Monday, April 3, 2023

The circus comes to Manhattan: the astrology of an indictment


A flood of outrage—no doubt, some of it sincere—poured forth in D.C. and elsewhere over this past week when a Manhattan, NY grand jury voted to indict former president Trump for a host of misdemeanor charges and at least one felony charge related to his ordering the payment of $130k in hush money to adult film star Stephanie Cliffords (aka “Stormy Daniels”) just before Election 2016. Importantly, his former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen has already served a prison sentence for the crimes involved here. Even so, the Manhattan D.A.’s actions are being called “unprecedented” and “unAmerican” and “political,” even though with Donald Trump’s behavior, it was probably “inevitable.”  

In fact, we have indicted a high-level denizen of the White House before: it happened with Richard Nixon’s V.P., Spiro Agnew --just a “heartbeat away from the presidency”-- who was forced to resign on October 10, 1973. A brief excerpt summarizes the situation well: 

“In 1973, Agnew was investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax fraud. Agnew took kickbacks from contractors during his time as Baltimore County Executive and Governor of Maryland. The payments had continued into his time as vice president; they had nothing to do with the Watergate scandal, in which he was not implicated. After months of maintaining his innocence, Agnew pleaded no contest to a single felony charge of tax evasion and resigned from office.” 

The Nixon administration was the first one that I watched with some level of political awareness, so I remember Nixon’s Watergate scandal, and to a lesser extent, Agnew’s indictment and resignation. It makes sense that Nixon did little to save his V.P. at the time, in retrospect: Nixon was also in a world of his own separate hurt in 1973, with the Watergate hearings that would have led to his impeachment had he not also resigned the following August.  

V.P. under Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew
As the excerpt above notes, Agnew’s corruption indictment was not related to the Watergate scandal: basically running a “bag man” operation out of his White House office, Agnew was merely expanding upon an influence racket that greatly profited him as Maryland governor.  

In retrospect we can see that the nation went through an extremely close call at that time: had Agnew not been held accountable for the corruption charges against him, we could have had a corrupt president Agnew, profiteering off the Oval Office and basically validating the darkest brand of cynicism about democracy and its institutions. We narrowly escaped that corrosive plunge in 1974 but fast-forwarding to 2023 and the NY indictment—one of many possible indictments in various stages of development against Donald Trump—we have a situation that resembles a melding of both Nixon- and Agnew-style corruption. Trump allegedly began his political life on the strength of at least $130k’s worth of corrupt money and he ended one sojourn into presidential politics with the incitement of an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and corrupt political attempts to overturn his 2020 loss and remain in power.  

Importantly, we do not know the exact charges that will be laid against Trump, but we know that he will spare no expense on lawyers and legal delay tactics (he’s fund-raising like crazy to be sure of this) and that he will leverage the political advantage of his “persecution” for all its worth. At the moment it’s working wonders for him: his would-be opponents in the upcoming GOP primary race are caught in a gnarly no-win situation—if they come across as “disloyal,” they lose Trump’s base; if they toe the line and allow Trump to dominate the headlines, their campaigns are screwed anyway. Headlines are a MAGA lifeline for Trump, who has proven he covets attention overall, so the present situation isn’t half bad for him. And the more violent his threats become against the Manhattan D.A. and his family, the more his base seems to love him. He’s due to be charged and booked tomorrow (4/3): we can probably expect to see Trump mug shot tee-shirts across the nation any day now.  

As outrageous as all this seems, as an American citizen, Trump absolutely deserves his proverbial day in Court...or however long it takes. Thankfully, if he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by 12 members of a jury, there’s no easy way for him to simply resign his position and be held harmless forever after as Nixon and Agnew (who cut a plea deal and escaped prison) were allowed to. We’ll examine a chart for the announcement of the first indictment in New York this past Thursday below. But first, let’s take a quick look at the Nixon pardon, as the backdrop for our latest case of presidential criminality.  



The Nixon pardon 

On September 8, 1974, Nixon successor Gerald Ford gifted his former boss with a presidential pardon that was immediately troubling and controversial because it implied for all the world to see that U.S. presidents are somehow held above the Law. Julian Zelizer reminded us of this in his CNN opinion piece dated this past Friday (3/31). A quick excerpt captures the highlights: 

“Many Americans were outraged by the pardon, believing that Ford had struck a deal with Nixon, who had appointed him as vice president in 1973 after his former Vice President, Spiro Agnew, resigned in disgrace for pleading no contest to tax evasion as part of a plea deal that dropped more serious charges of political corruption. Now Ford, they said, had delivered for Nixon and become an unelected president in the process. His approval ratings plummeted from 71% to 50% after the pardon, and protesters congregated outside the White House waving a large banner that proclaimed: ‘Promise Me Pardon and I’ll Make You President.’ 

By avoiding the attempt to hold Nixon accountable, Ford circumvented the judicial process, and the nation never tested what could be done about presidents or former presidents who were accused of violating the law.” 

So, the nation was tested for its tolerance of political corruption at that time, and in retrospect, we can say that it only sort of passed. Some familiar with those times judge the late Gerald Ford harshly for his decision, saying that it set a dangerous precedent, but that’s an exercise in hypotheticals. Would the nation be better prepared to hold an ex-president like Trump accountable if Ford had allowed the rule of law to run its course for Nixon? We’ll never know for sure, but the chart for Nixon’s pardon certainly echoes some of the difficult astrological dynamics we’re experiencing today. Let’s consider Chart #1 below: 


Chart 1. Ford pardons Nixon, September 8, 1974, 12:00 p.m. DST (no time known), Washington, D.C. 


What says “escape from accountability” better than a Jupiter-Sun-Saturn wedge configuration, especially with Jupiter in escapist Pisces trine a debilitated Saturn in Cancer? The escape was the product of its times, of course—as reflected in the mutable grand square that Sun-Jupiter opposition forms with the Sagittarius-Gemini Nodal axis. If we stretch the orbs a bit, Neptune is also a player in this grand square, which seems to fit the situation perfectly. In fact, it’s quite possible (even if we can’t say for sure) that the Moon and Neptune are also opposite here, which perfectly suited the feeling some Americans had at the time that Nixon’s pardon was either a corrupt quid pro quo or an egregious evasion of responsibility on Ford’s part—notice that Neptune also trines Saturn in this chart.  

Others felt the pardon was a case of misplaced pity or mercy, or a slick move, designed to blindside the millions who had intently followed the Watergate hearings and were convinced that Nixon should be held to account. We can only wonder what could have been different had justice run its course. It’s not difficult to see Ford’s decision would weigh heavily on the nation going forward, however: let’s examine Biwheel #1 below between Chart #1 and the U.S. Sibly chart to pinpoint the areas of stress.  


Biwheel #1: (inner wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, 7/4/1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Ford pardons Nixon (Chart #1 above) 


Obviously, the same dramatic aspects we discussed under Chart #1 also apply here, but when set next to our national chart, those aspects become even more startling and significant. The Sagittarius-Gemini oppositions in the Pardon chart overlay the Sibly ASC-DSC horizon, and on the Gemini side, Pardon Moon (exact degree unsure) and So. Node conjoin both Sibly DSC and Sibly Uranus (both Gemini). The net result was to unleash a certain amount of chaos into our government institutions and to confuse the path forward. A major echo with our times today!  

It probably didn’t help that the Vietnam war was winding down in a chaotic, undesirable way at that time as well: Pardon Mars and Sun (Virgo) conjoined Sibly Neptune (Virgo) and squared Sibly Mars (Gemini)--the “fog of war” was as suffocating as the Nixon crisis was. And, while Pardon Sun sextiled Sibly Sun (Cancer), providing an easy “out” for both Nixon and Ford, it also squared the Sibly Mars/Uranus (midpoint, Gemini)--the war was still causing unrest and bringing demands for reform 

Today, we have the national shame of a less-than-desirable withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, 2021 and heightened malaise and suicide levels within our military ranks, not to mention the devastating resurgence of the Taliban to power. On the final day of that withdrawal, Mars opposed Neptune (Virgo-Pisces) and both overlaid Sibly Neptune and Mars (Virgo-Gemini), creating a mutable interchart grand square. Mars and Neptune have been prominent players in both time periods.  

As for more direct challenges to the nation in 1974 (Biwheel 1), Pardon Saturn conjoined Sibly Sun (Cancer), perhaps weakening both the nation and the presidency in the years ahead. Pardon Jupiter (Pisces) trines both points, squaring Sibly Uranus in the process: while trines may be “flowing,” they can also unleash instability when mutable signs are involved. The 1970s in general were marked by great financial instability, “stagflation,” and an OPEC-led oil crisis that seriously multiplied the price of oil and produced long lines at gas stations. The national mood was grim, almost “pandemic”-style grim, to say the least.  

Fast-forwarding into 2023, can we say that the national mood is any better?  


No words needed!

Trump’s NY indictment is announced 

On Thursday, March 30, 2023, the Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump on multiple charges that are yet to be unsealed. Of those charges, many are for alleged misdemeanors, but at least one was a felony matter, which can’t be trivialized. The indictment was, to the best of my research, first announced by the D.A.’s office at approximately 4:50 p.m., so that’s the time I’ve used in Chart #2 below. Let’s leap right into it.  


Chart 2. Manhattan D.A.’s office announces Trump indictment, March 30, 2023, 4:50 p.m. DST, New York, NY 


This chart becomes even more dramatic than it is here when we set it against Trump’s nativity or the Sibly chart (both to come), but first things first. 

Not surprisingly, potentially destabilizing mutable signs form the major angles of this chart, with Virgo rising and Gemini at the MC, but things go from mutable to aggressively cardinal very quickly: Mercury rules the chart from fiery Aries, reinforced by a potent Jupiter, both in the 8th house, which makes sense here, considering Trump immediately turned to fund-raising in response to this announcement.  

Obviously, the events of this chart happened only 10 days into the Sun’s Aries ingress, so the vigorous, Mars-enhanced energies of Aries continue to dominate. As usual with destabilizing events, however, Neptune also plays a major role here, contributing to the 7th house narrative about Trump enemies and his “victimization.” This Neptune also trines the Cancer Moon at the same time Saturn—now in Neptunian Pisces—trines Mars in Cancer. The mass confusion over what we should think about this indictment is palpable, and although muted a bit by Saturn’s trine and frustrated by Pluto’s harsh Aquarius inconjunct here, Mars’ protective instincts are in full force in Cancer.  

For its part, Pluto opposes the Moon (Cancer) and semi-sextiles Saturn (Pisces), which suggests that deep-pocketed power brokers are at work in response to this indictment: it’s all about making the most of powerful connections and a deep well of pent-up money and influence—a point that’s made pretty explicit by the grand square formed by the Pluto-Moon opposition’s square to the Taurus-Scorpio Nodal axis, stretching across the 5-11 and 2-8 axes of this chart.  

Silicon Valley Bank failed recently.

Notice that a dignified Taurus Venus tightly conjoins change-maker Uranus in the 9th house here, and that both trine the Virgo ASC. The fact that Uranus disposes that powerful Aquarius Pluto adds to the potential upset. Aside from the fact that even Trump was reportedly caught off-guard by the indictment announcement, it’s also likely that these Venus-Uranus energies had something to do with our recent banking crises, which makes me wonder how likely it is that this indictment will spur some broader, systemic crisis, perhaps even purposely manufactured. That raises the specter of the looming U.S. debt ceiling issue, of course: will the GOP try to hold the nation’s financial wellbeing hostage over this, and potentially other indictments coming down the road? Something to watch.  

One last thought about that potent Moon-Pluto opposition. Notice that it forms the outer boundary of an intensely concentrated array of planets fanning out within only 5 houses of this chart. The Scorpio So. Node (co-ruled by Pluto and Mars) thus forms the “handle” of what is often called a “bucket” formation, which points to the dangers of allowing the turmoil and pressures of the moment to push the nation back into outworn and potentially toxic patterns of behavior. Economic, structurally-sound well-being, as represented by the 8th house Taurus No. Node, sextile Pisces Saturn in the 6th house of labor and national health, is where we need to focus our national energies.  



Trump at the crossroads  

We can’t really glean the impact of the event illustrated by Chart #1 without examining its impact on Trump himself, so let’s consider Biwheel #2 below, which adds his nativity into the picture.  


Biwheel 2. (inner wheel) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, 10:54 a.m. DST, Jamaica, NY; (outer wheel) Manhattan D.A.’s office announces Trump indictment (Chart #2 above). 


Few would dispute that Trump has operated like a legal Houdini for decades—his natal Jupiter-Uranus trine has probably had a lot to do with that. His natal Saturn, which should have helped him internalize a sense of responsibility for his actions over time, is weak here in Cancer, conjoined a protective and solicitous Cancer Venus. It’s quite likely he’s always felt himself to be above the law, but that assumption was greatly challenged during the long passage of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto through Capricorn in recent years. Even though the presidency and a captive GOP shielded him from any indictments while he was in office, he was twice impeached (not convicted), once for actions after his Election 2020 loss (which was, itself, a form of accountability). 

Some of those actions have since come back to haunt him in the form of investigations in Georgia, while actions before his election in 2016 are about to hold his feet to the proverbial fire in a Manhattan court tomorrow. Houdini escaped until he didn’t; I suspect that’s how this case with Trump will also go.  

So, what do the highlights in Biwheel #2 have to say? Let’s pick out a few for a quick look: 

  • Indictment Saturn (Pisces, outer wheel) conjoins Trump DSC from his 7th house (inner wheel). The government (as represented by the Manhattan D.A.’s office) has become the “enemy”--sure enough, an NPR radio account referenced Trump leaving Mar-a-Lago earlier today (4/3) in a long motorcade, with supporters giving him a hero’s send-off, waving banners and cheering at the side of the road as he drove towards the airport. Crime apparently does pay for him.  

  • Indictment Jupiter (Aries) sextiles Trump Uranus, No. Node and Sun (Gemini), trines his Mars/Pluto (midpoint, Leo) and opposes Trump Jupiter-Chiron (Libra). This complex of things gets to the heart of what makes Trump tick as a human being, and for the moment, it must feel mostly positive to him. His Leonine points might chafe at being “perp-walked,” but if those photos can be used to enhance his victimization story, the experience might be worth the trouble. Here’s what midpoints expert Michael Munkasey has to say about Jupiter in combination with the Mars/Pluto midpoint: 

“Increased destructive powers, the use of powerful forces to highlight conditions; the ethics of propagating powerful destructive forces or urges; a fortuitous outcome when activating extreme measures.” [1] 

Trump has been powerfully tapping into the potential of this Jupiter-Mars/Pluto connection for a while now, with just the possibility of an indictment looming, but notice also that Indictment Chiron—conjunct that Aries Jupiter—is also transiting opposite Trump’s natal Chiron, so we have an Aries-Libra mirroring opposition that must be somewhat unusual. Seems like—for the sake of healing a soul wound of sorts—it might be time for his rules-averse nature to reap what it has sown. Perhaps Indictment Pallas t-squaring that Aries-Libra axis from Cancer will weigh in on that. Notice that the Indictment chart’s “bucket” configuration is arrayed around the upper hemisphere of Trump’s nativity, while the Nodal axis “handle” (Taurus-Scorpio) cuts through his 3rd and 9th natal houses.  

We’ve already seen how the Scorpio end of that handle could be somewhat toxic; indeed, Trump may want to dial back his exercises in venomous “free speech,” threatening the lives of the prosecutor and his family, or he will end up with additional charges against him. His modus operandi always seems to be to lash back (like a Scorpion?), but in this case, he would be much better served by taking the higher, 9th house Taurus route. 

  • Indictment Venus-Uranus (Taurus) inconjoin Trump Jupiter (Libra) and Trump Moon-So. Node (Sagittarius) and semi-sextile his Uranus (Gemini). It’s worth interjecting here that a total lunar eclipse that happened last November, 2022 at 15°+ Taurus is probably enhancing the power of this Venus-Uranus conjunction. Here we see that these transiting points are the focal planets for a Yod configuration with Trump's Jupiter and Moon-So. Node. Frustrations are bound to come his way, especially if he is personally charged for crimes like the ones his “alter-ego” Trump Organization was just convicted of this past December 2022, under the sway of that same eclipse. Our corporate system allows owners to somewhat distance themselves from responsibility for their corporations’ actions, but there are limits to that arrangement that he might be learning about as we speak.  



So, what is all this doing to the nation?  

We probably don’t even need a chart to tell us how Trump’s chaos is spilling over into more entrenched divisiveness and an inability to think about all the critically important things that need our attention at this moment—we all know the list!  

At the risk of seeing conspiracies around every corner, however, it’s quite possible that the chaos is the point for those who want to solidify a certain brand of power in this nation. But let’s keep an open mind and examine Biwheel #3 below, between Chart # 1 (indictment) and the U.S. Sibly chart.  


Biwheel #3 (inner wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Manhattan D.A.’s office announces Trump indictment (Chart #2 above) 


So, where do we see the major stress points between the charts in this biwheel? I would suggest the following highlights: 

  • The Indictment chart’s “bucket” formation fans around the Sibly 2nd through the Sibly 8th, with that Pluto-Moon opposition (early Aquarius-Late Cancer) discussed earlier falling across the Sibly’s financial houses (2-8) and the “handle” axis stretching across the Sibly 5th and 11th (Taurus-Scorpio). Again, powerful connections are likely at work to leverage the volatile economics of our times for their purposes, which may or may not include defending Trump, whose dilemma may simply be “useful” to them in some way.  

  • Indictment Saturn (Pisces) trines Indictment Mars (Cancer), which conjoins Sibly Jupiter-Venus (Cancer); Indictment Saturn widely squares Sibly Uranus (Gemini). This complex of things suggests to me that we haven’t seen the end of the financial volatility; again, possibly due to the GOP’s determination to use our looming debt ceiling issue as leverage—if not in defense of Trump, then for something else. Indictment Saturn’s square to Sibly Uranus could manifest in grass roots unrest that could spill over into our labor markets. That, in combination with the Indictment Saturn-Mars trine between the Sibly 3rd and 7th houses could support the incitement of domestic terror-style attacks over our social media platforms. There are precedents for this I won’t go into here; let’s hope I’m wrong.  

  • Indictment Jupiter-Chiron (Aries) opposes Sibly Saturn (Libra); this axis t-squares Sibly Sun (Cancer). The limits of our system of Justice and rule of Law are clearly being tested, and the focal point of the challenge is the American presidency, as represented in this case by Trump. This type of confrontation has been a long time coming, tho: There has long been a school of thought among Republicans that the federal government is the “enemy” of the People; unfortunately, this mindset can lead to delusionary thinking—that federal laws don’t apply to everyday life, somehow.  That breaking into and attacking the U.S. Capitol should be considered heroic, instead of criminal. That following election laws is for fools who don’t want to win. That cooperating with pandemic mask mandates is somehow a reproach to “freedom” because working together as a nation to beat COVID-19 is simply asking too much.  

Long story short, this complex of planetary energies is speaking volumes about how terribly out of balance our national sense of Responsibility and Freedom have become, a fact that is only exacerbated by Indictment Venus and Uranus (Taurus) inconjoining Sibly Saturn (Libra) and trining Sibly Neptune (Virgo). 




Despite the hoopla that’s already been produced by the media about Trump’s arraignment this afternoon (4/4), the senseless following of his motorcade and the unwarranted near-royal aura being created by the incessant recording of every stage of his journey to the courthouse, Trump is just another American who has tripped over the line between legal and illegal and is answering a summons to have his fingers printed, hear the charges before him and to find out the terms of his bail. Yes, the situation is somewhat new to us, but it’s far from unimaginable.  

That said, let’s quickly consider a chart (Chart #3 below) for Trump’s supposed 2:15 p.m. arraignment. It’s possible things won’t happen at that exact time, but this will give us an idea of the energies in place at the intended time. 

Chart 3. Trump’s scheduled arraignment, April 4, 2023, 2:15 p.m. DST, New York, NY. 


The first thing that catches my eye here is the Leo ASC: we have to wonder if Trump was allowed to choose the timing because it looks like he’s being treated like a royal visitor, not a potential criminal—which would be quite a coup for someone who thinks of himself as being above the law. But wait, Justice-focused Pallas is the nearest point to that ASC, and while Jupiter-Chiron-Sun (Aries) trines the ASC, it also squares that Pallas in Cancer. Time will tell what that means. 

If the timing is accurate, the late Cancer Moon here opposes Pisces Neptune across the 2nd-8th axis, which certainly speaks to the conspiracy theorizing that Marjorie Taylor Greene is sure to bring with her as she speaks to protesters. She, of course, welcomes the controversy and seems, like Trump, to really relish the media attention. We can probably expect her to approach today's media opportunity as a chance to glorify her beloved January 6, 2021 "political prisoners," if not to further incite hatred against the federal government and the rule of Law. She's there to carry water for Trump and the radical Right fringe, in other words, but I also wonder if Trump's a bit worried about her ambitions. Stories for another day!

Finally, I’m struck by Pluto (Aquarius) sitting in the 6th house, t-square the Nodal axis (Taurus-Scorpio), stretched between the 9th and the 3rd . The 9th house, of course, encompasses legal matters, and the fact that Jupiter-Chiron-Sun also falls in this house reinforces that it’s time for Trump’s legal matters to be dealt with.  That doesn't mean everyone will be happy with the notion: that Scorpio So. Node doesn't let go easily. Trump is experiencing his second Chiron-Chiron opposition as we speak (see Biwheel #2 with his nativity): it’s time to come to grips with foundational wounds that drive him and to hopefully accept responsibility for his actions. A tall order, for sure. Unfortunately, the health of our nation (6th house Pluto) may be in the balance.  



Final thoughts 

There’s no denying that in the short few years of his political career, Trump’s aggressively divisive character and sense of absolute impunity have posed substantial challenges for the nation. Chances are good that we’re far from “done” with him yet, but the best we can hope for is that he will catalyze much-needed transformations in American politics. That Pluto t-square to the Nodal axis in Chart #3 suggests as much.  

Meanwhile, the Manhattan court where Trump will be arraigned today will likely look like a circus in progress, and a lot of it will likely be led by extremist ringleader Marjorie Taylor Greene. Which tells us which faction of our politics is looking to benefit from this sorry situation. Personally, I will be ignoring as much of it as possible. Attention is the fuel, is it not?  


[1] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, p. 245.


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. 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: 

© Raye Robertson 2023. All rights reserved. 


*Note: all charts used in this article were cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.