Tuesday, August 29, 2017

At the crossroads: Hurricane Harvey & Trump’s Friday night specials

Unfortunately, it was no surprise that Trump would hide behind Mother Nature’s skirts to commit his latest controversial acts. As the Texas Gulf coast was bracing for Hurricane Harvey’s onslaught this past Friday evening, Trump’s White House was busily scurrying about: 

rolling out his directives for the Defense Department to begin banning transgender individuals from military service, and pardoning his criminal “co-birther” buddy and disgraced Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio—a white supremacist who has bragged about maintaining a “concentration camp” for people his department deemed “illegals,” whether they were or not. 

Trump’s action was taken before Justice was allowed to take its due course, sending the message (perhaps to those awaiting summons from Mueller’s investigation) that buddies of his will be protected from the law. Arpaio is quoted as saying that if Trump asks him to run for Senate in Arizona (to unseat Jeff Flake, presumably), he "would consider it." Quid pro quo?

As for the timing of Trump's announcement, he’s now denying that he issued the pardon during the hurricane for the sake of “cover,” claiming instead that he was looking for the “ratings” that timing would bring. Does he really think that makes his action sound more acceptable? And by the way, Kim Jong-Un “respects” the U.S. How’s that working out for us?

Trump ticked off multiple controversial, political goals with every move.  Needless to say, there’s been talk in the media that by demonstrating his intention to undermine our justice system to protect a loyal supporter/criminal, Trump is flirting with a full-blown Constitutional crisis.

It’s easy to feel these days that everything that we used to take for granted (i.e., that the Bill of Rights and duly prosecuted crimes against those rights still mean something in our justice system) has fallen into a hurricane vortex, so the timing of all this with Harvey is far from coincidental. Naturally, as a mundane astrologer, I want to understand how all these Friday events and actions are connected. Even Donald Trump can’t order up a natural disaster like he would a take-out meal!

He certainly can, however, plan to blindside the media’s usual scrutiny with a Friday night news blitz in the middle of that disaster! Even so, the synchronicity may run deeper than Trump’s opportunism: powerful transits and long-term influences like eclipses manifest on many different levels: meteorological (i.e., a hurricane), sociological (the devastation being suffered by Texans and our Constitution), political (a storm of D.C. controversy) and personal/psychological (megalomania).  

So, my goal here is to tease out the threads of that synchronicity, and to figure out what the dynamics at work in the various parts of this Friday blitz have in common. Bear with me…I’ll try to keep what follows as clearly focused on why this, why now as possible. First and foremost, our deepest sympathies go out to Harvey's victims.

Let’s consider the “birth” data for Harvey:

“Around 03:00 UTC on August 26, the hurricane made landfall at peak intensity at Rockport with winds of 130 mph (215 km/h) and an atmospheric pressure of 938 mbar (27.7 inHg).[23] Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005 and the strongest in terms of wind speed to hit the country since Charley in 2004. It was the first hurricane to strike Texas since Ike in 2008,[24] the first major hurricane in the state since Bret in 1999, and the strongest in Texas since Carla in 1961.[25]

I won’t even attempt to recreate the litany of horrors that Hurricane Harvey has chalked up thus far; suffice to say here that it has proven to be a storm of epic, beyond-catastrophic proportions and perhaps the worst natural disaster that Texas has ever experienced. Thankfully, the death toll at this point is relatively low for disasters like this, and that’s a tribute to some very well-organized ground efforts by state officials, volunteers, and even neighbors who have taken to the flooded streets to transport anyone they can find to a shelter. Even so, we mourn every loss, and our hearts go out to  Texas.

As we’ll see, however, there are considerable problems ahead and tensions are beginning to rise along with the waters. 

Since Friday, Harvey has devastated coastal cities and towns like Rockport, where it first made landfall, and it has dumped a mind-boggling 11 trillion gallons of water on Texas—hitting the Houston area particularly hard—with several days of rainfall predicted ahead. Of course, here’s where we need to consider not only “why this, why now,” but also “why in Texas?” A biwheel for the storm’s first landfall in Rockport, Texas, set against the Texas Statehood chart provides some interesting insights. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Texas Statehood, December 29, 1845, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon chart, no exact time available), Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Hurricane Harvey landfall, August 25, 2017, 10:00 p.m. DST, Rockport, Texas. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: Harvey MC/Pluto (Capricorn) opposes Ceres (Cancer); this axis squares Texas Asc (Aries)-Uranus/Neptune (midpoint)-Pluto (Aries). The almost apocalyptic scope and intensity of this storm is certainly reflected here, and its specific impact on Texas farm and grazing lands and the livestock on those lands are reflected by Ceres’ position. The Pluto activity here suggests that Texas has reached a transformative moment in its history, and there are lives at stake in that process.

Interchart Grand Fire Trine: Harvey Mars-No. Node (Leo) trine Texas Pluto (Aries) and Harvey Saturn (Sagittarius); Harvey Mars-No. Node (Leo) oppose Texas Saturn-Neptune-Venus (Aquarius). This fiery configuration explains how the recent eclipse figures into the story, among other things. As Mars transits over the degree of the eclipse Dragon Head (No. Node) and then over the 28°+Leo eclipse point itself, it will re-stimulate the eclipse for at least the next 1-3 years, so those belligerent Leo energies, so in tune with Trump’s natal Mars-Asc, could be emboldened during that period. 

After a long retrograde, Saturn turned direct only hours before Harvey made landfall, in that torturous waiting period in which the storm hovered off shore for days. Quite possibly, Saturn helped the storm amass its epic force and concentrated moisture, then unleashing that force as its retrograde gradually lifted. 

Since the eclipse happened opposite the Texas Aquarius stellium, it’s not surprising that the state is experiencing a powerful upheaval involving water (Neptune) and state resources. Damage to the Texas oil industry and levy systems is also covered by the Mars-Neptune opposition (Saturn structures are undermined here, as well)—we may see a hike in oil and gasoline prices. 

The fact that water is the key destructive force at work is reinforced by Harvey Neptune (Pisces) semi-sextile Texas Asc and trine Texas No. Node (Scorpio). This Neptune is conjunct the Texas 12th house cusp, suggesting the looming deluge.  

The magnitude of this deluge is reflected by Harvey’s Jupiter-Moon (over the Texas 7th house of “enemies) trine Texas Saturn-Neptune-Venus (Aquarius)—this is the type of event in which the tendency of trines (especially involved Jupiter and the tides-related Moon) to unleash the energies at work can be destructive. Again, structures, waterways, reservoirs and resources are impacted by the uncontrolled expansion of the waters: Houston authorities have had to make some difficult decisions about channeling accumulated waters into some already inundated areas, in order to save other areas and resources for the “greater good.” 

This same Jupiter-Moon opposes Harvey Uranus (a shock to the Texas 1st house of state identity and vitality), and the Moon quincunxes Harvey Chiron. Texans—the “People” represented by the Harvey Moon—are experiencing a world of hurt, and it’s far from over.

The influence of Mars opposing Texas Neptune is also seen in some panic and hostilities that have broken out between rescue units and desperate residents seeking shelter. This story broke on 8/28 news, from CNN:

“Harvey continues dumping rain on East Texas and the waters continue to rise. People are starting to panic, rushing rescue boats and even shooting at them if they don't stop, said one volunteer rescuer.
Clyde Cain, of the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based rescue force that gained fame during Hurricane Katrina, said in one instance, a boat broke down, and while the crew sought shelter in a delivery truck, people tried to steal the inoperable boat.
Because of the hostile responses, the Cajun Navy has been forced to halt some rescue attempts, Cain said.
‘We have boats being shot at if we're not picking everybody up. We're having to pull out for a minute. We're dropping an air boat right now to go rescue a couple of our boats that broke, and they're kind of under attack,’ he said.”

CNN is also reporting an updated estimate that up to 500,000 people are expected to need disaster relief by the time Harvey’s flood waters recede. Harvey’s Jupiter-Moon square to Texas Moon and Harvey Pluto in Capricorn would account for the steadily growing numbers of dire situations. 

The statehood chart is not precisely timed, so the Moon may not be quite as tightly conjoined this Pluto as it looks here (let’s hope), but the potential for higher casualty numbers is certainly there if there’s a conjunction. Getting the billions needed (Pluto) for rescue and recovery ASAP is important

The latest breaking news I’ve seen at this juncture is: “The levee at Columbia Lakes in Brazoria County have been breached. Brazoria County is just south of Houston.” The Twitter message was unequivocal: “GET OUT NOW!”

The ban, the pardon and the Big Picture 

Moving on, the question shifts to Trump’s transgender ban for the military and his pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which interestingly, were made official almost simultaneously with right-wing extremist Sebastian Gorka’s exit from the White House last Friday (don’t let the door hit you on the way out!). So, aside from Trump’s entanglements with right-wing extremist agendas, Why carry all this out as Harvey was banging on Texas’s door?

Media analysts see the following connections: One, that the ban and the pardon were “red meat” for Trump’s extreme right-wing base (he loves the sound of cheers at his rallies)—clearly, his base has little tolerance for LGBTQ needs or rights; two, that the pardon was meant to signal that he and his cronies are above the law, if Mueller’s “push” ever comes to legal “shove”); and three, that items one and two were designed to deflect his base’s attention from his decision to let Gorka go. 

Gorka’s an unapologetically extreme Bannon ally, so Gorka’s exit isn’t entirely surprising—he may be needed at Breitbart to continue promoting the agenda that Trump can’t promote quite as openly from the White House

Predictably, Gorka denies that he was fired, but claims that he left voluntarily to “better support the president from the outside,” but MSNBC reported last night that a White House security memorandum is warning staffers to “not admit” him. So, by playing both sides against the middle, is Trump messing with his base like he does everyone else? 

Or, is that order simply one smokescreen floated over another? Does Trump want to distance himself from Gorka, whose neo-Nazi background may pose some kind of media/legal jeopardy, while still enjoying his assistance “from outside?” We have no reason to believe that Trump has disavowed what either Bannon or Gorka represents.

Nothing is ever straightforward with this deceptive administration. 

Usually, Friday night is a convenient time for a news “dump” when the person issuing the news wants to minimize media attention. But considering the troubling Constitutional implications of the ban, the pardon and the fact that Gorka even had a place in the White House, does the synchronicity in all these Friday night events indicate a building crisis in D.C.? 

We also have no reason to believe that Trump wants anything but chaos—the question is, how is that chaos likely to impact all of us as this “hurricane” in DC unfolds?

Bottom line, Harvey may indicate a threshold moment that reverberates throughout our Body Politic: Let’s look at the chart for Harvey’s landfall against the U.S. Sibly chart. 

Biwheel #2: (inner chart) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer chart) Hurricane Harvey landfall, August 25, 2017, 10:00 p.m. DST, Rockport, TX. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Harvey Sun-Mercury (Virgo) sextile Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer) and widely oppose Sibly Moon (Aquarius). These sextiles look fairly benign, however they present opportunities for “deal-making” (7th h Venus-Jupiter) that can be used for a range of purposes by those who hold the purse strings. Sibly Venus rules the 6th and 11th houses—military and top-level influence networks, and Sibly Jupiter rules the 1st and co-rules the 4th—our “face” to the world, and the deeper, grass-roots reality the American people are experiencing. 

This 4th house is fairly beleaguered at this time, and certainly a main focus during this evolutionary crossroads we seem to be facing as a nation: besides Neptune and Chiron transiting there, our Sibly progressed Sun has just edged into that house as well. I’ve spoken at length about the progressed cycle our Sibly Sun and Moon are engaged in right now (link here)—launching conjunct the Sibly IC-Asc, it’s a visible “crossroads” that certainly helps make sense of what we’re experiencing now. 

Harvey Mars-No. Node (Leo) sextile Sibly Mars (Gemini) and oppose Sibly Moon (Aquarius). As discussed earlier, this Mars-Node position evokes the Great American Eclipse we just experienced, and its position opposite the Sibly Moon has always been a concern. Here we see how that belligerent Leo energy could trigger the U.S. war machine (Sibly Mars), and North Korea seems determined to provoke exactly that. 

The other serious concern here is the possibility of a nation-wide emergency being called, especially one that Trump can use to justify imposing martial law. He’s just rolled back Obama’s regulations about local police departments being “militarized” with surplus military equipment, and that action would support any emergency powers he plans to claim. 

We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here—the National Guard is certainly being helpful in Texas, but would we want tanks rolling down the streets of all our cities to support Trump’s ideas about “law and order?” His choice to champion Joe Arpaio, whose brutal (some say "sadistic") concentration camps for brown-skinned detainees were maintained at taxpayer expense in the name of “enforcing the law,” should give us real pause. 

Unfortunately, Harvey Saturn (now direct in Sagittarius) trines Harvey Mars-Node as it opposes Sibly Mars (Gemini), making our Sibly Moon a sitting duck for repressive law enforcement and—given geopolitical stressors—the possibility of war. 

This Saturn has been hovering near Trump’s natal Moon for months with its retrograde passage, perhaps steeling his resolve to carry out his “law and order” agenda and to fully assume his “Commander-in-Chief” role (his Sun-Moon opposition straddles the Sibly 1st-7th axis, taking in Sibly Mars). Proving how tough he can be is important to him, and with Sibly Mars at his disposal, he has the tools.  

 Being tough has nothing to do with being wise, but Saturn’s better angels can bring wisdom to bear. Is Trump capable of wisdom? 

We can only hope that the generals Trump has surrounded himself with will be capable where he is not: the eclipse that happened smack dab on Trump’s natal Mars-Asc is likely to encourage his belligerent impulses. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square #1: Harvey Venus-Sibly Mercury-POF (Cancer) oppose Sibly Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Harvey Jupiter-Moon (Libra) opposite Harvey Uranus (Aries). This super-charged configuration speaks to the financial dimension of not only Hurricane relief, but of other likely dynamics unfolding, such as defense budgets, the national debt ceiling and spending bills, etc. 

The lobbyists and big influencers (Sibly Mercury and Harvey Jupiter-Moon over Sibly 11th) are pushing their agendas, and the “Market” (Sibly Pluto) is poised for big corporate profits (Harvey Venus opposite Sibly Pluto). Please note that this should not be taken as a Market prediction—I am happy to defer to financial astrologers for those. There’s a backdrop of instability with some key mutable factors, as well, so anything goes. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square #2: Harvey Ceres-Sibly Sun (Cancer) oppose Harvey Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Harvey Jupiter-Sibly Saturn (Libra) opposite Harvey Asc-Sibly Chiron (Aries). Especially given the Sibly 2nd-8th house axes in play here, our ability to plant a field and nurture it through to harvest is at stake here. This can be taken literally (Ceres rules food, agriculture, female/domestic issues), or figuratively, as in public policies that either accomplish their aims or don’t, budgets that fulfill the nation’s needs or don’t (Sibly Chiron). 

These squared-off oppositions thus raise questions about how budgets affect whether Congress (Sibly Saturn) and the Federal government (Sibly Sun) function well, or whether they are corrupted by toxic ideological concerns (Harvey Jupiter squares Harvey Pluto). This fits the CNN story today that questions whether emergency funding for Harvey relief will get hung-up in Congress out of petty retribution. 

In 2012, the Tea Party –including Texas Senator Ted Cruz—refused to fund Hurricane Sandy relief, and other members of Congress haven’t forgotten. Unity or division?  

Final thoughts

As much as I think we need to analyze the dynamics that we are caught up in these days—and take nothing for granted!—I do think taking action is the magic elixir going forward. Here’s where Harvey is telling us something about our broader collective lives as Americans. 

As with  Harvey, everyone has something to contribute, whether it’s a hand up, a skill or a talent, a flat-bottomed boat, a few bucks, or an encouraging word. Trump can’t seem to decide if he wants to unite or divide us (it’s just not in him to do anything coherently), but we know what works best for all of us. 

It’s not the zero-sum perspective that says “if someone else gets something, we must’ve lost out.” It’s the non-zero-sum gains we all make when everyone keeps one eye on personal needs and another on the greater good. Maybe these opposing perspectives capture—in a nutshell—the crossroads we find ourselves at these days? 

Which way do we go? Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Texas!!

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.