Dear Friend and Reader:
Usually I avoid the charts of presidential candidates, or at least I prefer not to dwell on them. The whole cult of personality around the American presidential election is difficult enough to stomach. Covering the elections, I generally stick to mundane astrology to get the clues and the news leads.
Occasionally, though, I will dip into the candidates’ natal charts, and I plan to cover the chart of Donald Trump in the current issue and that of Hillary Clinton next week. Both are too rich for words, though I will do my best.
We are living through some wild days in politics, stoked mostly by what seems to be Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, self-immolating. Nobody has ever seen anything like this. We’re actually witnessing something new and different in the world.
That something shows up as an utterly unique event in Trump’s astrology, which I’m going to break down for you in all its glorious technical detail so you can actually see what it’s about. There’s no way to sum this up meaningfully without offering the technical side.
We can see what’s happening using a somewhat weird though ingenious technique called the progressed horoscope. Progressions are not transits. Transits involve the real planets in real time, making aspects to the natal chart; an example is the Saturn return.
Progressions, which are generally used as a predictive tool, are a form of symbolic planetary movement. They are based on a scale model of time, in this case approximately 1/365th, or a day-per-year of movement. Starting with the time of birth, progressions advance the natal chart in slow motion.
Events in the slo-mo chart unfold the natal chart over time, and parallel events in real life. For example, astrological events on one’s 10th day of life describe actual events in the 10th year of life; astrological events in the 70th day of life describe one’s 70th year; and so on.
Rick Levine, the editor of StarIQ.com, once quipped, “Progressions shouldn’t work, but they do.” Actually, the fact that they work tells us something about astrology and about the holographic nature of time. The whole is contained in the part; small patterns parallel large ones. [For science lovers, I think that the progressed horoscope is the first use of fractal theory. And astrology is clearly an early application of chaos theory.]
I’ve been collecting examples of interesting progressions for years, in anticipation of writing an article on the subject. What’s going on now is by far the most stunning example of progressions springing to life in real time that I’ve ever seen. We get to watch this one happen live; the main event is Saturday, Aug. 6. Hold that thought.
A Rough Week for Trump and his Campaign
First, let’s recap this particular week in the life of the Republican nominee. The standout incident was Trump’s battle of words and feelings with the family of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq in 2004. Capt. Khan was Muslim. Trump has promised to ban Muslims from entering the United States, seemingly oblivious to the fact that nearly 6,000 of them serve in the American armed forces.
Khizr Khan, the father of the late Capt. Khan, spoke one week ago at the Democratic National Convention. He was the carefully selected last speaker before Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination. Referring to his son, Mr. Khan said, “If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.”
Then he asked Trump: “Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.” Then he added: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Mr. Khan also asked whether Trump had ever read the Constitution, offering to lend him his pocket-worn copy.
Trump, who dodged the Vietnam draft many times, had the expected response: he took it personally, or perhaps we could say he took the bait. On Sunday, Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he had sacrificed through business success. Later in the day, Trump said that Mr. Khan did not know him and “has no right” to question his knowledge of the Constitution. [Editor’s note: sure he does; it’s right there, in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Article I, freedom of speech and of religion.]
Monday, unable to let it go, Trump tweeted, “Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same – Nice!”
Yes, a Republican presidential candidate was slugging it out with the family of an Army officer killed in battle, variously insulting both of Capt. Khan’s elderly parents. As he did this, the undercurrent of racism seeped to the surface; the key fact in the scenario is that the Khans are Muslim. Otherwise the discussion would not be happening.
Is it possible to be less patriotic without actually committing treason? Republican leaders tried to distance themselves from the mess, but it was impossible, because he’s their nominee for president. They have endorsed him and have pledged to vote for him (with the exception of Ted Cruz, that is).
This went on for days, in the most agonizing example of a politician putting his foot onto the third rail and holding it there till smoke comes out of his collar — like Mr. Bluein the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. It was almost as gruesome to watch.
This was merely the strangest and most heartbreaking example of Trump unraveling during the past seven days. There was also Trump’s statement that he “always wanted” the Purple Heart (awarded for sustaining a battle wound), and the lie that a veteran had given him his authentic medal, not a copy. There were news reports about how Trump’s campaign staff is frustrated and suicidal. (Understandable — campaigns are hard enough when your candidate is helpful and cooperative.)
Then there was the revelation that Trump repeatedly asked during a briefing with senior military officials why we don’t use nuclear bombs against ISIS. Meanwhile, Trump commented about how terrible it would be to “lose to corrupt Hillary.” Amid speculation that the Republicans would choose a new candidate, or that Trump might drop out, the RNC assured everyone that he would indeed be on the ballot.
And best of all, there was the revelation that Bill Clinton seems to have been the one to put Trump, a lifelong Democrat, up to running for president as a Republican.
Leo 30: An Unsealed Letter
When we look at Donald Trump’s natal chart, the first thing that stands out is that he has the last degree of Leo rising. Here’s how that looks, in the diagram below and to the right. Trump’s data has an AA rating from Astrodatabank, the highest.
Everyone with a known birth time has a rising sign (also called the ascendant sign), and that is tracked to the exact degree rising, based on the time. The rising degree moves fast, changing about once every four minutes. Your degree rising, shared by just one in 360 people on average, is like your personal astrological address, describing distinctive things about you.
When someone has the last degree of any sign rising, that can give the chart an edgy feeling — though there are many ways that can manifest, from creative to intuitive to toxic.
Trump has all the qualities of Leo rising except for dignity. In a sense, he’s a parody of Leo rising, pushing it to its braggadocio extremes. He has the pride and showiness and the red hair and the personal influence and the charisma and all of that. He has the macho bluster you would expect of a wealthy Leo rising New Yorker. He is at the center of his world.
He also has Mars in Leo, close to his ascendant. That ramps up all of these effects. What we’re seeing is not normal Leo rising; we’re seeing them in an extreme and toxic form, which is further described by other factors in the chart. Push these qualities out to the edge of the sign, indeed to the last fraction of a degree, and we have an image for his lack of a grip on reality or on his own personality.
When we study this degree in Trump’s chart closely, we learn a few things. Each degree of the zodiac gets what’s called a Sabian symbol, which is an image (offered in written form) that describes its qualities. The image for the last degree of Leo rising is “An Unsealed Letter.” To me, this is a symbol of transparency. Sooner or later, everything is known; everything is revealed.
Occupying this degree is the asteroid Apollo, which is about making the same mistakes over and over. This is a core element of Trump’s identity.
He is the living incarnation of Apollo delineation, refusing to learn anything from his mistakes. We all have a little of this; Trump has it in great abundance.
Checking more closely, I discovered that Apollo is conjunct another asteroid called Patroclus. He’s a figure from Greek mythology who, as a child, killed another child in rage over a game.
Remember, this is all contained within ONE degree of the zodiac: Leo 30, which Trump embodies in a most palpable way. (Note, anyone can do this kind of analysis; it begins with knowing your birth time and your rising degree, and then checking the Serennu.com database for the positions of minor planets in your chart.)
Everyone with a very late ascendant has some edgy scenario, and some seem to cling to reality; but this is truly an unusual example, as Trump’s life and current manifestation are beyond the usual hubris of politicians and business execs. Remember: we’re taking about 30 Leo, which shows up another time in his chart: that is, his progressed chart, right now.
Trump’s Progressed Sun: From 30 Leo to 1 Virgo
Using what are called secondary progressions, the planets all move at their proportional speeds. The progressed Moon moves one degree a month, changing signs about every two and a half years. Progressed Pluto might move a few degrees in the course of a person’s whole life.
On the same scale, the progressed Sun moves about one degree a year. If you’re born with the Sun in mid-Taurus, it will move into Gemini when you’re a teenager. Then it will remain in Gemini for 30 years, and change to Cancer when you’re in your mid-40s. The progressed Sun changes signs just a few times in the course of a lifetime. They are always important transitions from one phase of life to another.
Trump’s progressed Sun has been in Leo since he emerged as a public figure in the mid-1980s. The Sun has been passing through Trump’s 12th house all of this time, and is now at the very end of that run.
The 12th is a strange place where you can really lose yourself. If you’re too invested in the 12th, it’s like living a hallucination but thinking it’s real. There is little ground to stand on in the 12th. It’s a useful space for artists, musicians and actors, who need to morph the real and the unreal.
Trump’s progressed Sun has been in the last degree of Leo, conjunct his rising degree, for a year. I noticed this back when I did his chart in the early spring, and suggested that something weird was about to happen. This is a rare instance of the progressed Sun passing through the rising degree of a natal chart — and changing signs at the same time. What we’ve been seeing all week is his progressed Sun crossing his ascendant. On Saturday, his progessed Sun will enter Virgo.
The Sun in Leo these past 30 years has coincided with Trump’s rise as the Republican candidate, which he seemed to do on the force of personality (a good image of Sun in the ascendant degree). I would say he’s proceeded with the force of his ego, but the correct psychological term is id. Trump is belching forth all of the raw material from what psychiatrists call the unconscious and, strangely, people have related to this. Americans are holding a lot in. He’s been the symbolic catharsis for a massive swath of society, displaying their racism, sexism, greed and general disgust with life.
The ascendant of his chart, as you can see, has 29 degrees of Leo and 58 arc minutes rising. It’s just two arc minutes, or 2/60ths of a degree, away from Virgo. And this very week, Trump’s Sun passed through 29 Leo and 58 arc minutes, crossing over his very edgy ascendant.
It’s as if he’s being exposed, or born, or is waking up from a dream. Coming out of the 12th and crossing over the ascendant can be an intense transformation. When transiting planets (actual planets, moving in real time) such as Saturn, Chiron or Pluto do go over the ascendant, one’s life is often totally redefined. The ascendant degree is extremely sensitive to transits, and with careful calculation, it’s possible to time things down to the day.
Trump’s progressed Sun is not only crossing his rising degree; it’s ending a 30-year cycle and changing signs, all at the same time. The sign change is from Leo to Virgo. His Sun has been in its own sign for all those years — a masculine, hot, fiery, fixed sign. It’s now about to enter Virgo, a feminine, cool, moist, mutable sign.
Virgo presents challenges for many men, because it’s just so feminine. Any well-adapted Virgo man has a touch of transgender to him.
So, several things are happening at once: we are really seeing the “unsealed letter” come out of the envelope. We are seeing Trump, who has lived veiled in his own 12th house for three decades, emerge as the person who he really is.
Then his hot, fiery, macho, out-of-control Sun is about to get cooled off by Virgo. For him this will feel like being extinguished. Virgo is nothing if not rational, and Trump is the embodiment of irrationality. On a good day when you combine Leo with Virgo, you get the blend of creative passion with applied science, or at least careful thought. (Kate Bush is the perfect example of blending Leo and Virgo.)
However, there is nothing especially creative about Trump. In true toxic 12th house style, he seems on the brink of losing his mind. Now he will find himself in some other state, as if he’s woken up from a 30-year bender.
There are two other progressions of true significance going on in Trump’s chart. One is that his progressed Moon is in ultra-sensitive Cancer, currently making a to-the-degree square to Chiron in Libra. We are seeing the wounded, bleeding child on full display, but we’re seeing it in the form of a billionaire who wants control of the nuclear arsenal.
Additionally, Trump’s progressed Mercury is conjunct his progressed Pluto. Developing his whole life, this comes to fruition Aug. 19. Mercury conjunct Pluto in Leo is the perfect image of how Trump speaks and what he says; it describes his obsession with power and his use of words as weapons, or to consider the actual use of plutonium as a weapon.
It’s truly unusual to have all these progressions happening at once. It’s a lot of pressure to be under — mainly to do the one thing that Donald Trump seems to have the most challenges with: to grow.
The last thing is a transit. Trump has his natal Saturn at 23+ degrees of Cancer. There is a major event going on over at 23+ degrees of Aries: the Uranus-Eris conjunction. That Saturn in Cancer is trying to hold his emotional body together, but it’s facing tectonic pressure from the two planets that are genuinely difficult for Saturn to take simultaneously. It’s like he’s trying to personally hold back progress and change, and in the process emitting total chaos.
We might well call this a ‘get real’ moment for The Donald. Or you might say he’s about to meet the Goddess, in the form of Hera in Virgo.
Astrology is good for at least one thing: helping people empathize with the plight of others. Donald Trump is in a lot of pain right now. He feels like he’s being hung over an abyss; at the same time he feels like he’s going to explode. It’s no small wonder he’s spewing rage and displaying the worst of what looks like either borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder — or both. He is likely to be suffering from far more severe conditions, so far as I can tell. To me this situation seems even worse than it appears on the outside. You can be sure that the people around him are struggling with this from hour to hour.
The problem is that when someone is that powerful, their personal struggle can become the pain of the whole world. Their own self-destruction can take out many people with them, starting with the ones who love them the most, and then the rest of us. We don’t need any more of that.
Short Monthly Horoscope for August, 2016, #1111 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — After months of focusing on some deep inner questions, you are now free to explore new horizons. After considering the past and your previous involvements so carefully, you can look at the future with the confidence that your desires are within reach, and that the potential you feel is real. You might sense your ideas about life expanding suddenly. If you’re wondering whether you should act on these discoveries immediately, ask yourself what you would be waiting for. You might have a reason to pause, though remember that the journey you’re on always leads you to the next place, and the next.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’re figuring out that your life is about more than feeling safe or being secure. You may even be getting the message that to have fun and to explore the possibilities, living to pay the rent is the first thing to leave behind. To do that, it would help if you made contact with your self-confidence. You don’t need to earn your self-trust; you merely need to acknowledge that you know how to take care of yourself. You always have and I trust you always will. Remember that, and you’ll feel free to experiment in the ways that you have been hankering after for months.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — It’s time to be direct with people, and to let them be direct with you. Some feathers may get ruffled, but you’ll save a lot of time. You no longer have the need to analyze psychological motives. You can no longer afford to hope that someone will change, or that you can adapt to anything you don’t really like. Your life right now is a question of stating what you want, listening to what other people want, and deciding on the spot whether there really is a meeting between the two. If you see common ground, seize the moment; and if not, you must live your life your way.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Money is not the only measure of value; in fact, where value and self-worth are concerned, it means very little. Yet money is important for the things that it’s useful for. I suggest you focus your efforts on taking advantage of some rare opportunities for connecting with the financial value of your work, and equally rare openings to put your resources to work wisely. The combination of even modest funding and your mind teeming with ideas will get you far. Just remember: you must be the one who takes action; potential is only the beginning. Your choices, passion and commitment are the rest.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You seem certain who you are and what you want. At the same time, commitments to others, or delays others are causing, might be bogging you down. Look clearly at these engagements. Are they supporting you in some way, and if so, how exactly? If not, the question is why they are in your life. It may be necessary to break this down to the seemingly cold facts of who owes what to whom. Unspoken agreements must be uncovered and then addressed clearly, if you truly want to live the life that is calling you with such fire and passion.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — It’s time to concentrate your energy, rather than living in bits and pieces. You can apply this to your life, and you can apply it to any one situation that you’re trying to work out. Focus on one important situation at a time, whether it’s a relationship, your career or a personal problem of some kind. Bring your whole mind and all of your energy and determination to the table. Don’t stop till you’ve met your goal, or resolved whatever you need to work out. Zero in and take one step, then the next, till you declare that personal project complete.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If you have something to say, you can be certain there are people who want to listen. If you need help, you can be sure there are people who want to collaborate with you. That’s good, because at this point it would be wise of you to seek and accept support, rather than trying to go it alone. Ask others how they perceive things, even if you see them clearly. Then, listen carefully. This is not about advice; it’s about gaining perspective. You will discover things you never imagined possible, and see potentials you would have missed otherwise.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Over the next few weeks you may feel a need to push against an obstacle of some kind. Rather than using brute force, use the power of your ideas. Rather than engaging in a confrontation, use reason. Rather than arguing, listen carefully and find the openings where your ideas are the most valuable. You don’t want to get into a situation where one person’s beliefs are pitted against another’s. That means be less attached to what you think is right, and more devoted to discovering the truth. Remain in control of the power to change your mind. It will serve you well.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You will come to a point this month where everything you’ve been worrying about, and wondering about, seems irrelevant. Let this prove to you how easy it is for fear to disappear like a puff of smoke. Remember this if you find yourself concerned about something: fear is in your mind. One of your greatest assets is your flexibility. You have the ability to stretch, to bend and to compromise, especially if you’re striving for something you want. As for whatever goal you select, proceed without reservation, and let no obstacle deter you. You have both talent and momentum.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Many people carry burdens around their whole lives, not realizing they belong to others. This is the time when you can give up what is not yours to carry. You might think you’re helping someone by doing so, but really, you’re not benefiting anyone by weighing yourself down. You have no need to feel guilt about doing something in your own interest. It might seem strange at first, though the presence of guilt is assurance that you’re doing the right thing rather than something wrong. When you figure out the logic of this, you will be pleasantly stunned at your discovery.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — There is some debate among professional astrologers whether Aquarius really is the humanitarian sign that it’s made out to be. Whatever they may decide, you have the power to help many people this month, as long as you take care of your own basic needs. That means eating, resting and — most importantly — describing how you feel and what you need from close partners. It would help if you set aside any defensiveness, expectation or emotional charge and simply state the facts. People who are actually working with you will be supportive without hesitation. Some things really are that simple.