Friday, October 30, 2020

The Astrology of truth or consequences

“The time hath found us.” –Thomas Paine, Common Sense



We’ve explored the role transiting Neptune has been playing in a number of dysfunctional dynamics that have dogged our steps in the past few years, but now, in this last week before Election 2020, I feel compelled to return to that topic, from a slightly different perspective. On Wednesday the 28th, Trump announced that he intends to open the Tongass National Forest to logging and road-building—a transactional move, to be sure, since he wants Alaskan votes, and of course, timing is everything, folks!

More importantly, the environmental importance of the Tongass National Park (a temperate rain forest) is impossible to overestimate—climate scientist and activist Bill McKibben now warns that our continuing inability to slow down emissions (Trump policies have actively promoted more and higher emission) into the atmosphere has destroyed any margin that remains for acceptable CO2 concentrations. Clearly, this is no time to destroy one of the few remaining rainforests on this planet, election or no election. From Washington Post:

“For years, federal and academic scientists have identified Tongass as an ecological oasis that serves as a massive carbon sink while providing key habitat for wild Pacific salmon and trout, Sitka black-tailed deer and myriad other species. It boasts the highest density of brown bears in North America, and its trees — some of which are between 300 and 1,000 years old — absorb at least 8 percent of all the carbon stored in the entire Lower 48′s forests combined.

‘While tropical rainforests are the lungs of the planet, the Tongass is the lungs of North America,’ Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist with the Earth Island Institute’s Wild Heritage project, said in an interview. ‘It’s America’s last climate sanctuary.’”

But Trump has no use for Science—facts are such inconvenient obstacles for his political self-interests—so barring a miracle, we are probably now looking at an onslaught of logging companies and who knows what else in our last pristine sanctuary. Once they’ve cut into that magnificent forest, even a new president may have a serious problem stopping them—especially if reversing something about Trump’s executive order setting them loose requires a long process in the courts. 

Protections for the Tongass wildlife are now up for grabs.

In fact, Trump et al are adept practitioners of a toxic form of “disaster capitalism,” or, as social scientist Naomi Klein has dubbed it, the “shock doctrine.” Whatever we call it, this zero-sum approach (“anything they win is a loss to us”) involves “the practice (by a government, regime, etc) of taking advantage of a major disaster to adopt economic policies that the population would be less likely to accept under normal circumstances.” The “win” is all that matters here to those taking advantage of the Tongass; never mind that this move makes all of us losers in the end.  

In fact, this move is probably seen as a win-win by Trump: COVID and the economic downturn it’s caused has undoubtedly caused corporations to chomp at the bit over environmental regulations, and logging companies have been looking for this opening in the Tongass forever, so why not take advantage, especially now when he needs more than ever to “stick it to the Libs?” Anything can be rationalized with a toxic Neptunian mindset.  

Just for the sake of illustrating the context for all this, consider that one of Bill Clinton’s final acts in office—just days before leaving the office, in fact--was to shore up protections for the Tongass National Forest by passing what was called the Roadless Initiative on January 5, 1001.  This initiative “prevented the construction of new roads in currently roadless areas of United States national forests,” one of the protections that Trump just rolled back for the sake of facilitating logging companies who need roads to bring their heavy machinery into the dense forests. This is one of the same ploys used by Brazil’s Bolsonaro to continue decimating the Amazon rain forests, in fact, although Bolsonaro finds himself embattled over his actions these days. Regardless, he and Trump have been working out of the same anti-environmental playbook for some time.

So, let’s take a quick look at a couple key highlights from a chart for Clinton’s Roadless Initiative, set against the U.S. Sibly chart, appropriate since Trump’s actions may be sounding the initiative’s death knell. See Biwheel #1 below:



Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA-Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Clinton Initiative protects Tongass, January 5, 2001, 12 p.m. (noon chart, no time known), Washington, D.C.. Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Initiative Pluto (Sagittarius) rises at Sibly ASC (Sagittarius), opposes Sibly Mars/Uranus (midpoint, Gemini), quincunxes Sibly Sun (Cancer) and sextiles Sibly Saturn (Libra). Clinton’s Initiative was a rare environmentally-helpful exception to his administration’s mainly “go-go-globalization” 90s period, and it shows in these aspects, as well as Pluto’s 150 and 30 degree aspects to the North and South ends of the Nodal Axis (Cancer-Capricorn) that reflected the clashes the Initiative set up between powerful corporate lobbies and the Federal government. Still, we can probably assume that the Tongass would have been decimated by now if Clinton didn’t take this action, so he bought us all a little bit of time.

Initiative Mars (Scorpio) t-squares Sibly No. Node (Leo) opposite Initiative Neptune-Sibly So. Node (Aquarius); Mars trines both Initiative Venus (Pisces) and Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer). So we have an interchart t-square and a grand trine here, both tapping into this formidable Initiative Mars. The fact that the Initiative was passed under one Mars in a ruling sign (Scorpio) and it’s end was announced during Mars’ passage in another ruling sign (Aries) should tell us something about the potent role Mars plays in our national fortunes. It appears here, in fact, that protecting the Tongass was a prudent economic move in 2001 (the grand trine)—one that tapped into some deep-seated value at the core of our national identity (t-square). Anyone who’s watched Ken Burns’ documentary, National Parks: America’s Best Idea, would sense how important these forests are to our sense of national Self. Our Sibly No. Node in Leo thrives on “majesty,” and our national parks and forests perhaps represent the last remnants of that glorious quality, from sea-to-shining-sea.  

Toxic seas could be a metaphor for our times.
Awash in a sea of toxic choices

In fact, this entire election season has forced Americans to continually choose between Neptune’s toxic and addictive low road and its more redemptive, but elusive higher road. For instance, embracing clear misinformation without seriously questioning its source and credibility is a major pitfall for those who insist on getting their news from social media. Social media was never meant to be a news outlet—there are no editors on these platforms for fact-checking and demanding the truth, undistorted by clever framing ploys, etc. More likely, the administrators of these platforms hide behind an unfortunate spin on the 1st Amendment. Since when are libel, slander and defamation,, not to mention incitements to violence, allowed under the 1st Amendment?

More often than not, such unregulated “news” ends up being no better than unfounded rumors, innuendo, slander and defamation (sounds like Trump’s Twitterfeed!) which has done none of us any good—except those who are purposely trying to sow chaos between us.

Being able to trust a solid, shared base of facts about the events of our time is a fundamental need of any democracy—unfortunately, the first time Trump dismissed credible media reports as “fake news” because he wanted to control the narrative to his liking, he began tearing down that trust. We explored the astrology of trust in political times in the last post here; suffice to say here, there’s not a lot of it left!

It doesn’t take much to see that by calling every inconvenient fact “fake news,” Trump was actually planting disinformation, intentionally meant to mislead people for some purpose, like avoiding responsibility (always!) or dividing Americans against each other by party, race, ethnicity, economics, etc.  The sneaky thing about disinformation is that there’s often a grain of truth in the information, but it’s given a deceptive twist or framed in a distorted, misleading way.

Several Trump ads circulating today against Biden use this tactic, of course: words Biden said in a totally different context are often spliced into some “gotcha” graphics, which then go on to visually twist those words to mean something totally untrue. We know that politics is “blood sport,” but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed and we all know what they are.

Dominators routinely manipulate truth for the sake of power.

It’s not even disputed that Trump tells outright lies to the American people--sometimes several times a day! Four years of this has made it pretty clear that the “truth” to him is whatever he wants it to be at the moment—actual facts just get in the way! Trouble is, the truth is not a piece of clay to be manipulated at will, and we normalize this lying behavior at our peril. An objective reality does exist and can be discovered through research, expert testimony and fact-checking. Of course, Trump’s even distorted the idea of investigations with his mania for using them (or pushing others to use them) to intimidate and tear down his political opponents. Remember Michelle Obama’s famous quip, “when they go low, we go high?” Clearly, Trump and company have chosen to flip that script and to go as low as they possibly can. Right out of the toxic Neptune playbook.

We hear a lot about the “filters” people see their lives through—often the source of unconscious biases and opinions (especially if the filter is a tribalist one)—and there’s even a school of thought in Physics that says we live in a “multiverse” of alternative worlds and realities, so maybe there’s an entire “reality” out there in which Trump’s lies make perfect sense, who knows?  Such possibilities are interesting mind games, but as long as Saturn rules this Earth-sphere and keeps our feet anchored to the ground through the force of gravity, 1+1 will equal 2, the Sun will still only appear to rise in the east and set in the west (we know it doesn’t actually), and scientists—using sophisticated, fact-based tools and techniques—will be able to calculate what time it will rain on us that day. Or when we will need to have boarded up our homes and evacuated for a coming hurricane/fire/tornado…you name it. 

Bottom line, we don’t need scientists to tell us how they feel (or what their gut tells them) about a potential hurricane or tornado or the Coronavirus—we need their sound, fact-based judgments!

Just like we don’t need journalists or government officials who will act from some sense of loyalty to Trump over the actual facts we all need them to convey.  As we’ve seen with the rising tide of new COVID infections, an unwillingness to prioritize facts over our desires to put this pandemic behind us can be deadly. Neptunian wishful thinking has its usefulness—we need to hope and dream and visualize better futures—but just proclaiming that the virus is behind us from a political pulpit doesn’t make it so!

We know Neptune is strong in Pisces—it’s shown this strength in ways both toxic and uplifting since its ingress in 2011, but Saturn has also been strong in home sign Capricorn (and it will continue to be in Aquarius soon), especially as reinforced by Pluto (and now Jupiter, more recently) in that same sign. All of this creates an atmosphere of power-sensitive rigor, which probably accounts for the rise of intensive fact-checking as a staple in the daily news (Saturn now opposes Sibly Mercury); facts are valued much more in this earthy, pragmatic “what you see is what you get” sign than they might be in more mutable signs like Pisces

Collective truth-telling isessential for nations and civilizations. 

This mania for facts extends to the practice so many have adopted of recording what’s going on in their daily activities because they may need to bear witness to some egregious act such as police abuse, at times to defend themselves from the same. Facts keep the powers-that-be within some reasonable bounds of honesty—a Capricornian value that used to mean something in this society.

Despite the Neptunian erosion of that value, however, in today’s world, facts matter more than ever, whether they are respected or not.  

Realists know that companies can’t prosper for long on the basis of lies or distortion and obfuscation—a string of these will become over time the proverbial “house of cards” that cannot stand.  Even Trump hasn’t been immune to inconvenient truths coming out about his own past business ventures—layers and layers of lies and debt will catch up with any business in a rule-of-law society. He has a long history of defying such laws, of course—with the help of his first notorious “fixer” and power broker Roy Cohn—but Cohn’s ability to manipulate the legal system in 1970s New York didn’t render Trump’s business practices any less shady in the end.  

My hope is that the radical insecurities being forced on everyone by this election have been waking us all up to the value of unfiltered, independently confirmed Truth and Facts once again. Neptune also inspires imagination, intuitive perceptions and creativity—as essential as left-brained facts, but not meant to take the place of facts. Using imagination (or projections, with Trump) to spin lies and rumors designed to destroy others’ reputations is a pretty sorry use of that incredible Neptunian gift. IMHO, there’s no honor in using any kind of information to destroy others, but painfully, we know that honor (military or otherwise) also means nothing to Trump. 

Even so, I will stubbornly cling to the belief that honor lives on in our national Soul—I don’t believe that one very small man—even one empowered by a toxic Neptune—could possibly erase centuries of deeply-held values in all of us. We will recover our sense of national Self and of what’s important in this world, after all. 

We can tell the difference between fact and fiction, with practice.

Bottom line, rumors, misinformation and disinformation should be dealt with as suspicious and fact-checkable—they should be submitted to Saturnian scrutiny, that is. Unfortunately, our intelligence authorities know that there are foreign entities trying to sow chaos in our body politic and election on social media, so maybe if we’re inclined to feel outraged or shocked about something in a post, we should seriously consider how credible it is, or track down the source and its credibility before passing the message along.

We’re under fire, folks, and information has been weaponized for the purpose of wearing us down and destroying our democracy through mistrust and worse. Mis- or dis-formation  circulating on social media was probably planted there to purposely create mistrust and outrage, but happily, if you want to check on the credibility of rumors, you can see this cyber security and infrastructure website that specializes in that:  Facts will win out in the end and we will be more worldly-wise for it all.


Nations around the world are anxious about our election!

Neptune and the fears we have going forward

If you’re at all like me, you’re more apprehensive about the day after we know who wins the election than I am about the contest itself. Trump has basically said that he won’t accept the results if they don’t go his way, and he’s built up a network of militias that appear prepared to hit the streets to support whatever he plans to do next. Thankfully, again, there are concerned experts who have been mulling over all these unprecedented possibilities and have formulated a citizens’ plan for “what’s next” that is contained in this link: .

As for what we can still do today, if you haven’t voted, vote! Move heaven and earth if you need to, but vote! A vote is a fact that Trump and the GOP will certainly attempt to subvert, repress, obfuscate or simply refuse to count, but if the numbers are overwhelming enough, there will be fewer discrepancies to latch on to for law suits, etc. If we’re looking for one mantra that should help get us through this, it’s that every vote must count, and it doesn’t matter who you’re voting for—it has to count! We simply can’t settle for anything less than full accountability in this election—perhaps the sense that we can take away from Chart #2 below, of the Full Moon that perfects tomorrow, October 31st (Halloween!). Let’s close this with a quick look at a few highlights.



Chart #2. Full Moon, October 31, 2020, 10:49 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast, courtesy of Kepler 8.0 Cosmic Patterns software.

Jupiter rules Sagittarius ASC; Mars, Pluto and Venus rule Scorpio Sun-Taurus Moon. Mars-Eris (Aries) squares Pallas-Jupiter-Pluto (Capricorn) and Venus (Libra) opposes Chiron (Aries) and inconjoins Moon-Uranus (Taurus). This seems like a fairly dense tangle of energies vying for attention, however there’s a sense that Justice and reason-based Power will prevail because an intense amount of action is pushing for that outcome. Women are having their say here, and their power is being channeled through their sense of being Wounded by the status quo, which again, calls out for Justice (Libra).  Saturn and Jupiter are both still working through their respective post-retrograde shadows (that is, to regain the degrees they lost in their retrogrades), so there’s a sense that they are revisiting key issues of structural importance that have been compromised, such as our voting infrastructures (squares to Mercury Rx, Libra).

Yes, there are likely to be voting irregularities and recounts—the imperative here is to protect and fight for every vote to be counted (Eris opposes Mercury Rx).

Uranus (Taurus) may deliver a number of surprises before this is over—its position exactly conjunct Moon (the People) reflects rebellious times and a surprisingly strong youth impact on this election. The lunation itself is a bit out of the ordinary--it's a "blue Moon," or the second full Moon in the month. Venus disposes Taurus here, reinforcing that some surprises could originate with women.


On the march again?

Final thoughts

Obviously, Chart #2  is not an election chart, per se, but it certainly speaks to some hopes and anxieties we can’t help but bring into this election, just 4 days away now. I take comfort in the sense I get from this chart that Justice will prevail and that our national institutions should hold strong in the face of the powerful Neptunian forces being waged against us (yes, Neptune t-squares the Nodal axis and horizon in this chart). Backing down in the face of such challenges is not the answer, however: it's better to be conscious of them and to respond by channeling that same Neptune in creative, service-oriented directions. 

In fact, so much of the challenge we’re facing right now feels like a replay of what American colonists faced in the 1770s, and if transiting Pluto’s impending return to our Sibly Pluto alongside transiting Neptune's opposition to Sibly Neptune is any indication, the parallel is real. Who knew we’d have to confront such enemies from within to protect our autonomy and democracy?

But it is what it is, and the prevailing energies suggest to me that we’ll get through it—together!

Be safe out there, everyone!



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 Publication link on the home page for her two most recent publications, now available as e-books on Amazon.


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