On Thursday (November 6) Rahm Emanuel was named Chief of Staff by President- Elect Barack Obama. It’s clear from this pick that Obama is taking a no-nonsense approach to the tasks that lie before him when he takes office on January 20. Emanuel has a reputation for being tough, partisan, even threatening. How does he fit into the Obama team?
Obama and Emanuel
Both Obama and Emanuel hail from Chicago; Emanuel was born and raised there. They have a long-standing relationship that stems from that proximity. But what is it that draws them together? After all, there are lots of other people in Illinois too.
We can look at the birth chart of each person to get a feel for what’s happening on a deeper level. Even though we do not have a birth time for Emanuel, we can still gain insights into his character and how it fits with Obama’s.
Rahm Emanuel’s Birth Chart
Rahm Emanuel was born November 29, 1959, in Chicago, Illinois. His chart is shown above, cast as a solar chart for noon (the midpoint of the day). He is a Sagittarius with Moon probably in Scorpio (but could also be in Sagittarius). Given his reputation, I suspect that his birth time could be very close to sunrise, and it is almost certainly in the daylight morning hours. A near-sunrise birth would put Pluto on his MC, while any birth time in the morning puts his Moon in Scorpio conjunct his Mercury-Mars.
Regardless of birth time, his chart reeks “tough”. Sagittarius can be swift and sharp-edged, like the arrow the hunter uses to wound his prey. This energy is honed by an exact Sun square to Pluto. Pluto is powerful, transformative. It tells us that Rahm had to deal with a powerful presence in his life from the time he was born. As a result, he sees around him a world full of adversaries with whom he may find it necessary to do battle. You are either for him or against him.
He has a cluster of planets in Scorpio — certainly Mercury and Mars, but possibly Moon as well. This makes him sensitive and quick to react, perhaps too quick. He will hide this sensitivity under a veneer of toughness, never letting on how vulnerable he feels to attack. Although others perceive him as attacking them, to him, he is defending himself against their attack.
Scorpio is wonderful energy, and through it, Emanuel can use the force of his will to accomplish his goals. However, there is a vengeful side to Scorpio that can emerge when the person feels threatened. Emanuel has the reputation for this type of behavior. Still, he is very loyal to those who have gained his trust, and he will defend them to the finish.
The Scorpio Cluster
So, what draws them together? I have noticed that there is a cluster of points near the end of Scorpio when I look at the charts of those surrounding Obama. Obama himself has his Midheaven (MC) at 28̊ Scorpio. VP-Elect Joe Biden has no fewer than four planets in Scorpio, including Mercury-Mars (mirroring Emanuel’s chart) and, at 27̊ and 28̊, Venus and Sun. Emanuel’s Mercury and Mars are at 25̊ and 27̊, well within the range of the cluster that has collected here around Obama’s MC.
What Does This Mean?
When someone contacts the MC in our chart, they often fulfill an advisor-mentor role. We are likely to see them as an authority related to the area of life that the contacting planet/point represents.
Biden’s Venus is closest to Obama’s MC, but the Sun is a very close second. This makes him the purest kind of friend (Venus) and mentor (Sun). Venus suggests that Biden will always treat Obama as his equal rather than trying to dominate due to his age and experience. For that reason, Obama will trust him.
Emanuel’s Mercury and Mars are on Obama’s Midheaven, with Mars in tightest contact. This is a more challenging contact, as Emanuel may be competitive, even conflictual, with Obama. This is not a problem if, as Obama has stated, he welcomes challenge and differences of opinion. (His chart also suggests this is true.) Emanuel may provide the intellectual juice that gets Obama’s blood flowing each morning. This is the role of Emanuel’s Mercury. There is no doubt that the new Chief of Staff is very intelligent, and Obama hungers for dialogue with others who are his intellectual equal. I believe this is the main reason he chose Emanuel. They formed a friendship based on intellectual rivalry and camaraderie.
Scorpio Will Be a Theme of Obama’s Leadership as President.
Because there are so many placements collecting in Scorpio, we will see a Scorpio theme in the Obama administration. What does this tell us? First, the administration will seek a deep understanding prior to making decisions. There will be long sessions of soul-baring analysis, but emotions will be contained (except for the occasional explosive outburst — most likely from Emanuel).
There is also likely to be an air of secrecy. Obama has his secretive side. How many of you know that he smokes cigarettes? Secrecy is not a bad thing if handled wisely. Secrecy is a major component of diplomacy and of building and holding power. It can also be called discretion or good manners. Obama didn’t let us know what he really thought of John McCain during the campaign. It has no place in a campaign, where our decision should be based on our best assessment of how well a candidate will fulfill the role s/he is seeking.
Secrecy is a negative when it is used to suppress the truth. This has been the horrible norm of the Bush administration. It is not a negative when it keeps the public from tearing their hair as an administration speaks before it has a fix on a policy direction or is in disarray due to lack of resolution. This is how Obama’s campaign stayed “on message”. Scorpio used in this way expresses as determination and containment, symbolized by the eagle soaring over all and gaining a broad perspective. This is how Obama seeks to use this energy, and for the most part I believe that he has so far.
With the Right Dose of Practicality: Saturn’s Role in the New Administration
There is a strict discipline to Obama’s approach, and this brings his Saturn in Capricorn into the mix. While his Saturn placement and Emanuel’s are at opposite sides of the room, they are still both in Capricorn. What’s more, Emanuel’s Saturn makes a harmonious trine to Obama’s Pluto (as well as his own). Saturn-Pluto is the power-builder and -broker. While in Bill Clinton’s chart they were conjunct (with Mercury) lending themselves to calamitous instinctual sexual expression, here we have the resonance of the trine. There is a smoother and more conscious use of the energy. This is the waxing, First Quarter phase of the cycle that started in 1946, which Michael Meyer calls the Activist. While activism is part instinct and part conscious intent and can bring conflict, the waxing activist trine is a smooth operator, introducing change without it even being noticed.
This is where Obama and Emanuel will excel. They will find “work-around” solutions to uproot the obstacles that have blocked the country for so long. I think they have the ability to think outside the box of the standard Beltway practices. Obama is good at appealing to the better angels within us, and this may work with the legislature as well. Ultimately the most profound changes come when the public is behind them. I believe that one of the work-around methods will be to educate the public, which will empower Congress and Senate to take bolder actions.
One more thought about Saturn-Pluto. For these two, they are in Earth signs (Capricorn and Virgo, respectively). They will seek pragmatic rather than ideological solutions. While Emanuel has been very partisan in the past, Obama will draw him out of that mold into greater pragmatism, and their solutions will be the result of their best judgment of what will work, regardless of which ideology it may happen to fall into.
One More Thing
We can’t part company without the mention of the fire connection between Obama and Emanuel. Both have their Sun in a fire sign: Obama’s is in Leo, while Emanuel’s is in Sagittarius. This lightens the mood and method of the often intense Scorpio energy. They joke together and blow off steam through humor. A lot of the tension between them is certainly deflected through the humor that fire signs indulge in regularly, and this is a dominant key to what makes their synastry work.
This is strengthened by Emanuel’s Jupiter, which is conjunct his Sun, and directly trines Obama’s Sun. Emanuel’s Sun is early enough in Sagittarius that it pulls Obama’s Mercury into the mix, which could use a stronger link to Obama’s Sun. This sharpens Obama’s awareness and understanding in general, and in particular of the issues he will help us face as the leader and guide of our nation.
There is much more that can be said about their compatibility, because it is deep and complex, but suffice it to say that there are sound reasons and positive results when they get together. To tantalize you, there is also an Israel connection here that may bode well for peace in the Middle East, about which I’ll write at a later date. For now, let’s just say that the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts!