Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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

The Dirt Band, circa 1977

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Astrology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fast forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confusion reigns.

Going forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good for trade, at what price?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atop the fallen Berlin Wall in 1989.

Final thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the meantime, Rock & Roll!!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

© Raye Robertson 2019. All rights reserved. 

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