Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day 2018: the Astrology of the military’s role in today’s government

This Memorial Day weekend feels like a good time to reflect on what’s going on astrologically with our U.S. military these days.

The military is an American institution that—from afar—seems to be avoiding the worst undermining instincts of the Trump presidency, but is it really? The answer might depend upon our perception of the military’s role in our collective lives. This is a far more complex issue than we might think.

Full disclosure: I grew up during the height of Viet Nam war protests and so was greatly relieved that my sons, born during the 1970s and 80s, were coming of age after the military draft was discontinued. This was a purely selfish sentiment, of course—if they had been critically needed for the nation’s defense and a draft was reinstated, I would have had to suck it up like any military mom and pray for the best. That’s one of the many hard realities of citizenship. 

Instead, my young adult sons and I were able to enjoy a couple family “outings” to Washington, D.C. to protest (in late 2002 and early 2003) the fraudulent excuses being given at that time for attacking Iraq. The memories of the 9/11/2001 attacks were fresh, of course—a real “coming of age” moment for my sons’ Pluto in Libra generation—but something about the way the narrative underpinnings of the Iraq war were being manufactured before our eyes just stunk of corrupt intent and fraudulent misdirection. 

I was convinced that the sons and daughters going off to that war were being deluded and used by powerful entities for whom human life is a mere “resource” to be deployed. These entities find the military a useful tool, and their motives are not always honorable or ethical. Long story there.

Looking back, I have no regrets for doubting our leaders’ motives for attacking Iraq in 2003; quite the opposite, the nation has much to regret about the Iraq War.

Thank you for your service!

 Even so, one of the hard lessons of the Viet Nam era and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been that it’s one thing to protest an unjust, corrupt war, and it’s quite another to vilify or under-appreciate military service in general. If one or more of my sons had sincerely heard that call to serve, I wouldn’t have stopped them from following their own lights.

The life of a warrior is a calling like any other, and it can be an honorable, character-building profession. Since mythic times, warriors have been revered and lionized for their vital contributions, their strength in the face of battle, and for their courageous sacrifices. Simply put, we need these brave, committed individuals. 

There is, however, a major pitfall built into this vocation: its dependence upon the character of its commanders. Military officers and personnel follow orders, so in one respect, their actions will only be as good, ethical or honorable as those who issue the orders. Unfortunately, the military virtues of bravery, selfless dedication and loyalty (“Semper Fi”) can be, and over the centuries certainly have been, used and abused for dubious purposes.   

The Iraq War fits here in my estimation, and if we end up going to war with Iran and/or North Korea under Trump, I’ll probably feel the same way about those conflicts. To unite people behind such causes would require a much more trustworthy, honorable leader.  

We have seen vivid results from our leaders’ past abuses of power in the horrific suicide statistics among both veterans and the enlisted. In the callous disregard for vets after their service concludes, as they’re trying to find post-service jobs, medical and psychological care, and of course, when they’re trying to find affordable housing. The statistics are alarming:

Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night.
As one vet I know put it very succinctly, “we were expendable materiel.”

Despite all this, the military is a noble profession whose first mission is to protect the Constitution. All of the military’s other duties flow from that mission. Here are the two oaths administered in the U.S. armed forces:

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlistees):
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." 

The Oath of Office (for officers):
"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." 

So we have to wonder what happens when the Commander-in-Chief (who would ideally deserve that “Semper Fi” allegiance) is him- or herself not protecting the Constitution, but abusing the power of the presidency. And what happens when the “enemies, foreign or domestic,” are entangled with the sitting president? 

And—worst case scenario—what happens when the sitting president was probably not elected legitimately, as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (a career military defense professional) affirmed in a recent interview? If the Constitution is the military’s guiding light, how can it proceed when heavy shade has been thrown on that light by its Commander-in-Chief, his enablers and cohorts? Will the military ultimately be part of the problem, or part of the solution? 

These are serious questions for our murky, troubled times, but as we’ll see, astrology can provide some insights into why we’re going through this, and why now. Let’s begin with a consideration of the U.S. Sibly chart, from the perspective of military service and national defense. These concerns are usually considered the business of the 6th and 7th houses respectively, yet confining the impulse to defend the nation to these limited sectors of the chart seems counter-intuitive. Even so, let’s start there and see where this leads.

The astrology

What follows is a biwheel featuring the sunrise chart for this year’s Memorial Day against the nation’s Sibly chart. As we’ll see, the affairs of both 6th and 7th houses are firmly interwoven and permeate throughout the chart.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Memorial Day 2018, May 28, 2018, 5:46 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Sibly Taurus 6th house is ruled by 7th house Venus in Cancer; Sibly Venus conjoins Sibly Jupiter (Cancer) and is opposed by MDay Vesta-Saturn (Capricorn).  One key takeaway here: security-conscious Cancer Venus is the glue that binds the 6th and 7th house together here, and she may be inspiring the defensive, fear-mongering rhetoric we’re hearing out of D.C. these days. Trump is the shrillest voice, of course, telling our Homeland Security Secretary to basically lock down our borders and ignore the rule of law when it comes to people crossing our borders. “We’re closed!” he says. 

Apparently, immigrants = criminals in his mind—an irrational (many would say hateful) position that mirrors Saturn’s transit opposite Trump’s Cancer Mercury (chart not shown), as well as the nation’s Venus-Jupiter. It’s important here that Saturn and Vesta are transiting the nation’s 1st house: this explains the stressful time We the People have been having lately, up to and including the issue of public health and welfare (the opioid crisis comes to mind).

Being dominated by a cruel, fearful bully also comes to mind as a stressor (Trump’s bullying Leo Mars also exactly opposes our Sibly Moon, as well), and this is no small concern for our national soul. His constant angry assault on the truth and his attempts to destroy our trust in institutions such as the FBI and the Justice Department is an assault on our minds and hearts—again, no small concern.

But is Trump truly that fearful of outsiders coming in (he married two of them and he’s super-cozy with foreign nationals who want political access), or is he simply fear-mongering for political effect?  

Importantly for today’s exploration, Trump has already used his executive power to place the National Guard at the border, as though we’re being invaded by a hostile power. They’re already being overly abusive, separating parents from their children at the border and overturning centuries of tradition in regards to granting sanctuary to deserving individuals. This makes us a much crueler nation: will these domestic armed forces be called upon to violate their humanity and break the law to satisfy the Commander-in-Chief’s hateful campaign promises? 

And what about the quasi-military, Homeland Security forces of ICE? Besides the fact that ICE’s very existence reflects how we’ve officially criminalized immigration, perhaps its cruel treatment of longtime immigrant residents under Trump is one reason we’re seeing bipartisan pressure to get an immigration bill on the floor for a vote? Congress (Saturn) really needs to do its job on this issue and stop allowing Trump and his ICE storm troopers to call the shots entirely.

From its position in the 7th, Jupiter rules the Sibly 1st house of identity and national outreach, so the opposition by transiting Saturn also implies stress to our national relationships, i.e., our allies (7th). We’re seeing it in the on-again-off-again talks with North Korea, with our European allies pursuing a way to preserve both the Paris Accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal without the U.S., and that’s just for starters. 

All of these broken and undermined relationships could have military ramifications down the road: how will we know if our military is being used for honorable purposes or not? Will any military action that results be legitimate, or Trump ego trips?

Chiron transiting into Aries is highlighting this situation, too: directly opposing the Sibly MC from the Sibly 4th, it’s currently forming a grand-square with transiting Vesta (Capricorn) and Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Aries Chiron is a “wounded warrior,” but this configuration suggests that the pain could motivate all parties to push for balanced geopolitical relationships. Here’s where our honorable, experienced national warriors can help tame the Commander-in-Chief’s natural volatility: those who know the pains of war (Trump enjoyed multiple deferments) are the least likely to see war as the solution to all disputes. 

In fact, a short month after Chiron last entered Aries in February 1969, “wounded warrior,” WWII hero and 33rd president Dwight D. Eisenhower (natal chart[1] ruler fell opposite at 2+Libra, among other issues) was laid to rest. Richard Nixon—a troubling model Trump is often compared to—was sworn in that January, just before the Aries ingress. During the course of that year he began drawing down U.S. troop levels from Viet Nam, but caused a lot of domestic controversy with his methods. From Wikipedia

“On 27 October 1969, Nixon ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union, in accord with the madman theory, that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam War ("Operation Giant Lance").[212][213]
At 3+ and 11+ Aries respectively that October day, the Chiron/Eris (midpoint, Aries) was quite snugly conjunct Nixon’s natal No. Node (6+Aries), with transiting Uranus adding a “mad” erratic punch from (6+Libra), square Nixon’s natal[2] Mercury-Jupiter in Capricorn. Eris also brings a warrior mindset to bear: Nixon was clearly looking to exploit the power in madness and unpredictability, but what of the military forces in harm’s way at the time, not to mention the stakes of such nuclear brinksmanship? 

The parallels between Nixon’s “madman theory” and Trump’s “fire and fury” tweets with Kim Jong-Un should be troubling, but perhaps not for the obvious reasons. Interestingly, at 5+Libra, Trump’s natal Neptune ties into this 1969 early cardinal stress pattern, and into Nixon’s chart. Has he been instinctively (or perhaps even intentionally) channeling Nixon for a new military conquest?

L-R, David Frost and Richard Nixon--a memorable, Watergate-era interview.

Other parallels leap to mind, as well: Nixon was known to rely on the defense that “national security” depended upon him being allowed to act with impunity, right or wrong. “If the president does something, that means it’s not illegal” was his response to a famous question asked by David Frost during the Watergate investigation.  Early in his presidency, Trump claimed that “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” And he and his family have been exploiting this controversial loophole in our conflict of interest norms ever since. 

Trump clearly resonates with Nixon’s mindset and views of executive power, but perhaps that’s where the comparison ends. As one writer put it, “Don’t insult Nixon by comparing him to Trump!” Among other issues, Nixon had the decency to resign when his impeachable offenses were uncovered. 

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: Sibly Vesta (Taurus) trines Sibly Neptune (Virgo), trines MDay Pluto (Capricorn). Demetra George and Douglas Bloch[3] characterize Vesta-Pluto aspects as signifying “a sense of destiny and personal commitment to the transformation of society,” and with Neptune, they suggest there’s a tendency for Vesta (here in the public service-oriented 6th house) to focus on spiritual ideals. This can certainly be construed to be the military ideals of honor and valor, but we might want to be wary about any attempt to “transform” our society into a more military-style state. 

As noted above, we’re seeing too much militarization already in local police forces, along our borders, and with ICE. This is not militarization in the service of democracy—it’s an erosion of democracy for the sake of what Trump perceives as “national security.” Or perhaps his own security? 

The houses linked by this earthy triad are key here, of course: as a mutually-reinforcing circuit of energy and resources, the Sibly 2nd-6th-10th house triad represents what Dwight Eisenhower dubbed the “Military-Industrial Complex.”  It’s no surprise that under Trump our Defense budget has skyrocketed. From DefenseNews:

“Senate leaders have reached a two-year deal that would set defense spending at $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019.
Those top-lines, part of a deal announced by Senate leaders Wednesday afternoon, hews to those authorized by National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 and President Donald Trump’s expected 2019 defense budget.
Not all of the details were announced immediately, as bipartisan talks continued, but sources close to them said spending limits for defense and non-defense combined would be raised by $300 billion over two years.”

We also know from Trump’s own comments that updating our nuclear arsenal is a major priority for him: Pluto’s role opposite Sibly Mercury (Cancer)—ruling the Sibly 7th—is spelled out pretty clearly here. We’ve been down this “arms race” path before: it’s a sure path to crippling national debt and insecurity. It’s also a sure path to great moral dilemmas for our military: can our military leaders refuse to follow a Commander-in-Chief order that involves dropping a nuclear weapon for unjust or fraudulent reasons? Doomsday scenarios abound, for good reason.

But, like a schoolyard bully or worse, Trump insists on boasting about the size and power of our nuclear arsenal. Then there’s the issue of nuclear energy production itself, which Trump wants to boost, but only in concert with efforts to boost the much more polluting coal industry. He’s been working, in fact, to claim wartime powers that hark back to the Korean War for the sake of boosting these industries. From Bloomberg News

“Under the approach, the administration would invoke sweeping authority in the 68-year-old Defense Production Act, which allows the president to effectively nationalize private industry to ensure the U.S. has resources that could be needed amid a war or after a disaster.”
While an updated, more secure nuclear energy infrastructure could be a positive, and while some states, like coal-rich West Virginia, welcome any boost to their industry, there’s no consideration of the “big picture” here—the environment is probably our greatest security threat (Vesta would agree here), and sacrificing that on the altar of defense (when we seem to be taking mostly offensive positions in the world) is more than troubling.

Pluto transiting trine to Neptune is very busy energizing the “Fog of War” machine, it seems, and as always, our military will pay the heaviest price for these machinations. The fact is, we’ve been attacked by Russian interference in our 2016 election (an ongoing threat): is anyone talking about using military action against Russia?! No, we’re talking about the threats posed by other countries who haven’t come anywhere near our shores!

7th house Sibly Mars (Gemini) quincunxes MDay Pluto (Capricorn) while MDay Saturn/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer). This Saturn/Pluto midpoint falls in the Sibly 2nd (ruled by Saturn), which may explain the harsh, aggressive tone permeating our national economic discourse (Sibly 2nd) these days. Trump’s trade negotiations (opposition to Sibly Sun, the Executive) are often characterized as battles for total conquest, with “what’s in it for the U.S.?” being his only concern. 

That’s probably why his about-face on the Chinese telecom firm ZTE is so suspicious and considered a “national security risk” by a bipartisan group in Congress that is pushing back on the idea. There are also suspicions that Trump’s turnabout was inspired by a Chinese plan to put $500 million towards a Trump “theme park” project planned for Indonesia. The corrupt possibilities for this conflation of personal and national financial ambitions here are breathtaking. 

The security risks seem related to China’s breach of sanctions the U.S. placed on Iran, and indeed, ZTE’s role in helping the Iranian government to spy on its citizens. We might wonder whether Trump envisions having some use for similar services, in fact. If it sounds too much like Orwell’s “Big Brother,” it’s because it is. Perhaps this is another reason to avoid over-militarizing domestic law enforcement.

Orwell's dystopian vision is not as far-fetched as it seemed.

This Saturn/Pluto midpoint falls square Sibly Saturn (Libra)—we need to hope that Congress will continue pushing back on any movement toward a “Big Brother” state. Remember the “Thought Police” in Orwell’s 1984? This may sound too “Hollywood” to be taken seriously, but other peoples have suffered through this (Iran may be the latest) and we’re in no way exempt, given our present circumstances and the transits bedeviling our national chart at the moment. 

Another ethical and moral dilemma for our military to puzzle through. Who will they serve in the end: the Executive, or We the People? 

And now we come to the all-important issue of Mars in our Sibly chart and its current challenges. The quincunx with transiting Pluto (Capricorn) speaks volumes: our military (Mars) is caught in a powerful web of power dynamics right now, and the Plutonian crowd will probably win out because their financial clout trumps all (pun intended). I don’t foresee this situation improving until after this Pluto completes its return journey into its radix Sibly position at 27+Capricorn in 2022.

Unfortunately, by then, the nation and the military may have well experienced a transformation that crowds out all other priorities. Worst case scenario, we’ll be committed to a corporate-financed perpetual war footing because the military has been essentially privatized. With accelerating climate change, natural resources will perhaps become scarce enough to justify (to those corporate powers, at least) a new wave of imperialistic adventures. Anything that amounts to a war footing will allow the Executive to wield broad powers the Constitution reserves for wartime--martial law, among other onerous possibilities.

This is a story for another day, but the Sibly Pluto return chart for February 20, 2022 features Capricorn Mars-Venus-Vesta widely conjunct Pluto, again stressing out our radix Gemini Mars by quincunx. Resource wars will be quite possible if the intervening years haven’t been marked by progress against climate change. That’s the best case scenario here: that we all wake up to what’s being lost and do something about it!

Crumbling beneath our feet?
Interchart T-Square: MDay Neptune (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and this axis squares Sibly Mars (Gemini). This murky, mutable configuration is a preview of things to come, as well—at Pluto’s return to its Sibly position in 2022, Neptune will be exactly opposite (within minutes) of its radix Sibly position, as well. Between now and then we will likely be “dis”-illusioned by our so-called “American Dream.” 

Lifestyle changes will be required for the new, far more resource-conscious world we will be inhabiting. Housing needs to become more efficient and compact; water needs to be stretched beyond anything we’ve imagined, and every hectare of land (Neptune transiting Sibly 4th) needs to be used sustainably. All of these imperatives will be matters of national security (Sibly Mars). 

It’s hard to miss that Trump’s natal Sun-Node-Uranus stellium in Gemini (chart not shown) conjoins Sibly Mars, while his aggressive Sagittarius Moon opposes: this, along with the fact that this Sun disposes his chest-thumping Leo Mars, probably explains why he’s so emotionally invested in his role as Commander-in-Chief . Bring on the parade! 

Unfortunately, none of this bodes well for waging peace, as opposed to war—a former ambassador to Panama under the Trump administration likened Trump’s competitive style to a velociraptor, saying that Trump “has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference, he kills you.” This style impacts every level on which Trump exercises presidential power, of course—domestic and foreign. It will certainly impact the outcome of the Special Prosecutor’s  investigation. 

At this writing the investigation looks vulnerable, like it could be fatally undermined by Trump’s demands for classified information he shouldn’t be able to access at this juncture. Rod Rosenstein needs all the support (and backbone) that we can lend him. 

Needless to say, Trump’s “velocipator” style will tremendously complicate the lives of our military personnel. The tone is set at the top, and that tone is pretty oppressive right now.

The ambassador also pointed out that, while his approach to diplomacy has always been to seek out “win-win” solutions, Trump’s own book, The Art of the Deal reveals that Trump doesn’t believe in “win-win” solutions. It’s all or nothing for him. We’ve all heard him complain to high heaven that other countries have “taken us for a ride.” Even children are taught to share and play nice with others, aren’t they? Not in Trump’s world. 

This uncompromising, give-nothing approach to foreign affairs (except, strangely, to Russia, China and ZTE) can’t help but cause problems, and our military will bear the heaviest brunt for them.

Final thoughts

It would be disingenuous of me to soften what the astrology seems to be saying these days for the sake of a “feel-good” ending. Unfortunately, the astrology confirms the red flags that many, many political analysts are waving these days for our democratic system of checks and balances. The importance of Election 2018 cannot be overstated here, but even a shift in Congressional dynamics may not entirely stop Trump from using his executive power to diminish this nation and recreate it in his own image. Megalomania in a leader demands nothing less. 

We may, unfortunately, be stuck with him for the duration—even if Mueller does finally bring some charges against him. Trump’s insistent mantra that Election 2016 was being “rigged” against him was the perfect, hermetically-sealed defense against ever being held accountable for anything, and the country fell prey to it, with a lot of help from Russia and other outsiders, like Wikileaks. Now he’s deploying that same strategy to avoid taking responsibility for what appear to be some breathtakingly corrupt entanglements.

Bottom line, the heavy, divide-and-conquer dynamics of Neptune and Pluto transiting our national chart have been pretty overwhelming, and we’re still not out of the woods. From one coast to the other, we can’t even agree on the facts of our current politics, so uniting to protect ourselves from the current dangers is going to take some doing.

So, there’s more rocky road ahead, but my hope is that we will emerge from this dark passage with transformed appreciation for the mechanics of democracy and renewed kindred feelings for each other, as co-creators of that blessed order. Like our military, we’re all part of the solution!

Thank you for your service!

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. The critical ways in which our personal and collective dimensions overlap in everyday life is a particular area of study these days. Several of Raye’s 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 2018. All rights reserved. 

[1] Eisenhower’s birth data (featured by Kepler 8.0 software) is October 14, 1890, 3:40 a.m. ST, Denison, TX. Disputed birth time—see  
[2] Birth data from birth record (listed in Kepler and January 9, 1913, 9:35 ST, Whittier, CA.
[3] Authors of Asteroid Goddesses: the Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, 2003 updated edition, Ibis Press, Lake Worth, FL, pp. 148-49.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The “split screen:” the astrology of provocation in Jerusalem

As I write this, the world is still discussing with clenched teeth how the Trump administration rolled out its controversial U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem yesterday. The opening was ceremonially official at 4 p.m. local time—more on this important detail in a bit. 

This shift from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was expedited to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary as an independent state, so there is, in fact, no new embassy yet (that’s at least a year away), just a new embassy wing to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. 

Even so, symbolic gestures cut deep in this volatile Middle East region, and this U.S. move is viewed by Palestinians as not just a total shift away from international diplomatic practice, but a deliberate provocation of violence and a total disregard for the legitimate needs and rights of Palestinians. Bottom line, this move says to Palestinians that the U.S. is no longer a neutral arbiter between these uneasy neighbors. 

Palestine’s hopes for a 2-state solution with Israel, a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank now seem even more remote, if not impossible. When Trump first announced his plans to make this move, he said that “today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” thus aligning the U.S. and Israel as not just allies (that’s always been true), but allies against any Palestinian claims on Jerusalem. 

In typical "mixed message" form, however, Trump and Kushner claim that the U.S. is still committed to a peaceful 2-state solution. This might sound good, but the hoped-for stakes in such an agreement (a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem) have already been snatched out from under the Palestinians!

Right-wing hard-liners—both in the U.S. and Israel—have prevailed, in other words, and we can probably expect that this move will open the door to further expansion of Jewish settlements into Palestinian territories. And further unrest, as a result.

The Brookings Institute is officially holding out hope that some positives can result from this provocative U.S. move, despite the gnarly issues between the players, but they emphasize that the Trump administration will need to push for them, and that’s a big “if.” Brookings suggests that Israel could make three key concessions going forward that would dial-down the tension:

“First, the U.S. could call on Israel to unequivocally announce that they would allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem to vote in any future Palestinian national elections—just as they did in 1996 and 2006. This would remove an important excuse the Palestinian leadership has had in not holding national elections.
Second, the U.S. could call on Israel to immediately reopen the more than 20 Palestinian institutions, such as the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that were shuttered after the outbreak of conflict in 2000.
Third, the U.S. could call on Israel to change the way it issues permits to married Palestinian couples and their children to live in Jerusalem when one is from the West Bank and the other is from Jerusalem.” 

The situation is extremely volatile: yesterday’s protests (May 14th) resulted in at least 57 dead, and the total today (May 15th) is probably over 60, with the protests—fueled on a daily basis by more funerals—showing no signs of letting up. So any moves that moderate tension would help. The astrological question here is, why pick sides in the way Trump has, and why now?

Seen yesterday in Jerusalem

Why this, why now?

Richard Haass, long-time American diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations says he “sees no seeds of progress for the Middle East” in today’s embassy opening. He offers that there’s a reason no other president before Trump has chosen sides in the Jerusalem “ownership” battle—because it’s a bad idea, full stop. Even so, Trump believes he has a better plan: it doesn't hurt that the Israelis are showering him with praise for his "courage," as well.

Yet, Trump’s purposes and strategic aims seemed pretty clear in the way the embassy opening was handled, with opening invocations by two controversial American Evangelical pastors, John Hagee and Robert Jeffress, both known to be hostile to Muslims (and even to Jews, strangely enough)—another slap at Palestinians. Mitt Romney says the pastor who gave the opening sermon in Jerusalem today is a “religious bigot” who should never be allowed to represent the U.S.; IMHO, Trump must approve of the bigoted message or he wouldn’t have chosen this pastor for the job.

So, what message is Trump trying to convey? Setting aside what his choice of pastors and invocations say about religious tolerance and equity at home, the message delivered in Jerusalem was patently hostile to Palestine and certainly not one around which further negotiations towards a 2-state solution between Israel and Palestine could be built. It’s a message that clearly picks sides and validates Israel’s aggressive stance.

As far as I can glean, Israel’s working narrative for its relations with Palestine go something like this: if Palestinians protest the brutal existence they’ve been forced into by Israeli occupation, they must be terrorists (i.e., agents of Hamas), so brutal measures are justified and the victims can be blamed for whatever happens to them.  The reporting suggests that the Israeli government deflects any Palestinian complaints with this same approach—treating them something like a disgruntled warden would treat inmates in a prison.
Unfortunately, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner—who enjoys deep family friendship ties with Benjamin Netanyahu—parroted the Israeli narrative in his speech yesterday in Jerusalem, and today at the U.N., Ambassador Nikki Haley repeated this official line, laying all the blame for the carnage along the Israel-Palestine border on Hamas. I wonder how many Palestinian protestors feel they have a choice; no one listens to them otherwise!

Even children have reportedly been killed by Israeli forces in these latest protests—they, too, are being “used” by terrorists, the story goes. How far can this go? Last count, the death toll on the Israel-Palestine border since March 30th (when the protests began) is over 100, with 11,500 demonstrators wounded.  Still, the terrorist narrative prevails. The Washington Post reports today that:
“More than 70 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees or descendants of refugees from areas in Israel, and the demonstrations have rallied for their U.N.-endorsed right of return.
‘Our people have the right to break the walls of this big prison,” Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said in a briefing with foreign journalists on Sunday. “We went out to knock the wall of the prison and declare it clearly that we won’t accept to die slowly.’
Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza in 2005, though the United Nations still classifies it as occupied because of the level of control wielded by Israel, which restricts the movement of people and goods. Egypt has also only sporadically opened its border.
Israel says that Hamas is using the demonstrations as a cover to carry out attacks, pointing out that some of those killed are known militants.” 

As a point of national karma, we need to consider whether Trump, Kushner, et al are giving Israel carte blanche for actions that amount to war crimes. We have perhaps become numb to the dangers that civilians live with in many parts of the Middle East, but it’s worth noting that just as Vladimir Putin has closely aligned Russian interests with Syria’s brutal dictator, Bashar al-Assad, so Trump appears poised to do similar with Israel’s Netanyahu.

Netanyahu may not be a dictator vis-à-vis the Israelis, but he is certainly regarded that way by the Palestinians. The aims in both conflicts are similar: territorial control.

But there are less obvious stakes in play here, as well: we know Trump’s transactional nature, and we can be fairly certain that this is not solely an altruistic move on his part. It doesn’t take much to imagine a few possible motives: A political coup for Trump (and family) with his pro-Israel, right-wing evangelical base? A personal coup for Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner? An opportunity to build a power triad with Netanyahu and Putin, against Iran?
If the move is, as CNN characterizes it, a “nail in the coffin of the peace process,” the purpose of the move could very well be to build pretexts for war, and to build an alliance for waging that war.
The sabers are already rattling with Israel attacking Iranian positions in Syria (supposedly in defense, but we know how broadly that’s defined), so Putin may well be challenged to protect his “investment” in Syria against Iran as well. Does Israel intend to expand into Syrian territory, for that matter?

There will undoubtedly be numerous twists and turns in this complicated region, but it’s probably a safe bet (as we’ll see, the astrology concurs) that consolidating regional power is the aim, and if a 3-way alliance forms, there’s probably something at stake for each of the players.

The astrology

So let’s consider the astrology for today’s event. One striking thing about it is the exact timing with which everything happened. As an astrologer I’m always looking for the timing of events, and the news is often disappointingly lax with exact times. Not in this case, however: 9:00 a.m. ET (4 p.m. in Jerusalem) was the published opening of the embassy – the timing that coincides exactly with Israel’s independence from British rule 70 years ago.

According to Nicholas Campion, “The meeting [70 years ago] began at precisely 4:00 p.m., as arranged, when Ben Gurion, the first prime minister, struck the table with his gavel. The audience then rose spontaneously and burst into the Hatikva, the anthem of the Zionist movement.”[1]
Not to lose sight of the fact that there are two perspectives on that 70-year anniversary, May 15th is the day Palestinians mark Nakba (Catastrophe) Day—the day that began their displacement from territories handed over to Israel by Britain on May 14, 1948.  

We might also see the Old Testament roots of yesterday’s event, as well. Is it just me, or does the careful, precise timing read like a pre-meditated, geopolitical signal? From Wikipedia:

“According to the Book of Joshua, the Battle of Jericho was the first battle of the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan. According to Joshua 6:1-27, the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua's Israelite army marched around the city blowing their trumpets.” 

The historical truth of this biblical claim has never been verified, but its symbolic weight is certainly apt in the embassy move. Only this time, what’s at stake is the conquest of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and Trump and company sounded the “trumpets!”

Let’s consider the chart for the embassy opening event on its own, first. Then, we’ll add context by juxtaposing the radix chart for Israel’s independence.

Chart #1: U.S. embassy opens in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018, 4:00 p.m. DST, Jerusalem, Israel. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Venus (Gemini) rules Libra rising from 9th house, sextiles Eris (Aries), widely squares Neptune (Pisces) and quincunxes Pluto (Capricorn). As we’ll soon see, Israel’s radix chart also features Venus ruling a Libra ascendant from the 9th house (remember that deliberate timing), but from security-conscious Cancer. This placement speaks in both cases about the quality and tone of Israel’s international relations (including with Palestine). There’s no doubt that in 1948 the new state of Israel was justified in being hyper-defensive and fixated on responding aggressively when challenged (Venus is part of a cardinal t-square in the radix chart).

The connections in this chart between Venus and geopolitical “heavies” Neptune and Pluto reflect Israel’s apparent intentions for leveraging power (a “charm offensive?”) in the region. A fear-mongering narrative (Gemini messaging: “protestors must be terrorists,” or sent by the same) efficiently taps into both energies, turning Neptune’s better angels of compassion and spirit inside out and unleashing the deadly Plutonian beast. Uniting people behind specific power ambitions simply requires an “enemy”—the Palestinians (and Iranians) in this case.

Even a subtle nuance like referring to Palestinian territories as “South Israel” in one of today’s speeches evoked Neptunian distortion, as did blaming Hamas for Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian protestors on the border today. Was there some provocation on the part of the protestors? Yes, but world leaders called upon Israel to show restraint, and that call fell on brutally deaf ears.

It’s notable that Pluto (Capricorn) falls in the radix 4th house of the land and of grass roots concerns (“bread and butter” issues). I would venture to say that the 4th represents the Palestinians who are indigenous to this land, which is life and sustenance to them. One foreign correspondent described the Palestinian territories as being among the most miserable places on earth right now, severely over-populated, under-resourced and repressive, and he characterized a large portion of the population as “desperate” enough to risk death at the border to protest Israel’s control of their comings and goings. The “life or death” quality of their dilemma is Plutonian indeed.  

Also in keeping with Pluto’s modus operandi in this house, the Trump administration today picked blatant winners and losers in a land-sharing relationship that calls out for a much more nuanced consideration.  Tomorrow (May 15th) is the day on which Palestinians observe “Nakba,” or Catastrophe Day, the day 70 years ago when Israel began to dislocate them from their ancestral lands. (haven’t we seen this movie before, in the American West?). As Pluto transits into Israel’s radix 4th (more on that ahead), this situation may very well devolve into an even greater crisis.

We see the opportunity for revolt and crisis in Venus’s sextile with volatile Eris (Aries) here. The sextile doesn’t quite extend to Uranus (Aries), but the proximity of the two Aries points packs a punch regardless, and they are positioned in the 7th house of “allies” and “enemies.”

Even though a sextile is fairly benign, internal as well as external unrest can result from this, which might reflect how negative world opinion is at the moment about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Given Eris’s connection with retributive justice (aka vengeance), even a sextile can spell trouble because vengeance is a self-perpetuating feedback loop.

Saturn conjoins IC (Capricorn) and squares ASC (Libra). This placement for Saturn is considered negative for affairs of government (remember, this chart amounts to Israel's solar return, as well as the event chart), negative for crops and property-related affairs. These negatives are likely to compound the existing problems between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors, and Israel's image is bound to suffer (square to ASC). 

One of the walls built between Israel and Palestine.

Mercury conjoins Uranus (Taurus-Aries) in 7th and squares Mars (late Capricorn); Mercury trines Vesta-Saturn (Capricorn). Keeping in mind that Uranus is due to enter Taurus on the 18th, we can appreciate that the ongoing volatility at the Israel-Palestine border reached a crescendo at the embassy opening, but is due to enter a new phase. Taurus wants to build, consolidate and protect, so we could conceivably see a new Israeli border wall go up where the protests have been happening—thus immuring the Palestinians even more than they already are. Increasingly intrusive control seems to be the only strategy in play.

The square aspects (between 7th and 4th) are negative for diplomacy and agreements between allies, but with Mars widely conjunct Pluto in the 4th, the geopolitical horse-trading will be intense. Agreements based on facilitating territorial ambitions (earth signs) will probably emerge. As Mars moves into Aquarius, these ambitions are likely to be weaponized (Mars square Uranus). 

Let’s not forget that all this is happening just days after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, after which Israel immediately attacked Iranian targets in Syria. Importantly, Russia is also playing a role in ramping up the pressure on Iran, although it officially supports the Iran deal.
From the NYTimes:

“Israel appeared newly emboldened as well, partly because of what seemed like extraordinary latitude from Russia, Syria’s most important ally, allowing the Israelis to act against Iran’s military assets in Syria.
Moscow did not condemn Israel’s strikes, as it had in the past, instead calling on Israel and Iran to resolve their differences diplomatically.
And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who spent 10 hours with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday, told his cabinet on Thursday that he had persuaded the Russians to delay the sale of advanced weapons to Syria.
Russia and Iran have been allies in the Syrian war, defending President Bashar al-Assad. But as the war appears to be winding down, some analysts say the aims of Russia and Iran are diverging: Moscow prefers a strong secular central government in Syria, while Tehran prefers a weaker government that would allow Iran-backed militias free rein.
Israel has conducted scores of strikes on Iran and its allies inside Syria, rarely acknowledging them publicly. But before Thursday, Iran had not retaliated, seemingly handcuffed while it awaited Mr. Trump’s decision on the nuclear accord.” 

Clearly, there’s geopolitical maneuvering going on behind the scenes between the U.S., Russia and Israel against Iran. It appears also that Netanyahu has picked up on relations with Putin where Trump has been somewhat limited by the Mueller investigation. We can get into rampant speculation over a lot of the above, but suffice to say here that the bellicose 7th-4th house energies we see in Chart #1 above were manifesting quietly while embassy-celebrants were sipping wine and nibbling crudités. 

Meanwhile, the earthy trines between Mercury and Vesta-Saturn reflect that maneuvering mentioned above, especially in regards to natural resources. In fact, Trump is reported to have recently sent a controversial letter to Middle East leaders on this topic. From the Washington Post:
“The day after Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, Khamenei sent a tweet that claimed Trump had written a letter to leaders of Persian Gulf Arab states “a few days ago” that demanded they do more in the region. “I spent $7 trillion and you must do something in return,” the Iranian leader claimed the letter stated.”

The Post also reported on a May 9th tweet, in which Khamenei said the following:

“A few days ago Trump wrote a letter to leaders of #PersianGulf states, which was revealed to us. He wrote: ‘I spent $7 trillion and you must do something in return.’ The U.S. wants to own humiliated slaves.”

So, the wheels are turning in the direction of gathering resources and establishing power relations in the region, and tensions are likely to keep rising. For what eventual end, we can only wonder at the moment.

The Mercury-to-Vesta-Saturn aspects may also apply to roads or other transport infrastructure being built to accommodate commerce and households (Vesta). Again, a new border wall is possible—we’ll gain more insight into this when we look at Israel’s radix chart.

Last, but certainly not least, the Sun and Moon both fall in earthy Taurus for this embassy opening celebration, and their midpoint tightly opposes Jupiter Rx (Scorpio). Again, we see how carefully the timing of this event was planned: kudos to Israel’s astrologers! Maximum benefit in terms of geopolitical power were captured here, especially if we consider Jupiter Rx is disposed by and sextile Pluto.

Jupiter’s retrograde simply points to a waiting period; power and resources are likely being amassed and consolidated for an effort looming ahead. Jupiter turns direct on July 11th at 13°+Scorpio, square Mars (Aquarius) and trine Neptune (Pisces). Tensions in the region will probably escalate notably around this time, although getting the truth about what’s happening will be difficult because the Neptunian “fog” will be thick.

The embassy opens…Israel’s radix chart 

The news was filled with “split screens” yesterday, as events transpired in Israel. MSNBC called it “A Tale of Two Cities:” on the left, embassy celebrants smiling and chatting, and on the right, Palestinians carrying their wounded and dead, a wave of people of all ages being mowed down in what looked like a war movie.

Not surprisingly, the astrology reflects this dire disconnect, which Richard Haass (Council of Foreign Relations) characterized as an “opening done in the absence of diplomacy.” Let’s consider the context added when Israel’s radix chart is added into the mix.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Israel (independence), May 14, 1948, 4:00 p.m. ST, Tel Aviv, Israel; (outer wheel) U.S. embassy opens in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018, 4:00 p.m. DST, Jerusalem, Israel. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Taurus Suns (both) fall at midpoint between Opening Venus-Pallas-to-Radix Uranus (Gemini)-sextile-Opening Eris (Aries). This configuration looks more complicated than it was, if we consider yesterday’s photography: an elegant, airy woman (Venus-Ivanka Trump) ushers in the surprising embassy move (9th house radix Uranus), stamping her family name on it in the process. International players are taken by surprise, with many expecting the move, but perhaps not the way it was rolled out. The disruption seen on the other half of those media “split screens” is represented here by Eris, falling in the 7th house of both charts.

All this, with Israel’s staunch Taurus Sun—radiating as one with yesterday’s Sun because of the precise timing of the anniversary echo—sandwiched in the middle of the whole situation. Clearly, the embassy opening was planned as the “solar return” for the radix chart, and as such it not only reflected the dynamics and intent of the day, but of the entire year to come. If Israel has powerfully ambitious plans for the year ahead, it can’t hurt to kick it all off with a long-desired “coup.”

Opening Venus-Radix Uranus (Gemini) oppose Radix Jupiter (Sagittarius). This dignified Jupiter opposes Uranus, with dignified Gemini Mercury disposing: together, these represent the powerful “nerve center” of the Radix chart, reflecting Israel’s reputation as a high-tech nation, as well as lending it an intense expansionary thrust. This opposition ties into the radix chart’s authoritative Leo gathering (Moon, Pluto, Saturn, Mars) through a trine-sextile with Jupiter-Uranus from Mars.  

This heavily fixed gathering probably explains why right-wing politics have prevailed there for many decades now, and it also suggests why Netanyahu has maintained his hold as prime minister, despite some efforts to unseat him.

Born on October 21, 1949, Netanyahu’s nativity echoes the Saturn-Pluto (Leo) conjunction that marked Israeli independence (a whole other story), and Pluto (Capricorn) is now transiting a mere 3 degrees from his natal Jupiter!

There’s a tight circuit of power between the fixed points in this chart (all but radix Uranus are engaged in a dispositorship dance between the Sun, Moon and Venus). Interesting historical note: Israel’s one and only female prime minister, Golda Meir, was born on May 14th, 1898 (Gregorian calendar), the day that marked Israel’s independence in 1948, so her Sun conjoined Israel’s Radix Sun. Radix Sun opposes Radix Chiron (Scorpio). 

I don’t know enough about Israel’s inner workings to judge fairly, but the fixed, earthy qualities of Taurus in this radix chart appear to be an affirmation of life that defies and counters the historical wounds suffered by the Jewish people who first settled Israel. With Pluto ruling and Chiron placed on the cusp of their radix 2nd house, this powerful opposition deeply influences their national character and values.

Opening Moon (Taurus) conjoins Radix No. Node (Taurus) and ties into the Sun/Moon opposition to Opening Jupiter Rx (Scorpio) in Chart #1. We discussed the powerful implications of the opposition here with Chart #1, but the added Node here confirms that Israel is leveraging opportunities presented by new alliances. Again, considering that we’re looking at a solar return chart with the Opening, it’s likely these new alliances will persist into the year.

Interchart Grand Trine in Fire: Opening Eris-Uranus trine Radix Mars (Leo), trines Radix Jupiter (Sagittarius). Uranus and Eris have been heating up the volatility in the Middle East in general during their long Aries passage together, but this chart sort of captures that fire and uses it to fuel Israel’s new solar year. Many observers commented on how rapidly Israel fired off missiles at Iranian positions in Syria after Trump announced he was out of the Iran deal—we’ll probably see more of the same “unleashed” quality in Israel’s actions this coming year.  

It shouldn’t escape us that Trump’s and Netanyahu’s nativities both tie into this fiery triangle, as well, with the belligerent late Leo Mars they share with the Israeli state. Trump resonates with Israel’s radix chart in several ways—his Taurus MC conjoins their Sun, and his Saturn-Venus conjoin their Cancer MC, for starters—so it’s no mystery why he supports Israel’s viewpoint on matters both domestic and international. Netanyahu walls off Palestine—surprise, Trump wants to wall off Mexico. Netanyahu treats Palestinians like terrorist invaders; Trump treats immigrants of all stripes pretty much the same.

Trump and Netanyahu are clearly kindred, mutually supportive spirits: their Suns and Moons form flowing aspects, and Netanyahu’s Jupiter (Capricorn) opposes Trump’s thin-skinned Saturn-Venus (Cancer). This feels a bit like an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” relationship, but the bottom line is that each man “gets” where the other guy is coming from, and they probably see mutual advantages in their relationship.

Will the tone of Israel’s aggression become less shrill once Uranus moves into Taurus? Ideally, it will, but the “solar return” nature of the Opening chart suggests that the seeds have been planted for a year of volatility. We can hope, however, because whatever happens over there is going to pull us in, one way or another.

Interchart Grand-square: Opening Saturn (Capricorn) opposes Radix Venus (Cancer); this axis squares Radix Neptune (Libra) opposite Radix Eris (Aries). This configuration amounts to a Saturn transit, triggering an already tense cardinal t-square in the radix chart, so it appears that Saturn is pushing Israel to manifest those nascent cardinal dynamics in some concrete form. Will it be literally concrete, as in more walls? More settlements in Palestinian lands? Or perhaps a more oppressive security state? The tendency to project internal insecurities out onto Others (Palestinians definitely bear that brunt) is pretty intense already in the radix chart, but Saturn will intensify any fear-mongering that goes on.

Interchart T-square: Mars-Pluto (Capricorn) oppose Radix MC-Vesta (Cancer); this axis squares Opening Uranus-Eris (Aries). Mars falls over the 4th Radix house here, not considered a very beneficial placement for the people of a nation (recall that we discussed the 4th possibly representing the Palestinians in this context), but Israeli households (Vesta) and the land in general are similarly stressed. Population pressures are perhaps driving the expansion of Israeli settlements into the West Bank and elsewhere, but one way or another, ownership and control of land will remain intense issues. The hostility between Israel and Palestine really needs to calm down before all this can be addressed fairly, but the perennial stressors make that very difficult.  

Pluto (Capricorn) will begin its transit of the radix 4th in earnest in January 2020 (having entered for a few days in April 2019 and then backing out); I would hope that Israelis will have developed a sustainable plan for co-existing with Palestinians by this time. One way or another, the status quo will probably become less and less tenable. Saturn and Pluto will conjoin in January 2020 to begin a new cycle, which at its most extreme could bring on an existential crisis. More likely, there will be a serious reshuffling of power dynamics and government structures at that time. As we see in the radix chart, Israel was born with one Saturn-Pluto cycle; it is likely to reinvent itself with another.

Final thoughts
We can only imagine at this point what role, if any, the Trump administration will play in the ongoing drama in Israel. The astrological ties are compelling and the synchronicity is frankly overwhelming. If we were wondering “why this, why now,” it’s all there!

Being the bearer of mostly bad news is not my idea of a good time, of course, but the alternative is to remain willfully oblivious—a word that’s rooted in “oblivion” for good reason. So, I’m doing my bit to raise astrological awareness because these are the tools I have at my disposal. Everyone can do something about this—if nothing else, we can all try to remain vigilant and well-informed.

IMHO, these imperatives are key—the comfortable space we might want to enjoy between the personal and collective levels of our lives is simply disappearing. We can see this in the astrology of our times, but mostly we can just feel it. Amazingly, what happened yesterday in Israel could matter very deeply for our quality of life going forward. One likely scenario is that the embassy event will be framed as a religiously-tinged, anti-immigration narrative in social media postings before our November election, and through the Neptunian magic of empathy and impressionability, it will impact (directly or indirectly) who runs our government and how welcoming we are as a nation after the dust settles.

The parallels are many between the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, so it wouldn’t surprise me if influential Israelis get deeply involved in our election on some level. Between that and persistent Russian efforts to interfere, we could have a real challenge electing people who have our best, democratic (small “d”) interests at heart. It’s not too early to get serious about preventing more elections like 2016, and it starts with simple attentiveness.

So we need to understand what happened in Israel (and undoubtedly many other places between now and then) from multiple clear perspectives—there are clear-minded people remaining from both political parties, and the field is ripe for independents. Conspiracy thinking can be very seductive, but with practice, we can all sniff out a Neptunian distortion.

Understanding the astrology can certainly help!



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 2018. All rights reserved. 

[1] Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, revised and updated edition, The Wessex Astrologer, Ltd., 2004, pp. 166-169, Chart #163 (p. 167). Campion cites this information from the biography titled Ben Gurion, by Michael Bar-Zohar, p. 162.