Sunday, January 26, 2020

At an astrological crossroads: Impeachment highlights


Timing and out-of-the-blue obligations colluded 
to cut short my writing time this week, so this will be a very preliminary consideration of the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, which I will argue here was “birthed” officially this past week at 2:00 p.m. on the 16th, when Chief Justice Roberts was ushered into the Senate chamber to swear an oath of impartial justice and then to administer that oath to the Senators convened. 

It’s tempting to analyze the astrology for this unfolding drama on a day-to-day basis—and perhaps in the future we’ll do some of that—however here, we’ll treat that ceremonial 2 p.m. oath-taking as the definitive launch of the trial.  

Why not wait until the January 21st beginnings of the substantive procedural arguments and opening statements? As we’ll undoubtedly witness over and over, the ceremonial and substantive dimensions of the impeachment process are hopelessly enmeshed because such are the solemn workings of government, and an impeachment trial is among the most solemn. So it’s all one multi-dimensional process that for our purposes here, launched at 2 p.m. on January 16th.

Roberts is greeted after swearing the oath.

Consider the position of the Moon, for instance. On January 16th, when the ceremonial oath was given to officially launch the proceedings, the Moon was in justice-minded Libra (see outer wheel, Biwheel #1 below), a lone voice in the nearly vacant lower hemisphere of the chart. 

Far from isolated, however, Lady Luna formed traditional aspects with several other points, including Juno, Jupiter, Pluto-Saturn-Ceres-Sun (the Sun only widely), Neptune, Eris and Vesta, not to mention both the ASC (Gemini) and the MC (Aquarius). 

This suggests that the “People” (Moon) have a lot at stake in the proceedings—the solemnity of the moment aptly captures the complexity and divisiveness of this moment in American life—so we might hope the public will be intensely engaged in the arguments being presented. Our Congress people are there to represent us, of course, so the Moon speaks to those individuals, as well. Sitting in forced silence as the “audience” for these proceedings over the days of this trial, they will also be impacted by the ebb and flow of lunar energies, no matter where the Moon fell on January 16th.

The Sun is an interesting figure in the impeachment process because it seems to represent both the leadership of the Senate, and the proceedings themselves, as a living, developing entity. It may not seem so at times, but both Houses of Congress enjoy joint leadership, a juggling act that plays out between the majority and minority leaders of each body.  

Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell (r) and Chuck Schumer (l).

In the case of the Senate, that’s between Majority Leader McConnell (GOP) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Dems), and while the majority weighs heavily when bills come up for votes, there’s a give and take nevertheless. We’ve seen small examples of that already during this trial, and will see much more before the end.
For instance, while the Sun was still in Capricorn, on January 21st, Schumer presented several amendments to McConnell’s proposed Senate rules for the trial, calling for the Senate to subpoena additional witnesses and documents from various sources, but one after another, they were dead-on-arrival, voted down by the GOP majority.  A couple small, but important changes were adopted by McConnell, however, apparently due to pressure from his own caucus. In true Capricorn fashion, the changes pertained mostly to timing. 

Mercury (Aquarius) rules this Gemini-rising chart, but interestingly, the daily proceeding charts have all been ruled by Mercury so far, as each day convenes at 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C.  This could reflect the small army of technicians and communications personnel that put on the “show” every day. 

Chief Justice Roberts presiding and admonishing.

Even Chief Justice Roberts is providing mostly administrative services, although he embodies the “leader/enforcer,” as well. Saturn (especially apt in Capricorn) would represent this heavier role. Roberts may appear to be doing very little, but his presence radiates the solemn, dignified and disciplined aura that the proceedings deserve. Something about those robes, huh? 

In fact, when Roberts decided it was time to chastise the presenters on both sides for “uncivil discourse” before the Senate, admonishing them to “remember where they are,” it was 1 a.m. on the 17th—the Moon had moved into late Libra and the 12th house, and the earlier square to Pluto-Saturn-Ceres-Sun had tightened nicely. Institutional decorum became an important point of order and it was Roberts’ job to rein things in. Even with no caffeine allowed, things can get dicey at 1 a.m.!

Interestingly, these solemn, Saturn-infused proceedings may have informed the House Impeachment Managers’ overall strategy of laying out the narrative of their case in chronological order. This strategy was unfurled on January 22nd, when the Sun had moved into Aquarius (co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus), square Uranus in Taurus (chart not shown).

This tense fixed square was potentially upsetting and stressful to that body, even with Roberts’ firm hand over decorum. Hyper-partisanship is built into this divisive square, of course, but that’s nothing new. What is new is how the facts of this impeachment trial are gradually unfolding in a way that’s difficult to ignore.  Time will tell, but with a typical 8° orb, the Sun-Uranus square will persist into next week. Will we see a surprising wake-up call of some sort? Or perhaps an unexpected shake-up to the proceedings themselves? 

The Senate’s daily life is certainly being turned upside down by this trial, which Leader McConnell may find is not quite as controllable as he thought. 

Let’s return to the role the Moon is playing in the trial for a moment: her movements over the course of even a couple days have reflected subtle (or not so subtle) shifts in perception and mood among the attendees, not to mention the public, which has perhaps the greatest stake in the outcomes here. Viewership has been fairly strong—11 million on network television on the trial’s opening day, and that doesn’t count those who watched or listened by other means. We can expect that public opinion will reflect the lunar ebb and flow of these proceedings.  

The astrology

Just to frame the following discussion, please note that this post is not about litigating the case against Trump one way or another. It’s impossible to do so in a space like this, nor is that my goal. I care deeply about the health of this nation and its democracy, and it’s no mystery that I think Trump has been a destructive force to both, but this is not about making a legal argument in regards to a specific set of allegations.  

What we will do here is to examine the January 16th trial chart against Trump’s nativity on one hand, and against the U.S. Sibly chart on the other. IMHO, how the nation is going to emerge from this process is more important than how Trump will fare, but since the fates of both seem to be inextricably linked at the moment, we’ll consider both sides of the situation. 

Let’s begin. 

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Impeachment Trial Opens-Oath, January 16, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart Grand Square: Trial Capricorn Stellium falls over Trump 5th house, opposing his 11th house Mercury, Saturn-Venus (all Cancer) and Trial No. Node (Cancer); this axis is squared by Trial Moon-Juno (Libra) conjunct Trump Juno-Chiron-Jupiter (Libra), all opposite Trump Eris (Aries)-Trial Chiron and in later Aries, Trial Eris. What we’re going for here is the overall opposing feel of these aspects—the Libra-to-Aries placements involved are far too wide to be considered oppositions under normal circumstances, for instance, but Trial Eris does firmly square both Trump’s Capricorn Saturn-Venus and Trial Saturn-Pluto in Cancer.  

This suggests that the tension is palpable and that it’s heightened by the “wounded warrior” sensibility of Trial Chiron-Trial Eris. 

This is especially true, seeing that these points fall over Trump’s “fight or flight”-oriented 8th house and oppose his 2nd house points. His Neptune (Libra) rules his Pisces 8th house, at the same time it opposes his Eris there and forms a t-square to his security-oriented Mercury (Cancer, 11th). This seems to reflect his clearly zero-sum mindset, in which life is a battle, and it’s him against the world. Those who buy into this imagined victimization may resonate with this part of his chart. 

Lead House Manager Adam Schiff evoked a “wounded warrior” Chiron-Eris perspective throughout his arguments, but his approach was extra powerful when he likened America to the  wounded plaintiff in his case, saying that “She deserves a fair trial.” He was arguing, of course, for the GOP majority to vote to allow more witnesses and documents than its leadership has thus far allowed. How appropriate for proceedings that kicked off under a lovely, but stressed mid-Libra Moon-Juno conjunction. 

On the other hand, this conjunction falls over Trump’s Libra Juno-Chiron-Jupiter, which may suggest that Lady Luck (his Jupiter also trines his elevated Gemini Sun-Node-Uranus) will allow him to skate free in the end. As we’ve all learned watching him evade accountability over and over again, she usually does. 

Even so, the Capricorn stress on Trump’s Libra and Cancer points is heavy and real, and could, in the end, outweigh the more supportive looking Moon-Juno, etc.  By the number of lawyers he’s hired, we can see that Trump is putting tremendous resources (2nd house), not to mention emotional energy (a record number of tweets) into his defense.  

So those Aries placements falling over Trump’s 8th aptly represent the battle the House team has been waging, but they also represent the existential (Scorpio’s natural house) threat Trump feels he is under, and the battle he and his defense team are waging to keep him in office. 

The Trump 5th-11th house axis here is familiar terrain in this “battleground,” of course—he’s been the target of one investigation and/or controversy after another while he’s been in office—from his sketchy way of combining his official position with personal profit to his coziness with Vladimir Putin and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election—but this axis also reflects how many of his “associates” have found themselves indicted and imprisoned since he took office. The sentences are still pending, in the case of Trump’s long-standing ally and advisor Roger Stone and Trump’s first National Security Secretary, General Mike Flynn. 

Former EPA Secretary, Scott Pruitt.

Many early administration members, like disgraced EPA head Scott Pruitt, who didn’t officially run afoul of the law had to resign their offices so they wouldn’t. The list of resignations and firings goes on for pages on Wikipedia. The fact that Trump has gutted several key agencies of personnel (notably the State Dept.) and made no effort to fill the empty roles is a matter of deep national security concern in many quarters. 

All of this is coming home to roost in the impeachment trial in one way or another, it seems. We just saw the addition of an audio recording of Trump—around the dinner table with his cohorts in his D.C. Trump International Hotel—ordering the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch in response to lies attendee Lev Parnas told him. 

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

Former Giuliani (and presumably, Trump) associate Parnas has given interviews to explain how and why he and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani worked to smear Yovanovitch—known to be a staunch anti-corruption figure in her diplomacy with Ukraine—and to get her out of the way. 

Parnas was also careful to establish that Trump knew and directed everything he, Giuliani and Igor Fruman were doing. It’ll be interesting to see how the Trump defense team addresses the Parnas revelations—so far it appears they plan to double down on the repeatedly discredited Russian theory that Ukraine meddled in our 2016 election, not Russia, and that the DNC “server”—that our intelligence chiefs have testified was hacked by the Russians—is somehow part of the story. Artful distraction is the key to a magician’s act, right? 

For our purposes here, this drama only adds to the 5th-11th house pressure in Trump’s chart. 

Trial Mars (Sagittarius) trines Trump Eris (Aries), squares Trial Venus (Pisces) and quincunxes Trial No. Node-Trump Mercury (Cancer). Transiting Trump’s 4th house, Trial Mars is certainly a disruptive factor, suggesting that he might be venting his rage at the impeachment challenge with his family or wife. This could explain the tension expressed by the Trial Mars-Venus square (Sagittarius-Pisces), but with Trial Venus-Part of Fortune (Pisces) also trine his Mercury, the challenge is minimal. 

A common theme in his defense is to bemoan “how badly he’s being treated”— that victimized viewpoint is only exacerbated by this frustrating Trial Mars quincunx Trump Mercury. Because his imperious Leo Mars and Pluto jointly rule his Scorpio 4th, with that Mars trine his 4th house Moon (Sagittarius), nothing less than kingly treatment (“he can do no wrong”) will do. 
Trial Neptune (Pisces) squares Trump Gemini-Sagittarius points and quincunxes Trump Jupiter (Libra). It’s worth pointing out here that this transiting Neptune is also edging into trine territory with Trump’s Saturn, and that it definitely trines his Mercury/Saturn (midpoint, Cancer), which would account for his misinformation and conspiracy theory-laced defense. Michael Munkasey attributes this aspect with the “breakdown of logical processes,”[1] which certainly seems to fit. 
Transparent facts are hard to find when it comes to going to war.
Unfortunately,  Neptune transits persist for long periods of time, and they can be quite hard on a person’s emotional and mental health (Trump’s Sun-Moon are also caught up in this), so we shouldn’t expect rigorous, fact-based narratives from Trump or his defense team any time soon. Emotional appeals (Trump Moon square Trial Neptune) that blur the lines between facts and fiction or simply misrepresent the facts entirely are far more likely. If this was unusual with him, we might look for different explanations, but he does have a track record of conjuring “alternative facts” as he goes, so most likely more of the same, only amplified.
The tight conjunction of Trial No. Node with Trump’s Mercury (Cancer) suggests a collective focus on the working of Trump’s mind going forward. His Mercury disposes his Gemini points, in addition to ruling his 2nd and 11th houses (Virgo and Gemini cusps), so its influence pervades his chart. Interestingly, his Mercury also disposes his Progressed Sun, still in early Virgo (chart not shown), and this point is now being trined by Trial Uranus (Taurus) and opposed by Trial Venus (Pisces).
He is naturally adept at creating distractions and convenient crises—it’ll be interesting to see if these “soft” aspects exacerbate that, especially in the realm of foreign affairs (Uranus transiting his 9th and ruling his 7th).
It’s also pretty clear from this that Trump will—as many have warned—continue  accepting foreign assistance for his campaign if he isn’t stopped: Trial Uranus also trines his natal Mars-ASC (Leo)—he definitely feels empowered to accept help wherever it comes from. This nice trine could also be fueling the ego-bloated defense his team is floating that claims he did nothing wrong (even though his own words belie that). They’ll reinvent right and wrong before they will admit that he made any mistakes.
This Mars rules his Aries 9th, so yes, he feels “above the Law,” and this trial isn’t likely to change that stance. Megalomania is alive and well with him, and as we’ve been hearing from him and his defense team, those who disagree with his concept of himself and his freedom to act with impunity are just being unfair.  Unfortunately, Uranus seems to be playing along for now, although it is capable of surprises and sudden turn-abouts. Stay tuned!

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Impeachment Trial Opens-Oath, January 16, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Here we have another set of tense cardinal oppositions that cut across key areas of the Sibly chart, impacting Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), Mercury, Sun, Jupiter, Venus (Cancer) and Saturn-Juno (Libra). It’s quite possible to see the amazing array of Capricorn energy transiting the Sibly 1st and 2nd as a full-on assault on virtually all the institutions of American government: the Justice system (Jupiter and Saturn), the Legislature (Saturn), the State Department (diplomatic functions-Venus), the Economy and its complex institutions (Venus and Pluto), the Media (Mercury). Last, but implicating all of the above, the Executive branch and the Nation-at-large itself  (Sun). 

As I was listening to one House Impeachment manager after another evoke the Founding Fathers as they presented their case, it occurred to me that this trial is basically forcing the nation to relitigate its founding democratic purpose. Does it matter that we have a president-who-would-be-king, who seems to prefer a Russian-style kleptocratic system to our democratic checks-and-balances? 

If not, where does that leave the American experiment? With Saturn-accompanied Pluto rapidly transiting within orb of our Sibly Pluto, we may find that we have taken democracy for granted for far too long. 

I wish this were an exaggeration, but based on the Trump lines of defense that we’ve heard thus far in the trial (basically that he can do anything, cheat, lie and smear innocent public servants, obfuscate all he wants, and if we expect better, we’re being unfair to him), I don’t think it is. Based on the evidence that continues to emerge (from Lev Parnas, in particular), it’s hard to believe that this president has any remorse or plans to do anything differently because, in his mind, he did nothing wrong. 

Trump, crowing about his economy at Davos.

We saw how that mindset manifested in Biwheel #1, so it’s not surprising that in this biwheel, we see Trial Jupiter (Capricorn) opposing Sibly Venus-Jupiter-Sun. For now, Trump feels validated (just wait until he has that acquittal!) because Wall Street hasn’t given up on him yet, and he’s been finalizing some trade deals—the transactional issues he grasps and can crow about. 

Transiting Jupiter is not all that potent in Capricorn, however, so his support system may be shakier than he thinks. Jupiter is coming into orb for a square to his natal Jupiter, as well (inner wheel, Biwheel #1)—maybe someone or something will finally tell him no at that time. 

A couple non-cardinal points to watch: Trial Mars (Sagittarius) conjoins Sibly ASC (Sagittarius) and opposes Sibly Uranus (Gemini) and quincunxes Sibly Jupiter/Sun (Cancer). Munkasey likens the Sun/Jupiter midpoint to “a religious or philosophical system which ties the effective leadership of the country to a predetermined course of action; the executive of the nation battling with the legal and justice parts of government.”[2] 

I’d say he captures the situation here well—this Mars stimulates that midpoint in frustrating ways, as well as making me wonder if military volatility is still a present threat. Many believed that Trump’s decision to assassinate Iran’s General Soleimani was designed to distract from the impeachment even then—plenty of other opportunities for military adventurism are out there, so this bears watching. 

Trial Neptune (Pisces) opposes Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and squares Sibly ASC-DSC and Mars (Gemini). The onslaught of “alternative logic” and conspiracy theories as policy drivers in American government has not happened overnight, but the aspects are tightening and the situation is starting to bear real toxic fruit. Can reason and constitutional order prevail in this trial, as so passionately call for by the House managers? It’s hard to imagine from this chart, but Neptune leaves room for hope. 

Perhaps as its half-return to Sibly Neptune perfects, something will click into place for our national Soul and we’ll finally be able to move forward and meet the very critical challenges of this century.

In the meantime, the “fog of war” appears here as an easy way to knee-cap the impeachment effort—I sincerely hope I’m wrong about this, but we saw the prelude with Soleimani and are very few guard rails exist around Trump’s impulses these days. 

It doesn’t help that Trump’s nativity is tied so tightly into these mutable aspects—Congress needs to have more say about any plans for war, not less, and it’s up to every one of us to support that. It isn’t going to happen without a determined fight—Trial Neptune (Pisces) quincunxes Sibly Saturn (Libra).

This historical trial is being preserved in images, as well as words.

Final thoughts

So much more could be said about the impeachment trial itself—and I apologize that time simply doesn’t permit right now—but the basic astrological forecast seems pretty clear: hope springs eternal, but the odds on miracles are pretty long. In a strange way, we’re actually inhabiting dual realities in this nation at this moment—one determined to pull us back into a rewrite of everything that’s made this nation worth its salt, and one determined to lead us forward into something that builds on our idealistic foundations, heals some nagging wounds and propels us into a lighter, more sustainable and united future. Unfortunately, the first option still has us in its divisive grips.

It’s up to us to keep that brighter future in our sights!   

Perhaps the People are more interested in this trial than the Media lets on?

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 2020. All rights reserved. 

[1] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, p. 165.
[2] Ibid, p. 76.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A moody Lunar Eclipse joins Saturn & Pluto for a volatile chain of events

This post is about the remarkably volatile chain of events we've seen this past week, with a special focus on two tragic instances which victimized ordinary people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

The most highly covered tragedy in the news was Iran’s accidental downing of Ukraine Flight 752 on January 8th—in the wake of ongoing U.S.-Iran hostilities—and resulted in the senseless death of all 176 individuals on board. 

The less-highlighted disaster in the news was the 6.4 magnitude earthquake (the most potent of an earthquake swarm) that struck the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on January 7th, causing at least one death, injuring many more and rendering thousands temporarily homeless. This may sound small by comparison with the Iranian story, however the problem is ongoing and it's crippling their everyday life, as damaged buildings can't be inhabited for fear the ongoing tremors will bring them down.

To add to the misery, Puerto Rico is still trying to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Maria (2017) and its troubles, along with Australia’s unprecedented fire season, should be considered fair warning about looming climate change disaster.

So scant coverage aside: Puerto Rico’s earthquake deserved more attention than it has gotten, and it’s relevant to our exploration here.  

All of this transpired against the backdrop of volatility here at home, of course, with Trump’s impeachment trial beginning, at the same time an additional trove of incriminating evidence has been released against him. The House Articles of Impeachment were ceremoniously presented to the Senate for the trial on January 15th and on the 16th Chief Justice Roberts took and administered the official “oath of impartial justice” required to the Senators, who will pass judgment and vote to either acquit or remove Trump from office.

House Impeachment managers deliver Articles to the Senate.
The trial will undoubtedly require an entire post here, so we’ll reserve that for the near future, after the actual arguments have begun. Suffice to say here that Gemini rose in the chart for the oath-taking process, which may not bode well for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth prevailing, although it may also make hiding relevant information difficult. Was a meaningful oath administered, or was it simply more empty words?

Not surprisingly, a great deal of focus falls in the 8th and 9th houses. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell wields a lot of power over which GOP Senate campaigns are financially supported and which are not (8th), so there’s pressure on GOP Senators from all sides—to follow their oath and deliver a fair trial on one side, and to deliver the quick acquittal McConnell is looking for. We’ll have to stay tuned to see if they simply ignore everything we’ve learned in the House impeachment hearings and since. The 9th house, of course, applies to all things legal.   

A quietly powerful lunar eclipse

Naturally, none of this is coincidental astrologically—in fact, the first lunar eclipse of the calendar year seems to provide a common theme that we can use as a leaping off point here. Known by some as a "Wolf Moon," it was a moody looking penumbral lunar eclipse in Cancer on January 10th , and it seems to be packing quite a bit of punch.  

This eclipse was not even a total eclipse event, however Cancer eclipses are potent simply because the Moon is occupying her home sign and naturally cries out for nurturance, security, and at least some measure of empathy and accountability. The responsibility factor emerges as a theme because this eclipse point was directly opposed by the transiting Saturn-Pluto conjunction (conjoined by the Sun), putting the focus on social accountability as a response to Lady Luna’s concerns. 

We often focus on the fact that the Sun in a mundane chart represents both the nation-at-large as a solar entity and the leader or head of that nation. However, when eclipses are active, both the Sun and the Moon come into simultaneous focus, and this is key: the Moon in a mundane chart is about the People of a nation, so it’s appropriate (and often the case) that eclipses trigger events that stir up the “Body Politic.” This imagery is explained in Wikipedia:

“The body politic is a metaphor that regards a nation as a corporate entity,[2] likened to a human body. Here the word ‘politic’ is a postpositive adjective: this is ‘a body of a politic nature,’ rather than ‘a politic of a bodily nature.’ A body politic comprises all the people in a particular country, considered as a single group. The analogy typically includes reference to the top of the government as head of state,[3] though the analogy may also be extended to other anatomical parts, as in political readings of Aesop's fable of ‘The Belly and the Members’.”

Of course, in the tragic news we’re considering here, the lives and bodies of individuals have  been at stake, but their suffering impacts that collective level in both tangible and intangible ways. When Iran’s government admitted responsibility for shooting down Flight UIA752 (more ahead on that), thousands of Iranians protested for days into the streets because their government had lied to them for days. They continued protesting, despite Iranian police forces firing live ammunition into the crowds.  

For his part, Trump attempted to leverage public outrage against the Iranian government by tweeting his “support” (in both English and Farsi)—as might be expected, this undermined the protestors’ message and made them more vulnerable to official blowback. The Washington Post put this Cancer-Capricorn conundrum well:

“ ‘When the Iranian people are upset with their government for blatantly lying about shooting down a plane, he [Trump] should have taken the high road and send his condolences to the families,’ said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at Center for Strategic and International Studies. ‘By seeming to make it about him, he de-legitimizes the protesters and allows the government to portray the protests as a U.S. plot.’ ”
Astrologically, we might say that trust between the Sun and Moon was violated and the public’s (Moon’s) efforts to demand accountability were basically thwarted by a “leader” (Sun) posing as a sympathizer. 

Again, the accountability called for by the January 10th eclipse in question comes down to its Zodiacal placement: closely opposite the Saturn-Pluto conjunction that launched this duo’s new cycle at 22°+Capricorn. Connections also abound between this eclipse and significant players in our current geopolitical drama: with Trump, the doomed UIA flight 752, and our neighbor, Puerto Rico.
These connections point to common threads running throughout last week’s events in the news, of course: we’ve already discussed Trump’s choice to kill Iran’s top military leader on January 3rd here, but this week’s news has been filled with the tragic aftermath of that attack, the inadvertent (if not “accidental”) downing of Ukrainian Air flight 752 (UAI752), killing all 176 passengers and crew on board.  How many thousands are needlessly harmed by association?

Protestors in Tehran after the regime admitted it shot down UIA752.
Thankfully, Iran came forward to take responsibility, once it became clear that trigger-happy human error was in play during the state of heightened alert it was in with the U.S. at the time. Here’s how the Washington Post described the situation this past Saturday (1/11):

“Iranian officials said military personnel targeted the plane as it turned toward a “sensitive military site” shortly after departing Tehran’s international airport before dawn.
The statement was a stunning about-face for Iran after days of rejecting Western assertions that a surface-to-air missile brought down the plane.
Now, leaders in Tehran face new challenges.
Ukraine has led demands for compensation and accountability, which could force Iran to appease the international community with a rare public reckoning over a military action. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged the nation’s military to conduct a thorough inquiry.
At home, the tragedy quickly brought protests back onto the streets in another show of anger. In November, protests erupted around the country after an increase in gasoline prices, leading to deadly clashes with security forces.”

Interestingly, Iran has been undergoing its Progressed Full Moon across a Taurus-Scorpio axis, with Progressed Moon conjunct Progressed Uranus Rx (Scorpio), for added intensity (see radix chart in Triwheel #2 below). Yes, its People are motivated to rebel and demand change—this, after quickly uniting behind their government when the U.S. struck and killed Soleimani.

PM Justin Trudeau was outspoken on behalf of Canadian victims.
Perhaps by pouncing on this public dis-ease with his “support,” Trump thought he would chalk up one for regime change—unfortunately, he probably helped discredit the protestors instead.   

For his part, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (a majority of the UIA752 victims were either citizens of, or returning to, Canada for their studies and work) posted a read-out of his call with Trump after the crash:

"President Trump expressed his condolences for the loss of life in the Ukraine International Airlines plane crash. The two leaders discussed the need for a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this crash.”
No mention of the tangential role the Trump administration’s actions towards Iran might have had in the crash: at least Iran admitted a mistake, even if it unleashed public outrage. For Trump, however, the eclipse helped to turn this event into a personal opportunity, leveraging tragic circumstances in which emotions are running high is a particularly cynical expression of Capricorn Saturn-Pluto transiting opposite Trump’s natal Cancer Saturn-Venus (chart not shown), and the eclipse (falling across that axis) surely facilitated.

There was also a broader populist agenda in play, of course, that seeks to leverage crisis, and populism expert Catherine Fieschi sees the method in this kind of madness. In her very interesting study entitled Populocracy, she teases out the way in which populism tends to distort democracy and consolidate power in “strongmen” leaders:

“Benjamin Moffitt makes an important point when he argues that populist politics also seeks to trigger crisis (Moffitt 2015). Here the triggering of crisis is described as a process that goes from identifying failure, to turning this failure into a crisis by linking it to a particular identity (that is framed as under threat), identifying those who can be blamed for this failure, using the media to propagate the message and then putting forward a simplistic solution rooted in strong leadership to resolve the crisis. And repeat.”[1]
A recent analysis in Foreign Policy seems to pick up on the toxic nature of “crisis populism” as well:  
 “As a matter of policy, Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Iran, having responded, is now ‘standing down’ hardly vindicates his reckless action. Assassinating state leaders, provoking retaliation, then narrowly averting needless open warfare is not strategic success. This is especially true when the episode leaves Iran policy in a far worse place than it was five years ago, when the previous administration negotiated a suspension of Iran’s nuclear program. Most important, by using assassination as a tool of preemptive self-defense, the Suleimani strike raises the haunting question whether Trump has resurrected the very doctrine that many thought had been wholly discredited by the disaster in Iraq.”

Causing a crisis (he ordered the hit on Soleimani that helped precipitate it) so he could then solve the crisis gets old, and thankfully, this point seems to be growing on foreign policy experts. Writing for a recent Brookings Brief, Thomas Wright suggests that it’s time for accountability:
“Trump’s Iran crisis fits perfectly within his narrative arc. His administration has had three identifiable phases. The first was the age of constraint, as the so-called Axis of Adults shaped and limited Trump’s options. The second was the age of hubris as Trump got rid of anyone who stood up to him so he could act as he wished — this came in two variants, maximum pressure and deal-making. The third is the reckoning as Trump is forced to face the consequences and contradictions of his own actions. There have been inklings of this third phase for some time. It has now well and truly arrived.”
So, this accountability phase for Trump—again, quite personal to him, even as it represents a collective issue for the American public (Sibly Moon)—may  have just been triggered by the January 10th Cancer eclipse in question, which took place inconjunct Sibly Moon (Aquarius). More frustrations, internal divisions and difficulty getting to a clear resolution ahead—we’ll be addressing these issues in a coming post about the impeachment trial. 

But first, let’s explore the astrology of this very impactful eclipse and the related chain of events. An eclipse that draws Saturn-Pluto into its impact is bound to create structural challenges, and these can manifest on the collective level of political power dynamics and institutional well-being, but they can also manifest on the purely physical level of buildings and infrastructures being crushed in an earthquake. As we’ll see, those distinct manifestations overlap and intersect in amazing ways—let’s begin.

The astrology

We’ll briefly consider the January 10th eclipse chart on its own first—cast for Washington, D.C.. (Chart #1). After that, we’ll consider that same chart set for San Juan, Puerto Rico and Tehran, Iran, only set against other relevant radix charts and event charts.
These charts reflect not only events on the ground, but longer-term possibilities as well. Coinciding as closely as it did with the launch of a Saturn-Pluto cycle is bound to add to this eclipse’s geopolitical punch.

Chart #1: Lunar eclipse, January 10th, 2020, 2:20 pm ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Mercury (Capricorn) rules Gemini ASC and conjoins Eclipse Sun-Ceres-Saturn-Pluto (opposing Eclipse Moon in Cancer). Eclipse stretches across 2nd-8th houses. This suggests that the prevailing narrative (Mercury) will be nurtured (Ceres), but also scrutinized and held accountable—Gemini and Capricorn are naturally at odds, so that will be felt by those who attempt to pin down a concrete story. The convergence of all this Capricorn energy in the 8th house suggests a focus on high-profile financial entities, including international ones (Saturn rules 8th & 9th). 

Recall that the first Article of Impeachment hinges on Trump’s attempt to use U.S. dollars to extort Ukraine’s cooperation in smearing his political rival, Joe Biden—shadowy, underhanded tactics involving money other than his own certainly fit the 8th house placement here. 

Venus conjoins MC (Aquarius); Uranus Rx (Taurus) rules MC, trines Jupiter-So. Node (Capricorn)-Pallas (Sagittarius), and inconjoins Mars (Sagittarius). Shocking, unconventional public events and relationships (perhaps even diplomatic agreements) are likely to characterize this eclipse period. The Jupiter-So. Node conjunction suggests that growth could be stifled by relationships (7th) that have outlived their usefulness—Jupiter rules the 7th (Sagittarius) from Capricorn—our foreign relations may be marked by surprising developments or break-ups (Jupiter-Uranus trine). 

As we’ll discuss in the next post, this Jupiter also opposes Trump Mercury (Cancer-chart not shown)—he could react to challenges by co-opting them to his own benefit; whatever happens will likely reflect his mindset and erratic Sun-Uranus (Gemini) nature. 

The Eclipse Uranus Rx trine to Justice-minded Pallas (Sagittarius) could certainly reflect the unconventional “trial” that the Senate is planning for Trump—we’re led to expect that the GOP will move quickly to acquit without even listening to witnesses, however Uranus is unpredictable. It rules the Aquarius 9th house here, as well, and its dispositor relationship with Venus in that house suggests that some beneficial surprises are still possible in the legal sphere. 

Perhaps the trial won’t be over quite as soon as some hope, either. This Venus also conjoins Sibly Moon (Aquarius-chart not shown), so could it be that the People will ultimately benefit? Shocks delivered by associates (11th house Uranus Rx) will likely continue (Lev Parnas’s recent revelations certainly qualified). More about this when we consider Trump’s nativity next to this eclipse in the next post. 

Finally, the lack of an aspect between an elevated, revolutionary Aquarius Venus and its dispositor, Taurus Uranus Rx could relate to the frustrating issues left hanging by the very surprising Equal Rights Amendment ratification this past week. Uranus also trines Jupiter (Capricorn), so perhaps that gave the process a boost. The ratification campaign’s spokeswomen seem quite certain that this time the progress is for real, but again, there are legal challenges (Uranus Rx rules 9th) to overcome. 

On another note (also involving Virginia, interestingly), that state’s governor just declared a state of emergency in anticipation of hate group-inspired violence at a scheduled gun rally. Those would-be “revolutionaries” are committed to spawning a “race war,” and could be taking advantage of the roles Mars and Uranus Rx are playing in this chart. This situation could get worse before it gets better under this threat-conscious (Cancer) eclipse period.

Mars (Sagittarius) semi-sextiles Jupiter-So. Node (Capricorn), trines Chiron and quincunxes No. Node (Cancer). This combination of aspects evokes the gnarly military affairs we’re seeing in the news, and the potential that Trump’s pre-emptive strike (Cancer-Capricorn Nodal axis)  of Iran’s Soleimani has to wound (Chiron) our image abroad (10th). This possibility certainly surfaced in the Ayatollah Khameini’s surprise Friday sermon on the 17th, but his perceptions are probably shared by other world leaders. Trump’s fear of looking “weak” is palpable—interestingly, this Chiron also falls square his natal Cancer Mercury (chart not shown).   

The view from Puerto Rico

To fully appreciate the January 10th eclipse’s impact on Puerto Rico, we need to bring the island Commonwealth’s radix chart into the mix, so we’ll consider that triwheel below, between the radix chart, the January 7th earthquake chart, and the eclipse chart we’ve been considering, cast for San Juan, PR. Although there are only slight differences between the middle and outer wheels, using both reveals some definite astrological “fault lines,” as we might expect. Let’s begin.

Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) Commonwealth Puerto Rico, July 25, 1952, 12 p.m. ST, San Juan, Puerto Rico (Wikipedia data—no exact time known); (middle wheel) Earthquake-PR-1/7/2020, January 7, 2020, 4:24 a.m. ST, San Juan, Puerto Rico (Wikipedia report); (outer wheel) Lunar eclipse, January 10th, 2020, 3:20 pm ST, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Equake & Eclipse Capricorn stellia fall over PR 3rd & 4th houses and t-square PR ASC-DSC (Libra-Aries) and Eris (Aries). As noted earlier, structural challenges are prominent with this Eclipse chart, and that certainly fits the situation in Puerto Rico: the probability of continuing quakes has destroyed both structures and public confidence in nature and their leadership. The news has highlighted the fact that the Trump administration is putting heavy limitations on where the island’s administration can use federal aid dollars (Saturn-Pluto)—not on the fragile electrical infrastructure, etc. Restrictions around the wages that can be paid to contract workers are also mandated—all of this fits the heavy Capricorn focus, especially as in the eclipse chart, all this is happening in the 8th house of finances. 

Puerto Rican natives are U.S. citizens, so even though they have no vote in the coming presidential election (IMHO, that should be revisited), they have a clear stake in how D.C. functions, our image in the world, and so on. Amazingly, all the points except Jupiter and the So. Node in both Capricorn stellia also oppose PR MC at the same time they oppose PR Uranus (Cancer), turning that cardinal t-square into a tense grand square and a strong reflection of the continuing earthquake disruptions being experienced on the island.  

Notice that transiting Jupiter –So. Node points (Capricorn) conjoin PR Chiron (Capricorn), which is widely square transiting Chiron (Aries). Perhaps the island will begin to realize more benefits and aid as Jupiter transits over the Eclipse point, but a Capricorn Jupiter isn’t particularly potent and the aid could remain limited and conditioned by all the other Capricorn energy. 

This Jupiter also opposes Trump’s Mercury (Cancer, chart not shown), but it will soon transit over Trump Saturn-Venus (Cancer), and that may not improve the situation much. 

Capricorn transits square PR Neptune, rising at ASC (Libra); Eclipse Neptune (Pisces) quincunxes PR Neptune; PR Neptune disposes Eclipse MC (Pisces) while Eclipse Venus (Aquarius) conjoins that MC. Clearly, these are precarious times for island populations—rising ocean levels are one of the more threatening impacts of climate change and with PR Neptune also square PR Uranus, the pressure being put on both right now is adding to the unstable, unsustainable situation. Hopefully, Eclipse Venus (Aquarius) will rally the public into constructive action--this could help them overcome their shaken confidence.

Perhaps this beneficial-looking Eclipse Venus-MC conjunction also speaks to the commitment and consistent efforts of prominent female politicians in PR: Governor, Puerto Rico governor Wanda Vázquez Garced , not to mention San Juan’s outspoken mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, who has been so instrumental in helping the island recover from Hurricane Maria. 

Building sound, sustainable infrastructures (Capricorn Saturn-Pluto cycle) has never been more important, obviously, and the earthquake swarm experienced by PR is a powerful reminder of that. Transiting Venus (Aquarius) is in mutual reception with transiting Uranus (Taurus) in both outer charts, and that Uranus falls in PR 7th house—needless to say, PR will be vulnerable to continuing  instability, which is likely to inspire all kinds of security-conscious building and tech development (Uranus in Taurus).

Iran and the ill-fated Ukrainian Flight 752

As with Puerto Rico, the only way to get a comprehensive picture of the situation in Iran this past week is to consider a triwheel that combines Iran’s radix chart, Ukraine’s radix chart, and the tragic downing of Ukraine’s Flight 752 on January 8th. We’ll consider Eclipse points when they become relevant—the charts above will help illustrate as we go. It’s worth repeating that eclipses often make themselves known in the few days before they perfect, so the fact that the 176 crash victims were “in the wrong place at the wrong time” could certainly be eclipse-related. 

Notice that the UIA752 angles are 1°+Capricorn ASC and 21°+Libra MC, whereas the Eclipse angles set for Tehran have moved to 1°+Libra ASC, and 1°+Cancer MC.  The cardinal emphasis certainly captures the volatile nature of events.

We have a published time of 6:14 a.m. ST in Tehran, Iran, for the “final signal” received from UIA752, so that gives us something to go on here for the radix charts of both Iran and Ukraine. The volatile aftermath of the tragic crash, especially the days and days of protests in the streets of Tehran once Iranian leaders admitted responsibility for firing missiles at the plane, was certainly stoked by the tense eclipse energies: the People were clearly incensed and disappointed by how their military and government handled the precarious situation.

Ukraine president Zelensky rose to the challenge of the UIA752 disaster.

The flip-side of this precarious situation was the diplomatic nightmare the situation could have created between Ukraine, Canada (most of the victims were returning there) and Iran. Thankfully, Ukraine’s young president Zelensky proved to be up to the task. According to the Washington Post:

“Zelensky, caught between the United States and Iran after a U.S. drone strike killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, had the difficult task of securing the ‘cooperation of Western backers and Iran without being drawn into either side’s narrative of the Iran-U. S. conflict,’ said Katharine Quinn-Judge, a Kyiv-based analyst for International Crisis Group.
Four days after the plane went down, Zelensky announced that he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had ‘agreed on full legal and technical cooperation, including compensation issues.’”  

Given the role Ukraine was dragged into in Trump’s impeachment drama, this whole situation was dripping with irony, but it appears that Zelensky acquitted himself well. As one political scholar put it, “For a political novice, he seems to have a keen sense of exactly how to appease opposing factions in order to protect Ukraine’s interests.” 

So let’s consider the triwheel that reflects this situation. Please note that both the radix charts are contained in Nicholas Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes, 2004 edition.[2]


Triwheel #2: (inner wheel) Radix, Iran-Islamic Republic, April 1, 1979, 3:00 p.m. DST, Tehran, Iran; (middle wheel) Radix, Ukraine (independent), December 1, 1991, 6 p.m. ST, Kiev, Ukraine; (outer wheel) UIA752 final signal, January 8, 2020, 6:14 a.m. ST (news report), Tehran, Iran. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart T-square: UIA752 Neptune (Pisces) conjoins Iran So. Node-Ceres (Pisces) and opposes Iran No. Node-Ukraine Jupiter-Vesta (Virgo); this axis squares UIA752 Moon (Gemini). Notice that the oppositions cut across Iran’s 7th-1st houses here—quite a defensive axis, and Neptune transiting over its 7th was likely an obfuscating force. In fact, the entire configuration seen here suggests communication problems and perhaps a relaxing of Iran’s usual administrative protocols. Ukraine Jupiter conjoins Iran Saturn in Virgo, UIA752 Jupiter in Capricorn trined it and Mars in Sagittarius squared it. 

Given the threat levels in force, this complex of energies may have caused some carelessness. Were clear signals getting through to its trigger-ready defensive forces?  Unlikely. 

UIA752 Mars (Sagittarius) squares Iran Venus (Pisces) and trines Iran Jupiter (late Cancer). Mars seems to provide the spark here for trouble, especially since Iran’s Jupiter was also being opposed by UIA752 Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn). The sense of threat was undoubtedly real and  unfortunately, Mars was being reckless and trigger-happy. The tragically mis-placed decision to fire at the flight also reflects the UIA752 Uranus (Taurus)-Mars (Sagittarius) inconjunct. 

UIA752 Jupiter-So. Node (Capricorn) conjoins Ukraine No. Node (Capricorn) and opposes Ukraine So. Node (Cancer); UIA752 Nodal Axis is flipped (Cancer to Capricorn), but aligned with Ukraine’s. This speaks to why Ukraine was drawn into this conflict and why now. The curious alignment of Jupiter with the So. Node in the outer wheel seems to be amplifying Saturn-like themes (Saturn rules Capricorn), which is easy to understand with so much Capricorn energy afloat. 

It’s worth noting that the Capricorn stellium falls entirely in first house of the UIA752 chart (see below)—ominous looking, for sure.

Caught between U.S.-Iran hostilities, Trudeau was firm, but diplomatic.

Also in the chart shown below, if we consider that the Moon (the People) disposes the 7th house Cancer No. Node, it supports the idea that those aboard Flight 752 were picked up as being “the enemy” and were dealt with accordingly. Mars-trine-Chiron in fire signs Sagittarius-Aries reflects the fiery missiles that targeted the victims (4th house Chiron), while the Gemini Moon fell in the 6th house of military/servants (in other words, expendables). This Moon was widely opposed by that fiery Sagittarius Mars, reflecting the chaos and recklessness of the moment.  

This doesn’t explain why Iran didn’t shut down its airport entirely during that time of heightened tension—again, unclear directives, loosened protocols and sheer recklessness could have been factors.

One last point about Triwheel #2 above…

UIA752 MC (Libra) conjoins Ukraine Venus (Libra) and Iran Pluto and all oppose UIA752 Eris (Aries); this axis squares UIA752 Sun-Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn). This tense configuration reflects the diplomatic nightmare that Ukraine’s president Zelensky seems to have successfully confronted with this volatile and tragic event. Notice that UIA752 Saturn-Pluto (Capricorn) fall over Iran’s 6th house here—again, the sense of military threat was real and managed to confuse and/or overwhelm Iran’s response systems. 

Yet, Ukraine proved capable of negotiating a fair settlement plan for the victims’ families—perhaps by appealing to Iran’s better nature or at least to their self-interests (Ukraine Sagittarius Mercury conjoins Iran Sagittarius Neptune and squares Iran Pisces Mars-Mercury).

Final thoughts

We’ve seen an amazing convergence of events in the past week, but I’m happy to point out that not all of them were tragic. For instance, how many caught the amazing fact that the Virginia legislature finally voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment for women this past week, decades after it was first presented to Americans for a vote? 

And how many caught the fact that the devastating scourge of Ebola is now considered both preventable and curable, thanks to dedicated medical research and dogged persistence? 

The fact that such positive stories co-exist with the rest of the news this past week should remind us that things are better than they seem at times, and that tough-looking planetary energies can manifest in a range of ways. The challenge, as always, is to learn how to use such energies consciously and constructively, and to do this, context is everything. 

There will always be “surprises”—some tragic and disruptive, as we’ve seen—but a forward-looking plan can be used to channel energies where they’re needed, as well.  

Without a doubt, we’re witnessing extreme times, but these can also be heroic times. Capricorn calls for practical, sustainable and ambitious choices, not to mention clear-minded realism and perseverance. We are not powerless and we can do what needs to be done—full speed ahead!

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 2020. All rights reserved. 

[1] Catherine Fieschi, Populocracy: The Tyranny of Authenticity and the Rise of Populism, Agenda Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 2019, p. 21.
[2]Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes, Charts #159, p. 163 (Iran-Islamic Republic) and #342, p. 326 (Ukraine), The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, UK, 2004.