Explosive Events

It has been a difficult summer for President Obama. It seems like every hot spot in the world is erupting simultaneously, each with its own set of intractable problems. Iraq is fracturing into three parts – controlled alternatively by violent Sunni extremists, the Kurds in the North, or a dysfunctional and tyrannical Shiite government – and may be impossible to suture back into one piece. Israel and Gaza are once again at war, with Israel now invading its relentless foe. Meanwhile, Syria’s civil war continues apace, with Assad beginning his third term with taunts of “I told you so” to the world, while his ravaged nation overflows its borders in a massive refugee crisis.  The violent clash between the Ukraine and Russia is again escalating, with the horrific rocket attack on a Malaysian Air passenger jet subsuming the conflict in a global furor. And, at home in the US, the Southern border is awash in children seeking refuge from violence and poverty in their Central American homelands. There are no easy pickings here.

From late May through September 1, the president is under a combination of Saturn transits that point to the frustration and difficulty he is currently under. Most notable is the extremely stressful, protracted Saturn station sesquiquadrate his Venus (1Cancer47) from June 12 to August 3. The conflicting desire to care for these refugee children (Venus), while constrained by numerous legal, financial, and political limitations (Saturn) seems aptly described by this transit.

Also notable is the number of potent and slow-moving Mars transits occurring during this Saturn/Venus period in Obama’s chart. These describe the unusual number of global conflagrations of violence we have seen erupting in the past few months that have created the context for much of the ongoing stress impacting the president. Most recently, during the Mars/North Node conjunction from July 11 through July 13, there was a huge escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza. Then, on Monday, July 14, a brief window of hope occurred for a ceasefire. This glimmer was rapidly extinguished when Hamas continued its rocket launches into Israel. The ceasefire was attempted as the Mars/Node conjunction (23Libra59) began to separate and just before the Sun/Mars square (24 -27 Cancer/Libra) began to take hold, from July 16 through 19. Now, with the Mars/Sun square in full swing, Israel has begun an invasion.

Another manifestation of the explosive Mars/Sun square has been the catastrophic destruction of a Malaysian Air flight over Ukraine, ostensibly by a rocket launched by pro-Russian rebels. This dangerous aspect is likely to bring further violence and convulsive events before it passes, especially during the afternoon and evening of July 18 (EDT) when the Moon forms a T-square with these two fiery bodies.

By July 19 or July 20, as the Sun/Mars square begins to wane, hope for an actual ceasefire in Israel might become more realistic. Sunday, July 20, is also the day that both Uranus and Saturn change direction and begin to separate from a multi-week quincunx. This has been strengthening the Uranus transit square the MC of Israel’s Spring chart MC (16 ½ Cancer), another highly agitating and volatile configuration that will continue through July 27.

If no ceasefire between Israel and Gaza comes just after July 19, the next likely time for a cessation of hostilities may come in the last couple of days of the month or the first couple of days of August.  By August 3, the Saturn sesquiquadrate to Obama’s Venus will begin to wane, somewhat easing the various pressures on him until Saturn moves into a square with his Ascendant 10 days later for the duration of the month. Thus, some of the current intractable crises may ease during that 10 day period between August 3 and August 13.

It seems likely, however, that some kind of stressful event, perhaps a late summer super-storm, will occupy the president and the nation during the second half of August.  This period will see the final crossing of Saturn square to Obama’s Ascendant (18Aquarius03) while Saturn will also be sesquiquadrate the US Venus (3Cancer06) at the same time. The Mars/Saturn conjunction (17Scorpio40) on August 23 through August 24 is likely to exacerbate whatever circumstances are unfolding.

For the present, the current Sun/Mars square is taking a huge toll. The world is in a furor over the nearly 300 lost lives in a blown up passenger jet, while Israel prepares to widen its ground offensive in Gaza. The explosive violence of this aspect will continue to wreak havoc until it begins to wane in the early hours of July 19 in Washington and closer to mid-day in Israel and Ukraine.

Israel versus Gaza

Sometimes, it just takes the momentary blaze of one lit match to start a forest fire. The assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in 1914 is reported to have sparked the onset of World War 1. The 1968 murder of Martin Luther King unleashed angry riots and destruction in cities across the US. The Tunisian street vendor who set himself aflame in December 2010 to protest government harassment began a conflagration that quickly ignited liberation movements across North Africa and the Middle East known as the Arab Spring. The list goes on and on.

On June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped. While the country held its collective breath hoping for the boys’ safe return, its government blamed Hamas and began arresting activists. Once the bodies of the three brutally-murdered teens were found on July 1, a full-blown fury erupted in Israel. By July 2, a Palestinian teenager was abducted and burned to death in retaliation, and a long-simmering pot of distrust, hostility, and rage savagely boiled over.

In a rapidly escalating conflict, Palestinian rockets are now pouring into Israel, while Israel is raining down airstrikes into Gaza. Talk of an imminent ground invasion by the Israeli military is spreading. Meanwhile, enraged Arabs are rioting across Israel and the West Bank.

The birth of modern Israel  is given for either 4:32 or 4:37 PM on May 14, 1948, in Tel israelAviv. I prefer the latter time as it gives Scorpio as opposed to Libra rising, and therefore rulership of the chart to the intense and determined 10th house Pluto, rather than the more benign and placid 9th house Venus.  Otherwise, the difference is tiny and has little impact on most transits and progressions.

Currently, solar arc Uranus is conjunct Israel’s natal Mars (28Leo19) from February 2014 waxing through February 2015, while the progressed Midheaven (13Libra) is semisquare natal Mars from May 2014 through May 2015, and then separating. This double strengthening of Israel’s natal Mars, the planet of anger, aggression, and conflict, has been and will continue to be further activated by various transits during the time of these progressions.

The most dramatic of the recent events occurred when transiting Mars (13Libra) and then the transiting Sun (13Cancer) triggered this very inflammatory Mars/Uranus/MC progression.  Just after the initial kidnapping of three Israeli teens, transiting Mars was semisquare natal Mars (June 13 to June 16). And just after the Palestinian teen was killed, the transiting Sun was semisquare to natal Mars (July 4 to July 5). In addition, the progressed Israeli Moon is now quincunx natal Pluto (12Leo39), from July 2 through August 1 and then dissipating, signifying an increase in agitation, anxiety, and intense emotions among the population through July.

The final indicator of the current crisis may found in the 2014 Spring Equinox chart drawn for Jerusalem, where the MC of 16 1/2 Cancer is currently being squared by the station of transiting Uranus, from June 1 through July 27.     This transit points to enormous upheaval and fast-moving, transformative circumstances impacting the country through July.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the end of the matter.  There is potential for another inflammatory even around September 10 to September 11, when transiting Mars squares natal Mars, followed by some element of upset or grieving suggested by transiting Saturn sesquiquadrate natal Venus from September 10 through September 23.  Upheaval is also suggested during this period by transiting Uranus conjunct the Descendant (15Aries) of the Spring chart from late August through September 25.

Of likely even greater significance will be the period from mid-October 2014 through early February 2015, when transiting Uranus (13Aries19) will be sesquiquadrate natal Mars, joined by transiting Pluto, also sesquiquadrate natal Mars from December 6 through January 5.  These transits will occur as the solar arc progressed Uranus reaches its exact conjunction to natal Mars. In addition, the same transiting Uranus station will be conjunct the progressed IC in Israel’s chart, reaching exact in late January 2015 at 13Aries04. It is hard not to foresee significant turmoil and violence during these very inflammatory aspects.

The five-month period from October 2014 through March 2015 may well be the ultimate culmination of the fierce and escalating hostilities we are now witnessing. It will be a very stressful time for Israel, with a series of Saturn transits suggesting periods of loss and struggle amidst the anger and conflict. In particular, the Saturn station quincunx natal Venus (4Cancer49) and trine natal Moon (4Leo43) covering February and March 2015, compounded by the simultaneous transiting Uranus conjunction of the Spring Descendant (15Aries) and followed by the Uranus conjunction to the 2015 Spring IC (16Aries09) at the end of March 2015, suggest renewed upheaval and grief. This combination of aspects point to what may be the final chapter of the most recent iteration of a grueling and destructive historical quarrel.

Summer Heat

This is a difficult summer for President Obama, perhaps the worst time of his presidency. People are already speaking of him in the past tense, and of how he has been effectively shackled by the unhinged and unrepentant political forces of the Right. Even the conservatives of the Supreme Court can no longer distinguish a political manipulation from a true test of religious liberty. Witness the Hobby Lobby case, one which would never have existed if the president were White and a Republican. Never, ever.

On the domestic front, Obama has lost two important Supreme Court cases, one intended to further erode his most important legislation to date, the Affordable Care Act, and the other intended to weaken a potential countermeasure to the perfidiously filibustering Senate minority that blocks everything, no matter the urgency to the nation. In addition, immigration reform is dead, unable to even come up for a vote in the House, where the lunatics clearly run the asylum.

In the international realm, where a president has more autonomy, the world is becoming increasingly destabilized, with a growing maelstrom of war threatening a wider and wider swath of territory in the Middle East. The uber-radical ISIS is likely to hold its newly carved nation-state drawn from the festering carnage in Iraq and Syria, with a Sunni/Shiite confrontation building along the road to Baghdad to determine the ultimate border. Moreover, the decades-long battle between Israel and the Palestinians is heating up again, while the Ukrainian civil war keeps bursting through the containment of any attempted ceasefire.

There is little the President can do in these situations beyond heedlessly jumping in with guns blazing and flag waving, something he is loath to attempt due to his awareness of the dangerous trap such a policy would set in motion. But the Hawks on the Right have no such compunction against the profligate use of American military power. To them, America should always be the heroic sheriff bringing democracy to the Wild West of the World. They seem to forget how that has turned out, repeatedly, in the past several decades.

Most of the amped-up struggles for domination by political and military movements of the past few years and the more recent transformation of borders and power structures can be attributed to the Uranus/Pluto square of 2011 through 2015, which has been acutely intensified from January through June 2014 by additional transits of Jupiter and Mars. It is during this current six-month period that the Ukrainian upheaval emerged, largely provoked by Russia, and the Sunni radical group ISIS managed to take over enough territory to declare a Caliphate in the name of Islam. Despite growls from many quarters over what Obama has failed to achieve during his presidency, it might be more appropriate to appreciate how his caution and foresight have thus far safely navigated the dangerous waters of these times. History may well report that one of his greatest achievements will have been the prevention of us jumping heedlessly into another war.

Although the Mars translation during June of the Uranus/Pluto square is now behind us, July is bringing its own set of significantly agitated circumstances. Just as another violent confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians heats up, we are in the midst of a solar translation of the Uranus/Pluto square, with the Sun opposite Pluto followed by the Sun square Uranus from July 3 through July 8. The Moon will further trigger this on July 5.  It should also be noted that Hurricane Arthur is occurring during the Sun/Pluto opposition.

From July 16 through July 19, transiting Mars will be square to the transiting Sun, and from July 18 through July 20, this Sun/Mars square will be in an exact hard aspect to the US Pluto (27Capricorn33), signifying American power (economic and/or military) will be somehow challenged and incited. The Mars/Jupiter square from July 29 through August 1 will also be a time to watch for increasingly reckless or violent events.USchart

During the entire period from June 13 through August 3, President Obama is under a long, slow Saturn transit sesquiquadrate his Venus (1Cancer47), pointing to flagging poll numbers, a series of frustrations and difficulties with few good options, and a somber mood. He will be helped to some degree by the offsetting good fortune and optimism of Jupiter from July 15 through July 31, as this planet of opposes his natal Jupiter, conjuncts his Mercury, and sextiles his Moon.

From July 24 through August 24, the tertiary progressed Sun in the Inaugural chart will conjunct natal Mars (20Aquarius13) and semisquare natal Uranus (5Aries14). It seems likely this will activate some major and unexpected confrontations with the administration, which itself is likely to be quite assertive during this period.obama

The period from August 12 through September 1 may be especially difficult for the president and the country. Transiting Saturn will be making its final square to Obama’s Ascendant (18Aquairus03) while it also makes a sesquiquadrate to US Venus (3Cancer03). There will also be a transiting Mars/Saturn conjunction from August 23 through August 25, likely to exacerbate circumstances.  We may see a particularly brutal storm during this period or some other national story that describes an upsetting and stressful situation which weighs heavily upon the president.

An Interview with Nancy

This interview with me was just posted on the site Perspectives on Practice put together by yoga instructor Melinda Hunt.


McCarthy Fills Cantor’s Shoes

When Virginia’s Eric Cantor lost his primary contest to an upstart Tea Party candidate in early June, the political world erupted into a massive, hyperventilating fit from the shock. Establishment Republicans feared the complete demise of a GOP consumed by the bizarre, uncompromising, and self-righteous fringe. Immigration reform was declared dead, as pundits assumed Cantor’s support of this provocative issue the cause of his collapse. Needless to say, while the wailing and gnashing of teeth expressed the dismay of mainstream Republicans, those on the extreme right were ecstatic.

How ironic then that the man chosen to replace Cantor was Kevin McCarthy, a non-Tea Party conservative who also supports immigration reform and is seen as a generally nice guy and not a rabid ideologue.  Many wonder how the mild-mannered Californian will handle the high stress, demanding job of House Majority Leader. They may be in for a surprise.mccarthy

McCarthy was born on January 26, 1965, in the midst of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction, the astrological signifier of the transformative tumult of the 1960’s. Although his chart eases that intense knot of energy by placing it within a tight grand trine in earth signs, it is the extraordinary potency found in the chart’s progressions from 2014 through mid-2018 that is of particular interest. Moreover, the transits of both Uranus and Pluto in 2014 and 2015 will be further electrifying an already powerful mix.

In McCarthy’s chart, the Uranus (14Virgo13)/ Pluto (15Virgo56) conjunction is currently being crossed by both progressed retrograde Mars and converse progressed Mars. Progressed Mars is also crossing progressed Pluto, while converse Mars is also crossing converse Uranus. All of this is happening at 14-15 degrees Virgo. In addition, the converse Sun (15Sagitarrius) is squaring natal Pluto, converse Mars, and natal Uranus during the period from early 2014 through early 2016. What all of this suggests is that McCarthy will become increasingly and uncharacteristically aggressive and engaged in world-shifting power struggles from 2014 through mid-2018. Moreover, as transiting Uranus quincunxes these potentized degrees and transiting Pluto trines them during 2014 and 2015, we will see this already volatile energy pumped up on steroids. The first round of this has already transpired with transiting Uranus (sudden upsets and unexpected changes) activating the converse Sun square to converse and natal Pluto (power struggles and transformation) at exactly the time of the primary election and its immediate aftermath.

The next big trigger, again coming from transiting Uranus, will again activate converse Sun square Pluto during all of August, followed by transiting Uranus triggering progressed Mars conjunct progressed Pluto, converse Sun square to converse Mars, and converse Mars conjunct converse Uranus, from September 1 through October 3. This combination suggests an exceptionally combative, take-no-prisoners McCarthy will step up in September to push the House GOP agenda at that time. Given the recently announced scheme to “sue the president”, it is not hard to imagine we may see some of the drama from this conjured up fight played out at that time, conveniently a few months before the election.

The next big trigger of this extraordinary Mars/Sun/Uranus/Pluto configuration will come from January through June 2015, when transiting Pluto will trine and transiting Uranus will quincunx most of these overlapping progressions. McCarthy will again be at the top of his game and very aggressive, manipulative, and willing to push the envelope of accepted norms quite far (Uranus). There is also likely to be a great deal of frustration for him during much of the same period (January through April) with the Saturn station square to his natal Saturn (3Pisces57) and possibly conjunct his Moon at some point during those months (3 Sagittarius at noon, no birth time).

Although there are three progressions in McCarthy’s chart involving Mars that will continue through 2016, two into early 2017, and one all the way through July 2018, the final big trigger to these aspects comes at the end of 2015 from a trine by transiting Pluto. This suggests one of those end-of-the-year legislative hit squads attempting to push through very conservative legislation, with McCarthy very much in the midst of the brawl.  So much for that nice, affable guy from California.