Monday, June 11, 2018

From Montreal to Singapore: history-making events and & a bombastic solar return

Perhaps every family has one: the older dad, uncle, brother-in-law who simply has to be right about everything, and if his ideas are challenged he either sulks in a corner nursing a drink all night, or he “takes his ball and goes home.” 

Well, our collective American family is no different these days, only our dysfunctional old uncle wields the powers of the U.S. presidency, and he’ll run the nation into the ground to prove it’s his way or the highway. His behavior at this past week’s G-7 conference in Montreal was the perfect illustration. 

Unfortunately, with his aggrieved approach to international economics and trade, Trump is not looking for a balanced, win-win situation for all parties in any international relationship. “We’re the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” Trump insisted during the G-7, despite mountains of evidence that the US is profiting just fine from the international trade agreements we already have in place. 

Even so, trade is a convenient bugaboo for his political base—and admittedly there are some aspects of global trade that should be more worker-friendly and less about the mega-finance sector—but he’s clearly using his perennially aggrieved posture to crack open and gut our traditional alliances. 

Threatening to halt trade with G-7 nations because they demand that American companies follow the international regulations and procedures that we’ve agreed to over the years—a touchy subject for rules-averse Trump on several levels—is a classic case of uncooperative, sulking behavior. So Trump—so far out of his comfort zone in one incredibly telling picture from the conference that his arms were protectively wrapped around himself—plans to cut us out of the benefits of international trade to “show them.” Like they can't get the products we manufacture anywhere else!

Here’s how it went down: after some intense lobbying on the part of the other western leaders, Trump initially signed a carefully parsed official joint “communiqué” with them, and then not two hours later, he reneged en route to Singapore by tweet. By that time Canadian PM Justin Trudeau had criticized recently-imposed American tariffs in a press conference, saying Canada “would not be pushed around.” 

The ensuing tweetstorm as Trump and his trade team struck back at Trudeau has been, to put it mildly, a sulky and disproportional tantrum, accusing Trudeau of “stabbing” Trump in the back (really?!). So we’re now taking our trade “ball” and going home. I didn’t hear anything unreasonable from Trudeau—he has Canadian interests to think about above all—but Trump was apparently not open to any criticism that would make him look “weak” before the Singapore summit. Do we really want to make enemies of Canada?! 

Long story short, Trump apparently came to the G-7 (or G-6, as the case may now be) meeting in Montreal to quickly air a laundry list of grievances and to leave before they began talking about climate change and other issues he’d rather ignore. High on his list was that “Russia should be there.” Showing respect for the forum itself, and our individual allies gathered there, was low on that list.

Never mind the legitimate reasons why Russia doesn’t belong in the Group of 7 western democratic advanced economies: that it’s not a democracy, that in 2014 it invaded a sovereign nation and annexed a big piece of territory (Ukrainian Crimea), and that its overall economic net worth doesn’t qualify it for membership. Trump needed an ally at the meeting, and more and more it appears that Putin is his “wing-man.” 

Putin is happy to play along, of course, because anything that splits the western alliance is music to his ears. 

So all this happened just before Trump turned his focus to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tomorrow (June 12th) in Singapore (which will be tonight, here). Virtually the whole world is hoping that something more substantial than a photo op comes out of this meeting, and the hype and speculation are running very high.

Thankfully, news reports are giving this meeting a timeframe—it will take place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday (6/12), Singapore standard time. This allows us to explore the event chart first, before taking in a couple other considerations, such as some details from Trump’s solar return the day after, on June 13th. His birthday is on June 14th, but the transiting Sun returns to his natal position at 8:24:47 p.m. on the 13th. Apparently, his original travel plans home changed, and my astrologer’s hunch is that he was counseled to be back in the U.S. for his solar return. This, from the Washington Times:

“The White House says in a statement ahead of President Donald Trump’s historic summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un that the talks with North Korea are moving “more quickly than expected.” The White House says Trump now plans to depart Singapore on Tuesday evening ahead of schedule.
The White House says Trump will address the media on Tuesday following his summit with Kim and depart Singapore at approximately 8 p.m. local time for the United States. The president had been expected to leave Singapore on Wednesday morning.”

So, let’s begin with the event chart, remembering that 9 a.m. on Tuesday in North Korea is 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday night in Washington, D.C.

Chart #1: Trump-Kim summit, June 12, 2018, 9 a.m. ST, Singapore, Singapore. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Cardinal Cancer ASC opposes Pluto (Capricorn) at DSC; this axis squares Aries MC-Juno-Eris; ASC ruler is Moon in Taurus. Here we see another reason to suspect that Trump depends upon a consulting astrologer: the ruler of this chart conjoins his natal Taurus MC (24°+, chart not shown). The media has been making a big deal out of his comment that he “doesn’t need to prepare” for this meeting because he’s such a great intuitive “deal-maker:” could it be that he thinks he doesn’t need preparation because the Moon is on his side? 

In fact, the Moon works in those clichéd mysterious ways, and while a Taurus Moon may support Trump’s notion that all Kim Jong-Un needs to be malleable is a promise of economic support, how Kim sees his nation’s interests is likely to be quite different from the way Trump views them. With Pluto involved in this configuration, trine the earthy chart ruler Moon, we can be certain that the deal-making will be laced with subterfuge and power plays our president may not even fathom. 

Other Asian leaders have already figured out how susceptible Trump is to flattery, so Kim will know how to apply the lather as well to get what he wants out of the situation. So what happens if Trump comes away nursing a bruised ego because he feels blindsided by Kim in some way? Will he blow the meeting up over anything less than total capitulation by North Korea (like he did with Trudeau)? Or if the world press doesn’t pile on with more adulation? Trump is looking for a big, showy win out of this…a Nobel Peace Prize, or at least the media equivalent of one. Has the die been cast for his statue on the Washington Mall yet? 

In fact, the cardinal t-square formed here includes a potentially volatile and discordant Aries MC-Juno-Eris conjunction for the event, so the gloves are likely to be off, even though the leaders may find some room for cooperation with that Pluto-Moon trine. They’ll probably both be angling for concrete (Taurus) results, and they could be spoiling for a fight (Eris) if there’s too much resistance.

It’s interesting to me that Trump’s natal Moon falls trine these potent Aries points: he’s likely to come into the negotiation with a sense of entitlement (Sagittarius Moon), and knowing where his thinking tends to be in international discussions, with a sense that the U.S. has been used and abused by North Korea in the past (blaming that on his “weak” predecessors, of course). This posture liberates him from any responsibility for dealing fairly, which probably cuts to the heart of what “America First” means to him. 

Trump’s grievances are often based on very shaky, conspiracy-laced interpretations of the facts, but more than anything they are rooted in his innate sense of entitlement (Moon) about himself and his place in the world. And, importantly, in his natal Juno-Chiron conjunction in Libra! Here’s what Demetra George and Douglas Bloch have to say about a Libra Juno:

“Juno in Libra individuals need to feel as an equal and require a fair give-and-take in their relationship. Consultation from their parter on decision making and respect and approval for their ideas are required. When equality needs are not being met, this individual can become uncooperative, excessively competitive, or can even engage in direct combat.”[1]
Could this description fit any better in Trump’s case? If we consider his natal Chiron conjunction to this sensitive Juno, we can see where his chronic state of feeling unfairly wounded by relationships comes from. It’s quite possible that there can be no such thing as a deal that feels fair to Trump, so any cut-throat behavior on his part feels perfectly justified.

The fact that this conjunction falls in his 2nd house of values and finances suggests that he is driven for ever greater wealth because in that way he demonstrates that he’s won against the odds—the world hasn’t gotten the best of him. His financial track record (what we know of it) suggests that this grieved mindset has driven him throughout his life; it’s simply more dangerous now, with the risks he’s taking with our international relations. 

Venus (Cancer) and Moon (Taurus) are in mutual reception and sextile. Considering that this Venus is conjunct Trump’s natal Venus within 2°+, and that this exalted Moon and Trump’s MC are also conjunct, it’s probably safe to say that the Cosmos is blessing Trump’s efforts in this meeting, which may feel mostly congenial. He will probably come away feeling like a victor, one way or another (his photo op shaking hands with Kim Jong-Un is set for 8:30 a.m. tomorrow), but what makes him feel good may not translate into a substantive international agreement. 

We see this with the fact that this sensitive Cancer Venus is also widely opposite Pluto and square that volatile MC-Juno-Eris meet-up in fiery Aries. Any attempt to deny Trump his victorious moment could send the fur flying, but anger isn’t likely to overcome Kim’s advantage in these talks. He’s out seeing the tourist sites this evening; Trump is probably experiencing jet lag. Kim is on comfortable turf, culturally, if not politically; Trump is not. Kim has relationships with China and South Korea that could help him; Trump has just blown up his relationships with allies who might have stood with him. 

Bottom line, I can’t imagine the North Koreans negotiating under a cloud of anger, and this cardinal t-square suggests that falling back on grievances isn’t going to work as well for Trump as he might think. Kim already feels like a winner for maneuvering (with South Korea’s Moon Jae-In) Trump into this meeting—this is a high-level political coup for him. One commentator is calling this Kim’s “coming out party.” 

And, this just in from The Guardian…CIA director Mike Pompeo is now saying that the Trump administration is planning to offer greater security assurances to North Korea than the 2005 agreement did. If Trump doesn’t get what he thinks he needs (or is entitled to) in return, what will he do?

12th house Sun-Mercury conjoin in Gemini; Sun quincunxes Pluto (Capricorn). Mercury is strong in Gemini and even though it is out of orb for the quincunx, it disposes the Sun, which is. If we posit that the Sun in this chart represents the “leaders” (guess who has the upper hand here, with his solar return looming?), this could be a frustrating aspect to navigate. Communications are likely to be frustrated by the power dynamics at stake, which is a difficult place to be for diplomats, let alone face-to-face leader communications. 

There’s the issue of communicating through translators, of course—a lot can be lost or distorted in the process, a risk that’s reflected in the 12th house placement of Sun-Mercury. Pluto’s presence in the 7th house (conjunct the DSC) suggests this meeting of long-time adversaries is not likely to be authentically open, but carefully manipulated for effect. I wasn’t surprised when Trump claimed he didn’t need to prepare, and that he’ll know within the “first minute” if the meeting is going to be worthwhile or not, but I don’t believe him for a minute. If he truly did not prepare, he’ll probably know that within the first minute!

Vesta-Saturn (Capricorn) square Chiron (Aries); Saturn trines Uranus (Taurus). I’d like to think the Saturn-Uranus trine will ease the two leaders into practical solutions for pressing geopolitical challenges, but the square with Chiron suggests that authority and control issues may stress the proceedings. Will these leaders take responsibility for the public service (6th house Saturn-Vesta) dimension of these negotiations? Chiron falls in the 9th house of international relations and law, and these matters impact real households (Vesta). Or will the focus be on whose ego (Aries) is gratified the most and who gets to crow the loudest? 

Mars (Aquarius) squares Uranus (Taurus); Uranus and Saturn co-rule Mars (and Saturn semi-sextiles Mars). Implicit in these negotiations is the underlying threat of military action, in case other ideas don’t pan out, and these aspects suggest that there’s a level of frustration with U.S.-North Korea relations that could boil over pretty easily. We’ve seen in other situations how Trump can throw his so-called “friends” under the bus on a dime; what can we expect him to do with an adversary/would-be friend? 

Notice that Mars also opposes the Leo North Node here; traditional mundane astrologers would probably freak out if a malefic like Mars conjoined the South Node. I’m not convinced that this portends the end or “death” of the negotiations, but it isn’t terribly reassuring, either. Given that Mars rules the Aries MC here, this is an aspect to watch.  

Grand Water Trine: Jupiter (Scorpio) trines Pallas-ASC (Cancer), which trines Neptune (Pisces). If we’re lucky, this bilateral event will be conducted with empathy on the part of both leaders, for the sake of all the people who have a stake in a peaceful outcome. That would be a lofty, enlightened expression of these flowing, emotional energies, however it’s not clear that these particular leaders are equipped for that idealistic mission. “What’s in it for me?” might be a more likely focus, unfortunately, but let’s hold out hope. 

If anyone strikes me as up to the job of empathy and idealism, it’s South Korea's Moon Jae-In, so to the extent that he’s involved and that he’s an able diplomat, there could be some positive takeaways. 

One big caveat on this optimism, however: Jupiter is a mixed blessing here, in Pluto-ruled Scorpio. Trump has demonstrated that he’s willing to upset the geopolitical order we’ve built since 1945 and potentially replace it with troubling new alliances—would he dare to throw South Korea under the bus for his new friend, Kim Jong-Un? 

This sounds outrageous, I know, but who’s the military strong man between the two halves of Korea at this point? And do we really expect Kim to relinquish his nuclear weapons (Pluto)? Why hasn’t more been said about the possibility that he’s got his eyes on the real prize—control of a reunited Korean peninsula? 

We know Trump wants the U.S. out of Korea entirely (he sees our alliance with the South as a big waste of resources), and the only way to do that might be to negotiate an end to the long-stalemated war and hand over the controls to the North. This might please Putin, too, and clearly, Trump has become more cozy with China lately—he’s intent on saving ZTE for them and he likes the patents and trademarks they’ve been doling out to his daughter’s business. For that matter, who knows what goodies he’s realizing for the Trump Organization.

One way or another, China would certainly have a stake in what happens to Korea. South Korea and China are market competitors, so squashing the Korean competitive edge under a Kim regime may sound enticing. It’s far-fetched, but nothing would surprise me at this juncture. 

A few points from Trump’s solar return

Please note that I’ve followed the recommendations of solar returns expert, Ray Merriman in casting this chart using Placidus houses. His techniques are also reflected in what follows, and I highly recommend his book on this topic.[2]
Just a general note: the solar return chart is said to reflect how the coming year is likely to unfold for the individual. It stands in relationship to the natal chart (a complicated read we won’t get into here, with the exception of a few highlights). It’s important to examine the arrangement of planets in the solar return houses with an eye to whether angular, succedent, or cadent houses predominate, or if there’s a relative balance between these placements. 

These placements tell us something about the type of energy and the focus that will characterize the year. In the case of this solar return for Trump, 6 out of 10 planets/luminaries are placed in angular houses, suggesting a year that is jam-packed with activities and movement. Here’s what Merriman has to say about this predominance:

“At best, it signifies adventure and new beginnings with great excitement. At worse, it may indicate unwanted or unflattering attention, and difficulties (fights) in relationships, or disputes at work. It may also indicate an egotistic craving for attention that turns others away. Thus careful attention should be placed upon significant relationships this year. Insensitivity to the cares of others may lead to separations.” [3]
As we’ll see, this assessment turns out to be fully supported by the planetary placements themselves. 

Chart #2: Solar Return, Donald J. Trump, June 13, 2018, 8:24:47 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Placidus Houses, True Node. 

7th house Sun, conjunct DSC and Moon (Gemini). Trump will be looking for recognition for his actions vis-à-vis allies and adversaries this coming year, but the potentially stressful relationship with the chart horizon suggests some struggles. He may also be restlessly (Moon) spoiling for a fight—these points conjoin our Sibly 7th house Mars (chart not shown). The Moon typically indicates the  day-to-day emotional tone, so Gemini could lend an erratic tone to the year. 

7th house Mercury (Cancer) opposes 1st house Saturn (Capricorn). This opposition mirrors what’s happening with transits to Trump’s natal chart right now, too: Saturn is transiting opposite his natal Mercury. Given the importance of Mercury to his entire chart, we can expect that Saturn’s demands for responsibility and accountability might be depressing at worst, and frustrating at best. He will be dealing with reality checks—about himself (1st house Saturn) and about those he chooses to ally himself with (7th house Mercury). It’s worth mentioning here that his natal Mercury falls in his 11th house of associates and power brokers, so Saturn could cramp his deal-making style.  
T-Square: Venus (Leo) conjoins 8th house cusp, North Node (Leo) and opposes 2nd house Mars-South Node (Aquarius); this axis squares 4th house Uranus (Taurus). Any planet conjoined a solar return house cusp is one to watch; this placement raises the issue of financial and psychological support flowing from “others,” but clearly this won’t be a smooth ride, with Mars and Uranus involved so stressfully. 

It’s interesting that Trump’s financial axis (2nd-8th houses) is highlighted so intensely—his natal ASC falls in his solar return 8th, as well, confirming that this area of life will be a key focus for the year. Could that lawsuit mentioned earlier against his violations of the “Emoluments Clause” be indicated here? Will his tax returns finally be released (perhaps in the context of the Mueller investigation)? 

Given the 4th house placement of Uranus, it seems that Trump could experience some upset or sudden change in his living situation, or with members of his family. Eris and Juno are also placed in this 4th house, sextile his solar return Sun, but disposed by this rather unpredictable Aquarius Mars, so turmoil in the presidential household is more than possible.

1st house Pluto (Capricorn) quincunxes 7th house Sun (Gemini).As we saw in the event chart above, this aspect can be frustrating and limiting, and like so many other interesting placements, Trump’s natal Pluto falls in the solar return 8th, conjunct his solar return North Node. Again, finances (perhaps a heavy hit at his financial “empire?”) could be a particular focus. 

Solar return Pluto in the 1st can indicate a move towards transforming oneself in powerful ways; we have to wonder here whether that transformation will be made willingly, or in response to outside forces. Solar return Eris and Juno square Pluto from the 4th, suggesting that pressures from key women in his life may have something to do with whatever transpires. 

Grand Water Trine: 11th house Jupiter (Scorpio) trines 3rd house Neptune, trines 7th house Pallas. I should clarify that, even though there hasn’t been a lot of work done yet (that I’m aware of) on how asteroids function in solar return charts, to my view there’s no reason to assume they don’t play a role. So here’s the same grand water trine we considered in the event chart above, arrayed in Trump’s solar return and pulling critical houses together in one flowing circuit of energy. The power dynamics we discussed earlier also apply—Jupiter in Trump’s solar return 11th suggests success in political circles, although this point is challenged by a square from Mars (Aquarius), so nothing comes easily. 

There’s also the suggestion that personal finance (2nd house Mars) will be stressfully linked with Trump’s professional activities (there’s that Emoluments Clause again). Trump will be energized to “play the geopolitical games” that power brokers play by this grand trine, but there could be a price to pay. His natal 2nd house Neptune-Juno-Chiron-Jupiter grouping in Libra falls in his solar return 9th and 10th this year, suggesting that his emotion-laden “schtick” of blaming others for any shortcomings in his own fortunes will have international reach and will color his image abroad. 

The “victimization” narrative gets old, especially when Saturn in his solar return 1st house will be pushing him to be more transparent and accountable. 

Final thoughts

Finally, it’s interesting that Trump’s solar return Saturn/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) tightly opposes his solar return Pallas (Cancer). Issues of authority, justice, responsibility and empathy are all enmeshed here, across his 1st-7th solar return axis. These placements may reflect the pressure he’s feeling from the Mueller investigation, not to mention an important mid-term election that is shaping up to be an important referendum on his presidency thus far. 

The nation’s economy will also be impacted by the Saturn-Pluto energies we see here, as they are currently transiting the Sibly 2nd house, with Pluto working its way towards a climactic “return” to Sibly Pluto’s radix position. The economy has been looking pretty strong lately, but there are enough analysts wondering why it’s been defying gravity since Trump took office that we would be wise to listen. 

Now that most of the bite has been taken out of the post-Recession Dodd-Frank Act that regulated banks and investment firms, we would be wise to look out for precarious housing and stock bubbles. 

Trump’s ego is firmly linked to those numbers that always go up, up, up, so we can probably trust that he won’t be doing anything to restrain what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan famously called “irrational exuberance,” especially in an election year! With Jupiter trine Neptune in water signs, such exuberance and the potential for burst bubbles is quite possible. That leaves Saturn, of course, to clean up the mess.

So what else is new? Let’s hope that something substantive and positive comes out of Singapore!

[1] Demetra George & Douglas Bloch, Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, Ibis Press, updated 2003 edition, Lake Worth, FL, p. 171.
[2] Ray Merriman, The New Solar Return Book of Prediction, Seek-It Publications, West Bloomfield, MI, 9th printing, 1998.
[3] Merriman, p. 40.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

More on the Astrology of zero-compassion & incarcerated children

"I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart."

Fmr. First Lady, Laura Bush, 6/18/2018

“Family is everything.”  
 Miguel Rivera, Coco (Disney/Pixar, 2017)

What follows updates an article I posted originally on June 3rd: a lot has happened since then, and it seems worth the repetition! 

Judging from the outcry in the news over the weekend, We the People have been rocked to our moral core by the specter of even the youngest children being torn from their parents' arms and incarcerated, so their parents can be prosecuted. The parents--often fleeing mortal danger for themselves and their children--are being prosecuted for "illegal entry" whether they actually do attempt to enter at some unofficial crossing, or whether they willingly present themselves at an official border station and ask for asylum. It appears from where I'm sitting that the Trump administration's new "zero-tolerance" policy is basically being used to trap gullible families, who were told or somehow led to believe that America still welcomes asylum seekers. Or at least respects and treats them humanely.

Wrong. Even Amnesty International is chiming in on the situation, calling it "nothing less than torture."

Instead, these families are met with the administration’s deliberately cruel treatment of themselves and their children. Even worse, this new Trump policy at the border appears to be cynically holding these migrant children hostage as leverage to negotiate the money needed for Trump's border wall.

The outcry has reached Trump himself, but when questioned about these kids, he falsely claimed the family separations were Obama's policy!  It's true that Obama dealt with a migrant crisis in 2014, as waves of unaccompanied minors came to our border seeking asylum. It's true that they had to be detained temporarily while placements were found for them during asylum proceedings.

But that was an entirely different situation, and the Obama administration did not allow family separations then, or in general. In fact, he did his best to work out a path forward (the DACA program) for the so-called "Dreamers," that didn't involve separating them from their parents, who had brought them here illegally as children. Still, all of today's heinous cruelty is Obama's fault.

Welcome to Trump's Neptunian magic show.

DACA "Dreamers" are in a precarious situation now.

Without a doubt, today’s situation under Trump’s Congress and Jeff Sessions’ DOJ has reached a troubling new level: the DACA program has become a political football, tossed around with no regard for the human beings involved. Judging by the disagreements in Congress, even if the "Dreamers" get to stay, their parents may be deported--again, separating families. 

Meanwhile, families presenting themselves to immigration authorities in the southwest are being separated and prosecuted instead of being given due process as legal asylum seekers.

Happily, the public outrage over this family separation issue has had a bipartisan flavor, with many Republicans speaking out against the practice along with their Democratic colleagues. The outrage ranges far and wide on the Internet, although I have no doubt that our lesser angels are out there stumping for a zero-compassion stance, as well, blaming the victims for showing up at the border with their children.

Even so, high profile voices such as former First Lady Laura Bush--and even Melania Trump--are coming forward, and that's hopeful. Congress people are showing up at the detention centers, insisting they be allowed in, and even though they're met with police resistance, how long can that go on before something gives?

I'm heartened by this, from, which captures why this bipartisan outcry may have legs:

“There would seem to be at least one thing all sides can agree on: Any policy that puts children in difficulty or danger is morally inexcusable. We don’t need to agree on abortion, gay marriage, the Mueller investigation, gerrymandering, Russia policy, or basically anything else to grant that premise. So let’s do it. Let’s grant the premise together and then, with our full force, demand that politicians of both parties do better to protect children.”
When it comes to immigrant children, let’s agree to do it better--Patrick A. Coleman May 29 2018

We'll know that progress is being made when we see that the welfare of children is the moral/ethical line in the sand for diehard Trump supporters. Considering the xenophobia afloat at Trump rallies, and the sealed echo chamber that perpetuates Trump’s fear-mongering narrative about immigration (they’re all “animals” and M13 gang members, pouring across our borders like an invading force), these defections will undoubtedly take awhile, but we're seeing Evangelical leaders of all stripes speaking out against the separations, along with the AMA, the APA, and a host of state-level politicians. 

We're seeing what is probably an even stronger outcry than happened when Trump was newly-elected and he zealously tried to shut our borders to people from several Muslim nations. So there's hope that we can turn this tide of inhumanity back. 

The astrology

So, what is this all about astrologically?  Before we consider a couple specific event charts below, let's first consider two important facts about the astrological State of the Nation. These realities form a cultural/political/collective backdrop for everything that's going on these days. First, with Pluto edging into the 2nd decanate of Capricorn, our national radix Sibly chart is experiencing the final stages of its Pluto return (exact in February, 2022)--a key, transformative period in our evolution, and it shows!  

Second, we are also experiencing the waning 3rd quarter of our national progressed lunar cycle (much more on that in the 5/3/16 post here), and that denotes a period of clearing out whatever karmic baggage we're carrying as a nation and preparing for a fresh, new start. Unfortunately, we have corrupt, destructive forces wielding the levers of power during this period, and we may not recognize, or even like the nation that emerges from all this during the 2020s.

As for the specific event charts below, we'll see that they feature a rather startling complex of cardinal and fixed energies—quite an interesting story, with deep mythological undertones. First, let’s establish the context and timeframe. reported in the late evening (10:19 pm) on April 6th that the Trump administration had made a two-pronged effort that day to crack down on border crossings: first,
“The president issued a presidential memorandum ending a policy commonly called ‘catch and release,’ which released illegal immigrants from detention as they awaited an immigration court hearing.”
Several directives for implementing this policy switch were detailed in the memo, including one that involved rounding up all the available federal facilities along the border that might be “repurposed” for immigrant detentions. Hence, the cages and the barren-looking facilities with meager mats on the floor for detainees.

In lockstep with Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced his new “zero-tolerance” border crossing policy that same April day—a policy that specifically targets “first time offenders” and provides guidelines for implementation. Sessions said nothing about honoring the international protocols the U.S. signed on to in 1951 and 1967 for seeking legal asylum at the border, and it’s doubtful that these will be honored by the Trump DOJ. Hence, those who make the treacherous trek across Central America to appeal for asylum are met with handcuffs instead.

Children shouldn't have to protest to stay with their parents!

What happens to the children? The authorities claim to place them with sponsors (family members already here, if possible), but they are making no guarantees that the families will be reunited, and they take little responsibility for the children once they’re placed. Parents may have a difficult time finding their children if and when they’re released from detention. Rumors of thousands of unaccounted for children (where are girls and babies, for instance) have been swirling, and the administration is doing little to allay people's fears. A thick Neptunian fog of bureaucracy and obfuscation is making things look worse by the day. 

As Trump's new zero tolerance policy has rolled out, controversies over tearing even the youngest infants from their parent(s) surfaced and Sessions felt compelled to explain. CBS News reported the following in regards to a May 7th press conference (one of our event charts) Sessions gave near San Diego:

“’We don't want to separate families, but we don't want families to come to the border illegally and attempt to enter into this country improperly,’ Sessions said. ‘The parents are subject to prosecution while children may not be. So, if we do our duty and prosecute those cases, then children inevitably for a period of time might be in different conditions’…
‘Every law enforcement agency in this country separates parents from children when they're arrested for a crime,’ Homan said alongside Sessions. ‘There is no new policy. This has always been the policy. Now, you will see more prosecutions because of the attorney general's commitment to zero tolerance.’”
What Sessions considers a “proper” attempt to enter the country is unclear because there doesn’t seem to be any legal way to apply for asylum at the southern border at this time. Many critics believe the Trump administration is breaking international laws with this zero tolerance (also “zero compassion”) program.

For the purposes of teasing out the astrology of this situation, we’ll use the April 6th announcement as stage one and the May 7th statement as stage two. Considering Saturn turned retrograde on April 19th and will remain so into September, it’s not surprising that we would see a two-staged attempt to dig in for the long-term. Any ambiguities and loopholes (Saturn dislikes these) needed to be addressed for the long-term. Repression is such a bureaucratic affair! Much more on Saturn ahead.

For stage one we’ll set the April 6th chart of Trump’s executive memo ending “Catch and Release” against our national Sibly chart. I’ve set the chart for 10 p.m. because announced the White House move at 10:19 p.m. and called it a “late” development. Because the time is imprecise, Moon and angle placements will not be our primary focus. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Trump “Catch & Release” executive memo (“zero tolerance” announcement), April 6, 2018, 10:00 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. . Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

This biwheel features one amazing configuration that lends considerable insight into the issues we’ve been discussing, so we’ll focus on that and then turn to “stage two” in the next biwheel. 

Zero T Sun conjoins Zero T Eris; Eris conjoins Zero T Uranus (all Aries); Zero T Mars/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) squares Zero T Sun. There’s a distinct warrior vibe (Eris, Mars) and an intentional battle footing in all this. Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey characterizes the Mars/Pluto midpoint in this way:

“The dispersal of military weapons or resources without safeguards or intention from others that they will pay for these; aggressive actions against the nation by hostile countries; treaties broken by warlike acts.”[1]
In regards to immigrants, of course, we have no actual “hostile country” attacking us, despite Trump’s favored narrative; Trump’s policies are turning us into a hostile country, and we’re breaking treaties and international protocols left and right. Could this midpoint also pertain to weapons deals Trump has made and/or suspected Russian incursions into our next election? Stories for another day! 

As for the involvement of the Zero T Sun here, this points to the executive office and to what Munkasey calls “a need to dominate during meetings where your views are presented for comment or criticism…”[2]

Zero tolerance, or zero compassion?

 Interchart Grand-Square: Zero T Capricorn stellium (Vesta-Moon-Saturn-Mars, and more distantly, Pluto) oppose Sibly Cancer stellium (Venus-Jupiter-Sun-Mercury); this axis squares Zero T Mercury (Aries) opposite Sibly MC/Saturn (midpoint, Libra). Again, we can’t say with certainly if the Moon was at this exact degree when the memo was signed, but it’s probably close. It certainly fits the situation, if we consider that the Moon rules those migrant children and mothers, and a repressive regime (Saturn rules Capricorn) is weighing on them here. 

It’s no surprise that all this is happening across the Sibly 1st-7th house axis—the axis attributed to the nation’s identity and any significant Others, respectively. Notice also that our radix Sibly Eris (Capricorn), our national warrior spirit, ties into all this, which may explain why solidifying control over the continent, from sea to sea, was such a hot priority during the first hundred years of our national existence. 

This led to a war with Mexico from 1846-48 for territorial acquisition (and economic growth, with Sibly Jupiter-Venus in our 7th). We nabbed a lot of territory in the end, including what are now Texas and California—Mexico surrendered about one-third of its sovereign territory to the U.S. at that time. 

All this helps put Trump’s mean-spirited idea that Mexico should now pay for a wall across our southern border into context: wouldn’t it be simply rude and offensive to anyone who knows our history? Trump’s rallying cry (“Who’s going to pay for the wall?”) and his venomous attitude towards Mexico could well be rubbing salt in a long-festering wound. 

Since Saturn transited into Capricorn earlier this year, however, the repressive rhetoric coming from the White House has been put into militant, police-state action, ordering National Guard troops to the border, staffing up ICE and Homeland Security and treating our border like a war zone (Zero T Mars and Saturn conjoin and square Sibly MC/Saturn). Munkasey attributes this midpoint to:

“Restrictions on development within the enterprise; may end the struggle for independent activity after repression or colonialism; formal and strict rules for conducting transactions.”[3]
The “formal and strict rules” are certainly reflected in how difficult it is now to mount a “proper” appeal for asylum without ending up behind bars. I would add also that repression in the name of not just “colonialism,” but any “ism” is covered here—isolationism, imperialism, fear-based populist nationalism, and so on. 

With Zero T Mercury forming the 4th leg of this tense configuration, Capricorn Moon-Saturn-Mars square to Aries Mercury (Mercury disposed by that aggressive Mars), it’s not surprising that the outrage people have been feeling since April about Trump’s immigration policies has been a media-based phenomenon. 

To make a super-complex grand square even more interesting, we need to consider the role that Vesta is also playing here. Vesta typically conjures up the image of “hearth and home,” but asteroid experts Demetra George and Douglas Bloch argues that the essence of that image is an intense focus on goals. 

Sibly Vesta falls in our radix 6th house in Taurus, trine our “American Dream” Neptune in Virgo (4th house co-ruler): is it any wonder that Americans typically aspire to comfortable middle class material lives? Shop-til-we-drop is considered a matter of 6th house public service, even—fueling  the economy! 

The issue of the family hearth is key here because Vesta is a naturally fiery energy: at the center of every family is the yin fire of desire for that family’s welfare and wellbeing, and dreams for its future, so parents who flee violence and chaos in their homelands to seek better lives for their children certainly evoke the intense focus of Vesta. This is all more relevant today when we consider that Zero T Vesta is transiting Capricorn, square Sibly MC (Libra) and closely opposite Sibly Venus (Cancer). Some thoughts on the Capricorn placement:

“Vesta in Capricorn individuals work best in a structured and disciplined fashion. The work effort is often motivated by personal ambition and the drive to succeed…Yet Vesta in Capricorn’s strict adherence to rules and regulations can denote excessive rigidity.”[4]
The rigidity of the Trump administration’s approach to immigration is evident in the news, but here we see the added dimension of how the administration is using our allies (Vesta opposes Sibly Venus) to achieve its ambitions regarding border control. His executive order claimed this program was necessary for “national security” reasons—these migrant families are “invading” us and bringing their future M13 gang member children with them, the narrative goes. Similar to his “national security” excuse for slapping tariffs on our Canadian ally, this is a dubious and unjustified claim. 

In fact, astrologically we might wonder what’s in all this for Trump, personally, as well. His natal Mercury-Neptune square (8°+Cancer-5°+Libra, chart not shown) is tied into this entire cardinal configuration, conjunct Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer) and Sibly MC (Libra). Trump’s natal Mercury disposes his Gemini stellium (Sun-Node-Uranus) as it squares his Libra Neptune (5°+Libra), which explains his preference for “alternate realities.”

In turn, Trump’s Sagittarius full Moon disposes his Mercury, so Mercury is entangled throughout much of his chart. It’s not hard to see this impact in his Twitter feed, and in regards to immigrant families (Cancer), we can also see it in his overly-defensive, fear-driven mindset. If people haven’t treated him badly, in his mind they simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. What a great excuse to attack first! So a rigid dependence upon “law and order” provides the perfect tool. 

Law and order is a very blunt instrument, but it’s a whole lot easier than diplomacy and doing the hard work of crafting a sane immigration policy, too. 

Zero T Pallas (Gemini) conjoins Sibly Uranus (Gemini); Zero T Saturn-Mars (Capricorn) quincunx Sibly Uranus (and widely, Pallas). George and Bloch write that “Pallas, as goddess of justice and protectress of the state, rules over political activism,”[5] They also call her a “defender of minority groups” and “racial/ethnic” justice. So, the tension on Pallas from the heavy authoritarian Mars-Saturn here comes as no surprise, given today’s situation. Trump’s deployment of military forces to the border is seen here, as well, with Pallas hovering near Sibly 6th house Uranus. 

It’s worth noting also that Zero T Pluto (Capricorn) is applying quincunx pressure on Sibly Mars (Gemini) and trining our Sibly Neptune (Virgo) as well: we’re officially “spoiling for a fight,” it seems, and we probably have reason to doubt the official “national security” pretext for shutting the border. Reportedly, claims that multiple border agents have been killed by migrants have been disproven by the FBI, but that hasn’t altered the official Trump narrative right now. He wants his wall, despite a chorus of voices who say it’s a waste of resources and a wrong-headed approach to border security. Even so, any ambitious marketer knows that the way to sell a product is to create the need for the product.  

Why would people go through this unless they were fleeing serious problems?

Stage Two

As mentioned above, this stage kicked in on May 7th, when Sessions gave a press conference near San Diego to explain the official Zero T policy and why families were being separated by border control agents. As we’ll see, not a lot changed astrologically from April 6th to May 7th, but the planetary dynamics that did change tell the story, so we’ll focus on these.

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Sessions Zero T press conference, May 7, 2018, 12:00 p.m. PST, San Diego, CA Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Zero T Chiron-Juno (Aries) oppose Sibly MC (Libra); this axis squares the cardinal oppositions noted in Biwheel #1. Here’s where I need to digress a bit from our main topic, but I think you’ll see where the threads connect pretty quickly. Here goes:

It’s a little unclear which planet/asteroid represents the First Lady in a nation’s chart, but Juno’s a distinct possibility, being the wife of Zeus in mythology. Sibly Juno is in lovely Libra, which seems to be a pretty good fit for Melania (what we know of her, anyway), and the fact that it falls trine Sibly Mars—to my mind, a better fit for Trump’s executive style than the Sun is (his natal chart is tightly interwoven with Sibly Mars)—only confirms this hunch. I don’t doubt that they have their differences (how could she not?), but she shows up at his side when the occasion calls for it, and seems to enjoy planning state dinners. 

Interestingly for our topic here, during the same period that Trump was unfolding his “zero tolerance” program for the border, his immigrant wife was suddenly hospitalized for kidney surgery, so perhaps this transiting Chiron-Juno conjunction in the nation’s 4th house (its official “home”) reflects this experience. We’re still not entirely sure what Melania’s health status is, but her extended recuperation period seems to suggest that her “wounds” (Chiron) run deeper than anyone is admitting. 

We should probably just respect her privacy on this matter, but her presence as our national “wounded wife” holds symbolic weight for today’s issues, and that bears consideration. Does her health reflect the nation’s, in some metaphysical way? Kidneys exist to flush toxins from a person’s system: boy, could this nation use a good flush! 

Our Sibly 4th house is ruled by Virgo Neptune, which is now being opposed by transiting Neptune in Pisces. This transit has seriously eroded our national sense of unity: in our Sibly 3rd of education over the past several years, it undermined our infrastructure, our “esprit de corps,” as well as our ability to think as one nation (even the ideas that in better times we simply agreed upon as being the “American way” are up for grabs). 

Also in this house, our Sibly Moon (in Aquarius, denoting the People) was under Neptune’s sway during the Obama years, probably deluding us into thinking that we were ready for a level of social change that has since caused heavy backlash, paving the way for Trump, et al. Even Obama has been musing lately that his presidency may have happened “too soon.” That perhaps we were still more interested in falling back into our respective “tribes” than in really moving forward. 

IMHO, perhaps the greatest delusion (although many spoke out against this) we suffered from under the Obama years was that our economy could continue channeling 99% of the goodies to the top, with no consequences. 

And now Neptune is well into our 4th—the homeland¸ the house governing grass roots “bread and butter” issues, issues related to land, mining, environment, agriculture, etc. It’s no wonder that Russian efforts to undermine our democracy by exploiting our natural divisions and manipulating the 2016 election were so successful. Transiting Neptune is still just applying to its full, semi-cycle point with Sibly Neptune, so unfortunately, things could get worse before they get better.

The opioid epidemic could certainly be implicated here: it’s a crisis that will probably be far more damaging to us in the long run than an influx of immigrants would be, yet Trump is paying very little attention to it. Our crumbling infrastructure and lack of readiness for natural disasters is probably also far more damaging than those immigrants would be, yet here we are, spending much more on border control (and potentially a wall) than on rebuilding our systems. 

Such are the delusions spawned by Neptune, and those who trade in Neptunian power. 

One last point here: Zero T Chiron (Aries) is transiting opposite our Sibly MC, reflecting the damage that is being done by Trump’s policies to our image abroad. Perhaps we forget the pains this nation went to in building that reputation and our esteemed place in the world? This comment from The Economist captures the urgency of this issue:

“Moreover, how countries treat migrants is an important advertisement of their character and values, which Americans underrate to their cost. America’s reputation for being fair and decent attracts highly skilled people. It is also among the reasons foreigners trust American diplomacy and admire its culture—despite the erosion of its reputation that has followed Mr Trump’s election.”
Maybe we should be glad that people wanted to migrate here? 

Detained parents often go for months without knowing where their children are.

Zero T Mercury-Eris-Uranus conjoin in Aries, square Zero T Pluto-Mars (Capricorn); this Mars conjoins Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). This is all very brutish, hard-edged energy; those with compassionate impulses need not apply. Blatant power-grabbing and Big Finance machinations are the order of the day, and migrant families are simply one grist for their mill. Federal contracts for various border-securing operations are likely at stake. The rhetoric is hard (Aries Mercury), the narrative is belligerent and crisis-driven, and the crises grabbing the focus seem frankly manufactured for Trump’s “reality show.” 

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is facing the new hurricane season in a sorry state of readiness, not having fully recovered from last year’s tragic destruction of its infrastructure. This past week we’ve learned that perhaps thousands more people were killed by Hurricane Maria than the Trump administration reported. The jury is out on whether these numbers were intentionally distorted, but the implication is afloat. 

Immigration numbers are actually down this year as opposed to many years, yet the focus has been yanked away from pressing problems like Puerto Rico to make shutting our borders a top priority. The National Guard has been slowly making progress there with infrastructure rebuilding, however the funding is stingy and the focus is weak—perhaps because there’s no militarized “law and order” solution for Puerto Rico’s problems? Are we seeing a theme?

Sibly Chiron (Aries) conjoins Aries stellium discussed above. One last point about Trump’s zero tolerance program leaps off the page here. Chiron speaks to a deep wound in our national soul that festers and re-ignites during times of stress. In Aries, it’s our national ego-driven “rugged individual” ethos that seems to resonate strongly with Trump and his supporters. This ethos is being challenged and perhaps triggered all the more by the Aries conflagration transiting our Sibly 5th right now. 

Unfortunately, cool heads need to prevail to solve the nation’s problems right now, and while pumping up our national Ego (“MAGA?”) may play well as a media ploy, it falls far short of solving actual problems like sub-standard schools (children are a 5th house issue), rotting infrastructure, environmental degradation, rising costs in healthcare, and so on. 

Attacking immigrant families and children out of some thuggish “zero-tolerance” policy is no substitute for progress in these needed areas.

Happily, since this May 7th chart, Uranus has moved into Taurus and thrown a little earth on our cowboy camp fire, but it will revisit Aries (by retrograde) during November (election time), so whatever issues are too hot to handle right now could resurface then. 

Final thoughts

We hear a lot in the news these days regarding the Trump administration’s quest to undermine our constitutional institutions of checks and balances, and to consolidate his own power. The day I first posted a piece regarding this topic, the news talk shows were buzzing with Rudy Giuliani’s claims that Trump is basically untouchable by investigations and the Justice Department—in other words, that he is above the law. Thankfully, saner voices have poked numerous holes in this blowhard claim, but we can see the contours of Trump’s ambitions here. He wants to wield absolute power, and he has an unfortunate track record of getting most of what he wants.

Even some Republicans are speaking out against this argument that basically dissolves our constitutional checks and balances. Trump’s bald-faced attempt at a power grab (remember those cardinal energies at work) evokes King Louis XIV’s famous dictum, “L’Etát c’est Moi” (“I Am the State”). 

Neptunians (and Trump definitely is one) marshal power by weakening structures and assurances, triggering fears and cultivating free-floating anxieties: these are well-sharpened arrows in Trump’s quiver. So are a tolerance for corrupt practices, for denying responsibility and claiming to be a victim at every turn. 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt—a polio victim who didn’t even want the American people to see him walk on crutches because he knew they needed him to be strong—had it right in 1933 when the nation was still reeling from the Great Depression, and Hitler was consolidating his power under the Nazi banner. In his first inaugural speech, FDR set the theme for his entire 4-term presidency: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Those times were mirror-images of today, from Neptune’s perspective—it was transiting early Virgo in 1933, and the nation was embarked on a pragmatic, problem-solving period in which no challenge could keep it down. It overcame the Depression with practical works programs and sane, idealistic economic policies, built a great deal of the national infrastructure that we see crumbling around us today, and there was no time for self-doubt and delusions. It seems that the nation enjoyed a sense of destiny and the spirit of public service (Virgo) ran deep. America was far from perfect at that time, but we were moving in a constructive direction. 

I hope we can recapture that spirit for our times, but to do so I suspect that we will need to resist the shaky pretexts the Trump administration is using for its gratuitous cruelty towards migrant families. 

From the NYTimes:

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly hails family separation as a “tough deterrent” and shrugs that “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”
So what’s next, Mr. President? Minefields at the border would be an even more effective deterrent. Or East German-style marksmen in watch towers to shoot those who cross?
We as a nation should protect our borders. We must even more assiduously protect our soul.”

We can do better than this!

[1] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, pp. 248-49.
[2] Ibid, p. 249.
[3]Ibid, pp. 308-09.
[4] Demetra George & Douglas Bloch, Asteroid Goddesses: the Mythology, Psychology and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, Ibis Press, 2013 (updated edition), Lake Worth, FL, p. 138.
[5] Ibid, pp. 100-01.