"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
--Barack Obama, from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “The Long Walk to Freedom”
In the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy, we forget at our peril that societies have a life cycle as surely as individuals do. It's a long, gradual process, and the signs are there that we have entered a critical stage.
The slow transformation of societies involves a “death” crisis of sorts and an equally gradual regeneration stage. The process can sneak up on a society, too--the dynamics can be very difficult to discern until the damage has been done.
Importantly, this process materializes like pictures captured on film used to—in the Cosmos’ very own chemical bath—those deeply corrosive, destructive, yet ultimately creative waters of Neptune and Pluto. Neptune undermines the structures and institutions that keep a society viable; Pluto then brings on the inexorable “death” and begins the transformation/regeneration process.
Neptune and Pluto don’t act alone, of course, but their primal instinctual and intuitive forces provide the watery “womb” within which the remaining outer planets—Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus—interact to sow, nurture and harvest our social and political realities.
The extent to which these realities become compelling for each of us—the sojourners on this Big Blue Marble—is governed by the ways in which the luminaries (Sun, Moon) and the so-called “personal” planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) play into the broader scene, both in transit and in our natal charts. Energy flows between our natal charts and whatever is happening in the heavens at any given time, and if we ever doubted this phenomenon, we only need to look at the chart for Trump’s August 15 meltdown in the lobby of Trump Tower.
There’s been so much press about that 8/15 press conference-turned-national-shame that I won’t take space here with all of it: in a nutshell, Trump did a triple take on his original comments about the tragic event in Charlottesville on the 12th (described in the last post here) by rolling back the condemnation he was probably forced to issue (two days later) of the neo-Nazi/KKK/alt-right players in that event.
In one sense, Trump’s comments on the 15th were a relief: he didn’t try to masquerade that he’s a white supremacist who would like to turn back the clock on Civil Rights—in fact, those inescapable desires demanded recognition and they got it in so many words. His outburst (even his staff says he went “rogue”) was also framed in what looked like a deliberate pique of anger and frustration that those “fine people” in the alt-right are being treated so “unfairly” by the media and were “attacked” by what he called the “violent alt-left.”
This latter was a revealing attempt to extend the blame for Heather Heyer’s death to those who stood up to hatred and bigotry that day. Placing blame on "both sides” was his way of legitimizing the KKK, the Neo-Nazis, etc., and that’s exactly the way those groups received his message.
Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (a key player in the Charlottesville event) even publicly thanked him. As one Rachel Maddow segment put it so well, Trump “gives emboldening green light to white supremacists.”
Our deep sympathies go out to Heather Heyer’s family and friends, who memorialized her courageous, principled life yesterday.
At least we now know where we stand with this president—was there any doubt?—and hopefully, the nation will begin to see the firm, unequivocal response it needs to see from the GOP. This seems to be happening, very gradually. For now, however, let’s examine the biwheel of yesterday’s press conference with Trump’s natal chart. It illustrates yet again that eclipses lend us a “sneak preview” and that these momentary situations are best seen within the broader context of outer planetary cycles.
The Cosmos handed Trump an opportunity to be presidential (as in the president of all Americans), and boy, did he whiff it.
Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Trump “2-Sides” Conference, August 15, 2017, 4:00 p.m. DST, New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Interchart T-square: Press Conference (PC) Sun-No. Node (Leo) conjoin Trump Mars-Asc (Leo) and oppose Trump Part-of-Fortune-Dsc (Aquarius); this axis squares Trump MC (Taurus). Here’s where we see the coming eclipse energies gathering—the Moon is still roughly square from Gemini, yet the Sun-Node and Mars are closing in on Trump’s belligerent Mars-Ascendant and frustrating the heck out of him. It’s often difficult to tell how the Part-of-Fortune registers in transits, but we can certainly feel it here, as emboldening Trump to defend his true position and spew his anger.
In the last post here we discussed how Aquarius is often equated with right-wing, authoritarian leanings, and the 6th house placement of this POF suggests a possible paternal connection (cusp ruled by Saturn). In 1927, Trump’s father Fred was reportedly arrested for his part in a KKK rally in Jamaica, Queens, and in later years he and son Donald were known for violating fair housing laws and refusing to rent his properties to African-Americans. Whether Trump, Sr. was ever convicted is another story, but the influence of his right-wing leanings must have been felt at home.
The potential stress on Trump’s image on the world stage (MC) is certainly seen here—our allies are clearly troubled by his behavior and remarks, which makes perfect sense. Trump’s Mars rules his Aries 9th house and co-rules his Scorpio 4th house—the tension and anger he has unleashed threatens to spill over onto the international arena (some of his more right-wing buddies are loving it), and probably has something to do with the rapid exit of several CEOs from his various advisory councils. CEOs answer to the international arena and must hold themselves to a higher standard than Trump does.
Breaking news—those councils have just been eliminated by Trump—better that than watching people walk away?
With Mars and Pluto co-ruling his 4th house, he may also have a deeply toxic concept of “heritage” that's woven into his ideas about "law and order," and this mixture could produce sympathy for extreme right wingers. This is exacerbated by his aggressive Sagittarius Moon inhabiting this house as its natural ruler (more on the Moon and Saturn in a bit). We’ve certainly heard his sons spew bigoted ideas over the past year (remember the “Skittles” analogy from Donald Jr.?), and Trump’s chart frankly suggests that those ideas were learned at home, first of all.
Trump’s meltdown is likely to have other impacts on his family members, as well—perhaps on the investigations into Donald Jr.’s and Jared Kushner’s Russian connections; perhaps on Ivanka’s continued reliance on foreign-made goods for her business, or on her credibility as a presidential advisor and advocate for various causes. It all starts to sound a bit hollow no matter how fair the public may try to be (she’s not her father, after all).
PC Mars (Leo) conjoins Trump Mars/Pluto (midpoint, Leo). This midpoint operates on both the personal and collective levels: personally, as an opportunity to battle with foes or to retaliate (both seem to be constant needs with Trump); collectively (in regards to public position) it speaks to police and military forces working as one, which explains he first responded to Charlottesville as a failure of “law and order.”
This also quite strangely reads like a projection of Trump’s violent instincts into our social arena. He’s more prone to use words, position and money as weapons than tiki torches and flag poles, but this placement makes it easy to imagine that a part of him would have loved to be out there on the streets of Charlottesville, beating people down. I don’t think I’m exaggerating by saying that he sees the world as a polarized camp between supporters and everyone else. Guess who supported him in 2016?
Interchart T-Square: PC Mercury (Virgo) opposes PC Neptune (Pisces) across Trump 1-7 houses; this axis squares Trump Uranus-Node (Gemini). This only misses being a mutable grand cross (with Sagittarius Saturn) by a few degrees, but this configuration speaks to the “Us against Them” thinking that informed yesterday’s tirade, and to the erratic way in which his public comments regarding Charlottesville rolled out over three days.
Neptune has been transiting trine to Trump’s natal Cancer Mercury from his 7th house of perceived “enemies” long enough to seriously color his view of the world, and we’ve seen how eagerly his Uranus wages “wars” with words (Gemini), and then when the storm passes, simply deny (Neptune) that he meant what he actually said. His Cancer Mercury disposes his entire Uranus-Node-Sun conjunction, so between the transiting Neptune trine and his natal Mercury-Neptune (Cancer-Libra) square, there’s mental chaos enough to spare.
It’s entirely possible that Trump’s nervous system simply requires him to lash out and vent periodically, but IMHO, that’s a mental health issue (probably one of many), and it should have disqualified him from the presidency.
Interchart T-Square: PC Venus (Cancer) conjoins Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer) and opposes PC Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares PC Jupiter-Trump Jupiter Rx (Libra). In a strange way, this configuration probably contributed to the “crisis of opportunity” Trump whiffed on in the past few days. It also points to perhaps one big reason he’s been reluctant to condemn the extremist right groups: follow the money! PC Venus and Pluto fall over his powerful networking 5th and 11th houses, and money is what fuels those networks.
Importantly, this Venus exactly squares his 2nd house Jupiter, so he’s likely feeling less secure about his bottom line. Enormous legal fees may also be dogging his steps: if his re-election campaign is paying for these expenses, any decline in campaign funds could feel serious to him—not an excuse for anything he's said or done, but possible factors in his thinking!
It’s worth dwelling on Pluto’s 5th house transit to Trump’s Jupiter for a moment: finances and political power are one and the same thing these days, but the results are not necessarily megalomania. This is a “delusions of grandeur” phenomenon that seems to emerge from within the person, and as we see with Trump, it can be quite delusional. Admitting responsibility for mistaken actions or words is simply not in his repertoire—at least not in public.
Is this sign of megalomania simply a character flaw, a subconscious knee-jerk reaction that triggers whenever he is faulted for something? Or does the idea of taking responsibility simply not “compute” because of some overblown self-concept “loop” playing in his mind (and reinforced by his constant thirst for praise and adulation). Or was he taught growing up that to admit an error is an act of weakness? Whatever the issue is, this Pluto transit is bringing it to the fore.
On another note, Pluto’s opposition (which will tighten over the coming year) to Trump’s Cancer Saturn-Venus will likely get under his “thin skin” and work on his sense of security, but it could also denote a major investment in preserving that security and his position (Venus rules his 3rd house of communication and 10th of career). His new “propaganda” network, billed as Trump TV, seems to fit this scenario. How did the fresh-faced script-readers on that network spin his behavior over the past few days?
Interchart Fire Grand Trine: Uranus (Aries) trines PC Sun-Node-Trump Mars-Asc (Leo) trines PC Saturn Rx-Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius). This is the “sneak preview” I mentioned earlier—the eclipse will tighten the Uranus to Sun-Moon (and Trump’s Mars-Asc) aspects a bit, but the fiery impact is already being felt. More Neo-Nazi/alt-right protests are expected in the coming days, so it’s likely that those will manifest the volatile potentials we’re seeing in this grand trine. I suspect the police presence will be heightened, especially after August 26th, when Saturn Rx turns direct.
Knowing how hot-headed Millennials can be (Sagittarius is a fire sign, after all), there could be more trouble.
The fact that transiting Saturn has been within orb of Trump’s Moon and opposite his Sun on and off for over a year speaks to how emotionally overwrought he seemed in yesterday’s press conference. If he would take responsibility for anything, he might feel a lot less burdened and victimized, but his petulant full Moon makes this very difficult.
He might also experience fewer emotional explosions, but these are typically written off to “letting Trump be Trump,” like he’s some kind of eccentric genius for whom the rules of life are suspended (he’s not, and they’re not).
So we shouldn’t expect much change in his behavior, period. It’s a pity—he’s probably doing lasting damage to his legacy with his lack of responsibility and emotional storm-chasing (this opposition also coincides with his nodal axis). Saturn is offering him an opportunity to grow and deepen in wisdom (the process doesn’t end until we do), and he’s pretty clearly not up to the challenge for now.
I’ve been more than encouraged by the outpouring of support for Heather Heyer’s family, for her courageous, principled actions in Charlottesville, and for all those Congress members who have had the guts to call out Trump by name in their condemnations of hatred, white supremacy, bigotry and xenophobia.
IMHO, I think we should be slow to blame any particular faction or party for what we saw in Charlottesville—if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that the problem of racism and white supremacist attitudes is as American as that mythical apple pie, and even if we’ve been living in comfortably diverse communities and enjoying each others’ company quite nicely, it only takes another economic crisis to tease out any latent tensions. Those tensions, which tend to subside in better times, lurk like a dormant virus in our national “gut,” ready to poison our body politic all over again when times get tough.
So, the logical remedy, it would seem, would be to use any better times we might enjoy to educate our children in a global perspective, and, in particular, in the joys of diversity and mutual cooperation. We saw the sickening alternative to this on the streets of Charlottesville, and to tell the truth, the astrology suggests that things could get worse before they get better. Neptune and Pluto are moving our society in its “death-transformation-regeneration” process, and Charlottesville is a stark reminder that we have a choice over directions.
Do we want to renew our commitment to democracy and emerge more vibrant than ever, or do we want to be intimidated into following the dark lead of the right-wing, authoritarian forces in our midst?
Pluto is transiting into its return position in the U.S. Sibly chart between now and 2022, with Neptune settling into its half-return, opposite its Sibly position! This may very well be the window of time we have left to heal the karmic drain of slavery and racism on our collective American soul.
Hope springs eternal, of course—and we are an optimistic nation, with our Sagittarius rising! But if we succumb to those violent individuals among us who can only see the world as “Us against Them,” and we allow a fascist “shadow” state to take over by 2022, there may be no going back.
We probably need to stop pointing fingers at the “other guys,” too. I certainly don’t agree with Trump’s “both sides are guilty” claim, but there’s a broader societal crisis at work here that does implicate all of us. In fact, it’s possible that Trump is a mirror the Cosmos is holding up to our swaggering, “rugged individualist” culture, and if seeing ourselves in that mirror helps us to transmute the poisons in our collective “gut” for a loving, positive purpose, then in retrospect we will see that he played a critical role.
Stay tuned -- get those eclipse glasses ready!
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.