Fellow Americans, we are entering the next phase of our country’s nervous breakdown.(1) Time to zoom out from the chaos with a cosmic wide-angle lens.
When an individual has a psychotic break, their sense of fundamental reality starts to drop away. When a group has one, what drop away are the cultural structures that are supposed to be stable and meaningful enough for a society to cohere. (2)
These include moral, political and journalistic structures that constitute our web of reality.
The signature transit of the year just past was the square between Saturn (reality) and Neptune (illusion), which zeroed in on chronic weaknesses in the US chart. It was a year in which candidates’ lies, purported and actual, were daily in the news; a year of websites devoted to blarney touted as fact. As its Word of the Year, the Oxford Dictionary anointed the phrase “post-truth”. (3)
The perfect year to spawn a pseudo-president.
To find meaning in this drama, we need to remember that we – the group entity that is the USA, and the greater world — have chosen as our representative this Klan-backed misogynist internet troll (4) for a set of specific karmic reasons. One of them is to shatter unspoken consensual agreements about what a president is. Uranus (fracturing) is opposing the US Saturn in the 10th house (heads of state).
The ascendancy to high office of “the diplomatic equivalent of a steroid-lashed but brain-dead prizefighter” (5) threatens our assumptions about what is acceptable (e.g. making reference, in a presidential debate, to his opponent’s “disgusting” visit to the restroom) and what is true (e.g. championing the birther movement; spewing false statistics).
After a year of this, the crisis of faith promised by the Saturn-Neptune square has hurled the mass mind into a chaotic state of not knowing what’s real any more. It’s been a natural trajectory, from reality TV to a reality presidency. (6)
Center cannot hold
The notorious square in America’s chart between Neptune (fraudulence) and Mars (masculinity) is personified by The Donald. This natal aspect is triggered – to the degree of arc — by DT’s Sun-Moon opposition, now being set off by transiting Saturn.
This makes him the messenger — as well as the agent — of a massive erosion of coherence. He is the Great Orange Solvent, here to facilitate the dissolving of something whose center can no longer hold. What’s happening is bigger than Trump. It’s about a collective identity in active decay — a process no more or less organic than any other devolution in Nature.
Here in the late twenty-teens, we have entered the on-ramp to the US Pluto Return (death/ rebirth), peaking in 2022. This transit, which comes around only once in 250 years, addresses a nation’s mortal destiny. It tells us that the American Empire is morphing into something else: something post-imperial.
We are now almost a decade into the Cardinal Cross years, during which America’s faith in its public institutions was fated to come undone. This preposterous man is simply mirroring the process. If he hadn’t come along, something else would have served as the focal point for this phase of cultural unwinding.
But, of course, it is no accident that it was this guy. Per Natural Law, his own personal karma matches, with perverse perfection, that of the country. (7) Every nation gets the leader it deserves.
How not to use a natal chart
Loudly proclaimed by his Mars (puerile masculinity) on the 12th-house side of the Ascendant (lack of impulse control), the shadow side of each of his natal aspects is on display. (Students of chart interpretation, remember: it’s not as if any of these placements has to manifest this way. Lack of self-awareness is distorting them.)
Trump’s Sun shows up as a caricature of the Gemini con man, whose opinions shift moment to moment. Savvy but not intelligent, he is the huckster blinded by narcissism (Uranus/Sun/Moon). His Mercury-Neptune square manifests as the chronic liar. His Venus-Saturn conjunction expresses as an objectification of women, part of an effort to hide his fear of being socially rejected (11th house).
His Jupiter in the 2nd, now returning, shows up as size fixation: a compulsively exaggerated (Moon in Sagittarius) claim to big-bigger-biggest, in terms of everything from his promised border wall to his genitalia. This is why he gets so bent out of shape by the “tiny hands” insult (Gemini governs the digits).
The ever-youthful quality of Gemini presents here as a stunted, pugnacious infantilism. As Thomas Mallon writes, “Trump lacks even the two-dimensionality required in a sociopath; the emotional range is as impoverished as the vocabulary. Trump simply advances, like the Andromeda strain, a case of arrested development that is somehow also metastatic.”
The Jungian astrologer Lynn Bell has explained Trump’s allure as a projection of the King Midas archetype: the mythic ruler whose touch turned everything into gold. With his Leo Mars rising (royal entitlement), his garish materialism, his attempt to turn his own skin and hair golden, (8) he is playing out the megalomaniacal king before our eyes.
First as a TV celebrity and pseudo-educator, then as a presidential candidate, he refined his shtick: promising his followers that they’d become as wealthy as he was. Under a type of mass hypnosis (his chart’s T-square with US Neptune), a good chunk of the electorate entered effortlessly into the story.
It worked because the carnival barker in the gilded palace tapped into a peculiarly American craving: a sense of financial entitlement (Pluto in the US 2nd house) fueled here by the power of myth. In a collective that has lost its center, mass emotion and unfocused spiritual aspirations (9th house Neptune) seek expression in a fairy tale.
Of the many betrayals that will be suffered by Trump’s fans, his promise of riches will probably be the hardest for them to let go of. There’s a counter-intuitive logic to archetypal projection, whereby the sheer irrationality of a mass yearning serves to enhance — rather than to discount — its staying power.
The fact that Trump is incapable of pulling his followers out of penury is obvious both politically and astrologically. The illusory nature of his savvy (natal Neptune [fraud] in the house of money) is evidenced by his checkered history of bankruptcies and his misrepresentation as a self-made man, among many other inflations and misjudgments. “I wouldn’t believe him,” said Ed Koch, “even if his tongue were notarized.”
1 A year of extreme destabilization is giving way to one that is even more so, but with a new tone: a mutable square is being replaced by a cardinal T-square. See “Truth or Dare,” Feb/Mar 2017 issue of the Mountain Astrologer Magazine.
2 The US Saturn (coherence), natally square the Sun (national identity), has been pummeled by the transiting T-square of Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto. Saturn stayed on top of the US Ascendant– the most sensitive point in the wheel — on and off all of 2016. For details, see “Taking the Pulse of the Times,” Dell Horoscope Magazine, Dec 2016.
3 Though the square is waning, Saturn stays in Sagittarius until Dec 2017, continuing through the USA’s first house (self-image). Of Saturn in this sign, astrologer Armand Diaz writes: “Facts? They hardly matter. Saturn in Sagittarius is willing (for a while) to let us select data that fits with our prior beliefs, and if that fails, we can make up data that exemplifies what we believe.”
4 Characterization by John Oliver.
5 Characterization by Suzy Hansen, The Baffler, winter 2016-17.
6 The blurring of lines between real and fake is happening to all facets of American culture. After Brad & Angelina’s divorce, the New Yorker wrote, “For celebrities, marriage should be considered neither a holy sacrament nor a legally binding contract but, rather, a hobby, like origami or running for President.”
7 I compare Trump’s chart with that of the USA in the Feb/Mar ’17 Mountain Astrologer.
8 Which has resulted, according to John Oliver, in his looking like a burned wonton covered in scarecrow pubes.