The New Birth of Freedom: Obama’s First Term, Part One


© Terry Lamb 1/17/09

This article is the first part of a series of articles on the inaugural chart, that cast for the time the president takes the oath of office.

Just as an acorn carries within it the potential to be a great oak tree, initiation or birth events in human lives are the seed for the life that is brought into being. This is true of inaugurations and the terms of office that follow.

As we are constantly reminded, the inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow will be a(n) historic event, and even the most cynical are swooning to the power of "the moment". We can see this power in the birth chart for Obama’s presidency, the chart of the inauguration.

Key to Obama’s First Term: The Inaugural Chart
The four years of Obama’s first term of office can be described by delineating the chart that is cast for the moment of the inauguration. What is noteworthy in the inaugural chart is any element which is not repeated in each inauguration. Because the chart is cast for the same date and time at each regular inauguration (that is, one that is conducted after a presidential election), the location of the Sun and the “wheel” of the chart are nearly identical in each inaugural chart. Therefore, these factors cannot be used to describe what is unique about a president’s term.

A Population Full of Hope
The most striking thing about the chart is the large cluster of planets at the top of the chart. While the Sun is always there, with Mercury and Venus nearby, the rest of the grouping is exceptional. Most of this cluster are in Aquarius. Because it is located at the top of the chart (the 10th house), it represents the head of state and can be used to describe the qualities that the population sees or projects onto him.

Just considering the nature of Aquarius, this archetype is already in the air. Aquarius is intellectual, intelligent, independent (freedom-loving), futuristic, progressive, populist, and interested in defining uniqueness. It wishes to work within a group membership, even as it strives to stand apart from it. Barack Obama has Aquarius rising in his chart, so it is an energy that defines his personality, especially the first impression that others have of him. The coolness of his demeanor is purely Aquarian and belies his sunny Leo side, making him seem a paradox. The people are ready for a president with these qualities, even as they are prepared to take them on themselves. Aquarius breaks with the past, just the US does by electing its first African-American president. Aquarius can be somewhat cynical, unless the planets found there “cheer it up”. In this case, Jupiter is found there and accomplishes this task.

Lack of Experience? It's Not a Bad Thing.
When we throw the planets found in Aquarius into the mix, we get a more colorful and optimistic image. Perhaps most noticeable is Mercury, which is retrograde at the time of the swearing-in. What does this mean?

First, Mercury retrograde, despite its poor reputation, is not a “bad sign”. It tells us that we are learning something we never knew before, or that there are many unknowns in what we are facing for Obama’s first four years. It also tells us that our new president is inexperienced. (However, what president has had experience being president?) In fact, there's no white knight that seems to have all the answers. We're all in on this grand experiment called life.

Is this a bad thing? No. Because Mercury is making favorable contacts to the other planets, it is not so much of a problem. In other words, our leader’s lack of experience is not a difficulty for him because he has other strengths to lead him through. In fact, his inexperience gives his approach a freshness that leads to innovation, even ingenious solutions to problems that have plagued the country for decades.

There are four other planets in Aquarius: The Sun, Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune. The primary planet that “rescues” Mercury is Jupiter. During its retrograde cycle it makes three contacts with Jupiter, a very fortunate contact. Jupiter is the eternal optimist, and since it will contact boundless Neptune while in Aquarius, our optimism will run high, even to the extreme. We need this hope to keep us going in the coming years of challenge as we shift gears into a different, less materialistic and more sustainable future.

Healing the American Dream
In “Fiscal Therapy” (Mother Jones Magazine, Jan/Feb 2009), David Cay Johnston says,
For years now, whenever I've been invited to lecture students on how our tax system works, I have asked a simple question: What is the purpose of the United States of America? The most common answer, be it at prestigious universities, elite prep schools, rural community colleges, or crowded urban high schools, is this: To make people rich.
As he points out, the preamble of the Constitution does not mention wealth as one of its six principles for being. These principles for the American Dream — to provide freedom, society, justice, peace, commonwealth, and security — have been trampled and forgotten in the modern capitalist fervor to get rich. However, as the economy loses its frenzied luster, we have the opportunity to rediscover the American Dream, and the planets suggest that this is happening.

Chiron and Neptune, as slow-moving planets, conjoin at the same zodiac degree about every 100 years. I have discussed them previously as representing the healing of the Great Wound. Whether that wound is personal, social, national, or species-wide, it has to do with the delicate balance between group and individual. The group must be cohesive enough that its has an identity and purpose, but it cannot be so strong as to swallow up and fail to serve the individuals that comprise it. Each of us is challenged to learn a lesson about our links to others versus our unique contribution to or rebellion against them.

In this nation (as elsewhere), we are learning that we must get along with each other and come to a consensus about sustainable living, or we will damage the planet beyond repair. There are challenges now facing humankind that now require a high level of cooperation — an Aquarian function.

Now add Jupiter to the mix. It brings weightlessness and lift to our dreams, and just in time. We see the urgency and are ready to reinvent America. Just in time, the planets are opening the window on this re-dreaming of the American Dream, the rediscovery of the most sacred of our values — freedom. Freedom is born of participation (another Aquarian value) and awareness (the result of Jupiterian exploration and discovery).

Taken all together, these planets in the inaugural chart represent our willingness to reinvigorate the principles that America represents. They also show what we see in our leader, the persona our leader chooses to reveal to us, and the person we want him to be. In his speeches, remarks, and press conferences, Barack Obama has used language heavily laced with words emblematic of the Aquarian planet grouping whose energy we’ll be fulfilling over the coming four years: Hope, freedom, optimism, independence, dreams, plus many more. This is an indication that he is already fulfilling his role in the unfolding new American Dream.

In the next part of the inaugural series, see what we will experience over the next four years in all areas of national life, from the economy to war and international relations to education. Learn who the winners and losers will be, and when significant events will occur in future entries.