14th Jan, 2017

Collusion with Russia

The last several weeks have brought a building storm crashing onto the shores of the incoming Trump administration.  First came confirmation by the intelligence community of Russia’s hacking of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC, with Russian agents having purposefully leaked the fruit of these efforts, through Wikileaks, to cause havoc to American democracy. Then, the intelligence community declared that Russia’s actions were done expressly to help Donald Trump win the election. The Donald has been angrily and vociferously disparaging the American intelligence community in response to these allegations, quite obviously to ward off any claim that his victory was illegitimate.

In recent days, a new layer of deeply disturbing accusation has been added to this narrative, although the most recent claims remain unsubstantiated for now.  The new information comes from opposition research done by an ex-British spy at the behest of a Republican during the primaries and then continuing during the general election at the behest of an unnamed Democrat. This well-regarded British spy has uncovered evidence that the Trump campaign was in collusion with the Russian government in its manipulation and dissemination of illegally obtained material in order to help Trump win the election. Moreover, it is being claimed that Russia holds damning personal and financial information on Trump that would enable it to blackmail him.

As of last night, the Senate Intelligence Committee has announced that it will conduct an investigation into this sordid story. In addition, the highly respected civil rights icon, Representatives John Lewis, has announced that he sees Trump’s victory as illegitimate, largely contrived by manipulations of the Russian government illegally in collusion with Trump himself. Although this is the obvious conclusion to the rapidly forming narrative, Lewis is the first to state it on the record.

Needless to say, this developing story, along with Trump’s historically low approval ratings, makes for a very difficult first chapter in the upcoming Trump administration. Astrologically, mid-December through mid-January covers the first crossing of Saturn to Trump’s South Node (20Sagittarius48) and his Moon (21Sagittarius12), and opposite his Sun (22Gemini56). After January 15, this particularly stressful energy will begin to wane, while the much more uplifting Jupiter trine to Trump’s Sun will build through February 19. What this suggests is that the dark and degrading tale of Trump conniving with Russia to steal the election, as well as the sordid and incriminating story of personal and financial details held in some Russian file for future coercion, may go on the back burner for a while and simmer quietly as other news takes center stage.

The very stressful impact of Saturn will return, however, for a long, slow slog across Trump’s Moon and opposite his Sun from June 24 through October 12, suggesting this story (or another equally troubling one) may emerge with increased vigor and more destructive potential come summer 2017.  Whether this configuration will be enough to force Trump from the presidency or just indicates a very difficult time from which he will, nonetheless, survive is unclear. But it will be a memorable and very troubling three months, and it will greatly tarnish his term in office no matter the outcome. It will also prove to be a very difficult and anxious period for the country to live through, with Saturn crossing opposite US Mars (21Gemini23) and square US Neptune (22Virgo25) during the same period.

7th Jan, 2017

Subsuming Reality

It has become painfully, excruciatingly clear that the only inner imperative of Donald Trump is to protect, defend, and feed his fragile ego.  The compulsiveness of this drive is overwhelming and pathological.  It subsumes all else, including any concern or planning for the greater good of the country. It casts into oblivion any version of reality that infringes on the grandiosity of the soon-to-be president.

In service to this boundless narcissism, every fact is twisted and contorted to elevate him and denigrate all detractors. Every political player is intimidated to fall in line or be tweeted into the (hopefully) rhetorical firing squad of his minions. Thus, the Russians could not have hacked the US election because it might lessen Trump’s glorious victory. The intelligence community must be dishonest and politicized because they have concluded that the Russians, led by Vladimir Putin, interfered to support Trump’s win. Putin, himself, is clearly a great leader because he has continually praised and congratulated Trump. The news media should be dismissed, investigated, and restrained because they report on Trump’s weaknesses or failings. The pattern is blisteringly, frighteningly clear.

In the tradition of the Greek tragedies of old, this rampant narcissism is the fatal flaw of the would-be king. Not only does it lead to policies and practices that are not based in reality and therefore likely, eventually, to lead to disaster, but it enables the easy and purposeful manipulation of the future president of the United States. Praise him and he will be your best friend. Putin comes to mind. Criticize him or even support a version of reality that may lessen him in some way, and join the growing list of his enemies, now including, among many others, the intelligence community. Whisper to him of someone else’s disdain or critique, while lavishing undue praise and stroking his self-regard, and you can mold him to your will and weaken your opponents.

This noxious infestation at the helm of our once-great nation is possible because the ground had long been prepared for such pestilence.  In an early echo of the deceit of Trump’s all-consuming narcissism, the fetid practice of rampant dishonesty at the behest of self-interest began years earlier by Republicans during Presidents Clinton and Bush, reaching a new and striking apotheosis during the eight years of the Obama presidency.

Republicans increasingly and blatantly disregarded the facts and the greater good, in service to whatever narrative would support their political ambition and harm a Democratic president and his party.  Mitch McConnell shamelessly announced at the beginning of Obama’s first term that his goal was not to serve the country, but to unequivocally destroy its president. No lie or attack or obstruction was deemed too great if it furthered that twisted agenda.  Thus, for example, non-existent voter fraud became the excuse for suppressing the votes of potential Democratic voters through oppressive voter ID laws.  Obamacare, although originally crafted by conservatives, became demonized as a way to kill off your grandmother and destroy the healthcare system. Many of the Republican base still believe that President Obama is secretly foreign and secretly a Muslim, all the better to delegitimize him. Hillary, who would have continued most of Obama’s policies, was depicted as a child predator and totally corrupt, among a myriad of other unspeakable things. The truth was invariably subsumed by political self-interest, no matter how much harm it might cause to the nation. As of today, the GOP base is so well trained that they currently ignore or disparage any evidence of misdeeds or dishonesty that does not further the chosen GOP narrative, including and especially a heroic, unbesmirched vision of The Donald. Paraphrasing what Trump himself once said: he could walk down 5th Avenue and shoot someone, and they would still love him.

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The coming Inaugural chart of January 20, 2017, offers us some insight for what is to come, as does the chart for the 115th Congress (1/3/17). Taken together, they tell an interesting story. In both charts, the ultimate dispositor of the entire chart is Neptune, suggesting that the coming administration, as well as the 115th Congress, will be steeped in delusion, unrealistic expectation, and hyped-up ideology rather than hard, practical reality. This will inevitably lead to disappointment, disillusion, confusion, and entangled circumstances. 

In the Inaugural chart, by far the most significant planetary aspect is the square between Saturn (23Sagittarius30) and Mars (24Pisces22), with both planets in minor hard aspect to the Moon (9Scorpio22).  Progressed Saturn will continue to wax in power as it nears the exact square to Mars and semisquare to the Moon over four years. This configuration suggests for the Trump administration a momentous clash between anger, impulsiveness, and impatience (Moon/Mars), on the one hand, and restraint and frustration (Saturn), on the other. Whether the obstacles and limits implied by a strengthening Saturn come from public outcry in response to harmful policies, constraining legal obstacles, some effective obstruction in the Congress, the uncontestable facts on the ground, or some combination of these factors, they point to at least some uncomfortable restrictions on the wilder impulses and the megalomania of the coming Commander-in-Chief.

The Congress chart, on the other hand, offers little hope for restraint and much indication of a strong push to break with established norms and structures. In addition, the Republican Congress will be steeped in unrealistic and illusory ideology that will lead to dangerous and ungrounded policies. 

With Uranus (20Aries34), the planet of rebellion and break with tradition, powerfully strengthened by a conjunction with the Ascendant (18Aries), expanded in potency by an opposition to Jupiter (21Libra23), and further intensified by a T-square to Pluto (17Capricorn02), we can expect this Congress to be literally drunk with the power of their perceived revolution (Uranus), as they take a sledgehammer to all that stands in their way.  The transformative energy of this configuration will be at its peak as transiting Pluto completes the squares to the Ascendant, Uranus, and Jupiter positions during 2017 and through June of 2018.

Moreover, adding greatly to the concern over what is to come implied by the Uranus/Jupiter/Pluto/Ascendant combination, is the transit of Neptune completing the conjunction to natal Mars (11Pisces34) throughout most of 2017. This, along with Neptune’s premier placement as ultimate dispositor of all the planets in the Congress chart, points to unrealistic expectations, delusion, and ungrounded ideology underpinning policy. It is a recipe for big trouble and ultimate disappointment, although not particularly unexpected given what we have seen so far.

It has been an especially lethal and tumultuous week in the world, from the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, to the terrorist attacks in Berlin and Jordan, the explosion at a fireworks factory in Mexico, the hijacking of a Libyan plane, and the crash of a Russian military jet.  Not to be outdone in contributing to this increasingly dangerous instability, Donald Trump cavalierly tweeted about expanding America’s nuclear arsenal, freaking out just about everyone.

Much of this added stress can be attributed to the first crossing of the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, which builds in strength from December 18 through December 26, dissipating thereafter. This aspect is likely to still have enough impact to be triggered by the Moon square to both planets late on December 29 through the very early hours of December 30, suggesting a final wave of unexpected, potent, and transformative events. The transit of Mars from December 29 to December 31 in an opposition to the October 1 solar eclipse point (9Virgo21) and square to US Uranus (8Gemini55) also suggests violent and turbulent events in that period. Moreover, the Saturn transit opposite US Mars (21Gemini23) from December 25 to January 1 and square to US Neptune (22Virgo25) from January 2 to January 11 points to significant circumstances that will directly and adversely impact the US.

The president-elect is also currently under some difficult and emotionally upsetting aspects, with transiting Saturn conjunct his Moon (21Sagittiarus 12) from December 21 to December 30. There is news of him shuttering the Trump foundation and closing development deals in order to avoid the impending conflict of interest controversies once he is sworn in.  Given the planets, this is no doubt very distressing for him. He is also likely very disturbed by the US abstaining from the vote at the UN condemning Israeli settlements, an action which clearly and directly ignored his imperious demands on the issue. As we all know, he does not like to be thwarted.

Frustrations and difficulties will continue for Trump when transiting Saturn moves to oppose his Sun (22Gemini56) from January 7 to January 15. Whether the issues that will surface at this time are the same as those implied by the Saturn square to US Neptune that impacts the US or whether they will simply run parallel is yet to be determined.

After Trump has become president, however, these Saturn aspects – conjunct his Moon, opposite his Sun, opposite US Mars, and square US Neptune – will return in greater strength, from June 24 to October 12, 2017.  This three and a half month period will very likely be extremely stressful, complicated, and troublesome for the country and its new president. We may get some hints as to how this will play out during the next few weeks. We can also assume that the first week of September 2017 will be particularly disruptive and unsettling due to the very strong triggering of the August 21 solar eclipse point (28Leo53).

As for the next crossing of the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, we can again anticipate a series of wild, transformative, and unexpected circumstances, from February 20 to March 3, with the most dangerous being from February 25 to February 27 when transiting Mars conjunct transiting Uranus opposes transiting Jupiter.  During the leadership of President Obama, I always felt I could trust my president to respond to the inevitable crises of the world with a thoughtful, deliberative approach, one that took into account the consequences that various actions might create. This will no longer be the case after January 20.

11th Dec, 2016

Manchurian Candidate

The noxious announcements emanating daily out of the incoming Trump administration grate like fingernails on a chalkboard. With each bizarre appointment of another rabid and insufferable executioner of our progressive democracy and each petulant and vindictive tweet, the degradation and humiliation of this once-great nation deepens.

But there is a deeper layer to all of this madness. As all the pieces in the puzzle become visible, an ever more disturbing picture emerges.  It is well known that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to greatly increase Russian power. He will need a secure and enormous source of money to do this. And what better way to enrich his nation than a renewal of the alliance between Russian state-owned oil and Exxon Mobil?

When the sanctions on Russia were instituted by Obama and friends after Putin’s incursion into Ukraine and his seizure of Crimea, the incipient alliance of Rosneft and Exxon-Mobil was canceled.  But the scheming Putin has devised a solution: anoint and empower “President” Trump, end the sanctions and reunite Russian state-owned oil and Exxon, strengthen the hold of oil in the world by weakening climate science, and ultimately enrich Russia with huge oil and gas exploitation of the Arctic, the Black Sea, and western Siberia aided by Exxon’s deep pockets, expertise, and technology.

It becomes clearer with each passing day that Trump was able to win the election through lies and manipulations, enhanced and exacerbated by Russia’s lies and manipulations.  The Orange Fascist, who is drunk on unrestrained power and blinded by narcissism, has been played by a far more wily, disciplined, and far-seeing power player –  Putin.  My biggest fear through all of this is that the US system is not muscular enough to handle the truly existential threat it now faces.

The Trumpistas seem to respect no Constitutional constraints, and there seem to be no checks in the system to balance them. Even worse, they do not see that they are the pawns of the oil barons of the world in alliance with Putin and his Russian oligarchy. If the former head of Exxon becomes Secretary of State, as planned, the final nail will be in the coffin.

Unfortunately, the GOP Congress is far too interested in partisan power and far too craven to take a stand against this building danger to the country. Like a good little puppy, it just wags its tail and follows along.  What really needs to happen is for the election to be invalidated and a new one called in 6 months. But that will never occur. As I already said, the system does not have the kind of muscle needed for true self-correction, even in the face of such corruption and contamination.  And so the United States, during the Trump administration, seems likely to pursue the greedy agenda of behemoth corporations, especially the fossil fuel industry, as well as the self-interested agenda of the Russian government.

Nonetheless, there are a few glimmers of hope on the horizon. Democratic-run states and progressive non-profits are likely to be busy suing the government to try and halt some of the more egregious attempts to sabotage existing legal protections of the environment and civil rights. It is possible that some things will be slowed down or even halted in the courts.

The other very tiny ray of hope rests in the hands of a few GOP Senators who still maintain a modicum of integrity and understanding. They will need to join with Senate Democrats and stand up against the GOP majority, acting as a check against the potential destruction of Trump’s intended malfeasance.  For now, I am pinning my hopes on the decency of men like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul. Perhaps there are a few others.

The astrological indicators of the next few years also provide a measure of hope, at least insofar as Trump encountering some resistance and some significant headwinds.  The first period to watch begins around December 18 but goes into full strength from December 21 through January 15. Here we see Saturn’s first crossing of Trump’s South Node (20Sagittarius48), his Moon (21Sagittarius12) and opposite his Sun (22Gemini55).  This is roughly the same period that Saturn will oppose the US Mars (21Gemini23) and square the US Neptune (22Virgo25). Of great interest is that this is also the first of three oppositions of Saturn to Russia’s Sun (21Gemini10). This suggests that difficulties and frustrations will hit the US, Trump, and Russia at the same time and are quite possibly linked into the same narrative.  These configurations return with greater strength and therefore suggest far more serious difficulties from late June through mid-October 2017.

During the last few days of December, transiting Mars will oppose the October 1 solar eclipse degree (9Virgo21), while at the same time squaring US Uranus (8Gemini55) and triggering the US tertiary Sun conjunct natal Uranus (exact 12/29). This presents the possibility of a precipitating event that will be unexpected, possibly violent or confrontational, and transformative to the status quo just as we move into a high stress situation in the early weeks of January.

The eclipse of August 21, 2017, at 28Leo53, suggests another series of crises linked to the tension of the Saturn aspects in July through mid-October 2017 and again pointing to major difficulties for Trump, the US, and potentially Russia. This eclipse will be strongly triggered during the first week of September both by the transit of Mars and the stationary transit of Mercury crossing the eclipse degree. These configurations suggest significant and very challenging events in early September that continue to cause upset during the balance of the month and through mid-October. This period also includes the final crossing of Uranus square to US Pluto (27Capricorn33) and therefore may see some unexpected and striking challenges to corporate control and limitless greed (US second house Pluto). The Saturn crossing square to US Neptune and opposite Trump’s Sun in September also suggest the possibility of a financial contraction at that time.

And finally, for those of us hoping for Trump’s grandiose corporate agenda, well-seasoned with a hefty dose of piquant Russian flavoring, to run into some major headwinds, the coming Inaugural chart with its very tight Mars/Saturn square does suggest significant frustration and difficulty. It seems likely there will be no smooth sailing and lots of obstruction in the coming four years. This is something to truly be thankful for in this holiday season.

Everything changed on November 8 when Donald Trump won the presidential election. The entire trajectory of the country shifted in a moment. Even the very definition of the United States of America seemed to morph – from a celebration of the melting pot, an ever-building respect for the civil rights of all, and an attempt to reckon with climate change and trade in a globalized world, to a land of corporate expansion unhindered by the petty complaints of citizens or a concern for their most basic needs.  Although I am expecting resistance from the Democrats in Congress and eventually an outcry from the population as events and awareness unfold, there will be an increasing push from the coming administration and its cronies in Congress toward the corporatization, a.k.a. privatization, of everything, including Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, prisons, education, infrastructure, etc., over this four-year term and beyond. Shrink the government and empower the private sector will be the unyielding motto of the newly-unshackled GOP.

In the US chart (using 5:13 PM, July 4, 1776, Philadelphia), Pluto, at 27Capricorn33, is in the second house, is opposed to Mercury, at 24Cancer12, in the 8th house, and is semisquare to the Ascendant, 12Sagittarius59. This second house Pluto is particularly important due to its position as the rising planet in the chart and its aspect to the Ascendant. Pluto in the second house describes an obsessive need to gather wealth and points additionally to the huge amassing of power by the financial elite. The compulsive materialism described by this position also colors the identity of the country itself due to Pluto’s minor hard aspect to the Ascendant.USchart 

As of the Inauguration of Donald Trump, transiting Pluto will move fully into a ten-degree orb of the US Pluto return, when Pluto for the first time will return to its natal position in the chart. The actual Pluto return will come in 2022, but the coming 6 years will see the buildup of this very potent focus on the second house Pluto position, as well as the transiting Pluto opposition of the US Mercury during 2020 and early 2021.  These configurations, taken together, suggest that the push to concentrate huge amounts of wealth, while manipulating commerce and investments (Mercury) to that end, will be increasingly intense over the next few years.

Also of importance in this picture will be the Saturn transit opposing US Mercury and conjunct US Pluto during 2020, a transit likely to impede and restrict this Plutonian movement toward the accumulation of wealth and power by the financial elite. This Saturn transit, moreover, suggests some challenges and possibly a sharp contraction for the US economy in 2020, as well as a significant loss of support and extreme difficulties for President Trump, since Saturn will also be opposing his Venus (25Cancer44), while Pluto will station opposite his Saturn (23Cancer49) during much of that year.

The shock of the recent election and its complete reversal of the direction of the country may be seen in the US chart by the progression of the US Moon  opposite natal Uranus (8Gemini55) in late October and November. Uranus is the planet of unexpected and powerful transformations and often points to a sudden change in direction. In December, the US tertiary Sun will be conjunct natal Uranus, continuing this sense of transformation. This progression will be set off significantly by the transit of Mars from December 29 through December 31 square to US Uranus. There may be some consequential, stressful, and possibly violent upsets that spike around that time.

One final point that is worth noting is that from November 20 through December 4, Trump is under the first crossing of his Jupiter return (17Libra27).  He is looking particularly magnanimous, successful, and happy during this transit. Unsurprisingly, the Trump Vanity Tour is proceeding during this upbeat transit, with him likely to be deliriously happy while out in front of his big cheering crowds again.  Some difficulties return that may bring severe stress from December 18 through January 15, as Saturn makes its first crossing conjunct his South Node, conjunct his Moon, and opposite his Sun. This will overlap with some shockwaves and stress in the US chart in late December and early January.trump

January will also bring some very positive indications for Trump, including progressed Moon conjunct Venus and transiting Jupiter trine the Sun (through February 19). The first really significant test will come from June through October 2017. More on those configurations later.

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