Big Bang!

In December 2020, we can expect quite a lot of astrologically significant energy – it’s a difficult year going out with a ‘big bang’ – so to speak – and finally we are moving into a brand new space that will feel brighter and hopeful – be proud that you’ve had the moxie to keep the faith:

  • 1-6 December – Mercury enters Sagittarius where he is not happy (in detriment) and so during this entire period, we can expect Mercurial things like communications, contract to be out of kilter – this is not a Mercury retrograde – so don’t blame Mercury when your e-mails go astray – but with as Mercury is in a difficult position (antiscia) vis a vis Pluto/Saturn/Jupiter in Capricorn, you might expect that your email won’t be read and understood quite as was planned. During this period, little things may be glossed over – initially – until we realise them for the big problem that they really are. Equally, people may be prone to make a big deal out of pretty much nothing – overzealously, things can get blown way out of proportion.  Read the small print when signing contracts – this is not the best time to start legal proceedings either. The temptation will be to overwhelm people with throwing the complete ‘kitchen sink’ at them – the heats on – they may give up just to stay afloat, but BE CAREFUL – this is NOT easy stuff. Is someone not telling the whole truth?
  • 5 December – Venus trines Neptune – usually this can be a romantic energy – but Venus is in Scorpio and the ruler of Scorpio, Mars is moving into a square with Pluto. So hostility, coercion, manipulation, and underhanded games are very possible – people might be willing to do anything to win – BEWARE – it’s easy to get seduced here and not for the best – are the some things that are going on behind the scenes?
  • 9-13 December – Mars moves into square with Pluto and so the power games ramp up at the same time that Mercury moves into trine with Neptune – deception is a real possibility here – BE CAREFUL – there is a real temptation to try to ‘get away’ with things whilst at the same time convincing yourself that you’re doing everything completely above board. We may not have all the information to make decisions – don’t cut corners here – it’s not in your interest longer term. 
  • 9 December – The Sun moves into trine with Neptune – think of this as a new vision – an epiphany  – a sense of healing and clarity – inspiration. And with Mercury also involved it, could be the passing of something that gives way to faith in what comes next and the ‘divine order’ of all things. The Sun shines through!
  • 14 December – the same theme continues – a solar eclipse in Sagittarius – this is big because shortlythereafter Saturn and Jupiter conjoin (this happens every 20 years) and cross into Aquarius – and this is a bigger deal than you might think. The Jupiter/Saturn cycle is a major marker in generational changes and with this move of the new cycle into an air sign (Aquarius), it is metaphorically a breath of fresh air. 
  • 16 December  Celebrate – just as Jupiter/Saturn conjoin to move from Capricorn (earth) into Aquarius (air) setting up as noted above a whole new 20-year cycle and more (it’s a 200-year cycle of Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions in air signs), Venus shifts into Sagittarius – and the first thing that Venus meets (by antiscia) is Jupiter/Saturn just before they undergo their ‘rebirth’. 
  • 17-21 December – This is a transition between eras on a grand scale and Venus will play an important role here too – women and  feminist issues may get a huge boost. Saturn symbolises older men and generations – the golden age of power – mastery -gain – and Jupiter, all that is new. Now we can look forward to all our hard work starting to pay off – this will be more hard work – but we are enthusiastic – and inspired! All at the same time of the winter solstice – the longest night of the year – we’ve kept the faith through the darkness and now the days start to get longer.  Even more interesting, immediately when Jupiter/Saturn move into Aquarius, they make contact with Uranus by square: this is all about breakthroughs – new records set – and new technologies getting fired up – is now the time for bitcoins to take off? Maybe!  It will all play out during calendar 2021 and with Saturn keeping the enthusiasm on an even keel, we can expect some very marvellous things.
  • 23 December – Mars moves into another square with Pluto – a heroic display of strength and might – beware, don’t fall into the trap of playing fast and footloose – if you are ruthless, you’ll get your comeuppance sooner than later. Nonetheless, if you’ve been stuck and unable to get some project or area of your life moving, now is the time that the barriers will crack and fall apart. We’re getting ready for all the exciting things we can expect in January 2021 when Mars comes together with Uranus in Taurus – more on late later.
  • 29 – 30 December – the end of the year is likely to end up on an emotional high – with the New Moon in Cancer – we can feel connected with our home and hearth and with Venus coming into square with Neptune, it could be dreamy and pleasant so enjoy this time for shortly, there’s a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. 

What to Expect from the US Elections 2020?

SUMMARY:

Based on a horary done on 25 August 2020 at 11:36 PM Minneapolis, MN  we might well expect that Biden will win the popular vote but the electoral college may deliver a different result. Either way, the transits in play today suggest that there will be confusion – maybe even subterfuge – and it might all end up in the courts.

Expect some resolution around the 11th of November but the ‘new beginning’ for which we’re all waiting won’t be ushered in until the Winter Solstice 2020 (21st December @ 10:03 GMT).  

The individual natal charts of the two presidential contestants suggest pretty much the same. Trump is not in good shape – major transitions ahead – and not in a comfortable way. Biden is in much better shape re: winning this election but there are health concerns that could get in the way of his enjoyment of this win.

Analysis:

HORARY:

  • Trump is the sitting president so he is represented by the ruler of the 10th house – which because Aquarius is there, means Saturn.
  • Saturn is in sign of rulership so that’s good but retrograde (moving backwards) so not so good. Saturn is also in a cadent house (9th) – which is weak. 
  • Most importantly, Saturn makes no connection with the Moon in this chart, which represents the ‘people’ i.e. the voters.
  • Biden is represented by Mercury because Gemini (the sign ruled by Mercury) is on the 1st house cusp. The question was framed – will Biden win – so he takes that placement. 
  • Mercury is also in good shape – in rulership in Virgo and NOT retrograde – but driving forwards. This is good. Mercury is also in the 5th house, which is succedent, and although could be better placed, is in better condition than Saturn.
  • This goes with the polls.
  • The next aspect the Moon will make is to form an exact square to the Moon, which is the contact/connection with the voters for which we are looking. The popular vote goes to Biden.
  • This however doesn’t consider the electoral college – which we will take to be represented by the ruler of the 11th house (groups, legislature, local government).
  • Because Pisces is on the cusp of that house, Jupiter is symbolic of the Electoral College. Interestingly, the Moon (popular vote) makes a conjunction (by antiscia) with Jupiter (the Electoral College) so one interpretation may be that the common vote is now subsumed by the Electoral College (Jupiter) and Jupiter is in Capricorn which might suggest Trump wins via that pathway.
  • Jupiter is in fall in Capricorn and this doesn’t bode well for a clean win – keeping in mind that Jupiter is conjunction Pluto, often representing scandals and behind-the-scenes deals/game-playing, this muddies the electoral waters. 

Transits

  • Mercury (communication and connections) today stations and turns direct (in Libra – i.e. the legal system) whilst forming a Square with Saturn. This further suggests problems/blockages/delays with the outcome of the election – contest results in the courts is a real possibility. 
  • Peaceful transition is not likely because in the 9th– 12th  of November, Venus (ruler of Libra) opposes Mars (conflict) on the very day that Jupiter (legal system) forms an exact conjunction with Pluto (dirty deals). 
  • But then shortly after this, we ought to see some resolution = as these transits bringing it all to the head start to dissipate.
  • Finally with the Winter Solstice, Jupiter and Saturn form a conjunction in Aquarius and energy of 2020 will be finished and a new phase beginning on an ideological and philosophical level. 

NATAL CHARTS

  • TRUMP:
    • Transiting Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn are opposing his natal Saturn/Venus conjunction in this 12thhouse and this often is interpreted as divorce and similar legal issues – and because the 12thhouse is involved, we can also thing about prison. 
    • On the other hand, natal Saturn in Trump’s chart is well-protected  (i.e. enclosed by the beneficial planets, Venus and Jupiter). This could be why Trump seems to slip away from conflict – i.e. Teflon Charlie. 
    • But transiting Neptune will next year make a square aspect to Trumps nodal axis and his Sun and Moon (the ‘lights’. This suggests something of a karmic change – a crossroads – and not usually in a comfortable way – as well as a feeling of being ‘lost’ and ‘displacement’. A serious question of his purpose in the world.  In any event, next year will not be stable for Trump next year – and so even as he wins, he is likely to struggle – maybe with a Democrat ruled Senate?
    • Natal Progressions –  these are not usually as prominent as transits but they do suggest the individual’s state of mind and Trump has a progressed new Moon (in Virgo) in his 12th house – this theme of something new happening and in the 12th house ( prison or otherwise displaced and in limbo). Progressed Ascendant for Trump changes on the Winter Solstice 2020 (big day anyway as noted above) from Libra into Scorpio – and now the ruler of his progressed chart is Mars which in this progressed house is debilitated in Libra in the 12th house (again). Further, at the same time the progressed MC (midheaven) shifts from Cancer into Leo and progressed Saturn is right there too. This suggests the way in which Trump is in the world is difficult and challenged. 
  • BIDEN
    • A lunar eclipse in his natal 7th house on his natal Saturn on 30 November 2020 suggests the end of conflicts in divorce proceedings – in this case, expect separation and resolution of issues with opponents. The status of Saturn in his chart is huge and in his progressed chart, his Saturn turns direct. 
    • A solar eclipse in his natal 1st house on 14 December 2020 – this suggests a moment of personal empowerment – life path changes hugely – and this happens near his Lot of Victory (Arabic parts). 
    • Transiting Jupiter/Saturn enter Aquarius (new beginnings) on the Winter Solstice immediately form a square with Biden’s natal Moon in Taurus, which is an empowered Moon in the 6thhouse. This is favourable not least because his Part of Fortune is here. An exalted planet in the 6th house provides ability to overcome misfortunes. 
    • However, this could also suggest significant health problems for Biden coming up. Put that together with the eclipse in his 1st natal house – new beginnings yes, but at what cost?
    • Transiting Neptune is going over his IC (4th house in this chart) – traditionally this suggest moving to a new house – perhaps in the White House?
    • Transiting Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter – which is a heavy hitter and not so comfortable planetary grouping is making an opposition to Biden’s natal Jupiter, which is the chart ruler (Sagittarius rising). This could be another suggestion of ill-health. The good news is that his natal Jupiter is exalted in Cancer so suggests he might well ‘escape’ or overcome an ill-health issue. 
    • If health issues do arise prior to Biden’s inauguration (if he wins), this could represent a big-bang ending for calendar 2020. 
    • There are suggestions that should Biden win this election, he either would not run or win a 2024 election. There is a ‘winding down’ in his career/vocation. 
    • Progressions – Biden is also coming out of new progressed moon – in his 1st progressed house – and making conjunction with (exalted) progressed Venus in Pisces, the Moon in Pisces, and the progressed Part of Fortune as well as sextile exalted Mars (in Capricorn). This is good stuff and points toward victory. However, the progressed Ascendant in the chart coming conjunct to the progressed South Node again suggests health problems. 

The Last Hurrah

Let’s face it. Calendar year 2020 has been one hell of a year. We did warn you back in January that it would be remembered as a turning point in history. We also suggested that by the end of calendar 2020, we’d find resolution, a new way forward, and with November this will start in earnest.

  • 1 November: Mercury forms an exact square to Saturn. Something is stuck -we are going too rigid in our thinking. This energy provides a much-needed opportunity for seeing our situation differently, for adopting a new and more mature way of dealing with this. Beware; you’re unlikely to see the fruits of the process at hand until Mercury stations (appears to stand still in the sky) around the 8th of the month. The good news is that Libra is involved and Venus, the ruler of Libra, is in her maximum power. Thus there is every chance that whatever it is that seems stuck, will find an elegant, diplomatic solution.
  • 9 NovemberVenus (in Libra) opposes retrograde Mars in Aries. The showdown that we’ve been waiting for since mid-October is finally here and the themes in play may well be in sexual politics. Best that I can figure, politics is all about who holds the the upper hand. I figure since win-win situations are rare occurrences, there’s likely to be a winner and a loser here. It’s also likely that someone will be tempted not to play by the rules. The good news is that peace and diplomacy are likely to win, and in regarding sexual politics, that suggests it will be Ladies Day!
  • 12 November: Jupiter meets Pluto one last time. For the entire year, we’ve had might well be called a hand grenade of heavy-hitter planets (Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto) in Capricorn; little wonder we’ve suffered more of our fair share of civil unrest and what can only be described as shady politics not to mention the Covid-19 pandemic, which pretty much has put an end to life as we knew it. Finally, we can look forward to this coming to an end, a resolution. But the problem is that one more time things have to get worse before they can get better. This the last hurrah of Jupiter and Pluto in cohorts to provide maximum upheaval. Be brave: soon it will finally be over.
  • 14 NovemberThe New Moon in Scorpio. This is coming just at the time that Jupiter leaves Pluto behind for good (or until next time in about 12 years). The battle that we’ve all been fighting for the whole of 2020 is reaching its peak crisis, after which things will start to resolve. Let’s not be naïve, however, and think that the BIG BANG we’re soon to experience won’t reverberate for a long time. But on a positive note, Mars, planet of encounter and engagement is finally turning direct today after two months of ineffective vacillation. Finally we can look forward to some forward-moving decisive action.
  • 15-19 NovemberVenus forms a square with Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto) in Capricorn. You might think of this as a karmic equalisation – judgement day has arrived and (more or less) good triumphs over evil. If you end up on the winning side count your blessings and do more of the same. But if you end up on the losing side, accept defeat gracefully and give serious consideration on why and how you went wrong.
  • 16-17 November:  Mercury is back in opposition to Uranus. This is the moment of epiphanies and resolutions – unexpected news and events – in essence we are being freed from something not good for us although it can still be painful.
  • 21 NovemberThe Sun moves into Sagittarius. There’s light at the end of the tunnel The Winter Solstice will be with us in just a month and this year, it will be a doozy. In the meantime, this signals the start of eclipse season, which means ‘all change’. Astrologers view eclipses as a release of pent up energy that shakes us out of our everyday complacency so that we can get up and running again.
  • 26-27 NovemberVenus opposes Uranus. This one is of short duration but nonetheless chances are good that you’ll feel it as a dramatic and unexpected event and the most likely culprit is romantic relationships. More often than not, Uranian-inspired events work in our favour – so if we’re feeling restless and bored, this energy will be like a fresh, stiff, sea breeze. 
  • 30 NovemberLunar eclipse in Gemini.  The (full) Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow although it’s too far from earth for us to see it. However, every eclipse as a dramatic ‘wild card’ playing out someplace in our natal charts. Wherever this occurs, events will transpire in order to shake us out of our compliancy. With every eclipse something ends and something begins. But whilst solar eclipses tend to offer new opportunities, lunar eclipses like today tend to bring final endings.

If you’d like to find out more about the energies of November may effect you, check this out.

The Morality of Self-Interest

I’m current enrolled an on-line course in Politics through the University of Oxford and am struggling.

As might be expected, there are many ‘high concepts’ being tossed around like ‘rights’, and ‘freedom’, ‘justice’ and ‘equality’. But the thing that really puzzles me is how all these seem to find their way back to ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’.

Now, I think we all agree that we will need to disagree on what ‘morality’ means but in the back of our minds we’re feeling pretty good about it because, after all, it’s a ‘high concept’, right?

The problem is, however, that even a quick look through history  – see A Short History of Ethics by Alasdair MacIntyre (Routledge Classics, 2002) for an excellent overview – shows loud and clear that for although ‘morality’ has meant many things to many people the bottom line has always been – ouch – morality = self-interest.

  1. To the ancient Greeks, morality meant ‘fit for purpose’ – a man who performed his socially allotted function was virtuous or moral.  If a man wanted to get on in the world, it was in his self-interest to be as moral as possible.
  2. With Christianity, morality meant doing what God said to do.  Clearly it was in one’s self-interest to do this because  Heaven was much preferable to Hell.
  3. By the Enlightenment (17th and 18th centuries), morality meant doing what was best for society.  A man was obliged to do so because of his contractual obligations (either to his government or his fellow men). Given all the bloody revolutions at the time…well, I suppose you get my drift.
  4. With Kierkegaard (early 19th century), morality meant fulfilling your obligations – which meant everything that didn’t make you happy.   Although at first glance, its hard to see how this would be in one’s self-interest – but when you realise (1) that Kierkegaard embraced a radical form of Protestant Christianity (2) and he believed the only alternative was the pursuit of self-satisfaction, then it all makes perfect sense.
  5. Nietzsche (late 19th century) believed men now lived in a moral vacuum.  After all, if God were truly dead (and we killed Him), then it only made sense one might as well do as one pleased (he called this the ‘will to power’).
  6. Then come the reformers (early 20th century) – for whom morality meant to do as they said –  after all – God was on their side.
  7. By the late 20th century & early 21st century – in midst of media madness, morality can be summed up as ‘you got to look right to be right’ – ( I believe this is attributable to Strom Thurmond)  – and there’s little doubt it’s in everyone’s self-interest to do just that.

The problem I’m having with all this is wherever I turn, the ‘moral’ trump card is being played. Lawmakers say that because their laws at not ‘unjust’ the people have a prima facia moral duty to obey them. Even the American Constitution weighs in on this.

How? Well, it’s a road map to how some people are going to tell others what they can and cannot do – and that if the map is followed, the laws forthcoming will be ‘just’ and hence morally binding upon us.

Even the idea of our ‘rights’ as citizens comes into play especially regarding our ‘freedom’ (of choice). This is because in order to have that freedom, we need a moral space in which to pursue it.

And oh, by the way, freedom cuts both ways – as Rousseau said several centuries ago, one can be ‘forced’ to be ‘free’ – and worse, one can be forced to obey ‘morally’ justified laws that he or she doesn’t like in order to protect the ‘freedom’ of others.

Challenge, Conflict, Courage, & Catharsis

Astrologically, October 2020 is going to be a hell of a month.

It started on 1 October with a BIG BANG – a full Moon in Aries – cementing a Martian (martial) theme for the entire period (because Mars is the planetary ruler of Aries). 

Unto itself, that’s challenging enough but Mars itself is very busy during the entire period. In many respects, this could be the grand finale (or dying swan song) for the whole of 2020, set from the very start to be a very turbulent year

  • 2 October: Venus moves from Leo into Virgo. Although in Leo she may have enjoyed herself playing the drama queen, , she was in detriment so not really good at doing when Venus is meant to do – i.e. fostering enjoyable, mutually fulfilling relationships. In Virgo she takes a step further down the ladder – because now she is in fall. The thing to keep in mind here is that when, as here, any planet changes dignity, we need to pay special attention. Venus will drop her flashy – ‘let’s have fun’ guise she had in Leo and get rational and picky and yes, very serious indeed. Important issues impacting women (i.e. marketplace equality, childbearing, et al) come to the forefront. Expect HOT (Mars is in his home sign of Aries) and INCISIVE debate (Mercury, ruler of Virgo is in Mar’s other home sign of Scorpio) on all matters relating to women.
  • 7 OctoberMercury (in Scorpio) makes an opposition to Uranus – this is big and dynamic – and as is always the case where Uranus is involved, expect the unexpected. Uranus acts as a like a bolt of lightning; that which was hidden (in the depths of Scorpio’s murky waters) is illuminated. For the first time in perhaps a long time, we see the lay of the land for what it really is. Because Mars, natural ruler of Scorpio, is centre stage this month (see earlier) and moving through a challenging square aspect with Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn, what we see is not likely to be pretty. Indeed, it is likely to be explosive! Beware. You do have a choice on how to react to what you learn during this period even if it feels otherwise. If you want to start a fight, now is the time to do it but don’t expect to automatically win. By contrast, do pay attention to hunches that you have during this time. Chances are they are spot on.
  • 9 October – if that wasn’t enough, now we have a real moment of breakthrough – catharsis – Pluto and Mars come to perfect that square. During this period, you’ll be reminded that making necessary changes (based on new information that is now coming to light) takes courage. You may have to dig deep for inner strength to get through hard times. But again, if you choose to react angrily and with aggression to changes thrust upon you, you might find yourself in more than a spot of trouble.
  • 11 October Jupiter (in fall in Capricorn – so definitely not the finest hour for leaders and authority figures) makes an enabling sextile to Neptune. If you choose, you now have an opportunity to renew your faith in the future! For many, it’s been one long year of the dark night of the soul. Take heart. The energy is starting to change but at the same time you’re being tested again (i.e. can you really believe anything???). So walk into this period with your head held high and with your eyes wide open and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results. On the other hand, if you choose to believe what you want to believe rather than really reading the ‘writing on the fall’, you’ll lose out. YOUR CHOICE!
  • 13 October – The Sun in Libra forms an in opposition to Mars in Aries. You may be on the side of negotiation and compromise, but sadly, that’s not how it’s likely to turn out. Sometimes people don’t play fair (think Machiavellian power plays here) and they still win. That is more than likely to happen now so the only question that matters is how you choose to react. BTW, to help you with this, know that by the end of this month, the tide will have turned and Mars (fight) will lose out to Venus (diplomacy). If you can find a way to keep your balance now, things have a much better chance to work out for the best.
  • 14 OctoberMercury turns retrograde in Scorpio – time to rake over all the (still smouldering) coals that burned bright earlier in the month. This means that you’re getting a second chance at dealing with the ‘unexpected’ information that came to light around the 7th of October. Between then and 19 October (when Mercury again opposes Uranus), you have the opportunity to set things right. This is the turning point. Use this energy to wisely and to advantage. Nothing remains the same for long.
  • 16 October – if the first half of the month has been marked by uncomfortable challenge and conflict, with the new Moon (in Libra) today we will soon be finding some relief. Venus, the ruler of this Moon is still in Virgo, so she still is being critical and picky, but from now on in she’ll be gaining – rather than losing- ground – over argumentative Mars.
  • 18 October – today Mars suffers the first of his setbacks – when, still retrograde, he forms a square with Jupiter. Mars may not have paid too much heed to the ‘rule of law’ previously, but now he’s being called to task for it – and although the result may be dramatic and action-packed, Mars will no longer get away with ‘murder’. No longer keeping it out of the public eye. Just don’t get sucked into any deliberate dramas meant to keep your focus elsewhere. Unfortunately, with Venus opposing Neptune also during this time, the temptation may be to turn a blind eye. If you do, then you’re bound to have it thrown back in your face at a later date and that date is coming up rather sooner than later.
  • 19 October Mercury perfects his second opposition to Uranus and the ‘truth’ will out. If you’ve been like the ostrich hiding his/her head in the sand, this could get uncomfortable. Again, if you want a fight, you’ll get it during this time but again, don’t be surprised if you don’t win. We’re heading into a cooling off period through the end of the month – so if at all possible, put your hostilities on hold for just a bit longer.
  • 28 OctoberVenus moves from Virgo into Libra, where she becomes dignified and diplomatic. Now is the time for truth to ‘trump’ lies and justice to win the day. At least for a little while, might is no longer right and feathers ruffled by weeks of drama will finally become smoothed.

Will President Trump Survive Covid-19?

I  just listened to an excellent live stream from the brilliant astrologer Acyuta Bhava – Das (Nightlight Astrology) during which he addressed the horary question of whether or not President Trump will survive Covid-19. 

Although he hemmed and hawed regarding the ethics of asking – must less answering – questions like this, there seems to be little doubt that in his view there are several significant indications that Trump may not survive.

I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that the SUN (representing the President) in this horary chart (see below) is in Libra, its sign of ‘fall’. The next aspect to be made by it will be a difficult square with Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn in Capricorn (signature of Covid-19). I would add that the Moon in a horary chart always shows how events will unfold and after having made an opposition (difficult) to this Sun will run straight into a conjunction with all-powerful Mars in Aries – malefic and strong and in retrograde (covering old ground). This Mars is in the 6th house of illness – not good. During this whole time, that Moon makes a difficult square with that Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn (Covid-19). The final aspect made by the Moon will be a trine with Venus in Leo, hot and fiery and burning up – with perhaps fever.

Of course, as Acyuta Bhava rightly points out, there are alternative interpretations (such as an extended confinement and isolation) but the upshot is that this even if Trump should survive, this is a will prove a very rough patch from which he is unlikely to fully recover – either political or health-wise.

There’s suggestion that this has been ‘written in the stars’ or in the cards from the start. There were indications back in March 2020 that Covid-19 was going to play serious havoc with both the American president and people. I suggested this would not be plain sailing for Trump in 2020 back in 2017. But let’s not jump on or off the bandwagon and point fingers and assign blame to Trump or otherwise.

I must agree with Acyuta Bhava that each of us has some destiny to play out during our lifetime and that free will is not always what it is cracked up to be.

Looking at the connections between eclipse cycles in Trump’s birth chart that are now again coming to fore in 2020, we get a real sense of this. Likewise, horary and Trump’s natal connections with the fixed star, Regulus, which tends to kick back harshly when one goes too far, tell the same story. As Acyuta Bhava points out, this is truly in the ‘heart of the Lion’ and it will adversely affect Trump.

Now, the only question for each of us is how we will deal with it ourselves and don’t forget your own destiny…

What is Politics?

Interesting question, what is politics – don’t you think?

Apparently there are many possible definitions but the one with which I particularly resonate is all about POWER!

 I’m thinking back to Orwell’s Animal Farm and the abuse of power through totalitarian propaganda because propaganda is how anyone stays in power (i.e. nation-state, head of household, corporate).  

In this case, I’m defining propaganda as opinion management which surprisingly is ethically a neutral term.

So why does it get such a bad reputation? I suspect it has something to do with the use of opinion management (spin doctors – sound bites) across a broad base having made everyone increasingly suspicious. Yet the most amazing thing is that however suspicious and fed up we get with the spin-doctors and the sound bites they produce, we keep asking for more and what a surprise – we keep getting it!

But what we fail to understand is that politics – just like propaganda – is a two-way street – THEY produce the sound bites – but do we have to BITE?

Life, Liberty, and the Avoidance of Tyranny

Try it: Google ‘democracy in USA is finished’. If, like me, you get 28.3 million hits in 0.49 seconds, are you really surprised?

Let’s face it: as a democracy, America is on the verge of collapse and it is only the less astute citizen who fails to acknowledge that this proverbial writing has been on the proverbial wall for more than two millennia.

In his famous political essay The Republic, Plato (circa 424-348 BC) teaches that as surely as Democracy evolves from Oligarchy (a system of government where the rich rule the poor) that Democracy evolves into Tyranny. While the first transition results from an excess of wealth as with the English monarchy from whom the American colonists won freedom in 1776,  the later results from an excess of freedom. Plato provides some startlingly scary examples of the warning signs, should you care to read them. 

Plato also teaches that bloated with desire to do whatever we wish – whenever we wish, (i.e. the American obsession with unlimited free speech and unmitigated gun control), the citizens of democracy will at last become so sensitive that we no longer can endure ‘the yoke of laws’. Consider why recent laws requiring Americans to wear face masks to save their lives in the face of the pandemic killer, Covid-19, have become such an intense, hotly debated political issue.

This is the beginning of the end.

“… for there is a law of contraries: the excess of freedom passes into the excess of slavery, and the greater the freedom the greater the slavery.”

It happens like this: because law and order have vanished, the disgruntled citizenry elect a champion to seize control.  All goes well until inevitably the champion oversteps his bounds. When the citizenry try to remove him, they discover their champion turned tyrant is even more lawless than they. 

Plato teaches the champion turned tyrant is one of ‘false and braggart words and opinions’ who calls impudence ‘good breeding’, lawlessness ‘liberty’, wasteful extravagance ‘magnificence’, and self-control ‘want of manhood’. Not to cast aspersions, but am I right in guessing this might sound familiar?

As an American, I lament that so many of my fellow countrypersons have not read Plato nor are they likely do so prior to this November. But then again, ought I to be surprised? Recently media analyst, Mark Dice, asked Californian beachgoers why they celebrate the 4th of July and far too many of the replies were shocking.

I mean, how could any American who actually believes that America obtained its independence from China want to read Plato?

Has such ignorance, as Plato has plainly predicted, truly sealed the fate of the country of my birth? I hope not. Not only has America survived a good many serious challenges to date but so have other democracies like the United Kingdom. That America survives this epic challenge, remains up to each and every citizen to do his or her civic duty and remember that at all times individual freedom must be balanced with individual responsibility. 

If this democracy known as the United States of America is not to topple into the abyss of perpetual tyranny, this balance point must be found and respected.

Let’s face it: Tyranny is unlikely to bring the citizens of the United States of America anything close to which, more than two hundred years ago, they had promised themselves; ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

Some may say this is not true; it is their democratic right to do so. But is it wiser to believe them or Plato?

A Study in Existentialist Philosophy (Part 11)

My summer reading: Willem Barrett’s 1959 classic, Irrational Man, A Study in Existential Philosophy.

Describing human existence is different from describing a table. For sure, we are looking for ‘truth’ in both cases. But in philosophy, there are many different definitions of ‘truth’ and it’s important in each situation to pick the one most appropriate.

For Heidegger, when it comes to describing human existence, ‘truth’ has nothing to do with correspondence to observable facts, as it might with the table. When discovering truth about the table, we had only to look at it with new eyes and start describing what we see. By contrast, Heidegger was convinced that discovering truth about humanity requires uncovering something that is hidden from view.

Descartes

In this endeavour, Heidegger believed that modern philosophy was not helpful. With Descartes, said Heidegger, western philosophy had come off the rails. With the belief ‘I think therefore I am’, western man has become ‘locked up in his own ego’; in other words, the Cartesian man is the subject (‘I’) that manipulates objects (‘the world’) and that’s not at all how it works.

Dasein

Heidegger saw human existence as more dynamic, more inclusive than Descartes. He summed this up as Dasein – ‘being there’ – ‘being here’  or Being (in the world). With Dasein, man is too embedded in the world of subjects/objects for the ‘truth’ to be mere subject- object manipulation. For Heidegger, the world in which men are embedded has its own ‘truth’. Further, this ‘truth’ is imposed upon us from outside and not the other way around. It is this external ‘truth’ (with or without God) with which we must grapple.

Imagine the world in which we are embedded as a ‘ field’ – scene and setting – in which we must live, work, and play. Heidegger labelled the driving energy behind this living and working and playing as our ‘care and concern’. To me, this sounds similar as to how I understand the interaction of (1) dharma (our calling, vocation, or destined path in the world) with (2) karma or fate; in turn, this interaction is called soul. 

Soul

Think of that ‘field’ (scene and setting) as karma and the man living and playing and working in it as a character. If we subscribe to Descartes, this character is pretty much in charge of how all this plays out. But that is not how the ancient Greeks saw it. After digging into the entomology of the word phenomenology, Heidegger did warn that to get to the bottom of all this we would need to jettison 2500 years of Western thought and philosophy and that includes Descartes.

Conveniently, this brings us to Heraclitus who taught that a man’s character is his fate. The idea is that when man – i.e. through his character – aligns himself to soul , then his karma becomes one with his dharma, or calling/vocation. To me, dharma defined in this way seems to be similar to what Heidegger calls ‘care and concern’.

Heidegger also said phenomenology (description) is about setting aside obfuscating preconceptions and letting the ‘thing’ reveal itself to us. This is not to be accomplished, as Nietzsche might suggest, by pushing, prodding, and/or exercising ‘power over’ the ‘thing’. That is too Cartesian.

When it comes to looking at ‘care and concern’ or what I call dharma, Heidegger believed that the ‘truth’ about human existence would reveal itself not through pushing and prodding or even intellectual speculation but instead through thoughtful observation of our everyday, lives – i.e. our embedded existence.

Dharma

Dharma is the most personal way that each of us (in our guise as character)  can be in the here and now. To get in touch with dharma, we need an open line of communication with soul.

Imagine soul sleepwalking through the universe looking for ‘love’ (a complex mix of truth, beauty, good, and justice). To find ‘love’, soul must ‘yoke’ (think yoga) itself to character and work through the dharma of character.

The only way to determine how well this partnership or yoking is working, is to measure one’s emotional response or moods (Angst or anxiety) to Being (in the world). In other words, if you’re happy, all is well and if you’re not, best to understand what’s wrong and why. For Heidegger, moods are not temporary fleeting fancies but modes of Being. Remember the game plan here was to allow Being to reveal itself from its hidden depths rather than to push or prod it as would the Cartesians.

If, as Heidegger suggests, truth is Being and our moods are modes of Being, then by attending to our moods perhaps in the same way one comes to trust his or her intuition, truth is revealed. Perhaps more importantly, when we allow ourselves to be at one with this truth (rather than trying to escape it by intellectualising it away as would Cartesians), we are fully embedded in our world and this is good.

Returning to dharma and karma and soul, I suggest that for Heidegger, rather than being more useless navel gazing, attending to our moods is soul making/connection or getting back to the source and that source is truth. It only makes sense that we are better off when living our truth then when denying it. Implications of this, I suggest, is that we do ourselves no favours when feeling uncomfortable (Angst or anxiety) we race off to find some drug or other practice to ease or escape our existential pain. This line of thinking, I suspect, will be more fully developed by Sartre, who comes next. Let’s wait and see, yes?

Final Thoughts

If all this seems unbearably complex, it is. This is why Heidegger is one of the most difficult philosophers to read. Nonetheless, efforts to understand Heidegger are generously rewarded. His ideas have exerted an immeasurable influence not just on existentialist thought but on all of European philosophy.

But it doesn’t stop there. As the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy notes, the work of Martin Heidegger has influenced such widely flung disciplines such as architectural theory, literary criticism, theology, psychotherapy and cognitive science. 

Warning: Brick Wall Ahead

July 2020 is tough going. It was always meant to be. It started with a challenging lunar eclipse on the 4th of July, the last of a long series of eclipses across the Cancer/Capricorn axis. It ends with a bang when Mercury (in emotionally focused Cancer) comes up against Mars (in militant Aries) by a nasty square aspect.

Themes

The themes here are both Lunar and Saturnine with a heavy dose of Martian-fuelled desire – (‘I want what I want and I want it now’). Mix in some bullies, tyrants, and similar social miscreants and we walk straight into arms of the ancient philosophy of Stoicism.

Stoicism is about getting in touch with our emotions and befriending their physiological root causes. If we are successful in this endeavour, we can redirect our emotions for good purpose. If we aren’t, we give ourselves over to unfortunate snap reactions. Think Michael Lofthouse, here – that British entrepreneur in Silicon Valley whose racially abusive rant at an Asian-American family in a restaurant recently went viral.

Stoicism is also about getting honest about how the world really works.  Abandon wishful thinking. That eclipse back on 4th July was meant to deliver some stunning insight about something big, something which is not working in our lives. We have reached a turning point. Time for a serious change of direction. 

Questions

I ask myself the all-important question here (which you might try asking yourself) – where I do feel ‘dried up’ – how have I given my all and not received enough in return? The answer is to be found where Mars is currently transiting in my natal or birth chart and that is the 10th house – my career and vocation. I’ll be honest. For the last two years, I’ve spent enormous time and energy trying to get this astrological coaching practice off the ground. Despite a few promising moments, it never did take off. This leads me to the next question – what now?

Stoicism is not all gloom and doom. That would be worse than wishful thinking. Instead, Stoicism is about finding a way to live a life that is worth living. Key to this is accepting that there are some things over which I have choices and others over which I have not.

I work through this by exercising basic logic – in other words, A+B = C – whether I like it or not. I also can work with meditation, mindfulness, and other similar practices of self-reflection. One such practice is engaging in writing an evening philosophical diary meant to prompt me to learn from my experience as well as to forgive myself for my mistakes. In this way, we can prepare for a better tomorrow without any carrying an heavy emotional baggage around.

Answers

Enjoying a better tomorrow requires us to muster enough courage to do the ‘right’ thing for everyone involved – not simply that which will make us (momentarily) happy.

For me, this means thinking long and hard about walking away from my attempts to build an astrology-coaching practice. There are, after all, some things over which I have a control and others over which I do not; the conclusion might well be that what I’m offering is not – and never will be – what others are wanting. This is not a condemnation of either me or them. It just is what is.

Having reached this point, I’m free to set my sights in another direction. Tomorrow, Mercury turns direct so it’s time to integrate the lessons I’ve learned during the last couple weeks and formulate them into a workable plan.

Stoics are fond of pithy phrases to help them navigate the difficult seas of life. One phrase which seems useful right now is ‘the obstacle is the way’. Brick walls happen; we all confront them from time to time. The Stoics remind me that charging at that brick wall, as if I were a bull responding to the waving red flag, may not be the best strategy. Instead, I could try climbing that wall or maybe going around it; others may not change their wants but I can change what I offer and so with open arms, I welcome tomorrow – when Mercury turns direct!