Friday, October 25, 2019

The geopolitics of “blood-stained sand:” the Astrology of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria

War deeply entangles personal and collective concerns.
One of the most intriguing things about mundane astrology is that, no matter what collective events or phenomena we might  research, if we dig deep, there are moving personal stories at the heart of it all. 

A notable example of this dynamic splashes across our media screens every news hour lately, with reports from multiple nations about unrest on the streets. Citizens of Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, Hong-Kong, France, Haiti, UK and more (even Canada), have hit the streets lately to express frustration—usually with issues of economic and social injustice, but not always. 

Whatever grievances protestors may have, however, the common thread in all such expressions is that people feel personally driven to take collective action. 
Another, less uplifting example of this personal/collective dynamic, however, is the very consequential relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: its optics, not to mention its sketchy, ill-defined substance, are really being brought to the fore these days, and not just because every U.S. intelligence agency concurs that Russia meddled with our 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Trump, and appears to be doing so again for 2020. It’s also top of mind in U.S. news because of Trump’s recent actions vis-à-vis Syria. 

Namely, that Trump has blatantly handed over whatever influence the U.S. retained in Syria—perhaps even the Middle East more broadly—to Russian and Turkish interests, and he’s done this at the expense of the Kurdish allies who bore the brunt of the fight against ISIS in the past few years. We’ll dig into this story more deeply ahead.

Putin’s priorities have been well-known for years: he wants to dominate strategically critical Syria-Iran-Turkey geopolitics, and Trump has now stepped aside to make that possible, so check! Putin wants free rein to continue re-absorbing border nation Ukraine into Russia’s sphere of influence—Trump decided to play political games with nearly $400 million in military aid that Congress allocated, so check! Putin has long wanted to undermine and perhaps even deal fatal blows to NATO—and Trump seems prepared to go along, even as he gives lip service to the alliance. 

There's been evidence of this since day one of his administration, but never more clearly than in his willingness to use and abuse our alliance with Ukraine—a nation that has literally been under military assault by Russia since it expressed a desire for NATO membership (Putin feels very threatened by this idea, apparently). Again, Trump gives lip service to that alliance, but actions speak louder than words here. 

Ukraine's young new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

In fact, Trump’s actions suggest that he’s fine with Russia’s designs on Ukraine—he clearly wants nothing to do with upsetting Putin, so why not dangle aid in front of a young, inexperienced Ukrainian President Zelensky while extorting him for political dirt on a rival—at the same time Russian troops are attacking his country? If it wasn’t for the courage of the so-called “whistleblower,” we may not have known about this betrayal of our ally for months or even longer. 

Little did we know, even so, that the influence of right-wing nationalists on Trump in this regard extends beyond Putin. This excerpt from Foreign Policy puts this into an historical perspective that we might easily overlook:

“Donald Trump has long viewed Ukraine as hopelessly corrupt—or at least that is the reason the U.S. president has reportedly given for his eagerness to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations that could aide his reelection chances in 2020. But Trump’s attitude toward the country may have been reinforced by his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, according to the Washington Post
The role these two leaders played in hardening Trump’s views toward Ukraine was described by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent during a closed-door hearing on Capitol Hill last week as part of the ongoing impeachment investigation, the Post reported. 
Putin’s efforts to salt the earth ahead of Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky come as little surprise. Russia has long sought to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and its relationship with the West. Less well known is Hungary’s own simmering tensions with Ukraine, which the Hungarian leader has made his own cause for complaint.
The dispute centers on the Hungarian minority in the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia. The Treaty of Trianon, which ended World War I, stripped Hungary of two-thirds of its territory, and the border areas of Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine are now home to millions of ethnic Hungarians. 
Almost a century since the treaty was signed, it is still an open wound for Hungary, and the fate of Hungarians living in neighboring countries has long proved to be a sticking point between Budapest and its neighbors. Preserving and enhancing the national identity of ethnic Hungarians in the region has been a cornerstone of Orban’s policy since he was first elected prime minister in 1998. Since 2011, more than 1 million Hungarians in the near abroad have been given Hungarian passports, and in turn they have overwhelmingly supported Orban’s Fidesz [right-wing nationalist] party in the polls. The move angered politicians in Ukraine, where dual citizenship is prohibited.”

So digging up old wounds and resentments is used yet again for political gain—it’s a favorite ploy with nationalist regimes and both Putin and Trump are adept with this playbook. For that matter, it shouldn’t surprise us that Trump would resonate with Hungary’s aggressive politics under Orban: that nation’s radix Jupiter (Cancer) conjoins Trump’s Mercury (Cancer-see middle wheel, Triwheel #1 below) and opposes Hungary’s radix Uranus-Saturn-Neptune conjunction (Capricorn).[1]

Hungary's P.M. Viktor Orban has installed a nationalist regime.

The other major takeaway from all this is that Trump has been very busy shifting U.S. alliances away from traditional European NATO members to a cadre of far-right-leaning Eastern European nations—basically to those nations that Putin also favors and on which he would like to reassert Russia’s influence. The more right-wing the governments the better—a friend of Putin’s is a friend of Trump’s these days. Remember that checklist of priorities Putin flashed at the cameras during that shocking July 2018 Helsinki meeting with Trump? From Washington Post:

“’Trump tried to keep his talks with Putin at Helsinki last year secret from his staff and the world, but Russia's president held up the checklist for the cameras. Syria was on it,’ Julia Davis recalls in the Daily Beast: ‘Trump is moving down Putin’s wish list, fulfilling the Kremlin’s aims at a rapid pace. He is chipping away at U.S. sanctions against Russia, deepening America’s internal divisions on the basis of race, faith, sexual orientation and political affiliation, vocally undermining confidence in our elections, intelligence agencies and institutions, all the while empowering our foreign adversaries and undermining NATO alliances. Trump’s claims that Ukraine—not Russia—is somehow responsible for the 2016 election interference fall right in line with conspiracy theories the Kremlin has been propagating for years.’”
So it's no surprise that Trump could be talked into stepping aside and letting his new-found friends Erdogan and Putin deal with the “problem” of the Kurds and—while they’re at it—exploit the free hands they’ve been given in regards to Syria and the Middle East. Trump has signaled, in fact, that he’s up for a sweeping capitulation in that region—“Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand” he said yesterday, announcing that he’s now lifting sanctions against Turkey because Erdogan promises a “permanent ceasefire” along Turkey’s Syrian border. More on the credibility of this promise ahead. 

The fact that ISIS is now emboldened to re-emerge (and that many imprisoned militants have escaped Kurdish control) doesn’t seem to faze Trump at this point. Nor does his upending of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against ISIS in northern Syria: they are now on the run for their lives, forced to go for help to Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad—all with the heavy taste of U.S. betrayal in their mouths. Trump may be making new friends for his own purposes, but he’s clearly thrown our national honor under the proverbial bus.

Putin and Syria's Assad, meeting in 2017.

It's painful to ask, but we have to wonder if Trump is actively working to strengthen our adversaries? According to The Daily Beast, even the Russian public is starting to wonder:

“Maksim Yusin, the editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant, was amazed by the ongoing stream of inexplicable actions by the American president that benefit the Kremlin. ‘All of this benefits the Russian Federation,’ Yusin marveled. ‘You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular...In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.’
‘This is such a pleasure,” grinned Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes. ‘Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight!’ Skabeeva’s co-host Evgeny Popov added: ‘Suddenly, we have defeated everyone.’ Incredulously, Skabeeva pointed out: ‘This is an American base—and they just ran away! Trump ran away!’”

It was hard to miss the twisted irony in Trump’s announcement yesterday, claiming “victory!”  Victory for whom? explores the long history of animosity between Turkey & the Syrian Kurds.

Kurdish back story

There are long back stories about all of this, of course, but recent events on the ground confirm all of the above pretty simply: Bowing to pressure from Turkish leader Erdogan, Trump decided to pull U.S. troops out of an area of Syria where they were instrumental in protecting an ethnic minority known as the Kurds from Erdogan’s animosity.  It should be noted that Trump first announced his intentions to take this action on December 19, 2018, at which time there was sufficient outcry from those around him to delay implementation. 

For its part, Turkey has a long history of problems with ethnic minorities (their role in the WWI-era Armenian genocide comes to mind), and according to Wikipedia, the Kurds—an ancient Mesopotamian culture—have never been treated very well in Turkey, or elsewhere, for that matter. 

According to Foreign Policy, the Kurds are “the largest ethnic group in the world not to have a state of their own:” after WWI, they were essentially betrayed by Britain and France (the super-powers of the day), who withheld the homeland they promised the Kurds at that time. The Kurds were instead consigned to small slivers of territory in four nations, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Sound familiar?  
This history of oppression—of being treated as “outsiders” who are eternally dependent upon the kindness of strangers—might explain why a small faction of Turkish Kurds have been radicalized over the years and formed the PKK, the group Erdogan regards as “terrorist.”

From Erdogan’s perspective, of course, it’s handy to have a scapegoat in tough times, and the Kurds seem to be providing that service, as well. In all fairness, times have been tough for Turkey recently, with millions of Syrians fleeing civil war and seeking refuge within their borders in the past few years. Even so, is it necessary to displace and victimize one community to help another? 

Syria's Kurdish military was instrumental in defeating ISIS.

During Syria’s civil war years, in fact, the Syrian Kurdish military allied itself with the U.S. to fight ISIS—and more than 10,000 Kurds died in the process, compared to a small number of U.S. troops. This is a victory that should be appreciated by all in that region, not to mention the U.S., but instead the Kurds are now scrambling for protection against Turkish forces who want to clear out their northern Syria territory for a “safe zone” for Syrian refugees. 

So as usual, there are land and resource interests at the heart of state-based aggression and betrayal, and it’s therefore not hard to see why Trump decided to drop the show of resistance to Turkey’s aggression—Trump has the Trump Towers Istanbul and other financial interests of his own in Turkey, so no need to ruffle Erdogan’s feathers against those!  

With all this, is it any wonder that some Kurdish onlookers threw vegetables and stones at departing U.S. troops this past week? Not our proudest moment, by any stretch, but the scene was enlightening in that it captured the deep reality of capitulation that we’re witnessing between Trump and his fellow authoritarians, Erdogan and Putin. 

U.S. troops leaving northern Syria this past week.

The Astrology
So what does all this look like astrologically? Clearly there’s no way to answer that in one post, but perhaps we can examine how Trump has impacted the situation in the past year. For other studies I’ve posted on this blog on the Syrian-Turkey-Trump situation, click here and here

For this post, we’ll focus on the announcement Trump made on a Sunday evening earlier this month, on October 6, 2019, and we’ll consider that event set against Trump’s nativity and the U.S. Sibly chart. 

So why would now be an apt time for Trump to move ahead with these controversial plans? There was considerable pushback on this withdrawal over the past year: in fact, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis (former Defense Secretary) resigned over Trump’s insistence on withdrawing troops at the Kurd’s expense (not to mention the frustrations of serving a president who wouldn’t listen). Although he’s careful not to criticize a sitting president, Mattis was reportedly appalled at the thought that the U.S. would betray its courageous allies. 

Perhaps the so-called “guardrails” around Trump have been lost, one-by-one? Mattis wasn’t the only Defense-related resignation in the past year, in fact, and there were other aides who strongly cautioned Trump against this action because they knew Republicans in Congress wouldn’t support it. So Trump not only threw our allies under the bus, he also betrayed GOP principles and priorities—at the same time he’s been pressuring Republicans in Congress to protect him against the impeachment inquiry when the evidence steadily amasses against him! Is it any wonder GOP spokespeople are looking and sounding frustrated and panicky these days?

As we’ll see ahead, these are tough astrological times for the Sibly chart (and the nation it represents) for more than one reason, but Trump’s consequential green-lighting of Turkey’s invasion against the Kurds living across the Syrian border (despite protestations to the contrary) is a definite low point that deserves a cosmic snapshot. 

Fmr. Amb. Bill Taylor gave tough testimony in the House impeachment inquiry this week.

One point before we proceed: one of the most damning bits of evidence surfacing in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry against Trump suggests that he wanted Ukraine president Zelensky to be put “in a public box” on the issue of investigating Trump rival, V.P. Joe Biden. Think about this for a second: demanding that another nation’s leader go to a microphone to carry through on your priority (honorable or not) is a pretty loaded power play, and it puts the target in question in a decidedly subservient position—something like a “lackey” forced to carry out another’s dirty work, not the respect due a fellow leader. 

Something like Putin and Erdogan have now achieved with Trump, perhaps? According to Foreign Policy, as of October 22nd, these two have agreed about how they’re going to carve up parts of northern Syria between them as part of Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring.” In other words, there were real, tangible gains to be made by Turkey and Russia, at the expense of the Kurds who built a “fragile democracy” in that region, and Trump has basically enabled their plans. 

It’s all incredibly complicated, but the bottom line is that Turkey and Russia are grabbing Kurdish/Syrian lands, forcibly ejecting the Kurds, and the situation sure looks like it could go from bad to worse for those displaced people.  

Always determined to snatch victory out of the jaws of humiliating defeat, however, Trump showed up yet again yesterday at the microphone and declared “victory.”  Will we ever understand exactly what transpired during all this? Not likely, but the planetary dynamics in play right now will shed some light on why now was the time for this Erdogan-Putin-Trump  triumvirate to act on their plans. 

Let’s begin.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) US (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 am, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Trump-Syria pull-out announcement, October 6, 2019, 7 pm DST (approx. time; Sunday evening announcement reported in NYTimes), Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.
Interchart Cardinal T-Square: Oct 6 No. Node (Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun (Cancer) and opposes Oct 6 Saturn-So. Node (Capricorn); this axis squares Oct 6 Sun-con-Trump Juno-Chiron-Jupiter (all Libra)-Sibly Saturn (Libra). This complicated, stressful set of dynamics reflects serious pressures on the U.S. presidency (Sibly Sun), on Congress and the Judiciary (Sibly Saturn) and on Trump’s wounded sense of entitlement (Juno-Chiron-Jupiter). To hear him talk, he’s the world’s biggest victim; yet, his lawyers were in Federal Appeals Court this past week arguing that he’s basically above the law—that if he “shot someone on 5th Avenue,” not only could he not be prosecuted for it while in office, but the police couldn’t even stop him! 


That argument will hopefully be broken open like the ugly pseudo-legal piñata it is, but clearly, he’s no victim. If he gets his way in terms of Executive power, the victims will be our democratic checks-and-balances, and for that matter, our entire constitutional system

As for the pressure on the U.S. presidency and the nation, at large represented here, Trump’s actions in regards to the Kurds in Syria are far from our proudest moment, but I suspect that many Americans feel as if there are so many concerns with the Trump presidency that it’s hard to even focus on this one, or any of them, one at a time. This is perhaps reflected in the fact that Trump’s Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Cancer) conjoins Sibly Sun (Cancer)—his very presence in the White House creates deep disruptions. 

Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey characterizes this midpoint (as a mundane matter) in both positive and negative concerns, as follows:

“Thesis (+)—Helps modernize and improve secretive agencies; new devices to allow the collection or analysis of secret information; revolutions in industrial management or practices to improve production, trade or goods….
Antithesis (-)—Violent upheavals or rioting which bring changes in government; intruders who cause disruptions of processes; strikes and labor movements which are intent on forcing changes; sudden new criminal acts.”[2]
Clearly, both types of disruptions (+ and -) have been in play—IMHO, we’re seeing more of the negatives at the moment. 

Interchart Grand Cardinal Square: Oct 6 Venus (Libra) opposes Oct 6 Eris (Aries); this axis squares Oct 6 Pluto-con-Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) opposite Sibly Mercury-Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). Because this stressful configuration cuts across the Sibly 2nd-8th axis, it’s quite possible that there is an economic dimension to the geopolitical intrigues reflected in Trump’s Oct 6th decision. This is reinforced by the involvement of his natal Saturn-Venus conjunction, a pretty reliable sign that his business priorities are an issue. 

For instance, the pressure that transiting Saturn and Pluto are applying by opposition probably helped deep-six his plans to host the next G7 meeting at his Doral resort in Florida: he was attempting to extract from the public treasury (Sibly Pluto) for his personal enrichment (Trump Venus), and he was (thankfully) constrained by the rules (Saturn). 

Did Trump-branded properties play a role in Trump's Syria decision?

As for the Syria situation, this configuration perhaps reflects that Trump somehow has financial interests at stake in the matter. As noted earlier, he does have several business interests in Turkey that could be impacted if Erdogan is displeased, and if Foreign Policy’s reporting about his financial dealings with Russian oligarchs are true, there may be issues there as well. 

One way or another, Saturn and Pluto are clearly putting pressure on Trump’s financial confidence, which may explain why he’s been bragging about his “amazing” properties more than usual lately. 

Interchart Mutable Grand-Square: Oct 6 Jupiter (Sagittarius) conjoins Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Mars (Gemini)-Trump Uranus-No. Node-Sun (Gemini); this axis squares Oct. 6 Neptune (Rx, Pisces) opposite Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Here we see the rough waves of chaos that are rocking our national boat at the moment, and unfortunately, our military (Sibly Mars) has been brought into the fray by an increasingly unstable seeming Commander-in-Chief. First he’s taking troops out and throwing over our allies (a repugnant idea to the military honor code); then he’s leaving them in; then he’s shifting them here, he’s shifting them there. Having vegetables and rocks thrown at them is the least of their problems! 

What this is all doing to our national morale is another story, but let’s keep our eye on the real issue here. This chaos is also providing cover to the forces that are moving into northern Syria, determined to clear out that territory for their own purposes, no matter what. 

Lack of clarity is a key theme in this configuration, and that is certainly reflected in Trump’s shifting military missions. He is reportedly now leaving some troops in Northeastern Syria to protect the oil reserves there from ISIS fighters—so now, he’s not concerned with ending the endless wars? 

Is Turkey's Erdogan launching an endless war of his own in Syria?

Neptune’s impact (especially from Pisces, but factoring in the Neptune-Neptune opposition more broadly) is clearly in play here, and it shouldn’t escape us that Neptune (along with Pluto) also rules subterranean oil reserves! We probably shouldn’t underestimate how important oil reserves are to the overall scheme of things in that tortured region. 

Jupiter is playing a key, multi-pronged role in all this, of course: 1) to embolden Trump’s recklessness by conjoining his volatile Moon-So. Node, 2) to inflate the hubris and impulsivity that he brings to his control of U.S. military forces by opposing Sibly Mars and his Sun-No. Node-Uranus complex, and 3) to trigger his natural bullying instincts by trining his Mars-ASC in Leo. Perhaps we’ll get a break from some of this volatility when Jupiter moves on into Capricorn in December—again, hope springs eternal! 

Interchart Fixed Grand-Square: Oct 6 Uranus (Rx, Taurus) opposes Oct 6 Mercury (Scorpio); this axis squares Sibly Nodal axis (Leo-Aquarius)-Trump Pluto (Leo). I can’t think of a more clear representation of the shocking message (Uranus-opp-Mercury) that Trump delivered on October 6th; this may explain why October 6th presented an opportunity for the entire shocking campaign. The fact that his announcement had an immediate impact on America’s reputation and collective direction (nodal axis) is also seen here. Since Uranus moves somewhat slowly, we can expect more pressure of this sort, perhaps accompanied with more shocking revelations and/or disruptions to power dynamics.

Trump and Putin at 2018 Helsinki Summit.

This same Uranus sextiles Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer)-Trump Mercury (Cancer), suggesting that an opportunity may also exist to seal a trade agreement, or for Trump to spin a satisfying, if potentially delusional narrative (his Mercury squares Neptune). Neither of these may have anything to do with the Syria situation, but if the Justice Department’s announcement that William Barr has opened a criminal investigation into the origins of Mueller’s Russia investigation today is any signal, it’s possible that the next item Trump would like to check off Putin’s Helsinki wish-list is for Russia to be exonerated from any responsibility for meddling in our 2016 election. Barr seems willing to travel the world in search of support for his boss’s quest.

Why this, why now? From the NYTimes

“The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.
Mr. Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry.” 

There is perhaps no direct connection between this move on Trump’s and Barr’s part and the Syria situation, but we might surmise that after caving in to Erdogan and Putin—not to mention watching our former allies throwing vegetables at our withdrawing troops—that Trump needs an ego boost and to feel back in control. The impeachment inquiry is undoubtedly only triggering his desire to punch back at those he sees as political enemies. A Washington Post opinion piece today counsels that Barr’s actions don’t signal that it’s time to “freak out,” however:

“[However,] it is at least possible that this development isn’t quite as serious as it seems — and that this might be yet another effort to calm the Audience of One, the Mad King who is raging at everyone for not shielding him from the impeachment inquiry closing in all around him.”
This could well be the more constructive way to view Barr’s fantasy pursuit, although we shouldn’t let our guard down, either—an independent Justice Department is essential to our checks and balances, and no, American presidents are not supposed to use that department for personal purposes. If nothing else, we’re learning a lot of civics lessons these days, and it’s possible that a renewed appreciation for the elegant machinery of democracy will be a silver lining in this situation in the end.  
In any case, however, we’re likely to be in for a rough ride as all this unfolds over the coming months—there are planetary reasons for that, as we’ve seen—but we’re also graced every day with the committed efforts of so many who are working to preserve our “better angels” as a nation. 

This, too, shall pass.

Syrian refugees have faced unspeakable difficulties, and Turkey wants them gone.

What about Syrian refugees?

Meanwhile, life-and-death issues abound in the Syrian territory Trump has left to Putin and Erdogan to carve up. One dimension of their three-way “Syria victory dance” hasn’t gotten much play, and that is, what happens to the Syrian refugees who are forced to return to their homeland—especially if that means to a Turkish-controlled “safe zone?” This may be where the real tragedy of the situation unfolds. 

Questions abound: will Assad and other forces in that region respect that “safe zone?” What assurance or controls exist to assure that these refugees will be safe as they rebuild their lives?  Amnesty International has published a new report that paints quite a precarious picture: the report claims that Turkey has been forcing the deportation of Syrian refugees back into their war-torn homeland, in violation of international law, for some time now. The following excerpt fleshes out that claim. From Amnesty International:

“This report reveals that, contrary to the Turkish authorities’ claims that they do not deport anyone to Syria, in mid-2019 it is likely that hundreds of people across Turkey were swept up, detained, and transported against their will to one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Many people were deported from Istanbul, and were apprehended while they were working or walking down the street. Amnesty International documented 20 detailed cases of forced returns between 25 May and 13 September 2019, with most in July.
The Turkish authorities disguise these illegal deportations as so-called ‘voluntary returns,’ and claim that over several years, more than 315,000 Syrians have left of their own free will. Syrians, however, consistently say they are being misled about the ‘voluntary return’ forms they are being told to sign, or intimidated or beaten in order to make them sign. Some people say they were also beaten on the journey to the border by the Gendarmerie. All the deportees said they were sent to north-western Syria (either Idlib or Aleppo provinces), with most entering through the Bab Al Hawa crossing.
Most of the deportees were men, but some children and families were also deported. Even when it is only the breadwinner who is deported, sometimes the family members left in Turkey feel unable to survive, and subsequently leave for Syria themselves. If people re-enter Turkey –almost invariably by paying large sums to smugglers –they find that their Temporary Protection IDs have been cancelled.”
Perhaps over time the “safe zone” will be turned into an acceptable homeland for these returning refugees (hope springs eternal!), but the experiences noted above raise troubling doubts. For instance, what about the Kurds? 

Too many questions, too few answers. 

One thing is certain -- our truly honorable U.S. Representative, Elijah Cummings, will be deeply missed...thank you, Sir, for your lifetime of dedicated service! 

Representive Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019.

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 2019. All rights reserved. 

[1]Data for the Hungarian Republic’s radix chart: October 21, 1989, 12:00 noon (no exact time known), Budapest, Hungary. Source: The Book of World Horoscopes, Nicholas Campion, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK. Chart #150, pp. 154-55.
[2]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, p. 316.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Beyond the Looking Glass: the Cycles driving D.C.'s twisted times

A young man, trying to make sense out of the “big deal” being made in D.C. regarding the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, asked a key question...what’s wrong with a president asking for foreign help to investigate suspected corrupt conduct by a former vice-president? 

He apparently wanted to know how to split the hairs of justice: would it be okay if Biden (Trump’s target, along with Biden’s son) were not a candidate in the next election?  

The answer—delivered by the guest expert in legal matters of this sort—was straightforward, but surprising nevertheless because we might normally expect our president to defend Americans against foreign accusations.

As it happens, there are no such accusations in the case of V.P./candidate Biden, but according to this now-famous whistleblower’s complaint and the transcript of a July 25th call between Trump and the new Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump and company have been working hard to manufacture dirt—any dirt that he can use to smear his potential 2020 opponent.

And Trump has been pursuing this with other nations as well—Australia is a confirmed target, China is the latest, but there could be others. As former National Security Advisor under Obama Susan Rice put it in regards to Trump's latest outrageous comments, he is basically "proposing to sell-out the U.S. to China in return for personal gain." 

ABC reports: "Trump says China should investigate Biden."
Back to that young man’s perceptive question, however: without elaboration, the guest expert answered directly by saying that the law prohibits any candidate for office from soliciting foreign assistance (or anything of value) with an election campaign. So yes, if Biden were anyone else—if he were not running for office against Trump—things might theoretically be different. 

Any point of clarification is appreciated these days—it was good to hear a young person even ask that question.  Those who get their “news” from the media wagons that have built a 24-hour protective sound wall around Trump (I’ve never heard people in the media speak so rapidly and with such red faces), and then watch how events are unfolding in the House Judiciary Committee that’s heading the impeachment investigation, must feel like they’ve fallen through the proverbial “looking glass” into a twisted, alternative universe.  

Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass was published in 1872.

The lines between offense and defense, between fact and propaganda/spin, between appearances and reality, between patriotism and treachery have never been so blurred and yes (to state the obvious) Orwellian. Can you say Jupiter-Pluto, with a twist of Neptune? The question is, why are these transits manifesting in the particular form we’re seeing now?

In fact, there’s a trend in politics across the globe towards “strong man” populist nationalism—I won’t go into that long story here, but several nations are dealing with similar political dynamics, and rampant corruption is a common feature.

Some political analysts maintain that populist nationalist agendas like Trump’s also require twisted duplicity as a modus operandi. Orwell would agree, undoubtedly; he saw nothing but tortured duplicity—what he called “indifference to reality”—in the nationalist politics of his time[1]:

Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage—torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians—which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.” 

Again, Jupiter-Pluto style hubris and megalomania, super-fueled with Neptunian duplicity. How can I be held responsible…whaddabout (fill in the blanks)? Hey, I’m the victim here…(fill in the blanks) are the real problem! Neptune’s constant nemesis is Saturn, the force of accountability, so Neptune’s toxic superpowers are too easily exploited during strong Jupiter-Pluto and for that matter, Jupiter-Neptune times. Amazingly, we have both right now, with the former cycle now in its waning balsamic (final 45 deg) stage, and the latter still working on its waning square.

Orwell considered nationalism a great menace to human societies.

Unfortunately, it’s not hard to imagine modern-day versions of the outrages Orwell cites above--start with Trump’s tweet storms these days. Someone else put the words from that damning call transcript in his mouth—he didn’t! He’s the real whistleblower—Ukraine interfered on behalf of Dems in 2016, and Biden must have been the mastermind! Anyone who dares to challenge him must be committing treason! And on and on…

How his Twitter feed (or anything else he says) squares with plain old facts is another story—if the members of the Judiciary Committee do their job right, however, we should come out of this impeachment inquiry with some semblance of a fact-based account. There’s just so long that even the most powerful can evade Saturn in this life. Like death, Saturn’s material realities do find everyone eventually. We age; we answer for or enjoy the fruits of our actions, for better or worse. We simply are not in very firm control, in the end, and trying to rewrite the script only takes us so far.

Bottom line for the sake of today’s exploration, Saturn is the force that ultimately crashes through that "looking glass" to reveal the facts and to hold toxic players (those who violate our Jupiter-Saturn social contract with their behavior) to account.
To see how this whistleblower saga has looked astrologically, we’ll consider three key event charts ahead: 1) for Trump’s now-infamous July 25th call with Ukraine president Zelensky, 2) for August 12, 2019, the day when the whistleblower complaint was first received by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, and 3) for Leader Pelosi’s announcement on September 24th that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry in response to the whistleblower complaint.

Will we be able to glean potential outcomes from the energies in play in these significant charts? I won’t hazard any firm predictions here, as tempting as that might be—mostly because the same energies could be used in different ways and there are too many floating variables. Even so, we can certainly see the sheer force of necessity at work; we can see why it’s been so difficult to get a straight story about events on the ground; we can be blown away by the planetary context for power abuses and megalomania, and we can appreciate the overwhelming importance of getting the impeachment process right, no matter where that leads.

From The New Yorker Radio Hour's "Looming Shadow of Impeachment" episode, 10/4/19.

In corrupt times, any efforts toward restoring, upholding and perpetuating legal and ethical integrity (Saturn, the Jupiter-Saturn cycle at its best) are helpful.  

With three major planetary cycles completing during the coming year, it is all the more important that we don’t carry this tangled mess into the new cycles. The final phase of these cycles is the time for clearing out our social and political “closets”—for addressing corrupt, undermining influences, for getting our “ducks in a row,” preparing for the “next thing.”

Trump seemed to intuit that the prevailing energies were calling on the nation to “drain the swamp” when he ran in 2016, but as often happens with him, the opposite, in fact, happened (we can list the corrupt cabinet members of his who had to go, for starters!). But let’s not get distracted with history any more than necessary – now, it’s really time to clear out whatever muck remains!  

Even so, isn’t this just the worst time to launch an impeachment inquiry, not to mention tackling all the associated fall-out? It’s an inconvenient time, for sure, but astrologically, it’s appropriate—the end stages of waning cycles are the time for clearing and letting go of toxic accumulations.

c. Michael Custode
Will the House end up having to investigate others—like Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr—who have been complicit in the Ukraine debacle? What do they do with Trump’s loosest cannon, Rudy Giuliani?  Even key GOPers who want to support Trump just want Giuliani—whom one Republican called “as wild as a march hare”— to shut up: maybe the subpoena Giuliani was just served by the House will help.

It’s possible that everyone Trump leaned on for help with his Ukraine pursuits has deep-sixed his or her career in the process—all while totally ignoring the legal limits on public officials and electioneering. In another, not totally-unrelated story, even the NRA finds itself compromised by association. Bottom line, the Trump administration’s Ukraine/Russia entanglements could make Watergate look like a walk in the park.

So let’s dig into the astrology of all this. It seems certain that the House will impeach Trump—he’s given them pretty much all the evidence of wrongdoing they need! The question is, will he be convicted in the Senate and removed from office? The process is moving very quickly right now, so we can’t rule any possibilities out, as unlikely as a Senate conviction might seem.
If you have any questions about the impeachment process itself as we get into the charts ahead (who wouldn’t?), here’s one helpful resource:

Another resource for information about the impeachment process.

The astrology

It’s very difficult to consider discrete pieces of this much bigger, ever-ballooning story without getting into extended context, but we’re going to do our best to stay focused here. Even so, this will be a long post--my apologies!

As noted earlier, we’ll consider three key moments that have transpired thus far: Chart #1—Trump’s now-infamous July 25th call with Ukraine president Zelensky (noon chart, no time known); Chart #2—for August 12, 2019 (noon chart), the day the whistleblower complaint was first received by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (hereafter ICIG); and Chart #3—the announcement by Leader Pelosi on September 24th that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry in response to the whistleblower complaint. Pelosi scheduled this announcement for 5 pm—the time I’ve used in this chart.

We’ll also take a peek at one biwheel (Biwheel #1), setting Trump’s nativity against Chart #3. The connections are definitely worth consideration.

One quick observation before we launch into Chart #1. We’ve looked to the three planetary cycles that are quickly ending and restarting in the coming year (Saturn-Pluto, Jupiter-Pluto, Jupiter-Saturn) as being the main astrological story with many recent events, however there is one potentially critical planetary cycle that has evaded notice, for the most part—the Jupiter-Neptune cycle (now in Sagittarius-Pisces). In its final square phase (beginning fresh in fall, 2022), this cycle has been quietly contributing to the events in question for some time now by keeping DC’s “fog and scandal machine” cranking at full tilt.

D.C. has been battling both physical and political fog this year!

Given the duplicitous, corrupt nature of our times—in which laws and ethical considerations have become seemingly meaningless and impotent—the cycle definitely deserves more attention. You can tell a lot about a cycle’s character and potentials by considering the energy carried by its midpoint, and this is especially true here. The positives and negatives of this cycle as they pertain to business and politics are captured beautifully by Michael Munkasey:

Thesis (positive): Expansion and elaboration of ideals or dreams; policies of expansion and growth; ideals mirrored in a religious context; churches espousing a moral philosophy for all; foolish or unfounded legal situations…
Antithesis (negative): Scandals about growth, values, or belief systems; hypocrisy growing as a form of internal policy; a legal system where ethics and morals are based upon favors and payoffs; degradation in systems of justice.”[2]
So whether it manifests positively or negatively, the focus in this final, stress-laden stage of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle is on living up to one’s “ideals or dreams” and in rooting out hypocrisy in our prevailing values and belief systems (as a nation) and in our legal/justice systems and policies. That calls for a bit of collective soul searching: where does the reality fall short of the “American Dream?”

It doesn’t take much to see that our ideals and our reality are seriously out of synch at the moment.

Addressing the kind of corruption we’ve been experiencing since Trump took office requires being able to marshal the energies available to resist and push back, however. This isn’t easy under the sluggish, obfuscating and inertia-ridden Jupiter-Neptune cycle, which has a way of submerging and subverting any such efforts. I suspect this had something to do with why Pelosi and Congress took so long to get their impeachment “ducks in a row.” There was just too much overwhelming activity and information to corral into one coherent investigation, and the odds of getting the American public to pay attention and support the effort were not what they needed to be.  

Once the cycle reached its final square phase, however, some of the fog lifted and a more clear, focused approach became more possible. As we’ll see, all three of the charts we’ll examine below feature the Jupiter-Neptune square, waning from Sagittarius to Pisces. The fact that both planets occupy signs they rule here, and that both Jupiter and Neptune rule Pisces, only adds to the punch this cycle packs.

One other reality deserves attention before we dig into the charts. There has to be something rare about three outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune) transiting their ruling signs simultaneously, and it’s good to keep this in mind as we weigh which forces within the charts ahead are likely to have the greatest impact.

On that note, let’s proceed to the charts. Please note that to cover this many charts we’ll need to pull out and focus on the chief highlights only. As we’ll see, some aspects and dynamics are very similar in these charts because the outer planets move slowly, so I won’t dwell in any great detail on repeated aspects.

Chart #1: Trump-Zelensky call, July 25, 2019, 12 pm DST (noon chart, no exact time known), Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Cardinal T-square: Mercury-Venus-No. Node (Cancer) oppose Saturn-So. Node-Pluto (Capricorn)(all Capricorn); this axis squares Eris (Aries). The oppositions between Saturn and Mercury-Venus are a bit wide, but there’s a strong oppositional feel to the whole configuration nevertheless. Clearly, the “message wars” (Mercury tightly squares Eris) were on when Trump made that call, and it’s no surprise that there were some ethical/legal questions left behind.

How many taxpayer dollars (Venus) were at stake with this ill-fated call? The financial aid to Ukraine (loan guarantees for the purchase of Javeline missiles) was approved on a bipartisan basis by Congress; the issue here is that Trump was withholding that aid to extract his “favor” from Zelensky—withholding for the sake of power certainly suits the role of Saturn-Pluto here.

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's new president, has multiple challenges.

Interestingly, Venus and Mercury here conjoin Trump’s natal Saturn-Venus conjunction (Cancer-chart not shown),[3] at the same time Saturn and Pluto are transiting opposite. Not surprisingly, being able to dangle resources in trade for a “favor” that would make him feel more secure in next year’s election felt “perfect” to him. It’s tempting to wonder if he’s capable of even grasping the impropriety of his actions. At what point does “making a great deal” tip over into extortion?  

Returning to the chart of his call with Zelensky, as we’ll see, most of the oppositions here (including significantly, the Nodal Axis) are unfolding over the long term, denoting an ongoing process, rather than one discrete event. The news, in fact, is reporting that this call was only one of several ongoing attempts to curry the type of favors Trump has been looking for.

One last observation on Venus’s role in this chart: Venus disposes Taurus Uranus, which falls square Leo Sun, at the same time Venus conjoins (out-of-sign in Cancer) that Sun. Disruptions to resources in the context of high-level power plays are easy to see here. Venus’s wide opposition to Pluto (Capricorn) reflects the manipulations underlying the power-playing and could point to further financial entanglements.

The Nodal Axis reflects the collective importance of all this—note that institutional structures and the well-being thereof (Saturn-Pluto) are on the south end of the axis—at the same time that Pluto is transiting its own south node and creeping up on its radix Sibly position (the U.S. radix chart’s Pluto return, chart not shown). Under Trump’s sway, these institutions have been seriously undermined. It will be some time before we find the light at the end of this particular Plutonian tunnel.

Mars conjoins Juno (Leo) and both trine Jupiter (Sagittarius); Jupiter squares Neptune (Pisces) while Mars inconjoins Neptune. Relationships (in this case between Trump and Zelensky) are both supported and challenged here. Hidden agendas (Neptune) would be an undermining/frustrating (Mars-Juno inconjunct Neptune) issue, even though a mutually beneficial, win-win situation (Mars-Juno trines to Jupiter) could have been the (fiery, determined) intent.

Click here for the annotated text of the Ukraine whistleblower complaint.

I’ve laid out some of the issues at stake with the Jupiter-Neptune cycle in the introduction to this section—notice here that Jupiter is Rx in this chart, whereas it stations and turns direct on August 11th, the very evening before the whistleblower turned in his report!  

Neptune’s also retrograde, but that’s of less concern than faster-moving Jupiter, which tends to feel palpably different when it’s turned direct. “Deals” undertaken with a retrograde Jupiter are prone to rehashing and/or reworking, which raises a good point:  judging from his recent pronouncements, Trump hasn’t given up trying to solicit foreign help with his Biden-smearing campaign—he’s only expanded his outreach to China (and who knows where else?).  

Blurring the line between facts and fiction has been the hallmark of the entire Neptunian Trump presidency, but under this final Jupiter-Neptune square, the sheer force of the corruption caused by this fact-deprived approach has nowhere to hide—even the most secure server won’t stop this particular “dam” from breaking.

It may be difficult to see how these two seemingly creative, even spiritual planetary energies could support such corruption, but consider this: money, information and the power that never fails to be leveraged from these entities are fluids of a sort that circulate, expand (sometimes exponentially) and “find their level”—i.e., fill voids that open up to receive them, while bringing pressure to bear in the process. In a toxic political atmosphere, it’s not hard to imagine how these otherwise benign forces could go very wrong. Trickles turn into rainfalls, which turn into life-threatening floods, depending upon the circumstances!

Notice how Mars is involved here: its fiery trine (along with consort Juno) to Jupiter certainly triggered the chain of events that ensued—Trump’s overreach is certainly reflected, and judging by recent news, it’s possible that V.P. Mike Pence has been his “consort” in the Ukraine affair. Mars promotes recklessness, certainly in play here: Mars was conjunct Pence’s natal Mars (chart not shown)[4] when this call transpired.

Interestingly, Mars was also conjunct Trump’s natal Mars when the whistleblower complaint was turned in on August 12th, so we may be seeing a Mars theme here.

Was Pence listening in on the Trump-Zelensky call? That Mars-Mars connection is intriguing in this regard—more to come on that, I suspect. We hear him out there now echoing Trump’s bald-faced claim that there’s nothing wrong in pressuring other nations to investigate the Bidens, and by the way, China should also be investigating them. A good offense (Mars) is the best defense, right?

Considering that all three figures in the presidential line of succession (president, vice-president and attorney general) are possibly implicated in this scandal, we can understand the enormous weight of the impeachment investigations.

Let’s move on to Chart #2.

Chart #2: Ukraine whistleblower complaint, August 12, 2019, 12 pm DST (noon chart, no exact time known), Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

A lot of the dynamics in this chart are similar to the ones in Chart #1, so as planned, we’ll focus on the few things that differ. For instance, Venus had moved into Leo and here, she exactly conjoins Leo Sun, and together these two closely inconjoin both Neptune (Pisces) and Pluto (Capricorn), creating a stressful Yod formation.

What a perfect illustration of the concerns expressed in this whistleblower report: 1) Trump’s use of his presidential power to leverage (inconjuncts) what he wanted out of the Ukraine leader by offering a “deal he can’t refuse;” and 2) the Trump White House’s practice of obfuscating the truth of such “deal” making (on a super-secret server!).

Yods that pit inner planets and luminaries against the “heavies” (Neptune and Pluto) can reflect very uncomfortable, even intimidating power plays, and that appears to have been the situation between Trump and Zelensky—a newbie politician (a former comedian!) who’s just trying to please the powers-that-be and defend his nation against Russian aggression.

Trump threats against the whistleblower and others are being taken seriously.

Sun-Venus also widely conjoin Juno and (if we really stretch) Mars (all Leo), but the real story here is that this Mars exactly conjoins (within minutes) Trump’s natal Mars (see Note #3 for birth data or inner wheel, Biwheel #1). “Winning at all costs” is a theme with Trump in everything he does, and that impulse is certainly in play with these chart connections. The fact that the Pelosi launched a House impeachment inquiry, despite Trump’s attempt to make a deal with her, really got under his skin – more on that with the next chart.

As for Trump’s need to “win at all costs,” it shouldn’t escape our attention that far from regretting his actions with Zelensky, Trump is now doubling down, claiming the “absolute right” to request foreign assistance on corruption (his own?) and openly encouraging him and more leaders to pursue his goal of digging up dirt on the Bidens. He's also threatening the whistleblower with treason charges--in clear violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act. We can’t make this stuff up, folks!

Jupiter turned direct the evening of August 11th, which may not sound that momentous, but this happened conjunct within minutes of sextiling Trump’s natal Chiron (Libra) and within 3 degrees of sextiling his natal Jupiter Rx. So this attempt by a whistleblower to alert the nation of his potential wrongdoing likely registered as a “wound” designed to rein in his freedom to act with impunity, and that’s problematic to his overblown ego (Mars conjunct ASC in Leo) and entitled nature.

We’ve seen him go into rages over far less—interestingly, his Jupiter progressed into direct motion when he was still quite young, but despite its boost to his “charisma,” perhaps his natal retrograde Jupiter helped cultivate a tendency toward resentful self-pity. Why do others always try to limit my ambitions? I’ll show them—I’ll put them all in their places and show them who’s boss. 

Esquire describes Trump's meltdowns (here w/Finnish president) as a daily occurrence.

This emotional touchiness (reinforced by his Cancer Venus disposing Libra Jupiter) has been especially manifest this past week, as he’s melted down over the impeachment pressure and ranted continuously about it on Twitter, in White House press gatherings (that poor Finnish president!) and on the White House lawn.

This meltdown has also been characterized as Trump “going on the warpath against impeachment,” but however we put it, it was exacerbated by transiting Jupiter’s bearing down on his natal Moon (Sagittarius) while Saturn and Pluto transit opposite his Cancer points. A good offense is the best defense in his book, so he’s claiming his “absolute rights” (so he’s above the law?) and pressing for a “win” at all costs.  

Jupiter’s direct turn probably also helped liberate the House committees to get serious about impeachment, however, and the evidence for it keeps mounting as the whistleblower complaint  we’re exploring here opens up into all kinds of associated evidence.  

Uranus (Taurus) squares Mercury (Leo). Because this is a noon chart, we can’t say whether Uranus is also squaring the MC here, but as we’ve seen, the whistleblower certainly started something of collective importance that would soon explode (Uranus) into the news (Mercury). As things develop, Uranus may play a heavier role in disrupting things (it may also reflect Trump’s pugnacious attitude as well, falling sextile his Cancer Mercury), but there’s no denying it has already revealed some pretty shocking information.

Politico describes Giuliani's work for Trump abroad as "quixotic."

Not surprisingly, Uranus’s placement in Taurus closely squares Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s natal Mars-Pluto conjunction (Leo).[5] We’ve seen that Giuliani and Trump see “eye-to-eye” on conspiracy-theory mongering, and that both are willing to use thuggish tactics to get what they want, using such theories as a lever—in fact, they share a Sun-Uranus conjunction in Gemini and aggressive ego-driven Mars and Pluto placements. They certainly share an indifference to the truth as well—it’s whatever works for them!

Fortunately, the slowly-forming Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (both sextile Neptune) is cutting through the many layers of “fog” the administration has relied upon for cover. Could this be why Trump and others have stopped trying to hide anything (it’s not going to work) and are now trying openly to downgrade the nation’s legal and ethical standards? If you can’t (or won’t) rise to the legal requirements, force the requirements down to your level?
Questions like these make this a good leaping off point between charts; let’s examine what was going on when Leader Pelosi finally launched the impeachment inquiry on September 24th in Chart #3 below. Notice that I’ve also posted a biwheel between this chart and Trump’s nativity (Biwheel #1): the connections between Pelosi’s announcement and his chart illustrate the fight that lies ahead (and why we’re seeing a greater-than-usual presidential meltdown). Again, we’ll consider key highlights only.  

Chart #3: Pelosi impeachment announcement, September 24, 2019, 5 pm DST (news reports), Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Notice that this chart is timed, since Pelosi planned her announcement for 5 p.m.

Aquarius rises, ruled by 3rd house Uranus Rx (Taurus), inconjunct MC (Sagittarius) and Sun (Libra). The inconjuncts, of course, form yet another stressful Yod configuration. Not that Pelosi’s announcement was entirely unexpected, it did carry a certain “shock factor” that we see here. The impeachment launch almost immediately forced the disclosure of key pieces of information that the administration was trying to hide (the infamous call transcript memo and the whistleblower complaint itself), and with MC ruler Jupiter (direct, in Sagittarius) sextile Sun (Libra), Pelosi’s action was met with a great deal of approval and support (on one side of the aisle, at least).

The Yod, of course, is another, more challenging story, requiring frustrating adjustments and accommodations to accomplish its goals, but surely nothing Pelosi wouldn’t have expected with a belligerent administration that has flaunted Congressional authority from day one.

House leader Pelosi announcing the launch of the official impeachment inquiry.

Sun widely conjoins Mars (Virgo); Mars trines Pluto (Capricorn). This suggests that there’s great power on hand to bring into the impeachment process Pelosi launched here, but nothing can be taken for granted. We’ll see under Biwheel #1 below that this aspect ties into Trump’s nativity in ways that challenge him, but may also facilitate his defense.

Mercury conjoins Venus (Libra) and together they t-square Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn) and the Nodal Axis (Cancer-Capricorn). The Capricorn “heavies” are still 7°+ apart, but it’s safe to say that they’re functioning as a unit in this t-square (Mercury falls pretty closely square the Saturn/Pluto midpoint). This combination definitely suggests that the inquiry will “follow the money,” but it will also focus on information gained from diplomatic allies (Libra Venus).

Notice that Saturn exactly opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer, chart not shown here)[6] and Announcement Pluto (Capricorn) opposes Sibly Mercury (Cancer). This and the fact that Announcement Mercury rules that chart’s Virgo 8th house, reinforces that information from others (i.e., even the conspiracy-laden kind that Trump and Giuliani have been trying to extort out of foreign leaders) is a type of “currency” that fuels political power.

As we know from listening to Trump himself, he doesn’t care where information comes from if it’s useful to him. Perhaps he would care about foreign involvement in our elections if it worked against him?

Jupiter (Sagittarius) sextiles Mercury (Libra); Neptune (Pisces) quincunxes Mercury. The ongoing Jupiter-Neptune square is one degree beyond perfect here and the Jupiter-Mercury aspect is exact to the minute. This suggests that Pelosi chose an opportune time, if her goal was to facilitate information gathering and relay a coherent message.

Would there be obstacles, attempts to drag things out and efforts to undermine the credibility of the entire inquiry? Of course—Neptune’s quincunx would make sure of that, yet that Jupiter-Mercury aspect comes across as a blessing on the proceedings that day.  

Finally, to put things in more precise perspective, let’s consider how this chart connects with Trump’s nativity.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Pelosi impeachment announcement, September 24, 2019, 5 pm DST (news reports), Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-square: Announcement Sun (Libra) conjoins Trump Neptune Rx (Libra) and opposes Trump Eris (Aries); this axis widely squares Trump Mercury (Cancer). This stressful configuration hits home with Trump because his Mercury disposes all his Gemini points (Sun-No. Node-Uranus), so Pelosi’s actions pressured more than his nebulous Neptune. In fact, it triggers his “fight or flight” impulse by opposing his aggressive 8th house Eris. As often happens in his chart, there’s a “fist” encased in something that feels more vulnerable—his 8th house is ruled by that Libra Neptune Rx, which is disposed by his security conscious Cancer Venus. 

Of course, Trump’s Mercury-Eris square is always waiting to spring into action in his own defense—we can see why he feels a “good offense is the best defense,” and no one should expect anything less with the impeachment inquiry. Clearly, we’re already seeing this in action as he ramps up his impeachment defense and the conservative echo chamber has started to churn out his talking points non-stop.

New Yorker artists really know how to get a point across!

Announcement Saturn-So.Node-Pluto (Capricorn) oppose Trump Mercury-Saturn-Venus (Cancer). There’s a gap between Trump’s Mercury and Saturn that make some of the oppositions implied here too wide, but if we factor in midpoints, there’s a lot going on. Saturn, for instance, is transiting opposite his Uranus/Pluto (midpoint, Cancer), which also happens to conjoin Sibly Sun. These are harsh times for the U.S. presidency and for Trump in particular, although he’s absolutely not the victim he likes to portray himself as.

Munkasey’s “antithesis” (less than positive) interpretation of this midpoint is amazingly apt:

“Violent upheavals or rioting which brings changes in government; intruders who cause disruptions of processes; strikes and labor movement which are intent on forcing changes; sudden new criminal acts.”[7]  

Granted, we haven’t seen actual violence break out in the wake of the impeachment inquiry to this point, but there have been death threats (including from Trump), so we can’t rule that out by any stretch. Giuliani certainly qualifies as an “intruder” when it comes to American diplomacy, which he has disrupted in more than one place. Could there be an upheaval or “strike” among GOPers (whom Trump may well consider his “workers”)? Most party leaders are circling their wagons around Trump, but there are dissidents.

And yes, last night’s proclamation by Trump that he has the “absolute right” to go after anyone with foreign assistance for “corruption” (a nebulous term that can mean basically anything he wants it to mean) should trouble us because of its disregard for our laws and civil rights. IMHO, whoever the target might be, this way lies tyranny. From CNN analyst Chris Cillizza:

“What Trump doesn't get -- or chooses not to get -- is that there's a big difference between rooting out corruption and using (and abusing) the power of America to pressure foreign countries to dig dirt on your two main political opponents in the 2020 election. Especially when, in the case of Biden and Ukraine, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.”

What we might fear is that, by the time Trump is done extorting support from foreign leaders in return for whatever transactions he’s pursuing, there will be dirt on whoever the Dems choose to run against him in the end. If the information isn’t real, it’ll be manufactured. We saw the power of troll-farm misinformation distributed on social media in 2016—they got by with it then, so why wouldn’t Trump and company pursue the same line of attack this time?

Announcement Saturn/Pluto (midpoint, Capricorn) opposes Trump Sun/Pluto (midpoint, Cancer). This midpoint is all about the uses and abuses of power; Munkasey characterizes just the Saturn opposition to this point as “restraint when showing your destructive tendencies or potential for fanatical ventures; a blockage of wild tendencies.”[8] Pluto would contribute an abusive edge to the fanatical ventures—a pretty apt description of the claims the impeachment inquiry is investigating.

Trump’s chart features several more midpoints in this super-sensitive (and aggressive) mid-to-late Cancer sector; in fact, it’s worth listing them here to illustrate just how aggressively defensive his nature is:

Table 1: Trump midpoints occupying mid-to-late degrees in Cancer

Sun Moon Merc Ven Mars Jup Sat Ura Nep Plu Node

24+ Can



17+ Can

16+ Can

24+ Can


22+ Can

23+ Can



13+ Can

Plu 16+ Can

15+ Can

Clearly, his Eris is far from the only point in Trump’s chart that easily trips over into attack mode—his belligerent Leo Mars and Pluto stand ready to react at any slight, as does his erratic Gemini Uranus. All this suggests that when he seems to be flailing rhetorically and sending a barrage of nearly incoherent tweets out, we know from his Mars/Uranus midpoint that his anger has boiled over.  

The planetary pressure Trump is feeling (which seeks to hold him accountable, to “reap what he has sowed”) isn’t going to be relieved any time soon, either—Saturn and Pluto will continue transiting opposite this thin-skinned sector of Trump’s chart for some time to come (Pluto for years). In fact, as Saturn closes in on Pluto for the beginning of their new cycle (22+Capricorn) next January, that will be happening exactly opposite his Mars/Uranus midpoint and within a degree of his exact Saturn-Saturn opposition. We can probably expect some “fireworks” around that time.

Vanity Fair reports that the "plot to hide Trump's tax returns has hit the skids."

So will impeachment hold him accountable, or will something else transpire? It’s hard to say for now, but unless he’s capable of suspending cosmic law, Saturn and Pluto are likely to force changes and potential losses. Since his natal Venus is also a target of these transits, it’s possible that he will experience financial losses, and it’s more than likely that his tax returns will be forced into the open for some legal purposes.  

Announcement Venus-Mercury (Libra) trine Trump Uranus (Gemini); Announcement Mercury sextiles Trump Jupiter (Sagittarius). As we know from earlier, this innocent looking transit over Trump’s 2nd house is indirectly tied into the Cardinal sign show-down happening across Trump’s 5th-11th house axis. This ties into his financial affairs and supports his disruptive, libertine Gemini-Sagittarius axis. Nothing very consequential because it’s faster-moving than the outer planets challenging him, but it reflects the media platforms that support whatever he does, no matter how outrageous. It probably also reflects some short term profits and/or gains.

Interchart T-square: Announcement Mars (Virgo) squares Trump Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions. Virgo Mars also sextiles Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer). This combination of things illustrates what often happens with challenges to Trump’s chart: one “soft” aspect cushions the blow and helps deflect from another “hard” aspect’s impact.  In this case, Mars might be pushing for action that follows protocol (Virgo) or that stimulates healthy, pragmatic solutions and tempers his usual erratic, rebellious impulses (his Gemini-Sagittarius points), yet this same Mars is providing opportunities (sextiles) to attack those who are triggering his anxious Cancer points, so the moderation influence gets lost in the scuffle.

This Mars also forms an interchart Grand Trine, with Announcement Pluto (Capricorn) and Taurus MC, which stimulates a flow of resources (earth) that may beg further examination. Perhaps this reflects Trump’s expectations that those who want to curry favor with him better stay in his hotels and resorts when they travel? Or the funneling of taxpayer dollars into Trump properties for the sake of accommodating military layovers? Should the G7 summit be allowed to fill the coffers of his Mar-a-Lago property next year?

Such unconventional (and likely unethical) personal/presidential entanglements have been in the news in the past month, and there’s no reason to believe they’ve stopped happening: possibilities like this are reinforced by Announcement Uranus (Taurus) sextile his Mercury (Cancer), ruling his Virgo 2nd house of finance and resources.  

Being "Out-of-Synch" is apparently a theme these days.

Interchart T-square: Announcement Neptune Rx (Pisces) squares Trump Gemini-Sagittarius points and Announcement Jupiter (Sagittarius). Neptune very widely opposes Announcement Mars, which would re-configure the mutable t-square just described into a mutable grand square, but I find a tighter orb makes better sense when an outer planet that moves as slowly as Neptune does is involved. In fact, the out-of-synch sensibility created by two mutable t-squares that don’t quite mesh (i.e., are "out of synch") feels about right for the impeachment situation. It could also possibly explain why it took so long to get the process moving in the first place.

So will the House committees pin Trump down in the end? Or will he drift off in the mercurial way he has of avoiding responsibility—by counting on Senate loyalists to simply ignore the facts? By putting a loyalist in charge of dispensing (or not) the information demanded? Or by rewriting the facts or the rules as the investigation proceeds and demanding to dictate the terms of engagement? Or by gas-lighting the public into believing the narrative he wants to implant?

Turn this into an approach to politics and the result is tyranny.

This latter point deserves further comment—from the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which victims are led to doubt the evidence of their senses and the soundness of their reason…Trump apparently fancies himself a master of it.
He understands that repetition is one of the keys to making people believe something that is patently untrue. That’s what he does with the derisive nicknames he gives to those he sees as standing in his way. He did it with ‘Crooked Hillary’ Clinton, despite the complete absence of evidence that she had committed any crime. He does it with the ‘fake news’ label he stamps on any story he doesn’t like. By saying something over and over, he implants the message.”

IMHO, it is essential that we learn, as a society, to recognize these psychological manipulations as they happen—Neptune is transiting into its opposition to Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and we really need to have at least one foot in reality!

Alice gave the Red Queen a good shake in the end--oh, the wisdom of fantasy!

Final thoughts

So, yes, Trump’s response to the impeachment inquiry thus far has followed a predictable pattern: first, raging at the very idea that anyone would dare to challenge his authority, then lashing out and accusing those who want to hold him accountable of being unpatriotic, treasonous, horrible, disgusting people, yadda, yadda… and then, when he’s beginning to feel a bit too powerless in the situation, he begins delivering the twisted narrative that “there’s nothing wrong with (fill in the blanks)…in fact, it’s my duty to do (fill in the blanks).” Does he think the nation can’t see what he’s doing?

Maybe Trump thinks he’s invincible? Is he? Sometimes as an astrologer, I have wondered if the Cosmos forgot to build an “accountability lever” into his chart. Is Donald J. Trump some kind of “golden child,” endowed with a cosmic “green light” to run roughshod on the world for his own narcissistic purposes, with little to no consequences? Was he an absolute saint in a former life, issued a golden ticket to come back and find out how the other half lives?

I just shook myself for even thinking these things, but his chart captures an astonishing array of offensive and defensive capabilities which, by some kismet, come into full flower when put in combination with the U.S. Sibly chart. In other words, he’s found his astrological Xanadu in the White House, and he’s not about to give that up without a monumental fight. He’s probably planning to leave a presidential dynasty behind when he goes, even—how about another generation or two of Trumps in the White House?

"Divide & Conquer" has worked for Trump, but certainly not for the nation.

Nature may have the last word with him personally (as it does with all of us), but the nation will require decades to recover from the damage he’s doing to our national Soul. In all fairness, he’s only lanced a vitriolic “boil” of division and corruption that’s been forming for decades—if it hasn’t been there from the get-go—but it will be our collective responsibility to heal those deep divisions and rebuild our fragmented institutions.  The “Government” has been used as a political whipping boy for far too long, and we’re suffering the results of this unfortunate delusion. Little did everyone know, We the People are the Government, and it can’t function if we forget that.

We’ve talked at great length, through several posts, about the waning cyclical times we find ourselves in, and about the many milestones we’re going to encounter in the coming year as three cycles end and re-launch, with hopefully fresh agendas. This is why it’s so critical that we get this right now—that we resolve the tangled, corrupt mess we find ourselves in before the next round of cycles.

So it seems to me that Pelosi and the House committees (whether advised to do so or not) have chosen a potentially fruitful time to act. They all know what they are risking and they’re moving ahead anyway. This should tell everyone something.

So even though the timing for all this—just before an election—sounds awful, what are the odds we will have a free and fair election in 2020 if Congress doesn’t act? Those who want to vote for either side deserve to know that the election results will be legitimate—whatever they end up being. 

This begs a very critical question as we go forward, of course: will impeaching Trump really solve this dysfunction? No, it won’t solve everything—his presidency has revealed problems we may not have even known we had—but we have to start the healing and rebuilding process somewhere!  

From an aptly titled book, The Soul of America, by historian Jon Meacham

[1]George Orwell, Orwell on Truth, compiled by Harvill Secker, Houghton Mifflin Co., NY, NY, 2017, p. 106.
[2]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, p. 268.
[3]Birth data: Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY. Rated: AA.
[4]Birth data: Mike Pence, June 7, 1959, 12:09:40 am (rectified by Starkman) DST, Columbus, IN.
[5]Birth data: Rudy Giuliani, May 28, 1944, 12:00 pm War Time (no exact time), Brooklyn, NYC, NY.
[6]Data: US Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm LST, Philadelphia, PA.
[7]Munkasey, pp. 316-17.
[8]Ibid, p. 93.