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.