Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day 2018: the Astrology of the military’s role in today’s government

This Memorial Day weekend feels like a good time to reflect on what’s going on astrologically with our U.S. military these days.

The military is an American institution that—from afar—seems to be avoiding the worst undermining instincts of the Trump presidency, but is it really? The answer might depend upon our perception of the military’s role in our collective lives. This is a far more complex issue than we might think.

Full disclosure: I grew up during the height of Viet Nam war protests and so was greatly relieved that my sons, born during the 1970s and 80s, were coming of age after the military draft was discontinued. This was a purely selfish sentiment, of course—if they had been critically needed for the nation’s defense and a draft was reinstated, I would have had to suck it up like any military mom and pray for the best. That’s one of the many hard realities of citizenship. 

Instead, my young adult sons and I were able to enjoy a couple family “outings” to Washington, D.C. to protest (in late 2002 and early 2003) the fraudulent excuses being given at that time for attacking Iraq. The memories of the 9/11/2001 attacks were fresh, of course—a real “coming of age” moment for my sons’ Pluto in Libra generation—but something about the way the narrative underpinnings of the Iraq war were being manufactured before our eyes just stunk of corrupt intent and fraudulent misdirection. 

I was convinced that the sons and daughters going off to that war were being deluded and used by powerful entities for whom human life is a mere “resource” to be deployed. These entities find the military a useful tool, and their motives are not always honorable or ethical. Long story there.

Looking back, I have no regrets for doubting our leaders’ motives for attacking Iraq in 2003; quite the opposite, the nation has much to regret about the Iraq War.

Thank you for your service!

 Even so, one of the hard lessons of the Viet Nam era and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been that it’s one thing to protest an unjust, corrupt war, and it’s quite another to vilify or under-appreciate military service in general. If one or more of my sons had sincerely heard that call to serve, I wouldn’t have stopped them from following their own lights.

The life of a warrior is a calling like any other, and it can be an honorable, character-building profession. Since mythic times, warriors have been revered and lionized for their vital contributions, their strength in the face of battle, and for their courageous sacrifices. Simply put, we need these brave, committed individuals. 

There is, however, a major pitfall built into this vocation: its dependence upon the character of its commanders. Military officers and personnel follow orders, so in one respect, their actions will only be as good, ethical or honorable as those who issue the orders. Unfortunately, the military virtues of bravery, selfless dedication and loyalty (“Semper Fi”) can be, and over the centuries certainly have been, used and abused for dubious purposes.   

The Iraq War fits here in my estimation, and if we end up going to war with Iran and/or North Korea under Trump, I’ll probably feel the same way about those conflicts. To unite people behind such causes would require a much more trustworthy, honorable leader.  

We have seen vivid results from our leaders’ past abuses of power in the horrific suicide statistics among both veterans and the enlisted. In the callous disregard for vets after their service concludes, as they’re trying to find post-service jobs, medical and psychological care, and of course, when they’re trying to find affordable housing. The statistics are alarming:

Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night.
As one vet I know put it very succinctly, “we were expendable materiel.”

Despite all this, the military is a noble profession whose first mission is to protect the Constitution. All of the military’s other duties flow from that mission. Here are the two oaths administered in the U.S. armed forces:

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlistees):
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." 

The Oath of Office (for officers):
"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." 

So we have to wonder what happens when the Commander-in-Chief (who would ideally deserve that “Semper Fi” allegiance) is him- or herself not protecting the Constitution, but abusing the power of the presidency. And what happens when the “enemies, foreign or domestic,” are entangled with the sitting president? 

And—worst case scenario—what happens when the sitting president was probably not elected legitimately, as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (a career military defense professional) affirmed in a recent interview? If the Constitution is the military’s guiding light, how can it proceed when heavy shade has been thrown on that light by its Commander-in-Chief, his enablers and cohorts? Will the military ultimately be part of the problem, or part of the solution? 

These are serious questions for our murky, troubled times, but as we’ll see, astrology can provide some insights into why we’re going through this, and why now. Let’s begin with a consideration of the U.S. Sibly chart, from the perspective of military service and national defense. These concerns are usually considered the business of the 6th and 7th houses respectively, yet confining the impulse to defend the nation to these limited sectors of the chart seems counter-intuitive. Even so, let’s start there and see where this leads.

The astrology

What follows is a biwheel featuring the sunrise chart for this year’s Memorial Day against the nation’s Sibly chart. As we’ll see, the affairs of both 6th and 7th houses are firmly interwoven and permeate throughout the chart.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Memorial Day 2018, May 28, 2018, 5:46 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Sibly Taurus 6th house is ruled by 7th house Venus in Cancer; Sibly Venus conjoins Sibly Jupiter (Cancer) and is opposed by MDay Vesta-Saturn (Capricorn).  One key takeaway here: security-conscious Cancer Venus is the glue that binds the 6th and 7th house together here, and she may be inspiring the defensive, fear-mongering rhetoric we’re hearing out of D.C. these days. Trump is the shrillest voice, of course, telling our Homeland Security Secretary to basically lock down our borders and ignore the rule of law when it comes to people crossing our borders. “We’re closed!” he says. 

Apparently, immigrants = criminals in his mind—an irrational (many would say hateful) position that mirrors Saturn’s transit opposite Trump’s Cancer Mercury (chart not shown), as well as the nation’s Venus-Jupiter. It’s important here that Saturn and Vesta are transiting the nation’s 1st house: this explains the stressful time We the People have been having lately, up to and including the issue of public health and welfare (the opioid crisis comes to mind).

Being dominated by a cruel, fearful bully also comes to mind as a stressor (Trump’s bullying Leo Mars also exactly opposes our Sibly Moon, as well), and this is no small concern for our national soul. His constant angry assault on the truth and his attempts to destroy our trust in institutions such as the FBI and the Justice Department is an assault on our minds and hearts—again, no small concern.

But is Trump truly that fearful of outsiders coming in (he married two of them and he’s super-cozy with foreign nationals who want political access), or is he simply fear-mongering for political effect?  

Importantly for today’s exploration, Trump has already used his executive power to place the National Guard at the border, as though we’re being invaded by a hostile power. They’re already being overly abusive, separating parents from their children at the border and overturning centuries of tradition in regards to granting sanctuary to deserving individuals. This makes us a much crueler nation: will these domestic armed forces be called upon to violate their humanity and break the law to satisfy the Commander-in-Chief’s hateful campaign promises? 

And what about the quasi-military, Homeland Security forces of ICE? Besides the fact that ICE’s very existence reflects how we’ve officially criminalized immigration, perhaps its cruel treatment of longtime immigrant residents under Trump is one reason we’re seeing bipartisan pressure to get an immigration bill on the floor for a vote? Congress (Saturn) really needs to do its job on this issue and stop allowing Trump and his ICE storm troopers to call the shots entirely.

From its position in the 7th, Jupiter rules the Sibly 1st house of identity and national outreach, so the opposition by transiting Saturn also implies stress to our national relationships, i.e., our allies (7th). We’re seeing it in the on-again-off-again talks with North Korea, with our European allies pursuing a way to preserve both the Paris Accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal without the U.S., and that’s just for starters. 

All of these broken and undermined relationships could have military ramifications down the road: how will we know if our military is being used for honorable purposes or not? Will any military action that results be legitimate, or Trump ego trips?

Chiron transiting into Aries is highlighting this situation, too: directly opposing the Sibly MC from the Sibly 4th, it’s currently forming a grand-square with transiting Vesta (Capricorn) and Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Aries Chiron is a “wounded warrior,” but this configuration suggests that the pain could motivate all parties to push for balanced geopolitical relationships. Here’s where our honorable, experienced national warriors can help tame the Commander-in-Chief’s natural volatility: those who know the pains of war (Trump enjoyed multiple deferments) are the least likely to see war as the solution to all disputes. 

In fact, a short month after Chiron last entered Aries in February 1969, “wounded warrior,” WWII hero and 33rd president Dwight D. Eisenhower (natal chart[1] ruler fell opposite at 2+Libra, among other issues) was laid to rest. Richard Nixon—a troubling model Trump is often compared to—was sworn in that January, just before the Aries ingress. During the course of that year he began drawing down U.S. troop levels from Viet Nam, but caused a lot of domestic controversy with his methods. From Wikipedia

“On 27 October 1969, Nixon ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union, in accord with the madman theory, that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam War ("Operation Giant Lance").[212][213]
At 3+ and 11+ Aries respectively that October day, the Chiron/Eris (midpoint, Aries) was quite snugly conjunct Nixon’s natal No. Node (6+Aries), with transiting Uranus adding a “mad” erratic punch from (6+Libra), square Nixon’s natal[2] Mercury-Jupiter in Capricorn. Eris also brings a warrior mindset to bear: Nixon was clearly looking to exploit the power in madness and unpredictability, but what of the military forces in harm’s way at the time, not to mention the stakes of such nuclear brinksmanship? 

The parallels between Nixon’s “madman theory” and Trump’s “fire and fury” tweets with Kim Jong-Un should be troubling, but perhaps not for the obvious reasons. Interestingly, at 5+Libra, Trump’s natal Neptune ties into this 1969 early cardinal stress pattern, and into Nixon’s chart. Has he been instinctively (or perhaps even intentionally) channeling Nixon for a new military conquest?

L-R, David Frost and Richard Nixon--a memorable, Watergate-era interview.

Other parallels leap to mind, as well: Nixon was known to rely on the defense that “national security” depended upon him being allowed to act with impunity, right or wrong. “If the president does something, that means it’s not illegal” was his response to a famous question asked by David Frost during the Watergate investigation.  Early in his presidency, Trump claimed that “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” And he and his family have been exploiting this controversial loophole in our conflict of interest norms ever since. 

Trump clearly resonates with Nixon’s mindset and views of executive power, but perhaps that’s where the comparison ends. As one writer put it, “Don’t insult Nixon by comparing him to Trump!” Among other issues, Nixon had the decency to resign when his impeachable offenses were uncovered. 

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: Sibly Vesta (Taurus) trines Sibly Neptune (Virgo), trines MDay Pluto (Capricorn). Demetra George and Douglas Bloch[3] characterize Vesta-Pluto aspects as signifying “a sense of destiny and personal commitment to the transformation of society,” and with Neptune, they suggest there’s a tendency for Vesta (here in the public service-oriented 6th house) to focus on spiritual ideals. This can certainly be construed to be the military ideals of honor and valor, but we might want to be wary about any attempt to “transform” our society into a more military-style state. 

As noted above, we’re seeing too much militarization already in local police forces, along our borders, and with ICE. This is not militarization in the service of democracy—it’s an erosion of democracy for the sake of what Trump perceives as “national security.” Or perhaps his own security? 

The houses linked by this earthy triad are key here, of course: as a mutually-reinforcing circuit of energy and resources, the Sibly 2nd-6th-10th house triad represents what Dwight Eisenhower dubbed the “Military-Industrial Complex.”  It’s no surprise that under Trump our Defense budget has skyrocketed. From DefenseNews:

“Senate leaders have reached a two-year deal that would set defense spending at $700 billion for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019.
Those top-lines, part of a deal announced by Senate leaders Wednesday afternoon, hews to those authorized by National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 and President Donald Trump’s expected 2019 defense budget.
Not all of the details were announced immediately, as bipartisan talks continued, but sources close to them said spending limits for defense and non-defense combined would be raised by $300 billion over two years.”

We also know from Trump’s own comments that updating our nuclear arsenal is a major priority for him: Pluto’s role opposite Sibly Mercury (Cancer)—ruling the Sibly 7th—is spelled out pretty clearly here. We’ve been down this “arms race” path before: it’s a sure path to crippling national debt and insecurity. It’s also a sure path to great moral dilemmas for our military: can our military leaders refuse to follow a Commander-in-Chief order that involves dropping a nuclear weapon for unjust or fraudulent reasons? Doomsday scenarios abound, for good reason.

But, like a schoolyard bully or worse, Trump insists on boasting about the size and power of our nuclear arsenal. Then there’s the issue of nuclear energy production itself, which Trump wants to boost, but only in concert with efforts to boost the much more polluting coal industry. He’s been working, in fact, to claim wartime powers that hark back to the Korean War for the sake of boosting these industries. From Bloomberg News

“Under the approach, the administration would invoke sweeping authority in the 68-year-old Defense Production Act, which allows the president to effectively nationalize private industry to ensure the U.S. has resources that could be needed amid a war or after a disaster.”
While an updated, more secure nuclear energy infrastructure could be a positive, and while some states, like coal-rich West Virginia, welcome any boost to their industry, there’s no consideration of the “big picture” here—the environment is probably our greatest security threat (Vesta would agree here), and sacrificing that on the altar of defense (when we seem to be taking mostly offensive positions in the world) is more than troubling.

Pluto transiting trine to Neptune is very busy energizing the “Fog of War” machine, it seems, and as always, our military will pay the heaviest price for these machinations. The fact is, we’ve been attacked by Russian interference in our 2016 election (an ongoing threat): is anyone talking about using military action against Russia?! No, we’re talking about the threats posed by other countries who haven’t come anywhere near our shores!

7th house Sibly Mars (Gemini) quincunxes MDay Pluto (Capricorn) while MDay Saturn/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer). This Saturn/Pluto midpoint falls in the Sibly 2nd (ruled by Saturn), which may explain the harsh, aggressive tone permeating our national economic discourse (Sibly 2nd) these days. Trump’s trade negotiations (opposition to Sibly Sun, the Executive) are often characterized as battles for total conquest, with “what’s in it for the U.S.?” being his only concern. 

That’s probably why his about-face on the Chinese telecom firm ZTE is so suspicious and considered a “national security risk” by a bipartisan group in Congress that is pushing back on the idea. There are also suspicions that Trump’s turnabout was inspired by a Chinese plan to put $500 million towards a Trump “theme park” project planned for Indonesia. The corrupt possibilities for this conflation of personal and national financial ambitions here are breathtaking. 

The security risks seem related to China’s breach of sanctions the U.S. placed on Iran, and indeed, ZTE’s role in helping the Iranian government to spy on its citizens. We might wonder whether Trump envisions having some use for similar services, in fact. If it sounds too much like Orwell’s “Big Brother,” it’s because it is. Perhaps this is another reason to avoid over-militarizing domestic law enforcement.

Orwell's dystopian vision is not as far-fetched as it seemed.

This Saturn/Pluto midpoint falls square Sibly Saturn (Libra)—we need to hope that Congress will continue pushing back on any movement toward a “Big Brother” state. Remember the “Thought Police” in Orwell’s 1984? This may sound too “Hollywood” to be taken seriously, but other peoples have suffered through this (Iran may be the latest) and we’re in no way exempt, given our present circumstances and the transits bedeviling our national chart at the moment. 

Another ethical and moral dilemma for our military to puzzle through. Who will they serve in the end: the Executive, or We the People? 

And now we come to the all-important issue of Mars in our Sibly chart and its current challenges. The quincunx with transiting Pluto (Capricorn) speaks volumes: our military (Mars) is caught in a powerful web of power dynamics right now, and the Plutonian crowd will probably win out because their financial clout trumps all (pun intended). I don’t foresee this situation improving until after this Pluto completes its return journey into its radix Sibly position at 27+Capricorn in 2022.

Unfortunately, by then, the nation and the military may have well experienced a transformation that crowds out all other priorities. Worst case scenario, we’ll be committed to a corporate-financed perpetual war footing because the military has been essentially privatized. With accelerating climate change, natural resources will perhaps become scarce enough to justify (to those corporate powers, at least) a new wave of imperialistic adventures. Anything that amounts to a war footing will allow the Executive to wield broad powers the Constitution reserves for wartime--martial law, among other onerous possibilities.

This is a story for another day, but the Sibly Pluto return chart for February 20, 2022 features Capricorn Mars-Venus-Vesta widely conjunct Pluto, again stressing out our radix Gemini Mars by quincunx. Resource wars will be quite possible if the intervening years haven’t been marked by progress against climate change. That’s the best case scenario here: that we all wake up to what’s being lost and do something about it!

Crumbling beneath our feet?
Interchart T-Square: MDay Neptune (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and this axis squares Sibly Mars (Gemini). This murky, mutable configuration is a preview of things to come, as well—at Pluto’s return to its Sibly position in 2022, Neptune will be exactly opposite (within minutes) of its radix Sibly position, as well. Between now and then we will likely be “dis”-illusioned by our so-called “American Dream.” 

Lifestyle changes will be required for the new, far more resource-conscious world we will be inhabiting. Housing needs to become more efficient and compact; water needs to be stretched beyond anything we’ve imagined, and every hectare of land (Neptune transiting Sibly 4th) needs to be used sustainably. All of these imperatives will be matters of national security (Sibly Mars). 

It’s hard to miss that Trump’s natal Sun-Node-Uranus stellium in Gemini (chart not shown) conjoins Sibly Mars, while his aggressive Sagittarius Moon opposes: this, along with the fact that this Sun disposes his chest-thumping Leo Mars, probably explains why he’s so emotionally invested in his role as Commander-in-Chief . Bring on the parade! 

Unfortunately, none of this bodes well for waging peace, as opposed to war—a former ambassador to Panama under the Trump administration likened Trump’s competitive style to a velociraptor, saying that Trump “has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference, he kills you.” This style impacts every level on which Trump exercises presidential power, of course—domestic and foreign. It will certainly impact the outcome of the Special Prosecutor’s  investigation. 

At this writing the investigation looks vulnerable, like it could be fatally undermined by Trump’s demands for classified information he shouldn’t be able to access at this juncture. Rod Rosenstein needs all the support (and backbone) that we can lend him. 

Needless to say, Trump’s “velocipator” style will tremendously complicate the lives of our military personnel. The tone is set at the top, and that tone is pretty oppressive right now.

The ambassador also pointed out that, while his approach to diplomacy has always been to seek out “win-win” solutions, Trump’s own book, The Art of the Deal reveals that Trump doesn’t believe in “win-win” solutions. It’s all or nothing for him. We’ve all heard him complain to high heaven that other countries have “taken us for a ride.” Even children are taught to share and play nice with others, aren’t they? Not in Trump’s world. 

This uncompromising, give-nothing approach to foreign affairs (except, strangely, to Russia, China and ZTE) can’t help but cause problems, and our military will bear the heaviest brunt for them.

Final thoughts

It would be disingenuous of me to soften what the astrology seems to be saying these days for the sake of a “feel-good” ending. Unfortunately, the astrology confirms the red flags that many, many political analysts are waving these days for our democratic system of checks and balances. The importance of Election 2018 cannot be overstated here, but even a shift in Congressional dynamics may not entirely stop Trump from using his executive power to diminish this nation and recreate it in his own image. Megalomania in a leader demands nothing less. 

We may, unfortunately, be stuck with him for the duration—even if Mueller does finally bring some charges against him. Trump’s insistent mantra that Election 2016 was being “rigged” against him was the perfect, hermetically-sealed defense against ever being held accountable for anything, and the country fell prey to it, with a lot of help from Russia and other outsiders, like Wikileaks. Now he’s deploying that same strategy to avoid taking responsibility for what appear to be some breathtakingly corrupt entanglements.

Bottom line, the heavy, divide-and-conquer dynamics of Neptune and Pluto transiting our national chart have been pretty overwhelming, and we’re still not out of the woods. From one coast to the other, we can’t even agree on the facts of our current politics, so uniting to protect ourselves from the current dangers is going to take some doing.

So, there’s more rocky road ahead, but my hope is that we will emerge from this dark passage with transformed appreciation for the mechanics of democracy and renewed kindred feelings for each other, as co-creators of that blessed order. Like our military, we’re all part of the solution!

Thank you for your service!

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. The critical ways in which our personal and collective dimensions overlap in everyday life is a particular area of study these days. Several of Raye’s 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] Eisenhower’s birth data (featured by Kepler 8.0 software) is October 14, 1890, 3:40 a.m. ST, Denison, TX. Disputed birth time—see  
[2] Birth data from birth record (listed in Kepler and January 9, 1913, 9:35 ST, Whittier, CA.
[3] Authors of Asteroid Goddesses: the Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine, 2003 updated edition, Ibis Press, Lake Worth, FL, pp. 148-49.