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The astrology of Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders astrologyBernie Sanders is an unusual choice for a presidential candidate.  He would be the oldest person to be elected president of the United States.  He is Jewish, and an avowed socialist.  He has no handlers and no PACs, and he is virtually ignored by mainstream media.  Yet he is gaining support in unexpected places – from liberals of course, but also from independents and even evangelicals who resonated with his speech at Liberty University.

One has to wonder why, after a long and illustrious career in Congress, does Sanders suddenly want to be President?  Perhaps a look at the astrological influences can add some insight.

Bernie Sanders (September 8, 1941, Brooklyn NY, time unknown) was born with the Sun in Virgo, the sign of service and humility.  His Sun is conjunct the North lunar Node, the point that shows us the way towards our future destiny.  Sun/North Node people typically have a sense from childhood that they have a special mission to fulfill – a particular path to walk.

We don’t know Sanders’ ascendant (rising sign) without a time of birth, but his Aries Moon shows his fiery and passionate nature, especially since is Moon aligns with Mars, the planet that energizes and motivates us, but which also adds an aggressive quality to the chart.  This is especially true because Mars is in Aries, its own sign, which essentially doubles the intensity of the assertive quality.

The Mars/Aries dynamic quality is out of sync with the humility of Virgo, and finding a way to balance those two forces has likely been one of the themes of Sanders’ life.  Sanders’ chart lacks the water element which often suggests an individual for whom empathy and compassion is difficult.  Yet he has Mercury (communication) in peace-loving Libra, suggesting that he is easily able to see another point of view even if he is unable to feel it.  And his Venus (relating to others) is in its own sign of Libra, revealing that relationships and harmony between people is very important to him.

Like many second generation Jews, Sanders’ parents were deeply affected by the holocaust and the Chiron/Pluto conjunction in his chart suggests that he would have been very sensitive to the trauma of this event in a very personal way.

Saturn (achievement and insecurity)  in the chart is in the sign of Taurus which seeks wealth and comfort.  We can see from this placement that Sanders is uncomfortable with the idea of accumulating possessions and comfortable things which could have a bearing on his socialist values.  But Uranus, the revolutionary, is at zero degrees Gemini where it most powerfully seeks new ideas of change, is in a harmonious trine to Mercury in the chart, a double signature connecting thoughts and ideas (Mercury/Gemini) with the breaking away from shackles of the old ways of looking at things (Uranus).  This is especially noted because of the out of sign conjunction (meaning the two planets are in different signs though still in alignment) from Saturn, representing the status quo, to Uranus.

So we can see Sanders’ values and motivations in the chart.  But why now?  What motivated Sanders to suddenly announce his candidacy for the very first time?

One of the forecasting tools at our disposal is a look at the “progressed” chart.  Using this tool we progress the birthchart through time.  The progressed Sun shows the type of experience we need to feel vital and alive, and the alignments made by the progressed Sun can trigger major life experiences.  Back in 2011 Sanders’ progressed Sun opposed Saturn in the progressed chart.  Because Saturn represents responsibility and achievement as well as the sense of the passage of time, I suspect that at that time Sanders felt that he was nearing the end of his ability to make a real difference in the world.

In 2011 Uranus (planet of revolution) had just entered the warrior sign of Aries, triggering a radical backlash against the status quo and power establishment all around the world.  At that time Sanders began to have a voice on the main stage of public opinion – in interviews and television appearances.  However, he continued to insist that he had no interest in running for president until 2013 when he began to put together a platform of issues for a presidential run.

His formal announcement came in the spring of 2015, just after his progressed Sun opposed Uranus in the progressed chart, triggering a radical move out of the blue as Uranus often does.  And at the same time, transiting Uranus formed a challenging square to the Sun in the (Sibley) chart of the United States, signifying a fundamental change in the values and very nature of the country.  This was a confluence of energies that opened the door for Bernie Sanders to sweep in as a viable candidate.

In 2016, transiting Pluto (destruction and regeneration) will oppose the Sun in the US chart, and the effects of this transit are already visible.  Gun violence, ideological and theological battles are tearing the country to shreds.  In addition, transiting Saturn is crossing the ascendant (persona) of the US chart, creating tests and challenges to the very identity of the country.

Pluto is in Capricorn, as it has been since 2008, tearing down (Pluto) the structures of society (Capricorn) wherever the foundations are rotting are unstable.  The structures that underpin the US political system are no longer serving the needs of the populace, and it is no accident that the non-establishment (Uranian) candidates are gaining ground.

By | 2016-03-22T14:01:12+00:00 October 7th, 2015|Featured posts, Politics|10 Comments

The Astrology of Donald Trump

Donald Trump astrology birthchart

There’s no doubt that Donald Trump is one of the more colorful characters in American life today.  A real estate mogul who turned an inherited fortune into a mega fortune of his own, he has embraced the spotlight and has taken advantage of every opportunity to put himself in the public eye.  He has been undaunted by criticism or failure, and his brash and aggressive style has both charmed and appalled Americans for many years.  Now that he is running a serious candidacy for President, he is in the limelight like never before.

Psychologists and pundits the world over have attempted to analyze Trump with little success.  Let’s see what the astrology tells us.

Donald Trump () was born with the Sun in chatty Gemini, and under an exact Lunar Eclipse (with the Gemini Sun opposite the Sagittarius Moon).   In a lunar eclipse, the instincts and emotion of the Moon are eclipsed by the Solar conscious energy of the Sun.  When emotions and instinctive drives are forced to hide away from the solar light, they can intensify and become more powerful and we often see this with people who are born under a lunar eclipse.  (Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is another example of a lunar eclipse baby.)

People born under a total eclipse carry the intense emotional energy with them, though these lunar instincts may remain hidden for much of their lifetime until they are forced to emerge through some kind of confrontation.

Uranus  is connected to the eclipse as well – conjunct the Sun where it encourages innovation and radical behavior, and opposite the Moon where it makes personal relationships difficult and suggests a distant relationship with the mother.  Uranian people tend to dislike following the lead of others and prefer to create their own way.

Trump’s chart shows Leo rising, reflecting his need to shine in the spotlight and be admired.  At its best, Leo is driven to do admirable works that will gain public recognition; at its worst there can be a Machiavellian manipulation for attention.  Statements like “I’m very rich” and “no one builds better than me” are examples of Leo gone bad – the desperate need for attention taken to its extreme.

This tendency for self-aggrandizement is exacerbated by the presence of Mars (planet of aggression) which is also in Leo, intensifying that need for attention, right on the ascendant where it becomes the projection of the personality.  It’s Mars which we see when Trump bullies those around him, or pushes his way through business dealings and presidential debates.

We would expect someone with Trump’s supreme confidence to have a strong Jupiter component, and we see that Jupiter (planet of good luck and self-righteousness) in the 2nd house of money in a harmonious trine to the Sun.  This trine of Jupiter to the Sun tends to bestow a sense of having been chosen by the gods – there is a tendency towards luck and the kind of success that comes from an abundance of positive thinking.  His Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius Moon helps to cement that super-confidence into a belief system that is virtually unshakeable.  One writer said

However, there are no planets in earth elements in Trump’s birthchart which would help to ground him and give him a practical sense of moving through the world.  He is all fire and air – energy, enthusiasm and ideas.  In his presidential candidacy he can’t be bothered coming up with a practical blueprint for solving the nation’s problems – he is more interested in motivating and exciting.

His achilles heel is in his relationships.  With three planets in the emotional and family-oriented sign of Cancer he doesn’t lack sensitivity for those he loves.  His Mercury (mind) in Cancer reflects his emotionality when speaking and reacting to the words of others.  His Venus in Cancer reveals his desire to nurture and care for those he loves, which we can see in his relationship with his children, most of whom work with him in one way or another, though not so much in his marital situations.  Marriage has been tricky for Trump which isn’t surprising with Saturn (tests and challenges) conjunct Venus (relationships) and Chiron (wounding and healing) in Venus-ruled Libra.

Some writers have suggested that perhaps Trump’s grandiosity is a narcissistic wound that comes from damage to the Self that he tries to fix by doing more and being more – a bottomless pit that will never be satisfied.  However, I am not seeing this kind of wound in the chart.  I do believe that he is addicted to the glamor and the attention that comes with being The Donald, and he is driven by the desire to expand and become bigger and bigger rather than by some insecurity to be accepted by others.  The danger with a drive to continually amplify and inflate your life is that there is a limit.  Either the bubble will pop, or someone else will become bigger than you and take your place.

Trump’s progressed Midheaven, revealing the evolution of his career path, just moved from sensitive Cancer into Leo in March of this year.  This would have encouraged him to seek a greater role in the public eye, and right on schedule he announced his candidacy for President in June.

This is a particularly emotional time for Trump with Chiron hitting the sensitive Sun and Moon and eclipse points, and Pluto challenging his Chiron.  I’ll be looking at the transits and doing more forecasting for him in another post, but for someone like Trump it’s sometimes the challenging aspects that empower us to overcome obstacles and achieve our greatest success.  This is NOT an evaluation of his chances at the presidency – that I will tackle in a future article.

Note on Trump’s time of birth:  Astrodatabank uses a birth time of 10:54 am on June 14, 1946, citing a birth certificate posted online.  But since Trump has refused to release his birth certificate I have requested clarification from Astrodabank.  Another time of 9:51 am has been bandied about.  The two charts are not that different – the later time has Leo/Virgo cusp rising and the Sun in the 10th house of career and the public eye and with Mars on the Ascendant; the earlier time has Leo rising with Mars in the first house but with the Sun in the 11th house of friendship and groups which makes less sense.

By | 2016-06-13T21:14:34+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Featured posts, People|6 Comments

The astrology of Hillary Clinton: 2015 edition

Hillary-ClintonA portion of this article was originally written in 2006 before the 2008 elections.  This article is an astrological profile only and is not intended as a promotion of a particular candidate.  

In a move that surprised literally no one, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2016 elections.  In the past eight years since she first ran for president she appears to have mellowed and found her footing in the international political stage.

Birthchart and personality analysis

Since her appearance on the national political stage, there was no doubting the power of Hillary Clinton. Hillary had been an overachiever from an early age: in high school she served as class president, student council and debating team member, and member of the National Honor Society. As a Republican, she worked actively for the campaign of Barry Goldwater at the age of 16 and went on to become President of the Wellesley chapter of College Republicans. Moved by the death of Martin Luther King her political views became more liberal and she joined the Democratic party. Valedictorian of her class, she graduated with honors in political science and became the first student in the history of Wellesley College to deliver the commencement address at her own graduation.

Hillary went on to obtain a law degree from Yale with a specialization in children’s rights (another earmark for the Cancer ascendant which is focused on the family and nurturing). After marrying Bill Clinton and as the first female lawyer at the Rose Law firm, Hillary continued her child advocacy work on a pro bono basis.

Hillary Clinton’s birthchart shows a strong personality: She has four planets in intense Scorpio, including her Sun, Chiron, Venus and Mercury. Scorpio is an intensely emotional sign that imposes a passion on everything the individual does or feels. Scorpios are never superficial or dilletantes – they bury themselves in virtually everything they encounter. Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, the god of the underworld, death and transformation, and Scorpios have no fear of the underworld of the emotional realm. Hillary’s Sun makes no aspect to any other planet, showing an individual who can find it difficult to make real connections with others. On the other hand, this can make it easier for one’s light (Sun) to shine without the need for support from others.

Chiron (wounded healer) is conjunct Venus in Hillary’s chart, linking the painful wounds of Chiron to the ability to relate to others and attract relationships that Venus represents. Chiron in tandem with Venus indicates an early psychic wounding in her sense of attractiveness and desirability and a tendency to continue to attract experiences that mirror this until the wound enters the conscious arena and can be healed. Certainly we can see this in her relationship with Bill Clinton as it has played out on the public stage. However, Jupiter in Hillary’s chart is in Sagittarius, indicating a general faith and optimism (Sagittarius) that is the basis of her world view (Jupiter).

Mercury (communication) is retrograde in Hillary’s chart and it is squared by Saturn, showing a difficulty (Saturn) in expressing herself (Mercury) in a way that is clear and understood by others. Mercury retrograde people tend to process information in a way that is more internalized than the general population, and often find themselves misunderstood. This has been a problem for her on the political stage, and requires a great deal of planning and preparation before making public speeches.

Hillary has a powerhouse conjunction of Mars, Pluto and Saturn all in Leo, and possibly (if the birthtime is close) in the third house of communication. This helps her to overcome the difficulties inherent in the retrograde Mercury, and harnesses the power of Mars (warrior energy), Pluto (transformation and personal power) and Saturn (discipline and hard work). And all in the sign of Leo, the sign that celebrates life and requires admiration in order to survive. Leo is the sign of nobility and royalty, and a concentration in this sign often brings about a desire to gain recognition for one’s essential being – not, as with Capricorn, for one’s achievements. It’s no wonder Hillary has been an overachiever all of her life!

Current planetary cycles and the election

While Saturn was in Scorpio (beginning in 2012 and just finishing up this year) it transited Hillary’s Scorpio planets and formed a square to her Leo planets, challenging the source of her personal power and creating roadblocks for her success.  At the same time transiting Uranus and Pluto, representing radical change (Uranus) and intense transformation (Pluto) were transiting her progressed Sun – the symbol of her evolving sense of Self.   The combination of these planetary cycles made this a truly intense time for her and it is not surprising that she stepped down from her position as Secretary of State in 2013 and spent the next couple of years enjoying her family and the birth of her granddaughter.

Hillary is going into a period of harmonious planetary cycles that will provide support for her during her campaign.  These harmonious cycles involve both Jupiter (expansion and good fortune) as well as Saturn (discipline and success) that should facilitate smoother relationships within her campaign than what she experienced in 2008.

Pluto (extreme change and power shifts) is opposite the Sun of the US chart and this cycle will continue up until the 2016 election.  I would expect the campaign to exhibit the kind of nastiness we often find under challenging Pluto cycles.  2015 brings a large number of Jupiter events to the US chart which typically are expansive and lucky, but too much expansion can sometimes cause overreaching which I think is likely in the current global climate.  I can imagine the US spreading its tentacles far and wide, inspired by Jupiter, in an effort to spread its influence.  An unfortunate and difficult Saturn cycle will likely inhibit the success of these efforts, leaving the country in a challenging state for the next President.

I am unable to see anything in Hillary’s chart that suggests that she will become the next president.  Before I make a prediction I will want to know more about her challengers and their astrological prospects, and this will come later in the year.

Note to astrologers: At the time I originally wrote this Hillary had given her birth time as 8:00 pm, and most published birth charts show her with 29 deg. Gemini on the ascendant. It seems clear to me that Cancer is a more appropriate ascendant for Hillary – she is extremely family-oriented and can appear cold as many Cancer ascendant people do. Additionally, she has the moon face and low center of gravity also associated with Cancer rising. Consequently, I’ve used 8:15 pm as a birth time which should be taken with a grain of salt, since her exact birth time is not available.  Since then a have emerged  and until her birth certificate is made available any reference to her ascendant should be avoided.

By | 2015-04-16T10:51:22+00:00 April 16th, 2015|Featured posts, Politics|11 Comments

Living successfully through Mercury retrograde periods

Mercury retrograde June 2014Mercury turns retrograde June 7, and you may have already noticed that communication is getting wonky and glitches are everywhere.  Yesterday a client’s phone service was temporarily terminated in the middle of our consultation which is an everyday type of occurrence when Mercury is retrograde.  (If you missed my posts on retrogrades you can catch up here and learn more about the positive aspects of retrograde planetary cycles.)

Conventional wisdom instructs us not to make any big decisions or sign contracts when Mercury is retrograde.  Yet Mercury retrogrades for three weeks four times a year and life doesn’t stop during these times.  I often get questions from readers who have to buy a car and Mercury is retrograde – do they have to wait?  Or they have to sign a contract for a new job or they will lose the job.  Or there is a court ruling and they need to sign off on it or be held in contempt.   Clearly under circumstances such as these commitments must be made.

The mythological Mercury was the messenger of the gods.  He carried information and moved freely between the domain of the gods and the world of the living.  Astrological Mercury is associated with communication and the workings of the mind, as well as the mechanical implements through which we communicate.  When Mercury appears to move backwards as it does during the retrograde periods we are forced to slow down and review our past actions, or re-do a current action over and over.  During a recent Mercury retrograde I was writing the monthly Planetary Illuminations report and my browser kept crashing, necessitating me to write and rewrite the article multiple times.  Every time I rewrote it I discovered new layers of information, so while it was extremely frustrating I believe it did make for a better article!

In the comments Nancy wrote that she completed an entire book during a retrograde Mercury period.  Often problematic situations are repaired when Mercury is retrograde, such as the time NASA repaired the flawed Hubble launch during a Mercury retrograde period (the launch itself also occurred during a retrograde).   As we always say, anything that begins with an “re-” is favored during Mercury retrograde.  Re-connect with old friends.  Re-vise your will.  Re-visit your financial plan.  Re-model or re-novate your house.   These are also times to go back and finish something from the past.  Complete a novel.

These are challenging times to plan a trip or a vacation, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.  If you must schedule travel during Mercury retrograde periods do everything you can to be sure that you are paying attention to ALL of the details.  Often Mercury retrograde problems are due to simple user error, such as scheduling your trip on the wrong date.  Be sure you obtain written confirmation of all travel plans and print them out to carry with you because electronic copies may not be available if your device fails!

Decisions under Mercury retrograde can be very effective if they are resolution of past problems such as a decision to divorce or to quit a job.  Starting a new job under Mercury retrograde isn’t ideal, but it isn’t fatal. If you do begin a new job during this cycle see if it’s possible to do your training during the retrograde period and then actually begin your new duties after Mercury turns direct.  If the new job involves correcting errors from previous employees that is even better.

In my other life as a realtor we are always signing contracts during Mercury retrograde periods.  It’s absolutely true that these contracts nearly always have problems that require us to go back and revise them or renegotiate terms.  Often we discover title problems at the last minute, or the inspection fails to reveal a defect that turns up later.  We can try to minimize these problems by being especially careful, but I have found it avoids a great deal of frustration when we are aware of the natural flow of Mercury cycles.  Generally the contracts that we sign under Mercury retrograde DO close successfully, they just take more effort to navigate.

Please always remember, living in fear of challenging planetary cycles has a far more negative effect than the cycle itself!

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By | 2014-06-06T09:05:15+00:00 June 6th, 2014|Featured posts, Mercury retrograde|6 Comments

Astrology lesson: The effect of planetary cycles

planetsA client asked this question so I thought it might be a good thing to cover in this column:  Do planetary cycles like the Uranus/Pluto square (see the sidebar) affect everyone the same?

I used this example to explain how planetary cycles work:  When it’s raining in your community, rain pours down on everyone.  But everyone is affected differently.  Some people love being out in the rain and they may be dancing in the streets.  Some people hate to get wet, and they will stay indoors or cover themselves with rain gear.  Some people get depressed in the dark days, and they will retreat into their sadness until the Sun returns.

A planetary cycle or movement, whether a huge cycle such as the Uranus/Pluto square that is going on now (see the sidebar) or a tiny little lunar event that may last an hour or two, will affect all of us to one degree or another.  If the planetary cycle is near the same degree as a planet in our chart so that it hits us directly, it will have a stronger and more personal impact.

If the planetary cycle is near the same degree as a sensitive point or system in our chart it has the strongest affect of all, stimulating that sensitive point and necessitating some sort of change to bring relief and ultimately, growth and evolution.

For more information and guidance during planetary cycles, you may want to read my article on Transits and Transformation.

Thank you for attending today’s lesson!

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By | 2013-12-07T06:32:58+00:00 December 7th, 2013|Featured posts, Lessons, Planetary cycles|0 Comments