Yes, the D.C. circus has been dazzling us with quite a juggling act this past week: fun-house mirrors and long-handled knives, flying in all directions...
...and Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been the hapless clown scrambling to keep everything in the air.
Nunes is caught in a trap, but it may not be entirely of his own making, when all is said and done. He served on Trump’s transition team, and for some reason we may not yet know, he felt “duty-bound” this week to compromise the House intelligence committee’s investigation of the Trump administration’s Russia connections—the same investigation he’s supposed to be leading.
This sense of loyalty to Trump, of course, makes Nunes the perfect toady for Trump’s latest trickster routine: Trump’s Fun-House mirrors of deflection, derailment and obfuscation are enough to blind anyone, but the act is really starting to wear thin. Today, Trump called for investigations into Russia connections—by Clinton, rather than his own.
To my astrologer’s eye, this week has been an object lesson in fated, almost absurd connections, and I have to wonder if Nunes even realizes what he’s gotten himself into. The charts tell a pretty startling story.
First, a little background from the week’s news timeline. The whole juggling act came to light on March 22nd, but events reportedly got moving the night before, on March 21st. Because this was one day into the astrological “New Year,” the Sun’s ingress into Aries (see article here for much more on that), we’ll use that ingress chart as the larger context for our exploration into how the whole Trump/Nunes circus act unfolded.
Here’s how CNN.com characterizes the event timeline related to all this:
March 15 - Trump promises that “evidence” would be provided “soon” to back up his claims about Trump Tower being wiretapped.
March 21 - (Tues) Late – “in a dead of night excursion” - Nunes receives a text message, gets out of the car he’s riding in with staff members, takes an Uber to an undisclosed location—nobody knew why or where, and Nunes wouldn’t say.
Mar 22 – Nunes holds a press conference, without briefing his House intelligence committee, and claims that he had acquired information showing that communications were intercepted during the Trump transition period that may have compromised the identities of American citizens involved in that transition. When questioned on whether Trump’s communications were intercepted he first answered “yes,” and then he said it was “possible.”
Nunes announces he would be going to the White House that afternoon to share the info he obtained, and “to confirm what he already knew.”
Once he was finished there, he took more questions from the press on the White House lawn. His answers were vague, but enticing enough that they created the aura of an urgent unsolved mystery. In the meantime, more and more observers began suspecting that Nunes was actually “revealing” information that that White House itself gave him.
Perhaps Nunes’ whole “dead of the night act” was his attempt to offer Trump cover for his outrageous wiretapping claims, acting, as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi wondered out loud, as a “willing stooge” for Trump.
Nunes was also a member of the Trump transition, and many are questioning if he has a vested interest in “smoke-bombing” his own committee’s investigation.
By the end of the week, Nunes had basically dismantled and fatally compromised his committee’s ability to hold an impartial hearing and investigation. He claimed it was his “duty” to share what he found out with the president—even though that would gut his own committee’s investigation.
First he canceled a planned open hearing in which important testimony was likely to come out; he then claimed to replace that hearing with a closed door session, then he went on to cancel the closed door session, reverse that decision, and right now, it’s unclear what’s happening, if anything.
In the meantime, Trump takes a victory lap by saying he feels “somewhat vindicated” by the information Nunes announced, while Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said he had "grave concerns" about Nunes's actions. Schiff, House Democratic leadership and senior Republicans Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have questioned Nunes’ ability to continue leading that committee.
Which brings us more or less to the present day, with Trump still trying to control what the investigations are about, and what information they have access to. In another peevish “tweet,” he claimed that the Clintons are the ones who should be investigated. This, while attempting to block any testimony by former Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates (the one he fired in his first ten days in office) from being given to the investigation. Such deflections didn’t work for Nixon—they shouldn’t work here, either.
In the meantime, Nunes refuses to recuse himself from his compromised committee, so the next act is just beginning. Is he going to be allowed be an agent for destroying the Trump-Russia investigation in the House? His actions are raising suspicions about a cover-up—we’ve been here before, and it wasn’t pretty.
As discussed in the last post here, events like this have always evoked the Saturn-Pluto cycle, and this one is no different. John McLaughlin, former Acting Director of the CIA, claimed yesterday that the Nunes dilemma threatens our fundamental system of checks and balances—certainly a Saturn-Pluto issue.
We’ll be talking more about that connection as events develop.
In the meantime, we’ll start by exploring how the natal charts for Nunes and Trump interact. Perhaps the big picture will rack into focus if we can better understand this pivotal relationship.
Ladies and Gentlemen…in the center ring….!!
First, a couple of general observations before we dig into the particulars of the biwheel below. I could find no birth time available for Devin Nunes, so we won’t discuss his house cusps and angles. Here, his chart occupies the outer wheel, with Donald Trump’s chart the anchoring inner chart.
This fits the situation in any case: Nunes put himself at Trump’s service, threatening his own integrity in the process, so it makes sense to view him against the backdrop of Trump’s more definitive nativity. There are several apparent reasons here for Nunes to identify with and probably look up to Trump; there are also several astrological factors that would suggest their lives are pretty deeply entangled.
As we’ll see, there’s an interesting astrological theme linking these two charts—the interchart double quincunxes, and even more powerfully, a composite yod. This latter, unusual configuration is comprised of two interchart quincunxes held together by a sextile, in which the focal planet is slower-moving than the other two planets.
Pluto, Neptune or Uranus are usually found at the apex of such yods. In fact, aspects expert Bil Tierney suggests that the true yod (“Finger of God”) evokes a Plutonian principle—I would expect that this carries over into composite yods between charts, as well.
In fact, Tierney illustrates this Plutonian point using the composite yods between notorious partners in crime as examples—Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (bank robbers), and Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (child murderers). Tierney does qualify his choices by saying the following:
“Now understand that I am not suggesting that Composite Yods bring out the undesirable, lower potential of a relationship in the extreme manner of these two given examples. I have merely used them to exemplify the Yod’s characteristic trait of sometimes unforeseen but often extreme alterations of individual life direction, with its proclivity for fated turning-points.” [emphasis added]
It’s clear then, that these tense configurations between individuals have a fated quality, especially when they occur in unequal relationships that, by definition, demand constant adjustments and lend themselves to power plays. The dynamics between such individuals are often marked by what Tierney calls “accelerated change in circumstances of a somewhat unexpected nature, rather than by slower, carefully structured development."
Which brings us back to Devin Nunes and his chaotic “Trickster” buddy, Donald Trump. We’re going to focus this analysis primarily around the yod and the double quincunxes between their respective charts. If we added a current transit chart into the mix, it would just add another level of chaos, so let’s just focus for now on these two men:
Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Devin Nunes, October 1, 1973, 12:00 p.m. DST (noon chart, no time available), Tulare, CA. All charts use Tropical Equal Houses and True Nodes.
Composite Yod: Nunes Neptune (Sagittarius) quincunxes Nunes Saturn-SNode (Cancer) conjoined Trump Mercury (Cancer); Nunes Neptune also quincunxes Nunes Mars (Rx, Taurus); Nunes Mars sextiles Nunes Saturn-Trump Mercury. We see here that the apex planet of this composite yod is Nunes’ Neptune in fiery Sagittarius. The fact that this natal configuration in Nunes chart also pulls Trump’s sensitive Cancer Mercury into the mix is key: this Mercury disposes his powerful Gemini stellium and his Progressed Sun, recently transitioned into Virgo (not shown). It’s easy to see why Trump may latch onto Nunes for the sake of his own security (Cancer).
These men also share Moon signs: they both feature a fiery, somewhat reckless Sagittarius Moon: Nunes’ would have ranged from 3°-15° of the sign that day (we can’t know for sure in a noon chart), so it’s very possible that his Moon was conjunct this apex Neptune, and/or that it fell opposite Trump’s Gemini Uranus. It may also be within orb of Trump’s entire Gemini-Sagittarius “full moon” complex, so these individuals may be on at least the same emotional “wavelength.” Nunes may even feel that he’s being heroic and rebellious all at the same time (Sagittarius), as he stakes his reputation on standing up for Trump’s interests.
The conjunction between Nunes’ Saturn and Trump’s Mercury would reinforce this point—any perceived danger in the situation would trigger both their security alarms. In fact, as part of Trump’s transition team, Nunes could well have had compromising contacts that he wouldn’t want revealed, either. Nunes was appointed to his present committee by his Congressional mentor, former House Speaker John Boehner, but it would be interesting to know if Nunes was chosen for Trump’s transition team precisely because of his leadership of the House Intelligence Committee. It’s useful to keep people in high places close at hand.
It is worth pointing out here that Nunes’ progressed Saturn is now retrograde, putting him at a disadvantage vis-à-vis Trump, who’s sporting a kingly Leo progressed, direct Saturn (charts not shown). What Nunes may feel is his Saturnian “duty”—running to the White House with information that looks a lot like it came from the White House, with the purpose of helping Trump—may come back to haunt him, as his own authority (Saturn) is compromised in the process. There’s a definite “servant-master” relationship here, although as we’ll see, this relationship may be subject to some fireworks yet.
Let’s pull back from the Yod implications for a second to consider what these two powerful quincunxes in Nunes’ chart would mean apart from Trump: Saturn quincunx Neptune suggests an uneasy relationship between ideals/aspirations and responsibilities and the rules, and there would be pressure to throw the rules out the door for the sake of those ideals. This might actually be a quintessential “political” aspect—one that manifests as a willingness to push the limits for the sake of gain (Jupiter disposes Sagittarius Neptune).
With Saturn in Cancer, performance anxiety or family-based fears could also be involved. It’s easy to see how those buttons could be pushed with someone like Trump.
Nunes’ Mars (Rx) quincunx Neptune pits staunch, earthy (Taurus) energy against the same fiery Neptunian ideals and ambitions, only here there’s a more straightforward willingness to distort and obfuscate for the sake of those ambitions. He probably finds himself dragged out of his comfort zone pretty regularly, but with both his natal and progressed Mars retrograde, he’s willing to push hard for whatever he really wants to accomplish.
This tenacity and determination probably plays well with his constituents, but whether he can simply plow forward with the Intel Committee that he has so clearly compromised, when so many are calling on him to step aside, is another story.
Importantly, Nunes’ Mars (Taurus) does double duty here, as the apex planet for what follows:
Interchart Double Quincunx #1: (not a Yod this time because the faster planet is the apex). Nunes’ Mars quincunxes his Neptune (Sagittarius) and his Pluto-Sun (Libra), conjunct Trump’s Neptune (Libra). Nunes’ Mars-to-Sun-Pluto quincunx alone places his will-to-power (which is probably frustrated in some way) in the hands of Trump’s Neptune. This is not Trump’s most obviously powerful point, but in its square to his Cancer Mercury, it’s at the heart of his skill at deflection and famously loose relationship with reality (if he says or “hears” something, it must be true).
Mix Nunes’ reputation for being a tenacious “bulldog” (fixed Mars) on issues he holds dear (like ditching environmental regulations regarding water that roil his conservative California farm constituents), and there’s a vested interest in Nunes’ loyalty to Trump.
This interchart configuration may have driven a great deal of the “intrigue” and apparent attempt at “cover-up” that we’ve seen this past week. Power, intelligence (as in the type his committee oversees) and an instinctive feel for subversive techniques are all at in the mix here.
Acting upon an inconjunct or Yod is often, a clumsy, frustrating affair, however, and things don’t always go according to plan. We’ve certainly seen that in the fall-out over Nunes’ activities this past week.
Interchart Double Quincunx #2: Nunes’ Saturn-SNode (Cancer) is at the apex (conjunct Trump Mercury), with quincunxes to both Nunes’ Neptune (Sagittarius) and his Jupiter (Aquarius). This may seem like a replay of the composite Yod we considered earlier, but this one highlights the frustrations Nunes has had to overcome in his chosen profession.
With an airy, rebellious Jupiter (Aquarius), he has found unique opportunities to feed his ideals and ambitions (Jupiter disposes his Neptune, which falls sextile), but this side of his nature has probably driven him to act less straightforwardly than his Taurus Mars would like him to. His Mars squares his Jupiter—a challenging fixed aspect that keeps him motivated.
It’s likely that Nunes finds ways to project his insecurities (Cancer) onto others (almost a necessity with Sun-Pluto conjunct), so his mindset meshes with Trump’s in this regard. This is reinforced by Nunes’ Uranus-Mercury (Libra) square Trump’s Saturn-Venus (Cancer), and Nunes’ Venus (Scorpio) trine Trump’s Venus: clearly, there is an expectation of mutual support and reciprocity between these two.
Both men share an air-sign Uranus—Nunes’ Uranus conjoins Trump’s Jupiter (Libra) and Nunes’ Jupiter (Aquarius) benefits from its trine to Trump’s Neptune (Libra). The ties run very deep. Is Nunes’ another “sidekick” like Chris Christie, or Rudy Giuliani? Time will tell.
The whole escapade Nunes conducted this past week was designed to help Trump project any improprieties of his own (or his campaign’s) out onto Clinton, Obama, an army of anonymous “leakers” (read Democrats), the CIA, and so on. Nunes carries on that work in what’s left of his committee, directing the conversations away from the real concerns onto the “leaking” and surveillance issues that Trump would prefer. As the New Yorker.com put it today:
Since then [this past week], Nunes and the White House have kicked up a cloud of peripheral issues that have distracted attention from Comey’s testimony and that of Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; Nunes and the Trump Administration have essentially shut down the investigation.
The scope of the damage that might be done by the apparent collusion between Nunes and Trump is hinted at in this final powerful, fated tie:
Interchart Double Quincunx #3: Nunes’ Venus (Scorpio) is at the apex; these points quincunx Nunes’ Chiron (Aries) and Trump’s Sun-Node-Uranus (Gemini). This configuration would seem perhaps less momentous if Nunes’ Chiron wasn’t also conjunct Sibly Chiron (both Aries-chart not shown). As it is, Nunes’ Venus disposes his potent Sun-Pluto conjunction in Libra and his Mars in Taurus, so this signal only confirms that he’s willing to be the “wounded warrior”(Chiron) that Trump needs at this juncture (Nunes’ Sun is sextile Nunes’ Chiron), and that Nunes probably believes there’s “something in it for him” (Scorpio Venus) to do so.
This mutual benefit is reinforced powerfully by Nunes’ progressed Mars (26°+Aries) now falling trine Trump’s natal Mars (Leo), but there may be a downside to their progressed connections at some point as well—the August 21, 2017 total eclipse will be something to watch for this (a hot topic for another day).
Nunes’ progressed Mars also falls square Trump’s progressed MC-Moon (which were themselves tightly conjoined on March 20th), so any flack Nunes experiences for fighting Trump’s fights for him could impact Trump’s approval ratings, if not his political career altogether.
Likewise, Trump has been known to throw his supporters under the bus when it suits him, so Nunes may want to watch his professional back. Even before that happens, however, several powerful voices are calling on him to either recuse or remove himself as the intelligence committee’s leader, and some are even calling for an investigation into his antics of the past week.
The juggling act is far from over!
The reaction points, and things to watch for
Double quincunxes and yods are thought to create sensitive degrees known as “reaction points”—directly opposite the apex planets. Individuals whose planets fall within orb of those sensitive points tend to have fated synastry relationships with the bearer of the original aspects. Simple transits and progressions to those points can also stimulate any dynamics related to the quincunx or yod, so it’s good to keep an eye on such things.
The Table below lists the reaction points worth watching between these two charts (based on the major configurations named above), along with any significant connections to these points (existing or near-term):
Reaction Point range
(includes 3° orb on either side of exact opposition point to apex planet)
Key ties to these points
T Mars conjoins in late April/early May 2017
Double Quincunx (DQ) #1
T Jupiter conjoins in Nov/Dec 2017
Nunes’ NNode conjoins; T Venus opposes Aug 2017, trines Sep 2017
Trump MC conjoins; T Venus conjoins late June/early July 2017
Clearly, there will be many other influences on these reaction points, but this gives us a quick sense of things to watch. The fated nature of connections between Trump and Nunes is seen clearly in the sheer richness of these chart interconnections, but even more specifically in Nunes’ North Node opposite the Cancer apex of DQ #2. This Capricorn sector will be a real “hot-spot” with transiting Saturn and Jupiter in the next couple years, as they close out their 1982 cycle and unite in Aquarius for their 2020 cycle.
The new Saturn-Pluto cycle launches at 22°+Capricorn in January, 2020—trine DQ #3’s reaction point and Trump’s MC. Will we still be sorting through this mess then?
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: email@example.com.
© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved.