Sept. 19, 2018 (EcoSophia.net) -- The autumn equinox is nearly on us, and with it comes the mainstay of the political astrologer, the ingress chart.
Regular readers who’ve been following the discussions here for the last six months already know that the branch of astrology that forecasts trends in politics and society is called mundane astrology, and that horoscopes cast for national capitals at the moment of each solstice and equinox -- ingress charts, as mundane astrologers call them -- are among the basic working tools of that branch of the art.
This coming Saturday at 9:53 p.m. Eastern time, the Sun passes into the first degree of that 30° slice of the ecliptic astrologers call the zodiacal sign Libra. At that moment, as we look notionally upwards from Washington, D.C., at the turning heavens, we can get a snapshot of the political weather in the United States for several months to come. Let’s glance over what the previous ingress chart had to say -- you can find the post in question here -- and then go on to the chart to come. Here’s my summary of the Cancer ingress chart from three months ago:
“To sum up, then, the next three months will see Trump a little less outspoken and a little less central to America’s collective conversation than he’s been of late. The trade wars now underway will continue, causing some disruptions in the supply of goods and services here in the US and some expansion in the supply of jobs. More of Trump’s agenda will get traction in Congress, and there’s the possibility of a significant shift in US drug laws and federal prison policies as a result. The economic news will be dominated by dramatic swings in stocks and other speculative vehicles, with some big winners (especially in tech industries and vaporware generally) and some big losers (especially in smokestack industries and ventures vulnerable to foreign trade barriers). Trump’s opponents will, by and large, devote their time to preaching to an assortment of Democratic choirs, Congress and several federal bureaucracies will pound their collective chests at each other like a couple of quarreling silverback gorillas, and the rest of the country will swelter through a difficult summer, caught between the grinding weight of too much debt and the maddening chatter of an increasingly self-referential media industry.”
Bills that would legalize the growing of industrial hemp and turn marijuana regulation back to the states have been introduced into Congress but are still working their way through the more than Byzantine intricacies of the Congressional committee system, and no noticeable change in federal prison policies has happened as far as I know. Other than that, I think it’s fair to say I called it. What’s more, comparing this to what was being claimed so confidently on both sides of the cratered moonscape of American poltics three months ago, a case can be made that mundane astrology seems to be a better source of prognostications than the allegedly more rational methods used by pundits in the cultural mainstream.
So let’s move on to the Libra ingress and see what it has to say. Here’s the chart. Those of my readers who aren’t used to astrological charts will want to know that the inner circle is the notional Earth, the outer circle is the notional heavens, and the lines connecting them are the cusps or lines of division between the twelve houses, which are divisions of the sky relative to the observer that define how a given astrological influence will have its effect.
Each cusp position is marked with the sign, degree, and minute of its placement on the ecliptic. See the one at the far left, 03° Gemini 11’? That’s the ascendant, the cusp of the first house, which is also the point of the heavens rising above the horizon at the moment for which the chart is cast. See the one to the right of the top with the arrow on it, 10° Aquarius 52’? That’s the midheaven, the cusp of the tenth house, which is the point on the ecliptic highest in the heavens at that same moment. Remember these; we’ll need them right away.
The length of time an ingress is effective is determined by whether the sign of the zodiac on the ascendant is a cardinal, fixed, or mutable sign. Gemini is a mutable sign, so this chart is good for six months, until the Aries ingress in the spring. The last two charts had cardinal signs on the ascendant, and thus were good for three months each; the pace of events seems likely to slow down a little over the months immediately ahead.
So what can we expect during the six months to come, in terms of US political and economic events? The first step in figuring that out is to find the planets that refer to the American people, on the one hand, and their government, on the other. Traditionally, the Sun and the planet ruling the midheaven stand for the government, and the Moon and the planet ruling the ascendant stand for the people. The signs and houses these planets are found in, and the aspects they make with one another and with other planets, give advance warning of how the government, the people, and their mutual relationship will fare in the six months ahead.
This lands us at once in interesting territory, because the planet ruling the midheaven, Uranus, is in a difficult inconjunct aspect (150°, plus or minus a modest fudge factor) with the Sun. So we have a federal government divided against itself. In such cases, the Sun indicates the head of state and the planet ruling the midheaven indicates the government as a whole. Since Uranus is in the 12th house, the house of large institutions, what this shows is President Trump at loggerheads with the federal bureaucracies.
Neither the Sun nor Uranus is strengthened by its sign placement. Both have equivocal aspects with other planets. All things considered, Uranus is in worse shape, because it’s in a cadent house (the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th houses are the cadent houses); it’s in an intercepted sign (Taurus begins and ends within the bounds of the 12th house), and it’s also retrograde (apparently moving backwards along the ecliptic). All three of these are indications of weakness, and taken together they put the bureaucrats on the defensive. The inconjunct aspect predicts frustration and tension rather than any kind of decisive struggle, though, so don’t expect any kind of resolution during this six month period.
The conflict between the president and the federal bureaucracies will be shaped, and very likely made even more difficult, by a pair of other planets. Notice how Mars in the ninth house is trine the Sun and square Uranus, while Saturn in the eighth is trine Uranus and square the Sun. Mars in a mundane chart indicates military affairs and the military generally; Saturn has a range of meanings, but the eighth house rules financial relations with other countries. On the one hand, this suggests that the Pentagon will continue to back Trump, and his presidency may also be boosted by military success; on the other, troubled relations with other countries over foreign trade and the dollar’s waning status as a reserve currency will be an ongoing source of trouble for his administration, and thus a source of strength to his bureaucratic opponents.
And the people? Here again we have indications of division. On the one hand, the ruler of the ascendant is Gemini, who is conjunct the Sun, indicating that Trump’s support among voters on his side of the political landscape will remain strong. This is true even though they’ll suffer from some of the troubles indicated by Saturn in the 8th; of course, they’ll be thrilled by the military success overseas predicted by Mars in the 9th. On the other hand, the Moon is in the 10th house of government, suggesting that the voters on the other side of the political landscape will keep up their recently acquired habit of cheering on the federal bureaucrats they used to despise.
There’s no aspect connecting the Moon and Uranus, though. Quite the contrary, the Moon is applying to a conjunction with Neptune. Uranus and Neptune form a polarity in astrology as strong as that between Mars and Venus, or Moon and Sun. In mundane astrology, Uranus fosters the centralization of power in the hands of experts and bureaucrats, while Neptune pulls in the other direction, encouraging mass movements in the political and economic spheres. Neptune is in his rulership in Pisces, although weakened by retrograde motion -- in this context, this likely points to a backward-looking attitude focused on past triumphs and conditions that no longer exist.
Thus it’s easy to see that the popular opposition to Trump, as distinct from the opposition he faces from within the elite classes and their institutions, will be drawn increasingly toward socialism, as seen in recent primary wins by socialists in Democratic Party races. (Neptune rules socialism and similar movements; astrologers like to point out that socialism emerged as a political force following Neptune’s discovery in 1846.) Neptune is semisquare Uranus in this chart, showing tension and opposition between the popular and elite ends of the opposition to Trump. How this will work out after the six months we’re considering right now is something we’ll have to see in future ingress charts.
Let’s glance back at the Sun and Mercury in the fifth house. The fifth house is among other things the house of the wealthy. The Sun’s presence there suggests that Trump has begun to field significant support from the rich, and we can expect to see this begin to have an impact somewhere else: the media. During the 2016 election campaign, the US mass media was almost universally lined up on Clinton’s side, and that imbalance has largely continued, with certain defections -- notably the Wall Street Journal, which has been running op-ed pieces and news stories critical of Trump’s opponents for some time now.
In the months ahead, as the economic effects of Trump’s trade, tax, and regulatory policies continue to reshape the economy, expect to see more media outlets start to break ranks with the establishment and side with the Trumpist insurgency. I’d expect that to start with newspapers in the flyover states and with niche-oriented online venues, but it may not stay there. Media in the US are for-profit enterprises, and the first television network that decides to give middle America what it wants, instead of what the coastal intelligentsia thinks it ought to want, will likely see its fortunes rise dramatically as a result -- not least because the tantrums thrown at it by said coastal intelligentsia will function as an extraordinarily effective marketing campaign in flyover country.
How these trends will play out in the midterm election isn’t obvious from the chart. The 11th house rules Congress; its cusp is in Pisces, which is ruled by Neptune, and Neptune is in Pisces conjunct the 11th house cusp. As the planet ruling the 11th and the only planet in that house, Neptune shows us what Congress will be up to; the fact that it has no aspects with the Sun shows that the fond Democratic hopes of impeaching Trump will go unfulfilled for at least another six months.
The big news coming out of the midterms, I suspect, will be the success of populist movements on both sides of the aisle, at the expense of the bipartisan establishment. Since the ruler of the 11th house is not in aspect to the Sun, it doesn’t look as though the outcome of the election will either strengthen or weaken Trump’s position noticeably, though it will make life difficult for the executive-branch bureaucracies that are opposing Trump just now. All in all, I expect the midterms to be something close to a toss-up, with a few seats changing hands but no major shift in power either way.
The consequences of this and the other trends discussed here will be shaped, not to mention shaken to its core, by the most important and least discussed event of the six months ahead: a significant betterment in standards of living for working people in the US. That’s shown by Jupiter and Venus, the two benefic planets, in the sixth house of employment and the lower classes. One benefic would be enough to signal a noticeable improvement in jobs and incomes for working people; two is a signal impossible to miss, and suggests two different sources of betterment at work.
That doesn’t mean that everything will be coming up roses for all sectors of the working classes. Both Jupiter and Venus are in Scorpio, which is an intercepted sign in this chart, and also a sign that weakens Venus -- the technical term is “detriment.” Venus is also in square aspect to Mars, which doesn’t help. Thus the upturn in jobs, income, and standards of living for the working poor will be unevenly distributed, it will not benefit as many people as it might, and part of it will be hindered by sudden events overseas -- that’s Mars in the ninth again.
On the other hand, another set of factors will be providing additional impetus to the change of fortune for working people: the turn toward socialism on the part of the Left, as shown by the Moon-Neptune conjunction on the cusp of the eleventh house. While socialism as an economic system has pretty consistently flopped in the US, it’s just as consistently played one useful and honorable role in our history: whenever socialists do well in the polls, the very rich panic, and back off from the more extreme exhibitions of kleptocratic frenzy to which they’re otherwise so embarrassingly liable.
In the 1880s and 1890s, the 1930s, and the 1960s, socialist candidates and causes did well in US elections; the consequences of the panics among the rich that followed were the Progressive era, the New Deal, and the Great Society programs. We’re overdue for a repeat, and are now getting one, courtesy of the socialists who are successfully clawing their way into the Democratic party against the frantic opposition of the party leaders.
There’s good reason for this, too. The quite frankly insane greed that has made a household name of Jeff Bezos, for example, and led him to subject Amazon employees to subhuman working conditions and starvation wages so that he can add more money to a fortune already so large it’s meaningless, makes a very good recruitment pitch for socialists -- and of course the socialists are well aware of this.
Thus in the months to come we can expect it to begin to sink in, among Bezos and his ilk, that their mindless pursuit of absurd levels of notional wealth might well end up costing them their fortunes and their businesses, and -- depending on the strength and violence of the socialist backlash -- could conceivably cost them their liberty or their lives into the bargain. Bezos could quite easily give every one of his warehouse employees a living wage with good benefits -- not to mention paid restroom breaks! -- without any noticeable impact on his own standard of living; thus as soon as fear elbows aside greed, expect to see the worst of the current crop of corporate plutocrats, especially but not only in the tech and internet industries, scrambling to improve wages and conditions for their employees in the hope that this will prevent the onslaught of a new wave of antitrust legislation, punitive taxation, or worse.
Such an improvement in conditions for working people has economic implications of its own. As Henry Ford pointed out a long time ago, a consumer economy can’t thrive if too many consumers are too poor to consume. Higher wages for the working poor thus pay off immediately in the form of increased income for businesses, leading in turn to more hiring and to more investment in productive assets (as distinct from paper assets with purely speculative value). That’s why the steep rise in working-class wages that followed the reforms of the New Deal helped drive the longest and most lavish economic boom in US history, and it’s also why the US economy has lurched from crisis to crisis ever since the current crop of plutocrats forgot the hard lessons an older generation learned in the Depression years and bought into the delusion that they and their actions were immune from blowback.
To sum up, then, we can expect six more months of ongoing contention between the White House and the federal bureaucracies that are in theory subordinate to the president, never quite breaking out into open conflict but never resolving into a working relationship either. The chasm between pro- and anti-Trump factions in the voting public will remain unbridged, though some media outlets will break ranks and throw their support to Trump and his followers. The success of socialist candidates in recent polls won’t turn out to be a flash in the pan -- quite the contrary, the absurd excesses of America’s kleptocratic elite have produced the inevitable backlash, and this is working its way through the political sphere in the usual manner. Partly as a result of this, partly as a result of the Trump administration’s rejection of neoliberal economics, better times for working people are on the way.
How will all this work out on the far end of the six month period we’re discussing? We’ll talk about that when it’s time to cast and interpret the Aries ingress in 2019.
In other news that may be of interest to readers of this blog, the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Vintage Worlds I -- the anthology of Old Solar System tales launched by a contest on this blog -- is closing in on its final weeks, and it’s most of the way to success. If you haven’t chipped in something yet, please consider doing so; if you have, please consider bumping up your contribution to a higher level. You can find all the details here.
John Michael Greer is a widely read author and blogger whose work focuses on the overlaps between ecology, spirituality, and the future of industrial society. He served twelve years as Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and currently heads the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn. He currently lives in East Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife Sara.