Monday, July 31, 2017

Falling Kings

August, a hot month in these parts, and getting hotter.  Two eclipses.  Mercury retrograde.  Astrologers going nuts predicting the fall of DT.  Will be or won’t he?  Will his Jupiter return protect him, or will Pluto’s square to his Jupiter topple him? 

I’ve already been predicting his downfall because of the stormy aspects at the new moon of July 23.  It looks like the Tower Card in the tarot, like a time when the mighty fall.  But perhaps that loud crash was the Republican dream of scuttling Obamacare.  And there have been a lot of big shifts since last week's new moon.  DT fired his only link to the mainstream political world, Reince Priebus.  And he hired Anthony Scaramucci, who seemed like a gangster straight out of central casting, and who was almost immediately fired again (while I was in the middle of writing this column).

But will DT himself fall?  I’m not as sure it will happen this month, mainly because Jupiter is handing out some helpful aspects to him throughout August, including the trine to his sun.  These are in the face of rough aspects from Saturn and Pluto.  But the Jupiter aspects do constitute a raincoat in the midst of a shitstorm.  They may give him just enough cover to survive. 

Saturn’s aspects – opposing his sun and conjuncting his moon -  look like they could affect his health.  Neurological and digestive problems seem likely, as well as difficulties with his extremities.  But if he has some kind of health crisis and comes through it, that could actually give him some sympathy points, at least briefly, and it could delay the inevitable toppling.

Putin is also having a tough time astrologically these days, and there are aspects that emphasize the link between him and DT.  They are both caught in a web of change, and it may develop slowly, but the ending will be abrupt.  

Putin’s influence over DT is not all that benign.  So far, DT has been well-paid for his role in Russian money laundering, but I’m thinking that ultimately all this might cost him more than he’s gained – not just in money, but in prestige, power, and reputation.  Putin’s Saturn (the planet of limitation) is exactly conjunct DT’s Jupiter (the planet of expansion). 

Looking at their charts together, plus current transiting planets, we see a T-square, a dynamic, stressful configuration, in which two opposing planets are squared by a third.  Pluto in Capricorn opposes Putin’s Uranus, and the squaring planets are Putin’s Saturn (restriction) on top of DT’s Jupiter (advancement).  The squaring planets are the catalyst planets;  they are the ones that act out the tension. 

So Putin acts it out by adding restrictions, such as the current demand that the US embassy lay off most of its personnel.  And DT acts it out by being as outrageous and over-the-top as he can possibly be, assuming that what people mainly want is entertainment.  It does look like the Vlad and Don Show will come crashing down sometime in the next six months, and that clutching each other might hasten the fall for both. 

The eclipses this month also give a message of dramatic change, and this also covers the next six months, until the next eclipses in January and February of 2018.  This lunar eclipse (on August 21) is right on DT’s ascendant, and the one on February 15 will be exactly opposite his ascendant.  So this looks to me as though DT has just been caught up in the hand of fate, and will be carried along by forces well beyond his control for the next six months.   

One possibility is that DT’s dementia will become impossible to ignore around that time, since that’s when Saturn in Capricorn will be forming a T-square with his Mercury and Neptune.  I wonder who will be brave enough to say it first?  After it comes out, everybody will be saying that they’ve known it for years, just like they did with Reagan.  And it’s true, some people have been writing about this for months, analyzing word usage, finding unmistakable clues.    

I wonder if people will miss the carnival clown that was DT.  I’m sure late night comedians will. 

Even if DT doesn’t fall all the way this month, August is still pretty stormy.  At the full moon of August 7, Mars is still very much in the picture, so people are pushier and more competitive.  They want to win, whatever the fight is.   

With this eclipse in Aquarius/Leo, there will be some pitched battles between the altruists and the hedonists.  Is it that the altruists really care about the state of the world, while the hedonists are completely self-centered?   Or are the altruists sanctimonious pricks who only want to lecture about how other people aren’t living right, while the hedonists have a healthy and natural self-regard? 

This also looks like the political divide in the US, with the tofu-eaters on one side (Aquarius) and the cooked-to-death-steak-with-ketchup contingent on the other (Leo).  Is there no middle ground? Isn’t there a possibility of finding something healthy and delicious?  But it’s a tricky opposition, especially because these are both fixed signs, and because there is so much ego involved.

One of the hardest things is to figure out how to intersect with your community (Aquarius) while still respecting the independence of others (Leo).  When do you correct?  When do you fight?  When do you take a stand?  With the south node currently in Aquarius, our weakness often lies in the belief that we know better than others.  But it doesn't work to make change from this perspective;  it's like trying to fight fire (Leo) with an air hose (Aquarius).     

The lunar eclipse is followed quickly by Mercury going retrograde on August 12.  When it retrogrades, Mercury will be opposing Neptune, and this makes things even more confusing for the first week.  It may be hard to figure out what people are saying, and what they really mean.   And watch out for accidents involving the intersection between earth and water.  Watch for floods, hurricanes, and bathtub slippage! 

And then there’s the final eclipse, the one everyone’s gathering for, the solar eclipse of August 21.   This one is exciting, with the sun and moon closely trine Uranus, and it ushers in a lunar cycle with a lot of positive changes.  Inventors, creative people, and political activists could all get a boost.  It happens in fire signs, so it’s driven by boldness, passion, and the desire to shine.  Mars is still in the picture, but not as close as during the July new moon, and so there aren’t as many revolutionary factors.  But an eclipse always shows change, and an eclipse in Leo can show crowns falling off the heads of kings.    

Everybody gets their turn in the limelight.  Everyone gets to strut and fret his hour on the stage. But I’m thinking it’s almost time for a long hook to come out of the wings and put an end to the latest act.     

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Patriotism.  What the heck is it?  Why do people care?

Is it something weird in my make-up?  I don’t like team sports all that much either, but there have been a couple of times in my life when I’ve gotten into the spirit of it, hollering and waving my arms.  It seemed harmless and unimportant.  Is it? 

I was patriotic when I was about ten years old.  I remember myself as a little girl in a British school in Bangkok, valiantly defending my country against an Australian girl who claimed that Americans were all a bunch of juvenile delinquents.  I really had no idea if it was true or not, but felt I should stick up for the country where I was born, the place that my parents always called home.   

At that time in my life, national identities were all just stuck onto us, like our names. They seemed a bit random, although obscurely important.  The school furthered a tribal spirit by dividing us all into three teams – the Vikings, Trojans and Spartans – and pitting us against each other in sports and theatre and singing competitions.  This was also pretty random. 

Now, fifty-five years later, I still don’t think it matters particularly what country you come from. I have to go through a lot of mental somersaults to conjure up a feeling that might be called patriotic. Of course, this is a lot harder during the Trump Years than it was during the Obama Years.   

But lately I’ve been reading Margaret MacMillan’s book about the tensions that led up to World War One, and there’s one truth that springs out from its pages:  Patriotism kills people.  In the last hundred years, hundreds of millions of people have died from an excess of patriotism.  It wasn’t always their own patriotism that killed them, either.  Often it was somebody else’s – a family member, a community, a voter, a politician. 

In the US, patriotism is linked with religion; it’s seen as a sacred duty.  It figures that our national birthday is celebrated in July, since this is the month with a Cancer theme. (The sun and Mars are currently in Cancer.)  Cancer is the most tribal and emotional of signs.  It’s a sign of attachment – mother to child, neighbor to neighbor, human to land.  It’s about what belongs to you, and what makes you feel that you belong. 

I get plenty attached.  Believe me, I am a master at attachment.  I can’t throw away a pair of shoes without feeling sad about it.  And I hardly ever throw out underwear; it’s way too intimate a relationship.  And I’m very attached to my home, without feeling any desire to own the house where we live.   When I think of the wider circles of my own life, I find attachment at every level. 

Attachment feels good.  It’s comfortable, satisfying, and safe.  But everything can be done to excess.  And excess attachment can cause people to go out and do all kinds of strange, unnatural things – like engaging in a fight to the death with a stranger, so that other people can redraw the borders of the country you live in.  How does that even make sense?  When some young kid thrusts a bayonet into some other young kid, and leaves him bleeding in some desolate field, why does that lead to a bunch of unsmiling older men in stiff uniforms passing around pieces of paper to sign? 

So, no.  On a personal level, excess attachment is called stalking.  And come to think of it, this country has been exercising surveillance techniques over its citizens for years.  Is that become the United States loves us so much that it just has to track our every movement?   It’s so attached that it can’t lose sight of us for a moment?   

There are other ways in which the US goes too far with its attachments.  Its attachment to stuff, for example.  There has to be a lot of it, and we have to make more all the time, even though we have no idea what to do with the enormous amount of waste we generate.  We even get anxious if the economy is not constantly growing. 

There’s an interesting contradiction in the US natal chart.  There’s a stellium – 4 planets – in the sign of attachment, Cancer.  But the moon is in the most freedom-loving sign, Aquarius.  So there’s a constant tension between the tribal instincts of Cancer and the more objective and enlightened ideas of Aquarius. 

We see this embodied in the work of the people who wrote those first documents, back in the day when this country was a fledgling enterprise.  There were some radical notions there – a division of powers, a separation of church and state, a process by which laws can be changed – and these things are still helpful today.

At the same time, those early citizens were pretty damn possessive.  They took possession of all sorts of things that the native people considered part of the public domain – mountains, rivers, forests.  Nothing was sacred, everything could be owned, and thus, defiled.  Even people could be owned, and so millions of human beings were stolen, shipped across the water, and completely controlled.  (Or at least, complete control was attempted.)  We can look back and see how sick this was, how unnatural from every viewpoint.   

But another word for excessive attachment is addiction.  We clutch at whatever makes us feel safe, even if we squeeze it so hard that we kill it.  And it happens over and over – until the earth shifts. 

This month, the Cancer planets are challenged by Pluto, the planet of power, as it moves through the earth sign Capricorn, the driest and most unemotional sign in the zodiac.  This echoes the only opposition in the US natal chart, a Cancer/Capricorn opposition involving Pluto.  Pluto gets at the deep stuff, the underlying fears, resentments, desires and angers.  It pushes towards transformation. 

In the history of the US, this manifests as a repeating cycle of addictions clashing with reality.  As an attachment becomes more and more obsessive, and sicker and sicker, there comes a time when it can no longer be supported by the population.  There are always some who resisted the hypnosis from the beginning, and these are the ones who rise up first.  The combination of an alternate vision and a clearly toxic attachment adds up to change.  But often there are those who hold on to the old ways with their fingernails, even as the earth shakes and swallows them. 

So yes, July will hold some changes that are in line with this evolutionary process.  It definitely won’t be over;  there’s still a long road to walk.  And let’s see what happens when the U.S. hits its Pluto return, about five years down the road.  My sense is that we’re learning something now which we'll need to know then.  Perhaps it’s about the Resistance.  Perhaps it’s about world diplomacy. Perhaps it’s some technology that will mitigate the effects of climate change.  Perhaps we will only be able to implement this technology if we can work together.   

Whatever happens then, and wherever we end up, there will be a lot to let go of.   Let go of fear first though.  There’s very little we’re attached to that we really need.  And the sooner patriotism is thrown overboard, the better.