Despite a recent heart attack, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has maintained his slow and steady pace in his current bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, coming in reliably second or third in most polling. Bernie (I find it impossible to call him “Sanders”, so associated is he with his nickname) famously broke upon the national political scene when he challenged Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, and while he failed in that attempt, he came remarkably close for someone with very little name recognition prior to throwing his hat in the ring. Bernie quickly became the darling of the progressive left, but also pulled from much of the same demographic of working class blue collar voters that fueled Trump’s grievance campaign. With fellow ultra-progressive Elizabeth Warren flailing of late, assuming Joe Biden stumbles and falls at some point early on in the process, Bernie Sanders would seem to be the man most likely to step into the breach. But would that be a winning choice for Democrats?
It’s that time again, the preview of the White House’s upcoming year. Like any other entity, living and breathing or not, the Trump Administration has a “birth” chart, and thus, an annual solar return, which gives us a cosmic weather forecast for the year ahead. This one is cast for 5:30 AM EST on January 21, 2020, in Washington DC. Old Sol isn’t quite as reliable as we’d like, and sometimes returns to his birth degree and minute a day before or after the actual anniversary, in this case, January 20.
January 15, 2020 was yet another bad day for Donald J. Trump. Within hours, the impeachment articles against him had been signed and delivered to the Senate for his trial, and an associate, Lev Parnes, gave a devastating interview confirming the President’s direct involvement in the Ukraine aid-for-dirt shakedown. Trump had previously publically denied knowing Parnas, a statement which apparently insulted his henchman, causing him to flip on the boss.
On Christmas Eve 2019 a Grindr hookup went horribly wrong, when 25-year-old Kevin Bacon (no, not that one) was killed and cannibalized by his date, 50-year-old Mark Latunski. Bacon, a hair stylist who was studying psychology, travelled 25 miles to Latunski’s home, where he was stabbed in the back, then had his throat slit. After his death, his corpse was strung up by the heels from the ceiling, his testicles were removed and eaten by Latunski, whose lawyer is claiming an insanity defense (gee, d’ya think?).
On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, better known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, shocked the Royal Family and the rest of the world by announcing their intention to “step back” from royal duties and retreat into a more private life. The couple plan to divide their time between Britain and North America, most likely Canada, as they work toward building a new life and becoming “financially independent”.
If you recall, it was an assassination that began World War I. Is history about to repeat itself, in the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killed by a US drone as his convoy exited Baghdad International Airport on 3 January 2020? Soleimani was head of Iran’s elite Quds force, a division of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, primarily involved with extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. Soleimani had coordinated with proxy and client terrorist groups in anti-US actions outside Iran, across the Mid-East, had pioneered the IED attacks, and was responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of countless Americans and local civilians.
“Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” took on a whole new meaning on December 29, 2019 at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, when a gunman’s six-second rampage ended with a single shot from one of the parishioners, tasked with church security. Two had already been killed and a third wounded when Jack Wilson, a local firearms instructor, shot and killed Keith Kinnunen, 43, who was not a member of the congregation, but was familiar with the church, having been given food several times in the past.
Frequent readers of this site will doubtless be familiar with my cat Ashes; my sweet-cranky Tortie has been with me 12 years, since I took her and her two kittens in from the street on Halloween 2007. Her children predeceased her, Hallows in 2012 and Samhain just last year, but despite some ongoing health issues and an unfortunate addiction to string, Ashes has held her own. As a stray, I’m not sure how old she is exactly, but at least 14, which puts her at about 73 in human terms, an age when mortality begins to assert itself, and even a simple health crisis can prove deadly.
Well, we all know the country is going to shit, but for some reason, as impeachment loomed large on the horizon and his evangelical allies began to desert him, Donald Trump felt the need to call attention to the nation’s true crisis – the need to flush toilets 10 or 15 times to gain the desired result. Far from the four-flusher we already knew him to be, Trump has revealed himself as the much more elusive ten-flusher. And so let’s go down this cosmic rabbit hole, from the sublime impeachment to the ridiculous toilet tantrums, and see where it takes us…
To some, impeachment has been a long time coming for Donald J. Trump. Manifestly unfit for the job, Trump has proven himself to be incompetent, haphazard, reckless and even dangerous as President. Given repeated examples of his inability to operate effectively on even the most basic levels, with staggeringly obvious lapses of judgment, breaches of ethics, and violations of laws, why did this take so long? As astrologers we have to trust the time, remaining confident that the cosmos knows what it’s doing. A lot of factors needed to converge for Trump to find himself in this fix. And simply put, it just wasn’t time.
Don’t even try to pronounce it, but newly minted Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) G!kun||’homdima could make quite a name for herself as the decades roll on. Named for a mythic character of the Ju\’hoansu (don’t try to pronounce that one, either!) people of Namibia, in southwest Africa, G!kun||’homdima is a beautiful young girl who appears most often as an aardvark (sometimes a python or elephant). Stemming from a click language, filled with more diacriticals than you can shake a walking stick at, G!kun||’homdima is far too much of a mouthful for Western tongues to handle, so, meaning no disrespect, we’re just going to call her Gkun for short. She defends her people and punishes wrongdoers using gamigami spines, a rain-cloud full of hail, and her magical oryx horn.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was indicted on charges of corruption on November 21st, just as asteroid Swindle returned to its natal degree of 26 Virgo. The embattled Netanyahu has been fighting for his political life for months, with two inconclusive general elections in April and September 2019 showing no clear victor, and neither Bibi nor his chief rival, Benny Gantz, able to form a collation government, leaving Israel essentially leaderless. Head of the center-right Likud Party, Netanyahu has been PM since 2009, following an earlier stint in the late ‘90s, but has been under investigation for corruption for almost three years, before Israel’s Attorney General filed charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu, a staunch Trump ally, has characterized the indictment as a “witch hunt” and attempted coup (gee, I wonder where he got that idea from?).
Former VP and current presidential candidate Joe Biden celebrates his 77th birthday on November 20, making him the first of the serious contenders for the Democratic nomination to inaugurate a solar return year which will incorporate the 2020 election within its scope. I won’t be doing this for everyone, but I will for Uncle Joe. Because while I have serious misgivings about Biden’s ability to do the job, I do believe he’s the most electable, which is my sole criterion for the upcoming election. So long as he wins and ousts Trump, for all I care, he can drool into a cup and delegate for four years, like Reagan.
And the good news is that Biden’s 2019 Solar Return chart has an unbelievably strong signature of success. The bad news is, there are a lot of qualifiers.
With Nicnevin’s Night on the horizon, November 10th, named for an ancient Scottish goddess of witches, I thought now might be a good time to take an in-depth look at the leading players in the latest version of what Donald Trump terms the “Witch Hunt” against him. Three of these “witches”, like Macbeth’s cauldron-stirring trio, will be giving the first public testimony in the “blasted heath” of the House Impeachment Investigation next week, starting Wednesday, November 13th. These are acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, State Department deputy assistant secretary and Ukraine expert George Kent, and ousted US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
On Thursday, October 31st 2019, the US House of Representatives voted to advance with a formal impeachment proceeding, after a month of closed-door sessions garnered “flawed process” arguments from congressional Trump supporters. Halloween was perhaps the perfect date for an escalation of what Trump terms the “Witch Hunt” against him.
Two competitions of gargantuan proportions reached simultaneous apogees on October 22, 2019, as the World Series of Baseball kicked off in Houston, while in the nation’s capital the House Impeachment inquiry garnered the testimony of a key diplomat involved in the Ukraine “arms for dirt” scandal. While the outcome of both contests is still in doubt as of this writing, it’s beginning to look more and more like the underdogs may emerge the winners.
On October 16, 2019, Donald Trump “celebrated” a millennium of days in the Oval Office, which means the rest of us have suffered with this administration for a thousand earthly rotations. The miracle is that we’re still standing, if barely.
Trump commemorated the day with a meltdown in front of Congressional leaders, including the self-release of a photo showing him being chastised by Nancy Pelosi; the leaked release of an admonitory letter to Turkish President Erdogan that reads like a Third Grade composition; the self-bombing of hastily abandoned US bases in northern Syria to prevent their use by enemy forces; the House Impeachment Hearings testimony of a chief State Department adviser who had resigned the week before in protest over Trump’s Ukraine shenanigans; and a Jerry-Springer-style meeting at the White House between the bereaved parents of a British citizen killed in a driving accident and the US diplomat’s wife who killed him.
Is Donald Trump nuts? Or a genius? Or crazy like a fox? Or cracking under the pressures of the Oval Office?
On October 1, 2019, a Dallas jury returned a verdict of “guilty” in the mistaken identity shooting case of Officer Amber Guyger, who killed her apartment complex neighbor in 2018. Off duty after a grueling 13 hour shift, Officer Guyger entered what she thought was her own apartment, actually one floor below, only to find Botham Jean, her black 26-year-old neighbor, sitting on the couch eating ice cream.
Naturally, she shot him.
Karma can be defined as the results of our actions – what we put out, comes back to us in some linked form. It is the metaphysical equivalent of Newtonian cause and effect – every action has a related reaction. It has been said that the wheel of justice grinds slowly, but exceedingly fine. Karma is intimately related to justice in that it has a component of impartial equilibrium and in time, invariably brings us what we deserve, based on our prior behaviors. Also related is Nemesis, divine retribution, an equalizing force which rectifies the balance and resets the counters of karma.
At 5:04 PM EDT on Tuesday, 24 September 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fresh from a Democratic Caucus meeting, stood before the nation and announced that the US Congress was beginning formal impeachment investigations against Donald J. Trump. Critical mass had been building for this step in the caucus for a week, since the revelations of Trump’s outrageous breech of ethics, convention and quite possibly laws, in requesting aid from a foreign government in his 2020 US presidential reelection.
Perhaps more surprising, Mitch McConnell supported a unanimous nonbinding resolution in the Senate requiring the White House to release the full report logged by a national security whistleblower concerning Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian president. Has the worm truly turned?
An emerging story casts further light on the Trump administration’s freewheeling, Mafia-style transactional interactions with foreign governments and its rampant stonewalling of congressional oversight. On August 12, 2019 a whistleblower from the U.S. intelligence community filed a complaint with the Inspector General that alleged some kind of wrongdoing at high levels of the U.S. government. The complaint was marked “urgent concern”, an unusual designation requiring immediate action, but the complaint hasn’t been made public, nor has it been shared with Congress, in direct contravention of the law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is perhaps one of the most disliked, and most effective, politicians in the country. First elected in 1984 in a squeaker election which he won by less than one percent, McConnell has won reelection five times, and faces another race in 2020. He was tapped to replace outgoing Senate Minority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) in 2006, and became Majority Leader when Republicans took over the Senate in 2015.
The self-styled “Grim Reaper” of the Senate, Mitch McConnell is where legislation goes to die. Through a combination of stonewalling, pigheadedness, and obscure parliamentary tactics, McConnell has done his level best to frustrate Democratic administrations and agendas for decades.
Former Vice President and current Democratic presidential nominee frontrunner Joe Biden is often credited with having an authentic, “folksy” style, especially when interacting with individuals who have suffered great personal tragedy or loss. There’s a reason for this: when it comes to suffering and loss, Biden has a lifetime of experience.
Just after winning his first Senate race in 1972, Biden lost his first wife and their infant daughter in a devastating car crash, which also severely injured their two sons. Biden was in fact sworn in for his Senate seat at his sons’ bedside in the hospital. Forty-three years later, the Grim Reaper picked up where he left off, and claimed one of those boys, Biden’s eldest son Beau, who lost a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Roosters crow. It’s what they do. But if you’re a wealthy retired French couple with a vacation home on the sleepy isle of Oleron off France’s Atlantic coast, and you have a local neighbor who owns one, you get perturbed at losing your beauty rest. So, what to do? Why, sue, of course!
That was the case with Jean-Louis Birom and Joelle Andrieux, who accused resident cock-of-the-walk Maurice of noise pollution in a suit brought against owner Corinne Fesseau in 2017. The acrimonious two year legal wrangle ended on September 5th 2019 when a judge in Rochefort ruled in favor of Maurice’s right to sing, awarding 1000 euros in damages against the plaintiffs.
Recently I watched a documentary on TCM which reminded me just how unusual 1939 was for the US film industry. So many classics were released that year, including “Gone With the Wind”, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “The Wizard of Oz”. Eighty years later now, I wondered why that should have been, so of course as an astrologer, for greater understanding, I reached for the ephemeris.
People often ask how I do what I do. And truly, it’s not that difficult, it just requires basic astrologic knowledge, solid data, detail orientation and the focus to do it (which my Virgo Moon grumpily supplies), allied with a bit of synchronicity, luck, happenstance or whatever you call it.
Recently an example encapsulating this process presented itself, and I thought it to be a particularly apt and illustrative case in point. Part of what I do is science, and part is art.
Early on the morning of Saturday, August 10th, 2019, billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, New York, in an apparent suicide attempt. Paramedics were called and lifesaving measures were begun, but Epstein was pronounced dead about an hour later at a local hospital.
“I am the least racist person that you have ever met,” – candidate Donald J. Trump, interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, 9 December 2015
Donald Trump’s gift for hyperbole and unwitting comic self-commentary may be encapsulated in this quote, given just after the GOP presidential candidate had called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the US in 2015. Trump had kicked off his campaign months earlier with a diatribe against Mexican immigrants, whom he characterized as “criminals and rapists.” I guess the kindergarten taunt “takes one to know one” would be appropriate here, given Trump’s penchant for projection and schoolyard bully tactics.
At 12:05 PM BST on July 23rd, 2019, in London, England, it was announced that former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had been elected Leader of the Conservative Party, currently in power in Britain. Although the formality of outgoing PM Theresa May’s resignation to the Queen, and Her Majesty’s formal invitation to Johnson to form a government, will not occur until the following day, the vote effectively makes Boris Johnson the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
A former journalist, Member of Parliament, Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary, the blonde, mop-headed Johnson has often been compared to Donald Trump, predominantly for their trademark bluster and the incendiary nature of their statements, as well as a similarly anti-immigrant, isolationist, transactional political opportunist bent. A leader in the pro-Brexit movement, Johnson has vowed to fully sever ties with the European Union by the current October 31st deadline, come what may.
In last year’s Solar Return, I opined that 2018 was the critical time – if he made it through that solar year, Donald Trump would likely finish his term in office, and could possibly be re-elected. Despite the Mueller Report’s scathing details of impropriety and actions which would be judged criminal coming from anyone not shielded by the office of the presidency, Trump has hung on. Impeachment in the House may still be on the table, but with a GOP majority in the Senate which refuses to budge on its support for the 45th president, conviction and removal from office is unlikely.
Reflecting that earthly reality, the skies seem to have parted somewhat for Trump, and the 2019 Solar Return puts a more favorable light on his prospects going forward. Believe me, I evince no pleasure in reporting this, but an old friend which has sustained The Donald since birth is once again stepping into the breach, fortifying the Lucky Schmuck with its substantial staying power and grace.
Early on Friday, May 17th 2019, the sad news came of the death of Internet feline sensation Grumpy Cat, just seven years old. The Greats always go in threes, and Grumpy Cat was preceded into eternity that week by singer/actress Doris Day and comedian Tim Conway. Grumpy, whose given name was Tarder Sauce, actually passed on the 14th, following complications from a UTI infection. One of the most photographed felines in history, Grumpy Cat had 1.4 million Twitter followers, countless internet memes and merchandise, and a loyal fan base who will mourn her passing.
On Thursday 25 April 2019 former Vice President Joe Biden entered the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Biden’s Macbeth routine, “letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’,” was wearing thin, and at his announcement Biden joined an already crowded field of some twenty rivals who dove into the political (cess)pool ahead of him. Before officially becoming a candidate, Biden’s name recognition kept him at the top of most polls; now that he’s an actual contender, that may change. Fast.
What happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object? More to the point, what happens to the poor schmuck caught between them? That’s the current position of the 45th President of the United States, whose celestial referent, asteroid Troemper, is caught in the vice of the forming Saturn/Pluto conjunction. Between Saturn’s rock and Pluto’s hard place, Donald J. Trump’s cosmic moniker finds itself in its own “place of little easement”, with wiggle room so slight that Trump can neither sit, stand, nor lie down.
On Palm Sunday 2019 South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay candidate for the Democratic nomination for US President, in a speech before more than 6,000 supporters. Known affectionately as “Mayor Pete”, Buttigieg had been turning heads with a $7 million haul for his campaign in the first quarter of 2019, even before making his candidacy official. Third place showings in recent polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as several attention-grabbing interviews and speeches, mark him as a potential force to be reckoned with in the Democratic Primary contests.
On Sunday February 10th 2019, in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The open-air Minneapolis venue quickly had Klobuchar looking something like the Adorable Snowwoman of the North, but lent force to her argument that she has “grit.” Americans are famous for making 180 degree turns in their successive presidents. Having gone from the first black president in 2008 to an apparent racist in 2016, they may be willing to make a change from the harsh, bullying misogynist Trump to a female “Minnesota Nice” candidate.
On Saturday 9 February 2019, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren formally announced her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at a rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Warren was the first to establish an exploratory committee, in late December, but this announcement makes it official: “This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way. And that is why I stand here today to declare that I am a candidate for president of the United States.”
On Sunday, 27 January 2019, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) officially kicked off her 2020 presidential campaign in her home town of Oakland, California, before a crowd estimated at some 20,000. Harris is the former Attorney General of California, elected to the US Senate in 2016. As a mixed race child of a Jamaican father and a Tamil Indian mother, Harris is the first potentially viable candidate who is a woman of color to run for president. Her candidacy will electrify liberals and promote progressive goals, such as universal pre-K, debt-free college, and Medicare for all, and a long career in law enforcement may help to remove the “soft on crime” sting that many conservatives will attempt to apply.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse … they do. We’ve seen how lousy a year this is shaping up to be for Trump personally. Now it’s the administration’s turn to feel the heat. Amazing how there are cycles within cycles with this stuff, from transits to Trump’s natal, the ongoing effects of his prior solar return, the transit sky’s interaction with his celestial referent, and now the administration itself. And all saying the same thing – you’re goin’ down, buddy!
When the 116th Congress convenes on January 3rd, 2019, it’s likely to have a most remarkable woman at its head. If chosen Speaker by the incoming Democratic majority in US the House of Representatives, it won’t be Nancy Pelosi’s first crack at wielding the gavel. The California-based Representative made history in 2007 when she became the first female Speaker of the House, a post she held until the 2010 electoral rout against the Affordable Care Act, spearheaded by the Tea Party, tossed Democrats out of power for 8 years. But progressives and Pelosi are back, and 2018’s Blue Wave has once again turned the tide in DC.
I seem to recall some perspicacious astrologer recently writing that this would be the year when the shit hit the fan for Donald Trump. Oh, wait … that was me. Well, we’re only a quarter of the way into Trump’s Solar Return year, and things do seem to be shaping up that way, don’t they? I know we keep having to say “Worst. Week. Ever.” when it comes to this White House, but truly, could things get worse than the week of September 2nd, 2018?
Actually, yes. They can. And will.
Recently, some interestingly named asteroids came across my radar, thanks to a reader from Greece. With more than 17,000 named asteroids out there, it’s easy to miss a few! Some of these promise to be very useful going forward, but like anything new, they have to be tested. One of the best ways to do this is by putting them in charts the astrologer is familiar with, and seeing if they have a noticeable effect. Since I have, regrettably, been eating, sleeping and breathing Donald Trump for the past 18 months, it seemed a good place to start…
On Saturday 19 May 2018, Prince Harry of Wales and American actress Meghan Markle will wed in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Vows will be taken at noon, before a comparatively small (by royal standards) company of some 600 friends and relatives, after which the couple will drive on a two-mile procession through the town, followed by a reception hosted by the Prince’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
As defined by the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, passed in 1933, each administration begins at 12 noon on January 20th of the year following a presidential election. Thus, all US administrations (unless they succeed mid-term due to the death or resignation of a sitting president) have essentially the same structural dimensions: a Sun at 0 Aquarius conjunct a late Capricorn Midheaven and a mid-Taurus Ascendant.