OCTOBER 2008 Black hole case study
by Alex Miller-Mignone
Several key moments of the Democratic National Convention outlined a cosmic focus on the events. For the opening gavel at 4:00 PM MDT, Monday 25 August, we saw a rather nasty Moon/Pluto opposition, just minutes past exact, with Pluto exactly rising on the Ascendant to within a minute of arc, perhaps presaging turmoil among the delegates. Taken in combination with quarrelsome, fractious Eris exactly on the 21 Aries Nadir and asteroids Hillary and Chaos combined at 1 and 11 Gemini in square to the Sun/Saturn conjunction at 3 and 10 Virgo, this did not bode well for the proceedings.
In fact, tempers did run high initially among some supporters of the rival Obama and Clinton camps, but the convention did not implode upon itself as feared. Asteroid Johnny (for John McCain) exactly conjunct Pluto at its rising proved prophetic of the focus of the convention, which was far more anti-McCain than pro-Obama (“McCain” was among the most frequently-uttered words that week, appearing 21 times in Obama’s acceptance speech alone). Asteroid Barry (the name the young Obama was called) was traveling with Mars for the week, the conjunction becoming exact the night of Obama’s speech, an apt image of the pugilistic tenor of the convention.
After the rocky start of Moon/Pluto, things evened out. When Obama was officially nominated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday the 27th, Jupiter was exactly rising at 12 Capricorn retrograde, a much more auspicious moment. The Moon at 27 Cancer combined with asteroid Washingtonia at 26 and the Black Hole at 28 Cancer, interesting in light of just how Obama was nominated—by unanimous acclimation initiated by his chief primary rival Hillary Clinton—this powerful (Black Hole) female (Moon) urging his translation to the Capitol (Washingtonia). The Black Hole on the Midheaven of 6 Scorpio could go either way, as indicating the candidate’s successful (and history-making) acquisition of the office of the presidency, or his campaign’s disappearance into the void of the Black Hole, never to be heard from again.
Of course the (literal) fireworks came the night of Obama’s acceptance speech, Thursday, 28 August, which began at 8:11 PM MDT before a crowd of 84,000 at Denver’s Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. The date was symbolic; exactly 45 years earlier Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech had rung out on the mall in Washington, when he envisioned an America wherein his children “would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” When Obama strode between the faux Greek columns that formed the backdrop of the stage in Denver, he had fulfilled half of that dream, in being the first African American to win a major political party’s nomination. Whether the nation as a whole is ready to deliver on King’s dream remains to be seen.
At that moment Uranus at 21 Pisces was rising on the 22 Pisces Ascendant—Obama’s populism was apparent, and so was the sense of change and revolution; but for those of us astrologically concerned for Obama’s health and safety, seeing Uranus, symbol of shocks, disruption and assassination, so prominent at such a time, was extremely unsettling (itself an emotion characteristically Uranian). Of further note was asteroid Achilles, conjoined Uranus at 20 Pisces, a possible indicator of a fated demise through a congenital, unavoidable weak spot, such as race (as seen by a significant portion of the electorate). This sense of potential disaster was not alleviated by the incidence of the transit Moon at 13 Leo conjunct the Maser atop Obama’s 12 Leo Sun, the root of fears for his assassination (see my article, “Masers and Assassination” in the May 2008 Daykeeper), although in the short term, the Moon conjunct his natal Sun showed a crowd that was enthusiastically with him in the moment of his triumph.
Pluto at 28 Sagittarius, still with asteroid Johnny, had moved from the DNC’s Ascendant to conjoin the 25 Sagittarius Midheaven, with Jupiter (from the Ascendant of Obama's nomination) also in the Tenth House of career and status in the world. Jupiter here is unreservedly positive, promising expansion and favor, but Pluto is less predictable; with Johnny still conjunct, there is an implication that the GOP candidate may present a formidable barrier to Obama’s career goals. As noted above, asteroid Barry and Mars had come into exact conjunction. The candidate was one with his fight, and indeed, Obama showed some uncharacteristic combativeness and aggressiveness in his remarks, something heartening to supporters, who had begun expressing concerns about his ability to return Republican fire.
The start of the Republican National Convention at 2:30 PM CDT on Monday, 1 September 2008, in St. Paul, Minnesota, was similarly illustrative of its tone and purpose. As with the DNC, there is a striking polarity on the Ascendant/Descendant. Asteroid Alaska rises in the east, even as asteroid Chaos sets in the west. And in fact, these two themes dominated the convention, its first portion truncated and in disarray due to the chaotic descent of Hurricane Ike upon Texas, threatening another Katrina-like response from the GOP; and the last half under the sway of Alaska’s Governor, Sarah Palin, the vice presidential nominee. Even the convention’s leitmotif of “Country First” is reflected in the 8 Sagittarius Ascendant, which exactly mirrors the USA’s own.
Sarah Palin is also represented by a startling combination of Venus at 2 Libra with the Moon and Mercury both at 4 Libra, all pulled into the gravity well of the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra, which also holds the 0 Libra Midheaven in its thrall. That a speech (Mercury) by a woman (both Moon and Venus) would be the high point (Midheaven) of the proceedings is no surprise, given this combination. Asteroid Sara is also significantly placed; at 7 Aquarius it is sextile the Ascendant and trine the Libra stellium, which further includes Mars at 8 Libra, indicating the way her nomination revitalized the GOP base.
That Mars is still exactly conjunct asteroid Barry, which now fulfills the alternate role of whipping boy, with Obama held up to universal Republican condemnation and attacks. Asteroid Johnny remains conjunct Pluto at 28 Sagittarius, and in the First House, illustrates the biographical themes from John McCain’s life which dominated the convention. At 9 and 11 Virgo respectively, the Sun and Saturn are pulling into closer conjunction than at the DNC, a union which would become exact for McCain’s acceptance speech on Thursday.
On Tuesday, September 9, out on the campaign trail, Barack Obama made the following remarks: “John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush—except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics—we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."
By the next morning, the McCain campaign had released a web ad decrying Obama’s supposed slur of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, asserting that Obama was “Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes.” The manufactured controversy was on, and absorbed fully two days of the 24/7 news cycle.
The alleged connection between Obama’s remarks and Palin derives from a particularly well-received moment of self-deprecation in Palin’s convention speech from September 3, when in describing her history as a mother of five she joked, “You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.” That Obama used the well-worn metaphor “putting lipstick on a pig” six days later was evidence enough to the McCain campaign of sexism, and in juxtaposing just Palin’s joke with Obama’s soundbite out of context, the combination looks significant. For “low information” voters it might be enough to be convincing, but since this was a web ad only run on the campaign website, not very many people would have seen it.
Not until the media put their oar in, making it a huge story, a story distracting us from the real issues of the campaign, all about how McCain was attempting to distract us from the real issues of the campaign. In one of the most consciously self-fulfilling prophecies in recent memory, media pundits filled a full two days babbling about the lack of merit or importance to the story, and gave bare notice to the building crisis in the financial sector. That they discussed how frequently John McCain himself uses the term, or that a former advisor for the campaign, Torie Clarke, had actually written a book about the uses of spin entitled “Lipstick on a Pig”, did nothing to alter the fact that they took the bait and did precisely what the McCain campaign intended, all the while crowing about how clever they were to have caught on to the game.
The astrological underpinning of this farce was a conjunction between Venus and Mars, forming atop the Black Hole at 13 Libra and the Quasar at 15 Libra. Obama made his remarks, seen by the McCain camp as an attack (Mars) as Mars crossed the singularity of the Black Hole, and the sexism (Venus) charges emerged and the controversy deepened as Venus followed close behind. By the time the pair finally conjoined exactly on the Quasar at 15 Libra late on that Thursday, the debate had died down and the incident entered the lexicon of silly campaign controversies. The combination of Venus (cosmetics/lipstick) with Mars (boars/pigs) has rarely been illustrated in so inane a manner, but Jupiter’s station in square from 12 Capricorn just a few days earlier may have something to do with the overblown rhetoric. The fact that this all happened conjunct the USA Saturn at 14 Libra, symbol of the presidency, brought it all home to the race for the White House.
It's the Economic Meltdown, Stupid
But Venus and Mars had more serious work to do before separating fully. Overnight Sunday the 14th, as finance-ruling Venus shifted to 19 Libra, forming an exact sextile to the Black Hole at 19 Sagittarius and an exact square to the Black Hole at 19 Capricorn, investment firm Lehman Brothers failed, and industry giant Merrill Lynch sought a $38 billion buy-out from Bank of America to avoid bankruptcy. Following closely on the heels of the federal take-over of mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the week before, these events highlighted a growing crisis in financial institutions. The Dow plummeted 500 points on Monday. Even an $85 billion government bail-out Tuesday of the AIG insurance brokerage firm did not prevent another 450-point drop on Wednesday. Modest gains on Tuesday and Thursday, and a major rally on Friday, after news broke that the Bush administration was prepared to orchestrate a massive bail-out for Wall Street of up to a trillion dollars, brought the Dow back up to a mere five-point loss for the week over all, but the wild ride sent shock waves throughout global financial markets. The recovery began as Mars followed on to 19 Libra in Venus’ wake on Thursday and Friday, bringing news of the government’s action (Mars) to deal with the crisis.
On the campaign trail, McCain’s poorly timed, ill-considered commentary on Monday, as the Dow sank, that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” gave Obama an opening which the campaign seized and ran with, content to be once more discussing money and not make-up. As stock prices fell, Obama’s stock rose, and by week’s end he had once again edged out in front of McCain for the first time since the conventions.
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.