No, this article is not about the nation’s acid reflux problem. It’s about the interplay of two Main Belt asteroids and how they affect the mood of the American populace. Asteroid America (#916) was in fact named for the US, so it’s no surprise we find it useful in describing events important to the country. Asteroid Agita (#4392), while technically named for Agita Tarasova, a relatively obscure science worker and computer programmer at the Astronomical Observatory of the Latvian University, also works both for the medical definition of the term (basically, heartburn), and for its more colloquial usage as general upset, turmoil, agitation and anxiety.
Bring the two together, as they currently are in the sky, and you have a recipe for a disgruntled, stressed-out, anxious US population, with a strong, if indefinable, gut feeling that things are just not right.
The cyclic interaction of these two bodies is very erratic, due to their similar orbital periods, with Agita completing one tour of the zodiac in 3.3 years, and America slightly longer at 3.6 years. This provides for literally years where the two bodies are unaspected, or repeatedly form the same aspect, as they only incrementally deviate from the orbital resonance between them.
America and Agita are currently traveling together within ten degrees of each other from mid-July 2010 until mid-August 2012, but make only one exact conjunction during this period, on October 27, 2010. Their previous conjunction period was in 2002, and before that, not since the early days of the twentieth century, when they conjoined no less than six times from 1907 through 1916.
The current period is significant in that it coincides with economic conditions guaranteed to give anybody heartburn, and this pervasive, prescient sense of anxiety, uncertainty, and pending gloom and doom pervades the society. With a ballooning national debt, nearly double-digit unemployment, and a stock market that bounces up and down like a rubber ball, Americans have little sense of stability or hope for the future, and that soured, queasy, uncomfortable feeling is palpable. The recent controversy over the building of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City [see my article “Mosque Madness” in the September 2010 Daykeeper Journal] is just one example of the country’s agitated mood; the furor over Arizona’s anti-immigration legislation is another.
When America and Agita finally perfect their conjunction, just before the 2010 mid-term elections, they will do so at 4 Cancer, exactly atop an energy-sucking, reality-twisting Black Hole, and neatly sandwiched between the USA natal Venus and Jupiter, two top economic indicators, at 3 and 5 Cancer respectively.
Coming on the heels of the recent economic downturn and the sluggish recovery, this conjunction will crystallize the sense of disquiet and unease concerning the nation’s economic health and future, with its stagnant productivity and minimal growth. Jupiter, governing economic expansion, also rules politics, and it is in this sphere that the perpetuators of the national agita find their greatest scope, whether that be elected officials or media personalities ginning up fear and anxiety in an attempt to garner support, obtain votes, or direct public policy.
If we need an example of just how toxic the combination of these two minor planets can be, we have one close to hand, in their last pairing, from the early years of this decade. America and Agita were within ten degrees of each other from December 2001 through May 2003, and less than two degrees apart from September 2002 until January 2003.
This period, which began in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and continued through the early stages of the Iraq War, was highlighted by the international and domestic fear-mongering of the Bush administration and its conservative allies, intent upon stampeding the nation into a war under false pretenses, while shoring up executive power at home, all in the name of keeping Americans safe from terrorism.
Both the US invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 and the passage of the Constitution-shredding USA PATRIOT Act on October 26, 2001, came just weeks before America and Agita entered their ten-degree-wide conjunction period. Condoleezza Rice’s infamous September 8, 2002 indictment of Iraq’s WMD potential with the chilling statement that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” came just six days before America and Agita transited to within a degree of each other. By October 12, they had moved to share the same degree, 10 Capricorn, squared a spotlighting Quasar at 10 Aries which brought the nation’s unrest into bold relief with the passage that day of the 2002 AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force) in Iraq.
On 25 October 2002, the pair made their first of two exact conjunctions, just ten days before the administration reaped the harvest of its “fear factor” divide-and-conquer policies in a mid-term election which saw Republicans wrest control of the Senate from Democrats, and increase their House majority to 25 seats (a rarity in domestic politics, where the Party in control of the White House had gained seats in mid-term elections on only three prior occasions in the previous hundred years).
This conjunction, at 15 Capricorn, closely opposed the nation’s 13 Cancer Sun and squared its Saturn (the presidency) at 14 Libra, was followed by a second conjunction on December 7, 2002, which at 7 Aquarius was trine the USA Uranus/Descendant conjunction at 8 Gemini, further aggravating and inciting our explosive (Uranus) relations with other nations (Descendant), and willingness to go it alone on foreign policy.
Although the pair began to move apart in mid-January 2003, the national drumbeat of anxiety and hysteria did not lessen. On February 5, with America and Agita just three degrees apart, US Secretary of State Colin Powell made his presentation on Iraq’s WMD capabilities to the UN Security Council, a speech riddled with inaccuracies, fallacies, and half-truths, which nevertheless made the case to a nervous and distraught electorate for invasion and overthrow of America’s supposed principal terrorist threat, Saddam Hussein.
When the war began on March 20, 2003, Agita and America had separated by five degrees, but, at 4 and 9 Aries, were now squared the US Venus/Jupiter/Sun conjunction, further stressing the nation’s core values (Venus), its political realities, foreign involvements, and diplomatic efforts (all Jupiter) and our self-identity (Sun). Fear had won the day, and the administration had gotten the war it wanted.
That the US population can be so easily agitated, and that the media can form such a useful ally in this process, is denoted by the fact of the natal US asteroid Agita exactly atop the US Mercury at 24 Cancer—news, opinion and discourse (all Mercury) create a natural national response of unease and apprehension (Agita). The punditry (Mercury) has a built-in affinity for agitation, whipping up popular sentiment and anxiety (Agita) with this combination, all the moreso as it opposes the nation’s 27 Capricorn Pluto, conjuring images of secret, hidden threats, conspiracies and enemies, aiding and abetting manipulation and control of the populace, represented by the US Moon at 26 Aquarius, tightly inconjunct Mercury/Agita.
Several conservative pundits have strong Agita connections. Rush Limbaugh (born 12 January 1951), a born agitator, sports a T-Square involving Agita at 26 Aries, exactly conjunct a Black Hole, squared his Sun/Icarus/Pulsar conjunction at 21 and 26 Capricorn and opposed natal Neptune at 19 Libra. He combines rash, reckless commentary (Icarus/Pulsar) with deceptive rhetoric (Mercury square Neptune), all focused on creating a parallel reality, or alternate world view (Black Hole) designed to rile (Agita) his listeners. This T-Square keys strongly on the US Mercury/Agita at 24 Cancer, which fills in its missing leg to create a Grand Cross, and makes Rush a leading rabble-rouser in the country.
Glenn Beck (born 10 February 1964), who specializes in fanning fantastic fears in his audience, has Agita at 3 Aquarius opposed America at 1 Leo in his birth chart, with Agita conjunct Mercury at 29 Capricorn, describing a native ability to aggravate and dis-ease (Agita) the country (America) with his commentary and views (Mercury). His Mercury also opposes the USA’s own, further focusing his conservative message on the national stage. Beck mustered a crowd estimated at anywhere between 87,000 and 350,000 at his “Restoring Honor to America” rally at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 2010. America and Agita were just five degrees apart, with Agita trine his 21 Aquarius Sun and America squared his 13 Virgo Pluto.
George W. Bush (born 6 July 1946), whose administration used anxiety and fear more effectively than any other to manipulate and control the American populace, has Agita at 17 Capricorn, opposed his 13 Cancer Sun, which exactly conjoins the USA’s own. It squares his natal Jupiter, ruling politics, at 18 Libra, conjunct the USA Saturn (the presidency) at 14 Libra. He was a master of the politics of fear, using anxiety to garner votes (his re-election campaign slogan in 2004 was, essentially, “Vote Republican or Die”) and the prior America/Agita conjunction of 2002, discussed above, fell conjunct his natal Agita from 15 Capricorn, energizing this ignoble aspect of his character at just the moment when it would prove most useful.
Asteroid Agita has also been active at crucial moments in US history when events caused Americans anxiousness or disquiet on a national level. JFK’s assassination on 22 November 1963 saw Agita at 18 Sagittarius on a Black Hole, fundamentally altering the status quo reality, and conjunct transit Mars (the shooting itself) at 20 Sagittarius, while opposed the US Mars (death, guns) at 21 Gemini, and in tight trine to transit asteroid America at 19 Leo. Americans heard the news in stunned, gut-wrenching disbelief, and the incident signaled the start of the turbulent violence of the radical ‘60s. Agita in this chart is also squared transit Pluto at 14 Virgo, giving rise to the ongoing conspiracy theories about that event, which seems to be something other than the official story portrays.
The Carter administration’s hostage crisis, when Iranians stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans captive on November 4, 1979, shows Agita at 25 Leo again conjunct Mars at 22 Leo, squared transit Uranus (rebellion, revolution) at 20 Scorpio and in sextile to the US Mars at 21 Gemini. The entire nation felt like it was held hostage, as the impasse continued for 444 days, and was a major component of the overall dissatisfaction which led to Carter’s defeat in the 1980 presidential election. The incident also formed the basis of our national obsession with and distrust of Iran, which continues in prickly relations to this day.
For the September 11 attacks in 2001, Agita at 4 Libra is squared Mars at 1 Capricorn, also squared Jupiter at 11 Cancer (itself conjunct the USA Sun), and trine to Neptune at 6 Aquarius. Rarely has there been an event which caused Americans more stress and unease or created so deep a scar on the national psyche. This moment was effectively used as a casus belli for two wars which are still ongoing, almost a decade later, as well as major domestic security changes, such as the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the more draconian provisions of the Patriot Act. Agita in this configuration denotes the attacks (Mars) based in political differences and foreign policy disputes (both Jupiter), carried out by fanatical zealots (Neptune) who saw themselves as holy (Neptune) warriors (Mars).
When Agita and America next conjoin, at 3:05 PM EDT on October 25, 2010, in Washington DC, their union at 4 Cancer falls exactly atop a Black Hole, conjunct the South Node at 5 Cancer. They will oppose Pluto and Ceres at 3 and 5 Capricorn, exactly trine the Sun at 4 Scorpio, and inconjunct Mars at 29 Scorpio, asteroid Kassandra at 5 Sagittarius and the MC at 7 Sagittarius. The conjunction is sesquiquadrate (135 degrees) Tantalus, Siva and Icarus at 18, 19 and 21 Scorpio, and the Ascendant at 20 Aquarius, and semisquare Asbolus at 19 Taurus and the Descendant at 20 Leo.
A union of Agita and America on a Black Hole has the potential to considerably amplify the anxiety and stress level in the country. With Pluto closely opposed, this can take an ugly turn. The conjunction with the South Node suggests that it feels natural at this time for Americans to be disgruntled or ill at ease, but this is a nonproductive attitude in the long run, holding us back from our goals and further development. Ceres opposed could indicate continued disruption in the food supply, such as the massive egg recall in August, further stressing an already aggravated and anxious population.
The trine to the Sun shows the immediacy and centrality of this moment, emphasizing its importance and bringing our collective anxiety and discontent into focus. The inconjunct to Mars indicates an enhanced level of general disagreeableness and faction, argument and lack of conciliation, while the contact with the MC suggests that this attitude of non-cooperation is pervasive at the highest levels of government. Kassandra here, named for the Trojan prophetess doomed to speak the truth but never be believed, taken in tandem with the semisquare to Asbolus, a mythic centaur who read auguries in the flight patterns of birds, interjects a prophetic element into the equation, a suggestion that our disquietude may point to future troubles yet to be revealed, but which we are all presciently sensing.
Sesquiquadrates to Tantalus, Siva and Icarus indicate a rash, reckless mood (Icarus) operative in the country, a desire to take risks without judging the consequences; a pervasive sense of never being satisfied, that what we want is always just out of reach, tempting but unattainable (Tantalus); and an underlying understanding that we are at a crucial turning point in our evolution, a time of destroying old forms so that new ones can emerge (Siva), which nevertheless brings much hardship and suffering in its wake.
Aspects to the Ascendant/Descendant axis again underscore the immediacy and power of the conjunction, its pervasive effect in our lives, and the ramifications it has for the future. Like ripples disseminating from a stone thrown into a pond, the moment reverberates far beyond its initial impact.
We are just at the start of a two-year period where America and Agita are bound together, cosmically yoked in a combination guaranteed to provoke general malaise, discontent and anxiety. What the results of this dis-ease will be is unclear, but the prognosis is not a hopeful one.