Early August saw a veritable buffet of Trumpian controversies, all engendered by the GOP presidential nominee himself, who seems to be imploding as we watch. Days of squabbling back-and-forth with a Gold Star family; a pointed refusal to endorse the Republican Speaker of the House and two prominent GOP senators in their re-election bids; an insistence on video footage of a hostage ”ransom” being offloaded from a plane in Iran, which turned out not to exist—all self-inflicted wounds, unforced errors.
By mid-week several conservative stalwarts, including Peggy Noonan, a former Reagan speechwriter, were openly speculating about Trump’s mental state. Was he going off the rails? Did he actually want to win, or was he purposely sabotaging his campaign? Why was he wasting energy with Party infighting and random personal vendettas, instead of focusing on the dismal economic recovery and national security threats?
Polls showed a large bounce for Hillary Clinton nationally following the DNC, and the swing state polling was worse, with Trump having dropped from parity with Clinton in Pennsylvania to an 11-point deficit, behind by 15 points in New Hampshire, even lagging behind in some red states like Georgia and Arizona.
So what’s going on with The Donald? A number of factors appear to be converging, in what may indeed prove to be a perfect storm.
August 6 may be one of the most pivotal days of the 2016 US presidential election campaign. On that day, Donald Trump’s progressed Sun moved from Leo, where it has been the past 30 years, into Virgo. There are very few sign changes more dramatic, leaving the bombast and self-assurance of Leo into the slap-in-the-face, pouring-cold-water-on-it, self-doubting and self-effacing Virgo.
Also on that date, transit asteroid Troemper, the closest celestial match for “Trump”, turns retrograde, indicating a period of revision and retrenchment for the GOP candidate, and reappraisal by others, lasting until the day before the election, when Troemper turns direct again.
And finally, it’s also the date on which transit TNO Chaos moves onto 22 Gemini, the degree of Donald Trump’s natal Sun. Chaos is just what it sounds like—anarchy, disorder, disarray, confusion and pandemonium, but it’s also the void: a formless, creative space with virtually limitless potential.
That’s quite the celestial trifecta of events! The pressure that had been building on Trump this week, as these factors converged, was palpable. There was talk of a campaign in shambles, with “suicidal” staffers, and a mooted “invention”. By Friday, there were signs that the freak-out among GOP elites and Party insiders, backed up by Trump’s poll plummet, might be having an effect. The Donald shut up about the Gold Star family he felt had impugned him, did an about-face on those endorsements, and tweeted an admission that he’d been watching the wrong plane footage.
But is it too little, too late? And even if changes are implemented, will they last? Can Trump control himself, stay on message, and give voters a viable, apparently rational, alternative? Apparently not. By the following Tuesday he had again uttered a serious gaffe, when he “joked” about Second Amendment supporters taking action if Hillary Clinton as president appointed liberal Supreme Court Justices. Nevertheless, the potential is there for him to make changes, if he can avail himself of it.
A week later, Trump had dumped his second campaign manager and hired his third, began sticking assiduously to the teleprompter at public appearances (mostly), and keeping his pudgy fingers off Twitter and his face off the political shows. He even expressed “regret” at some unspecified proclamations uttered in the heat of political debate. One can see the pull of Troemper retrograde, a desire to reverse course and expiate past sins, but the question remains, can Trump sustain this new, softer image, or will the raging gaffe machine return?
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors in turn. The solar sign change isn’t something that will occur all at once; it’s not like, after 30 years in self-focusing Leo, Trump will wake up the next morning and decide he’s best utilized in a service capacity, sell all he (supposedly) has, and go volunteer in a soup kitchen. It will take time for Virgo’s qualities to declare themselves, but there will be a sort of disequilibrium that asserts itself early on. Trump will likely feel “off his game,” like something isn’t quite right, but hard to point to the cause.
In time there may be a greater focus, more attention to detail, and a stronger work ethic, though it’s doubtful these will come to the fore rapidly enough to make much difference to the outcome of this present endeavor. It’s the sense that there has been a shift, indefinable though it may be, which will assail The Donald initially, and this may be enough to give him pause, to consider that perhaps, after all, he doesn’t know absolutely everything, and might need to seek advice.
And that could prove helpful. His opponent is also damaged, and many voters are looking for any option that seems reasonable. Thus far, “reasonable” is just what Trump hasn’t seemed, but voters have a short memory, and are still not truly focused on the choice; if Trump receives and follows good advice, he can still turn around the perception that he’s too much of a risk in the world’s most powerful position.
This sign change is accompanied by other factors which may affect the election as well. For Trump’s Sun isn’t just changing signs, it’s also passing over the Ascendant, and into the lower hemisphere of the chart, to a quadrant that is more focused on internal issues and attitudes than a high public profile. Trump will have an urge to pull in his horns, engage less—dare we say, he’ll become more introspective? The Sun moving into the First Quadrant, Houses 1-3, can provoke a crisis of identity, a jolt to the ego, or a need to retreat or self-efface, which may feel ungrounded and ill-fitting after the exuberance and gusto of attention-seeking Leo, the focus of all eyes.
There are also several minor planetary bodies aligned with this Ascendant, which have been emphasized in this solar progression over the past year, but which have always influenced how others see Trump. Primarily, three points emerge as pivotal elements of Trump’s current image, as represented by asteroids Apollo, Lorelay, and Patroclus, all exact on the 29 Leo Ascendant. To some extent, these have always formed a part of Trump’s public face, but have come into additional prominence this year as the Sun has progressed over them, absorbing more of their qualities into Trump’s core being.
Asteroid Apollo, according to asteroid expert Marth Lang-Wescott, has a nature of provocation, going against the odds, being somewhat of a slow learner, and banging one’s head against a brick wall. We can see this in Trump taking on the improbable task, as someone with no political experience whatsoever, of making his first foray into politics the race for president. Against all odds, Trump succeeded in the first part of this endeavor, attaining the GOP nomination, by using provocation as his tool to disrupt and eject 16 establishment rivals from the race. He banged that tangerine-tinted noggin against the brick wall of the GOP until it finally gave way, and he got what he wanted. But he also showed that quality of being a slow learner, refusing to take advice from professionals or alter behavior until he had his back against the wall after a devastating loss in the Wisconsin primary, then resolutely returning to type once the crisis had been weathered.
Asteroid Lorelay is named for the Lorelei, a mythic siren of Germanic origin, who lured men to their destruction on the rocks in the Rhine River. This quality has been in evidence throughout Trump’s life, in the form of contractors and creditors whom he stiffed on contracts or shafted by bankruptcy, and in those he bilked in his Trump University scam. Trump sang his siren song of profit and advancement, inviting others to join him in the good life he so ostentatiously wielded, but if they heeded that call, often the result was to their detriment.
His foray into GOP politics was just a louder refrain of that same old song, duping voters into supporting him with promises to bring back jobs he knows are gone forever, a wall he knows will never be built, and trade deals he knows can’t be rewritten.
But asteroid Patroclus is perhaps the most telling point in the mix. It is a Trojan asteroid, one of a cluster that follows Jupiter in its orbital plane. There are two distinct groups of these asteroids, Trojans and Greeks, separated at all times by approximately 120 degrees. Asteroids in one camp are all named for Trojan participants in the Trojan War, and those in the other camp are named for the Greeks. But readers familiar with Homer’s Iliad may note an anomaly—for Patroclus was a Greek, yet he’s part of the Trojan camp!
The confusion arises from the fact that Patroclus was discovered and christened before the naming convention of “Trojans” and “Greeks” had been established, and is in fact the only Greek in the Trojan camp. This is significant, for it defines those with a strong Patroclus as interlopers, persons who do not fit or belong in the group with which they travel, potential turncoats whose loyalties are not assured. This perfectly describes Trump, a lifelong liberal Democrat, now unofficially heading the Republican Party, as its nominee. Most acknowledge that in the role he now plays, Trump is not a Republican, nor even a conservative, but a populist; some have even speculated that Trump never intended to do more than sow dissention in the GOP ranks and damage its brand, and is as shocked by his unexpected success as everyone else.
This Patroclus “fish out of water” sensibility can be seen throughout Trump’s life and career, from the time he left Queens to take on Manhattan, a place where he was never truly accepted socially, being considered a parvenu and an upstart social climber, with money but no pedigree.
The effect of all these points has been greatly magnified by the progressed Sun’s conjunction, and these qualities have now become integrated into Trump’s core, in addition to the role they have always played in his public persona, as represented by their Ascendant conjunction. They define him now, for good or ill.
Asteroid Troemper has been a reliable marker of Trump’s performance throughout the campaign, from the moment of his announcement, when it opposed Mercury. Its retrograde station marks a major turning point in Trump’s journey, a retrenchment and reassessment of the path ahead, a pause to collect data, consider options, and revise plans.
This could well work in Trump’s favor personally, allowing him to approach the final stretch of this race in a different way. But it’s also a time for others to pause and carefully consider what it is Trump represents, how they feel about his candidacy, and perhaps reassess their support. We can see this in incidents during the second week of August such as Maine Senator Susan Collin’s refusal to endorse Trump, several GOP congressmen following suit, and an open letter from 50 former GOP administration military and national security officials who rated Trump “unfit” to do the job.
Retrogrades always involve going back over what has previously occurred; the question is whether, for Trump, this will lead to positive changes in how he proceeds, or a stubborn adherence to what has worked in the past, in the primary campaign, which now threatens to defeat him in the general election. Troemper remains retrograde until November 7, the day before the election, when it once again resumes direct motion. The most likely period within this frame for Trump to enact any changes would be during the overlapping Mercury Retrograde of late August into mid-September, or just after its conclusion. It remains to be seen if this last-minute course correction will suffice to bring Trump the victory.
The conjunction of transit Chaos with Trump’s natal Sun completes the trifecta of celestial bombardments for August 6. Chaos remains conjoined Trump’s Sun until the week after the election, with its retrograde station occurring September 23, just days before the first presidential debate is scheduled. At that time, Chaos will be less than 30 arc minutes from Trump’s Sun, powerfully interacting with the nominee.
Trump is no stranger to Chaos, which natally falls at 24 Pisces, closely squaring the 22 Gemini Sun, defining him as potentially an agent of upheaval, disruption, disorder and anarchy. His chequered marital history and string of fiscal anomalies and bankruptcies bear witness to that quality of trailing disarray in his wake, but the pandemonium he has so far incited, and may yet elicit, in the Republican Party is perhaps his finest work of disequilibrium.
TNO Chaos moves very slowly, just a few degrees per year, so it has been within orb of conjunction to Trump’s natal Sun all year, from the time he entered the race, as he sowed chaos into the GOP primary process. Since becoming the nominee, Trump’s capacity to export this commodity to a rival campaign has been severely reduced, and it is his own campaign which has suffered, with Trump continuing to tarnish the Republican brand. Fears of a GOP bloodbath in down-ballot races, with a political rout to ensue from Trump’s imminent implosion, are rife in establishment circles, causing many to openly question whether in fact Trump’s mental state is quite stable.
Which brings us back to where we started, with the Peggy Noonan crowd of doubters. Is there any astrological support for genuine mental illness on Trump’s part?
Well, yes, actually, though it’s hard to say how determinative it is.
To start off with, he has Sun conjunct Uranus, a combination not known for its stability. This is certainly the source of Trump’s extreme provocativeness—Uranus folks enjoy shocking others’ sensibilities, and are naturally disruptive, electric presences, as well as rebellious and iconoclastic, all traits Trump exhibits in spades. It’s said there is a thin line between genius and madness, and Uranus treads this very nimbly. So there is a case for, at minimum, some form of manic abnormality, and possibly full-blown psychosis, but this is a trait shared by millions of people, and they’re not all nuts.
To determine whether this latent potential is more or less likely to assert itself, we can look to smaller, non-traditional chart factors, such as MNAs, Mythic-Named Asteroids. Points which resonate to insanity include asteroids Ophelia, named for Shakespeare’s tragic Hamlet figure, who went mad; Dionysos, named for the Greek god of frenzy and ecstatic trance; and Lysa Hora, the closest asteroid match to the Greek Goddess of madness, Lyssa (though it’s actually named for a mountain in the Czech Republic).
As it turns out, all three are significant in Trump’s nativity. Lysa Hora at 24 Gemini is closely conjoined the 22 Gemini Sun, with Dionysus at 15 Gemini, broadly within orb and conjoined Uranus. Ophelia also makes a dramatic statement; at 27 Aquarius, it trine’s Trump’s Sun, but is also conjoined the 29 Aquarius Descendant, and opposes natal Mars at 26 Leo. Moreover, Ophelia is stationary, a still point in the sky upon which the rest of the chart revolves, just four days from turning retrograde.
Backing up the usefulness of Lysa Hora as a stand-in for Lyssa, Greek goddess of madness, is its transit position. During the week when Trump’s mental state became a subject of open debate, transit Lysa Hora passed through the 17th degree of Leo, setting off the exact natal trine from Uranus at 17 Gemini to Jupiter at 17 Libra, on its midpoint. That Uranus/Jupiter trine is itself an indicator of the ease with which Trump can disrupt the political world’s equilibrium.
So, yes, there’s certainly an astrologically plausible case to be made that Trump is not completely sane, and putting him in charge of the nation’s nuclear arsenal should give us pause. The potential is there for mental problems or breakdown, but at this stage, it’s difficult to say whether Trump’s possible psychosis is of the “Crazy Uncle Don” variety or something considerably more serious. Keeping the patient under close observation is suggested.