Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Eclipse watch: consolidating power, for good or ill

I don’t plan to watch Trump’s State of the Union address tonight—the spectacle of him crowing shamelessly before Congress—many Dems dressed in black in recognition of the #MeToo movement—might be tempting, but the impulse passes quickly.  

Don’t get me wrong—I care about what’s happening to this nation more than ever, but tuning out tonight feels like the best way to express that. 

Besides, I’m on eclipse watch—an extraordinary one takes shape approximately 10 hours after Trump takes the podium tonight, and it’s a cosmic doozy—a rare Super Blue Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse. It’s widely thought that eclipse energies begin manifesting a couple degrees before exactitude, so the startling news we saw yesterday probably signals things to come. The actions we’ve been seeing on the ground are undoubtedly more reliable signs than anything Trump is likely to say at the podium tonight. So, a quick list, just to get the conversation going:

Just two days ago (1/28), the following appeared on Axios.com: “Trump national security officials are considering an unprecedented federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile network to guard against China.” This proposal would apparently impose federal control on any 5g networks that are developed (many are reportedly in development by mega-corporate players). Controlling the narrative has been an obsession with Trump since his New York days, and he makes his feelings about our Free Press abundantly clear: do we really believe this plan is about “China?” 

Then, yesterday (1/29), after months of mounting pressure from the White House, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe announced he will step down by retiring immediately—not in March, as previously planned. McCabe’s being married to a Democrat who had the audacity to run for office and accept funding from Clinton-connected entities seems to be the offense here. Never mind McCabe’s 30 years of professional public service: all that matters is that Clinton wasn’t prosecuted for using a private email server, and by Trump’s logic, she was guilty, no matter the facts. Ergo, the investigation must have been rigged, so “off with their heads! Besides, McCabe can corroborate that Trump demanded a “loyalty oath” from former FBI Director, Jim Comey before Trump fired him. 

Yesterday evening, the GOP-dominated House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release a highly-sensitive memo written by Chair Devin Nunes (R, CA) that reportedly calls into question the methods and sources used by the FBI to investigate Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page—after all is said and done, a known Russian agent. That same committee’s Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D, CA) has been fighting the release of this memo; he’s read the classified materials underlying the allegations in the Nunes memo and says the allegations represent a distortion of the classified facts. Even so, the GOP members of the committee would apparently prefer not to know these underlying facts (maybe they would muddy the conspiratorial message of the memo?), so they voted not to read the underlying classified material before releasing the memo. Willful ignorance? 

Sent to Trump last night, this questionable, squirrely memo is widely thought to provide a pretext for Trump to fire Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein—the only Justice Department official who stands between Trump and Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. One by one, anyone else who wields any power over that investigation has been spirited away by either Trump directly, or by his agents within the GOP. The GOP-led committee, in fact, also announced that it has opened an investigation into the FBI and the Justice Department—another transparent effort to stymie the Mueller investigation. 

As Rachel Maddow hammered home when reporting on all this last night, there are times when obstruction of justice is worth the risk to top-level officials, because it works. For his part, veteran Watergate-era journalist Carl Bernstein offered that we’re probably going to look back at yesterday (1/29) as a “Monday Night Slaughter of the administration of justice” in this country, carried out for purely partisan interests and to shield Trump from Mueller’s investigation. 

Timing is everything, as they say. Like the “cherry” on top of a yesterday’s very troubling “sundae” of pro-Russian, anti-FBI/Justice Department activities, Trump’s Treasury Department released a list of Putin-linked Russian oligarchs, adding that being on that list is not a sign that the person is under sanctions, or a sign that American businesses should avoid dealing with them. This transpired on the same day the Trump White House announced that Trump will not be honoring the deadline set by Congress for enforcing the sanctions laid on Russia in response to their interference in our 2016 election. A move like this serves the dual purposes of protecting Russia (always a priority for some reason) and of daring Congress to challenge Trump’s decision. Co-equal branches of power?
So, the GOP-led House Intel Committee fell into lockstep with the White House for an intense flurry of thumbing their nose at those who believe Russia’s effort to undermine our democracy on behalf of one candidate should bear consequences. Funny, there’s another election coming within months!

To summarize, we run the risk, reflected strongly in the astrology of this eclipse, of selling our national “Soul” so that Trump can consolidate American power (writ large) in his own hands. The full breadth of Russia’s role in this political intrigue—Trump’s “phantom partner?”—remains to be seen (they deny everything and even cried foul about Trump publishing that list of oligarchs), but for now let’s examine the Super Blue Blood Aquarius-Leo lunar eclipse, about to perfect. 

Astronomical facts

Given the topics in the news, one intriguing astronomical fact is that this eclipse is “totally” visible in Moscow for 8 minutes and 51 seconds (overall duration = 2 hrs. 9m, 29s), and is only partially visible in Washington, D.C. for 26 m. 35s (overall duration = 1 hr. 23 m 49s. We probably won’t know the significance of this until we’re looking in the rear-view mirror, but the basic fact that the eclipse takes in our two geographical locations in one fell swoop feels significant. 

Set for Washington, D.C., the penumbral phase of the eclipse begins at 5:51:13 a.m. Standard Time, and the partial phase (meaning, the beginning of partial visibility) begins at 6:48:27 a.m. ST. Because beginnings are the point of an event chart, I’ve cast Chart #1 below for 5:51:13 a.m. A penumbra is a “shadow,” which fits the “cloak and daggers” nature of so much of what’s happening in D.C. these days. Let’s examine this chart.

Chart #1: Super Blue Blood Lunar Eclipse, January 31, 2018, 5:51:13 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Eclipse Sun widely conjoins Venus (Aquarius) and opposes Eclipse Moon (Leo); Eclipse Moon conjoins Ceres-N. Node (Leo). Celeste Teal teaches that “important decisions are made” during a full moon (lunar) eclipse because “conditions and circumstances are in full bloom at the time of the Full Moon, for good or ill.[1] Considering how rare and intense this particular eclipse is, we can probably expect more extreme manifestations than usual—for good or ill.

We’ve already seen, for instance, how Trump and his allies in the House Intel Committee have pre-empted the energies of this eclipse and made extremely rash decisions that reveal their joint priorities (Sun-Venus). In fact, Trump could now make yet another rash decision by publicly releasing the controversial Nunes memo turned over to him by the Committee. Since the memo supposedly casts suspicion on the FBI and (by association) the Mueller investigation, why wouldn’t he? Protecting his personal assets and interests (Sun-Venus) is what he’s about. 

Other government entities are making potentially rash decisions, as well. NPR reports today that FEMA has decided to suspend its distribution of food and water across hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico—a decision that directly impacts the bread-and-butter needs of people who still can’t get to the markets (Moon-Ceres). Can Puerto Rico pick up the slack on its own? We’ll see. 

Be watching also in the coming months for trends and policies affecting agriculture and food production. A lunar eclipse conjunct Ceres could impact the next season’s harvests—it’s a good time to check out the Farmer’s Almanac! 

Another important point to remember is that this eclipse is a “Dragon’s Head” eclipse (i.e., one in which the North Node conjoins the eclipse point), and should for that reason bring new energy to bear in the situation. The energy is inflowing on the lunar side, which could mean the people are energized in some way; however, with the Sun disposing the Leo Moon, the people’s energies could be subject to maneuverings “on-high.” This is a very ambitious, purposeful feeling eclipse—the more conscious we try to remain about the power dynamics we get caught up in, the better. 

This need for conscious awareness reflects the situation in D.C. pretty well: Trump’s in command of the bully pulpit with his SOTU address, which will undoubtedly attract an energetic response (it’s already been transformed into a fund-raising affair), but we would do well to remember that his address doesn’t represent this eclipse period’s full potential. 

Perhaps in keeping with its timing a few hours before the eclipse, his address is pre-emptive: it will simply be the message he wants people to be focusing on while other things go on behind the scenes in the months to come. These other things will more fully embody the eclipse’s Leonine “inflowing energy.” So, what could those developments look like?

Disposed by the charismatic, but imperious Sun, this Leo Moon promotes the consolidation of power, and at worst, authoritarian dominance. It’s a good guess that whatever Trump says at his SOTU bully pulpit will be calibrated to please his right-wing, “build the wall” base, but the White House has indicated that his speech will also call for bipartisan unity for the sake of getting “great things” done. This might be encouraging, except that we’ve heard this song before—at the Inauguration, as Trump launched the most divisive presidency ever. 

Trump’s call for unity makes better sense if we consider that this eclipse also conjoins his natal Pluto (chart not shown). To consolidate his power (Leo Pluto) demands that others unite behind him, whether they want to or not. Quick wish list: any holdouts among We the People should finally relinquish all resistance, appreciate how heroic his “America First” agenda is, and above all, grant him, personally, our undying loyalty and deference.  I wish I were exaggerating, but Trump demands this level of deference from everyone working under him, so why not from the People at large? 

Returning to the eclipse points, the Sun’s position in Aquarius doesn’t soften this consolidating potential much, unfortunately: totalitarian regimes are often heavily influenced by both Leo and Aquarius and its ruling planet, Uranus. The chart for Germany’s Third Reich[2] featured an elevated Aquarius Sun-Saturn-Mercury conjunction, and the 1930s Uranus-Pluto square from Aries to Cancer! Communist Romania[3] (one of the most oppressive of the Soviet “satellites”) featured a Capricorn Sun, disposed by a Leo Saturn conjunct Moon and Pluto, opposite Venus in Aquarius.

Perhaps a closer model for the threat we’re experiencing is the chart for the Russian Federation[4]: transformed under Vladimir Putin into a kleptocracy, the Federation was born into a hard-edged Capricorn Sun-Uranus-Neptune, disposed by Saturn in Aquarius.

Pluto (Capricorn) rises at the ASC (Capricorn); Pluto/Mercury (midpoint, Capricorn) squares Uranus (Aries). These placements and aspects continue the “power-playing” theme. A Plutonian power play is an order of magnitude more serious than the usual Jupiter-v.-Saturn tug of wars we see in D.C.—squabbles over deregulating, v. regulating, “trickle-down” v. “float all boats” economics, and so on. Plutonian power plays are about “regime change,” about overturning one order and replacing it with another. 

King George III of Britain

Of course, as the insurance ad goes, we American rebels “know a thing or two” about overturning an old order—just ask Mad King George III. We replaced red-coated British rule with scruffy guerilla tactics and heroic leaders like George Washington, and we did it the last time Pluto traversed the final degrees of Capricorn. So, Pluto rising in this power-saturated eclipse chart in the second half of Capricorn recalls (Pluto has a long memory) what was at stake during the 1770s. At the risk of being over-dramatic, I’d say that our 1776 “contract” with democracy is either up for renewal, or about to expire. 

The Pluto/Mercury midpoint is also significant here because it energizes those stakes into action, in tangible, Capricornian ways. Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey captures the points we’ve been discussing and more in his description:

“High security communications and intelligence activities; political talk which offers abrupt changes to some functions…Secrets concerning the business community or transportation systems; communications within the intelligence gathering agencies; self-destructive impulses in business; breakdowns in the road networks.” [5] (p.176)
As we’ve seen, communications, intelligence and secrecy are front-page news; changes being wrought to our Justice Department might well threaten our democratic system entirely. Infrastructure projects (including the “Wall”) are bound to be a big topic of Trump’s SOTU speech, and Trump has only recently imposed self-destructive tariffs on trade for some items (also a Mercury concern).

Here’s where the 1st-7th house placement of the eclipse comes into play: naming one’s enemies (7th house Moon) and stoking fear and/or anger against them is a useful tactic for consolidating power in the ruler (1st house Sun). The “charisma” (Leo) of the enemy (Moon = People) is thus co-opted and used against them. 

The Uranus square to this Pluto/Mercury midpoint adds the element of potential chaos and surprise to all of the above, but Munkasey also suggests an “information-gathering” dimension:

“Remaining aloof from others who do your bidding to obtain data in any way possible…”[6]  (p. 17) 

Power players often remain “aloof” from their agents and minions for the sake of plausible deniability: witness Sarah Huckabee Sanders feverishly covering Trump from any suspicion that he pressured McCabe to resign yesterday. Or that he’s behind the “release the memo” narrative roiling the media. Or that he’s seeking to close down the Mueller investigation. After awhile, denying things that everyone can see before their eyes becomes very im-plausible! Yet, the gaslighting continues because—like obstruction of justice—it works. 

In fact, we can see in this chart how our cosmic arbiter of facts—Saturn—is sidelined in the 12th house—Neptune’s natural domain, but even so, it falls trine justice-minded Pallas (Taurus): perhaps the truth will come out as the eclipse period unfolds. Will that be enough to stop Trump from transforming our system with a heavy-handed Plutonian agenda? At home in Capricorn, Saturn disposes this aggressive Pluto, so the pressure is on and the stakes are high. 

Jupiter (Scorpio) squares Venus-Juno (Aquarius), inconjoins Uranus (Aries); Jupiter and Mars (Sagittarius) form a mutual reception. In (U.S.) political astrology, Jupiter is often associated with the GOP—its radix Pisces Sun resonates with Jupiter’s laissez-faire approach and promotion of growth. The square to Venus and the inconjunct to Uranus that we see here suggest an intense economic agenda that could hold some surprises, and with Saturn hovering exactly opposite Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer, chart not shown), a Wall Street “correction” isn’t out of the question. 

In fact, the economy could well be over-stimulated with a somewhat arrogant Jupiter holding court at the top of the chart, sextile Scorpio co-ruler Pluto and in mutual reception with Mars (Sagittarius). Jupiter also trines Pisces Chiron, suggesting that the “happy times are here again” excesses we’re seeing today (a deliberate $1.5 trillion tax revenue loss, followed by $25 billion for a wall?) may come back to bite us.  

Final thoughts

We’ve seen efforts by Trump to consolidate power in a myriad of ways, so the eclipse is likely to merely intensify a process that’s already in place. It’s a process that always plays out like a no-holds-barred wrestling match, complete with dirty maneuvers and throw-downs: Step 1, tear down/undermine the Enemy (media person, political functionary, judge, prosecutor, etc.); Step 2, confuse the narrative with plausible ambiguities, sowing doubt and division (thus gaining power over public perception); Step 3, play “Bait & Switch,” replacing the confused narrative with a fear- and crisis-driven imperative: “we must do this now, or else!” 

Even a casual observer can see that through Twitter or other means, Trump and Co. work to undermine the power of everyone around them, attempting to co-opt that power to themselves. Through unrelenting bashing, the Media is being trained to see that to contradict the “official narrative” or to ask uncomfortable questions is to be labeled “Fake News” (with awards, even); this makes sense with Pluto transiting into a tight opposition with our Sibly Mercury (Cancer, chart not shown). 

And slowly but surely, Congress, the Justice Department, the Courts and even State and City governments (“sanctuary cities” beware!) are learning that their intended new purpose is to serve the Executive’s agenda—“loyalty first!” Pluto is also transiting square our Sibly Saturn (Congress, the Courts) and opposite our Sibly Sun (Executive). Many commentators have pointed out that Trump just doesn’t seem to “get” our supposedly balanced system of 3 co-equal branches of federal power, and who could disagree? Would anyone argue that he wants to get it?

No, the reality is pretty clear: despite any illusions to the contrary, he doesn’t want to get it, and this eclipse could help him solidify that position if we’re not vigilant and determined. So, do we renew the 1776 “contract,” or stand by as a new order takes over? Stay tuned!

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

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

© Raye Robertson 2018. All rights reserved.

[1] Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN, 2006, pp. 110-111.
[2] Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, revised/updated edition, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK, 2004, Chart #126, p. 137.
[3] Ibid, Chart #259, p. 251.
[4] Ibid, Chart #280, p. 273.
[5] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, pp. 176.
[6] Ibid, p. 177.