Obama’s Pastor Problem and Neptune


He’s got another pastor problem. With the selection of Rick Warren, founder of the prejudicial Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose-Driven Life, to do the invocation at his inauguration, President-Elect Barack Obama has stepped into the religious battle fray once again.

It’s not just progressives who have decried his selection; many closer to the center are also uncomfortable, as Reverend Warren’s stances against gay rights and in favor of the highly contentious Proposition 8 Marriage Equality Ban have become less and less mainstream.

There’s a pattern here: Remember Reverend Wright? Now, I think that Wright’s comments at the church lectern were taken out of context, but his comments at the media lectern were certainly not. They were at the least vitriolic — not those of the friendship Obama thought he had developed over the years.

It’s Neptune Again.
What is it, astrologically speaking, that has Obama on the wrong side of the religious leadership issue again? I’ll say it’s the Neptune in his chart. If you recall, he has Sun in Leo square his Neptune. Now, when he was born, it was four days past the square, but that means that Neptune would transit his Sun four times over the first two years of his life. The last time, Neptune was stationary direct exactly square his Sun for six weeks. This coincides precisely with the period of time that his parents were together before their divorce and his father’s return to Africa.

Clearly, this is about Obama’s relationship with his father. Without the benefit of a fully present and available father past infancy, young Barack had to make one up himself, and he did. However, this was not easy for him. He is still dealing with this issue.

Obama would clearly have idealized his father, then perhaps felt frustrated for his father not being there for him. He might have imagined what life would have been like with his father and almost certainly visualized it as better than it could have been.

In the mysterious way that archetypes are connected in our psyche, Neptune defines both imagination and religion (or maybe this isn’t so mysterious). The father archetype is partially defined by the Sun. The father is so important to us because he helps us define our expressive nature, the true self as represented by the Sun in our chart. When Neptune and the Sun commingle, there is confusion — many imaginings about a father who is in some way clouded in the child’s vision.

There is no doubt that for many the pastor of the church serves as a father figure. So, Obama’s selection of Reverend Wright and then Reverend Warren, in whatever capacity, is colored by his undefined relationship with his father.

Will This Continue?
Barack Obama is not known to back down on a decision once it is made. His fixed angles push him in that direction. I don’t believe he will change his mind about the selection of Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation. However, I believe that he has come to see the down side of the choice, and perhaps he will be more cautious about allying himself with someone who is as closed-minded as Warren in the future.

Will he make more, similar mistakes? Inevitably so, but we can hope that this will be confined to areas peripheral to leading the nation, as it has been so far. Ultimately, Neptune contacts lead us to clarity. Obama certainly has developed that in many areas. If his selection of Rick Warren reveals a blind spot, he has shown that he will learn from it much more than we have.

Will the Blagojevich Scandal Taint Obama?


Yesterday (December 9, 2008), Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested in the “predawn” hours. (Chicago Tribune) Given the details and transcripts recited by Federal Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, there is little doubt as to his guilt. This creates a huge political tsunami whose epicenter is Springfield, Illinois. You’ll note the proximity of this to President-Elect Obama’s home for the past many years. Indeed, Obama has had to deal with Blagojevich at least in passing because they were both involved in governing on behalf of the people of Illinois, and this goes for his long-time staffers from the state, such as Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett.

Obama and Blagojevich
Will this arrest and the actions of Blagojevich affect Obama and his ability to govern the nation? A look at the charts of Blagojevich, Obama, and the time of the arrest gives us some clues. The time for the arrest is vague, and I rectified it so that the Ascendant of the chart falls exactly on Blagojevich’s Saturn. This is not in any way verified or worthy of re-use. What I get from this chart, however, is that there are no strong or alarming hits to Obama’s chart. If — and it’s a big if — the chart of the arrest is accurate, then the Ascendant squares Obama’s Pluto.

As it is, it is clear that there is no love lost between Obama and the governor. Blagojevich’s Saturn is square Obama’s Pluto. I suspect that Obama’s brand of ethical governance was anathema to Blagojevich, and as even the tapes indicated, he was annoyed by and avoided Obama’s camp, except for pro forma interactions required by political protocol.

At the Time of the Arrest . . .
At the time of the arrest, the two-year-long Saturn-Uranus opposition is prominent. Saturn was at least near the Midheaven, while Uranus was on the IC in the chart of the arrest. Saturn-Uranus are squaring Blagojevich’s Sun in Sagittarius and very close to his Moon in Pisces (degree uncertain because no birth time is known). Saturn is about a degree away from Obama’s Mars, suggesting the limitation of a male peer, if not his own actions. So, if Obama has not handled his own actions ethically, he will be called to account.

Is It Enough?
Usually, there would need to be a number of critical and troubling planetary events to suggest a scandal affecting a person. So, what else is happening in Obama’s chart right now? He has an exact conjunction of the South Node to his Sun. This speaks to the increased use of his leadership ability, and a large number of contacts with people who are (to be) deeply connected to him. This is in resonance with the number of interactions he must be having as he and his staff vet potential staff and cabinet members. He has also been very busy creating bonds with those with whom he must work, especially Republicans.

Do you remember the story last week regarding Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? She is the Republican Representative for Florida’s 18th District. She was one among many to receive a direct personal call from Barack Obama, rather than the usual call staged and pre-arranged by staffers. This stretched credulity for her so much that she decided it was a prank call from a local radio station, and she hung up on him twice before taking the call and engaging in a genial conversation.

Jupiter is also very close to the degree of his Saturn, another symbol of leadership expressed in the world. Chiron is very close to his Ascendant, and if there is any concern about Obama being tainted by the scandal, this could be the source. However, this could be no more than a distraction. Chiron, tied currently to Neptune, is more representative of the deeply wounded American system, politically, socially, and economically. He has too much on his plate to be distracted by Blagojevich and his antics.

What About FOO's (Friends of Obama)
Are any of Obama’s associates involved? At the time of the arrest, the Moon was squaring Obama’s Mercury. This suggests a recent contact between at least one Obama staffer and Blagojevich. This could be the reported conversation that Rahm Emanuel had with the governor, and it is reported unreliably that Emanuel may have been the one who alerted federal officials to Blagojevich’s intentions regarding the auctioning of Obama’s now-vacant senate seat. If you recall, Obama's Mars is contacted, but it is not in a house ruling associates, so I am discounting that as a factor.

There will undoubtedly be depositions involving Obama associates, even Obama himself. However, I do not expect Obama to be implicated in any wrongdoing, nor that his closest associates have been involved. The recent suggestion that Jesse Jackson Jr. could be involved in some way is not ruled out by the chart, but neither is it implied by the chart, because Obama would not have been involved in his actions and it won't affect him.

There is no doubt that Obama will be called upon to address the Blagojevich corruption scandal, perhaps legally as well as publicly. However, the contacts at the time of the event are not alarming or personally involving in such a way as to suggest that Obama will be sullied by it.

A Bridge to Middle East Peace: Obama, Emanuel, and Israel


If you look up the bio of Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, you’ll notice right away the deep roots of Zionism in his background. His father was a member of the militant Zionist group Irgun who raised his children in the conservative Jewish tradition. Now Emanuel and his family are members of a Modern Orthodox congregation in Chicago.

Does this have implications for our new policy with Israel and the Middle East? I would say, “yes,” but not entirely for the reasons you might think. To understand my reasoning, we have to look at the State of Israel, Emanuel, and Obama from an astrological perspective.

Israel’s Difficult Chart
Israel was created out of nothing but a dream, a memory, and the sheer force of will on May 14, 1948 at 4:32 pm in Tel Aviv. Dominant in the sky at that time was a conjunction of Moon, Saturn, and Pluto, the most elevated planets in the chart. This makes them the most powerful energy in the chart in several ways — by location, proximity, and nature.

Saturn and Pluto in combination are associated with the use of power by authority, or in structured environments, such as government. Their cycle together is about 35 years long (approximate because of variations in Pluto’s orbit) and reveals the interplay of power with those who would use it. Both Saturn and Pluto are cold energies, and many people who have them in difficult combinations in their charts can be cold or ruthless. However, underneath it this behavior is prompted by fear of being under another’s absolute control (Pluto = absolute, Saturn = control).

Israel was born out of the very real fears that Jewish peoples had about their survival following the genocide of WWII (and before). The Zionist movement rose alongside anti-Semitism, to create a homeland for Jews where they would be safe. Israel was created through a complex and interminable series of events that could roughly be boiled down to a botched British exit from the region that did not do enough to pave the way for peace.

The new Jewish state was shoehorned into a region where Arab resentment was an extension of hatred and distrust toward the West. The mere fact of its existence created instantaneous and resolute enemies in the neighboring Arab communities, including those whose turf was included in the new state.

The chart of Israel speaks to this reality. It shows itself to be an unwanted child, or at least one born with many enemies. So you can understand the chart showing us that fear is the biggest factor in Israel’s modus operandi.

Saturn-Pluto also shows Israel’s tendency toward militancy in its political inclinations and militarism in its foreign policy. Israel’s governments and their leaders have frequently felt it necessary to take military action against their neighbors in order to protect their borders, and have often ended up taking land as a result. Their success is that of the desperate struggle to survive, if Saturn and Pluto are to be believed.

The Saturn-Pluto Cycle
The 35-year Saturn-Pluto cycle provides a blueprint for historical events in Israel’s history, as well as the evolution of consciousness and identity in the state (more than I can go into here). While all nation-states have to grapple with the combination of power and authority, Israel’s identity and raison d’etre are uniquely tied to this cycle. When these two planets are harmoniously interacting, Israel experiences more peace and is more conciliatory toward others. When they are in challenging interactions, Israel’s level of conflict rises.

So it stands to reason that those who have strong Saturn-Pluto contacts will “speak their language” when it comes to talking to Israel. They will understand the strong compulsions that come from the primal drive to survive. They may understand how that can be misused to create enemies instead of friends.

Emanuel’s Role
Emanuel has Saturn and Pluto very tightly tied together in a very harmonious contact, a trine from Saturn in Capricorn to Pluto in Virgo. Not only is this a very pragmatic pattern, with both signs in the Earth element; but Saturn is has to be on its best behavior in Capricorn because it’s a sign of its rulership. That is, if Rahm Emanuel misuses his authority, it comes back to bite him immediately.

Whatever the type of contact, when Saturn and Pluto are combined, the person has natural power and authority. But because Emanuel has the trine, he is not defensive about it. He does not easily feel threatened by others, yet he understands the dynamics of fear and violence. He knows how to speak the (astrological) language of Israel — the language of the struggle for existence. This is very true in visible terms as well — surely his father taught him about Zionism and the reasons for the creation of Israel from a personal level.

Enter Obama.
Obama was born nearly two years after Emanuel, and this is long enough for Saturn to have moved on. Although Saturn is still in Capricorn for Obama, he is driven by other patterns and has other urges to lead him in a different direction. However, his Pluto is at the same degree as Emanuel’s. This means that he can be awakened to the purpose(s) that Emanuel is drawn to — that Emanuel can plug him into his pattern and imbue him with dreams of peace in the Middle East.

One of Obama’s signature personality traits is his self-discipline. “No-drama Obama” is an oft-repeated moniker. This comes in part from his Capricorn Saturn in harmony (a trine) with Mars in Virgo. Again, two pragmatic Earth signs harnessing the God of War with the disciplined structure of Saturn.

This is the energy that Obama brings to all his experiences and initiatives. He is a man of peace and diplomacy — a bridge-maker, not a war-maker.

Building a Bridge
When we take all these factors into consideration, we have a new possibility: Obama, with the help of Emanuel, could bring new insights to a Middle East process. Like Obama, Emanuel does not have the reactionary feistiness of those who came before them and paved the way for their work. Where Obama stands on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr and Jesse Jackson, Emanuel stands on the shoulders of his father and the other Zionists. Yet neither carries the scars of those struggles. They carry new priorities that will carry their predecessors’ dreams forward in ways that may not always smooth feathers but are the right medicine of honesty, practicality, peace, and diplomacy for the illness of deeply entrenched battles and hatreds.

Adding Strength to Strength: Hillary in the Mix
If we add to this mix Hillary Clinton, who was born within months of Israel and has the same Saturn-Pluto pattern in her chart, we may find a bridge to peace in the Middle East. She has learned and refined her use of this energy over her life and done well with it. Not only is peace absolutely essential, but it is time. And with this team in the White House and the help of some supportive planetary trends for Israel, the stage is set for positive results in the region.

The Perfect Storm: The Auto Bail-Out, the Economy, & the Mutable Dilemma


Feeling a little tense lately? We can certainly say that there are three men from Detroit who are feeling the love from one of the most intense planetary configurations of the year. We are sharing their angst in our own way, and if a wise solution does not come out of Washington with respect to the auto industry’s woes, we’ll all soon be feeling the ensuing downturn in the real economy.

A planetary storm has been gathering since mid-November, and now it is upon us. The storm will last from the 5th through the 15th as one after another of a set of sharp-edged planetary events reaches perfection.

The Big Astrological OMG
Considering the planets involved and the type of contacts they make with each other, is it any wonder? They are moving into a mutable grand cross, which to the astrological cognoscenti is the equivalent of a very big OMG. This grand cross is found in the mutable (flexible but sometimes spineless) signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.

The key factors in this (see the chart) are: a) Saturn opposing Uranus (ongoing since September); b) Sun, Mars, and Mercury squaring them both, forming a T-square; and c) the Moon filling in the missing point to form a “box” or grand cross in the chart. While there are numerous contacts between these six points over the 11 days of their interaction, there are two peak periods, December 5–6 (today and tomorrow), and December 10–12. The first one is the most difficult of the two.

Yeah, But . . .
This pattern has the overall effect of a roomful of “yeah, but’s”. The auto industry will fail unless they get bridge loans to help them continue. Yeah, but the loans are far larger than the combined value of the corporations. Yeah, but their value to the real economy exceeds the value of the loans when we consider potential job losses across the economy and losses in parts and resource companies that are dependent on the auto industry. Yeah, but no one is buying the cars. Yeah, but they can be forced to make energy-efficient cars. Yeah, but the price of gas is down, so everyone is going back to gas-guzzlers, so the automakers have no incentive to switch. Yeah, but we have to retool to compete with foreign automakers. Yeah, but they could continue to lose money on cars no one wants. Yeah, but the earth is warming! Yeah, but the automakers can’t survive if they are forced to retool. Yeah, but if they don’t they’ll fail, and we’ll have to buy all our cars from foreign automakers. . . .

This is the infamous mutable dilemma, and we all have our own version of it in our lives. However, on the national scale, so much is at stake.

Bail-Out Today?
The first thunderclap of the storm comes today with two major contacts: the conjunction of the Sun and Mars, and Mercury squaring Uranus. On Saturday (the 6th) but very much in effect today (the 5th), is Mercury’s square to Saturn. This has the effect of leaving Washington lawmakers and auto executives very much perplexed and aggrieved as they struggle to find a way out of this perfect dilemma.

So, you want to take any bets on what will happen with the bail-out today? Even though lawmakers are under the most extreme of all pressures — an impending holiday recess — it seems unlikely that they will reach a decision by this supposed deadline despite the pressure to do so, and I hope they don’t. This one is tricky, but they still have a chance to get it right. The planetary pattern suggests that a decision won’t happen until next Friday (the 12th). If it does — such is the power of the holiday recess — the result is not likely to be as good as it will be if they wait. By next Friday, ideology will melt into pragmatism as Mercury enters Capricorn and gives us the opportunity for much better outcomes.
Even the Worst Storm Has Its Benefits.
Even if the mutable dilemma is bewildering, it has its benefits. It reveals a conundrum that existed even when we didn’t know about it. It forces us to face this conundrum and detangle its strands of cause and effect so it can be reorganized to operate in a functional manner. We could think of the auto industry as a dysfunctional family that creates false realities to distract from what’s really going on, which is a chronically corrupt culture that perpetuates its own weaknesses. Lawmakers are faced with the task of re-parenting these wayward and overgrown schoolboys so that they do not continue in their dysfunctional ways of encouraging Americans to continue their profligate gas-guzzling ways. The alternative is to further create a victim class in American society.

In this respect, the challenges presented by Sun, Mercury, and Mars are good. They say to the representatives of the status quo (Saturn - the auto execs), “You can’t operate that way anymore. It can no longer be ignored.” Uranus across the wheel from Saturn is the people and the lawmakers saying, “We won’t put up with this anymore - change!” — even as they (we) are shocked by the looming economic disaster.

Our lawmakers have to be very clever to work this out. They have to rely on monies already available to them, because George W. Bush will not sign any bill into law that offers relief to the auto industry. Even so, there is a way out, one that will draw more consensus and be more wisely devised if it happens on or after the 12th, if the planets offer any indication of timing and events. Should the situation take this longer path to maturity and harvest, the most likely day for a final resolution is the 16th or soon after. If they pull a rabbit out of the hat tomorrow, it will probably not be the best deal for the American people.

Dream Team or Nightmare? The Compatibility of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama


Well, he did it. President- Elect Barack Obama picked Senator Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. How is this going to work? We can look at their working relationship through their birth charts.

Now, first let’s consider the unknowns. We do not have a good birth time for Hillary Clinton. Several “reliable” sources, including Senator Clinton herself, have come up with a different birth time on separate occasions. I will not be relying on a birth time for her chart in this interpretation.

The Key Factor: Hillary’s Internal Conflict
Hillary Clinton has an incredible dynamic in her chart. She was born a Scorpio with a cluster of planets (Sun, Chiron, Venus, Mercury) in this sign. In addition, she was born in the “standard-bearer” period of the Pluto-in-Leo generation, when Saturn and Pluto were conjoined. Mars is also located in Leo, in exact contact with Pluto, highly activating Saturn-Pluto, with the emphasis on the transformative process of Pluto.

This is the fulcrum of Clinton’s personality and key to her relationship with Obama. Let’s just consider what this means in her personality on its own. To interpret her chart, it helps to remember that, for her, she is represented by the Scorpio planets, while the Leo planets represent those around her.

Water-sign Scorpio and fire-sign Leo as signs are not the best of friends. By energy they confront each other, although they can be combined to create a resilient, even stubborn, personality.

Saturn is a father archetype, Pluto is an authority archetype, and Mars is a brother/uncle/men her own age archetype. To me she has grown up in a world surrounded by and dominated by men. Yes, her mother was present, but she was probably “daddy’s girl”. (I have very little information about her early life, so much of this is conjectural. However, the chart tells a story that is corroborated by her behavior in her adult life.) The bios say her father did not believe in gender-based barriers, but it is possible, given this planetary pattern, that he had high hopes for her.

I would say that her father and brothers were very strong influences, had strong personalities, in her early life. They are represented by Mars-Pluto-Saturn, and there are no stronger archetypes than these! Her father was an Aries, another fire sign.

This is also suggested by the men she has collected around her as an adult. The supreme example of that is Bill Clinton, a man who — with Mercury, Saturn, Pluto, and Sun in Leo — certainly plays the role of those Leo planets in her chart. They portray a charismatic, powerful, and impetuous man who has a generous spirit, world-class intelligence, and big heart, but who is also deeply wounded. The scars he bears are partly due to the death of his father at an early age. (Saturn = father, Pluto = death)

During her campaign, it became evident to me that Hillary Clinton is quite used to having strong men around her who were willing to run (or even ruin) her life. Harold Wolfson, Mark Penn, and Terry McAuliffe, as well as Bob Shrum, all worked on her campaign and were known for their cutthroat tactics. Without needing to know their astrological configurations, they, by behavior, play out her Leo stellium very well. It was hard for me to determine if these were FOB’s or FOH’s on their own, but she must take responsibility for hiring them, regardless of who recommended them. Her campaign was noted for its turmoil and power struggles. These also fit the Mars-Pluto-Saturn in her chart.

Hillary has learned to finesse these planets to a certain extent, but I don’t think she’s mastered them. She is very game — ready to step into the line of fire in order to fulfill her duty.

Hillary & Obama
Enter Obama, Stage Left. Obama is a Leo, with Sun, Mercury, and Uranus spread over the sign. While these planets is a welcome break from the heaviness of Leo with Saturn and Pluto in the sign, it is still Leo, an energy that she is very familiar with in a not altogether happy way. Uranus may not be heavy, but it is startling, and this may be difficult for a Scorpio to cope with (although she will make it her business to do so). She is used to either being pushed around, side-stepping, or confronting (as we know she did with Bill) this unstoppable energy. Obama’s Uranus in Leo is the most likely to disrupt her. It suggests the way she must have felt when this young upstart swept the primary away from her — surprised and usurped.

So how will she do with another Leo at the helm, one she has fewer issues with but to whom she is not particularly endeared? There’s no doubt that it will be a challenge; however, it is a challenge she has faced time and again over her life. Watery Scorpio is happier on background, if not in a subordinate role. She will be comfortable in her powerful satellite role as Secretary of State. She has enough power to receive acclaim and have a role on the world stage, yet she won’t be taking all the hits as the leader of the Free World.

She is used to subordinating her will to the men in her life, and she will be asked to do it once again. I’m not going to suggest for a minute that she is completely happy in that role, but I’m sure she can manage it. She’s still shooting for the top, and she may make it. For now, she’ll use that famous Scorpio drive to keep marching toward her goal, even if she has to wait 8 years.

Altruism Is Key.
More important than that, however, is the fact that she truly wants to serve. She has the welfare of the US, the world, and the people in her heart. She will subordinate her own personal desires and goals to work toward the higher goals of peace and world balance in energy and economy. This is possible as a personal choice of course, but it is supported by her strong Jupiter in Sagittarius.

This lifts her out of any personality conflicts that arise. This does not mean that she will never feel or express them, because she has a strong will of her own. It does mean that she will most likely handle those conflicts internally, without expressing them outwardly in her public life or through her position in government. She may shout at home, but she will not carry this over into the office.

Many of us have patterns that are similar to and as challenging as the one Hillary Clinton carries in her chart. Developing such a pattern is a lifelong process of refinement and mastery. The more she smooths out the rough edges on her use of this pattern, the more harmonious and fair will be the men that she gathers around her. The fact that Senator Clinton has been drawn into the circle of Barack Obama, who seems to carry these traits, suggests the extent to which she has grown and will handle her power planets well.

For Barack Obama . . .
For our President-Elect, he recognizes the power that she carries within. He shares with her a tendency to draw to himself people who confront him in his weak areas, a sign of true inner confidence. His weakest area is Scorpio, from where his Neptune makes a challenge contact (a square) to his Sun. I think he appreciates her wisdom and expertise as a way to overcome his weak area.

Obama’s Mercury in early Leo makes a harmonious trine to Hillary’s Jupiter in Sagittarius. This makes her the teacher, and she could become a little preachy in her enthusiasm to share what she knows. However, Obama has the self-confidence to view this with humor and appreciation that will be shared with gentle teasing as long as she fulfills her position as he intends it.

So far, he has been collecting quite a cluster of people around him with an emphasis in Scorpio — Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel — and now we can add Hillary Clinton to this list. There is a method to his madness (and one I will address in another post) in collecting Scorpio energy. For now, suffice it to say that soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will find herself in good and congenial company as she joins the Obama team. While it may not always be easy for her, I do not expect her to make unpleasant waves in the Obama Administration during her tenure there.

The New Economic Team: Will It Succeed?


At 12:06 today (Monday, November 24, 2008), Barack Obama announced his economic team. They are: Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council, Christina Romer as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Melody Barnes as Chair of the Council on Domestic Policy.

The Event's the Thing.
Without looking at the members of the team itself but at the astrological chart of the moment for the announcement, we can see what might lie in store for this group. Opinion varies as to what house or houses of the chart to use for advisors. It is acceptable practice, however, to consider the advisors for a particular area to be “housed” where the matter they are concerned with is found. Since this team is concerned with the economy at large, they can be associated with the 8th house. The 8th house has to do with (among other things) the national treasury, the national debt, interest rates, and financial relations with other countries.

The House of the Treasury
The 8th house has pragmatic Virgo on the cusp with Saturn in Virgo close to hand. This speaks of a practical group that is ready to dig in and get the work done without posturing or prevaricating. They will humbly take their positions and work efficiently and for the good of the community. These are all Virgo qualities. This perspective is supported by common knowledge about this team: They have worked together in the past and share many perspectives. They are more likely to agree very quickly on a plan and move forward.

This is one place where a “team of rivals” is not desirable but rather a team of colleagues. This might create discomfort among some, except that experts on both left and right are coming to a consensus that what the nation needs is a stimulus package that is targeted in specific areas to shore up the Main-Street economy as well as the financial markets on Wall Street.

The Dream Team: Saturn’s Contacts
To see what impact this group will have on the world around them, we can look at the contacts Saturn has with other planets and points. The news is good: Saturn receives harmonious trines from Venus, the Lot of Fortune, and Jupiter, which are lined up in Capricorn. If I could imagine a set of dream contacts, I couldn’t come up with a better one! The two benefics of fortune and the Arabic Lot of fortune are in the most fortunate of contacts!

Because they are located in the 11th mundane (not whole-sign) house, this tells me that this team will be allied with and supported by Congress and will attract many allies for their policies. This house itself rules policies and the goals of the nation. This suggests that they will have a clear vision of what needs to be done and how to do it, a virtual mandate for action. Since these planets are in Capricorn, their policies will take the deepest and broadest view, with a mindful eye toward history. Christina Romer in particular supplies that strength, developed through her research and writings on the recovery from the Great Depression.

Saturn’s Teammate: Moon in Libra
The Moon is always significant in any event chart, as the timer and motivator of activity. The Moon is at 29̊35' Libra, minutes away from a change in sign. The astrological cognoscenti might be alarmed at this, because this could be a void-of-course Moon and in most instances would be. The Moon is void of course when it will make no more contacts before it leaves a sign. This signifies that no further action will be taken before the nature of the matter fundamentally changes.

But we’re in luck! Because Pluto is so late in Sagittarius, getting ready to move into Capricorn next week, the Moon is still moving into its sextile with Pluto! This is a contact of opportunity, and about the best possible situation for the Moon to be in. Why? Well, if I wanted to make sweeping and dramatic changes that would affect the entire world, I would want Pluto on my side. If I wanted to move quickly and have an immediate lasting affect, I would want to take action at a time when a harmonious contact to Pluto was going to occur very shortly, with no further contacts after it which could muddy the waters or push back on my actions.

This is precisely the effect that the Moon in its current location will have! What’s more, the Moon has only harmonious contacts before it leaves the sign: The moving Ascendant and Midheaven, which will change signs before the Moon does, will trine and sextile the Moon to add the joyous support of the people and the perhaps begrudging support in principle of the outgoing Bush administration.

So, What’s Not to Like?
Well, we do live in the real world, where we haven’t yet figured out how to make harsh conditions disappear with the wave of a magic wand. The planets also reflect this reality. After all, we are dealing with an economic crisis that is one of the worst in history.

Saturn has not escaped the grasp of Uranus, but as I’ve said before, I think this is a good thing. In a world where we need to fundamentally question the economic theories of Adam Smith, the invisible hand, and the value of uncontrolled growth in order to save the planet, we need Uranus now more than ever. Their opposition continues through July 2010, and during this time we will figure out (with the help of this team and the cadre of people who will feed their greatest wisdom to them) how to go back to being citizens instead of consumers, but this time on a global scale. Before the Depression, being called a consumer was an insult, a sign of gluttony and waste. This connotation may be revived as we green our economy and our lives.

As Saturn and Uranus circle the ring opposite each other, they will exchange illuminating points, resulting in a reconciling of extreme positions. This is the value of the opposition.

The other substantial challenge of note in this chart comes from the Mercury-Sun-Mars stellium in Sagittarius on the Midheaven. This could be called “the perfect storm in the perfect chart”, a conundrum that we will have to deal with as we make our way through the remainder of the year. If we could only take a month off from the economy, we could avoid this issue, but they haven’t told us we could, so we’ll have to deal with these planets!

The static that these planets represent is considerable, but it is short-lived. And it comes from — you guessed it — the current administration. They are still very much in power, and already Bush has reminded us that his administration is still in control, even before Obama’s statement was made! They are not willing to hand over the reins of power yet. These planets, placed in idealistic and (for these folks) stubbornly ideological Sagittarius, are found at the MC (Midheaven), signifying the nation’s leader, administration, and the party in power.

They are not likely to let go. They are likely to sit on their ideological high horse and make the Obama team (and the rest of us) wait, some in suffering, until January 20 before they will be able to effect even the mildest change. As I said earlier, yes, they will “support” the new team, but they will not support the new team. They have shown themselves to be good at giving lip service. We should always make room in our consciousness for people to do something better, though, and it is possible that they will work out their natural resistance internally as they lend real support to the new administration. (What do you think they’ll do?) No matter what, this is of a short duration, from December 5-15. Watch for their approach to an auto industry loan (not a bail-out - a bail-out was never on offer).

Two More Things Worth Noting
One more thing to note is that Chiron and Neptune straddle the Ascendant in this chart. This represents the people, wounded and hopeful. Another is Uranus in the 2nd house. This suggests a jump-start to the economy with come from the efforts of this team. President-Elect Obama spoke of the need for this, as has one expert after another.

There is reason to believe that this will work. One thing is for sure, the chart gives maximum support to a positive result in the long run, even if we have to wait longer than we think is possible. But I’ve learned that the impossible can be achieved, and together we can make it happen.

Obama Baby Boomlet? The Astrology of the Babies of Hope


Newsweek started it: the rumors that after Obama was elected our 44th president (OOOH, that sounds so GOOD!) some couples hopped in the sack to celebrate sans birth control. If this life-changing event follows the pattern of many similar ones, a spike in the birth rate could occur approximately 40 weeks from Election Night.

The irony of this is that Barack Obama himself could be the product of one of these boomlets. He was born August 4, 1961, just shy of 40 weeks after the Kennedy election. Now he gets the chance to spur a repeat of history in the first of perhaps many ways.

This notion may bring on a chuckle and a yawn to most people, but to those who watch the planets it is an object of intrigue. What will the birth charts of these children be like? There are longer term patterns that they will have in common. Will they hold as much promise as the man who inspired their conception?

The Promise of the Obama Baby Boomers
Most OBBs will be born in early-mid August 2010, with their Sun in Leo. Leo is the sign where the Sun shines brightest — it is the sign of its rulership, where it is strongest, but also most demanding of its recipients. This Sun cannot shine without qualification, however. It is involved in an epic pattern with Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune.

There are two components to this incredible pattern. First, you can see in House 4 the planets Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune in a fairly tight conjunction. This is the first-ever conjunction of these planets since Chiron was discovered in 1977, and it last occurred in 1945. These are planets that when grouped act more on a transpersonal level than personally. On that larger-than-life level, this pattern represents “healing the Great Wound” of a culture. In 2008-09, while this pattern is being felt, it is about the re-invention and reevaluation of the American Dream, returning it to its more idealistic, less materialistic origins in the dream to be free.

Peak Experience
In the short run, there could be some abrupt adjustment in the culture (the economy?) at that time. This is because the Sun is involved in this pattern, reaching the peak of its yearly cycle, comparable to a Full Moon, with all three planets at one time on August 10. This is huge, even for those born before and after this date. When it reaches the culmination of its cycle with even one planet there are noticeable increases in tensions and situations that are already out of balance. With three cycles culminating at once, there is reason to believe that there will be a tremendous shift at this time — and tremendous potential for growth.

While we may not deal with this energy particularly well as a passing fancy, the children born at this time will have it embedded in their nature. They will get the challenges and joys of fulfilling the gifts that lie within. Like Obama, they will have obstacles in life that, if overcome, become grist in the mill of excellence.

Also active in the heavens at that time is the Saturn-Uranus opposition that we began experiencing this fall. It is on background at the time of OBB births, but it will be highlighted within the first two months of their lives and leave a mark in their nature to worked out as they grow. These children will understand the fleeting nature of stability and may experience such instability or chaos early in life. Mars adds insult to injury, but this pattern ultimately becomes the fodder for excellence. Those who are successful in dealing with this will be good at responding to crisis and won’t be easily threatened by life’s circumstances.

It’s Not All Challenge.
There are enough harmonies here that these children will be a joy to their parents, who may be a law unto themselves, refusing to fit into any preconceived categories. These children are born healers, just as those born in 1945-46 are. They will help us understand the unpredictable aspects of life. We will be deeply enriched by their presence; they deserve our extra special care, and I for one cannot wait to see who they become.

Will Anything Be Accomplished by the G20 Meeting?


This weekend leaders from 20 nations, representing 85% of the world’s wealth, met to discuss the world economic crisis and make some decisions about what to do. The meeting started with a toast by George W. Bush prior to a “working dinner” at approximately 7:30 PM EST in Washington DC. How well successful will the G20 leaders be in heading off a greater global economic crisis? The details are in the chart of the event, shown here.

What Stands Out
Central to the situation is the energy of the Saturn-Uranus opposition. I have talked about this ad nauseam, but it must be brought up again as the most significant factor in the chart. This is because these two planets were at the highest (Midheaven) and lowest (IC/nadir) points in the heavens when the summit commenced.

However, this highly charged configuration receives mostly harmonious contacts from other planets. This says that, although there is a crisis, there are constructive ideas, even solutions that will be proposed. Notable among these are the contacts made by Jupiter, which trines Saturn and sextiles Uranus.

Just as with any situation, nothing’s perfect. The Moon — the timer, mood-setter, and representative of the public — is in Gemini, and it is about to make challenging connections with Saturn and Uranus (a square to each). This suggests that the leaders will not be of one mind, that there are many disparate viewpoints to be reconciled. This indeed seems to be the case, with (one pillar of Gemini representing) the powerful G7 versus (the other pillar of Gemini representing) the less-developed and under-represented nations like China and India.

The Moon’s placement implies conflict, which would have been evident right away due to pre-meeting statements, but during dinner they were avoided as the Moon passed Saturn-Uranus and made a trine to Neptune. However, on Saturday, all the disparate ideas came out as Moon made an opposition to Pluto. This was potentially explosive and would have had to be handled with diplomacy.

While the Moon is not a particular helpmate, Mercury the Messenger and Communicator is on the side of resolution. It made a trine to Uranus that would be felt all day, even on Friday. Despite anyone’s mood, there was a spirit of problem-solving and a setting aside of differences.

Jupiter Trines Saturn at Last: Sane and Sober or Ideological to the End?
One of the configurations I’ve been touting was strong over this weekend. Jupiter and Saturn have been heading toward their last of five trines, and the moment of perfection arrived this weekend. This pattern has been a double-edged sword, giving us the opportunity for a soft landing, but perhaps also the complacency to believe in a false hope that it’s already over. The leaders in the Bush Administration and business (the same thing), still bingeing on an obviously faulty ideology, have refused to accept that they’ve dug us into a truly deep hole and that they don’t have the slightest idea of how to dig us out. They don’t want to admit that more regulation — and enforcement of current regulation — is called for.

This is the complacency that trines are famous for, especially when one (or more) of the planets is debilitated. Jupiter in Capricorn, while a lovely placement that works well for many people, is not generally used well by the collective or those who have not developed some wisdom. This is our fearless leaders giving away our $700bn dollars to the banks, who are hoarding the money, using the cash to devour each other, and refusing to give it to the intended recipients — borrowers like us.

However, more rational minds, like Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, have some very good ideas of what to do. These more rational minds are represented by a very pragmatic Saturn in Virgo, and soberly remind us that there is no easy fix. Our Jupiter-in-Capricorn leaders are a sorry lot, and although they had hoped to be the white-knight saviors of the world markets (as opposed to economies), they are being revealed as the ideologues they truly are.

We can see that this configuration, as with any, is a mixed bag. I have learned to be cautiously optimistic with trines, and conversely that squares and oppositions sometimes bring better, if more painful, outcomes. That being said, I think the Saturn influence in this pattern is a great help. We need a healthy dose of realism if we are to solve the problems. Fortunately, there are world leaders who have a better grip on how economies work and are not blinded by trickle-down free-market ideology. This suggests that the Jupiter-Saturn trine really is good news.

Uranus to the Rescue!
Believe it or not, Uranus the Awakener is our rescuer. It represents the paroxysms that have shaken the world’s financial systems over and over again. This blunt truth-teller is reporting quite faithfully that the system is badly out of balance and needs to be reshaped, perhaps even reinvented. This gives the Bush team a chance to stop deluding themselves. Everyone is subject to Uranus’s shocks, the more so if we have ignored or been unable to decipher the evidence before us.

Although Uranus is in the illuminating (but painful) opposition to Saturn, it is sextile to Jupiter. This is an opportunity aspect. If we are alert to openings around us, sextiles are those not-so-obvious windows of light into the world of positive change, especially where Jupiter and Uranus are concerned. The harmonies from Jupiter suggest that the solemn reality of the situation might just humble the Americans into new, healthier perspectives.

With a Little Help From Their Friend
The ultimate representative of obsessive ideology is none other than Pluto in Sagittarius. Although it doesn’t have to be used this way, it can be associated with all extreme and zealous viewpoints and ideologies. And boy oh boy are we ready to see it move into the reality-revealing sign of Capricorn! While it made its brief spin into Capricorn January 25–June 13, our leaders were faced with the horror that they had colluded in creating. It was an economic Pompeii in the real world. People were frozen in place, in shock.

Now we’ve had a chance to grapple with the issues and get used to them, and while they won’t go away any time soon, we’re perhaps a little better prepared now as Pluto makes its final ingress into Capricorn. Pluto is in Sagittarius in this chart, and it reminds us that not much can be done because it is at the end of an era, not the beginning. They will have to wait for substantive measures until Obama takes office.

Obama decided to send surrogates to represent him rather than be at the meeting himself. While the other leaders were eager to meet him and disappointed that he didn’t attend, Obama did not want to be associated with the Bush economic doctrine. Bush has remained adamant about maintaining his policy positions, and Obama wants as much distance between himself and these policies as possible.

The Outcome of the Meeting
We can see the outcome through the final aspect that the Moon makes and by the aspects made between the rulers of the Ascendant and IC. The Moon’s final aspect in Sagittarius is an opposition to Pluto: The summit meeting ends without a meaningful resolution. Internal conflicts still exist.

However, there is a bright light rising on the horizon. The ruler of the Ascendant is Mercury; of the IC is Jupiter. These two planets are headed toward a lovely sextile. There is a door of opportunity through which the G20 leaders can walk if they turn the knob and open it. When the new Obama administration comes in on January 20, there will finally be progress. Although the G20 will not meet again until April, Obama will be swift to meet with leaders individually and begin to implement the policies he wants to introduce. This is probably the best portent of all.

Post-Election Economic Paralysis? A Peek at the Planets Shows It’s Not as Bad as You Think


Take a moment and breeeaathe. The election was the climax of a long story, and the good guys finally won, if by that we mean that the people had their say without too much vote tampering. Now we’re left as if we’ve woken from a wonderful dream, with our same old personal problems, and the economy set on self-destruct with the same old madmen at the helm of the ship.

Aside from the question of how we each keep our own pecker up, how can we gauge the mood of the public in general? One of the ways to do that is to observe the progressed Moon in the US chart, and another is to observe what’s happening in the 4th house, both in the US chart and in the ingress chart for Washington DC (this is the chart cast for the time that the Sun enters one of the cardinal signs — Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), a proven technique.

Because the US chart is so disputed, I’m going to look at the ingresses for Libra and Capricorn, which cover the period from September 22 – March 19.

The Libra Ingress Chart
In the Libra chart, Uranus is in the 4th house. This is the planet of shock and surprise, accidents and miracles. As this chart came into effect, people felt as if the earth was quaking under them. Following the economic crises of the first half of September (when Saturn and Uranus were strongly triggered), this was the week that the initial Paulson bail-out plan was rejected by Congress. As they scrambled to come up with a plan that would pass (if not work), Mercury reached its retrograde standstill two days later (September 24).

The long and short of it is that the public will have that deer-in-the-headlights feeling until late December, but there is the bright spot of the “unpredictable” outcome of the election, and the fact that Uranus has some very harmonious contacts. First, the Moon in Cancer trines Uranus from the 8th house of community wealth. This tells us that many people and businesses have stored wealth to rely on for a short period. Jupiter in the 2nd house of liquid resources is sextile Uranus. This tells us that there is opportunity out there in the realms of “real money”. Some people and businesses still have cash. While the Moon in Cancer also suggests a tight credit market (what Cancer do you know that is eager to give up his/her money?), it is not a bad thing to think of alternatives to borrowing to get along in life. This promises to be a blessing in disguise.

The Capricorn Ingress
On December 21, we get a big shift in energy. Uranus is removed from the public equation, and a speedy, even indiscreet, Mars in Sagittarius rules the public mood. We can expect some impulse buying right before Christmas as prices are cut deeply so retailers don’t take a total loss for the season. And, oh those after-Christmas sales! Watch for a huge onslaught of buyers for goods that probably aren’t any better priced than right before Christmas, but the buyers will have gift money in their pockets. There’ll be plenty of optimism to go around, and not a small dose of holiday joy in spite of some emptier pockets.

Although Saturn is nearly stationary at the time of the ingress, it will be felt more just after the New Year, when there will be belt-tightening mixed with heady optimism as we begin to feel the shift of Jupiter into Aquarius. It will feel like the end of the Bush Era and the beginning of Obama’s time at the helm of the great US engine of destiny, but the planets are aiding and abetting the mood.

This Is Not the Second Great Depression — Yet.
Many people are alive who lived through the Great Depression, and many more have heard stories, both personal family tales and those in historical and documentary reports. Some of us have seen our parents (or grandparents) stockpile food as a security buffer against the shadow of that threat. We’re not there yet. We have many more safeguards than were in place at that time. There are some mind-boggling conundrums in the way that financial products have been managed in the past 30 years, but the unemployment rate is a long way (6.5% at last report) compared to 27% during the Depression in the US.

“The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself.”
The best news is that it’s not as bad as it seems. Our fear of the unknown is triggered by the news reports of how bad the economy is. But if we localize our experience to the current moment, how bad off are we? I recognize that for some people, the suffering is acute in the current moment. However, for many of us, we are projecting way into the future our worst fears of lack and deprivation. The news triggers all our childhood (etc.) issues about powerlessness and victimization.

While it is not wise to ignore the warning signals and spend recklessly, neither is it wise to project ourselves forward into a future we cannot possibly control because it has not arrived yet. Living in the moment but being aware of the trends and responding to them calmly is far better.

It’s going to take time. We can’t pin anything on Obama yet because he’s not in charge, and it’s not up to him until he takes office, and then he is a helpmate, not an all-powerful god. We can’t underestimate the power of a leader for his/her ability to set a tone and strike out in particular direction. This we can count on Obama to do wisely.

It’s Up to Us.
It is still up to us. The same old lobbying interests will try to keep things the way they are. The same old win-at-any-cost (usually Republican) “conservatives” will still be sniping from the tall grass and doing anything they can to undercut progressive efforts because they’re afraid.

We can’t just sit back and let the good guys run the country, because they are us. If we drop out, the impetus to change can move in the wrong direction. You know what’s going on right now — King Henry (Paulson) changing the tax code with a wave of his magical pen; camouflage parachutes for top execs replacing the golden ones; banks using OUR rescue money to buy up each other instead of lending to business and people like us; foreclosures continuing apace without relief in sight; legalized usury in the credit card industry.

This will continue unless we speak up and keep speaking up. We did it for 8 years, but without being heard. The difference is now — WE WILL BE HEARD. There are people listening. Obama is a good, a great listener. And even if he can’t listen to all of us individually, he will hire people who will do it faithfully for him.

Much needs to change, and we can participate in changing it! If we do, we will be rewarded with a more active, vital, and supportive democracy where we can live that American Dream to be free to follow our chosen destiny.

In the meantime, remember to breathe.

Between the Worlds: Obama’s Transition Period


Is there life after the election? You betcha! It may have been inconceivable to think of what life would be like after the election, but here we are. It’s like jumping off a cliff — we witnessed history as Barack Obama was transformed into the president-elect.

So what happens now? He selects his staff and cabinet, and puts together an entire administration in 74 days with a little help from his friends. From an astrological point of view, however, there’s more to it than that.

Remember the first “nanny-gate”? This was the one with Zoe Baird, the one where President-Elect Clinton made her his first choice for Attorney General. She was nixed when it was discovered that she had hired illegal immigrants to serve as her nanny and chauffeur and did not pay social security taxes on their wages. “Trouble with women” could have been predicted in the process, because Mars was retrograde in Cancer during most of his transition period. (In fact, a second woman, Kimba Wood, was also withdrawn from nomination for the post for similar reasons.) In short, the planetary events that occur during the transition are not without consequence.

Transition 2008
And never have there been so many perils, or such dramatic planetary patterns to reckon with. Let’s hit the highlights to get an overview of what to expect.

The Star of Our Show: Saturn Opposes Uranus
Expect the unexpected when these planets are in play. We held our breath hoping for a decisive outcome on Election Day, and we got it, but we truly didn’t know whether the Republicans could pull it out at the last minute, whether through their last-gasp get-out-the-vote effort or through election fraud shenanigans. But Obama won, as every indicator suggested he would. (Now, ask the people in Minnesota if there was any unpredictability in their electoral process! They still have yet to get an outcome to the senate race there.)

Saturn and Uranus both change directions during the transition period. Uranus returns to forward motion on November 27 (Thanksgiving Day), while Saturn turns retrograde (on December 31). These are such slow movers that they are virtually stationary for weeks at a time. Saturn is still in motion but slow, while Uranus is nearly still now. This is both momentous and complex, and of such long-standing duration that while it is a constant factor in our lives, it is felt most when it is triggered by a fast-moving planet like the Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, or Mars.

The Moon triggers Saturn-Uranus every week for 2½ days, and these dates are worth watching because they allow us to see what’s in the works. When the other triggers make contact, they result in more significant events. For example, I’m sure you noticed some volatility in the stock market on before, during, and after the election. This cannot be explained away simply as an effect of the election on investors. Venus was in contact with Saturn and Uranus, augmenting feelings of insecurity.

Roughly speaking, the Saturn-Uranus contact portends a sea change in social, political, and economic trends spurred by dramatic problems that cannot be solved by the usual bland measures. They are global in scale and are felt across issue areas, from the economy to the environment to our personal priorities. The best way to see how it is playing out is by watching what occurs on the dates when these planets are highlighted. After November 3–5, it is worth watching November 26–28, December 5–15, and December 29–31. The Moon triggers Saturn and Uranus every Thursday and Friday through mid-December, then every Wednesday-Thursday through mid-January. This will establish a weekly rhythm that you’ll notice of tension and release. One of the easiest places to observe this is the stock market, as the market will be more volatile (up or down) on these days.

Sun and Mercury square Chiron and Neptune
These contacts, which are tightly tied in space and time, are less significant. The first of them (Sun square Chiron) occurred on November 7, coinciding with the selection of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff and with bad employment and retail sales figures. While many feel good about Emanuel’s new role, the Republicans in the House are experiencing some consternation.

The remainder of these contacts will occur through November 17, presumably clearing more of the fog surrounding the economy. We have to know what’s really been going on all these years, with people who have been suffering now being acknowledged so the new Administration can do something about it.

Jupiter Trines Saturn
The breath of fresh air in the mix is the ongoing harmonious contact between Jupiter and Saturn. These rulers of society’s structures (including the economy) suggest that some constructive measures can be taken to dull the sharp edges of the economic downturn. Most auspicious is the fact that the G20 are meeting next weekend to discuss the world economy. Although Obama has been invited, he will send advisors rather than attend himself. Meanwhile, he has been making persistent recommendations for particular actions to take place before he takes office, and it seems to be in the world’s and nation’s best interest if these actions are taken. Whether Congress will be able to pass an economic stimulus package is doubtful. Even when the minority party sees the handwriting on the wall in the form of what’s best for and what is the will of the people, they seem determined to play partisan politics; but there is always hope for anyone to change.

Pluto Enters Capricorn — Again.
When Pluto re-enters Capricorn on November 26, we may see a dolor settle over the culture as it did earlier this year. It may be a glum Christmas for those who associate it with showy gifts and material delights. But the silver lining is the adjustment to a deeper, more charitable set of values, as we rediscover what is really meaningful in our lives — our loved ones and the simple pleasures of being together, or of simply being well in ourselves.

This will be in tune with Obama’s pragmatic, bottom-line approach to governing. He is no ideologue; he will make decisions without reference to what his party wants him to do if he thinks it is right for the country. Politics of course plays into this, but he will first try to educate an attentive public before taking an unpopular decision to help others understand his reasoning and get on board with him.

Jupiter Enters Aquarius.
On January 5, Jupiter enters Aquarius. We will be thrust into a new, egalitarian and more hopeful energy. With Jupiter now rushing headlong toward Chiron and Neptune, we may not have everything we want, but we can dream, can’t we?

This signals a shift in mood and tone in the culture, and there will be a growing excitement about moving into the future, an anticipation of the new world we will enter once Obama takes the oath of office.

Mercury’s Next Retrograde
Mercury turns retrograde on January 11 and will remain so until January 31, after the inauguration. When Mercury is retrograde, we learn something that we never knew before. With Mercury retrograde in the inaugural chart, we can see that a relatively inexperienced leader is thinking outside the box, but with it conjunct the Sun and Jupiter, it works in a beneficial way.

I can’t predict what Obama will do based on what the planets are doing in the heavens, and I wouldn’t want to try. But it is good to note the dates on which he takes decisions, because we will be able to predict their success rate by when he does so. In addition, we could expect “tests” of leadership to arise on the any of the dates mentioned in this post, particularly November 26–28, December 5–15, and December 29–31. I’ll provide updates on what unfolding events mean as these dates occur.

I think we will be amazed at the composure and aplomb that rises up in Obama’s character in response to the tests and challenges that lie ahead. He has spent a lifetime outside the box, and that’s how he’ll be thinking as he prepares to uphold the Constitution on January 20.

Obama-Rahma! The Chemistry of Obama & his New Chief of Staff

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!

Universal Man: Barack Obama As President


If there were ever a miracle to turn around the world’s, and the nation’s, belief in America as the land of opportunity and equality, the election of Barack Obama to the presidency is it. In the space of a day, the wave of the hand of fate, the US is on the path to recover its image and its role of responsible leadership in the world.

If anyone can lift the country out of its troubles, it is President Obama. He is an able leader, and he has shown every sign of being able to hold to his Great-Man Potential when granted power. There is much more to say about this, but in a nutshell we can tie this to his Leo-Aquarius emphasis.

Sun in Leo naturally shines out a beacon of love and generosity. It is the sign that the Sun rules and is strongest in. The Sun is the leader, the hero, the heart. With his Sun in Leo, he is a natural uniter because it is a sign that is responsive to others.

Because of the time of day of his birth (7:24 PM), he has Aquarius rising, the opposite sign from Leo. This produces a tempering process in his nature, building strength and balance. It forces a balancing, so that Leo never rises too high into arrogance and selfishness. It is the constant reminder that humility is the path to accomplish his goals.

David Axelrod described Obama as a person who stays on a even keel, who never allows his mood to rise too high, who “puts one foot in front of the other”. (This is a paraphrase.) I was startled when I heard him say this, because this is nearly verbatim the description of the Great Man in the I Ching.

We have a First Quarter Moon at 11:03 PM in Washington DC today. In that chart, the degree of Obama’s Sun rises in the chart. If that’s not a sign of hope for America and our presidential rising star, I don’t know what is.

I have great optimism for our future today, an optimism that I know many people share.

The World Dares Hope: Why Obama’s Message Connects With the World

As the campaigns wind down, the presidential candidates are returning to their core message. For Barack Obama, it is one of unity, change, and hope. Yet, we are currently experiencing a huge economic crisis, and the outcome is as yet unknown.

Do we dare hope for a better future? Is Obama’s message realistic or pie in the sky? It isn’t over till it’s over where the election is concerned, but regardless of the election’s outcome, how much does this message of hope resonate with the people?

Hope itself is a Jupiterian-Neptunian concept. It is expansive, optimistic, upward and outward moving. I’ve already talked about the role of Neptune in the election and in Obama’s life (“Obama, McCain, and the Great Man Potential”). In addition, there has to be some way for people to hook into his message, and that comes from the planets that are moving to the heavens at the time. These planets show us the trends, moods, and interests of the population at large.

Hope Is Written in the Heavens.
The planets are indeed resonating with a message of hope. First, we currently have strong Neptune, whose energetic peak is occurring over the end of October and the first half of November. Second, Jupiter is in a strong and harmonious configuration with several other planets at this time.

Principle among these is its trine to Saturn, the “time-for-realism” guy. Jupiter trining Saturn says that we can get real about hope and optimism. In particular this resonates with Obama’s nature, because Obama has these two planets involved with each other in his birth chart, triggering a phenomenon called recurrence. Recurrence is a very powerful psychological process. Whenever a pattern that is ingrained in our nature is repeated in our environment, it is highlighted and reinforced again in our experience. Since Obama has these planets in contact with each other (a very significant thing in itself because it occurs infrequently), his idea of leadership and how to change the world (meanings for Jupiter-Saturn) will gain traction with the public.

This brings us back to the message of hope. People are conscious of its lack in their lives now, often more acutely than they have in years. They hunger for it, long for a return of the American Dream, which for many has seemed unattainable for years. Even as the dream morphs into something new, many Americans are discovering that what they wanted so much as little as a month ago is no longer of the slightest interest to them. They’re trading in their dream of an SUV in favor of a compact car, or suddenly become grateful for the home they have.

A Glimmer of Light
For the world, Jupiter’s trine to Saturn is a glimmer of light in the darkness of economic uncertainty. Whether he is seen as an able leader with good plans or as a symbol for what can be accomplished by someone who started his life in a world of prejudice and poverty, he has been bestowed a mantle of leadership and idealism by people around the world. With his steady hand at the helm of power (they believe), they can be heartened and ready to sacrifice for a better future they now feel more confident about. It won’t take long for Barack Obama to make a decision that displeases some group or faction, and he has weaknesses like anyone else. However, his message and perspective are nearly perfect for this time — at least, his is the cream that is rising to the top due to this resonance between his inner nature and the desires of the people. So reasonable hope for our future is written in the stars independent of the election and who wins it, but it happens to be personified by the junior Senator from Illinois.

It’s More than an Election: The US Chart, the Saturn-Uranus Opposition, & the Start of a New Era


As the average world citizen warily waits for Election Day, another event is taking place under the radar for most of them. That is the opposition of Saturn and Uranus, which occurs at 8:33 AM on November 4 in Washington DC. (See the chart at left.)

Saturn and Uranus represent a strong dynamic of change that pits tradition against revolution, or the status quo against an innovative force. This occurred twice in the 20th century: in 1919-20 (the badly handled end of WWI) and in 1966-67 (the Sixties Revolution, also involving transformative Pluto).

The Current Opposition
Saturn and Uranus make five oppositions in a series beginning November 4 and ending July 26, 2010. These oppositions will occur at degrees between 18:58 Virgo-Pisces and 0:25 Libra-Aries. These degrees contact the positions of the US Mars and Neptune, which are square each other (90̊ apart) in the US chart. In the chart I use for the US, cast for a time found in recently uncovered historical records, the oppositions fall across the 1st and 7th houses of the US chart.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes for the United States
This indicates a major change in the character and identity of the US in three ways that are intrinsic to the US Mars square Neptune. This square carries many meanings, but in the main it stands for the pursuit of the American Dream, and the exploitation of the disadvantaged. These two are in many ways intertwined. Exploitation is perpetrated against those who are already weak or those who are made weak. This includes the working class, recent immigrants, racial “minorities”, and women. It is easier to fulfill an “American Dream” if you take advantage of others, and this has been a pattern throughout US history, but it is not the only pattern of behavior or the only way this configuration in the US chart is used. In particular, the issue of race is tied to the Mars-Neptune square.

As the Saturn-Uranus opposition plays out, Saturn will move over Neptune, and both Saturn and Uranus will square Mars. This suggests a major shift in the consciousness surrounding the American Dream, the way that the disadvantaged are treated, and the issue of race.

We can already see the emergence of all three issues, and this is a good sign. In the coming election, it seems that the public is turning away from market fundamentalism and trickle-down economics (without understanding quite what it is they are rejecting) because they realize its oppressive outcome on all but a favored few at the top of the scale. We can also see the death of the old materialistic form of the American Dream in the failing economy. Finally, the issue of race is being brilliantly turned on its head by one Barack Obama.

Over the next two years, we can expect to see all three of these areas go through a dramatic shift, and all of them will be better for us in the long run. This is not to say that there won’t be pain, even unimaginable pain. What’s more, each nation will experience Saturn-Uranus in its own way and go through its own unique process of re-invention.

A New Day Dawns
When we tie this to the other challenges we face as a planetary citizenry, it is daunting; but it is not impossible. Over the next two years, we will see the people of the United States reveal a deeper side of their nature. There were many people who have always been there, but it will begin to be a visible part of the American identity. Americans will move away from materialism (not willingly) and racism and start reaching out to each other again. Maybe it’s only because we need each other more, but whatever brings it about, it’s not a bad thing.

This is first glimmer of a new era for the US, when the values of the old revolution become the truths of the new revolution.

How Are We Doing? Mercury Sends More Messages About the Economy


When Mercury turned around on the 15th, there were three times I wanted to watch to see how the economy responded. They are actually upon us now: October 24–26, 29, and November 1.

The players are the same: Mercury, Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune. (Lurking in the background for now but creating a long-term trend are Saturn and Uranus.) All four of these planets are especially active right now. Jupiter is pleasantly aspecting Saturn. Chiron and Neptune are ending their retrograde periods, which started at the end of May.

As anticipated, Friday proved to be a rough day for stock exchanges around the world after more bad news on corporate earnings. All indexes were down, and some to their lowest levels in 5 years. According to Scott Fullman of WJB Capital Group, “People have been saying that we’re in a recession. This is the realization.” (AP, reported on MSNBC.com, no link available).

Redefining the American Dream
So, what we on the streets have known since February (and years earlier in some areas) is that we’re in a recession. It’s taken Wall Street a while to recognize it. This fits with the current planetary patterns. When Neptune returns to forward movement, we “discover” something collectively and individually. Chiron plays a part in this too. In my post, “McCain Rubs Salt in the Great American Wound,” I mentioned that Neptune is our representative of the Great American Dream.

As Chiron passes over Neptune 2008-10, Americans will be redefining what this dream is. On Bill Moyers’ Journal, he told us that the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has just released a report on income distribution and poverty, detailing global gaps between rich and poor. The United States has the fourth highest inequality in incomes between the highest and lowest, after Mexico, Turkey, and Portugal. The report says, “Rich households in America have been leaving both middle and poorer income groups behind. This has happened in many countries, but nowhere has this trend been so stark as in the United States.” Moyers says, “Now there’s some real spreading around of the wealth, in one direction — up.”

The Chimney-Up Economy
The American Dream obviously needs redefinition, when all the wealth gets sucked to the top. This chimney-up economic model, firmly supported by free market fundamentalists since the 1980s, has ruined American society and the dreams of the middle class and poor along with it. I was right in picking out the most insidious remark that McCain made in the last debate, about spreading the wealth around, which the media missed completely.

This remains a robotically repeated cornerstone of his floundering campaign, firing up those fearful (but worthy) “low-information voters”, who do not understand the finer points of economic policy (who does?) and see their dreams slipping away. When a hypothetical Joe the Plumber (or any “low-information voter”) hears “spread the wealth”, he sees himself as having his money taken away even though he doesn’t have it yet. When he hears about $150K spent on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe, he doesn’t experience cognitive dissonance at the disparity between her expenditures and his ability to spend that much himself; he anticipates the time when he will have that much to spend on his wife and family, because he can achieve the (old) American Dream if he only votes for McCain-Palin.

Healing the American Dream
This is the old American Dream that Chiron’s transit over Neptune will help us cast aside in favor of a more meaningful one. Chiron in mythology was the wounded healer. He knew how to empathize with others and heal their wounds because he himself had been there. This alludes to the fact that we do our best healing of others from the context of our own painful experiences. They humble us, teach us the way back to health, and help us show the way to others. When we offer healing to others, we also heal ourselves. While this experience is global, in the US the American Dream needs healing. (On the global level, the planet needs healing.)

The American Dream needs to be de-materialized. It needs to go back to its roots as the embodiment of a free life that is full of abundance and prosperity, but not necessarily the material kind: the wealth of good health, happiness with your family and friends, the ability to have and enjoy leisure time, security in your job, and help from the government if you are caught in circumstances beyond your control. It is being de-materialized, and it will be re-formed by every American who carves their future out of the rock of the new economy.

Another Economist with a Clue
In another segment on Bill Moyers’ Journal on 10/24/08, Moyers interviewed James K. Galbraith (son of famed economist Kenneth J. Galbraith) about his new book, The Predator State. Galbraith displayed reassuring clarity in describing what is going on economically and what the US can and should do about it. Although I need a broader understanding before I give his perspective my 100% seal of approval, I am intrigued and encouraged by what he said. I recommend watching this segment rather than me trying to summarize it for you. I am adding Galbraith to my list of the brain trust we should consult to resolve the economic crisis. That list also includes Paul Krugman and George Soros. For insights that we can understand, try Thom Hartmann and Bill Moyers.

Events over the next two weeks will be seminal in shaping our economic future, and among them October 24–November 1 will stand out. The planets show us the energies we will have most available but do not determine how we will respond to their support.