When selecting a President, something that is often overlooked is the way in which said President’s natal chart influences the mood of the country, via its interactions with the USA natal chart. Even “minor” planets can have a major effect, drawing us toward the better angels of our nature, or releasing those inner demons which plague us.
The current atmosphere of hyper-partisanship, fostering extreme division and quarrelsomeness, can in part be related to the advent of Baby Boomer presidents, and the way their natal placements tend to rub salt in the wounds which Americans naturally engender, like a sore tooth that the nation’s tongue just can’t keep from worrying. The culprit here specifically is the USA natal Eris, lying at 8 Capricorn. Eris is a Trans-Neptunian Object from the Kuiper Belt region near Pluto, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord. Caught in a natal opposition to the USA Jupiter at 5 Cancer, it’s natural for our politics (Jupiter) to be aggressively discordant (Eris), and such has been true since the earliest days of the Republic.
Thomas Jefferson, architect of the Declaration of Independence and a major influence on our Constitution, lost his friendship with fellow Founder John Adams (whose Vice President he was) due to partisan political division, which increased dramatically from the time he became our nation’s first Secretary of State in 1790, until the end of his own presidency in 1809. In 1790 there were 92 newspapers in the US; by 1809 this number had swelled to 329, with only 56 of these not claiming allegiance to one political faction or another.
Partisan divides and mud-slinging are nothing new in the American experience: the major difference now is the instantaneous means of dissemination and its ubiquitous pervasiveness, both of which heighten public response. Jefferson can be fairly said to embody much of Eris’ contention; with a natal placement at 4 Sagittarius aligned with the USA Ascendant, Jefferson also had Eris sesquiquadrate the Sun, squared Saturn and exactly squared politics-ruling Jupiter.
Eris moves extremely slowly, taking 557 years to circle the Sun, so it has traveled little more than a quarter of its orbital path since the USA was founded. The Baby Boom generation has it in early Aries, square to the USA natal Eris, and right on cue, when the first Boomer president, Bill Clinton, entered the Oval Office, the disagreeableness and discontent ratcheted up considerably.
Clinton, Bush and Obama all have Eris squared the USA Eris, and there has been a continual increase in the effects of division and partisan bickering during their presidencies, growing worse as these placements, starting with Obama, begin to also come into square with the USA natal Sun at 13 Cancer, eating away at the very core of the nation’s self-identity. These men act as ambassadors of the generation they are a part of, all of whom share this tendency toward fostering political division—every person born in the Baby Boom generation has natal Eris in square to the USA Eris opposed Jupiter, predisposing each to an advanced degree of susceptibility to ideological conflict.
Another level of animosity was reached when Eris was officially discovered in January 2005, just before the second Bush inaugural, forcing us to consciously confront the divisiveness it represents. But Eris’ manifestation of conflict seems to be coming to fever pitch this year, as transit Pluto moves to conjoin the USA natal Eris for the first time in our history, dredging up old hurts and hates, releasing deeply-felt emotions and toxins from the collective American unconscious.
The exact conjunction began in January, continues retrograde in May and June, and makes one final pass in November. The body politic is hopelessly mired in partisan divide between Republicans, who refuse to allow any compromise legislation to be passed, and Democrats, who futilely attempt to co-opt conservatives by proposing solutions which they themselves once endorsed, only to meet with solid rejection.
Clinton and Bush, and now Romney, all with Eris at 6 Aries, and Obama, with Eris at 10 Aries, all exacerbate the political divisions inherent in the natal Eris/Jupiter opposition by adding the stress and strain of a T-Square when their natal Eris placements are factored in. There is little hope of getting past the gridlock and partisan backbiting until a new generation of politicians comes into its own, by which time the recrimination and bickering may be so entrenched that nothing short of a miracle, or a national disaster, will end it.
Obama is particularly astrologically unsuited to pouring oil on the waters; with asteroid America at 7 Libra in exact square to asteroid Washingtonia at 7 Capricorn (representing the nation’s capital, and closely conjoined the USA Eris), his natal chart creates a Grand Cross of the USA Eris/Jupiter polarity, and emphasizes its polarizing effects.
Obama plays into this Eris divisiveness in another significant way, involving his 12 Leo Sun opposed Centaur Pholus at 13 Aquarius. Mythically, Pholus was a civilized centaur who befriended the hero Herakles, and entertained him in his cave on Mount Pelion. Pholus was in possession of a jar of wine which Herakles persuaded him to open, and its scent drove mad the neighboring centaurs, more primitive than Pholus. They charged the cave, and Herakles slew many with arrows dipped in the Hydra’s poisonous blood, beating back the assault. In the aftermath, Pholus too died when he accidentally dropped one of the arrows, piercing his foot; the virulent poison killed him instantly.
As such, Pholus represents the unintended release of powerful toxins. In mundane events it appears frequently in aspect with the Sun, for example, in the disastrous poison gas leak at Bhopal, India (2 December 1984, Sun sesquiquadrate Pholus), the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, Russia (26 April 1986, Sun conjunct Pholus), and the earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan (11 March 2011, Sun square Pholus), which released large amounts of radiation into the environment.
Obama, with Sun opposed natal Pholus, acts as a catalyst to release toxins from the American collective, a focal point for the most poisonous energies, further corroding the national debate. The USA’s natal Pholus at 6 Aquarius also opposes Obama’s Sun, and conjoins his Jupiter at 0 Aquarius, reinforcing the energy of toxic political discourse, directed at him from others.
This has been augmented by transit Pholus’ placements in mid-Sagittarius from 2009 through 2011, which highlighted the natal opposition by trine to Obama’s Sun, and subsequently formed an inconjunct to the USA Sun at 13 Cancer and a sextile to the USA Saturn (the presidency) at 14 Libra. Obama’s natal Pholus at 13 Aquarius is trine the USA Saturn, and in 2010 formed a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with transit Pholus, both inconjunct the USA Sun. These interaspects applied further pressure to an already volatile situation, and amazingly, Pholus’ first entry into 12 Sagittarius, in exact trine to Obama’s Sun, began on the very day of his inauguration, 20 January 2009.
Within a month the Tea Party movement had been born, followed by the emergence of the Birther movement, which together constituted the most serious challenge to Obama’s political agenda, policies, and even, in some eyes, the legitimacy of his presidency. The level of vitriol expressed by these factions toward Obama had its echoes in the presidencies of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, but reached new heights of public recognition and mainstream acceptance, as when South Carolina representative Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” during Obama’s September 2009 address to Congress. Polls throughout 2010 and 2011 routinely showed 40-50% of registered Republicans believed Obama was born out of the country, and was thus disqualified for the presidency; another 35-40% believed he is a secret Muslim. The partisan nature of these improbabilities is plain to see, and they are born of the combined toxicity of Pholus with the discord, fractiousness and discontent of Eris.
The intransigence and political gridlock of the past two years particularly, after the GOP took control of the House of Representatives, has made a mockery of the tide of hope and optimism which swept Obama into the White House in 2008. With asteroid Pandora, significator of hopefulness, in the USA nativity at 26 Taurus in exact square to its 26 Aquarius Moon, the American people are naturally buoyant, optimistic, hopeful and resilient, drawn to the prospect of a brighter future, but this hope is often betrayed by the evils which Pandora also released from her ill-fated box.
Obama ties into this pattern with his Vesta, ruling public servants, at 25 Taurus conjoined Pandora. Allied to his Sun conjunct asteroid Panacea at 10 Leo, noted for promoting simplistic, often un-practicable cure-alls, and his own Pandora at 12 Virgo in exact semisextile to that Sun, this made Obama a natural choice for the people’s optimistic, if somewhat naive, projections. Obama’s natal Pandora also conjoins his 6 Virgo Pluto, indicating “hope” as the basis for his personal power (Pluto). But as Pholus trined Obama’s Sun, it also squared his Pandora, deflating the hope and leaving despair, chagrin and resigned pessimism in its wake.
With his natal Mars at 22 Virgo an exact match for the USA Neptune, Obama’s leadership style (Mars) is subject to portrayal as ineffective, indecisive and overly conciliatory or dilatory (all Neptune). His inexperience in dealing with Washington politics was well evidenced by his early missteps in turning over too much control of policy to congressional Democrats in the stimulus package and Health Care Reform bills.
At a time when he should have aggressively asserted the will of the American people against entrenched Washington interests (that asteroid America exactly squared Washingtonia aspect noted above), he was content to let others craft the details of signature legislation, rarely coming down decisively or affirmatively on any issue. The presidential Bully Pulpit found itself unoccupied just when the country needed it most, disheartening supporters and rallying the opposition.
But perhaps the most disturbing ramification wrought by Obama’s interaction with the US natal chart is the effect this has had on the national debt. The USA Venus, ruling revenues and finances, at 4 Cancer is currently conjunct a Black Hole, which transited onto Venus in the 1950s, just as federal spending began to increase, a correlation which was no accident. Black Holes attract resources, be that energy, focus, or material wealth, and their hunger is never sated. Black Holes connected to Venus will attract finances, yes, but also expenditures, and often the latter far outweigh the former.
Obama’s natal Venus conjoins the USA’s own, reinforcing that, but it does more. At 1 Cancer, Obama’s Venus exactly squares the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware, exerting a gravitational pull which keeps more than 130 galaxies in its thrall. Obama’s Venus was well in evidence in the 2008 campaign, the most expensive presidential race in history, when Obama raised nearly $750 million. Compare that to Bush’s 2004 re-election total of just $345 million, less than half.
Bush’s effect on the national debt was dramatic, nearly doubling the figure from $5.7 trillion to $10.7 trillion in 8 years. But Obama’s impact has been truly staggering, with a further increase of an additional $5 trillion in just three years. If re-elected, estimates are that US debt will top $20 trillion by the end of Obama’s second term.
Much of this spending is not Obama’s “fault.” In 2001, coming off a half billion dollar surplus from the late Clinton years, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the US would be out of the red, with all its debts paid, by 2006, and running a budget surplus of more than $2 trillion by 2011. But then Dubya intervened, creating both short-term and structural deficits via $1.4 trillion spent in unfunded wars, a new Medicare prescription drug entitlement costing hundreds of billions, and cutting taxes to the tune of another $1.4 trillion. When the severe economic downturn struck in 2008, revenues plummeted, and spending soared, with a need to prop up wobbling financial institutions and an attempt to buy our way out of the recession with a stimulus package that was inadequate to the purpose and poorly targeted. Nevertheless, the debt increase occurred on Obama’s watch, and can be attributed at least in part to the added emphasis his natal Venus gives the USA’s own.
Taken as a whole, this particular astrological match of personal dynamics, generational influences, and inherent national propensities cannot be seen as anything other than unsuccessful. It is difficult to see how anyone of Obama’s generation could have overridden the difficulties inherent in the Eris/Eris square, but the added pressure of Pholus’ extreme toxicity and the perceived lack of leadership of Mars/Neptune coupled with the exploding debts of Black Hole Venus made the President a particularly unfortunate choice for the office at this time. Seen in this light, his presidency must be judged a failure, but the degree to which this is the result of personal choices, or circumstances beyond his control, is a matter for debate.