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Bernie Sanders is an unusual choice for a presidential candidate.  He would be the oldest person to be elected president of the United States.  He is Jewish, and an avowed socialist.  He has no handlers and no PACs, and he is virtually ignored by mainstream media.  Yet he is gaining support in unexpected places – from liberals of course, but also from independents and even evangelicals who resonated with his speech at Liberty University.

One has to wonder why, after a long and illustrious career in Congress, does Sanders suddenly want to be President?  Perhaps a look at the astrological influences can add some insight.

Bernie Sanders (September 8, 1941, Brooklyn NY, time unknown) was born with the Sun in Virgo, the sign of service and humility.  His Sun is conjunct the North lunar Node, the point that shows us the way towards our future destiny.  Sun/North Node people typically have a sense from childhood that they have a special mission to fulfill – a particular path to walk.

We don’t know Sanders’ ascendant (rising sign) without a time of birth, but his Aries Moon shows his fiery and passionate nature, especially since is Moon aligns with Mars, the planet that energizes and motivates us, but which also adds an aggressive quality to the chart.  This is especially true because Mars is in Aries, its own sign, which essentially doubles the intensity of the assertive quality.

The Mars/Aries dynamic quality is out of sync with the humility of Virgo, and finding a way to balance those two forces has likely been one of the themes of Sanders’ life.  Sanders’ chart lacks the water element which often suggests an individual for whom empathy and compassion is difficult.  Yet he has Mercury (communication) in peace-loving Libra, suggesting that he is easily able to see another point of view even if he is unable to feel it.  And his Venus (relating to others) is in its own sign of Libra, revealing that relationships and harmony between people is very important to him.

Like many second generation Jews, Sanders’ parents were deeply affected by the holocaust and the Chiron/Pluto conjunction in his chart suggests that he would have been very sensitive to the trauma of this event in a very personal way.

Saturn (achievement and insecurity)  in the chart is in the sign of Taurus which seeks wealth and comfort.  We can see from this placement that Sanders is uncomfortable with the idea of accumulating possessions and comfortable things which could have a bearing on his socialist values.  But Uranus, the revolutionary, is at zero degrees Gemini where it most powerfully seeks new ideas of change, is in a harmonious trine to Mercury in the chart, a double signature connecting thoughts and ideas (Mercury/Gemini) with the breaking away from shackles of the old ways of looking at things (Uranus).  This is especially noted because of the out of sign conjunction (meaning the two planets are in different signs though still in alignment) from Saturn, representing the status quo, to Uranus.

So we can see Sanders’ values and motivations in the chart.  But why now?  What motivated Sanders to suddenly announce his candidacy for the very first time?

One of the forecasting tools at our disposal is a look at the “progressed” chart.  Using this tool we progress the birthchart through time.  The progressed Sun shows the type of experience we need to feel vital and alive, and the alignments made by the progressed Sun can trigger major life experiences.  Back in 2011 Sanders’ progressed Sun opposed Saturn in the progressed chart.  Because Saturn represents responsibility and achievement as well as the sense of the passage of time, I suspect that at that time Sanders felt that he was nearing the end of his ability to make a real difference in the world.

In 2011 Uranus (planet of revolution) had just entered the warrior sign of Aries, triggering a radical backlash against the status quo and power establishment all around the world.  At that time Sanders began to have a voice on the main stage of public opinion – in interviews and television appearances.  However, he continued to insist that he had no interest in running for president until 2013 when he began to put together a platform of issues for a presidential run.

His formal announcement came in the spring of 2015, just after his progressed Sun opposed Uranus in the progressed chart, triggering a radical move out of the blue as Uranus often does.  And at the same time, transiting Uranus formed a challenging square to the Sun in the (Sibley) chart of the United States, signifying a fundamental change in the values and very nature of the country.  This was a confluence of energies that opened the door for Bernie Sanders to sweep in as a viable candidate.

In 2016, transiting Pluto (destruction and regeneration) will oppose the Sun in the US chart, and the effects of this transit are already visible.  Gun violence, ideological and theological battles are tearing the country to shreds.  In addition, transiting Saturn is crossing the ascendant (persona) of the US chart, creating tests and challenges to the very identity of the country.

Pluto is in Capricorn, as it has been since 2008, tearing down (Pluto) the structures of society (Capricorn) wherever the foundations are rotting are unstable.  The structures that underpin the US political system are no longer serving the needs of the populace, and it is no accident that the non-establishment (Uranian) candidates are gaining ground.

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