Saturday, February 4, 2017

Shock therapy in February: Eclipse season 2017 begins

"Welcome to the shock event, designed precisely to jar the political system and civil society, causing a disorientation and disruption among the public and the political class that aids the leader in consolidating his power.” - Ruth Ben Ghiat,
On February 10 (or 11th, depending upon your location), the Earth will pass between the Sun and Moon, shadowing the Moon from the Sun’s illumination; the result, of course, is called a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses only happen during the full phase of the Solar-Lunar cycle, so the effect is to suppress the Moon’s brilliance for however long the Earth casts its shadow.
In this upcoming case, the Moon will remain shadowed for a bit over 4 hours, and because its penumbral magnitude (the percent of the Moon in the Earth’s lighter, penumbral shadow) is relatively low, it will be hard to see this eclipse.
Even so, mundane astrologers tend to view any eclipse as a significant transiting moment in the sky, with the potential for lasting impact. Given how disruptive our times are already, any cosmic event such as this is worth watching.
If the ancient wisdom cited by eclipse expert Celeste Teal[1] is correct (I have no reason to believe it isn’t), the effects of a lunar eclipse are felt for as many months as its duration clocks in hours—in this February 10/11 case, approximately 4 months.
In fact, this eclipse appears to be the opening salvo in a multi-eclipse roll-out we will be feeling into at least the next year. This series includes the annular solar eclipse happening yet this month, on February 26th, followed in a few months by a dramatic total solar eclipse (visible across the U.S.) in August. If the February eclipses don't grab us, that one is likely to command our attention—much more on that in months to come.
For now, however, let’s focus on the February 10/11th event, which because of its Leo-Aquarius placement near Trump’s Mars (Leo), could well be viewed as a “teaser” for the August eclipse at 29° Leo, which happens right smack on top of Trump’s Leo Mars. So, what could the “teaser” be about?

One key configuration in the February 10th eclipse chart (Chart #1 below) dominates, and will help us frame the rest of our exploration:

Chart #1: Lunar Eclipse, February 10, 2017, 7:32:53 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Mystic Rectangle: Sun (Aquarius) opposes Moon (Leo); Uranus (Aries) opposes Jupiter (Libra); Uranus sextiles/trines Sun-Moon; Jupiter sextiles/trines Moon-Sun.  This rare configuration launches our eclipse year with opposing forces that somehow complement each other. The potentially shocking quality of the Aquarius Sun and the intransigent, power-consolidating Leo Moon set the tone. In a “looking glass” time when up is down and facts are optional, these and the remaining opposing/colluding forces raise some interesting dynamics. A quick analogy might help us visualize the situation:
It’s a tense stand-off, pictured in a film. In the scene in question, a proud, dominant man (Sun in Uranus)—afflicted with fear of aging, loss of abilities and anger at oppressive forces—is in a fit of alcohol-enhanced depression and threatening to shoot himself.
His panicked wife (Moon in Leo) stands opposite him in the room, pleading for him to put the gun down, even though just moments before she was loudly (and not very kindly) attacking him for drunken behavior, his disrespect for her, etc. To say there was a love/hate, codependent relationship between these two fixed, immovable forces was an understatement.
Two additional significant characters are in the room: a new, younger adult friend (Uranus in Aries); and a long-time, older buddy (Jupiter in Libra). The two friends are less at odds with each other than they are united by the friends they share (Sun-Moon in Aquarius/Leo), and they are challenged with somehow balancing (opposition) their efforts to defuse the situation.
Each of these men has something distinct to offer their friends by way of support and/or intervention (trines/sextiles), and in the end, they succeed in helping the couple open up the emotional space they needed to go on. Several relationships were at stake in this stand-off because the couple's fate would be felt by all. 

Real world stand offs
Switching into the “real world,” who are the characters in this chart’s stand-off?
Being so tuned into the political scene these days, I can’t help seeing its codependent mess reflected in this mystic rectangle. Opposing, yet somehow collusive forces can be seen everywhere: Trump v. Congress; US Constitution v. Trump; GOP/Religious Right v. Dems/Civil Liberties, US Constitution v. Alt Right, Trump v. the World, and so on. Even the protestors energies are turned back against them because they feed Trump’s determination to have his way—the list goes on. There’s good reason to believe that all of these opposing forces will come into play in the coming eclipse season.
For the sake of focus, let’s narrow the field: every opposition involves Trump in some way, of course, but every one of them also implicates the Constitution and threatens its integrity. For this reason, I’ve framed the discussion ahead around this key question: what is likely to happen to our Constitution in the coming year? Here’s one troubling read of the situation from

“The confusion and chaos generated at the bureaucratic and individual level by Trump's most spectacular executive order -- his ban of individuals from selected predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States -- came in part from its sudden announcement. From enforcers to the public, many were thrown off guard.
Welcome to the shock event, designed precisely to jar the political system and civil society, causing a disorientation and disruption among the public and the political class that aids the leader in consolidating his power.”

The report quoted above focuses chiefly on the collusion between Trump and his chief strategy advisor, Steve Bannon: together they seem to want to overturn American foreign policy, slam shut our borders against Muslims and Mexicans, and forcefully deport masses of undocumented immigrants. The legal backlash is underway at home and abroad over the travel ban, and in Mexico, “Trump” piƱatas are selling strong, amid calls for boycotts at “#AdiosProductosGringos.”
Bannon has been a force encouraging Trump’s controversial immigration/refugee orders, and he clearly supports closer relations with Russia over our traditional allies. He also clearly supports (if he’s not the architect of) Trump’s drive to consolidate more power in the Executive office than the Constitution has ever allowed. This drive is troubling enough, but the specific political wedge he and Trump seem to want to employ for this purpose makes it all the more troubling. More on this ahead.
Trump himself is far from a Constitutional scholar or apologist—clearly, finding loopholes in it that allow him to do what he pleases is more his style.
Bannon seems to encourage Trump’s innate autocratic tendencies, but reports show that Bannon is also quickly consolidating his own power within the White House—including a seat on the National Security Council. Many are wondering who’s really in charge at this point.
A quick peek at the biwheel between Trump and Bannon reflects why this relationship is so tight and so symbiotic—and why these two are starting to look like those eerie twins in Face/Off,:

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Steve Bannon, November 27, 1953, 12:00 p.m. ST (noon chart, no time available), Norfolk, VA. Source (Bannon): Wikipedia. Tropical Equal Houses,True Node.
Your eyes can tell you how connected these two are with little trouble, but here’s a list of just the interchart conjunctions:
Bannon (B) Pluto (Leo) to Trump (Tp) Mars-ASC (Leo).
B Uranus-SNode (Cancer) to Tp Saturn-Venus (Cancer).
B Jupiter (Gemini) to Tp Sun-NNode-Uranus (Gemini).
B Mars-Neptune (Libra) to Tp Jupiter (Tp Chiron to B Mars).
Without going into each aspect at length, let's consider some key insights: On top of all of the above, Bannon’s powerful Jupiter-Neptune trine and his Neptune-Uranus square (perfectly reflecting his hard-nosed ideological extremism) tie into key power centers of Trump’s chart—his Gemini-Sagittarius points and (by square) his volatile Saturn-Venus in Cancer. For good measure, Bannon’s Sagittarius Sun (disposed by all that Jupiter activity) sextiles Trump’s impressionable Neptune in Libra.
A thirst for power leaps off the page here, especially highlighted by Bannon’s Pluto overtaking Trump’s Mars-ASC and squaring Trump’s Taurus MC. The noon chart shows Bannon’s Moon tied into this, as well; unfortunately, we can’t confirm that here, but reports suggest that Bannon plays into Trump’s volatile temper and aggressive nature to “manage” the outcomes, so it wouldn’t be surprising to find that Bannon has a Moon-Pluto conjunction here.
Those who have suggested that Bannon plays the role of “Iago,” whispering outrageous, paranoid notions into President “Othello’s” ears appear to have a point. Curiously, Bannon’s aggressive, ideologically-charged Sagittarius Sun (he is the former editor of alt-right Breitbart News) quincunxes Trump’s Cancer Mercury. Considering how tied into his overall chart dynamics Trump’s Mercury is (by rulership and dispositorship), it’s interesting that Bannon’s basic nature (Sun) would be at frustrating odds.
This is certainly like a marriage of sorts: one of the reasons committed partnerships can be such frustrating growth experiences is that the partners often have quincunx aspects between them. These aspects force them to be constantly adjusting to each other. The willingness to adjust for the sake of the partnership is what keeps people together, but there is the negative potential for exploitation in such relationships, as well.
In that case, the quincunx (a roughly 150° angle) operates like a “wedge” (think “shoehorn”) used to leverage something out of the other person. Here, Bannon’s dominant Sun could well influence Trump’s thinking (Mercury), giving Bannon more influence over the agenda.
One analyst suggested that Trump’s key administrative weakness is how “impressionable” he is (Mercury), changing his mind depending upon which advisor got to him last. This could be the key to Bannon’s influence; he’s known to hang out in the Oval Office all day, so he has Trump’s ear in more concentrated doses.
We’re seeing that concentrated influence in the way each of Trump’s executive orders attacks a safeguard against more consolidated Executive power. Bil Tierney refers to this type of quincunx (in a natal chart) as the “health quincunx, implying its tendency to disorganize energy patterns upon the physical level. Its presence in the natal chart should alert us to the possibility of somatic malfunctions.”[2]

This also speaks to whether the presidency is good for Trump’s mental health or not—Trump’s long-term friend, “radio shock jock” Howard Stern, weighed in on this, as many others have.
Obviously, we’re looking at an interchart aspect here, but it still questions how healthy Bannon’s presence is for Trump in the long run.
As a recent New York Times article entitled President Bannon? put it:
“Plenty of presidents have had prominent political advisers, and some of those advisers have been suspected of quietly setting policy behind the scenes (recall Karl Rove or, if your memory stretches back far enough, Dick Morris). But we’ve never witnessed a political aide move as brazenly to consolidate power as Stephen Bannon — nor have we seen one do quite so much damage so quickly to his putative boss’s popular standing or pretenses of competence.”
As alluded to earlier, Trump and Bannon seem to be strategically abandoning our popular standing abroad for a tighter focus on nationalists and protectionists, and on the domestic religious Right. Speaking at the Washington Prayer Breakfast today, Trump promised to “destroy the Johnson Amendment,” which prohibits tax-exempt organizations from using those exempt dollars to sway political contests. That would mean that not only can corporations and fringe groups buy our elections, but religious-based interests could do so as well. If we thought this past election was rigged and manipulated, just wait!

Combine that with Cabinet members like Betsy De Vos—who supports dismantling the public school system and empowering religion-based education—and we’re headed for a true breakdown in the Constitution’s Establishment Clause and the separation of Church and State so essential to our democracy. In other words, we’re flirting with theocracy.
Not surprisingly, given all this, Trump is also reportedly considering yet another Bannon-inspired executive order that would roll back civil liberties for LGBTQ individuals and others on the basis of “religious rights.” The frenzy over appointing a Supreme Court justice pronto is all about rolling back Roe v. Wade on similar grounds. 
Bottom line, under Bannon’s influence, there appears to be an interest in using religion to enable autocracy. By all accounts, Trump is not a naturally religious person, which makes this look all the more like a suspicious power grab.  
Obviously, all of the above raises the stakes for the empty Supreme Court seat. Assuming that confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch (Trump’s nominee) will proceed under the influence of the February 10/11th eclipse, let’s consider the Constitution/Eclipse biwheel.

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) U.S. Constitution signing (CON), September 17, 1787, 4:00 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Source: Campion, BWH, Chart #376, p. 371[3]; (outer wheel) Lunar Eclipse, February 10, 2017, 7:32:53 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Interchart Fire-Air Grand Sextile. This super-rare phenomenon is created by a “chain reaction” of sextiles around and between the charts:
Eclipse Sun-CON Saturn (Aquarius) sextiles Eclipse Uranus (Aries), which sextiles CON Jupiter (Gemini), which sextiles Eclipse Moon (Leo), which sextiles Eclipse Jupiter (Libra), which sextiles Eclipse Saturn (Sagittarius), and back to Eclipse Sun…
There are two Grand Trines (one in Fire, one in Air) and three Oppositions (Aries-Libra, Gemini-Sagittarius, Leo-Aquarius) embedded in this hexagon-shaped formation, making for a super-charged web of energies swirling about, shooting cosmic darts at each other. Bil Tierney captures the general feel of this configuration best: “With these energizing, out-going elements represented here, the tendency to instigate stimulating activities with burning enthusiasm, optimism, and vibrant self-expresion is quite strong. However, the staying power and persistence to follow thru with impulses is weakened.”[4]  
This sounds about right with the Trump administration—they have blown us away in very short order with an energetic flurry of executive orders and impulsive foreign policy gaffes, but now the resistance mounts and we’ll see where their true resolve lies. Will they wield the same “bull in a china shop” influence on the Constitution that they have on the White House to date?

Eclipse Jupiter sextiles Eclipse Saturn, which trines Eclipse Uranus (Aries), which sextiles CON Jupiter (Gemini). Legal measures to preserve the original balance of powers could go forward, but these measures could also be blindsided by chaotic maneuvers. A lot will depend upon the integrity of the players in Congress and the Supreme Court.
Eclipse Sun-CON Saturn (Aquarius) oppose Eclipse Moon (Leo); this axis is sextile/trined by Eclipse Jupiter-CON Neptune (Libra) opposite CON Part-of-Fortune-Eclipse Uranus-Eris (Aries). This actually constitutes a Mystic Rectangle, so we see that opposing forces are colluding and in some ways dependent upon each other here; their focus is on the issues at stake in the Eclipse chart, so the Eclipse Sun’s conjunction to CON Saturn (both in Aquarius) and the eclipsed Moon’s opposition to that point are key.
First, it’s key because CON Saturn represents the legal framework of the Constitution (in Aquarius, we can see how revolutionary it was for its day), and because the trine between CON Saturn and CON Jupiter (Gemini) reflects our democratic system’s mutually beneficial balance of powers. Disabling CON Saturn in any way throws the balance off, leaving too much influence on the Jupiter side; in fact, the challenge here is that the Eclipse Jupiter-Uranus opposition here will promote radical change that empowers ideology-driven interests.
If protests around the country are any indication, there will be very loud, even volatile (Uranus) conflict between those who want to empower theocracy and those who want to preserve democracy.  
The sextiles and trines could facilitate this power shift (or conversely, support the balance of power), but with the Eclipse Moon sextile Eclipse Jupiter-CON Neptune, it’s likely that an emotional campaign will be waged to promote ideological interests while obfuscating (Neptune) the  damage this could do to the Constitution overall. Eclipse Moon (Leo) is disposed by the Eclipse Sun in Aquarius, so we can expect this emotion-based campaign to be framed as “revolutionary” or “liberatory.”

A looking glass revolution?
We’ve discussed the “looking glass universe” we seem to be inhabiting these days in several posts, and this is an example of that. Those who want to roll back the civil rights gained under the Obama administration do consider themselves revolutionaries, and they feel empowered by their religious agendas to shake things up. This revolution would clearly counter the 1776 version.
This prospect has certainly framed the battle over Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions’ nomination, and his presence in that office could literally enflame the country in civil rights-based conflict. Born on December 24, 1946 in Selma, AL, Sessions is a religious conservative with a negative civil rights history, and his chart (not shown) shows his Part-of-Fortune exactly conjoins eclipse Uranus, and his Uranus exactly conjoins the CON Jupiter/Chiron midpoint in Gemini. His relationship to the Constitution is likely to be shocking and disruptive.
Sessions’ Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Leo (his law enforcement power) also straddles the CON 7th house cusp, suggesting his effect on the Constitution (especially in the powerful position of AG) could be negative. With his Pluto disposing a formidable Scorpio Jupiter, we can trust that he will err on the side of his own growth and interests. In other words, he’ll “dance with him who brung him”—Trump.
Here’s where protests that promote civil rights en masse will need to provide important counterweight! 

Interchart T-square: Eclipse Saturn (Sagittarius) opposes CON Jupiter (Gemini); this axis squares CON Sun (Virgo). The relationship between institutional Religion (Jupiter) and the State/Executive Office (Sun) was purposely kept separate and tense in the original law of the land: Is anybody noticing that Steve Bannon’s Jupiter also falls conjunct CON Jupiter?
Eclipse Saturn may play a constructive restraining role here, but its position trine Trump’s Mars (Leo) suggests that his agenda will basically find support for now. As Saturn moves on, that may start to change. Saturn is somewhat toothless in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius, even if it is strengthened somewhat by its conjunction with the Galactic Center, but we could be surprised, too.
With Saturn’s contact to the GC, we may see one or more whistleblowers come forward, with legal challenges to follow. Odds are, concerned (and disgruntled) government workers will continue to leak information they feel the public needs to know. These workers are an important check and balance in their own right!
Eclipse NNode (Virgo) inconjoins Eclipse Mercury (Aquarius) and sextiles CON Mars (Cancer). A tense aspect between an eclipse node and its planetary ruler (Mercury rules Virgo) points to a difficult “delivery system” for the energies of the eclipse. Channels are likely to be obstructed at best, garbled at worst. Service oriented energies could be forced to adjust to a detached, somewhat heartless agenda (Aquarius).
 Eclipse Mercury inconjoins CON Mars, as well, potentially compromising the full vigor and intent of our founding document. The Constitution’s Mars seeks to strongly defend (Cancer) the new nation from outside efforts to take over again by weakening our democratic resolve. There’s a whole conversation to be had about the Constitution’s nodal axis, and the Capricorn direction our system is called to follow, but that’s beyond the scope here: suffice to say, this eclipse could bring in some uncomfortable adjustments.

Another key consideration
It’s worth noticing here that the eclipse Node will conjoin (2° orb) Trump’s progressed Sun, which is newly situated in Virgo, in his first house. If we recall that the eclipse Moon falls near his natal Mars also, the plot thickens—will he have the evolved sense of service (Virgo) it takes to make the most of these eclipse energies? Or will he adopt a defensive attitude? Will this help or harm Trump’s mental health going forward?
In fact, the challenges to his presidency are mounting daily, as he stirs up business for lawyers by refusing to fully divest himself of his business interests. These pose conflicts of interest that blur the line between his public service and his financial interests. A fresh example: the Washington Post is reporting today about the near $100,000 bill taxpayers are footing for Secret Service protection because Eric Trump had hotel business to attend to in Uruguay this past week. The hotel rooms occupied by the security personnel add to Trump family profit, which Dad still enjoys!
There are rumblings of doubt about Trump’s mental fitness for the presidency, as well. Here, we’re focused on what’s likely to happen to the Constitution this coming year, so I won’t get into extended psycho-babbling here, but three key interactions between his chart and the Constitution’s chart warrant attention. Let’s quickly consider that biwheel:

Biwheel #3: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) U.S. Constitution signing (CON), September 17, 1787, 4:00 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Source: Campion, BWH, Chart #376, p. 371[5]. Tropical Equal Houses; True Node.
Trump Mercury (Cancer) conjoins CON Mars (Cancer); Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer) conjoin CON Uranus and inconjoin CON Saturn (Aquarius). Trump’s super-defensive mindset (Mercury) permeates everything he does and all his policies; unfortunately, he’s willing to bend the Constitution’s provisions to act upon those policies. Fear mongering and using “national security” as the pretext for breaching core constitutional principles is nothing new—it’s worked for him thus far because he and his surrogates work overtime maintaining his narrative (and are very defensive when it’s challenged by the facts).
The inconjunct aspect here points to uncomfortable adjustments Trump may attempt to force on the Constitution’s structural integrity—particularly the balance of powers.
This potential damage is reinforced by the following:
Trump Mars-ASC (Leo) oppose CON Saturn-Trump POF (Aquarius) from CON 7th house. Trump Pluto (Leo) conjoins CON Dsc (Leo) and opposes CON Asc (Aquarius). These oppositions read like the perennial “rock and a hard place,” two fixed forces at loggerheads. Trump’s authoritarian (Mars and Pluto in Leo) tendencies are truly at odds with the Constitution’s balance of powers (Saturn) here, and it’s interesting that Trump’s Part-of-Fortune (Aquarius) is widely conjunct CON Saturn, as well. We can imagine that Trump’s natural tendency is to exploit every advantage to its max, so this placement is concerning.  
His Pluto’s impact on the Constitution chart’s horizon will evolve over the term of his office, but we could be looking at an existential crisis for our founding document, even before the eclipse season begins. The good news is that Trump has already been named in dozens of law suits regarding his various legal infringements, and we’re only 2 weeks in!
Between Trump’s conflicts of interests and ill-considered executive orders, the challenges will continue, no doubt.
More eclipse news later in the month!

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]Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation, Llewellyn Publication, 2006, p. 4.
[2] Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS Publication, Reno, NV, 1938, p. 37.
[3] Campion, BWH, Chart #376, p. 371.
[4] Tierney, p. 82.
[5] Campion, BWH, Chart #376, p. 371.