Thursday, September 10, 2020

Clinging to the Ark of Sanity—the Astrology of tyrannical lies

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It’s always been a mystery to me how one planetary energy could combine such sublime positives with such horrifying negatives, but Neptune—Poseidon in myth—was no nice guy. 

If one specific planet can be said to represent the wrathful Old Testament-style God, he’s the one. Creator extraordinaire on one side, yet, get him in a bad mood and he morphs effortlessly into the god who ordered the torrential rains to fall and the seas to engulf all but a few “select” creatures from his Creation. So, by definition, the periods when Neptune transits its home sign Pisces can be true roller-coaster rides.  

Astrology commonly attributes the epidemic/pandemicspread of disease, addiction of all types, and the spread of cultish conspiracy thinking, mass hysteria, addiction and their inherent delusions to hard (often Pluto, Saturn, and/or Jupiter-enhanced) Neptunian times. In the hands of demagogues, times marked by these deep social dysfunctions can be leveraged to tyrannical effect, of course, so it’s perhaps no surprise these days—given the transits afoot—that the world has seen a definite rise in the number of autocratic regimes springing up—sometimes even in nations where the seeds of democracy had already taken root.
Belarussians have been protesting their dictator for months now.

Belarus is one prominent example in the news, of course—as with Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych some years ago now, Belarus’s determined autocratic leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka counts on support from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to hang on to power. Ukraine had to fight an actual war to defend its sovereignty against Russian attempts to appropriate two of its territories, Crimea and Donbass: it’s significant here that Putin’s efforts have been unfolding during Neptune’s tour of Pisces, trine the Scorpio Pluto that prevailed when the Soviet Union broke apart into the Russian Federation and a host of offshoot republics (including Ukraine and Belarus), each declaring its own independence.

This Neptune-Pluto combination enables the vast, manipulative potentials of both these planetary “heavies,” and in the wrong hands, a collective trend toward propagandistic autocracies can be made all too real. 
It’s also significant that the Soviet Union’s offshoot republics are all experiencing their first Saturn returns these days. Independent Belarus was made official on August 25, 1991, with Saturn at 01°+Aquarius –a point that Saturn and Jupiter will both be transiting together at the end of this year.

Given this recent history, if Putin doesn’t succeed in keeping his puppet Lukashenka in place in Belarus, it’ll be interesting to see what’s next. Analysts seem to assume that Putin’s drive to re-establish Russia’s Soviet Union-style regional dominance will not end there.   
Then there are nations like Venezuela and Phillipines, with their human rights records now hobbled by parasitical tyrants (parasites are also ruled by Neptune) who saw an opportunity to move in and take over, using the nation’s military to shield them from the popular will.

And then there are “strong-men” leaders dominating Hungary and Poland and attempting to consolidate further power. Thug energy is certainly represented in China’s designs on Hong Kong, as well, while war-ravaged nations like Syria and Yemen have been reduced to rubble and misery by their own leaders, often with the assistance of other autocratic regimes, such as Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Where does the U.S. fit into this picture? Judging by Trump-inspired events of these past years, in fact, the U.S. is walking a precarious tightrope between autocracy and democracy, and there’s very little in today’s astrology to guarantee on which side of that rope we will land.

By definition, tyrannies and autocracies attack the human rights of their citizens, and on that note the U.S. has regrettably made the U.N. Humans Rights Council’s list of nations with serious human rights problems. See here for more. Neptune-inspired forces wash away structures—often the structures that protect the interests of the most vulnerable from the biases, greed and indifference of the most powerful—and if left to its most toxic devices, Neptune will “drown out” people’s voices by enabling the overwhelming force of corruption and deception that in far too many places, clearly aims to make democracy a thing of the past.

But Neptune also has its light side that can be tapped into and deployed by the mass movements of people now demonstrating for human rights and democracy around the world. Protest is, at its core, a creative enterprise—one that forges unity around a common goal through collective action. It’s no wonder, therefore, that everywhere there are would-be tyrants, there are mass demonstrations that oppose their autocratic designs. No wonder Creation theologian Matthew Fox says creation is a “survival mechanism”—it’s also the only power available to oppressed people, and use it they must.

No surprise, however (autocrats are also creative when it comes to control tactics), everywhere people are demonstrating, their agendas are being characterized as “criminal,” “radical,” “dangerous,” “threatening,” and so on—anything to inspire fear so the people who don’t quite know what to make of the tumultuous moment they’re living in will work against their own best interests and passively accept (Neptune) the status quo. Without sane safeguards, a”return to law and order” can very easily enable tyranny.

Early American colonists fought an entire revolutionary war over this. Neptune also trined Pluto (Virgo-Capricorn) when we declared our independence from Britain (Sibly chart, not shown)—this key dynamic can also liberate oppressed people. 

More often, however, societies sink into serious divides under these and similar energies: there’s nothing new in autocratic “divide and conquer” strategies, of course; we’ve seen the heinous results in every war and genocide in history. Clearly, it’s the same strategy Trump displayed in a recent press conference when he defended calling those who have died during their military service “losers and suckers” by accusing military chiefs of war profiteering. This particular instance of “divide and conquer” deserves a deeper look:

“During a press conference on Monday, the president said he's ‘not saying the military’s in love with me... But the soldiers are.’

‘The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t, because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy, but we're getting out of the endless wars, you know how we're doing.’ 

So he’s trying to drive a wedge between the rank and file and their military leadership for his own benefit. Nothing new here:  Trump routinely doubles down on his troublesome behavior whenever he’s criticized or challenged to be accountable for that behavior. If he can’t answer the reporting directly, he’ll try dividing others by casting doubt on their intentions—a Neptunian diversion, if ever there was one.

Considering that Trump has had nothing to say about the credible reports about Russian bounties placed on American soldiers’ heads in Afghanistan, however, his attack on military leadership is even more cynical than usual for him. Both the breathtaking deception and the cynicism involved here are toxic instances of Neptunian manipulation and its undermining impact on Saturnian (institutional) structures.  

Salem citizens unleashed a wild hysteria on each other that cost many lives.

The power of mutable signs 
We often think of power issues in terms of cardinal signs, and rightly so—a lot of power dynamics thrive on the forward thinking, proactive approach of Cardinal energies. However, we disregard the power inherent in mutable signs at our peril: Jupiter rules Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces with Neptune. There are many historical instances that show Jupiter and Neptune aligning in Pisces or in other ways to overwhelm and subvert the power dynamics in play, even during heavily cardinal-influenced times.
One of Neptune’s most toxic “super-powers” in mutable signs, but especially in home sign Pisces is the epidemic spread of fear and distrust—an especially powerful weapon for twisting and radicalizing minds and gaining (or maintaining) Power, writ large. Jupiter amplifies these dynamics and turns them to some advantage. Nothing new here, but the results are often tragic.

Chart #1. Salem witch trials, February 29, 1692, 12:00 p.m. LMT (noon, no time known), Salem, MA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

For instance, when mass hysteria led to the Salem witch trials in February 1692 (Chart #1 above) in Massachusetts (a colony then), Neptune was in mid-Pisces, t-square Saturn-opposite Mars-conjunct-Chiron (Sagittarius-Gemini), and Pluto was in cardinal late-Cancer. Jupiter fell in Taurus, but still within the new phase of its 1690 cycle with Neptune that launched at 12°+Pisces, so these mutable energies supported the excessive vulnerability people of that time and place had to religion-based fear-mongering.
With Jupiter in earthy Taurus, inconjunct Saturn- conjunct-Pallas (Sagittarius), we can suspect that the hysteria, which led to a number of women and men being irrationally accused, hung or otherwise tortured to death, worked to someone’s material advantage at the cost of Justice. Just like it has in other periods of mass racial terror, lynchings, and so on.

Dial forward less than a century, and the American colonies were becoming more and more intent on breaking away from Britain’s tyrannical George III—with Neptune in mutable Virgo and Pluto in cardinal Capricorn. Jupiter was in early Cancer in July 1776, but more importantly, in May of that year it had just formed its 3Q square with Neptune (in their 8/1766 Virgo cycle), from 22°+Gemini-22°+Virgo. So despite all kinds of cardinal placements, mutable energy is quite a powerful, if not immediately visible current running through our Sibly chart. Perhaps a combination like this is what it took to beat the strongly-Gemini tyrant of that time, Britain’s King George III.

Just to illustrate, see Biwheel #1 below:

Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) King George III, June 15, 1738, 7:48 a.m. LMT, London, England; (outer wheel) USA – Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software. 
This won’t be a detailed interpretation, but a few interactions between these two charts are especially relevant to our discussion here. For instance:

  • Sibly Mars conjoined and Neptune squared King Saturn-Sun-Mercury (Gemini) and quincunxed King MC-Jupiter (Aries). We know that the King would go on to develop serious mental health issues after the Colonies broke away—possibly porphyria, a really pernicious form of dementia (hence stories about the “Madness of King George”), so it’s quite possible Neptune was planting the seeds for that mental disintegration in these charts. It certainly undermined the King’s reputation and stature in the world (quincunx MC).  
  • Sibly Pluto (Capricorn) squaring King Jupiter-MC (Aries) probably also exacerbated the so-called Regency Crisis involving the King’s eldest son at the time (Jupiter ruled the King’s 5th). All of these factors weakened the King’s rule in one way or another, providing an opportunity for the Colonies to make a break. Remember—the Sibly chart represents the Colonies’ stated intention to break away and establish themselves as a sovereign nation, which laid the foundation for actual revolt.  
  • Sibly Jupiter (Cancer) conjoined King Saturn (Gemini) and King Neptune (Cancer) and opposed King Uranus (Capricorn). We’ve already seen how the power of this Sibly Jupiter can be traced back to its 5/1776 3Q mutable square with Neptune (Virgo) that would have taken in the King’s Sun-Mercury (Gemini)—this would have transpired during a strong point in the States’ growing revolutionary fervor, so it’s not like the revolution was a one-shot deal…it had been developing gradually right along with that significant Jupiter-Neptune cycle. Keeping that background in mind, we see in this biwheel just how a combination of cardinal and mutable energies were “conspiring” (for want of a better word) to disable the King’s rule during those years. Normally, Jupiter transiting over the King’s “heavies” (Saturn, Neptune, Uranus) might portend good fortune or support for his institutional rule, but instead this transit seems to have leveraged the difficulties the King may have always had with an out-of-sign Saturn-Neptune conjunction opposite Uranus. Had he ever agreed to sit down with Colonial leaders and offer compromise solutions for their grievances, history could have been quite different.     

Fast forward a bit from there, and in 1850, when the U.S. Congress passed a landmark “Compromise” that attempted to head off a serious rupture between so called “free” and “slave” states (chart not shown), a volatile new Uranus-Pluto cycle was beginning in militant cardinal Aries, while Pisces Neptune squared Chiron (Sagittarius) from early Pisces and quincunxed Jupiter (Libra). These mutable-cardinal quincunxes can be quite disruptive and uncompromising, in fact—especially during times of social unrest (Uranus-Pluto). Any possibility of finding a lasting accord was seriously undermined and resulted in the nation’s most serious example of “divide and conquer,” the secession of seven southern states to form the Confederacy.

When actual Civil War hostilities broke out at Ft. Sumter at 4:30 a.m. on April 12th, 1861 (chart not shown), Mercury-conjunct-Neptune rose at the ASC (Pisces) and t-squared the MC-IC (Sagittarius-Gemini) from late Pisces, with mutable Chiron opposed Saturn (Pisces-Virgo), and Saturn trine an earthy Taurus Pluto. A torrent of Neptunian propagandistic “spin” (now known as misinformation and disinformation) created a glorious/heroic picture of the “cause” on both sides, with Jupiter ruling the Sagittarius MC, co-ruling the Pisces points and reinforcing that sense of heroism in lordly Leo. The grandiosity faded quickly into tragic destruction (Saturn-opp-Chiron), and it soon became clear that economic interests on both sides were calling many of the shots.

True, there was an idealistic (Neptune) drive to abolish slavery afoot, yet with the benefit of hindsight we can see that there was far less commitment to fully-integrating freed slaves into American society as citizens. Close to a million lives lost later, the ruined nation woke up in 1865 to the horrors of destruction and grief, rife with wounds which still haven’t healed.
It was one thing to forcefully end slavery as a source of cheap labor; it was quite another to do the hard work of changing the economic system that supported such exploitation, and while they were at it, of changing people’s hearts about their new fellow citizens. In the end, little social progress was actually achieved. 

A perfect storm
Which brings us to today’s quite troublesome, multi-faceted Neptunian peril.  Between an administration that lies shamelessly and refuses to be held accountable for anything, and the widespread dissemination of misinformation and disinformation that originate—according to Trump’s own intelligence services—from Russian GRU intelligence “trolls,” the pandemic is only one small sliver of the challenges we’re facing right now. The misinformation campaign represents an ongoing attempt to sow discord between Americans and to thereby weaken our democracy overall, and there are many who feel the effort is working. Writing for the New Yorker, Robin Wright begins her frank (and depressing) assessment of the situation by saying:

“The United States feels like it is unraveling. It’s not just because of a toxic election season, a national crisis over race, unemployment and hunger in the land of opportunity, or a pandemic that’s killing tens of thousands every month. The foundation of our nation has deepening cracks—possibly too many to repair anytime soon, or, perhaps, at all. The ideas and imagery of America face existential challenges—some with reason, some without—that no longer come only from the fringes.” 

There’s no doubt the U.S. is facing a “perfect storm” of undermining forces—the transits of Pluto and Neptune alone (conjunct Sibly Pluto and opposite Sibly Neptune, respectively, chart not shown) account for the broad context in which these forces are operating, and it’s not hard to see how the super-potent movements of Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus have been “piling on” in many ways—forcing us all to prove what we’re made of, if you will.
It all happens so gradually and incrementally—Neptune and Pluto operate just outside of our usual consciousness, and just ambiguously enough that the overall picture is difficult to pin down as a host of incremental, systems-eroding changes and harsh wake-up call energies are ushered in. We’ve seen slight, but significant shifts in how power is exercised; we’ve seen the constant erosion of ethical  boundaries that pile up into serious corruption over time; we’ve seen agencies rendered political against all norms, all to serve Trump’s obsession with personal loyalty; we’ve seen the blatant ignoring of traditional safeguards used to prevent costly conflicts of interests; and on and on.

It’s like the proverbial “frog boil:” the pot of slowly heating water is the broad Neptune-Pluto context; the gradual, incremental temperature increase is the pressure applied by the remaining cosmic forces. Hotter and hotter the pot becomes until the “frog”—at first enjoying the nice cozy bath—doesn’t know what hit him. Which is not to say we don’t have choices—we most certainly do!
Still, it’s clear from his actions over the past four years (which, if you’ve frequented this site you will know I’ve watched pretty carefully), that Trump has viewed the weakening of America’s key institutions as a personal goal. Questions have naturally arisen about his true loyalties, of course—he’s far too solicitous with Putin and has far too much history with Russian oligarchs and their money for comfort, and as we saw with Trump’s impeachment earlier this year, he’s more than willing to exploit his position vis-√†-vis other national leaders (like Ukraine in this example) to “deal” away the security of our elections. He keeps telling us who he is—shame on us if we don’t believe him!

I could list an entire litany of horrors in describing how he’s taken advantage of American naivet√© to bring us to an existential brink, but to do that would be to keep the focus on a person who, IMHO, doesn’t deserve the publicity. If we can take any positives from Trump's time in the White House, it will be the deep national soul-searching he’s inspired among those who take our democracy seriously. In fact, his narcissistic, “bull in a China shop” approach to our highest office has revealed quite a few flaws in our Constitution that I would hope will be fixed, and so on.

For instance, we’ve relied far too heavily on democratic and cultural “norms” to protect certain key institutions from being politicized, never dreaming that a president would come along that possesses no compunction about smashing norms and traditions for his own purposes. On another note, we’ve never had to worry about a person reaching the presidency with no apparent moral core or empathy for the struggles of others, and certainly no public service ethos—the only way to fix that is to never allow another sociopath to take advantage of our natural Sagittarian (Sibly ASC) optimism. Character matters in a president—that can’t be emphasized too much.

These revealed flaws may require banishing our Electoral College system to fix, so the popular vote is the vote. It will probably also mean a renewed effort to educate our young people in Civics and History—disciplines that have lagged behind in recent decades. If they don’t even know how our democratic institutions are supposed to work, how are they going to feel moved to defend them from would-be demagogues?

And, if we’ve learned anything else in this time of Pluto returning to Sibly Pluto and rocking us to our foundation, it’s that yes, the mighty U.S.A. has feet of clay, and the worse we treat others, the more we will need to defend ourselves. Clearly, it’s time we dial back Trumpian “MAGA” arrogance and simply work on being a “good” international player again. That doesn’t mean we have to write “love” letters to dictators as Trump has done with Kim Jong-Un, but we need to create good will once again. We need to banish detention cages at our border, reunite families and get serious about structural problems that just keep redefining slavery for a new era, instead of providing a truly just, economically vibrant society for everyone. We need to renew our commitment to international agreements that address critical issues like climate change and nuclear disarmament.
In short, we need to stop accommodating ourselves to Trump’s asinine behavior and start holding him responsible, as we would any other official. For instance, Attorney General Bill Barr’s decision to call the rape allegations made by prominent writer E. Jean Carroll a matter for the Justice Department to defend (at taxpayer expense) is outrageously inappropropriate. It doesn’t take much to see that Barr will do whatever he has to do to squash that suit, as he has with lawsuits against Trump friends Roger Stone and others. These allegations simply cannot be swept under the rug, dismissed like the long list of similar complaints about Trump’s behavior before Election 2016 were. The man told us who he was in the infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy" tape in October of that year: why does the world (not just this country) keep enabling, accommodating and saving him from responsibility?
Lest we forget, Neptune also rules addictions of all kinds—could it be that Trump has cast himself in the codependent role of “abusive spouse” (his natal Mars-ASC in late Leo is certainly capable of playing that role) and has projected his expectations that the American people are his “battered wife?” Why else would loyalty to himself be one of the few values he espouses?   

Calling out the lies doesn't always help.

The liar’s dividend 
Needless to say, the past four years have been a learning experience that I sincerely hope we will survive as a society, but in this planetary climate, we can take nothing for granted. One reason I say this is that there is no overstating how dicey and significant our relationship with the Media has been during these destructive, mutable times. The Media is a mutable (Mercury) institution, after all, so when Neptune is bobbing along swimmingly for a nice long tour of Pisces, the truth-telling function of the Media can be (and has been) easily compromised and challenged.
On a positive note, however, journalists, investigative reporters, documentarists and podcasters have stepped up and kept us informed during these risky times. They’ve confronted the risks of the pandemic, not to mention the risks of working in today’s precarious environment.  Of course, the outpouring of lies and distortion we’re still seeing from some sources begs for responses, but is that the best way to respond to a Neptunian “flood?”

Media people deal with this dilemma constantly: their job is to report the “news,” but often what results is anything but, and they end up chasing baseless stories down the proverbial “rabbit hole” of delusion and spin. For instance, it should be news that a president lies and dissimulates so regularly. However, to cover every Trump lie is to give away free “earned media” for the wrong reasons. It’s not news anymore that he lies and distorts reality—unfortunately, that’s the exact pattern he used to dupe media people into giving him all kinds of free coverage during the 2016 election. Thankfully, many media outlets have woken up to how they’ve been used.
Some remain addicted to every word, every Tweet and every crude comment, however, because they think it sells; too many players within the Media industry itself have transformed themselves from being news outlets into being outrage machines. More “eyeballs,” more money—what’s the problem? From Neptune’s perspective, no problem at all, but key institutions and the well-being of people are at stake, and some much-needed Saturnian responsibility would be helpful. 
The greatest casualty in this transformation from news to outrage factories, of course, has been people’s access to the truth—to even their very ability to tell the difference between “real” and “fake.” Factor in the outside interference that has exploited our dysfunctional media landscape, and it’s easy to see that news consumers can be played for fools.
So is it any wonder that people’s confidence in the media and government as important players in all our lives has plummeted in recent years? There are ethical questions at stake here, of course, which is where the so-called “liar’s dividend” comes in. The Poynter Organization explains this phenomenon and how to fight it:

 “You can hear Green’s entire explanation [of the “Liar’s dividend”] from the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security Symposium in the video below. Here’s the concept in a nutshell: Debunking fake or manipulated material like videos, audios or documents, ultimately could stoke belief in the fakery. As a result, even after the fake is exposed, it will be harder for the public to trust any information on that particular topic.

This is a bigger problem than the Oxygen Theory, which argues that by debunking a falsehood, journalists give the claim a longer life. The Liar’s Dividend suggests that in addition to fueling the flames of falsehoods, the debunking efforts actually legitimize the debate over the veracity. This creates smoke and fans suspicions among at least some in the audience that there might well be something true about the claim. That’s the “dividend” paid to the perpetrator of the lie.”[1]

So, in true Neptunian fashion, it’s not enough to defend the truth and call out the lies—that only fuels more lies and distortions. Better to cut off the “oxygen” by simply ignoring any statement that is demonstrably false. Not always easy to do, unfortunately, but worth a try.
When I was a corporate writer, we were held responsible for the veracity of every story that went out the door. Fact-checking was a constant challenge, and it was taken seriously because that was the quality standard expected of us. Why should we expect anything less of our leaders and the statements they issue? Lying and its passive cousin, withholding the truth, have consequences, as we’re seeing with the release of Bob Woodward’s new book about the Trump administration, entitled Rage. An extended excerpt from the Washington Post’s coverage of this release is relevant here:
“President Trump acknowledged Wednesday that he intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus last winter as an attempt to avoid a “frenzy,” part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers to contain the fallout from a forthcoming book by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.

Trump’s comments came hours after excerpts from the book and audiotapes of some of the 18 separate interviews he conducted with the renowned author were released, fueling a sense of outrage over the president’s blunt description of knowing that he was not telling the truth about a virus that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans.

Democrats, led by their presidential nominee Joe Biden, denounced Trump’s actions as part of a deliberate effort to lie to the public for his own political purposes when other world leaders took decisive action to warn their people and set those nations on a better path to handling the pandemic.”
To decry Trump’s constant habit of lying for political purposes is like decrying his habit of breathing, but his apparent lack of understanding about why lying is a problem (since when does he try to spare us from fear?) doesn’t mean that we should give him a pass for those lies. He’s supposed to work for us, not the other way around, and knowing the truth about COVID’s severity back in January would probably have spared many, many lives. Passive acceptance is complicity. The truth matters.  
One practitioner of the difficult art of telling people the hard truths they need to hear is New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo. His leadership shepherded New York City from a dire situation early in the U.S. COVID crisis because he told the truth and didn’t hold back from demanding strict compliance from New Yorkers. The only recourse for a Neptunian flood is a Saturnian flood wall, and the foundation for that wall is the truth. 

Played like a piano
Unfortunately, we need to entertain the possibility that the lies are the point with Trump and others—that they constitute a strategy for weakening an adversary, for making an advantageous “deal.” And with Trump, the American people are the adversary. His lies are often framed in metaphors, too—one favorite one he’s been using against Biden is the “Trojan horse,” suggesting that a Biden administration will unleash the “Radical Left” on all of us.

One juicy image like that can, of course, be quite potent, fixing a fear-laden “invasion” scenario in people’s image-sensitive minds. Naturally, the Trojan Horse is just a different version of the “immigrant caravan” images that Trump deployed against Hillary Clinton and for his ridiculous border wall (only partially built and already crumbling in places).

It’s not difficult to conjure up fear during Neptunian times, of course, but Trump is especially fixed on deploying Neptunian invasion imagery because it generates so much useful fear. Biden’s a Trojan Horse, hiding an invading army; protesters are invaders taking over our city streets; immigrants are invading our borders like the Mongolian hordes of yore, and now, they’re carrying the “China virus.” 
Trump’s fear-mongering act may be wearing thin, however: Biden is a known quantity in American politics and he’s been far from a radical his entire career! He doesn’t “invade” spaces like Trump does with his COVID-producing rallies these days—Biden sits down with people and talks with them.

In other words, we may be seeing a time when Neptunian imagery crashes on the shores of factual reality, and the reality is left standing. In fact, now that we know from his own words on tape that Trump lied about and downplayed the seriousness of the COVID virus for months—months when full transparency and determined action were critical—perhaps his Neptunian tide is coming back to engulf him. Trump is trying to characterize the Woodward book as a “political hit job,” but these are Trump’s own words, freely given to Woodward over the course of 18 interviews that are so damning.
Some unknowable, but significant number of people died as a consequence of his lies and obfuscation: chances are the city of New York could have avoided being ravaged by its early spring COVID crisis if Trump had done the right thing. But Trump has no love for New York these days—why bother? As if his job calls for helping only those parts of the country that support him. That’s not leadership.
After all is said and done, perhaps we’re coming to understand a toxic Neptune’s most pernicious power—to simply exhaust and deplete everything it touches. The pandemic is exhausting; the election is exhausting; the cycles of lies and lunacy paralyzing the White House and its codependent boosters are depleting, drowning out everything good about this nation.
Bottom line, aren’t we all simply exhausted from being played like pianos?

Final thoughts…Mars turns back

Interestingly, the release of excerpts from Woodward’s book coincided closely with Mars’ station retrograde at 28° 09’ Aries on the 9th (Chart #2 below).  We’ll save a deeper dive into its significance for Election 2020 for a later post, but it’s worth pointing out some highlights here:

Chart #2: Mars stations retrograde, September 9, 2020, 6:22:56 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

  • Mars conjoins Eris (both Rx, Aries) and squares Pluto-Saturn (both Rx, Capricorn). Sluggish action goes hand in hand with disruption—inactivity is called out here for the damage it can create, especially square these potentially death dealing “heavies” in Capricorn.
  • Saturn (Rx, Capricorn) and Uranus (Rx, Taurus) rules this Aquarius rising chart, but from a waning aspect (about 256°) that could support the ending of one governmental order and the beginning of another.  These points span the 12th (Saturn) and the 3rd (Uranus): hidden realities (Saturn) are revealed and are roiling (Uranus) public perception. The horror of these revelations is only enhanced with Pluto’s proximity to Saturn—the issue of death is in the air.
  • Neptune (Rx, Pisces) opposes Sun (Virgo); this axis squares Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius); Neptune sextiles Jupiter (Rx, Capricorn) . This could portend an awakening on some deep level in the collective psyche. We could cross a threshold of some kind in regards to the pandemic (the world needs viable vaccines, the sooner the better), but again, we’re in a season of waning cycles, so this Jupiter-Neptune sextile could be less impactful than we would hope.  

A fiery Mars becomes a bit more introspective and less impulsive in retrograde motion—hopefully more careful than a similar Aries Mars was behaving in February, 2017 when Trump and Kim Jong-Un were exchanging nuclear threats. Amazingly, Trump also revealed to Woodward (again, the story is on tape) that we have a “new” nuclear weapons system and that “nobody has ever seen anything like this.” It’s clear from his conversations that his own belligerent Leo Mars (chart not shown) relishes the power he possesses at his fingertips, so it’s not surprising that today’s Mars is restimulating that February story and his natal Mars (by trine).
It’s significant here that we have three (count them!) final dispositors (planets in their ruling signs) in this chart: Mars (Aries), Saturn (Capricorn) and Neptune (Pisces). This tells us where the most potent energies are flowing, and since Saturn co-rules the entire chart, we definitely have to take its presence and its square with Mars seriously.
Finally, the Saturn/Uranus midpoint falls at 18°+Pisces, conjunct Neptune. So we’ve come full circle, back to the potential abrupt changes, if not tyrannies (small and large) that can be imposed through passivity and deception (in all its forms). These dynamics could impact the roll-out of any vaccines on the horizon (pharmaceuticals are heavily Neptunian), not to mention what remains of this already compromised election.
So, it’s up to the Saturnian institutions of our society to protect us and to be ever-vigilant. And it’s up to us to keep our eyes open and our critical faculties engaged. Verifiable facts are the “Lysol” to our present epidemic of lies and misinformation—spray liberally!!

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 “Publications” tab on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.

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[1] Chesney, Robert and Citron, Danielle Keats, Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge for Privacy, Democracy, and National Security (July 14, 2018). 107 California Law Review 1753 (2019), U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 692, U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-21, Available at SSRN: or