Neptune, Nessus and the Government Shutdown

Photo by Romaine Laurent via We Transfer.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Before we get into tonight’s topic — some astrology related to the government shutdown, which I’ve traced back to the beginning of the Trump candidacy — I’m here to check in personally.

I know that my role as a reporter is to write about how unusual things are and to document the astrology behind them, though we are really off the charts (so to speak) these days. I keep noticing an energetic quality of everything pulled taut and thin, like Saran Wrap placed too tightly over a bowl with pressure coming from inside. Some days it feels like the oxygen is running out of the environment.

Other days, it seems like every system in the world is stretched beyond the capacity for which it was designed. This is true of people, too. Humans are resilient, to a point; many are feeling the strain right now, and are fragile. This is psychological and emotional, where resources are running thin; and it’s also about time. People have never seemed busier and more overextended, often needing to plan basic social interaction weeks in advance.

To me this describes a condition where there is a lack of flexibility, and where nobody is really sure how to get it back. (The way to do it is to cut back your time commitments and to hold time in reserve; to leave yourself as much unplanned time as you can, which means to cut back on the planning.)

Image, Illusion, Advertising, Complexity

Part of what is stretched is credulity. The notion of the truth carrying any real influence seems to have evaporated. We are so overwhelmed by image, illusion, advertising, complexity and cultivated misunderstanding that there feels like very little is left to exchange in terms of what is bona fide true and real.

Advertisements don’t sell products, they sell images and false promises. This one is promising you the perfect life and a girlfriend who likes to suck the foam off of a glass of beer on a mythical trip to the beach.

It is not especially safe to let one’s real self out these days. After all, what you think or who you are might be considered offensive — and I mean really offensive. Anything could qualify. I have succeeded in pissing people off for admitting that I don’t understand something. Now you have to pretend to understand exactly where someone (or some group position) is coming from, or you’re somehow intentionally disparaging them.

And there are quite a few people taking some unusual positions that are frankly not that easy to understand, or that make no sense at all, though feigning comprehension would seem to be mandatory.

This is a stretch, and it does not leave you a lot of room to consider the possibilities, such as for who you might be, or what your values might be telling you.

Yet at the same time there is this demand to be “authentic.” If we’re going to put social pressure on people to be authentic, which means real, then everyone has to be much more tolerant of diverse viewpoints.

Similarly, our culture at the moment claims to be placing a value on diversity, and then smashes on anything that sticks out or is actually different; anything that departs from the new norm of appearing to conform to what is preordained to be “authentic” and “diverse.” You cannot be real without challenging someone or expecting to be challenged. That’s the whole point of real: to confront yourself and the people around you with what is true for you. And even if that confrontation is gentle, it requires tolerance, acceptance and adaptation on everyone’s part.

Yet our social and political environment that claims to value inclusion above all else seems to be entirely intolerant of these qualities. This is disingenuous. It’s also hypocritical and, in my opinion, dangerous. What’s really being demanded is the illusion or image of being tolerant (a form of virtue signaling), at the expense of the reality of being so. Of course, accepting that others may have differing views is challenging to one’s own views, if someone is insecure. Accepting the truth, or even that someone is different from you, can mean rising to that challenge.

To me this all seems vapid, and lacking meaning, which is a good place to engage the search for meaning, particularly inner.

I just saw an email from a past client, who wrote, “In regards to the astrological atmosphere, it has been tough but utterly rewarding and high growth. May as well enjoy the journey.” That’s a resourceful approach: to make the most out of our current conditions, which can certainly be fostering of spiritual progress.

Two Environmental Factors: #1, Robotics

Before I get into my specific astrological observations about the government shutdown and associated astrology, I have something for you to consider, which is my take on the factors in the environment that are driving the current madness of the world, and this sense of tension. There are two, on which I elaborate in the most recent Planet Waves FM near the top of the program.

Will Robinson (Jack Johnson) and his robot friend in the newer version of Lost in Space. We’ve been conditioned to think that robots will be big machines that roll around on tractors, not artificial intelligence scripts living inside of computer systems.

Environments tend to be invisible, or to lurk below the level of full awareness; it’s only when something goes wrong that we’re likely to notice them.

The first is the digital environment, which is now being driven by artificial “intelligence” and robotics. We are surrounded by robots and dealing with them constantly — such as every time you talk to Siri or Alexa. News feeds, Google, social media — all are driven by robotic consciousness and the scripted illusion of thought. This is not the tin can kind of robot of Lost in Space fame but rather a state of mind.

We become like our tools, and it’s a stretch to expect humans who have bodies and feelings to think like automated scripts.

Part of this environment is that it’s made up of zeros and ones. This, I think, is driving the “all good vs. all evil” state of mind where there is no gray area or actual tolerance.

Marshall McLuhan said that we shape our tools and then our tools shape us (many have observed this; he documented it). We, as in humans (who work places like Apple), have crafted these robots, and everyone either bought in or got subsumed, and now we’re conditioning ourselves and one another to be like them merely by using them. This is threatening us with a kind of mass delusion or even insanity, and we’re seeing the results.

Even the thought of this is painful, and I believe it’s the primary force driving the detachment from reality that we’re experiencing. (This will come to a boil with Chiron in Aries, demanding that we re-evaluate our sense of self.)

Planet Waves
An astonishing photo of three simultaneous cyclones: Hurricane Katia making landfall over Mexico, Hurricane Irma approaching Cuba, and Hurricane Jose reaching peak intensity on Sept. 8, 2017.

Environmental Factor #2, Climate Spiral

Second, so far as I can discern, we are in the midst of the climate change spiral. We should be calling this climate chaos. This is not a news item right now; there are no wildfires, hurricanes or floods in the news today. Yet it’s operating in the background and it’s doing so all the time. Without the federal shutdown, we might have some bandwidth to discuss this matter. With it, we are in one of those politically induced moments of amnesia.

This is related to individual survival, community survival and species survival. Let’s consider the last one, which doesn’t usually get activated too often.

We are living with the feeling, the idea, and periodic physical evidence that our planet is threatened. We’re also living with the feeling that the authorities who have created this problem are also unable to respond to it. So add to the mix a sense of betrayal and futility. And that (all), in turn, is driving a subtle, invisible sense of desperation that we’re experiencing right now: the sensation that time is running out. It may well be.

Which leads me to the government shutdown. Right now, the federal government system is slowly going out of business. With all the problems in the world, and all the needs of daily life, federal employees and officials are working without pay, and their agencies are slowing down to a halt. These include the TSA, the federal courts, the Veteran’s Administration, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and many others. This is not just about the employees themselves but also their families, and everyone supported by these agencies.

For example, if HUD does not pay landlords, federally supported tenants risk being evicted. Many thousands of federal contractors and their employees are not included in the 800,000 figure describing affected personnel. Then there is the Coast Guard, and all of the many people who are actually supposed to be protecting points of entry into the United States.

And we’re supposed to believe that the president thinks this is all so he can get a wall through ranchland on the Mexican border? Like we need it right now, this minute, urgently enough to stop the world? Urgently enough to storm out of meetings?

For those curious what the Mexican-American border looks like, someone did a video using Google Earth imagery — accounting for the whole all 1,954 miles of it. It’s a very interesting six minutes of viewing.

Trump has many motives to distract the attention of the whole country with this shutdown. By many indications, we are close to seeing the results of the Special Counsel’s investigation into whether he collaborated with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. I will not address that question in the charts, but I will come back to it.

Planet Waves
Trump addresses the nation on Tuesday night. Who thought that was a good idea?

Part II: The Charts in My Studio Bathroom

In this section, I’m going to look directly at the astrology, though to keep things simple I’m going to focus on just Nessus and Neptune, both in Pisces.

Since I am giving the technical background, this section will be better for slow reading at your desk — or better yet, printed out — so you can look at the charts in the context of my words and scribble some notes onto them. Skimming will not work. This will take some patience but it will be worth it.

Thanks to having the 2016 election and 2017 inauguration charts hung up over my studio toilet, I spend some time with them every day, and have for years. The more beer I drink, the more I look at them (that’s a joke; I don’t drink any beer, but if I could, I would drink stout). One of my chart-reading methods is to puzzle over a chart hundreds of times until the picture emerges; and then it’s so clear I am amazed I didn’t get it on the first glance.

I have noticed that a slow-moving conjunction of Nessus (a slow-moving centaur) and Neptune (a slow-moving planet) jumps out of the election chart and the inaugural chart, so I recognized it right away when it showed up in the chart for Trump’s big speech on Tuesday night, where he calls Mexican immigrants murderers and rapists.

Here is what you’re looking for:


The Nessus-Neptune conjunction also shows up prominently in the chart for Trump’s announcement that he would be running, back in 2015.

Note, I don’t think this conjunction is about Trump. I think it’s about the wider environment, and represents a property of digital/robotic/AI consciousness. I think that Trump is, however, surfing along on this wave, and also feeding into it using his considerable power and influence. I also think that represents the thing in which he is most likely to drown: his own toxic lies.

But if that is true for him, it’s true for us. At some point long into my career covering toxins and fraud, it occurred to me that deception is a game with two players: the deceiver, and someone who is usually knowingly deceived (if you can have such a thing). Bear in mind that the Nessus-Neptune conjunction shows up prominently in both the 2020 election chart, and the 2021 inauguration chart, whether or not Trump is involved.

Meanwhile, the whole Trump experience is associated with a kind of reality TV effect that is described perfectly by this conjunction. It also describes the kind of delusional thinking influencing Trump when he tries to create the illusion of a massive threat on the southern border, requiring the building of a wall (which will take years to complete).

Chart for Trump’s speech on Tuesday night, with the Nessus-Neptune conjunction prominently on the horizon, the 7th house or zone of projection.

This, he’s telling us, is worth closing the entire government right now — making the country more vulnerable to those who would infiltrate via airports and other border crossings.

The astrology of his speech is perfect to describe this kind of delusional thinking, broadcast on television. There is no threat; this is “reality TV,” where everything is fake. Nobody is throwing drugs over the fence. What happened to the caravan? Why was it only a concern back in October before the congressional elections, but after then, we never hear about it?

Neptune is the planet of illusion, delusion, denial, drink, drugs — and also of inspiration and creativity. It’s associated with fantasy, TV and cinema, which are entirely illusory. Neptune represents image, glamour and stagecraft, and when it’s prominent in a chart, everything needs to be checked for veracity. That’s definitely true of this chart. Neptune can be lovely but it’s also easily corrupted, and worse, rather prone to denial.

Nessus (a centaur, not an asteroid, with a 122-year orbit), is associated with various notions of victimization and victim consciousness, which is a trendy topic (and emotion) right now.

Nessus can have a toxic feeling; the myth is about the spreading of poison, revenge, and the return of karma to its source (the Delphic Oracle told Heracles, who was killed by Nessus, that he would be “killed by the blood of a dead enemy”). Nessus has the property of coming full circle. At its best, Nessus is about taking full responsibility: per Melanie Reinhart, it carries the idea “the buck stops here.”

(Nessus also takes up the question of how hazy the notion of sexual consent can be. Here is a recent article that covers all of these themes.)

Together, Nessus and Neptune are a like a toxic bubble or alternate reality, supported by fantasy and denial.

Chart section for Trump’s announcement of his candidacy. Notice the Nessus-Neptune conjunction on the western horizon (on the right), which is the same place it appeared in the chart for Tuesday’s speech.

Neptune-Nessus shows up in this chart as a TV camera connected to the public (facing the president like a mirror), into which the president spews toxicity about Mexicans, but he also does something interesting: he comes full circle from his initial campaign speech, essentially repeating that very speech, only as president, not as a candidate.

Here’s what the Nessus-Neptune conjunction looks like in the chart for Trump’s announcement of his presidential run in June 2015. Notice where the conjunction is — right in the same place. And notice the identical themes of the speeches — how allegedly evil Mexican immigrants are.

Nessus references full-circle and “the buck stops here.” Has Trump come full circle? Has the buck come back to him? The indications in these charts are cautionary, and one of the things they’re warning us is to not get caught in anyone else’s delusions.

Trump is now threatening to end the government shutdown standoff by declaring an emergency and trying to build the wall. Yet there are people who are not noticing the stark absurdity of this idea, nor are they noticing that it’s a total diversion from what is really going on in the world — and in his administration.

The reality is that Trump is in big trouble. Just about every member of his campaign, transition team and early administration had contact with Russian agents, and there are numerous investigations closing in on him. The chess board has been all but cleared, and there are only a few pieces of his administration remaining, most of them relatives. When we see what is in the Special Counsel’s report, the government shutdown crisis will make a lot more sense.

Right now, Trump is acting like a person who has nothing to lose, and that’s dangerous when it’s some ordinary chump, much less someone in as powerful a position as he is in.

There is indeed an actual government crisis going on, illustrated by the developing Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (related to the Pluto return of the United States). Note that there was an eclipse of the Sun tucked right into that conjunction on Saturday. What we are seeing right now is a hint of things to come.

With love,

Weekly Horoscope for Jan. 10, 2019 (#1233) | By Amy Elliott

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You have the chance to make some long strides this week in support of your ambitions, and it would seem the positive effects will be all the more robust if your decisions are taken with both fairness and wisdom in mind. In particular, ensure you do right by those who have helped you along the way. Give credit where credit is due, and offer help where it’s needed. As well as keeping things honest and ethical, this will show others that you can be trusted, and — perhaps most importantly — bolster your faith in yourself.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — This week may bring something of a reckoning with your self-esteem, especially as it relates to your spiritual path or philosophy of life. Do you count yourself as a full participant in the world, entitled to the same rights and respect as everyone else? If not, this is an optimal moment to consider why that might be, and to realign some of your ideas accordingly. You have many gifts that others need to see and benefit from, including a groundedness and wisdom that is becoming increasingly rare in our current chaotic environment.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Though your sign is known for its abilities with wordplay, you also understand the importance of keeping one’s word once it is given. Indeed, this was accorded such significance by the ancient Greeks that even the Olympian gods in mythology, strong as they were, could be bound by their oaths if they swore on the river Styx. That included Zeus, who was characterized as otherwise having virtually limitless power. Choose your words with care, and don’t make any promises if you can help it. Show yourself by your actions instead.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — It can be tempting to give your allegiance entirely to another person, and allow their opinions to become the arbiters of how we feel about ourselves. Many people do this, though perhaps not consciously, forgetting that other human beings are precisely that, and as prone to fallibility as we all are. Trusting in oneself can take a lifetime of work, though it’s worth the effort to be independent of others’ authority, and to be the sovereign of your own life. Any desire you might have to give up that right needs to be reassessed.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Plenty of the everyday decisions we make have an ethical component, though because the consequences are not often very serious, we can be tempted easily enough to let things slide. This can occasionally create a slippery slope. While it’s useful to recognize that we all make mistakes, and certainly to avoid self-flagellation when we do, it also helps to make the right choices as often as possible. This week, you would be well served to keep as much as possible on the honorable side of that line.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — There’s a popular theory (with a few variants) that we’re now in a parallel universe; however far-fetched this may be, it certainly does seem at times as if everything is inside out with the label showing. Yet while there has lately been much shaking and rattling, you do have autonomy over your life and the course you take. If you have specific plans, the chances are they’re still within your grasp, however long you need to get there. The world may not be especially consistent, but you can be, and determined with it.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Now would seem to be a great time to push for any big changes you consider necessary in terms of your attitude toward the past. Recent experiences might have knocked you sideways, but you may also have noticed a sense of inner strength, even at the time. Let that strength guide you onward; note your power to reorganize your life in areas where it could be overdue. One of the great blessings of challenging moments is in highlighting this very point, and helping us finally be rid of things we are better off without.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You already possess some natural curiosity, and could possibly find some uses for it in the days ahead. If you become intrigued by an idea, give yourself the space to let loose your inquisitiveness and sense of wonder, and then go digging. Consider no question taboo, or unworthy of an answer. So long as you keep a grip on your faculty for independent thought, that should arm you against any bullshit you encounter; another way is to check multiple perspectives, and sources other than the internet.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — This week you may make some gains in terms of your resources, or will perhaps be able to put what you have to better use. If you find yourself with a surplus, whether of money, time or items, there may be people who could benefit from your help; try to take up any opportunities that make themselves known. It’s possible to be generous with one’s mind as well as material goods; to give people the benefit of the doubt, make allowances and find common ground where it exists, which it very often does.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Developing a just self-image can be tricky, because our opinions of ourselves are always subjective. The same is generally true of any outside perspective we might seek. This is why it’s so helpful to cultivate self-acceptance. In addition, if you worry that you’re not the person you think you ought to be, first notice that word “ought” and consider that you’re likely judging yourself unnecessarily — and, secondly, at least you care about what you manifest in the world. Far too many people cannot say the same. Go easy on the self-criticism.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The present eclipse season will culminate with a lunar eclipse in your opposite sign: the last on the Leo-Aquarius axis for a while, marking the end of a phase. Following that, you may well find you’re able to step into a more active gear. In the meantime, though, you probably still have a lot of information to process. Try not to rush anything, even if you’re frustrated at the idea of yet more reflection. You’re laying the foundations for grappling with potentially significant changes, and it’s more important work than you might realize.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — While the world seems to be dividing itself up by every possible permutation, and many of us are re-evaluating our values, ideas or whole identities amid the storms, you still appear to have a grasp on actual reality. After all, you have the gift of seeing through the illusion of separateness to what unites all living beings. You know that the majority of people simply want to live, laugh, love and dance, and can get along with most others quite happily. Wherever you get the opportunity this week, share your understanding.

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