13th Aug, 2017

Thug in Chief

Something different was in the air in the past week. As Donald Trump promised to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea, “the likes of which we have never seen,” he seemed to connect with something deeper and even more dangerous than the unstable and angry buffoon we have experienced since the election. His recent vicious, irritable, vengeful persona was replaced by a megalomaniacal grandiosity that left the sane and the responsible amongst us literally shuddering. In proclaiming himself ready to take on, and perhaps take out, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump once again, in his own mind at least, become the great Rescuer, the one man strong enough and courageous enough to destroy this dangerous scourge on mankind.

The Rescuer is, of course, the third corner of the Victim/Persecutor/Rescuer triangle that Donald Trump used with such great effect during his rise to the presidency. Also known as the Karpman Triangle, this comprehensive description of pathological interpersonal relationships helps us to better understand the enormous pull Trump has on his followers and how he manipulates others.

According to Stephen Karpman,those who participate in this form of dysfunction shift from one corner of the triangle to another, as each of the three roles feeds into the other two in a never-ending negative feedback loop. During the presidential campaign, for example, we often heard Rescuer Trump fanning the flames of his followers’ Victimhood while presenting himself as so rich and so powerful that he could literally save them from their misery.  At other times, both during and since the campaign, Trump has joined with his supporters’ sense of grievance as he proclaims his own suffering and victimization, when, for example, he is treated “so unfairly” by the courts or his political opposition  or when the “fake news” always lies about him.  And finally, he is never far from the righteous rage that justifies the Persecutor mentality, in other words, Trump’s extraordinary viciousness and nastiness against all who oppose him or even mildly disagree with him.  Indeed, this is the pattern of all bullies who rationalize their aggression by some form of mistreatment that they perceive has been unfairly perpetrated upon them.

In the past week, Trump seamlessly and with considerable relish stepped into his Rescuer role once again. The extraordinary and powerful Trump, Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military on Earth, was promising to rid us of the Evil Dictator who has bedeviled and threatened the world for decades. Never mind that Kim Jong Un has done nothing other than bluster for years. And never mind the dire consequences of what an actual war on Kim would mean, including the untold number of potential casualties and widespread harm. The one compelling factor is that the narcissistic Trump loves his Rescuer role and the personal grandiosity that it feeds, and that his followers adore that side of him. Meanwhile, an unstable and power-hungry Thug-in-chief is getting a dangerously addictive taste of the almost limitless power at his disposal, and he has chosen an enemy that no one would mourn if he were gone.  What could possibly go wrong.

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The astrological indicators of the coming two months are exceptionally troubling. Whether we will reach an armed confrontation or whether we will merely get to the very scary brink is not clear. But there is certainly danger if cooler heads do not prevail. The North Korean chart is drawn for September 10, 1948, in Pyongyang. Both midnight and noon are given as potential birth times. Using either chart, the composite chart drawn with the US chart gives as the Sun at 15 Leo conjunct North Korea’s Pluto (15Leo33), and transited by Mars over the past few days as tensions built. Moreover, composite Saturn is 21Virgo51 and composite Node is 21Gemini24, both experiencing the protracted Saturn station that is also sitting on President Trump’s Moon (21Sagittarius12) and opposite the US Mars (21Gemini23). The Saturn transit bespeaks of enormous and mostly unresolved tension between the two countries through September.

In Kim’s chart, using January 8, 1983, Pyongyang, we find the progressed Sun conjunct natal Mars (22Aquarius35), waxing through mid-October, using the generic noon birth time. This speaks of a very aggressive and martial stance by the North Korean leader at this time. It will be strongly triggered by transiting Mars (22Leo) from August 23 to 24, and by transiting Jupiter (22Libra) from August 29 to September 4. Moreover, there is a several month Pluto station on Kim’s Sun (17Capricorn15) from early July through early November 2017. This describes a very overwhelming, survival-threatening power struggle in which he finds himself. Combined with the Sun/Mars progression, this could be construed to suggest war. One way or another, by the time the Pluto transit is done, the situation for Kim will be significantly altered.

One further indicator for North Korea is the position of natal Saturn (28Leo50) which is almost exactly conjunct the coming solar eclipse (28Leo53), and which will be strongly triggered by Mars and Mercury from August 31 to September 8. More than any other time, it is this period that seems the most dangerous. It is preceded by two transits of Mars that could well unleash significant violence if unconstrained: transiting Mars crossing Donald Trump’s Mars (26Leo47), currently conjunct solar arc Uranus and his location chart Ascendant in Washington, DC, from August 29 to August 31; and transiting Mars crossing the composite US/North Korean Mars (27Leo41) from August 31 to September 1. The last few days in August are clearly marked for having some very significant and angry drama involving Donald Trump. Whether we will be seeing a war with North Korea or some other dramatic event (a lethal mega storm, the precipitous firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or maybe a new level of Trump’s unhinged rage), it seems likely the last few days in August will in some way unleash the power of the eclipse in early September.

5th Aug, 2017

Clear and Present Danger

It is becoming ever more obvious that Donald Trump and his minions represent a clear and present danger to America. They are a danger to our land, our water, our air, and our future climate and environmental stability, as well as to Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Muslim Americans, gay and transgender Americans, Dreamers, families of law abiding but undocumented immigrants, financially struggling Americans, and Americans needing inexpensive and reliable health care. Nothing is sacred except massive tax cuts, mostly for the rich, and ending government regulations that might impede corporate profit. And yet, somehow, the red-meat-flavored snake oil continues to sell amongst the easily aroused, Kool-Ade drinking base of the Cult of Trump. Not even a trickle of reality seems to get through the impenetrable haze of their mindless adoration.

As for the Congress of the United States, a supposedly co-equal branch of government, they are like an old man slowly waking up from a coma, just beginning to show some flickers of awareness and response. At long last, they are pushing back against the giant cluster*$** that has taken hold of the once- revered office of the Presidency of the United States. They have thus far held the line against the destruction of Obamacare, the weakening of sanctions against Russia, and the sabotage of the Mueller investigation, but much of the chaos and damage continues apace. It remains to be seen how much will there is to really step up and take a stand.

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We are now about a third or more of the way through the period long predicted to be one of severe strain for the decency-challenged and morally bankrupt Chief Executive and the country. As of the past few days, the Mueller investigation is working with at least two grand juries and has expanded into Trump and Co.’s tangled and suspect financial dealings with Russia. It is possible, but probably unlikely, that enough will be revealed to actually end this toxic presidency by early fall. Nonetheless, it does seem that the noose is tightening and his actions are becoming more and more limited – by Congress, the courts, and the general atmosphere of legal jeopardy.

For this, we may thank the Inaugural chart Mars (24Pisces22) square to Saturn (23Sagittarius31), with the Moon (9Scorpio22) in a tight minor hard aspect to both. This limiting, frustrating, restraining configuration is very strongly energized this year through October.  Every time it is triggered, a new crisis seems to engulf the White House. Not only is the tertiary Saturn in an exact square to Inaugural Mars through October 5, but the tertiary Sun is now moving in to semisquare both through October 1. Any minor transit or minor progression will set off this highly stressful configuration: the transit of the Sun on August 16, the transit of Mars on August 25 to 27, the tertiary Moon from August 27 to September 1, the transit of Venus on September 2, the transit of the Sun on September 16, the transit of Mercury on September 26 and, finally, the transit of Saturn from October 4 through October 29 . Every one of these transits, as well as the tertiary Moon, is likely to bring further explosive revelations or some other difficult and highly intractable crisis. The Saturn/Mars square will remain a profound challenge throughout the entire Trump presidency, but it will be less active after October until 2020, when transiting Uranus will repeatedly set it off (from 8-9 Taurus).

As for Trump’s chart, we can be happy that his final Jupiter return, further activating the Pluto transit square to Jupiter through August 8, has now passed. The incendiary and vicious speech he gave to a rabid and cheering base on August 3 in West Virginia may be seen as the climax of this transit.  Al Sharpton, on a TV talk show, described this speech as “megalomania on steroids”. Indeed. This Jupiter transit, active from July 28 to August 4, also brought the appointment of General John Kelly to the position of White House Chief of Staff, likely renewing hope in Trump that he might reassert control over the current chaos.

Of course, the Saturn transit continues its long, painful station on his Moon (21Sagittarius12) throughout July and August, and the dark cloud of the Mueller investigation continues to weigh heavily upon him. Although Trump is currently on vacation, transiting Saturn will be activated by the Moon on the morning of August 10 and the evening of August 16, as well as by Venus on August 17 and 18.

Ironically, and one hopes prophetically, Trump will return to the White House on the day of the solar eclipse, August 21. The eclipse itself (28Leo53) will be just over a degree from conjunct his Ascendant (29Leo55).  In essence, an eclipse is like a really bad omen, a brief darkening of the light that can point to a future crisis. It can be triggered by planetary transits up to a year after its occurrence.

From August 31 through September 9, a very significant trigger to this eclipse point will take place. Both transiting retrograde Mercury and transiting Mars will converge on the eclipse degree during the first few days of September. The transiting Moon will move to oppose this separating conjunction on September 4.  Mercury will remain in station on the eclipse degree through September 9. Moreover, transiting Saturn will be making its final pass opposite US Mars (21Gemini23), exact on September 10, suggesting some form of crisis for the country just during and after the activation of the eclipse.

One can only speculate as to what will happen during these dangerous days. It is notable that this period will launch with Trump being exceedingly angry and vicious, due to transiting Mars crossing his Mars/solar arc progressed Uranus (26Leo47) from August 29 to August 31. Could we have another super-storm like Katrina or Sandy? Could the Congress manage to not increase the debt ceiling and spark a huge financial crisis?  Could Trump finally face a legal firing squad that would finish his presidency? Anything is possible.

20th Jul, 2017

From Russia with Love

Lashing out like a sorely wounded animal, Donald Trump is viciously clawing at anyone who gets within range of his darkest secrets. At the moment, this includes the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, and the Deputy head of the Justice Department Rod Rosenstein, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions who upon his recusal enabled Rosenstein to appoint Mueller in the first place.

For decades, Trump has lived a lavish and self-indulgent lifestyle despite a multitude of business failures and bankruptcies. The key to this sordid success is the hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars that have continually streamed from Russia to Trump, craftily funneled through his labyrinthine real estate empire. In essence, dirty money flows out of Russia, needing to be cleansed, and into properties – posh apartments, magnificent high rises, luxuriant houses, and even gambling casinos – in the Trump name. Trump gets rich and the Russians protect their money. Everyone wins, except for the tiny fact that money laundering is illegal, and Putin, Inc. now has a mountain of dirt on one Donald J. Trump.

Like an old fairy tale come to life, the collusion to bring Trump to the White House just transformed this dirt into a mountain of Russian gold. It is no coincidence that Putin and Trump are always so chummy and that Putin is the only person on the planet that Trump does not say nasty things about and attempt to control. Putin holds Trump’s leash, and Trump will do anything to placate the Russian president and to keep his own financial misdeeds secret.  Putin is running an extortion racket, and Trump is caught in its snare. While the treasonous collusion is merely a subplot in this byzantine drama, the enormous threat to national security is very real.

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Way back in December 2016, when it was first revealed that the Russians interfered in our election, not only to sow chaos but specifically to help Trump win, I said that the return of the same planetary configurations the following summer would blow this story wide open with dire consequences. And here we are.  Since late May, difficult planetary configurations have been impacting Trump as the story of Russian involvement continued to unfold (transiting Saturn quincunx his Venus, quincunx his Saturn, opposite his Sun, while his progressed Moon has been conjunct progressed Saturn). As of today through early September, the transiting Saturn station is conjunct Trump’s 4th house Moon (21Sagittarius12).  The fourth house is the house of the family and one’s close emotional connections. Trump’s entire family is now under scrutiny and potential legal jeopardy. Investigations everywhere are heating up.  Saturn stationing on the Moon is a very depressing and upsetting transit, and it will be heavily felt for the next six weeks. Moreover, it will be followed by transiting Saturn again crossing opposite Trump’s Sun (22Gemini56) through October 12 and then quincunx his Saturn and Venus, taking us to November 12. This spells a very dark period for Trump.

At the moment, Trump is like a cornered animal and his claws are coming out in every direction. Over the next week, until July 27, there is a Sun/Mars conjunction, heightening aggression worldwide. In addition, this Sun and Mars transit (6Leo12) will be triggering the transit of Saturn (21Sagittarius12) to Trump’s Moon from July 28 to July 30. We can expect some high drama at this time, with Trump acting very aggressively to try to stamp out his troubles, either through distraction (military) or through unilateral attacks on his inquisitors (possible firings). His final Jupiter return from July 28 to August 4, already square to transiting Pluto, suggests some kind of wild push against boundaries with a distinct megalomaniacal flavor.  Once this passes, the Saturn transit will only tighten its grip for the rest of the month.

The solar eclipse on August 21 is at 28Leo53. Trump’s Ascendant as per the birth time given is 29Leo55. Personally, I feel that the clearest impact for an eclipse will be when it hits within a degree of a sensitive degree in the birth chart. It is easily possible that Trump was born up to perhaps a half a minute earlier, in which case we would have a direct hit of the solar eclipse on his Ascendant.  If so, this configuration can truly spell disaster for Trump, especially when the eclipse point is triggered by both transiting Mercury and transiting Mars during the first week of September. In fact the Mercury station is exactly on the eclipse degree from September 1 through September 8. Moreover, an eclipse can point to powerful and often deeply problematic circumstances up to a year after the actual event.

And finally, the Inaugural chart shows significant trouble all year through October.  The tight Saturn/Mars square in the Inaugural chart, with both in a minor hard aspect to the Moon, describes the constant push back – legal, legislative, and popular – against every effort made by Trump to manifest his agenda. The tertiary progressed Saturn is in an exact square to Mars and semisquare the Moon through October 5. The tertiary Venus is square to Saturn from June 25 to July 27. The tertiary Sun is semisquare to Saturn from August 6 (right after that Jupiter return) through October 1. And the tertiary Moon is likely to activate a few days of intense crisis for Trump when it moves to semisquare both Saturn and Mars and conjunct tertiary Sun from August 27 to September 1 (just before the big triggering of the eclipse). This extraordinary amount of energy focused on the Inaugural Saturn/Mars square will continue to push very hard against everything that Trump tries to do and could potentially bury him, given the other aspects unfolding at the same time.

For now, the sharks are circling, and there is blood in the water. Trump will be fighting back hard, but the financial implications of all that Russian money and all those Russian meetings and the connections to all those banks already under scrutiny for massive Russian money laundering can no longer be ignored. As I have said previously, if he holds onto power through November, we may be stuck with him for the duration. But the noose is tightening. Maybe he will make one of his famous deals and then resign.

4th Jul, 2017

Happy Birthday America

I know the last year has been very agitating and upsetting, a kind of wild, unhinged roller coaster ride for those who are paying attention to the fate of their country. But today is once again your birthday, and, for a few brief hours, fireworks rather than politics are the subject du jour.

In astrology, a birthday is understood as the time when the Sun returns to its original position in the natal chart, designated as the solar return. Consequently, we draw up a chart for this moment, and we look for indications that may describe the coming year.

Unfortunately, no one knows for certain the birth time of America, although most agree at least on the date of July 4, 1776.  There are several theories, offering, alternatively, an Ascendant in Gemini, Virgo, Scorpio, or Sagittarius. Personally, I prefer the time of 5:13 PM, which gives an Ascendant of 12Sagittarius59, and is a few minutes past the “Sibley” chart which uses 5:10 PM. But really, no one knows, and so any prediction based solely on any particular birth time and the precise degrees of the angles that go with it, must be qualified.

I have drawn up a solar return chart based on the birth time for America that I prefer, and interestingly, the result mostly confirms what is already apparent in the current transits and progressions. In this chart, retrograde Saturn (23Sagittarius05) is conjunct the Midheaven (21Sagittarius57), and will be stationing on that degree from July 8 through September 26. This is essentially the same Saturn station that will be opposite the US Mars (21Gemini23) and conjunct Donald Trump’s Moon (21Sagittarius12) during a similar time period. In the solar return, this Saturn station describes a time of great frustration in the US, and quite possibly significant setbacks and humiliation on the world stage. It reiterates the 10th house Saturn position in the US Sagittarius rising chart, which, when activated, points to an overextended use of power followed by a humiliating and forced contraction of goals. The Midheaven position relates to a country’s reputation and position in the world, as well as the executive leadership of the country.

The other noteworthy aspect in this solar return chart is the Neptune (14Pisces10) conjunction to the Ascendant (15Pisces25). This describes a year filled with anxiety, confusion, and a feeling of being rudderless. Hyperbole is the norm; shifting emotions are the guiding principle; illusion is hard to differentiate from reality.  This Neptune/Ascendant configuration in the solar chart mirrors a progressed aspect that has been going on since during March 2016 and will continue through early January 2019, an aspect that certainly describes the campaign and early presidency of Donald Trump. What I am referring to is the transit of Neptune conjunct the US progressed Sun. This transit continues to be active during this not quite three year period of time, but is intensified when it is waxing within a degree to exact. It will be moving toward exact again from July 28 through September 3 and again from mid-January through mid-February 2018 and again for several months at the end of 2018.  

In the US chart, the Sun/progressed Sun always symbolizes the US president, and aspects to it will describe the conditions, agenda, and mood surrounding him or her. With Neptune impacting the US progressed Sun for an extended duration, the goals and agenda of the US have become confused, and there is a feeling of weakness and deception at the top. This potent Neptune transit describes the absence of sobriety, discipline, and reality-based focus. It points instead to hyperbole, emotion, and confusion. It should be noted that a strong Neptune can also describe someone strongly steeped in ideology but unmoored from reality. Thus, if by chance, Mike Pence moves into the presidency, it is easy to see that his hyper-ideological stance may be the guiding factor in his agenda. But at least we wouldn’t have to deal with the bottomless pit of spite that seems to motivate the current occupant of the Oval Office.

In the near term, I continue to have great concern over the last week of July and moving into early August. There is a building Sun conjunction to Mars from July 23 through July 26, suggesting significant violence somewhere, followed by transiting Sun and then transiting Mars triggering the Saturn station, from July 28 to July 30, and suggesting serious difficulty and frustration, especially for those impacted by the Saturn station, like the US and Trump. Moreover, Trump will be under his Jupiter return from July 28 through August 4th, exacerbated by a square from transiting Pluto. This is megalomania on steroids and suggests he will aggressively expand his impact in some way, potentially with some form of military force.  Trouble and limited and ineffective options described by the continuing Saturn station are likely to derive from his actions throughout August and September.

24th Jun, 2017

Crushing Summer

It is deeply troubling to me that so many of my fellow citizens find the extraordinarily self-centered aggression and general vileness of character of Donald Trump appealing. From what I can ascertain, he has three settings: winning whatever he is fixated on at all cost; spitefully counter-punching hard against any perceived threat; and a self-aggrandizing braggadocio disconnected from reality. There is no room for compassion or empathy and no deep-seated impulse to serve or sacrifice for anything greater than his own narrow interest.

Sadly, all of the policy proposals and budget determinations stemming from the Trump administration derive from these disturbingly self-interested character traits.  Anything that would care for those who are vulnerable or in need is cut back, while the military is given a greatly expanded amount of resource and scope. Diplomacy is a mere shadow of its past self; Medicaid is being threatened with gargantuan cuts; scientific research and education programs are being uniformly slashed. And all of this is occurring while military operations worldwide are quietly expanding with barely a discussion in Congress or the media. The Circus of All Things Trump has drowned out awareness of everything else, despite the dangerous ramifications of what is unfolding.

In May and June, the US bombed Iranian supported military forces three times. In June, US forces shot down 2 armed drones. On June 17, the US shot down a Syrian air force jet. In response to these escalations, Russia, Syria’s stalwart ally, is now threatening use of its antiaircraft defense system against all US aircraft in Western Syria and imperiling communications between the US and its allies in the region. Although the US justifiably worries about an increase in Iranian and Russian dominance in Syria, we might also worry about ineptly stumbling into World War Three with Russia, Syria, and Iran in a dangerous alliance against us and our increasingly shaky allies.

Everyone cheered a few months back when Donald Trump bombed a Syrian military airstrip in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. This was our Commander-in-Chief’s first heady taste of a truly dangerous and addictive cocktail that fed both his craving for praise and his instinctive thuggery.  As any addict will tell you, there is always a hunger for a repeat of that first exquisite high.

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The context for the extraordinarily difficult planetary picture of the next few months is an enraged and short-tempered president increasingly mired in legal and political jeopardy and a global situation, particularly in Syria and with North Korea, of alarmingly dangerous potential. Within this framework, it should be noted that Mars, the planet of anger, aggression, and war, is very active throughout the month of July. Already, on June 23 and 24, we find Mars in a conjunction to the US Sun (13Cancer19), pointing to a particularly combative president or a military action of note by the country.  On July 1 and July 2, we find transiting Mars in opposition to transiting Pluto, while on July 15 through July 17, we find transiting Mars in a square with transiting Uranus. And finally, from July 22 through July 28, we find transiting Mars conjunct the transiting Sun. All of these configurations will strengthen any residual tendencies toward hostility, belligerence, and destructiveness, whether through military action, unexpected attacks, escalating anger, or dangerous weather conditions and natural disasters.

In the midst of this Mars period, we are also moving into a protracted Saturn station that will oppose Donald Trump’s Sun (22Gemini56) from June 24 through July 7 and again from September 26 through October 12, as well as conjunct his Moon (21Sagittarius12) from July 20 through September 1. Virtually this entire period will bring a build-up in stress for the president, who will feel more and more frustrated and upset. There is also a progressed Moon conjunction to progressed Saturn in his chart beginning around June 25 and culminating on July 21 that will add to a feeling of depression and loss.

We must, however, also include the Pluto transit square to his Jupiter (17Libra27) from June 28 through August 6, particularly strengthened by the final Jupiter return from July 28 to August 4. This combination suggests a reckless expansion of power, and points to a very dangerous period if military action is involved.  Indeed, the Saturn station mentioned above continues on Trump’s Moon for the entire month of August, suggesting a problematic outcome of any reckless action taken during the Jupiter return of late July and early August.

The US chart also shows serve strain over the summer months, beginning on July 1. The Mars (21Gemini23)/Neptune (22Virgo25) square in the US chart has often been associated with wars that begin with great expectation and end in significant disappointment and loss. From 1967 through 1969, during the Vietnam War, transiting Uranus and transiting Pluto crossed 21 -22 Virgo multiple times. In 2004 and 2005, during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, transiting Pluto crossed 21-22 Sagittarius, while Uranus reached 21-22 Pisces in 2008.  

On the other hand, impacting the economy more than military pursuits, the Saturn station from late November 2008 through late January 2009 was exactly conjunct US Mars and square to US Neptune. It brought a dramatic financial decline (Saturn) after a period of manufactured gain built on illusory (Neptune) expectation. Not much could be done to handle the situation (Saturn/Mars) until the new president took office.

As of July 1 and continuing through October 4, we will again move into a Saturn station that will impact the Mars/Neptune square in the US chart. We can expect disappointment, loss, and a crushing of false expectations in some area. It is quite possible some military adventurism will lead to severe complications and grief, but economic issues cannot be entirely ruled out. The situation will bring enormous strain to Trump and his administration, and with the Saturn station so close to an exact opposition to natal Mars, it will be difficult to take any truly effective action. The greatest stress in the US chart will pass after early October, but the tensions for Donald Trump and his administration will remain through mid-November, as Saturn makes its final quincunx with his natal Saturn and natal Venus. It is hard to see him remain unscathed from the mess he makes in the summer.

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