Wednesday, August 8, 2018

At a bend in the Arc of History: another fiery August eclipse

Here we go again...another eventful cosmic week, and more kindling for our raging news cycle!

This time the fire fueling passions and events will be perpetuated by a partial solar eclipse in Leo on Saturday, August 11th. If you think a fiery eclipse in August sounds vaguely familiar, you’d be justified:  a very powerful eclipse on this same day in 1999 ushered in the dismal early days of our 21st century. Interestingly, this latter-day eclipse was visible to more people than any eclipse in human history. Here’s Wikipedia’s account:

“The path of the Moon’s shadow began in the Atlantic Ocean and, before noon, was traversing the southern United Kingdom, northern France, Belgium, Luxembourg, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and northern FR Yugoslavia (Vojvodina). The eclipse’s maximum was at 11:03 UTC at 45.1°N 24.3°E in Romania (next to a town called Ocnele Mari near Râmnicu Vâlcea); and it continued across Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Turkey, northeastern tip of Syria, northern Iraq, Iran, southern Pakistan and Srikakulam in India and ended in the Bay of Bengal.”
So this 1999 eclipse, which fell at 18°+Leo, was not visible in the U.S., but we certainly felt its impact through growing resentments abroad, resentments that eventually festered into the terrorist attack on New York in 2001. Judging from the way our finance sector was targeted that September 11th, it’s fair to assume that the uneven playing field created by globalization had something to do with the resentment. Suffice to say, that eclipse fanned the flames of extremist hostilities.

Eclipse expert Celeste Teal cast her chart for this 1999 event for Greenwich, England (to show its broad, transnational reach, I would assume), and she emphasized the tense, angular and fixed grand cross configuration stretched across the heart of it (chart reproduced in Chart #1 below). She sums it up neatly with: “Major theme: individual ego versus brotherhood of man = terrorism.”[1]  Given the way events unfolded over that tumultuous period, it seems that the U.S. and its institutional hold on global finance were cast in the role of Ego, writ large. If we think we’re isolated from the rest of the world, no, nothing would be farther from the truth. 

Chart #1: Solar Eclipse, August 11, 1999, 12:08:28 pm DST, Greenwich, England. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Needless to say, re-stimulating that same 18°+Leo degree with another eclipse isn’t particularly heartening at the moment, especially since our national “ego” issues have blossomed into full-throated, “America First” narcissism under the Trump administration. And, with the exception of cozying up to Russia and Israel, we’re doing little to cultivate good will and brotherhood abroad. 

If anything, the Trump administration is destroying any good will we might have enjoyed: he has only begrudgingly supported our NATO alliances and has pulled us out of international accords like the Paris Agreement that might help mitigate the migration crisis that is roiling Europe, at the same time his agencies are rolling back the environmental regulations put in place under Obama to achieve the Paris objectives. 

Trump’s surrogates (especially Steve Bannon) have been feeding right-wing extremist efforts in Europe, while back here, the administration has separated asylum-seeking children from their parents, incarcerating or otherwise abusing both in our name, for the sake of a disastrous, Zero Tolerance immigration policy. 

The list of ways good will is being destroyed goes on, but most troublingly, Trump seems bent on destroying any confidence Americans have in their democratic institutions. Being a belligerent, controlling Leo type himself, with his Mars conjunct a late Leo ascendant, he characterizes himself as being the solution to all our problems…if only the Media—that “enemy of the People” in his eyes—would get out of his way.  

The last post here discussed his fraught relationship to the truth (7/31/18)—Trump changes his narrative to suit the situation, as though he’s writing a “Reality TV” script instead of a presidential directive. Source-corroborated facts are a nuisance when you want to be able to change your story on a dime.  

An idea with a "rich" history

The fact is, Trump’s continued assault on the Media has many expressing alarm and concern that they could be endangered if the rhetoric doesn’t cool down. Trump is walking a fine line between free speech and inciting violence, and considering this week’s potentially volatile eclipse, we could see an escalation in violence, including toward members of the media. 

I hope I’m overstating the case, but even journalists who try their best to remain poker-faced neutral when it comes to partisan politics are starting to express fear that the attempts to instigate rage against them have caught hold too strongly. Those attempts, enabled by continued Russian interference and frankly bizarre conspiracy theorizing by groups like QAnon, are starting to feel like more than a threat from the fringes. This week the Washington Post featured a tiny town in rural Pennsylvania known as a haven for Nazis and the white supremacist movement:

“Neo-Nazis and their opponents here say that white extremists have grown more confident — and confrontational — since the rise of Donald Trump. Two months before the 2016 presidential election, the KKK established a “24 hour Klan Line” and sent goody bags containing lollipops and fliers to hundreds of homes. “You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake,” the message read. A regional newspaper ran Klan advertisements saying, “God bless the KKK.”
Local police said the group had not openly recruited in years.
Two weeks later, the area’s two neo-Nazi groups, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and Aryan Strike Force, held a “white unity meeting” in Ulysses to discuss their response to Trump and plan joint action. One organizer would not say when the groups had last met, simply commenting: ‘It’s just a good time.’” 

Relatedly, next Sunday (the day after the eclipse, in fact) is slated for a reprise of last year’s controversial Charlottesville “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally, which ended in bloodshed, one death and in Trump’s equivocating pronouncement that “there are good people on both sides.”

A return to right-wing extremism?
This latest protest—for “white civil rights”—will bring together several extremist groups and will take place in front of the White House. Counterprotests are springing up all over, with a major march planned between New York and D.C. Needless to say, with a still fresh fiery eclipse ruling the day, things could get volatile.

Before considering the chart for Saturday’s eclipse, set for Washington, D.C., let’s quickly examine why eclipses are so important in mundane astrology. A solar eclipse is a New Moon, the precise conjunction of the Sun and the Moon, and it’s a moment that carries tremendous weight for geopolitics.  The Sun is regarded as the Leader in mundane astrology, while the Moon represents “the People.” 

We could talk at great length about each of these designations, but suffice to say here that the Sun encompasses much more than any individual who happens to play a leadership role (president, prime minister or monarch, etc.), and the Moon represents “the body politic” that is either nurtured and invigorated by the Leader’s energies, or starved and diminished by them. 

In this Leo eclipse we’ll consider below, the Sun and Moon are closely allied, yet the agenda they are seeding will be dominated by Solar priorities because the Sun rules that alliance. As we’ll see, this could manifest in ways that are literal—like raging wildfires continuing to dominate far too many landscapes—or in more psycho-social ways, with escalating tantrums by our would-be authoritarian in the White House. In a bizarre blend of the two, Trump just issued a presidential tweet claiming that California’s environmental laws are to blame for the wildfires currently raging! 

Either way, the Sibly Moon (Aquarius, all of Us) bears the brunt. The possibilities are much more complex than these, of course. 

Our Sibly Sun (13°+Cancer), for instance, embraces all the historical, philosophical and cultural baggage of the U.S. presidency—from its foundational mythologies (George Washington “cannot tell a lie”) to its ritual trappings and traditions, its priorities and powers. How many flags are displayed behind every presidential podium? How many pens are given out in a signing ceremony?  

Democracy or monarchy?
And the two big questions of the day: is the president above the Law, or not? If the administration and the president contradict each other on key policies and priorities (as we’ve seen on so many Russia-related issues), and then persist in claiming that there’s no divide whatsoever, how does this “schizophrenia” impact our collective wellbeing?  

Our Cancer Sun makes us a lunar nation, at heart, so when the nation’s Aquarius Moon is hurting—as it sure seems to be now, with Trump’s belligerent Mars (Leo) opposing it from our radix 9th house—the nation is hurting. National security and a “Mom and apple pie” ethos (the welfare of the family, a “chicken in every pot”) are core, foundational values that have always driven our political discourse. Cancer is a lot more aggressive sign than we may think, too: she may have been a quirky candidate for V.P., but Sarah Palin was evoking our defensive/feisty Cancerian/Aquarian nature when she said that you don’t want to mess with “Mama Bear.” 

Lately, though, we’ve become less defensive and more inexplicably cruel: as if separating families at the border wasn’t enough, now the administration is working to take away the possibility of citizenship from even legal migrants

Clearly, we’ve strayed tremendously from our core values as a nation, and no surprise, this is strongly reflected in Pluto’s long transiting opposition to our Sun from Capricorn. The divisions roiling us have a lot to do with this Pluto and Neptune, now transiting trine our Sibly Sun; operating in very stealth fashion, these two have done real damage, even undermining our ability to agree upon a consensus reality (or clear policy directions). 

With all this said, let’s consider Saturday’s eclipse; hopefully we’ll see a path forward. 

Chart #2: Solar Eclipse, August 11, 2018, 5:57:28 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Sun-Moon (Eclipse point, Leo) conjoins Pallas-MercuryRx-Part of Fortune-ASC (Leo), squares Jupiter (Scorpio) and trines Vesta (Sagittarius). This eclipse should raise awareness through a purpose-driven, justice-related narrative. The vital question here is, whose agenda will prevail? The eclipse falls in the 1st house of this D.C. chart, suggesting that our national identity (Leo) is under fire. The trine to Vesta suggests the importance of passion and belief in determining which narrative will prevail. We’ve seen many times in history, unfortunately, when passion and belief  have been twisted and perverted for various amoral purposes (Jupiter in Scorpio)—we’ll see with the next configuration below why that is once again a concern.  

YOD: MercuryRx-Pallas-Sun-Moon (Leo) inconjoin both Neptune (Pisces) and Pluto (Capricorn); Pluto sextiles Neptune. So often, Pluto and Neptune seem to be lurking in the background when things go very, very wrong, but their influence is not only necessary, but far from uniformly negative. Their transformative forces prepare the “firmament” out of which the broad, civilization-level dynamics of human evolution emerge. They are focused on the raw perpetuation of Life itself, and they traffic in the Laws of Nature, not of humankind. So, with these two facilitating each other by sextile, the civilizational shifts can—in concert with other cosmic factors—be accelerated and shaped.

Left to their own devices, however, Neptune and Pluto would allow “survival of the fittest” to rule human affairs as brutally as it does the natural world (the separation between humanity and nature is illusory anyway). Safety nets would become even more fragile; we would be left wondering where human decency, morality and compassion have gone. Life would start to feel so impersonal and vulnerable…unless human dynamics such as will power, intelligence, resilience, passion and ethical principles are brought to bear against this brutal tide and supported as they shape just, ethical societies.

It is this “leaning in” of personal/social cosmic forces—intent on tempering and “civilizing” an empowered Pisces Neptune and a Saturn-enabled Pluto in Capricorn—that we see in this yod. 

This tempering process will probably succeed better if we work to reclaim our Solar integrity as a nation, so perhaps this eclipse is signaling opportunities to begin that process ahead. This requires a transformative rebirthing, and two “babies” we need very badly right now are a united narrative (now under revision, with retrograde Mercury) and a return to our core ethos (Pallas-Sun-Moon). The corruption we’ve fallen prey to with Neptune and Pluto dogging our astrological steps is an existential (Sun) wake-up call, pure and simple. 

T-Square: Dragon’s Tail (North Node, Leo) opposes MarsRx-South Node (Aquarius); this axis is squared by MC-UranusRx (Taurus).  This eclipse is not conjunct the early Leo No. Node, but this tense, fixed configuration suggests that we’ll see some head-butting and tension over goals, especially abroad (9th house UranusRx-MC). Aquarius MarsRx is co-ruled by Saturn (Rx, Capricorn) and UranusRx, and the trine between these two suggest that changes may be forced upon some and celebrated by others. Some initiatives will be reversed after these retrograde planets go direct. 

Trump’s military “parade” may go on, but not without some stress. His belligerent style isn’t likely to soften under these energies, but those resisting his domineering impulses may be empowered. 

As for changes that Trump would like to force on others, he’s already getting his tweet-hackles up over Europe ignoring the sanctions he’s put back on Iran. Crippling Iran’s economy seems to be a key Trump aim, but Europe feels it’s more important to play “good cop,” preserving what can be preserved of the nuclear deal Trump abandoned with Iran. Clearly, Israel is also part of this picture, but this isn't just an exercise in abstract power-mongering: the people of Iran will suffer if Trump’s agenda prevails, and that can only lead to trouble. Not incidentally, Israel’s radix chart[2] ties into this coming Leo eclipse pretty tightly, and its radix Mars conjoins Trump’s Mars/ASC in late Leo. 

MarsRx (Aquarius) sextiles ChironRx (Aries) and trines Venus (Libra). This Venus is dignified in home sign Libra, but she’s feeling bruised by Chiron’s opposition and Saturn’s square (more on these ahead). Our Venusian values (fairness, justice, beauty) are certainly challenged these days, but the trine with MarsRx should support creative ventures, and legal cases should proceed pretty smoothly, although Judge Ellis’s contentious demands on the prosecution in the Paul Manafort case makes me wonder if justice will prevail, or be bullied into submission by dominant authoritarians (Leo eclipse conjoins Pallas).  

Needless to say, some geopolitical players will find ways to mis-use and abuse this nice flowing energy.  

T-Square: Venus (Libra) opposes ChironRx (Aries); this axis squares SaturnRx (Capricorn). This tense configuration spans the financial, 2-8th axis and squares the 5th, where SaturnRx resides, a house ruled by Jupiter (Scorpio). The 5th-11th axis reflects influence-peddling and networks of power-players, and there’s a certain resonance with Leo and the eclipse. The “vibe” is contentious, however, with Jupiter square the eclipse from the 4th house of the “grass roots.” 

Aside from what this may say about the upcoming midterm elections (my, will the money be flowing), this tension could contribute to a financial downturn in the foreseeable future—more on that below under Jupiter’s trine with NeptuneRx. The stock market has defied gravity for longer than many expected already, but Trump’s trade policies continue to push its limits. It’s unusual for big problems to occur in the economy during an election year, but nothing is quite normal these days.

Jupiter (Scorpio) trines NeptuneRx (Pisces). Massive financial deals are likely to be negotiated under these energies, especially with these planets placed in the 4th and 8th respectively. Let’s hope the election isn’t just one more such “deal!” Unfortunately, with an aggressive Capricorn Pluto disposing Jupiter here, this flowing aspect can enable corrupt practices—a Machiavellian “the ends justifies the means” approach to achieving goals. Trump’s proposed second tax cut for the wealthy could move forward under this aspect (an election ploy?), and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that he planted that “seed idea” in the news this past week. 

We can probably also expect to hear more about Trump wanting to loosen the sanctions on Russia under these energies, as well—that would be the perfect “birthday” present for Putin, whose natal Venus (11°+Scorpio) conjoins this eclipse Jupiter.  

I’ve dangled the possibility of a financial downturn, so let me clarify my concern:  I’m not a financial astrologer, so I will defer to their expertise, but I do think caution is in order with this Jupiter-Neptune combination.  Such combinations can produce economic “bubbles,” and with Jupiter in the 4th house of “homes” and Neptune in the 8th house of financing, it’s at least worth watching.

Final thoughts

Even though the eclipse on August 11th is a partial eclipse, and a relatively short one, it packs a considerable punch because it’s essentially an intensified New Moon/transiting event. It will be visible across the northern latitudes of North America, Greenland, Europe, Russia and Asia—land masses that have all been experiencing hotter than normal summer seasons (wildfires have hit Sweden, even).

A fiery eclipse will probably do little to cool things down, but it may draw attention to the economic and geopolitical importance of the northern latitudes. We’ve already seen that Europe is in Trump’s cross hairs because it wants to preserve a friendlier relationship with Iran than he wants to; keep an eye out for fireworks (literal and political) there. 

The other reason this chart is so potent is the fact that four major positions are dignified, transiting their ruling signs: Sun, Venus, Saturn and Neptune. Granted, two of these planets are now retrograde, but it seems likely that powerful players are still emboldened to grab what they want right now. This Venus has the hefty back-up of a material-minded UranusRx (Taurus), so there will probably be building contracts galore. The question is, will they be squandered on Trump’s dream “Wall” or will they help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure? 

That issue may not be resolved or move ahead until Uranus turns direct next January. 

It’ll be interesting to watch how the Saturn-Uranus trine (both Rx, Capricorn-Taurus) plays out: these energies in combination are often associated with authoritarian regimes, but they can also be channeled into more positive creative change. We need to take responsibility for what we want to happen here! 

This point may be more urgent than we think, considering the white supremacist rally planned in D.C. this weekend, and the growing problem of right-wing extremism (considered an Aquarian phenomenon by many mundane astrologers) within our borders. As mentioned, Aquarius co-rulers Saturn and Uranus are both retrograde now, blunting their impact, but Saturn turns direct in September.  


When Uranus turns direct next January, it will be at 28°+Aries, taking a last crack at those final fiery degrees. Mars—disposing that Uranus, will just be ingressing its home sign Aries at that time. Thankfully, Saturn and Uranus will be out of aspect at that time, but it could still be a time period worth watching, especially since a new midterm Congress will be in session. 

We’ve been through many of these extreme swings between right and left wing politics in our history, but I’m probably not alone in feeling that there is something qualitatively different about this period. We’ve never had a foreign power muscling in on our elections before, for one very troubling thing. We’ve perhaps also never seen such cynically adept uses of our karmic baggage against us. 

In Michigan, for instance, a Trump-backed black military veteran named John James just won the primary and is running to overturn our long-time Democratic stalwart in the Senate, Debbie Stabenow. She’s always been able to count upon the African-American community for support, so inserting a black veteran (bound to be sympathetic) into the race threatens to divide that support. Do we really think Trump (or his surrogate) cares about African-American priorities? 

My guess is, machinations like this are taking place around the nation, so anyone taking the so-called “Blue Wave” for granted needs to think twice. Heavy Saturn-Uranus energies, in earth signs, no less, call for focusing on “bread and butter” issues. The stock market may still be roaring when voters go the polls in November, but people won’t be feeling any more secure because Trump and his “Us v. Them” narrative won’t let them feel secure. Will his divisiveness, support of conspiracy theories and attempts to undermine (both Neptune) the free press continue drawing out the vicious instincts of the extremist fringe? 

That’s likely, but the only remedy for that is an overwhelming, positive-Neptunian response. The non-violent resistance that finally made the difference during the Civil Rights/Vietnam era comes to mind, and many groups are employing those tactics again, to their credit. It may sound cliché, but only Love conquers Hate in the end, and the issue isn’t simply “black v. white.” It’s justice v. injustice, and that impacts all of us.

A scene from the Kent State University tragedy
In the 1960s, there was nothing “weak” about this non-violent, Neptunian approach—ask those who were assaulted with powerful water hoses in those protests. Ask the college students gunned down at Kent State by riot police. Standing up for one’s rights in the face of harsh treatment and attempts to deny those rights was key. Telling the truth in the face of official distortion and obfuscation was also key. Are we seeing a return to those dark times? 

Here’s the big question:  will, as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. famously counseled, “the arc of history bend towards justice?”

It will if we bend it!

[1] Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation, Llewelyn Publications, Woodbury, MN, 2006, p. 157.
[2] Chart #163, p. 167, Book of World Horoscopes, Nicholas Campion. 2004 edition.