Barackalypse? I say Barackeclipse!


We’re on the other side of the Solar Eclipse now (which occurred at 2:55 am in Washington), and with an increasing number of executive orders reversing President Bush’s signing statements and executive orders, it seems that President Obama is living up to his promises to inject pragmatism and sanity into American life.

The eclipse also coincides with increased military activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is in keeping with the pattern of behavior related to the points in the chart that this eclipse triggers: the US nodal axis. The US North Node is at 7̊ Leo, the South Node at the same degree in Aquarius (the opposite sign). The eclipse is conjunct the South Node, opposite the North Node. The nodal axis, especially the North Node, was triggered in all instances of declared war and most “police actions” of the United States.

Now, we know that Mr. Obama will handle war, as all things, differently. (Look for more on his handling of war in another post.) Perhaps it is too early to see how this offensive is part of a shift in policy, or if this was a follow-through on a military action that was already in motion when he took office.

This could have been a way for him to signal to the world that he is not afraid to use force when necessary. He has said that he’ll pay more attention to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Ultimate Eclipse Event
Even though the eclipse is physically over, the effects will continue to unfold over the coming lunar cycle (one month). Clearly, there will be many events in this unfolding new presidency. However, perhaps the most significant aspect of the eclipse is so huge, it’s staring us in the face: the election of President Obama, the first African-American, multi-cultural president in our history.

This is all in accord with the energy of the nodal axis, which shows the direction of evolution that the US is following: The pursuit of happiness in harmony with equality among all — that all people are equally entitled to joy, happiness, love and their pursuits. While this has not been the intention of the actions of those in power (this axis can also return us to monarchic tendencies of power over the people), it is the true ideal that will eventually be fulfilled.

The election of Barack Obama to the presidency speaks eloquently of that ideal and shows that we can get there. Even if it is not the final step, it is a big step on the way. As Bill Maher said on Real Time (11/14/08), “Stop saying that we’ve overcome racism just because we’ve found a qualified black man and elected him president. Everybody knows we won’t have true equality until we elect a dumb, unqualified black man.” Still, it is a HUGE step, and it is the ultimate, and ultimately beneficial (we hope), event related to the eclipse.

The Shape of Things to Come: Obama’s First Term, Part Four


This is Part Four of a series on the inauguration, which can be used to see the first four years of Obama’s presidency. The first part covers the powerful and promising Aquarian planetary grouping found in the chart. The second part outlines the general indicators of the chart and gives the winners and losers. Part Three explores how the Obama team will influence each area of national interest.

Even though we capture the experience of a significant moment in the cosmic snapshot called an astrological chart, the planets keep moving and dancing with each other. We can sneak a peak at upcoming events — their timing and tone if not their exact nature — by applying those motions to the chart(s).

In this case, it is more relevant and direct to apply the planetary movements to the charts of the head of state (President Obama) and the nation. (There is much dispute over which chart to use for the United States. I choose to use one cast for a time based on historical record. While this record is approximate, it clearly places the signing of the Declaration of Independence before noon on July 4. I use a rectification of this time performed by Dobyns and Boehrer.)

Reinvigorating the American Experiment: Pluto in Capricorn
Although there are many factors to consider, one of the main ones is Pluto, which has entered Capricorn in the past year. It will remain there for 15 more years, passing slowing in contact with many of the planets in the US chart. These planets are associated with the economy and enterprise in the country. Interestingly, the configuration is also associated with the use of slaves to boost the wealth of business interests. It is still manifest in our nation as the tendency to take advantage of others through greedy selfish interests.

As Pluto makes its way through the sign, it will guide us to rectify this flaw in our national identity. The critical periods of influence for Pluto can be measured in years rather than days, as follows:

• 2009-10 (opposition to Venus)
• 2010-11 (opposition to Jupiter)
• 2014-16 (opposition to the Sun/square to Saturn)
• 2018-21 (square to Chiron/PF)

These years will involve an awakening to a new way of managing the economy and of accumulating and distributing the fruits of success.

Eclipses: Chapters of National Life (and Our Own)
Two eclipses (one solar and one lunar) occur every 5½ months and set off a new chapter of history, with its own unique focus. The eclipses expand in significance for Obama’s term because he was elected under eclipses. What’s more, the inauguration occurred under the shadow of an eclipse, which happens on Monday (January 26).

It is sufficient for now to mention the dates of the eclipses most important to the nation:
• 1/26/09
• 7/22/09
• 1/15/10
• 1/4/11
• 6/4/12
• 11/28/12

Key Dates for President Obama
President Obama’s chart is currently being affected by Pluto (his Venus) as he and his family go through a dramatic change in fortunes and circumstances. After that, he does not have much Pluto involvement until long after he would leave office.

The eclipses are another story. Here are the eclipses that stand out for him in the next four years:
• 1/26/09
• 2/9/09
• 8/6/09
• 1/15/10
• 11/25/11
• 12/10/11
• 5/20/12
• 11/28/12

There is no question that Mr. Obama has many hurdles to clear during his first term of office. Fortunately, most of his critical chapters do not overlap with those most significant for the US.

Much more can be said about President Obama’s first term and what we will experience during it. Suffice it to say for now that, while many challenges lie ahead of us, our nation appears to be in the most capable hands — President Obama’s and our own. As events unfold and each date approaches, we’ll have the opportunity to consider them in more depth.

Ken Burns, in an interview yesterday on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, said of Obama’s acumen as a leader,

“All of our leaders are always less than we make them out to be . . . . . . . This president that we have today understands what the difference between how, say Abraham Lincoln actually was and how we make him is our wish for ourselves. And Barack Obama has understood that it is the articulation of that wish for ourselves, something we do, [that] is better than anything else.”

This describes with incredible eloquence the Aquarian dreams we have of our president on behalf of ourselves and our nation, and how he will teach us to create them for ourselves.

This is the fourth and final part of Obama’s First Term, a series addressing the astrology of the first four years of the Obama Administration.

Update 1/26/09: I added 7/22/09 to the list of important eclipses for the US. Thanks to Jude Cowell for bringing this important date to my attention. I will be addressing the impact of this eclipse in a future post.

Obama Begins Presidency with a Series of Do-Overs: Mercury Retrograde Strikes in a Mostly Positive Way


In keeping with the Mercury retrograde now gracing the heavens, Obama spent the day going over territory already covered at least once, including the presidential oath of office. At a time around 7:35 PM, Chief Justice John Roberts donned his black robe and re-administered the swearing-in to a small group in the White House Map Room. This was clearly a CYA move. It has happened to two other presidents, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.

In other activities of the day, Obama reversed several policies and positions of the Bush Administration, including the policy statement regarding lobbyists and that regarding the Freedom of Information Act. Tomorrow the president promises to sign the Guantanamo detention center out of existence, although it will take up to a year to go away.

The Good, the Bad, & the Inaugural Chart: Obama’s First Term, Part 3


This is Part Three of a series on the inaugural chart, which can be used to see the first four years of Obama’s presidency. The first part covers the powerful and promising Aquarian planetary grouping found in the chart. The second part outlines the general indicators of the chart and gives the winners and losers.

President Obama was sworn in at 12:05 PM, ushering in a new Era of Responsibility in American culture. This is the ultimate lesson of Aquarius — that in order to be free, we have to fulfill our responsibilities. This is what our new president reminded us of today in his inaugural speech.

Incredibly, the President was sworn in late due to a delay in seating outgoing VP Dick Cheney, who is currently wheelchair-bound with a back strain. The chart shown here reflects the change, but it does not substantially change the inaugural chart or the delineations given so far.

We can look at each house of the chart and see what conditions will exist or be created over the four years of Mr. Obama’s first term of office. Here’s what we can expect:

The People, their Mood and Attitude
The people will feel good, solid, stable and safer than they have in the past. They are reassured in spite of whatever lies ahead. This is because we are all pulling together instead of pulling apart. Now our government is supporting us (“here to help”), not undermining us. (Taurus rising, ruled by Venus exalted in Pisces)

The Nation’s Resources, Finances, & Wealth; the Values of the People
The economy will seem to be moving backward, but this is a good thing if it means moving back to an economy based on real work for read products. If we move back to giving blue- (and green-) collar workers a chance to work, we can return to value being created inside the US. If jobs are brought home from off-shore locations; if workers’ rights in the workplace are improved in various ways, these are good moves to the past. It may take time, but the people will lose their fascination with big cars and opulence and place a higher value on living sustainable. The economy will be slow, beleaguered, “retro”, and capricious, but with bright spots and some progress. It won’t be terrible, and it will be better than expected or feared. (ruled by Merc Rx)

Domestic Travel, Infrastructure, Public Education, Transit Services, Postal Service, Commerce, Internet, Radio/TV (All Communication Overseen by the FCC), Phones, the Digital Switch
Activity in these areas will have the goal of recovering from past damage. Updating and repairs are long overdue, and growth here will be emphasized. Domestic travel will be reduced for a few more months, then pick up. Worth noting: This area rules emigration — there will be more people leaving the US than entering. (ruled by Moon v/c Scorpio)

Living Conditions, Interests of the People, Real Estate, Agriculture, Weather Events, Mining, Natural Resources (National Parks, etc.)
The nation is initially debilitated in these areas. Improvement will come soon, but will be uneven. There is a major shift away from a value system based on economic wealth, and the US will gradually cease being a country of the very rich and the very poor. This is the realm of domestic surveillance, but this will cease in most ways almost immediately. Also, this area represents the Republicans (party out of power). They are stuck in old ways of thinking but may return to the role of the loyal opposition soon. (ruled by Moon v/c Scorpio/ fall moving into Sagittarius)

Children, Fun/Sports/Entertainment, Stock Market, the Senate
With Saturn inhabiting this house, all these areas will experience substantial limitations. With money flowing less freely, it stands to reason that people will spend less on optional activities like vacations, sports, and entertainment. Don’t look to make money in the stock market as a short-term investment, although there will always be exceptional stocks.

All Workers, Civil Servants, Armed Forces, Public Health, Manufacturing
This is a linchpin area for the nation’s future well-being. People and political actions in these areas will fare well. All of these areas are pivotal to the economic turn-around, including healthcare reform. (ruled by Venus exalted in Pisces)

Foreign Relations, Open Enemies, and War
Obama’s election marks the end of old, debilitated way of relating to other nations, esp. where natural resources are concerned (oil, etc.) The Moon is in this house, suggesting that foreign powers will affect domestic travel (e.g. via oil/gasoline), commerce, communications and welfare of the people, including real estate. It is likely that foreigners will continue to buy American properties. Warlike behavior will be controlled, limited, deliberate, and not taken lightly. (ruled by Mars exalted in Capricorn)

Treasury, Federal Reserve/Other Reserve Banks, the National Debt
This area will be a double-edged sword in the coming four years. We will be able to free ourselves of concerns about debt, but we ignore it at our peril. If the huge new deficit is not funded by foreign economies, money will be printed increasing inflation and devaluing the dollar. (Ruled by Jupiter in Aquarius)

The Federal Judiciary, High Courts, Higher Education, Long-Distance Travel, the Media, Immigration, Secretary of State, Foreign Relations
These areas show great promise and will be the source of increasing well-being in other areas. A calmer, more diplomatic approach to foreign relations will lead to a calmer world, easier international trade. We will create a country with good boundaries, where foreign versus domestic products are on an even economic par. Higher education and research will become an engine of prosperity again. Although there will be challenges, the Secretary of State will do very well in her role. Ideological activism in the courts will be more limited, and new Supreme Court vacancies are possible. They will be well and wisely filled. (Mars in Capricorn occupying, ruled by Saturn in Virgo)

The Head of State (Obama) and the Party in Power
With the majority of the planets found in Aquarius in this house, a universe of hopes are pinned on President Obama. He is stuck with many problems from the past (especially but not only the Bush Administration). Mr. Obama has the right kind of inexperience — that which can enable him to think outside the box. He has the inner independence to act unconventionally and with ingenuity and enterprise. With Mr. Obama in the lead, he will enable us to dream a new dream of America and forge a new path - egalitarian, freedom-oriented, responsible, and cohesive. (Aquarius stellium occupying, ruled by Saturn in Virgo)

The Legislature (Esp. the House), Goals, Policies, Allies
We will be especially blessed, perhaps miraculously so, in these areas, with Venus exalted conjunct Uranus in Pisces here. There may be less pleasant surprises, but they will turn out well. We can expect actions here to be innovative, rebellious against the status quo, peaceful (bipartisan), to create good will. Congress and our allies will be open to new ideas, shedding old protocols, becoming veritable sugar daddies to the nation’s workers. (PF/Venus/Uranus Pisces)

Crime, Hidden Enemies, CIA/ Spies, Plagues/ Epidemics, Hospitals, Secret Societies, Prisons
Generally, these are areas that we tend to want held in check, reduced or defused. This is exactly what we can expect. This area also has to do with spirituality and karma. It suggests a movement into a new, more beneficial phase of American life and culture, an Era of Responsibility.

In Part Four of this series, we’ll take a look at key turning points and critical dates in the coming four years of Obama’s first term.

Walking on Water: Obama’s First Term, Part Two


This is Part Two of a series on the inaugural chart, which can be used to see the first four years of Obama’s presidency. The first part covers the powerful and promising Aquarian planetary grouping found in the chart.

The miraculous rescue of the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549 tells us a lot about the Obama inauguration — and his term of office. The planets that prevailed at the time of the most incredible event in the history of air travel are still with us today, as the inauguration takes place.

A Blessing of Planets
In Part One of this series on the Obama inaugural chart and what it tells us about his first term of office, I explored the Aquarian mega-group of planets that will lift and carry us in the coming four years. But wait — there’s more to be sublimely happy about.

One thing astrologers consider when assessing a chart is the condition of the planets in it. Each planet has places (by zodiac sign) where it is happier and others where it is on its worst behavior. The good news is that we have TWO planets in their happiest place, the sign of their exaltation.

Triply Blessed
The first of these is Venus, found in Pisces. Venus, the planet of love and money (or anything we value) and women, is in this sign of spirituality and mysticism. It evokes the highest form of love, which is not concerned with whether the love ever is fulfilled in an earthly way. On the one hand sacrificial, it is also pure and angelic. Since Venus is already a “benefic” planet (that is, one that humans handle well), this is especially helpful.

The second is Mars, currently located in Capricorn. Now, Mars is the planet of war and conflict. At its worst, it is oblivious to the input of others; at its best it is protective and contained in its highly energetic ways of expressing itself. In Capricorn, Mars is a well-managed energy and can be used most constructively. This is incredibly fortunate, as Mars is one of the planets that humans have the most trouble with.

When even one planet is in its exaltation, events tend to turn out mysteriously better than expected. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does! This effect is even more auspicious because Mars and Venus are forming a very strong positive contact with each other (a sextile). Venus-Mars is one the primal planetary pairs (along with Mercury-Jupiter, Moon-Saturn, and Sun-Saturn) that make the world work better when they have a harmonious connection.

So, we have an opportunity connection between two favored planets that belong together — a triple blessing. And, if that weren’t enough, Venus and Mars make harmonious contacts to the biggest bugaboo in the heavens right now, the dreaded Saturn-Uranus opposition.

This is the energy under which the crash of Flight 1549 resulted in the survival of all 155 passengers, and this is the energy under which Obama and the nation will begin the journey to reinvigorate the American spirit. We will feel the positive energies of the Venus-Mars combination in the areas of the chart (houses) ruled and inhabited by these planets.

The Not-So-Downside
I mentioned in Part One that Mercury is retrograde in the chart, and what it signifies in our current conditions. Mercury retrograde can indicate a change in the expected timing of events in the areas ruled (or inhabited) by Mercury. This means that events could occur sooner or later than is the norm. It could be the mandate Obama hopes to have in getting legislation through Congress.

Last but not least is the Moon, which will be void of course in Scorpio. Some astrologers have been mystified, others horrified at the prospect of a void-of-course Moon in the inaugural chart. Many believe that the void Moon means that nothing started under it will be completed, or it will come to nothing. This could suggest that Obama’s presidency will be ineffective or come to nothing.

I take it much more literally: At the end of a sign, it signals that we are near the end of an era or way of perceiving the world. We are on the verge of change — for the better, because the Moon in Scorpio is in the sign of its fall (this does not mean that if you have Moon in Scorpio, it is unfortunate — you’ve had a lifetime to learn to manage it). When it leaves its fall, it goes into Sagittarius, a more fortunate position, because the Moon will be ruled by and positively connected to Jupiter, the put-you-through-school Great Uncle who gives you all the atta-boys you need when you need them. So, this Moon indicates that we are sorely in need of change and about to get it.

Finally, the problem with a void Moon is the fact that it doesn’t connect to anything. However this one does: It is on Obama’s Midheaven (point of leadership) as he takes the oath of office. This means there is a connection to the Moon, and it can be used.

Generally Speaking . . .
Ignoring the whys and wherefores, the inaugural chart describes what we’ll experience over the next four years at general influences. The areas of national concern that where conditions will improve are:
  • the mood of the people
  • all workers/laborers, civil servants, armed forces, public health
  • foreign relations, open enemies, and war
  • the judiciary, high courts, higher education, long-distance travel, the media, immigration, Secretary of State
  • the head of state (Obama) and the party in power
  • the legislature, esp. the House, goals/policies, allies
  • crime, hidden enemies, CIA/spies, plagues/epidemics, hospitals, secret societies, prisons
Areas where conditions will be slow or more difficult are:
  • the nation’s finances/wealth
  • domestic travel, public education, transit and travel, postal service, commerce, internet, radio/TV (all communication overseen by FCC), phones, the digital switch
  • living conditions, interests of the people, real estate, agriculture, weather events, mining, domestic resources
  • children, fun/sports/entertainment, stock market, the Senate
Area where there’s both an up and a down side:
  • the Treasury, Federal Reserve/other reserve banks, national debt
Winners & Losers
To sum up, we can name some winners and losers for Obama’s first term:
  • Winners - Democrats, blue-collar and green-collar workers, civil servants, those in public service, armed forces, health care providers/alternative health providers
  • Losers - (right-wing) Republicans, the wealthy, investors, health care industry
Although, if you believe in Obama’s ability to be post-partisan (or at least bipartisan), perhaps he can create a world where everyone is a winner. That’s what our new Leo leader has in mind, and he may just be able to pull it off.

In Part Three of the series, we’ll look at the specifics in the areas of the national interest.

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


© Terry Lamb 1/17/09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pluto & the Destiny of the US


Even though Pluto has been demoted by the astronomers, astrologers continue to use it without pause because we know how powerful and important are the processes that it represents. Whether planet or dwarf, it represents a universal force that, like Plato’s shadows on the cave wall, is detectable in its effects but invisible in its flow.

Pluto returns to the same spot in the heavens every 248 years. In 2008, it entered the tropical sign of Capricorn, the sign it was in w hen the US was born. Although it is still about 14 years away, Pluto is now in the sign that it was in at the time of the Declaration of Independence.

We associate Pluto itself archetypally with power larger than the self, the kind that flows through us and affects us on deep, unconscious levels. It is easily detectable in the forms that mass consciousness takes, the caprices of the crowd. The power of the unconscious can be seen in the groundswell of support that brought voters to pull the lever for Barack Obama; it can also be seen in the frenzied crowds that gathered around Adolf Hitler.

While the world economy must shift, it is only an effect that is brought about through humanity’s faith in itself.When we encounter Pluto’s energy as individuals, we can only hope to survive it as it overwhelms us. If we are not caught in its thrall, we are Gandhi in our own way. If we are tempted by the glamour and euphoria of personal power, we are George W. Bush or Ken Lay. All too often we succumb to the force of Pluto as it smashes through our lives, our only response to try getting out of its way. Yes, the force that Pluto represents is very real.

Pluto will be in Capricorn 2008-2024. During that time, Uranus will make a critical contact to Pluto in 2010-15, one that is historically associated with rapid change, possibly upheaval. This is the waxing square of the cycle that began in the mid-60s. The Sixties Revolutions are emblematic of Uranus-Pluto interactions, and this particular cycle and its expression in human affairs is worth separate consideration. Although we will begin feeling this contact in 2010, it will be more powerful during its exact period in 2012-2015.

Pluto in Capricorn in History
As Pluto enters a new sign, its transformative nature is filtered through the archetypal energy that the sign represents. This energy is played out as a facet of human nature whose roots are showing signs of decay and need renewal in order to remain a vital part of human endeavor. Just as it is possible to characterize Pluto in Sagittarius (the sign previous to Capricorn) as a transformation of excessive behavior, Pluto in Capricorn has its own unique expression.

To discover what this is, the expression of Pluto in Capricorn on previous cycles can be compared to one another. In this way, we can gain insight into and forecast the issues that will arise, while the outcome lies in the hands of the human collective and the leaders it chooses. The following show what occurred when Pluto made its last two ingresses into Capricorn:

1516 Martin Luther posted his new rules for a more meaningful religious structure on the door of the Palast Church in Wittenberg (in 1517), Germany, giving birth to the Reformation.
1762 The concept of individual freedom was emerging as a concept through the writings and translations of Voltaire’s works. This was the foundation for the movement that gave birth to the French and American Revolutions.

Pluto in Capricorn - Then & Now
In both previous experiences of Pluto in Capricorn, we can see the fall of bureaucracies and mega-structures taking place. In the 16th century, actions were taken that set in motion the fall of the Catholic Church as the Universal Church that essentially controlled all of society in Western Europe at that time. In the 18th century, populist challenges led to the obsolescence of the Western monarchies and the gradual loss of colonial power.

A similar revolution is taking place now, overturning the power that business in general, and the financial industry in particular, has gained over nations and peoples while allowing greed to run amok. The worldwide trade that expanded unchecked under Pluto in Sagittarius has begun to implode.

It is now routine in the astrological community to associate Pluto in Capricorn with an economic downturn. And what was unthinkable a year ago has become reality. Yet, Pluto has not yet begun to speak to us from its new vantage point. We have 15 more years for it to reveal what has been hidden in human affairs.

Capricorn: It’s About More than the Economy.
Pluto’s sojourn through Capricorn could mark a radical change in the way that society is conceptualized and structured the world over. While we may be groping at first, we will eventually arrive at a new working model of what culture means, how it can support human life, and how it can contain humanity’s extremes and excesses.

This is of paramount importance as more nations have mass-destructive weapons, and humanity is on track to destroy itself by making Planet Earth unhabitable. This is the time for the dreamers to dream a new way of appealing to our higher angels, of finding ways to uproot the limitations we place on ourselves through mediocrity.

While the world economy must shift, it is only an effect that is brought about through humanity’s faith in itself. If we have no faith in humanity’s essential goodness; if we can find nothing inspiring confidence in the world around us, then we pull back, we distrust. When we are betrayed by our government — our government does not fulfill its promise to us, we lose hope, we stop trusting the system and each other. We withdraw and pull into ourselves. Economy and the system of finance dies when the people lose trust. If instead we find ways to reinforce the good in each other by reaffirming the foundation of human goodness through laws and principles that support our goodness and control our weaknesses, we discover an identity we can believe in and draw to ourselves. We re-establish our faith in each other, and a new social pact is born.

The Role of the United States in the New Social Pact
After World War II, America had a clear vision of who it was and what it stood for. The social pact that the rest of the world had with the United States was that it would show the way to freedom for all through democracy and tempered capitalism. However, that vision began almost immediately to be disassembled by those fearful and cynical leaders born in the 20s and 30s (with Pluto in Cancer).

This cynicism was substantially advanced through the Reaganistic “government is the problem”, a position which led to a severely hobbled government that lost faith in itself and to the current state of free-market fundamentalism that sucks money to the most oxygen-deprived at the top of the economic ladder. It reached its peak when under GW Bush the US government became almost completely inept, dysfunctional, and incompetent. The Bush Administration even failed to follow the Constitution in every way possible, breaking down every support for the balance of power maintained by the three branches of government. The US failed miserably in its role as the symbol of freedom.

When the deregulated world economy ran out of steam, the problem was compounded by the disillusionment that people everywhere shared about what the US had become. The pact was broken.

This has come just as the US must either renew its reason for being — its pact with itself — or become something different, something that is not the United States of America whose principles for existence (its raisons d’etre) are not to provide wealth but, according to the preamble of the Constitution, to provide freedom, society, justice, peace, commonwealth, and security.

The US Pluto Return & the Second American Revolution
When a planet comes back to the position it was in when a person (or other entity) was born, it is called a “return”. Not only does this signal the start of a new cycle having to do with the “force field” or archetype that the planet represents, it also permits (even demands) a recycling or revisiting of the experiences that occurred before and after the time the planet was first in that position (at the “birth” of the entity).

This is a well-known phenomenon in psychology, especially in child developmental psychology, where it is known that people “recycle” unresolved emotional experiences in a cyclic pattern until they can resolve them — a phenomenon that follows the patterns established by planetary cycles. It is not a great stretch to observe that the same process takes place in mass consciousness.

As Pluto returns to its original position in the US chart, we have been revisiting and will continue to revisit the experiences that led to the first American Revolution. We even have had our own King George III (George I was Washington, George II was George HW Bush), complete with afflicted and irresponsible governance. Just as then, a populist movement for freedom and self-determination is being (re)born.

The Second American Revolution
The Second American Revolution will follow roughly the same time line as the first, as Pluto makes it way, degree by degree, through Capricorn. However, our experiences will vary based on the fact that this is the second occurrence, that Pluto will have different interactions with the other planets, and that we face challenges unimaginable 248 (or even 48) years ago.

As with any cyclic process, some things must die to give way for the new. This means that some of the things we consider cultural norms and icons will fall away — accompanied by a necessary adjustment of values if we are to engage in the pursuit of happiness. As compensation we get to be the new pioneers, the new colonials, who get to reinvent the nation and what it stands for. We get to experience that heady aroma of freedom and self-determination in some way, even if the Constitution stands as it is.

How Much Will Change?
How much will change is a theme I will only touch on lightly at this time and flesh out in future articles. However, it is worth considering some changes that must or are likely to take place. Clearly, when our economy is as beleaguered as it is, adjustments to the financial system and economic stopgaps must be made. While I look forward to writing an in-depth consideration of what these adjustments should be (I’m still researching them), I will briefly state what seems necessary right now:

  • Adam Smith was wrong. The invisible hand doesn’t work in large economic systems. We have to rethink the structures of capitalism.
  • Eliminate corporate personhood.
  • Remove corporate wealth from election campaigns (money ≠ speech).
  • Reimpose thoughtfully created trade tariffs (to temper globalization and manage currency values), reducing free trade.
  • Re-regulate the financial industry to protect the individual borrower.
  • Repeal the bankruptcy law passed in 2005.
  • Build the (all) domestic economy(ies) from the bottom up.

What About the Constitution?
It may surprise you to know that the founders never intended for the Constitution to stand as they wrote it; they expected it to be completely rewritten several, if not many, times. This was borne out by their experience, as the Articles of Confederation were found woefully unfit to suit the toddling nation just after it gained independence.

So, if there were ever a time when the Constitution might be wholly rewritten, or at least substantially revised, the next 15 years is it. The litany of consensus complaints includes:

  • the need to get rid of the electoral college
  • a change in the way that court and cabinet appointments are handled (so that, e.g., court seats cannot go unfilled in a hostile political environment)
  • elimination of the presidential pardon
  • elimination or limitation of presidential signing statements

A Successful Revolution
Because Capricorn is an Earth sign, it has to do with the things and structures of this world, and it especially applies to large structures and institutions like government and church. This includes the economy. As Pluto moves through Capricorn, a new economic system will be born (or the old substantially revised). With each step we take on the path of recreating the US to fulfill the ideals set out in the Constitution’s preamble, we restore our faith in ourselves and our ability to thrive. As the health of the nation’s citizenry is restored, so is the health of the economy. When the citizenry is betrayed, a healthy economy cannot exist.

The Chinese say that a successful revolution is one where the ideals of the old system become reality in the new one. This is, I believe, where we are headed. Everything points to it. If you are reading this now, you are a part of the rebirth process (even if you are not an American citizen)..You get to re-dream our purpose, re-live its expression as our founding fathers and mothers did, and rebuild our country as it was first envisioned. With all the concerns and caveats of the abuse of power refreshed in our minds, we will be especially mindful of our task and be sure to not take our freedoms for granted.

Blagojevich Impeachment in Heavenly Timing


If the Illinois Senate wanted to break ties with the past and dump Rod Blagojevich once and for all, they picked the best possible time to do it. It was announced today that hearings will begin on January 26, the day of the annular solar eclipse at 6̊30 Aquarius. An eclipse is the best time to turn the page on an old pattern and set a new one. It's a new chapter in life, and Illinois has a chance to fully and finally rid itself of the pox known as Blagojevich. Good work, Illinois!

When Will the Stimulus Package Be Passed? Once Again, Mercury Is Involved.


January 6, 2009
We have much to cheer about as the new year opens. A new president is about to be sworn in, after an unimaginably disastrous eight years of GW Bush destroying the concept of government, the freedoms upon which the nation is based, and the Constitution that codifies both. It is with relief that we see our republic spring miraculously back to life.

However, we know, as much as we may hope otherwise, that life does not proceed in a straight line. It follows a zig-zag path, something that both astrologers and practitioners of the I Ching can agree on. We are about to encounter a zig-zag in the path to a better economy in January.

It’s (Not) All About Mercury.
Yes, it’s time for a Mercury retrograde again. It’s the time when Mercury appears to travel backward in the heavens when measured against the backdrop of the degrees of the zodiac (called the ecliptic). While I hasten to add that this is an apparent motion related to our position on an orbiting planet, the results in the world around us look very real.

Mercury in mythology was the messenger of the gods, and this is his role in astrology as well. Although a “minor” planet, he has the power to unleash the furies of the heavens during his retrograde period, which occurs every 3½ months for about three weeks. Mercury naturally has to do with communication, and this is a cornerstone of all human activity. But when Mercury makes contact with some of the planetary heavies during its retrograde, we get that extra dose of drama that, while blamed on Mercury, is not of his making.

The Mercury retrograde last fall (September 24 – October 15) was one of these furious retrogrades. As it made challenging contacts to expansive Jupiter and Great-Wound combination Chiron-Neptune, the markets lost confidence and the investment world fell apart, taking the economy with it. It was testimony to the power of these heavy planets, and only to Mercury as their messenger.

Up to His Old Tricks Again
If you count the days, you’ll figure out on your own that it’s almost time for another Mercury retrograde. Indeed, if you’ve had the clear skies and high visibility that southern California has enjoyed on the evenings of the past week, you’ll have been treated to the pleasure of seeing four planetary bodies in the western sky at sunset. Bright and easily visible were the crescent moon and Venus; not so visible but just as stunning were the two lights hugging the horizon but dimmed by the Sun’s afterglow: Mercury and Jupiter. Over the past week, we could watch Mercury move slowly past Jupiter.

When Mercury is even visible to us, it’s a sign that it is near its retrograde. So it is now. On January 11, it will make its standstill before moving backward across early Aquarius and late Capricorn. It returns to forward motion on January 31. This, as you might expect, establishes the potential for drama in the world around us.

Now, think about it. If Mercury goes backward over a segment of the zodiac, it covers some of this celestial turf three times, right? Ah, therein lies the rub! This segment of the heavens gets overstimulated, along with all the bodies that resonate at those degrees. The time when Mercury crosses this zone before and after its retrograde are called its “retrograde shadow”.

The themes of the retrograde emerge when Mercury first enters its shadow. They are confronted as problems or issues during the retrograde. Finally, they are resolved when Mercury makes its final pass through the shadow after the retrograde.

So, what snags in the fabric of life will Mercury’s energy get caught on this time? What issues is receiving obsessive interest by the media right now? It’s the economy, stupid. Everything is about the economy. And now, as Mercury slows down, the stimulus package offered up by soon-to-be-inaugurated Barack Obama is the source of much Pavlovian salivation.

The Good News
Mercury makes only two contacts (and one near miss) during this retrograde. These contacts are conjunctions (a neutral contact) to Jupiter and Mars. These are fairly benign as contacts go. They bring stimulation without the easy potential for major cock-ups. What’s more, Mercury and Jupiter as the two mental planets are a natural pair. Even more than that, Mars is in Capricorn, the sign that it performs best in (its exaltation). This is good news! It means that some combination of objectivity and pragmatism may reign.

The Big Question: When Will the Stimulus Package Pass?
Everyone is speculating on when it will pass as much as on what form it will take. With Congress’s swearing-in ceremony tomorrow (January 6), they cannot help but consider the stimulus package during Mercury’s retrograde. Since this is the case, Mercury establishes some nearly certain timing constraints on the situation. Here’s a time line for how it will affect the passage of the stimulus package:

December 25 - January 10 (Mercury Shadow 1): Anxiety and anticipation build as the reality of the weak economy hits home. The shortcomings of the bail-out devised during the last Mercury retrograde are fully revealed. The hue and cry rises for stimulus in the real economy to rescue “Main Street”, as it becomes apparent that the first ($700bn) stimulus package has been squandered. December 31 (Mercury conjoins Jupiter): More bad news from the economy and American manufacturers, especially automakers.

January 11 - 31 (Mercury retrograde): First, nothing will pass while Mercury is retrograde. There will be the predictable sense of urgency, but nothing will gel. It will be a time of fruitful and clarifying discussion. New facts about the economy will emerge. Under-represented viewpoints will be heard (perhaps progressives Paul Krugman, Robert Kuttner, David Cay Johnston, and James K. Galbraith). Partisan politics will threaten to take over the process. January 18 (Mercury-Jupiter): More bad economic news pushes the debate in a more progressive, Keynesian direction. January 26 (Mercury-Mars): The real economy, manufacturing sector, and blue-collar workers rise in prominence.

February 1 - 20 (Mercury Shadow 2): Stimulus legislation will begin to move forward. Although it is possible for it to occur sooner, a bill will probably not be ready for signature or signed until on or after February 20.

Caveats: Although the masses most frequently follow the norm of planetary timing, it is always possible to respond above expectation. This makes it possible for Congress to pass legislation before February 20, but it is relatively unlikely, especially before February 1.

One thing that will certainly spur action is whatever happens at the time of the Solar Eclipse on January 25, coinciding with a major stellium (cluster) of planets in Aquarius and the Mercury-Mars contact. This could be a game-changer.

Impact on the US
This is “Mercury retrograde lite” for the US chart, since Mercury only contacts the US’s destiny line, the nodal axis. This suggests a major shift in direction for the country but does not imply any complications more than are inherent in the issue (and they are huge).

There is no doubt that there are more facets to the situation than I can anticipate or that lie beyond the depth of this inquiry. However, there is no doubt that Mercury and its compadres will play a role in the unfolding of events.