Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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

by Arthur Rackham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leo-Aquarius Illumination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truer words...?

NPR reports:

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

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

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

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

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

Are we on the right course?

A Full Moon over Sibly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so it goes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

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

For information about individual chart readings, contact:

© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved. 

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

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff! The kind of message we need to send us out and about with a passion. Thank you.

    Kala Jadu Specialist Baba Ji