This afternoon, in my kitchen, there was a guy taking the screws out of the panel at the back of the freezer. He’s one of those people who can fix anything.
“Ah,” he says, “There’s your problem. Ice built up in here.” He fixes it, I pay him, he leaves. Great, I can eat lunch. Ten minutes later, halfway through my cheese sandwich, I go back into the kitchen, and there’s a growing puddle on the floor.
I call the guy. “It’s still not fixed.”
He says, “Whaat? Okay, I’ll be right back.”
He comes back, he shines a light on the back of the fridge, finds a disconnected line, cleans out a pool of accumulated water under the vegetable drawer. “Okay, now it’s fixed.”
I’m almost afraid to go back down there. Then there’s my computer. Acting weird on Tuesday, becoming unresponsive every five minutes. Less weird yesterday, when I was talking to my brother-in-law, the Computer Whisperer. Today I turn it on, no problem. Except after I finish lunch, I come back up to the Black Screen of Death. I force the computer to turn off, wait ten minutes, turn it on, and now it seems fine. But is it really? Or is it just waiting until I relax?
Mars is retrograde. Nothing is quite sure if it’s coming or going. Even my brain seems to be doing a sort of circle dance, clicking on and off, going off on tangents until I can reel it back towards the matter at hand. It’s exhausting. And my stomach doesn’t seem happy with the cheese sandwich.
What am I complaining about? I shouldn’t complain when everything is going to hell all around me. Trump World is even worse than we thought it would be, in all our moments of heightened dread. But still, we start where we are – in our bodies, our families, our kitchens, our own worlds. This is where we feel the dissonance of retrograde Mars, the sense that we’re on a road that’s doubling back on itself and maybe going nowhere after all.
Panic mode seems to be setting in for many, with Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement. On my phone, stories show up detailing what it’s like in countries where abortion has remained illegal. Doctors are pressured to break confidentiality and report any woman whose miscarriage seems suspicious. Women, especially those who are poor, avoid seeking medical help when their pregnancies become complicated, since a trip to the doctor could mean years in prison.
Some friends are withdrawing, taking sabbaticals from the news. “I just can’t take any more. I’m going to reread The Little Prince, and stay away from the phone and the TV for at least a week. Maybe two. Maybe forever.” It’s an understandable urge.
The sun is gentle, sensitive, empathic, when it’s in Cancer, the sign ruled by the moon. We’re all feeling a little more tender than usual. Meanwhile, on the other side of the wheel are Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, representing the craggy face of pragmatic reality. So this is a month in which the softness of moon and the hardness of Saturn are in conflict.
The problems of immigrant families became a flashpoint, as Venus moved into Cancer on May 19, Mercury on June 12, and the sun on June 21. The moon’s heightened empathy brought the issue to the forefront of public consciousness. Cries of abandoned children were recorded, and some heart-wrenching photos of frightened toddlers taken. Trump was actually forced to back down, although he did it in his usual half-assed way, forcing immigration officials and courts to basically wing it.
The word used most often to describe this policy was “cruel”. And Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn (the sign ruled by Saturn) do seem to point to cruelty. In mythology, Saturn is associated with the Devil, and most often this is about putting one’s one greed, ambition and appetites above compassion for others. Maybe this is the basic flaw in humankind, but it’s definitely the central problem in our time.
Essentially, Saturn is about building structures to anchor us here on this planet, structures that keep us safe, and that ward away hunger and cold and fear. However, when you build a structure, you have to maintain it, and that also goes for the fixed patterns of law, traditions, beliefs, and privileges. Anything that threatens the structure needs to be mercilessly suppressed. Right now, the tears of children are the most potent threat against Saturn’s rigid structures. Water is always a match for rock, as long as it rises high enough.
The moon is the planet of populism, while Saturn is the planet of authoritarianism. The moon can be very tribal, because you respond mostly to the people who are right around you. But in this immigration crisis, these children were right there, on the TV and on our phones. Many people, especially women, feel the immediate instinct to protect a child whenever they see one in trouble. It’s not surprising that every living first lady spoke out against the practice of separating children from their parents.
Jeff Sessions is very Saturnine: he has the sun and Mars in Capricorn. His moon is also in Capricorn and further hardened by inconjunct aspects to Saturn and Pluto. For him, having a heart is not as important as holding authority and maintaining tradition.
But what about Trump? He has three planets in Cancer. Why is he not more sympathetic? I think for him, the tribalism of Cancer prevails, and he only sees his own children and grandchildren as cute. He’s definitely a sentimental guy with a strong attachment to family, and you may remember that Tony in the Sopranos was like that too. It didn’t stop him from whacking people.
There are a couple of other factors in Trump’s chart that overshadow his sympathies, as well, and that strengthen his ego and sense of entitlement. But he would probably respond to a hurt baby by making goo-goo noises and maybe even picking it up (although probably for a photo op). Meanwhile, Sessions is more likely to grimace and call for ankle shackles. The guy is cold.
So what about Mitch McConnell? Is he happy now? Actually, it looks like establishing the McConnell Precedent, blocking Merrick Garland, was a very easy thing for him to do. But it won’t be so easy to keep it from being used against him.
McConnell has seven planets in fixed signs, so he doesn’t like to budge unless he absolutely has to. He can hold on to a position practically forever, until the grass grows over the cows. What he’s not really good at is getting things moving. He has no cardinal signs at all, which makes me wonder whether the guy has ever initiated anything? A google search shows me that he has been torpid most of his life, except for running for office. All his Taurus planets keep him in touch with moneyed interests, and that’s all he needs in order to win.
So I’m more hopeful than I was when I got the news about Kennedy’s retirement. I think it may be possible to turn McConnell’s static energy against him, and block this Supreme Court nomination until after the midterms. And I have to be hopeful about the midterms, I don’t have a choice. Mars goes direct in August - and so by September, our plans should come together. No longer will we be roaming around in ever-widening circles. Maybe, just maybe, we can pull this train back onto its tracks. Maybe the tide will do it for us.