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The Concept of Integration

The Concept of Integration

By Glenn Perry

the concept of integration

Student: I often hear the terms ‘individuation’ and ‘integration’ used interchangeably. How can you define the concept of integration? And what is the difference between integration and individuation?

Glenn: These are excellent questions. First, let me discuss the concept of integration because it leads to individuation. Psychologically we can define integration as the process of developing and coordinating personality elements into balanced units, leading ultimately to a balanced whole. To the extent that one achieves integration, intrapsychic and interpersonal conflict is reduced. Astrologically, the concept of integration is most pertinent to planetary aspects. It involves 1) fuller development and differentiation in conscious awareness of planetary components; and 2) their subsequent coordination and balancing within the self.

Successful integration yields new, higher level abilities—emergent properties—that result from a successful blending of planetary energies. If integrated, a hard aspect between Mars and Venus no longer connotes a conflict between needs for autonomy and intimacy, but rather a vibrant approach to love graced with rapscallion charm, yet which also allows for assertion, negotiation of differences, and resolution of conflicts as they arise.

Planetary aspects can vary in expression along a continuum of possibilities, with integrated expressions at one end, and disintegrated expressions at the other. Individuals evolve along this continuum of potentiality, unfolding higher possibilities over time. Since the astrologer cannot know how an aspect is manifesting until s/he talks to the client, it is imperative that astrologers take the time to know their clients and to provide interpretations that express an appropriate range of meanings.

The English poet Coleridge said that a work of art is rich in proportion to the variety of interdependent parts which it holds in a unity. We can apply this to the psyche as well. As Yogi Berra put it, “It’s Okay to have butterflies, just make them fly in formation!”

Some confusion may arise as to the difference between ‘individuation’ and ‘integration’. The concept of individuation, or self-actualization (Maslow’s term), always refers to the psyche as a whole and not to any particular part or conflict within the psyche. Whereas ‘integration’ can refer to a particular configuration, such as the integration of Mars opposed Venus, we would not say ‘the individuation of Mars opposed Venus’.

Individuation implies integration, but it refers to a holistic process encompassing the entire psyche, not any particular part or aspect; thus, Jung refers to ‘the journey of individuation’ as that of becoming an indivisible whole over the course of one’s life. The term ‘integration’, on the other hand, can refer both to the strengthening and coordination of particular components and to a process of integrating the chart as a whole. If used in this later sense, of course, the meaning of integration is virtually identical to individuation.

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Edward Snowden Birthchart

Edward Snowden, Hero or Traitor?

By Glenn Perry


Edward Snowden birth chartThe Obama Administration scandal involving the NSA surveillance program has me feeling sympathetic toward the government. While there are widely varying reactions to 29-year old Edward Snowden’s recent disclosures, we can probably all agree it’s an interesting manifestation of the Uranus-Pluto square. Before exploring this further, let us first examine the Edward Snowden birth chart in an effort to understand what drove him to reveal NSA and CIA data to the international community.

Snowden is the former undercover CIA employee and computer systems specialist who perfectly embodies the tensions between Uranus and Pluto. Uranus rules advanced technology, as in computers, and is associated with revelation, awakening, and liberation. Pluto rules the dark and shadowy world of CIA operatives intent on rooting out destructive elements within our midst (think home grown terrorists like the Tsarnaev brothers). If integrated with Pluto, Uranian technology can be utilized to awaken us to the nature and extent of global terrorism especially as it bears on matters of national security. If unintegrated, however, Uranus is apt to prematurely (and irresponsibly) reveal government secrets, which impairs the proper functioning of Pluto. 

The aspect in question duplicates the archetypal square between Aquarius and Scorpio, the signs ruled by Uranus and Pluto. This highlights the difficulty as well as the importance of integrating this archetypal pairing. Whereas Scorpio understands the necessity of secrecy in the battle against evil, Aquarius’ open, altruistic, and egalitarian nature just doesn’t get it. Revealing CIA secrets for the sake of protecting the privacy of American citizens is like setting your house on fire to keep ants out. Mind you, I’ve no love for ants. They can be annoying and intrusive. But burning one’s house down seems a bit over-reactive. Snowden’s personal rebellion against the NSA is the equivalent of calling Al-Qaeda and saying, “This is how we spy on you guys,” the result being they can adjust their strategies in light of the newly disclosed information. However well-intentioned Snowden’s whistle-blowing might seem, we are less safe now than we would have been.

Snowden Chart

Edward Snowden, June 21, 1983, 4:42am, Elizabeth City, NC

Snowden’s birth chart is certainly consistent with the behavior for which he is now infamous. While a full analysis is not possible here, we can at least note the four oppositions involving the Gemini-Sagittarius axis: Sun and Mars in Gemini both opposing Neptune in Sagittarius, while Jupiter and Uranus in Sagittarius oppose Mercury in Gemini. The lunar nodes are in these signs as well, further underscoring the importance of the Gemini-Sagittarian dialectic. Gemini is obsessed with the gathering and classification of raw data, while Sagittarius is concerned with its significance in the big picture. In other words, Sagittarius is focused on what the information means with respect to larger, global issues such as the war on terror. Sagittarius would also be sensitive to the ethical consequences of obtaining, evaluating, and disclosing the information. 

It is significant that Snowden’s three inner planets—Sun, Mars, and Mercury—are all in Gemini, whereas the slower moving, outer planets are in Sagittarius. The suggestion here is that Snowden is more identified with the relatively narrow, immature perspective of his Gemini planets, which operate on the assumption that nothing is more important than full and immediate disclosure of information for its own sake. Developmentally, Gemini corresponds to age 5-8 when children are apt to blurt things out without fully understanding the sensitive nature of the question asked, or the embarrassing implications of the information disclosed. Their relative ignorance and insensitivity is age appropriate, however, so easily forgiven. The situation is more complicated for a 29 year-old. 

With Sagittarius on the Descendant and Neptune in Sagittarius in the 7th house, Snowden is apt to project qualities associated with these signs and planets onto others with whom he is in relationship. This would include NSA, CIA, and government officials who are in charge of evaluating the information for its potential usefulness as well as their legal right to obtain and store it. Sagittarius corresponds to ages 44-53, which is that stage of life wherein one’s capacity for moral reasoning is fully mature. With 6th and 7th house planets in this sign, it follows that Sagittarian qualities would be most fully expressed in Snowden’s co-workers (6th house), collaborators (7th house), and superiors (with Aquarius on the M.C., Uranus signifies the 10th house of authority). It would be precisely these others that would utilize the data Snowden provides to predict the nature of possible threats to national security. 

As the final dispositor of the chart, Mercury is especially important. Not only is it in a very aggressive position on the Ascendant as well as disposing Mars in Gemini (thus repeating the Gemini-Aries link in three different ways), but the opposition to Jupiter-Uranus in Sagittarius suggests that Snowden is opposed to the use of data gathering for the sake of a holistic, techno-analysis of potential terrorist threats. To the extent Snowden is identified with his Gemini planets and prone to impulsive reporting (as when a child tattles on his friends to elevate his own good standing), his revelations evidence a lack of integration between the respective planets. In other words, Snowden’s capacity to make wise and effective use of his Uranus-Jupiter conjunction was insufficiently mature. He was still influenced by Jupiter and Uranus, thus his image as a high-minded whistleblower motivated by altruistic concerns; yet, I do not believe he had the experience or vision to fully understand the necessity of the task in which he was engaged as an NSA employee, nor the potentially lethal consequences of making the information available to U.S. enemies. 

As ruler of the M.C., Uranus in Sagittarius in the 6th signifies the authority that Snowden betrayed. This is precisely the NSA in its role as a global information network employed to discern troubling patterns of information, connect the dots, and predict the nature and location of specific threats. Rather than cooperatively engage his Uranian cohorts in solving the problem of domestic terrorism, Snowden co-opted Uranus for himself in a shocking revelation of government secrets. 

It is also interesting that he has the same opposition between Sun-Gemini and Neptune-Sagittarius as the rogue LA cop, Christopher Dorner, who likewise blew the whistle on his superiors. Whenever the Sun opposes Neptune, there is always the possibility of narcissistic inflation, as when a single individual sets himself against the system and acts as if his opinion, his specialness, and his moral superiority trumps all other considerations. As a trans-border fugitive fleeing from justice, Snowden is currently under the protection of Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One suspects he was blinded by his own light and flew straight into the spider’s web.

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Transiting Neptune on the I.C.

Transiting Neptune on the I.C.

by Glenn Perry

Student: I live in Florida. Can you give me some keywords for transiting Neptune on the I.C ? I’m worried that my home is going to collapse into a sinkhole!

Glenn: Well, that’s one possibility! Anytime Neptune makes contact with a sensitive point in the chart, that area plays ‘host’ to a Neptunian process. Affairs associated with the 4th will provide a vehicle for the further development of Neptunian potentials. This might mean needing to cultivate an attitude of ‘let go and let God’ in relation to home or family. For example, you might need to surrender, relinquish an attachment, or allow something to end. Neptune is also about compassion, empathy, and forgiveness, so your capacity to express these qualities is likely to develop through a cluster of experiences that center around 4th house themes.

Something might occur that pertains to an idealization of family or one’s ancestral past. Neptune can be visionary, so perhaps you’ll develop a deeper, more empathic understanding of what your ancestors suffered; or how the entire planet—mother earth, Gaia—is a living Being and our true home in a wider, spiritual sense; or how we are all one extended human family that transcends racial and national boundaries. Concerns for saving the earth, the green movement, and related concerns might come to the fore, especially given that Aquarius is concerned with movements and causes.

As for outcomes, anything other than a ‘wait and see’ attitude is just guesswork, for a transit can manifest in any number of ways: spiritualization of the home through feng shui, living temporarily at a spiritual retreat, camping in a state park and communing with nature, loss or sacrifice of home as occurred during Hurricane Sandy, concern for the homeless, family dissolution, loss or tragedy involving a family member, living or working in an institution that cares for victims, flooding in the home, moving to a home on the sea, saving a home in disrepair, watching extended reruns of “Gilligan’s Island”, and on and on!

Note that these ‘outcomes’ do not take into consideration Neptune’s sign position or the aspects it might form to natal planets. Whatever actually occurs will invariably reflect a higher level of complexity that we can readily grasp. All of this underscores that astrology is an indeterminate system.

In my opinion, the best use of a transit is to adopt the proper outlook signified by that planet. Strive to apply that mind-set in an optimal sense to whatever the events are that actually unfold. Guessing or anticipating what these events might be is somewhat of a fool’s errand, even though many clients expect us to provide them with advice and warnings. Focusing on what could or might happen is merely self-inflicted scare mongering. Just stay open, concentrate on the present, and go with the flow—especially when Neptune is involved! No one thing will happen, and whatever does will more perfectly express the configuration than any astrologer could possibly guess.

Also, work with the transit to make it what you want. The transit is not merely happening to you; you’re happening to it, too. Cultivate the appropriate attitude that pertains to Neptune: visionary idealism, faith in a higher power, surrender, compassion, forgiveness, resiliency, non-attachment, and a sense of flow, especially as such attitudes are required in relation to 4th house experiences. Cooperate with events as they unfold. For whatever does happen, its purpose is to serve as a catalyst for the further development and integration of your Neptunian potentials.

Above all, trust the Universe. It knows better what we need than we do.

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Mars square Pluto: Horoscope of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Mars square Pluto
Death in a Pressure Cooker

By Glenn Perry


Mars square PlutoOn April 15, 2013, during the Boston marathon, a horrific expression of Mars square Pluto exploded on the world stage. 26-year old Muslim Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, calmly placed two pressure cooker bombs in the midst of the crowd on Boylston Street as they watched the runners go by. Moments later the bombs exploded with a deafening blast, spraying shrapnel, nails and ball bearings in all directions, killing 3 people and ripping arms and legs off another 264. Within days Tamarlan and Dzhokhar were identified as suspects by the FBI. That evening, Tamarlan killed an MIT police officer in cold blood in order to obtain his firearm, carjacked an SUV with his brother, and initiated an exchange of gunfire with police as they were closing in.

An estimated 200-300 rounds of ammunition were fired at the two brothers, who responded by emptying their pistols and throwing bombs and grenades at the officers. Tamarlan was shot multiple times, suffered a possible blast injury from a suicide vest, and was finally run over by his brother who sped off in the stolen SUV. Dzhokhar dragged Tamerlan underneath his vehicle for some 20 feet before crashing through the police barricade to escape. Gruesome pictures surfaced online of Tamerlan’s bloody bullet-ridden body lying dead on a hospital table, his mouth and eyes open wide in a ghastly final scream.
It is hard to imagine a more violent end.
Deconstructing Mars square Pluto
These events, including and especially Tamerlan’s affinity for pressure cooker bombs, are consistent with a single aspect in his chart: Mars in Aquarius square Pluto in Scorpio within 8 minutes of exactitude. To understand Tamerlan fully, of course, it would be necessary to examine his birthchart as a whole. No single configuration is sufficient to account for who he is or what he has done. Also, we do not have his birth time, which further compromises any attempted analysis.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that Mars square Pluto, like any other aspect, can manifest in a variety of ways on a continuum of functionality; hence, subsequent comments are not meant to imply the aspect will manifest the same way for every person. Most certainly it will not. This article is meant to analyze solely how it manifested in Tamerlan’s life. Mars square Pluto is an essential ingredient of the terrorist act for which Tamerlan is now famous: the Boston marathon bombings.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev birth chart

Tamerlan Tsarnaev Horoscope: Kalmykia, Russia, Oct. 21, 1986, Time Unknown

In the simplest sense, Mars is about action. As the ruler of Aries, its function is to fulfill needs for survival, autonomy, and freedom. When functioning optimally, it confers the requisite strength and courage to assert decisively in one’s own self-interest. Pluto, on the other hand, signifies an entirely different principle. As ruler of Scorpio, its function is to transform, regenerate, and heal. By definition this implies something that needs to be transformed—an emotional wound or corrupt condition. If functioning properly, Pluto bestows the ability to root out, purge, and eliminate whatever is toxic to the system in order to facilitate a process of healing and renewal. Very often this entails a certain attraction to death in all its myriad forms.

When Mars and Pluto are in aspect, each will infuse the other with the nature of its essence. Mars will strengthen and embolden the plutonian imperative for transformation, and Pluto will deepen and intensify Mars’ penchant for decisive action. An additional factor is worth noting: Mars’ orientation in time and space. As the archetype of the warrior, Mars is focused primarily on the here and now, for its prime directive is survival. Threats must be fiercely confronted with a willingness to do whatever is necessary to assure continuity of existence. This is especially true if the threat is Plutonic, which makes it appear extreme or even evil. Such threats can only be vanquished with a ‘total war’ response that is immediate, absolute, and exceedingly powerful.
With Mars in Aquarius and Pluto in Scorpio, the angle that blends their respective energies is the opening square, which is a Cancerian aspect and connotes themes of family, home, and country.1 Opening squares require the two planets to contain and sublimate their motivating impulses into a joint product that in some way entails caring and protection, for that is the essence of Cancer. Squares, however, are notoriously difficult to integrate, and there’s no guarantee that an optimal expression of the two planets will result. Until and unless the aspect is integrated at an intrapsychic level, each planet regards the other as an impingement that must be contained, inhibited, and suppressed. For if allowed to function freely, behavior may result that brings about the very thing Cancer fears most: rejection, with all its accompanying anguish and pain.
Things are especially difficult when the operative planets rule signs that are inherently in conflict. In the case of Mars-Pluto, Aries and Scorpio are quincunx; thus, the two signs have absolutely nothing in common, being different by polarity, modality, element, and perspective. The same incompatibility, therefore, is true for their planetary rulers. Mars and Pluto are like fire and water, which as we all know produces steam. If the actual aspect between the planets is a square, the difficulty is compounded. For the inescapable tension between the two drives tends to bring out the more extreme, negative attributes of both. Mars becomes increasingly hot, impatient, and combative; Pluto gets icy cold, super intense, and ruthless. The one is foolishly rash; the other cruelly vindictive. The resultant hybrid is like mixing a pit bull with a black panther; hyper aggression with pure predator instinct operating under cover of darkness. It is, in short, a formula for a monster.
A useful way to grasp the flavor of an aspect is to convert one planet into an adjective and the other to a noun. With Mars adjectives and Pluto nouns, apt phrases are: impatient conversion; violent transformation; reckless power; aggressive cleansing; and immediate elimination. With Pluto adjectives and Mars’ nouns we get: pent up anger; covert action; passionate assertion; explosive violence; and extreme measures. If we use Mars’ verbs with Pluto nouns we have: Initiate death; activate power; commence purification; fight evil; and begin evacuation. Or in reverse: Fear freedom; hate liberty; eliminate competition; subvert independence; and destroy life.
While no single phrase captures the full complexity of the aspect, each contributes to a mosaic of meaning made up of separate but related components. Taken together, they provide a quick glimpse into a range of Mars-Pluto potentialities—albeit, in this case, toward the negative end of the continuum. If nothing else, Mars square Pluto confers courage to confront death; perhaps in extreme cases even an eagerness to die, as in Jihad or suicide bombers. The impulse for survival and the attraction to death are operating at cross purposes, which may paradoxically result in a headlong rush into danger. When cornered by the police, that is what Tamerlan did. Exiting his vehicle, he threw his remaining bombs at the officers, then dashed through the smoke firing his pistol and running straight at them until he was cut down in a hail of bullets.
Tamerlan’s History
Little is known about Tamerlan’s past. According to Dzhokhar’s later confession, Tamarlan was the mastermind of their plot to murder Americans. Originally from Chechnya, but living in the United States since he was 16, Tamerlan self-radicalized by watching terrorist videos and sermons by cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that encouraged young Muslims to kill enemies of Islam. A devout Muslim, former student at Bunker Hill Community College, and amateur boxer of some renown, Tamerlan claimed: “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.”2 He also complained about America’s lack of values, and worried that “people can’t control themselves.”
These are interesting statements in light of Tamerlan’s own history of violence. In 2009, he was arrested for aggravated assault and battery against an American girlfriend who reported that Tamarlan tried to force her to convert to Islam and control what she wore and who she associated with. According to the arrest report, she called 9–1–1 “crying hysterically” to report that she had been “beat up by her boyfriend”.3 Tamerlan subsequently married a different American girlfriend, Katherine Russell, who did convert to Islam and began wearing a hijab when Tamerlan demanded that she do so. Friends claim Tamerlan would shout at Katherine and call her a “slut” for not covering up; also, he would fly into rages and throw furniture and other objects.4 If he did not actually assault his wife, one suspects it was only because he feared a second arrest.
The nature of Pluto is to transform what is wounded. Generally, this means anything that is associated with Pluto by hard aspect. Mars, in effect, is that which is wounded and that which needs to be healed. Pluto’s square to Mars suggests that Tamerlan’s capacity for freedom and survival felt jeopardized by some sort of external threat. Cognitively this can manifest as a pathogenic belief that acting in one’s own self-interest; that is, to be a separate, autonomous individual may actually be dangerous and could provoke lethal retaliation. Accordingly, Martian impulses are held strenuously in check, for their untimely expression might prove fatal. This internal state of alarm is not necessarily conscious, of course, for the underlying belief is held out of awareness precisely because it is painful and frightening. Periodic outbursts of violent behavior are entirely consistent with the aspect, since repression of Mars merely results in the accumulation of an explosive charge that will eventually seek release against a safe target—a boxing opponent in the ring, a wife in the privacy of his home, or innocent bystanders taken by surprise.
As to the origins of such behavior, it usually goes back to a childhood trauma that encapsulates the more problematic nature of the aspect. It is no doubt significant that Tamerlan’s family was from the war torn Republic of Chechnya, a hot bed of Islamic extremists fighting to gain their independence from Russia. Throughout the 20th century, Chechens periodically rebelled against the Soviets, with hostilities burning red hot during the 1990’s, which was Tamerlan’s childhood. Over the course of two bloody wars, nearly half of Chechnya’s population had been internally displaced and lived in refugee camps or overcrowded villages. The country was in perpetual economic crisis. Food shortages were epidemic. Occupied and under constant attack by Russian brigades, death was everywhere and life was cheap. Terrorism was an instinctive response; explosive violence wracked the land. Finally in 2002, Tamerlan’s father applied for asylum in the United States, citing fears of deadly persecution due to his ties to Chechnya.
It is not difficult to see how the tumult and turmoil of Tamerlan’s childhood environment was a perfect reflection of the aspect in question. Just as Mars square Pluto makes autonomy seem dangerous, so Chechnya’s attempt to gain freedom from Russia had lethal consequences. By the time Tamerlan arrived in the United States at 16, the trauma of his childhood was deeply rooted in his psyche, an indelible pattern of fear and anger indissolubly associated with an impinging foreign power. You can take the boy out of the terror; but you can’t take the terror out of the boy. Once an emotional pattern is established, it seeks an appropriate outlet.
A Pressure Cooker Set to Explode
Displaced to the United States and surrounded by infidels that continuously violated his Muslim values, Tamerlan’s new predicament was in some ways analogous to Russia’s occupation of his homeland. His Islamic way of life was under assault. The moral permissiveness, overt sexuality, and progressive secular values of American culture must have been a constant affront. Old resentments were surely stirred. Recall Tamerlan’s complaint that Americans have no values and can’t control themselves. Also, that he tried to control his girlfriend’s dress and choice of associates, convert her to Islam, and assaulted her when she would not comply. He shouted at his wife that she was a “slut” and threw objects in fits of rage.
All these attempts at control suggest Tamerlan was preoccupied with sexual mores. As Mars rules freedom and Pluto signifies sexuality, we might surmise that Tamerlan’s outrage at the sexual freedom of western culture was a projection of his own Mars-Pluto conflict. I am not suggesting this was his exclusive or even primary concern, but archetypally it falls within the parameters of Mars-Pluto. An even more egregious affront to his Muslim values was America’s invasion of Islamic countries, which must have resonated with his childhood memories of Chechnya being invaded by Russia. This, too, exemplifies a Mars-Pluto dynamic, for war is analogous to cultural rape.5 Dzhokhar acknowledged to FBI interrogators that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan (2001-present) and Iraq (2003-2011) motivated him and his brother to carry out the bombing.
Tamerlan was like a pressure cooker slowly building up steam during his decade long residency in the United States. At a conference a few years ago, I gave a lecture titled: “Psychodynamics of the Square: The Pressure Cooker Aspect,” which was accompanied by the description:
The square requires containment and control of conflicting impulses; otherwise, defenses are erected against unwanted drives, resulting in unconsciously motivated behavior. Such behavior naturally inclines toward negative extremes that compensate for whichever impulse is denied.
In this case, the unwanted drive would be Mars, for inner planets tend to be dominated by slower moving, outer planets. As a consequence, Mars energy would build up within the psyche and inflame the Plutonian impulse for transformation by rendering it more hostile—like an aggressive cancer destroying healthy cells. While Pluto naturally tends toward extremes, in this instance Mars would make it even more extreme. Mind you, this is the inner (intrapsychic) picture.
With regard to outward behavior, imagine an angry physician performing heart surgery hyped up on amphetamines. Not only is he apt to feel impatient and irritable while performing a complex surgical procedure that has life or death consequences, but he hates the patient he is operating on without knowing exactly why. This metaphor, of course, is simply meant to imply that Tamerlan’s Plutonic propensity for healing and transformation had hypertrophied into an out-of-control monster that sought to reform American culture by any means necessary, even killing innocent civilians. Moreover, I suspect Tamerlan never knew that the origins of his hatred for western values may have originated much earlier in the unresolved traumas of Chechnya atrocities. When a planet is repressed, it influences behavior from an unconscious level through the planet with which it is in conflict. In this case, Pluto is being revved up by Mars for reasons that are largely unconscious.
As an actual outer event, Pluto’s square to Mars is apt to manifest in a manner that synchronistically reflects the inner state. In illustration of this, consider that for three years Tamerlan was hounded and questioned by FBI agents (Pluto) who had been tipped off by Russian officials that Tamerlan had converted to radical Islam. Subsequently, his every movement was followed and actions monitored.6 He was pulled over by police at least nine times in four years.7 Note how this pattern duplicates exactly the intrapsychic conflict that is its genesis. The FBI (Pluto) is dominating and suppressing Tamerlan’s freedom (Mars). Moreover, it is an experiential pattern that is self-reinforcing. The more Tamerlan was suspected of being dangerous, the more dangerous he became. Knowing that his freedom was in jeopardy, Tamerlan’s resentment must have intensified over time, a simmering cauldron of anger and frustration.
Mars square Pluto is a pressure cooker aspect not only by virtue of its angle. The very nature of Mars and Pluto makes it doubly so, for Mars is the archetype of war, and Pluto is associated with concealment. Together, this is a formula for concealed aggression or covert war—in a word, terrorism. Tamerlan’s hatred had to be bottled up and hidden from view. He must have been wrapped tighter than an Egyptian mummy. As tension builds, however, the pent up energy is suddenly released in an explosive, out-of-control manner. The mummy awakens and goes on a killing rampage.
Tamerlan’s use of pressure cooker bombs is a perfect metaphor of his inner state. Gun powder and shrapnel are placed inside the container, and a blasting cap attached to the top. Long range remote controls were used by the brothers to trigger kitchen-type egg timers that detonated the bomb.8 The pressure cooker contains the energy of the explosion and allows it to build up before it releases; thus, low explosives can produce a relatively large explosion. The fragmentation of the pressure cooker creates additional lethal shrapnel.
Just as Tamerlan was himself a ticking time bomb, so he must have resonated with a device that mirrored his own Mars-Pluto psychodynamics. Mars is the weaponized nails and ball bearings; Pluto the gun powder; and the square is the pressure cooker that contains the explosion before it releases. For Tamerlan, the pressure cooker bomb was a form of self-expression, an instrument and outlet for his own pent up Mars-Pluto rage.
Summary and Conclusion
The opening square of Mars in Aquarius to Pluto in Scorpio is the quintessential aspect not only of the terrorist in a generic sense, but more specifically of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s internal state leading up to the Boston marathon bombings. Even the sign positions of the planets are apt, for Mars in Aquarius is consistent with fighting for a radical cause, while Pluto in Scorpio underscores the do-or-die, volcanic intensity of his commitment. The opening square connotes the contents of his repressed Mars, held in check by fears associated with impulses for freedom and an accompanying conviction that his life was in perpetual jeopardy. Just as Chechens were attacked and killed for trying to separate from mother Russia, so Tamerlan felt that he was forever in danger of losing his freedom, regardless of where he lived.
As a Cancerian aspect, the Mars-Pluto opening square also reminds us that Tamerlan’s root motivations went back to home and family. Persecuted and driven from their homeland by an invading superpower, his family carried their emotional scars to the United States, which ultimately became a proxy for Tamerlan’s vindictive rage against Russia. Unable to fight the original enemy, he chose to vent his anger upon the nearest substitute—his new homeland, the United States, which all too readily fit the pattern of an invading superpower encroaching upon an Islamic state.
Once a pattern of thinking and feeling is established, it will seek an outlet that roughly matches the archetypal template. Tamerlan was compelled to repeat his early experiences in Chechnya in order to gain mastery over what had traumatized him. In so doing, he duplicated the personal hell of his childhood by turning Boston into a flaming battle ground, the latest front in his personal vendetta against the forces of evil.
Psychologically speaking, repetition compulsion is an attempt to remember and to master what had heretofore been repressed. Yet, unless the repetition leads to conscious insight and understanding, the original trauma is simply repeated over and over. Often this entails an unconscious role reversal; the victim becomes the perpetrator. Rather than feeling powerless, one becomes all-powerful. It is likely that some version of this occurred with Tamerlan. He was compelled to repeat what he had no doubt witnessed in Chechnya, but in so doing unwittingly became the evil that he sought to vanquish.
The opening square must contain and resolve feelings generated by conflicting impulses, and then redirect them towards caring ends. Tamerlan’s initial intention was to protect his own family from the moral corruption and decadence of his host country. Once radicalized, however, this eventually extended to the families of Afghans and Iraqis and any other country where Muslim sensibilities had been violated by the great Satan (America). As with all terrorists, Tamerlan saw himself as an agent of global Islamic revolution toward a Universal Caliphate. The ultimate goal was to eliminate western secularism and make the world safe for domination under Islam and Sharia Law. Tamerlan’s fantasy was one giant family ruled by Islamic purists, the perfect expression (for him) of Mars in opening square to Pluto.
The Cancerian theme of the opening square was especially evident in Tamerlan’s original plan to detonate his bombs in Boston on July 4th, our nation’s birthday. Hundreds of thousands of patriots would have been packed together at the banks of the Charles River. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is known as the premier Independence Day celebration in the nation. How ironic that the planet of independence, Mars, would have been directed against an Independence Day celebration. As it was, Tamerlan’s plan was averted only because construction of the bombs were finished earlier than expected, so he changed his target to Patriot’s Day, the day of the Boston marathon.
If the opening square requires the operative planets to sublimate their impulses into a joint product that in some way entails caring and protection, what Tamerlan did was a perversion of true caring. Rather than utilize Mars-Pluto in the service of protecting loved ones in the homeland; he used it to murder mothers and children in a homeland he sought to destroy. His story tragically reveals what can happen when an aspect is not integrated in a functional way.
History is replete with examples of heroic, functional expressions of Mars square Pluto. General George Patton used it to flush the Nazis out of France and Italy in WWII; Mel Gibson used it in the making of his film Braveheart, which celebrated the Scottish warrior William Wallace whose cry of “Freedom!” rallied the Scots to chase England out of their homeland. And British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, aptly named “The Iron lady” by a Soviet journalist, used her Mars-Pluto square to triple England’s nuclear forces, defeat communism in the Cold War, and drive invading Argentinian forces out of the British-controlled Falkland Islands.
Lots of other notable people have (or had) it, too—Dr. Phil, Suzanne Somers, Amelia Earhart, Nancy Grace, Thomas Jefferson, Lenny Bruce, Harvey Milk, Bruce Lee, John McEnroe—all of whom, when you look closely, have a streak of fierce intensity that carries them forward into various arenas to fight the good fight. These examples and countess others illustrate that Mars square Pluto is not inherently an evil aspect that compels human beings to commit acts of rape and murder, though certainly there are numberless examples of those who have done so. As with any hard aspect, it requires reflecting upon mixed feelings and holding them in awareness so that new, adaptive capacities can emerge. Such capacities can then be utilized for the greater good.
When painful, traumatic memories reside at the base of such an aspect, holding them in awareness so they can be metabolized, healed, and redirected toward constructive ends may be exceedingly difficult, like taming a wolf in the wilds. Regrettably, Tamerlan was unable to do it, becoming instead a lone-wolf terrorist who fought for the wrong cause with the wrong methods. In the end, the story of Tamerlan Tsarnaev is a cautionary tale, a grim reminder that as Shakespeare wrote long ago, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”
* * * * *

1 One can differentiate an opening from a closing aspect by determining the faster moving planet. As the faster of the two, Mars will separate from a conjunction with Pluto and form a series of 30 degree angles over the period of time it takes to traverse the zodiac and reform the conjunction (the synodic cycle of Mars-Pluto). The first 90 degrees of this cycle is the first square. Just as the sign Cancer signifies the first 90 degrees of the Earth’s separation from the vernal equinox, so the first 90 degree angle of the synodic cycle between two planets has a Cancerian quality.

2 “Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dead Bombing Suspect: “I Don’t Have a Single American Friend”. Weigel. Retrieved May 4, 2013

3 Boston bombing suspect’s widow assisting investigation, lawyer says“. WGN-TV. Retrieved April 23, 2013

4 Friends, Family Describe Suspects In Boston Marathon Attack“. NPR. April 19, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2013

5 I am not suggesting that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were unjustified. That is a separate question. I’m merely saying that from Tamerlan’s perspective, invasion of an Islamic country by the U.S. not only was a repetition of what Russia did to Chechnya, but archetypally also had connotations of cultural rape.

6 Sherwell, Philip. “Boston bomber arrested: Tamerlan Tsarnaev was questioned by FBI in 2011“. Telegraph. Retrieved April 20, 2013

7 Curran, Kathy (April 15, 2013). “Marathon Bombing suspects stopped several times by law enforcement“. WCVB. Retrieved April 24, 2013

8 Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim“. New York Times. April 16, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013

Chris Dorner Birth Chart and Synchronicity

Chris Dorner Birth Chart and Synchronicity
A Unitary Model of Motivation

By Glenn Perry 


Chris Dorner
Chris Dorner

Human motivation is typically discussed in terms of extrinsic or intrinsic causes. In this article, however, we will examine motivation in a wider context of synchronicity and circular causality. From a synchronistic perspective, external events may actually be extensions of internal motivating factors which, in turn, are linked to cosmic powers (archetypes) that are inherently intelligent and intentional. To illustrate how events can have transcendent meaning, we will examine the birth chart of Chris Dorner, the deceased Los Angeles Police Officer who went on a murderous rampage earlier this year. Dorner’s case exemplifies the tragic consequences of failure to discern an event’s evolutionary purpose.

Motivation and the Universal Psyche
Psychologists initially depicted human beings as passive agents of forces beyond their control. These passive-mechanistic theories regarded motivation as extrinsic to the individual, meaning rooted in material conditions (physiology and environment) outside of individual consciousness. Intrinsic motivation, which was proposed later, was based entirely on psychological factors—innate needs, goals, and purposes—that require no biological or sociological basis. Intrinsic motivation is perfectly in accord with the meaning of zodiacal signs.1 A sign-need can be inferred from behavior that is characteristic of that sign. Accordingly, each sign symbolizes a fundamental human need, or motive, which impels its ruling planet to act in its service.

Jung’s concept of synchronicity is an implicit theory of motivation that transcends the linear and deterministic thinking of passive-mechanistic models, as well as the concepts of purely psychological theories. As such, it can serve as the basis for a more complex, unifying motivational model rooted in astrology. Jung repeatedly observed that events in the outer world seemed to coincide meaning¬fully with inner psychic states. They were not necessarily causally related, but symbolically so; inner and outer events were isomorphic in that they had the same or similar quality. Jung concluded that the workings of archetypes could be discerned not only in subjective phenomena such as dreams and myths, but in objective phenomena as well. He was intrigued with the possibility that psyche merged with outer reality to form a unitary reality transcending the antithesis of subject and object.

The specifics of synchronistic events, he thought, could actually be the exterior coverings of archetypal energy projecting forth from consciousness onto the material plane. Archetypes, Jung concluded, were psychoid; that is, they shape matter as well as mind. When an archetype appeared externally in the form of an event, that event was synchronistic precisely because it represented a meaningful arrangement of inner psychic and outer facts. In this sense, events can be considered symbolic derivatives of consciousness.

Jung defined synchronicity as the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events that appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state.2 The problem with this definition, however, is that it is confined more-or-less to single instances of synchronicity. What the theory actually implies is that any habitual psychic state or attitude will be reflected by an ongoing pattern of external events that meaningfully parallel the habitual subjective state. This, of course, is the core doctrine of astrology: every psychological factor—need, emotion, belief, attitude, and behavior—is symbolized by some part of the chart, which also symbolizes an event, person, place, or thing. The implication is that internal and external conditions are synchronistically related on a constant basis. Character is destiny. This idea is fundamental to the astrological world-view.

Jung’s notion of synchronicity is relevant to our theory of astrological motivation, for it reconciles the apparent contradiction between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. No one doubts that human beings are responsive to external stimuli. Likewise, there are certain fundamental human needs that impel behavior from within and that operate relatively independent of environmental conditions. But synchronicity suggests that both internal and external causes are mirrors of one another. More to the point, it implies that extrinsic motivation is really intrinsic motivation disguised as an event. This is because psyche is non-local in the sense that it includes its environmental relations; events are derivatives of consciousness and are purposeful to the extent that they motivate the individual to make whatever behavioral adjustments are necessary to assure need satisfaction.

All of this underscores that astrological archetypes are evident not only in the structure of the psyche, but also in our ongoing experiences with the material world. Physiological processes, political events, societal institutions, community affairs, and experiences of everyday life are thought to be manifestations of archetypal patterns in nature. It follows that the particular relation of the individual to these archetypal manifestations is a reflection of that individual’s consciousness—i.e., the degree to which he has integrated the relevant archetype(s). Again, this was the basis of Jung’s theory of synchronicity: psyche cannot be separated from the events to which it adheres.

The Case of Christopher Dorner
Sometime during the evening of February 3rd, 2013, former Los Angeles Police officer, Chris Dorner, assassinated 28-year old Monica Quan and her finance, Keith Lawrence. Monica was the daughter of Los Angeles police captain Randal Quan. Both were on Dorner’s 40-person hit list. All targeted individuals were in some way connected to Dorner’s failed court case against the LAPD. Vowing to wage “unconventional and asymmetric warfare” until the LAPD publically admitted he was fired in retaliation for reporting excessive force, Dorner killed two more officers before barricading himself in a remote cabin near Big Bear Mountain. Surrounded on all sides and refusing to surrender, he suicided with a pistol shot to the head.

What is most unusual about Dorner’s case is that according to all reports he was a perpetually cheerful, responsible, and intelligent individual with no history of mental illness prior to being fired. Hardworking and morally upstanding, Dorner came from an admired family, played football at Southern Utah University, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and served honorably in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant and reservist from 2002-2013, receiving numerous awards and decorations.

On the day following Quan’s murder, Dorner published a 20-page manifesto on Facebook, “To: America. Subject: Last resort,” which outlines the series of events that culminated in his decision to go nuclear.3 It is simultaneously a confession, declaration of war, and goodbye, “I will not be alive to see my name cleared,” writes Dorner, “That’s what this is about, my name.” In his manifesto, we learn about Dorner directly, including his actual motives for the shootings. There is no sensational court trial with shifty lawyers distorting the truth and prostituting themselves in deliverance of a defendant’s twisted, self-exonerating version of events. Instead we have a raw, brutally honest life story, the tragedy and pathology of his psyche laid bare.

The key event(s) that precipitated Dorner’s killing spree extended from 2007 through 2011. He joined the LAPD in 2005 and was completing his training when, on July 28 2007, he and his training officer, Teresa Evans, were called to subdue a mentally ill man who was causing a disturbance. According to a report filed by Dorner, Evans used excessive force in arresting the suspect, twice kicking him in the face while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground. The mentally ill man, Richard Gettler, received medical treatment for minor injuries to his face and later told his father that Evans had, in fact, kicked him. Gettler repeated this claim in a videotaped disposition. Despite Dorner’s report, the victim’s corroborating testimony, the father’s testimony, and Evan’s own history of previous infractions of a similar nature, no action was taken against her. Instead, after a brief investigation, Dorner’s employment was terminated on September 4, 2008 by the LAPD for allegedly making false statements against Evans.

Dorner appealed his termination in one court after another between 2009 and 2011. Each higher court, however, sided with the LAPD and upheld the lower court’s rulings, stating that Dorner was not credible in his allegations against Evans. This enraged Dorner as he screamed in disbelief at the end of the hearing, “But I told the truth! How could this (ruling) happen?!” It is worth noting that Dorner’s dismissal cost him not only his job, but also his security clearances and thus his Navy career as well. In his manifesto, an outraged Dorner asserted that his wrongful dismissal was his prime motivation for the shootings.

I have taken some time to outline these events in order to establish what motivated Dorner to act as he did. Recall that the larger question is how synchronicity and motivation are related. Before detailing the synchronistic nature of the events that precipitated Dorner’s decision to kill, it will be helpful to see how the pattern, both psychological and situational, is symbolized in Dorner’s birth chart.

Chris Dorner Birth Chart
Space prohibits a full analysis of all factors that may be contributory to Dorner’s story, so I will limit myself to a single configuration, which is, I suspect, the heart of the matter. Also, keep in mind that we do not yet have a birth time for Dorner, so no mention will be made of house positions.


Chris Dorner: June 4, 1979. New York, NY (Noon chart; time unknown)

The configuration in question is Dorner’s Sun conjunct Mercury in Gemini with both planets opposing Neptune in Sagittarius. While this configuration can manifest in a multiplicity of ways, I will direct my comments to the known circumstances of Dorner’s life and the choices he has actually made.

The Sun, of course, symbolizes the will and identity. As the ruler of Leo, its motivating needs are for self-esteem and creative self-expression. If all goes well, the will is employed in decisions—self-expression—that result in experiences of approbation, approval, and validation. To the extent these needs are met, the individual develops a solid sense of self and enduring self-esteem.

Mercury, as the ruler of Gemini and Virgo, is motivated by needs for learning and communication (Gemini), as well as competency and service (Virgo). Given that Mercury is in its own sign, this underscores the importance of communication in Dorner’s chart, as evidenced by his 20-page manifesto in which he details all the relevant facts leading up to his tragic final act.

Opposing all of this is Neptune, which has its own set of motivations. As ruler of Pisces, Neptune is obligated to fulfill needs for transcendence of ego, surrender to a higher power, and sacrifice for the greater good. To the extent individuals realize these spiritual ideals, they develop compassion for human suffering and a willingness to forgive both self and others for the inevitable flaws and failings of being human. Like all transpersonal planets, however, Neptune’s imperatives are a challenge to personal needs and wants. Especially difficult are hard aspects to Mercury and the Sun. This is underscored by the fact that these two planets rule signs that are either square (Gemini), opposed (Virgo), or quincunx (Leo) to Pisces.

Neptune’s penchant for fantasy, idealism and imagination can conflict with Mercury’s focus on empirical data. Accordingly, the way one wants things to be can distort one’s view of how things actually are. This gives rise to Mercury-Neptune’s reputation for telling less than the whole truth. In addition, Neptune requires seeing beyond mere facts or whether a job has been properly done; rather, its focus is on cultivating forbearance and forgiveness for situations that may be irreparable. Although Mercury is our problem solving function, Neptune reminds us that problems should not be confused with predicaments. A predicament can be defined as a difficult, unpleasant, or embarrassing situation from which there is no clear or easy way out, and often no way out at all.

When in hard aspect to the Sun, Neptune will eventually oblige the native to sacrifice egoic needs for triumph, being right, and winning accolades. To foster Piscean attributes of soul, this god of the oceanic depths is renown for experiences that defeat the personal will, dissolve attachments to a glorified self-image, and force one to endure loss, humiliation, and degradation. If the individual is able and willing to work through such experiences, the spiritual yield is considerable: resiliency, compassion, humility, capacity for forgiveness, and willingness to turn over to a higher power that which is beyond personal control. As befits watery Pisces, one is more able to flow with life’s ups and downs, victories and defeats, gains and losses, without loss of equanimity.

Conversely, if one is unwilling to accede to Neptune’s demands, defenses are erected and strategies employed that may forestall but can never prevent the collapse the ego so desperately wishes to avoid. Solar defenses entail an appropriation of Neptunian functions, but for the sake of the ego. Rather than accept personal limitations, the individual feels unlimited in his ability to control events and people; the self becomes inflated, grandiose, and mythically heroic in a deluded, self-aggrandizing way. All of Neptune’s primary concerns remain operative—e.g., the wish to relieve suffering, administer to victims, and identify with the whole of universal life—but without a concomitant reduction in personal self-importance. Instead, there is a rigid, compensatory exaggeration of self as a defense against the terror of ego annihilation.

This exemplifies a cardinal rule in any hard aspect: mutual influence and reciprocal resistance. In resisting Neptune, the Sun hypertrophies into a bloated, hyperbolic caricature of self-confidence (hubris, arrogance); yet, is still influenced by Neptune, as evidenced by the self’s intent to do something extraordinary that benefits the collective. The incongruity between self-aggrandizement and self-abnegation does not appear to be consciously recognized. To the extent that a functional blend between the two planets is lacking, Sun and Neptune are set off against one another, with a back and forth movement from one extreme to the other. Just as the Sun puffs up in reaction to Neptune, so Neptune warps into total victim status in reaction to the Sun. The individual alternately assumes these different identities without awareness of the inherent contradiction.

In Dorner’s manifesto, for example, he details ad nauseam how he was victimized by the LAPD. They lied, they’re racist, they ruined his life. “Evans…you destroyed my life and name because of your actions,” he writes. “I’ve lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD. In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and knew I was INNOCENT!!!” He goes on like this for 20 pages, repeating over and over how he was betrayed, slandered, and libeled. In Dorner’s mind, the significance of his victimization is so monumental that he implores journalists to investigate his entire life history to establish his good character.

It is not clear why relationships with friends and family were allegedly lost due to the LAPD. I suppose even a mother may grow tired of a son’s interminable self-pity and vindictive rage. One suspects that Dorner doth protest too much, for his passionate self-defense suggests he may be harboring a guilty conscience. However, rather than accept even a smidgen of responsibility for his difficulties with the LAPD, Dorner can only play the victim.

That he was not always innocent is evident in the following. While on patrol, Dorner overheard two fellow officers use the word ‘nigger’ in reference to the black community. Dorner admits he leapt over a passenger seat grabbed the neck of the offending officer and squeezed. “Don’t fucking say that,” he warned. A violent scuffle broke out and he subsequently initiated a formal complaint against them. Later, during the review of his case involving Evans, the department charged that he bullied his fellow officers as evidenced by the aforementioned incident. “How fucking dare you attempt to label me with such a nasty vile word,” he writes. He then lists all the places he’s lived and all the schools he’s attended so that journalists can investigate his good character and chronicle for the entire world to see that he’s not a bully. “I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me,” growls Dorner, “It’s in my DNA.”

It is important to understand that even while Dorner raged against his ‘wrongful dismissal’ by the LAPD, he could never actually grieve the loss or fully, consciously accept the experience. This illustrates the extent to which his solar identity and will are polarized to Neptune. He is momentarily seized by Neptune as victim, only to rebound back to his Sun and polarize to Neptune with a near hysterical vengeance. Unwilling to accept that there are certain types of experiences that a mere act of will cannot alter, e.g., being ‘right’ and ‘good’ does not exempt one from loss or tragedy, he rails against God like a crazed Job with violent intentions. In his manifesto he recalls how, as a child, he was disciplined for fighting when fellow students called him ‘nigger’ and other racial names. When he was told by the principal that good Christians turn the other cheek, Dorner stiffened in cold rage. “I’m not a fucking Christian…That day I made a life decision that I will not tolerate derogatory terms spoken to me.” His mother told him that sometimes bad things happen to good people. “I refuse to accept that,” writes Dorner.

These statements are significant, for again they illustrate his ongoing struggle against Neptune’s prime directive for spiritual surrender. If Neptune were integrated, he would be able to grieve, turn it over to God, and ultimately forgive his perpetrators after doing whatever he could legally to rectify the situation. Likewise on a solar level, he would soften and accept some responsibility for his predicament. It is noteworthy that only after his training officer, Teresa Evans, filed a report critical of his performance that Dorner then filed his report charging her with ‘excessive force’. One can easily imagine how the LAPD might conclude that Dorner’s report was both retaliatory and an attempt to discredit her appraisal of him. This, in fact, was their argument in the court case that Dorner brought against them.

Rather than see both sides of the situation, however, Dorner’s Sun blew up like a supernova and morphed into an avenging angel. In an attempt to push away Neptunian feelings of helplessness, guilt, and grief, the solar ego compensates by reacting in the opposite direction. Still influenced by Neptune, yet holding to an image of himself as faultless, Dorner transformed into a moral crusader with transcendent powers to avenge the weak, clear his name and singlehandedly change the LAPD’s culture of corruption. “You have awoken a sleeping giant,” he writes. “The culture of LAPD versus the community and honest/good officers needs to and will change. I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north.”

Throughout his manifesto, he brags about his superior intelligence and marksmanship, his indifference to death, and his mastery of weaponry and warfare. He tells the LAPD exactly how he intends to kill them and why they cannot stop him. “You cannot prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death,” he says. “You will now live the life of the prey.” Here we see how Neptunian fantasy infects the solar identity in a virulent form; suddenly this former cop-in-training is a comic book superhero posturing as an invincible agent of cosmic justice. “You are a high value target,” Dorner individually warns Caucasian, Black, Lesbian, Hispanic, and Asian officers, all of whom are accused of victimizing the innocent in one way or another. For those who were directly involved in his court case, he promises to stalk and kill their children. “I never had the opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours. Quan, Anderson, Evans…look your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead.”

One can glean from these statements the extent to which his Sun is polarized to Neptune while still being heavily influenced by it. He cannot accept being a victim; instead, he will fight heroically and sacrificially for all victims. Railing against people who resist gun laws, he tells Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA, “you’re a vile and inhumane piece of shit….May all of your immediate and distant family die horrific deaths in front of you.” Apparently, Dorner wants to prevent crazed killers like Adam Lanza (of the Newtown massacre) from obtaining firearms; yet, he himself is a cold-blooded murderer and best reason for anyone who wishes to own a gun. Dorner does not see the contradiction. Whereas Neptune requires surrender to a higher power, he becomes the higher power and demands that all surrender to him. In a twisted, narcissistic perversion of authentic spirituality, he elects himself to be an agent of divine retribution. The mayhem will only stop, Dorner says, “when the department states the truth about my innocence, PUBLICLY!!!”

Synchronicity and Extrinsic Motivation
Earlier I stated that extrinsic motivation takes the form of an event that mirrors an internal attitude while also providing a catalyst for psycho-spiritual growth. Our question is how exactly this occurred in the case of Chris Dorner. The relevant events occurred during the period 2007-2011. Dorner reported Evans for using excessive force in August 2007 and ten months later was relieved of his duties for ‘making up’ that Evans had kicked the suspect. From 10/08 through 02/09, he attended a department hearing for decision of continued employment, which he lost. A series of three appeals followed, culminating in the California Court of Appeal affirming the lower court’s rulings on October 3, 2011. According to a report in the NY times, Dorner’s allegation that he was unjustly fired resonated among some LAPD employees “who have criticized the department’s disciplinary system, calling it capricious and retaliatory toward those who try to expose misconduct.”4

While it is worthwhile to consider the relevant transits and progressions that were occurring during this time, let us delay that analysis momentarily. I am more interested here in discerning the potential purpose of the aforementioned events—to wit, the specifics of his termination by the LAPD and the period surrounding it. Assuming that Dorner, in fact, was a victim of wrongful dismissal, what might be the significance of such an event from an archetypal perspective?

In an attempt to answer this question, let us first review our general theory behind synchronicity and extrinsic motivation. Individuals express archetypal forces through their thoughts, fantasies, and behaviors. It may be that such expressions reverberate within the collective consciousness—the divine ground—and influence Its response. In other words, the individual psyche acts back on the objective psyche from which it derives and with which it is indissolubly associated. Thus a feedback cycle is established: (1) the individual experiences an internal state that motivates an action; (2) the action has an effect upon the collective consciousness; and (3) that effect reverberates back upon the individual in the form of an event of similar quality, which informs his next response, and so the cycle continues. A feedback cycle has no clear beginning or end. An event can motivate from without just as a need can motivate from within. Motives, rooted in archetypes, have internal and external correlates.

An important element of synchronicity is what it implies about the purpose of an event. Rather than simply ask how something occurred (what caused it), Jung asked: what did it happen for? Every archetype, thought Jung, had its own energy and intention. Although there were no laws governing the specific form in which an archetype might appear, there were definite tendencies dependent upon the situation at hand.

Jung noted that synchronicities were most apparent when the individual was undergoing some sort of crisis, or change. Astrologically, we know that such changes are precipitated by specific transits and progressions that manifest within and without. The formation of psychic patterns within the uncon¬scious seems to be accompanied by physical patterns in the outer world. Synchroni¬cities reached their peak, thought Jung, when the individual was in a heightened state of awareness, such as occurred during periods of transformation: births, deaths, moves, marriage, divorce, intense creative work, or a change in career. Internal restructuring seems to produce and require external resonances; that is, synchronicities are outer circumstances that afford a vehicle and catalyst for interior transformations. In short, they motivate the individual to change in specific ways.

Traits, Transits, and Synchronicities
We can hypothesize that this is exactly what was occurring during the critical time of 06/08 to 01/09 when Dorner was relieved of duty and then fought to be reinstated. It was precisely during this six-month period that transiting Saturn conjuncted itself (Saturn return) and then squared his Sun/Mercury-Neptune opposition. A number of statements in his manifesto highlight the significance of this period. He twice mentions the date of 1/2/09 when his department hearing for continued employment went against him: “Since 6/26/08 when I was relieved of duty and 1/2/09 when I was terminated I have been afflicted with severe depression….I do not fear death as I died long ago on 1/2/09.”

Saturn’s linkage with frustration and depression has long been established, as the word ‘saturnine’ (gloomy and morose) clearly indicates. More importantly, Saturn’s square to his natal Sun/Mercury-Neptune opposition suggests this is a period in which Dorner will be obliged to do serious inner work on the aspect in question. One can imagine the ordeal of putting together his case, finding corroborative witnesses, and fighting through the fog of confusion, deceit, and denial in the LAPD’s case against him (transiting Saturn square Mercury-Neptune). In addition, he was fighting to restore his honor and clear his name against false charges that could permanently scar his reputation (Saturn square Sun-Neptune). Of course, none of this is related to the inner work that the transit requires, a point we will return shortly.

Our hypothesis is that these outer events not only reflected Dorner’s psyche; they provided an appropriate vehicle for the inner work that was required. Accepting that Dorner’s version is true, he was the apparent victim of a deception. First, Evans lied about kicking the suspect; then the department accused Dorner of making false statements in retaliation for Evan’s poor evaluation of his performance in the field. In other words, they claimed he was lying to protect his career. In turn, Dorner accused the LAPD of lying to protect their image as a law abiding public institution.

Regardless of who was lying to whom, the entire incident is certainly reflective of natal Sun/Mercury opposing Neptune. First, if Dorner is correct, the LAPD denied and distorted the facts of the matter, which reflects Mercury opposed Neptune. Moreover, they did it to save face, which is consistent with Sun opposed Neptune. One can well imagine the LAPD’s humiliation if it came out that one of their own kicked a mentally ill man in the face after he was handcuffed and lying on the ground. This is the second significant aspect of the ‘event’, namely the accusation of excessive force against a helpless victim. And finally, it was not merely that the LAPD failed to prosecute Evans, they turned on Dorner and terminated his employment.

I have already stated that these outer events reflect some aspect of Dorner’s psyche. Evidence for this is that the LAPD’s behavior is consistent with the meaning of a major configuration in Dorner’s chart. If we accept that Sun/Mercury opposed Neptune not only symbolizes a fate, i.e., an ongoing pattern of outer events, but also and more importantly a pattern of inner events—specifically, a mental and egoic pattern made up of attitudes, traits, and habits that constitute Dorner’s character—then the implication is clear: the outer situation reflects an inner one.

It is not difficult to see that Dorner’s behavior is consistent with that of the LAPD. Given that Dorner’s accusation against Evans occurred the day following her negative appraisal of him, it is certainly feasible that his report was, in part, motivated by revenge. Her criticisms were not only an affront to his ego; they put his career in jeopardy. Accordingly, he reacted in kind. That he is prone to vengeful behavior is well established by the murders he later committed in retaliation for his alleged ‘wrongful dismissal’. And since he might not have been entirely honest about his reasons for reporting Evans, this throws into some doubt the facts of the report itself. If the kick did occur, how intentional was it? Could it have been inadvertent, a relatively minor infraction that did not rise to the level of police brutality? All of this is to say that Dorner’s report may have skewed the facts in the service of his own self-interest.

Secondly, there is the issue of excessive force. This was the gist of Dorner’s charge against Evans, who, allegedly, overreacted when Gettler resisted arrest. But Dorner, too, has a history of excessive force. He reacted violently when children called him names, and he attacked a fellow officer for saying the word ‘nigger’ in reference to other blacks. Jumping over a car seat and grabbing the officer by the throat could certainly be construed as bully tactics, regardless of how justified Dorner was in being offended. This, of course, pales in comparison to his murderous rampage in retaliation for being fired. It is no small irony that Dorner resorted to excessive force to avenge his firing for reporting excessive force.

Thirdly, the LAPD’s retaliation against Dorner for reporting Evans’ misconduct is mirrored by Dorner’s own subsequent behavior. A scapegoat is someone who is forced to suffer and take the blame for other’s wrongdoing. When the LAPD targeted Dorner as a ‘bad cop’ who betrayed his own, they were transferring blame from Evans (and themselves) to him. Their reason for doing so was ostensibly to protect their image and ‘save face’. Such thin-skinned, morally bankrupt behavior was an attempt to prevent their humiliation, at Dorner’s expense. Likewise, however, when Dorner constructed his 40-person hit list, his intent was to inflict suffering upon innocent victims, including children, in retaliation for what a few officers had done. Moreover, his actions were a defense against the humiliation of being fired. As Dorner put it, “This was a necessary evil that had to be executed in order for me to obtain my NAME back.” In his mind, it was justifiable to destroy the lives of innocents merely to defend his honor. Note this is exactly what the LAPD did to him. What he demonized in them, he was guilty of himself at a whole other level of magnitude.

A surface reading of the events might lead one to conclude that Dorner’s behavior was merely a reaction to LAPD actions that caused him great pain. This is the popular rendition of the story circulating on the Internet: he was the victim of a grave injustice, and heroically fought to restore his honor and change the system! However, there are reasons to believe that Dorner’s actions were not merely the effect of causes that preceded and originated independently of his own consciousness; rather, it may be the other way around: the events of 06/08 to 01/09 were reflections not causes of Dorner’s psyche. First, his behavior was entirely consistent with his birth chart, which depicts his character structure a priori. Second, there is empirical evidence that deception, defensiveness, and vindictiveness were characteristic of Dorner before his employment was terminated. And third, he had free will. Regardless of whether he was a victim of wrongful dismissal, Dorner had options other than murder. That he chose revenge was an expression of his character, not merely of the events that befell him.

Dorner’s Missed Opportunity
It is not enough merely to point out correlations between Dorner’s character and the events he experienced. At best, this is blaming the victim. And I do not wish to trivialize the anguish a human being can feel when his reputation has been denigrated, his dreams shattered, and his character unjustly maligned. Yet, the true significance of these events is that they provided Dorner an opportunity to evolve beyond the level that was being mirrored to him by agents within the LAPD.

As Jung would do, we must ask: What did the event happen for? Where was it leading to? A teleological perspective holds that important life events occur for the sake of development toward a more optimal state of being—in effect, to fulfill one’s destiny. Difficulties are purposive in that they provide both a catalyst and a vehicle for growth toward a higher, more integrated version of oneself. Dorner already admitted that his wrongful dismissal was his primary motivation for the shootings. But surely this decision did not come easily. His final court appeal ended on October 3, 2011. More than a year passed before the shootings began on February 3, 2013. During this time, I suspect he struggled over what to do. His manifesto reveals he had many conversations with friends and family about the matter.

In systems theory, Dorner was at a ‘bifurcation point’ in the evolution of a system. A horoscope (psyche) is a system; that is, an assemblage of parts with relations between them. Bifurcation points occur in response to crises that the system cannot resolve at its current level of organization. Accordingly, the system is at a cross roads, and must choose between alternative courses of action. Growth occurs when the system is able to resolve the crisis by achieving a higher level integration of its parts, which, in turn, yields new, emergent properties—skills and abilities that did not previously exist. But growth is not a given, for living systems are dynamic, autonomous entities that have the freedom to choose.

In Dorner’s case, we must assume there was no fait accompli, no irresistible compulsion that forced him to murder. During the period in question, he was at a crossroads that presented a choice: the low road or the high road. To feel better about events that were clearly beyond his control, he could not continue to function at his current level of consciousness. In effect, his predicament—the deception and vindictiveness of his nemesis—not only mirrored traits within his own character, it provided him the opportunity to transcend the pattern by allowing himself to suffer fully the emotional consequences of such behavior. Regrettably, that is often the only way that certain kinds of learning can occur.

In our current feel-good culture that avoids pain at all costs (take a pill and call a lawyer), it may seem odd indeed to describe Dorner’s suffering as an opportunity for transcendence. Yet, that is Neptune’s higher expression, and Dorner was unmistakably in a Neptunian situation. Not only was transiting Saturn activating his Sun/Mercury opposition to Neptune, but the crushing loss of his naval and police career, as well as the manner in which it occurred (treachery, deceit), bear the unmistakable stamp of Neptune.

Recall that an astrological archetype is a motivating principle whether it occurs as an inner state or outer event. Dorner’s experience as a whole could have motivated him to rebalance his Sun/Mercury with Neptune. In part, this would mean strengthening the weakest link. His self-esteem was clearly linked to his identity as a strong, powerful man (military/law enforcement); thus, it was the opposite pole—humility, compassion, and surrender to a higher power—that was the greater challenge. The humiliating loss of his career must surely have plunged him into despair. It is precisely at such times that human beings fall to their knees and pray—for strength to bear the loss, for wisdom to understand it, and often for forgiveness. These are the times that test our faith and compel us to turn inward and draw upon our spiritual resources.

Like all planetary functions, Neptune signifies a capacity. We tend to think of this in purely positive terms, such as our capacity for idealism, imagination, charity, and so forth. But these capacities grow out of a deeper, less celebrated aptitude—an ability to submit, let go, and place our trust in the unknown source of our own consciousness, that invisible presence variously referred to as God, Tao, Brahman, the Absolute, and a thousand other names. When all has been lost and vaunted will has failed to turn the tide, we turn to Spirit as a source of solace and strength. Again, however, this is a capacity, which is stronger or weaker depending upon our relationship to Neptune. Dorner’s ordeal could be construed as an opportunity to strengthen his neptunian capacities. That, precisely, was its higher purpose.

There is an abundance of evidence that Dorner went kicking and screaming into that good neptunian night. In his manifesto, he admits “I’m not a fucking Christian,” and “though not a religious man, I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics…” Clearly, having a code of ethics was not enough. The solution to his predicament did not require a Jupiterian response (law, ethics, morality), for that was tried and failed. What was needed was a capacity for letting go and letting God, for ego dissolution, and for grieving his loss with unadulterated compassion for his own suffering.

That he was unwilling to do this is suggested by a treasured quote given to him by a friend. Dorner says he never forgot the quote: “’I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever feeling sorry for itself.’ ~ D.H. Lawrence.” Perhaps he took this to mean that he should not feel sorry (have compassion) for himself; that instead he should bury his pain and stay strong. Research indicates, however, that repressing one’s pain merely causes it to persist at an unconscious level. Unable to be properly metabolized, it festers, spreads, and ultimately infects the entire psyche such that all one’s feelings and thoughts are poisoned by it. Such undigested pain may be the true genesis of the murderous hatred that eventually drives one to kill. How interesting that Dorner himself dropped dead in the frozen, wintry mountains of California, a wild thing killed by a self-administered bullet to the head. One suspects he did so in order to not ‘feel sorry’ for himself.

There is another factor worth considering. Recall that Dorner’s Sun and Mercury are in Gemini. The fact that Gemini is archetypally square Pisces and opposed Sagittarius signifies that it has difficulty with both these signs. Pisces is all about letting go, whereas Sagittarius is about abstract reasoning and the ability to arrive at a sound conclusion. If properly integrated with Gemini, these signs confer a capacity to examine the facts (Gemini), accept what cannot be changed (Pisces), and settle upon the proper philosophic attitude (Sagittarius). For example, the person might say to himself: “Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I will endeavor to forgive my adversaries and trust that everything happens for a reason, even if for the moment I cannot understand it.”

If not properly integrated, Gemini has a tendency to obsess over the facts, going round and round in circles without ever getting anywhere. In the vernacular, this is ‘being stuck’. A hint of this was evident in Dorner’s courtroom cry when the verdict went against him, “But I told the truth! How could this happen?!” Without an ability to let go and accept on faith that his experience is serving a purpose that may only be understood much later, Dorner is apt to keep repeating this Gemini mantra, “How could this happen…how could this happen…how could this happen…” like a broken record stuck on an unanswerable question that ultimately drives everyone away, and himself crazy.

This is not to say that Dorner was a victim of his birth chart. It simply underscores his failure to develop the requisite attitude and understanding that could have saved him. Astrologically, such an attitude is perfectly symbolized by Neptune in Sagittarius, the opposite and complementary pole to his Mercury/Sun in Gemini. When painful events occur that are beyond one’s control, the only thing that is within control is one’s attitude toward the events in question. Ideally, this means humble acceptance of God’s will coupled with a willingness to learn from the experience. But Dorner tried to elevate himself above his fate and do the impossible—force the LAPD to recant their charges—and failing that, to kill and kill again. Such vengeful hubris was bound to end in disaster—which literally means ‘against the stars’.

An unrealistic, exaggerated, or rigidly held sense of entitlement is a symptom of narcissistic personality disorder. We do not know much about Dorner’s background; however, no mention in existing documents is made of his father. If Dorner never knew his father or suffered an early loss of paternal love, which is not uncommon with Sun opposition Neptune, this might have contributed to his exaggerated sense of entitlement. As Fenichel writes, such individuals “because of early frustrations…arrogate to themselves the right to demand lifelong reimbursement from fate.”6 In other words, if a boy’s capacity to endure loss has been damaged by a traumatic experience at a young age, he may defend against the pain of future losses by demanding special treatment and exemptions.

Neptune in Sagittarius is the true antidote to Geminian obsessiveness and narcissistic revenge. For it confers faith in a just universe that surpasses human understanding, coupled with trust that, in the full expanse of time, all things work together for good. “Beloved, do not avenge yourself; leave that to God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ sayeth the Lord.” This passage from Romans: 12:19, attributed to the apostle Paul, encourages those who have been wronged to place their trust in a moral order that transcends human law. For to do otherwise runs a great hazard of injuring both oneself and others by acting improperly under the influence of passion. To avenge oneself is to take justice out of the hands of God.

Summary and Conclusion
It is a cliché to say, “He shot himself in the foot,” meaning a person was needlessly self-destructive. In Dorner’s case, of course, the situation was more serious: he shot himself in the head, and not merely allegorically. His final suicide was a literal enactment of what needed to occur symbolically—an ego death. If Neptune opposes the Sun, that is what is required. To suffer willingly, to take it on the chin, to be humbled and even humiliated is precisely what the aspect demands before it can bestow its gifts. The alternative, which is what Dorner chose, is to appropriate Neptune in the service of the Sun and thereby become inflated and grandiose, a self without boundaries hell bent on a personal vendetta that places ego above the lives of innocent victims. Rather than ego death, there is only death.

I have tried to show that Neptunian situations provide the motivation to develop Neptunian capacities, not for the sake of the ego, but for ego transcendence. The synchronistic events that Dorner experienced can be seen as a logical consequence of his own character flaws. As such, they occurred precisely to motivate the development of attributes—resilience, compassion, humility— that would rebalance his out-of-balance (narcissistic) state. In other words, they occurred teleologically for the purpose of spiritual development.

At such times, the self is at a bifurcation point; one choice leads to evolution, the other to regression. To take pride, paradoxically, in one’s ability to humbly accept loss and defeat, reflects an integration of Sun and Neptune. For it reveals a functional balance between self-esteem (Sun) and self-abnegation (Neptune). Without such balance, the self is forever in danger of falling prey to the Scylla of inflation or the Charybdis of deflation; the intoxicating allure of narcissistic grandiosity, or catastrophic collapse into wretched anonymity; to be everything, or nothing.

Had Dorner made the wiser choice, there is no telling what he might have accomplished. Perhaps he would have discovered a new calling and dedicated his life to a noble cause. At a higher level of integration, this is what Sun-Neptune means: devotion to a transcendent ideal that serves the greater good. We see this in innumerable individuals that have hard aspects between Sun and Neptune, all of whom suffered great loss at one time or another, which they endured and in so doing became an inspiration to others—Jung’s descent into psychosis, Gandhi’s imprisonment for his resistance to British rule, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s affliction with polio, to name just a few.

It is certainly paradoxical that in accepting the limits of will-power, one is empowered; for the personal will is then aligned with the Universal Will and becomes the instrument of a higher power. Again, if not exceedingly careful, this can lead to inflation. The key lies in cultivation of the proper Neptunian attitude: non-resistance, non-attachment, accepting that all things pass, flowing with transitions, and trusting in the benevolent hand of the unknown. “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same, then you will be a man, my son.” This line from a Rudyard Kipling poem captures exactly the equanimity and flexibility of an integrated Sun-Neptune aspect.

Tragically we will never know what Dorner might have become had he been willing to forgive his enemies. That is perhaps the quintessential Sun-Neptune act: a choice (Sun) to let go of a grievance (Neptune). While the capacity for forgiveness is bolstered by empathy and compassion for human failings, it also requires the forbearance to withstand the shrill protestations of wounded pride. As Alexander Pope correctly observed some three hundred years ago, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Pope’s aphorism hints that the very act of forgiveness presupposes a strength that derives from a higher power. Perhaps this is why Gandhi, who also had Sun opposition Neptune, said that the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

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Ibid, see especially “Intrinsic Motivation and Astrological Signs” at:

Jung, C.G., (1955). Synchronicity: An acausal connecting principle. In C. Jung & W. Pauli, The interpretation of nature and psyche (pp. 1-146). New York: Pantheon. See: All subsequent quotes of Donner are from his manifesto. “Dorner’s LAPD firing case hinged on credibility”Los Angeles Times. 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2013-02-17  

Planetary Goals and Target States

Planetary Goals and Target States

By Glenn Perry

Planetary goals and target statesStudent: Are planetary goals and target states one and the same thing?

Glenn: Actually, there’s an important difference. A planetary target state refers to an affect (feeling) that is attained when the person satisfies the motivating need of that planet. Since the motivation of a planet is always symbolized by the sign(s) that planet rules, target states are the same regardless of what sign the planet happens to occupy. A planetary goal, on the other hand, refers to a specific outcome connected to the sign and house the planet tenants.

For example, regardless of Saturn’s sign and house position, the target state still pertains to the sign-need symbolized by Capricorn—the need for order, structure, success, and the like. If Saturn is functional, then the person will satisfy these Capricorn needs as they arise. However, Saturn’s sign and house position will show how and where Saturn fulfills its Capricorn-need. To the degree the Capricorn-need is fulfilled, the native feels ‘together’, ‘on top of it’, ‘in control’, ‘organized’, ‘successful’, and so on, at which point that need will recede into the background to be replaced by the next dominant need.
As indicated with Saturn, there are a variety of ways to describe fulfillment of a drive, but the emotional experience of fulfillment is essentially the same for everyone. With Capricorn-Saturn, for example, we all know how it feels to succeed at something. In other words, either we attain the target state or we don’t. What varies is 1) how easily we can fulfill it—our skills vis-à-vis that planet; 2) the degree to which it dominates our awareness—the frequency and intensity of the drive; and 3) its overall importance in our psychic economy—to what extent we value that planetary domain. These three factors vary from person to person depending upon a host of astrological and extra-astrological reasons, not the least of which is the planet’s sign, house, and aspects.
Unlike a target state, a planetary goal always refers to the sign and house that is tenanted. While goals are flexible and can entail a multiplicity of strategies and outcomes, they are always a vehicle for fulfilling the target state. Saturn in Libra in the 8th may succeed in building a program for resolving financial disputes between corporate entities; yet, this achievement also provides the means for attaining the Capricorn-Saturn target state of success. Again, the goal itself is described by the sign and house the planet occupies, whereas the motivation behind the goal, as well as the target state, is described by the sign the planet rules.
Grammatically speaking, the occupied sign is a complement to the planetary verb. A complement always completes the meaning of the verb by answering the question, “What?” If Jupiter believes (has faith), then what does Jupiter believe (have faith) in? The occupied sign and house answers the question because it is the object of Jupiter’s faith. Jupiter has to believe in something. It has a goal, in effect, to satisfy its Sagittarian need for faith by believing in a particular doctrine or set of values. If Jupiter is in Capricorn, the object of Jupiter’s faith might be the system, or tradition, or simply order, control, discipline, or any other abstract value of Capricorn. If it’s in the 11th house, the native might join with others of like mind to promote a conservative religious movement that emphasizes self-control and a strict moral code.
Again, if Jupiter achieves its goal, then it also fulfills its target state. How readily a planet can achieve its goal and fulfill its target state is a measure of that planet’s functionality. Imagine, for instance, that Jupiter in Capricorn in the 11th is square Saturn in Libra in the 8th. The conservative religious movement that the native has joined turns out to have serious fiscal problems and begins to compromise its principles in order to attract rich supporters. These donors want an even stricter church that exerts absolute control over its members, especially with regards marriage, divorce, and other social issues.
Seeing this, the native is plagued with doubt as to the integrity of his church. His faith has been crushed by the oppressive control of its leaders and their materialistic values. So he leaves the church and soon becomes disillusioned with religion altogether. In effect, his Jupiter is dysfunctional, for it is inundated with a surfeit of Capricorn-Saturn energies that he has yet to integrate in a balanced, functional way. This is just one scenario among many that might result from the configuration in question, but it serves to illustrate how the functionality of a planet is a measure of how readily it attains its target state.

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The Uranus square Pluto World Economy

Uranus square Pluto and
The Astrology of the Times

By Glenn Perry


The origins of the statement, “May you live in interesting times,” is reputed to be an ancient Chinese curse, though the English translation does not convey that sentiment. Whatever its origins and intended meaning, it certainly seems to apply to our current age. As of the time of this writing (Spring, 2013), Uranus square Pluto is reflecting a global economic situation that is dangerously unstable, but definitely interesting.

Uranus, of course, rules change, whereas economics falls within Pluto’s domain. When these two planets are at cross purposes, there is tension between conventional fiscal policy and changing times. All the fingers in all the dikes cannot long contain a reservoir of debt that inevitably will burst through the denials and machinations of the world banking system. At the risk of mixing metaphors, we are teetering on the edge of a fiscal cliff—everyone, that is, but China. I refer again to the Chinese curse, for at present their economy seems to be the most likely beneficiary of a western collapse.

Uranus square PlutoAll signs seem to be pointing that the U.S. is going the way of Greece and Europe. Our enabling government with its vast and ever increasing array of entitlements—Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare, and now Obamacare—has more than 50% of the population addicted to wanting more, more, more. And as long as we keep rolling up our sleeves to mainline those promised ‘free’ services, we will keep rolling up the debt until finally we roll right over that cliff into Greeceland. Picture excruciatingly painful withdrawal symptoms (economic austerity on steroids) as we’re coming off a 50-year heroin high that began with LBJ’s ‘great society’ and ‘war on poverty’. Johnson’s programs corresponded with—you guessed it—the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1964-1967 that made a loud clang in the middle of his administration, the reverberations from which we are still feeling—or, reeling, depending on your point of view.

Johnson’s attempt to social engineer America into a welfare state was born from the best intentions, a golden road to hell to be sure. When asked by a reporter if it was fiscally prudent to fund the Vietnam War effort and his social welfare programs at the same time he replied, “Heck yeah man, we’re rich!” Various domestic initiatives including Medicare/Medicaid were undertaken to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. Now, with Uranus forming its first square to Pluto since the conjunction, our country is virtually bankrupt from entitlement programs that Johnson either initiated or expanded. No reasonable person is suggesting they be disbanded, but virtually everyone agrees that they are not sustainable in their current form.

An opening square is a Cancer angle and, like the sign, connotes a process of reflection and restraint. Where have we come from? How are we feeling? An opening square entails putting on the brakes, turning inwards, and reversing course if necessary, just as occurs at the summer solstice. This is apt to mean initiating changes (Uranus in Aries) in the way we fund government programs (Pluto in Capricorn). As Pluto symbolizes a process of elimination (cutting, purging, purifying), and Capricorn is inherently a frugal sign, it would seem that times are ripe for cutting wasteful government spending. But this is easier said than done, especially with an incumbent Democratic administration that regards Johnson as one of their patron saints.

Since the Uranus-Pluto square will repeat itself seven times between June 2012 and March 2015, this ‘fight of the century’ is just into its first rounds. As Bette Davis famously warned, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” By the end of the evening we may be witnessing a passing of the torch, a shifting of the world’s reserve currency from the dollar to the Yuan, a complete remaking of the global banking system, and an expiration of American economic dominance.

In the meantime, there are interesting developments on the home front, the latest of which is the so called ‘sequester’ that went into effect this past Friday, March 8th, when Saturn and Pluto were in mutual reception and forming an exact sextile. Clearly, this Saturn-Pluto super configuration has its imprimatur upon sequestration. As an idea, sequestration was part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Across the board, automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion were scheduled to begin March 8th, 2013 unless a joint committee made up Republicans and Democrats could agree on better, smarter, more targeted cuts before that date. Regrettably, they could not, and so the sequester went into effect.

It is significant that despite infighting between the two parties, Congress actually made genuine, substantive spending reductions rather than more accounting gimmicks and empty promises of future cuts. This in itself is a victory, which seems to reflect the sextile between Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio (mutual reception). As stated, Pluto in Capricorn is consistent with cutting spending and eliminating waste within government. Saturn in Scorpio entails the same archetypal blend, but from a slightly different perspective. It signifies the proper management of fiscal matters, as in a balanced budget plan that promises to eliminate federal debt over an extended period of time.

At the time of this writing, the House has resurrected the Paul Ryan plan that is geared toward entitlement reform and a balanced budget within ten years. Again, ‘reform’ is a Uranian process, whereas budgetary cuts are consistent with Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, Democrats in the Senate are proposing their own plan, which is likely to have fewer reforms and cuts, but a call for increased tax revenues—that being the difference between the two parties. And so another chapter in the ongoing budget wars of Uranus-Pluto is set to unfold.

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Outer Planet Sign Positions and Archetypal Politics

Archetypal Politics
And Outer Planet Sign Positions

By Glenn Perry


Abstract: Archetypal politics enables us to view differences between political parties as expressions of fundamental ordering principles in the Universe. Republican/conservative policies emphasize two primary values—self-reliance and personal responsibility, which can be grouped under the archetypes of Aries and Capricorn. Democrat/liberal policies are inspired by values of compassion and fairness, which are ruled by Pisces and Libra. Other signs have political relevance, too, but are less dominant in determining public policy. Liberal and conservative values have equal merit and are not mutually exclusive. Outer planet sign positions reflect prevalent values during specific historical periods and the type of collective behavior that results. If the party in power is out-of-synch with values that characterize the spirit of the times, their policies are apt to be counterproductive and cause tension and turmoil in the populace.

Outer Planet Sign Positions
We are now in, as the saying goes, “the silly season”. The airways are flooded with political advertisements as each party fervently promotes their candidate for the national election on November 6th, 2012. Talking heads in the media are entangled in debate with a zeal that transcends the usual conversation. This year as a nation (so we’re told), we face a clear and urgent choice: one party’s good policies or the other’s bad. The other party, of course, is whichever one the speaker happens to disfavor, the policies of which are typically demonized in straw-man terms as extreme, borderline evil, and destructive to the well-being of the economy.

In quieter moments, most of us recognize that reality is not so simple. Archetypal astrology can be helpful in this regard, for it affords an objectivity that enables us to appreciate that each political party embodies certain core values that are linked to fundamental ordering principles in the Universe. These values are not mutually exclusive, but complementary; each has merit when expressed in proper proportion to the others. Conversely, any value can be toxic if expressed in an extreme manner.

General Principles
In the most general sense, Democratic and Republican values are the yin and yang of political discourse. Borrowing from Taoist philosophy, yin refers to the receptive, feminine, unifying principle of the Universe, whereas yang is active, masculine, and differentiating. Yin and yang are complementary, interdependent halves of a whole system—the Tao itself. Likewise, democratic and republican principles are interdependent, complementary halves of a whole system—the body politic. Democratic policies are yin-like in that emphasis is on the collective rather than the individual. “We’re all in this together” is their mantra. Liberal values are akin to spiritual practices: compassion toward all sentient beings, sacrifice for the common good, and the pursuit of a utopian ideal of boundless love in which individual differences are resolved into a common unity.

Conversely, Republican/conservative politics are yang-like in that they place emphasis on rugged individualism, fierce self-reliance, and freedom from restrictions imposed by a monolithic, nanny-like government that overprotects and overregulates. Success is a preeminent value, which is thought to be a product of personal responsibility and hard work (as opposed to government hand-outs, welfare, and the like). Not surprisingly, studies indicate that women tend to gravitate toward liberal, democratic positions, whereas men more readily identify with conservative, republican standards.1

Every sign of the zodiac can be analyzed in terms of its function within the political spectrum. In fact, an argument could be made that each zodiacal sign has a penchant for either conservative/republican values or liberal/democratic ones. Certain signs, however, stand out as exemplary of a party’s platform. For Republicans, Aries and Capricorn fly their banner. Conservatives favor a strong military, individual initiative, competition and free enterprise—all obvious Aries traits—whereas emphasis on responsibility, fiscal restraint, limited government, and climbing the ladder of success reflect Capricorn virtues.

Democratic ideals, on the other hand, are most readily reflected in Libra and Pisces. Democrats reach out to those on the bottom half of the ladder, the little guy who struggles to attain middle class status. Liberal actions are fueled by compassion and concern for the disadvantaged, the poor, and the elderly—all clearly Pisces traits. Also, Democrats are generally anti-war (pro-Libra/anti-Aries), preferring peace through diplomacy to the peace-through-strength policy of conservatives. Finally, Democrats are community and relationship-oriented with an emphasis on Libran principles of equality and fairness. Advantages conferred by class or ethnicity are charged as discriminatory, the rich are exhorted to pay ‘their fair share’ of taxes, and the rights of the oppressed are defended to assure equal opportunity for all.2

By now, the reader may recognize his or her identification with one set of values over another. Note, however, that the zodiac itself has no such bias. Every sign has its part to play in the whole. Likewise, a holistic and balanced political perspective recognizes that neither Republican/conservative nor Democrat/liberal positions should prevail at the expense of the other. When the political organism as a collective is thrown out of balance, it produces symptoms that reflect the nature of its distress—unemployment, depression, inflation, instability, corruption, and the like. Conversely, a more balanced view enables one to ‘reach across the aisle’ and see the merit of the other’s position. The goal then becomes not dominance of one party over another, but a dynamic balance that requires ongoing collaboration and flexibility.

The situation is not unlike what occurs within individual human beings. Political preferences are invariably an expression of one’s psychological makeup. It follows that more impassioned, extreme, and biased political sentiments reflect a psychological imbalance or conflict within the individual. As Jung put it, extremism is shouted down doubt; it’s compensatory to an unconscious counter-attitude that threatens to upset the one-sided, conscious view. Unbalanced attitudes manifest in signs and symptoms of psychopathology—anxiety, reactivity, rigidity, polarized relationships, intense animosity, and an end-justifies-the-means mentality.

Polls consistently show that most people want politicians to work in a bi-partisan manner, which is testament to a universal tendency toward wholeness. Not only is this evident in the macrocosm of nature wherein the rule of evolution is integration of parts into more complex wholes, it is also embodied in the microcosm of human beings who yearn for a political system in which their elected representatives work together to produce balanced legislation that serves the greater good. The opposite, of course, leads to gridlock, polarization, and an inability to get anything done—in short, our current state of affairs.

Expansion and Contraction
In the remainder of this article, we will examine the socio-economic consequences of extreme bias, using astrology to examine the underlying, archetypal causes of the polarized atmosphere that presently prevails in political discourse. In particular, we will focus on correlations of outer planet sign positions to socio-economic trends and ideological eruptions in the body politic. Before doing so, however, it will be helpful to take a brief detour into the realm of Austrian and Keynesian economic theory—the two dominant economic theories in free enterprise systems of government. The reason for this detour will be clear shortly.

According to the Austrian model, economies are living organisms subject to a rhythmic breathing out and breathing in, expansion and contraction in regular, predictable cycles.3 This may have intuitive appeal to astrologers who likewise recognize that the cycle of the zodiac unfolds in a rhythmic alteration of yang and yin signs. In 1974 the Austrian economist, F.A. Hayek, won the Nobel Prize in economics for his theory of the business cycle. Hayek observed there are expansionary periods when demand for products and services are high, in which case people are saving less and spending more. Eventually, however, people have consumed enough and their savings are relatively depleted, at which point they wish to save more. The economy begins to contract. Money pours into the banks, which lower the interest rates they provide to savers in response to the bank’s increase in cash reserves. Businesses benefit from the lower interest rates, for now it makes sense to take out loans and invest in expanding their productive capacities for the next cycle of demand.

During expansionary times when everyone is making and spending money, tax revenues increase. The more people are working, the more taxes they pay. Conversely, during periods of economic contraction, taxable income is lower; thus, federal revenues tend to diminish during the contraction period of the cycle. One can readily see that a natural consequence of the business cycle is the raising and lowering of federal reserves. Austrian economic theory holds that rhythmic deceleration and acceleration of the economy is akin to the breathing in and breathing out of a living organism. If not interfered with, each phase of the cycle is optimally brief and fluid, like an accordion that expands and contracts in the process of producing beautiful music. If federal spending keeps pace with available tax revenues, then we have a balanced budget. Conversely, deficit spending occurs when the federal government spends more money than it takes in.

In an ideal world, governments are flexible, accommodating entities that enact policies that are in accord with the economic tenor of the times. During expansionary periods when they run a surplus, democrat/liberal values necessarily prevail. Expansion of services to the poor and underprivileged are undertaken. New investments can be made in renewing the country’s infrastructure; roads are built, electrical grids updated, and school buildings renovated. More public sector employees can be hired—bureaucrats, teachers, police and firemen—and given generous benefits and pensions. Entitlement programs are initiated or expanded, such as welfare and Medicaid. However, during periods when tax revenues are contracting, Republican policies should carry the day. Budgets are tightened, government is downsized, and fiscal restraint is required.

In the real world, however, governments are reticent to cut back on spending even when circumstances dictate they should. Keynesian economic theory, which is the alternative to the Austrian model, has dominated American and European politics since the 1930’s.4 Keynesian economics is based on an ideal of permanent expansion—a perpetual quasi-boom. To the extent this is possible, it not only assures that businesses keep reaping profits and expanding indefinitely, but government tax revenues likewise increase without end, thus permitting more and more spending on projects designed to build a utopian dream society. In this rosy scenario, the popularity of the current administration never wanes and politicians in power are always re-elected.

Needless to say, this scenario is not particularly realistic; yet, for obvious reasons politicians strive to attain it none-the-less. Their favored means toward this end is having the ultimate bank, the Federal Reserve, artificially lower interest rates in an attempt to stimulate investment, expand production, and increase hiring. Interest rates manipulated by the Federal Reserve no longer move up and down freely in response to market changes; instead, they are adjusted by central planners—the Federal Reserve—in an attempt to perpetuate the expansionary phase. Rates are adjusted not in response to actual economic conditions, but to counter and change conditions that impede a permanent high rate of growth. These manipulations impact the entire banking industry.

One consequence of artificially low interest rates is that businesses take out loans that are not warranted by actual market conditions. Buoyed by the lure of artificially low lending rates, businesses make long term investments toward increasing their rate of production; yet, since consumers are never encouraged to save, their purchasing power to demand those goods is not likely to be there when businesses hope to cash in on their investments. This leads to a discoordination in supply and demand and a misallocation of resources on a massive scale, as when construction companies build more houses than people have the means to purchase.

Further assuring a bad outcome, legislation was passed under Democrats Jimmy Carter (1977) and Bill Clinton (1995) called the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandated banks weaken their lending laws so that low-income earners could obtain mortgage loans, thus priming the real estate bubble that exploded in 2008 when people defaulted in record numbers. Just as the Feds artificially lower interest rates to stimulate business investment, so they have manipulated lending policies (through legislation) to enable borrowers to obtain loans for which they would otherwise not qualify.

Economic instability and malinvestment is further compounded by the Federal Reserve’s expansion of the money supply—again, by artificial means. In order to stave off the contraction half of the business cycle, the feds borrow and/or print dollars out of thin air and inject them into the economy (think amphetamine) to stimulate demand for more goods and services, whether people need them or not. This is colloquially referred to as ‘stimulus packages’ and ‘quantitative easing’ (QA). While such fixes temporarily excite the economy and drive up stock values, they eventually erode the value of the dollar and bring about inflation. Like a drug addict who has to keep upping his dose to get high, people end up spending more and more for less and less. Keynesian economic policies were first instituted by F.D.R. during the depression of the 1930’s. Since then, and as a direct result of Keynesian policies, the dollar has lost 92% of its purchasing power. Inflation in oil/gas prices and commodities is the ever accelerating train that can never be caught.5

The ultimate result of the Feds meddling in the economy for political ends is the boom and bust cycle that has repeatedly afflicted our financial system over the past century. When the bubble economy bursts, as it did in 2008, then banks collapse, businesses fail, and consumers tighten their grip on money that increasingly loses its value as the Fed pumps yet new money into the system to reinflate the bubble. Borrowing and printing dollars to re-stimulate the economy, however, has only one guaranteed effect: it raises the federal debt at an exponential rate. During the current administration (2009-2012), federal debt has climbed from 10 trillion to over 16 trillion dollars, increasing more in three years under Obama than in eight years under Bush.6 Even more ominously, it constitutes a full third of the debt that the United States has accrued over its entire 236 year history.

Many experts believe that Keynesian economic policies have reached the limit of their effectiveness. In effect, the jig is up. Rather than re-inflating the economy, the result has been massive economic uncertainty, unemployment stuck at over 8%, anemic consumer spending, and a freeze on investment that refuses to budge despite the Fed’s near-zero percent interest rate.

Outer Planet Sign Positions
One might wonder at this point, what does this have to with astrology? Recall that in an ideal world governed by Austrian economic theory, both democratic and republican policies have a role to play in the balanced workings of government. During expansionary times when there is a budget surplus, democratic (Pisces and Libra) values come to the fore; conversely, when the economy contracts and there’s a budget deficit, republican (Aries and Capricorn) values predominate—or, at least they should, as common sense would dictate. In fact, however, this is seldom the case.

Even when Republican presidents are in office, they generally have to contend with a Democratic controlled House and/or Senate; thus, their policies are compromised or prevented outright. And while Republicans favor fiscal discipline, the seductive sway of Keynesian economic thought afflicts the entire political spectrum, perpetrating the illusion amongst members of both parties that a quick fix to an economic downturn is always at hand: slash interest rates and flood the system with fiat money. Although fewer Republicans think this way than Democrats, the problem is systemic, resulting in an economy that has the stability of a 100 year-old roller coaster careening about on rickety, rotting timbers.

Difficulty with fiscal restraint is exacerbated when the outer planets are in signs that favor democratic/liberal policies. In other words, government decision-making is influenced in an expansionary direction whenever there is an intensification of democratic values within the collective as a consequence of outer planets occupying liberal signs. And this will occur even when a reduction in spending is required. Before examining this further, let us briefly review the meaning of the outer (or transpersonal) planets—Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto—and their relationship to mass consciousness.

Together, these slow moving ‘heavies’ have a tremendous impact on cultural trends and social values. The German term zeitgeist is useful here, for it means ‘the spirit of the times’ and refers to the intellectual, spiritual, artistic, and political climate within a nation, along with the general mood and morals associated with the era. Each planet makes its own contribution to the mix. Since transpersonal planets occupy signs for relatively long periods—7 years for Uranus, 13 for Neptune, and 12 to 32 for Pluto—their sign positions interact, dissolve, and reform into ever changing symmetrical patterns, a slow motion kaleidoscope that reflects a barely discernible yet inexorable evolutionary march. In effect, the outer boundary of the solar system, marked by the orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, serves as a kind of living, nourishing placenta within which the collective psyche evolves. Each planet-sign combination provides a specific type of archetypal nutrient for a given duration, catalyzing the development and maturation of various human capacities.

Uranus’s sign position signifies a movement to awaken the masses to a more enlightened perspective of that sign. It can also bring about shock and rebellion in a way and in a context symbolized by its sign position. When Uranus was in Pisces from 2003 to 2010 it awakened compassion for marginalized out-groups and oppressed minorities. Homosexual activists, for example, were emboldened and launched a movement that influenced the culture to legally recognize their right to marry. This, in turn, impacted public policy, and a number of states passed legislation recognizing gay marriage. In addition, new programs were instituted in public schools that mainstreamed and redefined homosexuality as merely an alternative sexual orientation, no less normal or healthy than heterosexuality. There were other outcomes of Uranus in Pisces, too, but the gay marriage movement serves to illustrate the general trend.

Neptune stimulates the public’s imagination and sense of idealism with regard to the affairs of its sign position. From 1998-2011, Neptune was in Aquarius, which correlated to an idealization of tolerance and inclusivity as manifest in the new emphasis on multiculturalism, pluralism, and egalitarianism during this period. While Aquarius is not exclusively a liberal sign, it has strong liberal leanings in that it’s associated with change, progress, reform, tolerance, and a kind of post-moral, non-judgmental lenience—virtues solidly in the liberal camp. Neptune in Aquarius culminated in the election of the first U.S. black president, Barak Obama, whose signature accomplishment was ‘ObamaCare’ – health care reform that assured medical coverage for the poor and underprivileged. Similarly, Bill Clinton doubled down on the Community Reinvestment Act started under Jimmy Carter that mandated banks (under threat of fines) to lower lending standards for the sake of racial equality, thus assuring that previously unqualified borrowers could obtain housing loans.7

And finally, Pluto’s sign exposes a particular dimension of our collective shadow. The dark lord signifies an impulse to transform and regenerate the affairs of the sign it occupies. Pluto’s transit through Sagittarius from 1995-2008 had a number of interesting manifestations, not the least of which was the boiling up of an inherent religious extremism within Islam, which tends to pervert religion in the service of bigotry and hatred. Another perversion of religion was also exposed: the systemic pedophilia within the Catholic Church, which some argued was symptomatic of Catholicism’s celibacy requirement for an exclusively male priesthood.8

With regard to economics, Pluto is particularly important, for it rules the financial system in general. When Pluto went into Sagittarius in 1995, we entered a period of unprecedented economic expansion that encompassed two different presidencies—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—and two distinct booms, one in the tech sector and the other in real estate. Characterized by boundless faith and an elevated sense of possibility, Sagittarius is hopeful and expansive. Consistent with liberal values, it’s associated with growth—as in the growth of government, increased spending, and the impulse to extend oneself for the greater good (philanthropy). Not surprisingly, Pluto in Sagittarius was an era of expanded credit, reckless (subprime) lending policies, excessive market speculation, and mounting debt across the board. In the famous words of then Federal Reserve chairman, Allan Greenspan, the stock market was in the grip of an “irrational exuberance.”

By the time Pluto’s sojourn in Sagittarius ended in 2008, the average U.S. family was $10,000 in debt, an unprecedented figure. Banks were out-on-the-limb with billions in toxic assets from bad mortgages they would never recover. Moreover, federal debt had ballooned to 10 trillion dollars, partly because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also due to George W. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ that led to significant spending increases in social programs. Anti-poverty spending increased 39%, housing programs went up 26%, food assistance expanded by 49%, and SSI expenditures designed to help the disabled shot up 36%.9

Of course, spending increases in social programs reflected not only the irrational exuberance of Pluto in Sagittarius, but also the inspired egalitarianism and social justice policies of Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. Piscean values were especially highlighted not merely by virtue of Uranus’ tenancy of that sign, but also because Uranus was in a mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius, the result being a self-escalating feedback loop that generated a national mood of hyper-liberalism—radical compassion for victims, political correctness run amuck, misguided attempts to eliminate all suffering, value subjectivism leading to moral decline, and social justice policies that advocated not merely equal opportunity but equal outcome for all.

The point is that between 1995 and 2008 the sign positions of the outer planets combined in such a way to create a ‘perfect storm’ that burst upon the public in a torrent of liberal policies that accomplished much good, but also had unintended consequences.10 If the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune created a volatile gas of radical compassion, Pluto in Sagittarius was the torch that ignited it. Fueled by good intentions and inflamed by a sense of limitless possibility, a firestorm of debt swept across the economic landscape from 1995-2008 that threatened to consume the fortunes of an entire nation.11

Enter Obama
It was against this backdrop that Obama took office on January 21, 2009. Prior to his inauguration, however, and throughout most of 2008, the presidential campaign unfolded in a climate of unabashed liberal-Democrat sentiment. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ was certainly in synch with the tenor of the times, but his leadership in the war on terror and his decision to invade Iraq eclipsed whatever popularity he might otherwise have achieved (remember, liberals are instinctively anti-war/anti-Aries). So great was the animosity toward the Bush presidency that it undermined the candidacies of Republicans everywhere, paving the way for a complete sweep by Democrats of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

In November 2008, the very month Obama was elected, Pluto ingressed into Capricorn where it would remain for the next 14 years. A new economic era had begun. But it may turn out to be an era for which the Obama administration is ill-suited. Over the course of 2008, the firestorm of Pluto in Sagittarius slowly morphed into the ice storm of Pluto in Capricorn. When the dark Lord finally settled into Capricorn for good, the economic climate chilled like a nuclear winter. Wall Street shuddered, and then froze. Lehman brothers went bankrupt. Merrill Lynch and AIG were on life support. And the Federal Reserve was scurrying about in damage control resorting to their usual tricks to stem a tsunami of debt that threatened to capsize the ship of state: more regulation, more intervention, more spending, more money creation, and (you guessed it) more debt. The 700 billion dollar Fed bailout of Wall Street spawned a trillion dollar sequel under Obama—the stimulus package—that was force fed to a comatose economy that swallowed the medicine, burped, and promptly went nowhere.

The great credit freeze was underway. Banks stopped lending. Businesses downsized. Workers were laid off. And everyone started cutting the fat wherever they could. Pluto in Capricorn had tested the soundness of our economy and revealed it for what it was: a bloated, profligate mess. For the first time in more than a decade, people actually began saving. Everyone except the federal government, that is. Driven to ‘stimulate’ the economy while at the same time attempting to regulate away problems it had created with its own Keynesian monetary policy, the government went on a spending spree like Paris Hilton on steroids. From 2009-2012 the Obama administration spent more money per/year than any government in the history of the world—six trillion more than it took in—blowing the national debt up to 16 trillion dollars in less than one term.

To understand the government’s predicament, we have to appreciate the radical change in outer planet sign positions following Obama’s election in November 2008. It wasn’t merely the oceans that parted, it was the heavens. First, Pluto transited out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn. This is like winning a vacation in Vegas and upon arrival being clubbed, mugged, and waking up two months later on a cold day in Washington with a troubling 700 billion debit on your Visa card and a thank you note from the Bush administration stapled to your forehead.

Next, Uranus left Pisces in June of 2010 and at long last broke an incestuous affair with Neptune in Aquarius that had been going on for nearly two decades.12 This transition was epitomized in the 2010 award winning film Blind Side in which a passive, homeless, traumatized youth of a drug addicted single (welfare) mother unexpectedly finds himself in a new family that values self-reliance, courage, and take-no-prisoners competitive zeal. The result: a resuscitated life on the fast track to all American status and first round NFL draft pick. We’re talking Aries here.13 Blind Side is the perfect metaphor for the change in national mood that occurred when Uranus transited into Aries. There was a new toughness in the air, a celebration of initiative and entrepreneurship, and a readiness to fight for the personal and economic freedoms that have been America’s signature strength.

While it’s certainly true that Obama faced a drastic and unexpected change in the archetypal weather following his election, one hoped that he was up to the challenge and could steer the ship of state into safe harbor. But given the values and sentiments that inform his politics, was it realistic to expect that he could? Again, Obama was elected during the perfect storm of Pluto in Sagittarius with Uranus and Neptune in mutual reception. He dreamily embodied the sentiment of that time—the radical compassion of Uranus in Pisces; the idealization of change (toward a more inclusive, humane world) of Neptune in Aquarius; and the hope of limitless prosperity symbolized by Pluto in Sagittarius. His inflated oratory and soaring promise of a new ‘united’ America struck just the right note. Hope and change won the day.

But the only thing that changed was the national tenor, and not in a hopeful direction. Legislative goals that seemed right in 2008 fell flat in 2009-2012—most notably, national health care reform that provides coverage for the previously uninsured but drove up costs and created massive uncertainty for businesses. Obama’s attempts to combat the recession seemed to make things worse—or, at least slow down the recovery. The 2009 stimulus funded a slew of liberal projects, but produced few real jobs. Unemployment figures have remained stubbornly above 8% for 46 consecutive months. Efforts to protect citizens from unscrupulous banking and business practices—that is, to prevent future victimization and suffering (the liberal raison d’etre)—put a stranglehold on economic growth, contributing to the slowest recovery from a recession in our nation’s history.14

Moreover, Medicare is near bankrupt with no realistic plan to fix it. Due to unprecedented and accelerating national debt, America’s credit rating has been downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time ever. Distribution of food stamps has doubled under the Obama administration, encouraged by government ads exhorting the needy to join an ever growing list of recipients. Unemployment benefits that were once merely a temporary aid have been transformed—due to endless extensions—into a way of life for millions of Americans, making them dependents on government welfare.And the Obama foreign policy of appeasement and ‘leading from behind’, which he promised would win over the Muslim world, seems grossly out of synch with the Arab Spring born from Uranus’ ingress into war-like Aries. The militant Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt (at the very least), a resurgent Al Qaeda has murdered our foreign ambassador in Libya, frenzied Islamists have attacked our embassies in twenty countries, Afghan recruits are killing their American trainers, and an increasingly belligerent Iran is on the brink of having a nuclear bomb (with the avowed intention to annihilate Israel). To all this, Obama’s response has been some version of “Let’s not say mean things about our Muslim brothers…and, can’t we all just get along?” Again, a Democrat’s instinctive response to an Aries situation is either Libran appeasement or Piscean denial.

Frankly, hope and change should have been put on hold, but it wasn’t. Rather than tack right after losing the House in the mid-term elections of 2010, Obama doubled down in his attempt to push liberal programs and policies.15 But his efforts have stalled precisely because he is sailing against the tide of Uranus/Aries and Pluto/Capricorn. When he put forth his March 2012 budget to the House, it was defeated 414-0. When it went to the Senate in May, it was unanimously rejected 99-0, and for the same reason: it did nothing to reign in out-of-control federal spending.

While the rest of the country is downsizing, streamlining, and putting the brakes on unnecessary spending, Obama has pressed the accelerator to the floor in an attempt to expand the size of government. If one could convert the rate of deficit spending into MPH (taking inflation into consideration), G.W. Bush was driving at 64 mph, faster than any president before him. However, Obama is driving at 174 mph, nearly three times as fast as Bush.16 Experts warn that unless we slow down, within twenty years mandatory spending (primarily Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt) will exceed tax revenues. All discretionary spending (e.g., defense, homeland security, law enforcement, education, etc.) will require borrowing and related deficit spending. Oversight agencies have used such language as “unsustainable” and “trainwreck” to describe such a future.

Making the Tough Decisions
If one accepts that the cosmos is intelligently ordered and unfolds in a purposive manner, then new directives are implicit in the changing of planetary sign positions. We know that adjacent signs are compensatory to one another, with the succeeding sign serving as a corrective to the excesses and deficiencies of its predecessor. Just as economies expand and contract in accord with a natural business cycle, so planets expand and contract as they transition from yang to yin signs. In this way, the zodiac symbolizes a process of perpetual rebalancing. It follows, therefore, that human actions are best ordered when they likewise conform to the natural and orderly rhythms of the heavens. An obvious example occurred in 2008 when Pluto moved from yang, fiery, and expansive Sagittarius to yin, earthy, and conservative Capricorn. Since Pluto rules the financial realm, the entire global economy contracted in perfect synchrony with the change of planetary position. In effect, Pluto in Capricorn served as an injunction, a command to the human world:

This is a time for fiscal discipline and austere economic measures. Run a tight ship. Be frugal, downsize if necessary. Clear the decks and eliminate fluff. This is a shakedown. Organize your finances in a maximally efficient manner and be prepared for lean times ahead.

Capricorn, of course, is associated with hierarchical structures, which is why it is the sign of government. And because Pluto symbolizes a transformational, regenerative process, its occupation of Capricorn suggests a period during which governments are apt to be transformed, especially in a financial sense. Inefficiencies, ethical failures, and flawed policies that compromise the integrity of governance must be rooted out, exposed, and eliminated. This was exemplified in the mid-term elections of 2010 when the populace focused on the economic policies of Congressional Democrats—record deficits, 9% unemployment, and sweeping reforms in the health care system—with the result that Democrats suffered massive defeats and lost control of the House in the largest seat change (63) in any mid-term election since 1938. In addition, Republicans gained a record 680 seats in state legislative races and took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.17

During this same period, Uranus transited out of Pisces and into Aries, which was the second sea change that occurred during the Obama presidency. Whereas Uranus in dreamy, idealistic Pisces (2003-2010) awakened compassion for marginalized out-groups and victims of every persuasion, its tenancy of Aries shifted the focus to personal survival, which is the primary need of that sign. Predictably, gun sales skyrocketed in anticipation of a possible breakdown in civil order, such as might occur following a terrorist attack, blackout, natural disaster, or pandemic virus outbreak. Sales nationwide were up 50% to achieve a record high of 992,975 firearms sold in fiscal year 2011.

Uranus in Aries has awakened our collective need to be free, autonomous, and self-reliant individuals. In the Middle East, this has spawned revolts against local tyrants (the Arab Spring) in which young Muslims demanded freedom from their oppressors. Similarly, but less noticeably in the U.S., there has been an explosion of growth in separatist groups and local militias who see the federal government as untrustworthy. The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report stating there were 149 such groups active in the United States in 2009 (before Uranus ingressed into Aries). Today, the number has ballooned to 1,274—an increase of more than 755% in just a few short years.18

There has also been a tremendous increase in survivalism—individuals and groups actively preparing for possible disruptions in the socio-political order. As a movement, survivalism has been fueled by worldwide economic uncertainty (Pluto in Capricorn) as well as doomsday fears associated with December 21st, 2012 (end of the Mayan Calendar). Preparations include building shelters, self-defense training, stockpiling food and medical supplies, and growing one’s own food. Increasing numbers of people are attracted to the idea of living off-the-grid, which means generating your own electrical power and being entirely self-sufficient without need for public utilities.19 All of this is symptomatic of Uranus in Aries.

Whereas individuals and communities are clearly shifting in a conservative (Aries/Capricorn) direction in synchrony with changes in outer planet sign positions, our federal government is not. If anything, Obama has doubled down in his conformity with outer planet sign positions that prevailed when he was campaigning—that is, Pluto in Sagittarius and the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune. He entered office in early 2009 knowing that federal debt was exploding; yet, instead of promoting policies that supported economic growth and addressed our fiscal entitlement crisis, Obama went in exactly the opposite direction. He passed a massive new entitlement program (ObamaCare) rather than trimming existing ones; he increased annual welfare spending by one third (the largest increase in U.S. history); he weakened Clinton’s 1996 Welfare Reform Act by ending work requirements to receive welfare; and he’s stubbornly sought to raise taxes on top income earners—small business owners that drive economic growth—despite overwhelming evidence that raising taxes during a recession is counter-productive.

With regard to Uranus in Aries, the situation is the same: Obama’s policies have consistently gone against Aries values. Rather than encouraging independence and free enterprise, his policies stifle entrepreneurship and foster dependency on government. Moreover, he favors new gun-control legislation, military downsizing, and a weakening of the U.S. Border Control. When Arizona drew a line in the sand in an attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigration—in other words, took a hardline (Aries) position against the 5000 illegals that stream across our borders every day—the Obama administration sued the state and accused them of racial discrimination. Far from being tough, strong, and decisive in dealing with America’s enemies, critics charge that Obama’s foreign policy is one of comparative weakness, conciliation and apology, as evidenced by his recent refusal to back Israel in drawing a red line to combat Iran’s nuclear threat.

Hand-outs, giveaways, and rescue operations (think Solyndra) have been the hallmark of the Obama administration. At best, such policies might be suitable during an economic boom. In the present era, they seem tone deaf. Headlong pursuit of green energy, clean air, and the welfare state may be defensible during good times, but in bad times it’s like sending your child to an elite private college for $40,000 per/year despite your wife’s need for expensive medical treatments to survive breast cancer. “Sorry honey. I would love to help you out, but Weston just got accepted to Columbia!”

If this sounds like Neptunian denial, maybe it’s because it is. Neptune’s ingress into Pisces—its own sign—in April 2011 harkens back to the halcyon days of the mutual reception when wishful thinking blissfully substituted for reality. No administration in recent memory has been more pilloried for corruption, distortions, cover-ups, deceptions, and outright lying—all bearing Neptune’s signature—than the Obama administration.20 Clearly, the goal is to get our beleaguered president over the finish line for a second term. Political pundits on the right marvel at Obama’s staying power. Given his low approval rating (under 50%), divisive politics (class warfare), anemic foreign policy, soaring deficits, lost jobs, and sputtering economy, Obama is defying gravity. No president since F.D.R. has been re-elected with unemployment over 8%; yet, at the time of this writing, he is still ahead of Romney in the polls. Again, one suspects Neptune is a factor here, not only in Obama’s campaign strategy (deceitful), but in the nation’s willingness to enable his incompetency.

With Neptune in its own sign we should expect an intensification of Piscean sentiments within the culture. As the final sign of the zodiac, Piscean values trump all, and Piscean values reside at the heart of Democrat/liberal politics. This is why Democrats so often presume a contemptuous, moral superiority in their attitude toward Republicans. Who can argue against the spiritual ideal of sacrifice for one’s fellow man and compassion for all sentient beings? Yet, innumerable studies show that too much of a good thing can actually be bad. The psychological term for this is enabling, which means to protect people from the consequences of their own choices. This prevents them from learning and is the equivalent of stealing their karma. Enabling is usually done out of genuine compassion, but with consequences that are unintended. The proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, as exemplified in the Community Reinvestment Act that was a prime trigger for the real estate crash of 2008.

Other Neptunian pursuits include meddling and helping too much, which again leads to unintended consequences (usually some version of fostering dependency). Journalist John Stossel has made a career out of exposing the government’s disastrous attempts to help the poor, defeat racism, and eliminate suffering.21 A classic example goes back to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 60’s when Democratic President Lyndon Johnson initiated welfare programs to help inner city black families—his so called ‘war on poverty’. Recognizing that their families would get more money from the government if mothers were single and pregnant (the more children the bigger the check), fathers moved out or never claimed paternity, and black families gradually disintegrated. The result: unemployment among young black males has more than doubled since the 1950’s; imprisonment rates have dramatically increased; and inner city poverty is essentially the same as it was in 1964.

Ironically, poverty in black families had nearly been cut in half in the 20 years prior to the 1960s when government assistance was minimal and most black children were raised in two-parent families. “None of these facts fit liberal social dogmas,” writes black economist Thomas Sowell, with a hint of sadness.22 Likewise, Charles Murray writes in his book Losing Ground: “The first effect [of social-welfare policy] . . . was to make it profitable for the poor to behave in the short term in ways that were destructive in the long term. Their second effect was to mask these long-term losses—to subsidize irretrievable mistakes. We tried to remove the barriers to escape poverty, and inadvertently built a trap.”23

This should not imply that extending a helping hand is always bad; only, that it’s not always good, especially when what’s needed is simply to get out of the way—or, perhaps on some occasions, give a good kick in the pants. When government provides food, shelter, and healthcare to welfare recipients, they lose the incentive to provide for themselves; moreover, they are insulated from having to face the consequences of unfavorable choices. To reevaluate government welfare may seem radical, but perhaps that is precisely what the cosmos is saying with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. The global message to humanity seems to be:

Toughen up and get real. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stay the course. There’s no free lunch. Life is what you make it, so be accountable for the consequences of your own choices.

If this is one variant of the Prime Directive of the cosmos (for the present), then it’s also what we need to be telling one another; yet, such an attitude flies in the face of liberal-Democrat values. No doubt this is why the Obama administration is struggling to align itself with the tenor of the times. Republican values were certainly not what Obama had in mind by his campaign slogan of ‘hope and change’. It is ironic that by stubbornly adhering to ideals that enjoyed heightened popularity during the last decade—Pluto in Sagittarius, Uranus in Pisces, and Neptune in Aquarius—but that are dangerously out-of-place now, Obama is actually sailing against the archetypal winds of change. Republican vice presidential hopeful, Paul Ryan, describes an Obama presidency desperately clinging to power as it heads into the next election:

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at the moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.24

Rebalancing the Equation
Even though Neptune is strong in its own sign, Uranus and Pluto give strength to Aries and Capricorn; thus, it would appear that conservative values have a slight edge within the collective psyche for the current decade. The Uranus-Pluto square from 2012-2015 (exact 7 times) will further draw out the respective powers of these two signs, if only by virtue of their struggle with one another. As always, the work at hand is to weave the archetypal strands of fate into a socio-cultural tapestry that is both functional and harmonious. The question arises, how can the body politic best accomplish this?

From the perspective of Austrian economic theory, we are clearly in a contraction phase of the business cycle, which favors Republican/conservative policies of reduced spending, lower taxes, and smaller government. Since the current administration has been unwilling to do this—and, in fact, has moved in precisely the opposite direction—it is possible that this has exacerbated the contraction and prolonged the recession. John B. Taylor, Senior Fellow in Economics at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, writes that excessive government regulations, the stimulus package, quantitative easing (QE), ObamaCare, and a general failure to rein in government spending has caused massive uncertainty within the economy and made business owners reluctant to hire new workers or expand production (thus keeping unemployment high and economic growth low).25

The antidote, of course, would be to move in the direction of policies that are more in accord with Aries and Capricorn values—in other words, Republican policies. Unleash private enterprise by streamlining regulation, and restore business confidence by reducing the deficit and balancing the budget. As every astrologer knows, government is an inherently Capricornian institution. Capricorn favors maximum efficiency, reduction of waste, and a lean and mean style of operation. The principle of contraction manifests as limits, frugality, caution in taking on new projects, and, above all, following tradition—established policies and fixed rules—that have been proven to work and which provide the necessary certainty to plan one’s individual affairs confident in the assurance that no one is going to move the goal posts. Too much ‘hope and change’ plays havoc with the simple, predictable rules that are necessary for an economy to grow.

That Republicans favor lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation is often shrilly attacked by Democrats as evidence of avarice, uncaring, and selfishness, for it would appear to be at the expense of the needy. The usual charge is that Republicans want to reduce services to the needy and give tax breaks to the rich solely to become more rich (as if greed is their only conceivable motive). Yet, studies consistently show that when taxes are levied at an optimally low rate it increases business investment, raises GDP, and leads to greater tax revenue. The resulting surplus enables government to pay for social programs without having to resort to deficit spending; thus, it’s a win-win situation all around.26

Tax reductions by Harding and Coolidge in the 20’s, Kennedy in the 60’s, Reagan in the 80’s, and Bush in 2003 all immediately stimulated the economy and resulted in tax dollar increases to the federal treasury.27 More money in tax revenues means more people have jobs, since they are the ones paying the taxes. In states with current Republican governors, the average unemployment rate is a full point lower than in states with Democratic governors. Moreover, says Governor Bob McDonnell of VA with obvious pride, “Republican governors lead seven of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates, and 12 of the 15 states ranked best for business. While the Obama administration borrows over $3 billion a day just to keep the lights on, Republican governors have closed $65 billion in budget shortfalls, without raising taxes.”28

With Neptune in Pisces through 2025, there’s no question that Democrat/liberal values will remain strong in the body politic. What we should be shouting from the rafters, however, is that government is not the only, and certainly not the best, vehicle for dispensing charity and expressing compassion. In fact, government was never designed to be a Piscean charity dedicated to rescuing the poor, sick, or elderly. Prior to the inception of the modern welfare state under F.D.R. in the ‘30’s (Uranus closing square to Pluto), and expanded by L.B.J. in the ‘60’s (Uranus conjunct Pluto), charity had always been the province of individuals and communities, usually headed by local churches and fraternal societies who purportedly did a better job than the welfare state.29 Now, with Uranus again aligning with Pluto (opening square), there is an urgent need to put the brakes on and reassess the wisdom of federal programs that are linked to this planetary pairing.

An abundance of evidence suggests we need to reverse course, as is common with the square. The reason is simple. By siphoning funds away from the private sector and funneling them into failed government projects to help the disadvantaged (examples are endless), government actually diminishes the ability of civil society to deal with the problems of living. For example, Charles Murray writes in his classic text Losing Ground that poverty was steadily declining through the ‘50’s and ‘60’s until L.B.J’s ‘Great Society’ programs kicked in at the start of the ‘70’s.30 Echoing Thomas Sowell, Murray argues that Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ actually made things worse for its intended beneficiaries. By eroding self-reliance, destroying families, and making more and more people dependent on government, welfare has been a disaster and quite possibly one of the worst ideas in the history of the planet.

This led to welfare reform under the Newt Gingrich led Republican Congress during Clinton’s tenure. Responding positively to pressure from Gingrich, Clinton famously trumpeted his intention “to end welfare as we know it,” and later stated that the 1996 legislation they mutually enacted allows us “to break the cycle of dependency that has existed for millions and millions of our fellow citizens, exiling them from the world of work.”31 Gingrich went on to find more effective ways to increase employment opportunities for the poor—encouraging volunteerism and spiritual renewal, creating tax incentives, and reducing regulations for businesses in poor neighborhoods. In his volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, Gingrich observed it was more rewarding for people to be actively involved in improving their lives—building their own homes—than to simply receive a welfare check.32

The point is that Neptune in Pisces can be utilized for the greater good by taking the initiative (Aries) and assuming personal responsibility (Capricorn) for acts of charity and compassion (Pisces). This can take the form of volunteerism, being a good neighbor, or joining any of innumerable organizations dedicated to good works, all of which are time honored traditions of particular relevance today. Again, this had been the norm for the greater part of human history up to the 20th century when the force that leveled it was indeed powerful—the modern welfare state. It’s easy to feign being an altruistic person while projecting responsibility for charity onto the nanny-state, but to walk the walk one needs to take responsibility for being charitable within one’s means. The great tragedy of the welfare state is that it not only undermines self-respect and turns people into semi-permanent victims, it also diminishes any sense of responsibility the average citizen feels for helping his fellow humans. Increasingly relieved of both duty and financial means for voluntary acts of compassion—since government usurps the role—our capacity for altruism atrophies over time.

One of the more intriguing aspects of astrology is how planetary configurations can be integrated into more functional wholes. Uranus in Aries, Neptune in Pisces, and Pluto in Capricorn all have a part to play in the cultural zeitgeist; yet, all are interdependent, too, especially with Uranus and Pluto in square. While Uranus is awakening the collective to the importance of personal freedom, individual initiative and self-reliance, Pluto is transforming government into a more financially responsible, fiscally disciplined entity. In combination, this suggests a cultural movement to aggressively demand an administration that is sufficiently self-restrained and non-interfering that it supports free enterprise to the maximum extent possible. For this to occur, government has to rein in spending, eliminate excessive regulatory burdens, and once again allow individuals to assume responsibility for their own welfare.

At the same time, Neptune in Pisces highlights a collective concern for the disadvantaged. This concern, however, does not occur in a cultural vacuum; it must find a way to combine with the implicit injunctions of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. If these latter injunctions are obeyed, it suggests a restoration of personal responsibility for individual acts of charity. With less money being drained by inept government programs that actually encourage dependence, more is available to the private citizen that can be funneled into reputable charities that empower recipients to truly change their lives.

We have all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” In keeping with Aries and Capricorn values, attempts to help the needy should stress the importance of self-help, good character, and living a prudent lifestyle if the individual expects to regain self-reliance. Charitable organizations in the past believed that aid given without nourishment of a man’s character would accomplish little except to demean him. Obviously, there are those who due to chronic illness, disability, or old age will never be entirely self-reliant; yet, others are gaming the system out of an inflated sense of entitlement, encouraged and abetted by policies that are excessively lenient.33

Beyond doing everything that can be done to help those who cannot help themselves, a strenuous effort should be made to help those who can help themselves do just that: help themselves. This means championing policies that encourage self-improvement, personal initiative, entrepreneurship, and participation within a competition-driven free market economy, for it is only through wealth creation that poverty is reduced and human progress assured. In a recent campaign speech, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney contrasted enabling with empowering by stating a simple but obvious truth: “Compassion should not be measured by how many people are on welfare, but by how many people you have helped find jobs.”

As a Mormon, Romney was brought up in a tradition that stressed personal responsibility, spiritual faith, and good character as the most effective combatants of indigence. In its 1936 “Church Welfare Plan,” the Mormon Church formulated the guidelines that underpinned their policy on charity. Not only was it framed during the last square of Pluto and Uranus, but it seems exceptionally appropriate now in providing a model that integrates Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, and Neptune in Pisces under one inclusive policy. The plan was simply: “A system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and that independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves.”

Summary and Conclusion
Growth of government and deficit spending is exacerbated when the cultural zeitgeist favors liberal values, as occurs when the outer planets occupy liberal signs. This was the situation that prevailed during the ‘perfect storm’ of Pluto in Sagittarius and Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius or mutual reception, which traversed the period from 1995-2008 and culminated in the election of Barack Obama. Following Obama’s election and with Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, the national debt exploded. At the current rate of deficit spending, the Obama administration will have increased the national debt by more in a single presidency than all previous presidents combined: 12 trillion dollars in 8 years.

During Obama’s first term, all of the outer planets changed signs, which is highly unusual and underscores that we are living in a time of tremendous transition. With Uranus and Pluto moving into Aries and Capricorn, the cultural zeitgeist shifted rather suddenly from hyper-liberalism to strong conservatism. While the country as a whole lurched strongly to the right as evidenced by the emergence of the Tea Party and the rout of Democrats in the mid-term elections, Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate doubled down, dug in their heels. and clung tenaciously to their leftist agenda. The resulting stalemate set the stage for a referendum in the presidential election of November 6.

In effect, the Obama presidency is sailing against the archetypal winds, but not entirely. Neptune has ingressed into its own sign, Pisces, which heightens liberal values of charity and compassion. As every outer planet-sign combination constitutes a cosmic injunction, Neptune in Pisces has to accommodate itself to the radically different agendas of Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. If all three can function together in an integrated way, we could have a fiscally disciplined administration that liberates entrepreneurship and free enterprise which, in turn, promotes charity from the bottom up rather than the top down. In other words, by reining in spending, government would empower individuals and communities to take responsibility for helping the least among us become strong, self-reliant, productive citizens.

The great irony of our times is that by acting more Republican we better achieve Democratic ideals. Each side is enriched by its counterpart; thus, through fiscal discipline and smaller government, charities at state and local levels are reinvigorated. One thing is certain: if we continue to export responsibility for charitable giving onto the federal government we will soon be in need of it ourselves, for there will be no more government to depend on; it will be bankrupt, and so will we. For a preview, one merely has to look at Europe. America is approaching a tipping point where fewer and fewer people are working for more and more dependents. This is like bailing out a sinking ship during a heavy storm by taking water from the bow and pouring it into the stern. Such a ship cannot long stay afloat, much less arrive at its destination.

In the final analysis, the issue is not which party is right, but which party is right for the times. If we identify too rigidly with either side of the political equation, we become cardboard stereotypes of the worst of each tradition: the cold, heartless, greedy Republican or the morally smug, bleeding heart, airhead Democrat. In truth, real people embody both sensibilities to varying degrees, and neither side has a monopoly on goodness. The goal is to recognize and integrate complementary opposites, adjusting one’s sails to the archetypal winds so that a dynamic equilibrium is maintained over time.

Archetypal astrology postulates that the real spiritual ideal is differentiation and coordination of all modes of being into a balanced whole. From a Gods-eye view, Aries and Capricorn are no less valued for their toughness and hardness than Pisces for its softness. In the current archetypal zeitgeist, all three have to be woven into a functional composite that complies with the Prime Directive of the cosmos:

Transform organizations at every level and make them fiscally responsible. Respect limits, but do not fail to act in your own self-interest, for if you cannot help yourself you cannot help another. Encourage the weak, do not enable them. While compassion has no limits, the gift of charity is best given with conditions that foster self-reliance.

* * * * *


1 The so called ‘gender-gap’ underscores the archetypal nature of politics. For decades women have been more closely aligned with the Democratic Party and men more likely to identify as Republicans. The gender gap—the difference between how men and women vote—represents on average a seven point gulf between the sexes during presidential elections.

2 Excessive focus on leveling the playing field sometimes devolves into attempts to level the natural social and economic hierarchy, i.e., extreme liberalism aspires to assure equal outcomes with regard to success, happiness, and prosperity. Conservatives argue, however, that people differ in their motivation and capacity for success. Different views on this point reflect the tension of the square between Libra/liberals and Capricorn/conservatives.

3 Hayek, F.A. (2007). The road to serfdom: The definitive edition. Chicago: U. Of Chicago Press

4 John Maynard Keynes was a 20th centry British economist whose ideas profoundly affected the theory of modern macroeconomics and informed the monetary policies of governments. For more, go to:

5 For example, since Obama took office the price of gas has doubled. While not the only cause, devaluation of the dollar through expansion of the money supply is thought to be a major cause.

6 Bush increased the debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion in eight years.

7 Again, this was one of the prime causes of the economic meltdown that occurred in 2008 when borrowers massively defaulted on mortgage payments they could not afford.

8 By definition, to be a priest in the Catholic Church means you are sexually repressed, or need to repress your sexuality, or have no particular interest in woman to start with. Whatever the case, it does not bode well for normal expression of sexual feeling.

9 Biggs, Andrew G., “Claims and Facts: Common Arguments against SS Reform Featuring Voluntary Personal Retirement Accounts,” Cato Institute, 9 July 2002,

10 So total was the liberal hegemony of the period that by 2008 it spawned a host of conservative books as a kind of counter-insurgency. The titles speak volumes: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg (2008); The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb (2008); The Tyranny of Nice by Kathy Shaidle (2008).

11 In Europe, these same policies ultimately bankrupted Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, who survive now largely by virtue of Germany’s largesse.

12 Neptune and Uranus were conjunct in Capricorn from ’92-95; were in the same sign (Aquarius) from ’98-2003; and were in mutual reception from 2003-2011.

13 As so often happens with memorable films, they metaphorically encapsulate emergent ideas, values, and evolutionary trends circulating within the objective psyche at the time of their release. In this regard, they are like collective dreams.

14 The Dodd-Frank act of 2010 produced 8,840 pages of new restrictions and made starting a new business exceedingly difficult. Over the past three years, economic growth has been creeping along at an average of 1.7% (as compared to 2.7% during the Bush presidency). For more comparisons, see peter Wehner’s article: “In Bush v. Obama, Bush Wins in a Rout,” at:

15 Faced with an identical situation in 1994, Bill Clinton famously declared, “The era of big government is over,” rolled up his sleeves, and began working with a Republican controlled Congress headed by Newt Gingrich. The result: a balanced budget, tax revenue surplus, and booming economy.

16 Using this same conversion rate, Reagan was at 50 mph under a Democratic Congress. Under a Republican Congress, Clinton was at 18 mph (thank you, Newt). Under Obama and a Democratic Congress, the debt has exploded from 10 trillion to 16 trillion in three years, or 2 trillion per/year (Bush was only 500 billion per/year). See “The National Debt Road Trip” at:

17 See ‘United States Elections, 2010’,,_2010

18 “Obama’s election sparked dramatic rise in militia groups in US, report finds”.

19 “The Business of Survival: A Look at Growing Trends and 2012,” by Scott D.

20 See, for example, Promoting Decline: Obama vs. America by Scott Wheeler. Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream by Dinesh D’Souza. The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House by Edward Klein. Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin. Any one of these books is alarming but collectively they paint a picture of a president who is astonishingly arrogant, callow, incompetent, deceitful, treacherous, and destructive.

21 See Stossel’s books. Give Me a Break (2005) documents his opposition to government regulation and his rationale for shifting social services from government to private charities. His second book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2007) exposes the ineffectiveness of government programs that purport to help victims. His latest book, No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails – But Individuals Succeed (2012) extends the argument for individual initiative over government dependency.

22 “The Welfare State: Rhetoric vs. Reality,” by Thomas Sowell, WND Commentary, 03/19/12,

23 Murray, Charles (1994). Losing ground: American social policy, 1950-1980). New York: Basic Books

24 From his address at the RNC Convention, September 9, 2012

25 Taylor, John B. First principles: Five keys to restoring America’s prosperity. New York: W.W. Norton

26 Hubbard, Glenn R., “Tax Cuts Won’t Hurt the Surplus,” Wall Street Journal, 22 August 2001, p. A16

27 Jackson, G. Conservative comebacks to liberal lies. Ramsey, NJ: JAJ Publishing, p. 291-293

28 From Governor McDonnell’s speech at the RNC in September, 2012

29 Blanchette, Jude. “The Shortcomings of Government Charity: Private Charities Offer the Best Cure for Chronic Poverty,” in Freeman, May 2007, Volume 57, Issue 4.

30 Murray, Ibid

31 Skorneck, Carolyn (July 31, 1996). “Clinton Says He Will Sign Welfare Overhaul; House Passes It.”. Associated Press

32 Gingrich, N. (1998). Lessons learned the hard way. New York: HarperCollins Publishers

33 After their unemployment finally runs out, an increasing number of people now apply for disability—generally for some form of alleged “mental illness” such as depression—which applicants claim prevents them from working. See: “As unemployment benefits claims decline, disability claims rise,” at:

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