Saturday, December 21, 2019

Banging the Solstice Gavel, Part I: The Astrology of a Capricorn Impeachment Vote



“Impeachments tend to happen when there is some existential question about who we are…”—Presidential historian Jon Meacham, December 19, 2019

“The Time hath found us.”—Thomas Paine, Common Sense


Remember those frightening stories children used to be told about Krampus, a mythic "dark"-Santa figure who punished bad children by filling their Christmas stockings with coal and rocks instead of sweets? 



Well, this year the Impeachment Krampus has already been busy!

As you may have been following in the televised House Judiciary Committee hearings of the past weeks, a party-line vote held on December 13th sent two Articles of Impeachment forward to the full House of Representatives by a margin of 23-17 (Dems-GOP), and 5 days later on December 18th, the full House passed those Articles, after a full day of hot debate

So Donald J. Trump is officially an impeached president: a comfortable majority of Dems and  Michigan’s former Republican-turned-Independent, Justin Amash carried the vote on both Articles. As for timing, the first Article received a voice vote at 8:09 p.m., but because of roll calls they were officially passed as House Leader Nancy Pelosi banged the gavel on them, at 8:34 p.m. and 8:52 p.m. respectively. Trump thus became only the third impeached Executive in American history, joining the ranks of Reconstruction-era Andrew Johnson, impeached in 1868, and Bill Clinton, impeached in 1998-99

In the wake of the Watergate scandal, of course, Richard Nixon faced impeachment charges, but he chose to resign in August, 1974, when it became clear that several GOP Senators planned to support his removal from office. 

The Impeachment process was deliberately divided between the House & the Senate.

 
The Framers of the U.S. Constitution deliberately divided the burden and authority of impeachment between the branches of Congress: the House investigates and hands down an indictment (one or more Articles of Impeachment) if the evidence gathered warrants it; the Senate then holds the trial, which is supposed to be substantive, fair and impartial, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is required to vote a president out of office: our Framers set a purposely high bar for removal since that outcome basically overturns an election. 

So whatever the outcome of Trump’s impeachment trial may be in the end—it’s far from over, and the results are anything but certain—what is certain is that he’s been impeached by the House, and that’s at least some measure of accountability.   

We will be examining the chart for the first Article’s passage below, but let’s first be clear what Trump was impeached for. The articles accuse him of, 1) Abuse of Power (long story, but Trump basically used his presidential position and $300+million military aid to demand foreign interference in our 2020 presidential election from Ukraine), and 2) Obstruction of Congress (making a blanket refusal to cooperate in any way with the House investigation into this abuse of power, not allowing any members of the Executive branch to testify, and refusing to turn over the pertinent documents and communications requested).  

Even the GOP members of the House Impeachment Committees (Judiciary and Intelligence) didn’t try to dispute the known facts underlying the abuse of power accusation—they instead twisted themselves into pretzels trying to either justify Trump’s corrupt actions, or they simply denied there was anything impeachable about his actions. “There’s nothing there” was an often used phrase—how the Committees ended up producing a 500+ page report regarding the evidence underlying the charges with “nothing” is another story. 

Considering that Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for perjuring himself about having sex with an intern in the Oval House, these opinions about what’s impeachable and what isn’t ring pretty hollow.  Clinton actually cooperated with the investigations and oversight process he was faced with; Trump has offered no good faith cooperation at all, and has instead chosen to try to defame, deny and rage his way through. 

It’s anyone’s guess how low he’ll go to vent his spleen over this, of course: at a rally in Michigan on impeachment night, he decided to pick on Michigan’s beloved late Rep. John Dingell (the longest-serving House Representative), insinuating that he was “looking up from hell” because his successor and wife, Debbie Dingell, voted for impeachment. If the immediate outrage is any indication—from GOP Michiganders, as well—Trump may have gone too far for Michigan voters. 

The late Rep. John Dingell and wife, Debbie (now Rep. Dingell).


Tellingly, Trump intimated in his comments that because he ordered the flags in DC to fly at half-staff when Dingell died earlier this year, that somehow his wife owed him her support. Really?!!
 
Trump is, of course, taking for granted that he has an “Ace up his sleeve” in his Senate trial—he expects that the GOP-led Senate (and specifically Leader McConnell) will give him a “fair trial,” meaning one in which he, Trump gets to rig what happens. McConnell has, in fact, come out with a bald-faced statement that the Senate trial will be organized in “total coordination” with White House lawyers. 

If the country was capable of being further shocked by the workings of this administration, this statement should be the lightning bolt that blows everyone’s minds and cracks open the shell of inertia we’ve been encased in. McConnell’s transparent willingness to rig the Senate trial definitely had an impact on Dems who put weeks examining the facts of the case. From the Washington Post:
 
‘I think it was pretty bad for who is essentially the foreman of the jury to announce the verdict,’ said Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), a Judiciary Committee member and potential impeachment manager. ‘The idea that he is working like that is pretty shameful.’
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) went further, calling on McConnell to recuse himself from the Senate proceedings based on his Fox News remarks.
‘He’s working hand in hand with the White House, the president’s attorney, and yet we are supposed to expect him to manage a fair and impartial impeachment inquiry?’ she said. ‘They’ve screamed ‘bias,’ ‘kangaroo court,’ ‘witch hunt’ and everything else. . . . When the Senate majority leader stands at the microphone and says I’m basically going to coordinate with the president’s attorney,  that scares me.’”

Of course, Trump and company refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Congressional oversight—the 500-lb. ideological “elephant” in this scenario—so it’s easy for them to dismiss the whole thing as a “witch hunt,” and to ignore the facts it has uncovered. That should raise some questions in everyone’s minds: for instance, when we become a monarchy, with an autocratic leader who is above the Law and beyond any kind of Congressional oversight? 

No, it’s even more deeply troubling – as Nixon tried to claim in the 1970s before he was forced to resign, Trump seems to believe that anything he does must be legal because he was president when he did it! Nixon found it didn’t work to conflate himself with the State—a ploy that is straight out of the authoritarian playbook—but Trump has surrounded himself with yes-people (like Barr and McConnell) who are enabling that perspective.

Some commentators like to remind us all that Executive power has been out-of-balance with our constitutionally co-equal branches of government (Congress & the Judiciary) for decades, and clearly, they have a case—a long story, for another time. Suffice to say here, there’s an astrological reason we’re suffering the results of this long evolution now—the Saturn-Pluto opposition that stretched across the Sibly horizon (Sagittarius-Gemini) on September 11, 2001, ushered in a long, torturous transformation of Executive power and authority in this nation, and the years that followed led inexorably into Pluto’s (Capricorn) long opposition with Sibly Sun (Cancer), empowering the “leader” (Sun) in myriad, often toxic ways. 

Not surprisingly, this heavy Saturn-Pluto activity is also impacting Trump’s natal chart in ways we will consider a bit below, and much more in the next post. 

So the developments we’re seeing in shocking living color today didn’t happen overnight, but Trump has certainly found ways to take full advantage from his vantage point in the White House. Too bad his motives are far from clear. 


Ancient societies celebrated seasonal transitions, challenging authority and the norms.


The Astrology

As we’ll see in the charts below, Capricorn looms very large with transits these days, which is quite appropriate—this calendar month features the Winter Solstice (Dec. 22), when the Sun enters Saturn’s earthy domain of Capricorn. This, of course, is why the traditional solstice celebration is known as Saturnalia, aka the “Festival of Lights.” 

I’ve written at length every December about this interesting festival and its historical, cultural and social significance, so I won’t repeat most of that in this post, but for more on the significance of the Sun reaching this final key astrological cross-quarter point (the four quarters of the cosmic year begin at the 0° point in Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), see here, here, here and here

But this post isn’t about Saturnalia itself—it’s more about the Capricorn impeachment “Krampus” that’s threatening to sabotage our spirits during this Holiday season. We’re approaching a difficult and distracting final quarter in the natural/astrological year, and the transition can be wrenching, even without major drama in D.C. 

Yet here we are, immersed in the final heady, fiery degrees of Sagittarius (Sun), energies that basically unleash and promote our wildest excesses leading into the holidays (Black Friday stampedes, wearing out our credit cards, celebrations, etc.), and then we’re on to the Solstice, where we run flat up against the sober wake-up call of that serious old goat, Capricorn. It can feel like a collective hang-over, and the Holiday gatherings are still in progress! 

Interestingly, two of the now three impeachments in U.S. history have gaveled in during the Holiday season—Bill Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998. So, as unfortunate as the timing seems, there may be some astrological sense to it. The late degrees of Sagittarius are very potent because transits through that sector conjoin the massive black hole known as the Galactic Center (currently at 27°3)—significantly, this cosmic point is thought to rule whistleblowers. Astrologer Melanie Reinhart writes extensively about this phenomenon and analyzes several whistleblower charts from this perspective here.   


That no one is above the law is an essential feature of American democracy.

Time will not be stopped; reality will not be ignored, even with Neptune transiting Pisces. Wishful thinking doesn’t work very well with Saturnian Capricorn: if the outraged 6-page letter Trump sent a couple days ago to House Leader Pelosi is any indication, Trump didn’t really think he would find himself impeached by the House, but here we are. As so many have repeated throughout this process, in the U.S., “No one—not even the president—is above the law.” 

Trump may, in fact, be acquitted in the Senate and not removed from office, but even that won’t change the reality that he has been impeached by the House. So this is progress: as a few commentators pointed out last night after that historic vote, Trump has always found allies and ways to work around any serious attempts to hold him accountable in the past—if law suits and public relations stunts don’t work, he buys his way out (paying off porn stars for silence comes to mind). But this time may just be different. 

For one thing, many more are no longer giving the victimization narrative that’s been framed around Trump any credence—is he really being treated like one of those poor women in the Salem witch trials, like Jesus was by Pontius Pilate??  Are all his problems brought upon him by the Dems, who just “hate” him?  Is he even capable of being objective about his own behavior, much less responsible? 

All the distorted hyperbole is Neptunian for sure, and wouldn’t you know it, Neptune is currently transiting over Trump’s natal 7th house of enemies, so it’s possible he experiences free-floating anxiety that the world is out to get him and it’s quite possible that he’s not capable of objectivity. Even so, does any of this put him above the law? 

This is the dilemma today’s astrological realities confront us with, in fact: Neptune in distortion- and delusion-prone Pisces makes grasping the facts and holding anyone to account a slippery affair at best, yet Saturn and Pluto, transiting in rules- and authority-grounded Capricorn, are determined to clear out the corrupt dross of society and make way for renewed structures and institutions. 

The U.S. Constitution defines "impeachable offense" in a few key words.


So if this time is different for Trump, it’ll be because astrologically, it’s time for some accountability—if not for high crimes and misdemeanors committed in the highest office, then for something else: Saturn and Pluto (Capricorn) are both transiting opposite his natal Saturn-Venus (Cancer) conjunction and these planetary energies demand that we reap what we sow, one way or another.

Besides, Trump is no longer just a “private” person who might be able to skirt the law and work the system with little accountability, simply because he’s wealthy and connected. His “avatar” in the US Sibly chart, if you will, is the Sun, which makes his behavior a matter of collective, institutional importance, and the Saturn-Pluto cycle is all about transforming social structures and institutions for the most critical purpose: survival. As adept as Donald Trump has been at using the law to his advantage over his controversial career, as former President Harry S. Truman used to say, now “the buck stops here.” 

So let’s examine one of the history-making charts that was produced by the final Impeachment votes in the House. The two Articles of Impeachment passed within 18 minutes of each other: the first, at 8:34 p.m. and the second at 8:52 p.m., so the differences between the two are mainly with the angles and the Moon degree. We’ll consider the first one here, and because this gets to be a lengthy discussion, we’ll consider other impeachment-related charts (including Trump’s nativity in relation to the Impeachment vote chart) in the next post. 





Chart #1: Trump impeachment vote, Article One, December 18, 2019, 8:34 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Sun trines Eris (Aries) and widely conjoins Pallas (Sagittarius) and Jupiter (Capricorn) in 5th house; Sun rules Leo ASC. In mundane astrology, the 5th house is the natural home of the “leader” (Sun), so it’s not surprising to see it here in both impeachment charts (it doesn’t leave this house for the Article Two vote). Interestingly, the Sun’s companions in this house may be less than supportive. Sagittarius ruler Jupiter is widely conjoined the Sun from Capricorn—traditionally, the sign of Jupiter’s “fall.” 

 Pallas deals with matters of Justice, so essentially the Sun is sandwiched in between the forces of Justice on one side and a weakened Jupiter. This rather dour looking Jupiter speaks to the serious ideological and philosophical debate about the Rule of Law that underlies the entire impeachment.  

Trump’s impeachment has been a study in the extremes of partisanship, as well: there may be no solid body of evidence to prove this, but I’ve often observed that Jupiter seems to resonate more with the regulations-averse GOP than it does with the Dems, who are more likely to see the government and the Law as the “solution,” rather than the “problem.”   

So if we consider the 5th house the Leader’s arena of influence, Jupiter’s presence does seem to strike a partisan note of support, albeit weakened support at this time. This weakness didn’t stop the GOP members of the Impeachment committees from putting up a fight and causing as much disruption as they could get by with on Trump’s behalf (Sun trines Eris). 

Jupiter widely conjoins So. Node (Capricorn), opposes No. Node (Cancer) and trines Uranus Rx-MC (Taurus). The impact of this aspect ripples further, of course—you may recall that Trump’s Mercury (Cancer, chart not shown)—a key point in his nativity—tightly conjoins the transiting No. Node

As for this chart, a weakened Jupiter conjoined So. Node suggests a “drag” on collective progress, exacerbated by the “Leader” (Jupiter rules and conjoins Sun).  The trine to Uranus (Taurus) suggests that the forces of change are active and pushing for expression at the highest levels. More on this in the next post when we discuss Trump’s nativity next to the impeachment charts. 


One of many House Judiciary Committee hearings in regards to impeachment.

Saturn conjoins Pluto (Capricorn) and together they square Eris (Aries); Pluto widely conjoins Venus (Capricorn). Significantly, this is all transpiring in the 6th house, the house of military and other public servants, including the “worker bees” on the House committees. There is transformative force behind the efforts of these committees, as we’ve seen—Trump won’t admit to feeling impeached (preferring to dismiss it all as a “hoax”), but he is impeached. Saturn traffics in facts, not feelings, and with Pluto, those facts can be weighty and transformational. 

Venus not only conjoins Pluto in pragmatic, authoritative Capricorn, but it squares Uranus Rx (Taurus)—an out-of-sign square off between Money/Power and the forces of change and disruption. There’s no getting around the fact that all this impeachment drama is overlapping with Election drama—if Trump remains in office after his Senate trial, he’ll be the first impeached president to seek re-election, and it doesn’t take much to imagine that he will be courting billionaires around the world (why stop at Russia and Ukraine if he can’t be held accountable?). It’s quite possible, of course, that impeachment will make for an effective fund-raising prod within the country as well. 

For its part, disruptive Uranus inhabits the 9th house, which could certainly point to foreign meddling or change flowing from international relationships. Vladimir Putin’s pronouncement yesterday (12/19) slamming Trump’s impeachment raises exactly these questions. Reportedly, even some White House members say that Trump believes Ukraine meddled in our 2016 election (meaning not Russia), because “Putin told” him. Of course he did. 


Sparks flew between Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY, l) & Louie Gohmert (R-TX, r).

From this perspective, Jupiter trine Uranus also reflects the GOP’s baffling support of Russian talking points—a phenomenon that briefly exploded into view in the final Impeachment debate.  

The bottom line here is, will Trump be allowed to normalize seeking out and accepting foreign assistance that benefits (Venus) his political fortunes?  One way or another, considering that Venus also conjoins Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) here, Trump’s impeachment could have a serious impact on his election funding. 

It’s also quite possible that Venus in stately, no-nonsense Capricorn reflects the role that Madame Speaker (the most powerful woman in U.S. government) is playing in all this. The opposition between Pelosi and Trump will make even more sense when we consider all this in the next post.

Finally, the square between the Capricorn points to Eris (Aries) reflects how combative and discordant recent times have been, and we shouldn’t expect that to improve any time soon. 

Saturn-Pluto-Venus (Capricorn) trines Moon (Virgo); Moon squares Sun (Sagittarius). The Moon in a mundane chart speaks to the People and I would offer that it also captures the emotional tone of the national discourse. So what does the nation’s “gut” have to say about Trump’s impeachment? Clearly, the People and the Leader are at odds in this chart, and yes, with Moon in the 2nd house, there may be financial ramifications. A Virgo Moon can be stressful—the pressure to “do the right thing,” yet remain pragmatic is intense. 


Editors of CT published an article urging Trump's removal from office.

In fact, this Moon may have stimulated the amazing editorial that just ran in Christianity Today (CT,founded by the late Billy Graham), titled “Trump should be removed from office.”  The gist of the article is captured nicely in the following excerpt:

“But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.
The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”

This article is amazing not just for the way it zeroes in on Trump’s “profoundly immoral” actions, but because this is a deep-rooted Evangelical publication, and the Evangelicals have been staunch Trump supporters, despite his long, “checkered” history. Publishing this article must have taken some deep soul-searching on the part of CT’s management, yet they seem to have run up against a sense of duty and commitment (good Virgo traits) to a “higher good:” 

“The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”
Trump, of course, has dismissed this article as being from a “far-left” magazine—which raises the question of Neptune in this chart.


Poseidon, aka Neptune in ancient myth.

Neptune (Pisces) quincunxes ASC (Leo), squares Pallas-Mercury (Sagittarius) and trines Mars (Scorpio). The Leo ASC here is uncomfortably challenged by Neptune and its "alternative," often distorted perspective--who is this larger-than-life, egoistic person at the heart of this impeachment? It strikes me as interesting that Pallas-Mercury trine ASC as well. Asteroid experts Demetra George and Douglas Bloch point to Pallas’ decidedly political dimension, saying:

“Astrologically, then, Pallas Athene symbolizes a feminine-defined quality of heroism, bravery, courage, and sensible toughness. In the birth chart, she describes the political activist, militant feminist, or champion of oppressed minorities. ..As protectress of the state, Pallas extended her political domain into the laws and political life of the polis.[1]
The authors further characterize Pallas in Sagittarius as “a defender of truth and righteousness, fighting for ideologies,”[2] which certainly fit the scenario on Wednesday night. Mercury-Pallas combined indicates the potential for mediation, negotiation, and communication—perhaps reflecting how carefully parsed and narrowly focused the official impeachment Articles are. 

Words carry weight in these affairs—another reason Trump’s vicious comments later that night regarding the late Rep. John Dingell struck such a negative chord. It’s possible that the square from Neptune to these Sagittarius points could be channeled in both uplifting and cynical ways: to elevate the debate and the tone of the proceedings on one hand, while simultaneously enabling the “fog” of rhetorical “war.”

The Mars-Neptune trine (Scorpio-Pisces) is interesting in this regard. The Mars/Neptune (midpoint) falls about 2 degrees shy of Saturn (Capricorn), which is a bit wide, but the proverbial “shoe” seems to fit here. From midpoints expert Michael Munkasey:

“Frustrations encountered when punishing those who deceive others; blockage of anger toward people who avoid reality; pessimism over arguments received from clerics or mystics…”[3]
Anger and deception do seem to be two major themes in the Trump presidency, so it’s not surprising to see them in play in the Impeachment Articles. Mars sextiles Saturn-Pluto as well—the Article’s intention is to hold a rogue president accountable, but a measure of restraint is called for. Acting out of anger or revenge (Scorpio Mars) could undermine the opportunity presented.  




House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presided over the Impeachment Votes.


Final thoughts

This has been stage one of a two-part exploration into the impeachment history made on December 18th—IMHO, it’s a complicated story that deserves this extended treatment, so thank you for your patience! 

The coming post will focus primarily on a triwheel between the US Sibly chart, Trump’s nativity and the Impeachment Vote chart we just considered above. My hope is that we’ll gain important perspective from looking at all this together—especially as we wind down one of the most chaotic years in modern U.S. history. We know from considering the key planetary cycles that are quickly waning for re-launch in 2020 that change, renewal and a critical election year are on the horizon, and these cycles will continue having their say, whatever happens with the Senate impeachment trial. 

Finally, a nod to the Winter Solstice, which perfects late this evening, at 11:19:19 p.m. EST. Set for Washington, D.C., 20°+Virgo rises, which just happens to square Donald Trump’s significant Gemini-Sagittarius full Moon axis. Clearly, the Capricorn quarter of this astrological year will challenge him to “do the right thing.” What might that be?

I leave you with that Solstice chart to consider—and a note of relevant interest from history. The Thomas Paine quote that I cited at the top of this post, “The Time hath found us” is being bandied about quite a lot these days in reference to the impeachment and to political platforms calling for major changes. I would argue that this phrase is in “the ether” because we are so deeply caught up in waning cycles that demand we clear out the old and begin anew. 

Will the coming quarter bring major change? See what you think in the chart below!





Chart #2: Sun enters Capricorn (Winter Solstice), December 21, 2019, 11:19:19 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. 

Thomas Paine, Founding Father & author of Common Sense

Speaking of Capricorn "moments," our very colorful and profoundly revolutionary founding father, Thomas Paine, was born on February 9, 1737, with Uranus at 0°+Capricorn—conjunct the Winter Solstice point (aka the Capricorn "World Point"), so it’s no wonder that he and his compatriots (many of whom were younger, born with Uranus in revolutionary Aquarius) saw the need for fundamental structural change and a break from the British monarchy.  IMHO, the bottom line here is that history—and the astrology that helps us understand its echoes in our own times—are important guides for these times. 

So what will we do this time around? 

Above all, refresh our spirits for the times ahead: enjoy a blessed Solstice and Holiday season with families and friends!









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] Demetra George & Douglas Bloch, Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine. Ibis Press, Lake Worth, FL, updated edition, 2003, p. 91.
[2]Ibid, p. 104.
[3] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, p. 241.

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