27th Apr, 2017

Korean Danger

Although the cacophonous brinksmanship between the US and North Korea of last week has been drowned out by the discussion of the nation-wrecking tax cuts proposed by the Poseur-in-Chief this week,  the alarming tensions with North Korea still simmer dangerously close to a boil, albeit on the back burner.  Allowing two self-indulgent schoolyard bullies to lock horns in a crowded corner of the world is no way to run a foreign policy, but here we are. Both Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump have melded their fragile egos, their haughty inability to back down, and their reckless belligerence with their respective nations’ foreign policy and national pride. As a result, we are playing a game of chicken with millions of lives in the crosshairs.

Most of April was complicated by the station of Venus in an exact square with the station of Saturn, putting much of the world on edge. As that aspect began to wane after April 21, so too did the universal tension that came with it, including some of the angst that came with the escalating tensions between the US and North Korea.  There was also a general exhalation when the moderate candidate Macron came through the first round of the French election, signaling that France may find a centrist path forward and remain tied to Europe.

From mid-May to mid-June, the US will experience a Jupiter station square to the US Sun (13Cancer19), further intensified by the transiting Node from May 12 to May 24. Somewhat simultaneously, transiting Uranus will be square to US Pluto (27Capricorn33), from May 21 to June 13. These configurations suggest expansionist and, initially, fairly successful policies. We might see a growing military presence around the Korean peninsula at that time, accompanied by a lot of American chest thumping.

As I have said repeatedly, difficulties come to the US and Trump by late June and continue through at least mid-October, due to a series of Saturn transits that hit both charts quite hard. If we have not been cautious and circumspect in our dealings with North Korea, it seems likely that this situation will become a highly problematic and costly mess. In addition, the Trump/Russian investigation may be doing significant damage during that same period.

The chart of Kim Jong Un shows increasingly erratic aggression from June 11 through August 19 due to transiting Uranus opposite his Mars (28Libra26), and intensified by the unrealistic expectations of a concurrent transit of Neptune in sesquiquadrate. Added to this is the transit of Pluto conjunct his natal Sun (17Capricorn01), from mid-July through late October 2017, suggesting that he is embroiled in a major power struggle at that time, either internally within his own government or with the US or perhaps both.

Of great concern is the period from July 25 to August 1, when not only Pluto but Jupiter will be in aspect to Kim’s Sun (17Capricorn01), suggesting a grandiose push for power. This coincides somewhat with the Pluto and Jupiter transits to Donald Trump’s Jupiter (17Libra27) from July 28 to August 4, intensifying the already megalomaniacal power push of transiting Pluto square Trump’s Jupiter from June 28 to August 8.  

In both Kim and Trump’s charts, this Pluto/Jupiter combination seems like a mix of far too much recklessness (Jupiter) with a somewhat heedless, yet compulsive, attempt to crush the opposition (Pluto). The fact that it comes during the protracted Saturn station opposite US Mars (21Gemini23) and conjunct Trump’s Moon (21Sagittarius12) from 7/16 to 9/12 spells nothing but trouble, stemming from any action that is not careful, meticulous, and very restrained, the exact opposite of combined Pluto and Jupiter. Let us hope the generals running our foreign policy can keep a rein on our impulsive president and his compulsive need to win at any cost while gleefully smashing his enemy to pieces.

14th Apr, 2017

Martial Fantasy

There is something that heats American blood and suffuses us with a magical rush of adrenaline when we witness our country’s most macho moments of military devastation against a perceived “bad guy”.  Those early flashes of consummate strength offer a heady and satisfying surge of potency.   Unfortunately, our collective memory is so short as to be almost non-existent, and we forget the long, painful, and draining slogs that often follow these moments, especially when the consequences have not been initially well considered. Witness Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and, now, possibly Syria, North Korea, and potentially the newly expanded war on ISIS, if we are not careful.

We should also be acutely aware that our new Commander-in-Chief just got his first real taste of an immensely satisfying adrenaline power surge when he bombed a Syrian military airstrip in response to Bashar al Assad’s recent chemical attack. After non-stop chaos, humiliation, and frustration in his new administration, this was a game-changing moment for President Narcissist, giving him, for the first time, near universal acclaim. It is hard to not imagine him almost compulsively hungering for more of the same.

In the US chart, there are two planetary configurations to watch that relate to this particular pattern. The first is the Mars (21Gemini23) square to Neptune (22Virgo25) which points to military adventurism that is, at first, exuberating and exciting, but is often followed by disillusion, disappointment, and loss.  During the late 1960’s, while the Vietnam War was heating up, the transiting Uranus/Pluto conjunction was crossing 21-22 Virgo, a powerful stimulus to the US Mars/Neptune square. And during much of the George Bush administration, as we expanded our messy footprint in both Iraq and Afghanistan, transiting Pluto crossed 21-22 Sagittarius while transiting Uranus crossed 21-22 Pisces, again over-stimulating the grandiose expectations and ultimate disappointment of the Mars/Neptune square.

The second configuration in the US chart to note in this regard is the Sun (13Cancer19) square to a tenth house Saturn (14Libra48).   Saturn tends to put a rein on the more egotistical and overly proud tendencies of the Sun. Moreover, a tenth house Saturn is known to humble those who think they are invincible.  During the final months of the Vietnam conflict leading to the fall of Saigon, transiting Saturn was crossing the US Sun and squaring US Saturn (August 1974 through May 1975).  President Nixon resigned during the first crossing of Saturn to the US Sun (symbolic of the president) in August 1974.

At present, the US Sun is about to receive a long station of Jupiter in a square aspect from May 13 to June 18. We may well see an increase in patriotic fervor and an expansion (Jupiter) of US military power during that time. As always during Jupiter transits, the mood remains very optimistic and proud, but some amount of recklessness and poor judgement is a danger.  Of great concern is that this Jupiter station is followed by a long, slow Saturn station square to US Neptune and opposite US Mars, from July 1 through October 4.  This Saturn transit is likely to bring in the disappointment and loss that often follows the initial exuberance of American military adventurism. A painful reality (Saturn) check seems likely.

As for Donald Trump during the current period, the planets are informative. After two and half months of turmoil and resistance to his new administration, Trump had a series of wins over the past week. With transiting Jupiter conjunct his natal Jupiter from April 6 through April 13, Trump garnered one success after another. First, in response to the chemical weapons attack, he bombed the Syrian military airport to near universal acclaim. Next, his Supreme Court nominee was rammed through the Senate. He also had a successful meeting with the Chinese President, and, on the final day of this transit, he announced, in truly Jupiterian grandiosity and flair, that he used the “Mother of all Bombs” on a Taliban cave complex in Afghanistan. 

Strong Jupiter transits are likely to always bring moments of triumph to Donald Trump. Jupiter will be semisquare to his Ascendant (29Leo53) from April 27 through May 6 and July 1 through July 14. The final Jupiter return will come from July 28 through August 4. These may be times of expansionist gestures from the president, with some possibility of short-term success, especially during the upcoming Jupiter semisquare the ascendant (4/27 to 5/6) which will precede the series of Saturn transits in Trump’s chart beginning on June 11, likely to mitigate any benefits from Jupiter over the summer.

Thus, we might expect some more assertive and seemingly successful military action in late April and early May (Jupiter semisquare Trump’s Ascendant), followed by a big US “hoorah” from mid-May to mid-June (Jupiter square US Sun). The latter may relate to successful military action or it may relate of national pride that our democracy is not as moribund as it once seemed in its ability to stand up to Trump’s perfidious dishonesty and behavior.  In any event, things begin to get very stressful for Trump at the same time as the US optimism soars with the Jupiter station, perhaps relating to the metastasizing investigation of his campaign’s Russian ties. The transit of Saturn quincunx his natal Venus (25Cancer44) from May 13 through May 29 suggests a great deal of criticism and diminishing poll numbers.  Moreover, trouble comes to his administration in June, when Saturn comes back to square Mars (24Pisces28), semisquare the Moon (9Scorpio22), and conjunct Saturn (23Sagittarius31) in the Inaugural chart. This will set off major resistance to and anger at the Trump administration during all of June.

In Trump’s natal chart we find transiting Saturn quincunx natal Saturn (23Cancer48) as of June 11 through June 25, followed by Saturn opposite the Sun (22Gemini56) from June 24 to July 7 and again from September 26 to October 12, with the slow Saturn station conjunct his Moon (21Sagittarius12) from July 20 through September 1. In addition, his progressed Moon will conjunct progressed Saturn from June 25 through July 21, and transiting Saturn will return to quincunx natal Saturn and then natal Venus from mid-October to mid-November. This is a devastating series of aspects particularly as they parallel the long Saturn transit to the US Mars/Neptune square from July 1 to early October. Essentially, the country will be struggling and very upset over something, as well as feeling some significant losses, and Donald Trump is being blamed.

4th Apr, 2017

April Showers

We are now in the zone of the protracted Saturn/Venus square of April, most intensive from April 4 through April 21. Generally any Saturn station brings a time of stress to a large swath of people, but this one will be intensified by the stationing Venus. As is always the case, we can describe the energies swirling around astrological aspects but not the actual manifestation of our predictions.

I know that for myself, I am feeling a sense of loss and sorrow witnessing the Senate about to commit hari-kari, as it moves to kill the filibuster and, with it, the last vestiges of any hope for bipartisan anything in Congress.  I am also feeling a deep sense of shame and disgust as I watch the growing perversion of democratic norms by the vapid, self-serving, and consummately dishonest Trump machine now running the country.  It seems like every time I listen to the news, I need a bath to wash off a new layer of Trumpian corruption and toxicity.

Unfortunately, Trump himself will have a Jupiter return from April 6 through April 13, suggesting some kind of win for him, possibly the Gorsuch nomination. Of perhaps greater interest, however, will be the Jupiter station square to the US Sun from May 13 through June 18. Normally, Jupiter transits to the US Sun are a time of increased patriotism, American optimism, and national pride. 

Again, speaking personally, the one thing that would make me feel a newly inspired sense of national pride would be for our much-vaunted institutions to actually function to restrain the growing darkness that is currently trying to subvert them. Thus, we would see the many layers of our “checks and balances” function as they are supposed to in order to aggressively thwart the potentially mortal toxicity that has taken hold of the nation. Congress would fully and impartially investigate Trump’s misdeeds with integrity and without partisan distortions and self-interest; the courts would stand up for the rule of law despite the scourge and possible danger of Trump’s malicious tweets; and the press would expose, reveal, and stay focused on the truly important stories of the day despite the noxious barrage of misinformation and distraction.

Some of this is already coming to pass. The courts have acted to defend the rule of law and to restrain some of Trump’s most heinous executive orders.  The press has been far less easily manipulated and much more responsible and focused than they were during the campaign.  Insofar as Congress is concerned, however, there are only a few hints of healthy functionality, and those are in the Senate, as the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee actually demonstrates some measure of objectivity in their investigation of the metastasizing octopus of the Trump /Russia connection. The House Intelligence Committee, on the other hand, has been led into a partisan ditch by the idiocy of Chairman Devin Nunes. It remains to be seen if there is the necessary will to fix that extraordinary cluster****.

Nonetheless, the Jupiter transit square to the US Sun (5/13 to 6/18) suggests something positive and uplifting for the country at large. Concurrent to the second half of this Jupiter transit, however, will be the transit of Saturn square to Inaugural Mars and semisquare to Inaugural Moon (6/3 to 6/17), as well as conjunct Inaugural Saturn (6/13 to 6/29). These configurations suggest that while the country is feeling hopeful and patriotic, simultaneously, the most restrictive, frustrating, and stressful aspect in Trump’s Inaugural chart will be triggered.  Thus, while he feels his hands are tied and his anger rages (Saturn/Mars square), and while the public is extremely agitated about his administration (Saturn/Moon semisquare), the country will be feeling a wave of patriotism. It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds.

It should also be noted that the Inaugural Mars/Saturn/Moon configuration, which invariable spells trouble for Trump when it is stimulated in some way, will receive a minor activation from May 9 through May 15 by tertiary progressed Moon conjunct natal and progressed Saturn and square Mars. Interestingly, this brief period will launch the Jupiter transit.

As for Trump himself, the long, slow slog of his summer trouble begins around June 11, with the Saturn transit quincunx his natal Saturn (6/11 to 6/25). The immense difficulties then go into high gear from June 24 through October 23, as Saturn moves to oppose his Sun and conjunct his Moon, while his progressed Moon moves to conjunct progressed Saturn (6/25 to 7/21).  If he actually leaves office, it will be during this period. Otherwise, he may stick around for most if not all of the next four years. And much depends on how muscular and coherent our democratic institutions can become during this time of crisis.

Glittering promises rained down upon the massive crowds, like candy tossed by Santa at a Christmas parade. To these bespelled and gullible throngs, dying industries would be revived, bringing back millions of well-paying jobs. Healthcare would be universal, cheap, and generous. All those nasty foreigners that are stealing our country would be expelled. And the greedy, corrupt government that wants to take our freedom and our money would be cleansed. Just hitch your wagon to that of the very rich, very successful, powerhouse Donald Trump, and everything would be “terrific” once again.

The repeated slogans that played on grievances and offered a shimmering mirage of the coming “greatness” became fuel for the raging bonfire of 2016’s Trumpmania.  “Lock her up”, “Lying press”, “Dishonest Hillary”, “Build a wall”, “Repeal and replace”, “Forgotten men and women”, and “Drain the swamp” kept the conflagration of rage and unbridled hope burning.

Now, as winter winds into spring, the stars are still shining brightly in the eyes of most of the cultish Trump worshipers, but the reality of his agenda is beginning to bleed through. The proposed replacement of Obamacare, known alternatively as Trumpcare or Ryancare, promises to rip health coverage away from 24 million people over the next decade, while offering billions in huge tax cuts for the super-rich. The orgy of regulation destruction set upon by Trump and his minions will save the global corporatists and their stockholders billions but will unharness massive pollution of the air and water, while cavalierly fueling the growing destruction of climate change.  Moreover, the Trump agenda includes cutting Medicaid, food and housing support for the poor, as well as science research and financial protections, all while lowering taxes on the wealthy and subsidizing a massive military buildup and a useless wall on the southern border.  As for “draining the swamp”, Trump’s cabinet is mostly a cadre of multi-billionaires and the politicians who supported and were subsidized by them.

The consistent thread through all of this is who benefits from these policies. Beyond the manipulative lip-service given to the Trumpophiles, the invariable winners in the real world are the mega-corporations and the billionaire class, and most especially the fossil fuel industry and the weapons manufacturers.  As is well known, deregulation and tax cuts for the rich have been the lifeblood of Republican policy makers for decades, and they are more obvious than ever in the Trump budget and health care proposals. As the fog lifts, draining the swamp has morphed into swelling the swamp, all the better to smother the whole country with its fetid stench.

………………………………

The larger context for the rise of corporatist power in the US today is the waxing Pluto return in the US chart which will be exact throughout much of 2022. Pluto in a natal chart describes an overwhelming, almost compulsive need to take things to an extreme, eventually leading to a profound transformation. Using the Sagittarius rising version of the US chart, Pluto (27Capricorn33) is in the second house, which describes the intense drive for material wealth and the near sacredness of capitalism in the US, as well as the huge pockets of hidden wealth and wielded power among the billionaire class. The coming Pluto return in 2022 is focusing increasing intensity on this position of Pluto, expanding the wealth and the unbridled greed of the oligarchs, as well as leading to an implosion of some kind and a major reset of this process during 2022. It is worth noting that during 2020, from February through most of November, transiting Saturn will cross US Pluto three times, suggesting some leashing of US Pluto during that year and therefore constraining the manifold efforts toward unbridled corporatism, and likely Donald Trump, during that period.

In the more immediate future, the month of April is a cause for concern. From April 5 through April 21, there will be a protracted Venus station (26Pisces54) square to a Saturn station (27Sagittarius43).  It seems likely there will be some ongoing story during that time of loss or sorrow, with unfolding chapters highlighted when transits to 27 degrees from other positions trigger this configuration  (4/8, 4/15- 4/17).  With Donald Trump’s second crossing of his Jupiter return from April 6 through April 13, we may see him opportunistically trying to capitalize on the initial events with some limited success.  Thus far, I have not been able to find any chart with 27 degrees of the mutable signs prominent, not among Trump staff, the US chart, major politicians, or news media. This suggests the most dramatic events will either be very localized in the US and/or impacting a foreign nation. Nonetheless, the protracted Saturn/Venus square suggests something quite difficult and deeply stressful somewhere, and we will have to wait to see where and how it unfolds.

There is a strangely dystopian feel in today’s America, as if we are in some bizarre futuristic reality.  Indeed, a creeping authoritarianism seems to be taking hold, while we are endlessly distracted by the appalling reality show of Trump Unhinged.  We keep missing the important, life-altering stories, while our eyes are glued to the stupefying circus.

The star of the show is, of course, the impulsive, blatantly dishonest, uncontrollable, unpredictable man at the center, Donald Trump. Unfortunately, he is also the president, thereby giving him almost limitless power to wreak havoc.  Many of the policies he is pushing upon us are not based in a realistic understanding of various situations, but instead are based in paranoid delusions of wild dangers and evil conspiracies.   This leads to enormously expensive, wasteful, and often harmful plans being enacted, while the real problems are either ignored or made far worse.

A wall on the Mexican border will do little to actually stop illegal immigration while being a gargantuan waste of resources that could be put to use elsewhere. Proposed funding for this boondoggle is likely to be syphoned from the Coast Guard, FEMA, and the TSA, among other crucial services. The ill-conceived Muslim ban actually threatens our national security by ratcheting up anger, resentment, and hatred against the US.  The hunt for and expulsion of illegal immigrants is breaking up families, hurting American-born children, and often sending away those who have done no harm, not to mention the increased expense of forcefully and precipitously expelling productive members of society. The absurd accusation claiming President Obama had “wiretapped” the Trump campaign has only served to overwhelm the media which should be covering the proposed and deeply problematic GOP replacement for Obamacare, the very real threat of North Korea, and the simmering fury engendered by the Muslim ban. At times, one wonders if this is purposeful distraction or just more unhinged narcissistic paranoia.

Meanwhile, almost 40% of the country seems to be enthralled in a cult-like worship of all things Trump.  Whatever he says is taken as truth, no matter how crazy it may sound to the rest of us and no matter what evidence is presented to the contrary. His followers have essentially been drawn into a bubble of distorted reality, and, much like the followers of any cult, they are captivated by the grandiose delusions of a charismatic and narcissistic leader. Moreover, he has successfully inoculated himself from any media revelations, claiming repeatedly for months now that the mainstream press are liars. In addition, his supporters are used as leverage against a supine Republican Congress that fears more for their own jobs than for the country.

……………………………….

 

Astrologically, the planet associated with deception, delusion, and dishonesty is Neptune. When strong, it can create widespread confusion, misdirection, and unrealistic expectations. Under Neptune, the perception of reality is often twisted by what one wants to see rather than being based on the facts on the ground.  Illusions look like reality, while reality seems confused and murky.

In the US chart, the progressed Sun has been in Pisces, Neptune’s sign, since late 2004 and will remain there until early November 2034. This has increased the tendency to religious and partisan extremes, as well as the highly emotional and changeable reaction to many news stories. The progressed Pisces Sun provides a background theme for other more specific events that unfold over time.

This Neptunian flavor of reality engendered by the progressed Pisces Sun is especially potent when strong progressions and transits intensify its influence. It is at these times when the population or some part of it can be swept away with some form of unrealistic expectation or misperceptions.  Needless to say, we are currently in such a time. Beginning in 2016, from late March through July and returning in 2017 from late February through March 22, transiting Neptune has been and continues to be conjunct the US progressed Sun (12 Pisces).  The first period was when the Trump movement, based in his grandiose proclamations of how he would rescue the victimized masses, began sweeping the nation. The second, current period is when his delusional and unhinged tendencies are becoming increasingly obvious. 

The transit of Neptune conjunct the progressed US Sun will return the summer of 2017, from July 28 through September 3, and then again in 2018, from January 15 through February 18, as well as from September 14, 2018, through January 10, 2019.  It is worth looking deeper into each of these time periods to see what other planetary indicators are simultaneously part of the story.

The current phase of transiting Neptune conjunct the US progressed Sun, from February 22 through March 22, has been accompanied in part by the transit of Jupiter opposite transiting Uranus (2/20 to 3/3), as well as transiting Uranus opposite Inaugural Jupiter (2/20 to 3/13).  These configurations point to the rapidly changing, dramatic, unexpected, and transformative events that have been overwhelming the news cycles. Largely consuming all of them, however, are the illusions, deceptions, and confusion of Neptune.

In addition, using the 12Sagittarius57 rising US chart (5:12PM), we also find the progressed Moon conjunct the Ascendant (2/20 to 3/18), which itself is receiving a square from transiting Neptune (3/9 to 4/4), thereby adding to the confused and unrealistic mood in the country at present. The progressed Moon conjunct the Ascendant, moreover, points to the deep changes currently taking hold in the country.

The next crossing of Neptune to the US progressed Sun will be from July 28 through September 3This comes in the midst of what is likely to be an exceptionally challenging and problematic period for the country and for Mr. Trump. Transiting Saturn will be stationing opposite the US Mars (21Gemini23), square to US Neptune (22Virgo25), and sesquiquadrate US Node (6Leo36), as well as conjunct Trump’s Moon (21Sagittarius12) and opposite his Sun (22Gemini56). The entire length of these extraordinarily difficult Saturn transits extends from June 24 to October 12, 2017. The addition of the progressed Sun/Neptune theme, from late July to early September, suggests wild emotions, great disillusionment, and extreme feelings of loss and confusion.  It is possible this period may serve to deflate the larger-than-life image of himself (Neptune) that Trump has instilled in his followers. It is certain that some of his grandiose plans will hit the brick wall of reality (Saturn) during this time.

Transiting Neptune will cross the US progressed Sun again in 2018, from January 15 through February 18, as well as from September 14 through January 10, 2019. Both periods coincide with Saturn transits opposite US Venus (3Cancer06) and US Jupiter (5Cancer56), suggesting contractions and difficulties financially. The multiple Saturn transits to US Venus may also point to periods of grief in the US over deeply upsetting events of national interest. Late July through early October 2018 is particularly susceptible. The added progressed Sun/Neptune energy adds distrust and disillusionment towards the president (US Sun) at that time, as well as confusion over national goals.

Although the influence of Neptune may be exciting and energizing in its initial phases, it is ultimately corrosive and deflating. Unrealistic expectations collide with the limitations and irrefutability of the facts on the ground. The grandiose delusions that are woven into the Trump persona and the wild expectations he has engendered ultimately contain the seeds of their own unraveling. Moreover, he has created policies to thwart a disturbingly paranoid perception of dangers, threats, and conspiracies, while leaving the real problems to fester or be shortchanged while we wrestle with phantoms. As the multiple Saturn transits unfold in the next few years, it seems likely that a fierce a relentless reality will begin to break down, piece by piece, the multiple layers of Trumpworld delusion.

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