[We are delighted to announce that Alex Miller, long-time Daykeeper author, has launched a new website, Alex’s Asteroid Astrology. Thanks, Alex, for sharing this article with us.]
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. The celestial poetry involved here is apt—a government of the people (Aquarius), but focused on maintaining the status quo of entrenched power (Capricorn), charged with the management of the country’s resources (Taurus).
There is some debate in the astrological community about whether the chart should be cast for this legal definition, regardless of when the oath of office is actually administered, or whether it should be set for the utterance of those final words, “so help me God.” In the case of Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, the two coincide perfectly, with the oath being completed at 12 seconds past noon.
But beyond the unvarying skeletal structure of the chart, each administration can be assessed by the individualized quirks and foibles created by the interplay of the other celestial elements, which today include much more than the ten bodies astrologers acknowledge as “planets.” In this article we’ll take a look at the three most important chart points, the Sun, Moon and Ascendant, and the peripheral points which impact these most directly.
The Sun is closely conjoined by asteroids Iris at 28 Capricorn, Icarus at 0 Aquarius, and Isis at 3 Aquarius, so let’s begin there. Iris is most noted latterly as goddess of the rainbow, but in her original mythic Greek incarnation she performed a vital function for the pre-Olympian pantheon of the Titans (such as Cronos and Rhea), for whom she was a messenger. Thus, Iris is a type of precursor to Olympian Hermes and his later Roman counterpart Mercury, bringing dictates, providing communication and interceding amongst deities and mankind. In his populist pronouncements, Donald Trump is fond of describing his campaign as a movement, and himself as the messenger, so having Iris conjunct the Sun of his administration is an appropriate image of how the administration sees itself, a core part of its identity.
So far so good. The combination of Icarus with the Sun, however, gives some pause. This pairing is exact, with both points at 0 Aquarius; thus, Icarus powerfully informs and impacts the core essence of the administration, its basic identity and substance, the vital center (Sun).
To illustrate why this is at best problematic, we need only to look at the myth of Icarus, from which its astrological meaning may be derived (just as the basic meanings of the planets evolved from the mythic attributes of their namesake deities, i.e. Venus goddess of Love, Mars god of War, etc). Icarus was the son of Daedalus, the noted Greek inventor who created the Labyrinth for King Minos of Crete. After its construction, to prevent Daedalus from disseminating its secrets to others, Minos confined him and Icarus in a tower, from which there was no conceivable escape. But the crafty Daedalus fashioned wings from feathers and wax, so he and his son could fly to freedom. Before their flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to soar too high, lest the sun melt his wings, but youthful exuberance being what it is, Icarus ignored this sage advice, his wings melted, and he plummeted to his death in the Aegean sea. Thus astrological Icarus is noted for rash, reckless decisions or actions taken without regard to the consequences, often in the teeth of countervailing advice which if heeded, could have averted disaster.
The direness of having this energy as a founding principle of the Trump administration, through Icarus’ exact conjunction with its Sun, cannot be overstated. Trump is already noted for his shoot-from-the-hip style; easily bated by others, he responds without due reflection or forethought, impulsively, in ways others often consider rash or ill-advised. This pairing vitally reinforces every instinct Trump has to act irresponsibly, to be wary of “experts”, and to discount advice that doesn’t comport to his will or whim.*
Next we find asteroid Isis, mythically the wife of Osiris in ancient Egypt. Isis’ astrological interpretation stems from the portion of her myth following the death and dismemberment of her husband at the hands of his brother, Set. In a rage, Set had cut Osiris’ body into 14 pieces and strewn them along the Nile, and it fell to Isis to gather these and reassemble them, before bringing her husband back to life. She collected 13 of the pieces, but the final piece, the phallus, eluded her. Thus, asteroid Isis can be seen as reflective of a need to bring together disparate or sundered elements into a unified whole, but typically with one vital piece missing.
This may have an application to the administration’s plan to focus on rebuilding national infrastructures in roads, bridges, airports and rail lines. In essence, this involves reassembling vital portions of the country to reinvigorate and “bring back to life” the economy. But Isis has also accrued an alternate meaning in recent years, as the eponym of the terrorist organization ISIS, acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
As such, I found it particularly interesting that in his short inaugural address, among the generalizations and platitudes about improving the economy, bringing back jobs and defending the borders, Trump was most specific about one thing: the eradication of radical Islamic terrorism, whose most public face at the present is ISIS. Asteroid Isis’ close conjunction with its Sun shows ISIS as potentially a strong focus for the administration in foreign policy. And what may help in this regard is Isis’ conjunction with asteroid Lachesis, just three degrees further down the zodiacal road, at 6 Aquarius.
Lachesis is named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life. The implication here is that the administration (Sun), by its actions, may be able to set a terminus (Lachesis) on ISIS’ (Isis) viability. The open question here is, given the Sun/Icarus conjunction, by what means will this be accomplished? As a hypothetical, should Isis be beaten back by conventional military means to its capital of Rocca and its environs, might Trump, who has openly speculated about the use of nuclear weapons (“If we have them, why can’t we use them?”), decide to exterminate ISIS in a nuclear holocaust? Just as ISIS’ rise can be sourced directly to the decision to invade and destabilize Iraq, what further horrors might be created by the unleashing of nuclear power in the Middle East? Sun/Icarus pays no heed to the consequences, but enacts its will impulsively, without hesitation.
So much for the bodies directly impacting the Sun by conjunction. But there is also a Grand Cross, created by squares to asteroid Pelion at 0 Aries and TNO Typhon at 1 Scorpio, and opposition to a pairing of asteroid Atlantis with TNO Varuna at 28 and 29 Cancer.
Asteroid Pelion is named for the highest mountain in Greece; as such, it represents a “steep uphill climb.” In the case of the Trump administration, we might liken this to a steep learning curve, with so few staffers having any prior experience of how government works, and needing to get up to speed quickly. This can also refer to the herculean task the administration has set itself, in modernizing the country’s failing infrastructure, which could prove heavy going, indeed.
TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Typhon is named for a storm god of ancient Greece (the root of our word “typhoon”), and it represents the unleashing of powerful destructive forces. It suggests an administration embattled by controversy (such as multiple and egregious violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause in Trump’s business dealings) and dissent (as witness the nearly three million who marched in protest across the nation and the globe, the day after the inauguration).
The pairing of Varuna and Atlantis is an interesting one. Varuna represents our legacy, what we leave behind us, and Trump, with his emphasis on polls and popularity, is surely invested in that. On the one hand, Atlantis represents advanced technologies, of the type necessary to accomplish the mooted infrastructure upgrades, including such things as increased broadband Internet accessibility in rural communities, the development and integration of green energy solutions, and high-speed rail. If these can be accomplished, then Trump will leave a legacy to be proud of.
But Atlantis is more familiarly remembered for its destruction, flooded beneath the rising ocean tides, and the administration’s legacy could be a sense for Americans of being “flooded” or overwhelmed in some way. (This is further supported by the presence of TNO Deucalion at 18 Scorpio on the 14 Scorpio Descendant; Deucalion’s myth is the origin of the Biblical tale of Noah, a righteous man saved by divine intervention from the watery destruction of the rest of mankind; thus it is also an image of being overwhelmed or overcome in some sense.)
We’ll discuss the Ascendant and the Moon together, for in some ways they are of a piece. At 14 Taurus/Scorpio, the horizontal axis defines both how we present ourselves to others (Ascendant) and the ways in which we relate to them (Descendant). Four points impact this axis directly: Bienor, a centaur body, at 14 Taurus exactly on the Ascendant; a pairing of asteroids Minerva and Urania, both at 14 Scorpio exactly on the Descendant; and asteroid Hidalgo, at 14 Aquarius forming an exact T-Square.
Not much is known of Bienor, who has a very thin mythic backstory (virtually all that is recorded of him is that he was one of many centaurs killed by the Lapiths at the wedding feast of their king), and typically I don’t use this point. But one thing is known—the meaning of his name, which is, literally, “strong man.” It’s apparent that this is how the administration will attempt to portray Trump, as a quasi-mythic Strong Man who will save the nation from its decline. Trump himself has said as much, in his nomination acceptance speech at the RNC in July 2016. After painting a bleak and dismal picture of the country, Trump declared to the audience that “I alone can fix it.” When we consider that the angles are the fastest-moving points in the chart, changing degrees every four minutes, it’s astounding to find this point exactly on the administration’s Ascendant, where we craft our public image.
Minerva and Urania both deal with perception and relating, and so their joint conjunction with the Descendant is also apt. According to asteroid expert Martha Lang Wescott, Minerva represents perceptual skills, the ability to figure out or “read” people, forming strategies for dealing with or managing situations or other people, in a calculated way. This can include an element of approval-seeking, a need to do things to please others.
Urania relates to an ability to see the big picture and not be distracted or dissuaded by petty detail. Trump likes to present himself as an “ideas man”, with broad concepts setting a course for others to enact. There can be bias or distortions to rationality and the perception of true reality, as well as difficulties incorporating abstract or theoretical concepts. Having these points on the Descendant, where we interact with others, feeds into the administration’s people skills, the ways in which it enlists support and rallies others to its cause.
Hidalgo at the focal point of this T-Square again shows the administration’s emphasis on being a support or prop for the people, the pivotal element upon which its image (Ascendant) and interactions (Descendant) depend. Hidalgo is named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo, a priest instrumental in the Mexican War of Independence. Noted for his concern over the plight of the poor, in 1810 Hidalgo organized and headed a peasant revolt which was initially unsuccessful, but which ultimately led to Mexico’s independence from Spain some dozen years later.
Astrologically, again according to Lang Wescott, Hidalgo represents a revolutionary spirit, standing on principle and speaking one’s mind, though when found in challenging aspect (as in the squares of this pattern) it can manifest as undue secrecy or lack of disclosure, with expediency triumphing over truth. Trump likes to portray his supporters as revolutionaries, and is certainly not shy about expressing his opinions, as well as being remarkably unforthcoming about crucial facts (such as not releasing his tax returns). But Hidalgo in T-Square to the horizon, with the point elevated in the Tenth House, allows Trump to portray himself as the champion of the people, leader of the downtrodden and oppressed, a role he has utilized to great effect in the campaign.
The Moon is drawn into the horizontal axis by its conjunction with the Descendant, indicating the vital importance for the administration of continuing to relate to the populace, to keep them engaged and on its side. At 9 Scorpio the Moon has just set, but is still angular, denoting additional emphasis and importance beyond its normal impact, which is second only to the Sun, to which it is broadly squared. This, and its broad conjunction with Typhon at 1 Scorpio, could suggest a conflict or struggle (square) between the administration (Sun) and the people (Moon), a stormy (Typhon) relationship which threatens to unleash destructive forces. Also conjoined the Moon is asteroid Pandora at 6 Scorpio, a mythic image which also resonates to the foolish release of a host of troubles, when Pandora, against instruction, opened her box and unleashed all the ills that plague mankind.
The Moon is involved in a second pattern, linking various points all at 9 degrees of their respective signs. These include asteroids Troemper and Tantalus, both at 9 Aries, inconjunct the Moon, and asteroid Sphinx at 9 Scorpio trined it. Troemper signifies Trump, as the closest phonetic match to his name, and has proven a reliable marker for him over the course of the campaign. Tantalus, the root of our word “tantalize”, has two distinct, though related, meanings, as its myth will elucidate.
Tantalus was a King of ancient Greece, a son of Zeus by a mortal, noted for multiple infractions of the law. His initial offense was to steal ambrosia and nectar, the food and drink of the gods which preserved their immortality, to bring to his people. The theft was not only a breach of hospitality, it was an offense to the gods’ very divinity. His more egregious crime also involved food—he killed and dismembered his own son, Pelops, cooked the pieces in a stew and served him to the gods at a banquet. For his crimes he was punished with perpetual hunger and thirst. Chained in a pool in Hades, overhung by boughs of fruit trees, whenever Tantalus bent to drink the water, it receded, and whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches lifted up and out of his grasp. Thus the astrological Tantalus is noted for the commission of heinous crimes, and a state of perpetual dissatisfaction, with the desired object always just out of reach.
Having this point in exact conjunction with Trump’s personal signifier in the Inauguration chart is a symbol of potentially devastating and unforgivable actions, as well as implying that Trump himself is unlikely to ever feel satisfied or contented with what the office of the presidency brings him. Whatever his preconception of what it means to be the most powerful man in the world, the reality he encounters may prove less than ideal, with the ultimate fulfillment forever just out of grasp. We can only speculate as to what heinous acts might be engendered by a Trump administration, but as for Tantalus’ other meaning, given Troemper/Tantalus’ inconjunct to the Moon, it is likely to revolve around Trump’s popularity. Obsessed with crowd size and approval ratings, Trump may find that what he wants most, the love and acceptance of the people, continues to elude him, thus tarnishing his time in the office.
Asteroid Sphinx is named for the mythic Greek beast with the head of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle and the tail of a serpent. This creature waylaid travelers and posed a riddle, then killed and ate its hapless victims if they could not successfully answer it. It has become an image of treachery, mercilessness, destruction and bad luck. Our term “sphinxlike” refers to something difficult to understand, impenetrable, or stoically impassive. Astrologically, it represents the qualities of inscrutability, misdirection or misrepresentation, opacity of meaning and obfuscation. Having this point in exact square to Troemper, and within a degree of Trump’s natal Mercury, suggests that his true intent and meaning will continue to be veiled with confusing, contradictory and impenetrable utterances which cast more shadow than light.
One final pattern is to be considered, namely, an exact T-Square formed from the opposition of Jupiter at 22 Libra to TNO Eris at 22 Aries, both squared by asteroid Whitehouse at 22 Capricorn. Jupiter rules politics, among other things, and Eris is named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, but also represents populations which consider themselves to be disrespected, marginalized, scorned or otherwise neglected and downtrodden.
The Jupiter/Eris opposition is perfectly descriptive of the middle class white voters who propelled Trump to victory, who saw themselves as forgotten, voiceless, slighted and injured by the powers that be. Revolutionary Uranus was conjunct Eris throughout 2016, and these folk rebelled as best they could, choosing to support a complete outsider with no governing experience whatsoever, putting Trump in the Oval Office, represented by Whitehouse. The celestial timing here is awesome, bringing together three points with such disparate orbital periods. With Eris, from the region near Pluto, circling the Sun every 560 years, joining Jupiter, with its 12-year cycle, and Whitehouse, completing its circumnavigation of the sun every 4.6 years, the precision required to bring all three to 22 degrees of their respective signs at the same time, forming this dynamic pattern, is truly staggering. As always, when such celestial dynamics exist, the message is: pay attention!
But there is a warning here as well, with asteroid Apophis just one degree away from Whitehouse, at 21 Capricorn. Apophis is named for the ancient Egyptian personification of pure evil, a deity which, unlike many “evil” gods, appears to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Its proximity to Whitehouse suggests a malign, damaging influence in the Oval Office, whether that be Trump himself, an advisor, or the administration’s policies in general. Further support for this interpretation can be seen in Whitehouse’s placement within orb of Pluto at 17 Capricorn, as is asteroid America at 14 Capricorn. With Pluto the leading planetary energy governing radical transformation, destruction and disintegration, one thing is certain—the Trump administration has the potential to change both the office of the presidency (Whitehouse) and the country itself (America) in ways we cannot even imagine.
* Less than three weeks into the new administration, on February 7, “The Hill” published an option piece by reported Niall Stanage concerning chief strategist Steve Bannon’s sudden PR blitz, entitled “Bannon Flies Close to the Sun”, a clear allusion to the myth of Icarus, essentially acknowledging the impact of the Sun/Icarus conjunction in the administration chart. In the space of a weekend, Bannon had appeared on the cover of “Time” magazine wsith the caption, “The Great Manipulator”, and been lampooned as the Grim Reaper and the real power in the Oval Office in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch.