by Boots Hart
Constitutionally, the incoming President assumes the powers of the office at noon on Inauguration Day. Metaphysically however, the job is taken on when that President speaks his vows. Metaphysics not being as fussy as the Constitution (or any number of lawyers), the vow the new President speaks is the vow s/he does swear by. So at 12:05 pm on January 20, Barack Obama became president, despite the odd moment when the masterful speaker (Obama) and well seasoned lawyer (Chief Justice Roberts) did a bit of a dance with the precisely prescribed words. Very Mercury retrograde. And with the time of inauguration having been scheduled for noon, 12:05 yields a swearing in chart only a bit different than a noon chart representing the needs of the nation and expectations of her people. But though the chart looks quite similar, astrology is a very exact science. Small things can mean a lot—as can whether you read the chart as the event, or as a human being promising to serve as Commander in Chief.
The 29 Scorpio Moon which from the perspective of the people represented skepticism and fear about a nation and people being riddled by debt and plagued by deceit, with animosity within and without…that Moon in the 7th house when read as Obama's becomes a primal Administration statement to the US people and the world. Its placement in Scorpio, sign of debt, power/control, taxes, inheritance, conception of life/death—this is a veritable litany of the "hot button" topics Obama has vowed to get into: stem cell research, war, financial bailouts, inheritance taxes and the power and influence wielded by "haves" with little or no regard for "have nots," wherever they be.
For the people this Moon reflected a critical loss of confidence in the US, its monetary and credit system—and the loss of faith that people and companies felt coming into the election. Wall Street, Main Street—everything came to a virtual crunching halt. The nation, the economy, the people could not continue doing as they had. And that reflects a Void of Course (VOC) Moon, which is a Moon which in being past aspecting all other planets in a given sign is, beyond reach, metaphysically without motivation to do more.
But when that Moon's the symbol of the new President? Then it's the astrological equivalent of Obama saying "the buck stops here."
As for that retrograde Mercury, at 0 Aquarius, it's the highest (most aspirational) symbol in this chart, speaking to the ideals and new ideas the administration holds as its most important goals. But first? This being Mercury retrograde, it symbolizes Obama beginning his administration by reviewing things already done, rejecting, amending, adjusting, reworking and trimming along the way, with zero Aquarius manifesting as basic ethics. And how long will this go on? Given the time between the January 20 inauguration and Mercury going direct on February 1, we see projections of 12 days, 12 weeks and 12 months implied as "steps" towards getting things figured out, turned around and into gear.
The whole of the solutions begun now will take a full 12 years for the United States to emerge from current snafus into new and untouched fertile waters, a projection which takes us to January 2021. At that moment Saturn, symbol of all we earn, build, develop or learn through determined, long-term effort will be entering Aquarius, signaling the completion of this national phase in conjuncting the 0 Aquarius of the Mercury and Sun in Obama's inauguration chart.
Because Saturn is also the symbol of leadership and a government's duty to mete out justice, the fact that the Saturn in this chart is in Virgo underscores the importance of pragmatism and careful structuring, with attention to detail. But with this Saturn positioned in the fun-loving, willful 5th house, the process involved is not only going to seem interminable (read: no instant gratification), but also challenge the nation and its people to get out of their comfort zones.
In opposition to Uranus (change), this Saturn is a polarity of tension between want and need. And as this pair rules Aquarius, it has enormous symbolism in a chart with six Aquarian symbols—the Sun (will, life, goals), the aforementioned retrograde Mercury (new, improved, egalitarian ideas), Jupiter (expansion, prosperity, unbiased equality), North Node (uncomfortable necessities and a need to sacrifice in a good/ultimate cause), Chiron (learning through difficult/noble processes) and Neptune (idealism/illusion/faith/dissolution). And with everything except Neptune in the 10th house, the Sun-Mercury-Jupiter-Node-Chiron conglomeration points to rebooting commerce and de-stratifying government, all while putting the nation on a diet of lean expectations with a healthy side order of morality.
However! It's plain that with a Virgo Saturn in the 5th, the people will need some fun, too. Obama will support this through recognizing the long-term value of arts, athletics and old-fashioned family togetherness. Through loving protection of their own children and differentiating between caring for and spoiling their kids, Michelle and Barack will also model parenting to many who have forgotten the importance of investing in their own adulthood, so that the kids have someone to want to grow up to be.
Beyond this, the President and his wife will both stress the importance of childhood health from the individual and societal point of view: a healthy home environment is as much about emotions and food as furnishings or toys. And while children are a nation's future, as well as a source of comfort, fun and pride to adults, those adults are in charge of the society those kids are growing up in. Kids give adults something to live and strive for. They also should be an inspiration which causes adults to be constructively conscious of their own challenges. This President will always stress the partnership between government and people, emphasizing how everyone needs to do their part because in a society of equals, everyone has an equal responsibly to contribute in whatever way they can. The Pisces-Uranus opposing Virgo-Saturn dynamic clearly states that society can never be a utopia in which people can do nothing, or do merely what they like. Ability, not pleasure, is the measure here—and Obama will openly and freely admit this isn't likely to be something the people want to hear.
As for children, the Virgo Saturn in 5 makes them as much a privilege as a treasure; society cannot and should not be expected to make up for lacks of real-life adult realism. Government is not supposed to be parental, it's supposed to be a system which protects a people and supports their efforts to better and empower their own lives. That the health of that system—from infrastructure to jobs to housing to health care to issues concerning defense, food and the environment—is all quite evidently out of balance, Obama sees and will have to cope with. But expect him to comment on his concern about how the nation got to where it is. The mental and moral health of a nation which has allowed itself to run aground in so many ways is an obvious sign of insidious problems far beyond the obviously critical symptoms.
So as much as this administration would love to make everybody peachy-keen happy, this Oath Chart speaks to a President who knows there's a lot of hard work ahead, and that it has to be done right if it's going to support the needs of the nation and its people moving forward. Saturn opposing Uranus is the image of the tension the President, his administration, the nation and its people can expect to endure throughout the next four years. It also represents the call the President is making (and will continue to make) urging people to join in the work. Working together, he will tell the United States, is not only good for the nation, not only the way forward for its people, but a clear path to self-respect, individual empowerment and a feeling of intrinsic satisfaction any person can have. We're going to hear Obama tell the nation that income is not going to be what it was for many and for some, yes, life is going to be dicey. He's going to come clean about a lot of jobs going away and the need to flexible. The people of the United States need to learn new skills and think ouside the box because this is the moment for the American people to rebuild themselves as a more integrated people in the beliefs they all truly share, but which they may have been afraid to live on a day-to-day basis.
With Uranus and companion symbols Venus (gains) and Part of Fortune (gateway to the future) positioned in Pisces, Obama will allow as how many people are scared, and how that's understandable. But he will warn against anyone allowing themselves to be frozen by fear or to isolate themselves because of fear, or to succumb to greed or selfishness because of fear. The nation has to let go of many things, but most of all its fear of change. As pictured by Pallas (knowing) in trine to the Jupiter (growth of knowledge), Sun (life design) and retrograde Mercury (ideas which need to be thought over), President Obama knows that the upgrade of the nation's infrastructure and the phasing out of outmoded industries and passé business models is as much an internal as external process. He knows the people need time to work the idea through, but as imaged by a strong Capricorn Mars (determined action) and critically fired up Juno at 29 Capricorn (the protective warrior), he's not prepared to let citizens sit around and whine or dawdle.
These symbols are a plain image of a government on the move and one which is not tolerant of waste or excuses. The people of the US had best expect a few comments on the benefits of humble expectations, and the assumption that they should be willing to trade in their love of luxury and excess for honorably moderated goals which include the elimination of what is currently a virtual caste system built on money and social privilege.
With the North Node in 10 and its secondary ruler in the Pisces 12th, Obama isn't interested in wasting the genius of his people. Part of his Uranus-opposite-Saturn call to volunteerism is because Obama knows how inspiring unity in a cause can be. With Venus and Part of Fortune beside the Uranus side of this equation, however, he's also hoping to unleash and empower creative abilities among the people which have too long been shut out by the system—and which in time can meet federal efforts at least half way. And maybe more than half way.
As for the small time difference between the inaugural schedule and the actual time of Obama's oath, that moves Neptune from inside the 11th house (reflecting weakness in the area of income, retail sales and budgets, be they corporate, civic, state or national) to a position exactly conjunct the 11th house cusp. This resulting fusion is the very image of Obama's faith and idealism in society and people. Is it justified? So long as Obama holds to prioritizing the ideas and ideals upon which the United States was founded, without making it all about him and his personal ideals, probably yes. The challenge defined here is one of operating in a mirror: so long as Obama believes in his belief in the country, the country will believe in his beliefs in the country—and them—as a blessing. And so long as the people believe they are cherished and blessed, they will give and try and live up to Obama's inspirational belief in America as a beacon to the world.
But given his job, it's not going to be easy. Though this Neptune and many other factors in the chart speak to Obama being a President who intuitively understands the need of a leader to be believed in, as much as he understands that getting his people to believe in themselves instead of factionalizing in self-glorification and materialism (a principal downfall of recent years), Obama's personal chart (particularly the Saturn/Jupiter in his 12th) also suggests that he knows that being an icon is a very tricky thing. It takes combining the real and reachable (that a person can identify with) with being ethereally and inspirationally untouched, and thus unsullied.
It's a tall order. But then, Obama is a tall man.
With Mars and Juno in the government's sign of Capricorn and the "idea as ideal" 9th house, the world can expect the Obama Administration to adopt a tone which is spiritual but not specifically religious. Unlikely to make God a partisan focus, Obama is more likely to remind everyone, everywhere, of the intrinsic miracle of human incarnation and the implied responsibility to do something with the gifts and graces given to each and every one of us. The Aquarian Mercury-Sun-Jupiter-North Node stellium in the 10th underscores sharing ideas, welcoming all points of views, and preferring solutions which call on all sides to give something, to name-calling, defining "right," and use of military might.
Obama's administration, with its Pluto conjunct calculated Lilith, seeks to eliminate past politics of fear and exclusion while emphasizing positive potentials. Imaged by the 3rd (everyday actions) and 4th house (the people) being Cancerian and thus ruled by the VOC Scorpio Moon, Obama recognizes the strength and influence of grassroots potentials at home—and their ability to eliminate extremist positions and violence, regarding social, religious, "monetary class," racial, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or any other kind of bias. With the highest symbol in this chart—an Aquarian Mercury in retrograde—Obama will issue the challenge: society, heal thyself, and tell people that they should look in their own backyard. The United States can't tell anyone else to clean up their act if the US doesn't clean up its own act first.
While understanding the plight of other nations, this administration will prioritize American needs—while requiring citizens to amend attitudes about entitlement, personal and financial. The stellium of Aquarian planets which clearly embodies Obama's belief in America as a great nation of opportunity also implies many hard choices in the offing which break from the status quo, including some which differentiate between conceptual (universal) justice and what any nation can be expected to actually do for the world, considering its first priority must be its dury to its own citizens.
Obviously not all of Obama's proposals are going to be greeted with rapturous applause, but he'll persist, both at home and abroad. The 29 degree Moon being "beyond" the symbolic reach of other symbols in this chart, plus the placement in Scorpio (fixed water) is the symbolic statement that this is a man whose emotional mindset is secure and very cool—very "no drama Obama.'"
As represented by prime axis points (the Ascendant, IC, Descendant and Midheaven), the people came into this moment with a (14 Scorpio Descendant) hope for a better future colored by the guilty recognition that they've been self-centered, materialistic and as addicted to the intoxication of virtual fear as if we were a bunch of American Romans at a debauched modern banquet, laughing like hapless Neros as flames rose up all around. The Administration (15 Scorpio Descendant) understands how the nation has come to act like a spoiled, badly raised child, and is prepared to dole out equal measures of warmth and firmness of tone in letting the people (and world) know that Sheriff Hard Work is back in town. The road to freedom, for a nation or person, lies in learning how to be independent. The tough part? Hard knocks, repeated failures a lot of trying and a fair amount of being told "no."
Nowhere is this likely to be more seriously felt than in business and housing. Coming to this day the people and nation's (26 Cancer) foundational need was imaged by a Sabian Symbol which read "a violent storm in a canyon filled with expensive homes," and their (14 Taurus) actions, those of a man in a silk hat braving a cold storm—social ambitions (wealth) confronted by crisis.
Obama's oath answers with 27 Cancer at the foundational point of the chart, speaking of a return to native values. And though we can expect his actions to reflect the 15 Taurus rising (some efforts being frustrated by the inadequacy of preparations coming into this time), the 27 Capricorn high point of this chart (its aims) and the 29 Scorpio Moon (as the result of all things) clearly make this a man who understands human failings but who is calling upon himself, the nation and the people of his nation to reach beyond the status quo and mundane desires to something which is really of value, which can benefit individuals, future generations and a human race which needs to come into balance with a planet which will exist and evolve whether humans survive or drive their own race into extinction.
POSTSCRIPT: OBAMA'S SECOND OATH
In response to inquiries regarding President Obama taking the Oath of Office twice, Article 22 of the Constitution terminates the powers of the previous administration at noon on Inauguration Day, empowering the incoming administration to act should something happen before the new President speaks his or her promise to serve. Thus to some extent, the whole swearing in process is less legal and more a matter of tradition and pageantry. It's also why we can look at the chart cast for noon and see there so clearly the image of national hopes—what the people want and need from their new President. In that moment, the people invest themselves in their new leader.
Yet there's more to it than that. When the President takes the Oath of Office by repeating the words of the Chief Justice, there's an important promise beyond the obvious. By following the Chief Justice's lead, the new President (as head of the Executive Branch) is acknowledging that neither the Office of President nor any part of the Executive Branch exists above the law.
The flip side of all this is that metaphysically, Obama becomes President when he takes a public oath vowing to serve as President. And that promise he made at 12:05 pm on Inauguration Day (12:05:50, if you want to be exact).
Does anyone doubt that the Executive Orders signed by Obama the next day prior to his "re-swearing in" are effective? Evidently not. So the re-swearing seems to have been a matter of protocol, something done to squelch doubt and assuage possibly ruffled pleats, which given the many nit-pickers and pot-stirrers in this world seems a sensible thing to do.
But astrologically? The moment in which a person makes a vow—whether you're marrying a spouse, a company or a country—that's the moment of metaphysical truth.
Boots Hart is an ISAR-certified astrologer with over 25 years experience. She is a featured columnist for New York Spirit Magazine, long-time contributor to Zodiac Arts and author of a humanistic science-fantasy book series being brought to publication and film production. Boots can be reached at Mentorus@gmail.com for questions or astrological services.