JULY 2008 GALACTIC
by Alex Miller-Mignone
On June 3, 2008, following his victory in the Montana primary, Barack Obama became the first black presidential candidate of any major political party in any Western democracy. Ever.
It was less than four years since his meteoric premiere on the national stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, where he gave the keynote speech. At the time, he did not even possess national office.
How did this relatively obscure individual, son of a black Kenyan immigrant father and a white Kansas-born mother, rise in so short a time to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, against no less a competitor than Hillary Clinton? Deep Space points such as Black Holes and Masers hold the key [for a full biography of Obama, see my article in the February 2007 Daykeeper].
Born 4 August 1961 at 7:24 PM AHST in Honolulu, Hawaii (time from birth certificate, released by the campaign), Barack Obama’s 12 Leo Sun exactly opposes the Black Hole at 12 Aquarius, and conjoins a Maser at 13 Leo. Black Hole Sun natives harbor vast reserves of energy, but this may not always be easy to access; they feed off the energies of others, and may be sources of energy attraction or energy drain, or both these modes may operate in turn. They can be magnetic and compelling, attracting others into their orbits almost effortlessly, for good or ill. Obama’s phenomenal success in raising funds, predominantly from small donations; in organizing an outstanding ground team, largely composed of true-believer volunteers; and in attracting record crowds to events across the country, all speak to this basic magnetism and energy attraction.
Black Hole Suns also have a chameleon-like ability to be all things to all people, making it difficult to ascertain their true natures, which often remain hidden. They may dramatically reinvent themselves, and are adept at presenting a false front, projecting whatever persona best suits their ends. They can act as catalysts for others in crisis or transformation; door wardens between alternate realities. They have the ability to pull a rabbit out of the hat, to bring about dramatic reversals and changes of fortune, to permanently alter the existing status quo in the twinkling of an eye. Obama’s sudden emergence on the national stage in 2004 is a perfect example of the Black Hole Sun native’s ability to step from one reality into another, exploding full-blown from the parallel universe of relative anonymity into the political spotlight. The fact that he was able subsequently, despite the publicity and buzz, to hide his light under a bushel to the extent that the Clinton campaign seriously underestimated him as a competitor indicates a well-developed ability to hide in plain sight, to blend in with his surroundings until ready to make himself known, and then to alter the existing reality to conform to his wishes.
It is intriguing that both George W. Bush, Obama’s Oval Office predecessor should he win the November election, and John McCain, his chief competitor for that office, also possess Black Hole Suns, Bush’s in exact square, and McCain’s in exact conjunction. Between them, these three men exemplify the differences in Black Hole Sun interactions by hard aspect.
With the square, Bush thrives on conflict, bringing crisis, strife and negative energy to whatever he touches, but remaining largely unchanged himself, rooted in a reality which does not reflect the world the rest of us inhabit. He is constantly in conflict with objective reality, seeking to remake it to suit his own subjective one. With the conjunction, McCain is susceptible to dramatic and transformative life experience, a captive of his own nature, but able to readily conceal that nature and maintain a false image for others. With the opposition aspect, Obama is both freer to express himself or make his own way, and yet more at the mercies of the vagaries of fate, as represented by those “others” which the opposition describes. Where Bush is a magnet for failure, devastating loss and waste, and McCain tenaciously projects an image totally at variance with his record, Obama is a blank slate which allows others to write their hopes and fears upon him. As such, it is his associations with friends and the assertions of enemies which define him for others, more than any image he himself constructs.
With the Sun also conjoined a Maser, Obama has an electric, charismatic personality, able to excite and enthuse others. His energy is infectious, but he may also be susceptible to eventual overload or breakdown. Masers provide high-level energy, but it is of a nervous, febrile, chaotic kind, and it can also debilitate, causing periods of lassitude and collapse. Obama’s uneven performance on the stump in the last third of the campaign may reflect this energetic imbalance (or it could be a very human reaction to the enormous demands of this campaign without end). There is further a potential for controversy, disruption, and even violence with this placement, originating from or directed toward the native [see my article on “Masers and Assassination,” in the May 2008 Daykeeper]. Obama’s rock-star persona, the avid excitement with which he is greeted by huge crowds, and the enthusiasm he generates are all examples of the positive manifestations of his Sun/Maser conjunction. Controversial associations with former pastor Jeremiah Wright, campaign investor Tony Rezko, and former ‘60s radical William Ayres are illustrative of its more negative, disruptive effects.
The Moon at 3 Gemini exactly opposes a Black Hole at 3 Sagittarius. Among other things, this describes an unusual, disrupted childhood, aptly borne out in Obama’s biography by the loss of his father to divorce when Obama was two, his uprooting and displacement to an alien culture in Malaysia at the age of 6, and separation from his mother to be raised by his maternal grandparents at age 10.
Mercury at 2 Leo exactly conjoins a Black Hole, and it is this which is the source of Obama’s persuasive, compelling rhetoric. The ability to craft just the right turn of phrase, to remain cool and collected under pressure, to praise even opponents with deference and grace, but also to cut to the heart of their differences with surgical precision and devastating effect, are all gifts of Black Hole Mercury. Thinking quickly on one’s feet, inspiring others and convincing them of the truth of one’s own perspective, garnering support for one’s own views, and presenting cogent, workable plans of action round out the potential positives for this placement in the political arena. Unfortunately, there is also a greater-than-usual susceptibility to having one’s words misrepresented, misquoted, misinterpreted, and misused, and there may be a difficulty in having one’s message heard. At times this message problem can be seen by others as a lack of meaning, as mere words without any substance behind them, and rightly or wrongly, this accusation has been leveled at Obama more than once. Others may harbor inaccurate views of the native, as in the persistent internet rumors that Obama is Muslim.
This strong Black Hole Mercury is allied with a galactically-augmented Pallas, the strategist of the cosmos, gifted with enhanced pattern-seeing abilities and capable of working out plans of attack several moves in advance, able to clearly see the ramifications and potential pitfalls of every choice. At 24 Pisces, Obama’s Pallas is exactly squared two Pulsars, at 24 Gemini and Sagittarius, and falls on the midpoint of the Black Hole at 24 Aries and the Quasar at 24 Aquarius, in exact semisextile to each. Pulsars provide a constant influx of data from which Pallas sifts what is pertinent and important, reviewing this through the lens of the Black Hole, focused on the parallel reality that is waiting to be born, and then bringing that into this reality with the auspices of the grounding, achievement-oriented Quasar.
Pallas devises the stratagems to bring this hoped-for reality into existence, and can be seen in the phenomenal ground game played by the Obama campaign. Mobilizing hundreds of thousands of small donors, directing thousands more volunteers, knowing exactly which precincts to target to maximize delegate counts state by state, and understanding the importance of caucus structure, were all key to his primary victory, and all Pallas perks. Obama’s people rang rings around the Clinton campaign, whose chief strategist Mark Penn was certain of an early victory from California’s mega-delegation by Tsunami Tuesday, apparently blissfully unaware that the Democratic primaries, unlike those of the GOP, were not winner-take-all, but proportional. Obama garnered more delegates in lightly populated Idaho, which he swept, than Hillary netted in closely contested behemoth New Jersey, which she won, but so narrowly that Obama took almost half its delegates.
Venus at 1 Cancer exactly squares the supermassive Black Hole center of Galaxy M-87. The Black Hole Venus native is attractive and desirable, with a pleasing, affable, polite and courteous manner, all attributes Obama exhibits. This placement has contributed to his telegenic quality (also in part conveyed by natal Neptune at 8 Scorpio squared the Sun) and the deferential, almost soft-spoken aura, adding to his appeal as a refined, “gentlemanly” individual, though it is also the source of what can be portrayed by opponents as affectation or elitism.
Black Hole Venus also speaks volumes for Obama’s fundraising capacity. Eschewing the traditional sources of presidential campaign financing, lobbyists and fundraising dinners with fat cat donors, Obama took a new tack direct from the alternate reality of the Black Hole, focusing on internet fundraising and small donors, eventually swamping the Clinton campaign with a database of more than a million contributors, raising a total of $265 million in the primary season, and setting a new record (as of April 30, 2008, with another 5 weeks of the primary remaining). In March 2008 alone, the Obama campaign raised more than $55 million, eclipsing by more than 25% the prior monthly record of $44 million set by John Kerry in 2004.
But Venus also rules values, and an early inability to project those strongly left voters the opportunity to fill in the blank spaces for themselves, by evaluating his associations with such controversial figures as Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger [see my article “Pastor Problems” in this issue of Daykeeper for more details]. Where Black Hole Venus pulled in vast sums of money, it also left a void in the critical arena of the candidate’s values—just who was Obama, and what did he believe? These are questions still left largely unanswered.
Mars at 22 Virgo exactly squares a Pulsar at 22 Virgo; Pulsars provide information and are media-related; if there are any sexual skeletons in Obama’s closet, we will surely hear about them. The fact that we haven’t thus far suggests that there may be nothing to know. The Pulsar function of accruing, analyzing and disseminating data is interesting to note in light of Obama’s early and vocal opposition to the Iraq War, as represented by Mars, at a time when most politicians were stumbling over themselves to conform to Bush’s bellicose agenda. It took courage to broadcast (Pulsar) these anti-war views, and Obama has reaped the rewards of his principled stance in the support of the activist left of the Democratic Party. However, this Mars also exactly conjoins the USA Neptune and squares the USA Mars at 21 Gemini, perhaps bringing confusion or disillusionment to the nation’s military matters; Obama may not be the best agent to extricate us from the quagmire of Iraq.
At 0 Aquarius Obama’s natal Jupiter opposes his 2 Leo Mercury and is in a tight trine to the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra, a point with a mass of five billion suns, holding more than 100 galaxies in its thrall. This greatly enhances his rhetorical gifts, and conveys acute political savvy as well; it can also translate as a good bit of old-fashioned luck, being in the right place at the right time. In part the success of his 2004 Senate race can be attributed to the unexpected withdrawal mid-campaign of his popular Republican rival, Jack Ryan, over a sex scandal, which is an illustration of the type of serendipity Black Hole Jupiter can provide. The effect of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, three celestials so vital for a politician’s success, linked to an anomaly with the greatest pull in the cosmos is an invaluable asset, but it could have a negative consequence in causing Obama to over-reach, to take his victory as assured and ease his vigilance too soon.
Saturn at 25 Capricorn retrograde conjoins a Pulsar at 26 Capricorn and squares the Black Hole at 24 Aries. Saturn tied to a Pulsar suggests a pragmatic, fairly open relationship with the media, Pulsar-ruled, and Obama has shown himself to be canny and effective when dealing with the press. Information is key to his career success, and the campaign’s detailed targeting of specific voting districts and demographics is in part a function of this combination. Saturn/Pulsar also indicates a facility and ease in disseminating the campaign’s message, particularly via high-tech, cutting-edge means (as further indicated by the exact inconjunct of Uranus at 25 Leo to Saturn). Certainly the internet has been used to great advantage by Obama, from fundraising to organizing volunteer efforts and keeping surrogates focused on the daily talking points.
The square from Saturn to a Black Hole is considerably more problematic; it can indicate dramatic success in career matters, but there is also a susceptibility to sudden reversals of fortune or devastating loss, self-inflicted wounds and awkward mis-steps, more than a few of which have already appeared in this campaign. Some Black Hole Saturn natives chase the will-o-the-wisp of their careers for decades, with the prize always seemingly just out of grasp. It generally indicates huge amounts of time and energy invested in career, and this has surely been the case this year with perhaps the longest-fought primary in recent memory. On a more personal level, Black Hole Saturn also represents the father lost at age two, for whom Obama expressed an ongoing yearning in his first autobiography, Dreams from My Father.
With Chiron at 5 Pisces retrograde in the First House, Obama presents himself as a peacemaker and healer, but also as a maverick outsider who can turn the Washington establishment on its head. Exactly conjoined a Quasar, this element of his personality is very forceful and apparent, but whether he can truly make a difference remains to be seen.
Natal Uranus at 25 Leo opposes the Quasar at 24 Aquarius and the USA Moon, representing the public, at 26 Aquarius. This Quasar contact promotes a “modern,” even “hip” feel to the candidacy, and assures the support of the liberal progressive base, as well as lending technical proficiency to the campaign, probably the first truly innovative, post-internet political venture in the US, able to fully integrate and capitalize on current technology in its pursuit of victory. The contrast between the rival camps was glaringly exemplified in early June when the McCain campaign formally hand-delivered a letter challenging Obama to a series of Town Hall debates; the Obama camp expressed themselves mystified as to why it hadn’t simply been emailed. The opposition to the USA Moon is useful in stirring up the electorate, and particularly young people, but it may also indicate an image of Obama as elitist or somehow too exotic to be a comfortable match for the American public. Ironically, it is the genetic and cultural background identifying him as a living exemplar of America’s “melting pot” which may cause voters to reject him as too alien.
Uranus tied with Saturn by inconjunct and the USA Moon by opposition indicates that Obama also runs the risk of being interpreted by the populace not so much as a political individual but as a social movement, something one has to “join.” The USA Moon conjoins a Black Hole at 28 Aquarius, one of the sources of the notoriously fickle moods of the American electorate; they are changeable and prize a common touch, a sense that their president is “one of us.” Obama may have difficulty achieving this image if what he represents overwhelms who he is.
Natal Neptune at 8 Scorpio conjoins the Black Hole at 6 Scorpio and opposes a Maser at 7 Taurus, as well as squaring Obama’s Sun at 12 Leo. This lends a certain degree of glamour to Obama, but also suggests that others do not see him clearly, and may find themselves disillusioned or disappointed, if not before the election, then by his administration. There is a strong element of escapism in this placement, which could indicate alcohol or drug abuse, and Obama has been disarmingly frank about his early marijuana and cocaine use in his first autobiography. Neptune opposed the Maser implies controversy regarding his spiritual beliefs, which has already manifested both in the whisper campaign of his supposed Muslim faith and in the Jeremiah Wright incident, but which may have additional incarnations as the months until the election unfold.
Natal Pluto at 6 Virgo exactly conjoins a Black Hole; there is a core of steel to Obama, and a strong drive for power. In Virgo, and opposed natal Chiron, this may well manifest as power to do collective good and service to others, for instance, to clean up the mess he finds in Washington. But it is not without its pitfalls, as George W. Bush, whose own Pluto conjoins the Black Hole at 9 Leo, can attest. Bush’s Black Hole Pluto exposed the dark underbelly of the American psyche, and brought us corruption, cronyism, and torture via Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Will Obama’s root out this cancer, and provide the cleansing and rebirth which Pluto also rules?
Will it ever get the chance? That’s a question we’ll deal with in subsequent articles, when we review the galactic case for the election of John McCain or Barack Obama.
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.