Friday, September 6, 2019

Power imbalances, delusions of grandeur & empty chairs: the Jupiter-Pluto cycle

As anyone watching this space knows, these are troubling geopolitical times, and this reality is mirrored in the very complicated mix of planetary cycles approaching completion in the coming months.

This complexity explains at least in part why global geopolitical dynamics seem so frenzied at the moment. In the last post here, we explored in some depth what’s going on with the Saturn-Pluto cycle, and we considered what we can look forward to in the new January 2020, late Capricorn cycle. 

In this post we’ll dig into the Jupiter-Pluto cycle to consider similar dynamics: first, how this cycle has manifested in history and how the current waning cycle is manifesting in its final months; and second, (in the next post), what the inception chart for the new cycle that launches in April, 2020 has to say. 

In a nutshell, the Jupiter-Pluto cycle drives how raw, intellect-and-belief-based Power (power over; power to) is deployed and exercised in society. For instance, the 1845 cycle, launched at 23+Aries in May of that year, provided the aggressive “philosophical” pretext of Manifest Destiny to justify the young American nation’s expansion from sea-to-shining-sea, and it clearly didn’t matter who happened to call the lands at stake their home. Manifest Destiny was used to justify the expansionist war with Mexico in 1846, the annexation of Texas, California and the entire southwest. From Wikipedia:

“…[I]n 1845, O'Sullivan wrote an essay titled Annexation in the Democratic Review,[19] in which he first used the phrase manifest destiny.[20] In this article he urged the U.S. to annex the Republic of Texas,[21] not only because Texas desired this, but because it was ‘our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions’[22]
And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.[24]
That is, O'Sullivan believed that Providence had given the United States a mission to spread republican democracy (‘the great experiment of liberty’)…O'Sullivan believed that manifest destiny was a moral ideal (a ‘higher law’) that superseded other considerations.[25]

How convenient it is for those who intend to expand their power anyway, to have a philosophical pretext (“Providence gave it to us?”) that is ready-made for the purpose! I’m sure we can imagine other “truisms” that unleash questionable behaviors—they’re the stuff that political ideologies and “gold rushes” are built upon. Never mind that other intellectual tenets underpinning the new American democracy at that time claimed to respect the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of all.
This respect has been sadly loopholed and reserved for the privileged few in the course of our history: “all” turned out to mean only white male property owners, and they weren’t the people whose lands the new nation coveted when the wagon trains began moving west.

"American Progress," by John Gast represented the spirit of Manifest Destiny.

So not only was this 1845 Jupiter-Pluto cycle characterized by a determined, self-serving intellectual justification for westward expansion, there was a convenient void in the legal definition of person (i.e., right-bearing being) that allowed the atrocities that followed.
Needless to say, these “intellectual” ploys—based on notions of supremacy, at their core—(a toxic Jupiterian notion), are hard at work again today, as the Trump administration works to rid the nation of anyone he feels does not “belong.” In an interesting parallel, the 2007 Jupiter-Pluto cycle that is waning to completion by April, 2020, began in December, 2007 at 28+ Sagittarius—another aggressive, mentally-driven fire sign. 
Expanding the nation’s power over the lives and even the bodies of immigrants (anyone Trump sees as challenging his control of American “boundaries”) seems to be the new “destiny” his administration lays claim to, and we’ve been seeing the heinous results.
Sinking to a new low that simple boggles the mind, however, Trump has now singled out the undocumented families of severely ill children who have been receiving life-saving care in the U.S. due to President Obama’s “Medical Deferment” program, targeting them for rapid deportation. 
Although there has been some confusion and chaos attending all this, the Trump administration has apparently now ended Obama’s deferment program, sending deportation notices to these families, with some notices reaching them in hospital rooms!
The cruelty and depravity required to even contemplate such a move takes your breath away, yet this is certainly in keeping with the cruel outrages inflicted upon Native Americans in the 1840s and 50s, and upon African-American slaves and their descendents throughout our history. Interesting historical note: when the first slave ships arrived at our Virginia shore in 1619, Jupiter and Pluto were still conjunct in Taurus—a sign that supports the pursuit of property and wealth.
For some, the 1619 narrative isn't regarded as the most accurate or constructive.
If you haven’t seen the New York Times Magazine’s amazing compilation of articles that document the U.S. slave trade from the perspective of these 1619 roots, it’s well worth a look. Astrologically, this timing makes a lot of sense, yet there are some historians and researchers who differ--it's an ongoing, consequential discussion that we need to have.
Jupiter and Pluto conjoined again in Taurus in 1857, as the anti-slavery abolition movement was strengthening and the national debate over new western territories becoming either “free” states or “slave” states was reaching peak intensity. In other words, the same issue that played a central role in colonizing this New World in the 17th century returned to tear us apart in the 1860s. Whether or not 1619 is the best beginning point for the practice of holding slaves is quite another story.
So a government and its people must first be able to conceive of and justify megalomania (Jupiter-Pluto at its worst) before they can muster the power infrastructure (laws, institutions, etc.—the province of Saturn-Pluto) to implement the policies that emerge from it. As we know from history, the Civil War didn’t solve the slavery/white supremacy issue in America, but it seems to me that the current Capricorn cycles are calling us to do so. I'm guardedly optimistic that we can make progress in this--more on that in the next post.
As with every planetary cycle, potential positive and negative expressions co-exist and are influenced by the Zodiac signs and aspects involved. Gross abuses of power and shirking of responsibility (the two often co-exist) spawn great resistance, as well—witness the sorely mistreated coal miners protesting in Kentucky these days because Blackjewel, their company, simply stopped paying them when it ran into financial problems. The former CEO got paid; the workers have been waiting for weeks. 

Happily, the miners aren’t taking this abuse lying down. They may not realize this, but they’re following in the footsteps of railroad workers who chose to strike the powerful Chicago-based Pullman Co. in 1894, the same month a particularly influential new Jupiter-Pluto cycle was about to launch in early Gemini, also conjunct Neptune.  

The Pullman Strike is considered by many to mark a critical turning point for U.S. labor law and the American labor movement. Unfortunately, both of these are weak shadows of themselves today, but there are signs of hope. A dynamic new labor leader—this time a woman named Sara Nelson, who comes to the movement from the important airlines industry—is gaining influence, and she will be one to watch. 

As for the miners, coal mining is a controversial industry that is—of necessity—being phased out gradually and replaced with more sustainable, climate-friendly energy options, but the industry’s workers need to be assisted as they are forced to transition into other fields. They and their communities certainly don’t deserve to become the “fall guys” for the harsh economic and environmental realities their companies face. As with all industrial transitions (change is the only constant), this dilemma is solvable, given the positive Jupiter-Pluto political will and vision to do so. 

Blackjewel coal miners in Kentucky, blocking a train in protest over no pay.

Cycle characteristics

The Jupiter-Pluto cycle is relatively brief, usually lasting just days more than 12 years. Pluto moves slowly to Jupiter’s more rapid “1 sign per year” clip, so Jupiter catches up to its counterpart at least once in every sign it traverses. For those signs where Pluto lingers for more years (its orbit is highly elliptical), there are multiple cycles beginning in one sign. I’ve detailed the starting points for cycles going back to America’s founding below, in Table 1 so we can get a sense of how this happens. 

Table 1. Jupiter-Pluto cycle inception data.
Inception date

Notice that the multiple cycles in one sign have the effect of expanding the generational “signature” of each Pluto sign. This may explain why periods like 1857-1894 were so tumultuous in this country, with three Jupiter-Pluto cycles launching in earthy Taurus, with its powerful materialistic ambitions. Again, the entire U.S. Civil War (1861-65) was fought over the issue of property and over whether “free” or “slave” states would dominate our western expansion. 

The 1862 Homestead Act gave hundreds of thousands of easterners the incentive to surge westward to claim land the government “gave” them. Indigenous peoples at home in those territories were either killed or forcibly moved to make way for white settlers. 

This, just a few years after the frenzy of the California Gold Rush (1848-55) which brought thousands of men (and some adventurous women) from all over the country and the world to that territory. Bottom line, the sign in which a Jupiter-Pluto cycle launches says a lot about a society’s priorities and ambitions during that period. These cycles provide a very revealing lens on history, in fact—we’ll see more examples of this as we go.  

Epicurus's perennial logical quandary regarding the "problem of evil."

Jupiter-Pluto & the problem of evil

With its natural rulership over death, sex, taxes and chthonic resources that must be extracted from the “Underworld,” Pluto’s connection to the phenomenon of “evil” seems natural, although there is, as with every planetary energy, a positive-to-negative spectrum available for Pluto’s expression. It comes far less naturally to think about optimistic, charismatic, even generous Jupiter as contributing to “evil” in any way. 
Even so, if we consider Jupiter’s propensity for extreme behaviors and ideological overreach, the ways in which this planet might contribute to or support evil become more apparent. Jupiter’s raw impulse is towards growth, expansion, and improvement, but when it hangs around with chthonic Pluto, its ambition may manifest in ways that are unscrupulous, ruthless, overly-controlling, or simply toxic in some way. Hence the stubborn, unyielding power of the fossil fuel lobby! 

No surprise—fossil fuel billionaires and powerful political “kingmakers” Charles Koch and David Koch (recently deceased)  have strong Jupiter-Pluto aspects in their nativities (Charles, a Scorpio-Cancer trine; David, an Aries-Leo square). 

Power to can easily morph into power over—far too easily a recipe for overreach and abuse. 

A somewhat recent historical example illustrates this point well, and it reminds us that societies lapse into evil periodically as the local power dynamics fall drastically out of balance and become concentrated in corrupt—in this case, toxic nationalist, religiously intolerant hands. Such was the case with the Srebrenica massacre on July 11, 1995 (Chart #1 below), in which approximately 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were lined up and killed by Bosnian Serb nationalists in what the Hague International Court later deemed a genocidal “crime against Humanity.” 

I’ve written about this chart in the context of radicalized youth and its relationship with the 1988 Saturn-Uranus cycle (see here), but here we’ll briefly consider the Jupiter-Pluto dynamics involved. 

Chart #1: Srebrenica Massacre, July 11, 1995, 11:00 a.m. DST (news reports), Srebrenica, Bosnia. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

The Bosnian Muslim community suffered utter devastation as a result of this massacre, perpetrated because the Serbs were consolidating their control over Bosnian lands after this former province of Yugoslavia was officially recognized as an independent republic in April, 1992. In the scramble, this quest for territory unleashed centuries of hatred against Muslims in the Balkans, probably harking back to the Ottoman Empire. 

Srebrenica became a refuge to Bosnian Muslims fleeing Serbian military encroachment, and ultimately it became a city under siege. So a toxic mix of xenophobia, nationalism and territorial ambition drove the cruel atrocities and ethnic cleansing campaign on the ground. 
Jupiter Rx conjoins Pluto Rx (wide-Scorpio to Sagittarius); Jupiter Rx trines Pallas (Leo) and squares Ceres (Virgo). The Jupiter-Pluto cycle in question with this conjunction actually launched in December, 1994 at 28°+Scorpio—Pluto’s home sign. Interestingly, the attacks on Bosnian Muslims by Slobodan Milosovic’s Serbian military began in 1992, during the final waning phases of the November, 1981 cycle that took off at 24°+Libra. Cycles that launch in the mid-to-late degrees of cardinal signs are often highly significant in terms of geopolitical power plays, and this one certainly lived up to that. 

It’s worth noting here that not only are Jupiter and Pluto significant players in this chart, but because they both occupy the signs they rule (Jupiter in Sagittarius; Pluto in Scorpio), they are actually co-final dispositors of this chart! So, even if every aspect involving these two isn’t dramatic on the surface, their joint influence overall shouldn’t be underestimated. 

Once the new Jupiter-Pluto cycle launched in Scorpio late 1994, the power balance (the 1981 cycle began in Libra) in that region had been destroyed, and despite the U.N. Security Council declaring Srebrenica a “safe area” for Bosnian Muslims, the Serbian military overreached and basically ignored that declaration. The U.N. apparently failed to demilitarize the safe area, which provided a pretext (Jupiter trines Pallas) for the Serbian forces to maintain their weapons. 

The net result was that the Serbs intensified their genocidal campaign against Bosnian Muslims (Jupiter squares Ceres). It may seem odd that Jupiter would support such negativity, however its alliance with Pluto was still quite active and impactful (both in ruling signs), and Pluto was heavily connected into the angular dynamics of this chart.

True crimes against Humanity were committed in Srebrenica.

Chiron-Mars (Virgo) conjoined ASC (Virgo) and opposed Saturn Rx-DSC (Pisces). Pluto Rx (Scorpio) sextiled Mars and trined Saturn Rx. These aspects point to the militant power dynamics in play—the Serbian forces saw their opportunity to attack, and as we’ll see, this opportunity was powerfully reinforced by the Uranus-Neptune (both Rx, Capricorn) conjunction that Mars trined and Pluto and Saturn sextiled.  

The geopolitical powers basically stood by and watched the Srebrenica genocide unfold—it wasn’t until 1999 that the U.S. got involved under the Clinton administration, and that was to stop a second ethnic cleansing campaign in former Yugoslav republic, Kosovo. 

So the “evil” that can be supported, enabled, and even promoted under a Jupiter-Pluto cycle may unfold as much through action and overreach as through inaction—a sort of Pontius Pilate “washing of the hands” that gives destructive forces free rein. Or an "unwilling God," in Epicurus's terms. Those in power regularly try to safeguard their "omnipotence" by declining to act. This cycle resists responsibility in so far as it restrains the quest for power. 

Playing “God”
In mythology, Zeus (Jupiter) and Hades (Pluto) were two of the three “gods” ruling various dimensions of earthly life—Zeus the Skies, Hades the Underworld, and Poseidon the Oceans. Humanity was useful to these ruling forces, as long as the sacrifices kept coming and they didn’t get too full of themselves with pride and hubris, but these three were also famously irritable, when crossed. 

So, implied in this breakdown of powers has always been the dominion these “gods” have over human life. To “play god” has always implied power over human life, sometimes in the most “no-win” situations, and I would argue that when Jupiter and Pluto are dominant astrological forces, these situations can become trickier than ever.   

Consider what has happened in natural disasters we’ve seen, when this power over other’s lives can become an unwelcome burden. We saw this with the medical crews charged with evacuating hospitals in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans in 2005. When the storm approached peak intensity in New Orleans on August 29th, these crews were forced to “play God,” deciding which patients (many terminally ill) could be evacuated and which could not. Local nursing homes and hospitals like New Orlean’s Memorial Medical Center suffered the highest fatality rates in the storm, and some staff members were arrested and charged with wrongdoing after the storm. 

The point here is that these medical professionals were faced with absolutely no-win situations in which having “power over” their patients played out quite tragically for all concerned. 

On August 29, 2005, with Katrina at peak intensity over New Orleans, Jupiter (Libra) formed a waning sextile to Pluto (Sagittarius), not too different from the situation we find ourselves in today, with Jupiter transiting Sagittarius and Pluto hovering semi-sextile in Capricorn. The opportunism of the 2005 sextile was exploited by the many ways both planets tied into the rest of the event chart that day (not shown here).  

Jupiter conjoined Venus-So. Node (Libra), opposed Eris-No. Node (Aries), inconjoined Mars (Taurus), trined Neptune (Aquarius) and widely squared Moon (Cancer, with chart cast for noon). The waters rose to levels never anticipated (Jupiter-Neptune trine), with devastating consequences. 

For its part, Pluto formed a grand fire trine with Mercury and Eris, squared Part-of-Fortune (Virgo) and inconjoined Mars. Particularly with both Jupiter and Pluto inconjunct Mars, it’s no wonder that a lot of people found themselves at the mercy of some unmerciful, disruptive “gods” that day, yet some few profited from the aftermath of that day as well (Jupiter-0-Venus, both sextile Pluto). 

Leveraging a tragic or potentially deadly situation (Pluto) to some benefit (Jupiter) is deeply characteristic of this cycle; the manner in which it is leveraged often depends upon other connections in the chart.  

Politicians aren't the only ones "playing god" these days!

This leveraging dynamic is being pushed to extremes these days in many ways, of course--scientists are "playing god" in regards to fertility, AI engineers are basically deciding who will have jobs in the future and who won't, and so on. Lots to talk about here, and some of it (not all) may be very positive. If science can come up with a way to "play god" and solve the climate crisis, more power to them! 

All of this explains, however, why the Jupiter-Pluto cycle can also be a major force during cycles of corruption—especially the kind that involve big money and overwhelming influence. The so-called “Great” recession of 2008-9 was most likely related to the December, 2007 Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in late Sagittarius (see Table 1 below), but the actions and conditions that led to that recession were a product of the waning period of the December, 1994 cycle in late Scorpio—debt-sensitive Scorpio.

Unscrupulous mortgage lending practices had gained steam during that cycle and had helped create a 2004-6 housing bubble (Jupiter), compounded by a seriously overextended consumer debt situation—all of which helped to bring on the broader 2008 financial crisis, causing thousands of homeowners to lose their homes to foreclosure or to find their mortgages “under water.” 

Credit ratings plummeted and borrowing power became absolutely unavailable to millions, as well. As we now know in retrospect, the finance industry had built a precarious “Jenga” tower of illusory, uncapitalized debt, which came perilously close to crashing the entire economy as the reality hit. 

A bit further into the 2007 Jupiter-Pluto cycle, the U.S. Supreme Court made its controversial (and IMHO, totally irresponsible) decision known as Citizens United—effectively putting political offices and democracy itself on the auction block.  Citizens United came into force on January 21, 2010, with Jupiter (Pisces) conjunct Neptune (Aquarius) and sextile Pluto (Capricorn), and with Saturn(Libra) tightly square Pluto and quincunx Jupiter.  

The lure of unlimited corporate cash flowing through election campaigns like an undammed river (water sign Jupiter conjunct and disposed by Neptune) apparently overwhelmed the better judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court (Saturn)—in other words, the opportunity for corruption presented itself and found an outlet in the remaining chart connections. 

Interestingly, our national Sibly chart was caught up in its eighth Saturn return when this transpired, and with Jupiter strong in Pisces (co-ruling with and beginning a new cycle with Neptune), the law was conveniently distorted to satisfy powerful players with agendas to purchase.  

Perhaps the most disturbing example of this “playing god” dynamic that we’ve seen recently, however, has been the Trump administration’s decision to eliminate Obama’s “medical deferment” program for undocumented immigrants, as mentioned earlier in this post. This decision is even more heartless than usual for Trump, who’s basically deploying the awesome power of the American presidency to attack the “least of these,” individuals with life-threatening diseases and conditions who will, according to medical experts, likely die if they have to leave that care behind.  

Not surprisingly, a massive outcry against this Trump move ensued, and in response the administration said it would reopen some cases for reconsideration, but no new applications are being considered. 

So, Trump is indeed playing god—probably just because he can—but he’s not playing the merciful kind. The cruelty is gratuitous—like a mean little kid who pulls the legs off insects just to see them squirm. Have we really sunk as a nation to this level?   

There's a Jupiter-Pluto story here, for sure!

Delusions of grandeur

Perhaps because Jupiter co-rules Pisces along with its illusion-spinning colleague Neptune, delusions of grandeur and compulsive hubris (a more extreme expression of the same delusion) are also potentials of the Jupiter-Pluto cycle. Let’s consider first what such delusions are about. According to Medical News Today

“Delusions of grandeur can manifest in virtually limitless ways. Some of the most common types include:
  • an inflated belief in one's own importance, such as having the power to end war
  • a belief that one is famous or occupies a high position in society
  • a belief that one is a religious leader
  • a belief in one's ability to live forever
  • a false belief that one cannot be harmed by disease or injury
  • an inflated sense of intelligence
  • a belief that one possesses magical skills, such as the ability to read minds”
When such delusions take over the individual’s personality and relationships, they are also characteristic of patients suffering from a range of psychiatric diseases, so there was true reason for concern on August 21st when Donald Trump laid his grandiosity out for the world to see even more starkly than usual.

In a rapid series of rambling statements and tweets, Trump laid out a fragmented narrative, but in retrospect, the pieces did hang together around one core reality: he has an overblown sense of entitlement and the belief that he’s the “Chosen One.” Chosen for what is less clear, but his desire to wax messianic was revealing. Remember in the 2016 campaign when, speaking about what he called our “rigged election system,” he said “I alone can fix it?”  

His office did try to walk back the “chosen one” statement, calling it a “joke,” but what does his behavior say? For its part, his natal chart endows him with a Jupiter-Chiron conjunction, a Jupiter-Uranus trine, a Jupiter-Pluto sextile (Libra-Leo) and a Mercury-Neptune-Eris t-square (Cancer-Libra-Aries)—it appears that delusions of grandeur fuel his “Me against the World” mindset. 

Orwell's dystopic vision is chillingly real at the moment.

Even Trump's bogus attempt to “track” Hurricane Dorian (including a clearly fabricated “Alabama” prediction) reflects this mindset, which Washington Post reporter Philip Bump suggests has “tipped into the Orwellian. ” He cites Orwell’s 1984:

“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.” - George Orwell, 1984
Trump, against all “external reality,” insists that Alabama was in Dorian’s crosshairs, when all his pronouncements did was put Alabamans into needless stress. His stubborn digging in on this reflects the defensive twist we see in Trump’s t-square, and we have to wonder if it perhaps shields him from facing some deep wounds (Chiron), and his own truth, for that matter. He’s being seriously challenged by Saturn and Pluto transiting opposite his natal Saturn-Venus conjunction (Cancer) as we speak—perhaps delusions are providing him a haven from reality? 

Click here for an interesting conversation about the pitfalls of hubristic leaders.


So the Jupiter-Pluto cycle spawns extremes of all kinds, but let’s pause to consider its connection with hubris a bit more deeply—especially hubris at the top ranks of government. This term comes to us from Greek myths in which this extreme form of arrogance was deplored—even when it appeared in kings and other powerful figures. Hubris easily tips over into tyranny—heads have rolled in history over this classic offense. Many classical Greek tragedies are cautionary tales regarding such arrogance, and those guilty of it always met with the most vivid, hideous downfalls.

“Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence,[1] often in combination with (or synonymous with) arrogance.[2] In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris."
Jupiter and Saturn have a somewhat antagonistic relationship, of course, so it’s no surprise that hubristic individuals, with their overblown ego needs, believe that society’s rules simply don’t apply to them. In civilized, rule-of-law-centered societies, however, this “challenges the gods.” 

Fast forward to the present, and according to House Judiciary Committee member Rep. David Cicilline, the House Judiciary and Oversight committees can’t keep up with the never-ending stream of Trump violations of norms and laws–too many to even catalog here. We know how Trump feels about Congress overseeing him—could this overwhelm be purposeful? 

To make things worse, he’s been using the presidential power of the pardon in ways that defy norms and perhaps even the laws he’s sworn to uphold.  “Take the land,” he told aides recently, in reference to building his border wall. When told that grabbing land from residents would be illegal, he offered to pardon those who carry out his wishes. Isn’t that the opposite of enforcing the laws?

In fact, hubris can infect both the personal and collective levels under the Jupiter-Pluto cycle: former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has Jupiter conjunct Venus, inconjunct Pluto. During his tenure he had a natural knack for steering the Fed’s monetary policies through frustrating times, but he was blindsided by the precarious situation when the new cycle launched in 2007, with transiting Jupiter conjoined transiting Pluto in fiery Sagittarius, trine his natal Chiron (Aries) and Neptune (Leo), square his natal Uranus (Pisces) and quincunx his natal No. Node (Cancer). 

In other words, he failed to heed his own 1996 advice against the dangers of “irrational exuberance”—definitely a Jupiterian excess, exacerbated by Neptunian irrationality, and when finance and investment and a bit of reckless greed comingle, the perfect Jupiter-Pluto pitfall. 

To make the challenge a bit more interesting, the 2007 Jupiter-Pluto cycle point fell conjunct the Federal Reserve’s Capricorn Sun and squared the Fed’s Pisces Eris. This puts Trump’s current enmity for the Fed into context—the 2007 Jupiter-Pluto cycle, with its rulership over power dynamics and abundant resources, is now waning, and this naturally portends a bit of belt-tightening down the road as the new cycle kicks into gear. 

Needless to say, this is not what Trump wants to face during the upcoming election year, so he’s been bashing the Fed chairman he appointed, as if the Fed has a magic wand that can suspend the natural flows of these potent energies.

Trump's empty chair at the recent G7 Climate crisis meeting.

Vacuums in leadership

Despite the fact that Jupiterian individuals often have the charisma to find themselves in leadership positions, leadership itself thrives in those with a more balanced set of Jupiter-Saturn dynamics. Retired Marine Corps General and former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis was born[1] with Saturn conjunct Sun (Virgo), sextile Mars-Pallas (Scorpio), and with Jupiter (Rx, Pisces) opposite Venus (Leo) and trine Uranus (Cancer). He has the sober, competent and self-deprecating character of a Saturnian leader, yet he clearly inspired trust and admiration in those Marines he led into battle in the Middle East. 

He inspired respect during his tenure because he extended respect to those he led, and to the administration he served as Secretary of Defense. He even respected Trump enough to “tell truth to power” and resign in protest. His Mars and Pallas-Saturn sextile seems to have provided him the courage to stand his principled ground. 

This is all relevant to our discussion here because the Jupiter-Pluto cycle often seems focused on minimizing responsibility (Saturn) in favor of unfettered growth, expansion, etc. When Trump’s “empty chair” at the climate policy meeting at the recent G7 conference hit the news, it struck me as the quintessential Jupiter-Pluto moment—to participate in that meeting would have been an admission on Trump’s part that denying climate change is real isn’t fooling anyone, and that he (on behalf of the U.S. and the world) is responsible for rolling back future greenhouse gas emission levels. 

Thankfully, most leaders seem to consider their power expanded when they cooperate to save the planet from climate change. More of an outlier all the time, Trump’s toxic perspective is especially baffling, as we watch a more powerful hurricane season than ever unfold before our eyes. As with “Alabama,” Trump demands his own reality; the big question is, whose interests is he serving?  

Instead of attending that G7 climate meeting, then, Trump chose to lie and prevaricate about why he missed the meeting instead—what would he have told his fossil fuel industry campaign donors? 

Then, to make things even more vacuous, while the Dems running for president in 2020 participated in CNN Town Halls last night to present their programs for addressing climate change and to answer questions from voters, Donald Trump was doubling down on his bogus “Alabama” prediction for Hurricane Dorian. Deflecting attention? Trying to fill the “empty chair” he left at the G7 with too little, too late? 

Click here for more on why the Amazon fires are a global disaster.

Interestingly, Trump also chose not to work with our G7 allies to help Brazil address the fires currently decimating the Amazon rainforest. It’s no wonder—he’s gone out of his way to curry favor with Brazil’s new extreme right-wing leader, Jair Bolsonaro, and that meeting was more about pressuring Bolsonaro to put business interests aside to save the Amazon for the long term. 

Scientists have characterized the rainforests as the “lungs of the planet,” and under his leadership and Trump’s silence, those “lungs” are gasping for breath. 

Writing for the Brookings Institute, former World Bank economist Kaushik Basu put this precarious situation into context:

“The Amazon rainforest has been burning for weeks. Yet Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, mobilized the armed forces to help contain the fires only in the last few days—in the face of European leaders’ threat to suspend a major trade deal and the possibility of a far-reaching boycott of Brazilian products. And though the Bolsonaro government’s rollback and weak enforcement of laws protecting the Amazon are root causes of the crisis, encouraging ranchers to set fires to clear land for agriculture, there has been no mention of any policy change.
The crisis in the Amazon is a stark example of the damage that can be done when governments bow unequivocally to business interests. It also highlights an increasingly common phenomenon: the cynical manipulation of anti-corruption efforts to undermine democracy and advance an authoritarian political agenda.”

Bolsonaro’s (and Trump’s) determined disregard for critical regulations and their shared willingness to sacrifice the environment for corporate (and possibly personal) interests evokes the toxic excess of an aggressive Capricorn Pluto, egged on by a libertine Sagittarius Jupiter. We could dwell on “what’s in it for them” by seeing how this cycle is playing out in their respective charts, but judging from their actions, it’s apparent that they view the environment as just one more resource that they have “power over,” a resource that is available to them for profit and political benefit. 

Bolsonaro displayed this viewpoint when he bristled at the G7’s plea that he consider the importance of the rainforest for the health of the planet. His noon chart[2] displays an interesting Jupiter-Pluto profile, with these two in a waning semi-sextile, from Cancer to Leo, with Pluto opposite Venus (Leo-Aquarius) and Jupiter conjunct Uranus (Cancer) and inconjunct Venus (Aquarius). So he’s well-suited to play the social/collective “disruptor” for the sake of profit, even if it means unleashing toxic, corruption and destruction, all wrapped up with an authoritarian “bow”—his Saturn (Scorpio) t-squares his Venus-Pluto

Click here for more on the Brazilian tribes who are uniting to save the rainforest.

On the more positive, flip side of that situation, fourteen indigenous tribes in Brazil have put aside their historical enmities to join forces against the Bolsonaro government for the sake of the Amazon. This response to tyranny and corruption beautifully expresses the “higher angels” of both the Jupiter-Pluto and the Saturn-Pluto cycles. 

Not too surprisingly, however, Bolsonaro has since reneged on his plans to attend the Amazon summit he proposed, thus avoiding discussions with tribal leaders, but he’s planning to defend his policies regarding the Amazon before the U.N. later this month. European nations are putting pressure on trade deals with Brazil to influence Bolsonaro, but my guess is that little will be resolved in this dispute before the new cycles begin in 2020. The question is, will it be too little, too late for the Amazon? 

Final thoughts

Let’s hope the fast-approaching Jupiter-Pluto cycle in Capricorn will have some pragmatic answers for the challenges we face these days. I suspect it will, in fact, and I look forward to discussing more of the positive potentials of this cycle when we consider the cycle launch chart in the next post. An earth cycle should help to build the political will and the power dynamics necessary for the transition to earth-friendly technologies that we all need—as long as we’re able to shake the quicksand of hubris at the top that we’re stuck in at the moment. 

There’s some cosmic wisdom in this quicksand, actually; to my view, it’s a call to serious self-reflection as a society. For instance, are we as a nation also caught up in delusions of grandeur under Trump? To whatever extent we are, this needs to be addressed, or we’ll never get back on track for sage leadership—either domestically, or abroad!  

Objectively speaking, we rank nowhere near the top among nations when it comes to the quality of our public education, to our access to quality health care, to the mental health and stress levels of our youth, to our collective sense of security (300 million guns do some damage to that), and so on. 

Seems like we're sacrificing a lot for bloated defense budgets!

Yes, we have a big defense budget and a big economy, but those only go so far when it comes to quality of life—especially since our wealth is very unevenly distributed. I could go on, but you get the idea. This is just the objective truth, which as we know, our present leadership would like to ignore and deflect with Reality-TV MAGA rallies and Twitter rants. 

Yet, we are a haven for many whose home countries have even less to offer, leaving zero-sum types like Trump to conclude that “outsiders” are getting a better deal from our public resources than citizens do. Maybe the answer to that is to offer a better shake to our citizens, without losing our national Soul to heinous immigration policies? Better ideas are out there, ready to manifest in the new 2020 cycles just around the corner, but we need to shake the quicksand of this last cycle off our feet to make all that happen. Such is life under waning cycles.  

Meanwhile, there are signs of hope that democracies can still survive in the current cosmic circumstances: Hong Kong finally gave in to protestor demands – see hereand surprise maneuvers in the British Parliament are working to snatch power back from a renegade PM who wants to send the country’s economy over a “no deal Brexit” cliff. Weighing love of country and environment against support for one larger-than-life leader is happening in many places these days—definitely the territory of Jupiter-Pluto.

Let’s hold on to hope—first of all, that Hurricane Dorian quickly moves out to sea and spares the rest of our east coast. Our hearts go out to the Bahamas—we’re in this together!

More on this Jupiter-Pluto cycle discussion in the next post! 

The new cycle launches in April, 2020 in late Capricorn.

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] Birth data for General James N. Mattis: September 8, 1950, Pullman, WA. Source: Wikipedia. No birth time known.
[2] Birth data for Jair Bolsonaro: March 21, 1955, Glicerio, SP Brazil. Source: Wikipedia, No birth time known.