Friday, July 28, 2017

McCain, McConnell & a Stinking Fish: the Astrology of the Senate's healthcare quest

Late breaking news: in the wee hours vote this morning (Friday, the 28th), McCain cast the deciding “no” vote that effectively killed the GOP’s healthcare effort for now.  

The following statement was released after his vote:

"'I've stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote,' McCain said in a statement. 'We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation's governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.'"
Rewinding to Tuesday: Senator John McCain did a huge service to the nation upon his dramatic return to D.C. by rebuking the Senate for putting partisanship over solving the nation’s problems. I was particularly cheered when he reminded the Senate of its role in checking the Executive branch:
“We are an important check on the powers of the Executive. Our consent is necessary for the President to appoint jurists and powerful government officials and in many respects to conduct foreign policy. Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President’s subordinates. We are his equal!”
McCain made good use of his personal and political capital in this rebuke—he called out the Senate’s impotent paralysis for what it is: a quest to make partisan political points without having to work with the other side. It didn’t work with the Democratic-only passage of Obamacare, he reminded everyone, adding that it isn’t likely to work with his party’s current quest to replace Obamacare.  As many others have pointed out, the current goal isn’t to solve America’s healthcare problems, but simply to rack up a “win,” come what may. 

Importantly, McCain appealed to the Senate’s sense of tradition, its mission and basic common sense by suggesting a return to “regular order,” a messy, but necessary procedure for bringing the entire Senate into legislative discussions so compromises can be crafted that work for the nation. He put it like this:

"What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We're not getting much done apart. I don't think any of us feels very proud of our incapacity. Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn't the most inspiring work.”
Diagnosed with brain cancer in the past week or so, John McCain is experiencing great challenges these days. I certainly wish him well through all this—and I appreciate his strength and commitment to the Senate and its integrity. It’s an old saw, but there really is nothing like a health crisis to focus one’s attention on what’s important, and McCain certainly seems attuned to that. 

Astrologically, the good senator from Arizona is experiencing some powerful transits and a predictably stressful configuration that’s worth consideration here—not to make any predictions about his health (I will gladly defer to doctors on this), but to explore what it all says about his role in D.C.. 

The biwheel below sets a noon chart for Tuesday’s speech (exact time unknown) against his birth chart (time rated AA by Rodden). This speech seems to mark an important turning point for McCain, so it’s worth a look.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) John S. McCain, August 29, 1936, 6:25 p.m. ST, Colon, Panama; (outer wheel) McCain Speech, July 25, 2017, 12:00 p.m. DST (no exact time known), Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Speech Sun-Mars (Leo) oppose McCain Moon (Aquarius). What a literal cosmic description for the senator’s actions that day! Returning to D.C. with a still-fresh surgery scar above one brow to support his party, but prepared to speak at length about their shortcomings, as well, McCain displayed great “warrior” qualities (Mars) and leadership (Leo Sun). He poured out his concerns in a heartfelt and emotional manner (Moon) which was, to some ears, a bit too reprimanding and revolutionary (Saturn and Uranus dispose his Aquarius Moon). 

Interchart Mutable Grand Square: Speech Neptune/Chiron (midpoint, Pisces)-McCain Saturn Rx (Pisces) opposes McCain Sun/Neptune (midpoint, Virgo); this axis squares Speech Venus-McCain Chiron (Gemini) opposite McCain Jupiter-Speech Saturn (Sagittarius). 

Speech Neptune opposes McCain’s Neptune; this axis squares McCain’s 10th house Jupiter – clearly, McCain is feeling—both personally and from a career perspective (between his 1st and 10th houses)—the undertow (Neptune) of D.C. corruption—and is feeling trapped by it (opposition from 1st house). In fact, his speech reflected this sentiment clearly: partisan politics has become a trap that stops the Senate from getting anything done—hence, the “muck” effect discussed in the last post here. Several analysts pointed out that his speech was one thing, but his actions in voting to open debate on the GOP healthcare plan were another, contradictory thing--a discrepancy his final Friday vote reconciled nicely for now. 

Interestingly, McCain's natal chart also features a Jupiter-Neptune square, so his career reputation is also being challenged.  

Speech Neptune/Chiron midpoint (Pisces) conjoins McCain Saturn Rx and opposes McCain Neptune (Virgo). With his natal, mutable Saturn-Neptune opposition, t-squared his Jupiter, McCain is no stranger to norm-bending dilemmas that personally victimize him (7th house Neptune disposes 1st house Saturn). This is probably where he acquired his reputation for being a “maverick,” not to mention a survivor who manages to work around difficult situations he finds himself in. The addition of transiting Neptune/Chiron here imposes a painful urgency on McCain that lights up his t-square for a new round of struggle. 

His speech, and these mutable energies (especially Jupiter and Neptune), reflect that he is seeing the downside to waging an ideological crusade for the sake of ideology alone. He comes by that “crusade” naturally: Neptune and Jupiter co-rule McCain’s Pisces ASC. His powerful history in national defense matters is reflected in the house placements of these points. 

 Interchart T-Square: Speech Venus (Gemini) opposes Speech Saturn (Sagittarius); this axis squares McCain’s Venus (Virgo). Obviously, all of this ties into the larger Grand Square configuration, as well.  The outpouring of good wishes and support he has experienced since announcing his diagnosis is certainly reflected in Venus’s presence here (his natal Virgo Venus speaks to health issues), and so is the renewed appreciation he expresses for the privilege of serving in the Senate (Speech Saturn).

The wide square from Speech Chiron to natal Chiron (Pisces-Gemini) reminds us that McCain is experiencing a late-life Chiron-square-Chiron transit (out of 3° orb for now, but returning there soon and finishing out the year within orb). Reflecting back on his life and the good fortune he’s enjoyed is quite natural at this juncture. 

Flashing forward to Friday morning’s final vote: If MSNBC’s 1:40 a.m. timing for the final vote is accurate, McCain’s Virgo Sun and Neptune fell over the Vote’s 4th house, opposing Vote Neptune in the 10th. The same Neptunian force that has undermined McCain’s health allowed him to have the final say on GOP healthcare efforts. 

IMHO, we owe McCain a deep debt of gratitude for stepping up to this challenge. Again, we wish the good senator well as he begins his cancer treatments. 

Mitch’s quest

A bit of interesting healthcare-related history is in order. According to Wikipedia, Mitch McConnell was stricken with polio as a young child, and he was treated, and probably saved from a lifetime of disability, by the same Warm Springs in Georgia that helped Franklin Delano Roosevelt treat his polio. McConnell is quoted as saying his care at the Springs nearly “broke” his family at the time—an interesting note that makes me wonder why, as Kentucky’s senior senator, he wouldn’t like to see today’s families spared the trauma of catastrophic healthcare bills. 

Contrary to McCain’s message, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to still be under the illusion that radical partisanship works. With John McCain casting the deciding no vote, however, the final vote of McConnell’s Healthcare “Vote-a-Rama” at 1:40 a.m. Friday morning (7/28) proved that such tribalism certainly is not working for the GOP. As NBC’s Chuck Todd put it, McCain “saved Senate Republicans from themselves.” 

Joining Republican hold-outs Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins in voting no, McCain viewed the final bill presented—the so-called “skinny repeal”—to be a sham designed to pass the problem back to the House with little serious Senate input. Others who shared this view with him, such as Lindsey Graham, still voted for the bill; to his everlasting credit McCain decided to use his vote to call out that nonsense for what it was. 

It’s a shame that McConnell was so intransigent about the secretive, closed-door, GOP-only process he called for in pushing this healthcare debacle. As we’ll see, his natal chart reveals a definite rut-bound streak that has probably served his career well over the years, but is probably not helping him right now. Only in the past two days has the full Senate been given a chance to debate healthcare, and from discussions I’ve seen, they’re not even clear at all times what the various versions of the bill propose. How could this convoluted mess possibly improve the nation’s healthcare options?!

I won’t even try to sort through the tangled web the GOP has woven with all its healthcare-related maneuverings, but in the end, it seems that McConnell is reaping the harvest of his intransigence with the failure of the GOP’s healthcare efforts. Let’s examine the chart for the failed 1:40 a.m. vote next to his natal (noon, no time available) chart. 

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Failed Senate Healthcare Vote, July 28, 2017, 1:40 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Mitchell McConnell, February 20, 1942, 12:00 p.m. War Time (noon chart, no time available), Sheffield, Alabama. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

McConnell Venus-Mercury-Vote MC (Aquarius) oppose Vote Mars-Sun-Part of Fortune-McConnell Pluto-Part of Fortune-Chiron (Leo). Cutting across the 9th-3rd house axis of the Vote chart, this aptly represents a legislative event that was highly-pressurized for McConnell—he had a lot riding on the success of this effort and the Cosmos simply wasn’t with him on it. Possible financial implications are also evident in McConnell’s Venus-Pluto opposition falling afoul of Vote Mars-Sun: we can only wonder what that means (wealthy campaign donors might ditch him?).

The impact on McConnell’s Chiron is wide, but as Mars transits over that point shortly, we may hear more: do we need to worry about Trump taking out his anger with McConnell on his wife, Elaine Chao, who happens to be Trump’s Secretary of Transportation? That would be a serious wound to McConnell. 

McConnell Mars-Saturn-Uranus (Taurus) fall over Vote 12th house, square McConnell Sun (Pisces) and separately trine both Vote Pluto (Capricorn) and McConnell Virgo Neptune. These are two separate trines because McConnell’s Neptune and Vote Pluto are not trine. This seems to reflect disconnects between McConnell’s material priorities—the concerns that have driven his commitment to repealing the ACA. As mentioned earlier, McConnell has good reason to empathize with families whose members have pre-existing conditions (like his polio would be today), so his intransigence in wanting to forge ahead taking healthcare away from people flies in the face of something in his own nature (Sun) that he seems to have repressed. In worst cases, Polio (a Neptunian epidemic) strips any sort of control away from its victims (Pisces)—with all his fixed energy, McConnell is entitled to some deep-seated trauma over that experience.

In keeping with his fixed energies, in his post-vote comments, McConnell remained adamant about his “Obamacare is a failed program” mantra—clearly, either he is unable to see the other side of the story (that the ACA could be fixed with a bipartisan effort) or he’s simply too caught up in political pressures to bend. One way or another, his entrenched natal Taurus energies didn’t work for him in the end. 

If we were looking at his chart next to Trump’s, in fact, we would see that McConnell’s very fixed, determined Taurus stellium squares Trump’s bullying Leo Mars-Asc. Perhaps this is the pressure that has kept him on this repeal-and-replace quest, whatever the consequences?

The fact that McConnell’s Taurus stellium falls over the Vote’s 12th house is significant, too: the 12th house is the Cosmic Waiting Room, where Neptune subverts even the best-laid plans. Never mind plans that are haphazard and morally-conflicted like this repeal effort has been. The 12th house also forces one to consider big existential questions like “how did I get here?” and “do I really want to be traveling this path?” McConnell will be grappling with these questions, as he decides whether to get behind bipartisan efforts going forward. This isn’t going to be easy for him.  

Final thoughts

McConnell is part of the 1940s cohort born with Saturn-Uranus conjunct in Taurus, and this group may be vulnerable to the August 21st total eclipse in late Leo, coming soon to the U.S. Like McConnell, this group also has Chiron in early Leo, being transited by Mars, so this is a group to watch going forward.  

Finally, as we saw with McCain, Neptune is also the “usual suspect” throwing McConnell into an uncertain future. I suspect that if White House Tweets begin to fly, attempting to humiliate and unseat McConnell, his colleagues will rise to his defense, as they’ve done with Jeff Sessions. Specifically, Neptune is now tracking with McConnell’s Virgo-Pisces Nodal axis, t-squaring his Gemini Jupiter, and probably challenging both his ideological leanings and his life of public service. 

From his concession comments after the vote this morning, it sounds like he was sure the GOP was doing the American public a favor with its healthcare efforts. The outpouring of protests around the country saying otherwise meant nothing?

This seemingly twisted viewpoint McConnell promoted was also protested or questioned by the medical industry, physicians, hospitals, the Congressional Budget Office, and virtually everyone who’s sat down to crunch the numbers. Unless I simply can’t see things from their side of the Looking Glass, it seems to me that the GOP has no idea what the American public wants and needs. 

Or—more likely—their whole healthcare effort was a Neptunian smoke-screen concealing other priorities (i.e., tax cuts for the wealthy). Given McConnell’s GOP leadership role, some responsibility for that distortion belongs to him—hence the pressure on his Nodal axis.

There’s a reason we’re hearing Neptunian analogies like the “fish stinks from the head” in the news these days: in mid-Pisces, Neptune is roiling D.C. with mutable madness. The “head” implicated here is Trump himself, whose Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions are vulnerable to Neptune’s undermining energies right now. We’re seeing the effects on McConnell, McCain, and the Senate’s “stinking fish” of a healthcare bill. 

And, we’re seeing it with the Scaramucci-led chaos in the White House this week, which has Neptune’s fishy fingerprints--distracting and deflecting attention from serious issues like the Russia investigation, not to mention Trump's ridiculous tweets banning transgender Americans from serving in the military--all over it. 

I caught a quick conversation that put a lot of the past week’s White House news into context, although the link eludes me: in a nutshell, the journalist said that Trump has sold the American public on the idea that “shamelessness…is fearlessness.” Again, playing with Neptunian mirrors and distorting reality: if the fish stinks, it stinks!!

What a brutal wake-up call we’re living through!

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.