ELECTIONS PRIMER I: Donny Trump, Iconoclast

Two developments have induced me to write some more installments of my thus-far extremely intermittent blog:

  1. I got a notice from my blog-host that my year’s subscription had run out; I paid said blog-host for another year, so I figure I may as well get my money’s worth.
  2. People keep stopping me in the street and saying, “Tell me about the elections! What does astrology say about it? Write a blog post about Trump!”

In order to get people to stop buttonholing me on the street about unpleasant subjects (i.e. elections, Donny Trump) just as I get lost in a contemplation of love, light, and beauty, I will say a few words about elections, starting with an observation, stolen, I think, from William Irwin Thompson: that we should see elections as periodic exercises in self-delusion peculiar to people who think that they live in democratic societies. That observation, of course, will not satisfy my buttonholers.)

I plan to put forth a few blog entries, for, as noted, I want to get my money’s worth, as, due to the machinations of politicians of all persuasions, not to mention the lobbyists who own them, my money decreases in value rather rapidly as day succeeds day, so I need to make the most of the money I think I have while I think I still have it.

Okay, then. First for the preliminaries:

  1. I think it was Grant Lewi who said, years ago in Astrology for the Millions, that you could learn a lot about election-results by noting the position of transiting (TR) Saturn in the horoscopes of the candidates. To wit: if one candidate has TR Saturn going upwards in the horoscope (i.e. moving from the 4th house toward the 10th) and one has Saturn going downward (from the 10th toward the 4th, and particularly, from what I’ve seen, in houses 12-3), the former will, other things being equal, win the election. Note, of course, that “other things” rarely seem “equal,” an observation related to “b” below.
  2. The guideline about TR Saturn, which I found quite reliable up to around the beginning of the 21st century, arises from two assumptions that we should examine: 1. Elections get run fairly and squarely these days, so that the person who gets the most votes will win the election. 2. Getting elected to public office, particularly the one called “President of the United States” (AKA: “Leader of the Free World”), qualifies as a positive career move (for TR Saturn’s upward movement through a person’s horoscope usually means that the person finds himself on the upswing in career-matters, though this remark seems more true for men than for women, a matter we will explore next installment under the heading “Hillary Clinton”).

Does getting elected president of Les Etats Unis qualify as a positive career move these days? Take the 2000 election. Gore, having won the popular vote (see “b1” above), apparently didn’t win the election in an acceptable way, at least according some n’er do wells in the Supreme Court, a body purportedly operating free of political influence. Furthermore, having lost, he went on to his new career as Climate Jeremiah, in which guise he woke many people to the dangers (to put the matter mildly) of climate change. I would say, with the wisdom of hindsight, and with all due respect for Mr. Gore’s political acumen, that getting elected president would not have qualified as a positive career move for him. Quite the contrary, as he seemed to find for himself a more appropriate vocation by losing the election. And, of course, the guy who won the election (that transplanted son of a former CIA director) went on to a) make a complete fool of himself, and b) do more damage to the planet and its people than one would have thought possible for a semi-literate and possibly-brain-damaged rich kid.

Conclusion: results from the 2000 election strongly suggest that we should question our assumptions. Of course, anyone watching the recent Democratic Primaries can see quite clearly that even if you win nearly half of the popular votes, you do not thereby assure yourself of getting nearly half the available delegates, for some delegates have “super” powers and can do what the fuck they want, thus barring the way to candidates who, for whatever reason, the super-delegates decide not to like.

Enough preamble. What do the horoscopes of Mr. Donny Trump and Mrs. Hillary R. Clinton tell us? Let us start with Donny, a businessman of rare incompetence who has captured the nation’s attention at least partly because he doesn’t seem to know jack about anything, business-related or otherwise. (Will such remarks induce me to vote for Mrs. Clinton? Good question.)

A bit of personal narrative to begin: When I gave a talk a year or so ago at the local branch of the NCGR (National Council of Geocosmic Research), someone asked me if, considering Mr. Trump’s horoscope, I thought he really had a chance to win the Republican nomination – or, indeed, the presidency. I answered that, alas and alack, horoscope factors surely suggested that he did have a chance. Let us look.

Question #1: Where do we find TR Saturn in DT’s (and the fellow does often seem to have the DTs) horoscope?

Answer: We find TR Saturn in Donny’s fourth house, ascending toward the midheaven. In other words, Donny has TR Saturn going upwards. Admittedly, TR Saturn hasn’t gotten itself out of that 4th house, so we would not see Donny as near the top of his career-arc by any means, but the available evidence suggests that over the next ten years or so, Donny will “be on the rise” in matters vocational, despite, and perhaps because of, his tendency to say stupid things.

Furthermore, Donny finds himself in the midst of some helpful Uranus transits: transiting (TR) Uranus has, already and recently, trined Donny’s Moon and sextiled his ascendant; in doing so, it brought his Mars-Ascendant conjunction in Leo into the picture, creating a grand trine by transit: TR Uranus has tried Donny’s Moon and moved into orb of a trine to his Mars – thus forming the grand trine in fire signs. That grand trine turns into a kite when you add the Sun in Gemini (a kite = a grand trine with one planet opposing one of the planets in the grand trine: Donny’s Sun, along with his north node and, more loosely, Uranus, opposes his Moon in Sagittarius). Kites fly; grand trines do not necessarily do so, for they often remain as merely potential energy, not turning into kinetic energy – i.e. not manifesting as action in the world, but merely as contentment in the mind, yielding a tendency to rest on one’s laurels instead of earning them. The kite formation, introducing as it does two sextiles (in this case: Uranus sextiles the Sun, the sun sextiles Mars) gives more dynamism to the grand trine. In any case, grand trines in fire signs seem less prone to laurel-resting than do grand trines in other elements, so Donny’s grand trine – and his kite – certainly bodes well for his aspirations, no matter how disturbing.

The Uranus influence has brought us Donny Trump the iconoclast, for Uranus likes to upset apple-carts wherever he finds them. Because Uranus makes – and will make, and has made – a series of helpful aspects (helpful for Trump, not necessarily helpful for the rest of us)[1] – and because Donny has N Uranus conjoining his Sun, opposing his Moon, and trining his Jupiter – iconoclastic approaches seem to have worked pretty well for him during the Uranus transit. Donny breaks idols; people applaud, particularly if they feel (and we probably have to agree that they have good reason to do so) that those idols have served only to keep them in subjection.

Of course, we find other important factors. For example, TR Saturn will, before long –December/January 2016/7; July-October 2017– conjoin Donny’s Moon and oppose his Sun, not the best factors for advancement of any kind, particularly when TR Saturn arises as a projection, in which case he arises as forces in the prevailing hierarchy bringing to bear limitations of all sorts. A few weeks ago, around the middle of March (when Saturn made his retrograde station), Saturn came close to his opposition with Donny’s natal (N) Uranus, so his movement toward career advancement ran into a polarized situation in which establishment forces opposed his iconoclastic tendencies, with natal (N) Uranus symbolizing, through its conjunction with the N Sun, the iconoclastic tendencies and TR Saturn symbolizing the forces of the established order rising in the transitory situation to oppose Donny the Iconoclast.

As I write this, TR Mars, retrograde since mid-April, makes his station right on Donny’s nadir, after which it will begin to rise through the horoscope, moving toward the midheaven. This suggests increasingly public postures from young Donny, particularly as he has N Mars right on his Leo ascendant, a matter for further exploration in the next blog-entry.

This Saturn-Uranus theme runs right through Trump’s present situation, as he has, has had, and will have a series of Uranus transits along with a series of Saturn transits. We will weigh those matters in the next installment; we may even bring Ms. Clinton into the picture, complete with her corporate donors and her merry wit.

The horoscopes (click on the links):

Mr. Donny Trump:
Donny Trump

Ms. Hillary R. Clinton

Hillary R. Clinton


[1] For the record: TR Uranus trine N Pluto 2013-14; TR Uranus sextile Uranus 2015-16;  TR Uranus sextile Sun 2016-17; TR Uranus trine N Moon 2016-17; TR Uranus trine N Mars 2017-18; TR Uranus trine N ascendant 2017-18.

Long Counts, Projections, and the State of the World?



Tim Lyons December 2015

For a while, and a rather long one at that, I thought to give up this blog, as I seem to fewer followers than Donald Trump, or even than Herman Melville had after he wrote that book about the whale. That last thought gave me some encouragement, though, for do any of us wish that Melville would have made his decisions based on popularity? As I wandered Ishmael-like through town one day, musing on such thoughts, a friend accosted me in the local bookstore and at some point instructed me sternly to keep putting out installments. And so I will, at least for a while, for one does well to take seriously such small synchronicities, particularly when the blog deals with the rather sorry state of the world. Everyman seems, I think, “in sore need,” and perhaps the astrological perspective provided here may prove helpful to him even if it speaks of matters somewhat perturbing.

In speaking of the “sorry state of the world,” though, I should acknowledge that some people continue to grow in wisdom, compassion, and insight, and that great teachers continue to move amongst us giving instructions to help us navigate the twin labyrinths of world and mind. Despite their generosity, though, global warming moves on apace, a threat to us all, and conflicts large and small seem to have consumed human societies all over the overheating planet. What shall we say of such developments? As David Byrne once said, ‘The further you look into it, the further things stick out.’

To speak of the present, I will reflect back to a book I wrote about the Mayan Long Count a few years ago (The Machine Stops: The Mayan Long Count Through a Western Lens; AFA 2012). In that book, I speak of the curious connection between Mayan time-measurements and the development of what we usually call “civilization” (perhaps euphemistically so-called, as an inordinate number of purportedly civilized human beings often treat their fellows rather un-civilly). I will leave for another time a discussion of what the Long Count horoscope tells us about the model of civilization that has come to dominate the planet over the past five millennia; for now, I will concern myself with what Mayan time-measurements tell us about the present and future. In other words, we will consider the horoscope for the new era, the one that began on December 21, 2012.

In doing this, I should note that it remains unclear whether the Maya felt that a new Long Count would follow from the old. However, in most of what we see around us, beginnings follow endings just as endings engender beginnings, and we can cast a horoscope for anything that begins at a particular date and place. (I do not have a precise time for whatever began on December 21, 2012, so disregard the house-positions.) Here is the horoscope for the new Long Count, juxtaposed with the horoscope for the old one (both cast for Palenque):

Long Count 3114 BC

Long Count Next

(Click the links to see the horoscopes.)

Though both horoscopes have powerful yod formations (a central one in the 3114 horoscope; two interlocking ones in the 2112 horoscope), the two horoscopes differ in all sorts of ways, perhaps most obviously in the way fixed signs dominate the 3114 BC horoscope while mutable ones play an important role in the 2012 one. These factors play an important role, of course, and in The Machine Stops, I discuss the connection between the 3114 factors and authoritarianism, militarism, bigness, and planetary illness, matters I will put aside for now in order to focus on the unaspected Mars in Capricorn in the 2012 horoscope. Whereas the 3114 BC Mars pointed, via its sign and aspects, to the wanton destruction linked to misplaced idealism in thrall to assumptions about authority and central control, particularly in connection to religion, the 2012 Mars points to “renegade military groups (e.g. Blackwater, al-Qaeda)” and military units connected with hierarchical structures (Capricorn) acting with complete disregard for international law (e.g. the United States and Israel):

…when Mars operates independently, without aspects, we cannot assume any connection between military and any self-protective functions. Rather, we can expect the military to operate without particular social goals (real or imagined) in mind, a tendency we see more and more late in the [3114] Long Count, particularly in the military ventures of the United States, but also in the aggression of various other renegade groups. We can expect this tendency to increase as we pass 2012, for the symbolism strongly suggests that instead of seeing military organizations as integral elements of the megamachine [that dominated the past aeon], we will see military elements operating on their own. The term loose cannons comes to mind.

The unaspected Mars in Capricorn suggests

…highly organized military groups (Mars in Capricorn) operating largely outside the larger organizational matrix of society, perhaps outside the purview of the nation states or their remnants…We know that many different groups now have access to highly effective weaponry, suggesting the proliferation of organized military groups (Mars in Capricorn); we could see, in the coming centuries, more and more renegade armed groups in all sorts of places, as organized martial energy operates without clear connection (unaspected) to established social trends or legal restriction. Unfettered but disciplined, the energies of Mars can work either tremendous good or tremendous harm.

I suggest that we see the unaspected Mars quite clearly in, as mentioned, the military units of nation who disregard national or international law. Obviously enough, at least to people in the United States, such statements point to the Islamic State and other jihadist Muslim groups; perhaps less obviously to many U.S. citizens, those statements apply equally to the actions of our own military. (We should probably remember, here, that according to many polls, most people on this planet consider the United States as far and away the biggest threat to world peace.) We saw quite clearly in the invasion of Iraq, as we see in domestic developments in our cities, highly militarized units not under the control of any restrictive authority: first Blackwater, then various backwoods militias, and finally one police force after another apparently loosed into lawless behavior.

We can return to the two Long Counts at a future time, but what I’ve said in the previous paragraph leads us directly to factors in the United States horoscope, particularly a factor that I have discussed often both here and in other places: the striking opposition between Mercury in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn in the United States horoscope. Even the most cursory study of history will reveal to us what that aspect suggests: that the United States, considered as an entity with its own character, tends to play the role of Mercury in Cancer and to project onto others the role of Pluto in Capricorn.



As to the former, the American people seem to like to see themselves as concerned primarily with home and family, with finding security, with personal matters. Yet that security has come to us only because of theft: with Mercury and other Cancer planets (three of them: the Sun, Venus, and Jupiter) either in the 8th house or on its cusp, the United States has bought its security with values and resources stolen from others. The list of those “others” gets longer as the decades pass: first the native peoples of this continent; later, black people stolen from Africa; later still, people in various parts of “the Middle East.”

Those “others” receive the projection of Pluto. The rhetoric used to describe the native people of this continent has a remarkable similarity to that used to describe not only the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, but also all groups in the Middle East who oppose United States’ so-called “interests.” From the late 1940’s to the mid-1980’s, various pundits used such rhetoric to describe the Soviet Union, or the Chinese, or the Vietnamese, or some other enemy-of-the-day. In each case, those who oppose such “interests” (usually financial ones, as suggested by the 8th house: the money or values of others) find themselves depicted as dark, underworld figures; as savages or worse; as people living beyond the limits of reasonable discussion; as people living out their deep resentments and desiring only our destruction.

We can find some truth in all of that, of course. In psychological projection, one can always find a “hook” (Jung’s term) in the person or thing projected upon: that person, entity, or thing will have some of the projected energy already and thus will serve as the hook for the projection of unconscious or unacknowledged psychic energies. Certainly, too, one can create the dark and threatening energy, as has occurred in case after case, through the process of projection itself: if the US treats people as savages and sub-human, and particularly if the US either attempts to exterminate them (as with Native Americans) or treats them as not accessible to reason (as with black slaves, the USSR, and any number of Middle Eastern groups), then eventually the projected-upon peoples will respond, probably bringing to bear long –smoldering and quite-justified resentments . If you keep projecting Pluto onto people, they will appear to act in increasingly plutonic ways: they will seem secretive, destructive, primitive, obsessive, compulsive, and, above all, threatening to so-called “civilized society” even if they have, for centuries – and even through the decades of aggression – lived in rather civilized ways.

Furthermore – and here we come closer to policy questions – you cannot annihilate your projections. If you project your Pluto energy onto a thousand enemies and then try to annihilate them all, the projection will arise, probably more virulently, in another form. Again, a brief examination of US history reveals this even to the most obdurately myopic “patriot” – and the same reasoning applies to US dealings with the Islamic State, the arising of which has such evident connections to US policy and actions.


Related reading: chapter X of Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope (AFA, 2014); chapter five (pp 167ff) of The Machine Stops: the Mayan Long Count Through a Western Lens (AFA 2012); Abdel Bari Atwan’s The Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. The two block quotes come from The Machine Stops, page 179 and 178 respectively.



Astrology and Climate Change I — Tim Lyons


In my Facebook timeline and elsewhere, I see a plethora of links and comments about climate change, and some people have asked me what, if anything, astrology “has to say” about climate change. I have explored these questions at some length in The Machine Stops: The Mayan Long Count Through a Western Lens (American Federation of Astrologers, 2012), so in what follows I will synopsize my observations and arguments on the subject.

In most of The Machine Stops, I did something very simple and straightforward: I applied contemporary astrological techniques to Mayan time-measurements, casting a horoscope for the Mayan Long Count (a period that began in 3114 B.C. and that ended on December 21, 2012) and interpreting it according to contemporary astrological techniques. I did not claim that the Mayan “astronomer priests” would have agreed with my interpretations or that they envisioned anything resembling climate change, though from what we can tell, they did see the conclusion of the Long Count as a time of profound and vast change. (Because of the actions of the Spanish conquistadors and their attendant Catholic priests, many of the Mayan interpretations of their own time-measurements have vanished in flames.) In addition to interpreting the Long Count horoscope, I looked at various non-Mayan astrological matters, in particular what people refer to as the astrological ages (e.g. the Age of Pisces, now concluding; the Age of Aquarius, emerging more clearly each day) and the two most recent Neptune-Pluto conjunctions (just under five centuries apart). Astrologers use the astrological ages and the Neptune-Pluto conjunctions to measure and interpret long periods of time, so let’s look at them first, beginning with a discussion of the astrological ages.

You have no doubt heard of the Age of Aquarius; perhaps you have heard that it will bring an time of brotherhood, love, unity, and so forth. Such notions may have some merit, and we may see many changes in social organization as we move into the new age, but such popular notions do not take into account some important things about Aquarius. In particular, they ignore the fact that astrologers have long considered Aquarius a barren sign. People who do what we can loosely call “astrological gardening” know that if you want a good yield from your planting, you should probably avoid planting when the Moon passes through one of the barren signs; more generally, the barren signs do not promote organic growth. As we enter the Age of Aquarius – approximately 2160 years long – ruled by a barren sign, we should challenges related organic growth, for though Aquarius may promotes promote human social growth, communication, technical development, and community, it has little to offer in the area of organic development. It may turn out, of course, that we’ll need all the community cohesion we can muster in order to deal with the barrenness to come.

We might do better to refer to the incoming period as the Age of Aquarius/Leo, for every astrological aeon has two rulers: the sign from which it takes its name, and that sign’s polar opposite. The Sun rules Leo, a fire sign; thus the suggestion of heat. During the long-ago Age of Leo, the planet warmed steadily, causing the ice sheets to melt and retreat. This period saw the development of settled communities (Aquarius) and gave birth, in turn, to the fruitful Age of Cancer, the time of the Neolithic revolution. Now, we again deal with matters involving community and heat, but though in the earlier period the warmth had a causal relation to the development of communities, now the development of human communities has a causal relation to the warmth: human civilization has heated up the climate, once again melting vast quantities of ice.

In The Machine Stops (page25), I wrote,

Because Leo suggests heat and Aquarius suggests technology, and because both suggest barrenness, we should expect [during the Age of Aquarius] a time of technical mastery but depleted fertility, and we should expect to see a connection between the heat and the technical mastery. Because human relationship has so much to do with the richness of earth (Venus, ruler of earthy Taurus, symbolizes love and bonding), we should also expect “relationship troubles” on a collective scale, as between nations or other collectivities. This, too, may connect to Leo and Aquarius: to Leo because it suggests overweening ego; to Aquarius because it emphasizes the one-to-many relationships (as distinguished from one-to-one partnerships or intimacies) that make up human society. On a collective level, this combination can indicate either the clarification of self-consciousness within group endeavors, or the ruling of autocrats over groups; the power of the group or the power of rulers over groups. On an environmental level, we find in the symbolism another pair of power-sources: power from the sun, suggesting Sun-ruled Leo, and the power of Uranium, suggesting Uranus-ruled Aquarius.
To that we can add what even many astrologers forget: that in the traditional system, Saturn ruled Aquarius. Saturn has to do with, among other matters, the limits and opportunities emerging from hierarchy and the ordering of social groups, with the emphasis on order instead of individuality. Saturn also has to do with the limitations that bedevil us (Saturn, here as devil: as Satan) because of the structure of the language we speak and because of how we structure our reality. Of course, the combination of Saturn (traditional ruler of Aquarius) with Leo (autocracy) suggests a problematic combination of hierarchy with central power. Interestingly, an analogous symbolism plays a central role in the Long Count horoscope.

More on all of this later, if people have an interest.


James asked me about what’s next for the United States, and I would say, “Not much that I see as hopeful, at least in foreign relations.” My reasons for this will emerge from this installment, but the brief version goes like this: because the United States has always projected Mars onto others, a pattern we can trace through the past 250 years, I see no reason to expect anything different, particularly with secondary progressed (SP) Mars now retrograde, as retrograde planets often either turn inward or retreat to the unconscious and appear as projections. As of this writing, retrograde Mars done both, with the inward turn evident in the militarized police units turning their aggression on citizens, and as events in the Middle East serve as a perfect hook for the ongoing national projection in which the aggression seems to exist out there.

The nation’s outlook has remained pretty consistent for decades – or, really, ever since 1776 – and received a nice articulation by Madeline Albright (Clinton’s Secretary of State): “The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere.” Seeing itself as a benevolent dispenser of good, with the plutocratic MSM following in a kind of lockstep, the United States sees itself as acting on principle (Sagittarius ascendant) linked closely to national security needs (Jupiter, ruler of that ascendant, in Cancer, along with the Sun, Venus, and Mercury) obtainable through securing (to put the matter euphemistically) the values of others (Sun, Mercury in 8th house; Jupiter and Venus on the cusp of that house). Mars in the 7th suggests a projection of Mars onto others. Mars’ presence in Gemini reiterates that projection, suggesting as it does a light twin and a dark one, with the light one arising through the deceptive national vision (Neptune in the 9th, square Mars in 7th) concerning the country’s benevolence and the dark twin arising through those purportedly shadowy people who oppose U.S. designs, depredations, and desires.

That no-one in government seems ready to look inward for the roots of the country’s ongoing aggression (Mars) leads me to conclude that the projection pattern will continue. As I will show in what follows, over the next several decades, SP Mars’ movements will retrace, now in retrograde motion, positions covered the past several decades in direct motion. The pattern suggests a re-experiencing of those events, with projection playing a large role, probably in the form of open enemies (N. Mars in the 7th) driven by ideas (Gemini) and seeming like manifestations of the dark twin motif.

One more point before retracing the past – a point I have made before: what I have said above about Mars in Gemini and SP Mars retrograde reiterates other factors in the horoscope, most obviously the opposition from Mercury in Cancer in the 8th over to Pluto in Capricorn in the 2nd and the present opposition from TR Pluto in Capricorn to N. Sun in Cancer in the 8th. Pluto, as lord of the underworld, has much in common with the dark twin, and in my view has a close connection to Mercury, ruler of Gemini. But let’s put that bit of astrological theory to the side and move on to our examination of the past.

The Past

We measure secondary progressions by looking into the ephemeris: a day in the ephemeris equals a year in the life. Thus the position of SP Mars for the 200th year of a country’s existence equals the position of transiting (TR) Mars for the 200th day after the birth. This means that SP planets move rather slowly and mark fundamental patterns in a country’s development.

SP Mars in the United States horoscope has moved almost 120 degrees since 1776: from 22 Gemini to 18 Libra, where SP Mars turned retrograde on July 19, 2006: about 116 degrees in about 230 years. That comes to about half a degree per year, though faster than that during some eras and slower around the time of the station (2006). To give you some idea of the kinds of events SP Mars brings to the fore, consider the following partial list:

  • SP Mars semi-square the midheaven: 1862: Civil War
  • SP Mars squares Mars from the 9th house: 1923: Beer Hall Putsch in Germany; Mussolini dissolves non-fascist parties in Italy; USSR becomes a legal entity (all reflecting the 9th: foreign places; long journeys over water)
  • SP Mars conjoins Neptune in the 9th: 1925: Stalin moves toward power in USSR as Lenin dies (Stalin would have full power by 1926, as would Mussolini); Mein Kampf appears. (More 9th house emphasis.)
  • SP Mars enters Libra in 1940 and conjoins midheaven in 1945: World War II and aftermath.
  • SP Mars squares Sun: 1974: Nixon resigns as Congress draws up articles of impeachment. His resignation followed closely upon his secret bombing of Cambodia.
  • SP Mars conjoins Saturn: 1979: Iran Hostage Crisis; U.S. supported Shah Pahlevi flees Iran.

Some notes about the above list:
– The aspects in 1923-5 come from SP Mars in the 9th; thus the events have to do with foreign countries.
– The midheaven, relevant to 1862 and the 1920’s, has to do with public presentation, Mars with the military. Any movement involving the midheaven also involves the nadir (the homeground). The Civil War involved both.
– SP Mars at the midheaven in 1945 symbolizes a public display of military might, ostensibly to protect the homeground: WWII and its aftermath. (SA Pluto contributed, a matter we will put aside for now.) As the U.S. publicly strove for military domination, the U.S.S.R. arose as a virulent projection (N. Mars in Gemini in the 7th)
– The US N. Sun-Saturn square symbolizes the national tendency to play authority roles, particularly regarding situations connected to others’ resources ( 8th house N. Sun). Thus the conflicts in 1979 having to do with the U.S. attempt to extend its authority over Iran, with the Shah as proxy, and the Iranian resistance to that process. Though the bombing of Cambodia obviously differs in myriad ways from the situation in Iran, the two have this in common: in both areas, the United States wanted to extend its military (Mars) and economic (8th) control over “enemies” (7th) in relation to a delusional national ideology (N. Mars’ square to N. Neptune in 9th, a house connected with ‘long journeys over water,’ among other things).

Though SP Mars does not have a clear connection to all of the wars the United States fought, for other aspects, particularly involving directions, account many others. We must put off that discussion for another time and concern ourselves with these observations:

  • As SP Mars has slowed down, the United States has had less and less success in its military (Mars) ventures. In entering Libra (1940), SP Mars entered the “shadow of the retrograde,” so the period after that, with SP Mars slowing down, would prove particularly shadowy. Thus the increased secrecy regarding U.S. military operations and motives.
  • SP Mars will go through the aspects to the Sun and Saturn again in 2031 and 2035. I would expect that period to bring back the long-term results of actions taken in the early 1970’s. As Ward Churchill said, chickens come home to roost, and though Mr. Churchill connected that with the events of 9/11, I would take it further, suggesting that as the earlier (1970’s) events mark nodal points in the United States’ eventual failure to exert international power, so the later events (2031-5) will show the United States in much more difficult position, probably feeling that the “terrorists” exist within and thus turning its attention more and more toward the home front. There, the N. Sun-Saturn square symbolizes law and order (Saturn) ostensibly to preserve security (Cancer, position of the U.S. Sun).
  • The stationary period of SP Mars has brought quagmires: the U.S. stuck in Iraqi sand; the U.S. later forced to witness the depredation of the Islamic State, the rise of which has a clear connection to U.S. aggression in the region. It seems quite possible that by 2031, the United States will finally have the pervasive security threats so much talked about now. I expect that the national tendency toward delusions about foreigners and darker-skinned people, a theme in U.S. history, will by then reach a kind of crescendo, at least in the inner circles of government. I expect, further, increasingly psychotic reactions from those moving in those circles.
  • In the more immediate future, I would expect to find the United States with its hands tied (the stationary and retrograde periods) in all matters related to military. We see signs of this already. Though we hear some sabre-rattling by the usual cast of blind men inside the beltway, the United States has so far refrained from committing new troops to the Middle East. Perhaps someone has realized, at long last, that any action the U.S. takes will only make things worse.

NEXT TIME: PUTTING SOME THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE: A LOOK AT SOME LONGER-LASTING HISTORIAL PATTERNS. (For more on that subject, read The Machine Stops, by your friendly astrological blogger.)



United States Natal and Progressed.  Click to see the horoscope.

My apologies for the long hiatus – almost a year. Decent bloggers probably don’t let a year pass between blog-entries, but I make no claim to decency on any level. Besides, I’ve had on my plate a major (non-astrological) writing project that took up much more time than I’d anticipated.


Recent domestic and international events have convinced me that I should talk about secondary progressed (SP) Mars’ retrograde movement in the United States horoscope, a movement ushered in by Mars’ retrograde station on July 19, 2006. SP Mars’ retrograde movement helps to account for the reports of police departments, armed like commando units, focusing their ire on U.S. citizens. It also accounts for some important international developments, particularly the series of fruitless – or, if you prefer, catastrophic – United States military interventions over the past several decades. Those two developments have the same astrological root.

In the decades leading up to 2006, the United States had less and less success in its overseas military ventures. If we go back to the 1940’s, we see what most people consider success, at least as measured by stated objectives, as the United States played a central role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. WWII coincided with two important astrological events relevant to our discussion of: SP Mars entered the shadow of the retrograde in 1940; SP Mars conjoined the U.S. midheaven in 1945. (In entering the shadow of the retrograde, SP Mars moves past the degree at which it will eventually make its direct station: 0 Libra, the degree where the direct station occurs in 2086.) SP Mars’ conjunction with the midheaven (MC) suggests public assertiveness; in a nation’s horoscope, it can point to military intervention. SP Mars’ subsequent movement through the 10th house, which will take a few centuries, marks a period of public assertion, probably via the military (ruled by Mars). Because the midheaven symbolizes outward expression, and because Mars symbolizes the military, SP Mars on the midheaven (MC) coincided with a powerful externalized expression of military might. However, once in the aforementioned shadow, SP Mars did not provide (so to speak) the sought-after success. This became increasingly evident as the decades passed, but even WWII led directly into the cold war, and the victory came with the assistance of Josef Stalin, allied with Hitler early on and with the Allies later.

In the early 1950’s, United States troops fought in Korea, under the United Nations banner, and though some consider that war a victory of sorts, most consider it a stalemate. SP Mars squared Jupiter, the greater benefic, early in 1954, an aspect that accounts for whatever success the troops had. After that, as Mars slowed down, moving steadily toward the retrograde station, the United States had less and less success in foreign wars, with its foreign military interventions generally doing more harm than good. The invasions of Vietnam and Iraq epitomize the trend. By the time of the precise station, the Iraq invasion had clearly stalled, having created millions of refugees and sown the seeds for future difficulties in which armed intervention would prove fruitless, even disastrous. The period also saw the beginnings of large-scale surveillance of the domestic population, a development that gained momentum and focus after the retrograde station.

In a future entry, we can look at some of the significant events associated with the final five decades of the 20th century (particularly the events of 1974-1979, when SP Mars squared the US Sun and conjoined the US Saturn); for now, though, let’s turn our attention to domestic developments, for as the US military had less and less success in foreign interventions, domestic law enforcement agencies (DLEA) took on increasingly militaristic postures. After the retrograde station, DLEA armed themselves with weaponry previously available only to military units. From an astrological point of view, this makes perfect sense, as SP Mars retrograde suggests an inward turn for the often-aggressive energies of Mars.

Mars symbolizes assertion, aggression, and outer directed activity. In direct motion, Mars brings (so to speak) assertive, sometimes aggressive (depending on various horoscope factors) action. In a nation’s horoscope, Mars has much to do with the military, the institution usually left in charge of national assertions; Mars wants to go outward, and when in direct motion, he will generally do so. However, the retrograde station points to a time when the country will have difficulty achieving stated objectives in military activity, and the decades leading up to that station bring increased difficulty in moving forward successfully. But Mars still symbolizes assertion, aggression, and action, so as he turns retrograde, we see militarized police departments turning against the citizens and individual policemen shooting or brutalizing individual citizens. During the retrograde period, Mars turns inward, and though in a perfect world such an astrological development might mean having soldiers put solar collectors on the rooves of millions of houses (at far less cost than it takes to blow the roofs off of the houses of Iraqi citizens, we might add), in the decidedly imperfect world in which we live, the retrograde turn of SP Mars has manifested as difficulties in international conflict  (external) coinciding with an increased emphasis on battling citizens (internal) seen as threats. The commando-like DPEA provide a sign of SP Mars retrograde: the military has made an inward turn.

It may have occurred to you that many of the individuals shot or brutalized by domestic law enforcement personnel (DLEP) have dark skin. Most of these people have apparently done nothing wrong, yet they find that they have somehow metamorphosed, in the eyes of the DLEA, into dangerous criminals. We could point to numerous examples, of course, from all parts of the country. Most of these darker-skinned people have been men, for Mars rules drives generally considered male. (In years past, of course, women of color have also found themselves under a rather different sort of attack, but a discussion of that would take us a bit far afield.)

This projection of dark, threatening energy onto dark-skinned people goes back to the beginnings of United States’ history. Throughout that history, such people have found themselves on the receiving end of various projectiles (e.g. missiles and bullets; as Marie Louise von Franz wrote decades ago, getting hit by someone’s projection often feels like getting hit by a projectile). The pattern appeared quite starkly in the ways the invading Europeans viewed Native Americans: as shadowy and savage people, a projection that, like most projections, took little account of the relevant facts. Africans also found themselves in the crosshairs, both as residents of lands Europeans desired and later as slaves in various parts of the “New World.” Also, once the military had nearly exterminated the native population, the government launched an attack on the Philippines, beginning a string of military interventions in distant places inhabited by dark-skinned people. In the present era, various Middle Eastern people have served as hooks for the United States’ projections.

Two main factors in the United States horoscope point to these projection-tendencies: the Mercury-Pluto opposition and Mars in Gemini in the 7th house.

  1. The Mercury-Pluto opposition symbolizes the national tendency to project the Plutonic energy outward. Pluto symbolizes darkness, the underworld, the complexes of unconscious mind – with the powers of the unconscious and the instincts. It has to do with much else besides, of course, but in a nation’s horoscope, Pluto often arises as a rather unpleasant drive for power and control; when projected onto others, those others will appear negatively Plutonic: obsessed with shadowy motives or the desire for more power, even if only to control their own lives, interpreted as threatening by the overlords; full of a dark resentment that constantly threatens to erupt simply because overlords have kept it so tightly in check. Pluto here has to do with the projection of primitive drives onto others; the Mercury-Pluto opposition suggests that the United States, considered as an aggregate, will have difficulty owning those drives as part of the national character. The same energies will therefore arise through people who will seem to carry not the great potential for transformation also associated with Pluto, but a dark, seething anger, moving beneath the centers of power, out of sight and out of only the conscious mind. This opposition brings a tendency for the national aggregate to play the role of Mercury in Cancer while projecting Pluto onto others, a pattern that lies behind the historical patterns just mentioned. Playing the role of Mercury in Cancer, people will see themselves as concerned only with their own security, their own homes, their own feelings, and their own privacy; they will project Pluto onto the best available hook – or, as discussed above, onto a series of hooks.
  2. Mars’ placement in the 7th house in Gemini. The seventh house symbolizes what a person meets and seeks in one-to-one partnerships.  Traditionally called the house of marriage and open enemies, it has a lot to do with both vital human connections and conflict. In a nation’s horoscope, it symbolizes both alliances and conflict; Mars there suggests lots of the latter. It position also suggests a tendency to project Mars onto other nations and groups, for the 7th has a lot to do with what one projects onto others. Thus the United States has an inveterate tendency to see other nations or people as instigators of aggression. We should hardly find it surprising, then, that the invading Europeans consistently and constantly interpreted Native Americans as the aggressors, even though any objective observer would have come to a rather different conclusion. We could also cite a series of more recent examples. How does Gemini enter the picture? Commonly connected with curiosity, flexibility, wit, and verbal communication of all sorts, less commonly connected with work involving the hands and fingers (both of which suggest a chap named Bob Dylan, known for his flexibility, wit, and words, now, in addition to his songwriting, crafting iron sculptures, work presumably bringing the hands and fingers into play in ways not connected with guitars and pianos), Gemini has a connection with various mythic sets of twins – often composed of a dark twin and a light twin. Thus Gemini’s connection with projection of negative energy onto a darker “brother.” I don’t mean that Geminis project more often or more virulently than do people born under other signs. The available evidence certainly doesn’t suggest that conclusion. However, much evidence does suggest that collectives (e.g. nations) manifest the least enlightened elements of any astrological symbol. That evidence suggests, more generally, that when we interpret an astrological symbol as a collective indicator, we should expect that symbol to manifest its more problematic elements. Thus though a person with Mars in Gemini in the 7th might assert herself forcefully and verbally as a counselor, or do excellent and physically-oriented work with troubled people (to suggest just two possibilities), a nation with Mars in Gemini in the 7th will likely project it onto “enemies,” seeing other countries as threats, as driven by aggression, and as manifestations of the dark twin of the Gemini symbolism.

Some technical notes: Secondary progressed planets do not appear in the sky. Astrologers determine progressed positions by mathematical formulae. For secondary progressions, they consider a year in the ephemeris (a book giving daily planetary positions) to equal a year of progressed time. Thus the secondary progressions for the 20th year equal the planetary positions for the 20th day after the birthday.

Next: the history of the dark twin projections in the collective: the Neptune-Pluto conjunctions

See also: chapter 10 of my Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope (AFA 2014)




Israel-Palestine on the Attack Again? – Tim Lyons – July 23, 2014


Can we use astrology to shed some light on the so-called Israel-Palestine crisis (noting in passing that the situation in Palestine doesn’t seem very much like a crisis, as crisis originally referred to the turning point of a disease, while in Palestine the “crisis” seems to have developed into a way of life with no turning point in sight)? Perhaps notably, Israel and Palestine-as-Refugee-Nation have the same horoscope, for though the origins of the Palestinian people stretch back into remote antiquity, the Palestinians as refugees came into existence at the same moment as Israel did. Thus the sameness of the horoscopes, and thus the usefulness of seeing the situation in terms of projection-tendencies.

Many years back, Marie Louise von Franz wrote that getting hit by someone else’s projections often feels like getting hit by a projectile. Here, both groups launch projectile after projectile at each other, suggesting a series of projections brought about by a denial of one’s full capacity. And, no doubt, each group sees the other as the reason for that denial. This, too, we should consider a projection.


We know the date on which Israel and Refugee-Palestine came into existence: May 14, 1948. Some astrologers use 4:00 pm as the time, for at that time, according to reports, Jewish leader Ben Gurion acclaimed the independent state of Israel. Others astrologers prefer 4:32 pm, at which time, according to reports, Ben Gurion proclaimed the official existence of the state. Nicholas Campion mentions another time – 4:37 pm – representing the moment when Ben Gurion, having “concluded the two pages of the independence proclamation with the declaration that ‘The State of Israel has arisen!’” (See The Book of World Horoscopes, page 210.) Interestingly, the 4:37 horoscope has 0 Scorpio rising, suggesting psychological complexes appearing in behavior; it also increases the importance of Pluto and Mars (the two rulers of Scorpio) and places them both in the 10th house, suggesting publicly displayed power struggles and violence as well as violence driven by underworld forces, a phrase that characterizes both Israel and Palestine.

The horoscope has the shape of a bowl (one of Marc Edmund Jones’ categories; see Guide to Horoscope Interpretation), but one with the open side facing down, suggesting difficulties holding onto energy with containment.  Thus none of the “peace processes” have produced peace, and no “peace agreement” has held. With a Leo Moon at the top of the chart, both Israelis and Palestinians will display public pride and intransigence. The Moon conjoins Pluto and Saturn, albeit loosely, suggesting ongoing difficulties finding security, as Pluto symbolizes power-struggles; in this case, those struggles take place in the public sphere, over questions of government (10th), a suggestion reiterated by Saturn’s conjunction with Pluto, suggesting power-driven ruling-hierarchies, ruling hierarchies concerned with power, constant power-struggles related to rulership, and a tendency for those in power to employ underworld means to get what they want. Such patterns characterize the history of the area over the past several decades.

Most conspicuously, the horoscope has a Sun-Mars square, with the Sun in the 7th suggesting “open enemies” and warfare, and Mars in the public tenth. The aspect surely indicates ongoing conflict (for, again, in examining a nation’s horoscope, we should expect the most unenlightened manifestation of the energy-in-question). The aspect occurs in fixed signs, again suggesting intransigence. Taurus suggests a drive for stability rooted in the fruitfulness of the land; Leo suggests pride, with Mars in Leo suggesting pride in one’s prowess. It also may reflect events around the birthday, as (according to Campion) because of “an invasion by the Arab Legion at dawn on 12 May, the Jewish leaders arranged a meeting to proclaim independence at 4:00 pm on 14 May…pre-empting the legal end of British rule by six hours” (208).

Fixed signs pervade the horoscope, with four planets in Leo, one in Taurus, and one in Scorpio.  If you accept the 4:37 birth-time, the horoscope also has a fixed ascendant and both ascendant-rulers (Mars and Pluto) in fixed Leo. Thus stubbornness. Taurus probably qualifies as the most immovable sign of the zodiac, for it emphasizes fixity rooted in the living earth and drawing sustenance from it (whereas Leo, by contrast, manifests a fixity connected to pride and self-identity, qualities existing in the mind, which shifts more readily than does the earth). Taurus’ intransigence manifests without fanfare and because of a long-standing connection to the earth; Leo’s intransigence often manifests with great display, even fanfare, again because of pride.

These factors suggest that Israel will often play the role of the Leo planets and that the Palestinians will often find themselves in the role of Taurus, a matter to which I will return below. We see this pattern in relationships of all sorts (between human beings, between nations), as for whatever reasons due to temperament or circumstances, part of the horoscope will appear through one’s own actions and part will appear as projections onto others. In this case, though the horoscope symbolizes characteristics of both of the involved groups, it seems that Israel usually takes on the role of the Leo planets, with the Palestinians taking on the role of the Sun in Taurus in the 7th. Israel has almost all of the political and public power in this situation, and the nation certainly seems to reslish the role of those Leo planets. Palestine, meanwhile, seems closely connected to the Sun in Taurus, for we can easily see them as people who for centuries have rooted themselves in the local soil and who at present prove very hard to uproot.

At the same time, Israel apparently sees Palestine as controlling the earth (Taurus) that Israel seeks, while Palestinians see Israel as having the public and bureaucratic power, and the security (Moon), that they seek. Thus, according to the Jungian principle that whatever does not appear as part of the self will appear in the world as an event, each group sees the other in the guise of something denied. At the same time, the horoscope suggests that if you want to solve the problem, you would give the Palestinians an equal amount of public bureaucratic power and give Israel the right to root themselves firmly and fruitfully in the land. Of course, due to Israel’s ongoing settlement policy, Israel has achieved at least some of the latter; the former remains unaddressed.



Solar arc (SA) Uranus at 27Leo37 has reached a conjunction with natal (N) Mars at 28Leo16. (See the second wheel of the doubt-wheel horoscope.) The aspect suggests, on the one hand, a sudden expression of stubborn will bent on upsetting the status quo. That interpretation might suggest aggression emerging from Palestine (or, more particularly, the West Bank) as part of an attempt to upset the status quo, for Uranus has no love of stability or ruling group, and the Palestinians surely have no love for any status quo that gives Israel all of the public or bureaucratic power. However, Israel also seems bent on upsetting the status quo, apparently preferring to get rid of the “Palestinian problem” by getting rid of any recalcitrant Palestinians, or at least silencing their refusal to adept the dictates of the increasingly dominant Israeli government. Mars in Leo in the 10th suggests “pride of prowess” coming from those established in authority (the Israelis), so the aspect could arise as aggression from either side.

The aspect from SA Uranus brings us back to the natal horoscope (for one always reads present developments back to the natal chart), where natal (N) Uranus opposes Jupiter. As I explained in the discussion or Iraq a few weeks back, oppositions lend themselves to projection and role-playing. In this case, Jupiter in Sagittarius seems to describe Israel rather nicely, as the placement suggests expansion (Jupiter) based on a set of abstractions (Sagittarius), often without due attention to or at the expense of rebellious (Uranus) ordinary people (Gemini). Considering Jupiter as the “greater benefic,” here very influential in its own sign, we would expect it to represent Israel, for Israel has socialized (Jupiter) its expansive tendencies and had extraordinary good fortune in the years since its birth, augmenting its territory, its defense capacities, and its relationship with the most powerful nation on earth (a nation which has a Sagittarius ascendant, and which also expands based on abstractions, and a well-placed Jupiter). Meanwhile, the Palestinians, with very few effective cards to play politically, find themselves in the role of Uranus, for they rebel (Uranus) against (opposition) the expansion (Jupiter).

Adding to the present “martial” (Mars-related) difficulties, SA Mars has just passed over the Scorpio ascendant (see the second wheel of the two-wheeled chart; distinguish this movement from that of transiting Mars discussed a few paragraphs below), suggesting anger, aggression, and warfare emerging because while Mars passed through the 12th (i.e. roughly the last thirty years), aggression festered in both groups.


Note, too, the important square from Venus in Cancer to Neptune in Libra in the 12th. This aspect lies right on top of important planets in the U.S. horoscope, with Venus conjoining the U.S. Venus-Jupiter conjunction, and with Neptune conjoining the U.S. Saturn. Any affliction to Neptune can indicate deception of some sort. Bring the U.S. Saturn into the picture, and we can see the possibility of a highly deceptive or obfuscated influence coming from the U.S. government bureaucracy, for the U.S. Saturn (in Libra in the 10th house) points to the nation’s tendency to see itself as law-giver for the planet and as a law-unto itself not subject to international law. The U.S. Venus-Jupiter conjunction, bringing together the ruler of the U.S. midheaven with the ruler of the U.S. ascendant, points to the great good fortune that has accrued to this country in its search for security brought about by the taking of the resources of others (U.S. 8th house Sun and Mercury, plus Venus-Jupiter on the cusp of the 8th)), a process in which Israel has played an important role.

The Israel-Palestine Venus-Jupiter square also points to the failure (12th) of international law (9th) to bring about any sort of decently-conceived peace. This should hardly surprise us, as the roots of the current difficulties lie back in the period after World War I, when European diplomats, most obviously but certainly not British, went about shaping the so-called modern Middle East, creating nations according to the colonial aspirations but taking scant notice – when they took any notice at all! – of the residents of the Middle East. With the makers of international law seeming so willing to flaunt it any way they saw fit, we shouldn’t find it surprising that international law has little effect on in that area.


TR Mars’ long transit through Libra (since December 7, 2013, about four times its usual duration in a sign, with the difference due to Mars’ retrogradation March 1-May 20) ends on July 26th. Because that long transit took place in Israel-Palestine’s 12th house, we should expect smoldering resentments that would burst forth as Mars emerged from the 12th (a house associated with prisons and tendencies driven by the unconscious). As Mars moves through Scorpio, he will square N Mars and oppose the 7th house Taurus Sun. This suggests, as does the movement of SA Mars discussed a few paragraphs back, that the end has not come into view.

Finally, Saturn. Astrologers have long known him as the “greater malefic” (with Mars as the lesser). As I write this on July 23, transiting (TR) Saturn has just turned stationary-direct at 16+ Scorpio, precisely square N Saturn at 16Leo25. The aspect suggests conflict between authority systems, with one expressing pride (N Saturn in Leo) and one seeming underhanded or even “terrorist” (TR Saturn in Scorpio, a sign associated with the underworld). As noted above, with projection rife, we can expect the two groups to shift from one positon to another, with now one and now the other seeing the other as underhanded (read: “terrorist”) and with both groups serving as a fine hook for the other’s projections.

Transiting Saturn symbolizes the progressive building of structures, whether governmental, psychological, or temporal – and, most often, all three at once. When Saturn squares his natal position, those structures have developed to such an extent that they restrict and constrict everyone involved. The aspect demands structural readjustment. Because of this, I tend to agree with the Palestinians that a cease-fire should include major reassessment of the structures – agreements, borders, settlements, assumptions currently dominating the situation. N Saturn in Leo in the 10th tells us that the structures grow and develop from the structural assumptions of those in power, which in this case probably means the Israeli government (Leo planets in the 10th). If no-one heeds the call for the needed adjustments, and so far no-one has, we can expect even worse problems when Saturn opposes the Sun and squares Mars a few months from now.

A final note about the Moon. In Leo in the 10th, it strongly suggests autocratic, quasi-regal approaches to leadership, with the leaders emotionally invested in a kind of noblesse oblige. The Moon disposits Venus in Cancer (because the Moon rules Cancer) intercepted in the 9th. This suggests hidden (Cancer intercepted) support for the quasi-regal ruling group coming from a foreign power (9th). As noted, Venus, ruler of the 12th (hidden enemies, secrets, back-room deals) closely conjoins the United States Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer, an aspect that has much to do with the United States’ imperialistic drive.

Iraq Again? — Tim Lyons — June 29, 2014




Sorry for the long delay in putting up a new post. Various events from the non-blogging world intruded – and, to complicate matters further, I got caught up in reading Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. Before I knew it, three months had passed, and now, as I look up from my reading and take in the daily news, I can see some of what Mr. Spengler had in mind! Decline indeed! The United States government has issued bombing warnings once again, and Iraq once again finds itself in the crosshairs. A group of “insurgents” (see below) have “taken” (a term that seems to mean, have “gained military control of”) a number of large cities in northern Iraq and have, as of this writing, come fairly close to Baghdad.

Predictably enough, a group of ex-Bushites and other Republicans have pinned the blame on Mr. Obama, the most readily-available Democratic donkey, claiming that things have gone awry in Iraq because of the man’s unwise policies there. Though I hold no brief for Obama and his policies, the vast majority of which seem myopic and ill-considered, if we want to bring to the surface what has “gone wrong” in Iraq, we surely have to look back at least to 2003, and probably to the many years that the United States considered Saddam Hussein its best ally in the Middle East, and perhaps even to the years following the first world war, when the so-called European powers, perhaps most notably Britain but with the United States paying close attention, acted with a myopia that even Obama and the Republicans would have difficulty matching. One would think that the Republicans, elephants all, could bring at least some of those events back to mind.

Can we gain any insight by applying astrology to the current situation? Let’s see how far we get before Obama, Kerry, and the rest decide to take yet one more ill-considered action.

Consider the following three horoscopes: one, which my readers have seen before, for the United States; one for Iraq; and even one for Saddam Hussein, who once thought himself a good friend of Daddy Bush and a disconnected chap named Reagan. Note, in particular, the planets that cluster in the final degrees of Capricorn and Cancer: the Pluto-Mercury opposition for the United States; the Pluto-Saturn opposition for Iraq; the Jupiter-Pluto opposition for Mr. Hussein. Small wonder that the two countries have had such an underhanded and oppositional relationship over the years; small wonder, too, that the nations have gotten so caught up in each other’s projections.

Note some other aspects, too: Iraq’s Sun-Mercury conjunction in Libra conjoining the U.S. Saturn and square the U.S. Sun, with Iraq’s Sun also square the U.S. Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer: Iraq’s Uranus joining the picture, making a t-square of Iraq’s Saturn-Pluto opposition and therefore aspecting the United States’ opposition, squaring both Pluto and Mercury and making challenging aspect (though with a wider orb of aspect) to the U.S. Sun-Saturn square as well. None of these aspects promise harmony or love! It would take us too far afield to go through all of the transiting, directed, and  progressed aspects in play during the two major conflicts between the two nations, so let the following show some of the importance of some of the afflictive aspects in the U.S. horoscope. When the United States attacked Iraq back on 17 January 1991, Saturn had reached 27+ Capricorn, affecting all the planets in the aforementioned oppositions; further, a solar eclipse took place on 15 January 1991 at 25+ Capricorn, activating the same aspects. Further still, Neptune, a planet associated with Neptune (and, in the U.S. horoscope, closely connected with military ventures) at 14+ Capricorn squared the U.S. Saturn and opposed the U.S. Sun, while Uranus at 10+ Capricorn would shortly make the same aspects. Finally, Mars, retrograde during the entire troop buildup of 1990, turned direct at 27+ Taurus on 1 January, closely squaring the United States Moon. Not only did the superimposed oppositions come into play, via Saturn and the eclipse, but most of the problematic aspects in the U.S. horoscope did likewise. As noted, we can’t look at all of those factors in one blog, but we can make a start. As I have said in other blog entries as well as various articles (and in a section of my forthcoming book) that the United States’ Mercury-Pluto opposition symbolizes the U.S. tendency to play the role of Mercury in Cancer and to project onto other nations or leaders the role of Pluto in Capricorn. We can trace the pattern throughout the history of this country, with Native Americans serving early on as the hook for the projection, followed by Africans, then by Mexicans, later by the Soviet Union, Hussein, Iraq, and all sorts of “terrorists.” The terminology used by the government and the plutocratic press (Mercury-Pluto) to describe these groups have remained remarkably consistent.

Meanwhile, with its Saturn-Pluto opposition, Iraq has tended to play the role of Saturn (authority based tradition) and to project Pluto onto others, in this case the United States, a country that serves nicely as a hook as it sits on mountains of plutonium. So as the U.S. projects its Pluto onto Iraq, Iraq projects its Pluto onto the United States. No matter how many projectiles you spit forth, you can’t win a war against your own projections. BTW: The astrological principle in play here has to do with oppositions: when you see an opposition in a natal horoscope of a nation (or a person, though then some other factors demand consideration), expect the nation to play the role of the planet closest to the sun and to project onto others – enemies, most probably – the role of the planet farthest from the sun.


As I have also pointed out in other places, the United States’ seventh house Mars, opposing the ascendant and in the house symbolizing projections onto others, symbolizes the country’s tendency to see other nations or groups (7th) as aggressors (Mars), another pattern we can trace quite easily through the historical record. The square from Mars to Neptune suggests, at the same time, the use of a deceptive (Neptune) national ideology (9th house) as an excuse for wars (Mars) blamed on others (7th). As an example of a deceptive ideology, consider Manifest Destiny; as an example of outright deception, consider the Gulf of Tonkin, the events leading up to the invasion of Mexico (1846), or the actions of the Bushites in 2003. As projection, seen through the eyes of the one doing the projecting (the U.S.) Mars-Neptune will appear either as purportedly deceptive enemies (and once you decide to see them as “enemies,” you shouldn’t feel surprised if you find deception), or as open enemies (7th) on the attack (Mars) driven on by delusions (Neptune). When acknowledged as part of the nation itself, Mars-Neptune appears as the series of deceptions that have characterized U.S. military ventures from the beginning.

The most recent set of “insurgents” in Iraq surged onto the front pages of the mainstream media (MSM) just as transiting Mars conjoined Iraq’s Sun and closed in on a conjunction to the U.S. Saturn and a square to the U.S. Sun. The conjunction to Saturn brought threats of bombing from the U.S. that have slightly died down as Mars has passed away from that aspect. However, in passing away from the Sun-Saturn aspect, it approaches a square to the U.S. Mercury-Pluto opposition and the Iraq Saturn-Pluto opposition; it will also oppose Iraq’s Uranus at 21 Aries, a fine symbol for Iraq’s “insurgents,” the aspect suggesting U.S. aggression (Mars) opposing revolutionary forces (Uranus) in Iraq.

Iraq’s Saturn-Pluto opposition suggests a tense relationship between authority systems (Saturn) and underworld connections (Pluto). The U.S. has helped to provide the latter – has, we might say, served nicely as a hook for Iraq’s Pluto. With the U.S. Pluto directly on Iraq’s Saturn, we should not feel surprised if U.S. plutocrats control the government hierarchies (Saturn) in Iraq, the situation for many decades, as we know. However, Iraq’s t-square to Uranus strongly suggests that some elements in Iraq, represented by Uranus, will rebel against such control, as seems the case here, particularly when we consider the events leading up to the current situation. As Ross Caputi tells us ( in “Unthinkable Thoughts in the Debate About ISIS in Iraq,” over the past few years, many thousands of people in Iraq have attempted to lodge peaceful protests against the Iraqi government. That government has responded with violence instead of giving thoughtful consideration to the objections, and eventually those people found non-violent protest futile. With Uranus as the focal planet of its t-square, Iraq will, in its present configuration, have a difficult time finding stability; anyone who comes to power should realize this. From an astrological point of view, current protests qualify as a legitimate expression of the Iraqi people, and the astrological evidence suggests not only that it will not go away, but also that the application of military weaponry (no doubt coming from the U.S.) will not quell the immediate protests and will surely not solve the grievances that they represent.












Decent writers don’t usually start their pieces with interludes, but your correspondent makes no claim to decency. And, of course, when discussing Pluto, a planet that takes us beyond current and generally accepted dualistic notions, one should not worry whether one qualifies as decent or not. Pluto reminds us, after all, that death leads to life, as dying vegetation enriches the soil for the next cycle, and that the purportedly non-sacred may open doorways to realms of experience lying beyond duality. 

            As some readers perhaps remain unclear about how Pluto appears in its less pleasant manifestations, and as a certain Mr. Vladimir Putin has been much in the news of late, we might take a brief look at his horoscope. Though we should regard the birth-time as speculative, it seems to me, on quick inspection, to come fairly close. (The birth-data gets a C-rating in the Rodden data-classification system, indicating that something in the birth-data remains open to question. See note at the end.)

           Despite the uncertainty about the birth-time, we know that Pluto, having reached the 14th degree of Capricorn (13+), has come into an extremely close square with Putin’s natal Sun at 13Libra55 (for the Sun’s zodiacal position won’t change much in a few hours). This suggests power-struggles for the Russian leader, as his will (natal Sun) finds itself at odds (square aspect) with powerful forces in the transitory world (TR Pluto). Though the transit can also indicate a search for more awareness of the power of unconscious factors in one’s life, world-leaders, generally not much interested in awareness of any sort and almost always driven about by unconscious factors instead of taking an interest in them, usually find themselves acting blindly against apparently-external forces that we may usefully interpret as projections of the ignored unconscious factors. The square suggests that Putin, probably for reasons not obvious to himself and rooted in the transformative powers of the world itself, finds himself pitting his will against forces that seem to come up from the underworld. (In the process, of course, he provides us with yet more evidence, should we feel we need any more, that a person’s obsession or concern with external power, particularly power over others, has an inverse relationship with the person’s concern for self-awareness.)

            This horoscope has Scorpio rising and Pluto closely conjoined the midheaven. Remembering that the ascendant (and thus the house positions) derives from the precise time of birth, which we don’t have, we can consider as speculative any remarks about it. However, I suspect that this birth-time comes pretty close. If Mr. Putin has Scorpio rising, as here, Pluto rules the horoscope; natal Pluto’s position at the midheaven (also time-derived) tells us that he will seek public power and that, particularly during important Pluto-transits, power-struggles will occur in his vocation, in the public sphere where he will continually seek power. (That his current struggles qualify as vocational and that they involve his drive for public power suggest that the birth-time comes pretty close.)

         Recall that in an earlier blog-installment, we saw that Pluto’s transit to Syria’s Sun brought on severe power struggles in that country. Also – a matter we don’t have time to go into now – the solar arc movements of Pluto to the U.S. ascendant (13+ Sagittarius) over the past 200 years have brought some of the power-struggles that have served to define the national character, for better or worse. More on that in another installment. For now, we can note that Putin’s Sun squares the U.S. Sun, so the current transit of Pluto opposite the U.S. Sun coincides with the current transit square Putin’s Sun. We shouldn’t feel surprised if the events associated with those two transits get mixed together to some extent. Further, because the United States tends to project its Pluto onto others – an important matter, and one to which we will return – Putin, acting with apparent dictatorial ruthlessness, serves as a perfect hook for the projection of unconscious elements in the national psyche (so to speak). Thus the U.S. objects to Putin’s actions while domestic developments accelerate their right-ward movement. The U.S. propensity to project Pluto onto others should induce us to question any conclusions drawn about Mr. Putin by this nation’s press (reflecting the U.S. natal Mercury-Pluto opposition, the aspect that suggests the projection of Pluto).

         As Pluto aspects the two Suns, it also conjoins both Putin’s Saturn and the U.S. Saturn. (In other words, Putin’s Sun-Saturn conjunction conjoins the U.S. N. Saturn.) This suggests that both will retain a link to established patterns of law-giving, and Pluto’s transit has brought Putin into conflict with the United States on matters related to international law. Though some of us may find it ludicrous that U.S. spokespersons, particularly Obama, have criticized Putin for his failure to abide by international law, pushing down the memory whole the scores of times the U.S. has apparently considered such law as nothing but an inconvenience, the U.S. suddenly finds itself in the role of “upholding justice and freedom.” The astrological material accounts for the U.S. condemnatory judgment (Saturn) of Putin’s actions, even should Putin find himself playing a role that the U.S. has played so often, deciding to invade another country simply because it serves his interests to do so.

         U.S. judgmental tendencies should come as any surprise, as the U.S. 10th house Saturn tells us that the U.S. will take on a law-giver role in public and that in its public actions it will generally support status-quo arrangements that accord with its own authority, a pattern we see in evidence at least as far back as the so-called Monroe Doctrine. Further, Putin finds himself in the unenviable position of serving as a hook for the projection of the United States Pluto, a position occupied in earlier eras by Native Americans, African slaves, the empires of Europe, the Soviet Union, the Vietnamese, and the Iraqis – and things did not turn out well for any of them. Because the series of Pluto transits has just begun, having come quite close a few weeks ago before Pluto turned retrograde, I suspect that the struggle will not go away right away. I suspect that both Putin and the U.S. will find themselves dealing with forces rising up from the underworld, things perhaps previously hidden but with enormous power. 

            But let us push Mr. Putin temporarily aside and return this fair country, lying resplendently at the western edge of the Atlantic and causing all sorts of problems.


            In the last installment, I made a connection between Pluto and paper money, tracing some dates back in the 1760’s and 1770’s as the United States took its place as an independent nation and financed its war for independence with forty-two issues of the stuff. Decades later, as Pluto moved toward a square with the U.S. Sun, Andrew Jackson, elected to a second term after promising that he would destroy the National Bank, promptly fulfilled his promise, thus unleashing a flood of paper money from the multitudinous banks that rushed to fill the void. (According to J.K. Galbraith, who refers to Jackson as “confused” about such matters, Old Hickory advocated “hard money” even though his policy ensured that soft money would gain ascendency.)

            Pluto symbolizes power, of course, and physicists tell us that power equals the rate at which one does work, with work defined as a function of change. Thus power refers to the rate at which one brings about change. With the flood of paper money emerging from the variety of banks filling the aforementioned void, all sorts of enterprises found a way to get started, for people of all sorts could now get loans from whatever bank would do the lending. Thus Galbraith writes:

         For the new parts of the country as they opened up, there was the right to create banks at will and therewith the notes and deposits that resulted from their loans. No central bank tested the ability of these banks to redeem their notes…..In consequence, as civilization, or some approximation, came to an Indiana or Michigan crossroads in the 1830’s or 1840’s, so did a bank. Its notes, when issued and loaned to a farmer to buy land, livestock, seed, feed, food or simple equipment, put him into business. If he and others prospered and paid off their loans, the bank survived. If he and others did not so prosper and pay, the bank failed, and someone – perhaps a local creditor – was left holding the worthless notes. But some borrowers from this bank were by now in business. Somewhere someone holding the notes had made an involuntary contribution to the winning of the West. (Money, 104)

         A flood of paper money generally ensures that work of some sort will get done, whether that work take the form of a revolution, a flood of farmers purchasing land and transforming the landscape, or plutocrats gaining ascendancy in the national economy. Not all work qualifies as “good work,” but all work, understood in the scientific sense described above, brings about change. Furthermore, though Galbraith doesn’t mention it, along with the furthering of business and farming and other enterprises came death on a scale that not even Hitler and Stalin could match, for the “winning of the West” meant the slaughter of the Native Americans in uncountable numbers.

         Thus we see the connection, in the history of 18th and 19th century America, between the two manifestations of Pluto, one having to do with money and national finance, the other having to do with death and power. Generally speaking, dictators who kill have a great concern for profit in some form, so we see the connection just about every time we see a dictator’s wake – or that of a “democratically elected” officer of some sort – strewn with corpses.


            As noted, Pluto squared the United States Sun in the early 1830’s, the aspect remaining in effect from roughly 1833 until 1837, with Pluto not only squaring the U.S. Sun but also opposing the U.S. Saturn, as Saturn squares the Sun in the U.S. horoscope, an aspect noted above. However, an earlier aspect has an even closer connection to current developments: Pluto’s opposition to the U.S. Sun and square to the U.S. Saturn in 1768-9. Both aspects form part of a series, part of which we can trace now, leaving the other parts until later. In considering the following dates, add a year or so to the earlier date, for just as a hurricane causes damage before the eye arrives, so the changes associated with outer-planet transits appear before the transit actually arrives:

Pluto opposing Sun and squaring Saturn: 1768-1769 Pluto squaring Sun and opposing Saturn: 1834-1837 Pluto conjoining Sun and squaring Saturn: 1924-1927

Pluto squaring Sun and conjoining Saturn: 1976-1978 Pluto opposing Sun and squaring Saturn: 2014-2017


Closely linked to this series of aspects is Pluto’s series of aspects to the U.S. Venus-Jupiter conjunction:
Pluto opposes U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1763-1765
Pluto squares U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1824-1829
Pluto conjoins U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1915-1920
Pluto squares U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 1972-1974 P
luto opposes U.S. Venus-Jupiter: 2009-2011

And a third series: Pluto’s aspects to the U.S. midheaven-nadir axis (which somewhat coincide with the previous series because the U.S. Venus-Jupiter squares the U.S. midheaven-nadir axis):
Pluto squares midheaven-nadir axis: 1763
Pluto conjoins nadir and opposes midheaven: 1824-1825
Pluto squares midheaven-nadir axis: 1914-1916
Pluto conjoins midheaven and opposes nadir: 1972-1973
Pluto squares midheaven-nadir axis: 2009

We should note the following events associated with these developments: 1. In 1763, with Pluto squaring the midheaven-nadir axis and opposing Venus-Jupiter, George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, forbidding the expansion of the colonies beyond the Alleghenies and reserving that territory for the Indian Tribes. 2. In 2008-2009, with Pluto making the same series of aspects, the U.S. experienced, largely because of the machinations and depredations of plutocrats, an economic depression-recession-downturn-plutocratic takeover (take your pick). 3. In 1768-9, with Pluto opposing the U.S. Sun and squaring its Saturn, anti-British riots broke out in Boston, Boston merchants adopted a non-importation treaty, and the Virginia House of Burgesses rejected Britain’s right to tax British colonists – acts strongly suggesting a projection of Pluto onto Great Britain, as local plutocrats preferred their own control to that of the plutocratic mother country.

At present, we see Pluto not only projected onto Mr. Putin, but also in the pervasive plutocratic power-grab taking place throughout this country, evident not only in the actions of banks, but in the efforts of the courts to give corporations ever more political power.

More on these connections next time.

 Note: The Rodden data-classification system gets its name from Lois Rodden, a pioneer in astrological data-rating. Her system has four basic categories, ranging from A (“Accurate Data,” as from a birth certificate or officially recorded birth time) to DD (“Dirty Data,” used when two conflicting statements about birth data exist, or when all available sources seem questionable for one reason or another. See for more information.











“A million here, a million there; pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” – Leveret Dirksen (quoted from memory)

Last time, we spoke of Pluto’s gender and his/her relationship to the underworld, which he rules, and to perception. We spoke of Pluto’s dual nature, suggested astronomically by the fact that Pluto participates in a binary planetary-system, with two bodies rotating around a common center of gravity that doesn’t lie inside either planet.

 We didn’t speak much about Pluto’s connection with money, or about Pluto’s present transit through the United States’ 2nd house (the house of money, among other matters), or about the United States’ natal Pluto in the 2nd house. That’s a lot of money, we might say, and small wonder that a country with a 2nd house Pluto would find itself under the thumb of plutocrats.

Clearly Pluto’s transit through the United States’ 2nd house presages major changes in the financial system. On the darker side – darkness seeming appropriate for the ruler of the underworld! – it could mean that plutocrats take over the financial system more than they already have – and not surprisingly, as any country with Pluto in the house of money should expect that plutocrats will loom large. Still, a considerable amount of evidence suggests that present plutocrats continue to make advances, with Citizens United standing as the most ready example, and the pervasive effect of lobbying as another.

 Many astrologers associate Pluto with “transformation,” with death-and-rebirth processes of all sorts, suggesting that Pluto’s transit through the U.S. 2nd could bring a complete transformation of the financial system. Some will claim that this must bring benefit; perhaps they reason that things can’t possibly get worse. Though I agree that Pluto’s transit will transform the financial system and that the effect of plutocrats often seems as bad as it could get, I also know that Pluto, ruler of the underworld, has to do with all sorts of unpleasant goings-on. After all, the unconscious contains what the conscious mind has rejected (and much else besides, according to Jung), and Pluto generally brings material up from that realm. Though some uprisings bring benefit – the Occupy Movements, occurring as Pluto came to the cusp of the U.S. 2nd, provides a ready example and perhaps represents a new trend – not all of them do. Certainly many contemporary developments suggest that the power of corporations will augment, not reduce.

 To get some perspective, though, let’s trace back to Pluto’s previous transit through the United States 2nd house. Admittedly, some of that transit took place before the U.S. cohered as a nation. It nevertheless has relevance here, as some prenatal transits point to developments in the environment in the years or decades (for a nation) or months (for a person) before birth, those developments setting the tone for the birth itself. Pluto entered the U.S. 2nd around 1766. In 1764, with Pluto on the cusp of that house, England forbade the issue of paper money in any of the colonies (having done so for New England in 1751). In 1766, Benjamin Franklin went to England to protest, for he had for a long time advocated the issue of paper money, his views perhaps not unaffected by the fact that he got much business from the printing of the stuff. (In Money (67), John Kenneth Galbraith notes that Franklin advocated “the use of the printing press for anything except the diffusion of knowledge.”)

The laws from England truly brought economic transformation to the colonies, for paper money had, then as now, found use in the expansion of business enterprises not limited to those related to war. Price inflation reduced dramatically with the reduction of domestic paper, and economic life returned to an even keel – often the case on those occasions when nations stopped using paper currency, seeing that the stuff has a tendency to inflate prices and thus depreciate the value of money. (When paper money reigned in the colonies, creditors would hide from debtors, not wanting to get repaid in a constantly depreciating currency.) Once the colonies declared themselves independent, England’s laws no longer held sway; paper money returned. Without it, the colonists could never have fought the revolution. Of the shift, John Kenneth Galbraith writes (Money, p. 71):

With independence, the ban by Parliament on paper money became, in a notable modern phrase, inoperative. And however the colonies might have been moving toward more reliable money, there was now no alternative to government paper…The Congress was without direct powers of taxation; one of its first acts was to authorize a note issue. More states now authorized more notes. It was by these notes that the American Revolution was financed. Between June 1775 and November 1779, there were forty-two currency issues by the Continental Congress with a total face value of $241,600,000.

Galbraith also points to the connection between the United States and paper money:

If the history of commercial banking belongs to the Italians and of central banking to the British, that of paper money issued by a government belongs indubitably to the Americans. (55)
With the issuance of paper money came power, whether military, economic, or political. For the connection between military aggressions and money we needn’t look far: as Galbraith notes, the American Revolution provides a fine example, one no doubt taken from various kings and potentates issuing fiat money (a term I have borrowed from Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island; see below) to finance their various invasions, incursions, and insurrection-quashings. The economic power appears in the ways that paper money furthers economic progress, for projects demand payments for workers and materials, and paper money provides the wherewithal.

Of course, much depends on who does the issuing, for the issuer issues to those inclined to do the issuer’s bidding. Thus the political power of money, at least in part. The fiat money issued by the U.S. government, so much a part of United States history, gives even more power to the state and aligns it with the financial powers who get most of the benefit. When the United States government issues paper money, that government stipulates that citizens must regard that money as “legal tender” and that others may not issue their own paper money. The government’s money gets its backing from the state itself. A further power lies in the fact that when the government issues its fiat money, that issuance lowers the value of the money people already have, so the government has the power not only to further its own projects, but also to move the people toward poverty. And, of course, if one refuses to play the game, the state brings the law to bear. (Let us sidestep, at least for now, the ways that banks can, like mini-governments, increase the supply of money. Plutocrats apparently have at least as much power as bureaucrats!)

Appropriately enough for Pluto, the power to create money seems like a form of magic. When Marco Polo encountered the Khan’s mint, he saw it as “Alchemy in perfection,” and he noted the solemnity accorded its issuance: “the Kaan smears the seal entrusted to him with vermilion and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the seal remains stamped upon it in red; the money is then authentic…And the Kaan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount all the treasures in the world.” Edward Griffin (my source for the preceding quotation), then adds,

One is tempted to marvel at the Kaan’s audacious power and the subservience of his subjects who endured such an outrage [for the Kaan would imprison any who refused to accept his paper money]; but our smugness rapidly vanishes when we consider the similarity to our own Federal Reserve Notes. They are adorned with signatures and seals; counterfeiters are severely punished; the government pays its expenses with them; the population is forced to accept them; they – and the “invisible” checkbook money into which they can be converted – are made in such vast quantities that it must equal in amount all the treasures of the world. And yet they cost nothing to make. In truth, our present monetary system is an almost exact replica of that which supported the warlords of seven centuries of the world. (156)

Small wonder, then, that a country with Pluto in its natal second has developed into the world’s warlord, complete with a largely-subservient population, a powerful military to which the government gives as much money as it requests, and both banks and businesses deemed “too big to fail.” Small wonder, too, that such a government can create as much money as needed to bail out banks or fight wars, even as it claims itself too poor to support programs that benefit the non-plutocratic majority. And, to link such ideas to matters-astrological: as Pluto moved through the U.S. 2nd from 1767-1786, the United States, in throwing off the co-called yoke of English rule, turned to paper money to support the yoke-throwing.

Pluto unleashes powerful forces from the unconscious. As any psychologist knows, to deal with these forces, one must maintain a secure tie to the relative truths of the world. Transferred to the economic world, that statement might read like this: to deal with the psychic forces that drive plutocracy, a nation should tie its currency to something rooted in the relative world; any nation that fails to do that will suffer grave consequences, as its finances will find themselves at the mercy of the little-understood powers of the unconscious. We can see, these days, that our country has failed to do the necessary tying; the crash of 2007-2008 resulted from financial dealings with no clear referents in the phenomenal world. In such a system, the forces of the unconscious run amok. Our present predicament serves as a case in point.

In such dark clouds, do we see a silver lining? Perhaps. Pluto, lord of transformation (of a particular type, as we will see in the next installment), brings about change partly by secreting the seeds of change into apparently obdurate patterns of behavior. Thus when the change comes, it seems at first like a kind of fate. More on all this next time (when, I hope, we finally get to Pluto’s opposition to the U.S. Sun).

Tim Lyons
March 26, 2014





– Tim Lyons – March  21, 2014


Pluto has moved into his long awaited opposition to the United States natal Sun.

 We should examine the various elements of that sentence: “Pluto”; “his”; “long awaited”; “the United States’ natal Sun”; “Pluto’s…opposition” to that Sun.

 Let’s begin by looking at the pronoun “his,” for Pluto, ruler of the underworld, a realm ruled in most mythologies by a female deity, does not seem to qualify as only a “he,” despite what the Greeks and Romans tell us through their myths; on the other hand, we probably shouldn’t consider Pluto a “she,” either, for in the crucible of the underworld, sometimes visible in dreams, we will not always find the gender-distinctions we find familiar.

 So, if neither male nor female, what? Pluto’s gender remains somewhat of a mystery. We find hints of that mystery in matters-astronomical connected to Pluto, for though most people consider Pluto as one thing, it actually consists of two bodies – Pluto itself and Charon – rotating about a common center, a binary planet-system moving through the darkness. People sometimes refer to Charon as Pluto’s Moon, but many astronomers now refer to it as the smaller planet in a double-planet system.  No other planet in our solar system has an accompanying body so close in size and mass to the planet itself, with our Earth-Moon system coming in a not-too-close second.

 The astronomical similarity suggests that Pluto has a particularly important role to play in the lives of creatures on our planet. It also suggests, as noted, that we should take care in assigning a gender to Pluto, for the planet seems to have a kind of dualism in his (or, if you prefer, her) gender. More generally, the demands of Pluto have to do with duality altogether – or, we might say with our need to see through the apparent dualities of the world, including but not limited to the ones we associate with gender, if we are to come to an accurate understanding of ourselves and the world in which we wander.

 We should also take it as of more than passing interest that as astronomers have suggested to us that other planet-like bodies orbit well out beyond Pluto, people have challenged the hegemony of plutocrats all of the world, with the Occupy Movements having moved toward center-stage in many discussions of the world economy.

 Pluto calls attention to, among other matters, the curious relationship that exists between the labeling mind and the phenomenal world. Thus it seems particularly appropriate that many astronomers now want to change Pluto’s label, with some of those folk insisting that Pluto “is not a planet.” But if we take what we might call a plutonic perspective on the matter, we will probably conclude that the label doesn’t matter all that much – though it may, I suppose, suggest that the collective accords Pluto less importance than it should, seeing the Pluto-function as not on par with the other planetary functions. This seems curious, as our era seems marked quite clearly by Pluto, with the mark having come into clear view around the time that astronomers discovered Pluto in 1929.

 Surely the years around and following that discovery carried the mark of the underworld lord, as humans apparently driven by the demons of the unconscious rampaged across the earth, wreaking destruction wherever they went. (I include not only Hitler and Stalin in this group of underworld-driven humans, but other world leaders and groups as well.) Many astrologers will point out, correctly, that Hitler gained in power within weeks of Pluto’s discovery, and certainly totalitarianism qualifies as a Plutonic development. We could say something similar about Gandhi’s actions – and not surprisingly, as Gandhi has powerful Pluto-related factors in his horoscope. Also not surprisingly, he led the Dandi Salt March in 1930, shortly after Pluto’s discovery. Clearly, then, we shouldn’t see Pluto as symbolizing a “bad” energy, not only because it has so much “positive potential,” but also because Pluto has to do with transcending dualistic thinking altogether.

 We can see the actions of Hitler and Stalin as collective projections of Pluto, arising from the collective rejection of taboo elements in the unconscious. Because Pluto always threatens ego, ego rejects it, relegating it to the underworld, from where it arises as a collective projection. This doesn’t mean that Hitler was “just” a projection or that we should see his actions as less terrible merely because they have a connection to mind. Projections can kill, as they have done for millennia and will probably continue to do for the foreseeable future. But as we consider the symbolism of Pluto, we begin to see that the events in our world, whether personal or collective, do not arise or exist independently of our awareness of them or of the unconscious from which the awareness seems to arise. Thus Jung’s remark that whatever we do not accept as part of the self will appear in the world as an event.


 The binary system that we called Pluto has two bodies revolving about an empty center. If we take the two bodies as symbolizing mind and phenomena, then we would say that the system centers on something that doesn’t qualify as either. Thus just as we shouldn’t see the world as “only a projection” or only as mind, so we shouldn’t see it as just mindless particles obeying mechanical laws. Power arises from the fact that mind and phenomena – symbolically, the two bodies rotating about the center of gravity – rotate around an inner emptiness from which arise both creation and destruction. Pluto symbolizes our efforts to understand the relationship between mind and phenomena and between other apparently dualisms.

 Though totalitarian drives occupied the attention of millions around 1930, many physicists of that period had begun to see that what we call the material world did not seem to exist apart from the observing mind.  For example, Werner Heisenberg demonstrated that one cannot do an objective experiment on the world, that the questions one asks about the world, along with the methods one uses in attempting to observe it, have a pervasive, profound, and inescapable connection to the world one observes. A few years after Heisenberg announced his Uncertainty Principle, Jung talked about people falling into a profound uncertainty and about the so-called objective world (which at that time contained Hitler gaining more and more power, Stalin killing uncountable people, and an incipient power-surge emerging in the United States), with all its treachery and horror, having an undeniable connection to awareness and the unconscious mind.

 All of this suggests an approach to Pluto-questions, but before going into that, let’s look at another Pluto manifestation: money, particularly hidden money or hidden wealth, hidden treasure. This will lead us into a discussion of the United States, with Pluto transiting The US 2nd house, traditionally known as a money house, particularly money that one gains or develops on one’s own. Thus the second house in a national horoscope has much to do with a nation’s financial system. Pluto there suggests not only upheaval or death-and-rebirth processes, but also, as part of such processes, the increasing control of plutocrats. Because Pluto’s transit of the United States’ 2nd house includes, just now, an opposition to the United States 8th house Sun, it will bring to the surface problems related not only to the domestic economy, but the multifarious trade-relations and debt-relations the United States has with other countries (8th house: the values or money of others). But more on all that in our next installment.