Friday, August 7, 2020

Across the personal-collective bridge: the astrology of “good trouble”

From a new documentary: John Lewis-Good Trouble

 “The world is always bigger than one’s own focus…”—M.C. Richard, Centering
"Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet."—John Lewis, Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

A woman astronaut looked back at her first voyage into space: “Up there,” she says, “looking down on our beautiful blue planet, with no borders anywhere to be seen, I felt so at one with humanity…and, I have to tell you, I was especially happy to be away from my neighbor’s annoying dog for a few days.”

To my astrologer’s ear, this anecdote evokes Neptune, which operates—as every planet does—on different dimensions of existence. The feeling of being “at one with humanity” is a profound, spiritual perk of Neptune, while avoiding the neighbor’s dog is a nice bit of personal, Neptunian escapism.

That perhaps silly example provided my opening for an article that was published in The Mountain Astrologer in Feb/Mar 2018, entitled “The Disappearing Personal/Collective Divide: Helping Clients to Navigate Insecure Times.” As I recall, it was inspired at the time by not only the lingering impact of the 2008-10 “great” recession here in the U.S., but also by a rush of news about technological developments that seemed sure to cause dislocations in the job market and more havoc of the sort from which people were still trying to recover.

My goal in writing that piece was to share some insights I’ve gained over many years of studying mundane astrology about how the collective dimension of existence on this planet figures into people’s everyday lives, whether they’re aware of it or not. And how astrologers can tease out those sometimes overlooked personal/collective connections for the purpose of helping clients deal with difficult times and plan for the future. As I put it then, it’s healthy to recognize that the personal and collective levels overlap (and often collide) in every realm of life these days. Employment, career, relationships, family and community life, not to mention our relationship with the environment and geopolitics, are all at stake in these overlaps.

Underlying these concerns, of course, is the universal human need for security, so while we might like to tune out from the collective concerns of our day as the astronaut did with that annoying “dog,” they can and do impact us very directly.

We needn’t look far for a prime example today, of course—the pandemic that basically all of humanity is working to navigate and survive. Trouble is, a pandemic hits us on all dimensions of our Being—physical, emotional, material, mental and spiritual. It hits us on all the intersecting domains of our existence: Individual, Family, Community, Nation, Church/Religion, Humanity-at-large, and last, but certainly not least, in regards to our relationship with the Environment and Nature. Neptune highlights how we certainly are “in this together,” for better or worse.

"In this together!"

In fact, this is how Neptune—considered the ruler of communicable viral diseases, especially when they become phenomenal and all-enveloping—rolls, and the sooner individuals understand this, the better they will be able to ride its waves, while not losing sight of its powerfully deep, potentially dangerous undertows. Ships are swallowed whole by determined seas; island nations and coastal communities across the world and in the U.S. are now threatened by rising sea levels; we ignore the delicate balances that sustain life on this planet at our peril because in doing so we ignore the power of Nature itself—in many ways, Neptune’s awe-inspiring power.  

Likewise, the sooner we personally surrender to the collective imperative of beating this virus and fully cooperate with what the experts deem necessary to do that, the sooner we will be able to reclaim and enjoy fulfilling our personal priorities.  Experts have said this out loud, in fact—the “virus is in charge”—so nothing is going to move forward until we address its imperatives. The restraining, logic-and-facts-based approach of Saturn is our only defense in the face of Neptune’s talent for exponential viral spread; these two primal “gods” represent natural, biological dynamics that we simply must come to terms with if we want to move beyond this crisis. Even Trump is unable to suspend the laws of Nature, as hard as he’s tried to ignore and downplay them—causes will always trigger effects, and feedback loops can, if we’re not careful, cascade totally out of control.
Author Isabel Wilkerson begins her incredible study entitled Caste: the Origins of our Discontent, with an example that curiously resonates with this Neptunian peril and points to the role our relationship with Nature-writ-large is playing in today’s intertwined crises of the pandemic and racism-related social upheaval. The story opens in Siberia, of all places, in the excessively hot summer of 2016, the first summer the Arctic registered a destructive temperature of 95°F:

“Soon, the children of the indigenous herdsmen fell sick from a mysterious illness that many people alive had never seen and did not recognize. A twelve-year-old boy developed a high fever and acute stomach pangs, and passed away. Russian authorities declared a state of emergency and began airlifting hundreds of the sickened herding people, the Nenets, to the nearest hospital in Salekhard. Scientists then identified what had afflicted the Siberian settlements. The aberrant heat had chiseled far deeper into the Russian permafrost than was normal and had exposed a toxin that had been encased since 1941, when the world was last at war. It was the pathogen anthrax, which had killed herds of reindeer all those decades ago and lain hidden in the animal carcasses long since buried in the permafrost. A thawed and tainted carcass rose to the surface that summer, the pathogen awakened, intact and as powerful as it had ever been. The pathogen spores seeped into the grazing land and infected the reindeer and spread to the herders who raised and relied upon them. The anthrax, like the reactivation of the human pathogens of hatred and tribalism in this evolving century, had never died. It lay in wait, sleeping, until extreme circumstances brought it to the surface and back to life.”[1]
The image Wilkerson brings to life here is intended to illustrate how the vicious toxin of white supremacy can lie dormant in a society for generations until, given the right stimulation (i.e., a Trump presidency), it can re-emerge with a vengeance, more vicious than ever. I suspect Wilkerson wouldn’t agree that racism has ever truly gone dormant in American society, however; she considers this phenomenon in slightly different terms, however, as the caste “infrastructure” (Saturn) upon which the rest of society has been built, a structure that signals how people in society will interact with each other. She puts it more eloquently:

“Like other old houses, America has an unseen skeleton, a caste system that is as central to its operation as are the studs and joists that we cannot see in the physical buildings we call home. Caste is the infrastructure of our divisions. It is the architecture of human hierarchy, the subconscious code of instructions for maintaining, in our case, a four-hundred-year-old social order. Looking at caste is like holding the country’s X-ray up to the light.”[2] 

At 240+, perhaps the U.S. is an "old house" that needs serious renovation?
Neptune and Pluto are the transiting energies that most aptly reflect the deterioration process our nation and its so-called democracy—what Wilkerson calls an “old house”—have undergone, and like all entropic processes do eventually, our collective descent into disorder has reached a point of existential crisis—the point at which the solution demands stripping away the surface layers and addressing the rot eating away at the “bones” of the structure before it all collapses irretrievably. Certainly without intending to, Trump and those who took to his hateful message like moths to flames have forced us to look beneath the surface at that rot, and they have challenged all of us to finally do something about replacing those old bones of a long-outmoded caste system.

It’s a stark realization, but it’s also indisputable: a foundationally deep connection exists in our history between the outlandish wealth and prosperity of our upper “caste,” and the abuse and demeaning of workers of the lower “caste,” comprised of people of all colors of course, but most egregiously through the 400-yr. old institution of slavery and Jim Crow on this continent, of black people.  In fact, Jim Crow laws in the South (and in many points outside of the South) were designed to make sure the working class would see themselves as part of a hierarchy within the greater hierarchy, too. Deliberately fashioned for this purpose, these laws turned skin color into a hideous national iconology, the pernicious divisive force that forever sorted “superior” from “inferior” in American minds and gave vulnerable white and black people who suffered many similar abuses a reason to hate each other.

This divisive strategy served an important goal for the upper caste, of course—it spared the wealthy and super-privileged (those who decided the current minimum wage should be an unlivable $7.25) from the troublesome challenge of a working class that would unite against their many abuses.

Truth is, we can’t fix any of this if we don’t look the situation square in the face and take both personal and collective responsibility for it, as recently departed civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis knew only too well—we’ll consider his life and chart more deeply ahead.

I’ve stared long and hard at the significance of Pluto and Neptune playing tag team around their respective positions in our national chart (more on that to come), and it’s clear to me that we’re being given an “offer we can’t refuse.”

Such is life these days.

Neptune’s particular role in this tag-team effort is with us every time we strap a mask over our faces to go to the grocery store, so it’s no surprise to me that Wilkerson began her book about America’s caste system with an image of melting permafrost and toxins surfacing to kill people. In doing so she has (probably inadvertently) pointed out how Neptune figures into ways in which the human abuses of Nature (i.e., the poisoning of reindeer, long-buried in the permafrost) will re-emerge in pathogenic forms we can hardly imagine. Scientists warn that the animal world harbors thousands of viruses that don’t often make the leap between animal and human hosts, but when the few, especially suited ones do make that leap, the results can be catastrophic, especially for the more marginalized and vulnerable people in society.

Aside from the stunning way this illustrates the entwined nature of our dual crises these days, Fong is basically saying that what we’re seeing right now with the COVID-19 corona virus could be duplicated over and over again if the environmental triggers are there—and with Trump busily rolling back as many environmental safeguards as he can, they will be there. Atlantic Science writer Ed Fong describes this situation in stark terms:

 “Despite its epochal effects, COVID‑19 is merely a harbinger of worse plagues to come. The U.S. cannot prepare for these inevitable crises if it returns to normal, as many of its people ache to do. Normal led to this. Normal was a world ever more prone to a pandemic but ever less ready for one. To avert another catastrophe, the U.S. needs to grapple with all the ways normal failed us. It needs a full accounting of every recent misstep and foundational sin, every unattended weakness and unheeded warning, every festering wound and reopened scar.”

Wilkerson would probably add our current social upheaval over systemic racism to the “festering wound and reopened scars” Fong refers to here. In fact, his call for a “full accounting…” makes perfect sense with the societal issues erupting all around us, as well as the astrological dynamics of our times: as we’ve discussed several times on this site, Pluto is now transiting over the final few degrees it needs to cover before its Feb. 2022 return to Sibly Pluto, while Neptune simulataneously transits opposite Sibly Neptune, on its way to forming its exact demi-return in May, 2021

Lewis brought deep Neptunian ideals to the halls of Congress..
Just for the sake of context, the last time Neptune returned to Sibly Neptune at its exact degree in Virgo was in October 1938—not long before those WWII-era deadly toxins would have been trapped inside Siberia’s permafrost and not long before America’s WWII soldiers would have returned home to an unequal system of GI benefits that gave white soldiers a serious leg up over their black counterparts.

In many regards, today’s challenges are all about processing the toxic waste of that WWII period, on multiple levels: Toxic, hateful and tribal ideologies and political systems; the toxic privileging of corporate profit over Nature and the environment; the toxic origins of what has become our perpetual war footing (what Dwight Eisenhower warned would be a “Military-Industrial complex”); and last, but certainly not least, the toxic doubling-down on systemic racism in the U.S. with the denial and undermining of post-WWII GI Bill benefits to 1.2 million black soldiers.

The message was clear: you can fight and die for the nation, but the nation owes you less thanks and benefits than it owes white soldiers. Black soldiers were denied GI Bill federally-insured mortgages due to state controls and redlining; they were effectively unable to enjoy the education benefit as they should have due to institutional segregation (worse in the south, of course); they were denied access to highly skilled jobs (white soldiers took precedence because of corporate hiring biases), and so on. This means the “boom” times of the 1950s-70s were reserved for some people and not for others; undoubtedly the damage done shows in all the ways we measure family prosperity.

It goes without saying that this stunning level of injustice is bound to create rage and yes, such deeply-rooted grievances have festered, becoming another toxin that’s been lying in wait for the right moment to surface. Thankfully, deeply-principled leaders like the recently departed Rep. John Lewis and generations of activists and thinkers he has inspired have helped channel some of that rage into constructive action—the same approach we all need to take with the remaining toxic fall-out from that WWII period.

Perhaps we should be thankful that the pandemic has forced so many of these issues to the surface once again—with two new major planetary cycles in force (Saturn-Pluto, Jupiter-Pluto) and another approaching quickly in December (Jupiter-Saturn), it’s time to focus on preparing for a new, improved version of societies everywhere, but particularly here in the U.S., where so many aspects of our society have become deeply dysfunctional.  And yes, we need to consider the Chironic dimension of the wounds that have been ripped open so violently of late: it struck me, when the news hit of John Lewis’s death, that his absolutely dogged determination to heal racial wounds in this nation must be built into his natal fabric, and so it is.

Lewis defending the free press from Trump attacks.

Let’s take a closer look, first with his chart alone and then, in Biwheel #1 below, with his chart set against the nation’s Sibly chart.  

Chart #1: John R. Lewis, February 21, 1940, 12 p.m. ST (his mother reportedly recalls a “high noon” birth), Troy, AL. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Sun conjunct MC (Pisces), disposed by Neptune (Virgo) opposite Mercury (Pisces). Mercury trines Chiron-Pallas (Cancer). Note that if his Mother’s time recollection is accurate (why wouldn’t it be?) Mercury also rules the Gemini ASC, and from there, the entire chart. From all this we see the key role that both Mercury and Neptune played in the Congressman’s life. Clearly, he was motivated by his spiritual ideals and as an ordained minister and long-time public official, he spoke with the authority and perspective of a compassionate, spiritual person.

Mercury’s trine to Lewis’s 1st house Chiron-Pallas in Cancer reflects the rich depths of his personal commitment to healing the racial wounds that he not only saw all around him, but that he experienced over his lifetime in constant assaults on his body and soul. He was born into one of the worst periods in the Jim Crow south, but even though by 1940, the influence of the KKK’s 1920’s heyday was beginning to fade, it would re-emerge with a vengeance after 1950, during Lewis’s formative youth. Chiron’s placement in this significant degree of Cancer (more on that in Biwheel #1) paints a vivid picture of Lewis’s core wound and thus, a driving motivation. From Chiron expert Martin Lass:
“The core belief and feeling that love will never be found, that it was lost, that it was never there, that the world is not supportive, nurturing, caring, mothering or loving…The core belief that we are unlovable and/or abandoned….Ultimately, the search for the Love within.”[3]  
On the Chiron trine to Mercury, Lass says:
“Chiron-trine-Mercury indicates a high resonance channel for the communication and expression of our Wounds in our lives...This aspect, therefore, confers the Gift of deep introspection.” 
This “gift of deep introspection” is reinforced, of course, by Lewis’s Mercury-Neptune opposition, not to mention his Moon-Pluto conjunction in Leo, disposed by his Pisces Sun. His ego (Sun/Leo) was literally submerged in 4th house Neptune, which deepened his sensibilities (4th house) in ways we may never quite appreciate, but we can sense in the words-beneath-the-words that he spoke out loud. He spoke in a measured, soft, but deliberate tone of voice normally, yet when he was calling out his colleagues (or the president, or the country) for what he perceived as injustices and behavior beneath the dignity of their offices, he was known to roar just as well.

Speaking with passion and fire at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
In those times, we witnessed his underlying warrior nature emerge—his Aries Jupiter-Venus square Chiron and trine Leo Moon, with Aries ruler Mars square his Moon-Pluto (Leo) from Taurus. He spoke with authority from the perspective of a wounded Warrior, and if the outpouring of love and adulation that followed his death was any indication, his efforts and emotional gravity bore a great deal of fruit.   

Luckily for his Georgia constituents and the nation-at-large, Lewis expressed the higher potentials of his Neptunian (Pisces) nature with his lifelong commitment to non-violent protest and “Good Trouble.” He absorbed others’ violence and hatred—not just to make points about the crying need for racial justice, but to also make a point about the higher Love we owe each other as traveling companions in this world. He literally walked his talk and in his final message published in the Washington Post he asked all of us to pick up where he left off.  

This is a good leaping off point for a discussion about his chart, set against the U.S. Sibly chart, in Biwheel #1 below.

Lewis's compassionate nature will be missed.

The man and the nation

I opened this piece by discussing why it’s so important these days that we work to navigate effectively on both the personal and collective levels of our existence, and that we take responsibility on both levels, clearly something Rep. Lewis fully embraced. This is why his relationship with the Sibly chart is so key to our discussion: he was a man of his time and of his place—the American south, during a particularly dark period in its ongoing struggle for civil rights, and rather than just trying to get along in a tough atmosphere for black Americans, he committed his whole being to a solution.

Importantly, he did so in the context of public service as a Georgia Congressman, elected over and over again for a total of 17 terms from 1987 to his death this past month. In retrospect, it appears that he lived by and encouraged others to live by a fairly simple, but loaded personal/collective mantra: “if you see something that’s not right, say something!” Let’s see how this played out in his relationship with the nation, in Biwheel #1 below.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m.LMT, Philadelphia, PA ; (outer wheel) John R. Lewis, February 21, 1940, 12 p.m. ST (his mother reportedly recalls a “high noon” birth), Troy, AL. . Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.
Lewis Moon-Pluto (Leo) conjoins Sibly Node (Leo); Lewis Pluto opposes Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), while Lewis Sun-MC (Pisces) conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius). Lewis clearly had a “personal” relationship with the nation he served—with its People (Sibly Moon) and its politics (Sibly Pluto). He clearly understood the way Power-writ-large flows through the structural channels and institutions of our government—a point reinforced by an interchart t-square. His Venus-Jupiter (Aries) opposes Sibly Saturn (Libra) and squares Sibly Sun, as well as his own Chiron (Cancer).

These aspects between Sibly Saturn, Sun and his Chiron reflect his long-standing quest to work for change within the structures of government, however his stature as a Congressman didn’t stop him from participating in non-violent protest—on the streets of D.C. for immigration reform (2013) and during a sit-down strike on the (literal) floor of the House in 2016 for gun control legislation. And so on—the list went on.

In his moving eulogy for the Congressman, Barack Obama credited his own presidency to the efforts of civil rights warriors, but particularly to Lewis, who paved the way for our first black president. Despite Trump making it his top priority to roll-back everything Obama has accomplished (that the prior GOP Congress wasn’t able to obstruct), Trump is powerless to roll-back John Lewis’s impact on Obama’s life, and Obama acknowledged that debt in his eulogy.

Again, a personal relationship with broad collective impact—for the generation of black children who witnessed Obama as president, nothing can erase the memory of seeing a man who looks like them in the Oval Office. Obama’s not the hero in all this, however, and to his credit, he’s at least humble and gracious enough to know it.

One pic says it all.

Lewis Neptune conjoins Sibly Neptune (both Virgo), squares Lewis ASC and Sibly Mars (Gemini) and trines Sibly Pluto (Capricorn). It’s notable that Lewis was a member of the late 1930s-early 1940s Sibly Neptune return sub-generation—the very early, early Pluto in Leo “Boomers” born before the U.S. entered WWII. I haven’t studied this sub-generation in any depth, but it stands to reason that this cohort would have been animated by spiritualized idealism of whatever type suited the rest of their influences.

They were, in other words, “seekers,” and with Neptune, that seeking can take many forms, on a spectrum from darkly deceptive and corrupt to creative, light and redemptive. Think about some of the greatest musicians and artists that came out of the Boomer era—many of them were born during this Neptune return (allowing a 5-degree orb on either side of exact), and many also participated in that era’s Neptunian drug culture.

In Lewis’s case, he and others who pounded the pavement and sat in jail cells with him raised protest to the level of a Neptunian spiritual quest that challenged the nation to take its own founding ideals seriously. We also see this uplifting effect in his Neptune’s trine to Sibly Pluto, but perhaps importantly in the way his Nodal Axis (Libra-Aries) cuts across the Sibly Juno-Chiron opposition (Libra-Aries)—all of it square the Sibly Mercury-Pluto axis (Cancer-Capricorn). This complex of aspects speaks to his relatability as a Congressional elder statesman (Sibly Juno conjoins Sibly Saturn) and the way in which his work in Congress was informed by his deep desire to heal the nation’s wounds (Sibly Chiron). This impulse was, of course, reinforced by his natal Chiron-Sibly Sun conjunction (Cancer).

Lewis Mars (Taurus) squares Sibly Nodal Axis (Leo-Aquarius) and sextiles Sibly Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Lewis’s long tenure in his Georgia Congressional office suggests that he had a competent grasp on the economic responsibilities of his job, representing the interests of his constituents: we see that here in the nice sextiles his Mars forms with Sibly Venus-Jupiter.  Without a doubt, he brought his profound sensibilities around racial justice to that task as well, but his votes were regularly cast in favor of working class progress, and it didn’t seem to matter who was promoting the legislation.

For instance, he voted against NAFTA, and that was promoted by a Democratic president. This perhaps tells us why his Mars was at odds with the prevailing trend (Sibly Nodal axis)—he didn’t always agree with the nation’s prevailing direction and this fixed Mars, along with his Saturn (Aries) t-square to Sibly Pluto-Mercury (Capricorn-Cancer) suggests that he wasn’t one to simply “go along to get along.” His constituents must have appreciated this feature of his character—he was re-elected 16 times over the years.  

Lastly, it’s hard to miss that over the past couple years of his life, Uranus has been transiting between his natal Saturn (Aries) and over his Taurus Mars, perhaps reflecting the way in which his life’s work has found new life in the Black Lives Matter movement, which he fully supported, even making his final public appearance at D.C.’s BLM Plaza. That Saturn t-square of his with Sibly Pluto-opposite-Mercury suggests how deeply-rooted the struggle was that he took on in his work, and it reflects his unswerving commitment to the task (his Saturn is disposed by a fixed Mars).

Perhaps significantly, over the next couple years, transiting Uranus will be returning to Lewis’s own natal Uranus, later in Taurus—where it will also trine his Neptune. Perhaps by then, the BLM movement he has helped inspire will have crossed that personal/collective bridge of “Good trouble” with him and will reap new landmarks to celebrate. The nation will be better for it when they do.

The casket of John Lewis, carried across the bridge one last time.

Final thoughts

Describing John Lewis’s funeral as a “balm to the American soul,” Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker points out the “providential” timing of his death:  

“Many say the Georgia congressman’s life mission was divinely inspired; others have described him as a saint. Among things providential, I would add the timing of his death in the midst of a pandemic, urban unrest and a pivotal presidential election fraught with complexities — from a sitting president who threatens to postpone the election to worries about voter suppression and the potential for fraud through mail-in ballots. Lewis believed in the Black Lives Matter movement and continued to counsel nonviolent civil disobedience. ‘Good trouble,’ he called it.
It is good to be reminded of that message now, as well as to consider what Bush called Lewis’s lesson to us all: ‘That we must all keep ourselves open to hearing the call of love.’ We don’t often hear words like that these days.”

The Obamas, John Lewis and the Bushes led the march in 2015.

In 2015, Lewis linked arms with then-President Barack Obama and, along with thousands of hopeful Americans, marked the 50th anniversary of the bloody 1965 civil rights march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, the no-holds-barred racist Alabama Governor, George Wallace, set the police loose with his blessing to use force, so although the bloody results were shocking to the public, they were no surprise to the participants. Those who organized that original march, including a much younger John Lewis, knew George Wallace’s mind and heart, so they knew to expect violence on that bridge and they marched anyway, risking their lives and suffering the wounds and scars. We can only surmise that for the protesters, after years of effort before this march, backing down was simply not an option. 

And in fact, their non-resistance to Wallace’s baton-wielding police bore fruit, in the passage of Lyndon B. Johnson’s landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

This critical moment in the Civil Rights movement was certainly a collective success, but it was also John Lewis’s personal labor of love, so when the Supreme Court rolled back important safeguards at the heart of that Act in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision that enabled our present issues with voter suppression, he didn’t miss a beat, introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore and improve upon those safeguards by an act of Congress. Now, with his passing, the issue takes on even more urgency. Derrick Johnson with Politico is covering the story today (Aug. 6), on the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act:
“’To begin, we must preserve Lewis’ legacy—the Voting Rights Act. Seven years ago, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder “put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act,’ as Lewis said at the time. The ruling—which eliminated preclearance of voting changes in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination—was devastating to voters who enjoyed its protection for decades and to Lewis personally. He had shepherded reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act through overwhelming support by Congress in 2006. When its constitutionality was challenged, Lewis filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court and attended oral arguments. After the court’s ruling, he immediately went to work on restoring the Voting Rights Act. The first bill was introduced in January 2014, and it was finally passed by the House of Representatives on December 6, 2019.
Renamed after Lewis, this voting rights bill has sat on the desk of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for 240 days. The obstruction is unforgivable, especially now. The same Republican senators who paid tribute to Lewis after his passing now even refuse to move his signature legislation. There is every reason to act. Chief Justice John Roberts infamously noted in his Shelby County opinion that ‘[o]ur country has changed.’ But the floodgates of voter suppression that opened immediately after the court’s ruling—imposing strict voter ID requirements, ending early voting, closing polling places, purging voters and redrawing election districts—provide overwhelming evidence of modern-day voting discrimination to support restoring the Voting Rights Act to full strength.”

When that destructive Shelby County decision came down on June 25, 2013, Pluto was transiting square Uranus, which was then conjunct Lewis’s Venus-Jupiter (Aries). Pluto was also triggering Lewis’s Chiron (Cancer), forming a life-rattling t-square. In other words, the Congressman and his signature achievement—the bill he was willing to die for on that bridge—was caught in the vice of that long, dragged out, society-roiling Uranus-Pluto 1Q square. Aside from the disheartening, wounding (Chiron) blow this must have been to Lewis, this decision was also an example of how the personal and collective astrological levels were colliding at that time with awful force in the lives of not just Lewis, but of all American voters.

It's long past time.
If states can be allowed to design voting regulations around the goal of only some people’s voices being heard, all our voices are imperiled. When politicians and judges are allowed to pick and choose which American people they want to listen to, we’ve effectively stopped living in a democracy. As too many people of color in this nation have long known, democracy can be made conveniently optional for those who want to maintain power without serving all the people.  

Rep. Lewis was only one of many who have reminded us of this danger, of course, and knowing McConnell, it’ll be our job to take the restored Voting Rights Act bill off his desk and pass it along to someone who cares. In any case, all Americans owe a great debt of gratitude to Congressman Lewis­, and I hope he now knows how deeply he is appreciated.

On another important note, our sympathies go out to those suffering in the tragic events this week in Lebanon – here’s a list of agencies (published by the NY Times) that are providing aid, shelter and services, if you’re looking to help:  

·         The Lebanese Red Cross is the main provider of ambulance services in Lebanon, and said it would dispatch every ambulance from North Lebanon, Bekaa and South Lebanon to Beirut to treat the wounded and help in search-and-rescue operations. You can make a one-time contribution here. The British Red Cross has also set up an emergency fund.

·         The United Nations’ World Food Program provides food to people displaced or made homeless after the blast. Lebanon imports nearly 85 percent of its food, and the port of Beirut, the epicenter of the explosion, played a central role in that supply chain. With the port now severely damaged, food prices are likely to be beyond the reach of many. You can donate here.

·         The nongovernmental organization Humanity and Inclusion has 100 workers in Lebanon, including physical therapists, psychologists and social workers. They are focusing on post-surgical therapy in Beirut following the explosion. You can make a single or monthly contribution here.

·         International Medical Corps is deploying medical units and will provide mental health care to those affected in Lebanon. The humanitarian aid organization also provides health services to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and vulnerable Lebanese. You can donate here.

·         Islamic Relief, which specializes in food aid and emergency response, is helping implementing a supply chain for emergency aid in Beirut. You can donate here.

·         In a study released in late July, Save the Children warned that over 900,000 people, including more than 550,000 children, did not have enough money to buy basic goods like food. With the situation likely to worsen after the explosion, they have launched a Lebanon’s children relief fund, to which you can donate here.

·         UNICEF, the United Nations agency specializing in aid to children, is providing medical and vaccine supplies in Beirut, and supplying drinking water to rescue workers at the Beirut port. Its on-the-ground team is also counseling children traumatized by the blast. You can donate here.

·         Impact Lebanon, a nonprofit organization, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help organizations on the ground, and is helping to share information about people still missing after the explosion. The group had raised over $3 million as of Wednesday and donated the first $100,000 to the Lebanese Red Cross.

·         The health care organization Project HOPE is bringing medical supplies and protective gear to Beirut and assisting the authorities on the ground. A donation page is available here.
·         Over 300,000 people in Beirut were displaced from their homes by the explosion. Baytna Baytak, a charity that provided free housing to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic, is now raising funds with Impact Lebanon to shelter those who have been displaced.

·         For those in Beirut, here is a list of urgent blood needs. Several social media accounts have also been set up to help locate victims.

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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; see the sidebar links on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.

For information about  individual chart readings, contact:

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 


[1] Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: the Origins of Our Discontent,  Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, p. 3.
[2]Wilkerson, p. 17
[3]Martin Lass, Musings of a Rogue Comet: Chiron, Planet of Healing, Galactic Publications, Nyack, NY, 2001, p. 326.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Full Moon illuminates the D.C. “brambles”

by Arthur Rackham

 “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” –James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985

We’ve discussed Pluto’s transiting return to its U.S. Sibly chart position several times on this site already; however, so much of the news this week has reminded me that we’re still entangled in the deepest brambles of that return.

This feeling of entangled “stuckness” is undoubtedly related not only to the waning few degrees of that return, but also to three heavy weight planets—Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto—inching backwards over the Sibly 2nd house (in retrograde motion) as we speak.

Among other sluggish developments, this triad is likely responsible for Congress’s inability to negotiate a satisfactory second round of COVID assistance to American families before their supplemental unemployment benefits were set to expire.

McConnell (R-Ky) is caught between warring Senate factions.
So, while the two sides argue over things like the $2 billion Trump added to their bill to build a new FBI headquarters right across the street from and sure to profit his D.C. hotel, families are seeing their finances fall out from under them as the GOP bill would reduce their supplemental unemployment payments by two-thirds, with more possible reductions looming ahead for lower-income workers.

The pretext for making these cuts has been that the $600/week extra has provided people with an excuse for not going back to work. Maybe the GOP should be more worried about the many abuses that have been reported in regards to the PPP loan bill they passed instead?

In any case, the latest GOP CARES Act is a portrait in values, which makes sense with these transits to the Sibly 2nd; as Nancy Pelosi put it, the GOP bill is “riddled with condescension and disrespect,” and even Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has counseled a much larger outlay in order to stabilize the economy until we get through the present crises. According to,
“Speaking to the House Financial Services Committee during a virtual hearing Wednesday, Powell voiced his opinion that the federal government would be ill-advised to let expanded, coronavirus-related unemployment benefits expire this summer.”

Keeping dollars flowing through the economy is key to recovering from this COVID-driven financial crisis from Powell’s perspective, and that’s not going to happen as efficiently if people are forced to scrimp and go without necessities, waiting for a family-sustaining job to materialize. Especially at a time when child-care is literally unavailable in many places. What exactly is the GOP thinking people can do under these circumstances?

Will the GOP Senate heed Fed Chair Jerome Powell's warnings?

Yet, the bill Mitch McConnell has on offer not only radically cuts unemployment benefits, but also does nothing to help states deal with budget shortfalls directly related to the COVID challenge (and certainly does nothing to help with childcare), which further endangers key support services that American families count on in their communities. Trump and Education Secretary Betsy de Vos have thrown down the gauntlet, saying that schools “must re-open” in the fall (and in the GOP bill, a large percentage of federal education dollars will depend upon this happening), yet how do communities accomplish this if the states are thrown into devastating budget shortfalls? 

The Brookings Institute chimes in:
Senate Republicans and the White House are considering conditioning at least part of additional federal aid on opening schools for in-person instruction. Schools can and should only open for in-person instruction when the local public health situation permits, so Congress should avoid bogging down stabilization aid with ill-advised strings.”

Unfortunately, “ill-advised strings” are what the Trump administration and his Senate boosters seem to be about at this time: House-Senate negotiations over this bill are fraught with ideological dead-ends over who deserves the help and who doesn’t, which is simply mind-boggling under the circumstances. As one economist put it (I’m paraphrasing), “the virus is boss here…until it’s under control, the economy is not going to recover”—hence the need for continued support to working families who did nothing to create this situation.

Even so, Senate Republicans are adamant about “not bailing out the States”—likely a “code” phrase for “helping Democratic governors,” of course. Trump doesn’t favor that, but he will send in troops uninvited, to “help” mayors and governors run their cities. Instigating violence provides helpful “B-roll” footage for his political ads. In the meantime, the $600 supplemental unemployment payments people have been receiving expire on July 31st and there is little hope of anything helpful transpiring between now and then. So everyone’s stuck in the brambles, between the “thorns” of indifference and ill will, and the “vines” of convoluted motivations.

Full moons shed maximum light on a situation, no matter how dark. 

With all this, it’s tempting to simply succumb to this heaviness—especially as we’re basically immobilized by the pandemic—but important priorities lie ahead and time seems to be accelerating now that we’ve entered the final 100 days before the election. Happily, there are shorter term dynamics that we can look to for insights into the near-term, like the noteworthy, potentially significant Full Moon right around the bend on August 3rd that we’ll explore below.

Perhaps we can glean something from this lunation about how the current dilemma over renewing the CARES Act will shake out, among other issues that have been building momentum lately. We have reason to expect that Trump will continue sending federal troops where they’re not welcome and will probably escalate tensions, but will the tone of public discourse encourage or discourage these displays of federal power?

Then there are the immigration-related issues hovering out there on the back-burner: will the administration follow the law and release children being detained with their families in COVID-prone ICE custody as a federal judge mandated, or use the judge’s order as a pretext for more [technically illegal] family separations? And, leaving no potential cruelty unexplored, will Trump be allowed to gradually disable the DACA program as the administration announced today?  

Let’s look at what the Full Moon brings this month.

Leo-Aquarius Illumination

Chart #1: Full Moon, August 3, 2020, 11:58:38 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.
T-square: Sun(Leo) opposes Moon (Aquarius); this axis is squared by Uranus (Taurus). The good news is, the remainder of this lunar month isn’t likely to be boring, with Uranus livening things up in the 7th house of this chart. It looks as though we’re in for a volatile time because Mars (Aries) conjoins DSC (Aries), suggesting that the military or other armed and dangerous individuals (such as the armed militias that have been springing up as self-appointed “peacekeepers” in points around the nation) will be aggressively acting out. Such groups have clearly decided that Trump’s declaration that he is “the law and order president” gave them a pass. According to the Washington Post:
“America’s summer of anxiety and rage has swept up men like Diaz, energizing conservatives who are deploying to the front lines of the culture war. Across the country, conservative armed civilians have surged into public view — marching on statehouses, challenging Black Lives Matter protests, chasing Internet rumors — and bringing the threat of lethal force to local politics. Their emergence has prompted congressional hearings on the surge in anti-government militias and domestic extremism and has alarmed researchers who track hate groups.
Unlike the old image of militiamen as fringe elements motivated by a desire to overthrow the federal government, these groups often rally in defense of the president and see themselves as pro-government allies of local law enforcement.”
Perhaps there’s nothing surprising here, even though we probably should be shocked that Trump would go there—as I wrote in the July 22nd post here, this mixing of local police forces with federal military represents the crossing of a very dangerous line for democracy. Mars in Aries signals a willingness to solve problems by violent means, and the vigilantism referenced above certainly fits the mold. A great many violent acts have been documented since protests erupted after George Floyd’s death in May that involved white supremacists or radical right-wingers trying to delegitimize the protests and spark broader trouble.

What this says about the state of our democracy is another thing­—these groups and rogue individuals obviously intend to intimidate the people around them and IMHO, shouldn’t be considered in the same light as peaceful protesters, but as happens a lot lately, Congress will study the phenomenon. Given the administration’s tendency to turn a blind eye to (or to subtly promote) such radicalism, not to mention the sluggishness of Congress, it shouldn’t surprise us that one Senator, Rand Paul (KY) was able to hamstring passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching bill, making lynching illegal once and for all.  

Also covered in this disruptive Aries energy (Eris is widely conjunct Mars) are the elevated crime rates that some cities are seeing this summer, which could very well peak during this lunation and the remainder of Mars’ time in Aries. With financial support being cut to families during times of serious unemployment, things will likely get worse before they get better, too. Congress would do well to consider human needs – these needs won’t go away so Congress members can play its ideological games!
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall..."

Stepping back from those startling possibilities for a second, we see that the Leo-Aquarius split in this Full Moon sets up a potential stand-off between a would be "Sun-King" type of “leader” (Sun) and a “people” (Moon) who are divided between remaining in thrall to him and those who are looking to take on their legitimate power. This split could manifest in a number of ways—including in more pro-Trump vigilantism, as cited above, but one way or another, there's little middle-ground. 

The Leo Sun here conjoins Trump’s natal Pluto (10°+Leo, chart not shown), in fact—we can be certain that he will attempt to “lord it over” (or intimidate) the masses. Yet, the Aquarius Moon is disposed by Uranus (Taurus), so the People are far from powerless. Channeling that power in constructive ways will be the challenge.

Even so, ordinary citizens are likely to be feeling oppressed and put upon—Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn (Capricorn) are all transiting retrograde in the 3rd and 4th houses of schooling, communications and the “grass roots.” The Moon shares the 4th with Saturn and Pluto, reflecting the drive so many have picked up on these days for re-engineering social institutions like law enforcement (or conversely, it picks up on the drive to apply police power to the People).  Aquarius is change-oriented, of course¸ and being a science-and-technology-minded fixed sign, we can expect that the change agents at work are in it for the long haul.

T-square: Venus conjoins No. Node (Gemini) and opposes So. Node; this axis is squared by Neptune (Rx, Pisces). It’s often tempting to simply gloss over the position of the Nodal axis, but this configuration reminds us that we overlook some important insights when we do. The nodes are the two points at which the orbit of the Moon intersect the ecliptic, the apparent path of Sun, so among other things, this axis speaks to trends in the evolving relationship between heavily-fixed leadership (Sun) and the People (Moon), and the tone of public discourse. Here we see the tone is mutable (Gemini-Sagittarius), which aptly reflects the instability of our times, which is ironically enhanced by this stand off between fixed energies, Leo and Aquarius.

The square from Neptune (Rx, Pisces) here enhances that instability, especially in matters to do with leadership, and the feeling of things falling apart around us. Neptune often erodes and unmoors the outworn realities that Pluto will then sweep away with its transformative force; the No. Node’s position here quincunx Saturn (Rx, Capricorn), triggering that whole Capricorn gathering, suggests this destructive “tag team” dynamic is at work here.

Venus’s fairly close alliance with the No. Node is made more interesting by the fact that she disposes Taurus Uranus, which is so key to the disruptive Sun-Moon t-square and the 7th house situation.  Venus also sextiles Eris (Aries), which suggests she is somehow “blessing” that 7th house disruption. Perhaps Venus is blessing what the late, great Rep. John Lewis called “good trouble?” Perhaps her hand can be seen in the way women have come out in force in Portland to protect the protesters from the federal troopers? The nurturing, lunar potential here is seen in the way Mercury in Cancer disposes this Venus—the “Wall of Moms” put their own bodies on the line to create a protective “shell” around the younger protesters.  Of course, activist Moms are not a new phenomenon (think MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, for one).

Truer words...?

NPR reports:

“And today, the motherhood label is on many prominent protest groups well beyond the Wall of Moms: There are the Mothers of the Movement, a group of Black women whose children have been killed by gun violence or police; Moms Against Senseless Killing aims to prevent violence; and Moms Demand Action advocates for gun control.”

This chart suggests that we shouldn’t underestimate these determined women—they’re necessary change agents aligned with this mutable Nodal Axis.

Unfortunately, given Neptune’s association with viruses and pandemic disease, we can’t overlook what this tense mutable configuration might be telling us about the COVID challenge, especially now that getting schools open is such a key concern. The economic disruption being caused by all this is certainly part of the picture here, as well, with Venus square Neptune and Venus ruling the overall chart (Libra ASC) and the Taurus 8th house of finance. Foreign investment and trade (Venus in 9th) is likely to be impacted by this Neptune, which also sits exactly quincunx Libra ASC.  

Finally, it’s worth pointing out in the context of this chart alone that Jupiter conjoins Pallas (both Rx, Capricorn) in the 3rd house, square Mars-Part-of-Fortune-Eris (Aries) and that relatedly, Moon (Aquarius) sextiles Chiron (Aries). Clearly, families are suffering through the impact of so much volatility in our streets, even as the quest for justice (Pallas-Jupiter) meets armed resistance (Mars-POF-Eris in Aries).

Unfortunately, looking ahead a bit to when both Jupiter and Saturn will first be simultaneously direct at the end of September, the situation doesn’t look less volatile, but perhaps more confused: these Capricorn points will then both square the close alliance of Mars-Eris in Aries, and the Moon will be conjunct Neptune (Pisces) square Nodal Axis (Gemini-Sagittarius). On the threshold of October (we can expect October surprises!) Trump’s misinformation campaign (perpetrated with outside assistance, no doubt) will be doing its best to keep people confused, fearful and divided. He can’t run on his merits very easily, but he can certainly try to create an alternative reality that suits his purposes.

Are we on the right course?

A Full Moon over Sibly

My original title for this piece was “Pluto, the curse of zero-sum thinking & ‘necessary evils’”, a title that I think still applies, especially when we look at our present moment through the lens of the U.S. Sibly chart. Those of you watching the news carefully this past week may have caught Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) comment that the Founding Fathers saw slavery as “a necessary evil,” at the same time he’s been trying to squash the use of the New York Times’ so-called 1619 project  in American schools. This “project” painstakingly traces and describes the foundational significance of slavery in American history:  If slavery was “evil” after all, shouldn’t we be teaching our school children exactly why instead of trying to cover up that dark part of our history?

At this juncture, to rewrite American history for the purposes of putting a happy face on the dark side of our founding does a deep disservice to our next generations, not to mention the descendants of those original slaves that began reaching our shores in 1619.

As I’ve written more than once on this site (and in my e-book on the topic), those foundational times are precisely what our nation’s Pluto return is all about right now—it’s time to come to grips with that dark, karmic heritage and to make the most good faith effort we can to set it right. Conversely, it’s not the time to repress and cover up. Perhaps the outcry at Cotton’s remark signaled that the nation gets the intense, Soul-shattering need we now have to put this behind us.

At this point, let’s briefly consider what the above dynamics look like next to the U.S. Sibly chart. We’ve been taking a U.S. perspective on this month’s full-moon dynamics already, but this juxtaposition will point to specific areas of concern within government, etc. that will add a bit more depth to the conversation.

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Full Moon, August 3, 2020, 11:58:38 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Full Moon Sun-Moon (Leo-Aquarius) cut across Sibly Nodal Axis and the Sibly 8th-2nd, sextile/trine Sibly Uranus (Gemini). The opposition’s proximity to the Sibly Nodal Axis is kind of wide, but even if we discount that, it’s definitely significant that the lunation’s Sun closely conjoins the Sibly Saturn/Uranus (midpoint, Leo), and the lunation’s Moon does the same with the Sibly Moon/Pluto (midpoint, Aquarius). In other words, this lunation is straddling a very important nexus of power relations that involve law enforcement (Saturn/Uranus) and “People power” in this nation (Moon/Pluto). Let’s consider what expert Michael Munkasey has to say about each of these midpoints, in turn:
Saturn/Uranus: +(positive): “Legislative processes able to temper traditional needs to new ideas; interaction of legislative and executive bodies; balancing conservatives and progressives; counter-revolutionary rule….—(negative): Restrictions on personal contacts due to political situations which are beyond an enterprise’s jurisdiction; control of access to political dissidents; sudden indifference by people to traditional mores and law.”[1]
Moon/Pluto: +(positive): The people’s opinion about subjects like crime, war, or internal secrecy; the role of women in controlling self-destructive impulses; popular promises concerning an end to war, waste etc., in appeals to the people….—(negative): Encourages violence or crime; people become doubtful about how to exert proper controls on criminal or terrorist elements; obsessions which bring a misuse of the resources available for country or business.”[2]
Based upon the news in progress, both these midpoints seem to playing out already, in both positive and negative ways. Nothing in William Barr’s hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday made Trump’s approach to wielding power under Barr’s DOJ any more clear or transparent, except to make clear that Trump views anyone who disagrees with him as “anarchists” or worse. The “sudden indifference” to laws and mores is rife in that DOJ, as well—accusations flowed freely about the many ways Barr has acted more like Trump’s personal attorney and less like the People’s attorney.

This indifference has certainly been manifesting in choices Barr has made about which protests he will call upon federal troops to squash and which (mostly white supremacist ones) he turns a blind eye to.

Meanwhile, in Congress, important bills like the “Anti-Lynching” one are simply languishing in the Senate – perhaps to spare the Executive from the controversy of vetoing it? As for the “misuse of resources,” we might look to the second CARES Act, in which replacing the monies Trump diverted from the Pentagon to his border wall is prioritized, along with building a new FBI building where it can profit Trump International Hotel, as opposed to keeping everyone’s unemployment funds flowing without cuts.

And so it goes.

Teachers are torn between safety and doing the work they love.

The sextile/trine to Sibly Uranus at work with this lunation is likely to trigger more volatility, a constant theme we’ve been seeing throughout this exploration. Aside from some military issues that may grab the news (6th house Uranus), these aspects could relate more to American schools, however, with Lunation Moon sitting on the Sibly 3rd house cusp and Sibly Uranus ruling that house.

Whatever school opening does happen will have its ups and downs, but it’s likely that something will be worked out that people can agree on unless Lunation Uranus (square Sun-Moon axis from Taurus) intervenes to upset the plans. In Michigan, we’ve already been warned that concrete plans will not be available until the last minute, so families are being asked to plan for different contingencies. Easier said than done, but probably prudent with this volatile chart.

Lunation Jupiter (Rx, Capricorn) sextiles Lunation Neptune (Rx, Pisces), squares Lunation Mars (Aries), widely opposes Sibly Sun (Cancer) and trines Sibly Neptune (Virgo). This may be a case where the impulse to growth takes a toxic turn—partially due to Jupiter being naturally at odds with itself in Saturnian Capricorn, but also due to the potentially unfortunate aspects Jupiter is making here. For instance, it may help escalate violence as we’ve been discussing (Jupiter squares Aries Mars); it may help pump up of Executive power at the expense of everyone else (opposed to Sibly Sun), and it may help proliferate the misinformation and delusional conspiracy thinking (Jupiter sextiles Lunation Neptune and trines Sibly Neptune) that has been enabling that distortion of Executive power.

Perhaps most unhelpfully, this rather dour Lunation Jupiter could stimulate further spikes in COVID cases with these aspects to the two Neptunes, wreaking further havoc on American families.

On another grim note, it’s difficult to see any hopeful signs that detained immigrants may receive compassionate (Neptune) releases (court ordered or not—the administration has proven it will simply find ways to work around court orders to either keep people detained in dangerous COVID-ridden facilities or to separate out children that must be released from their families). The administration is apparently willing to stand by and allow people to die in its care for the “crime” of stepping over our border and asking for asylum (which used to be considered a universal human right). I hope I’m wrong about this and that the administration starts obeying court orders to the letter.

Overall, it’s difficult to say from these charts if an upward trend in COVID cases will coincide with school openings, or if it’s a more generalized trend—my guess is that it’s the latter, but the fears that exist out there about potentially having to shut down the nation again in order to get the pandemic under control may not be too far off. All the more reason Congress needs to do its job of helping people prepare for the financial fallout now. 

It’s no surprise that, while Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto (all Rx, Capricorn) fell over the 3rd and 4th houses of the lunation chart itself (Chart #1 above), here they are all crowded into the Sibly 2nd, reflecting the government’s role in financially supporting schools (Lunation 3rd) and families (Lunation 4th). How willingly this happens will be a reflection of the nation’s (Sibly’s) 2nd house values, of course.  

A lesser-known "Venus" by Sandro Botticelli
Lunation Venus-No. Node widely conjoin Sibly Mars, with Lunation Venus tightly conjoined Sibly Sun/Uranus (midpoint, Gemini) and Lunation Node tightly conjoined Sibly Mar/Jupiter (midpoint, Gemini). Again, Munkasey’s description of the two midpoints in question here read like they were written for this occasion:

“Sun/Uranus: +(positive): Political changes that shape the quality of all efforts; reforms which initiate changes to authority or power; legislation mandating major reforms in policies; revolutions which bring fundamental changes….—(negative): Rebellions designed solely for the removal of existing leaders; the changes which accompany upheavals; rule makers or interpreters battling decision makers; a contrary head of state with unusual habits.”[3]
“Mars/Jupiter: +(positive): Action taken in response to legal judgments; too much legal activity or opinions; advice which angers or inflames others; legislative actions concerning competitive sports activities, religious activities or festivals…--(negative): Judgment of enemies or those who seek to do battle; misuse of forces when engaging another; an expansion in military hardware; legal opinions or judicial cases which affect the military or metal industries.”[4]
Again, Lunation Venus conjoins the first midpoint discussed here, suggesting a sort of “blessing” (which could express as supportive finances) on whatever happens there. Likewise, Lunation No. Node combined with the Sibly Mars/Jupiter midpoint suggests a trend in the direction of what Munkasey brings to light there. We know there are decisions pending about sports seasons and there’s a high probability that some individuals will be “enflamed” in regards to pandemic policies and related issues.

The “misuse of forces” is already going on with Trump’s federal troops entering cities uninvited—whether Pentagon higher-ups will preserve a shred of independence from the White House so things don’t get totally out of control is a key question to watch. And yes, there are already too many legal cases flying back and forth, as the Courts are basically forced to litigate over Trump’s drive to expand his powers well beyond normal by Executive Order. Not surprisingly, many of these orders have attracted legal challenges and scrutiny.

August's "Sturgeon Moon," "Barley Moon," "Fruit Moon," "Grain Moon."

Final thoughts

So bottom line, this upcoming full-phase lunation--a beautiful cosmic display if ever there was one--will test our national values and our ability to deal with change in the coming months. The pandemic is already testing us beyond anything we might have imagined, so my feeling is, we can handle what's ahead if we appreciate the gifts of Nature, have a lot of patience for ourselves and for the others in our lives, and ground our actions in facts, laced with a bit of compassion. The coming months will test our ability to navigate the “brambles” of the key retrograde transits as we await the new Jupiter-Saturn cycle in December, yet we should remember that from the brambles there eventually springs delicious fruit. We will learn more about ourselves than we might ever imagine we could in the months between now and the end of this particular wave of retrogrades.

Meanwhile, despite the heavy feel of so much that's happening these days, the contributions of women to our several simultaneous struggles will continue to be highlighted, and it’s likely that during the remainder of August we will finally hear from former V.P. Biden about which woman he’s decided to name as his running mate. We’re getting into the thick of campaign season, of course, and if this were a “normal” election year (whatever that means) we’d already be in convention season. As for Biden’s running mate, perhaps she will have natal ties to Lunation Venus (Gemini)—a story for another day!

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; see the sidebar links on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.

For information about individual chart readings, contact:

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

[1]Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA 1981, p. 288.
[2]Ibid, p. 136.
[3]Ibid, p. 84.
[4]Ibid, 0. 228.