Saturday, September 9, 2023

On the astrology of age and the reins of power

Sometimes knowing when to quit is the most difficult political skill of all...



...or so say those who have their misgivings about Biden’s rather crotchety appearance these days, about Senate minority leader McConnell’s recent health scares and fragility, about Senator Dianne Feinstein’s fading competence and so on. As one politico famously put it, our U.S. Senate is quite simply a “very expensive nursing home.”  

And so, it goes, of course: there’s no escaping the fact that—akin to the melting glaciers of our world—America’s immense post-WWII Boomer population is very slowly retiring and receding from public life, but clearly not quickly enough for some. Perhaps the question should be, what will this gradual relinquishing of political power be unleashing in its wake? There is good reason to be concerned, and not just because I happen to be a member of that receding “glacier.” 

Boomers—the so-called “Me” generation—have a well-earned reputation for ego-inflated intransigence: we were born with Pluto in fixed and sunny Leo, after all. Even so, time marches on and the young and middle-aged generations must have their day in the sun as well. It’s been a frustrated dream of sorts for them, too: it seemed like the country made this leap for a short stretch with Obama (a member of the Pluto in Virgo generation) in the White House, but his choice of an older V.P. in Joe Biden set us up for an unusual reversal of that short-lived trend.  

To be clear, age is only one factor when it comes to electing a presidential candidate, and there’s no reason to assume it’s the most important factor. If Benjamin Franklin had chosen to run in his 80s, he probably would have won and deservedly so. Substance, experience and character should ideally rank over form (age) in a candidate, and if demonstrated leadership is also present, even better. These aren't sexy criteria, perhaps, but are we trying to run a country or a beauty pageant?  

So, what’s taking us Boomers so long to hand over the reins of power? American seniors are known for their persistent voting habits; clearly, they still want their issues—and their views of public policies in general—to matter. Perhaps we’re fearful that our youth-obsessed culture will run roughshod over us otherwise? And yes, we’re very familiar with this impulse to oppose the older generation: in coming of age in the turbulent 60s, our nemesis was the “war is good for the economy” mentality of our Pluto in Cancer parents—the Establishment, as it was known at the time. Being “old” was anathema then, too.  


Ironically, we are now the “Deep State” that Trump—a Boomer, but of the eternal manchild variety—is hellbent on crushing. For his part, Biden may stumble over words and look a bit crotchety, but we shouldn’t underestimate what he’s made ofThe bottom line for me is that he’s not likely to bend over backwards for Putin and engineer a democracy-busting coup in our halls of Congress. He’s not likely to foment radical, violent behavior in our youth for his own political purposes.  

Maybe I’m being boring and “political” here, but I’m grateful that Biden is more focused on renewing confidence in democracy both here and abroad than he is on cultivating and leveraging collective grievance and rage. Some very disordered personalities may thrive on a constant drip-drip-drip of toxic emotions, but that toxicity can kill individuals and tear families apart, and it can also kill our confidence in the future of this society. This was brought home with alarming impact in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017—early in the Trump administration—by the grim spectacle of neo-Nazis brandishing tiki torches and shouting hateful anti-semitic and racist slogans. I must believe that the specter of that event is fresh on a lot of Boomer’s minds, especially those holding government positions.  

In one way or another, the families Boomers were born into lived through the horrific times that those neo-Nazi demonstrators purposely evoked, and yet, some of today’s seniors seem to have succumbed to Trump’s attempts to equate holding him accountable for unlawful behavior with some kind of Gestapo action. And why wouldn’t Trump target seniors with this kind of twisted rhetoric? He knows the cultural references that resonate with them, and he’s interested in their deep pockets. Those who can see through these emotional triggers know the peril of sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring what’s really going on.  

And now we hear soundbites saying that his well-earned Fulton County, Georgia mugshot is making him more popular with black voters . Really?! One magically thuggish picture can make black Americans forget centuries of abuse, not to mention the ongoing attempts in several states to roll back their hard-earned voting rights? Let’s not even dignify that one with a response.  

No one with historical perspective would claim that the Boomer generation has done a perfect job of safeguarding democracy, of course: quite the opposite, in fact. Every generation has to grapple with its “shadow” side, and I’d say that with Trump’s rise to power, we’ve reached a treacherous breaking point in that process. With the broken relationships too many of us have caused with younger family members; with the toxic crankiness too many have been wallowing in, not to mention the willingness to send Trump money every time he squeals “victim!”  

Yes, we Pluto in Leos can be drawn into the drama, especially if that drama triggers and/or reinforces our ego fears about aging and giving up control; collectively, we have more resources at our disposal than most, so it stands to reason that collectively, we contribute heavily to Trump’s support network even now. In the late 70s and early 80s, my grandmother spent far too much time in front of the television being enticed to send money to the ultra-conservative 700 Club in the 1970s; today’s grandparents are targeted by an overwhelming number of suspect religious and/or political appeals.  

Bottom line, as a generation, we’re as responsible for the rise of Trumpism as anyone is, a fact that’s corroborated by the Pew Research Group: 

“Older voters (ages 65 and older) preferred Trump over Clinton 53%-45%. This is roughly the same advantage for the Republican candidate as in 2012 when older voters backed Romney over Obama 56%-44%.” 

But the age of select leaders isn’t the problem at this juncture, and the media “whispering campaign” about Biden’s age simply misses the point of leadership—for the record, rocker Mick Jagger is also 80 years old and no one's canceling his concerts. Any leader can fall sick and die while in office; God forbid, any leader could be targeted by an assassin’s bullet. That’s why the Founders established not only terms limits on the presidency, but a firm line of succession. Yes, the presidency is meant to last only a limited number of years: we don’t have kings (or would-be kings) in this nation! But if we are to meet the monumental challenges of our times, we desperately need those who are capable and worthy of leading to keep doing so until they term out. As The Bulwark’s Jonathan V. Last put it this week,  

“There is something close to panic about Joe Biden’s candidacy right now: he’s too old, his approval numbers are bad, he’s running close against Trump in polling. We must make a change—do something!—or else Trump will win. 

In some quarters the response to these expressions of panic is denial: Biden’s age doesn’t actually matter. We’re not at the binary choice point yet. Trump can’t possibly win. You have to just stick with Biden. 

The reason we have this disagreement is because, to a large degree, both sides are correct.” 

We may just have to grit our teeth and accept the “dissonance” of the situation, Last says, because in the end, “Biden is both a risky bet and the best available bet.” 

We could say the same thing about Boomer leaders in general, I suspect: there are risks, but if these leaders are getting the job done, their voters should have the final say. Of course, time will eventually force Boomer politicians to make their final leap of faith in the coming generations, but very little about our current socio-political climate is making that easier. I strongly suspect there’s an astrological basis for this difficult generational transition of power—we'll explore this possibility ahead and consider some relevant charts.  


The astrology 

For starters, every generation has been impacted not just by the Pluto sign that welcomed them aboard, but by key planetary cycles that wield influence over their formative years. You are undoubtedly aware of the importance of the Saturn cycle for human development and maturity, but a lot less attention has been given to the ways in which Saturn’s influence on us is modified, we might say, by the cyclical dynamics of our natal Saturns and by the course of the cycles Saturn navigates with other planets as they also transit our charts.  

Take Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell, for instance—the most frequent targets of age-related objections in the media these days: they were both born in 1942, but McConnell in February (Chart 2 below) and Biden in late November (Chart 1 below). So, McConnell was born just before the May, 1942 Saturn-Uranus cycle perfected and during the late balsamic phase of the prior (1897) cycle (with the two planets in late Taurus and applying to their next conjunction), and Biden was born some months after, with a wider Saturn-Uranus conjunction in Gemini.  

In other words, the 1942 Saturn-Uranus cycle was a major factor influencing the development and outlook of the Boomer generation. Launching in late Taurus, it instilled in us a fixed determination to build materially successful and creative lives; the question was, how to get there in the socio-political environment we were born into? That demanded a willingness to push for change and an appreciation for the collective and political means for “being the change” we collectively wanted to see.  

Not to be ignored, of course, the Saturn-Neptune cycle also deeply influenced the development of the Boomer generation, and we’ll see some evidence of that ahead, but for now, let’s focus in more deeply on the Saturn-Uranus cycle and its influence on the aging of prominent Boomer politicians.  

It doesn’t take much, in fact, to see how this fundamentally influential cycle helped drive both Biden’s and McConnell’s career trajectories (see both men’s nativities in Chart 1 and 2 below). In fact, their respective climbs into positions of influence correlated with major moments in that 1942 cycle, which broke down into quarters as follows:  

Saturn Uranus 

5/1942 New 29+Tau 29+Tau 

4/1952 1st Quarter 10+Lib 10+Can  

4/1965 2nd Quarter 11+Pis 11+Vir 

10/1975 3rd Quarter 1+Leo 1+Sco 

According to Wikipedia, Joe Biden and his family moved to Delaware in 1953—barely a year into the 1st quarter of this cycle—providing him with the environment that would support his political aspirations over time (although he still talks about being a “Scranton” kid). His family had experienced a serious financial setback in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where his father lost employment when Joe was 7 (the age transiting Saturn first squares a child’s natal Saturn)—a difficult formative passage that he still cites frequently in his politics. 


Chart 1. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., November 20, 1942, 8:30 a.m. WT (war time), Scranton, PA. All charts are cast on Kepler 8.0 with Equal Houses and True Node, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns software. 


The 2nd quarter of this cycle, beginning in 1965 with Joe Biden in his early 20s, was packed for both his personal and career life: Biden married his first wife Neillia in 1966 and between then and 1971 they had three children, Beau, Hunter and Naomi. Meanwhile, he finished his law degree and was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1969. By 1970, he had entered public service in a local county office, but quickly decided to run for U.S. Senate, and in 1972, he won that seat.  

Tragically, Neillia and daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident on December 18, 1972, just weeks after Biden’s Senate victory, but he didn’t give up his seat and commuted back and forth between D.C. and Delaware to take care of his surviving sons.  

When this tragedy struck, Biden’s progressed Moon and Saturn (chart not shown) were conjunct in early Gemini and opposite his progressed Mars in Sagittarius. Saturn was transiting his 7th house of relationships and Uranus was transiting his 11th house of associates, getting his Senate career off to a shocking, challenging start. But he finished out that Saturn-Uranus cycle by advancing to ever more responsible positions in the Senate and in another life-changing moment, he married his second and current wife, Dr. Jill Biden (née Jacobs). In a key career moment, Joe Biden became the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1981 and served as either chair or ranking member of that powerful committee through 1997, well into the next (1988) Saturn-Uranus cycle.  


Then President Obama with V.P. Joe Biden.

This long committee involvement, coupled with considerable foreign policy experience acquired along the way, prepared Biden for a try at the presidential nomination in 1988, just as that new cycle was getting underway in late Sagittarius. This try and another one in 2008 failed, but this latter attempt, well into the 1st Q of the next cycle, made him a natural choice for Obama’s 2008 V.P. slot. What Obama lacked in foreign policy experience, Biden amply provided.  

Running for president again would have been the natural next step after Obama’s second term, of course, except family tragedy once again struck, this time interrupting plans with the death of Biden's eldest son Beau from glioblastoma (brain cancer) on May 20, 2015. I have found no times available for Beau’s birth or death; however, it is clear from the noon charts for both events that Uranus (Aries) was transiting conjunct his natal Aries Saturn, and Saturn (Sagittarius) was transiting conjunct his late Scorpio Neptune and trine his Chiron-No. Node (Aries) conjunction. Interestingly, Beau—named Joseph R. Biden III at birth [1]—was born with a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction that resonated nicely with his father’s natal Saturn-Uranus conjunction.  

Beau and dad, Joe Biden in happier times before 2015.

Even so, between the time Beau Biden’s neurological problems began surfacing in 2010 and his actual diagnosis with brain cancer in 2013, Uranus was transiting opposite his natal Jupiter-Uranus and t-square Pluto transiting in Capricorn. Joe Biden was understandably crushed by his son’s death in 2015 and decided to put off another try at the presidency, but when he finally did decide to get into the race in 2020, he claimed to be fulfilling a promise made to Beau.   

Yes, Saturn and Uranus (both in Mercury-related Gemini) have been Joe Biden’s constant life companions, perhaps even triggering the stuttering that plagued him growing up, but steeling his spine for that and all kinds of challenges ahead. They have, as we’ve seen, influenced every major passage of his political career. And we can be certain that they will be important factors for him in Election 2024, as well. A story for another day.  


Mitch McConnell 


Chart 2. Mitch McConnell, February 20, 1942, 12:00 p.m. WT (war time, no time available), Sheffield, Alabama.  



As with Biden, Mitch McConnell experienced a significantly difficult passage as a young child—in his case, contracting polio at the age of 2. Indeed, his Moon (most likely in Taurus when he was born, although we can’t say for sure) would have progressed either over or near his natal Saturn-Uranus conjunction by age 2. A severe structural disability (Saturn-Uranus) could have been inflicted on his young life but, happily, was averted with Roosevelt-sponsored warm springs treatment and other measures. More broadly, of course, this passage speaks to the profound and shocking challenge that the Boomer generation at large faced with the polio epidemic of that time. Every Boomer can tell you where they were when they received the first Polio vaccine!  

Also similar to Biden, McConnell also first entered political life in the 1970s, specifically under the Ford administration in 1974, but most of his early professional development seems to have happened in state-level positions in Kentucky during the 2Q phase of the Saturn-Uranus cycle noted above. Finally, in 1984, during the 3Q (waning square phase) of the same cycle, he ran for the U.S. Senate and won. Scorpio Saturn was transiting opposite his natal Mars-Saturn-Uranus conjunction (all Taurus) and Sagittarius Uranus was transiting opposite his Gemini Jupiter. Clearly, a life-changing moment for him.  

From 1985 on, McConnell rose in the ranks of Republican politics, being particularly focused on leadership positions in the Senate. In 2006 he was voted in as Senate minority leader, and in 2015, after the GOP had taken over the Senate, he became majority leaderSaturn was again transiting Scorpio, opposite his Taurus Mars-Saturn-Uranus conjunction. Starting out his career as a moderate, he had by that time leaned more and more towards right-wing conservatism, and as Senate leader he gained a reputation for tactical obstructionism. In effect, during his time as Senate leader, McConnell’s desk was where Democratic-led bills went to die, for he would rarely bring them to the floor of the Senate for consideration. He also famously refused to bring Obama’s Supreme Court candidate, Merrick Garland forward for consideration, basically preventing Obama from having a third choice on the high Court when liberal Justice Ruth Ginsburg died.  

Bottom line, McConnell put his dominant fixed energy—Saturn and Uranus being two key contributors in his chart—to very substantive use.   

Fast forwarding to more recent events, the mounting concerns regarding McConnell's age and health gained steam when he fell at a political event on March 9, 2023 and suffered a concussion that still seems to be healing months later. When he fell, Taurus Uranus was transiting widely conjunct his natal Taurus Mars-Saturn-Uranus and Saturn was just transiting into Pisces, conjunct his Sun.  

To further compound the situation, McConnell and Biden will both be undergoing Uranus’s transiting return to their natal Uranus placement over the next few years (something that reliably happens around age 84), and I suspect that the two separate public instances in which McConnell simply “froze” like a deer in the headlights when reporters were asking him questions had something to do with transiting Uranus making its presence known. Sudden, fleeting and shocking incidents tend to evoke Uranus in some way, and, as we saw with Beau Biden, Uranus is often implicated in neurological issues.  

In true fixed form, however, McConnell is soldiering on (Uranus will also be transiting over his Saturn) and has no plans to retire before the end of his Senate term.   



A consequential return 

This is another long story for another day, but it’s worth noting here that the issue of aging in our politics is likely to become even more fraught as the U.S. approaches its third Uranus return in mid-2027. It’s not just politicians that “age out;” the ideologies and the prevailing internal power dynamics driving our existence as a society also get old and must be challenged and disrupted for the sake of "shaking things up" and forcing all of us to pay attention and make fundamental choices. Failing to navigate that challenge could be more than destructive; regrettably, the end of our 245-year American "experiment" is no longer unimaginable. Democracy--especially in a pluralistic nation--has never been for the faint of heart, and today is no different.  

Look at how radically the status quo was overturned in the U.S.S.R., forcibly transformed between the late 1980s and 1991 into the Russian Federation [2], a process that seemed to launch right along with the potent new Saturn-Uranus cycle in late Sagittarius in 1988. At the time, Uranus and Neptune were already within applying orb of each other, working their way towards a 1993 conjunction in Capricorn. This juggernaut transit fell opposite the Soviet Union’s radix Pluto (Cancer) and t-squared its radix Saturn (Libra). This transpired a mere 15 years before the Soviet Union would have reached its 84th anniversary and its own Uranus return.   

Long story short, I am frankly more concerned about the fate of our democracy during this upcoming Sibly Uranus return than I am about Biden’s age-related fitness for office. Face it, if being able to sprint up the stairs two at a time was a requirement for presidents, we would have missed out on a lot of able leadership over the years!  In the short term ahead, we’ll be completing our full Sibly Pluto return process and its post-perfection retrograde/direct shadow phase into early 2024, so the atmosphere of impending doom is palpable and could become a self-fulfilling prophecy as Uranus returns if we stick our heads in the sand and refuse to consciously and truthfully confront the dangers. The last thing we need now is a president who refuses to face the truth at every turn.

As for Biden, by accident of birth and a healthy dose of kismet (his Saturn-Uranus sits very close to Sibly Uranus), his career trajectory is deeply enmeshed with the Uranus dynamics of our Sibly chart, so this upcoming event could be a meaningful turning point for the country and for him. What all this might say about the 2024 election is also a story for another day, but for now, I don’t think the ongoing whispering campaign that is designed to undermine people’s confidence in him as a leader is doing anyone any good.  

Abraham Lincoln, pictured as victorious in 1860 election.

History suggests that Uranus returns—the 2027 one will be our third, after the first in June 1860 and the second in May 1944—have marked important thresholds for the U.S. The first coincided with Lincoln’s presidential victory and the subsequent tensions that exploded between the North and the South—tensions and wounds that many seem to want to rip back open as I write this—and the second found us fully engaged in WWII and poised on the threshold of the Cold War and world leadership.  

Before our commitment to beating the Nazis was solidified by Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, however, the U.S. experienced a radical upsurge in homegrown pro-fascist sentiment in the 1930s and early 40s. Had it not been for the wars we fought in both the 1860s and the 1940s, the division and radicalism that was deliberately cultivated by members of Congress in each case may have prevailed, basically destroying any hopes of maintaining our democracy intact.  

The American Nazi party rallied at Madison Sq. Garden in 2/1939.

Clearly, there’s nothing new under the sun this time around: our 2027 Uranus return will challenge us to address both the pro-fascist sympathies and the deep divisions over racial issues that have been reawakened since Trump took office. We will likely still be faced with the elevated domestic terrorism threat that Trump and his “ism” have egged on in his quest to stay in power. Even if the DOJ convicts and imprisons all the leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for their January 6th, 2021 crimes, there is no guarantee this will change people’s hearts and minds and eliminate the entire movement. Many of these extremists openly advocate for a "race war" to solidify white supremacy once again; perhaps this is one time when war is not the solution to domestic turmoil. Yet, conflicts both domestic and international may arise; will we be unified enough to tackle them?

Bottom line, quibbling over the age of our leaders is not going to solve any of these challenges. Character (Saturn plays a major role in this) matters far more than age! 



The role of Saturn cohorts 

I didn't dwell on the issue in the analyses above, but the fact that Biden and McConnell were born under different Saturn signs (Gemini and Taurus, respectively) does illustrate an important fact about how Pluto transits unfold across generations: Boomers—those born with Pluto in Leo (10/1937 to 10/1956)-- can be subdivided into eleven Saturn cohorts—groups born into the signs that Saturn transits during any given Pluto passage. Pluto’s roughly 19-years in Leo encompassed about 18 months of Saturn in Aries, followed by seven full Saturn cohorts (transiting Taurus through Scorpio) and ending with the first 9 months or so of Saturn in Sagittarius. Each of these Saturn groups will be influenced by, express and internalize the developmental lessons of their Leo generation in somewhat different ways. Long story short, they will age a bit differently. 

The same is inevitably true regarding the Pluto in Leo group whose charts include the 1952 Saturn-Neptune cycle conjunction in late Libra—another key astrological milestone of this generation. Perfecting in November 1952, this conjunction perfected square Uranus in Cancer and had a lot to do with the struggles the Boomers engaged in for so-called “women’s liberation,” civil rights and human rights in general. Neptune erodes structures and the Saturn-Neptune cycle works to manifest the Dream—indeed, when Dr. King delivered his “I have a dream” speech on the national mall in August 1963, this cycle was just months into its 1st Q, with Saturn and Neptune having formed a waxing square between Aquarius and Scorpio that February.  

Interestingly, the very early seeds of the looming Vietnam war were planted around the same time as this Saturn-Neptune cycle’s launch, and it was over the course of this cycle that the use of protest, coupled with leadership failures basically dissolved the military/industrial complex’s agenda in Southeast Asia. The last U.S. soldiers and a host of refugees had to flee Saigon in 1975, well into the 2Q phase of this cycle.  

Also happening during this 2Q opposition period (from Gemini to Sagittarius), in late 1971, the case for legalizing abortion (resulting in the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973) was about to be heard by the Supreme Court.   

Why recount all this? Because these details speak to the fact that a key underlying theme in the coming of age of the Boomer generation was its quest for sane global relations, for civil and voting rights and women’s rights—rights that not so incidentally are under siege again in these times, with current Saturn-Uranus and Saturn-Neptune cycles now deep into their respective 3Q phases. When Biden says he’s in the contest to “finish the job,” maybe he sees more at stake than just another four years? 


Final thoughts 

All of this was captured pretty well by an online post I happened to catch today, that quipped, “Biden’s age isn’t the’s our age.” An age that seems to revel in tearing good people down just for the fun of it. An age in which the facts and the Truth matter less than the outrage and venom one can inspire, no matter the means. An age in which no good deed goes unpunished, as another glib truism puts it.   

Death threats fly fast and loose; people leap at the chance to intimidate and tear down others just trying to do their jobs. Yes, at the risk of sounding like an old “crank,” I think there’s some deep rot corrupting our collective Soul at the moment, and our international adversaries are licking their chops watching it all play out. Our students aren’t receiving the educations they deserve and that the country needs them to have if we are to go forward as a unified nation.  

There are no political or legislative solutions for this, unfortunately; no kicking the can down the road and hoping the next generation will be made of kinder, more compassionate stuff. We will reap what we sow as a nation, and as the overwhelming pressure of the most collective planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) on our shared reality is trying to tell us, the responsibility for sowing positive seeds lies with each of us individually and all of us together. If we can’t see ourselves as “one nation indivisible,” we will fail to be all we can be.  

That said, IMHO, we desperately need a return to compassion, to collective joy and to a deeper, more generous-minded engagement with what really matters in this world, but I’m prepared to believe that we’re just not capable of that level of unified action anymore, and that the rest of the world had better just move on without us. I hope this is a temporary malaise from which we might recover over time, and I hope we’re not waiting for a “knight in shining armor” to save us from ourselves. Heroic individuals have and likely will continue to emerge to protect key treasures we possess as a nation. Like our rule of Law; like our long-proven tendency to get things right finally after we try all the wrong things first. But will their heroism and efforts be enough? There are no’s up to us! 

Light and love to all!



[1] Joseph Robinette (Beau) Biden, III, February 3, 1969, 12:00 p.m. ST (noon, no time known), Wilmington, DE.  

[2] Russia-USSR formation radix chart: December 30, 1922, 12:00 p.m. ST (noon, no exact time available), Moscow, Russia. Source: Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes, Chart 272, p. 263. 

[3] Russian Federation radix chart: December 25, 1991, 7:45 p.m. ST, Moscow, Russia. Source: Nicholas Campion, Book of World Horoscopes, Chart 280, pp. 273-4.  


Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and retired 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. Her articles on these topics have appeared in several key astrology journals over the years. For information about individual chart readings, contact:  

© Raye Robertson 2023. All rights reserved. 

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