Donald J. Trump is about to ascend to a position that many feel he does not deserve, a position that he appropriated through unfortunate, deceptive means.
Drum major Neptune will carry us off on a wave of "razzle dazzle" and sleight-of-hand: hang on tight -- It's only just begun!
Actually, the protests have also begun—we attended a big one ourselves (10,000+ strong) in Michigan this past Sunday, in support of the Affordable Care Act. Importantly, the Democratic leaders who rallied people that day—including Senator Bernie Sanders—kept returning to the human toll that will be taken by repealing the ACA, whether or not there’s an a comparable replacement any time soon.
The devastating effects the GOP’s intended cuts would have on Medicaid—it’s not just the only access many poor working families have for healthcare, but the only thing that makes nursing facility care affordable for most seniors, easing the burden on families—were loudly emphasized and decried.
The devastating effects of defunding Planned Parenthood’s health services to women (they do much more for women than provide abortions) were discussed—we’ll hear a lot more about that on Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington.
The devastating effects of yanking insurance coverage from cancer victims and those suffering other chronic illnesses were revealed through several testimonials—you simply can’t go the emergency room for cancer treatment! Dropping the ban on rating insurance applicants according to pre-existing conditions (as the GOP seems to favor) will mean that cancer patients or survivors won’t be able to get another affordable policy, ever.
The devastating effects of insisting young adults can no longer be carried on their parents’ coverage to age 26 were met with outright anger: one speaker asked, “Why would we want to make these young people’s lives even more difficult?” Record levels of student debt, unaffordable housing and a wobbly job market aren’t enough?
For every person attending, there was a good reason for reversing GOP plans, because that’s the point—healthcare is not a luxury, but a right enjoyed by each one of those individuals! What part of a “healthy nation is a stronger nation” don’t they understand?
Well, as Sanders was quick to point out, it may have something to do with the massive $300+ billion tax windfall the top 2% stand to enjoy if the ACA is repealed. Care for individual Americans just may not be on their radar screens. Sanders also said it’s time for America to get its priorities straight. The crowd roared.
Numerous (70+) rallies took place around the country that day, and I have to believe that there were Trump supporters in the crowd, too—when it comes to losing health care, we’re definitely in this together.
Which brings me to the astrological topic at hand. Neptune and Chiron were the “stars” of the last post here, for the chaos they are creating in D.C. as we speak, but that post only began to plumb the depths of Neptune’s importance in this coming presidency. The fear and insecurity being felt by Americans right now is palpable, and it may be with good astrological reason.
But, that’s no cause for despair—better to analyze the challenges coming our way (insofar as that is possible with Neptune) and formulate a collective plan that leverages Neptune’s strengths for the benefit of all. This will become all the more critical as Neptune approaches the powerful mid-point of its home sign Pisces (between now and the spring of 2018).
The boundaries between fact and spin, misinformation, disinformation and outright propaganda will become ever more blurred if we don’t keep shoring up those boundaries with fact-based journalism and public discourse (Saturn is the most effective counterforce to Neptune). We’ve already seen the damage that’s been done to our public discourse during the 2016 campaign—unfortunately, if Neptune is left unchallenged, we “ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Case in point: the Trump administration is reportedly planning to banish the White House press corps from the building, claiming “more space” will be allotted somewhere else. No one is buying that promise—simply put, the press corps’ presence in the White House is critical for accurately informing the public about what goes on there.
Otherwise, the “truth” will then be whatever Trump and his spin doctors decide to say it is. This, and Trump’s habit of using his infrequent press conferences (once every six months so far) to bash the media, sets a dangerous precedent if we’re concerned about transparency.
This infamous recent press conference revealed two key lessons, according to mediator Jim Rutenberg, writing for the NYTimes.com:
“1. Mr. Trump remains a master media manipulator who used his first news briefing since July to expertly delegitimize the news media and make it the story rather than the chaotic swirl of ethical questions that engulf his transition.
2. The news media remains an unwitting accomplice in its own diminishment as it fails to get a handle on how to cover this new and wholly unprecedented president.
It better figure things out, fast, because it has found itself at the edge of the cliff. And our still-functioning (fingers crossed) democracy needs it to stay on the right side of the drop.”
Mr. Rutenberg suggested that, if free press journalism is to survive the Trump administration, it better stop baiting Trump with critical, but unverified “news” (as Buzzfeed did, with the Russian “dossier” story) because that just feeds into Trump’s (Neptunian) narrative about media deception, etc.
Above all, Rutenberg suggests that journalists better stick together. If Trump’s real coup in that press conference was in turning different media outlets against each other and in establishing a new norm that says “if I don’t like what you said about me, you don’t get to ask a question,” maybe the only recourse for the good of all is to decline to cover the president until he treats all legitimate journalists with respect. A little solidarity could go a long way—and the public should support their efforts.
A press analyst writing for the Brookings Brief even suggests that shutting down the press corps may free journalists up to explore information gained outside of the White House more deeply—about how Trump policies actually affect people, for instance. Press corps briefings are unlikely to provide transparent facts, this writer says, because Trump’s every message will aim to shore up his “brand,” not to openly discuss issues and policies. Welcome to the Corporate Presidency!
Resistance and Social Media
So, with its connection to solidarity in groups, Uranus can be a second helpful antidote to Neptunian tactics. Thankfully, Uranus rules our Sibly Aquarius Moon: even though we remain vulnerable to Neptunian “divide and conquer” tactics (Neptune’s predictable ideology wars), we do have an edge with our native lunar sensibilities. Protest chants like “The People… United…Can never be defeated!” have a distinctly Aquarian character.
Obviously, the Media (co-ruled by Mercury-Uranus) can facilitate such Uranian efforts (social media is particularly helpful for organizing), but social media has also brought a damaging Neptunian dimension into our public discourse. During the campaign, for instance, social media provided a very sensitive Neptunian antenna for public sentiment that both sides were able to play like a piano.
From what I observed, Facebook read like an after-school brawl at a middle school from Hell, complete with vicious name-calling, bullying insinuations (and yes, actual threats), slanderous accusations and more. Very little tolerance and respect for the differences people brought to the conversation. These social media exchanges were mirrored on the election trail, as well: Neptune rules mass hysteria, which manifested pretty regularly in a kind of “mob rule” at Trump rallies.
Long story short, this election was pretty much ruled by Neptune, and this is probably why the Media got a lot of things wrong. As we’ll see ahead, the inauguration chart (and thus his entire administration) will also be dominated by Neptune, so the Media (and the rest of us!) needs to get a handle on this quickly.
Predictably, the Media was caught seriously off balance with Trump’s manipulations, frontal assaults, thin skin and busy Twitter fingers. He masterfully blindsided them every inch of the way using such Neptunian tactics—deflecting criticism against himself on to his perceived “enemies,” verbal attacks designed to undermine an opponent’s confidence and public perception (usually ludicrous, slanderous claims, like Ted Cruz’s dad was responsible for Kennedy’s assassination).
Trump’s habits and manipulations have only gotten worse since the election—he’s had a taste of Neptune-enhanced power and it’s intoxicating. And, according to a new CNN.com opinion piece, Trump may not care if a good half of the country doesn’t like him or his behavior. Says Julian Zelitzer:
“Trump's entire political character revolves around not being liked. If professional wrestling is the model, a form of entertainment that Trump has been part of, he plays the heel.”
His “entitled, Bad Boy” schtick may be just that—a “stage” persona that others can project their frustrations on, for better or worse. Zelitzer suggests that Trump has tapped into the craze for “anti-heroes” we’re seeing in film and television. The protagonists are often very flawed individuals, but they get the job done. The classic Hollywood gangster genre is full of these characters—bad, bad guys who enjoyed public loyalty because they could be counted on to provide jobs, protection, and so on. Just don’t cross them and never forget who’s in charge.
Looking back, some journalists have finally figured out how they were taken advantage of, and what it might mean going forward. Here’s one interesting assessment from CNN contributor Ruth Ben-Ghiat:
“Many Americans were initially confused by Trump and his unorthodox behavior, or dismissed him as a joke. I have spent decades studying authoritarian and fascist regimes and saw in Trump a deeply familiar figure: the strongman who cultivates a bond with followers based on loyalty to him as a person rather than to a party or set of principles.
Such individuals inevitably seek to adapt the political office they inhabit to serve their needs. They are clear from the start about this intention, refusing to submit to shared customs and norms -- such as releasing tax returns -- that would mean they were submitting to the will of the political class. Anyone who believes that Trump will morph into anything resembling a traditional politician will be sorely disappointed. Authoritarians never pivot.”
This is our leaping off point for chart analysis. In 3 days and counting, Trump will be handed the keys of the kingdom, so to speak, and we are in uncharted territory. Many seem to fear that he will be an authoritarian, rather than a democratically-inclined leader, and there are reasons for this fear in his natal chart and in the way his natal and inauguration charts interact. The questions at hand for this analysis are:
1. Will assuming the awesome mantle of presidential power temper his natural inclinations? If not, how are those inclinations likely to manifest?
2. Will he begin to see himself as responsible for the health and wellbeing of a world leading democracy, somehow transcending his own personal interests and any conflicts involved, or will he continue to view his own interests and the country’s interests as one and the same?
3. Will he find some way to unite the American people behind him, or is his presidency—as some news analysts predict—doomed from the start?
Hail to the Chief?
Let’s begin with a look at the interactions between the Inauguration chart, set for noon (the approximate scheduled time for the swearing in), and Trump’s natal chart.
Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Inauguration 2017, January 20, 2017, 12:00 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Equal Houses, True Node.
Note: I covered this same biwheel pretty thoroughly in the November 30th post here, so this present post will focus more on the specific insights we’re looking for in this analysis. Please follow the link provided for more detail.
Interchart T-square: Trump Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini) opposite Trump Moon-Inauguration Saturn (Sagittarius); this axis squares Inauguration Venus-Chiron-Mars (Pisces). The house placements for this t-square are key, especially since the Inauguration Pisces stellium falls over Trump’s 7th house of allies and enemies (the “Other”). Natally, the 7th house often reflects dynamics within ourselves that we project out onto others: with Pisces here, Others the person attracts into his life could be very unstable and probably unreliable in many ways. If we accept Trump’s election rhetoric as a window into his worldview, this placement makes perfect sense—everything “out there” is a mess that he needs to fix and control (Leo Mars opposes his DSC). Instability (or the fear thereof) is met with walls and over-the-top displays of strength and “deal-making.”
The irony, of course, is the fact that Trump uses instability and unpredictability as a control tactic. This speaks to his tumultuous natal mutable energies and where they fall in his chart, and the way in which they interact with his prominent fixed angles and Mars. The deficit of Earth in his chart (his Taurus MC is his only placement) not only reflects the need he has for building things (walls, towers, etc.), but it also reflects the curious incoherence in his thinking. Does he fully understand the earthy concept that causes lead to effects? He seems to view earthy realities (facts) as being not only inconvenient, but infinitely malleable.
The amazing thing in this Inauguration chart is its five mutable Pisces placements: South Node-Neptune-Venus-Chiron-Mars. Not all are involved in the t-square, but they are significant nevertheless because Pisces Neptune is the final dispositor of the chart, and thus carries considerable weight.
This means that, following the rulership network for each point in the chart, each point traces back to Neptune either directly or in a couple more steps. The Pisces planets are directly disposed by Neptune (Pisces ruler). Aries Uranus is disposed by Pisces Mars (Aries ruler), and we’re back to Neptune again.
This repeats throughout the chart, which basically means that Neptunian energy pervades the entire chart, and will likely pervade the entire Trump administration. Besides the unpredictability that seems to be standard with him anyway, this also suggests that the “Others” Trump will want to control will have a Neptunian character. This would include the nebulous threat of terrorism, of course (a widely dispersed threat that is hard to pin down and identify).
Neptune’s flattening effect on borders probably feels threatening to Trump (this was confirmed repeatedly by his campaign), so immigration control will remain a priority. His threats about imposing tariffs on goods crossing our borders will probably continue, and his trade policies will be generally protectionist. This is reinforced by Inauguration Neptune’s trine to Trump’s natal Mercury (Cancer)—permeable borders challenge his need for control.
On the other hand, Neptune and Jupiter co-rule Trump’s natal 8th house of “other people’s money,” along with the Plutonian issues of “sex, death and taxes.” Trump has built a business empire by leveraging “other people’s money,” (his Neptune and Jupiter reside in his 2nd house of personal resources), so it’s unlikely he will make a clean break from that empire.
Considering how he’s waffled over this point during the transition, it’s hard to see anything definitive happening that really satisfies the ethical concerns. Neptune is not known for transparency or clean breaks. It’s more likely that the administration will “spin” the issue to confuse the public about what really constitutes an ethical problem.
Case in point: one high profile supporter is already claiming that Trump’s conflicts of interest might be a good thing—after all, if his businesses are profiting, why wouldn’t others’ profit, too? This type of pure Neptunian blurring of Saturnian ethical lines is bound to continue.
Such fuzzy logic also suggests that we will be hearing more “corporate-speak” in Washington with Trump and his Cabinet. Blurring the lines between corporate practices and government practices/norms is a Neptunian perversion of public service in government that’s been creeping up on the nation ever since the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan convinced many that “government is not the solution…it’s the problem.”
The Supreme Court didn’t help when it deemed corporations to be legal “persons,” or when it judged in favor of Citizens United—for all intents and purposes, the government has become a tool for accessing capitalist resources, rather than a lofty path in life.
As I discussed at length in the November 30th post, this Inauguration chart (read in the context of Trump’s actions and words) suggests we may be seeing the birth of “America, Incorporated.” It’s almost accepted practice that CEOs violate ethical limits if it means even a small spike in their stock prices—why should America’s new CEO do anything different?
We should also not expect much transparency about his tax returns (again, with Neptune; there is a chance for progress on this issue when Saturn forms a square from Capricorn to his natal Neptune (Libra). There will be three exacts hits for this transit (direct, retrograde, direct) between February and November, 2018.
Still looking at this T-square, it’s also significant that Saturn falls over Trump’s 4th house of family—a Scorpio cusp, co-ruled by his fixed Mars and Pluto. We can surmise from the fixed cusps on both 4th and 10th houses that Trump’s family has always been the solid foundation he’s built upon and the purpose for which he’s labored. This fixed energy has clearly grounded his business efforts; if he had to rely solely on his native mercurial/chaotic mutable energies, the results could have been much different.
With his natal Mars (Leo) at his Ascendant, square this 4th house cusp, we can imagine how formidably he rules the roost; it’s not surprising he has repeatedly chosen wives from patriarchal cultures overseas—American women are probably far too independent for his taste. This need for control and order in the household is reinforced by his natal Saturn-Venus conjunction in Cancer. One article’s claim that daughter Ivanka Trump practices a “fake feminism” is reflected here, as well—she may be a business woman, but it’s more likely she’s a dutiful daughter, wife and mother first.
Saturn’s placement in this T-square, then, poses a challenge because Trump has insisted on involving his family in the running of his administration, and that will feed directly into the ethical risks he’s taking. Clearly, he’s groomed his older sons and daughter for the family business, and it’s likely that in his mind, the presidency is simply an extension or new stage in that business—so what’s the problem? What may be the natural order of things in a family business is called nepotism in government.
Perhaps understandably, Trump simply doesn’t get how his family could be a problem—he relies on them for everything. Unfortunately, democratic systems have to safeguard against nepotism because it is one of the hallmarks of insular, authoritarian governments.
Daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner will have work space in the White House and the ear of the president; their presence there is, by definition, troublesome because we have no idea what the depth of their influence will be and to what extent they will be lightning rods for ethical dilemmas. This is illustrated by the Inauguration Saturn’s conjunction with Trump’s natal Moon and the Saturn-Uranus (Sagittarius-Aries) trine that overlays Trump’s 4th-to-8th houses. As with several other ethical concerns, of course, there’s little clarity to be had.
With Mars in Pisces disposing that Uranus in Aries, and Mars falling inconjunct Trump’s natal Mars (Leo), we can expect that this family-enhanced stew will be a frustrating drag on Trump’s progress and transparency, and it’s likely that once Mars transits over Uranus this coming February and March, the issues involved could boil over into a crisis. Pain will be inflicted over this—Inauguration Mars and Chiron conjoin and square Trump’s natal Moon (which disposes his Saturn-Venus in Cancer). We can expect a great deal of defensiveness from him over this.
Shifting focus for a moment…
At this point, we need to take a quick look at the Inauguration chart on its own (see above), to see how some of the issues we’ve discussed look from that perspective. Two key points here merit discussion:
1. Aries Uranus disposes the Aquarius Sun of this chart, and in the 12th house of the chart, it is poised like a “pressure cooker bomb,” waiting to go off in the new administration’s closet. There is a pretty robust plan for protests and resistance in place around the country—things will probably get lively very quickly (as they did in NYC already last night), especially while Saturn remains trine from fiery Sagittarius and Mars is due to transit over Uranus in February and March. Two eclipses are also happening in February, so it’ll be a month to watch. Once Mars traverses the chart ascendant in late March, we’ll see more action-reaction (Trump isn’t likely to respond well to the disruptions).
2. Neptune holds court in this chart, from the elevated 10th house: this speaks to the unpredictable, insecure image the U.S. is projecting out into the wider world with Trump’s inauguration. To be fair, this position would be the same if Clinton were the one being sworn in, but the rest of the world might have perceived her ascent as the accomplishment of a grand ideal (Neptune—the first U.S. “Yin” president) instead of a grand disruption.
In Trump’s case, however, the world is wondering if they can count on us going forward, and that’s likely to throw us off balance here at home, as well. Judging from his rhetoric and Cabinet appointees, he seems, according to one article, to intend a “new world disorder,” and with Russia’s influence and support lurking in the background, we have to wonder what that’s about.
In fact, the prominence of Russia in our politics right now makes bizarre astrological sense, reflected in this Neptune placement. Mundane astrologers have long associated Russia and the Soviet Union with Neptune—at least six of its founding charts have Pisces Suns (a lot happened in March, 1917)—and there’s always been a slippery, Neptunian quality to the facts under Soviet rule. One foreign policy expert, speaking on NPR, suggested that Trump “traffics in disorientation” because a confused population is more malleable and open to “strong-man” leadership—this is a strategy taken straight out of the Russian playbook.
Soon to be former-UN Ambassador Samantha Power warns that if Trump continues to feed into Putin’s hands, he will nurture a worldview in which “all truths are relative.” It’s difficult to summarize the important messages in her powerful recent speech at the U.N., but the following certainly adds to our discussion here:
“At times, it can start to feel that the only way to outmaneuver an adversary unbounded by the truth is to beat them at their own game. But that would be deeply misguided. If we try to meet the Russian government in its upside-down world – where right is left and black is white – we will have helped them achieve their goal, which is creating a world where all truth is relative, and where trust in the integrity of our democratic system is lost.”
Interestingly, Russia’s most recent chart (1992) features Capricorn at the helm, which certainly reflects that country’s transition into a plutocratic system (enhanced greatly by Pluto’s current presence in that sign), but it doesn’t erase the country’s long Piscean heritage. We know that Putin aims to return to the “good old days” of broader Soviet influence, and he sees the dismantling and undermining of the liberal world order as his ticket to ride.
In deploying an arsenal of Neptunian weapons (“fake news,” disinformation/hacking campaigns, etc.) against democracies here and elsewhere in that quest, he’s sown disorder and a taste for authoritarian populism in Europe—as well as here. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in this chart that guarantees Trump will come down on the side of our democratic system once he takes over.
One democratic institution seems in especially imminent danger because of the creepy reciprocal support we see flowing between Putin and Trump, who stand united against the “deceptive media” (media that challenges their narratives). This position smacks of Neptunian cynicism: as one Russian journalist put it, “welcome to journalism in an autocracy.”
With Neptune in the Inauguration 10th house, misinformation and deception may rule during this administration—here’s where persistent, Saturnian fact-checking and real journalism will be critical. “Deny and lie” is the Russian propaganda tactic, according to Samantha Power—will that be the American way, as well?
3. Trump’s determination to wash Obamacare away first thing as he steps into the White House--keeping us distracted with this beautiful "replacement" he has planned, somewhere out there-- is also reflected in the 11th house (influential allies) gathering of Pisces energy. After 66 frustrated attempts to accomplish this, the GOP is finally poised to get its way, and we can expect the “replacement” to be Neptunian, as well—anything but clear or immediate. Pisces Mars rules the 12th house here of collective institutions, and Pisces Venus rules the 6th house of health. Many of the protests in the coming days will focus on this critical issue--the GOP will not win this one without a fight.
With Libra Jupiter inhabiting that 6th house, opposed to 12th house Uranus, we can see that Trump is using our healthcare to at least partially satisfy his promise to give big tax breaks to the top (a $300+billion tax windfall to the wealthiest is at stake here). Many analysts have wondered how his seemingly contradictory promises could work together financially, and this may be a clue—“rob from Peter to pay Paul.” In the process he is waffling on his commitment to working class voters who trusted him to preserve health care and entitlements. The compassionate, “better angels” of Pisces seem curiously missing in action; on the flip side, the tolerance for corruption, deception and inexperience seems curiously robust.
Bottom line, the criteria Trump has used for naming his Cabinet appointees is truly mysterious (Neptune). In fact, clarity of any kind is a rare commodity, which is (thankfully) making the healthcare repeal very risky for the GOP. See the January 13th post here for much more on the health care issue.
Cue the marching bands
Comparing the charts we’ve discussed above with the U.S. Sibly chart is the next logical step in this exploration, so I invite you to take a look at the November 30th post here for more on that. We’ll be returning to all these charts in future posts, but for now, there are some key moments we will want to watch for in the near-term: the two annular eclipses of February, on the 11th at 22+Leo, and on the 26th at 8+Pisces, and the Aries Ingress/Spring Equinox on March 20th. Lots to discuss there as the early days of the Trump administration unfold.
In the meantime, cue up the marching bands—the parade is about to begin!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved.