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As there is a lack of major, outer planet aspects in the sky for the period under consideration, the current Newsletter is given over to a single article – the new Presidency of Donald Trump and the broad outlook for America for the coming year. First, I want stress that the ‘predictions’ are not event-based, but always drawn from the archetypal meaning of the astrological bodies involved. That is, one is looking at how a set of cosmic energies or principles might emerge within the context of a mundane reading. As is usually the case, there are no failsafe indications that a particular planetary aspect must mean this or that specific event (nor can one always tell on which specific date an event will manifest.) To start with, I will look first at what I thinkis the true (or at least very workable!) chart for the United States, together with some example of notable events in its history. Then I turn to both Donald Trump and the US and examine both their charts as dynamic entities during 2017.
With regard to the ‘birthchart; for America, on the Skyscript website we find that:
‘No country has spawned more proposed national charts than the USA! There are numerous charts for July 4th 1776. Moreover, there are a significant number of other dates in US history that have been proposed as the basis for a national chart.’
This is mere understatement - there are no less that 18 different charts proposed for the USA, and these are merely the ones for the 4th of July, the date normally accepted as America's 'birthday' . Obviously, they are all different since no one can really decide what the actual birth time should be - there is a good treatment of this issue on Robert Curreys excellent website which can be found at: (http://www.astrology.co.uk/news/USA.htm) Thus we end up with various diferent asscendants, ranging from Gemini to Libra to Sagittarius to Pisces.
‘Though we celebrate July 4 as our official independence day, the “Resolution For Independence” was actually voted on July 2. John Adams wrote to his wife the next day that history would record July 2 as the “great anniversary festival” when the colonies voted to become an independent country, ending their ties to England. After an earlier vote on July 1 got divided results, two delegates from Pennsylvania decided to abstain to swing their colony into the affirmative group, the South Carolina delegates who had objected to the antislavery statement in the resolution said they might change their minds, and Caeser Rodney was sent for to break a Delaware tie. Rodney arrived after the delegates had read many letters and had completed a long, leisurely lunch. The vote for the resolution on the afternoon of July 2 was unanimous with one abstention by New York “for lack of instructions.” Unfortunately, no one seems to have recorded the time of that crucial vote. An afternoon vote could produce a Scorpio or Sagittarius Ascendant, since those two signs were rising between 13:42 and 18:35 LAT (local apparent or sundial time).’1
In Nick Campion's Book of World Horoscopes the author writes that ‘the crucial vote for independence was taken on July 2nd 1776 ... Even the participants in the drama regarded this vote as the vital event,’ and quotes the letter by John Adams: “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epoch in the History of America - I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by Succeeding Generations as the great anniversary Festival.”’ Of course, the actual signing wasn't for another two days and Adams’ rhetoric has been forgotten. But it seems the Declaration was in force already on the 2nd of July. It is for these reasons that I favour this as the correct date for America's birthday. However, this makes me somewhat a contrarian – and I am going to have to justify this view. At any rate, the result is thus:
I've analysed this chart (for 16.00 LMT Philadelphia ) and to me it seems to 'fit' best for the US, for various reasons. Firstly, we get an ascendant at 26 degrees of Scorpio. Now, the chart which many astrologers favour – cast for the 4th of July – has Sagittarius rising, and some justify this with the archetypal image of the lone pioneer exploring the rich and expansive New World (indeed, redolent of the Archer.) But when we look at Scorpio, what do we have as the national icon (furthermore, adopted by the Founding Fathers themselves)? The answer is – the eagle, one of Scorpio’s symbols, and officially adopted as the American emblem in 1787 due to its obvious connotations with - according to the Live Science website - ‘authority and statehood’. In other words, great power. John F. Kennedy even commented that: ‘The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America."2 (The eagle, with its keen eye, and majestic but deadly swoop as it moves in for the kill is an almost too perfect symbol for what we’ve come to know as America. In short, I fail to see happy go lucky, philosophical Sagittarius rising as America's 'face' to the rest of the world - I see ‘don't mess with me!’ Scorpio rising.)
When we look at the moon, we see further emphasis on both power and materialism –just look at its conjunction with Pluto, in Capricorn, in the 2nd house. This seems indicative of not only an obsessiveness with material security and resources, but a building up of emotional defences and an intense need to control and manipulate others (which is the consequence of such defensiveness). The authors of American Dream, Global Nightmare, observe that ‘to live in America is to be surrounded by potential harm, enemies and evil intent … for American fear is an original natural condition … of a fragile existence that must be defended’ 3
The authors stress that this state of affairs is not just since the terrorism of 9/11, but that the defensiveness is inbuilt from the beginning. For some, this defensiveness on the part of the powers that be is tantamount to paranoia (remember the McCarthy witch hunts and the fear of communism in the1950’s?). The Plutonic theme also looms large when we consider the overall power structure in the US – for many, a plutocracy (those with money are the only ones with real power). Philosopher Noam Chomsky calls America a ‘plutocracy masquerading as formal democracy.’ This is what often makes the rest of the population uneasy. And defensive. Of course, moon-Pluto in Capricorn isn’t about to relinquish control any time soon!
America is also the current ‘superpower’ (which is just how Scorpio rising/moon in Capricorn likes it.) But, as President Eisenhower once warned: ‘In the councils of government we must
guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the drastic rise of misplaced power exists and will persist’.4 That potential, in the eyes of many crtitics, has already been fulfilled. Critics of the US (especially its foreign policy) all note how America has behaved more like an Empire than a Republic (and not always a benign one) what with its involvements in foreign wars (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chile come immediately to mind) and the shady, political machinations of other countries. (In fact, more than 25 separate countries have been bombed by the USsince the end of the Second World War).
Astrologically, this is suggested by gung-ho Mars in the seventh house, which on a mundane chart pertains to ‘abroad’, ‘others’. Mars is a divisive, ego-bound kind of influence, ready to assert itself and fight if it doesn’t get its own way. (And this isolationism is further reinforced by the eleventh house Saturn – in an individual natal chart it suggests someone who doesn’t make friends with their peers easily, or has a hard time seeing others as equals.)
And yet, much of this heavy-handedness is softened by the eighth house sun in Cancer, which in turn conjuncts Jupiter. This is America’s ‘nicer’ side, and one only needs watch a schmaltzy Hollywood film to see collective sentimentality at work, where the ‘good guy’ always wins and you can count on a happy ending. Added to America’s soft heart is its hard head for commerce. The sun-Jupiter conjunction is in the house of ‘big business’, and America has always prided itself on being a country of rich opportunities to make oneself wealthy – the so-called American Dream with its emphasis on the rewards of mass consumerism. Of course, as one colleague once remarked to me, one of America’s main motivations is the freedom to expand its business interests globally and put top performing US companies in other countries across the world. (At this it is usually quite successful – the influence of Jupiter, again.) US president Calvin Coolidge once aptly noted that the ‘business of America is business’. Also, the abiding image (by now a cliché) of the typical American attitude is: do it big. All of which is symbolised by that Sun-Jupiter conjunction in the 8th house.
To me, this seems more like how America is really working at the core: that Scorpio ascendant and moon-Pluto in the materialistic 2nd house. Let us move on and – using the July 2nd chart as a basis – see how notable events in US history might be indicated astrologically. First off, the American Civil War which, according to Wikipedia, was ‘fought from 1861 to 1865. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America. The Union won the war, which remains the bloodiest in U.S. history.’ In the aftermath of a transiting Mars opposition to the US ascendant (on March 28th) came the Uranus return (also in the 7th house) on the 30th. According to Wikipedia, ‘after Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy, efforts at compromise failed and both sides prepared for war.’
I can think of no better image of tensions being released in anger and hostility than the combined presence of warlike Mars and erratic Uranus – hereoccupying the field of experience associated with compromise and negotiation, the 7th house. Neither planet is very interested in sitting down and talking things through nicely! The first shots were fired soon after on the 12th of April. And note the fact that this was presaged by a Uranus return – something new in the national psyche was attempting to break through, and it changed the face of America as a result (and for some Southerners, not for the better). It was thus a genuine revolution – a Uranian keyword.
The next event we turn to is the famous Wall Street Crash of 1929. The solar return chart from July 1928-29 shows an exact Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the 8th house of big business and tycoonery. A piece on the Economics Help site typifies this desire for expansiveness and ‘doing it big’: ‘A lot of the stock market crash can be blamed on over exuberance and false expectations. In the years leading up to 1929, the stock market offered the potential for making huge gains in wealth.’5
By the time we get to October, when the crash actually happened, we have transiting Mars (often a trigger of some kind, no matter the type of event) making a square to that moon-Pluto conjunction in the second house of finance. This is significant, since on a mundane chart, the moon symbolises the general populace – and here it is their money at stake, not that of a coterie of wealthy business people. The Mars square makes things ‘overheat’ and by the 29th - the official date of the crash - shares were grossly overvalued and the whole thing exploded. It is highly apt that only seven days later, transiting Saturn entered into America’ssecond house of personal resources, presaging the long, drawn out financial depression of the 1930’s. This is against the backdrop of the progressed Uranus making a square to the radical MC/IC axis – the sense of security (IC) and faith in authority (MC) of many Americans was being seriously undermined by temperamental, erratic Uranus as they confronted these events.
We next move to the JFK assassination: ‘John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC) on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.’ This comes directly in the wake (only a few hours previous) of a transiting Mars-Mars opposition, which in anyone’s book means an act of violence. What also seems uncanny is how, only days after this, the conspiracy theories got underway when Lee Oswald (up until then the official suspect) was murdered by Jack Ruby on the 24th. The transiting Mars which squared Neptune on the 25th seems to chime perfectly with the smokescreens, deceptions and outright lies that were maintained as people tried to get to the truth. Nothing in the official version of events (the so-called Warren Report) it seemed, could be trusted. The Mars square was to natal Neptune in the 10th house - that of the governing body and ruling powers, or, those that write the narrative of what we’re supposed to believe. Neptune is famous for its illusions and deceptions.
And we can find other indications here – since JFK’s murder was such a momentous event in American history. Indeed, there were much bigger reverberations in the American psyche. The total and absolute shock felt by the public is indicated by the progressed moon’s approaching opposition to (you’ve guessed it) Uranus. The combined effect of a hard moon-Uranus aspect so often means a kind of disruption to one’s routine or sense of safety – in short, emotional shock, and this is exactly how the public felt. No one could quite believe their President had been killed.
Then there was Watergate: ‘Watergate was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s, following a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. in 1972 ... The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration, an impeachment process against the president that led to articles of impeachment, and the resignation of Nixon. The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were Nixon's top administration officials. The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the DNC headquarters at the Watergate complex on Saturday, June 17, 1972.’ (Wikipedia.)
The progressed chart for the date given above yields shady and power-driven Pluto opposite the North Node, as its winds its way backward through the zodiac. Nodes certainly have their place in astrology and often pertain to our connections with other people - how we come to form ties and what those ties are like. There is a little of the ‘like attracts like’quality about the North Node – one meets with others who share one’s own views, values, interests. Pluto opposing the North Node (and conjoining the South) indicates, as Robert Hand put it in Horoscope Symbols ‘subversive connections’ or ‘connections that may result in power struggles with others’.
This can aptly describe what happened with Watergate – the ‘burglars’ (dispatched, ultimately, by Nixon himself) were attempting to subvert the course of the Democratic Presidential campaign by digging up whatever ‘dirt’ they could find on certain Democrats. And most certainly, it ended in a ‘power struggle’, when Nixon did all in his might to avoid being impeached. In the end, as if admitting guilt, he resigned in ignominy. At the time of his resignation, progressed moon (10th) was opposing Saturn (4th) suggesting an unbearable burden carried by the public - they’d simply had enough of him! Plus, progressed Neptune was opposing the MC – harsh Neptune aspects to the Midheaven often pertain to a public scandal or deception of some kind. (And also the way in which Nixon would go on trying to deceive others into thinking that none of this had really been his fault. His photo-op ‘victory’ pose as he waved to the American public for the last time was yet another deluded gesture.)
Lastly we turn to the attacks on the World Trade Centre. The first actually happened in 1993 and the solar return chart ably shows a Grand Crossinvolving Mars (on the IC) opposite Pluto on the MC. (The other opposition entailed Saturn and the Moon.) The Mars on the IC alone is significant – the bombs were placed in the basement of the building, corresponding to how the IC shows the roots and foundations of any chart. The better known event was the ‘twin towers’ attack on September 11th 2001, for which only the solar return gives any broad indications. In such an event we would at least expect Mars (aggression) and Pluto (subversion) to be involved, and so it transpires.
Saturn is in the second house opposite the moon, Pluto and Mars all conjunct in the eighth which - if nothing else - suggests an enormous amount of hidden tension waiting to be released (the eighth also being the ‘house of death’). But there were soon to be unlovely consequences for the American public when a new raft of security measures were installed (like the Patriot Act) and which were criticised as being overly draconian and threatening to individual or civil liberties. This is symbolised by the presence of a Saturn square to the natal MC and a conjunction to Uranus. Straight away, this suggests an oppressive governmental power interfering with human freedoms.
WHAT IS DONALD TRUMP LIKE?
The first thing one notices about Donald Trump (the public figure) is how divisive has been his effect on Americans. According to a recent Washington Post article, Trump is described as someone:
‘given to vulgarities and gauche behaviour, boastful, thin-skinned, politically amoral, vengeful, unforgiving ... Rep. John Lewis the Georgia Democrat said the other day that Trump’s presidency was illegitimate ... The president-elect will take the oath with a minority of the popular vote — a substantial deficit of almost 3 million votes. He enters the Oval Office with historically dismal poll numbers, lower now than right after he won the election. He has done nothing to woo the majority of Americans who rejected his candidacy and has, instead, adhered to his schoolyard habit of tweeting his every grievance, denigrating his every critic, [and] making cameos with vaccine and global-warming doubters ...’
A cursory look at the his natal chart shows pretty much what we have come to learn about him from exposure in popular electronic media, or from his self-authored books. To start with, there is proud and flamboyant Leo rising, emphasised by that Mars only 3 degrees from the ascendant. (This is in one of the highly sensitive ‘Gauquelin sectors’ which give prominence to the planet under consideration.) And so here we see the energetic and bold self-promoter, anxious to be noticed, together with an element of the impatient, combative ego – almost stirring up trouble for the sake of it!
His persona, then, amounts to a kind of fiery brashness, of bravado. In fact, this latter is one of his self-confessed psychological ‘techniques’ when making financial deals. Here are some ofDonald J. Trump’s own words on the subject in his book The Art of the Deal:
‘The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.’6
Presumably, this is the method also adopted during his Presidential campaign. At any rate, here is someone very aware of the value of an impressive public image - as we would expect with Leo rising. This stance is even reinforced by Mars’ square to the MC (again, one’s public image) and the sun in conjunction to Uranus, which likes to make its presence felt through ‘shocking’ others – in wilful behaviour which goes against the grain of our common expectations of others. Sun-Uranus in Germini gives us the original and unconventional ‘one-off’, the offbeat person whose behaviour we can’t quite predict. It does seem that Mr Trump loves playing the media game and enjoys subverting people’s expectations!
On a more intimate and personal level it would appear there’s vulnerability here – why else would he hide behind that mask of bluster? Venus in emotional Cancer actually suggests a very private man, warm, caring, very family-oriented and with a good deal of sentimentality in his heart. Its conjunction with Saturn, however, also indicates strong emotional defensiveness (against being hurt) and displays of coldness or heartlessness if offended. But, I stress, this is a defensive pose. In any chart, this particular conjunction makes it difficult for the person to trust others. Such a thing would take time!
Everything here – plus the eleventh house Saturn – points to someone who operates best with a small band of loyal advisers rather than the wide circle of associates and colleagues. It’s that trust issue again! The sun-moon opposition also suggests a general being ‘out of touch’with one’s deeper feelings – perhaps even a sense of discomfort with them. (In any case, moon in optimistic Sagittarius always wants to keeps things light.) And so now we know just why he has been accused of vulgarities and gauche behavior, boasting and being thin-skinned.
WHAT WILL 2017 BE LIKE?
The progressions to President Donald Trump’s chart for 2017 (indeed, also from the time of his 2016 Presidential campaign) illustrate perhaps why he is where he is right now. The chart has Jupiter on the ascendant, simultaneously square to the MC – in other words, the Jupiter factor is pretty powerful, however you cut it. The sense of confidence, faith and overall exuberance he seems possessed of (that all the naysayers dismiss as bluster) may just be a very important reason. It is also the year of his Jupiter return to his second house (a second house Jupiter seemingly rather apt for a tycoon!). Undoubtedly, this Jupiter factor has helped him to seize the moment – think about it; not many commentators ever thought he would get this far!
Of course, to suggest that it is aways going to be a breeze for him in the White House would also be hopelessly naive. Progressed Saturn is also up there in the 10th house, suggesting he may be in for a rough ride from political opponents (and non-political ones) and of course, the job itself brings untold pressures to him. There is also progressed Mercury conjunct Pluto (also in the 10th house of career!) indicating a kind of battle of ideas. President Trump will find others (whom he needs to persuade or influence) in rather entrenched positions. In short, someof his powers will be limited, perhaps because he may have already alienated people with whom he must do business. (And with whom Presidents normally do business.)
For example, Trump has promised to "drain the swamp" of big money interests in Washington, presumbably meaning lobbyists who seek illicit favours from politicians that will facilitate their business aspirations (to name but one example). In his own words he will "reduce the corrupting influence of special interests". Here, he may have a tough job.
Another election promise was that he would "bomb the hell" out of Isil and also tear up each "executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama" - one example being his pledge to increase the population of the infamous Guantánamo bay, “with some bad dudes”. The one which sticks in people’s minds is the building of a wall on America’s border with Mexico, about which we have seen some backtracking and second thoughts. It has been forecast by experts that the cost of such a wall might be four times higher than Trump estimated – coming in at only $40bn!
Similarly with his stance on on immigration – this may simply be too impractical. Since his election victory he’s apparently forgotten about his promise to remove all undocumented immigrants from the country – perhaps because he knows that such a move would harm the economy by removingpeople from the labour market. With Saturn prominent on Trump’s progressed chart (10th house) he certainly will come up against obstacles (legal ones, in some cases) if he simply wants to make indiscriminate, sweeping changes. And so how much of the President’s promises are the hot-air rhetoric of bravado remains to be seen, but I think we must be cautious about taking him at his word.
But there is one key area where Trump can indeed play the maverick, and that is with so-called foreign policy. When we examine the Progressed US chart from the start of 2017, we see Mercury conjunct the descendant, this latter always indicating matters ‘foreign’ or at least our ‘partners’ on a mundane chart. Mercury likes to talk, and this may be an indication that Trump is ready to have significant dialogue with nations that have been off limits recently - notably Russia. He has already said, more or less, that working with Russia makes more sense than working against it. We will see more of these attitudes from President Trump (ones contrary to the usual rhetoric on foreign policy).
At home, the mounting sense of anger at the Establishment (which we have seen in various explosive riots and demonstrations last year) is likely to be unassuaged. Anger and violence, in fact, seem to be the keywords – on the US solar return of 2016-17, Mars is conjunct the ascendant, indicating, too, the divisiveness (and downright nastiness) we saw in the recent Presidential campaign. The 2017-18 solar return chart doesn’t look much better, with Mars opposite Pluto. Mars here is in the 6th house, suggesting that the unrest and potential conflict of this opposition will be rooted in work related matters – no doubt protests over employment rights and lack of jobs.
On this latter, the US economy is still undergoing a tough time – transiting Saturn is passing through the second house and by May there may be more depression in the markets as transiting Jupiter makes its conjunction with Saturn. Again, economic fortunes maybe in the news in June and September: investors and traders may experience sudden losses as transiting Uranus squares that second house moon and Pluto.
These are the areas over which President Trump will, lamentably, have little control. By July, with transiting Saturn (1) square Neptune (10) – repeated in October – there may be a national crisis of confidence, one which calls into question America’s very identity. Commentators may be gloomily asking: how did we end up like this? It’s a question I will be returning to nearer the time, suffice it to say that America is slowly headed towards its Pluto return (in 2022) when it must take a long hard look at itself. This willcoincide with a sense that US power and influence (not merely military power, but economic and commercial - cultural, even) is not the same any longer. That it is, perhaps, not as powerful and influential as it used to be. Food for thought?
3. Sardar and Wyn Davies, Icon Books, 2004.
6. Ballantine, The Random House Publishing Group, 1987