Actor Matthew McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, Texas and a gun owner himself, captured all this so eloquently from the White House this week, with his emotional, yet hardly extreme call for common sense regulations. As reported on Deadline, his White House speech was prefaced by a separate letter to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper which laid out the gist of his argument:
“’I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms,’ McConaughey writes. ‘I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children. The debate about gun control has delivered nothing but status quo. It’s time we talk about gun responsibility. There is a difference between control and responsibility. The first is a mandate that can infringe on our right; the second is a duty that will preserve it. There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility. Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.’”
And yet, here we are, approaching yet another national solar return, and the pro-gun conservative establishment continues enabling (and perhaps inadvertently egging on) the aspiring agents of chaos in our midst. Data shows these individuals are mostly, if not always, young adult males, which is convenient for an industry that knows how to market to people’s insecurities.
It’s almost become a grotesque ritual: young males on the cusp of manhood and perhaps lacking in mature male role models are influenced to think that the way to “prove themselves” is to have their very own arsenal and “kill” record. Many seem to aspire to what’s fast becoming the twisted “Holy Grail” of manhood—an AR-15 semi-automatic, a military-style weapon with more firepower than the rifles given to soldiers in Viet Nam. As an Intercept article put it in 2018, “Faced with slumping sales, gun manufacturers are going after the ‘Xbox generation.’” They’re out to make long-practiced fantasies come to life? Unfortunately, not all young people easily distinguish between the two, and for those with suicidal intentions (more on this ahead), the results can be massively tragic.
Not all young males decide to pick up guns and go on shooting rampages when they come of age, however, so what sets apart those few who do?
Thankfully, a growing body of research exists about such individuals and data suggests that there are a number of conditions, developmental experiences and characteristics they seem to share. This is the overarching message of The Violence Project by Criminology researchers James Densley and Jillian Peterson, Ph.D.--IMHO, an important work that needs to be more widely discussed on all levels of our government and in our communities. What follows is a brief summary of the patterns The Violence Project researchers found in a significant number of mass shooters’ lives:
-childhood abuse (physical and sexual) and exposure to violence at a young age, often at home.
-severe bullying by classmates;
-mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and paranoia that often surface during adolescence: these issues often go untreated;
-anger and loneliness often fester and build, and Others—including racial groups, religious groups and frequently, women—can become the target of their rage;
Densley and Peterson also discuss the role that online hate-based social media outlets often play in the trajectory of mass shootings. These outlets can provide validation and role models for would-be shooters, and the research demonstrates that radicalization often ensues. Predictably, the facts suggest that mass shootings often follow after the individual has suffered a life crisis of some kind—the death of a parent, the loss of employment or a key relationship, etc.
There’s so much more to consider, of course, and the researchers are not making any claims that the above list of factors causes every mass shooting, but that over the many, many cases they’ve researched, this list represents a pattern of “highly correlated” factors. One key point they made stood out to me because it raises the stakes and complicates attempts to prevent mass shootings:
“For many perpetrators, this is a suicidal crisis. The rise in mass shootings in the United States over the past decade maps onto the dramatic rise among white men of ‘deaths of despair’—deaths by suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related conditions.... But a mass shooting is a unique form of suicide, an angry one, meant to cause as much harm as possible.” 1
We’ve been horrified as a nation by the insidious phenomenon of suicide bombings and terrorism ever since heinous incidents in the 1980s and 90s, a situation that then developed into a full blown “war on terrorism” after the attacks on 9/11/2001. Unfortunately, what we’re seeing today is perhaps even more difficult to address because it basically involves domestic terrorism at the hands of troubled individuals who are enabled by an establishment that has had few, if any, real solutions for the problem.
So we have to ask who benefits from keeping our society in the grips of this preventable terror and carnage? We can’t begin to comprehensively answer that question here, but the Southern Poverty Law Center does focus its research and legal action on questions like this. For instance, on documenting the insidious trend toward belief in the so-called “great replacement conspiracy theory” within the American public, and the extremist violence that has been mounting as a consequence. As was widely-reported, the recent Buffalo shooting at the TOPS grocery store was motivated by the shooter’s embrace of this race-baiting theory.
With all of the above issues in mind, let’s consider two charts: first, the Sun’s ingress into cardinal Cancer, marking a threshold for action and a time during which the “seed purpose” of this year, planted at the Aries ingress, begins to manifest and develop in earnest.
Mundane astrology has traditionally recognized 0 degrees Cancer as a cardinal "world power” point: eclipses that fall on this point are reliably significant, and there’s a documented tendency for nations with strong mid-sign cardinal placements in their radix charts to be disproportionately powerful, so it makes sense to pay attention to this ingress.
In the U.S., this Cancer passage’s significance is compounded by the importance of Cancer as the U.S. Sun sign, so the second chart we will consider is this year’s U.S. Sibly solar return chart.
What goes around comes around
Chart #1. Sun enters Cancer, June 21, 2022, 5:13:40 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Sun (Cancer) rises near, but not conjunct the Gemini ASC, and squares the Moon-Jupiter conjunction (Aries). We can expect this next quarter to be marked by prominent and aggressive citizen action, perhaps tipping over into conflict in regards to the very nature of this nation (1st house Sun). Considering this passage will coincide with some of the remaining January 6 House Committee’s public hearings, this clash of perspectives on what America is all about is somehow not surprising.
The two Aries points are disposed by a potent Aries Mars that conjoins Eris and widely squares 8th house Pluto (Rx, Capricorn); disruptions to the nation’s Wall Street-led economy will likely continue, with Big Oil (more on this ahead) persisting as a key obstacle to relief. For some, these squares might provide the painful impetus needed to leave Big Oil in the dust and to start investing in electric vehicles and solar panels. The fact is, the switch to electric-powered vehicles will be a long transition, but until better options present themselves, it’s one that must proceed if we are mitigate climate change and move on productively.
Detroit automakers seem to know this and they’re forging ahead with the investments that will help get us there. Between that realization on the part of profit-seeking corporations and the federal infrastructure monies available for building charging stations and an improved electrical grid, we could be seeing a decade of considerable progress ahead. But initially there may be pain—transitions of this magnitude do not happen over night and they are rarely painless. Big Oil is not going to willingly relinquish its windfalls and free-for-all price gouging—just as the gun industry will circle its wagons and dismiss gun violence that results from their products. Just as Big Pharma looks the other way as thousands die of opioid addiction every year. Bottom line, it’s up to all of us to demand better and to not allow ourselves to be numbed (Neptune!) into compliance.
The disruptive potential of all of the above is reinforced by Uranus conjunct No. Node (both Taurus) across the 11-12 cusp. This conjunction will persist throughout this quarter, reaching its tightest during August, as the Nodal axis transits retrograde in the direction of Uranus instead of away from it. This seems to guarantee the nation will approach the Fall midterm elections in a state of simmering pressure for change, however it’s too soon to predict exactly what kind of change (beyond gasoline prices) will be in focus. Important breakthroughs in technologies could be supported here, as well.
In fact, given the t-square we see here between Nodal Axis and Saturn (Rx, Aquarius), at least some of the pressure for change will be met with resistance from law enforcement and—in the case of would-be terrorists and insurrectionists—from the DOJ; however, Saturn is a bit blunted as a protective shield here, having turned Rx on June 4th at 25°15’ Aquarius, but what it lacks in forward motion for a time may be made up in the intensity of its focus, as it will remain square Nodal axis and/or Uranus (Taurus) throughout most of its Rx-Direct “dance” (between now and January, 2023).
Even so, Congress will be on summer break for some weeks, which is when this year’s midterm electioneering is likely to take off in a big way. Legal questions concerning the abuses of a former president and the integrity of our elections (Saturn) will most certainly be publicly aired during this election, and even without being on break, the DOJ is likely to be swamped with critical work (one way to think about a Saturn Rx), in the wake of the January 6th Committee’s hearings. Its amassed body of evidence that the former administration violated not only presidential norms, but perhaps even laws trying to stay in power after losing the 2020 election will undoubtedly be “on the ballot” in one way or another. We’ll discuss this story much more fully here as the hearings proceed.
So, the Saturn in this chart seems anything but impotent—it's conjunct the MC (also Aquarius) and square the Pallas-Venus conjunction (Taurus); Saturn also rules the key 8th and 9th houses. The Fed is planning to continue ratcheting up interest rates through the summer, which will be a dose of Saturnian “tough love” for Wall Street and housing prices (8th), but is clearly necessary to rein in rampant inflation. Notice that growth-oriented Jupiter was only recently conjunct Neptune, beginning their new cycle in late Pisces, so it’s no surprise the price of Oil (Neptune) is trending up and up and that the fossil fuel industry is simply engorging itself as a result. A more potent Saturn would be helpful here.
Even so, Saturn in the 9th may indicate that some “tough love” may be delivered on the international scene: quite reasonably, Biden insists we will stop short of triggering a conflict between ourselves and Russia as we support Ukraine’s efforts. The longer the conflict drags on, of course, the longer Big Oil will have the war and sanctions against Russian oil as an excuse for keeping prices high. A dragged-out conflict will also mean that Ukraine’s grain exports will be tied up in blockades and other problems for longer, causing massive food supply problems in Africa and elsewhere. There are no-win situations everywhere Biden looks, and it’s hard to imagine things improving at more than a snail’s pace. Both the Saturn-Neptune and Saturn-Uranus cycles are in 3Q waning phase, and will be this way until 2026 and 2032, respectively.
So we’re in for a long slog, resisting what amounts to an international trend towards government-by-aspiring autocrats wielding the weapons of misinformation and twisted perspectives on “law and order.” Biden’s repeated refrain that we need to defend our democracy is well-founded because democracy everywhere is under siege and if it accomplished anything positive, Trump’s attempted coup reminded us that our democracy needs our proactive attention and protection. Neptunian misinformation and flat-out lies will continue being weaponized against it if we don’t remain vigilant and demand better.
Finally, considering that a number of thorny problems we’re faced with at the moment converge around the price of oil, It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of Biden’s planned July meeting with Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman. Neptune’s position near the Venus/Pluto midpoint (Pisces) could very well speak to this encounter. Judging by Saudi Arabia’s recent attempt at “sportswashing” its “persona non grata” status (gained after Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally killed by the bin Salman regime), bin Salman really wants to rehabilitate his kingdom’s international standing; let’s hope Biden comes away with something more than a photo op.
The 2022 Sibly Solar Return
Chart #2. U.S. (Sibly) Solar Return, July 5, 2022, 4:24:29 a.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Gemini rises, ruled by 1st house Mercury (Cancer). This is likely to be a very busy feeling, change-oriented year for the nation as a whole and for our leadership (Sun). A 1st house solar return Sun suggests confident leadership; its square to Aries Jupiter reflects that pressure will exist to grow and expand the nation's influence (perhaps in defense of Ukraine?), a project that will benefit from that confidence, but will still take an effort.
According to Ray Merriman, the points that fall within 3 degrees of house cusps should be considered the most consequential energies for the new solar year. Here, this means we can put a bit more focus on the Moon (Virgo, at the 4th house cusp), Saturn (Aquarius, at 9th) and Neptune (Pisces, at 10th). By this criteria, we might also allow the Nodal axis into consideration here as well: it falls across the 12-6 axis, from North to South, and as we saw with Chart #1 above, it seems to be playing a prominent role in current transits and trend lines.
We’ve already touched upon how difficult these inflationary times are on the American people—that would speak to the Moon opposite Neptune (Virgo-Pisces), grand-square ASC-DSC (Gemini-Sagittarius). We’re likely to remain caught up in the nebulous social “malaise” that seems to sap our ability to get things done: it’s part-pandemic blues, part depressive moodiness and learned cynicism after Election 2020. The Neptunian quicksand effect is real, and those who want to overturn our democracy one state elector slate at a time could benefit from it.
A lot is going on behind the scenes in this regard, with state legislatures trying to engineer who gets to vote and who doesn’t, how the votes will be counted and certified, and more. All of the pitfalls that face us here need to become front page news; the apparatuses of the free, democratic elections we’ve long taken for granted have become quite fragile, and what transpires in this fall’s elections could tip all of it over the edge. The fact that this hasn’t sparked widespread public outrage comes down, IMHO, to the power of pervasive Neptunian distractions and the quicksand of depleted energy levels.
This Neptunian malaise that has had us by the throat is sustained by intense propagandizing, of course--Fox’s Tucker Carlson didn’t even run commercials the night the January 6th Committee ran its first public hearing...can’t let people channel surf and find out some facts that will pierce that Neptunian misinformation bubble he’s so carefully cultivated! As Politifact put it:
“Fox News host Tucker Carlson didn’t just ignore the first primetime House hearing dedicated to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He spent the show rehashing many of the same falsehoods about the attack he has promoted for months.”
This challenge isn’t likely to evaporate overnight, obviously, but the Moon-Saturn Rx inconjunct (Virgo-Aquarius) we see here suggests that some actions inspired by this tense, chaotic Moon-Neptune configuration may run up against the Law. In terms of rulership, Saturn and Neptune are the most potent players (and final dispositors) of this chart, so the troubling “give and take” we’re seeing in public life between these two could devolve even further.
The entire 3Q passage between these two took hold in November, 2015 and has been thoroughly marked by rising corruption, misinformation and the resulting damage to key institutions. Saturn has been a strong player throughout this time period, however, transiting its two ruling signs: it finished up its time in Capricorn by conjoining Pluto for their new 30+ year cycle in January, 2020 and moved on into Aquarius in March, 2020, conjoining Jupiter for their new, momentous 20-year cycle in Aquarius in April.
So, despite Neptune’s often overwhelming influence, the “machinery” of government and those players who are committed to preserving the integrity of the Rule of Law, have an ally in Saturn today. Those who were in charge of our voting process in 2020 did their jobs, from V.P. Mike Pence on down to the most humble local voting clerk: they prevented the plot that existed to overthrow the election from accomplishing its aims; they prevented the overturning of our democracy, for now.
This clash of the “Titans” may also account for the rare example of cooperation we witnessed between the parties over the issue of gun reform this past week. Neither side got exactly what it wanted, but by nibbling around the edges of what’s needed they were able to say that they did something. In this fraught issue, something is better than nothing, even if it’s far too little, too late for many, but the proof will be in the signed bill (which isn't even written yet), and that could take a while to pass.
Finally, three more aspects to the Sibly SR Sun warrant discussion here: its semi-sextile to Venus (Gemini), its sextile (wide) to Uranus (Taurus) and its square to Chiron (Aries). Venus is clearly marginalized in this chart, sitting in the 12th, which suggests that the economy will be a fraught, difficult-to-pin-down issue and perhaps a wounding blow to the nation and its president (Venus sextiles Chiron while Sun squares that point). As I write this the news says the Stock Market dropped into “bear” territory today, and all eyes are on the Fed to get a handle on inflation quickly. That task may be something like herding kittens at the moment—there are too many causes and no magic wand to fix it all. The Sun sextile to Uranus, (which co-rules the 9th house with Saturn Rx), suggests that there may be opportunities on the international front to make helpful changes, yet the volatility between Ukraine and Russia could prevent much progress there. It’s likely to be a long, hot summer in more ways than one!
Every summer, the U.S. goes through this same passage: the Sun ingresses Cancer first, followed a few weeks later by our national Solar Return. It’s always an important moment for taking stock of how we take care of our own and where our priorities are, as opposed to where they need to be, etc. The month of June is also always marked by the end of a Supreme Court term, and even aside from what is likely to happen to Roe v. Wade when the Court’s decision comes out (see more about that here), this term promises to end on a super-dramatic note.
For instance, and perhaps reflecting the authoritarian trend afloat these days, one of the Court’s current cases may validate those who feel Justice is under siege in America at this time. This story emerged from the Supreme Court this week, as reported by the Washington Post:
“In the 1993 case Herrera v. Collins, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a staggering claim. The Constitution, Scalia wrote, does not prevent the government from executing a person who new evidence indicates might be “actually innocent” — that is, someone with the potential to legally demonstrate they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted. Scalia didn’t just make his point casually. It was the reason he wrote a concurring opinion.
Scalia’s claim was so outlandish that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor felt obliged to specifically rebut him, even though they agreed on the ultimate outcome in the case. Only one other justice joined Scalia’s opinion: Clarence Thomas.
Last week, Scalia’s once-fringe position became law. In Shinn v. Ramirez, the court voted 6 to 3 to overrule two lower courts and disregard the innocence claims of Barry Lee Jones, a prisoner on Arizona’s death row. Importantly, the majority did not rule that it found Jones’s innocence claims unpersuasive. Instead, it ruled that the federal courts are barred from even considering them. Thomas wrote the opinion.”
I’m sorry, but if a man’s innocence doesn’t matter any longer in deciding whether he should be put to death for a crime, despite evidence existing that could exonerate him if only it were given consideration, what is Justice even about these days? That this callous, inhumane decision would come down from the Supreme Court is supremely disturbing.
Then there’s the impending outcome of a gun rights-related case before the Court. From the Brennan Center for Justice:
“The Supreme Court is poised to issue a ruling in a New York gun rights case that will likely expand the scope of protections the Second Amendment affords individual gun owners who want to carry a gun outside of their residences. The biggest question in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen may not be whether a majority of justices strike down the state’s century-old handgun licensing requirement but how far that majority goes in signaling that other licensing measures created by government officials are now constitutionally suspect.
Can officials prohibit handguns in courtrooms and schools? What about college campuses or hospitals? When the Court heard oral argument in November, the six-member conservative majority seemed far more interested in exploring the contours of an expanded Second Amendment than in whether it ought to be expanded.”
Will the Court, which can’t help but know how Congress has struggled to make progress against our uniquely American phenomenon of mass shootings (especially in schools), actually move to make gun access and carrying even more easy? Unfortunately, that may be on the horizon, and to my mind, it will be a frightening escalation of the Court’s war on ordinary people and its favoring of corporate agendas. If I were still teaching and all of a sudden the universities I taught for were told they could not deny my students the right to openly carry guns into classroom buildings, I would have quit on the spot, as much as I loved the work I was doing at the time. No teacher is paid enough to put up with that trauma and insecurity.
This goes for millions of people who work in our public institutions nation-wide, of course. In this age of senseless, easy death threats flying around on social media, is the right to carry really the missing piece in our constitutional lives? Something’s wrong with this picture to my mind, and I hope individuals impacted by this decision will make their voices known.
Meanwhile, we have a week of January 6th Investigative Committee public hearings ahead and there will be a lot to talk about in the coming post. Exciting times, folks!
1 Peterson Ph.D, Jillian. The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic (p. 16). Abrams Press. Kindle Edition.
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 2022. All rights reserved.