Sunday, May 31, 2020

Finding awful grace in apocalyptic times: Leadership & the Saturn cycles

“In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”—Aeschylus

“In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard, and what is it that America has failed to hear?”—Martin Luther King

In Friday’s New York Times, columnist David Brooks cited the above quote from Aeschylus, taken from Robert F. Kennedy's response to his brother John F. Kennedy’s slaying. This quote also reminds us of the pain and rage fanning out across the nation in the wake of the dreadful scene in Minneapolis this week—all of it going back to the unjust and literal crushing of George Floyd. His death leaves yet another grieving brother and family, not to mention an emotionally crushed community of his fellow black Americans. 

Brooks’ article didn’t specifically address this criminal tragedy because he focuses on the other, equally heart-wrenching reality that 100,000 Americans are now confirmed dead from COVID-19, and that our nation’s leadership is missing in action. He muses on what this moment would look like if we did have a real leader. 

To my mind, Brooks’ main point applies to both the sober milestone of 100,000 dead from the pandemic and to Floyd’s tragic killing. For whatever scrap of comfort we can draw from it, a short excerpt captures this deeply moving piece:

“If we had a real leader, he would have realized that tragedies like 100,000 Covid-19 deaths touch something deeper than politics: They touch our shared vulnerability and our profound and natural sympathy for one another.
In such moments, a real leader steps outside of his political role and reveals himself uncloaked and humbled, as someone who can draw on his own pains and simply be present with others as one sufferer among a common sea of sufferers…
If we had a real leader, he would be bracingly honest about how bad things are, like Churchill after the fall of Europe. He would have stored in his upbringing the understanding that hard times are the making of character, a revelation of character and a test of character. He would offer up the reality that to be an American is both a gift and a task. Every generation faces its own apocalypse, and, of course, we will live up to our moment just as our ancestors did theirs.”

As we’ve been living through every day, Trump’s solution to both the tragic pandemic death toll and the Minneapolis situation is to deflect attention and to divide people over how to respond. He all but called for the police to open fire on protesters, as if that will heal generations of pain and despair created by racist police practices. This, instead of trying to calm the storm raging across the nation, or encouraging that the officer who crushed the life out of Floyd with his knee on his neck be held accountable. 

Thankfully, Minnesota governor Tim Walz isn’t taking his cues from Trump and has pushed for swift justice. That officer—Derek Chauvinhas been taken into custody and charged with 3rd degree murder/manslaughter.

NYTimes's dramatic depiction says it all.
It’s difficult to see these dual tragedies in any context but the leadership—or the lack of leadership that we’ve been experiencing in this nation. Trump and his Justice Dept. have clearly failed to do anything to make our system of justice work for everyone--and he seems uninterested in saving lives from the pandemic, as well. How does Trump think removing the U.S. from its vital relationship with the WHO will help us overcome the pandemic? It won’t, and he knows it, but he’ll feel better because he’s made a bold, destructive move meant to indirectly retaliate against China. Destructive retaliation seems to be what he lives for and the image he likes to project. At times it’s difficult to separate out Trump the man, from the “ism” that he’s spawned with his patently cruel, deceptive and vindictive approach to politics and human relations.

He demonstrated as much earlier this past week, by attempting to implicate an influential MSNBC journalist in a conspiracy theory murder that clearly didn’t happen—an episode that has really stuck with me for what it says about leadership in this nation. In fact, I’ve been doing a fair amount of research about American leaders, past and present, and I find it intriguing how the tone of most presidential administrations seems to reflect the leaders’ natal relationship with the all-important Saturn cycles, and by that I mean the Saturn-Jupiter, Saturn-Uranus, Saturn-Neptune and Saturn-Pluto cycles in force when the person takes office.  It’s not that the remaining outer planetary cycles don’t matter—it’s just that the Saturn cycles seem to heavily influence the issue of leadership. 

Not surprisingly, I expect that these relationships will also play a part in determining who wins in November because, for better or worse, people do pick up on character—a complex of behavior, outlook and self-reflective qualities that are formed in us over time in Saturn’s work shop. It’s difficult to “play act” at being a person of integrity, substance and depth—in normal times, the prerequisites for leadership—so for those looking for a candidate with these qualities, Saturn connections resonate.

Such connections can also signal that the candidate is the right person to take on the challenges of the time—thinking about difficult periods of our history, presidents like Lincoln and FDR come to mind. But let’s consider a more recent, relatable example to illustrate what I mean—the George H.W. Bush administration. This may seem like a strange choice of topics with so much chaos going on in the nation today, however I would argue that we can look back to the important turning point of the Bush senior administration for the seeds of many of our current dilemmas. One stark parallel: Trump announced yesterday that he intends to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to deploy U.S. military across the country to squash protests (shades of Syria?); in fact, George H. W. Bush was the last president to invoke that act when Los Angeles erupted in protest in 1992 over the death of Rodney King. Historians recall that Bush used the act in a very limited, judicious way, in response to a request from California's governor. Judging from the way Trump's D.C. police cleared peaceful protesters out of Lafayette Park on June 1st so Trump could walk across the street to St. John's church for a photo op, it's not likely Trump would adhere to any limits.

Even those who disagreed ideologically with Bush senior might have to agree that he gave us a far better model for presidential leadership than we’re experiencing now. I sense that we need to revisit such a model and tease out what it looked like astrologically. Biographical accounts of this important figure abound on the Internet—here we will focus primarily on the astrology.

The George H.W. Bush administration 

Bush senior served as Richard Nixon’s V.P. before he ran for president himself in 1988—not incidentally, the year Saturn and Uranus launched their bombastic cycle at the last degree of Sagittarius, and as we’ll see, the Bush administration seriously embodied the new phase of this 45±-year cycle. Before we consider what that looked like in Biwheel #1 below, however, let’s just list which outer-planetary cycles and phases were in force when he was sworn into office on January 20, 1989 . Please note that the degree breakdowns for the various cycle phases are detailed right below Table 1. 

Table 1. Outer-planetary cycles profile, George H. W. Bush presidency
Planetary Cycle
Cycle in force on 1/20/89
Cycle phase in force on 1/20/89
Dec. 1980, 9°+Lib
Feb. 1983, 8°+Sag
Jan. 1948, 0°+Cap
Nov. 1981, 24°+Lib
Feb. 1988, 29°+Sag
Nov. 1952, 22°+Lib
Nov. 1982, 27°+Lib
Mar. 1821, 3°+Cap
Oct. 1965, 17°+Vir
Aug. 1891, 8°+Gem
Phase degrees:  New, 0-45, Crescent: 45.01-90, First quarter: 90.01-135, Gibbous: 135.01-180,
Full: 180.01-225, Disseminating: 225.01-270, Last Quarter: 270.01-315, Balsamic: 315.01-360. 

Clearly, the most dramatic entries in Table 1 are the ones closest to either beginning or ending—the 1988 Saturn-Uranus cycle had just barely launched when Bush senior took office, and the two balsamic phase cycles, the 1952 Saturn-Neptune and the 1821 Uranus-Neptune cycles would be ending and relaunching between 1989 and 1993, just months after Bush lost election 1992 to Bill Clinton.  

The 1988 Saturn-Uranus was less than 5° degrees into its new phase, in fact, when Bush took office, which would have told astrologers watching at the time to expect a presidency with definite Saturn-Uranus, not to mention Sagittarian overtones. In fact, the reality bore those expectations out: Bush was in office when the Soviet Union crumbled and reconfigured itself as the Russian Federation from 1989-91, and he was the first president to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the world’s one remaining superpower, which felt like a victory at the time over our geopolitical nemesis—our Cold War “other” who had played the important role of our “indispensable enemy”[1] since WWII. 

The Bush administration definitely took advantage of an opportunity to expand (Sagittarius ruled by an aggressive Cycle Aries Jupiter) American influence in the world during this fresh new phase—the Sagittarian cycle point was disposed by an aggressive Aries Jupiter that also trined the cycle point.  

It’s not unusual for a new Saturn-Uranus cycle to manifest a new geopolitical “ism” (often through aggression, warfare and conquest)—in Bush senior’s case, it was done via U.S.-dominated globalism, aka “American exceptionalism.” To glean something about why he was the man for this job in 1988, let’s examine the 1988 cycle chart against his nativity—see Biwheel #1 below. Please note that to move things along and avoid over-complicating, we’ll keep the following analyses very brief and mostly focused on the cycle points.

Saturn-Uranus 1988 and Bush Senior

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) George H.W. Bush, June 12, 1924, 10:30 a.m. DST, Milton, MA; (outer wheel) Saturn-0-Uranus 1988, February 13, 1988, 2:18:41 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node.

Interchart Mutable Grand Cross: Cycle Point (Saturn-Uranus) opposes Bush Sun (Gemini)-Cycle Chiron (Gemini); this axis squares Cycle Nodal Axis (Pisces-Virgo)-Cycle MC (Virgo). This one configuration describes the deeply unstable geopolitical times that Bush senior found himself in, as president. They may have felt deeply unstable or disruptive on a personal level, as well, judging by the personal-collective aspects formed under this biwheel. Specifically, the Cycle Point inconjoins Bush Mercury (Taurus) while Cycle Chiron (Gemini) conjoined his Sun and widely trined his Moon (Libra). Either of these may have taken him out of his comfort zone (Mercury disposed his Gemini Sun), although he seems to be well-supported in other ways by this cycle. 

Bush benefited from the momentum his predecessor Ronald Reagan had left behind, sowing the seeds of discord in the U.S.S.R.’s Eastern European satellites with his June 1987 “Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev” speech in Berlin. In fact, this 1988 cycle chart basically picks up where the chart for that speech left off – with a fiery Aries Jupiter trining Sagittarius Saturn-Uranus, projecting American power in ways that Bush senior then extended beyond relations with the new Russian federation to involve our military forces in the Middle East. As a Texas oilman and presumably in his later role as CIA Director, Bush had a professional history of dealings in the Middle East and he was determined to solidify America’s hold in that region, which mundane astrologers have long associated with the Saturn-Uranus cycle. 

Bush & Gorbachev also negotiated important nuclear arms treaties.
In fact, historians are quick to point out that the Bush senior presidency was largely focused on foreign policy, which certainly fits the Sagittarian cycle we’re considering here. A quick summary of his major accomplishments, from Wikipedia:
“Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency, as he navigated the final years of the Cold War and played a key role in the reunification of Germany. Bush presided over the invasion of Panama and the Gulf War, ending the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in the latter conflict. Though the agreement was not ratified until after he left office, Bush negotiated and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created a trade bloc consisting of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Domestically, Bush reneged on a 1988 campaign promise by signing a bill that increased taxes and helped reduce the federal budget deficit. He also signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and appointed David Souter and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.”
Bush’s charming, personable manner was clearly reflected in his natal Moon-square-Venus (Libra-Cancer), but beneath the charm was a steely warrior (Mars conjunct Aquarius DSC square Taurus MC-Mercury) and a passionate idealist (Sagittarius Jupiter trine Leo Neptune). Not surprisingly, the Saturn-Uranus cycle chart unleashed both of these facets of his nature—Cycle Jupiter (Aries) conjoined Bush Chiron-Ceres (Aries), trined Bush No. Node-ASC (Leo) and Bush Jupiter-Part of Fortune (Sagittarius). Notice how tightly the Cycle chart’s Sagittarius stellium ties into all this, its Sagittarius Moon and Mars closely opposing his Gemini Sun. Taken as a whole picture, it all suggests that he was supremely comfortable with the role of Commander-in-Chief of the world’s sole superpower, and in fact, the role probably fulfilled his wildest dreams and helped heal some residual wounds (Chiron). It may have also opened up a wound, if reports about a 1993 assassination attempt on his life by Iraqi Intelligence Services are true. 

Bush & Gorbachev remained life-long friends.
Saturn-Neptune & Bush Senior

We’ll be covering the Saturn-Neptune cycle in more depth in future posts¸ however for our purposes here, let’s simply lean on renowned mundane astrologer André Barbault’s association of this cycle with “popular insurrections that are usually fired by ideological beliefs.”[2] Those of you who have frequented this site since before Election 2016 might recall that we talked at great length about this cycle then because this duo were still square each other---they had just begun the 3Q phase of the 1989 cycle in 11/2015 and they remained within square orb through most of 2016. The square was still in force on election day itself, in fact, although it began separating quickly thereafter. In keeping with all this, as we found out that November, Trump’s brazenly unconventional  campaign had spawned an “insurrection” of sorts among those who were disgruntled with government after the hardships of the 2008-10 recession, and were ready to throw it all overboard. 

Barbault points out that revolutions and insurrections tend to happen when the economically disadvantaged rebel against those with “power and prosperity”—i.e., the privileged political class that keeps them down. It’s easy to see that Trump sensed the potential for stoking anger and scapegoating (against the “elites,” the “Deep State” and immigrants, most notably, but basically anyone who would try to hold him accountable for anything), and he’s built both his campaigns around doing just that. 

It’s hard to imagine how this cycle could have possibly applied to Bush senior’s administration until we recall that after the 1989 revolutions that did indeed “tear down that [Berlin] wall,” Bush stepped in to facilitate the democratic (small “d”) transformation of former Soviet satellites and to negotiate with Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the purposes of reunifying liberated Soviet East Germany with U.S. ally, West Germany. 

So, whether "compassionate conservative" Bush would have been ideologically at ease with the idea of massive popular revolutions is questionable, but he clearly saw the opportunity for projecting American “soft power” (Neptune softens Saturn’s harsh edges) by offering assistance in those fraught years. 

It’s probably significant that Bush senior came into office during the final 3Q phase of that 1952 cycle—the cycle that Barbault labels as “De-Stalinization to the fall of the U.S.S.R.”[3] The cascading, seemingly overnight dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989 was perhaps the most Neptunian feature of its demise—empires that fall apart under a Saturn-Uranus cycle tend to do so via clashing armies and technology-enhanced warfare. With the Soviet Union, both these dynamics were in play—the pro-independence protests were so massive that even Soviet tanks rolling down the streets of Eastern European satellite nations couldn’t repress the movement (as had happened with Hungary in 1956 when Saturn inconjoined Uranus in fixed signs), and Gorbachev wasn’t prepared to try.

A startling, earthshaking headline in December, 1991

Even more significantly, however, the internal economic and political stability of the Soviet Union was seriously compromised by 1989—I’m oversimplifying the situation here, but they bad been basically drained by the decades-long demands of the Cold War arms race and an ill-conceived, debilitating 10-year war with Afghanistan (Dec. 1979-Feb. 1989). These were impacts of the waning 1952-3 (Cold War) Saturn-Neptune cycle of that time; amazingly, Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan one month before the next Saturn-Neptune cycle was set to launch at 11°+Capricorn. Significantly for our exploration here, Bush senior’s nativity bears an interesting relationship to both the 1952 and the 1989 Saturn-Neptune cycles, but let’s confine our analysis to 1952-3, the cycle he was elected under. 

Suffice to say here, the 1989 cycle had everything to do with the way his foreign policy agenda ultimately led us into two wars in the Middle East and a codependent relationship with Saudi Arabia and Big Oil geopolitics. 

For now, however, because it was the Saturn-Neptune cycle in force when he took office in January, 1989 (and that’s the focus of this exploration), let’s consider Bush senior’s nativity against the 1952-3 cycle (Biwheel #2). 

Biwheel #2: (inner wheel) George H.W. Bush, June 12, 1924, 10:30 a.m. DST, Milton, MA; (outer wheel) Saturn-0-Neptune 1952, November 21, 1952, 4:18:02 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Interchart Grand Kite: Saturn-Neptune Cycle point (Libra) conjoins Bush Moon-Saturn (Libra) and these points trine Bush Mars-So. Node (Aquarius) and Bush Sun (Gemini); cutting through mid-way between Bush Mars and Sun is Bush Chiron (Aries) opposite Bush Moon-Saturn and Cycle Point (Libra). Here was Bush’s opportunity to freely express his “airy” nature (he served as a naval aviator during WWII) in the service of diplomacy and aggressive progress, although this configuration may also explain why he ended up leading the nation into more than one war during his administration (Mars conjoins DSC in Aquarius). This was especially true with that fiery Chiron and the oppositions it forms here also being t-squared by an aggressive Cycle Mars in Capricorn.

Motives for going to war in the Middle East are never quite clear and transparent—Neptune’s role here would have made sure of that. Here’s where we see personal and collective issues overlapping for Bush senior, reflected in the several outer planetary aspects to his Sun and Moon.  

As a former Texas oilman he would have a sharp eye for both the geopolitical and material gains that could be made by waging war in the Middle East, and he was known to have strong ties with Saudi leaders and oil interests (Neptune and Pluto co-rule oil, making the Libra conjunctions all the more significant). These relationships raised questions when a number of Saudi terrorists were among the 9/11 attackers and his son George W. had to deal with it all. As I recall, the Bin Laden family members who were here in the U.S. at that time were quickly evacuated from the country. Long story short, the Bush administration entangled the U.S. in all things Middle Eastern and his son W. perpetuated the hold these entanglements have on us.  

Finally, we’ll briefly consider how Bush senior’s nativity interacted with the Saturn-Pluto cycle in force when he took office—the 1982 cycle that launched in late Libra.  Bush spoke often during his administration about bringing a “new world order” into being; however, as with the Sumerian goddess Inanna (“goddess of sex, war, justice and political power”), this cycle invariably demands a tour of the proverbial Underworld and the destruction of an old order first. So much of the institutional destruction we’ve seen during the Trump administration was probably enabled by the past few waning years of the 1982 Saturn-Pluto cycle that just ended and relaunched this past January.

So many of the deeply karmic issues that have surfaced in our public discourse recently regarding the abuse of power are related to this cycle.
The Atlantic captured the dark side of this cycle brilliantly in a recent essay titled “The Malignant Cruelty of Donald Trump,” written in response to the situation I alluded to earlier—Trump’s attempts to smear journalist Joe Scarborough. Author Peter Wehner explains the situation best:
“ ‘I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him—the memory of my dead wife—and perverted it for perceived political gain.’
There may be a more damning thing that’s been said about an American president, but none immediately comes to mind.
This sentence is from a heartbreaking May 21 letter written by Timothy Klausutis to Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, asking Dorsey to delete a series of tweets by Donald Trump. Klausutis is the widower of Lori Kaye Klausutis, who died nearly 20 years ago. (Timothy Klausutis, who never remarried, still lives in the house he shared with his wife.) The autopsy conducted at the time of Lori’s death confirmed that it was an accident; she had fainted as the result of a heart condition, hitting her head on a desk. There’s not a thimble of evidence of foul play.
But here’s where things go from being tragic to being twisted.
When Lori Klausutis died, she worked for then–Republican Representative Joe Scarborough. Today, Scarborough is a fierce critic of the president from his perch at MSNBC, where he co-hosts Morning Joe. That is why the president has been peddling a cruel and baseless conspiracy theory that Scarborough had Klausutis murdered.”

Slandering and defaming people who criticize him and twisting the truth for the sake of his own power is never enough for Trump, however, and that’s in keeping with a toxic Saturn-Pluto character. In his case, Saturn and Pluto (Aquarius-Capricorn) have been transiting opposite his natal Saturn-Venus (Cancer) for a prolonged period, and it’s definitely been revealing what he’s made of. According to Wehner,
“Donald Trump doesn’t merely want to criticize his opponents; he takes a depraved delight in inflicting pain on others, even if there’s collateral damage in the process, as is the case with the Klausutis family. There’s something quite sick about it all.”
And now Trump is threatening to destroy Twitter because its management has decided to tag Trump messages when they violate the policies of the platform (the rules everyone has to follow). As it happens, yesterday one of Trump’s tweets was hidden by Twitter for “glorifying violence.” Perhaps what is so “sick” about all this is that a president of the United States thinks he should be free to abuse his position and victimize whomever he pleases, but no one is allowed to criticize, much less stop him.
In contrast, Bush senior’s vision of a “new world order” was a much lighter expression of the Saturn-Pluto cycle, which does have its constructive, society-building potential, given the right leadership. So yes, while we are certainly seeing the destruction of an old order, it has had its shining moments—some of them while Bush senior was in the White House. 
We’ve already seen that Bush’s chart featured a late Libra Saturn, meaning that this cycle coincided with his second Saturn return—an apt reflection of the heavy responsibilities he took on in January 1989.

Biwheel #3: (inner wheel) George H.W. Bush, June 12, 1924, 10:30 a.m. DST, Milton, MA; (outer wheel) Saturn-0-Pluto 1982, November 7, 1982, 3:53:43 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C.. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. 

Cycle Saturn-Pluto (Libra) conjoin Bush Saturn (Libra), sextile Bush No. Node (Leo) and oppose Bush Chiron-Ceres (Aries).This combination of aspects reads like a cosmic mandate, to take responsibility and deliver the leadership demanded by the times—in the process, fulfilling the highest purpose (Leo No. Node) of this individual leader.  It’s not difficult to visualize how this interacted with the U.S. Sibly chart in 1982—Saturn-Pluto fell square Sibly Pluto (Capricorn), beginning the final 90° leg of Pluto’s journey towards return to its Sibly position. 

This reflects how the new “neoconservative” globalized order that Bush worked to manifest picked up on the dynamics put into place in Reagan’s time and carried them forward. Those dynamics included a drive to deregulate industries and trade, to transform the corporate manager/worker relationship through the weakening of labor unions, and to globalize the economy.

Globalization may be coming full circle with COVID-19.
These were all initiatives that would have fit the spirit of Saturn-Pluto square Sibly Pluto and its focus on Wall Street and the empowerment of corporate lobbies in our politics. Bush’s big legacy in this regard was the drafting of NAFTA towards the end of his administration—as it happened, Bill Clinton was the one to finalize and sign that three-way trade agreement shortly after he took office in 1993.
Cycle Chiron (Taurus) conjoined Bush Mercury (Taurus), squared Bush Neptune (Leo)-Nodal Axis (Leo-Aquarius) and inconjoined both Cycle Saturn-Pluto (Libra) and Cycle Neptune (Sagittarius). These aspects breakdown into a t-square overlapping with a powerful Yod formation (Neptune and Saturn-Pluto sextile each other and both inconjoin Cycle Chiron), so even though Chiron’s impact is considered minor by some, it seems fairly significant here. Of course, it’s difficult to say in retrospect: was Bush’s thinking (Mercury) perhaps compromised by the frustrating choices he would have been forced to navigate by the yod? Neptune was disposed by an aggressive Scorpio Venus-Jupiter that fell opposite his natal MC (Taurus)—perhaps a powerful economic incentive for some of his decisions about getting us involved in the Middle East. 

I’ve read that Bush was criticized during his administration for not having “finished the job” with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf wars, but he apparently defended his choice to end the hostilities in Kuwait when Iraq’s forces withdrew, saying that this was his goal and nothing more. A fateful (yod) choice, perhaps, considering what followed during his son’s presidency.
Scorpio raises the specter of Big Oil because of its connection with Pluto, of course, and after the 1970s oil embargo and the Iranian Revolution later that same decade, keeping the resource pipelines flowing has been a major American quest. Bush senior governed during our heyday as an oil-guzzling nation—environmental concerns were just barely starting to surface during his administration, and he probably wouldn’t have built policy around those concerns anyway. 

That’s one reason the early years of globalization promoted by his administration probably registered in his mind as the inevitable growth-driven dynamic we see illustrated here in Cycle Jupiter’s square to his Neptune (Leo) and trine to his Pluto-Venus (Cancer). Unfortunately, not all economic growth is healthy over the long-term, especially if it leads to untenable levels of wealth inequality and social disruption, but in the go-go 90s, caught up in the fertile, waxing phases of the three Saturn cycles we’ve examined here, that was an argument that no one wanted to hear.  

The nation mourned Bush senior's passing, but serious issues remain.
Why now?
So why does all this information about the Bush administration matter now? Because we’re still dealing with the major cycles that Bush dealt with, only we’re trying to navigate the more difficult waning end of these cycles and it shows in our everyday life. On election day this November, both Jupiter and Saturn will be retracing their steps from completed retrograde phases—playing catch up to the milestones they each passed earlier this year—Jupiter to its conjunction with Pluto in April and Saturn to its Aquarius ingress in March. That leaves a little too much “old” energy in this chart, when a definitive focus on the future would feel so much more reassuring. 

Perhaps a chart that doesn’t allow us to take anything for granted is good, however—what happens in November will be a battle royale, however it comes down in the end. Just to bring our discussion in this post full circle, I will leave you with the cycles profiles of both Trump and Biden in “table” form. See Table 2 for the cycles and phases in force for November’s winner and for the aspects each candidate’s chart will make with the Saturn cycles (our focus here) in force.   
Table 2. Outer-planetary cycles profile, Inauguration Day, 2021, highlighting Saturn cycles and candidate aspects to Saturn cycle points.
Planetary Cycle
Cycle in force on 1/20/2021
Cycle phase in force on 1/20/2021
Joseph Biden aspects to cycle points
Donald Trump aspects to cycle points
Dec 2020, 0°+Aqu
Sun, Ven, ASC-60, Moon-90, Nep, Ura-120
Eris-60, Nep-120, ASC-150
June 2010, 1°+Ar

May 2009, 26°+Aqu

April 2020, 24°+Cap

Feb. 1988, 29°+Sag
Sun, Ven-30, Jup-150, Chi, No. Node, Moon-120,
Moon-0, Mars, ASC-120, Ven, MC-150, Sun, Node-180
March 1989, 11°+Cap
Mars-60, Plu-150
Pallas-0, Nep, Chi, Jup, Eris-90, Plu-150, Merc-180
Jan. 2020, 22°+Cap
Sun, Ven, Merc-60, MC-120, Jup-180
MC-120, Sun, Node, Moon-150, Sat, Ven-180
Mar. 1821, 3°+Cap

Oct. 1965, 17°+Vir
1st Quarter

Aug. 1891, 8°+Gem

Phase degrees:  New, 0-45, Crescent: 45.01-90, First quarter: 90.01-135, Gibbous: 135.01-180,
Full: 180.01-225, Disseminating: 225.01-270, Last Quarter: 270.01-315, Balsamic: 315.01-360.

Both candidates have some strong aspects to the cycle points in Table 2; however, both candidate charts form some weak aspects to them, as well. In future posts we’ll tease out more context and examine these dynamics in more detail, especially as we get closer to the election. We will also examine the importance of the Jupiter cycles to presidential leadership over time. I’ve highlighted one such cycle in Table 2, showing candidate aspects to the brand new Jupiter-Saturn cycle launching in December at 0°+Aquarius. It stands to reason that the candidate with the strongest relationship to that cycle may be the one best suited to lead us into the restructuring of our economy for a high-tech future. To my eye, Biden’s aspects outweigh Trump’s for these times of tremendous change and crisis—again, we’ll discuss more thoroughly in future posts. 

Final thoughts

It’s hard to imagine an election year with more at stake for this nation: American cities burning--we hear everyone's pain, but violence will only escalate into more violence in the end and solve nothing. I particularly like N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's stirring attempt to calm the waters in his state last night. From the New Yorker:

“Yes, be outraged, be frustrated,” Cuomo said. “Demand better, demand justice, but not violence. . . . There is nothing we can’t overcome. We showed that here. We beat this damn virus. But the way we beat this virus, we can beat the virus of racism, we can beat the virus of discrimination, we can beat the virus of inequality. If we can beat this virus, we can beat anything.”
Cuomo makes an apt comparison--the turmoil on the streets could tighten the grip that COVID has on us--unfortunately, two tragedies are tightly intertwined here, and will probably remain so for months to come. Of course, Trump has already lost interest and patience with the long-drawn out, Neptunian process demanded by a serious pandemic, and his aggressive/defensive approach to the social unrest is doing nothing to calm the waters. His rush to re-open the country, bullying states whose governors insist on doing so responsibly by threatening to withhold aid, is unconscionable and will cost even more lives. 

There's no way to soften the reality: it’s become all too clear that the price in lives that it will cost to force this opening is no object to him. 

I was reminded of just how apocalyptic (Neptune-Pluto) our times are this past week, when two dams broke in my home state of Michigan and flooded several communities in Michigan’s mid-section, adding even more misery to the COVID mix. People are still in shelters, trying to figure out what’s next for their lost and destroyed homes—this, in the midst of many being unemployed and still at risk for catching the virus. 

And, nested within all that is the pain exploding in Detroit and other communities with George Floyd’s brutal killing. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said that "In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard." Ahmed Arbery was stalked by two men in a pick-up truck and shot while out jogging in Brunswick, Georgia this past February—he might just as well have been lynched; EMS worker Breonna Taylor was shot to death in her own apartment this past March by police who burst in without a warrant, wearing plain clothes. So yes, people are clearly frustrated with not being heard. Does that justify violence? Absolutely not, but there's also a move afoot to make the protesters look like criminals, so the roots of whatever violence have to be seriously investigated, not summarily dismissed as "left-wing extremism," as William Barr has already done.

And now George Floyd dies, crying out for his mother and pleading for his life. “I can’t breathe” has become the awful mantra for far too many black victims of police brutality. Did Derek Chauvin feel a rush of empowerment, ignoring the man’s pleas as he crushed the life out of him with his knee? This venal abuse demeans us all, and if we don’t take care to heal the systemic roots of these acts, who will spare us from the national karma we have created? I leave you with an excerpt from an amazingly insightful piece in The Atlantic, in which Adam Serwer describes the “racial contract” at the heart of it all:

“To see the sequence of events that led to Arbery’s death as benign requires a cascade of assumptions. One must assume that two men arming themselves and chasing down a stranger running through their neighborhood is a normal occurrence. One must assume that the two armed white men had a right to self-defense, and that the black man suddenly confronted by armed strangers did not. One must assume that state laws are meant to justify an encounter in which two people can decide of their own volition to chase, confront, and kill a person they’ve never met….the underlying assumptions of white innocence and black guilt are all part of what the philosopher Charles Mills calls the “racial contract.”
 If the social contract is the implicit agreement among members of a society to follow the rules—for example, acting lawfully, adhering to the results of elections, and contesting the agreed-upon rules by nonviolent means—then the racial contract is a codicil rendered in invisible ink, one stating that the rules as written do not apply to nonwhite people in the same way. The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal; the racial contract limits this to white men with property. The law says murder is illegal; the racial contract says it’s fine for white people to chase and murder black people if they have decided that those black people scare them.
Mundane astrology ultimately demonstrates how the sins of the few end up being the collective responsibility of all, whether we individually participate or not. Coming to grips with all this and much more more will matter deeply as we navigate our Sibly Pluto return in the next couple years. I have to believe that we are up to the challenge, but only if we listen to our “higher angels” and refuse to take no for an answer. I also believe it will be worth the trouble in the end. 
Perhaps we will find that “awful grace” yet. 

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]Stein, Howard F. “The Indispensable Enemy and American-Soviet Relations.” Ethos, vol. 17, no. 4, 1989, pp. 480–503. JSTOR, Accessed 29 May 2020.
[2]Andre Barbault, Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology, 2016 English language ed., Astrological Association CIO, London, p. 85.
[3]Ibid, p. 95.


  1. Your article was wonderful and fascinating up until the point you started bashing the U.S. government's leadership.I personally would rather have seen what astrology bears out on the CURRENT situation under the CURRENT leadership from an OBJECTIVE point of view, not a fantasy-driven what-if. And if you had to do a what-if scenario so bad, you could have done it without injection so much hatred into the post. Have you LEARNED NOTHING from the hate-soaked atmosphere all around us? That is gets us NOWHERE, labels your opinion as unreadable by Trump supporters and thus ignorable and WORSE, poisons your own soul?

  2. Nice article and I felt very happy after read this content.

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