Monday, September 25, 2017

Flying a kite at the UN: of astrological modes and more saber-rattling

Beginning students of Astrology learn that each sign of the Zodiac has its natural mode of expression: Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable.

  • Cardinal energies initiate and generate action, changing the environment by releasing new energy into a situation.
  • Fixed energies give form to and stabilize whatever they touch, maintaining the status quo against the pressure to change (or against overdoing the change promoted by Cardinal energies).
  • Mutable energies destabilize everything they touch, often as part of a clearing out process that eventually redefines and reconfigures our personal and collective realities in some important way. Even though our normal reference points for culture, morality, relationships, etc. can become unmoored in mutable times, mutability allows us (and sometimes forces us) to adapt and adjust to an environment in flux.  

A quick refresher course—here’s how the traditional twelve Zodiac signs break down according to these three modes of expression:

  • Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
  • Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
  • Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

If we consider the natural rulerships and exaltations of the classical 9 planets, we see that certain planetary energies seem to express themselves more fully in certain modes, as follows:

  • Sun: rules Leo (fixed); exalted in Aries (cardinal)
  • Moon: rules Cancer (cardinal); exalted in Taurus (fixed)
  • Mercury: rules Gemini & Virgo (mutable); exalted in Aquarius (fixed)
  • Venus: rules Taurus (fixed) & Libra (cardinal); exalted in Pisces (mutable)
  • Mars: rules Aries (cardinal) & co-rules Scorpio (fixed); exalted in Capricorn (cardinal)
  • Jupiter: rules Sagittarius & co-rules Pisces (mutable); exalted in Cancer (cardinal)
  • Saturn: rules Capricorn (cardinal) & co-rules Aquarius (fixed); exalted in Libra (cardinal)
  • Uranus: co-rules Aquarius (fixed); exalted in Scorpio (fixed)
  • Neptune: co-rules Pisces (mutable); exalted in Cancer (cardinal)
  • Pluto: co-rules Scorpio (fixed); exalted in Leo (fixed)

We could dig into the implications of this breakdown at length, of course, but for my purposes in this post, one key takeaway is that most planetary energies play well in multiple modes. Venus and Mars, for example, are by far the most versatile planets, capable of comfortably expressing their important characteristics and influence in all three modes. 

On the flip side, it’s interesting to see the exceptions to this versatility—Uranus and Pluto—both at their most effective and empowered in fixed signs. Considering the instability these two often promote in concert, this might seem surprising, however the nature of the transformational rebellion they instigate relies on additional forces in play at the time. Mutable energies like the Saturn-Neptune square we experienced during the 2016 presidential campaign definitely “colored” the rebellion with chaos.  

Another interesting note is that there’s a relative shortage of energies that thrive in the mutable mode—Mercury and Jupiter rule or co-rule two mutable signs (Gemini-Virgo for the latter; Sagittarius and Pisces for the former). Neptune co-rules and Venus is exalted in mutable Pisces.

The affinity between Jupiter and Neptune is key here: growth and expansion often depend upon undermining the status quo and on eroding structures that could stand in the way of that expansion. Breaching a dam often precedes a flood. Bigger is not always better, however, even in Texas! We’ve seen this dynamic in brutal relief during this hurricane season. 

Long story short, the “superpowers” of these respective planets often contribute to an increase in chaos and instability. Not bad dynamics in and of themselves—creativity certainly thrives on a modicum of both—but like everything, it’s a question of knowing the breaking points where chaos and instability can become irredeemably destructive, instead of a way to break down outworn realities and jump start a new, productive order of things. 

Not all growth (Jupiter) or engulfing everything in one’s path for the sake of “finding one’s level” (Neptune) is constructive: both can be quite toxic, parasitical and even cancerous. 

This raises a key point: yes, Pluto is generally credited with the job of irrepressible destruction and regeneration, and it’s often the culprit we look to when cancer rears its ugly head, but again, Pluto doesn’t act alone in this agenda: the remaining social/collective planets, including Jupiter and Neptune, often function as agents of that agenda through aspects and cycle dynamics. 

In fact, the chaotic expansive/engulfing agenda of Jupiter and Neptune is not without direction or purpose—notice that both Jupiter and Neptune are at home in mutable signs, but exalted in cardinal Cancer. These exaltations help explain why Jupiter and Neptune are basically operating in a bit of creative tension with Capricorn Pluto these days.  They help produce the chaos, and Pluto capitalizes on this influence.  

IMHO, Pluto seems quite comfy in cardinal Capricorn, and history shows that Uranus and Pluto in cardinal aspects together can be powerfully disruptive—more on this in a future post.

Cancer and Capricorn are both goal-oriented and purpose-driven in their own ways, and so are the planets that enjoy a strong affinity for these signs. Security concerns have always fueled ambition and overly defensive­—even “pre-emptive strike”—dynamics. Donald Trump’s chart features the perfect example of Cancer’s hyper-isolationist extremes with his Saturn-Venus conjunction. Unfortunately, he wants to express these tendencies by building walls instead of bridges and by alienating the U.S. from the rest of the world. 

A planetary shell game

Jupiter and Neptune collude in very interesting ways to various purposes—almost like a “now you see it, now you don’t” planetary shell game that produces very sneaky results. Neptune’s strength in home-sign Pisces has facilitated Jupiter’s time in cardinal Libra because Libra ruler Venus has an affinity for Neptune and Pisces. For example, Trump’s undermining of the EPA’s authority and dismantling of regulatory frameworks (Jupiter and Neptune) in many environmentally sensitive industries has fed those industry coffers and made “friends” (Libra), but at what eventual cost? 

Justifying destructive policies because they may create a few jobs (often in “dirty energy” industries) or because they “give power back to the States” (a favorite policy ploy) only perpetuates and speeds up the downward spiral we’re experiencing on sustainability, but we’ve been blindsided (Neptune) by an economic smokescreen that disguises the dark side of these growth/expansion-oriented energies (Jupiter). 

Long-term planning and doing the responsible thing are generally not in the wheelhouse of Jupiter and Neptuneor any mutable energy, for that matter. This may explain why neurologists are starting to question whether the human brain is “wired” for stopping climate change. We’re simply too captivated and motivated by “shiny objects” to focus on long-term planning. I would like to think that human society was not always this distractible and scattered, unable to focus on long-term survival issues.

I think this is where the “sleight-of-hand” in the shell game comes in: yes, we are genetically wired for survival consciousness, and certain cultures like the Native American ones have proven that humans can privilege the long view over the short one when it comes to the environment, but there are determined cardinal forces in play (Jupiter-Uranus across Libra-Aries and Pluto in Capricorn) that use our distractedness to their advantage: long-term thinking messes with their short-term profit agenda. Mutable forces can be used quite nicely to facilitate.

In this sense, Trump’s “MAGA” agenda—especially as he characterized it in his U.N. debut this past week—reads like part Jupiter-Neptune quest, part Uranus-Pluto crusade: it doesn’t discriminate between moral, ethical or even wise avenues for getting what he wants, and those that are just shockingly dark (we might even say, evil). Why, for instance, does he choose now—in the midst of picking a fight with North Korea’s ruthless dictator—to attack the 1st Amendment rights of our professional athletes? 

Jupiter and Neptune cast a “spell” on everything they touch in concert, combining “rose-colored glasses” and wishful thinking with a tendency toward whitewashing and self-delusion. Saying one thing and doing another is a typical modus operandi, and this certainly doesn’t add to our sense of security. 

Uranus and Pluto rely on “shock and awe”—i.e., Trump’s promise to “completely destroy” North Korea with our overwhelming firepower. Of course, this promise may be, as DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un put it, the “sound of a barking dog.” So the 500-lb. question sucking the oxygen out of our public discourse right now is this: could the vicious war of words and nuclear brinksmanship these two have engaged in ever since Trump’s U.N. appearance be a real threat to the U.S. and to world peace? 

Flying a “kite” on the world stage

I don’t pretend to know Trump’s plans—he’s raised duplicity and unpredictability to an art form, and he clearly relishes keeping everyone guessing. Besides, his chart, as we’ve seen many times in posts here, just doesn’t allow us to eliminate any possibilities. He’s an erratic player who “shoots from the lip,” as one commentator put it—the problem is, the irresponsible game he’s playing is “nuclear chicken.” 

Despite the cloudy “crystal ball,” however, a biwheel cast between Trump’s speech and North Korea’s radix chart does lend insight. Trump verbally affronted several nations in that speech, but the comments he had about North Korea were by far the most outlandish and provocative. As we’ll see, there are some powerful interactions between these two charts. 

First, however, let’s examine the chart for Trump’s speech this past Tuesday at the U.N. on its own merits. C-Span first aired Trump’s speech at 10:00 a.m. on September 19th, so that’s the information we will use. 

As we’ll see, there’s an incredible “kite” formation cutting through the heart of it. The mix of mode influences that we’ve been discussing earlier comes into play here, as well. 

Chart #1: Trump Speaks at U.N., September 19, 2017, 10:00 a.m. DST, New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Kite: Uranus (Aries) trines Venus-No. Node (Leo) trines Saturn (Sagittarius); Uranus opposs Jupiter (Libra). As you can see, a kite formation combines a grand trine—here in fire signs—with an opposition that cuts through the heart of the “triangle” like a kite string. Notice that to be a true kite, the “string” planet (Jupiter) must form sextiles with the other two points of the grand trine. If we were to draw those angles in on the chart, you would see a pretty convincing “kite” figure.

Aspects expert Bil Tierney sees the kite as a very creative configuration that promotes the expression of “special talents or skills.” He sees the planet at the apex of the kite (here, Uranus) as denoting the “nature of the drive to be expressed,” and the fourth planet (outside of the grand trine—here, Jupiter) as the “catalyst,” and its house placement as “where special talents and skills are prone to direct themselves.” 

The opposition thus takes the potential of the grand trine (which can be difficult to express) and “activates” it within some context.[1] So, how would this apply to our question about the Trump-Kim war of words? 

First of all, the cardinal Uranus-Jupiter opposition (Aries-Libra) cuts across the chart’s 6th-12th axis, suggesting a quiet, but active build-up of military strength (6th) behind the scenes (12th). The 12th house is also associated with institutions like hospitals, prisons, and other venues where difficult life passages may run their course, but in the context we’re exploring, this house might also represent the end of one or more international relationships (the 12th is the derived 4th house from the 9th). This makes sense with the horrified response Trump received from other national leaders to a lot of his speech. 

If he ultimately acts on his megalomania, saber-rattling and brinkmanship—especially with nuclear weapons—we may lose many allies.  

The grand fire trine combines planets in all three modes and circulates ego-maniacal, bellicose and defiant energies—something reflected in Kim Jong-Un’s insult that blasted Trump as a “…gangster and rogue who likes to play with fire.” In Sagittarius, Saturn’s power to restrain is compromised by Jupiter’s naturally mutable influence; in cardinal Aries, Uranus is a little too trigger-happy, and in fixed Leo, Venus is prone to rut-bound, ego-driven drama. Interestingly, all three points of this configuration tie into Trump’s natal chart quite powerfully (chart not shown), so Kim may be reading the situation pretty accurately. 

As we’ll see, however, this fiery energy ties into North Korea’s chart, as well, so where will this nuclear playground dispute go from here? With Trump saying, “I know you are, but what am I?”
One way or another, the “war of words” is almost literally reflected in this chart. 

By rulership, the Mercury-Mars opposition to Neptune (Virgo-Pisces) reflects this “war”—harsh, belligerent language can be attributed to Mars-Mercury, and Neptune here provides the collective reach and overwhelming impact of those words. 

Notice the interesting way this opposition ties into the fiery grand trine circuit. Mars disposes Aries Uranus from military-related Virgo; Mars’ opposition to Neptune speaks to the “fog of war,” the inevitable obfuscation and double-dealing that takes over when what’s really being done behind the scenes becomes “classified” information. 

Grand trines tend to unleash energies that require outside outlets (i.e. aspects that tie into it), and as we saw with the “kite” formation, Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus provides the primary outlet. Jupiter, of course, co-rules Pisces, so it serves to amplify whatever Neptune is doing here. Importantly, as we’ll see when we look at the biwheel, this Mercury-Neptune opposition reflects how the hateful rhetoric is playing out with North Korea. 

The biwheel

In fact, this is a good time to take a look at that biwheel between this chart and North Korea’s. Unfortunately, there’s no sugar-coating some of its features, especially considering the context we’re focusing on here, so I won’t even try. It should be noted that the same chart factors can certainly be used for more positive purposes than the Trump-Kim feud—a silver lining we’ll consider in future posts. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) North Korea, September 10, 1948, 12:00 p.m. (noon chart, no exact time known), P’yongyang, NW, N.Korea (Book of World Horoscopes, Chart #179, p. 180); (outer wheel) Trump Speaks at U.N., September 19, 2017, 10:00 a.m. DST, New York, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-Square: UN Mars-Mercury-Moon (Virgo) conjoin NK Sun (Virgo) and oppose UN Neptune (Pisces); this axis squares NK Jupiter-UN Saturn (Sagittarius). It’s hard to say if the noon time for North Korea is accurate, so the chart MC may or may not be involved here. Even so, this stressful configuration is worth consideration for the emotional impact (UN Moon on NK Sun) represented. North Korea clearly takes its self-identity and dignity seriously—its Sun is disposed by a Libra Mercury, which is disposed in turn by a proud Leo Venus (which takes us back to the Sun via Leo!). Trump’s disrespectful rhetoric did not fall on deaf ears!

We considered this bellicose “flood of words” earlier—here we see how precisely targeted those comments were astrologically—shot right through North Korea’s “heart” (Sun)! Since the Sun in a national chart represents both the nation as a whole and the leader, we can see why Kim Jong-Un is taking Trump’s verbal assault not just in his role as leader, but personally, as well. North Korea’s government is a prime example of this conflation: the Leader is the State, for all practical purposes.

NK Jupiter’s role here is interesting—it’s a strong chart factor, in home-sign Sagittarius. Unfortunately, the unconfirmed timing means we can’t be sure if it’s conjunct NK Moon, as shown here, or not, but the North Korean obsession with being taken seriously on the world stage suggests that their Moon may indeed be involved. In a lot of ways, they’ve been treated like the “ugly step-sister” next to the more vibrant, affluent South Korea over the years, and they’re apparently determined to grab the limelight, whether the rest of the world likes their means and methods or not. 

UN Asc (Scorpio) conjoins NK Mars (Scorpio) and squares NK Venus (Leo). This is a clear flash point for Trump’s hostile remarks—even if it was only a speech, we can expect that it was received as an attack and a serious affront. It was the astrological equivalent of “throwing down the gauntlet,” insulting the other party’s dignity—on a world stage, too!—and  daring them to show up at dawn with pistols loaded. 

It’s also significant that UN Mars (Virgo) trines NK No. Node—the North Koreans may feel that responding to this attack is a matter of destiny (it’s not hard to imagine the official messaging Kim’s government is extracting from Trump’s actions). It’s more hard to imagine that North Korea’s Scorpio radix Mars won’t want to retaliate. 

UN Pluto (Capricorn) trines NK Sun-UN Moon-Mercury-Mars (Virgo). This trine suggests that corporate influence and profit are at stake in whatever happens with this feud, and that there are opportunities for the same. There may even be opportunities to transform their economy in more dramatic ways. The sanctions regime that Trump is pushing for on North Korea is onerous, and with UN Pluto inconjunct NK Pluto (Leo), however other factors in the biwheel suggest that sanctions may not debilitate them as badly as Trump would like. 

One strong instance is the powerful fixed energy in their chart: sanctions certainly won’t make them more cooperative. 

Interchart Kite: UN Uranus (Aries) trine UN No. Node-Venus-NK Pluto-Saturn (Leo) trine UN Saturn-NK Jupiter (Sagittarius); this fiery grand trine is pierced by the UN Uranus-Jupiter opposition (Aries-Libra). As touched upon earlier, the UN chart’s fiery grand trine ties all the players in this geopolitical drama together—we see here that NK Saturn is of particular interest in that regard. It not only suggests that North Koreans possesses the “backbone” required for whatever Trump throws at them, but it also ties into Trump’s chart in a very personal way, conjunct his Leo Mars-Ascendant conjunction (his chart not shown). 

When Kim said (referring to Trump’s UN remarks) that “the frightened dog barks more loudly,” he could have been speaking about these chart interconnections. Who’s intimidating whom?

UN Saturn’s position at NK Jupiter suggests that the DPRK is feeling the pinch of sanctions and other restrictions imposed on them, but the UN No. Node trine their Jupiter also suggests that Trump’s speech will empower them somehow. This Node falls at the NK Pluto/Saturn (midpoint, Leo), something Michael Munkasey equates with: 

“Associating with those who plan and work hard before they proceed with important work; identifying paths to those who have power or influence to wield or sell; a destiny about holding or abusing power.”[2]
This suggests that North Korea may be forging alliances, despite the global outcry against their missile launches and other provocations. Not surprisingly, it also suggests that they view Trump’s use and/or abuse of power as justification for their own power plays, however controversial. We may take a parallel view of Kim’s defiant actions, and the beat goes on… 

Final thoughts

Trump’s U.N. speech came across like a bully’s ultimatum to the world—get with my  program, or be demeaned and attacked, because all that matters is “America first.” Taunting Kim Jong-Un on the world stage by calling him “Rocket Man” demeans the U.S. as badly as it does the DPRK, and Trump seems to be okay with the obvious consequence: the North Koreans will retaliate over such indignations to save face. Trump knows how this works: he does it all the time when he's criticized.

Granted, we shouldn’t just stand by while they lob missiles over our allies Japan and South Korea, and we must defend our own territories as well. Even so, unless I’m missing something, Trump seems to be spoiling for a fight, and he’s behaving like he did in his WWF days. There’s been no attempt at a negotiated agreement—our Secretary of State is basically toothless, and wonder-boy Jared Kushner is nowhere to be seen.

In fact, DPRK’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho responded to Trump’s speech at the U.N. podium, saying that insulting his country would only make an attack on U.S. soil more “inevitable.” Those who closely watch North Korea know that they have more ways of attacking us than nuclear weapons: cyber-warfare is their other weapon, and according to CNN, they’ve been using it more frequently in the past year. Do we really want more of the same?  

Of course, the more North Korea does to defy Trump, the more justified military action will look to Trump and his most bellicose and opportunistic supporters—war is not only great for defense contracts, it’s a great distraction from things like Russia investigations and a wonderful pretext for declaring martial law, stifling 1st Amendment rights, etc. Have to get those pesky NFL players off their knees!!

The big question here might just be, who will speak loudly enough in favor of diplomatic solutions, rather than war? Jupiter is in diplomatic Libra for a while longer—opposite Uranus, we should be able to come up with shockingly proactive ways of mediating this dispute. “Let’s go fly a kite….!!!”

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. 

[1]Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS Publications, Reno, NV, 1983, pp. 78-79.
[2] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, 1991, pp. 296-7.