fractal art by Earl Hinrich

Over the past year we have seen some very stressful planetary configurations along with an extremely distressful set of challenges around the world. Increased terrorism, xenophobia, failed governments and nuclear crisis have been the prevailing stories of the year.

As we head towards the US Election Day on November 7 there are numerous planetary harbingers of change. There are five planets in Scorpio, showing a focus on power, and Jupiter in Scorpio is being squared by Saturn which seeks to curb its expansion. The square of Jupiter in Scorpio to Saturn in Leo over the past six months has had the effect of restricting (Saturn) the relentless Jupiterian optimism and curtailing (Saturn) the powers of rulers of all kinds (Leo). Although the peak of the Jupiter/Saturn cycle has passed, the planets are just two degrees of separation from that square and the conflict between idealism (Jupiter) and realism (Saturn) are still very much in effect.

Progressed Mars in the chart for the Declaration of the Independence turned retrograde this past year, indicating a change in direction for the country. Progressed planets show the symbolic evolution of an individual, and when a progressed planet changes direction it shows a major shift in direction. The retrogradation of the US progressed Mars is a major event that has not occurred since the country was established and it will remain retrograde for the next 80 years. Mars represents our aggressive instincts and drive to succeed, and the US has aggressively dominated the world political arena since its inception. The retrograde turn of Mars shows that this thirst for dominance by the US is likely to lessen as the attention turns more towards an inner focus and examination of how we can best serve those within our borders rather than continue to influence the rest of the world.

The opposition of Saturn to Neptune has confronted (Saturn) our illusions and those who create deception (Neptune) and there has been a sudden breakdown of the illusion that the leaders of the anti-gay marriage movement are paragons of moral virtue. In the 2004 presidential elections “value voters” turned out in sufficient numbers to re-elect George Bush. Ever since Saturn opposed Neptune in late August, scandal after scandal has rocked the Christian conservative movement. Yesterday Ted Haggard, an evangelical pastor and adviser to President Bush, was forced to admit that he had purchased methamphetamine from a gay escort and received a massage from that escort. Just a few weeks earlier Florida Representative Mark Foley was unseated due to his penchant for underage male pages. Rumors of a “gay mafia” in the Republican party have circulated for years but are now beginning to expose the hypocrisy of the anti-gay conservative movement. The implication of Ted Haggard in a homosexual scandal is huge; last year he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in the US and head of a 14,000 member church. (Jill delivers a painfully potent attack on the hypocrisy of Haggard and others like him.)

On the day of the US election, transiting Mars (drive and aggression) will make an exact trine to transiting Uranus (radical change and surprising events). This could indicate that voters who normally would stay at home will venture out to the polls and be a part of the change that is coming. This harmonious combination of Mars and Uranus is very energetic and independent, willing to embrace new ideas and excitement. Unfortunately Mercury is retrograde for this election as it was for the 2000 election and it is squared exactly by Neptune which indicates that there will be some confusion (Neptune) involved on some level. Mercury retrograde does not always lead to an inconclusive election; Mercury was also retrograde when Reagan trounced Jimmy Carter in 1980. (At the time of the 1980 election all planets but Chiron were crammed into three signs, a “bundle” formation showing a single point of focus with a lack of perspective.)

Uranus in the US chart has been squared by transiting Uranus over the past year, the third phase in a cycle that began with the opening square in 1963 and peaked with the opposition in 1984. These Uranus cycles mark a restless need for radical change in one’s life, and we can see a pattern here. The opening square in 1963 corresponded with the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the time that brought about tremendous global cultural revolution, but this was particularly true of the United States which saw battles over civil rights, women’s liberation and an explosion of drug use. In 1984 the advent of the AIDS virus and the introduction of crack cocaine exposed the dark side of the drug culture induced a more conservative culture in the US and a backlash against the sexual and drug revolutions of the previous Uranus event. The focus turned from the “free stores” of the early 1960s to capitalism and money as exemplified in the tv shows “Dallas” and “Dynasty” and the film “Wall Street.”

Perhaps the current phase of the US Uranus cycle is beginning to free up some of the calcified ideas and morality that took hold at the opposition phase in 1984. Perhaps as we as a nation begin to look less at world domination (US progressed Mars retrograde) and more at taking care of our own country and the people in it we will begin to heal the damage that has taken place over the past six years. Whatever is to come, Election Day 2006 is sure to be a turning point.

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