Tuesday, May 2, 2017

An August eclipse blazes a trail across America: time to get Real

The last time a similar eclipse visited our shores was in 1979, 38 years ago, and that eclipse didn’t cover the same amount of American territory that the coming one will. This has only added to the hype...

A recent New Yorker cartoon certainly captured the spirit of the news these days: in it we see the proverbial “End-of-the-World” prophet, decked out in his long white beard and full-length “prophet” robe, and he’s holding a sign that says “THIS TIME FOR REAL.” 

Of course, even with multiple “hot-spots” in the world right now, this wryly humorous prophecy is likely to be another false alarm. Or, if we consider that climate change has the accelerating capacity to make life miserable on this planet (for humans, anyway), maybe the end is “for real”—it just won’t happen in one dramatic moment, one final “big bang” or apocalyptic “lift-off.”

Apocalyptic “end times” are a western culture obsession, an interesting story in itself, but our ability to nail down a specific day and time for the “big event” has been proven wrong time and time again.
IMHO, some things are just better left alone—we’ve got better things to obsess about. Like making life on this speck of stardust we call Earth better for all?

Even so, we can certainly understand why there’s so much anxiety afloat these days. 


 In light of that palpable unease, I have purposely put off writing about the total solar eclipse looming on August 21st. It will cut a broad swath across mainland U.S., coming ashore on the Pacific side and moving relentlessly across the nation on a steep diagonal, from Salem, Oregon to Columbia, South Carolina. This is the path of the totality—the entire mainland will be able to witness the eclipse to a lesser or greater magnitude.[1]
The last time a similar eclipse visited our shores was in 1979, 38 years ago, and that eclipse didn’t cover the same amount of American territory that the coming one will. This has only added to the hype surrounding the upcoming event in August, so it’s a challenge to remain objective here, but I will do my best. The fact is, there’s reason for some hype—it’s a rare event with a powerful chart that ties into both the nation’s chart and Trump’s chart in seriously sobering ways, so it’s not an event we should ignore. 

Eclipse expert Celeste Teal says that  “…an eclipse in Leo, with the Sun as lord of the eclipse, brings an accent and spotlight to the activities and interests of world leaders.”[2] Teal details ways in which this played out in events and relationships for former presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush—as we’ll see in a bit, connections between the impending August eclipse and Trump’s chart suggests some impact there, as well. 

We might also be legitimately concerned about the fact that Mars will transit this eclipse point shortly after the event itself—re-stimulating the power of that eclipse. 

Even so, let’s not envision a Y2K-style catastrophe, speeding our way on Asteroid Calamity Jane. Foreseeing disaster only energizes the idea, so maybe it would help to error on the side of optimistic realism?

So, here’s my attempt at a cool-headed look at the astrology of this dramatic event. First, we’ll consider the chart on its own terms, set for Washington, D.C. Then we’ll consider some ways in which it interacts with the U.S. Sibly chart and with Donald Trump’s natal chart. 

Chart #1: Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017, 2:31 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Grand Fire Trine: Eclipse Point (EP)-No. Node-Mars (all Leo), trines Saturn (Sagittarius) and Uranus (Aries). First, it should be noted that as a “Dragon’s Head” eclipse (happening near the No. Node), the event is likely to feel highly-energized—as Teal puts it, “an inflowing rush of new energy.”[3] This could be fortuitous or not, depending upon how this energy is used or abused by the powers-that-be. 

A grand trine in fire also unleashes powerfully expressive energy, and the specific points involved here lend a strong “yang” character to the event. Uranus is always a bit scary in a grand trine because of its explosive capabilities, so it would be naïve to say that public affairs will be smooth and easy. 

The U.S. is dealing with a number of potentially volatile issues at the moment, so it would be better if we, as a nation, address issues up front to diffuse as much tension as possible. It would help to negotiate rather than dictate, to acknowledge rather than ignore people’s concerns, to admit rather than deny responsibility, to remain calm and empathetic, and so on. 

As alluded to earlier, the wisdom of remaining cool-headed will be reinforced by Mars (Leo) transiting over the Eclipse Point (EP) just days after the eclipse event itself (exact on Sept. 3); this usually has the effect of re-energizing that point. Depending upon what’s happening on the ground, this could rip open some wounds, firing up the volatility at home and abroad. 

However much we might want to, we can’t deny the possibility that volatility could turn into actual violence, and that an attack of some kind on our soil could happen. The Trump administration has laced our public discourse with so much hyperbole that it’s hard to see what the actual threats are, but we need to consider that Trump may welcome a major distraction from the Russia investigations, etc. 

Meaning, even a limited attack on our soil would free Trump to impose martial-type laws, go around Congress to mandate policies he sees as matters of “national security,” and so on. 

There’s no secret that he admires “strong-man” dictators, and one of the disappointments of his first 100 days seems to be that he can’t assume that role under our system without bumping up against the Constitution.  In other words, he can’t rule by executive order (what he might call “running the government like a business”). 

As we’ll see in a bit, his chart is tightly tied into this eclipse chart, so his responses and judgment will matter greatly when the time comes. 

 The eclipse chart is notable for what it’s missing, too: Uranus and Pluto are no longer square, and disruptive Eris is now out of orb with Uranus. These omissions could temper the volatility, so I’m counting them as positives. On a more sobering note, the charts for both the Assad Syrian regime and the North Korean regime tie into this eclipse point—the Assad regime’s So. Node conjoins it, as does North Korea’s Saturn. This does look like a sensitive period for geopolitics. 

Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation also have astrological ties to this eclipse chart, ones that will probably embolden them in some ways. 

No. Node-Mars (Leo) semi-sextiles Venus (Cancer), sextiles Jupiter (Libra) and inconjoins Chiron (Pisces). This chart does open opportunities for ideology-based volatility (Jupiter-Mars). With Venus also square Jupiter here, the pressure will be on for growth and diplomacy (Libra) for the sake of security (financial and otherwise). The powers-that-be will likely see an opportunity to gain something from taking a belligerent stance (Jupiter-Mars sextile). 

If domestic issues heat-up at that time (likely), we can expect to hear a lot of counter-talk about risks to “national security” (Venus also quincunxes Saturn here). Such talk always opens doors for increased military budgets, contracts, etc. The Leo inconjunct to Pisces Chiron suggests that the environment (Chiron’s long stay in Pisces tracks with growing concerns about the health of the oceans, coral reefs, etc.) will be inhospitable under the influence of this eclipse. We’ll see how this plays out against the Sibly chart in a bit. 


T-Square: Venus-Ceres (Cancer) opposes Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Jupiter (Libra). This tense configuration reflects the assault on climate change science we’re already seeing (and protesting): as long as our national values (Venus) prioritize corporate profits over all else (Jupiter-square-Capricorn Pluto), the needs of nature and agriculture will probably take a back seat. We can expect more droughts, with a fiery, dry Saturn (Sagittarius) disposing this Pluto. This is reinforced by Venus’s trine to Chiron (Pisces), unleashing more climate pain. 

Waging another long-term war, of course, would prolong the reign of fossil fuel industries (Pluto) over our economy—climate be damned. Powerful lobbies (also Pluto) want to perpetuate this reign into the long, long term—if we’re ever going to regain our sanity in regards to climate policy, this really needs to be turned around between now and the time Pluto returns to its U.S. Sibly position in 2022. 

Mutable Grand-Cross: Neptune (Pisces) opposes Mercury-Vesta-MC (Virgo); this axis widely squares ASC-DSC (Sagittarius-Gemini). Not all the points involved in this configuration square the horizon (ASC-DSC), but there will likely be an attempt to respond to chaos (Neptune square horizon) with some kind of tactical order. Virgo often reflects military involvement in mundane charts, so we may be seeing some trying times ahead for military households (Vesta). Mercury rules the Gemini DSC—the 7th house cusp where instability can be especially sensitive. 

We’ll see more on this theme when we consider interactions with the Sibly chart. 

T-Square: Jupiter (Libra) opposes Uranus (Aries); this axis squares Venus (Cancer). In the midst of all the geopolitical tension, a high tech, robotics and AI-focused revolution has been rapidly unfolding; chances are likely that this new wave of innovation will drive the economy for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, as with the 1980s-90s move toward globalization, there will be winners and losers: some problems will be solved, while other problems are created, and the net effect will probably be more geopolitical tension. 

This configuration ties very directly into the U.S. Sibly chart (see below for more), so the present mania for shutting down our borders may be foreshadowing this heightened tension. 

Breaking down our checks and balances 

As mentioned above, the U.S. Sibly chart is implicated pretty directly by this eclipse chart, with the same being true of its executive, Donald Trump. Here we’ll consider a few highlights of those interactions. First, the Sibly chart.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017, 2:31 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Eclipse Point (EP)-No. Node-Mars (Leo) oppose Sibly Moon (Aquarius). The Leo eclipse point feels like a strong, central power imposing its formidable, perhaps even threatening (Mars) will on the People (Sibly Moon). Even if the effect is more benevolent, the possibility of throwing the balance of power off between the People and the powers-that-be is real. 

Falling over the Sibly 9th house reflects the international ties triggered by these Leo points—pretty amazingly, every U.S. adversary in the news at this time seems to resonate here somehow: Syria, North Korea, Russia (not to mention Vladimir Putin himself). Perhaps that simply speaks to Leo’s affinity for “strong man” regimes, but as we’ll see ahead, it also reflects that Trump aspires to join their ranks. His Mars-ASC tightly conjoin the eclipse point! 

Interchart Grand-Cross: Eclipse Mercury (Virgo) opposes Eclipse Neptune (Pisces); this axis squares Sibly Uranus-DSC (Gemini) opposite Sibly ASC (Sagittarius). Again, given Virgo’s rulership of the military, this tense mutable cross suggests that there could be military force projected in response to chaos (either domestic or abroad). We’re already seeing a slow build up of forces in various “hot spots,” and this eclipse could signal a flash point for whatever those build ups are about.

Interchart Grand Cross: Eclipse MC-Sibly Neptune (Virgo) oppose Eclipse Chiron (Pisces); this axis squares Eclipse Saturn (Sagittarius) opposite Sibly Mars (Gemini). The energies of Sibly Neptune have been less focused these days on the Hollywood “Dream Machine” and the middle class “American Dream” than on “American First” illusions and the “fog of war” (square Sibly Mars); these final two are a prominent theme here. 

This fits our long-proven modus operandi for becoming ensnared in nightmarish quagmires abroad—Eclipse Neptune and Chiron brew a nasty quicksand out of equal parts corruption, vested interests, and delusions.   


Ever since Viet Nam, presidents have found ways to go around Congress’s constitutional power to control whether we go to war or not, and this configuration may portend that it’s about to happen again. It usually begins with the administration in power spinning a narrative that says our national security is in imminent danger (for the Iraq war, it was the threat of “weapons of mass destruction”). 

The dynamics are all here in this mutable configuration, especially if we add Eclipse Neptune’s trine to Sibly Sun (Cancer) into the mix as background. Once the executive has ensnared us in a conflict through incremental deployments and limited actions that fall within the Commander-in-Chief’s regular powers (Sibly Sun), how can Congress deny the funding for these now “necessary” adventures? 

By creating the need for a deeper conflict through this seductive, often elusive process, the executive also consolidates his power. 

Eclipse Saturn here trines the EP-Node-Mars, which opposes Sibly Moon (the People, whom Congress supposedly represent). It’s a fair bet that we the People won’t have much to say about the next quagmire: such checks and balances imply a strong governmental structure, and Neptune erodes every structure it touches. 

T-Square: Eclipse Jupiter-Sibly Saturn (Libra) opposes Sibly Chiron (Aries); this axis squares Eclipse Pluto (Capricorn). We see here that the transiting Jupiter-Pluto cycle is in its waning square, which suggests there will be a relentless push for growth and financial gain in the corporate sectors between now and 2020 when a new cycle begins in Capricorn. Financial astrologers may want to chime in here with more specific Market predictions, but in general, history has shown that geopolitical turmoil can be very lucrative for Wall Street. 

Ethical considerations may be hard to find here as corporate Machiavellianism (“the ends justifies the means”) prevails. This theme is likely to apply to Jupiter’s approach to Sibly Pluto in 2020, as well.

In terms of this August eclipse event, it seems that the consolidated “Power-at-the-Top” (EP) will feed the growth/profit aspirations of the cardinal t-square. Eclipse Mars sextiles Eclipse Jupiter, and with the EP, trines Sibly Chiron: the pain inflicted by volatility and conflict (Aries Chiron is disposed by Sibly Mars) could just be that famous “means” to an end. 

The view from Trump Tower

Finally, we’ll consider how the eclipse chart interacts with Trump’s natal chart. Before we even look at that however, please consider that Trump was actually born under a total lunar eclipse (his chart features a Full Moon configuration) that perfected at 23°+Sagittarius (conjunct his Moon). The solar eclipse approaching in August will fall trine that natal eclipse, with Saturn now conjunct that 1946 point. Will this mark a transition point of some kind? It’s possible.  

The Sagittarius natal eclipse lends some insight into Trump’s unconventional character and seeming inability (or unwillingness) to be “presidential.” His unconventional nature as a president is also definitely reflected in his relationship with the Sibly chart. I’ll do my best to explain what I mean by this as we go. 

It should be noted that there is a growing chorus of analyst voices wondering out loud whether Trump is of sound mind. He’s showing an increasingly troubling tendency to forget what he said only moments ago, to ramble aimlessly through answers to questions, to confuse facts and memories. To praise dictators and slam allies, as though he doesn’t know which is which. 

Is all that just Donald Trump, or is there something else going on there? His recent interview with Face the Nation’s John Dickerson is strange, to say the least.   

Triwheel #2: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017, 2:31 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Eclipse Point (EP)-No. Node-Mars (Leo) conjoin Trump Mars-ASC (Leo) and oppose Sibly Moon (Aqarius). This certainly explains the domineering swagger that Trump continues to adopt when addressing the public—the will to dominate is strong in his Mars-ASC, and “we the People” are his minions.  The eclipse will either deepen this troubling power dynamic or explode it (Mars)—there’s already a bit of “buyers’ remorse” going on in the GOP. 

When Mars re-awakens the eclipse by transiting the eclipse point in September, there could be added stress on Trump: his Leo Mars is disposed by his Gemini Sun; this would be a good time to monitor his heart health. 

Trump’s attempts this past week to re-energize the NRA’s support  may come back to haunt us during the life of this eclipse, even though Bloomberg.com is pointing to a growing disconnect between NRA leadership and Trump’s post-inauguration messaging: “LaPierre's gig still depends on Apocalypse Now. Trump’s depends increasingly on Apocalypse Forestalled. The mind meld is over.”
Trump still “talks the talk” when it comes to gun owners, however; from his rhetoric, we might wonder whether he sees them as a handy civilian militia of sorts. Extremism, xenophobia and conspiracy thinking flourish in the NRA’s radical fringe—founded in November 1871, that organization’s chart features a fiery Aries Neptune, trine this August eclipse point and conjoined Eclipse Uranus (Aries). 

Interchart Grand Trine: Eclipse Point (EP)-No. Node-Mars-Trump Mars-ASC (all Leo) trine Eclipse Uranus (Aries) and Eclipse Saturn-Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius). This fiery conflagration can be read as either consuming Trump’s points, or perhaps being consumed by Trump’s points. The eclipse energizes Trump’s Sun through Saturn’s opposition to it from Sagittarius (pulling in his full Moon-Sun) and by his Leo Mars’ being disposed by his Sun. Since a Dragon’s Head eclipse can be supportive, we may see him gain power as a result. This could be in response to outside incursions, as mentioned above. 

We could also see him rushing, or even stumbling into disaster—recalling that his Leo points oppose our Sibly Moon (all of us), the uncertainty here is troubling. 

Interchart Grand-Cross: Trump Sun-No. Node-Uranus conjoin Sibly Mars (all Gemini) and oppose Eclipse Saturn-Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius); this axis squares Eclipse MC-Sibly Neptune (Virgo) opposite Eclipse Neptune/Chiron (midpoint, Pisces). It’s worth dwelling on this unstable “house of cards” configuration: chaos engendered by all the mutability  emboldens military adventures (Virgo-Sagittarius) promoted in the “fog of war” (Pisces-Gemini). Corrupt possibilities abound: Congress seems incapable of even grasping the scope of Trump’s conflicts of interest and the opaque, possibly questionable practices he’s brought to the White House. 

It’s no secret that Trump and family are enriching their businesses on the taxpayer’s dime— Neptune’s quicksand seems to have seized up the wheels of Congressional investigations: the inertia in this area is palpable, even though a few individuals seem truly committed to moving investigations forward. 

If some type of crisis were to occur on the heels of this eclipse (involving Trump’s role as Commander-in-Chief, for instance) would Congress have the clarity of purpose (Eclipse Neptune also quincunxes Sibly Saturn) and determination needed to respond? 

Interchart Cardinal Grand Cross: Eclipse Venus-Trump Venus-Saturn-Sibly Mercury (Cancer) oppose Eclipse Pluto & Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Eclipse Jupiter-Trump Jupiter opposite Sibly Chiron-Eclipse Uranus (Aries). Financial and security issues are entangled in this eclipse—there appears to be a lot at stake here, and events could test the resilience of our economic system. August will be the time that a new round of Congressional debates over government funding are due because the current funding bill expires in September, so will Congress simply kick the can down the road, or get serious about infrastructure spending? 

I would expect to see a more potent Saturn for a massive infrastructure project—that may have to wait for Saturn’s time in Capricorn beginning at the end of 2017. It’s more likely that the priority in August will be defense (Cancer) spending.  

It does not appear that funding Trump’s border wall will be a priority; Eclipse Saturn quincunxes Eclipse Venus. On the other hand, Eclipse Venus appears to be filling Trump’s coffers—he’s right on the verge of a Venus return to his chart here. With his Venus-Saturn opposite Sibly Pluto and Eclipse Jupiter conjoined his own Jupiter, is it any wonder he’s getting by with enriching his businesses on us? 

Trump’s Jupiter and Chiron also conjoin Sibly Saturn, so his attempts to override or ignore Congressional oversight, to diminish the Judicial and Legislative branches’ role in government (the rules are “archaic” he says) are centered here and could be further energized by the eclipse. By wounding our fundamental checks and balances, he threatens to wound the nation’s democratic identity and purpose itself (opposite Sibly Chiron). Predictably, he always frames this idea as mere “streamlining,” and making government work more “like business.” 

There’s a reason the first executive orders he signed were to roll-back various regulations—his goal seems to be to roll back as many of the very important checks on presidential power as he can. He doesn’t praise and/or congratulate dictators like Putin, Erdoğan, Al-Sisi, and Duterte for no reason—his Mars-hardened Leo personality seems to truly admire these people because “they get things done.” The means they use don't seem to matter.

In fact, this week the Washington Post published an article looking at Trump’s stated desire to “consolidate his powers.” In his own words:

“You look at the rules of the Senate, even the rules of the House — but the rules of the Senate and some of the things you have to go through — it's really a bad thing for the country, in my opinion. They're archaic rules. And maybe at some point we're going to have to take those rules on, because, for the good of the nation, things are going to have to be different.”
It sounds like he envies his dubious heroes.  

Final thoughts

It’s hard to look at this triwheel and not conclude that in August we are approaching a moment of destiny with this new president; even with several positives, however, everything is not necessarily going his way. The EP squares his Taurus MC, suggesting that he has a tough row to hoe ahead, especially with his image and reputation as a leader. If geopolitical tensions do explode in some serious fashion, the buck will stop on his desk (even though he’ll probably still blame his favorite scapegoat, Obama). 

Even without a major event, there’s a sense in this chart that Trump is exhausting the nation’s limits of both patience and loyalty. There’s just so much that his family members can manage for him before things fall apart. His family’s involvement is likely to run aground with the ethics investigations going on, anyway, so that unraveling will be something to watch. Even Mike Pence may get tired of cleaning up after Trump, and Michael Flynn may cause problems for both of them in order to mitigate his own serious legal problems. 

The troubling questions that Trump’s behavior and rambling interviews are causing about his mental state may be answered by the fact that Neptune has been transiting trine his natal Mercury since it entered Pisces in 2011; in my observation, even benevolent looking Neptune transits can contribute to a slowly encroaching dementia-type condition. 


We’ve seen this in historical leaders, even—Neptune was transiting square Britain’s “Mad King George III’s” intense Gemini stellium (Chiron, Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Neptune) during the American revolution. 

Neptune transited over Ronald Reagan’s Capricorn Mars and within orb of his Mars/Mercury (midpoint, Capricorn) during the last 3 years of his presidency, the years during which it became increasingly clear he was sinking into Alzheimer’s disease. 

The role of Mercury in Trump’s Neptune challenge is two-fold—it rules some mental faculties (especially “left-brain” linear thinking), and in Trump’s chart, it also disposes his Gemini Sun-Node and Uranus

After reading the transcripts of Trump’s interview with John Dickerson over the weekend, presidential historian Jon Meacham described Trump’s mind as being like a “pinball machine”—an apt image for an out-of-control Gemini. 

In the nature of Neptune, clinical diagnosis of dementia (it takes many forms) is difficult, but progress has been made in detecting the presence of the destructive beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, and diagnoses are being made earlier in the long unfolding of the disease. Whether Trump would agree to such testing is another story. If not, time will eventually tell if his mental faculties are, indeed, eroding from something other than normal aging. 

In the meantime? Unfortunately there's a lot at stake in U.S. security, climate and foreign policy to stand around waiting for the truth to come out.

This is far from a “prediction,” but after caretaking a parent with dementia, I would cautiously suggest that as Neptune moves into square orb with Trump’s natal Full Moon axis (spring, 2018), we may see something more definitive. Either he will “snap out of it,” or the damage will begin to be more widely recognized.  
In the interim, ethics investigations in Congress may finally catch up with the entangled mess of nepotism and conflicts of interest in the Trump White House. It’s also not hard to imagine, of course, that executive challenges to the “archaic rules” will be timed for precisely those occasions. 

Trump has displayed a serious difficulty with maintaining the staff he needs around him, and he may regret the extraordinary waivers he’s been giving lobbyists for pursuing their own conflicts of interest: his Mars and the EP are both inconjunct Sibly Pluto—loyalty is a “pay for play” affair with this aspect, and there are pitfalls galore in that type of loyalty.  

Besides, at some point, even snarly loyalists like Sean Spicer may get tired of lying and dissimulating for him. Could this happen as a consequence of the August eclipse? Its impact will unfold over a couple of years, at least, so if he makes it to that point in the White House, anything goes. We'll be following this impending event over the coming months: whatever happens, it's long past time to get real. 


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

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

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved. 

[1] Mark Littmann, Fred Espenak, and Ken Wilcoz, Totality: Eclipses of the Sun, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, p. 256.
[2] Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation, Llewelyn Publications, 2006, p. 60-61.
[3] Teal, p. 11.