In the midst of tumultuous news from all directions this past week—including the heinous loss of 13 U.S. soldiers in a terror attack outside Afghanistan’s Karzai airport—we’ve seen the issue of voting rights gain momentum once more in the U.S....
...in fact, major protests were expected in D.C. and elsewhere in the country this weekend that deserve to be as historical as the 1963 protest they are remembering and celebrating.
It’s been 58 years since the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech during a 1963 Civil Rights protest on the National Mall, and despite the subsequent progress represented by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for that cause, a whole new generation of minority citizens is faced with aggressive, redoubled Republican efforts in several states to roll back and suppress their voting rights under the guise of “election reforms.” Reforms that aren’t even thinly disguised as legitimate; they’re simply attempts to disenfranchise a sizable portion of the electorate that isn’t likely to vote Republican in those states: click here for the Brennan Center for Justice’s update regarding laws such as these that have either been passed or are pending in state legislatures. According to the Center:
“As of June 21, 17 states enacted 28 new laws that restrict access to the vote. With some state legislatures still in session, more laws will certainly follow, which we will track in the next roundup later this year.
More restrictions on the vote are likely to become law, as roughly one-third of legislatures are still in session. Indeed, at least 61 bills with restrictive provisions are moving through 18 state legislatures. More specifically, 31 have passed at least one chamber, while another 30 have had some sort of committee action (e.g., a hearing, an amendment, or a committee vote). Overall, lawmakers have introduced at least 389 restrictive bills in 48 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.”
In general, the so-called “reforms” contained in these bills will make ballot access unacceptably difficult, especially for those who lack the resources to take off work and stand in line for hours on end and then somehow find they’re not in the right polling place during the right hours with the exact credentials required. People will receive guidance that is as clear as mud—I've seen how this used to work in the city of Detroit, and it sounds like it’s being made even more difficult now across big swaths of the nation. Some of these new laws even deny people the right to carry (or be given) drinking water while they’re waiting to vote (a lot of this is happening in the hot/humid southern states, remember); anything to make the voting process more cumbersome and punishing than it needs to be, apparently, and all in service to Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was somehow stolen from him.
|Voter suppression has gone on forever in the U.S.|
Clearly, the GOP-led legislatures pushing these bills are scrambling shamelessly to rig the elections of 2022 and 2024 in their favor, but thankfully, there's a remedy in the works on the federal level, with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that accomplished one of its important aims this past week.
From the New York Times:
“The House voted on Tuesday to restore federal oversight of state election laws, beginning a push by Democrats to strengthen the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 amid a national fight over access to the ballot box.
The legislation, named after the late civil rights icon Representative John Lewis of Georgia, is a linchpin in Democrats’ strategy to combat voting restrictions in Republican-led states. It would reverse two Supreme Court rulings that gutted the statute, reviving the power of the Justice Department to bar some discriminatory election changes from taking effect and easing the path to challenging others in court.”
This, in the midst of a parallel rush in more states, notably Texas, to continue passing their egregious voter suppression bills, even under serious protest and a serious COVID crisis in that state.
The big question is, of course, can Senate Democrats muster the will and solidarity to get a strong, renewed and updated Voting Rights Bill passed? At issue in most discussions about this likelihood is how the filibuster will be deployed or blocked on the Senate floor. To cut through the proverbial wall of legislative brambles that is the modern day filibuster, which effectively assures that 60 votes are necessary to pass anything, all Dems would need to agree to act outside the filibuster framework to block the obstruction and go it alone, but as I write this, there are no assurances that this will happen .
Meanwhile, those concerned about voting rights being stripped away one state at a time, while Senators wrangle over changing or eliminating the filibuster, are increasingly concerned and determined to force the issue through massive protest. Perhaps protests of the magnitude planned are the only way to challenge the Senate’s inertia and dysfunction; my hope here is that the September 6th lunation (new moon) will tell us something about the short-term prospects for the success of the protests and the voting rights bill.
|The dearly-missed wisdom of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.|
“Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of two provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: Section 5, which requires certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices; and Section 4(b), which contains the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subject to preclearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting.
On June 25, 2013, the Court ruled by a 5 to 4 vote that Section 4(b) was unconstitutional because the coverage formula was based on data over 40 years old, making it no longer responsive to current needs and therefore an impermissible burden on the constitutional principles of federalism and equal sovereignty of the states. The Court did not strike down Section 5, but without Section 4(b), no jurisdiction will be subject to Section 5 preclearance unless Congress enacts a new coverage formula. Some allege the ruling has made it easier for state officials to make it harder for ethnic minority voters to vote."
Those allegations are certainly manifesting now: the moment the Court made this decision, efforts blossomed in the former Confederate states and others to tighten up voting regulations and to legislate obstacles into the process, despite repeated studies showing few to no problems existed in 2020 with voter fraud. So, attempts by state legislatures to essentially choose their voters using that pretext signal a creeping return to the so-called “Jim Crow laws” that historically assured white supremacy in Confederate states after the Civil War. Under Trump, of course, the drive to resurrect that hideous period’s policies—a period marked by frequent KKK terror campaigns and the gruesome lynchings of thousands of black citizens—gained steam (and funds).
Not surprisingly, the resistance to that drive has been steadily building, as well; we witnessed a preview of it in last year’s summer of protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but that was probably just a sign of things to come.
Anyone watching national events at all, in fact, knows that today’s black and brown communities of color are simply not going to sit still and watch themselves be relegated to the status of disenfranchised, second-class citizens again. Nor should they. To my mind, a lot of this is astrologically related to Pluto transiting ever closer to the U.S. Sibly chart’s radix Pluto in late Capricorn (our Sibly Pluto return, in other words), which suggests to me that voting rights and the larger systemic realities in which they are embedded are a deeply karmic situation that demands healing before we can even begin to move forward as a nation.
|Pluto rules death, transformation and regeneration.|
Yet, Pluto transits spool out over frustratingly long periods of time, so immediate or short-term results are often elusive. This past week, the House passed a helpful measure; will it die in a sea of obstructionism (Neptune isn’t being much help here at this moment, either) or will it stand a chance at becoming law? Perhaps the lunation will give us a peek at the prospects for that, however the possibilities it hints at will be conditioned by how we’re navigating that Pluto return, not to mention Neptune’s opposition to Sibly Neptune. We can pass any number of well-conceived measures, but until some force of Nature converts the hearts and minds that have been hardened against election fairness by the former administration—and throughout nearly 240 years of American history—little will be truly accomplished by those measures. Unfortunately, hearts and minds must be open to that kind of conversion and that’s an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome at times.
We can try to “manage” the fallout from this hard-heartedness through the rule of Law, but in the end, with Light comes Dark: those who can’t even imagine a society that doesn’t revolve around white privilege will do their best to pull the people they fear and hate back down off Dr. King's “mountain top.” King was a Capricorn himself whose Sun conjoined Sibly Pluto; is it any wonder that he envisioned the success of civil rights and true freedom for his people as a “mountain top” that they've been climbing forever? Well, there are spiteful forces, as in the myth of Sisyphus, that are trying to keep everyone forever climbing up, only to have their quest fall rolling back down that mountain forever as well. How dare African-Americans think they could cheat the death-eater forces of slavery?
My question is, how can we tolerate—psychologically, economically, emotionally, and certainly spiritually, this level of hatred and darkness in our midst as a nation? Indeed, transiting Pluto is now regenerating King’s message and mission for our times and we’re being given a chance to get it right this time. Needless to say, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
So, let’s see what the September 6th lunation tells us about the short-term ahead. The voting rights protests will probably continue throughout the fall across the nation, so this is not likely to be a one-shot deal over this weekend. Will this lunation draw us closer to a just, acceptable resolution for everyone’s voting rights, or will it facilitate further destruction to our democracy? Let’s consider the chart on its own first.
New Moon, September 6, 2021
Chart #1. New Moon, September 6, 2021, 8:51:36 p.m., Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Grand Earth Trine: Sun-Moon (Virgo) trines Uranus (Taurus) trines MC (Capricorn). The nation’s leadership and People are united here and supported in their effort to lift that Sisyphean boulder up the mountain, it appears. Not that anything will be easy or uncomplicated: from Pisces, Neptune-Pallas (both Rx) widely oppose Sun-Moon and (further along in Virgo) Mars, turning the grand trine into a kite configuration. Indeed, the will and energy of the People will be poured into the ideal of Justice (Neptune Rx-Pallas Rx), yet the earthiness of this configuration reflects the heavy lift involved (earth and water = mud). Even so, earth, water and Light facilitate growth and abundance, so it’s a hopeful, if not entirely uncomplicated picture. Retrogrades also play a role here that we’ll discuss further below.
Chiron (Rx, Aries) rises in 12th house, square MC (Capricorn); Part-of-Fortune (Aries) conjoins ASC and opposes DSC-Vesta-Venus (Libra). This configuration reflects that there’s enough pain and suffering (Chiron) to go around this season in the U.S., certainly not just in the realm of voting rights, but Venus rules Libra, so justice and fairness in all our national affairs (the eviction moratorium the Supreme Court just killed comes to mind) will be in focus, and women (Venus-Vesta) will likely help lead the way.
|An early shot from the KKK as a domestic terror organization.|
Notice that Chiron is transiting within the final few degrees of that POF-Sibly Chiron degree; this points to our next Chiron return (first exact in April, 2024), which I suspect will have a lot to do with further resolving these difficult issues, even after our Sibly Pluto return in early 2022.
Mars (Virgo) inconjoins Jupiter (Aquarius). If we added Mars’ additional wide inconjunct to the POF-ASC (Aries) here, this would comprise a Yod, with Mars as the focal planet. This likely reflects the ongoing frustrations being experienced by the military at this moment, with the situation in Afghanistan and the call for vaccine mandates, etc., but it probably also reflects more broadly the intense anger that seems so evident in the nation these days. Pandemic-related violence and activism (often threatening violence) is a “thing” in this country right now and it appears that it will persist into the fall; we’ll appreciate more about why when we see this chart next to the Sibly chart below (Trwheel #1).
Jupiter (Rx, Aquarius) sextiles/trines ASC-DSC; Saturn (Rx, Aquarius) sextiles/trines Nodal axis (Sagittarius-Gemini). So there will be opportunities built into this lunation as it expresses in D.C., and forward progress (Saturn-trine-No. Node) in regards to infrastructure and social “engineering” (for want of a better word) should be possible, however the retrogrades involved here are a bit concerning. The Voting Rights Act was gutted on June 25, 2013, with Saturn Rx (Scorpio) trine Neptune Rx (Pisces) trine Sun (Cancer). Even though Neptune (Rx, Pisces) isn’t involved with Saturn in the same way here, its presence in Pisces relative to Mars and Jupiter Rx (Neptune Rx semi-sextiles Jupiter Rx) still suggests a passive aggressive undermining of governmental policies and decisions.
So, it appears that overturning Supreme Court precedents continues to be a present danger here—those trying to kill Roe v. Wade right now may be feeling empowered, and those hoping that the Court will come to the rescue on voting rights issues could be disappointed. Both Saturn and Jupiter finish out their retrograde phases in October, so the change-oriented Aquarius dynamics in our politics will persist into late December, and that “shadow” period between October and December is likely to be focused on regaining lost ground, wherever necessary.
Related to Aquarius, of course, Uranus (Rx, Taurus) still squares Saturn Rx and, given the retrograde cycles in play, will remain so into March, 2022. This waning Saturn-Uranus cycle has been and will continue to add tension, rancor and a push for change, at times oppressive and/or shocking.
At this point it makes sense to put this September 6th chart next to the Sibly chart, to explore the U.S. context of all of the above more carefully. To tighten our focus on the likely fortunes of the voting rights issue going forward, we’ll add a chart for the August 6, 1965 Voting Rights Act into the mix. With that in mind, let’s examine Triwheel #1 below.
The big picture of voting rights in America
I’ve observed over time that the more polarized our politics have become, the more the midpoints between key points in mundane charts tend to render important information, and that’s certainly the case with the September 6th chart and the triwheel below. There’s a lot at stake here: just today, the grandson of labor leader and civil rights champion Cesar Chavez spoke out about the very real voting rights struggle Latino-Americans face these days, right along with other communities of color. Indeed, under the Trump regime and its family separation policy waged against would-be asylum-seekers approaching our border, the Latino community suffered years of brutal abuse (amounting to torture, according to Physicians for Human Rights) —a situation that still hasn’t been fully remedied. Instead, there are moves afoot to limit their voting rights, as well. Alejandro Chavez is carrying the torch forward for his grandfather in today’s protest in Phoenix, Arizona, in fact, so the legacy lives on, just as it does with MLK’s family and followers.
Triwheel #1: (inner wheel) USA – Sibly chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (middle wheel) Voting Rights Act passage, August 6, 1965, 12:00 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) New Moon, September 6, 2021, 8:51:36 p.m., Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Notice that the Sep 6 Sun-Moon conjunction not only trines Sep 6 Uranus (Rx, Taurus), but it also conjoins Voting Rights Act (VRA) Uranus-Venus-Pluto (Virgo), so all of these Virgo points (elevated over the Sibly 10th) are focused around and in support of substantive change. We saw above how these Sep 6 energies, also trine Sep 6 MC (Capricorn), amount to an over-arching purpose for this lunation; here we can see the deeper history of voting rights progress that informs all of it.
Voting rights and civil rights, more broadly, were key issues battled over during the 1950s-60s Civil Rights era, a battle that made good use of the 1965 Uranus-Pluto cycle that was very near perfecting as the VRA was passed into law. (the cycle was first exact in October 1965 at 17°+Virgo). The 1965 cycle is still waxing, and the Uranus Rx/Pluto Rx (midpoint, Pisces) is, amazingly, conjunct Sep 6 Pallas-Neptune (Rx, Pisces). This happenstance could explain why toxic inertia is so pervasive.
This toxic inertia has influenced the glacially slow progress we've seen for Trump’s “family separation” victims, the way his administration purposely jammed up the bureaucratic process for the special immigration status of our Afghan allies, the way the federally-issued rental and housing assistance has largely failed to reach those who need it the most as the eviction moratorium is suspended, the frustrating lapse in progress we’ve seen with the pandemic and vaccination rates, and so on. Neptune’s talent for undermining structures and systems was clearly (if not consciously) weaponized by the Trump administration, and as with anything Neptunian, it takes time (Saturn’s the best antidote) to recover and restore what was lost. More on this dynamic that tends to fly beneath our radar screens in a future post.
|The highlighted states trying to pass restrictive voting laws.|
Interestingly, the Jupiter Rx/Saturn Rx (midpoint) falls at 16°+degrees of that sign, widely opposite Sibly Sun (Leo) and square Sep 6 Uranus (Taurus). It also inconjoins the Sep 6 lunation point (Sun-Moon, Virgo), so it feels as if there is an institutional “end-run” in progress that may or may not support our democratic checks and balances and our system of justice—a lot depends upon who is calling the shots and deploying these energies. The GOP seems to have decided to focus their efforts against Biden directly (Sibly Sun, Sep 6 Sun) using the messy situation in Afghanistan to impugn his leadership and call for his resignation. Of course they are: Trump didn’t get the “August reinstatement” he was predicting, so the opportunity presented by the mess—that Trump initiated with his 2020 Doha agreement—was predictably appealing. Biden’s not likely to be easy prey for them, however—more on that in another post as well.
As for the voting rights issue, this Jupiter/Saturn midpoint reminds us that such rights are a matter of Justice—it also trines Sibly Saturn (Libra), reflecting the serious role Congress needs to play to challenge the excesses of the Supreme Court and of state legislatures these days.
Grand Air Trine: Sep 6 Jupiter Rx (Aquarius) conjoins Sibly Moon-Pallas (Aquarius) and trines VRA Jupiter-Sibly Mars (both Gemini) and Sep 6 Venus-VRA Mars-ASC (Libra). This is a much lighter grand trine than the earthy one we considered earlier, but I’m well beyond thinking every Jupiter trine is positive and helpful, and Jupiter can be duplicitous and unfocused in Gemini, so even without the retrograde in Aquarius factoring in, I suspect this configuration may send ideas flying around that may or may not be helpful. Right-wing efforts to whip the nation up into a self-serving anti-Biden frenzy could predictably spill over into the rest of his agenda, not to mention voting rights efforts, and if Sibly Mars has anything to say about it, the military and police services could get drawn into the picture.
I’m still hopeful that the nice Sep 6 Venus-Vesta (Libra) combination tied into this will be able to move important priorities forward—not surprisingly, voting rights activist Stacey Abrams’ noon chart features Uranus at 25°+Libra)--but there’s a danger posed here that a super-charged media will be manipulated to serve the Neptunian misinformation-based hysteria we also see at work (Sep 6 Neptune opposite Sibly Neptune, t-square Sibly Mars). Jupiter’s brief ingress and retrograde exit from Pisces this past May-July (so moving from Saturn’s influence in Aquarius into Neptune’s Pisces domain and back again) reminds us that we and our leaders need to take a firm hand, rejecting conspiracy theories and other distortions that ultimately hurt people and serve destructive purposes. Clearly, this applies to issues like voting as much as it does the pandemic. Hospital wards are filled with the victims of conspiracists; fantasies about voter fraud are likewise undermining people’s rights; only solidarity and a dedication to facts and truth-telling will stop this.
|Domestic terrorism has become a very present danger.|
Interestingly, the Sep 6 Mars/Neptune Rx midpoint (Sagittarius) opposes VRA Jupiter (Gemini); could it be that those who embrace the “big lie” are intentionally targeting the Voting Rights Act itself for destruction? The damage isn't an accidental side effect to their actions, in other words. This suggests that the big lie is deeply enmeshed with white supremacist goals—those who hold the poisonous belief that America is for whites only simply can’t abide that their white candidates could lose because voters of color turned out in record numbers.
Let’s be clear that this is a small minority of the country that harbors these extreme hang-ups, but under the force of Sep 6 Chiron (Aries) square Sibly Sun and Sep 6 POF conjunct Sibly Chiron (Aries), the deep-seated karmic wounds of this nation around race and privilege and the brutality that's been used to maintain this system are surfacing for healing, and the band-aids of delusion are being ripped off. Clearly, the uproar we witnessed recently over teaching Critical Race Theory was all about avoiding and suppressing this necessary process, but under the force of impending Pluto and Chiron returns, it simply won’t be suppressed. There’s nowhere to hide; for the spiritual health of this nation, we need to face our history and heal our mistakes.
The protests yesterday (August 28) in D.C. and in several cities around the country deserved a lot more attention than they’ve received in the media, at least from where I was watching, but with multiple crises in play, it’s understandably difficult to break through. Who can look at the way Hurricane Ida is forming without feeling deep concern for those in her path? Then there’s the crisis overseas: our deepest condolences go out to those who lost service members this past week outside the Karzai airport. There are no words for this kind of pain, but I wish those completing the work of these heroes—who were just trying to save innocent civilians from a repressive regime—the most expedient, safe passage out of harm’s way.
Even with all this, however, the voting rights protests deserve prolonged and deeper coverage and attention—voting rights are a long, ongoing and deeply insidious and slippery issue in which Neptune and Pluto weigh heavily. These protests are cries for Justice, writ-large, and they work to hold our public officials accountable to the People for their actions and inactions, which should warrant attention. But there’s a more personal level of accountability that IMHO, is also critical. For instance, some prominent individuals believe that the Supreme Court’s actions in 2013 to disable the VRA and to open the way for the present dangers posed to it should be challenged in some way. Perhaps most moving of all to me was an open letter published by theologian Rev. Matthew Fox to Chief Justice John Roberts on the occasion of yesterday’s protests. Click here for the entire text of the letter.
But Roberts and the Court that was in place in 2013 can’t be held solely responsible for the horrifying situation that voting rights are in across many states at this moment: we’re all complicit, “red” or “blue,” and everything in between, if we accept anything less than universal suffrage for every qualified voter, and if we enable or excuse the obstacles that work to make voting more difficult for some.
What are we afraid of, I wonder – that the government will have to begin being more responsive to all Americans? Food for thought.
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, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.