These Men Have Issues
Dear Friend and Reader:
Once I read an article in an astrology magazine about how to figure out who is going to win an American presidential election. “The person with the worst chart wins,” said the author, who had been paying attention for a while. Astrology, a vastly complex subject, often seems best suited for teaching in one-line quips.
I don’t want to predict who will ‘win’ the election, mainly because the process seems so heaped on with agendas, puppetry, muppetry, dishonesty, evasion, paranoia, Big Bird being served for Thanksgiving dinner and, most of all, way too much money, that I doubt there will be an actual winner. After a fuss, someone will take office, and sadly, the public seems to be the party that loses at every turn. That said, it’s now that time in the election season to look at the charts of these candidates. Before we go forward, I would like to give my official astrology disclaimer, paraphrasing our Terms of Service.
Astrology is not the truth. It is a form of personally applicable mythical fiction. Astrology is a story, which I am basing mostly on the charts of these two men, in accordance with my skills and intuition, and which to a lesser degree I’m basing on my knowledge of them as public figures. These are living people, which entitles them to a measure of respect, and they are public figures seeking vast amounts of power over our lives, which entitles us to examine them with careful scrutiny.
Before I read the charts, let’s do a birth data check. When doing natal astrology, it’s essential to have good data, or to know when you don’t. Such a big deal has been made of Obama’s birth certificate that we know his time better than any candidate, ever. He was not born in Kenya. He was born in Hawaii when it was not only an island but actually a state. His data gets the highest rating: AA (which means birth certificate in hand), even if Donald Trump doesn’t like it.
As for Romeo, his data gets an A rating, the second highest, by our profession’s most respected collector of birth data, the late Lois Rodden. (An A rating can mean ‘from memory’, because either he was wearing a watch when he was born, his mom told Rodden, or it was reported in the newspaper.) So: we have two candidates with good birth times, which helps us do an actual comparison of the charts.
Let’s start with Obama. [View both charts side by side here.] There’s only one thing I respect about him, which is an aspect in his chart. Obama’s regal Leo Sun is opposite a very weird minor planet: Damocles, named after the guy from the Greek legend.
I say weird because this little planet has an elongated (way elliptical) 40-year orbit, and it spends nearly all of its time in Aquarius. It then races through the other signs in a very short time, and then is back in Aquarius for what seems like forever. It was named for a slave (or courtier, in some tellings of the legend) who was envious of the magnificent fortunes of the tyrant he served. So the tyrant said, OK, you want to be king? Have a seat on my throne. Sitting there, he noticed a sword that dangled all the time by a single thread, usually over the king’s head but now his — and the thread could snap at any moment.
Obama has his Leo Sun so precisely opposite Damocles that it really does feel like the sword hanging over his head by a thread (the opposition is exact to a quarter of a degree). To me this gives new meaning to the line, “Either his brains or his signature would be on the contract,” from the scene in The Godfather. This is the famous scene where the guy is made an offer he cannot refuse. Obama lives under this pressure all the time, which is why I think he would do something like sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) even if he didn’t want to.
You (as in you) can claim you wouldn’t sign a law that allows U.S. citizens to be arrested as enemy combatants, but then, you’ve never sat underneath that sword. You don’t have to think: I can do something noble, and my kids will grow up without a father. Well, maybe I’m giving him too much credit. He may be serving his role just as he expected to, and just as he promised he would.
Astrology depends on these things called houses, which tell us the environment where certain events happen. One is called the 8th house, important in astrology for many reasons (most often, a map to financial matters), though in part because it sometimes describes the nature and cause of death, and one’s relationship to the topic of death.
Obama has Mars there. He fears and indeed may expect a violent death, and he’s likely to be easily swayed by that idea. He doesn’t need it explained to him. He passes this fear off as a kind of intellectual construct, but it looks like he’s easily manipulated by the silent knowledge that he could end up like so many other politicians who refused the offer.
Obama has had a deeply troubled past — worse than we know about. He was subjected to some kind of extreme psychological cruelty as a child, and it haunts him constantly. The aspect is the Moon in the 4th house, conjunct Nessus, the centaur associated with these kinds of issues. The 4th is the house of emotions, security and family of origin. Obama is the living incarnation of The Drama of the Gifted Child, and he probably thinks he’s our therapist. He is also tapped into some deep, ancestral cruelty — a pattern of abuse that goes back generations, like a family tradition.
There is also a security and comfort factor here. It’s as if he was so often subjected to a morph of psychological and emotional abuse that he feels safe in a danger zone, which I guess should be a prerequisite for any president.
One problem, however, is that the aspect involves his Moon in Gemini, which under such stress has a way of splitting him in half; the psychological word is ‘dissociative’. This is a typical response to extreme abuse. What it does is give him the ability to subvert his feelings and his intuition, and to work with two separate sets of ethics, almost as if he’s two different people. One is obvious to see; the other, you have to look for carefully, going outside the mainstream media for your information.
He is extremely good at cultivating his friendly, neighborly PR image, but the split shows up, for example, in something I read on Alternet this morning: “Perhaps the most damning fact about Barack Obama is that his administration has indicted more than 100 people for distributing medical marijuana — and not prosecuted a single major Wall Street executive for fraud.”
This becomes a serious problem when we consider other aspects to his Sun, and nearby Mercury. Both are square Neptune (tense, 90-degree angle), which is not inherently given to honesty. In fact this is often a situation where the person must do a lifetime of learning and growth to learn what honesty even is, why it matters, what it means to be real with yourself, and why you want to be. There is an integrity problem here. Obama is a talented liar, helped by the fact that he’s the kind of guy who believes his own PR.
Obama was also born in the evening, moments after sunset. This puts many factors of his chart on the relationship side of the wheel, in the west, sometimes called the zone of projection. (He has a Leo Sun with Aquarius rising.)
Charts like this can produce people who will morph into whatever they perceive others need them to be, to get the approval they need. By itself, this can be worked with, but with so many other factors suggesting integrity problems, the bottom line is we have no idea who this person really is. This shows up in shadow form with the conservatives who cling to their ‘birtherism’, trying to claim that Obama is not American, or not loyal to the United States. They are seeing shadows and making up stories.
Do we ever know who a public figure is, having had no direct personal experience with the person? There are always limits, of course, but some people are more transparent than others. And some are less. Obama is impressively opaque, though he seems transparent.
Let’s consider Mitt Romney. The first thing I see when I look at his chart is that Venus is the highest planet. This is his charm, if you can call it that; he’s charming in that B-rate actor playing a presidential candidate kind of way. This planet is placed right on his ‘presidential angle’ — the 10th house — and it’s what makes him Big Boss Man.
This guy is certain that he was born to be big. He cannot help it; it’s in his karma. He just knows for super duper sure that he’s cut of that old-fashioned presidential timber (and that part of his ‘destiny’ is that women are going to help him get there).
Venus, a planet involved with emotional receptivity and emotional intelligence, is in Aquarius. In her classic work, Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook, Debbi Kempton-Smith described this as a person who acts like an $80 robot from Sears. She wrote this in the 70s, I guess back when Sears sold toy robots. (Who knows — they still may.)
Have you ever seen that YouTube video of Romney campaigning for Senate in Massachusetts about 20 years ago? The one where he walks into a diner, and everyone is sitting around eating? “This is terrific! What’s going on here today?” As if he’s never seen people eating, he bumbles around: “Look, a room full of humans. What are they doing? Oh, they are consuming foodstuffs. Hello, consuming humans! I mean ‘fellow humans’ haha. What does your foodstuff taste like? Hello! I am a politician.”
It would be painful to watch, were it not so damned strange. I’ll come back to Venus in Aquarius — his whole chart pivots around this one placement. Note, if you have it, it doesn’t automatically make you a robot; you might just be a little like Mr. Spock. You might be able to feel your feelings; just make sure you can feel those of others, and you’ll be fine.
Romney was born with the Sun in Pisces, along with a cluster of other planets — Mercury, Ceres and Mars among them. Pisces is the sign of illusions; it changes constantly and evades accurate perception. Mercury happened to be retrograde in Pisces when he was born, which is like a long discussion with yourself, where you don’t necessarily tell the truth, and which can break into a full-on convoluted internal argument that nobody seems to win. It’s also about marching to the beat of a drummer that nobody else can hear.
The first thing I think of when I see this Pisces cluster is “pleasure seeking.” I know we think of Romney as “business guy,” but really he is Mr. Lifestyle. He wants you to know it, and he wants it to be visible. He can’t be humbler about his car elevator because he so desperately wants you to know he has one. What good is a car elevator otherwise?
This excess factor is confirmed by his powerful, very exact Scorpio conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. This describes both sex and money: he can never get enough, no matter how much he has. How he goes about this doesn’t matter; it’s meeting the goal that does. This aspect screams with entitlement, as if he personally inherited the world. Maybe he was a Mormon on another planet, did very well for himself, and got the Earth as his reward.
Now, back to that Venus. I said that it’s the highest planet in his chart — the most elevated in the sky. That gives it a lot of what the old astrologers called ‘accidental dignity’. It makes him an elitist, the kind of guy who can only relate to others he perceives to be of his class. Even though Venus isn’t terribly happy in Aquarius, it’s particularly strong in Romney’s chart.
Strong — and under siege. It’s at one point of a cross — a fairly rare aspect called a grand cross. (This is four planets spread at 90-degree angles to one another.) To one side is the planet of psychological abuse (Nessus, which is also strong in Obama’s chart). For this guy, love is a bitter pill. To another side is Chiron, an aspect structure that I could write a book about, however, we see it demonstrated plain as day in his values about women, which are both conflicted and controlling.
And then Venus is opposed by a rare conjunction of Saturn and Pluto — chilly, detached and yet intense. There is a real drive for power here, and it’s all about him. I think we are looking at a sexual hypocrite to the highest order of magnitude. Washington D.C. is famous for this, though I think that Mitt Romney stands tall in this regard.
He impresses me as a three-hooker kind of guy. At least in his dreams, he needs the three most beautiful, best-dressed and (most of all) most expensive call girls in town. Then he needs them to do all manner of delightfully perverse things to him, simultaneously, for hours on end, till they finally start to get sleepy. That’s when he reminds them to vote for him, and invites them to church the following Sunday.
Think of this as a consumerist form of polygamy. It’s also not sex for the sake of love, or human contact, or venting steam — which he seems unable to blow off in any event (the pressure just builds and builds). It’s sex for the sake of power, and getting over on people — just like he lives the rest of his life.
Romney gives me the impression of being 100 psi of scandal pumped into a 10 psi tire. He seems on the verge of exploding, and my impression is that sooner or later he will. True, his 8th house Juno in Sagittarius looks like he’s Mr. Monogamous Marriage. It can also say, “My wife is chattel, hence, all women are chattel.”
This looks good from the outside, because the family image he portrays plays right into a scenario most people think they can relate to. It’s vital to remember that politics is as much about image as your average television commercial.
We get a more concise statement of his true spiritual values in his 9th house Pholus in Capricorn (think Rupert Murdoch and News of the World). He can conceal all kinds of unusual things (including psychological distress, which may be medicated) in that Capricorn 9th, while maintaining the appearance of propriety. Mormons, particularly of his age, are conditioned to repress their sexual energy to an extreme degree, and when that happens it can have some strange manifestations. In my perspective, what is happening behind the scenes would actually be shocking to most people. Whether or not he takes office, this will come out in one form or another. If he does not take office, eventually there will be that, “My God, this guy could have been president” moment.
His 10th house Venus in Aquarius, aspected by Nessus, Chiron and the Saturn/Pluto conjunction, has him pulled in four different directions all the time. He ‘doesn’t know who he is’ because he’s split four ways down the middle; it’s like he’s drawn and quartered psychically. But he’s learned how to juggle this, and the man knows how to have fun. Especially in public office, which he wants more than anything in the world, and which in many ways he is simply not compatible with. I don’t think that a Romney presidency would end well, especially for him. This man has enemies, and most of them are Republican.
Which chart is ‘worse’? I think Obama has suffered more and, despite his political and psychological problems, I think he’s closer to his humanity. And I think that most people can feel this, mostly in the form of expecting more humane conduct from him. Just remember: Mercury stations retrograde on election night, so there really are no guarantees, including the outcome of whatever administration takes office on Jan. 20.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 #922 | By Eric Francis
Late Libra Birthdays
If you focus your energy and ambition, you will discover that your self-doubts are not only unfounded, but also that they only cover over your perception of your talent. It’s essential that you offer yourself only to situations where you feel an authentic sense of emotional commitment, proceeding with dedication that is not just an idea, or about some immediate passion, but rather coming from a deep place of contact. That’s your assurance that what you’re doing will be mutually beneficial and nourishing. You may still not be having the easiest time where personal relationships are concerned, though you have developed a skill of being able to do a bit more of the adapting to the quirkiness of others — and for a while that will ease the way. Still, you must learn to make demands on people to respect your needs, your growth process and your individuality. That will be easier as your longterm project of cultivating true self-respect develops, but still, that extra step of holding others to a standard of fair treatment is something that you will have to learn and that may not come naturally to you.
The Sun enters the sign Scorpio Monday, making the first of three Sun-Saturn conjunctions (there is another one, next year). This is a roundabout way of saying that Saturn is in your sign, and if you’re born early in Scorpio, it will be making a conjunction to your natal Sun all year. Sun-Saturn is one of those ‘enforced growth’ kind of transits, encouraging you to stabilize your emotions, to come to terms with the past and ultimately, to be your most dependable source of authority. The Saturn principle says, “Run your own life and others will not be able to run it for you.” Living this way requires a commitment, more indeed than most people choose to embrace; they would rather have someone else tell them what to do. (This, by the way, explains most of politics and why people don’t take a greater role in what influences their lives so profoundly.) Many other factors in your chart are encouraging you to deal with the past rather than avoid it, and if you are willing to do that, you will discover that you possess a kind of dissolving power that both allows you to resolve what is no longer serving you, and grants you an unusual creative ability to envision a new life for yourself. This will not happen overnight, but if you devote yourself to it daily, you will get results sooner than you think.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Why oh why is sex such a secret? I know enough about the history of sex to be aware it’s been this way for a while, and across many cultures. The topic of what people do naked, or think about doing, or want to do, almost always has a taboo over it. Yet the conspiracy, the cover-up, the dishonesty and the impulse to power that we see in our society certainly have a special place in the trophy room of history. Right now it would seem as if you’re trying to contain something about yourself, something you’re concerned others, or someone in particular, might discover. Though this may have an answer that seems obvious, what exactly is your concern? What do you think will happen? I suggest you spend the weekend getting clear about what exactly you’re fearful of. I also suggest you ask how you would respond if someone close to you had a similar concern about your discovering something. Once the Sun changes signs to Scorpio Monday, you will feel how good it is to let the light into dark places.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — The Sun ingresses your opposite sign Scorpio on Monday, which indicates a shift of tone in your relationship life. Things could go one of two ways from here: toward greater depth and understanding, or toward separation. My impression is that events will proceed along a path that seems organic; emotions, like water, tend to flow with the psychic landscape. There’s a larger story involved, however, and it involves your longterm needs for clarity in your relationships. Clarity is a form of understanding, and in our current version of the world, it’s natural to experience that as vulnerability. There is also something about the nature of exchange. I believe that many people withhold generosity because to give to someone is to set up the conditions for loving them; I’ve seen over and over that we love who and what we take care of. I know it’s supposed to go the other way, and sometimes it does. The question is no longer what you can get, but what you can give. It’s no longer who belongs in your life, or not; the question is why or why not.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — It’s essential to know what you want from your relationship experiences, and what you want to offer. The emphasis is now on exchange. It’s also on taking certain factors seriously that you have neglected before: particularly the essential element of sexual healing that is such a strong theme in your relationships. It’s usually easy to pretend this one doesn’t exist — though not with Saturn in Scorpio pushing this to the point of immediate necessity, particularly since the Sun is about to arrive on Monday. It’s time to note certain facts of existence, and begin making decisions about how to approach them. Until then, I suggest you take advantage of a rare aspect which will help you find people in your environment with whom you’re in affinity. This will work on nearly any subject, though you have an opportunity to put it to use to make contact with others on this singularly avoided topic — the necessity for sexual healing. This theme will extend into your circle of friends as well as your family. If you’re feeling inhibition, get over yourself, and do what you know it’s time to do.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — It can take some perspective to figure out how much damage religion has done to you — especially if you don’t think it’s done much damage at all. In my view, the most serious problem with religion is the way that it takes control over the most sensitive matters of the human experience: for instance, sex, death, cosmology, values about money and who is allowed to relate to whom. This is all packaged up as God’s will. The question of the hour is, how would you have your life be, if all of those rules were suspended? What would you believe, if nobody told you what to believe, or tried to enforce your views with guilt? By the way: the presence of guilt in any area of life is clear evidence that religion has been through the territory. That any of these aspects of life could be made into a moral issue is evidence of the same thing. I’m aware it can feel destabilizing to challenge any of this, and often guilt is the first emotion to rush in. This time, however, I suggest you greet it with some healthy skepticism.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — It seems like you’re about to discover the truth about a family secret, something that’s potentially eluded you for years. This comes right around when you’ve made the decision to take charge of your personal affairs in a new way. You’ve always been one to assert leadership in your relationships and your ‘tribal’ surroundings, though not like you’re experiencing now. You appear to be making peace with how you’re emotionally motivated, which is at the seat of your ability to make and keep such deep commitments. Yet now, you’re doing something truly admirable, or you can if you want: intervening in the process of the generations going by. You have set a limit on something, with the purpose of opening up a clear space for something else. You know that these two things cannot coexist; just like being functional has a way of contradicting dysfunction. And, behold: truth contradicts secrecy.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Many people have fantasies of writing down their deepest secrets, and a second layer of wanting others to read them. You would be amazed the dance that people do with themselves: writing under fake names, hiding things on their computers, writing things and then burning them, as well as experiencing all kinds of fear about what would happen if [whatever]. The planets are now aligning in such a way that’s facilitating your being unusually honest with yourself about these intriguing aspects of your life. You have room to explore, to go deeper than you ever have before, and to feel the strength of expressing your vivid truth to yourself. If you encounter fears, blockages or apprehension of any kind, I suggest you keep going, because the best stuff is going to be on the other side of those seeming barriers. Then comes the question of sharing. You might fear that if you’re truthful with anyone, a conspiracy against you will erupt. You are right about one thing — there is a conspiracy, and it’s known as LIFE.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Do you want a relationship, or do you want some opportunities to experiment and explore? Over the past couple of years, circumstances have guided or pushed you in the direction of the unknown. You may be feeling like you’re on an edge of some kind, and I would not be surprised if you’re feeling a little more fear than usual. If so, consider this. There seems to be some aspect of yourself that you’re reluctant to reveal to others, while at the same time you know this is the most meaningful thing about you. It’s also likely to be an attribute of yourself that would help you connect with others in a nourishing way, were you able to be open about it. Consider the last couple of days of the Sun transiting your sign to be a kind of incubation phase, while you make contact with whatever this element of yourself is. Get used to the fact that it’s there. Then once the Sun enters Scorpio on Monday, you will feel the beauty and value of what you possess.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Structure is no more an impediment to your dreams than a car prevents you from driving someplace. Yet to have the freedom that a car offers, it took focus, ingenuity and dedication on the part of inventors and engineers — and the driver had to get access in the form of buying or borrowing one. You’re in approximately the same place with your life right now: you cannot have the freedom of expression you dream of without some structure and discipline around your goals. Daydreaming may feel liberating, but it’s really a distraction, and a form of boredom. Yet it seems that the moment you get close to the point of embracing some firm path or pattern and applying it to what you desire, fear takes over the equation. You may change your point of view when the Sun ingresses your sign Monday. Notice how much you get done next week, and remember how good it feels.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be making one discovery after the next about what is going on in the depths of your psyche. This is at once liberating, pleasurable, painful and daunting, or perhaps these sensations are coming in waves and various combinations. Most of all, it’s necessary, particularly in an era when the most powerful psychological force is denial, which is another way of saying ‘keeping secrets from ourselves’. Now, there are a few factors to be aware of at this juncture. One is that the deeper you go, the more you may encounter a new kind of loneliness. As you keep going, you’re then likely to discover a new kind of self-presence, which you have, in the past, had a tendency to cover over by involving yourself with others. Now, no other person can get in the way of your relationship to yourself, and further, I strongly suggest you select people to be with on the basis that they not only ‘support’ but actively encourage you in your relationship to yourself. Here is the catch: there’s a degree to which they must be left out of that very process, which means that jealous people are not your friend. Far from it.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Your charts are rather emotionally potent at the moment (an understatement), and I suggest you ask yourself whether you’re feeding on intensity for its own sake, or you actually have something to express. You seem to be seeking peak experiences, which isn’t unhealthy in and of itself — the question is the content of those experiences, what they offer you, and what their influence is on the environment of your relationships. Are you creating a diversion of some kind, or are you reacting to pressure within you that you don’t know how to handle? It’s possible that there’s an exaggeration effect going on; you’re perceiving others as being overly serious, and they are perceiving you as failing to see the virtue of self-control. If so, there’s some truth to the equation. I would ask, however, what is underneath all of this emotional intensity. What is driving you? What’s the source of your restlessness? You may just be reacting against gaining the emotional discipline you know you need to cultivate.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Is there a mystery to success? There certainly seems so. Intelligence, a good plan and hard work are sometimes enough, though often there’s a necessary missing factor. I suggest you contemplate what that factor might be over the next few days, as the Sun gets ready to cross the midheaven of your solar chart. There is an answer to the riddle, and it’s pretty easy. It will be a lot more meaningful coming from you than from me, so I’m going to wait a week before telling you my theory. I will give you a clue, though — it involves something about the supposedly inherent nature of your zodiac sign, perhaps the quality most often noted by astrologers. Meanwhile, you seem to be confronting some issues about whether you’re a ‘popular’ person or not. There’s some actual fear involved in this equation, and I suggest you keep the discussion with yourself on that level, rather than the popularity level. It’s clear, though, that if you’re in harmony with yourself, others will feel much more in harmony with you — or you will simply move on when they are not.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — It’s time for humanity to stop falling for the toxic lie that there is something ‘unspiritual’ about sexual feelings, and the ways in which we may share them with others. This struggle is the result of moralism, not spirituality, and anything that’s moralistic is far from the realm of healing, spirit or love. You’re someone who is not only naturally inclined to see the organic relationship between what humans think of as eros and what they think of as divine; you are the one who lives this connection, perhaps more readily than anyone you know. Saturn in Scorpio is setting an agenda that it’s now time for many others to enter this territory. On Monday, Saturn will be joined by the Sun, adding light, heat and sanity to a situation that is slowly driving many people insane. On Earth, it’s also one of the most corrupt aspects of life, which accounts for so much death and destruction. Your role is to live steadfastly in the space that sexuality is among the highest orders of spiritual truth. Be bold and sincere. Err on the side of openness and freedom. To do this you will need to access your deepest strength and your commitment to life. In doing so, you will be aligning yourself with a source of energy and wisdom that can and will nourish you for the rest of your days.