Will the Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up? Our President, One Mercury Cycle Later


June 5, 2009

It’s one Mercury cycle into the first term of President Obama, and not surprisingly the media have responded unconsciously by issuing several reports on what our new president is REALLY like. In particular, the feature section of May 25th issue of Newsweek was devoted completely to such assessments from several commentators and news analysts.

This gives us a chance to reevaluate him in light of his birth chart. Most of the reports describe him as being “harder” than he portrayed himself during the campaign, but I wonder if that's just the surprised response of those without the enlightened perspective that his birth chart provides.

He Is a True (Sun in) Leo.
“He has learned that he enjoys power — the capacity to shape reality in his image and by his lights.” (Jon Meacham, What He’s Like Now, Newsweek 5/25/09) The Sun outshines all other bodies in our heavens when it is above the horizon. Even in the night sky, it directs the movement of the planets with its unseen hand. The Sun rules Leo, which is the placement of Obama’s Sun. It the sign of the sovereign, the one in whose presence all other light pales. This does not mean that Obama presumes to take this royal role, but he does have that air about him. Other words or phrases that are used to describe him are (except where noted, from Meacham):

• moving as he wishes to move, the world bending itself to him
• shapes policy, even in sub-policy areas (e.g., auto maker restructuring plans)
• prefers to stand alone, not using others as policy authorities
• catlike (Christopher Hitchens, Jacob Weisberg) = Leo the LION
• He sticks out his chin when challenged, his eyes flashing, and wants the upper hand. (I saw this petulance in one of the debates with Hillary Clinton.)

He Is, According to His Chart, Designed for Power.
If there is a theme in Mr. Obama’s chart, it is the (right) use of power. Although there are checks and balances there that create caution and have at times slapped him down (his wife is one), he is built for the redirection and management of power. Key power points in his chart include:

• Sun in Leo (its rulership)
• Jupiter conjunct Saturn: This is a well-known traditional placement of great leaders. It was in the heavens when Jesus was born (by the most reliable records), which is why the three magi (read: astrologers) went searching for him. Martin Sheen (who played President Bartlet in The West Wing) has this conjunction, as does Dick Cheney.
• Mars in Virgo: This placement makes him efficient and dedicated, good with details and hard-working. It also contributes a note of humility (one of those checks and balances).
• Uranus conjunct North Node (Pluto not far away): The deep desire (and perhaps destiny) to be an agent of change.

Some of the writers’ phrases that speak to these contacts are:

• He revels in his power (in an understated way).
• He loves that all of what he’s doing matters.
• He feels his authority and effectiveness.
• little small talk, no smarminess
• wholly businesslike, “time is valuable”
• He finds crisis [to be] defining, bracing, and useful.
• He exhibits pragmatism and a willingness to change his mind when presented with new info.
• He is realistic about his decisions and the possibility of making mistakes.
• He takes “A Highly Logical Approach” (Meacham).

He Plays Well With Others.
Mr. Obama is the ultimate balancer. With the Sun opposing his Ascendant, he often seeks reconciliation as an end in itself, whether with Congress, foreign powers, or Republicans (often to the dismay of his supporters). Jacob Weisberg (Getting to Know Obama, Newsweek 5/25/09) complains about the moral hollowness of this approach, making the following points in unwitting support of this part of his chart:

• For Obama, the middle ground is the high ground.
• He seeks true reconciliation of opposite factions.
• He enjoys engaging opponents.
• He lacks a moral stance - what does he believe? Examples: He repudiates but won’t investigate torture. He supports gay equality but won’t take action (marriage or military).

He Is a Cool Cat.
We already see the feline in the lion, but that coolness comes from his Aquarius Ascendant (rising sign). But how cool is he? Aquarius, a winter sign in the northern hemisphere, can be downright cold. He also has Jupiter and South Node in Aquarius.

• He is cool in crisis.
• His economic policy is self-described as “ruthless pragmatism” (His Jupiter-Saturn also fits this characterization.)
• He cuts off meetings when it covers familiar ground
• His habit of confidence and self-reliance (coming from his fatherless childhood, says Meacham) “creates the impression of iciness”.

He is not willing to sacrifice principle for political loyalty, even though his principles may still be difficult to see in his actions at this early stage. This can be linked to his Moon squaring Pluto.

A Bushel Full of Subtlety, Ambiguity, and Contradiction
His chart is full of subtle planetary interrelationships — with contradictory energies that he is constantly forced to (attempt to) blend. With such inner challenges, it is no surprise to hear him described as embracing complexity with the sophisticated intelligence of a well-developed mind. Obama says,
“The American people, I think, not only have a toleration but also a hunger for explanation and complexity, and a willingness to acknowledge hard problems. I think one of the biggest mistakes that is made in Washington is this notion you have to dumb down things for the public.”
As a person with strong Neptune contacts — and elected under its beams — public perception has been idealistic, even verging on idolatry. Now that Mercury has completed a revelatory retrograde past Neptune, we can see more of the real man, and the media are dutifully providing a sobering reflection of our new leader.

© Terry Lamb


Karen said...

The other side of the coin:

Leos notoriously have a blind spot about people; just compliment them and they are putty in your hands!

Mars hates being in Virgo, too much nitpicking, not enough action.

Jupiter conjunct Saturn--Mr. optimistic meets Mr. wet blanket! Jupiter is diluted here.

Sun opposes Ascendant,nothing quite like your left hand not knowing what your right hand is up to! The impression you create is different than what you really want to convey.

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

I did say exactly what I wanted to, Karen. There are many ways to express a given energy, not just the way you (or I) have depicted. Each person with a placement expresses it in many different ways, even in a single day. Nothing is black and white, and we're always learning. I am just reporting on the correlation between media perceptions and his chart features, which I think is striking. I also happen to think that he on the whole uses his chart's energies very well, but you'll note that the descriptions offered by the media are not wholly laudatory, reflecting the growing awareness of what his flaws are.

(Previous iteration of this post removed - I couldn't stand the grammatical errors in it!)

joyjoy said...

I find the Leo/power/Sun aspect of Obama fascinating -- because his joy in out-maneuvering and out-thinking his opposition reveals (to me, anyway) someone who may enjoy power, but prefers to be an influence rather than a Dictator.

That's the Sun of Aesop's fable about the Sun and the North Wind seeing who could get the coat off a traveler's back. The North Wind sought to demonstrate his own power, while the Sun simply encouraged the traveler to do what came naturally.

So why doesn't the powerful and popular Obama take a forceful stand on issues like gay marriage, torture, choice, etc.? Probably because he can see that citizens and state legislatures, all local expressions of power, are already on it. The base-level movement on each topic is palpable. We the People are rumbling, and Obama knows he doesn't really have to do anything ... except shine, at the proper temperature, at the proper time.

I have the hunch that the ones who complain about him being on the middle ground are the ones who really long for an idol to worship or destroy. Obama, as far as I can tell, is more interested in each citizen realizing and acting on their own inherent power.

Terry said...

I hope you are right, Joyjoy. Obama seems disturbingly weak in some of his positions, but he may have a grand strategy, an instinct, or an unconscious urge to let the citizens find their legs through particular issues.

Perhaps the most urgent one right now is health care reform. Finally, single-payer advocates are being seated, but it has yet to be seen if they are listened to. Obama could stand up on this issue and make a bigger difference than he has already. Let's see what he does.

Thanks for your comments!