Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The power in deception: Neptune & Pluto usher Manafort to trial

“Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily a way of changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power.” (back cover, Orwell on Truth)

“Though this is madness, yet there is method in’t.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii). 

Yes, Virginia, we are living in mad, Orwellian times—times when if the Leader says “up” is “down” and “right” is “left,” then that’s just how it is and it’s fruitless to say, “but…didn’t he say…?” Can we argue with Neptune and Pluto working in tandem, as they are today? 

It is possible, however, that resisting the Orwellian lunacy isn’t fruitless…as hard as he tries, Fearless Leader Trump hasn’t been able to totally eradicate our rights to a free press, free speech, or to fair, impartial judgment in a court of law. He also hasn’t yet succeeded in confusing and gaslighting the majority of the country into submission—again, not for lack of trying. 

Saturn is now transiting its home sign of Capricorn, and some respect for the rule of Law, the facts and clear logic is still favored, despite the duress created by Neptune’s illusion-spinning in home sign Pisces. Truth-telling journalists and rule-of-law types like Rod Rosenstein have been struggling during this period, but they've held their own. 

Maybe Neptune and Pluto are just challenging us to commit to what’s really important to us? 

During a speech this past week in front of Nebraska farmers—business people struggling to understand why Trump is pursuing a trade war that puts their living on the line—Trump didn’t offer hopeful facts, a strategic plan or even a timeline after which the pain should ease up. Instead, he attempted to manipulate their perception of the situation:

"Stick with us. Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. ... What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."
So they shouldn’t believe what they see happening—warehouses full of perishable products they can’t sell—they should instead believe him that everything is going to be fine, someday. And this past Thursday, incredibly, Trump met with farmers to toss green “Make Farmers Great Again” hats at them, like that makes up for the hard times and insecurity they’re experiencing! Really?!

I find it hard to believe that these pragmatic business people really buy into Trump’s “through-the-looking-glass” logic (or his hats) even if it’s from a president they largely support. Their crops are rotting in warehouses while Trump threatens their overseas markets and tosses hats at them! Kalena Bruce, a 5th generation Missouri farmer and a Trump supporter, writes in today’s Washington Post that she believes Congress should take back its power to regulate tariffs because Trump’s policies thus far have been too destructive:

“Farmers use a lot of steel, which Trump subjected to a 25 percent tariff in March. Combines, grain bins, fencing and cattle gating, which we are constantly upgrading and replacing, have become significantly more expensive as steel prices have jumped because of the tariffs…
Yet the most significant consequence of tariffs for farmers has been the inevitable tariff blowback…China has targeted soybeans and hogs with steep retaliatory tariffs…More than one-third of U.S. soybeans, the second-biggest crop in the nation, goes to China — about $12.4 billion worth. Since May, soybean prices have dipped about $2 per bushel to about $8.50 as export markets have dried up. For every dollar lower a bushel, farmers lose about 10 percent of their revenue.
Meanwhile, pork exports to China are down nearly 20 percent this year.…As a result of the limited export markets, meat is piling up in U.S. cold-storage warehouses. Since May, prices of lean hog futures have fallen by 14 percent.”

Clearly, farmers know what they need from every acre of their productive land and every animal they raise to make ends meet—illusions and vague promises just don’t cut it! They deal with fickle Mother Nature on a daily basis and somehow manage: all they ask from the government is access to markets and a sane trade policy! 

In her article, Bruce reinforced that farmers don’t want aid, they want trade, but she characterized Trump’s move to issue $12 billion in emergency aid to farms in more colorful language: “It is the economic equivalent of treating a hangnail by cutting off your finger.”

Bruce’s article is only one small expression of the resistance Trump is getting to his tariff policies, but clearly Trump doesn’t want to lose farmers: on Thursday he—speaking with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker—agreed to back off from a trade war in return for short term soy bean sales, lower steel prices and natural gas. 

It probably also helped that the farmers’ plight has been providing negative press for Trump all week, as well, and he wasn’t able to simply paint all the coverage as “fake news.” And this isn’t the only issue dogging Trump’s steps, but his response is always predictable: either slam the press as “fake” for reporting unflattering facts, or try to totally shut the press out of everything he’s doing. Neither of these approaches is sustainable, but they work with his core base, which has internalized Trump’s victimization narrative. Neptune-Pluto (victimization in the service of power) working overtime!

In fact, Trump is borrowing numerous pages out of Neptune-Pluto’s playbook when it comes to the press, gradually choking off its access to vital information, and thereby eroding its constitutional rights and ability to keep all us informed with the facts. Orwell got it right in 1984 when his character Syme asks Winston, “’Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?”[1]  

Orwell's 1984

By privileging Fox and supporters like Sean Hannity with fuller access (as long as they stick to the “official” line), Trump has been gradually imposing a type of “State media” network into our national discourse, and the narrative is amazingly consistent because it’s ripped right out of Trump’s speech lines: the president is an innocent victim of thousands of ingrates, when all he’s trying to do is make American great again

Narrow the range of acceptable ideas and above all, trim and dumb down the language. 

Trump even fumed at the First Lady’s choice of CNN on her Air Force One television (she was not amused—CNN was talking about his affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal that day)!
Despite vigorous and determined resistance however (thank you, late-night TV hosts!), the administration’s attempts to undermine our access to information and our free press, a key democratic institution, are doing damage. 

One White House employee has been experiencing the damage up close, and decided to call it quits this past week. According to The Hill.com:
“Beck Dorey-Stein, who worked as a stenographer for the White House during the second half of the Obama administration, told CNN's New Day on Wednesday that Trump's refusal to allow stenographers in the room for meetings and interviews with some journalists crossed a line.
‘I quit because I couldn't be proud of where I worked anymore,’ Dorey-Stein said. ‘I felt like President Trump was lying to the American people, and also ... not even trying to tell the truth. He wasn't even going the extra mile to have the stenographers in the room.’"
When power players employ deception and withhold information to solidify their own power, rest assured Neptune and Pluto are involved; unfortunately, both energies are being wielded in some really twisted ways these days. Thursday’s news blew up over former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s claim that Trump Sr. knew about and approved the suspicious meeting with Russian in Trump Tower in June 2016. Then comes a twist to the revelation—that Trump’s lawyers may have been the ones to leak this explosive information so Cohen doesn’t get credit with Mueller for it. And, by the way, there was probably a second meeting we didn’t even know about!

Not surprisingly, Giuliani has since leapt in with a “double-blind” Neptune-Pluto maneuver: making a show of denying the claim and using the opportunity to tear down Cohen’s reputation. As for why Cohen would record his meetings with former client Trump: perhaps he had the perspective to know that with Trump, loyalty flows in one direction alone?

Giuliani’s making all kinds of protestations that may sound cagey—most recently the theme of his tap dance (echoed by Fox, of course) has been “there was no collusion, but even if there was, collusion’s not a crime…”—but I doubt that Mueller is impressed. When the Neptune-Pluto intrigue becomes so entangled that we can’t tell information from mis-information, it’s time to rely on good old Saturnian facts, and Mueller seems to have more than enough of those.

All these crazy maneuvers are unfolding on cosmic schedule, of course: Pluto has been transiting opposite Sibly Mercury (Cancer) and squaring Sibly Saturn (Libra), while Neptune is transiting trine the Sibly Sun (Cancer). It’s no wonder that the free press and free speech (Mercury) are under duress, as are our democratic institutions and the rule of law (Saturn).  What we must preserve if we’re going to live through this as an intact democracy are the facts, some semblance of moral authority (both Saturn) and our optimism (Neptune has been dampening that, transiting square our Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius Sibly ASC). 

I would offer that the vicious ebullience we see at Trump rallies is a product of this transiting square, as well--Trump knows just how to weaponize delusion, which at this point is getting quite bloated (Jupiter) on its own toxic energies. There must be targets to vent on, media outlets to jeer, reputations to tear down.

The rest of the world has been wondering if we’re the same upbeat, arms-open, forward-looking nation they’ve known all these years—as well they should. 

There’s a reason Trump is good buds with David Pecker of American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer and other info-tainment publications. Such publications have no commitment to the facts: they thrive on fact “fragments” that can be stretched and spun into salacious gossip, conspiracy-thinking and “alternative realities,” and Trump knows how to benefit from this approach. Aside from helping to squelch former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about her affair with Trump to the tune of $150k, AMI was very helpful in others ways with Trump’s 2016 victory. This is a story that’s unfolding as we speak. 

As we know from his firing of former FBI director, James Comey, personal loyalty to Trump often requires being willing to spin “alternative facts,” or simply ignore the facts altogether. If Trump’s “pitbulls” on the House Intelligence Committee (Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, etc.) are any guide, loyalist tactics against Trump’s “enemies” range from “mean girl” rumor-mongering to outright verbal bullying, designed to tear down their target’s reputation and everything they ever worked for.

Look what happened to former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, targeted by Trump and company most viciously, it seemed, because he committed the “sin” of having a wife who ran for office as a Democrat (public servants are entitled to private lives, political or otherwise). They needed a whipping boy for their animus towards the Mueller investigation, and he was convenient. 

If Trump can’t be assured of personal loyalty from those around him—and he has his ways of judging this, undoubtedly—it seems that he will find a reason to get rid of that government official, no matter how competent they are, no matter how long they’ve served. Finding a pretext to destroy a person one finds threatening (even if that threat is entirely in one’s own mind) is another of Neptune-Pluto’s many lower impulses, and like all things ruled by this duo, these impulses can become addictive and compulsive over time. 

I have to believe that even Trump’s most loyal base is getting weary of the negative ways in which Trump is using them, but where will they draw the line?  

The day Trump fired McCabe (this past March 16th)—2 days before McCabe would have been able to retire with his pension intact—a fire grand trine formed between transiting Mars (Sagittarius), McCabe’s Mars (Aries)[2] and Trump’s Mars (Leo), so we can just feel the angry alpha male beating his chest here. Unfortunately, transiting Pluto (Capricorn) fell square McCabe’s Mars, and transiting Neptune conjoined McCabe’s Sun/Venus (midpoint, Pisces), throwing all certainty for his future resources into disarray. 

McCabe may be able to mount a powerful appeal, however Neptune also semi-sextiled his Saturn, clouding his reputation and pulling the rug out from under him, professionally. Hopefully time will heal this wound in some way.

Comey’s refusal to pledge personal loyalty to Trump and relinquish his Constitutional duty to investigate possible crimes was a factor in his firing, even before McCabe, of course. And not to be overlooked, Trump threatened this past week to revoke the security clearances of key former intelligence and national security officials because he didn’t like the press they were creating for him.

Journalists would concur.
These are the tactics of a Neptune-Pluto bully, and true to form, bullies tend to be fearful people. 

In fact, transiting Neptune and Pluto are probably shaking Trump’s confidence these days, which may help explain his growing instability. Even his son, Don. Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner appear to be in the legal crosshairs these days, for their role in connecting “Dad’s” campaign to helpful Russians. So, vulnerabilities abound: today’s opening of the trial against Trump’s former campaign CEO Paul Manafort is a prime example that’s worth a deeper look.

To do this, we’ll take a quick look at the trial launch at 10 a.m. today, and next to the same chart against Trump’s nativity (Biwheel #1 below), keeping a sharp eye out for Neptune-Pluto action. In all fairness, Manafort’s trial isn’t happening to Trump, but Trump very likely feels that it is. Besides, many analysts consider this trial to be the start of a new phase of the overall Mueller investigation, so we’ll keep that in mind as we go. 

In a future post, we’ll consider a biwheel with Manafort’s nativity, as well.

In fact, Trump may be right to fear what’s about to happen with Manafort because it’s possible Manafort functioned as some kind of liaison between the Russians and the Trump campaign. Time will tell on this—let’s not get ahead of our skis here! So, first we’ll take a quick peek at the trial event chart on its own before we take a deeper dive into the biwheel.

Chart #1: Manafort trial begins, July 31, 2018, 10:00 a.m. DST (published time), Alexandria, VA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

It’s worth noting here that Mercury rules the trial chart via its Virgo ASC, and wouldn’t you know, Trump’s Sun (22+Gemini) and the trial chart’s MC are exact within minutes of each other. So yes, Trump will be top-of-mind as the proceedings launch. Will his ego priorities overwhelm the scene? 

Venus conjoins Trial ASC (both Virgo) and squares MC/Trump Sun, which reflects the financial corruption charges brought against Manafort. This also suggests that an effort to “do the right thing” will be made, but this “servant” Venus may be corruptible (including in $$$)—ruling the chart’s 2nd and 9th houses, it’s trine Pluto (Capricorn) and quincunx Eris (Aries). 

Giuliani—Trump’s newest and probably chattiest “fixer”—will likely play a role in at least “framing” what goes on, if not worse. We can just see the “cast” forming: Manafort as the “fair” victim (12th house Venus opposite Neptune conjoined Moon in Pisces); Trump as the “hero” on high (his Sun conjoined Trial MC). Journalists will be all over this story trying to get the facts straight. 

Now, on to the biwheel.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Manafort trial begins, July 31, 2018, 10:00 a.m. DST (published time), Alexandria, VA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Trial No. Node-Sun-Pallas (Leo) conjoin Trump Pluto (Leo) and square Trial Jupiter (Scorpio). These aspects suggest that Trump’s ambitions for personal power will be challenged by the Manafort trial. Whether justice (Pallas) will succumb to Trump’s power-plays (Pluto) or will overcome them may depend upon whether the “big guns” (Trial Jupiter) are being deployed to defend him or to implicate him. This Jupiter falls over Trump’s 3rd house of communications—we can expect lots of foaming-at-the-mouth tweets!

Trial MercuryRx conjoins Trump Mars-ASC (Leo) and sextile/trines Trump Sun-Node (Gemini) and Moon (Sagittarius). Please recall from the Trial chart itself is ruled by this newly-retrograde Mercury (it stationed Rx on the 26th, just before the eclipse); the fact that it conjoins Trump’s Mars-ASC confirms that Trump will have a “mouthpiece” busily spinning the story for his purposes, and that some aspects of the trial “narrative” may change, need to be revisited, or will be challenged and thrown out of court. These conjunctions suggest that Trump will want to weigh in on the proceedings.

The charges against Manafort in this trial (a later trial will focus on his Ukraine/Russian connections more specifically) focus on alleged bank fraud and tax evasion charges, so it may not be too difficult for Trump to distance himself from these first proceedings. 

The question is whether he will be tempted to swoop in with a presidential pardon just to shut it all down because the second trial could be more incriminating to him? His Leo Mars demands control over his environment (ASC) and his Moon (Sagittarius) would throw caution to the wind, so an impulsive pardon wouldn’t be surprising. More on this possibility below. 

Trial Pluto (Capricorn) opposes Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer), challenging his self-protective sense of justice and fairness. If Trump’s natural tendency is to fear or obsess over his relationships (why else would he need loyalty pledges?), this long-term transit will make him feel more vulnerable than usual, and it’s just really getting started. His Saturn-Venus conjunction occupies his 11th house of associates, goals and influence, so his substantial finances (always a source of influence) and powerful relationships may feel (and may be, down the road) threatened. 

Michael Cohen’s “betrayal” (Pluto challenging Saturn-Venus, Trump’s check-wielding cosmic “fixer?”) fits all this to a tee, as does the Manafort trial, of course. Will Manafort “make a deal” that blows back on Trump? There’s no sign that he’s trying to do so yet, but Mercury and Saturn are both retrograde, and the trial has a ways to go. 

Trial Neptune squares Trump Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini). With all the Pluto activity discussed above, it’s no surprise that Trump is doubling down on his efforts to surround himself with allies who will help shield him from the law, like his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh? Kavanaugh has expressed the opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted, and Trump craves that security right now. If he can’t dictate what the facts are in a court of law, he’ll angle for the next best outcome, being unaccountable to the facts, and this Neptune may or may not enable that quest. 

Or, as noted above, he could simply opt for the self-serving, yet “compassionate” use of Neptune—the pardon. We can just hear the reasoning: Manafort is being treated so unfairly…Yadda, yadda. 

Interchart Grand-Square: Trump NeptuneRx (Libra) opposes Trump Eris (Aries); this axis squares Trial SaturnRx (Capricorn) opposed Trump Mercury (Cancer). This tense configuration reflects the “battle fever” that will be driving Trump to evade responsibility (Saturn).  Spinning the narrative (Mercury, Neptune) that emerges from this trial—and from the rest of the Mueller investigation, for that matter—will be one likely weapon he’ll employ, but with Neptune and Eris stretched across his financial 2nd-8th axis, we can expect other forms of passive aggression and potential cover-ups. 

Toxic Neptune-Pluto techniques for abuse!
Trump’s natal Mercury-square-Neptune has mastered these arts—as commentator Liz Plank noted on MSNBC yesterday, Trump and his sidekick Giuliani are “weaponizing gaslighting” and even the appearance of “incompetence” to confuse and obfuscate the truth these days. 

The good news is, transiting Saturn (even retrograde) may cut through the Neptunian fog and lay out the facts more clearly than Trump might like. Saturn goes direct in early September, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s revealed at that point.

Trial SaturnRx trines Trial Uranus (Taurus). Finally, this earthy trine, with Uranus disposed by an earthy Venus (Virgo) reflects the big money dealings at stake in this trial. Uranus falls in the event chart’s 8th house, while SaturnRx falls in the 4th (see Chart #1 above). “Follow the money” has been the only reliable way to pin down corrupt players forever, although this aspect suggests that the case against Manafort may be far from a slam-dunk precisely because big money players are involved. It would be unwise to take anything for granted!   

Final thoughts

In the course of this trial—and this new phase of the overall Mueller investigation we seem to be entering—all the familiar themes and tactics we’ve seen from the Trump White House are likely to be magnified: the Orwellian rhetoric and attempts to undermine any firm grasp on the facts will be ramped up; what Washington Post writer Michael Gerson calls the “lunacy of Trumpian morality” will become even more desperate and self-focused. No amount of erratic behavior, weaponized chaos, gaslighting or conspiracy theory-mongering will be off limits, if Trump’s team is looking for a defense. 

The question is, will the court of public opinion continue being vulnerable to this "lunacy," or will our rule of Law hold more sway? The fact that this is happening in an election year could play to either side, unfortunately, but securing our election and voting is critical, no matter what!

Yes, Neptune and Pluto are weighing heavily on us these days, but this duo has a lighter side we can tap into, as well. We can “be” the sanity and compassion we want to see in our public discourse, and we can work with Pluto to transform institutions that are outworn, but worth rebuilding and strengthening. We can save our loyalties for those who truly deserve them, people with integrity and character, whose words mean something and whose intentions are honorable and transparent. Wouldn’t that feel good again?!

Thankfully, we will have an opportunity to press the cosmic reset button on our national priorities when the new Jupiter-Saturn and Saturn-Pluto cycles commence in 2020. Whatever condition the Trump administration leaves our democratic institutions in, if we've "dis-illusioned" ourselves from these Orwellian times and play our cosmic cards right, we should have an opening to rebuild and renew in these new cycles. More to come as all this unfolds--keep it light!

Truer words?

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, the Astrological Journal (UK) and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved. 

[1] George Orwell, comp. Harvill Secker, intro. Adam Hochschild, Orwell on Truth, Houghton-Mifflin, New York, NY, 2017, p. 182.
[2] Andrew McCabe, XXXXXX

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Eclipse connections: A window on perplexing times

The July 27th total lunar eclipse will be a "Blood Moon"

Remember August, 2017, when the U.S. was magnificently eclipsed—from sea-to-shining sea? 

Remember how that late Leo eclipse point just happened to conjoin Donald Trump’s natal Mars-ASC? 

The events of the past two weeks suggest that those two happenstances are rapidly coming home to roost, and our focus here will be on how the upcoming July 27th total lunar eclipse is likely to fit into this cosmic scenario. 

But first, here’s why, to my astrologer’s eye, there’s a connection between summer 2017 and today: 

1.      At 28°+Leo, the August ‘17 eclipse point not only conjoined Trump’s natal Mars-ASC, but it also opposed our Sibly Moon—the People—and sure enough, American life, specifically our democracy, has become more tense and vulnerable since then.  

2.      Key events or developments in our national discourse and international relations that transpired close to that August 21st eclipse have not receded in importance; if anything, they’ve gained traction and grown into bigger issues. For example:

a.       Montenegro (in the news again this week, this time for feeling threatened by Trump's stance on NATO) was given NATO membership in July 2017

b.      the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12th, 2017 played off Trump’s own leanings and policy intentions, and enabled a new tolerance for racism in our public discourse; it’s not difficult to see how this connects with family separations at the southern border. “Zero tolerance” is the perfect white supremacist mantra. 

c.       In a global foreshadowing of how bad such hateful human rights violations can be, on Aug. 25, 2017, the Myanmar government ramped up its “ethnic cleansing campaign” against the Rohingya Muslims.

d.  The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was voted for by 122 states in July 2017, with Russia, the United States and NATO states notably absent.  If we can believe the Helsinki press conference at all, Trump and Putin did discuss nuclear issues (there’s a 2010 “START” Treaty that’s up for renewal), but nothing has been said about how their actions could impact the security of NATO states. We know a weaker, more insecure NATO would please Putin; if so, Trump’s on board. 

e.       Speaking of nuclear weapons, less than 2 weeks after the August 2017 eclipse (on September 3, as Mars transited that late Leo eclipse point), North Korea conducted its 6th nuclear weapons test. This was back before Kim-Jong Un and Trump became such good buddies—the theme of meeting with and making concessions to dictators has followed Trump ever since. 

f.       Trump has moved from launching missiles to protest chemical weapons used against Syrian citizens by the Russian-backed Assad regime (April 2017) to now (if we can believe any of what they’ve said) working together with Putin in that region. As I speculated in the last post here, it’s quite possible that the “nation-rebuilding” phase of that genocidal civil war is looming and there are lucrative contracts to go around!

And so it goes. Gun violence, political corruption (officials amassing personal profits from their official government capacities, using taxpayer dollars for personal aggrandizement, etc.) and high-profile cases of abuse of power (think “MeToo” and the Stormy Daniels’ case) have been the other persistent public themes in this past year. 

An even more troubling example has been the way Trump and his DOJ have worked to consolidate power over the judiciary and law enforcement (i.e., through a flood of appointments and edicts that force local police forces to do the work of ICE)—“Zero tolerance!” 

Interestingly, some high profile corruption cases (i.e., Paul Manafort’s complicated case) and even our gun violence issue have some Russian component to them! Russian national Maria Butina was indicted this past week by the FBI for her attempt to infiltrate American politics by posing as a Russian “gun rights activist” (there’s no such thing) and building connections with the NRA! Here’s the scoop from Wikipedia:

“On July 15, 2018, Butina, while a Russian citizen residing in Washington D.C., was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered Russian agent who had attempted to create a backchannel of communications between American Republicans/conservatives and Russian officials by infiltrating the National Rifle Association, the National Prayer Breakfast and conservative religious organizations.[9][10] In an affidavit in support of the arrest warrant,[6] the FBI wrote that Butina sought to “exploit personal connections with U.S. persons having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.”[11

If you’re feeling like we’re only seeing the tip of the corruption/infiltration “iceberg” here, you’re not alone. 

Meanwhile, we’ve had distractions-a-plenty from our “Tweeter-in-Chief,” who seems to rise early, early every morning, bent on dominating the narrative of that day. His Mars (26+Leo) never misses its daily opportunity to sway our emotions (opposing Sibly Moon) and to move our collective world view ever so slightly rightward. Others are a threat…the rest of the world is out to get us…we never get a fair shake in trade agreements… we’ve been laughed at and taken advantage of, it’s all so shameful and disgraceful…sad! But Trump’s narrative never insinuates that the one adversary who really has been out to get usRussiacan do any wrong. 

No, he has two official lines in regards to relations with Russia: one, that getting along better with Russia (a strong-man led kleptocracy with distinctly troubling human rights practices) is a good thing, and two (the fallback response when challenged to account for Russia’s election meddling), that “no administration has ever been tougher on Russia.” 

The strange thing is, both positions are proceeding along parallel tracks under his administration, as though there’s no conflict whatsoever between them. Maybe that’s the “stable genius” of this Gemini prevaricator who never explains and never backs down (his fixed, imperious Mars): two conflicting realities can somehow coexist in his mind and behavior, and if we don’t get it (and his spokespeople only confuse the matter further), that’s our problem! 

So it’s clear from his behavior that Trump intends to force this relationship with Putin and Russia down our collective throats—in fact, this past Thursday, Trump gave his critics the proverbial middle finger and invited Putin to D.C. in the fall, near our midterm elections! He discussed nothing about that with his national security advisor, apparently (who, blindsided, was being interviewed by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell when the tweet landed). 

That everyone was caught with their jaws hanging down shouldn’t surprise us too much, of course: that’s how Trump proceeded with North Korea, too—make an announcement that can’t be easily reversed first, and force everyone around to scramble and keep up. 

This approach guarantees that Trump can act unilaterally on just about everything; needless to say, we still have no idea what transpired between him and Putin behind closed doors in Helsinki. Will D.C. in the fall be a repeat performance? 

Moscow at night, as seen from space.

The July 27th eclipse in Moscow

IMHO, Trump’s pressure on our People’s Moon was reinforced in August 2017 by that whirlwind eclipse (a total solar eclipse) because it was a New Moon, after all—a great time for seeding future developments.  All of this background puts this month’s total lunar eclipse—a powerful full Blood Moon spanning 4°45’Aquarius-Leo (Moon-Sun)into perspective. This will be the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, according to Earthsky.org, so we might expect some powerful trends and dynamics to reach fruition as a consequence.

Interestingly, though, the impact will be felt more directly in other countries this time; while the 2017 eclipse traced a visible path across the U.S., this month’s eclipse will be visible elsewhere, in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, including in Russia

To be precise, the July 27th eclipse will be totally visible in Moscow from 10:30p-12:13a, with the maximum totality at 11:21 (11:20:11pm, to be exact!). The first chart below is the eclipse itself, set for Moscow. Following quickly after is a biwheel of the eclipse against the Russian Federation chart. That’s where we’ll begin our exploration. 

Chart #1: Lunar Eclipse July 2018, July 27, 2018, 11:20:11 pm ST, Moscow, Russia. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Russian Federation, December 25, 1991, 7:45 p.m. ST, Moscow, Russia (Source: Book of World Horoscopes, Cht. #280, p. 273); (outer wheel) Lunar Eclipse, July 27, 2018, 11:20:11 p.m. ST (maximum), Moscow, Russia. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Interchart T-Square: Eclipse Moon (Aquarius) conjoins South Node and Mars (Aquarius) and RF (Russian Federation) Saturn (Aquarius), opposes Eclipse Sun, North Node and RF Chiron (Leo); this axis squares Eclipse Uranus (Taurus). This is a so-called dragon’s tail eclipse, so it will probably bring consequences for past actions in its wake (makes sense for a full Moon), or it may inspire the resolution of some situation. Spanning the 6th-12th, square the 9th—all cadent houses—this configuration is likely to manifest like a dull collective “tooth ache,” triggering some angst in the Russian people over the patriarchal authoritarianism (Saturn opposition Chiron) of their politics. 

This is reinforced by the Eclipse Moon inconjoining the RF Moon (Virgo). Could some Russians take umbrage with Putin for the bad press they’re getting in the U.S. these days? 

Eclipse Mars in the 6th conjunct Eclipse Moon and RF Saturn could suggest a military build-up or crackdown; the square to 9th house Uranus could reflect some disruptive foreign affairs. The “People” could be agitated and angry, motivated for change, but their energies are likely to be diverted elsewhere. Putin claims that his military is prepared to act on agreements he and Trump made behind closed doors—this eclipse should reveal what that means. 

Aquarius rulers Uranus and Saturn are the “lords” of this eclipse, so we should consider their placement in this chart, as well. Uranus (already involved in this configuration from Taurus) trines Capricorn Saturn and RF Sun—surprising legislation, lucrative influence campaigns and changes to technology infrastructures should find support

This eclipse Saturn falls in the Moscow 8th house, quincunx/semi-sextile the eclipse axis, which falls across the Moscow 3rd-9th (see Chart 1 above), however, so finances may not flow their direction unobstructed, or without “strings attached.” And, the world press probably will be out to scrutinize their every action, especially as more ties to Trump and the GOP materialize (signs are there that they will). 

If Russia chooses to take military action (Eclipse Moon-Mars in 9th), these actions could be financially depleting in the short term.  As Russian Executive, Putin may experience added challenges during this transit of Saturn to the RF Sun, and those could be exasperated in the wake of this eclipse. 

As we heard in Helsinki, Putin has a laundry list of grievances against U.S. sanctions, the Magnitsky Act, and so on, and the pressure shows up against his nativity as well, with Saturn quincunx his natal Moon (Gemini, chart not shown). With continued meddling in U.S. and NATO country elections and public discourse, he risks becoming an international pariah: it’ll be interesting to see if he changes course on any of that after this eclipse.  

As DNI head Dan Coats keeps saying, the “warning lights are blinking red!” 

Eclipse Uranus (Taurus) widely conjoins RF MC (Taurus) and opposes Eclipse Jupiter (Scorpio). The orb for this Uranus-Jupiter opposition is way too wide, of course, but the RF MC anchors them around the project of promoting Russian goals and image in the world. Both are, as noted above, challenged these days, but if Taurus is any indication, Trump seems eager to facilitate because there’s a tangible benefit in doing so. Mueller’s working hard to figure all this out, as we speak. 

As Jupiter transits into conjunction with RF Pluto-Venus (Scorpio), the “treasure” Russia’s been seeking may materialize. Along the way, this Jupiter will also sextile RF Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) and RF Jupiter (Virgo), further supporting economic goals. With Uranus ruling the RF 7th and Neptune ruling the 8th, money/resources from friends/allies and foes will be possible. There appears to be a lot at stake here, and at this point we can only wonder what piece of the puzzle Trump’s cozy relationship with Putin represents.  

Putin referenced joint “business deals” with American firms in the Helsinki press conference: is that what we’re seeing here?  Has Trump been purposely jettisoning our other economic ties (upping the ante on trade wars, grumbling about NAFTA, NATO defense budgets, etc.) to shift our ties to Russia? These movements of Jupiter do resonate with the Sibly Sun (Cancer)— the point in the U.S. chart that reflects his position—so this isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. 

If we look at the eclipse chart on its own, set for Moscow, we see the earthy focus in its mid-Taurus ASC, with an eager Part-of-Fortune conjoined the Scorpio DSC opposite. Poised for future developments, Uranus is gestating plans for beneficial technology-related developments from its position in the 12th

Always mindful of what this means for the U.S. and how it might explain Trump’s mystifying behavior, this is a good place to pause and look for corroborating evidence from the eclipse chart, set for Washington, D.C.

Chart #2: Lunar Eclipse, July 2018, July 27, 2018, 4:20:11 pm DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Eclipse Sun-Moon straddle this chart’s finance-oriented 8th-2nd houses, with the receptive end of the axis (No. Node) in the 8th of “other’s resources.” Disruption to influential relationships is signaled by Uranus’s 5th house placement (also t-square with the eclipse, as discussed above), but with Uranus in Taurus, there’s no missing the earthy focus on tangible exchanges here, especially with Saturn supporting that notion with its trine from Capricorn. 

Saturn semi-sextiles/quincunxes Eclipse Moon-Sun. These aspects also factor into the Moscow chart, of course, but here Saturn falls in the 1st house of identity and reputation, so the 30°-150° (approx.) degree aspects suggest frustrating times ahead for those issues. Goals will seem unclear or conflicted, legal issues will raise obstacles, although the trine from Uranus may facilitate in unconventional ways. Will material concerns (Taurus) outweigh all other concerns? 

Big Money is likely to weigh heavily in the midterm elections here (at 29+Scorpio, Jupiter falls in the 1st house of the sunrise election chart), but the populace will be extremely activated as well, with Aquarius Mars in the 4th, so it looks as though we’ll have a David & Goliath situation.

Yes, this eclipse is likely to have some impact on those elections—and as we know, Russia is very much a part of that story.  Much more to come on that! 

Final thoughts

With all this talk about shifting alliances towards Russia, it’s probably no accident that today’s CNN news features a major topic entitled “CIA Official: China wants to replace US as world power.”  This, as Trump prepares to escalate his trade war with China in the same week that he throws his support behind Putin and Russia. This geopolitical, US-Russia-China triad has been managed to play two sides against the middle ever since the original Cold War, so the only thing new here seems to be who’s on the ascendance. 

These geopolitical dances have always boiled down to each nation staking out separate spheres of influence, while maintaining just enough adversarial heat to control their respective national agendas. In 1989, as the Soviet Union was careening towards dissolution, then-prominent Soviet analyst Georgi Arbatov commented to American visitors that “We are going to do a terrible thing to you--we are going to deprive you of an enemy.” In retrospect, we can appreciate the true gravity of that statement.

With Trump it’s become difficult to even know what makes another nation an ally, a foe, or (in Trump’s new parlance) a “competitor.” Is it all about mutual financial interests? Or relationships in which we can be the 500-lb. gorilla in the room, dominating everything that goes on? Or should the connections run deeper towards a meeting of minds and hearts? 

What seems to be happening now, however, is that the EU and NATO countries are being treated (by Trump, at least, if not by Putin) like annoying distractions instead of valuable partners. That leaves a void for China to fill if it wants to, although its focus seems to be on the increasingly lucrative markets of Asia and Africa. Africa has a lot to offer China, in terms of military bases and resources, so it’s not surprising that the CNN article highlights how important that continent has become to Chinese goals. 

To hear Trump talk, Africa is simply a collection of “sh#thole countries”—as long as he’s good with Russia, Israel and Saudi Arabia, he’s happy. Does this sound like a recipe for 21st century global leadership?!

PBS ran a beautifully-moving documentary by Ken Burns about our Statue of Liberty last night, and IMHO, it answered a lot of the questions I’ve posed in this piece. The friendship we’ve experienced with liberty-minded France from day one of our republic is manifested so gloriously in Lady Liberty, our most enduring and magnificent national symbol. 

Lady Liberty is not just a statue in the harbor, signifying a line item in our national budget. She’s as aspirational as our Sibly ASC in fiery Sagittarius is, and she signals something essential that is missing in our national discourse at the moment. An appreciation of our history, and of her history might help. Above all, she was a precious gift from France that honored what we stood for as a nation, on the occasion of our first bicentennial. 

We're older now--more cynical and less idealistic, to be sure. I wonder if we can claim that we're any wiser?  Let’s hope that the July 27th eclipse moves us in that direction.

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved.