Friday, December 21, 2018

Kite-sailing off a Mountain: the Solstice and a fortuitous Capricorn turning point

“The beauty of the mountain is talked about most from a distance, not while one is scaling the summit with life at risk. This is the time for silence, one-pointedness..." -- Daniel Ladinsky, A Year With Hafiz

“He’s turned life into a chaotic series of scary moments…” – historian Jon Meacham, 12/21/2018

It’s the darkest, shortest day of the year, and no, we’re not just talking about life in Trump’s D.C.  It’s the literal darkest day of the year, with the Winter Solstice having just perfected, as I write this. Set for Washington, D.C., the Sun entered Capricorn at 5:22:38 p.m. The ancients celebrated this time leading into this ingress as Saturnalia, a “Festival of Lights,” a time that made the most of the Sun’s final days in Jupiterian Sagittarius by basically suspending Saturn’s usual rule of law and encouraging excess—much like our modern holiday blow-outs! 

Perhaps this year, however, the excesses are less about partying and rabble-rousing than about literally chopping at the roots of the nation’s rule of law. Or maybe it's about ascending a mountain one difficult step at a time, intensely focused on the prize while chaos reigns on all sides.

As I write this, it's clear that we’re headed for a government shutdown that has been handled in the most disjointed, chaotic way possible. One moment we have a year-end deal to fund the government that Trump would sign…everyone goes home thinking they can celebrate the holidays with their families…then, no we don’t, as Trump says (I paraphrase) “I get my $5 billion for the wall, or the government shuts down!”  

And even though he “owned” the possibility of a shutdown not one week ago when discussing the issue with “Chuck and Nancy,” now that one is imminent, it’s the Dems’ fault!
And that’s not even the most dramatic thing happening (or not) in D.C. these days!

A scene from ancient Pompeii Saturnalia feast

As the name suggests, the ancient agricultural societies venerated Saturn (agricultural god and Lord of Capricorn) and its days-long festival, culminating in the winter solstice.  Deeply attuned to natural cycles (their survival depended upon it), the Romans celebrated December 25th as the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus—the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun.” Long before Christmas supplanted Saturnalia as the winter festival, people reveled in the return of longer days and shorter nights that would quickly follow. 

Saturnalia was quite a raucous affair among ancient Roman partiers, however, one “characterized by role reversals and behavioral license.” Saturn’s oversight of social structures and legal restrictions was suspended as the Romans “let it all hang loose” in the final days of Sagittarius. By some accounts, war couldn’t even be declared in the midst of this Jupiter/Sagittarius excess. 

The tradition of an end-of-year “blow-out” has morphed over the centuries, of course, but this year’s incredible display of drama in D.C. is too much to even enumerate—suffice to say here, the Mueller investigation and other prosecutions (most notably by the Southern District of NY) are pressing down on Trump and his circle and have even forced the closing of his fraudulent “charity,” the Trump Foundation.

True to form, Trump is in deflection mode, and with Dems taking over the Congressional majority in January, he decided it was time to stand his ground over the border wall. Now the nation’s taxpayers are on notice: it’s time to give this latter day Scrooge a big Christmas gift, and if we don’t give him $5 billion for his border wall, we get no government. 

Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol is the quintessential Capricorn redemption story.

To add insult to injury to all but Trump’s hard-right boosters, his Cabinet’s Defense Secretary General James Mattis—an esteemed 40 year veteran Marine commander with the respectability, credentials and outlook we really need in our foreign policy right now—resigned in protest just yesterday (12/20) over Trump’s snap Twitter decision to pull out all 2,000+ of our troops from Syria. His letter of resignation—hand delivered to Trump, clearly states why he could no longer agree with and support Trump’s approach to foreign policy. A brief excerpt:

“One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies…
 Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.”
This thought-provoking letter is worth reading in its entirety­—many disagree as to whether Mattis should have hung in there for the sake of the troops who depend upon his leadership and for the American people at large, but clearly his relationship with Trump had become untenable. Much like Gen. John Kelly’s did. Much like so many others who have scattered (or were forced out in disgrace) did. 

We can’t miss this bit of tragic cosmic irony—since when do tantrum-throwing “children” who can’t get along with others, as Trump’s behavior suggests, deserve gifts from demanding old Krampus on Saturnalia?  

Maybe this is a good time to ask which is the bigger “gift” for Trump this holiday season: the $5 billion he’s been pouting over, or a long government shutdown that he can use for his own purposes?  There’s no love lost between him and the Federal Government and its institutional check-and-balances—the government that he swore to protect and uphold on inauguration day. Is his tantrum and resolve really about reforming immigration law and threats to our border, or about consolidating personal power, control and protecting himself and his family from indictment? 

Trump's "steel slatted" wall--a monument to what?

Despite the appearance of always making decisions in a random, Twitter-fueled flurry, I think we need to pay attention to the “smoke and mirrors” Trump likes to play with. We know that Trump prefers to work with like-minded authoritarian governments like Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia; how do the “dots” connect between these relationships and Trump’s plans for the troops he’s pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan? Is Trump playing “secret Santa” with his authoritarian cohorts (long story for another day) because he “owes them one,” (or they have something on him) or are we seeing the outlines of a dangerous new alliance taking shape? 

For instance, Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria was reportedly influenced by a conversation with Turkey’s President Erdogan, who dearly wants free rein to decimate our Kurdish allies in Syria. So now, we’re cutting and running, leaving the Kurds with little protection against Turkey’s military. ISIS is far from “defeated,” contrary to Trump’s Twitter justification for pulling troops out. Gen. Mattis’s disagreements with Trump over how we treat our allies is key here—what nation will want to ally itself with us after this betrayal of the Kurds?  

With all this dreariness, it’s good to remember that the solstice is a turning point: things may indeed start looking up after the first of the year, despite our current Saturnalia chaos. As we’ll see in the Solstice chart, however, things won’t just start improving on their own—intense, disciplined effort will be required. Driving this process will be Trump and his uniquely chaotic mindset: he’s proven that he can weather and even thrive on chaos, but perhaps he doesn’t realize that he also catalyzes transformative efforts in those who reject his mindset. 

Senators Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi meet with Trump.

Pinning him down on anything is still likely to be incredibly difficult, although those who have served his purposes (Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, and so on and so on) haven’t been that lucky. Still, he’s never had to deal with a Democratic-led Congress, so hope springs eternal that his worst impulses can at least be reined in. 

Holding the nation’s purse strings clearly isn’t enough for Congress to carry out its responsibility to check the administration’s excesses, however: so much of Trump’s destructive impact on our national institutions is happening in the context of foreign policy—an area where broad executive powers prevail. Learning to say “no” to Trump’s every tantrum-laced demand just for the sake of momentary peace would be a good start, however. 

On that note, let’s examine the Solstice (Capricorn ingress) chart for what it might tell us about the coming quarter. We’ll consider the chart itself, set for Washington, D.C., with an eye to how Trump’s nativity interacts with it, as it becomes relevant. 

Chart #1: Sun enters Capricorn 12-21-2018, December 21, 2018, 5:22:38 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Sun (Capricorn) in 6th house, trine Uranus Rx (out of sign). The 6th house points to issues with workers, the military and public servants--all quite reasonable for the situation we find ourselves in this week. We can probably assume that more rash decisions (Uranus) regarding people's livelihoods and military affairs will be made, although things should stabilize a bit when Uranus returns to Taurus.   

Kite formation: ASC (Cancer) trines Neptune (Pisces) and Venus (Scorpio), opposes Saturn-DSC (Capricorn); Saturn sextiles Neptune and Venus. The “kite” formation is a modified grand trine, of course, that finds expression in opportunities presented by the 4th planet (Saturn here). Bil Tierney characterizes the water grand trine as “the evolutionary blooming of the ability to attune to the needs of the mass consciousness with much compassion…In general, the Water Grand Trine denotes the gentle dreamer who retires or withdraws into a self-made world of fantasy, illusion and imagination.”[1]
This would seem like a strange basis for the year ahead except for the fact that the Cancer ASC here conjoins Trump’s Cancer Mercury, so we can expect to be “kite-sailing” on Trump’s fear-mongering, security-minded illusions in the coming quarter. It’s not surprising that Saturn falls in the 7th house of “Others” here: demonizing immigrants and other “enemies” will be a continuing tactic for him. That is, unless we can channel the fluid energies of this watery grand trine into actual work (Saturn) that acknowledges the “needs of the mass consciousness with much compassion.”  

The coming season may also be characterized by a greater-than-normal share of disasters and/or tragedies (so many possibilities abound)—compassion seems to require triggers, unfortunately. 

Saturn’s involvement in this “kite” suggests that serious protections for the rule of law might make a comeback, despite attempts to undermine (Neptune) its very basis and its independence from executive power. This coincides with Neptune’s trine to Sibly Sun (Cancer, chart not shown), which has thrown up quite a fog around executive power, the presidency itself, and the nation’s reputation. This is only exacerbated by the progressed Sibly Sun (Piscees, chart not shown) being closely transited by Neptune as we speak.  Speaking truth to power is difficult if no one can agree on what constitutes the “truth!”

Venus-sextile-Saturn here suggests that there will be opportunities for the Stock Market and the economy to stabilize somewhat in the coming quarter, and Saturn’s placement in Capricorn may be very helpful in terms of the institutional underpinnings of the economy. This is modified by Venus’s trine to Neptune, however, which leaves our material dimension a bit undefined and nebulous, too.  

I am reminded of how we seem to be walking in two worlds these days, with regards to the economy: one more illusory one is off in the not-too-distant future, an exhilarating new world that cares about mitigating climate change and about streamlining 21st century life with sustainable technologies; the other is winding down, shedding old economic priorities and industry dependencies (the oil and coal industries), and transforming outdated value systems.

Confusion about how to navigate this process will likely reign through much of this next quarter, with Jupiter-Mercury square Neptune (Sagittarius to Pisces); again, more problems getting at the unvarnished truth about what’s going on in D.C., especially in regards to our military (Jupiter-Mercury square 6th house Sibly Uranus). We caught a preview of things to come this week, in fact: the tendency to announce actions first in regards to deployments and so on, and explain later, if at all. Strategic aims will continue to be unclear and suspicious (square Neptune).  

We can dream without entirely losing track of the facts, right?

Bottom line, we can’t quite step into this desirable new world yet…too much unfinished business shutting down the old one and building up the infrastructure required for the new one. Saturn and Pluto (Capricorn) are quickly moving to close down their 1982 cycle in late Libra and will begin their new one in January, 2020, at 22°+Capricorn. Jupiter (strong in this chart in Sagittarius) will be trailing right behind, conjoining Pluto in April, 2020, at 24°+Capricorn and helping to shape the financial landscape and the geopolitical relations that drive this new world. 

We will be in the waning “limbo” phases of both these cycles in the coming year, so we can expect to feel torn between two sets of priorities in the process. 

Does anyone think Trump cares about moving us safely and securely into that new world? His natal Mercury opposes this Solstice Saturn, remember, and that Mercury disposes his Gemini Sun-No. Node-Uranus, adding emotionality to his mutable, unstable nature. What we are seeing today with his obsession about a border wall (Saturn) is a grotesque parody of those lighter, more forward-thinking priorities.  

Cardinal t-square: Nodal Axis (Cancer-Capricorn) widely conjoins Pluto (Capricorn); this axis squares Uranus (Rx, Aries)-Eris (Aries). This cardinal configuration reflects the serious stress that’s driving our public discourse these days, and it reflects the volatility in the Stock Market, as well. The radical growth of the national debt under Trump (for the sake of his big tax cut package) is probably one factor roiling the market, and no surprise, this configuration ties in to Trump’s natal chart pretty firmly, as well, with the Capricorn points opposing his Cancer Venus-Saturn and with Uranus Rx trining his Leo Mars-ASC and his rules-averse Sagittarius Moon. 

It’s worth noting that Uranus’s role here in Aries is a retrograde “last hurrah” for this volatility-loving “god” before it returns to more pragmatic, earthy Taurus in March, 2019. Trump may think he’s being the proactive one, taking “his” troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, when it’s probably more accurate to say that he’s in retreat. Commitments to our troops and allies or no, he’s simply lost interest: there’s an election looming!

We’ve seen how this cardinal t-square has played out already, with reckless, self-centered decision-making (Uranus Rx trine his Mars)—often couched in terms of security issues (Pluto opposes his Venus-Saturn in Cancer), and unfortunately, we can expect more of the same ahead. The closer the Mueller investigation (not to mention Congressional committees) get into analyzing Trump’s financial entanglements, the more vehemently he is likely to project his security fears out on other, hapless individuals. His Cancer points are disposed by his Sagittarius Moon, opposite his Gemini Sun-Uranus: any restrictions placed on him, or responsibility demanded of him (like Saturn’s opposition to his Mercury) tends to feels like an assault. 

The danger with the way all this ties together is that We the People could start to feel that the only path to a bit of security for ourselves is to cave into Trump’s every demand, to do what the GOP has basically done, to “let Trump be Trump,” whatever his crimes, and then live with the fallout. IMHO, this would be the path of least resistance, and would probably be the end of this nation as we know it. The number of GOP resignations certainly speaks to the party’s understanding that things have gone too far—they are no longer the party they were when Trump was elected. Another day we’ll analyze how all this has worked with the Party’s radix chart.

Bottom line for this analysis, we are being tested, and it shows in the fact that our progressed Sibly Moon in Capricorn (chart not shown) now opposes Trump’s natal Mercury! Perhaps this placement is fortuitous, however: we need the structure and discipline of Capricorn right now, not to mention its clear, no nonsense grasp of priorities. We may experience some austerity in the process (this Moon is trailing Solstice Saturn by only 5 degrees), and our national progressed Moon will be “along for the ride” as Saturn and Pluto complete their cycle a year or so from now, so we’re likely to feel all the potholes in this national reconstruction project. Even so, the end result should be worth the trouble. Buckle up, everyone…we’re in this together! 

Happiness, health and prosperity to all during this festive season and in the coming New Year!

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, 1983, pp. 76-77.

No comments:

Post a Comment