Bibi’s Bubble

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel has recently managed to pour gasoline on the long-standing political swamp fires of Washington. Essentially, Netanyahu colluded with House Speaker John Boehner to schedule a speech in front of Congress that will attempt to derail American negotiations with Iran. Moreover, the White House was not informed prior to the scheduling of Netanyahu’s March 3 speech, making this a serious breach of the usual diplomatic protocol, especially as it falls just before the Israeli election. Republicans, who shamelessly manage to grandstand every issue with little attention to reality simply for the pleasure of attacking President Obama, now have the Prime Minister of Israel lending strength to their posturing. Unfortunately for Netanyahu, his antics have greatly diminished him in the eyes of many Americans, and many Israelis are also not happy about him injecting himself into American politics.

Astrologically, this is a difficult time for Netanyahu, and it is not clear that he will win his coming election. If he does manage a victory, he is nonetheless likely to be significantly weakened in some way. Currently, Saturn is stationary in a semisquare to his Moon (19Libra57) from February 8 through March 15. Though the Saturn transit will be waning by the time of the March 17 election, transiting Mars in opposition to Netanyahu’s Moon from March 16 to March 18 may be enough to give this stressful transit a final burst of potency. netanyahu

In addition, transiting Uranus is quincunx Netanyahu’s Saturn (15Virgo24), itself under a long-standing square from progressed Chiron, from February 7 through March 18. Uranus here brings upsets and problematic surprises that involve Netanyahu’s tendency for rigid dogma and inflexible thinking (9th house Saturn). Moreover, transiting Pluto is currently trine to Netanyahu’s natal Saturn, from February 7 through May 11, bringing the tumultuous and difficult Uranus/Pluto square into direct contact with natal Saturn during the entire election period. And finally, transiting Saturn is presently quincunx natal Uranus (4Cancer58) from February 9 to March 14, suggesting that he feels trapped in some way, most likely relating to the intractable situation he has created with the March 3 speech. All of these stressful transits began as the opposition and anger over the speech gathered steam. That their impact continues well past the time of the speech itself, and, in fact, close to or past the March 17 election, does not bode well for Netanyahu.

The Tel Aviv Spring Equinox charts for 2014 and 2015 also point to sudden, strong shifts spring2014jerusalemin the days leading up to and immediately after the election. Whether this indicates an actual change in leadership is not clear, but it is certainly possibly under these configurations. The 2014 chart, which has jurisdiction up until the March 21, 2015, Equinox, shows transiting Uranus, the planet of sudden, powerful and unexpected transformation, crossing the Descendant (15Aries20) for the final time on the day of the election. Within two days it moves into the last one-degree-orb of a square to the MC (16Cancer29), rendering this entire critical period one steeped in the potent feel of upheaval and change. As we move into the reign of the 2015 Spring Equinox chart, beginning in the early hours of March 21, we find Uranus conjunct the IC (16Aries09), waxing in potency through April 1. This again points to transformation and a powerful change in trajectory for Israel, characterized by swiftly moving events. The involvement of the IC suggests circumstances that impact the heart and soul of the people. spring2015jerusalem

Netanyahu’s opponent in this race is the Leader of the Labor Party, Isaac Herzog, born September 22, 1960. His chart also points to rapid and powerful changes around the time of the election. Not only is the Uranus/Pluto square in hard aspect to his Mercury (16Libra26) and possibly his Moon ((16Libra58, at noon, local time), during this critical period, but his progressed Sun is currently square to natal Uranus (23Leo44), waxing approximately through May 2015, and triggered late on the night of the election by the transiting Moon. Thus, he is undergoing significant changes in his life which may well include a potent shift in his political status.

It seems very possible that Israel’s government will change direction in this upcoming election due to Netanyahu’s intransigence and narrow-mindedness (9th house Saturn) being severely impacted by the Uranus/Pluto square, as well as other adverse aspects. Nonetheless, how these complicated and diverse planetary aspects will actually play out remains to be seen.

Path of Destruction

Like an unleashed tornado ravishing the geopolitical landscape of the world, the final waxing square between Uranus and Pluto is uprooting governments, rousing nations to war, and laying waste to the established balance of power in many places. In just a few weeks, Yemen’s Western-supported government has been ousted, while a burgeoning civil war ravishes the landscape; Jordon and Egypt have begun bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria and Libya, respectively, in response to vicious acts of terrorism recently committed against their citizens; and the Ukrainian ceasefire has all but collapsed amidst a new wave of violence.

As ISIS unfurls its flag in parts of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, while AQAP increasingly flexes its muscle in Yemen, and Boko Haram spreads its deranged violence beyond Nigeria’s borders, ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks are increasingly erupting throughout the Middle East, into Western Europe, and beyond. In reaction to all of this provocation, many in the family of nations have begun to put aside their differences and push back hard. The overwhelming onslaught of criminal barbarity from these radical extremists, loosely garbed in megalomaniacal religious jargon, has become so unhinged that the civilized world is moving towards a new unity of response.

The final protracted thrust of the Uranus/Pluto square will continue to build through March 16, 2015, the last of seven exact aspects over three years. These last weeks of the transit, moreover, will include stimulation from other planets and are therefore likely to contain some very dramatic and potentially violent events. Transiting Jupiter will be trine to Uranus and quincunx to Pluto from February 20 through February 28, suggesting an intensification of the outrageous and unexpected events (Uranus) that have become the hallmark of ISIS, as well as an intensification of the fierce power struggle (Pluto) unfolding between the criminality of the extremists and those who stand for the protection of civilization. In addition, Mars will enter its natural sign of Aries on February 20, enabling it to more fully express its aggression than in the previous water sign of Pisces. Moreover, from roughly March 8 through March 12, Mars will move into a conjunction with Uranus and a square to Pluto, exacerbating the already overwhelming tensions of the exact Uranus/Pluto square of the first half of March. These are likely to be days of extraordinary confrontations and violence, as well as potentially very extreme and dangerous weather events.

The intensity of the profound power struggles that are the signature of the Uranus/Pluto square will begin to dissipate after March 2015, with a brief, final flare-up in January and February 2016 when the these two planets move close to a one-degree orbed square for the final time. Nonetheless, by far the greatest impact of this historical aspect is being felt in the present, through mid-March.

Of interest in the US chart is that both Uranus and Pluto are presently in hard aspect to the US Saturn (14Libra48). The Pluto square to US Saturn will be exact on February 22, while the Uranus opposition will continue to increase in strength through March 8, USchartsuggesting unexpected, upsetting, and transformative events over the next 17 days. The Pluto transit will return from mid-April through mid-June and late November through late December 2015.

This Pluto transit to the US 10th house Saturn intensifies the US drive to decisively impact the world, while at the same time highlighting the clear limitations of US power to affect change. It is a frustrating, humbling, and disturbing transit, as the US chafes to shape events that are overwhelmingly uncontrollable. As MSNBC host Chris Hayes pointed out recently: we tried air power and then retreat in Libya; we tried staying out of the conflict in Syria; and we tried invading and nation-building in Iraq, and none of these had a successful outcome. The underlying reality, he suggested, is that we just don’t have the power to fully shape events to our liking, no matter what we do. The stark awareness of this humbling truth is a manifestation of transiting Pluto square US Saturn, and it will be coming back with greater strength during the Pluto station from mid-April to mid-June, when it will be joined by Saturn quincunx US Venus (April 16 to May 2) and by Saturn semisquare US Saturn (June 3 to June 18). This springtime period seems likely to be a very difficult time in the ongoing war with ISIS when our limitations in waging this conflict become painfully apparent.

In the near term, the Jupiter station from mid-March through April 11 will be conjunct President Obama’s Sun (12Leo33), suggesting a period of great success which follows the very violent period of the first half of March. We may see some significant victories during this nearly four-week timeframe, both politically and in the war against ISIS. With transiting Pluto in aspect to the US Saturn and the US Sun (13Cancer19) through most of 2015, however, the beginning of any real release from the fierceness of this historical confrontation seems likely not to come until early in 2016.

Denizens of Darkness

Like some kind of demonic circus from the far corners of Hell, the Islamic State continues to horrify the world with its ever-deepening descent into depravity. In a perpetual state of dread, we anxiously await the next unnerving travesty.

Last summer, flourishing its own brand of “shock and awe”, the Islamic State marauders swiftly devoured half of Iraq in a stunning series of unexpected victories. This was quickly followed by an ongoing barrage of ruthless savagery. Murder and mayhem soon metastasized into extraordinary forms of brutality against children, sexual slavery of women, uncounted beheadings, and, most recently, the burning alive of a captive pilot. These abominations were then brazenly broadcast across the world in a naked attempt to seduce further minions to join this group of power-crazed and diabolical fanatics.

The astrological chart that seems most fitting for this rabid death cult is drawn for its shift from Al Qaida in Iraq to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on April 8, 2013 (also given for 4/9/13). The goals and identity (the Sun) in this chart are completely merged with a fierce aggression (Mars), while also demonstrating a strong appeal (Venus) to the frustrated and angry terrorist wannabes of the world. This is described in a tight Sun/Mars/Venus conjunction in the martial sign of Aries. Moreover, the ISILprogressions point to the burgeoning of action and aggression beginning in the spring of 2014 and continuing through October 2015, as the progressed Sun moves to conjunct natal Mars (20Aries51, exact in June 2015), while converse Mars moves to conjunct natal Sun (18Aries41, exact in October 2015). In addition, the attraction of the group for recruits is suggested by progressed Sun conjunct Venus (21Aries24) and converse Venus conjunct the Sun, together covering all of 2015 through April 2016.

At the moment, there is a Saturn station sitting in a square with Neptune (4Pisces26) in the ISIL chart which suggests significant problems developing from January 31 through April 7. The recent claim by ISIL that a Jordanian airstrike killed an American hostage did not create fear and divisiveness, as, no doubt, was expected, but instead stirred only disbelief and scorn in the world. It seems likely that yet more air will seep out of the overheated extremist balloon during this transit. In essence, the propaganda and expectations (Neptune) were thwarted (Saturn).

Nonetheless, actual defeat of the Islamic State may take a few years, continuing to unfold as the Uranus/Pluto square sweeps through the very volatile natal stellium in Aries. The impact of Uranus conjunct the stellium will be most noted in 2015 and 2016, suggesting brazen and destructive action and many sudden and unexpected twists and turns to the conflict. The impact of Pluto square the stellium will be very strong from 2017 through 2019, suggesting the experience of a battle for survival and a huge feel of power struggle and potential annihilation. I would think that this latter period may be when the group is ultimately defeated, especially during the Saturn transit through Capricorn of 2018 and 2019, which will adversely impact not only the Aries configuration in the ISIL chart, but also the Sun (7 Cancer), Pluto (12 Capricorn), Uranus (16 Aries), and Mars (17Libra) in the chart for the declaration of the Caliphate (6/29/14).

In the near future, Uranus will first cross the Sun conjunct converse Mars progression in the ISIL chart (18Aries41) from April 28 through May 17, suggesting surprise attacks, extreme violence, and unhinged behavior that may shift the trajectory of events in some way. Interestingly, this transit will also launch a difficult period described in the chart for the leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (6/28/71). From mid-May through early October 2015, there will be a series of Saturn transits suggesting setbacks, frustrations, and difficulties for him. Saturn will square natal Saturn (01Gemini), conjunct natal Neptune (00Sagitarius), and station sesquiquadrate natal Mercury (14 Cancer) during this period. The latter aspect will in part be accompanied by the Pluto transit opposite natal Mercury, suggesting significant problems for Baghdadi in June.

The next Uranus transit conjunct the ISIL Sun, from September 9 through October 9 and triggering the last of the converse Mars square to the Sun, suggests some very dramatic, violent confrontations, and again a shifting trajectory that impacts this conflict in some way. It is possible that this eruption may serve to push ISIL back for a period of time, but the return of Uranus to the ISIL Sun in March 2016, followed by its  crossing of Mars from March 2016 through early 2017, may serve to reignite the struggle, though perhaps not to the same intensity as occurred in 2014 and 2015 under the strong Mars progressions. The arrival of the initial Pluto square the Sun beginning in 2017 would seem to signify the final protracted two-year period of a debilitating struggle to maintain control against increasing odds.

The Republican Horde

These days, the world seems to be swimming in Republican White House wannabes. Their faces and tantalizing bits from their speeches dribble over cable news like chocolate over a fancy dessert. They taunt us with their creative metaphors and inventive attacks on anything even faintly Obama-tinged. Sometimes, they even cloak themselves in some populist sounding rhetoric, but drilling down always unearths the same old anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-immigrant, anti-Obamacare meat and potatoes. No matter the veneer, it is inevitably the agenda of the deep-pocketed Republican Party landlords that undergirds these campaigns for high office, mindlessly supported by those in the GOP peanut gallery who have been carefully marinated for years in righteous, rageful indignation and numbing fear.

In a strange version of a quadrennial mating ritual, every four years candidates from each Party compete for the attention and ultimate support of their Party’s voters, ostensibly over substance and policy, but in reality over style, charisma, and a carefully-crafted strength of character. Who is the most entertaining guest on late night TV? Who can inspire confidence and remain likeable on the Sunday news shows? Who remains unflappable in the face of challenge and controversy? Essentially, the candidates perform, and the Party chooses to whom it will pledge its troth.

In the presidential elections of the past two and half decades (as far back as I have researched), except for the second election of Junior Bush, the person ending up in the Oval Office always had very strong activity from the planet Venus, usually including strong progressions. This indicated the intense popularity and enthusiasm of devoted fans that usually accompanies a White House win. We find this in both Bill Clinton elections, in the first George W. Bush “election”, and in both Barack Obama elections. Interestingly, there was also some strong Venus activity in the charts of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in 2008, with both of these candidates also enjoying an extremely fervent group of devotees at that time.

What is most striking in today’s extensive Republican lineup, is that no one seems to have that extra Venus “glow” that brings with it impassioned followers and the possibility of a strong win. From an astrological perspective, they are all lukewarm, although some look a little stronger than others. Coming out of the gate, I would say we can eliminate Chris Christie (9/6/62), who will alternatively have transiting Saturn square to his Sun, square to his Pluto, and semisquare his Venus for much of the campaign season. His candidacy will never get off the ground. Likewise, Rick Perry (5/4/50, 10:40 AM, Haskell, TX) will be under transiting Saturn square to his natal Sun and square to his natal Saturn/Moon conjunction covering most of January through May as well as October and November 2016, essentially eliminating him from contention.

Rick Santorum (5/10/58) is another one destined to lose the nomination, bearing the brunt of both 2016 Saturn stations, semisquare his Node from mid-February through mid-April, and square his Mars from July through August, indicating obstacles and a lackluster performance.

Marco Rubio (5/29/71) is an additional potential nominee whose chart shows little in the way of strong momentum. Currently, he has transiting Neptune square to his natal Sun, impacting him through most of 2015 and suggesting his currently high expectations that may be dashed when the voting begins. January and again May and June 2016 will bring Saturn quincunx his Venus/Mercury conjunction and not much else.

Mike Huckabee’s chart (8/24/55) indicates significant difficulties this year, especially from May through September, perhaps pointing to the struggle to gain sufficient financing for a campaign. Saturn will be square to his Sun and station square his Venus, while Pluto simultaneously stations sesquiquadrate his Venus. Again, there is not much to suggest success in 2016.

Rand Paul (1/7/63) also seems to have some difficulties in 2015 with transiting Saturn conjunct his Venus, again possibly with financing a presidential run, but 2016 will bring an enormous amount of energy to his struggle to win the nomination. Transiting Pluto will conjunct his Sun from late January to early June, while his progressed Sun will oppose first progressed Pluto then natal Pluto from July 2015 through August 2017. The latter is triggered strongly by a conjunction of natal Pluto by the transiting Node from August through mid-October 2016. This potent combination of Sun/Pluto configurations points to Paul being embroiled in a colossal confrontation for the entire campaign season. With Saturn stationary square to his Jupiter from July through early September, it is not impossible to imagine him losing the GOP nomination and then running as an independent, or perhaps running as the Vice presidential nominee.

Unlike the others mentioned above, Scott Walker (11/2/67) begins 2016 with some strong configurations. Transiting Jupiter will station on his natal Pluto/Venus conjunction and semisquare his natal Mercury from December 2015 through early February 2016 pointing to some initial success in the early primaries. Interestingly, converse progressed Jupiter will be square to his natal Neptune through the summer and further triggered by transiting Uranus quincunx Neptune from late May through late September, pointing to high and unrealistic expectations that seem likely to be dashed by October.

Of great concern, for those who still believe in truth and democracy despite the many obstacles, is that Ted Cruz (12/22/70), whose demagoguery is a constant poison spewn across the body politic, will become quite popular in late 2015 and 2016, as progressed Venus moves to conjunct his natal Sun from April 2015 to April 2016, followed by progressed Sun square his natal Venus, from June 2016 through June 2017. He will have a fervent, intense following much like Sarah Palin did in 2008. Moreover, he has several strong and positive indicators at the time of the election. This may point to him being somewhat of a kingmaker in congressional elections and being smug and satisfied with the outcome. He doesn’t seem particularly strong during the primaries, so let us not consider the unlikely and truly horrifying possibility of him winning the presidency. Nonetheless, he will be a force to contend with.

And finally, let us consider Jeb Bush (2/11/53, 8:50 PM, Midland, TX) who has recently enjoyed the station of Jupiter on his Pluto and opposite his Sun in November and December 2014, as he entered the presidential sweepstakes, expanded his power base, and received overwhelmingly positive press. In addition, the Jupiter station in March and April 2015 will conjunct his South Node and square his Jupiter, likely cementing his frontrunner status and pushing him up in the polls.

December 2015 and January 2016, the beginning of primary season, will bring Jupiter conjunct Jeb’s Ascendant, square his Midheaven, and quincunx his Sun, suggesting significant success. However, February will bring progressed Moon quincunx to natal Saturn, highlighting significant difficulties. There is also the omnipresent progression of Saturn to his natal Neptune throughout the campaign season, and triggered by multiple transits. This points to high expectations alternating with anxiety and dashed hopes. Perhaps the nomination will not be sewn up as easily as he would like. It may be that he consolidates the nomination from mid-April to mid-May during the Jupiter station trine his Jupiter combined with the assertiveness of converse Moon opposite Mars at that time. He does seem reasonably strong for the Convention speech on July 21, and early August will bring a repeat of the expansive and optimistic Jupiter transit across his Ascendant, etc. But no one falls in love with his candidacy, and the transit of Saturn semisquare his Moon during the second half of June and again during much of September will make this apparent.

Thus, from what I can tell at this point in time, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush are the candidates to watch. My guess is that Jeb Bush will make a flawed and uninspiring nominee, with Rand Paul possibly complicating matters from an independent run, and Ted Cruz stirring up trouble with his noxious attacks from La La Land.

Confronting Terrorism

The explosive events that transpired in Paris earlier this month have brought us to the next iteration of the global confrontation with violent extremism. It is no longer about fearing what will happen when seasoned jihadi fighters come home to Western Europe and the US. They have already arrived and are wreaking havoc.

We are now in the final, protracted phase of the Uranus/Pluto square, which has been impacting the world since 2011 and will strengthen through mid-March 2015, while continuing to be felt through much of the year. During this multi-year period, historical power struggles are shaping and transforming world history. In the US, various civil rights issues have intensified into sharp confrontations, including immigration, police overreach against minorities, voting rights, and gay rights. The dangerously accelerating reality of Climate Change is another manifestation of this momentous transit and portends a massive, multi-tiered effort that will have to be faced if we wish to save our civilization. And, perhaps above all, the war against violent extremism has taken a new and ominous turn: in Iraq, in Syria, among our allies in Europe, and at home.

Some of the most noteworthy expressions of this highly consequential Uranus/Pluto configuration may be seen in the unfolding events in the Arab world. Initially, the hope and optimism of the revolutionary wave of protest from late 2010 through 2012, known as the Arab Spring, toppled multiple governments across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately, this created a great deal of instability and some festering power struggles in several countries, as the hated tyrannies collapsed but more progressive institutions were not yet formed to take their places.

One thread that grew out of this massive wave of rebellion led to the protracted and devastating Syrian civil war. This, in turn, evolved from an anti-Assad rebellion to the drive for a Muslim Caliphate and a frightening invigoration of violent extremism, setting in motion the conquering of large swaths of Syria and Iraq by the savage and barbaric ISIS. Now, we are witnessing the further metastases of this virulent strain of soulless brutality turning up in pockets throughout Europe and America. The call to arms has gone out to any disaffected and angry loner, as well as to the seasoned soldiers returning from a cruel and merciless war of conquest. It is a call for sociopaths of the world to unite, thinly cloaked in a perverted and grossly distorted version of Islam. And Western nations, after Paris, can no longer avoid facing it full on, both at home and in Syria, Iraq, and probably Yemen.

January has brought an extended amplification of the Uranus/Pluto square due to the transiting Node (12-13 Libra) opposite Uranus (12 Aries) and square to Pluto (13Capricorn) from January 6 through January 20. This configuration was set off by transiting Mars (28 Aquarius), from January 7 to January 10, in semisquare to both Uranus and Pluto, and largely coincidental with much of the violence in Paris. Since then and likely continuing through January 20, this transit of the Node to the Uranus/Pluto square is bringing a fast-paced and agitated focus on the threat of terrorism emanating out of the ISIS/Al Qaida nexus in the Middle East. Subsequent to the dramatic events in Paris, multiple terrorist cells have been broken up and numerous arrests have been made by stepped-up raids in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, and France. Further action may come early on the 19th when the Moon activates a nearly exact Uranus/South Node conjunction.

As of February 1, the Uranus/Pluto square will build in intensity through March 17. Even minor activations, such as from the transiting Moon, may be enough to incite minor but noteworthy events. The next strong activation will come in late February when Jupiter (14 Leo) quincunxes Pluto (14 Capricorn) and trines Uranus (14 Aries) from February 21 through March 3. This will be followed by the exceptionally dangerous and violent crossing of Mars (15Aries) to Uranus (15Aries) and square Pluto (15Capricorn) felt from March 8 to March 12, while the Uranus/Pluto square nears its last exact crossing on March 17. Thus, the last week of February and the first half of March will again see rapidly unfolding and transformative events, many which will include significant violence, especially when Mars is involved during the second week of March. Any of the various struggles that have developed during the Uranus/Pluto square of the last few years may be highlighted during this time, including Climate Change, civil rights, and the waxing conflict in Iraq and Syria, as well as the parallel battle against terrorism at home among the Western alliance.

It should be noted that the US chart indicates some stressful situations during the second half of January through February 22. In particular, the second half of January includes the Saturn transit quincunx the US Venus (3Cancer06) and opposite President Obama’s Moon (3Gemini21), pointing to some kind of financial contraction or other sense of loss or USchartupset during this time. The first crossing of Pluto square US Saturn (14Libra48), from January 20 to February 22, will also come during this period. This aspect points to an intensification of the US sense of responsibility in the world, as well as an anxiety-provoking feeling of power struggle against a potent and dangerous foe. Under these combined configurations, the confrontation with violent extremism is likely to be slippery, difficult, and dangerous.