Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A season of toxic overreach: the Astrology of the Alabama ban & more

Toxic overreach will be met with a backlash.

 "It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct…".—Judge Mehta, D.C. District Court, 5/20/2019

“There’s a certain irony to the situation: President Trump’s support of the anti-abortion movement emboldened activists; now, the president and his allies are concerned those activists’ bold moves could cost the party.”—Lisa Lerer, NYTimes.com, May 20, 2019

In the U.S. today, the Constitution, the rule of Law and democracy itself are caught in an absurd crisis brought on by toxic overreach on the part of the White House and on the part of State legislatures. Never one to let a facile projection go to waste, of course, the White House is justifying its extreme Executive overreach by accusing Congress of overreaching its authority vis-à-vis the White House. At issue here is whether Congress has the authority to subpoena the Executive branch for information for the sake of investigating possible crimes committed by the president. If he can’t be indicted, their logic goes, he also can’t be investigated

As Dana Milbank put it in the Washington Post, “Trump’s not claiming executive power; he’s going right for divine right.” 

It would follow by this logic that the president truly is above the law, because who else would  investigate his or her crimes? As Rachel Maddow put it on MSNBC.com, alluding to a Trump claim during the 2016 election, “He really could stand in the middle of 5th avenue and shoot someone.” 

I wish this twisted mess were an exaggeration, but in an amazing roll-out of news in the past week, we’ve seen that Trump and his supporters have seized upon now as their window of opportunity to abuse the limits of their power in truly wild, excessive ways. 

As if his defiance of Congress and the Courts weren’t enough, CNN reported recently that he’s requested paperwork so he can pardon accused U.S. war criminals. This is “interesting” timing for such a move, as Trump has a documented record of supporting heinous practices like torture and he’s also setting off alarm sirens with his current bellicose posture towards Iran. What kind of signal is he trying to send by issuing such pardons?

As noted, this trend of radical overreach also extends beyond the White House to a number of GOP-controlled state legislatures who have decided that now is the time to “go all the way” to the Supreme Court to kill women’s reproductive rights in this land. In fact, there seems to be a competition among “red” states for legislation that imposes the most oppressively complete abortion ban, allowing no exceptions even for rape and incest. 

Alabama and Missouri are the latest states to pass such bans, with minor variations, with likely more to come. On their face, the bills are unabashedly unconstitutional and in complete violation of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. What interests me here, however, is the deliberate decision these states have made to hurry up and abuse and overreach on their authority now—what does this mean astrologically? 

In fact, it’s all happening in plain sight: the rare convergence of planetary cycles above with key power-and-structure-related dynamics in the U.S. Sibly chart below perfectly represents the rolling assault we’re experiencing on the very soul of this democracy, and no surprise, Donald Trump’s nativity reflects the role he’s been playing as catalyst for this assault—much more on that ahead.

The Handmaid's Tale has provided powerful imagery for protests across the nation.

State legislatures that are passing these anti-women’s rights bills know full well the bills will be challenged in courts, and it seems that’s the point. They want to use these challenges to force the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade. Just like Trump and company are using their blatant disregard for Congressional authority to leverage expanded executive powers. It’s not like the tension between our co-equal branches of government hasn’t always been there—the system is designed to function best when there is tension—but what we’re seeing these days is an order of magnitude more precarious. 

In response to various subpoenas issued by Congress—most recently to the Treasury Department in pursuit of Trump’s tax returns—Trump’s lawyers are claiming that Congress essentially has no right to investigate a president for anything, and that to continue their present investigations would amount to an attempt to “do-over” the Mueller investigation, which they, as Mitch McConnell put it, consider “case closed.” Considering the questionable way in which the investigation was shut down by Trump-booster, Attorney General William Barr, this “case closed” claim is anything but credible, and several points in the Mueller report suggest that the Special Counsel was teeing up at least the Volume II obstruction part of the report for further congressional action. 

In fact, word is getting out that the report is not such a done deal: in an unusually bold variation on the “pushing his limits” theme, one lonely GOP Representative named Justin Amash (R-MI) came forward yesterday to say that the Mueller report contains impeachable offenses against Trump—the information is there, if his fellow party members would bother to read the report! Ignorance is bliss?

There’s also the Mueller report’s very concerning omission of information related to the counter-intelligence investigation into Russia’s meddling in our election and the Trump campaign’s possible actions (witting or not) vis-à-vis that meddling. 

Former FBI Director, James Comey testifying before Congress.

Yes, the Trump campaign itself was not found to be criminally liable for “conspiracy/collusion” by Volume I in the Mueller Report, but that’s a separate issue. The counterintelligence investigation was launched during the last months of the 2016 election campaign by then-FBI director James Comey, and the House Intelligence Committee is trying—to no avail, so far—to determine what happened to that investigation. 

Simply put, it seems to have evaporated into thin air. All of this is very confusing, but think back to May 2017 when Comey made the following announcement:

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” he said, “and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
Seems like a lifetime ago—Mueller’s investigation launched that same month, but the investigations were meant to be concurrent, not one-or-the-other. Mueller’s mandate was a criminal investigation, and he definitely found several crimes to prosecute (Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos, Russian hackers, Maria Butina, etc.), but Comey’s investigation was a counterintelligence one, and no one in Congress seems to know at this point what happened to it. Has it been squelched by the DOJ under Barr? Has it been resolved in some way that the DOJ simply refuses to reveal? 

Trying to get to the bottom of this has meant the House Intel committee has issued subpoenas of its own, which are—of course—being stonewalled. This should seriously concern us—transparency is one of the only ways “We the People” have of holding our government accountable, and we’re in for a world of hurt if we can’t accomplish this. 

Here’s where AG Barr figures into the story—he’s held a wildly expansive view of executive power since his first bout as Attorney General in the George H.W. Bush administration, and his views have clearly enabled Trump’s apparent desire to be untouchable—above not only prosecution, but investigation. Want to be a criminal with no consequences? Run for president with Barr at your side! Writing for The Washington Post, Tom Hamberger recounts Barr’s history in the Bush administration:

“A few months after William P. Barr joined the Justice Department in 1989 as head of the Office of Legal Counsel, he issued an unsolicited opinion warning Bush administration officials to watch out for ‘legislative encroachments’ on the authority of the president.
The memo from the new 39-year-old Justice official surprised some government officials and constitutional scholars with its ominous language about congressional maneuvers that ‘could strike at the heart of executive power.’
The Barr memo, as it came to be known, was considered so challenging to congressional prerogatives that his Democratic successor in the Office of Legal Counsel, Walter E. Dellinger III, made it a priority six years later to replace the opinion with one he considered more measured.
‘It was a very high priority to supersede the Barr memo with one that recognized the authority of Congress and took a more nuanced view of separation of powers,” Dellinger said in an interview.’”

For the record, even if his notorious memo fell into disrepute back then, it seems to have served his career pretty well. Barr took office in April 1989 and by May 1990 he was appointed and confirmed as Attorney General, a position he kept through January, 1993 when Bill Clinton was inaugurated president.

Attorney General William Barr has enabled Trump's defiance of Congress.

The fact that Barr has been given an opportunity this year to re-establish his doctrine of limitless executive power is a critical piece of the cosmic puzzle we’re faced with these days, and clearly, the administration intends to exercise this power retroactively by blocking the release of historical financial records, etc.. On May 19th, the NYTimes published an investigative piece reporting on possible unreported money-laundering incidents in Trump’s and top aide/son-in-law Jared Kushner’s accounts within Deutsche Bank in New York.

The details are less important here than the overall pattern such stories reveal: overreach—legal or not—has been a way of life for these individuals and their institutional enablers, and it’s a difficult habit to break , so they clearly intend to simply change the rules to allow for it.  

Unfortunately, when the unscrupulous are simply allowed to over-reach the law with impunity, lives are destroyed—this is why civilized nations embrace the rule of law. One final example of drastic overreach in this past week raises this alarm: the war-mongering that’s going on in the Trump administration against Iran. Anyone watching the news this week on this topic knows that the administration has been building its pretexts for launching this war for some time already—it’s more than likely that anti-Iran hawk John Bolton wouldn’t have been appointed National Security Advisor if Iran wasn’t the ultimate target all along. 

Consider how eager Trump was to pull out of the Obama era Iran nuclear deal; is it any coincidence that long-time friend of the Trump family Benyamin Netanyahu of Israel spoke to a joint session of Congress in 2015 to oppose that deal because Iran is Israel’s particular nemesis in the Middle East? True, Iran is a powerful player in the never-ending Middle East drama, and we’ve had a very rocky relationship with them since the 1970s, but there’s little doubt that a war with Iran—a war that our European allies have already said they will not support—would  escalate into something truly horrific. 

Many foretold a crisis with Iran when John Bolton joined the Trump Cabinet.

This could conceivably make the Iraq war look like a walk in the park, and that conflict is still producing casualties after 16 years. Trouble is, according to NBC this past week, those in Congress with serious, legitimate concerns about this déjà-vu-drenched march to war may end up having nothing to say about it:  

President Donald Trump may not need Congress to go to war with Iran.
That's the case his lieutenants have been quietly building as tensions between the two nations have escalated.

The key elements involve drawing links between al Qaeda and Iran and casting Iran as a terrorist threat to the U.S. — which is exactly what administration officials have been doing in recent weeks.

That could give Trump the justification he needs to fight Iran under the still-in-effect 2001 use-of-force resolution without congressional approval…

With Congress unlikely to grant him new authority to strike Iran under the current circumstances, and amid a campaign of "maximum pressure" against the regime in Tehran that has escalated tension between the two countries, Trump administration officials have sent strong signals that they will be ready to make an end run around lawmakers, using the 2001 authorization for the use of military force — or "AUMF" in Washington-speak — if necessary.

That law gave the president the power to use force against "nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

News reports are quick to point out that the Trump administration is divided on the Iran issue—Trump himself claims to not want to rush to war, but his bellicose rhetoric on Twitter belies this. Add to this the fact that he’s surrounded himself with officials (particularly John Bolton and Mike Pompeo) who have openly supported regime change in Iran over the years, and war becomes even more likely. 

As for the administration’s possible intent to go around Congress by invoking the AUMF authorization to launch an attack:  as happened with the Iraq War, this would mean that We the People will have nothing to say about this rush to war, or about how much tax-payer money is unleashed to do so. And, it’s a safe guess that it will all be done in a highly non-transparent way because that’s what tends to happen when executive power is given full, unlimited rein. 

As we’ll see in the charts below, all the forms of toxic overreach we’ve discussed above are reflections of the same astrological “climate,” if you will. 

It’s important to note that none of these situations has arisen overnight, and that they all represent trends that have been ongoing throughout the currently waning Saturn-Pluto cycle (11/1982-1/2020). Let’s explore what that “climate” looks like today.

The Alabama vote on May 15th sparked instant protests.

The Astrology

It’s difficult to settle on any one chart that fairly represents all the tentacles of overreach that are flailing around out there, but the Alabama action on May 15th is a good place to start. Many of the same D.C. players who support that near-total abortion ban are also belligerents when it comes to Iran, and they’re also enabling Trump’s defiance towards congressional subpoenas, etc. 

Representative Tom Cotton (R-AR) comes to mind, although so far, he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to Iran. I hope I’m wrong, but at this point it’s hard to imagine that GOP members of Congress would push back too hard on Trump if he decides to go to war. 

So even though Triwheel #1 below is first and foremost about the Alabama abortion ban, we can certainly consider it to be part of the larger pattern of executive and state-level overreach. I’ve placed the U.S. Sibly chart (inner wheel) against Trump’s nativity (middle wheel) and a noon chart for May 15th’s vote in Alabama (outer wheel-no exact time known). 

I encourage you to read Wikipedia’s excellent summary of Alabama’s controversial bill (House Bill 314, “Human Life Protection Act”)—it recounts the entire process the bill has gone through since its introduction on April 2, 2019 and it details its intent (to force the Supreme Court’s hand on Roe v. Wade), the debate it has engendered and the responses to the bill from both sides of the political aisle.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA—Sibly Chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA ; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Alabama Abortion Bill passes, May 15, 2019, 12:00 p.m. DST (noon, no exact time known), Montgomery, AL. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart Grand Earth Trine: AL Sun-Mercury (Taurus) trines Sibly Neptune (Virgo) trines AL Saturn-Pluto conjunct Sibly Pluto (all Capricorn). Grand trines are, by definition, flowing and overreaching—limitations that may normally apply are loosened, if not entirely eliminated. Here, this materially aggressive, controlling and at worst greedy dynamic (in earth signs) leverages the waning days of a heavy Saturn-Pluto cycle, and it speaks to why banning abortion is such a critical priority for some now. Wikipedia reports that “On the Senate floor, Linda Coleman-Madison said, "This bill is about control."[17]  

It’s hard to argue with that, especially seeing this earthy configuration, but the mystery remains: why is control over women’s health care options so materially important to those behind it? The shocking way in which Alabama pushed through such a complete ban is certainly reflected in the Venus-Uranus conjunction in Venus-ruled Taurus. This duo falls sextile Sibly Venus-Jupiter, suggesting to me that there are powerful money interests at stake behind this move. More on that in a bit.

The answer to why control over women is so important to the big anti-abortion players may be tucked into this grand trine as well: Sibly Neptune (Virgo) represents our national illusions and ideals, and this point plays well with our protective Cancer Sun—hence the impulse to make “protecting human life” the basis for this oppressive control over women. The image many conservatives cherish of the U.S. as a bastion of “Patriotism, Mom and Apple Pie” probably feels threatened by women’s freedom of choice.

Trump's own rhetoric enabled the State bills now threatening women's rights.
This deep-rooted national mythology flies in the face of women’s everyday lives, of course—which speaks to our national Sibly Moon in Aquarius. Unless we’ve woken up in a different nation today than we did in 1776, Americans—not just women—cherish liberty and self-reliance above all. As it happens, Roe v. Wade is more about a woman’s right to privacy and freedom from government interference in health care decisions than it is about abortion, per se. The weight of 25 men in Alabama trying their best to squelch women’s rights from on high is represented with eerie precision by Trump’s controlling Leo Mars-ASC opposing Sibly Moon—we forget his history of misogyny at our peril.

So it’s easy to see why pro-life v. pro-choice has been so effective as a political wedge issue since the 1970s. As clashing viewpoints have become enmeshed with religious ideologies in the course of those decades, the issue has become an full-on culture war—a shrill contest for hearts and minds—perpetuated for all its divisive potential by the Sibly Neptune-Mars square (Virgo-Gemini). Both Neptune and Mars are disposed by Cancer Mercury (our national mind-set, influenced by communications media), which opposite Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) speaks to the financial juggernaut that’s undoubtedly been spawned by this culture war, as well. Here we are, approaching another presidential election—the connections we’re seeing to Big Money interests are quite relevant! 

In fact, it would be an interesting research project to explore just how much of our national GDP depends upon such divisive, self-perpetuating wedge issues like this. How many corporate ventures profit from them? How many dollars flow into various political campaigns in response to emotion-laced abortion-themed ads, on both sides of the argument?
The absurdity and perniciousness of all this will likely be forced into full view before Saturn-Pluto finally conjoin in January, 2020. It’s high time this issue is resolved once and for all, and whatever that ends up looking like, it does feel like we’re approaching a crossroads in the year ahead.  

Interchart Grand-Square: AL Jupiter (Rx, Sagittarius) conjoins Trump Moon (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Mars-Trump Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini); this axis squares AL Neptune (Pisces) opposite Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Clearly, Trump is emotionally invested in the pattern of overreach that’s powerfully enabled here (his Moon conjoins AL Jupiter), and the Neptune influences on his chart suggest that personal power and executive power are only vaguely differentiated in his thinking. Of course, his refusal to disentangle himself fully from his personal businesses as he assumed the presidency already told us that. Where traditional ethical principles decry conflicts of interest between the personal and the political, he might just see opportunities.

It's all there, in the report.

Trump’s Sun-Uranus conjunction tied into all this reflects a desire to push the limits—and get away with it. Unfortunately, holding him accountable with all the slippery Neptunian energy in play right now is far from simple—if anything, it supports his legal team’s strategy of muddying the waters of congressional authority and eroding our structured system of checks and balances, using his emotional needs as a catalyst for that purpose. Amazingly, one of AG Barr’s justifications for giving Trump a pass on the obstruction of justice-related issues raised by the Mueller report fits perfectly here. From Slate.com:

“In Barr, Trump has found an attorney general with hoary Republican bona fides who accepts Trump’s view and has developed a theory according to which Trump’s feelings not only matter more than the law, but should dictate it.”

So if Trump doesn’t feel he should be the target of an investigation, he shouldn’t?!
What does all this have to do with the Alabama abortion ban? In the 2016 campaign, Trump made promises that powerful fund-raising entities took to mean that his Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, and at this point in the election cycle, they’re likely calling in their “chips” and—importantly—testing whether they wish to gamble on his 2020 campaign.

The more Trump is allowed to act with impunity to fulfill their agendas, the more he can satisfy his feelings-driven quest for more power (Moon-Nodal Axis). His Moon disposes his security-conscious Saturn-Venus conjunction (Cancer) and is disposed by his finance-focused Jupiter (Libra), which—conjunct his Chiron-Juno (Libra)—is not easily satisfied. Taken together this all drops another hint that he equates political success with personal and financial success. And that it’s very, very important that he feels safe and in charge. 

The fact that Trump’s Jupiter-Chiron-Juno gathering also conjoins Sibly Saturn (Libra) explains his present clash with Congress over the accountability it's demanding from him. It also explains his quest to control the DOJ and the Judiciary in response. He apparently wants to be an authority—his natal Saturn-Venus appreciates the benefits of being the one to hold others accountable--but he has no use for the concept of authority otherwise. Needless to say, Saturn and Pluto transiting exactly opposite his Saturn-Venus registers on his delicate feelings as a threat and a frustrating obstacle, and they’re not about to ease up for quite awhile. The question might be, how far will he go to defy Saturn-Pluto’s call to accountability?

Authority without accountability is...?

I think we’re seeing the answer play out in the news every day, and in all the examples of overreach we discussed above. Of course, it doesn’t help that all these accountability issues are enmeshed with his plans to serve a second term in office, come what may.

It will be very interesting to see how he and his election team navigate the transition between the current Saturn-Pluto cycle and the beginning of the new one in January 2020.

AL Jupiter (Sagittarius) semi-sextiles AL Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn), which quincunxes Sibly Mars-Trump Sun-No. Node-Uranus (Gemini). These aspects highlight another key cycle that is waning to completion and beginning anew in the next year—Jupiter-Pluto. Significantly, this is a twelve-year cycle, so its impact on society, particularly on the expanded exercise of power designed to aggrandize the power players, tends to pack a punch, but usually on a more short term basis. Even so, it appears that we’re seeing a sort of “tandem” effect between the last two Jupiter-Pluto cycles, with troubling consequences.

I was reminded of all this by an MSNBC.com report regarding some dramatic events during the George W. Bush administration that echo what we’re seeing today. A few years into that administration, a crisis of power abuse flared up under the 1994 Jupiter-Pluto cycle’s final square (Virgo-Sagittarius); this was caused by some overreaching officials, including White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Jr.. Wikipedia sums this incident up nicely:

“In March 2004, the Justice Department under Ashcroft ruled that the Stellar Wind domestic intelligence program was illegal. The day after the ruling, Ashcroft became critically ill with acute pancreatitis. President Bush sent his White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. to Ashcroft's hospital bed. They wanted him to sign a document reversing the Justice Department's ruling. The semi-conscious Ashcroft refused to sign; Acting Attorney General James Comey and Jack Goldsmith, head of the Office of Legal Counsel for DOJ, were there to back him up.[22] FBI Director Robert Mueller, who also was rushing to the hospital, spoke by phone to Ashcroft's security detail, ordering them not to allow Card or Gonzales to have Comey removed from the hospital room.[23]
Then-DOJ legal counsel James Baker and others threatened to resign en masse over this attempt by Gonzales and Card, so Bush backed down and made some modifications to the surveillance program in question. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow interviewed Baker about this historical echo with today’s Attorney-General and DOJ, and he discussed the courage that’s needed to stand up to the Trump administration in pretty stark terms. 

As we saw above, William Barr’s overblown theory of executive power (1989) was already rattling around in the Justice Department by this time, even if it had been squashed temporarily; in fact, Barr’s theory was resurrected by Alberto Gonzales after he became Attorney-General in 2005, and he acted upon it. By the time Jupiter was in its balsamic phase with Pluto in late 2007 (closing out the 1994 cycle begun at 28°+Scorpio), Gonzales was gone for overreaching the limits of his position. 
Again, from Wikipedia:  
“Gonzales's tenure as U.S. Attorney General was marked by controversy regarding warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and the legal authorization of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques", later generally acknowledged as constituting torture, in the U.S. government's post-9/11 "War on Terror". Gonzales had also presided over the firings of several U.S. Attorneys who had refused back-channel White House directives to prosecute political enemies, allegedly causing the office of Attorney General to become improperly politicized.[2] Following calls for his removal, Gonzales resigned from the office "in the best interests of the department," on August 27, 2007, effective September 17, 2007.[3][4]
This should sound familiar:  Barr is basically repeating the overreaching pattern his infamous 1989 memo unleashed, and in fact, we have to wonder if the 19-page “application memo” he sent the White House this past year, before his current return engagement as Attorney-General, was basically a replay of that 1989 memo that jumpstarted his DOJ career. Gonzales was forced to resign in 2007 at the end of one aggressive Jupiter-Pluto cycle and the beginning of a new one in late Sagittarius, a degree area that Jupiter is now approaching once again (we can’t make these things up!). 

The difference this time around, however, is that Barr isn’t likely to be forced by Trump to resign for over-politicizing his position—Trump revels in Barr’s overreach because it protects him! As we often see with the Cosmos, cycles echo in terms of themes, but there are usually variations on that theme that shift our norms and expectations ever so slightly. What’s disturbing about this particular echo is the way it is slowly-but-surely normalizing the radical expansion of executive powers. 

The future of women's rights in this nation is truly at stake today.

Back to the abortion issue

Executive overreach isn’t confined to the direct actions of the president; it’s also at play when executive appointees are encouraged (overtly or not) to overreach on their legal bounds or norms for the sake of the executive’s agenda. Such is the case today with the DOJ and the Courts, including the Supreme Court—of particular interest to those who want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. In the Sibly chart, these institutions are represented by Saturn in justice-loving Libra. 

Unfortunately, one of the highlights of Saturn’s last transit of Libra (roughly 2009-2012) was the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the landmark decision that unleashed unlimited corporate dollars into political campaigns using the spurious justification of “First Amendment rights.”  Needless to say, this decision (official on January 21, 2010) sold out our election process to the highest bidders and undermined the power of ordinary voters. Significantly for today’s discussion, Saturn exactly squared Pluto that day in 2010 (Libra-Capricorn), and we’ve been experiencing the final square dynamics between those two ever since. 

So, will the Court, during the final days of this square phase, deliver for those whose millions have been fueling anti-Choice campaign coffers ever since 2010?  Justice Brett Kavanaugh claimed in his confirmation hearings this past year that Roe v. Wade was “settled precedent,” and he convinced Senators to vote for him who might not otherwise have done so with that comment. Unfortunately, the Court just decided to overturn a settled precedent in another case, so this raises the possibility that the same lack of respect for “stare decisis” could be applied by this Court to Roe.  

Madison designed this system to ward off tyranny--if that's the "Deep State," so be it!

Final thoughts

So the constitutional crisis we’re in, not to mention the toxic overreach by state legislatures represented most egregiously by the Alabama abortion ban, expresses the unusually tight convergence of the Jupiter-Pluto and Saturn-Pluto cycles, but it also speaks to the impending Sibly Pluto return—an issue I’ve written about at length here, but one we’ll certainly revisit in a future post. That return provides a broad context of titanic power struggles within the working systems of our government—what Trump likes to call the “Deep State.”

He spits those words out as though there’s something inherently shady about how our three coequal branches of government were engineered to check and balance each other, when quite to the contrary, this resilient Madisonian system is the only thing that stands between us and tyranny.

Trump has identified his target—any mechanism within our government that might hold the president accountable for anything—and he’s literally casting shade on it. Congress, the FBI, the Courts—they’re all fair game. He’s doing this most controversially by issuing a blanket refusal to any subpoenas or calls to testify before congressional committees seeking to exercise their legitimate oversight function over the Mueller investigation or any other issue that might implicate the executive branch. Amazingly, the subpoena issued by the GOP-led Senate Intelligence committee to Donald Trump, Jr. was at least acknowledged and responded to, rather than blatantly defied.

The fact that it was a GOP-led committee is key here: Trump’s lawyers are trying to establish a legal theory that any investigations by Democratic-led committees are political in nature, not legitimate uses of their oversight function. Thankfully, Federal Judge Amit Mehta of the D.C. District Court ruled yesterday that Trump’s former accounting firm, Mazar’s, must turn over the financial records subpoenaed by the House Oversight committee, and he allowed Trump’s lawyers no stay of his ruling for appeal.

This is a hopeful development, and there are likely to be more like this one in the near future. Along with a few setbacks, of course—Jupiter and Saturn are also at odds these days, so there’s a tug of war between overreach and accountability that will most likely drag out into 2020. It doesn’t take astrology to know that the coming election will be decided around all these issues.

Today, however, the focus in the news will be the massive outpouring of protests regarding the wave of state-level abortion restrictions that crashed across the nation in the last weeks, and it’s probably high time for this confrontation. IMHO, American women--whether they ever contemplate having or needing an abortion or not--must simply refuse to relinquish their rightful power and self-determination, or they will be dragged back into the dark times before Roe v. Wade. And yes, the men in their lives should step forward and fight alongside them—this is about all Americans having choices!

Twenty-five men in the Alabama Senate have no business denying a woman’s right to make healthcare decisions for herself—shame on them for trying!

Should these 25 men have the final say on a women's right to choose?

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 2019. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Geopolitical “Rock:” the Astrology of the Cold War & its fallout today

The Dirt Band, circa 1977

“Totalitarian states remain; marginalized, but even so. The technology of social control, if anything, grows beyond the reach of even Orwell’s imagining.”—Daniel Moynihan, Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics

“Rock & Roll spread like an uncontrollable virus across Eastern Europe despite Communist attempts to outlaw it. Thousands of underground bands and millions of young fans who yearned for Western freedoms and embraced
this music as the Sound of Freedom, helped fuel the nonviolent implosion of the Soviet regime”—intro to Free to Rock, PSB Records, Jim Brown (dir.), 2017.

The late Senator Daniel Moynihan (1927-2003) wasn’t under any illusions that the enmity between the US and the USSR—the  two Cold War superpowers—suddenly evaporated when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989; the difference was that the Soviet Union itself dissolved along with it in the ensuing two years. In his writings, Moynihan traced the steps in this process: first, the longer, more protracted winding-down of the Soviet ideology, then of its internal systems, which all led to its inability to keep its many satellite nations in the Union. 

Of these three broad stages, the latter issue loomed very large in Moynihan’s thinking: his 1993 study entitled Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics, shows that the dissolution of the USSR wasn’t so much about the dawn of Democracy writ large in that region; it was more about internal nationalist and separatist pressures that steadily mounted through the 1980s and undermined Moscow’s rule. Moynihan documents the highlights of that period, showing that by 1988, the extremely diverse Soviet Union was poised to splinter into its component nations “yearning to be free” of the dominant “Great Russian” central power in Moscow. 

In fact, while other analysts were predicting escalating problems with Soviet expansion, Moynihan was detecting signs of impending disintegration in the USSR as early as the 1970s, and in a 1979 Newsweek article (November 19, p. 144) entitled “Will Russia Blow Up?” he sounded the alarm.

“Population in the Slavic republics has almost ceased to grow. Vitality at the center of the empire must be low indeed. Something happened. The moment came when it became clear that the promises of the revolution, especially the economic promises, were not being kept and would not be.
Now the nationality strains begin…Since 1920 the Communists have rather encouraged ethnic culture, while ruthlessly suppressing ethnic politics. It won’t work”[1]
Stimulating the internal pressures that made it increasingly difficult for Moscow to govern its satellite nations was the intriguing force of Western pop culture—Rock music, to be exact. Here’s a quick account of this story from an April 2014 article on the Radio Free Europe website:

“WASHINGTON -- A pro-Kremlin lawmaker spawned a tsunami of scorn in Russia this week by alleging that Soviet rock star Viktor Tsoi's Perestroika-era anthems were composed by CIA operatives trying to destabilize the Soviet regime.

Friends, acquaintances, and fans of the late frontman of the legendary band, Kino, call the claims ridiculous. But the U.S. government was keenly aware of the power of rock ’n’ roll to rattle its Cold War rival, according to “Free to Rock,” a new documentary that explores the impact of rock music on Soviet society.

The White House, in fact, played a hands-on role in this soft-power strategy when U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s administration helped send the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to the Soviet Union in 1977 for the first tour of an American rock band on Soviet soil, said Jim Brown, the film’s New York-based producer.

‘Carter was more involved than any of us thought,’ Brown told RFE/RL. ‘He thought rock ’n’ roll could kind of undermine the system.’

Carter is one of several former officials and prominent musicians from both sides of the Iron Curtain interviewed for the film. Others include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, whose perestroika and glasnost reforms allowed the country’s vibrant underground rock scene to explode into the mainstream in the late 1980s.

‘He was a fan of Elvis Presley, he liked rock ’n’ roll,’ Brown said of Gorbachev. ‘He felt rock was for young people and that young people wanted rock ’n’ roll. And I think he takes pride in the fact that after wasting, you know, trillions of dollars on weapons, that words and actions and culture brought these two countries together.’”

The Dirt Band’s Soviet tour happened over the course of May, 1977, and it went over like a lit match at a fireworks display. From an astrological perspective, the timing was amazing—more on that soon. Given what we know in retrospect about how the USSR effectively dissolved (and reorganized as the Russian Federation) on December 25, 1991, perhaps the May 2011 PRI radio piece entitled “How Rock Music Brought the Soviet Union Down” wasn’t too hyperbolic. Rock music—the louder, heavier, more bombastic the better—brought Soviet youth the intoxicating feeling of freedom, and it’s hard to put that “Genie” back in the bottle.  

The Dirt Band played 28 sold-out concerts across the USSR.

For the purposes of mundane astrology, what stands out in Moynihan’s message here and the history we’re discussing here is that eight of the ten outer planetary cycles were waning when he wrote that Newsweek article in the late 1970s, and five of these would be re-launching one right after the other between 1980 and 1984: Jupiter-Saturn in 1980; Jupiter-Pluto in 1981; Saturn-Pluto in 1982; Jupiter-Uranus in 1983 and Jupiter-Neptune in 1984.  

It’s interesting that Jupiter and its cycles (with Saturn, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune, in that order) led the charge: transpiring in an ever-intensifying “wave”-like fashion, these cycles stimulated an overwhelming social transition. Judging from what happened to the Soviet Union, it seems that nation states that happened to be caught in this cosmic tsunami were tossed around like toy boats. The disintegrative force of the waning Saturn-Pluto cycle certainly contributed to breaking down structures that the Jupiter-Uranus and Jupiter-Neptune cycles could then further light up and/or wash away. 

Gorbachev and Reagan trusted each other, but didn't take anything for granted.

I remember Mikhail Gorbachev stating something to the effect at that time that the USSR was about to do the worst thing possible to the U.S.—take away its enemy! And in retrospect, he was probably correct about the geopolitical void that was left:  becoming the world’s sole superpower by default at the Soviet Union’s demise was a major turning point for US foreign policy and our own internal politics—we were as subject to those amazing cosmic times as the USSR was! In fact, it’s quite possible that there’s a direct connection between that period and what we’re struggling through today under an apparent Trump-Putin alliance. More about that ahead.

As a counterpoint to the chaos unleashed by those 1980s Jupiter cycles, the new Saturn-Pluto cycle launched in late 1982 as a sort of organizing and restraining force. It helped corral the energies of those more expansive cycles and to lay the groundwork for a post-Cold War global order that was built more on economic globalization than on a precarious world peace kept in place by 2-way nuclear brinkmanship and “mutually-assured destruction” (MAD). The big picture and full force of this transition didn’t seem to hit until after the new Uranus-Neptune cycle launched in Capricorn in 1993, but a lot of the institutional framework was in place (i.e., the IMF and the World Bank) by then and it has played a definite role in this new globalized order.  

Both these institutions were founded right after WWII, but in the 1980s they rode the Jupiter cycles “wave” into some controversial territory. The World Bank became embroiled in some of the “downsides” of global trade and economic development, especially in regards to debtor nations. Wikipedia reports troubling results from World Bank policies and practices during that period:

UNICEF reported in the late 1980s that the structural adjustment programs of the World Bank had been responsible for ‘reduced health, nutritional and educational levels for tens of millions of children in Asia, Latin America, and Africa’.[20]
The 1980s is the period during which author John Perkins began his memoir entitled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man—a story that is heavily influenced by IMF and World Bank policies and other global agencies even before that time. He describes the EHM’s “job” as follows

“Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization. I should know; I was an EHM."

In true “tsunami”-like fashion, wealth extracted from resources, governments and public organizations proliferated during the “Greed is Good” 80s and 90s and produced compounded wealth, mostly funneled to the top and multiplied exponentially ad infinitum. Meanwhile, the USSR began the decade of the 1980s by hosting the Moscow Summer Olympics, games in which they won a record number of 195 medals. 

Then President Carter pulled US athletes out of the Moscow Olympics in protest.

Throughout that decade, the USSR was dissolving in an accelerating series of events that included the very symbolic demise of the Berlin Wall, massive demonstrations and demands for independence among satellite nations, a military coup attempt in Moscow, and the departure of détente-minded Mikhail Gorbachev as leader—among many other milestones. Its official dissolution and reinvention as the Russian Federation took place in December, 1991—we’ll explore one of these charts below. 

Despite this reorganization, it took years for the new Russian economy to stabilize—early attempts to convert their state-run, centrally planned system in that direction were shaky at best, and a serious crisis ensued in 1998. The World Bank now claims that the Russian economy emerged from a “prolonged recession” in 2017, which is all to the good, but considering Putin’s contribution to our 2016 election and current claims that the Trump administration’s sanctions regime against Russia is worse than ever, it’s very difficult to know what to believe. 

In fact, the House Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees are accusing the administration of “flouting Russia sanctions deadlines” having to do with deteriorating human rights in Russia. Human rights aren’t Trump’s strong suit, but this story contradicts the White House line about how “tough” it’s being on Russia. Then there’s the story about former Marine Paul Whelan, now being held in Moscow for suspected espionage—Whelan has reportedly put out a statement saying that the detention is “retaliation for Russian sanctions.” That could mean anything—it’s likely Whelan didn’t even write that statement. 

So the appearances of strong sanctions is supported, but the reality is far less clear. In situations like this, it helps to ponder “qui bono?” Who stands to benefit from this confusion?

Enough said.

Today’s “interesting” relationship
As if to thumb his nose at the Mueller report’s findings about Russian interference in our 2016 election and to create even further confusion about their true relationship, in fact, Trump spent an hour chatting on the phone with Putin last week, never thinking to bring the issue of 2020 interference up! The lack of transparency and clear power dynamics, not to mention the obfuscation that laces any White House pronouncements is pure toxic Neptune (Pisces). 

We’ve seen Neptune’s debilitating and distorting impact on events in D.C. in virtually every chart we’ve studied since Trump launched his campaign in mid-2015, and there’s every reason to believe it will continue to provide cover for whatever these two are up to unless we channel its energies in far better ways. 

Trying to do their jobs of protecting the nation, our intelligence services and Congressional committees are sounding the alarm about possible 2020 election interference, of course, but Trump knows he would benefit from Russian efforts again. So, he’s doing nothing. Why should he? With William Barr as his Attorney General, he won’t be held accountable. Now Speaker Pelosi has warned that Trump may not relinquish power in 2020 unless the Democratic candidate beats him as decisively as the Dems did in the House in 2018. 

Pelosi’s concerned that a close battle will only leave room for Trump to challenge every vote against him. This would go against every norm and our customary peaceful transfer of power (even in some years when the results were legitimately contested), but the fact that Madame Speaker feels she must make that point tells us everything, doesn’t it? They both rely on Neptunian denial to carry on, so we’ll never know for sure, but is Putin schooling Trump on how to run an autocracy? It sure looks like a legitimate question.

On that phone call this past week, Trump also apparently gave Putin the green light to interfere in Venezuela’s leadership dilemma, which contradicted what John Bolton and Mike Pompeo claimed the administration was after just a bit earlier. The Soviet Union always wanted a stronghold in the western hemisphere (hence its long connection with Cuba), so has Trump just given Putin the go ahead to wield similar influence in Venezuela? The 1960s Cuban Missile Crisis was stimulated over Soviet plans to stage missiles pointing at us on that island—are we seeing a replay of that, too, with a much more compliant U.S. president?  

If so, it appears that, one phone call at a time, Putin is rebuilding his Soviet empire, with U.S. assistance. All while Trump’s minions make a show of being tough on Russia. Pure Neptune

Putin’s bitterness over the Soviet Union’s demise is well-documented, and we probably shouldn’t blame him—the USSR’s breakaway, satellite nations provided a level of security on the borders between Russia and Europe, and after WWII, that was a top priority. So it’s not surprising that Putin would want to restore at least some of that secure buffer zone, but who’s threatening to invade Russia from Europe these days? 

Even so, Putin has long wanted to disable NATO, the European Union (there’s strength in such a union that he fears, apparently), and of course, the U.S. itself. Disabling our election process was—to be honest—a master stroke, if his goal was to compromise American power in the world. 

So Putin basically put his KGB expertise into a disinformation campaign that helped install a pliable ally in the White House. Despite our intelligence services knowing down to the finest details how Russia did this (see Mueller Report, Volume I), Putin’s gotten by with this attack because his “pick” will vouch for him, so why not try it again?

It’s worth repeating: for all its apparent shortcomings and inconclusiveness, Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation is unequivocal about Russia’s interference and about the pro-Russian work in Ukraine of Trump’s former campaign manager (now imprisoned), Paul Manafort. We’ve been attacked, and while Mueller couldn’t connect the dots with the Trump campaign to open conspiracy charges (Trump declined to testify, for starters), the mutual benefits that flowed between Russia and the Trump campaign are well-defined and documented. 

The Astrology

There are many, many interesting charts to consider from the time of that Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band Soviet tour forward, but since the cycles activity was so dramatic in 1977, let’s start with a quick consideration of a mid-May chart for that year, set against the 1922 foundation chart of the then Soviet Union[2].  Why was that tour so memorable and considered an early harbinger of things to come for the USSR? 

Please note that while the concerts happened in several places across the enormous expanse of the Soviet Union, I’m using Moscow as the location, since it was a Soviet tour and Moscow was the capital. We’re looking more for trends here than for specific event-related impacts.
An interesting side note: May, 1977 was the month that the first Star Wars film was released by George Lucas, so interesting cosmic times, indeed! 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USSR, December 30, 1922, 12:00 p.m. ST (no exact time, BWH Chart #272, p. 263), Moscow, Russia; (outer wheel) Nitty-Gritty Soviet Tour, May 15, 1977, 12:00 pm (approximate, news reports say they played 28 sold-out concerts there in May, 1977) ST, Moscow, Russia. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

USSR “Kite” formation: Jupiter (Scorpio) trines USSR Pluto (Cancer) trines USSR Uranus-Mars (Pisces); bisecting this triangle is the USSR Sun-Pluto opposition (Capricorn-Cancer). It’s no surprise to me that the Soviet Union was a potent Plutonian nation with distinct revolutionary credentials—the strident energy contained in this Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto grand trine certainly reflects its birthright as a socialist workers’ revolution (the 1917 October Revolution). 

Aside from the Sun-Pluto opposition, both USSR Scorpio Jupiter and Venus were disposed by Cancer Pluto, which was so influential on the nation’s aggressive/determined self-identity and leadership style (Sun). An ethos that demands success by any means necessary is deeply-rooted in this chart, but these powerful connections may also explain why the primal power of Rock music—its liberated and rebellious, testosterone-driven energy at that time, in particular—was so well-received by their young people in the late 1970s. 

As Moynihan pointed out during that period, “Vitality at the center of the empire must be low indeed” (see Note #1)—it’s easy to see how hungry young Soviet people must have been for new energy and expressiveness!   

Smuggling Rock music into and out of the USSR was big in the 1970s.

In fact, the transits in mid-May 1977 were heavy with potent yang energy that more than supported that Rock “vibe:” Mars-Venus-Eris conjoined in Aries, conjunct USSR Chiron and opposite USSR Saturn (Libra). It’s an amazing, but predictable detail that all this triggered the USSR’s wide Saturn-Chiron opposition, which was strongly reinforced by Tour Pluto (Libra). These connections suggest how precarious the government’s control (Saturn) over its own fate probably was—this Tour Pluto also squared USSR Pluto, meaning that they were going through major, potentially devastating Pluto times. A total reinvention isn’t too far-fetched with all this outer planetary activity. 

Individuals with strong Saturn-Chiron ties often have issues with “toxic authority,” or wounding authority figures, and that works on the collective level as well, making perfect sense for a Communist dictatorship. Pluto’s transit was calling into question the USSR’s authority and probably its very structural foundation. Not surprisingly, they were faced with a total reinvention. 

USSR Neptune (Leo) sextiles USSR Saturn (Libra); Tour Saturn (Leo) conjoins USSR Neptune (Leo), squares USSR Jupiter (Scorpio) and inconjoins USSR Uranus-Mars (Pisces). Here, transiting Saturn (Leo) seems to have repressed the USSR’s “soft power” (Neptune) over its people, power that may have been more resilient (radix Saturn-Neptune sextile) in other times. Tour Saturn’s other aspects here are equally stressful, perhaps reflecting the social malaise that made the Rock tour so inviting and timely. 

Let’s not miss the fact that Tour Uranus (Scorpio) also conjoins USSR Jupiter, squaring Tour Saturn in the process: conditions were ripe for change and for an outside force that would help liven things up a bit. 

The Beatles gave us a preview of this story, didn't they?

Fast forward

It’s probably a bit redundant, since only 5 years separates the two instances, but I think it’s worth examining at this point how the 1982 Saturn-0-Pluto chart, set for Moscow, also impacted the USSR. Then we’ll see how the new 2020 cycle chart will look against both the Russian Federation chart and the US Sibly chart. Hopefully this will give us some insight into how our clear-as-mud relationship is likely to evolve. First, the USSR and 1982.

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) USSR, December 30, 1922, 12:00 p.m. ST (no exact time-BWH Chart #272, p. 263), Moscow, Russia; (outer wheel) Saturn-0-Pluto 1982, November 7, 1982, 11:53:50 pm, ST, Moscow, Russia. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Cycle Saturn-Pluto conjunction (Libra) conjoins USSR Sun/Neptune (midpoint, Libra) and widely conjoins USSR Saturn (Libra). Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey characterizes the Sun/Neptune midpoint as: “a leadership that goes to excess and exhausts itself on impractical schemes; inflation which drains resources; budget deficits; promises made but not backed with substance or intention.”[3] 

I can’t think of a more accurate description of the impact the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan had on the USSR over the next decades—especially with Saturn-Pluto conjoining that critical midpoint. The Soviet-Afghan war raged on from December, 1979 to February, 1989, and it had a very depleting effect on the Soviet economy, not to mention the morale of the people. The invasion triggered international sanctions and even boycotts of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and as it dragged on with no end in sight, it was characterized in some media as the Soviet Union’s “Vietnam.” 

Not surprisingly, this war is thought to have contributed to the USSR’s dissolution in 1991—also arguably a Saturn-Pluto event. Another contributing factor could have been the enormous financial investment required to maintain a nuclear arsenal comparable to the United States’—if that Faustian bargain known as “mutually-assured destruction” was going to deter reckless behavior, there had to be a delicate balance of firepower and effective, enforceable arms treaties. We had to maintain diplomatic relations and “trust, but verify.” 

Since we’re never allowed to know precisely what Trump and Putin talk about in their nebulous, secretive meetings and conversations, it’s hard to say if any of these mechanisms for nuclear diplomacy even exist any longer between our nations—or if we’re effectively on the same side now, despite appearances some officials like to maintain. We’ve stepped into a nuclear “Twilight Zone” of sorts, it seems—a relationship that demands “blind trust, with no chance of verifying.” 

The high stakes of all this are pure Saturn-Pluto, but the overall situation smacks of toxic Neptune. Notice that Cycle Neptune (Sagittarius) squares the USSR Nodal axis (Virgo-Pisces) and USSR Eris (Pisces) here: Neptune is often lurking in the background during unstable, discordant or “mutable” times—it was certainly doing so in 1982, and it’s still “rocking the geopolitical boat” in home sign Pisces today. 
Cycle Mars (Capricorn) conjoins Cycle So. Node, USSR Sun and opposes USSR Pluto (Capricorn-Cancer); this axis t-squares Cycle Eris conjoined USSR Chiron (both Aries). Actions that have basically come back to haunt the USSR were triggered by this cycle; it’s quite possible that Russian leadership regrets much of what transpired in the 1980s, especially with Afghanistan. The pressure to allow the mass migration of Russian Jews to Israel mounted during that period, as well, although there were two chief waves, one in the late 1960s and 70s, and another in the 1990s. 

This movement totaled more than 900,000 people over time and was probably also enabled by the 1984 Jupiter-Neptune cycle that launched at 0°+Capricorn (a “world point”), conjunct the USSR Saturn/Uranus and Saturn/Mars midpoints. Undoubtedly, mass flows of immigrants caused structural and legal adjustments on both ends, in both Russia and Israel. 

Interchart Grand Trine: Cycle Sun-Venus-Jupiter (Scorpio) trine USSR Uranus-Mars (Pisces) trines USSR Pluto. The Scorpio cycle points also conjoin USSR Jupiter, so it’s clear that when this cycle launched, the USSR was in an intensely opportunistic mood and was prepared to make decisions accordingly. These ambitious Scorpio energies probably ran up against internal structural and financial issues, however: they fall semi-sextile USSR Saturn (Libra), so it’s possible that their expansive Jupiter-fueled reach exceeded their grasp. 

This dynamic probably extended to US-USSR nuclear negotiations during that period, to diplomatic relations (this was the Reagan-Gorbachev era), and it probably impacted the Soviet-Afghan conflict, perhaps even setting the Soviets up for failure there.  

Cycle Uranus (Sagittarius) was moving into square position to USSR Uranus (Pisces), suggesting some destabilizing, chaotic times ahead. They were just coming out of a long Neptune transiting trine (Sagittarius) to their radix Neptune (Leo), which could have stimulated the “dream of freedom” and some reckless expansion that caused some overreach. This could also explain why Rock music was so thrilling and appealing for their young people in the late 1970s. 

Confusion reigns.

Going forward

It’s easy to see that our former Cold War adversary went through a major ideological “death” as it put its Communist heritage behind it, and a reconstructive rebirth as a “socialist federative republic” government under first Boris Yeltsin and then eventually, current leader, Vladimir Putin, who appears to run what we might call a "strong man" government. I hesitate to use the word “kleptocracy,” but some analysts characterize Putin’s government as such, seeing that the wealthiest people in the land own the lion’s share of the resources and major industries, and that these oligarchs, as they’re called, are closely allied with and at the service of the Kremlin. So, are the Russian people any better off for the long journey they’ve been on since 1982? It probably depends on your perspective. 

The U.S. has been through equally traumatic times since the 1982 Saturn-Pluto cycle launched—a long story for another day—but  today let’s focus on where we find ourselves today vis-à-vis Russia. Since we now find ourselves on the receiving end of Russian interference in our elections, not to mention an unsettling, ill-defined power dynamic between our two nations—where do we go from here?

In fact, the Saturn-Pluto cycle ties the two time periods together and may point the way forward: in 1977 it was waning towards its new conjunction in 1982, and today it is a bit further along in the cycle, but still waning towards a new conjunction in the near future, in January, 2020. So let’s examine a Triwheel for both nations, set against the 2020 Saturn-Pluto cycle chart. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll confine our observations to the Cycle point and its connections to the national charts.  

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Russian Federation, December 25, 1991, 7:45 p.m. ST (BWH, Chart #280, p. 273), Moscow, Russia; (outer wheel) Saturn-0-Pluto 2020, January 12, 2020, 11:45:34 am, ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Cycle Sun-Ceres-Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn) conjoin Russian Federation (RF) Uranus-Neptune (Capricorn) and Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) and oppose Sibly Mercury (Cancer). The Capricorn cycle point and the points gathered around it remind us that a lot more is at stake in this coming Saturn-Pluto cycle than making better sense of the U.S.-Russia relationship. The Earth itself is in dire need of our help, and the most constructive thing we could be doing with all our geopolitical relationships is working together towards climate change mitigation. We’ll have a chance to vote accordingly in November, 2020, but if Russia stages a 2016 redux and interferes in our voting process again, what then? 

I shudder to think that the future of life on this planet depends upon what happens in this next election, but I don’t think I’m overstating what’s at stake: three key cycles (Saturn-Pluto, Jupiter-Pluto, Jupiter-Saturn) are ending and relaunching in this coming election year, and they all have environmental implications. The US is only one player in this environmental drama, of course, but what we do matters.

Trump's removal of the US from the Paris Agreement will be a serious blow.

In fact, one of the big questions posed by this cycle for the U.S. is, why have we become so powerless to address the problems we know we need to solve? This is both a structural issue—which means the Saturn-Pluto cycle has some answers for us—and a matter of priorities, which implicates the ways in which structure and ideology are enmeshed in government and society—issues the Jupiter-Pluto and Jupiter-Saturn cycles will grapple with. The dead-end wrangling that goes on in Congress has been blocking forward motion for a long time now (typical of waning cycles), and it prevents us from taking on the big challenges of the future. 

Those players who work to maintain that stagnant state of affairs do so because power accrues to them in the process, and that’s a problem we should be able to tackle in new 2020 Saturn-Pluto cycle. Capricorn inspires aggressive, disciplined, pragmatic action—to stagnate is to fail, so launching in late Capricorn, conjunct Sibly Pluto and RF Uranus-Neptune, this cycle’s driving intent will be to make tangible progress climbing up that Capricorn mountain of social development and institutional renewal. 

Elected officials (or those seeking office) should know that if they aren’t part of the solution, they’re part of the problem, and they should be treated as such. 

It can’t escape us here that RF Uranus-Neptune tightly opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer) and squares Sibly Saturn (Libra). This could be seen as yet another precarious balance of power between our two nations—perhaps the Cold War never really ended, but just re-emerged in a different form? Putin’s been known to blame the U.S. for a lot of Russia’s internal problems, and whether we’re truly responsible or not doesn’t matter—there’s power in having an enemy to blame for everything! These Capricorn placements also remind us of the historical context the Russian Federation was born into—heady economic times, driven by liberalized global markets and a “Wild West” attitude when it comes to following rules, protecting human rights and the environment. 

Hopefully, Saturn-Pluto launching conjunct these Capricorn points (in both national charts) will impose judicious restraint on that global economic “rodeo.” It’s perhaps hopeful for the sake of environmental progress in the next few decades that this Saturn-ruled Capricorn cycle is beginning trine the Paris Agreement’s Jupiter at 22°+Virgo[4]. This could help strike the reasonable balance between pragmatic regulation and the push for global economic growth that is so critical these days. Hopefully, those like Mike Pompeo, who claim that melting glaciers are good for trade, will have less to say about public policy at that time also. 

Good for trade, at what price?

Of course, consider which trade routes stand to be opened up when the Arctic has lost its glacier cover: the East-West routes between Asia (including parts of the Russian Federation) and the U.S.! And, as if on cue, Russia has been playing not-so-subtle intimidation games with the Norwegian Navy lately, and it’s been working hard to impose its power in the Arctic region directly north of itself. According to CBSNews.com, that trained beluga whale equipped with a Russian harness that was harassing Norwegian boats this past April is more than a troubling sign: 

“Over the past three years, President Vladimir Putin has reopened three former Soviet military bases along its vast Arctic coastline as Russia and NATO accuse each other of increasingly bellicose actions along their shared border in the far northern reaches of Europe.
As CBS News chief national security correspondent David Martin reported for "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Russia has been conducting simulated attacks near Norwegian territory with nuclear-capable warplanes.”

Consider that new Russian belligerence in the Arctic region against the following from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech earlier today in Finland:

"’The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance,’ Pompeo said in remarks in Rovaniemi, Finland. ‘It houses 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore.’
‘Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade,’ he continued. ‘This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days.’
These two stories sound fairly coordinated, don’t they? Missing in action, of course, is any concern for the environment. Rather, the reigning impetus is to hurry up and exploit the Earth’s last hidden resources! If these corporate priorities are allowed to dominate our governmental policies, we will be looking at a brutally destructive Saturn-Pluto cycle ahead—the damage these melting glaciers will do to the world’s supply of fresh water is only one of many environmental disasters that could be triggered; this dark potential exists with the Cycle point launching conjunct these other powerful Capricorn points, but this path is not necessarily inevitable.  

We’re seeing a growing number of signs that should make us very wary of this corporate-leaning path, in fact. Is it any accident that Pompeo’s remarks surfaced on the same day the UN released a report that warns about 1 million or more species being in danger of extinction in the near future, due to human action? Not likely! 

A million species are in danger of extinction while we try to "get serious.".

Cycle point semi-sextiles RF Mars (Sagittarius), sextiles RF Venus-Pluto (Scorpio), squares Sibly Chiron (Aries), trines Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and quincunxes Sibly Mars (Gemini). It appears that Russia’s economic ambitions will find openings and opportunities under this next cycle (sextile to RF Venus-Pluto), and the so-called “American Dream” (Sibly Neptune) will be supported, but challenged to produce tangible, material results. It won’t be enough to promise and debate reforms that benefit the middle class (as happens every election cycle); this time there better be results. 

The quincunx to Sibly Mars (Gemini) is more troubling; a corporate-driven administration won’t hesitate to view an economic slowdown (Saturn-Pluto conjunct Sibly Pluto) as a good time to go off to war. We’re seeing Trump and company pick fights with Iran even as we speak—it’ll be interesting to see how he “triangulates” with Putin over Iran—and it’s all very curious timing, with an election approaching. Incumbent presidents are rarely replaced during war time and this president knows that. 

Trump’s already dropping hints that he should have a “two-year extension” to his presidency because of time lost with the Mueller investigation—clearly he’s concerned about being replaced and is casting about for ways to foreclose on that possibility. 

Atop the fallen Berlin Wall in 1989.

Final thoughts

The 1980s was a consequential time for the U.S. as well as the USSR, and since the Cold War was still dragging on, the affairs of both superpowers were yoked at the neck like a galumphing oxen team. It’s fair to say that Cold War paranoia infected both governments’ perspectives on foreign affairs, on human rights and on global power dynamics. We supported one nation and didn’t support another depending upon how they fit into the big picture of Cold War politics—with whom were they allied ideologically, in terms of trade relations or strategic goals. How did their geographical position serve our goal of dominating key sea routes? 

Were they strategically positioned and willing to host our military bases for various purposes? 

Would they help or hinder our goal of maintaining control over certain resource-rich areas? 

In this regard, Moynihan cites a former member of the National Intelligence Council to the CIA as saying that:

“We tended to be sympathetic to movements that would weaken the U.S.S.R. and its allies, but to oppose movements that threatened our own allies.”[5]
And of course, the USSR was angling for the same cynical “fish,” and both sides persisted, even when the mutual animosity was seen clearly as a ridiculous waste of energy and treasure. Despite Reagan’s dramatic “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” speech in Berlin during this period, however, it might be more accurate to say that the Cold War just outlived its usefulness to both parties, and it was time to let it shrivel up and die. It was the product of the post-WWII Saturn-Pluto cycle (8/1947), after all, and that cycle was waning during the critical 1970s-80s period. 

So, tearing down the Berlin Wall made the Cold War's demise visual and tangible and visceral, and it fit the agenda of the 1982 Saturn-Pluto's Libra beginnings—it was a kind of poetic justice for those imprisoned by that wall for all those years, on both sides. 

Of all the cycles that were waning in 1977, when the U.S. sent the Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band to bedevil Soviet politicos and stir up a rebellious spirit among Soviet youth (Biwheel #1), the cycle that has really shifted our nation’s foundational “tectonic plates” since 1982 is Saturn-Pluto. Could the current, purposely obfuscated situation between the U.S. and Russia get worse before it starts getting better? Unfortunately, it could, so vigilance and a critical eye for the facts over appearances is more essential than ever. 

In the meantime, Rock & Roll!!

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 2019. All rights reserved. 

[1]Daniel Moynihan, Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics, Oxford University Press, NY, NY, 1993, pp. 41-42. Moynihan cites Newsweek article in Nov. 19, 1979 issue, p. 144, “Will Russia Blow Up?” Citation is found on p. 181, Pandaemonium.
[2] Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer, Ltd., Bournemouth, UK, updated 2004 edition, p. 263, Chart #272.
[3]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, pp. 88-89.
[4]Chart cast for December 12, 2015, 12 noon (no exact time known), Paris, France.
[5]Moynihan, p. 154.