Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A principled woman acts: powerful Capricorn times

I’ve set aside a much-longer piece about Saturn’s role in the scheme of things during these Capricorn times to share a mind-blowing chart and some thoughts on yesterday’s amazing move by Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As it happens, there’s a Saturn story there, too—as we’ll see. 

There’s also an important story here about the many ways that the collective and personal dimensions of life overlap astrologically in our lives—a broader theme that I’ve been studying for some time. For my take on the challenges and opportunities for working with clients on these issues, please see the February/March edition of The Mountain Astrologer. The article, entitled, “The Disappearing Personal/Collective Divide: Helping Client to Navigate Insecure Times,” begins on page 37 of the print edition. If you’re an online subscriber, click here.  

Feinstein steps up

According to the Washington Post, faced with opposition from GOP committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley, Feinstein courageously took it upon herself to release the so-called Fusion GPS transcript, making the testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson before the Judiciary Committee public. 

In the face of attempts by the GOP members of the committee to politicize and discredit the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia and its meddling in our 2016 election, and to discredit the so-called Trump/Russia “dossier” produced by Fusion GPS (see the link for an explanation of all this), Fusion GPS had repeatedly requested that the transcript be released. Feinstein apparently decided that taking action was more important than walking on eggshells around Chairman Grassley:

“Feinstein’s action comes alongside an effort by Republicans to discredit the dossier as a politically motivated document that the FBI has relied too heavily upon in its investigation. Feinstein sought to push back against that perception and to bolster the FBI’s credibility.
‘The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation,’ she said.” 

Even without going into the entire dossier saga (again, see this link if you really want to do that), we can see that Feinstein’s actions were principled and brave. At 84 years old, perhaps she feels that standing up for what she sees as right is imperative—among other important considerations, this action will leave an important legacy (a good Capricorn word) of her distinguished work in the Senate. Wikipedia provides a quick summary of this powerful, principled woman’s career:

“After a failed gubernatorial campaign in 1990, she won a 1992 special election to the U.S. Senate. Feinstein was first elected on the same ballot as her peer Barbara Boxer, and the two became California's first female U.S. Senators. Feinstein has been re-elected four times since then and in the 2012 election, she claimed the record for the most popular votes in any U.S. Senate election in history, having received 7.75 million votes.[2]
Feinstein was the author of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004. In 2013 she introduced a new assault weapons bill, which failed to pass. Feinstein is the first and only woman to have chaired the Senate Rules Committee (2007–09) and the Select Committee on Intelligence from 2009 to 2015, when the Democrats lost control of the Senate. She is the only woman to have presided over a U.S. presidential inauguration.[3][4] At the age of 84, Feinstein is the oldest currently serving United States Senator.[5] With the retirement of Barbara Mikulski, Feinstein is the longest current serving female senator. In October 2017, Feinstein officially declared her intention to run for re-election in 2018.[6]
Courage is an important quality to have in aggressive Capricorn times, when the Cosmos is basically saying “act, or be acted upon.” Or less cryptically, perhaps it’s just saying, “get a spine” (Saturn rules Capricorn, the skeletal system and specifically, the spine). As we’ll see in the biwheel below, Feinstein received that message loud and clear and has now provided a powerful model of integrity for everyone impacted by today’s dysfunctional D.C. Its easy to forget that Capricorn is an earthy, yin energy: you go, girl!! 

Let’s consider the highlights of this biwheel. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Dianne Feinstein, Jun 22, 1933, 12:44 a.m. ST, San Francisco, CA (rated AA: BC/BR in hand); (outer wheel) Fusion GPS transcript release, January 9, 2018, 12:00 p.m. (no exact time known, but timing of news reports suggest early afternoon) ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

First, a few general considerations. The chart for yesterday’s event is impressive enough on its own, but the two charts combined reveal why Feinstein felt so compelled to act. Clearly, she was called upon to make the judgment call of her life: to accept Grassley’s authority and remain complicit in the Judiciary committee’s distortion of its mandate, or to essentially “blow the whistle” on the whole effort by releasing the controversial transcript. 

Because Feinstein is a public servant, the collective level dominates her life. This is unsurprising, with her Capricorn MC and 11th house Aquarius Saturn, co-disposed by her aggressive 1st house Aries Uranus. She tends to be very soft spoken in her public comments, however this demeanor merely veils her fiery nature. 

This Uranus placement is key here: at 84, Feinstein is experiencing her Uranus return, and quite a return it has been! It’s a time of deepening wisdom and a time of liberation, for expressing an independent spirit—something Feinstein certainly embraced in her actions yesterday. At this age, my Wisconsin farmer great-grandmother “released” herself from a nursing home and took off down a long rural road, shuffling along with the help of her walker. Each person reacts according to his or her context! In either case, the personal and the collective levels are intersecting to powerful effect. 

In fact, this personal/collective theme leaps off the page in this biwheel. Notice that Feinstein is also experiencing the early days of Pluto’s transiting opposition to her natal Pluto! Among other serious possibilities, we can speculate that her decision to act yesterday felt like a “do or die” imperative—for a career public servant with any integrity, an existential matter. Born under the 1930s cardinal Uranus-Pluto square (Aries-Cancer), her generation was infused with many such imperatives—to defeat Nazism and save democracy, for starters. Embracing a public service ethic was a matter of personal and collective security (Cancer).  

With this general backdrop in mind, let’s tease out the key highlights of this biwheel:

Interchart T-Square: Fusion Venus-Sun-Pluto-MC (Capricorn) oppose Feinstein Venus-Pluto-Mercury (Cancer); this axis is squared by Fusion Uranus-Pallas conjoined Feinstein Uranus (Aries). Sometimes we have to marvel at the Cosmos’ precision. The opposition featured here captures exactly what happened yesterday: a prominent, authoritative older woman (Capricorn Venus) felt compelled (opposition) to reveal deep truths of great importance (Sun-Pluto exactly conjoin Venus). 

While we have no way of knowing exactly what time Feinstein released the transcript (it was first reported by at 1:15 p.m.), we can see that these Capricorn points fall over her powerful 10th house—clearly her goals in life, her image in the world and her aspirations as a public servant were all part of the story. 

These 10th house placements (not to mention the t-square to her Uranus) clearly drag Feinstein out of her 4th house comfort zone—her 0°+Cancer Sun, followed by mid-to-late Cancer Venus, Pluto and Mercury, guarantee that her 4th house is packed with significance. She is deeply motivated by the need to protect and secure herself, her loved ones, and by her career—thankfully—all of us! Venus plays an interesting role here, bridging the personal (Cancer)/collective (Capricorn) gap across the opposition, and promoting the integrity of “tough love.” 

In fact, this dual, Cancer-Capricorn Venus challenges Feinstein to be a protective warrior of sorts, an "Athena" character we might be familiar with from the Iliad. In her human form, this Athena "symbolizes the embodiment of war, and the interdependency of gods and men." This is an apt description of the personal/collective challenge Feinstein accepted yesterday: speak softly and carry a big stick, Senator!

Pallas’s conjunction with transiting Uranus adds the dimension of justice to Feinstein’s considerations: here she is, serving on the Judicial Committee, and she’s seeing a great injustice being perpetrated on the American public. 

What we don’t see in this chart (sorry, my software refuses to cooperate) is the disruptive presence of Eris at 22°+Aries, conjunct Fusion Uranus: falling over Feinstein’s 1st house of identity, exactly inconjunct Feinstein’s Mars and exactly square her Pluto-Mercury, this Eris perhaps inspired Feinstein to embrace her inner Eris (natally, it falls at 3°+Aries) and to upset the GOP’s plans for continued opaque secrecy. 

What’s that Washington Post motto? “Democracy dies in darkness!” 

Notice that the “whistle-blower” dimension of Feinstein’s actions is supported in the Fusion chart by Sagittarius Mercury, conjunct the Galactic Center. This late-Sagittarius point bears a well-documented connection with whistle-blowing and revealing critical information, and it resonates well with Feinstein’s Uranus (by trine) and late Gemini Moon (by wide opposition). 

The very real dangers “out there” were impressed upon her generation from day one, so she is no starry-eyed idealist on a “quest.” She’s probably not on an ego-trip, either: transiting Saturn (Capricorn) now sits opposite her Cancer Sun—if anything, she probably feels out of her comfort zone and that she’s just “doing her job.” Besides, she had to know that there would be an executive “tweetstorm” tearing her down immediately after her actions, and sure enough, there is. Not exactly the ego-trip anyone would want—this is where her Saturnian integrity in the face of a serious challenge is on display.

If we understand such things better, Feinstein’s Neptune and her Mars-Jupiter conjunction (sextile her Cancer gathering) tell us something about her motives: they’re all in pragmatic, service-oriented Virgo. Military service was obligatory for the men of her generation (absent bone spurs, of course); women of that time also served in various capacities, often in supportive roles here at home. 

Even more specifically in Feinstein’s case, she is the grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia, so she can’t help but know what corrupt, extremist governments (Neptune, Jupiter, usually in some combination with Pluto) can do to people. Her natal Pluto (Cancer) falls exactly semi-sextile her Mars (Virgo)—she’s familiar with uncomfortable or frustrating power dynamics. 

In the Fusion chart,  the Mars-Jupiter conjunction sextiles Pluto (Capricorn), with Pluto disposing Scorpio—if Feinstein is sensing that there’s cause for concern, we should take her seriously. To her everlasting credit, she decided to take a stand. Or, as Saturn in Capricorn would say, she “grew a spine.”  

Fusion Mars-Jupiter (Scorpio) squares Feinstein Saturn (Aquarius). If we factor the Fusion nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius) into this configuration, we’re looking at another interchart t-square, only this one smacks of confrontation, destiny and a choice of paths. As we’ve seen, there’s Mars transiting Feinstein’s 8th house of shared values and resources. Jupiter’s presence alongside Mars signals a challenge to “go big or go home,” and in accepting, she picked a fight with the “king” (Leo) in the process. 

We see this in how the Leo-Aquarius nodal axis overlays her Saturn, which is dignified by rulership and elevated in her chart, hopefully protective factors. Many, many decent politicians and public servants have decided to call it quits under the Trump administration, and we can’t really blame them, yet we desperately need more representatives with Feinstein's courage to take their place!

Importantly, we can see the paradox of Feinstein’s overlapping personal/collective challenges here: personally (5th house), she may have a lot to gain from simply looking the other way and letting the Leo “king” rule (Trump may have a Gemini Sun, but Mars tightly placed on his late Leo ascendant reflects his demeanor and attitudes). With Jupiter transiting her financial 8th house, she could undoubtedly benefit from Wall Street’s Trump-fueled euphoria. She could also benefit collectively,  (11thhouse), but she has made herself vulnerable, and she has to know that she's in for a fight.

Even so, with Saturn transiting opposite her Cancer Sun and working its way through the final quarter of her third Saturn return, she seems attuned to the importance of accountability, transparency and outright rebellion, if necessary. As the ruler of Time, Saturn also waits for no one, so tying up loose ends is an important Saturnian quest for Feinstein, in her 80-something stage of life. Acting with the dignity, authority and independence of her Aquarius Saturn, Feinstein has staked her career (Saturn disposes her Capricorn MC) on taking a stand. 

Agree or disagree, her actions deserve respect for the courageous model they provide—definitely a theme to follow during these Capricorn times. We can only hope that the GOP will finally “get a spine” when it comes to Russian meddling, to creeping authoritarianism in the White House, and to the “darkness” that kills democracy. 

Thank you, Senator Feinstein!! 

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.