MARCH 2008 BLACK HOLE CASE STUDY
by Alex Miller-Mignone
Wow! What an exciting and extraordinary primary season! In both camps, uncertainty and startling, unexpected reversals and turns of fortune have prevailed, providing political junkies with more drama and intrigue than has been the case for many a long year. As we trace the progress of this electoral cycle, the fine hand of Deep Space is clearly evidenced in the celestial writing between the lines.
By late February, things looked very different than they had in late autumn, when Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were the national frontrunners and anticipated nominees, proceeding directly to their coronations. Then the Obama tide surged past Clinton, threatening to overwhelm her storm-tossed bark; and Giuliani exited the stage with but a single delegate, leaving John McCain, whose political epitaph had been written the previous summer, as virtually the last man standing in a field of decimated competitors, about to claim the nomination he should have won in 2000.
Now in early March the GOP winner-take-all contests leave McCain with just a bit of mopping-up left to do before he receives his party’s official, if half-hearted, endorsement. The Democrats’ parsing of delegates proportionately state by state and the sinister specter of the ominous “Super Delegates” means a slow, lingering demise for the Clinton campaign, a death by a thousand cuts made all but inevitable by Obama’s sweep of 10 out of 10 primaries and caucuses following Tsunami Tuesday, many by incredible 40-50 point margins of victory. While all is not quite lost for the Woman Tangentially from Hope, hope is failing.
When we previewed the primary season in January, some themes seemed evident, among them an early advantage to idealistic, hopeful, or ideology-driven candidates, followed by a period likely to be kinder to establishment types, ones with a proven record of performance. This was based on an epoch-making shift of Pluto from starry-eyed Sagittarius into down-to-earth Capricorn in late January, and on the Republican side, a party tailor-made for Capricorn influence. It fell out just that way. After parceling out victories to Huckabee in Iowa, McCain in New Hampshire, and Romney in Wyoming and Michigan, making for a split decision in the early contest states, Dame Fortune set her sights on McCain, the party insider with the longest resume and greyest hairs, two attributes prized by Capricorn.
Following a disappointing showing in the Florida primary on January 29, the place in which he had chosen to make his stand, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani withdrew from the race (having embarrassingly spent $50 million of other people’s money on the acquisition of a single delegate), setting the stage for extensive McCain wins in the larger states on Tsunami Tuesday, February 5. Giuliani’s January 30 withdrawal and endorsement of McCain occurred with the Sun at 9 Aquarius conjoined a Pulsar and exactly opposed a Black Hole, indicating a dramatic development, an important change in the status quo that attracted much media attention. Transit Saturn at 7 Virgo was exactly square his natal Sun at 7 Gemini, indicating loss and limitation, while a newly retrograde Mercury and Neptune conjoined at 23 and 21 Aquarius respectively, illustrating both the reversal of his decision to run, and the fuzzy reasoning that suggested he could wait for a victory in Florida while his opponents gathered laurel wreaths uncontested in the northeast and mid-west.
By Tsunami Tuesday’s end, the Arizona Senator had emerged as the GOP’s undisputed frontrunner. With transit Pluto moving to conjoin his North Node at 1 Capricorn, Uranus about to transit natal Saturn at 20 Pisces and transit Saturn perched exactly atop his 6 Virgo Black Hole Sun, this was perhaps inevitable.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s withdrawal on February 7 served to confirm McCain’s eventual victory. The Sun and Mercury conjoined at 17 Aquarius showed the same Deep Space signature as for Giuliani’s withdrawal, conjunct a Pulsar at 17 Aquarius and squared a Black Hole at 16 Taurus. The pairing was exactly trine Romney’s natal Uranus at 17 Gemini, then also receiving an exact square from transit Uranus at 17 Pisces, and his precipitate withdrawal was indeed a shocking and unexpected development. Romney characteristically was at pains to attribute his withdrawal not to his own failures as a candidate, but to an altruistic concern for everyone’s welfare (Uranus/Aquarius), stating: “In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,” an allusion to the effect of continued GOP primary infighting on the nominee’s chances of beating the Democrat in November. What a guy.
On the Democratic side, however, Pluto in Capricorn did not result in a sea change in favor of the quasi-incumbent, ultimate Party insider, Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama’s psychological inroads into the Democratic base’s longing for change were too extensive, his brand of hopeful passion too compelling, and the party’s proportional distribution of delegates too fair-minded, to allow Clinton to recoup early losses.
In January we had cited Jupiter conjunct a Black Hole for both the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries as the cause of political pundit confusion and a high level of unpredictability in the outcome, as well as larger voter turnouts, and such proved to be the case. Just hours before each contest, experts and observers were completely nonplussed, unable to call the races reliably, and turnout in both states broke decades-old records. At the Iowa caucus turnout on the Democratic side alone was larger than the entire primary turnout in 2000. Clinton’s awkward third place showing there was a prescient symbol of things to come, and a last-minute reprieve by women in the Granite State couldn’t repair the cracks in her facade of inevitability. Venus for that New Hampshire primary was exactly on a Black Hole at 10 Sagittarius, and the transit Sun was sextile Clinton’s natal Venus, tipping the female vote her way just enough to edge out the Illinois Senator.
In the next few weeks, Michigan and Florida brought Clinton victories that carried with them no delegates, due to the DNC’s draconian punishments for these states moving up their primaries into January. And then it was on to South Carolina, which in January’s preview article we had noted as perhaps predictive of the rest of the cycle.
Obama swept the state by eight points over Clinton, then went on to take 13 of 22 states on Tsunami Tuesday, and every contest since. Vote parity was extremely tight on February 5, with less than one half of one percent difference in the national vote totals, and Clinton garnering 826 delegates to Obama’s 838. Subsequent races in geographic locales and populations as diverse as Hawaii, Washington, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Virginia and Maine show margins of victory for Obama anywhere from 17 points to 52, with an average spread of 33 points.
Edwards had also chosen to exit the race on January 30, sharing that Sun/Pulsar/Black Hole limelight with Rudy Giuliani. Saturn that day at 7 Virgo was atop a Black Hole and exactly squared Edwards’ natal Jupiter at 7 Gemini, signaling his political (Jupiter) demise (Saturn). The contest since then, from Tsunami Tuesday and continuing through the present, is really a tale of two Masers, the battle royal between Barack Obama’s Sun at 12 Leo conjunct the Maser at 13 Leo, and Hillary Clinton’s Mars/Pluto pairing also conjoined the anomaly from 14 Leo.
We had earlier noted this cosmic clash between Clinton and Obama in the January preview: “On the Democratic side, the contest is clear ... the battle is on.” Maser energy is extremely volatile, erratic, and difficult to control. It can bring excitement, but this can as easily degenerate into agitation or extreme restlessness. Periods of peak performance and energy can alternate with bouts of lassitude and debilitation; nerves can be stretched to the breaking point (as with Hillary Clinton’s tearful moment in New Hampshire, which re-energized the women’s vote in her favor).
Barack Obama is perhaps the best modern example of a positive use of this energy to which one can point. His sizzling, rock star persona and the enthusiasm with which he is greeted by crowds, as well as his ability to captivate and energize them, is unparalleled. Many evoke Senator Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign when pressed to make a comparison, and indeed, Kennedy’s 27 Scorpio Sun exactly opposed a Maser, reflective of Obama’s Sun/Maser conjunction. There is an electric hum in the air at his appearances, and even his detractors must acknowledge an astounding capacity to excite and inspire others without ever declaiming much of substance or specifics.
Hillary Clinton’s use of the same cosmic forces is considerably less well managed. Few other post-Roosevelt liberal figures have inspired such compulsive (Pluto) loathing (Mars) in the Right as has Hillary Clinton. The crackling, febrile Maser energy pervades her presentations, clearly audible in the harsher, rasping cadences her voice acquires when she raises the volume or intensity of her speech. Perceived by opponents as strident, combative and uncompromising, despite a Senate record which clearly belies this, Clinton is considered in classic negative Mars/Pluto terms of cold, calculating, manipulative and power hungry—something less than a woman.
In truth, much of Clinton’s Mars/Maser problem is cultural, an entrenched difficulty in America with accepting women in dominant roles in society. As witness, consider John McCain’s natal Mars, which at 12 Leo is a close match for Hillary’s, and conjoins this same Maser. In McCain’s case this Mars has manifested as the torture he endured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, which transformed him into a war hero and became the foundation of his political career. Also noted for a prickly, feisty demeanor, and his habit of swearing vociferously at political opponents, this querulous, combative attitude sits better in the mind of the public on a man than a woman. It may be worth noting that although they share a reputation for being difficult, McCain and Clinton get along together very well, often traveling together on Senate junkets.
The “Battle of the Masers” has been made more fierce by a Solar Eclipse at 17 Aquarius the day after Tsunami Tuesday, igniting tempers in opposition to all these points. Obama snipes at Clinton, Clinton barbs back, both parry with McCain and he responds to each as to a prospective general election opponent. If this does come down to Obama and McCain, the exact Sun/Mars conjunction in their synastry could make for a very unpleasant campaign indeed.
Looking ahead to March 4 and the important primaries in Texas and Ohio, the stage seems set for further upsets by Obama. Mars moving into Cancer that day will oppose Pluto. This polarity centers on Obama’s natal Venus at 1 Cancer, putting women strongly into play. In recent weeks Obama has been making inroads into sectors of Clinton’s traditional base, including working class and white women, and this Mars conjunction opposed Pluto could energize female voters in his favor, with Pluto defining him as the change candidate. The Lunar Eclipse of February 20 at 1 Virgo also activated Obama’s Venus by an exact sextile, and Clinton’s 0 Sagittarius Jupiter by square, perhaps improving her fortunes.
Running the numbers, however, it’s hard to see how Clinton recoups her losses, Jupiter or no. To overcome Obama’s current lead, the New York Senator needs to sweep virtually every remaining caucus and primary, not just winning, but winning big—by 15-20 points. This is extremely unlikely, given the prevailing atmosphere and the wind at Obama’s back.
But there are still two Pluto in Capricorn aces in the deck for Hillary—the final status of the currently disenfranchised delegates from Michigan and Florida, and those pesky Super Delegates. The first option: utilizing a picky, legalistic, and highly Capricornian argument to re-enfranchise delegates from states which Clinton won but whose delegates have been barred from voting at the convention by the Democratic National Committee. The Clinton campaign is already on the record in favor of seating the Florida delegates, and although all the Democratic candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida in accordance with the DNC’s rules, Clinton flew in to the state just after the polls closed on January 29 for a “victory” celebration. In an extremely close contest, these delegates could allow Clinton to slip past Obama, and, using the rationale that she has won more large, traditionally Democratic states, enable her to build a case as more authentically the choice of the true Democratic base.
Option two is the Super Delegates. These form approximately one fifth of the total number of convention delegates, and again, in a split contest where neither Obama nor Clinton has attained the magic number, their choice could be pivotal in determining the nominee. Super Delegates are also a very Capricornian constituency, comprised of sitting US congress members and governors, as well as DNC officials and all former Democratic presidents, vice presidents, and House or Senate leaders. Super Delegates who are sitting officials normally vote in accordance with their districts’ or states’ expressed preferences, but they are not bound to do so. As one can imagine, competition for their support has been fierce. Clinton still retains a razor-thin majority of pledged Super Delegates, but the dynamic has shifted since Tsunami Tuesday, with Obama picking up some two dozen endorsements, and Clinton losing several.
But both these options for unseating Obama would likely be viewed as nitpicking, legalistic, and somewhat underhanded—in short, very Clintonian. It’s difficult to envision a scenario whereby Hillary reaps the nomination through these means, and then is able to unite the party behind her for November. Obama will also be supported by Pluto’s return to Sagittarius this summer, before the convention and through the election, a period when his hopeful rhetoric will once again be in sync with Pluto’s demesne. His fiery Sagittarian youthfulness will surely make a stark contrast with McCain’s elder statesman Capricornian sobriety. The question remains, if this scion of Pluto in Sagittarius wins the election, how well will he perform under a Pluto in Capricorn administration?
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.