Friday, August 30, 2019

Toxins




I am not always fond of reality, and yet one of the first things I do every morning is read the news on my phone.  This is an abrupt switch from hugging my pillow and dreaming of beaches.      

This morning, I was reading about Ajay Kumar, a victim of torture by the US government.  He asked for asylum here because he was subjected to political persecution in India, and the response has been to lock him up in ICE detention for almost a year.  When he (and others) went on a hunger strike to protest these conditions, he was force-fed. 

Force-feeding has no relation to nutrition or sustenance at all, and in fact it’s the antithesis of nurturing.  It’s brutal and painful, and it’s a stripping away of the last vestige of bodily agency.  It’s almost always used to silence political prisoners who are trying to make a statement.  It was used a hundred years ago – in Britain, to persecute suffragettes, and in the US, to torture a woman whose crime was distributing birth control to other women.  It’s been used in Guantanamo, and probably still is.

I’m writing this at the tail-end of August, on the first day of a new lunar cycle.  This morning’s new moon was very concentrated, with the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars all together, all within 9° in Virgo.  It’s as if the sun and moon have surrounded themselves with all their helpers – the Messenger, the Diplomat, the Warrior – and they are gathered together to craft a statement to the world.  In addition, they have a great trine going with Saturn and Uranus, representing the Old Guard and the New Wave.  So they are fortified, definite, clear. 

And what is this message?  I would say it’s about getting ourselves together, getting healthy, and tossing out the old power imbalances, before it’s too late.  These power imbalances are the toxins in the world we live in. 

Virgo is the sign of health, work, analysis and discrimination.  Discrimination doesn’t mean arbitrary judgments against people, but rather a considered investigation into what makes sense and what doesn’t, in terms of one’s recognized objective.  If the objective is to survive as a species on this planet, then there are things that waste our time and effort, and other things that yield the preferred results.  This may sound cold, but Virgo is a practical sign, and practical people are survivors.       

Maybe power imbalances benefited the species once upon a time.  There’s a whole “survival of the fittest” argument, although this leaves out the fact that cooperative efforts have added easily as much to human development as individual ingenuity or bravery.  Most individual acts of heroism take place in a family, community, or some other support system.  Support systems work, raising people just a little higher than they can manage on their own.  And they are natural to people.  We are really more like bees than wolves. 

But we have these toxins, these pockets of corruption and cruelty.  Imagine a hive with a whole wing full of non-worker bees who spend their time harassing and abusing the ones who work, and torturing any bees who object.  This is what our society is like these days, and it’s not favorable for our survival.

As I write this, there’s a storm approaching the US coast, a storm called Damian.  My friends in Florida are worried about what the next few days will bring, and so am I. 

There’s something of a cleansing effect about this Virgo new moon, but it will take more than a few storms to clear the toxins out of our society.  It may take a level of desperation that we haven’t seen yet, before we say, “No more!”  When will we be ready?  It will be hard work, but this new moon shows an advantageous time to begin a new phase.  Now is the time to flush out the toxins and create a healthy world community.   

It won’t happen overnight, because these toxins are buried deep inside all the structures we’ve built.  But if we are going to hang on to our niche on this planet, it has to be done.  We have to learn how to nurture ourselves and each other, as well as the eco-systems that support us.  We have to learn how to get rid of the poison.   




Thursday, August 1, 2019

Fire Month





I’m writing this on the first day of August, just after the new moon in Leo.  There are four planets in the fire sign Leo, and I can feel their confidence and vivacity, like a troupe of acrobats waiting in the wings.  Mercury just went direct, and is moving towards Leo as well.  Things are beginning. 

I’m just getting over a cold, and my own energy is a bit soggy.  July was an emotional month, ranging from great warmth to cold fear, and I feel like a rag doll that’s been soaked in salt water.  So I’m looking forward to a solar month - one that will dry my bones, get my blood moving, invite action.  Leo is a sign of games, risk, romance, theatre, laughter, excitement.

Adding to the fire in August, Jupiter is in Sagittarius, and from here it makes supportive trines to Mercury, Venus and the sun, as they move through Leo.  And so there will be some luck.  There will be times when the sun shines on people’s projects and endeavors, when the fates are generous.  There will be opportunities to expand.    

There are also three planets in earth signs – Saturn, Uranus and Pluto – making tense aspects to Leo planets this month.  On the one side, earth is practical, cautious and slow-moving, while on the other side, fire is excitable, spontaneous and heroic.  Earth always wants to contain or be contained, while fire resists containment, sometimes leaping over barriers.      

Fire is passion, and it’s urgent and immediate.  It can destroy whatever is in its path, because it’s focused on its own essential power.  Yet in billions of years, rolling over its surface, fire has given the earth innumerable new beginnings.  It clears out the old deadwood, giving more space, more light and air.  

Sometimes the fire is figurative, and sometimes it’s literal.  It is the hottest month, and every year we reach a new record heat, so fires are more severe everywhere.  Right now, satellites look down on thick blankets of smoke covering Greenland, Alaska and Siberia. Even the Arctic is burning, for the first time ever.

And the fires go deep, releasing things that have been buried in the soil for a long time.  As they go through Leo, the sun, Venus, Mars and Mercury will all make tense aspects to Pluto, which deals with hidden power dynamics.  Pluto represents one’s inner demons, the ones that you normally ignore or banish.  People spend a lot of energy keeping these inner passions, fears, resentments and desires tucked neatly away, but all it takes is a challenge, an altercation, and they are released into the atmosphere. 

Old crimes are buried, because everyone wants to feel innocent, and to avoid thinking about the ways we’ve wronged each other.  Everyone has old guilt, whether conscious or not.  Instead of owning it, many people project it onto others, finding convenient scapegoats everywhere.  Racism, sexism, and xenophobia are projections of people’s inner demons.  And because these things are enshrined in old custom and established structures, it can seem safe for people (like Trump and his admirers) to enact them. 

However, old customs and established structures are the very things that are wiped away, when the fires begin to burn.  We are already seeing some dramatic power shifts, and we will see more.  This doesn’t mean that everything will change in August.  But old toxins will be exposed, and some old hiding places will disappear. 

The planets in Leo will also have tense aspects to Uranus in the coming month, and Uranus is the planet of change and innovation.  It gives everyone a glimpse of what is odd and different, and what would happen if you looked at everything slantwise.  Though these aspects to Uranus are destabilizing, they are also full of exciting creative potential.

So in August, there’s a place for guerrilla theatre, for ridicule of the rich and pompous.  Pride often goes before a pratfall.  This is a good way to take down those who believe they deserve to be in charge.  And to the extent we can laugh at ourselves, it will be a healthy month.  

Uranus is also connected to the scientific and technological communities, and there will be plenty of challenges there.  How will the Fire People fare against the Robot Horde?  It’s a sci-fi melodrama, but it’s also an archetypal dilemma.  From the old stories about our stealing fire, we know how precious it is.  What is the human spirit worth, in this age of mechanization?  How can we keep the spark of humanity glowing, in a world of concrete slabs and silent robots?  This is a struggle for our very survival as a species.   

And the Leo planets also have tense aspects to Saturn, the planet of gloom and limitation.  Saturn can give a sense of being stuck in old patterns which are relentless, unchanging, hopeless.  Sometimes we all feel that we’re trudging along in the long shadow of history, seeing variations on the same cruelty and oppression play out around us.  We fight the Nazis, and sixty years later, the US president sucks up to them.  Where does it end? 

But in fact, the generally slow pace of history makes it very hard for any of us to see change.  It’s like living with a kid.  One day they’re an adult, and you have no clue how that happened.  But there is movement, glacial though it seems at times. 

Our restlessness, our discomfort, our fears and anxieties – those in themselves are signs that our times are changing.  If everything was really always the same, we would be used to it, wouldn’t we?  But nobody is used to the world as it is today.  No, we feel these prickly changes around us all the time, and we don’t know how to interpret them, or where they’re taking us, and so we take a stance, trying to maintain control over at least our own philosophical constructions.  But the stance itself requires constant maintenance, and can become a prison.

Fire is never stagnant.  It moves, and it moves inside you.  Find your own source of life, and light, and joy, and creative passion.  Move with it. 




Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Where Is All This Intensity Coming From?





I’ve been seeing a lot of break-ups, breakdowns, deaths and endings in the last few months.  Everything has been intense, not just for me, but for a lot of people. 

Saturn entered Capricorn at the end of 2017, and felt quite pleased there, in its home sign.  Saturn is the stern teacher, the disciplinarian, now in the most organized and goal-oriented sign in the zodiac, Capricorn.  All right!  Let’s clean up this town!

Of course, upon entering Capricorn, Saturn saw Pluto way over yonder, in the second half of the sign.  No worries, Saturn thought, by the time I’ll get there, I’ll have everything in hand. 

So Saturn strides along, being tough with the bad guys, making distinctions, getting organized, judging and condemning, building and maintaining.  Then suddenly it’s April 2019, and Saturn is uncomfortably close to Pluto, less than three degrees away.  Pluto is quiet most of the time, in the way an atom bomb is quiet during the countdown.  Saturn is not ready.  A world of maximum efficiency and control has not yet been achieved. 

Then Pluto turns around and starts advancing towards Saturn.  This has happened before, but not when they were so close!  What does Saturn do?  Stand its ground?  Hell, no.  Saturn turns too and flees.  The pace would be faster, except that Saturn is incapable of moving quickly.  It inches away, maintaining dignity, but with chattering teeth.  Better to move backwards and check over everything already done, to see what’s been missed, to make more preparations.   

Now, in June, Saturn is just over three degrees away, still retrograding.  Pluto is still close, but it won’t catch up, since it moves much more slowly.  The distance between them will increase during the next few months.  Come September, more than seven degrees from Pluto, Saturn will feel safe enough to turn direct once more. 

In January 2020, Saturn will reach Pluto’s position at 22° Capricorn.  Saturn’s stern, disciplined energy will be at the service of the planet of deep transformation. 

Both Saturn and Pluto have a connection to the devil, with Saturn representing a more medieval depiction of this figure.  Saturn represents the earthbound aspect of the human being, often seen as devilish in old Christian religion.  It’s the reality principle, and reality is studded with frozen fears for all of us.  It’s convenient to see them as something external to us.  Other planets offer escape, while Saturn tends to remain fixed in unyielding patterns.  This is why hard aspects from Saturn can be so painful: there’s no easy way out.

Pluto wasn’t discovered by earthlings until 1930, and then it was given the name of the god of the underworld.  Although it’s been demoted to a planetoid since then, it still has a powerful influence.  Moving very slowly, it shapes the main outline of our lives, pointing to what needs to be transformed. 

Transformation comes from going deep inside, and paying attention to what has been rejected or repressed.  The shadows inside us don’t sleep forever, but always burst into vivid life sooner or later.  Transformation often comes from recognizing our own power, and often too it comes from yielding to greater powers.  It’s called destiny, and it happens to us as individuals and as massive social movements.  We are always being carried along by inexorable underground rivers.   

So Saturn and Pluto together are rather a bloodcurdling sight.  You could say that it’s Father Time going down into the Underworld, where time has no more meaning.  Will everything freeze until Saturn re-emerges on the other side of Pluto?  How many buried fears will take form, and goad us to action?  How many nightmares will become visible? 

It is the work of Pluto to expose who we are, and what we are, on the deepest level.  I have seen a lot of this in the last few months, as people go through personal crises and are required to figure out what really matters to them.  Now, in June, we are moving away from this, but it will only be temporary.

And I do think it matters how ethically we’ve lived.  I do think the crooks and con men like DT will be winnowed away first.  But there are ways in which we’re all complicit, and in about seven months, we may understand this so much more clearly.  So I think it’s worthwhile to pay attention to our shadows now, to get to know them, and to make friends – as much as possible – with these two forces within our own psyche. 

Shake hands with Saturn, who wants only to keep you safe on this planet, and Pluto, who wants to take you beyond safety.       




Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Inexorable Fragmentation




I didn’t write a column last month because I was sad.  My family suffered a loss when our matriarch died, our oldest member.  Tití was a few months short of a hundred years old, almost a century of history wrapped up in one small self-possessed woman.  She was a native of Venezuela, but lived and travelled all over the world.   

Now Venezuela is going through a terrible and tumultuous time.  It’s painful to see so many progressive people in my circle upholding Maduro and claiming that yesterday’s events were orchestrated by the CIA.  Today, as I write this, the streets are once again full of people. 

I know that the U.S.’s imperialist hunger has been the villain in countless other stories.  My wife and I just saw the documentary “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America”, and much of the history given was familiar to me.  The US doesn’t have clean hands in Venezuelan history, either, since it supported several dictators in the past.  But Chávez was his own worst enemy, as is Maduro, and the US didn’t wreck the Venezuelan economy.   In fact, the US was the biggest buyer of Venezuelan oil until March of this year.

What I know is that Tití worked hard all her life, and if the Venezuelan economy had worked, she would have ended up with a pension and health care in her old age.  Instead, she had no security at all, except for her relatives in other countries.  We have other friends and relatives in Venezuela who spend their days trying to find food and medicine, and their nights in the dark, with only intermittent electricity. 

Wondering what the outcome will be,  I checked out Nicolás Maduro’s chart, and there’s a mix of aspects.  On the one hand, Neptune’s inconjunct to his Mars indicates confusion and strife.  But Uranus is sextiling his Jupiter, so there are also lucky breaks, and perhaps there was a last-minute rescue, as some people have reported.  Juan Guaidó’s chart is not looking particularly good right now, with Saturn and the south node opposing his Mars.  This looks more like jail than victory.   I think it’s true that the military is very divided, and they are the ones who have most of the power at this moment.

So I don’t have much good news about Venezuela, and I’m just praying that people are able to stay safe, and to survive.  This is a time of change, but I’m not sure that Guaidó will be able to lead this charge into the future.  His chart has the look of a hero, with a lot of fire, and a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Sagittarius.  But, in real life, I don’t put a lot of faith in heroes. 

In so many parts of the world, things are breaking apart.  It seems every country is fiercely divided between an authoritarian power bloc (which for some reason calls itself populist) and a more progressive movement.  The middle ground has vanished.  Brexit is a case in point, a sledgehammer poised to demolish the status quo, with people scrambling to figure out how to contain the damage. 

I see this in my own life, as several well-established lesbian organizations are splintering.  Suddenly women are sharply divided about what the word “lesbian” means, and old friendships are turning hostile over this.  No matter how distraught people are, nothing stops this movement toward dissolution.  It has to play itself out. 

Here in the US, the old boy’s club that’s upheld Trump’s presidency is also breaking up.  I’ve been looking for the aspects that show the Fall of Trump since he was elected, and now I’m finally seeing them – not in the next month, but in the next eight months.  These are slow aspects.  I assume this has to do with all the investigations, but it could also be about his health, or some combination of the two.  
All of us humans are dealing with an intense karmic aspect right now, as Saturn conjuncts the lunar south node and moves towards the conjunction of Pluto.  It won’t be till January 2020 that Saturn joins Pluto, but we’re seeing the first cracks these days.  I expect this Saturn/Pluto conjunction to be a significant meeting, a crossroads time for many of these old, strained institutions. 

Saturn turns us around, so that we see and understand the results of our past actions, and that’s why they call it the Great Teacher.  How much do we have to learn?  What are the consequences that we need to own?  What parts of our history will explain us to ourselves? When we turn around and look honestly at the past, we see into the blind spots we never knew we had.    

The end of the Trump regime won’t fix anything, but it will release a lot of tense energy, energy that’s been bound up in containing him, justifying him, lying about him, or attacking him.  (I do admire Nancy Pelosi’s cool head as she’s dealt with the toxic mess in the executive branch.) 

And then afterwards, we’ll have to look our own extinction in the eye, and see if we can head it off.  Perhaps at last we’ll be ready to deal with some basic survival issues.  In 2023, Pluto enters Aquarius, and this seems to me to give the best chance for us to come together and devise new ways to live as a world, scarred but united.    

Until then, let’s all try to stay out of the way as the rubble falls.     




Friday, March 1, 2019

Dissolve into March





It’s been a long month since my last column, but still, little has changed.  I’m looking out on a snowy landscape once more, although the snow has fallen and melted, fallen and melted, since I wrote here last. 

And we’re still taking care of my wife’s grandmother, who sometimes gets stronger and sometimes weaker.  But she keeps soldiering on. 

I’m not sure anything much will happen in March either.  Mercury is going to be retrograde in Pisces for most of the month, so we may all be locked in a dreamlike state.  Forward motion will be checked in subtle ways.  Someone could start out from her house, follow a winding path, and end up at her own back door.

The month begins with a new moon in which the sun and moon in Pisces are closely conjunct Neptune, the planet of dreams and illusions.  The Pisces New Moon is always a Dreamer’s Moon, a Poet’s Moon, but the conjunction of Neptune makes the dreams that much deeper.  We are all wrapped in the softest mantle of snow.  How can we be bound by something so feathery and fluffy?

This is a gentle new moon, and so the dreams may be beautiful ones.  Even for the feistiest among us, it’s a time of surrender.  There are many things that won’t get done in March, and you can forget about them.  Instead, let your dreams take you wandering down pathways you can only imagine.  There are tunnels, where the sunlight is diffused to a faint glow, and they seem to go on forever.  The ends and the beginnings come together, reminding you that change is just a reconfiguration. 

So does this mean nothing at all will take shape in March?  Are the forces of dissolution so much stronger than the force of creation? 

Well, no.  What’s predominant in March are the energies of Pisces and Neptune – sensitive, subtle, gentle, melancholy or blissful.  The main image of March is that of a dancer who spins to a tune that only she can hear.  But there is an earthier influence, and so there are things that will take shape.  They are slow, but they are solid.  Just as the earth does her steady work under the crust of snow, creating roots and buds, so it will be for us.  There will also be some foundational work this month. 

Mars in Taurus is carrying a lot of this burden, staying sensible while the shape-shifters dance.  Taurus is the fixed earth sign, the one that’s most impervious to the distractions that all this Neptunian energy provides.  And Mars is about the way we use physical energy.  So while Mercury tells ghost stories around a fire, Mars is hewing the logs for the fire, or knitting blankets to keep you warm.  There is practical work to be done, and Mars in Taurus makes sure it happens.

Until the spring equinox of March 20, there are no really speedy influences in March.  When the spring equinox comes along, with the Aries sun, a certain restlessness takes hold, with an urge to pick up the pace.  But the dreams won’t let go.  During the last third of March, Mercury slows down to go direct while conjuncting mystical Neptune, so the mental plane continues to be fanciful and magical.  Mars in Taurus is still plugging away, building something strong and sustaining, but words themselves are even more evanescent and unreliable than before.    

So you could say this will be a month for poets, but you could also say this will be a month for liars.  There’s a pervasive sense of unreality all through March, so it will be hard to even settle on a definition of truth, much less isolate it.  Everyone could stay a bit ambivalent and confused, as well as very easily distracted by strange, twisting scenarios.  We are already seeing this in the highest circles of power in the US government, and we’ll see more in March.

During a Mercury retrograde, people look to the past for answers, generating a lot of  heartfelt nostalgia.  Sometimes this is just a way to check out, to escape into a dreamscape.  And yet there are things in the past that can help us through this time of shadow plays and master manipulation.  There are things we know, even though the knowing can be buried deep, deep inside us. 

Everyone has a single point of universal connection in this complex of nerve endings and stray thoughts we call the self.  From this point, energy springs forth and takes on lights and colors and shapes and textures, making for a life full of sensation and stimulation.  Meditating, you find that beginning point within yourself, and you recognize it as the source of everything you are.              

We all need to spend a lot of time there in March.  It’s a month of strangeness and beauty, confusion and deception, dissolution and transformation.  But we have our answers, in our center selves.  When you get tired of wandering, just be still for a while, and let knowing form within.  It’s always there, even though the weather outside is continually shifting.                   





Friday, February 1, 2019

A Milder February




It’s snowing outside.  It’s been a hard winter for us here, so far.  My wife and I have taken on new roles as nurses, helping her grandmother navigate her suddenly uncooperative body.  She’s awake and aware, and she holds on to her dignity, but it’s not easy for any of us. 

I’ve been an astrologer for many years, and I knew that things were about to get intense.  But you never know exactly what form it’s going to take.  Looking at the new moon of February 4, though, I’m a little heartened.  It’s much gentler than the last one. 

The new moon shows some of the new beginnings we can expect this month.  This is a more dispassionate, cerebral new moon, with Mercury close to the sun/moon in Aquarius.  It’s a time when we can all be more objective, when we can get some distance from the problems that shocked and unbalanced us during the last lunar cycle. 

And this distance lends itself to problem-solving, to ingenuity and creativity.  One of the hallmarks of Aquarius is the willingness to try new things, to invent and construct alternative techniques and strategies.  I’m looking forward to this, if only to help us streamline our new routines a bit. 

Maybe we’ll turn out to be hotshot nurses.  Only yesterday we were congratulating each other because we’ve gotten pretty smooth with a drawcloth and a three-count, hoisting the granny up to a higher position on the bed.  Maybe there will be more stories to hear, before she falls back asleep again.  Maybe we’ll be amazed by the secrets that emerge, secrets buried for almost a hundred years. 

The granny holds court from a bed which obligingly changes shape at the press of a button.  Meanwhile, winter creeps by outside, soft flakes falling past her window.  She ignores them,  fixated on the pictures hanging on the wall, the photos of family and close friends.  When we take them down, she touches them and says the name of each person.

Mostly gentle, the February new moon has one hard aspect:  a separating square between Mars and Pluto.  This shows an ongoing struggle with power, with forces that are too strong for us.  In our home, we certainly see this, as we face the harsh realities of human frailty and transience.  There is so little we can do.  The snow covers everything, once again.   

In the political landscape, we see it as well.  One of the grueling things about January was the government shut-down, and the economic insecurity it engendered for so many people.  It became obvious that the president’s habit of ignoring consequences really doesn’t work for him – and definitely not for anyone else.  Now the new Democratic House has started working with the kind of energy we haven’t seen in Congress in a while, and it’s becoming clearer to the public where that energy is getting choked off.

During the first half of February, there are a lot of stimulating Mercury aspects, which keep mental energy flowing.  Information will move outward more freely, coming from discussions, meetings, and the sharing of ideas.  This will be a welcome contrast to the kind of gaslighting the president routinely does.  Of course, it’s only a beginning, a showcase of how government, civil society, and the press can work together.  But it will be heartening. 

The middle of February is the most turbulent time, and I realize this is when government funding comes due again, on February 15.  Mars will move out of combative Aries and into the more sedate sign Taurus.  However Taurus is a fixed sign.  Could there be another impasse?  I doubt it, because Mars in Taurus is also basically practical, and a government shut-down helps nobody.      

However, something rather violent and shocking could happen, when Mars and Uranus conjoin in late Aries.  This happens between February 9 and 16, and if you have anything in the last degree of Aries (or any other cardinal sign), it’s a good idea to be extra careful then.  It looks like something will be ending, but unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the Trump presidency.  I don’t have too much hope that that will happen till March at the earliest, when Jupiter opposes his sun for the first time.  At that point, some of his excesses could catch up with him.

One danger is military action, during this Mars/Uranus conjunction.  But I’m hoping the month’s emphasis on healthy civil discourse will have a discouraging effect when it comes to military adventures.  I don’t see any astrological indication of an invasion of Venezuela, since this Mars/Uranus conjunction is actually benign in the Venezuelan national chart.  It could mean a sudden but positive shift in the balance of power there. 

Other tricky aspects in mid-February are less turbulent, but could be problematic.  Venus conjuncts Saturn, and this is rather bleak.  Hard Venus aspects often indicate setbacks in the gay and queer community, but this is not an easy aspect for anybody’s love life.   At the same time, Mercury conjuncts Neptune.  This aspect lends itself to fantasy worlds which distract everyone from the disappointments of that Venus/Saturn aspect.  It could be all shimmer and glitter, and it could be beautiful, but it could also be one of those mass hypnosis times.  Afterwards everybody wonders why they fell in love with a donkey, or believed one of DT’s lies.

Aside from the sudden shocks of the Mars/Uranus conjunction, and the sorrows of the Venus/Saturn conjunction, I’m not seeing too many surprises in February.  The best thing about the coming month is that people will be thinking, and except for that spate of delusion in the middle of the month, they’ll be thinking more clearly than usual.  Dawn takes its time, following one band of daylight with another and another.  But sooner or later, the world will be a lighter place.      


 




Monday, December 31, 2018

A Look at 2019




It’s a drippy day, this last day of 2018, here in the outskirts of the US capital.  My wife just waded through the puddles, taking her grandmother to the doctor.   Outside my window is a pastiche of browns and greys. 

I’ve been reading Katharine Graham’s autobiography, which is also the history of the Washington Post, and it covers all the news that shook our bones during the last half of the twentieth century.  I just got to the part where Richard Nixon resigns. 

One thing I’m really noticing is how long it took to tighten the net around Nixon.  There were three long years between the Watergate burglary and his resignation. And these were hard times for the Post, since the White House used every weapon possible to weaken and threaten them.  Of course, this aversion to transparency is a sign of a corrupt administration, as we see nowadays. 

Trump’s level of corruption is worse, and he’s not as smart, but he has plenty of enablers.  I don’t think there was ever a Nixon cult, but there are a bunch of people who see Trump as a their golden-haired Messiah.  And there are many in power who think he can be persuaded to advance their agendas – as indeed, he already has. 

So how long will it take for the Trumpster Fire to be extinguished?  The aspects throughout 2019 give a meandering air to the year.  Both Jupiter and Saturn make recurring aspects to Neptune, and Neptune is all about illusions and confusion. So there could be a certain amount of circling around, going nowhere, or bumping up against errors and contradictions.  Economically, 2019 looks like a year of cyclical rises and falls, each with its predictable chorus of elation and despair.

However, I am also looking at the first solar eclipse of the year, on January 5, to see how the first half of the year will go, and it looks quite serious.  Mercury, Saturn, the sun, the moon, and Pluto are all in Capricorn, with the latter four quite close together.  These planets gathered in Capricorn are like a board-room of robotic executives, or perhaps a phalanx of nuns with heavy rulers.  The focus is on cutbacks, austerity, limitation, and discipline.  We already see this in the government shut-down, now in its 10th day.  There is an underlying grumbling in the land, as thousands of people try to get by without paychecks.    

Comparing the eclipse chart to the chart for the US, we mark a cardinal cross, a tense configuration.  That Capricorn stellium opposes the sun in the US chart, and squares its Saturn.  The US chart has a sun/Saturn square, and in a person, this could signal a sense of inferiority.  This country has a tendency to posture, to praise ourselves, and to feel defensive about our actual advantages.  There’s a constant battle between our ideals and our appetites.

In order for the US to develop, we need a healthier and more realistic sense of who we are.  And this is one of the things that this first solar eclipse could do.  It’s not an easy passage. It’s humbling and restrictive.  It could also presage some crumbling of essential services and infrastructures, perhaps because of climate change. 

And it could intensify the wars we already know.  Even though DT is now making noises about pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan, there is no reason to think he’ll follow through, and an international offensive could be his way of trying to divert attention from his legal troubles.  War is always a bedfellow of poverty, except for the masters of war that Bob Dylan once wrote about. (“You fasten all the triggers for the others to fire/Then you sit back and watch when the death count gets higher.”)

A heavy Capricorn stellium like this, complete with Saturn and Pluto, tends to slow things down, so everything will play out in a heavy, inevitable way.  When it comes to dealing with this corrupt administration, I’m not expecting a quick resolution.  However there is also a powerful element of transformation here.  Minds are being changed, patterns are being altered, and there is some crumbling of long-existing structures.  A lot of it is happening underground, like termites gnawing away at old rotted wood.  

Eventually, I do think DT will be impeached, will resign, and will leave the country for some sunnier clime, where he can play golf all day without fear of being airlifted to a prison cell.  But when?  When? 

Things do change right at the end of 2019, and this is when some of those termite-ridden structures could fall.  There could be a resounding crash of some kind when Saturn and Pluto come together in Capricorn.  It looks like a time of economic and philosophical reckoning.  In fact, I’m getting a day of judgment kind of vibe, looking at these charts.  It’s very unlikely that DT could hang onto power through this, but that might not be the first thing on any of our minds.   

Throughout 2018, we’ve faced a lot of moral thresholds.  And there will be many more in 2019, many opportunities for us to deal with some intrinsic identity questions, as a nation.  What do we really need – for ourselves, for our families, for our cities and fields and mountains?  And what do we need, spiritually?  What can we learn from other countries, from places that don’t have our hubris?  Because they will be the ones to help pick us up after the fall.  And listening first could mean a softer landing.