Friday, August 17, 2018

One voice falls silent, another rises: an astrological week in the news

“All I’m asking for is a little respect…”

Written by Smokey Robinson, immortalized by the great Aretha Franklin

What a harsh wind blew over us this week, breaking so many hearts with the death of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin on Thursday. We knew this was coming—hospice workers had moved into her home here in the Detroit metro area, where her many friends and family members kept vigil for the past couple days. Suffering the end stages of pancreatic cancer, it simply was her time. Still, the news of her passing was a blow, and our world already feels more sad and brittle without her. 

Then it occurred to me what a perfectly ironic, if tragic, twist Ms. Franklin’s death gives to this week in American news, when Donald Trump unleashed a raw tantrum of emotions—like so much sewage—on another strong African-American woman, Omarosa Manigault-Newman. His one-time reality-show “apprentice” and most recently, terminated White House aide, Ms. Manigault-Newman has been on the offensive, touring a tell-all book of her time in the Trump White House entitled Unhinged: an Insider’s Account of the Trump White House

Trump’s defensiveness is probably warranted—the book should be intensely embarrassing to him—but his vicious Twitter sputum was still revolting and a new low, even for him. Never fear, as fired former FBI Director James Comey famously quipped, “Lordy, she has tapes!”

First she released a tape in which administration members are discussing how to handle Trump’s historical uses of the “N”-Word. And then yesterday, Manigault-Newman released a tape of Trump daughter-in-law Lara allegedly offering her a vague $15k/month “campaign job” for remaining “positive” about Trump and little else. No dice. 

So, it’s been a week of passing, controversy and a kind of poetic justice for strong black women, and even Donald Trump—whose modus operandi with such individuals is to disparage their intelligence and much worse—had a few nice things to say about the Queen. He had to say that she "worked for him"...really?! Is he trying to compete with her for media attention?  Stay tuned!

On display in Biwheel #1 below is Aretha Franklin’s natal chart (inner wheel), precisely timed according to her birth certificate, and a noon chart for her day of death (outer wheel). We can only speculate about the journey she was on at this point, so I won’t attempt an in-depth analysis here, but one prominent transit speaks volumes about her death, and it’s worth pondering. 

So much of the media coverage of her death has focused on her upbringing in the “Gospel” community, and the fact that her singing—whether religiously themed or not—was profoundly moving. “When Aretha sang, she brought you to God,” was one person’s comment. This theme features prominently in this biwheel. Let’s begin.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Aretha Franklin, March 25, 1942, 10:30 p.m. War Time, Memphis, TN; (outer wheel) Aretha Franklin death, August 16, 2018, 12:00 p.m. (noon, no time available), Detroit, MI (news reports). Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Transiting Neptune conjoins/opposes Natal Nodal Axis (Pisces-Virgo) and squares Natal Mars-Jupiter (Gemini). Neptune’s square to Franklin’s Jupiter and Mars would have also been a long-term, debilitating transit, and this undoubtedly factored into tipping Franklin’s battle with cancer in the direction it did. Medical astrologers would point out the bodily systems ruled by these planets and how their weakening contributed to the situation.  

It’s significant that the Neptune-Nodal axis conjunction happens at the south node here; in fact, because of its slow movement, Neptune has been hovering within orb of Franklin’s nodal axis for at least a year and a half. This transit is not a signal of impending death on its own, but it can signal a drawn-out, debilitating passage, which fits her protracted battle with pancreatic cancer.  

 I would argue that Neptune (even more than Pluto) seems to usher individuals approaching death over that mythological “River” into the world beyond. Neptune—at its best, known for compassion and grace—very gradually washes away the boundaries between this world and the next and gently delivers the person into eternal rest. 

This is especially true in hospice situations such as Franklin experienced; every effort was undoubtedly made to keep her comfortable and pain-free, and to ease her into the next world. It’s easy to see how these attributes of Neptune would be expressed in a loving Christian vigil: in fact, Neptune and Pisces are often associated with Christianity and its more compassionate impulses. Happily, we know that the “Queen” was surrounded by loved ones in her final days


Omarosa on tour

“I seriously began to suspect that the president was delusional or had a mental condition…Was Donald like Ronald Reagan, impaired while everyone around him ran the show and covered up for him?”

                                                   Unhinged, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, 2018

Ms. Manigault-Newman is considerably younger than Aretha Franklin, but she certainly does her part to perpetuate a “queenly” image for African-American women in our times. Confident, tough, laser-focused on her goals and authoritative, she’s gained a reputation for being one of Reality TV’s best “villains” over the years. I have to confess, however, that she’s new to me: I never watched the Apprentice in her heyday. In fact, my first introduction to her was a disturbing prediction she made on Frontline before Trump was even elected:

“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” she said. "It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”
Trump must have liked this statement because Manigault-Newman went on from there to become the Trump administration’s director of African-American outreach, and to be known as a top Trump “cheerleader.” These comments were made in response to a question regarding the 2011 Washington Correspondent’s Dinner in which then-President Obama took a comedic jab at Trump for promoting his so-called “birther” conspiracy.

Omarosa Manigault-Newman
Since being terminated by Chief of Staff John Kelly—an encounter Manigault-Newman also taped and has since revealed—she has, of course, answered a lot of questions about her loss of respect and faith in Trump, and she has been very forthcoming about how deluded she has been by him, as a potential “father figure.” She claims that during the Apprentice years, she “wanted to be like him,” energetic, resourceful and successful. 

Now, her Unhinged book claims that (as summarized in the Washington Post) Trump is “scattered, self-absorbed, misogynistic and insecure.” In days of interviews she has suggested that his mental acuity isn’t what it used to be—that he can’t focus and can’t comprehend complex policy arguments, etc.  And, she claims that where she didn’t want to see his racist nature before, now it’s undeniable. 

So is this just a case in which the “protégée turned her tactics against” the mentor? Or, has Manigault-Newman really taken a sincere turn and decided to play whistleblower? As we’ll see in her nativity, and in Biwheel #2 below that with Trump’s nativity, there’s an argument for either one. So many have pointed out that Trump “created” the Omarosa in this week’s headlines, so is she just one more enemy of many, or something much, much worse? 

Chart #1: Omarosa Manigault-Newman, February 5, 1974, 10:54 p.m. DST, Youngstown, OH. Source:, rated AA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Sun-Jupiter (Aquarius) square Mars (Taurus). A serious desire to grow and prosper (she admits to wanting to be a billionaire) drives Manigault-Newman, a fact that’s reinforced by an ambitious Capricorn Venus ruling her Libra-rising chart, and Pluto conjoining her ASC within minutes. 

Considering that this Venus occupies her 4th house of family and heritage, this desire could be deeply-rooted in the conditions she grew up in, and it may even transcend mere self-interest, being a desire to elevate the quality of life for all African-Americans. It’s not surprising that she found her way into the public eye as a Reality TV figure, either—the Saturn disposing her 4th house Venus occupies her 9th house of media, ideology, etc. 

Given the fixed nature of her formidable Aquarius-Taurus squares, it’s not hard to imagine that Manigault-Newman could intimidate anyone who crosses her, so the reports that Trump administration aides are nearly panicked with fear about what her book tour could reveal sound pretty credible. 

With that said, however, Manigault-Newman has not come by her reputation all that easily: none of her planets is placed in a ruling sign, and some are placed in downright difficult signs. This is the case with her Pisces Mercury, disposing her Gemini Saturn. This placement could present challenges for staying focused and thinking clearly, and it may explain why she gravitated to a Gemini “father figure” who turned out to be so disenchanting for her. 

It may also explain why she had no scruples about recording so many conversations in the White House. If she was so deluded by and caught up in Trump’s cult of personality, as she claims, why would she do that? 

Despite that question, being disenchanted is a definite pitfall with such Neptunian (Pisces) relationships. It’s significant also that this Pisces Mercury inconjoins her elevated, 10th house Leo Moon, ruling her Cancer MC. Trump may not be the first “parent” to disappoint. 

That same inconjunct suggests that Manigault-Newman really needs to be the “Star” on some stage, and it’s totally conceivable that her book tour and the release of incriminating tapes is, at its core, an attempt to capture the world’s attention. However, let’s give her motives the benefit of the doubt for a moment here—we all need attention in some way, and a lot of good deeds are done by people who thrive on public acclaim. Besides, there’s more to her attention-seeking than meets the eye

Saturn-So. Node (Gemini) oppose No. Node-GC (Galactic Center, Sagittarius). The Galactic Center (26°-27°Sag) is a massive black hole that has long been considered an important point, astrologically; in fact, it’s been specifically associated in astrologer Mandi Lockley’s research study with whistleblowing. In fact, the charts of many such individuals—including Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Karen Silkwood and many others—feature aspects with this point. 

So considering this aspect in Manigault-Newman’s chart, it’s conceivable that she was “born” to the task of exposing corruption on high. Saturn’s presence even suggests that it’s her “duty” to do so, while the 3rd-9th house placement of the opposition reflects her use of the media and publishing in the process. 

Could a born whistleblower also be an attention hound? Why not? Whistleblowers aren’t always hailed as heroes, but they serve a critical purpose. In today’s case, Manigault-Newman is taking on a corrupt White House when the entire GOP Congress has its blinders on, hoping the issues simply go away. We don’t have to like her to appreciate how she’s drawing Trump’s fire on herself for the sake of exposing what she experienced in his administration. She is probably emboldened by the fact that her Aquarius Sun has progressed into Aries in the past couple years, at roughly the same time Trump’s Gemini Sun has progressed into Virgo. 

It’s no surprise that they don’t see eye-to-eye right now!

They've had better days.

The biwheel

At this point, let’s examine their astrological relationship a bit more deeply. Biwheel #2 below puts Trump’s nativity (inner wheel) against Manigualt-Newman’s (outer wheel). 

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, New York; (outer wheel) Omarosa Manigault-Newman, February 5, 1974, 10:54 p.m. DST, Youngstown, OH. Source:, rated AA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

My goal here is not to pick apart every interaspect between their charts, but to get a sense of the ties that bind them, once as mentor and protégée, then as boss and aide, and now as enemy combatants. The ties are there, whether they’re mutually supportive or quite the opposite. In every relationship there are expectations between the parties (reciprocity, mutual advantages, freedom to express, lines that must not be crossed, power dynamics, etc.), projected emotions, shared dreams and/or delusions, as well as some kind of “meeting of the minds.” 

As we’ve been learning quite starkly lately, loyalty is one of Trump’s major expectations of everyone—and it certainly seems that he inspired that in Manigault-Newman early on, but then he has no trouble throwing his so-called “friends” under the bus, so reciprocity is not his strong suit.  In fact, a Washington Post opinion piece today says that Manigault-Newman is exposing Trump’s “deeply twisted view of loyalty.” It’s all one way, or not at all. Where will we see that tendency in these charts? 

In short, these are the “ties that bind” that we’ll quickly examine. 

Interchart Grand Air Trine: Manigault-Newman (MN) Sun-Jupiter (Aquarius) trine Trump Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini) and MN Saturn-So. Node (Gemini), all of this trine Trump Jupiter (Libra). Despite a couple overly wide orbs here, this airy configuration has quite a robust flow. Here’s one strong indication that their thinking was, in general, richly compatible and interactive. Innovative ideas probably flowed freely when they were actively working together; in fact, it appears that MN’s thinking outstripped Trump’s, but there was also a power imbalance between them (that might account for the one-way “loyalty” issue), and she probably learned early on that he doesn’t welcome criticism. 

This point is seen in how MN Jupiter opposes Trump Mars-ASC (Leo). As long as the ideas flowed in a non-judgmental fashion, and things stayed “light” (air) between them, Trump found MN’s Aquarian brilliance and aggressive demeanor useful; however, he doesn’t share control unless it's to his advantage to do so (say, to avoid accountability), so the fixed energies in this aspect would put them at loggerheads. My guess is, with these fixed Aquarius energies and her added Taurus Mars and Leo Moon, MN can hold her own in the face of his fiery temper. Maybe he’s met his temperamental match? 

MN Venus (Capricorn) opposes Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). MN and Trump share similar, or at least complementary values, and this aspect probably explains in part why she considered him a “father figure” early on. Projection is a real possibility here: he had what she aspired to, at least in their Apprentice days. Her disenchantment with him may be as much about disappointed ambitions than anything—or because he just somehow fell off the pedestal of her admiration.

If he started to feel vulnerable or weak to her, (constantly touting a“victimization” narrative will do that), or if she sensed fear instead of competence in him, she would probably have little respect for it. All of these are quite possible, considering that transiting Pluto (Capricorn) is also widely opposing Trump’s Saturn-Venus at this time. It will catch up to her Venus as well, as the orb tightens—should be interesting!

MN Mercury (Pisces) trines Trump Mercury (Cancer). When MN says she was “deluded” into following Trump, this aspect probably lights up in response. It’s worth adding that both charts feature a Mercury-Neptune square: Trump’s (which disposes his entire Gemini stellium) falls in cardinal Cancer-Libra), and MN’s in disruptive, mutable Pisces-Sagittarius. This parallel is enhanced by MN’s Pluto conjoining Trump’s Neptune within a degree, and her Mercury quincunxing it. The Washington Post article cited earlier seems to capture the “entangled den of thieves” sense of all this really well:

“When the Omarosa tapes first started surfacing, Trump blasted his own former director of African American outreach as a “lowlife,” leading many to chortle that Trump had revealed his own bad judgment in hiring. But the better way to view this is that Trump hired her expecting at the outset that she would inevitably prove a lowlife who would turn on him at some point for a quick buck — because Trump thinks just about everyone is a lowlife and expects everyone to always sell each other out eventually.”
It would be unfair to judge Manigault-Newman’s motives and moral compass without a lot more evidence, but if the mental parallels between these two truly do run deep, it’s likely that she’s not willing to give her loyalty unconditionally, for nothing in return, and that may have been the breaking point between them. Besides, she's learned to play the Reality TV power-games he taught her fifteen years ago. Regardless of her motives, however, if Manigault-Newman succeeds in exposing true corruption in the Trump White House, she will deserve credit. 

She is not going to be treated kindly in the process, like so many other whistleblowers, but despite all the legal weapons at his disposal, Trump may not be able to easily hush her up and discard her. There will be no unhearing the recordings that she is releasing one by one. The question will be, what's next?
Our Congress should have such guts!!

Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018…Forever our Queen of Soul”
            a sign on the Fox Theater marquis, Detroit, 8/16/2018

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.