JANUARY 2009 GALACTIC
by Alex Miller-Mignone
By Constitutional fiat, as per the 20th Amendment, all administrations begin at noon on January 20. This affords a remarkable continuity from one administration to the next—virtually all have Tenth House Suns at 0 Aquarius, conjoined a Midheaven at or about 26 Capricorn. All have Taurus rising, Cancer at the Nadir, and Scorpio on the Descendant.
These are all appropriate to how we view ourselves, and how others view us. Sun in Aquarius stresses the egalitarian society based on the principle that all people are created equal, and shows us as we wish to be seen, as a free society focused on human rights; as innovative and technologically advanced; as youthful and energetic. The Tenth House position and conjunction with the Midheaven points up our status as premier world power, something reinforced by the conjunction of this 26 Capricorn MC with the nation’s natal power center of Pluto at 27 Capricorn, affording each administration the opportunity to wield naked power on the world stage. In and of itself the Capricorn MC suggests the importance and impact of Big Business on the national image; the mentality that states that “what is good for General Motors is good for America.”
The Taurus rising shows us as others see us—materialistic and stubborn, not to say obtuse; somewhat overly concerned with pleasure and sensuality; acquisitive and obsessed with money. The Cancer IC shows us rooted in family, tradition, hearth and home, the Rockwellian “mom and apple pie” image the nation clings to, long after its era has passed. And the Scorpio Descendant shows the reality of how we interface with others—based on commerce and shared resources; the expression of our power, both economic and military, often enacted via underhand or unacknowledged means; and the sexuality pervading our cultural exports.
But within these set parameters, there is remarkable fluidity from one administration to the next, in the placement by House and Sign, aspect and galactic contact, of the remaining planets of our solar system.
The Obama administration will be highlighted by an exact conjunction of the Sun and Mercury at 0 Aquarius, with Mercury retrograde. This mirrors the Clinton administration, which also sported a Sun/Mercury conjunction, and stands in sharp contradistinction to the Bush administration, with no aspect between the two. Both Clinton and Obama are noted for rhetorical gifts which were sadly lacking in Bush, and this can be intuited from the relative combinations of Sun and Mercury in the charts for these administrations.
Obama’s is the only one of these administrations to take power under Mercury retrograde, which may have to do with the need to roll back many of the decisions and actions of the past eight years, but could also indicate a more introspective, deliberative cast to the new leadership, as well as the likelihood of some significant degree of bureaucratic and administrative confusion, delay or ineffectiveness. Sun/Mercury in conjunction also suggests a more youthful, energetic administration, something noted in the Clinton years which largely evaporated under Bush, who, despite being of Clinton’s generation, depended on so many of his father’s former advisors and long-time cronies in key positions.
The Sun of the Obama administration is also conjunct Jupiter at 3 Aquarius, reflective of the spirit of hope and optimism with which the incoming regime is greeted. In practical terms, however, this may manifest as biting off more than one can chew, taking on too much and becoming bogged down in the overwhelming nature of the task at hand. There is also the risk of becoming overly identified with a political philosophy which trumps pragmatism. But compare this to the Bush administration Sun’s conjunction with Neptune, indicative of the routine deception and misdirection practiced by the regime; the inability to face reality; the blind adherence to an ideologically-based policy despite overwhelming evidence of its failure; and the incompetence and confusion at times of national emergency, such as the ineffective response to hurricane Katrina.
One point of commonality between the last administration and the new one is the House placement of Pluto—in both inaugural charts, this exemplar of major change and transition falls in the Eighth House of shared economic interests, and this is surely appropriate given the devastating turnaround and disintegration of the nation’s economic health which was overseen by Bush, and the desperate need to rebuild these structures now under Obama.
Again, companion celestials reveal the differences—in the Bush inaugural chart, Pluto is paired with the Moon, a prophetic image of the economic devastation wrought on the American public in the past eight years, including a phenomenal expansion of the national debt, now doubled to 11 trillion dollars in just two terms. In the chart for the Obama administration, Pluto at 1 Capricorn is exactly conjunct asteroid Industria, signaling both the intense amount of effort which will be required to pull the country out of its economic morass, and also the sweeping changes likely to be seen in the nation’s manufacturing sector, its industrial base. From this degree Pluto is also exactly squared to the supermassive Black Hole at the center of Galaxy M-87, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware, holding more than a hundred subsidiary galaxies in its thrall. This suggests enormous changes and truly titanic levels of transformative energies, although, as with all Black Hole interactions, it is impossible to determine in advance whether these effects will be positive or negative.
Both administrations also have an angular Mars—for Bush, this fell at 16 Scorpio, in the Seventh House, conjunct the Descendant and exactly opposed a Black Hole. This clearly signals the bellicose foreign policy, the “with us or against us” mentality which has caused our relations with other nations (Descendant) to deteriorate. This opposition to the Black Hole indicates not only the enormous loss and waste due to war, but its position in the First House also reflects the complete reversal in the way the world views us, created by our martial exploits and stubborn unilateralism. The Obama administration’s Mars at 18 Capricorn is also angular, conjunct the 26 Capricorn MC, but from the Ninth House this suggests more energy focused on diplomacy and forethought, rather than ill-considered action. However, Mars is also conjunct a Black Hole at 19 Capricorn and asteroid Sisyphus at 15 Capricorn. Both could indicate much energy expended to little purpose, lost to the voracious appetite of the Black Hole, an image of futility in action, like rolling that rock endlessly up that hill in Hades, only to have it roll back down again. Asteroid Icarus at 24 Capricorn also straddles the space between Mars and the MC, and may indicate a tendency to rash or reckless actions which are highly visible on the world stage. While this does not seem to characterize Obama himself, known for his unflagging cool, it is important to remember that the administration is so much more than the man who heads it, and the impulsive or reckless behavior of subordinates can create far-reaching repercussions which will have to be dealt with by the president.
The Moon at 29 Scorpio in the Seventh House signals an electorate that is pretty much at its breaking point—tired of the seemingly endless scandals and corruption of the Bush years, the petty backbiting and partisan bickering, ready for a renewal and regeneration of unprecedented proportions. This is a populace under a great deal of stress, one that can turn ugly if further frustrated. Obama will need to make good on some of the seemingly endless supply of hope and optimism which trails him like a mantle, and do so quickly, before apathy or antipathy act to deflate the spirit of the American public further.
A union of Venus at 17 Pisces and Uranus at 19 Pisces, in square to the Black Holes at 18 and 19 Sagittarius, indicates further shocks to the nation’s financial systems, and a possible radical devaluing of the dollar. But in the Eleventh House, there is also a call to public service here, to valuing community and working for the common good. Women are likely to prove the most controversial or provocative members of the administration.
The Saturn/Uranus opposition which was exact on Election Day is still operative, and shows Saturn now at 21 Virgo retrograde, in the Fifth House. This may augur well for education reform, a systemic overhaul of how we manage our children from pre-school to college, but also signals a damping down of frivolity or pleasurable pursuits. Time to get serious about the nation’s problems—Obama will not be taking a year’s worth of vacation time during his administration, a la Bush.
Saturn trine the 18 Capricorn Mars indicates a smooth flow between the chief executive‘s agenda and the follow-through to carry this into fruition, harmonious relations with the military, and fortuitous timing, a skill which should not be underestimated. If real estate is all about location, location, location, then successful policy is largely about timing, timing, timing. If the nation is ready for what Obama presents, he’ll have an easy time getting it passed and implemented.
A conjunction of Chiron at 19 Aquarius in the Tenth House and Neptune at 23 Aquarius in the Eleventh bridges government action and community organizations, offering hope and direction from above which manifests in myriad outlets focused on healing the nation’s ills through the involvement of everyday citizens and support groups. Chiron/Neptune can release a great deal of empathy, but it is not always very practical in its application.
Several additional asteroids form intriguing patterns. Greek deity Hephaistos at 16 Taurus is exactly conjunct a Black Hole and conjoins the 14 Taurus Ascendant, while his Roman counterpart Vulkanus at 25 Cancer conjoins the 26 Cancer IC, and is within orb of the Black Hole at 28 Cancer. While both these gods represented chthonic, uncontrollable forces of the deep earth, Hephaistos in particular was also noted as the chief engineer and inventor of the Greek pantheon, a figure of ingenuity and resource, even if that came with volcanic, unbridled emotion. Vulkanus is much more primal, and his presence on the IC could indicate the lurking potential for an angry, destabilizing eruption of the American populace, should the current recession deepen into depression.
Asteroid Washingtonia at 9 Leo is exactly conjunct a Black Hole, implying that Obama may be able to actually make significant changes in how the government operates, remaking the capitol in his own post-partisan image. Asteroid Hillary at 26 Taurus conjoins the volatile, controversy-provoking Maser at 28 Taurus, and falls in the First House. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will certainly be the most visible face for the administration internationally, as the First House location implies, but the Maser contact is likely to provide a fair degree of drama, if not directly, then via the antics of her husband, who has been forced to curtail much of his fundraising and business activities as part of the deal cut to smooth Hillary’s path to State. The thought of Bill Clinton with too much time on his hands does give one pause.
Probably the most disturbing element in the inaugural chart is the placement of asteroid Barry, representative of Barack Obama himself ("Barry" being what he was called in youth). At 18 Sagittarius, this potent piece of space debris not only exactly conjoins a Black Hole, it is trapped by square in the contest of wills being mounted between Saturn and Uranus, forming a tense Galactic T-Square. Will Obama fulfill the promise of his progressive, Uranian roots, or will he become co-opted and mired in the same old entrenched Saturnian status quo? Additionally, Barry falls in the Eight House of death, and is conjoined by Ixion at 15 Sagittarius, named for the mythic Greek character who was the world’s first murderer. This Trans-Neptunian Object often features prominently in charts for famous murders (see my article “Ixion and Murder” in the April 2004 Daykeeeper Journal). Assassination is nothing more than politically-motivated murder, and in combination with Obama’s natal Sun/Maser conjunction, a celestial signature which has often manifested as assassination in the late twentieth century (see my article “Masers and Assassination” in the May 2008 Daykeeper Journal), this is indeed a disturbing pattern.
Overall, this is a chart with promise, but also pitfalls. The incoming administration has a very full plate of unpalatable entrees left by the Bush regime, and with a nation already suffering from economic indigestion, finding just the right combination of medicines to cure our ills will be a very tall order.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.