Dear Friend and Reader:
It’s political season in the U.S. of A. Unlike most countries, where they get in and out of the elections, here in the States we have an endless phase of quarter finals, semi-finals, demi-finals, playoffs, and finally, the final finals.. The presidential race goes on for two years, with many hundreds of millions of dollars changing hands.
I’ve been watching both of the primary races develop, with genuine fascination. There are many elements that, if not new, are legitimately interesting.
That Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders came out on top of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday is worth comment; and last night, during the recording of Planet Waves FM, I figured out how it shows up in the astrology.
Though I cannot stomach Donald Trump (it must be his particular shade of orange), I understand the anger and frustration that’s driving his candidacy. People are pissed off. Rage is a crackling, burning undercurrent of American life. That explains the guns, the road rage, the misogyny, the racism and the Tea Party.
On the Republican side, Trump is running against a field of, well, pallid, unoriginal liars. I can’t believe anyone takes any of them seriously, so on one level it makes sense that Trump is appealing to the most people. I do get the chills every time I hear or read “Let’s Make America Great Again” — for fluorescent-tinted alleged billionaires like him.
On the Democratic side, it seems like Hillary Clinton is getting the surprise of her life; after all, it was supposed to be her turn. The nomination was supposed to be a coronation. But it seems like people are not buying her whole shtick. For one thing, her voice is as grating as Trump’s hue (well, and his voice — they should do a duet for the Difficult Listening Hour).
I’m the professor you always loved.
Hillary Clinton has a trust issue, and she deserves to. She seems totally unhinged from the ability to tell when she’s lying.
While the outcome of the nomination process is obviously still uncertain — we have 48 states left to go, and weird nominating rules (all those super-delegates) — there is a clear polarization along the axis of Trump and Sanders. These are two men who could not be more different, or espouse more different philosophies of politics.
American politics has long been polarized. North versus South, rich versus poor, urban versus rural — we seem to live in two countries rather than 50 states. In one of those countries, people appreciate the freedom and opportunity they have. In the other, there’s no opportunity to block someone’s fun that’s too trivial to resist.
Most presidential elections are decided by one or two percentage points of the popular vote. But in our age of Democrats acting like Republicans and Republicans acting like an alien species, it’s difficult to sort things out. I say jokingly that I voted for Obama because I thought he would be a good Republican president — and he’s been just that.
However, the current scenario, with a self-described socialist leading one party while a self-avowed self-serving, self-alleged billionaire capitalist leads the other party, sure is an interesting version of polarity. In a sense it shows you how divided things really are.
There are many unexpected factors, such as younger women not supporting Hillary, and many young people (including women) gravitating to Sanders. We haven’t seen young folk gravitate toward an old guy since Buckminster Fuller was the hottest ticket in town.
This is an image of where we stand in relationship to the Great Attractor. The red dot is the location of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. To the left is a node point toward which many hundreds of millions of galaxies are streaming, called the Great Attractor. In some natal charts this is a significant factor. Don’t miss the video in this link.
As a student of therapy and psychology, I have long considered the presidential election to be about choosing a daddy figure. Now we have a woman running; but given that there is not much discernible maternal energy coming from Hillary, she too is in the running for big daddy.
The daddy issue is the problem with American politics. It’s a competition for who we want to answer our need for authority, protection, money, shelter and justice. American politics is all about Father Knows Best, which has been converted into a game show — or perhaps a reality show.
I am not sure when some plurality of people will take the step beyond expecting daddy to fix everything. Rather, politics seems to be a question of, who is the daddy that will save us from this mess? So as much as the election is a political process, I also consider it a kind of real-time psychology test.
When I listen to Trump speak, I frequently hear the word, and the feeling tone, of disgust (particularly at Mexicans, Muslims, women and reporters, who are all ‘bad people’ in his mind). Disgust is the deep mystical yearning of conservatism. I covered this briefly several hundred editions of Planet Waves ago, under the general heading of moral psychology.
One premise of moral psychology is that political values are predictable by many concepts seemingly unrelated to politics, including disgust. If you’re curious about this, you can read about, and take, a diversity of moral psychology tests at this link.
Trump was the guy who at a campaign rally was ordering his goons to throw people out in the cold and to “take away their coat” one cold night in Vermont. (By that, he meant to say steal their coat.) He threatens and bullies as a way of life. He gets off on firing people. Women, to him, are disgusting and bleed from their eyes. And a lot of people get off on him.
Chart section for Election Day 2016. Note that Saturn (yellow, on lower left) is in mid-Sagittarius, conjunct the Great Attractor (not shown). Venus and Pholus are conjunct the core of our own galaxy, in late Sagittarius. This is an election with wide (and impossible to predict) implications and potent forces at work.
When I listen to Sanders speak, I hear someone who demonstrates actual empathy. Whatever you may think of his plan to make sure that everyone gets an education, and that everyone can go to the doctor, we could call that empathetic.
And people are responding. But they are responding to more than his ideas — they are responding to someone who for all appearances is close to his humanity and his real values.
Finally, there is a discernible difference between two leading candidates. Yes, Gore was definitely different from Dubya, though not with this kind of contrast. Perhaps that’s because Gore was holding back emotionally.
Neither Trump nor Sanders are holding back. And as a result we can see some actual differentiation. Both are outsider candidates, making their respective political parties nervous. That’s because they are exposing something closer to the core than ordinary politics as usual.
I was pondering the Aquarius New Moon chart from Monday, wondering where we might see that distinction show up. Last night — practically mid-sentence, describing the chart on Planet Waves FM — it occurred to me.
Saturn in Sagittarius is conjunct something called The Great Attractor (located hundreds of millions of light years away). I’ve mentioned this point many times, though it’s difficult to describe. It’s definitely what the name implies — the Milky Way is part of a massive group of galaxies being drawn in the direction of mid-Sagittarius. The Great Attractor is a node, where many galaxy clusters converge.
Just how massive our cluster is has emerged in recent years; you can read about it here, and don’t miss the fantastic four-minute video about halfway down the page. It’s really quite eye-opening, and the first cohesive description of how galaxies are organized that I’ve ever seen.
First glimpse at the full chart for the 2016 general election. My method is to use the town that reports the results first — Dixville Notch, NH — where voting happens between midnight and about ten past. This is an idealistic chart, where common interests are an actual factor, where concepts of maleness are being challenged, and where there are dark forces at work. Note Mars in the last degree of Capricorn — the Sabian symbol there is a secret meeting of the world management team.
Now, astrologically, the Great Attractor has one main theme: polarization. It’s like this psychological magnet that both attracts and repels. When prominent in a natal chart, it can represent someone whom people have inexplicably strong feelings about, whether they’re love or hate. Often the response seems to be automatic — people just have this instinctual push in one direction or the other.
It’s often helpful for people who have this point emphasized in their chart to hear that to hear that this reaction is a known, typical effect of the Great Attractor.
I’ve commented many times about how the Great Attractor and the relatively nearby core of our own galaxy are both in Sagittarius. To me this really ramps up the cosmic themes of this sign. And now Saturn is right there — conjunct the Great Attractor as we speak. It will be hanging around that point all year, and will be just one degree away on Election Day — a close alignment.
Saturn represents many expressions of form and structure, but nothing says parental quite like this planet. Only now it’s parental in the style of the God-complex that can come with strong Sagittarian placements.
So in a sense, this is an election about who we will choose as our representation of father-God. Will it be the guy who throws people out into the cold without their coat, will it be the guy who wants everyone to get an education, or will it be our mother who is in bed with Goldman Sachs, and who favors the death penalty?
Notably, on Election Day, Venus is conjunct the core of our own galaxy, and also conjunct a centaur called Pholus. This is an election that is describing broad, potent cosmic forces at work. Seen one way, it’s not an election at all; it’s a kind of spiritual initiation.
Mercury Breaks Free, and So Can You
Dear Friend and Reader:
This weekend brings the moment you’ve (possibly) been waiting for. No, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day (though you might be excited about that, too — or not). Rather, this weekend Mercury finally breaks free, and maybe in some metaphorical way you can, too.
Lobster buoys painted with the flags of the homelands of Maine’s immigrant population decorate the fence in front of the former home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the historical society in Portland, Maine; Aquarius is the sign of groups. Photo by Amanda Painter.
On Saturday, Mercury leaves Capricorn and enters Aquarius (at 5:43 pm EST / 22:43 UTC). Then on Sunday (Feb. 14), Mercury leaves the degrees of the zodiac where it was recently retrograde, entering fresh territory for the first time since Dec. 19.
I know; sometimes it feels like the only thing that happens in astrology is Mercury retrograde. Technically its last retrograde ended Jan. 25. But I’ve heard from a number of people for whom this post-retrograde ‘shadow’ or ‘echo’ phase has been tougher than the main event. If that sounds like you, take heart.
I suspect there’s something about Capricorn’s orientation to the past (thanks to Saturn) that made it easier to review insights from your personal history as you perceived them within the container (Saturn again) of the official retrograde weeks. Now that you’re trying to implement those insights and initiate something new, your ideas about ‘where you could go’ might still be bumping up against the old walls of ‘how things used to be’.
At least, that’s one possibility. Or maybe teasing out the solutions to problems you encountered is taking more ingenuity than you feel like you have at your fingertips. That could change soon.
The charts for Mercury’s ingress of Aquarius and the end of the shadow/echo phase both suggest to me a little extra freedom — or, at least, an unusual absence of intensely direct mental influences. A brief breather, perhaps, since Mercury does not make any major aspects to classical planets immediately upon entering Aquarius.
That’s not to say that nothing else is happening in the sky; the Moon will be traveling through impulsive, go-getter Aries from Thursday morning through Saturday morning, and then it will be in persistent-yet-leisurely Taurus until Monday morning. In each of those signs, the Moon will make a variety of aspects to many planets — so you can expect a constantly shifting inner landscape, rather than camping out in any particular emotion.
Photo by Amanda Painter.
But that’s true for the Moon most days, since it moves so quickly from sign to sign. Mercury, on the other hand, has been involved in some particularly attention-grabbing situations lately.
Additionally, the one co-existing aspect that jumped out at me in the chart for Mercury entering Aquarius is rather a pleasant one. Mars in Scorpio and retrograde Jupiter in Virgo will be exactly sextile each other Saturday.
This is one of those aspects that generally speaks of positive opportunities, good physical energy levels, sincerity and a constructive approach to authority. That Jupiter is retrograde suggests you might take a more inward tack with the good mojo.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, in Mercury-ruled Virgo, I could see it taking shape as a much-needed pep-talk with yourself, if you’ve been struggling — the kind of pep-talk that is oriented on a tangible plan of action. With Mars in watery Scorpio, we get the potential to open the flow into some generosity, devotion and empathy toward yourself (‘evolved’ Scorpio traits), and to go deep with it.
I like to think that an un-aspected Mercury in Aquarius is open-minded enough to ‘get it’ intellectually, in a way that sticks on some level. Aquarius allows Mercury (and therefore your mind, which it represents) to be steady, yet resourceful and intuitive. Like when you take a brisk walk on a crisp winter afternoon, and suddenly the angle of some tree branches in the sunlight, glimpsed through your frosty breath, suggest a workable solution to a problem you’ve been mulling over.
If you’ve been struggling, and especially if you’ve been down on yourself about it (or if you’re getting angsty about Valentine’s Day, or beginning to pile it with expectations), what might a fresh, crisp Aquarian mind show you this weekend? Most problems have creative, productive solutions to them; sometimes it just takes some fresh air to notice them.
Yours & truly,
Composite of four video stills taken from Shea Glover’s video project, in which she looked for beauty, and recorded people reacting to being told that they are beautiful. The video is set to music by Arcade Fire.
How Would You React, Beautiful?
By Amanda Painter
Shea Glover, a student at Chicago High School for the Arts, posted a video this past spring of what began as an independent project for her Integrated Arts class, but which became a social experiment. (Watch Glover’s video here.) She writes,
“I asked students and teachers to allow me to take their picture for a project. Some of them I knew. Most of them I did not. As I recorded them, I told them the purpose of my project.”
What Glover has captured is a wide range of completely spontaneous and sincere reactions in people as she tells them that she is filming beauty — and that they are beautiful. Everything from surprise and delight and gratitude, to a mirroring back of the appreciation of beauty, to embarrassment and disbelief, to determination to keep a neutral mask of non-reaction — and everything in between — is visible. One young woman, whose beliefs about herself apparently run counter to Glover’s statement, reacts with anger (but is there another layer to it?). Nobody escapes unaffected.
Glover remarks on her YouTube page: “I want to clarify that my intentions were not to get a reaction out of people. I was simply filming beauty and this is the result.”
Where will you see beauty this Valentine’s Day weekend? Do you see it in yourself?
This Week on Planet Waves FM
Aquarius New Moon: Believe in Humanity
Dear Friend and Listener:
Carole King performing in May 2013. Photo by Alex Brandon/AP
I consider the astrology of the New Hampshire primary results, in which Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump won decisive victories.
To me this is about Saturn conjunct the Great Attractor — which can have a polarizing influence. Now, American politics is polarized enough that you can actually see the difference between two major candidates.
You can learn more about the primaries on Wednesday’s Democracy Now! broadcast.
I also read the chart of prolific and gifted singer-songwriter (and childhood friend of my mom) Carole King, whose birthday was Feb. 9.
I look at her supremely Aquarius chart (posted to the edition’s page) with the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Ceres in Aquarius. This is a stunning chart, with both Mercury and Venus retrograde.
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Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes
We published your extended monthly horoscopes for February on Thursday, Jan. 21. We published your extended monthly horoscopes for January on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Your Moonshine horoscope for the Aquarius New Moon, by Len Wallick, is published below in this issue. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Let comfort be your guide. Offer comfort to others. As odd as it might seem for a person of action like yourself to make comfort your cause and objective, it’s not really inconsistent. You know from experience how important it is to make a good start in any endeavor. That’s especially true if the endeavor is a cooperative effort. To ensure that any common enterprise you are currently initiating (and maybe even leading) may be successful, do your expected part and then something more. Work to keep yourself and everybody involved feeling content with their role and confident of what anybody would define as success, and your extra effort will pay off. – by Len Wallick.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There is no doubt that you are going places, probably faster than you think. Unlike some subatomic particles, however, you cannot simply leap ahead to where you are going without passing in between. On your way towards your future, you will be interacting with others. Those interactions will leave lasting impressions, which, sooner or later, will catch up with you no matter how fast you are progressing now. Therefore it is important to emphasize the quality of your journey at least as much as reaching your destination. Exercise care so that everybody you meet on your daily way will be a willing and enthusiastic part of your support network when you finally have it made. – by Len Wallick.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Anything unsatisfactory about the recent past can very soon be behind you if you release any attachments you have formed to what is now done. Breakthroughs are up ahead, if you place yourself in a position to make them. One way to get yourself through what might previously have felt like a ceiling is to find the real-world equivalent of a stairwell, escalator, or elevator. Going back to school is one option to consider. Travel is another potential way to expand your horizons. Neither should you limit yourself to making your breakthroughs alone. There could very well be a crew of some sort not only going your way, but also looking for somebody just like you to complete their number. – by Len Wallick.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Give yourself a pat on the back for anything you have recently completed in spite of delays or detours. Then, take a look at your hard-won achievement and try to see it as a beginning. Think of yourself as having laid a foundation rather than having completed a structure, and you will be giving yourself a brighter and more stimulating future than you can currently imagine. The key is to start building on that foundation immediately. Part of the construction will involve offering to share the fruits of completion with others. It is by showing the value of your achievements to those around you that you will come to realize the potential you have cultivated in yourself while simply trying to get something done. – by Len Wallick.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — It’s possible to make friends nearly anywhere. It’s probable that there is at least one area of your life where you have overlooked the possibility of forging bonds or developing relationships — maybe at work; perhaps at school. Could be your admirable ethic of applying yourself with a determined purpose towards attaining your goals is preventing you from seeing what only society with colleagues can offer. It is good to develop yourself to your maximum potential, but no person is an island. When it seems appropriate, don’t hesitate to start conversations, or even to ask for help. While friendship may sometimes include sharing frivolity, it is not frivolous. Create connections. – by Len Wallick.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You are appreciated more than you know. You are more respected than you think. While those who really, truly do hold you in high regard may have recently fallen short in demonstrating their esteem, don’t be offended. You are not being disregarded. Even if those who are indebted to you have not followed through by showing their gratitude, don’t be upset with them. You are not being taken for granted. The recognition you deserve and the acknowledgement you have coming will accrue with interest in due time. In the meantime, show that you both respect and appreciate yourself by taking care of your health, appearance and welfare so as to set an example of maturity. – by Len Wallick.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There is a difference between gambling and managing risk. No matter how much skill is involved, gambling still leaves things mostly to chance. The essence of risk management, on the other hand, is to leave as little as possible to chance. Gambling is ultimately recreational, and one should only invest what one can be resigned and willing to lose. By comparison, risk management is occupational, with a realistic and achievable intent to realize gain. Indications are that you should eschew gambling for the time being and manage risk instead. You have a gift for finding a way to gain where others only see a potential for loss. For you, the time to begin employing that gift has come. – by Len Wallick.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — For the foreseeable future, consider exhibiting the functional upside of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. This does not necessarily mean you should be chasing down criminals or combating villainy. Leave that to the police. Neither does it entail exhibiting the eccentricities of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character. Leave that to actors. Rather, you may find this to be a particularly advantageous time for you to first observe everything carefully and in detail, wherever you go and whatever you are doing. Don’t look for anything in particular at first. Simply be very aware and retain what you note. Then, detect. It is likely that everything you need to know at this time is hidden only by inattention. – by Len Wallick.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Your generosity is a strength. Your magnanimity is an asset. Don’t let any pressure currently originating from outside of you depreciate what you bring to your immediate environment. Neither should you allow any pressure you are putting on yourself to do anything other than motivate you to do and be better. There is no reason to judge yourself harshly for not being perfect. A diamond in the rough is still a diamond. The same applies to you. You are already a precious jewel. Just because you are currently in the process of enhancing your value in the world should not detract from what you intrinsically already are to those who know and love you — ideally including you. – by Len Wallick.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Doors are opening for you in proportion to how much you have been knocking. You know this is true. You have evidence that your efforts do get results. Once those doors open, however, the effort need not stop. There are portals beyond where you think you can enter, and you can find them if you persevere with patience. While it is very possible that applying yourself persistently can lead to rapid advancement soon, don’t allow yourself to be discouraged if results accrue in a slow and steady manner. When big things are showing little progress, attend to one small thing in particular — your morale. The luckiest person in the world is usually the one who considers her or himself to be most fortunate. Keep knocking.
– by Len Wallick.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Rain is good. Just ask anybody living through a drought. Yet, rainy days have a bad reputation they do not deserve. Now is an excellent time to look at what some commonly disparaged life circumstances might mean to you were they yours to live. It would also be a good idea to understand what others might find enviable about your circumstances now. This means more than counting your blessings — though that would not be a bad idea. Beyond living in gratitude, you might also want to reconsider some life options that you have disregarded or dismissed in the past. It could very well be that some of those options will soon become not only available, but also highly desirable. – by Len Wallick.
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Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Golf is a game within a game. All of the mindsets, reflexes, postures, practices, disciplines and tools that combine to get you from the tee to the green within the requisite number of strokes are no longer of any value once it is time for you to putt. Upon occasion, life can be like golf in that way. Indications are that this may be just such a time for you. It could very well be that you have successfully made it to the point where you need to change the strategies, methods and tactics that have propelled you this far. In order to follow through and complete your triumph-in-the-making, consider how a delicate approach to circumstances might be more appropriate than striking with all your might. – by Len Wallick.