Friday, August 24, 2018

Hope trumps cynicism & deceit: an epic week for the rule of law

“Truth isn’t truth…”

Rudy Giuliani, speaking on Aug. 19th to Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd

“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.”  

Maria Popova, Brainpickings

There’s been constant, brain-rattling pressure from the Trump administration (and particularly its leering jester, Rudy Giuliani) to get the Mueller investigation over with, now!! Well, they should probably be careful what they ask for, because this past Thursday (Aug. 21) felt like the investigation unleashed a deluge directed, ultimately, at them

Here’s a quick review of the highlights—again, all from Tuesday, August 21st: 

-         - Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight serious charges of tax and bank fraud, and we now find out that there were Trump supporters on the jury who convicted Manafort anyway. One of them has since reported that a lone holdout (not a Trump supporter, apparently) prevented Manafort from being convicted on all eighteen charges

-        - Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, pled guilty to eight criminal counts, including two that directly implicate Trump himself in campaign finance violations. 

-        - California state rep Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret were both indicted for violating campaign finance rules and basically living it up on his campaign’s dime. Needless to say, this case didn't get much press on that crazy day in the news.

Rudy Giuliani gave cartoonists a lot to work with this week!

     The astrology of all this is predictably fascinating: this is especially so because so much happened in such a concentrated timeframe (the Cohen and Manafort dramas both culminated right around 4 p.m. on 8/21). As we’ll see, this allows us to examine more precisely what was going on in the defendant’s charts. Unfortunately, we have no birth times for either nativity, so their respective Moons and angles are a mystery, but the 4 p.m. shared timing in both mens’ court proceedings allows us to see what the event Moon was up to, and that adds some spice to the story.

So, let’s leap right into an examination of two biwheels, the first for Paul Manafort’s guilty verdict on 8 counts in Alexandria, VA, and the second for Michael Cohen’s guilty plea in Manhattan, NY. 

Please notice that I’ve chosen to place the nativities in the outer wheel in each instance, since the 4 p.m. timing of the respective events is the only firm cosmic guidepost we have for the angles and Moon at work. 

Paul Manafort, Trump's former Campaign Chair

The Manafort verdict

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Manafort guilty verdict, August 21, 2018, 4:00 p.m. DST, Alexandria, VA; (outer wheel) Paul Manafort, April 1, 1949, 12:00 p.m. ST (noon, no birth time available) , New Britain, Connecticut. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Verdict Jupiter (Scorpio) rules Verdict ASC (Sagittarius) from 11th, square Verdict Mercury and trine Verdict Neptune (Pisces). One juror’s reported inability to find Manafort guilty on all 18 counts probably speaks to Manafort’s small bit of ironic Jupiterian “luck” in this case. He’s by no means home free: the eight charges that did stick are serious and will put him away for decades, barring intervention from Trump (who’s very self-servingly “sympathetic” all of a sudden), or a cooperation deal with Mueller.  

Jupiter’s presence in Pluto-disposed Scorpio may support his (and others’) corrupt practices to some degree (it’s reminiscent of a mobster “getting by with murder” because everyone fears him), but its inconjunct with Manafort’s Sun (Aries) is less helpful.

From Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News
The ever-slippery ways of white collar criminals and their obfuscating lawyers is certainly represented in the Verdict Jupiter-Neptune trine (Scorpio-Pisces), however, so it “ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” In fact, given Trump’s current campaign to celebrate Manafort’s loyalty to him and to turn him into a sympathetic “victim” (Neptune/Pisces), the prospect of a “compassionate pardon” is all too real. 

The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman gets it right when he says that Trump has brought “mafia ethics into the GOP.” Considering Pluto disposes this Jupiter from Capricorn, those ethics are certainly on display in this watery aspect. 

That would be the cynical perspective, however: let’s err on the side of hope. Manafort’s conviction on anything lends credence to Mueller’s investigation, so by association, prosecuting Manafort’s multi-layered, incredibly entangled crimes may help foreground Trump’s malfeasance. This will figure more prominently into Manafort’s second trial coming up in September, but this first trial laid the groundwork. 

Verdict Sun (Leo) conjoins Manafort Saturn (Virgo). It’s not surprising that an individual being charged and convicted on crimes that could put him in prison for a very long time would have some Saturn issues. It’s interesting, nonetheless, that Trump’s natal Mars-ASC in late Leo closely conjoins this Verdict Sun-Manafort Saturn (Trump’s chart below, Chart #1). We can probably assume that Trump was livid (Mars) when this verdict came down—not on behalf of Manafort, but because he himself feels threatened by the rule of law and its operation (who’s his favorite punching bag?—the Justice Department). 

The question is, what action (Mars) will Trump take to protect himself?

From Gary Varvel, The Times Examiner

Verdict Saturn-Moon (Capricorn) trines Manafort Saturn. It’s worth pointing out that this Saturn-Moon duo is rising within a few degrees of the Verdict ASC, so it’s not surprising that the scene in the Manafort trial on the 21st was somber, and that it heaped a world of hurt on Manafort and his family. Unfortunately, Saturn says “do the crime, do the time,” and even Lady Luna here isn’t all that sympathetic. Even so, perhaps the trine aspects here registered in Manafort’s mind as a partial reprieve—he did temporarily escape conviction for 10 of the 18 counts he was tried on. 

The one juror’s inability to decide “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict on all counts is probably less about these trines, though, and more about Verdict Venus (Libra) conjoining Manafort Neptune (Libra) and opposing his Venus-Mars-Sun conjunction in Aries. 

I’m guessing those natal oppositions have gotten him out of a lot of tight spaces in his lifetime—a white lie here, a misrepresentation there, a little double-dealing behind the scenes, and somehow he kept up his lavish lifestyle and appearances. Taken as one big character portrait, however, his slippery practices have now turned against him. Pluto has been transiting square his Aries-Libra points over the past few years, so something had to give. 

Interchart Yod: Verdict Mars (Capricorn) exactly conjoins Manafort Jupiter (Capricorn); Verdict Sun (Leo) sextiles Manafort Uranus (Gemini) and both inconjoin Manafort Jupiter. This is a potent, tense configuration that caught Manafort between the proverbial “rock and a hard place:” should he hold out hope that a pardon will be forthcoming (Verdict Sun-Trump Mars-ASC), or will he need to “sing like a canary” (his Uranus in Gemini) to get a lighter sentence? It’s no surprise that his Uranus falls over the Verdict chart’s 7th house of allies/enemies. 

No doubt money could be involved, as well: Verdict Mars-Manafort Jupiter (Capricorn) fall over the Verdict chart’s 2nd house, so is there a chance Trump will start “fixing” Manafort’s legal expenses somehow?  I haven’t heard how Manafort’s expenses are currently financed, but this powerful conjunction and yod focal point, falling over a 2nd house, is very suggestive. 

That, in combination with Verdict Saturn (Capricorn) square Verdict Chiron-Manafort Mercury (Aries) says Manafort’s ability to speak out is suppressed and wounded. Time will tell, but we know Trump’s history with offering “hush money”—Manafort may not be in a position (or be inclined) to say “no thanks.”

The Cohen Plea

A lot has been made of the fact that Cohen pled guilty to 8 criminal counts against him without sealing an actual cooperation agreement with the Mueller investigation. Aside from taking the proactive, less devastating route than a trial would be, is this Cohen’s way of leaving himself open to Trump’s help, as well? It’s tempting to think that because once a Trump fixer, maybe always on the team, whether you like it or not? Maybe not. At least, it’s probably not being read that way by Trump, who is now displaying his mob boss ethics, praising Manafort for not flipping, and condemning Cohen for his “betrayal.” 

Because Cohen’s long, tight relationship with Trump is such an issue in this case, we’ll consider here and there how Trump’s chart interacts with the biwheel. Let’s begin.  

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Cohen guilty plea, August 21, 2018, 4:00 p.m. DST, Manhattan, NY; (outer wheel) Michael Dean Cohen, August 25, 1966, 12:00 p.m. DST (noon, no birth time available), Long Island, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Plea Vesta (Sagittarius) and Plea SaturnRx (Capricorn) rise at the ASC (Sagittarius). Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, gave many interviews after his client entered his dramatic guilty pleas before the judge in Manhattan this week, but one of the most striking things Davis reported on was how “liberated” Cohen is feeling by the decision he’s made to tell the truth to whomever asks. That sense of release—a sense of “finding oneself” again—is certainly felt here with Vesta on the ASC, but the reality is, this liberation will come at a price (Saturn), serving time for the crimes he’s pled to and for the first time in decades, being on the outs with Trump, who Cohen claims he looked up to as a “father figure” (Saturn). 

Indeed, the turn that the relationship between Cohen and Trump has taken echoes the mythic relationship of Chronos and Ouranos (Saturn and Uranus). By Cohen claiming responsibility (i.e., becoming Chronos) for his actions, and rejecting any notion of a pardon while he implicates Ouranos as the driving force (Trump’s chart definitely has an elevated, empowered Uranus), Cohen/Chronos is wresting control of his life from Ouranos and empowering himself. It’s not unusual that even “adopted” sons need to break from their fathers in some dramatic way—at least for a time—in order to assume their own manhood. We’ll see how the astrological Uranus figures into this story in just a bit. 

There’s something redemptive about all this, especially considering Cohen is 52 years old at this time. He could very well spend his second Saturn return in prison, a developmental passage that will take on a whole new dimension in these new circumstances. 

The emotional dimension of this experience couldn’t help but be wrenching, of course, but Cohen claims that his actions are motivated by his family above all else, and this may be why he was able to exhibit the calm strength he did, standing in front of that judge to confess his guilt. We can see all this in the way that his natal Moon (shown here at 2°+Capricorn, but it could have fallen anywhere between 26°+Sagittarius and 8°+Capricorn the day he was born) ties into this gathering at the Sagittarius ASC

It’s feasible, in fact, that Cohen was experiencing a lunar return as he stood up in that court room, as well: the two Moons are hovering within 5° of each other, and if we knew Cohen’s exact birth time we might find that they’re even closer. At some point that day, those Moons converged, and I would guess that Cohen felt validated and supported in his actions because of it.

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: Cohen Sun-Vesta (Virgo) trines Plea SaturnRx-Moon-Cohen Moon (Capricorn) trines Plea UranusRx-Part of Fortune (Taurus). This impressive circuit of earthy energy says that the time for Cohen/Chronos to break with Trump/Ouranos was ripe, and that it would all just flow naturally. His uncanny calm in court that day is reflected here. It’s almost certain that Cohen’s Moon was closely involved (how close we can’t say) because his sense of family responsibility (Capricorn) was driving him. I’d like to believe that the Cosmos was blessing his plan for the day, but one way or another, forces colluded to put him in the right place at the right time, for the goals he was pursuing.
To that point, it’s interesting that Vesta is once again key: his lawyer claims that by standing up to Trump, Cohen chose to recover his “center" and his central focus—his family—and here we see that validated as the Vesta “hearth” that warms him. Breaking with Trump, the source of so much of his income over the years (UranusRx-Part of Fortune) can’t have been easy, but there’s also a sense that breaking with a fixed “material” perspective on life (Taurus) would be liberating (Uranus) and ultimately rewarding (POF). I sense a memoir coming down the road.
Interchart Mutable Grand Square: Plea NeptuneRx (Pisces) opposes Cohen Uranus-Pluto (Virgo); this axis squares Plea Vesta-ASC (Sagittarius) opposite Cohen Ceres-Plea DSC (Gemini). There had to be a chaotic maelstrom somewhere in this story, didn’t there? It’s super interesting to see how one native of the “Gen X” Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-66 is faring all these years later. Clearly, his fate has been dictated by the company he chose to keep!
Specifically, Trump’s natal chart (see Chart #1 below) is closely tied in with this stressful configuration: his Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini) opposed Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) falls tightly conjunct the Gemini-Sagittarius horizon of this Plea chart, and pretty tightly squares Cohen’s Uranus-Pluto. Add transiting NeptuneRx (Pisces) into the mix and we have a chaotic upheaval. 

Chart #1: Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 p.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Through the force of his personality and worldly power, Trump clearly had an emotional hold on Cohen that ran deep; Cohen’s pragmatic Virgo nature, and perhaps his need for a father figure, on the other hand, were useful. A point Cohen's probably regretting now, his ethics were conveniently malleable for Trump’s purposes (Cohen’s SaturnRx-ChironRx in Pisces). Trump’s Gemini-Sagittarius axis also squares this Pisces conjunction of Cohen's—Cohen’s famous remark that he would “take a bullet for Trump” is certainly reflected here and is reinforced by other interaspects. Here’s what Chiron expert Martin Lass has to say about the Saturn-Chiron conjunction:
“Saturn says to us that we need to solidify the foundations of our journey of Healing and evolution of consciousness, to take control, to become accountable, before we can take our rightful place in the Higher Realms….Although we may feel held back, suppressed, repressed, limited and restricted, there is important work to be done in this space. The Wounds serve us as they are until we are truly ready to transcend them.”[1]  
In my experience reading client’s charts, I've seen that Saturn-Chiron aspects also speak to parental wounds and toxic child-parent relationships. So none of this should surprise us: “guilt tripping” and perhaps a true emotional attachment (Cohen’s Moon may well fall tightly opposite Trump’s Cancer Mercury) worked to keep Cohen “loyal”—i.e., to “repress” his own truth, and burden himself not only with his own secrets and crimes (wounds), but with Trump’s secrets (and crimes?), as well. That was, until he realized there would be no reciprocal loyalty—the “father/son” dynamic was mortally wounded.
Commentators have observed as much, but here we see the dynamics at work. When Trump gradually distanced himself from Cohen after the election, Cohen’s Mars, Venus and Mercury in proud Leo probably lit up like a torched Christmas tree. Plea SaturnRx inconjoins Cohen Mars here (this would have been true for most of 2018) —another signal that breaking with Trump is an attempt at restoring (Rx) his own dignity and “coming of age.”

Plea Jupiter (Scorpio) conjoins Cohen Neptune (Scorpio), sextiles Cohen’s Uranus-Pluto (Virgo) and squares Cohen Venus-Mercury (Leo). There’s no doubt Cohen’s actions in court will reverberate into every dimension of his life—especially his marriage and children (Venus-Mercury), but for now, he is probably enjoying the illusion of progress and growth (Jupiter on his Neptune). To his detriment in the end, Cohen’s own Jupiter (Cancer) was tied into Trump’s sensitive, security-oriented Saturn-Venus (Cancer), and we haven’t even begun to understand how deeply entangled their fortunes were.
This tight Cancer connection speaks to Cohen being the “fixer,” the person who could make Trump’s problems go away (at least temporarily) and protect him and his family from scandal. None of this would be necessary, of course, if Trump didn’t seem to think he could act with impunity (i.e., the law just doesn’t apply to him), but Cohen probably enabled that attitude. Intimidating others into leaving Trump alone (or paying them off) only goes so far, and with the Stormy Daniels affair, both he and Trump ran up against the limits. Go, Stormy!!

Final thoughts

The final chapters of this story are far from written—today’s news reports that longtime Trump associate and friend, David Pecker, the head of American Media, Inc. and publisher of the National Enquirer, has been granted immunity by the Mueller investigation. To say that the National Enquirer played a key role in horrifically smearing Hillary Clinton and electing Donald Trump in 2016 is an understatement; what we might not have known is that Pecker was also instrumental in squashing inconvenient, negative stories  about the Trumps over many years—probably using them as powerful leverage, in fact. 

The “safe” Pecker reportedly kept this treasure trove of stories in (about many celebrities and public figures, not just the Trumps) included one that has become the focus of a criminal investigation. In fact, it’s evidence in one of the crimes that Cohen just pled guilty to in court and implicated Trump in, as well.  

Then, in two related, but equally stunning developments—one, the Manhattan District Attorney is looking at lodging criminal charges against the Trump Organization in connection to the financing and tax implications of the Stormy Daniels case, and two, the longtime CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, was granted immunity after being subpoenaed by the Mueller investigation. Every commentator I have read on this latter instance says that Weisselberg knows “where all the financial bodies are buried” with the Trump Organization, so who knows how this story will unfold!
Time magazine’s cover this week features three pictures of Trump, “drowning” in the White House. Artists are always so perceptive: in this case they seem to capture the Neptune-Pluto undertow that’s threatening these days to bring a lot of people in high places down. It’s not just about Trump and one corrupt administration, however: as a nation and a democracy, we are undergoing a wholesale purge, and all of our closest held illusions about ourselves are being challenged. Pluto is returning to its Sibly position in late Capricorn between now and 2022, but in the meantime, it’s still opposing our Sibly Sun (Cancer), corrupting the office of President as it breaks down the nation itself. 
Even so, we're long overdue for a reprieve from all this drama; perhaps that will happen when Pluto edges out of orb to our Sun, but hasn't quite entered the orb of Sibly Pluto (and by opposition, Sibly Mercury).

A momentous day. Will we see a repeat?

A brief historical note: Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in August, 1974 under a far lighter cloud of corruption than Trump has produced: Saturn conjoined Sibly Sun in Cancer at that resignation (chart not shown), with Uranus square Sibly Pluto (Libra-Capricorn).  Saturn is now working its way towards an opposition to this same key point from Capricorn and Uranus (Taurus) falls inconjunct our collective MC (Libra)!
Meanwhile, Neptune (Pisces) is slowly approaching its “half-return” (opposition) to Sibly Neptune (Virgo), which is facilitating transiting Pluto’s path of destruction and transformation. Trump—whose nativity ties into the Sibly chart in pretty incredible ways—is clearly the agent of these transformations, but we’re not helpless here, despite the GOP’s refusal to rise above the rot that seems to be paralyzing it (a story for another day).
If anything, we’re being challenged to recommit to the founding values of this nation, or to decide what alternative values we want to collectively embrace. If making money for corporations and stoking the stock market is all that matters to us as a nation—the Constitution be damned—then Trump and his ilk probably are the future. If we want to preserve the Constitution and ourselves as a pluralist, democratic society, however, we have a lot of work ahead.
I’ll leave you with some hopeful wisdom from brilliant humanist, Maria Popova:
“Yes, people sometimes do horrible things, and we can speculate about why they do them until we run out of words and sanity. But evil only prevails when we mistake it for the norm. There is so much goodness in the world — all we have to do is remind one another of it, show up for it, and refuse to leave.”

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

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved. 

[1] Martin Lass, Musings of a Rogue Comet: Chiron, Planet of Healing. Galactic Publications, Nyack, NY, 2001, p. 396.

1 comment:

  1. I had to chuckle this morning cruising through my favorite sites. So looky this one Your excellent piece seems prescient, as if knowing the "swamp" was being drained, and not quite the way Trump imagined! Thank you, Raye!