “irresponsible” substance abusers. 

This compassionless stance and the empty promises we’re hearing will do nothing to solve the current epidemic—or others like it that may take off during the rest of Neptune’s time in Pisces.
Is the Trump presidency going to lift the nation’s spirit by cutting access to healthcare? 

Perhaps he and others who might chafe at paying for addicted “weaklings” are, in the end, simply pinching pennies and using “moral misgivings” as the justification. Are we seeing how this might apply to defunding Planned Parenthood as well? More dollars for the Defense industry!

Neptune, Chiron and the changing world order  

With Neptune it often seems that any change afoot is “inevitable”—for instance, we were sold on globalization (a distinctly Neptunian phenomenon) as a new economic order “whose time had come” in the late 1980s-early 1990s (see 7/29/16 post for more on the evolution of free trade); now, economies across the world are reacting with nationalist/populist rage at the consequences of that globalization.

The fact is, better choices could have been made by the powers-that-be involved in setting up this global system, and can be, going forward, with enough political will (more on that in future posts). Better choices could have been made from day one in election 2016, too. It will be interesting to hear what comes out of the Inspector General’s investigation into FBI director James Comey’s choice to issue a damning letter about Hillary Clinton 11 days out from the election.

Whether the deep disruptions we see today will appear “inevitable” in the rearview mirror remains to be seen, but clearly, the world order virtually all living Americans have grown up with seems to be washing away before our eyes, with every “Tweet” sailing forth from Trump Tower. IMHO, Trump’s press conference did nothing to allay those concerns.

Clearly, this wave of unfathomable change bears the signatures of Neptune and Chiron: simply put, we’re seeing the old order succumb to the erosive energies of this duo in a slow “death by a thousand cuts.” One small wound (a Chironic “cut”) may have little impact; however, a continuing, relentless succession of small wounds delivered over long periods of time (Neptune) can have a deadly cumulative effect.

This is the power of passivity, which we associate with Neptune because of its fluid, watery nature: if people simply stand by and watch, a slowly dripping faucet and a sluggish drain will eventually flood them out of their home. Even with understandable excuses for standing by, there’s a causal connection between passive neglect and the consequences of neglect (in this case, flooding) that can’t be denied. Saturn always plays the “devil’s advocate” to Neptune.

Even so, Neptune has an insidious way of overpowering Saturnian resistance, so the flood (the addiction, the illness) often wins out over even the most sincere efforts to contain it. Most people living in a flood plain know that when the waters start rising, it’s time to evacuate—plain and simple.

Flooding, mold and decay go hand-in-hand, of course: in fact, decay is an important final stage in Neptunian destruction. An army of hungry, eager spores and bacterium descend upon the soggy flooded area, breaking down any semblance of structural integrity (Saturn). 

There is no going back at that point—all we’re left to do is salvage anything that we can, and clean up the mess—clear out the old, outworn realities—and start fresh. That fresh start is the redemptive new beginning of the ever-cycling Neptunian process.

Chiron often colludes with Neptune at points during this process—for example, in severe disasters in which victims lose everything, we see Chiron’s fingerprints. A significant Chiron passage (usually combined with some other natal/transiting factors) can be marked by devastating loss—followed, ideally, by a healing process that refines and tempers the spirit. Victims often claim that the “only thing that matters is that no one was hurt,” but clearly they are looking at some tears and fears ahead.

Clearly, with PC Chiron opposite our collective Neptune, the nation is now having a significant Chiron passage, complete with heart-wrenching losses. My guess is, we have some tears and fears ahead in America come January 20th. A "flood" of insecurities has inundated our collective “home,” and we are now in the final stages of a destructive, but hopefully redemptive process in the end. Ancient myths regarding cataclysmic floods (Noah’s ark is but one of many) come to mind, and for those who noticed that a Delaware-sized ice-shelf is breaking away from Anarctica (portending sea-level rises), the mythology may not sound too far off. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The astrology suggests a period of unraveling lies ahead (see 5/3/2016 post and others for more), with a more optimistic period dawning at the end of 2020. Let’s hold on to each other in the meantime—all is not lost. Personally, I take comfort that wise people of solid character like Senator Bernie Sanders and President Obama will remain involved, one way or another. It’s no mystery why Obama’s farewell speech kept returning to the issue of taking action and hope—Amen to that!

[1] Martin Lass, Musings of a Rogue Comet: Chiron, Planet of Healing, Book One, Galactic Publications, Nyack, NY, 2001, p. 385.

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.