Thursday, September 27, 2018

Recapturing humanity in fixed, partisan times: The Kavanaugh-Ford hearing chart

“Two human beings. It feels a bit odd in this political setting to specify their humanity that way, doesn’t it? And I admit it feels strange to have to do that. But we in this political culture and in this city and in this building and even in this chamber – we seem to sometimes forget that before this woman and this man are anything else, they are human beings…”

Senator Jeff Flake, on the floor of the Senate on 9/26/2018.  

This will be a very brief look at the chart for this morning’s much-anticipated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the first woman to come forward claiming that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. 

Needless to say, Kavanaugh is expected to vehemently deny any wrongdoing, yet Blasey-Ford’s testimony could open doors that Republicans would rather keep shut in their rush to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination early on Friday. In the past three days, three additional women—one represented by controversial lawyer, Michael Avenatti—have come out with similar, if not more disturbing claims against Kavanaugh. Just when we thought things might be kept fairly straightforward, they’re more complicated than ever! 

So, let’s consider what the chart for this morning’s hearing looks like. We can probably assume that the Senate Committee’s leadership (Sen. Chuck Grassley, et al) would have chosen the timing for this hearing, for what that’s worth. In fact, there is an interesting resonance between the hearing chart and the chart for the planned Friday vote (9:30 am)—both feature fixed angles, with Scorpio ascending, conjunct Venus. Both feature Taurus Moons and a staunch Fixed Grand Cross taking in the chart horizon (ASC-DSC) and significant planets in fixed signs. 

It’s impossible to know if these times were deliberately chosen, but as an astrologer who knows astrologers are involved in high places, I think it’s fair to speculate. 

One quick caveat here: we’re not doing an horary analysis of this hearing chart—i.e., to answer a question about the event represented. We’re simply considering what the energy is likely to feel like in the hearing chamber, and to gain some insight into the overall proceedings. I expect to be somewhat surprised by the outcome, but let’s not rush to judgment before examining the chart.

Chart #1: Kavanaugh/Blasey-Ford Hearings, September 27, 2018, 10:00 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

As it happens, we can pull most of what we’re trying to discern about this hearing from one central aspect configuration that kind of says it all. We’ll see how the other points we need to consider essentially function in relation to that configuration.
Fixed Grand Square: Venus rises at ASC (Scorpio) opposite Moon-Uranus at DSC (Taurus); this axis squares Nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius) and So. Node conjoined Mars (Aquarius). This configuration certainly reflects the extreme tension and frustration that will characterize the hearing. Those who want to move forward with Kavanaugh’s confirmation will likely find it very difficult to drop their entrenched preconceptions: that the claims brought against Kavanaugh are fabricated by her and the Dems for political effect, that if Blasey-Ford had a credible claim it should have come out years ago, and so on. 

That being said, Uranus (Taurus) is the wild card here, and even though it’s in fixed sign Taurus, it could inject a surprise or two into the proceedings. 

Needless to say, Trump’s latest Twitter narrative that the new claims against Kavanaugh are just a “big, fat con job…” by sneaky old Dems will be hovering in the “ether” of that hearing room—no pretense of fairness there! Probably sensing the possibility of more complications (as more allegations have piled up against Kavanaugh in the past two days), Trump did build a little wiggle-room into the narrative for himself at yesterday’s press conference, saying that he “could be persuaded” to change his mind if the evidence against Kavanaugh meets some ill-defined threshold. 

This is not surprising, but it is an interesting crack in the fixed narrative armor: Trump’s Gemini-Sagittarius full Moon nature routinely floats two opposing narratives so he can land softly on one of them in the end. The GOP majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee may wish they had a soft landing in the court of public opinion if things go terribly wrong—but Uranus could also deliver surprises that serve their agenda.

Here’s what aspects expert Bil Tierney has to say about the very difficult fixed grand square:

“The Fixed Grand Square tends to work its powerful energies out on the will and desire level, creating inner frustrations often leading to emotional crises. The four squares intensify the willfulness and unyielding fixity of this quality. Here the tendency is to compress feelings and fortify the will to such an extent that pressures internalize upon the deeper levels of the psyche, resulting in enduring blockages and inhibitions….”[1]
We’ve already seen quite an overlay of “fixity” in the way the hearing was set up: Chairman Grassley has been unwilling to give an inch on almost any of Blasey-Ford’s requests. Most importantly, she requested an FBI investigation to independently assess what happened, she requested that Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge be summoned to testify (she claims he was in the room and an active participant in the alleged assault), and she requested that her corroborating witnesses be allowed to testify: all of these requests were rejected out of hand by Grassley. 

Blasey-Ford (through her lawyer) has repeatedly expressed concern that she would not be treated fairly, that the committee has already decided what they believe or don’t believe, and the Committee’s response to her concerns was to turn the questioning over to a female Republican prosecutor from Arizona, Rachel Mitchell. Clearly, the GOP wants to avoid the optics of 11 male Senators questioning this one woman (conjuring up Anita Hill’s testimony all over again), but some see this as a move designed to frame Blasey-Ford’s testimony as part of a crime investigation, against her! 

One way or another, I would expect that we will see enough emotional outbursts to go around this morning—probably on both sides! 

It’s worth noting that Mars (Aquarius) co-rules this chart with Pluto (Capricorn), and that both are placed in the 3rd house of communications and messaging. The rules of order (Saturn rules this house), especially for question-asking by Democratic committee members, are expected to be really strict and limiting: it’s hard to see how these restrictions will serve the purpose of getting to the truth, but fixed energy lends itself to rigid, authoritarian approaches. The intense anger afloat over this hearing (on social media, particularly) has been a constant theme, but Control over the proceedings seems to be a paramount concern for Grassley. 

Mars anchors the bottom of this chart with detached, yang energy, but this will be countered by the square from Moon-conjunct Uranus (Taurus), and Uranus disposing Aquarius Mars. The Yin-Yang battleground may be littered with the wounded by the end of the day, but at this point, the odds look fairly even. 

In fact, Yin and Yang energies are tightly interwoven in this chart, but we need to remember that this does not equate necessarily to Female/Male. The woman (Blasey-Ford) in the proceedings is represented most directly by Venus and the Moon, yet there’s a lot of other Yin energy floating around that could be leveraged by her or Kavanaugh. For instance, the Venus/Jupiter (midpoint, Scorpio) almost exactly trines Neptune (Pisces), so the person resonating with or capturing this useful trine the most readily could gain some advantage. Which one comes across as being more credible (inspires belief, Jupiter)? Which one reflects more appealing ideals (all three of these planets)?  

Alcohol figures into all the allegations brought against Kavanaugh (the other three instances will also hover in the background during these proceedings), and this trine can be interpreted to reflect that prominent (and freely flowing) fact. Interestingly, the Neptune/Chiron (midpoint, Pisces) also trines Jupiter (Scorpio)—will the wound of alcoholism/addiction be an important focus of some of the questioning? 

Trump, a tee-totaler, is known to stay away from alcohol (his alcoholic brother died young), so if his support for Kavanaugh founders, it may be on this point, rather than on any sexual assault allegations. The 3rd and 6th house placements of the Aquarius-Taurus portion of the grand square will resonate with these possibilities. 

There’s a strong Yin feeling here, which might lend itself to supporting the female witness, however those who have their beliefs set in stone already probably won’t alter them under this energy unless something is said or done that evokes a deeply emotional response from them. It’s also quite possible that this trine will do more to confuse people listening to the two witnesses than it will do to clarify anything. 

We can expect that Kavanaugh will continue denying (Neptune) the allegations out of hand—ever more vehemently—but will there be any evidence to support his denials beyond letters from supporters? On the other hand, Blasey-Ford will make her claims, but will she be able to substantiate them with Neptune-proof facts? We can expect the questioner to poke holes in any “fuzzy memories” (Neptune), and the truth could be very slippery. 

Saturn and Neptune are both placed in their ruling signs, and are therefore the final dispositors in this chart, so the big questions may be focused around whether the information testified to is Objective (Saturn) or Subjective (Neptune).  It doesn’t sound like this hearing is designed to really make that distinction in a thoughtful, doubt-free way, but again, we could be surprised, with Saturn trine Uranus-Moon.  

Finally, it appears that a lot of decisions will likely be made on the basis of projected emotions and biases, and this works both ways, of course. Jupiter co-rules the 5th house here with Neptune, so its trine feels like the “crony network” is well-oiled and geared up to assist. Mercury (Libra) rules the Virgo 11th, and along with the Libra Sun, it trines 3rd house Mars (Aquarius). This will hopefully break up the stagnant air of control in this closed-door hearing a bit (12th house Mercury): the transcript must be published and information will flow, whether committee leadership or the White House like it or not. 

The overall feeling in this really intense chart is control thwarted, and if this turns out to be the case, some significant information could be revealed. Will the vote tomorrow morning send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate anyway? The GOP may end up being damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t, but my hope is that Senator Flake’s humble open-mindedness will prevail. I will close here by picking up the thread of his speech cited at the top of this page. To his credit, he delivered a much-needed apology to the characters in this political drama playing out this morning, and some much-needed perspective. Again, from Senator Jeff Flake:

“And so I will say to these witnesses – these human beings - we owe both of you a sincere apology.
An apology is inadequate, of course, but it’s a start. We can’t very well undo the damage that has been done, but we can govern our own behavior as we go through this painful hearing tomorrow, and the days afterward. We must do that, lest we do even more damage. Some of the public comments about both of these witnesses have been vile.
Not unrelated to those comments, each of these witnesses have reportedly been subject to death threats, and for that we should be ashamed. The toxic political culture that we have created has infected everything, and we have done little to stop it. In fact, we have only indulged it, and fanned the flames, taken partisan advantage at every turn, and deepened the ugly divisions that exist in our country.
These past two years, we have tested the limits of how low we can go. And my colleagues, I say to you that winning at all costs is too high a cost. If we cannot have a human – rather than a political – response to these witnesses, if we are heedless to the capacity that we have to do real and lasting damage, then maybe we shouldn’t be here.”

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] Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis: New Perceptions in Astrology, CRCS Publications, Reno, NV, 1980, pp. 87-88.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The perennial struggle: the Uranus-Pluto roots of today’s Senate/#MeToo clash

These are threatening times for women in America, and we’re seeing a clear illustration of why playing out in Washington, D.C. as we speak.

Somehow it wasn’t even surprising to me that Trump’s  Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, could have a sexual assault skeleton in his closet—when this news broke, it almost felt like just another “shoe” that was bound to drop. He denies the allegation vehemently, of course.

Even so, it's hard to know who to trust under this administration, so getting at the truth is a challenge. Trump supported Judge Roy Moore in Alabama—an unconvicted, but accused pedophile—and he seems to hold the opinion that if a man is prominent and has climbed the social ladder (by any means), he should get a pass when it comes to the abuse of women. So "boys will be boys?"

But why wouldn’t Trump hold this view, with 19 women hovering in the background with assault claims of their own against him and a pretty damning Hollywood Access tape? Not to mention one or two campaign finance scandals related to paying women off for their silence (Stormy Daniels being the most vocal). People knew Trump's attitudes towards women when they voted for him, so none of this is surprising. This does not make Kavanaugh guilty by association, but people can be forgiven for wondering what the truth is.

“This is not a man who deserves this…” is Trump’s mantra when it comes to Kavanaugh, apparently trying to cast the judge as the “victim” in the alleged sexual assault allegations, and minimizing the importance of getting at the truth about Kavanaugh’s behavior.  At first more reserved in regards to Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, Trump has now reverted to his usual condescending remarks about women, implying that if her claim was “so important,” why didn’t she report it to the FBI 30 years ago? 

Thankfully, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) found Trump’s latest comments “appalling.” Women need her and Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski to vote “no” vote on this confirmation.

Clearly, anyone with eyes and ears can understand Blasey-Ford’s dilemma—she’s damned if she does testify, and damned if she doesn’t, so she’s faced with doing what her deepest lights tell her she must.  What woman doesn’t understand why Blasey-Ford might have felt intimidated, or hesitant to come forward all those years ago? A girl’s or woman’s word on such things was rarely believed when she was a teenager. Who knows whether her parents would have been supportive or not? She had a life to live, a profession to pursue, a family to raise—sometimes sexual “Pandora’s boxes” are better left closed.

Until the Cosmos basically says, “ready or not, ta-da!!”
On the other hand, the timing of this big reveal is “impeccable,” as they say, and it’s pretty well guaranteed to cling to Kavanaugh’s career like Peter Pan’s shadow, whether Kavanaugh is held responsible in the long run or not. We can’t fault the Dems (specifically Sen. Feinstein) for using every bit of ammunition at their disposal against this nominee, either: so much is at stake here for the Democratic agenda—not to mention our Constitutional system of checks and balances—that they are probably looking at Blasey-Ford’s big revelation as a gift. The GOP never shrinks from using every weapon at their disposal, so why the double standard?

As so many have warned in the past week: the Supreme Court is a lifelong appointment, so we could have to live with the results of this nomination for a very long time. 

In short, those who care deeply about the progress women have made over the past 5 decades should be glad that Blasey-Ford did finally come forward—ultimately, the timing doesn’t make the allegation valid—the facts do.  

Young women are overwhelmingly against this nomination.

So I’m hoping the Senate Judiciary Committee will do the right thing and insist on the FBI investigation into Blasey-Ford’s allegations that she requested early on (update, probably not going to happen). As noted, Trump is out stumping and doing his best to tear her down before she even gets to Washington, so a fair investigation of the facts is the least the Committee should do. This wouldn’t be so difficult, of course, if Trump and his boosters in Congress weren’t also busy tearing down the FBI! Or if buddies of Kavanaugh weren’t busy spawning absurd “doppelganger” theories about how Blasey-Ford was assaulted, but by a “friend” of Kavanaugh who looked a lot like him!''

So, the astrological mystery embedded in all this operates on two dimensions, personal and collective: first, what’s likely to happen for these specific individuals; and second, how will their struggle impact our national dialogue about and approach to gender relations and power dynamics. Remember that famous 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” between tennis celebs Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs? Well today’s contest rises to a whole new order of seriousness, and it’s going to impact how we relate to each other for a long time ahead.  

Two big questions loom: are American women about to make a little progress against the systemic misogyny we’ve confronted forever? Will women’s advocacy forces celebrate some small victory, or will they have to take a deep breath and let loose with a new battle cry? 

On the flip side of those questions is one for Kavanaugh: is it likely that he will be confirmed, despite everyone’s best efforts to the contrary? If he is credibly shown to have drunkenly assaulted Blasey-Ford in their teenage years, will he do the honorable thing and withdraw? Or will partisan politics and Trump's "tweet-shade" prevail, thus putting Kavanaugh in debt to Trump and compromising any judicial “independence” he might have had on the Court? 

From Conservative analyst George Will,  

“Hence the confirmation process has followed the crumbling, descending path the rest of American politics has taken into the depths of cynicism, faux outrage and pandering to the parties’ hysterical bases. The utter emptiness of everything is an intellectual vacuum into which have flooded histrionics.”

The astrology

Perhaps in a future post we’ll consider the relevant charts for Brett Kavanaugh and the hearing(s) that he and Blasey-Ford will be testifying in, but today’s focus is more about the personal/collective dilemma Christine Blasey-Ford finds herself caught up in. Interestingly, all we know about her personal birth data is that she was born in November, 1966. Wikipedia doesn’t provide any further detail, except to say that her early years were spent in Maryland. This is fine—she has good reason to protect her information right now, and I think we should respect those wishes here.  

We can, however, glean something important from the powerful outer-planetary cycles in force in November 1966—perhaps very little about her personally, but at least something about the times she grew up in and what they meant for the treatment of women. She was born, for instance, at one of the most critical early moments in the 1965 Uranus-Pluto cycle (Chart #1 below)—first exact just a bit more than one year prior to her birth—when Saturn nudged into conjunction with Pisces Chiron, opposite the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. Venus hovered within a trine of Chiron-Saturn that month—perhaps explaining one highlight in that month’s news: 

November 4 – In Italy, a flood of the Arno River hits Florence, flooding it to a maximum depth of 6.7 m (22 ft), leaving thousands homeless and destroying millions of masterpieces of art and rare books. In addition, a severe tidal flood hits Venice.”
A strong Venus-to-Chiron-Saturn transit could certainly play into the loss of great masterpieces of art, especially by water (Scorpio-Pisces), but this transit could also implicate women. Activist Betty Friedan had just released her feminist manifesto, entitled The Feminine Mystique, in February, 1963—arguably, the conception point for the feminist movement that followed soon after. As with all social movements, many were ready for her message and eager to promote and build the movement, while many others (both men and women) immediately began fueling a backlash and doubling down on their support for American patriarchy. Wikipedia reports that in North America:

“…the [women’s] movement began in the United States and Canada almost simultaneously with the first articles articulating their aims appearing around 1965. By 1967, organizations had formed in major US and Canadian cities spreading within a year throughout both countries…Characterized as man-haters and radicals, the movement in North America gave way to more liberal reformers by the mid-1970s in the United States and Canada and by the early 1980s in Mexico.”  

Women were instrumental in the 1960s-70s anti-war & civil rights movements. 
Clearly, this so-called “Women’s Liberation Movement” in the U.S. was a Uranus-Pluto phenomenon—Friedan’s work provided a fertile seed bed for the revolution sparked by the 1965 cycle. Should it surprise us that this new cycle launched in Virgo opposite a Pisces Chiron? No more than it should surprise us that as a 51-year old woman, Blasey-Ford is now experiencing her Chiron return--a time when old wounds tend to be ripped back open. Healing is the ultimate boon, but there are no guarantees.

So, I believe we can view today’s Kavanaugh debacle through the lens of this Uranus-Pluto cycle and its beginnings. Looking back, it seems to me that the chart for this cycle tells us something about where we are today with women’s issues. Power has never been equally distributed between men and women in America, but why have gender dynamics taken such a dark turn lately?  At least some of the answers are found in Chart #1 below. Let’s begin. 


Chart #1: Uranus-0-Pluto 1965, October 9, 1965, 6:00:42 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Libra rises, with ruler Venus (Scorpio) trine the Moon, conjoined DSC (Aries). Of the Venus-ruled signs, Libra carries the yang polarity, which makes perfect sense because Venus/Athena is a feminine warrior at heart.  Fighting inequality and injustice against centuries-old cultural/religious odds takes backbone and cardinal determination, so an Aries Moon and strong cardinal angles (0° of cardinal signs all around—very significant) are helpful. 

Venus (Scorpio) conjoins Mars (Sagittarius) and both quincunx MC-Jupiter (Cancer). One of the key themes in the 1965 cycle was that the gender “war” was (and remains) ultimately, wrong-headed.  Actually, it’s been more of a frustrating stand-off (quincunx) that masks the reality that both sides need the other to thrive. The Aries Moon disposes these Cancer points at the same time it squares them; Mars disposes this Aries Moon—there is simply nothing to be gained in working against each other except emotional trauma and turmoil. The more both genders look out for each other’s well-being, the better everyone will thrive.  More on this ahead.

Uranus conjoins Pluto (Virgo) and together oppose Saturn-Chiron (Pisces). These oppositions captured the “seed purpose” of this important social cycle, which impacted much more than gender dynamics, of course. It was no accident that almost immediately after this cycle launched, anti-Vietnam War protests escalated and took on the character that we now read about in the history books. Anti-Establishment politics are certainly seen here, with Saturn’s double wounding—its placement in Neptune-ruled Pisces and conjoined Chiron

An era of difficult labor markets was also on the horizon (Saturn-Chiron in the 6th)—remember the Arab Oil Embargo and the resulting recessions that marked the 1970s? This period began the shift away from middle class-empowering union jobs and towards the export of American manufacturing jobs. Young women were prepared to take on the American job market in greater numbers, but they were not going to enjoy the same post-WWII boom times their fathers had thrived under. Nothing has ever been made easy for ambitious women in America. 

Neptune (Scorpio) sextiles Uranus-Pluto (Virgo) and trines Chiron (Pisces). The easy rapport between all three outer planets is significant here: we simply can’t overstate the importance of this cycle to what we think of as “modern” life. The fact that Chiron aspected all three planets is also key: the years since 1965 have been marked with unfathomable pain and incredible progress. Unfortunately, it seems we’ve reached a point where everything that was gained in the first decades of this cycle, however—civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights (this Virgo Uranus-Pluto cycle is disposed by a justice-minded Libra Mercury)—is now up for grabs once again. 

Amazingly, the precarious place we find ourselves in may have a lot to do with Chiron. It completed a new passage through Pisces and entered Aries earlier this year (it has one additional short jaunt to go in Pisces), but even more importantly, it “returned” to its exact Pisces position in this Uranus-Pluto chart in the run up to Campaign 2016 and remained within orb of that position into the first months of the Trump administration. This definitely speaks to the Neptunian erosion and wounding we’ve experienced in our democratic institutions.

That was then, this is now

So it shouldn’t surprise us that the issues at stake in the 1960s are coming back to haunt us today, seeing as we’re now experiencing the challenging second quarter of this 1960s cycle. That this quarter was heralded by a long cardinal Aries Uranus square to Capricorn Pluto (punctuated by 7 exact hits) makes perfect sense in retrospect: these signs carry yang (Aries) and yin (Capricorn) polarities and the years since have been characterized by mounting gender-driven battles. It’s not hard to conclude that the issues at stake in these battles were most dramatically illustrated by Trump’s vicious assaults on women during Campaign 2016.  

Every action spawns a reaction, however, so we may have Trump to thank for many positives, as well: the reactive outpouring of female solidarity across the nation in the post-inauguration 2017 Women’s March (remember the “Pussy Hat?”), the bulwark Congresswomen Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins (both Republicans) provided (along with the now-departed Senator McCain) against the decimation of the Affordable Care Act (one of Trump’s first initiatives in office, just the first of many attempts to kill Obamacare and its protection of women’s reproductive rights). 

Not every destructive Trump/Pence initiative has been forestalled, however: Planned Parenthood funding has taken a big hit under these guys (Pence makes no pretense about wanting to outlaw contraceptive services entirely). Surprise, surprise, women’s overall health and welfare are increasingly under fire on the state level, if not the national. A lot of women in Texas (and other states, undoubtedly) have to order their contraception devices and/or pills online because they’re not available locally. 

There’s no coincidence here that a young woman from Arlington, Texas is in the news this morning, speaking out about her experience reporting a rape in 2006 and being disbelieved, abandoned and vilified by her community. Doubting women, denying them justice and reproductive health care go hand-in-hand. 

Just about says it all!

Clearly, there’s a renewed collective effort afoot to force women back into a secondary (at best) “place” in society. Hillary Clinton’s near-miss at the presidency was apparently an unnerving bridge too far for the patriarchal ideologues.

Countering the patriarchy’s efforts has been the #MeToo movement, however, and it seems to have struck quite a nerve with the ideologues. When women are believed (a hallmark of this movement), the patriarchy begins to rack up defeats.  Even so, this Supreme Court nomination poses greater threats to women than perhaps we realize. Roe v. Wade is the obvious target, but that may be the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak. 

Too many government intrusions into women’s personal lives and decisions are being empowered from the White House—in the name of a conservative ideology that makes no apologies for disempowering women.  

Emboldened by Trump’s lifelong habit of chewing women up and spitting them out, the tentacles of this conservative patriarchy—the Supreme Court would become one under Kavanaugh—are closing in fast on women’s reproductive rights, and even on their right to a fair defense against sexual assault.

So who is served by crushing women beneath the patriarchy’s heels? Those who are determined to rise, no matter whom (or what institutions) they have to destroy in the process. Ambitious jurists such as Brett Kavanaugh? Maybe we’ll arrive at some conclusions on this as we examine one final chart below.  

A Saturn combustion

There’s an important, but little discussed transit that figures into this conversation, and I have Portuguese astrologer João Medeiros to thank for drawing my attention to it. It’s called the “Combust Saturn Ingress,” (or simply “Saturn combustion”) and the passage we’ll examine here happened on Dec. 20, 2017, when Saturn first entered Capricorn, conjunct the Sun (then in late Scorpio) within an 8-degree orb.
In the current edition of the UK’s Astrological Journal (Sept/Oct 2018, pp. 13-17), Medeiros analyzes this historically significant Saturn ingress “combustion” phenomenon, which he has found happens in approximately 1 out of 6 Saturn sign ingresses. I highly recommend his entire study, but for today, we’ll focus on the 2017 example. Here’s how he introduces the importance of these ingresses, after considering other key astrological phenomena:

“…since Saturn is the slowest and more generational classical planet—ruling society, governments, money and big institutions—it is logical that its ingresses represent society’s main events and trends over a given (almost) three-year period ahead.” (p. 13)
The 2017 combust ingress happened less than one year into the Trump administration, but potent ingresses are often felt some months before they are exact, so if things have seemed to go from bad to worse with the administration, this transit is probably a factor! Medeiros associates this transit with fire- and disaster-prone times, and historically they have correlated with outbreaks of plague. He does mention that the correlation hasn’t been thoroughly researched and probably doesn’t stand up in many instances (fires and disasters seem to happen every year), however he documents numerous examples that do support his claim. 

I would agree that more research is needed on natural disasters, but there's also a political and social dimension to a Saturn combustion's influence, and the sign Saturn ingresses is key. Wars and assassination attempts  have broken out during these critical periods, assassination attempts have been made--the list goes on and on. I think it’s likely, therefore, that this “combustible” ingress—unleashing the extreme impulses of demanding, critical Capricorn—has encouraged the following trend, observed by the Washington Post:
“Women running for office are barraged with attempts to humiliate and scare them. Female journalists, bloggers and pundits experience much the same, some of it exploding into the kind of terrifying harassment that was Gamergate. Women of color, no surprise, are attacked with that toxic admixture of racism and misogyny….Others, like Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, are forced to leave their homes and hire security after receiving death threats. And all of this hatred has been made newly legitimate by a president whose disdain for women is a matter of public record.”
It’s not hard to astrologically confirm that Trump’s character is key to this unleashing of vitriol and hatred: let’s take a very brief look at a biwheel between his nativity and the 2017 Combust chart. 

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Saturn combust 2017, December 20, 2017, 12:12:43 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Combust Saturn ingresses Capricorn conjoined Combust Sun-Venus (Sagittarius)-Trump Moon (Sagittarius), opposite Trump Sun (Gemini). This is dramatic enough to tell us that Trump’s essential “Full Moon” character will be spilling out into the collective during the period influenced by this ingress. But wait, this gathering is a part of a larger, more dramatic configuration. 

Interchart Grand Fire Trine: Combust Saturn-Sun-Venus trines Combust Eris-Uranus (Aries), trines Trump Mars (Leo). To my eye, this fiery circuit of energy—much of it expressed as anger, is at the heart of today’s discord. Trump’s Mars is furious and bellicose enough at his ASC, but it ties back into his Sun, opposed by the fiery Combust Sagittarius points and Saturn. The Combust Aries points are disposed by Scorpio Mars conjunct Scorpio Jupiter, adding a combative, manipulative and intimidating feel to it all. 

Need we say more? Trump’s “base” (or simply those with a gripe who want to lash out) clearly resonates with his anger. Perhaps they feel themselves to be culture warriors (Combust Eris-Uranus), and for whatever reason, women, people of color and immigrants are their favorite targets. All of this is about doctoring one’s insecurities by gaining power over others, of course, a dynamic we can see in the news every day.

Misogyny is an ugly trait in any leader.

Interchart T-Square: Combust Pluto-Moon (Capricorn) opposes Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer); this axis squares Combust Eris-Uranus (Aries). An extreme Capricorn Moon (here enhanced by Pluto) can be destructive, tapping into deep fears of inadequacy and even mortality, and projecting those out onto others, scapegoating them in the process. The balanced approach to dealing with such fears would involve therapy, admitting one’s shortcomings and taking conscious, reality-bound action. 

This approach doesn’t seem to work with Trump and his hyperbolic, “it’s all about Me” nature; clearly, his Saturn-Venus is an emotionally insecure nerve center in his chart, and these days, it’s feeling under siege (opposed by transiting Pluto). Trump never admits shortcomings or mistakes; reacting to criticism means imposing his power over others by either blaming them for whatever happened, or by attacking the critics and their interests.

Insecurity registers as an existential threat with him, perhaps: his Cancer points are disposed by his Sagittarius Moon, which always seems to be emotionally poised for attack. It must be exhausting to carry this pugilistic energy into everything he does. 

Unfortunately, this complex of behavior traits resonates with insecure egos looking for empowerment—is it any surprise that we see the legions Trump appeals to spreading vitriol on social media?

One last look
Finally, a quick look at what the Combust ingress may mean for this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford. Because no day has even been agreed upon, and certainly no time has been set for these hearings (that I’ve seen), Wednesday at noon is the best “average” approximation I can give this event before the fact. This could change, clearly, but most of the points we need to consider will be very similar whichever day the meeting is held. Obviously, we won’t be focusing on Moon placements, angles and houses in the hearings chart. Let’s begin.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Saturn combust 2017, December 20, 2017, 12:12:43 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) Kavanaugh-Ford Hearing, September 26, 2018, 12:00 DST (noon chart, no exact time known), Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

First, what a breathtaking “coincidence” that the angles of this Combust chart (which we can talk about since this is a timed ingress) fall exact within minutes of being the same as those in the 1965 Cycle chart (another timed event, see Chart #1 above)—both feature 0° cardinal angles all around, beginning with Libra at the ASC! These so-called “world points” (aka “Aries points”) signal that the charts indicate that important world matters are at stake. 

No doubt—whatever transpires with Blasey-Ford’s testimony and the Kavanaugh confirmation, ultimately, the personal concerns of these two could have a huge impact on our American system of government, our culture, communities and collective discourse. And given the influence of American culture and discourse on the world, what happens in D.C. this coming week may have far-reaching implications.   

Combust Saturn (Capricorn) conjoins Combust Sun-Venus (Sagittarius); these points square Hearing Chiron-Combust Chiron (Pisces). I’ve allowed a generous orb with a couple of the Chiron aspects here, but considering the Saturn stellium involved, it feels justified, and the echo from the 1965 cycle chart (Saturn-Chiron conjunct in Pisces) is just too stunning to ignore! 

Medeiros was hopeful in his analysis of this combust chart that its conjunction with Venus would moderate Saturn’s most oppressive tendencies, and that may be true, but I would also offer that this conjunction may have been a cosmic heads-up back at the end of 2017 that things were going to become very tough for women during the ensuing 2.5 to 3 years. Women (and other groups represented by Venus) may be faced with uphill battles, exhausting efforts, unfairly critical demands, and so much more—sound familiar? Of course, these difficulties and demands would be all the more onerous in Saturn’s home sign, Capricorn. 

The fact that all these difficulties and challenges could be enhanced with Chiron’s wounding ways certainly speaks to the pain and dread Dr. Blasey-Ford is likely experiencing. Thankfully, she’s stood firm and called out the bully tactics that the Senate Judiciary Committee has tried to use against her, but she also has to stand up against Trump and his minions, with their death threats and intimidation. Hopefully there will be a healing down the road—one that impacts all American women—but it could be a very fraught process. So what else is new?!

Sen. Bernie Sanders has been actively campaigning against the Kavanaugh nomination.

Combust Saturn conjoins Combust IC. In a mundane chart, the IC and 4th house implicate the People’s concerns, and with Saturn so dramatically present at the cusp, a season of difficult challenges seems to lie ahead. This placement also squares Hearing Sun-Mercury (Libra), suggesting the fair treatment we would hope that Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford would both receive may be missing in action or strained. Nothing will be easy, that’s for sure. 

Hearing Venus disposes Hearing Sun-Mercury (Libra) from Scorpio, conjoined Combust Mars and Jupiter (Scorpio) and opposite Hearing Uranus (Taurus). These aspects explain the bully tactics that Blasey-Ford has already encountered (Mars-Jupiter-thug energy is everywhere these days), but the wide opposition to Taurus Uranus suggests that there’s a chance she will hold her own and deliver a surprise or two. It doesn’t hurt that Taurus is disposed by Venus and that Uranus is thought to be dignified in Scorpio—the give and take could be beneficial here. 

On the other hand, Hearing Mercury trines Hearing Mars (Aquarius), and Mars in turn squares Hearing Uranus, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the “he’s a great guy who’s done great things” narrative carries the day. Late breaking news (9/24): it appears another allegation has surfaced against Kavanaugh in the New Yorker which I won't be able to go into here, but it could certainly impact how the hearing goes.

Of course, Venus doesn’t only benefit the woman in the situation here, so let’s not pick sides until we hear more on the facts. One way or another, Justice and doing the right thing are what the Libra Sun and Capricorn Saturn in this chart would like to see. A “happy” outcome to this hearing would be that Blasey-Ford feels she has been treated fairly and respectfully, and that we come away from the proceedings feeling that we now know what happened, for better or worse. 

If the focus of this whole proceeding—Kavanaugh’s potential nomination—moves forward, let’s hope it’s for the right reasons. If he is credibly found to have assaulted Blasey-Ford some 30 years ago, let’s hope he takes responsibility, drops out gracefully and protects what’s left of his integrity. 

Am I certain this outcome will prevail? With Hearing Chiron opposing Hearing Sun and t-squaring Hearing Saturn, I am anything but certain. Committee Chair Chuck Grassley is playing the role of curmudgeonly school master in these proceedings, and he’s more than ready with a ruler to slap everyone’s knuckles. On the other hand, he has expressed almost ebullient regard for Brett Kavanaugh in past hearings, and I wouldn’t expect that to change in the next one. 

As we know, some members of the Senate have committed to confirming Kavanaugh no matter what—and Trump has already cast him in the role of victim if he isn’t confirmed—so it’ll be interesting to see if the Venus-Uranus energy described above overcomes that heavy bias. It’s an uphill battle for those who protest his nomination, but like I said earlier, what else is new?!

Final thoughts
As one media panel member on this morning’s Face the Nation put it, this whole Kavanaugh-Blasey-Ford situation is a “big mess” that reflects how toxic our polarized politics are right now. In so many words, she suggested that these hearings represent a toxic clash between partisan politics and the #MeToo movement. I can’t disagree, but what’s the alternative? 

Maybe it would help to reframe the coming battle a bit differently, as a social-historical phenomenon. Clearly, over the last 50-some years since this 1965 Uranus-Pluto cycle began, male attitudes towards women have evolved remarkably (and overall, positively), and measurable progress has been made in every dimension of life by women. The growing accessibility of contraception and family planning (the “Pill” was FDA approved in 1960) and the 1973 passage of Roe v. Wade were instrumental, of course, in allowing women to enter the work place in greater numbers, and women would not have made the collective strides they have if individuals had to continue choosing between marriage, child-bearing and careers. 

Indeed, “having it all” is hard enough, even with a supportive spouse and local resources. 

This sobering reality raises questions. What kind of ulterior motives are driving those who want to now deny women access to reproductive choice? Is this really about some deep spiritual regard for the sanctity of life, or is it about seeking bald-faced power? Why do so many in positions of power—including the churches—want to see women “barefoot and pregnant” again? 

The U.S. is not suffering a population decline as they are in China, and although some small percentage of Americans worry that the white population will soon be overwhelmed by a minority-majority, how does denying poor women of color access to birth control help to keep the balance they’re looking for? It makes no sense, unless the goal is to dis-empower these families. 

No, the problem seems to be less about demographics and more about trying to re-impose some fantasized pre-Roe v. Wade control over women, and by extension, their families. Some women feel that they’ve been forced into that dark place already; if the ideologues get their way, there will be more. 

It pains me to even contemplate this topic—as the mother of all sons, I don’t view men as a problem to be solved, or an oppressive reality to be “suffered.” No, I celebrate their strengths and appreciate the unique talents they offer our world. I’ve seen my sons overcome difficulties to mature into loving, compassionate and respectful individuals with their wives and daughters—and I don’t believe that the attitude of Trump & Co. is really the American norm when it comes to gender relations. 

Yet, we rarely hear anything about how deeply interdependent men and women are—making reproductive choice unavailable to women hurts their entire families, including the men involved! Being able to share the burdens of working and caring for the children more equitably has improved relationships, not the opposite. IMHO, casting gender relations in terms of power is counterproductive, at best. 

So, despite my strong feelings on these issues, I hope to keep a balanced perspective in regards to this week’s hearings.  I think we need to avoid rushing to judgment either way; nevertheless, I’m glad to see that the media is keeping the memory of Anita Hill’s hearings against then-nominee Clarence Thomas alive—that was a travesty that must not be repeated.
Happy Autumnal Equinox to all!

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.