Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Declaration Chart

©2016 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

Astrologers have many tools for examining the outcome of elections, but many astrologers find it difficult to get past some sort of comparison of the nativities of the candidates.  Unfortunately, this year's US presidential race is awash with candidates where the birthtime is murky. Thus, we find ourselves more dependent on mundane methods.

It is a sure bet that a number of astrologers will attempt to use horary, but it's really not the right tool - except, perhaps, for the people most directly involved with the campaigns. The rest of us are just not personally involved enough (although partisanship makes it feel otherwise) to have standing to ask the question.

I have written on presidential elections previously (Click here for a blog entry from 2012) - but this time, I decided to run an experiment. In order to run, all candidates have to announce that they are running, and form their apparatus. This time, I collected the data for those declarations, to see whether they are predictive, at least to the stage of successful nomination by a political party.

Here I present two: that of Hillary Clinton, and the one for Bernie Sanders. What is especially interesting with this pair is that when they declared, Bernie was considered a complete long shot: the odds of him even being a serious enough candidate to make Hillary break out into a mild sweat were considered outrageous. At the moment, we have close to a dead heat, at least in the first two primaries. Do these declaration charts reflect this?

First, let's examine Hillary's.


So we start with the fact that this election was supposed to be a cakewalk. Does the chart reflect this? As the initiator of this event, Hillary is the 1st house, and her opponents are the 7th. The "prize" is the 10th house, and in Hillary's case, at least in the Democratic Party nominating process, the 4th is the "castle" of a castle besiegement model. The relevancy here is that castle besiegement in an election would be most appropriate in a case where there's a huge discrepancy between the relative strength of the candidates. Hillary had amassed a significant financial advantage, and she had the support of the mainstream party apparatus, with significant posts held by former campaign staffers of hers. In other words, the playing field was not level. We shall have to consider all these factors in our judgment.

Mercury, ruling Clinton, is peregrine, cadent, and combust. Already, this is a surprise! She does not look at all strong in this chart. In past work with games prediction, I have discussed the fact that Mercury and Jupiter as a fighting pair is not as consistently competitive as other combinations. Perhaps we are seeing here a marker for how the Democratic race has not been as vicious as the Republican one - but we may also be looking at a certain absence of resolve: as if, assembling all the pieces in advance was enough, and then you just say your lines, and wait to be nominated. If this truly was what she was thinking, then the presence of Saturn in the castle (the 4th) immediately challenges this assumption. Saturn in the 4th is a bad thing for the castleholder. Those advantages become an albatross, instead of operating as an advantage.

Next, we consider Neptune in the 7th, and the ruler of the 7th in the 12th. Remember: this is her opponents from her point of view. With the ruler of the 7th in the 12th, she can't "see" them for what they are: and there is a danger of self undoing, or a secret enemy issue. Combined with the fogginess of Neptune in the 7th, she cannot see her opponents clearly, and as a result, they are more dangerous. Ruled by a Jupiter in Leo, with out-of-sect Triplicity, they have some strength: and specifically some luck. This does not look like a cakewalk.

The Moon cannot help her here. Peregrine in Aquarius, its immediate aspect is a trine to Venus in the 10th. Ok, obvious interpretation: she is counting on women to bring her over the top, because a lot of women (presumably) would like to see the first woman president. But both the Moon and Venus are peregrine, so this strategy doesn't look as compelling as the analysts assumed. The voters would be ruled by the Moon, and, with the Moon in Saturn's sign, do we have the signature for her comparative popularity with older voters?

There are also two fixed stars which seem important. The big one is Algol conjunct the MC. Now, here is the prize, and here is the Head of the Medusa, a terrible image for success in this case. The second one isn't nearly so poignant, but the North Node was conjunct Vindemiatrix, the widow's star, which Diana K. Rosenberg described as a woman alone. That symbolism is also completely counter to the idea of a successful candidate surrounded by aides, admirers, and staff.

By contrast, here's Bernie's.

This was the season for announcements, and Sanders' was only a few weeks after Clinton's. The ingress of the Sun into Taurus represents a step down in dignity from the Sun in Aries: but is it really? In Hillary's chart, the Sun only ruled the 12th house, so it was more a favor to her enemies than anyone else. In Bernie's, it rules the Ascendant, and it's angular in the 10th. This is actually one of the biggest contrasts between the charts: Bernie's has angularity he can use, whereas Hillary's has what we might call the wrong kind of angularity: associated with the 7th, and a nasty opposition between 10th and 4th. All that Taurus associated with the 10th house in Bernie's suggests that hard work may pay off. The Sun applies by square to 1st house benefic Jupiter, dignified by out-of-sect Triplicity. Now that's not perfect, but the squares to the benefics are generally much easier than the oppositions to malefics.

Mars is both in and ruling the 10th - a very powerful statement. Both charts have Mars in Taurus, but Mars is more central to Bernie's announcement. At first, one might be rather put off by Mars in its Detriment, but in contest charts, the malefics in debility are actually to be preferred. In any case, it's one of the hardest working Mars position, and one of its principle qualities is perseverance. Mars in Taurus is effectively in overdrive, taking all the time it needs to do its job, and being relentless about doing things its own way.

Bernie doesn't rate the castle considerations, because he doesn't have the institutional advantage. Here it may be telling that a peregrine Venus rules the 4th - perhaps a description of the circumstances surrounding Hillary.

In both cases, the Moon is at zero degrees - with a lot of room for change. On the one hand, the trine between them at least gives the possibility of one eventually supporting the other. On the other hand, there is lots flux that is intrinsic to the charts. That fact alone argued strongly against Hillary simply maintaining her lead from start to finish. In Hillary's case, change could only be down. A zero degree Moon simply is incompatible with what was expected to be a gentle tune-up for the general election. In Bernie's case, change could initially only be up, but with the two now in a dead heat, change could now go either way for either one of them.

In sum, Sanders's candidacy chart is the better chart. The question is: is it enough to overcome Hillary's astounding initial advantages?








Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Middle of Pluto in Capricorn

©2016 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

In Astrology of Sustainability, I discussed the orbital resonance between Neptune and Pluto. The two of them have a 3:2 orbital resonance, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory gives the orbital period of Neptune as 164.79132 years. They give the orbital  period of  Pluto as 247.92065 years. So: multiply the Neptune  period by 3, and you get  494.37396 years. Multiply the Pluto period by 2 and you get 495.8413 years. Almost identical. What this means is that, roughly every 500 years, you get the same positions og Neptune and Pluto by sign and approximate degree, and at the "midpoint" of just less than 250 years, Neptune is in the opposite sign, while Pluto is in the same sign. In 1522, Pluto and Neptune were in the same positions as they again occupied in 2015. In 1768, Pluto was in Capricorn, and Neptune was in Pisces. This is shown in the graphic below, from my book.

This diagram is copyright J. Lee Lehman and may not be reproduced without permission.


When you talk about processes that last 500 years, you are way over the top of what an individual human being can experience: these can mark human cycles, but only on a collective basis. There were two outstanding events for 1522. Suleiman the Magnificent, the Caliph of his day, scored a major victory at Rhodes over the European Christians, in one of the remnant mop-ups from the Crusades. And secondly, Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into German was published, a year after he was excommunicated by the Pope.

In trying to grasp societal changes on this time scale, the obvious question is, what themes are we seeing now that correspond to those then? There is still a clash going on between Christians and Muslims, sad to say. That one is very clear and requires no translation at all. However, are we to see the rise of Protestantism in the 16th century as a purely religious phenomenon - such that we should be looking for a new schismatic now? I think perhaps not. In 1522, the Catholic Church was easily the largest, richest institution of the time. Viewed on this more secular basis, the struggle that Luther pushed forward broke up the wealth of the Church, not merely its salvation monopoly. The Church truly was the Plutocrat of the time. Pluto has now reached the halfway point of its time in Capricorn - just as it had for Luther's rebellion. What was clear at the time were such measures of greed as indulgences, and the selling of Church offices.

If this interpretation is correct, then this little history lesson also reminds us of how long a power shift takes to accomplish.No one US presidential election will determine this, and, along the same line as the Catholic Church as being a universal church, it cannot be accomplished in one country alone. Are we to then consider that, with the passage of Pluto in Capricorn, wealth has become as concentrated in one monopoly - church or oligarchs - as it will be, and then the fissures appear? We shall see.


Friday, October 02, 2015

When it becomes Habitual

©2015 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

President Obama deplored the shooting at Umpqua Community College, because this kind of mass shooting has become routine violence. And he is right: the number of these events has become numbing - almost routine.

This sad fact has astrological consequences, as well as moral and political ones. I am reminded of one of the prime aphorisms of horary: you cannot ask the same question twice. Now, events are not exactly like questions - and you can in fact have basically the same event twice, if we ignore the very real lives of the people who are the subject of the event.

But the point worth pondering is what that neat little horary aphorism is saying about the human mind and spirit. The first time a tragedy type happens, it is shocking, infuriating, cathartic, raw - all the human passions are engaged and the person becomes indignant and enraged - and certainly engaged. But then, when there is a next time, and a next time, and still a next time, each additional one hardens the heart rather than opens it, and sullenness becomes the order of the day - except for those survivors who knew the victims and thus were caught up in the tragedy directly.

This is, I think, the basis behind the horary aphorism, because it is in that moment of shocked recognition of the question that the raw result will show. Horary works well with pathos, but not resignation.

But events are events, and the fact that a type has become routine does not mean it cannot be interpreted.



Here we have the chart. Murder is a crime, and the classical idea is to use either the 7th house or an angular peregrine planet as the perpetrator. The answer is pretty unambiguous for Venus:

  • Venus is the ruler of the 7th house
  • Venus is peregrine
  • Venus is angular by the 5 degree rule (being within 5-7 degrees of an angle on the cadent side).
The MC is Regulus, making this a much more public event than the average happening at the community college, and reminding us of the difference between a Sun-ruled Regulus and a Mercury-ruled one. It's pretty clear from the chart that this was a moment of stardom: a public (angular) event, but ending in self destruction: the fall part of the characteristic of the royal stars.

Mars the planet of anything gun is in the 10th and ruling the victims, the 1st house "subject" of the shootings. Mercury's rulership of the 8th rings too well with the location of the shooting: this was an educational facility.

The Moon was in Taurus: a bestial sign even if exalted. It was also void of course. The v/c did.not mean that "nothing will come of the matter" - more than ten families have been ripped to shreds by this event. So the event from the standpoint of the criminal was successful - but at the cost of his own life as well.

The fixed nature of the murderer in Leo does suggest the possibility of bigotry or fanaticism - but also the inability to adapt his way out of these emotions. It also suggests theater. What a sad combination.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why did it Take so Long?

©2015 J. Lee Lehman, PhD
 
Loretta Lynch waited 170 days to become Attorney General, longer than any previous nominee. Yes, we could simply blame Senate politics, and undoubtedly be on the right track, but is there any further astrological explanation? Here are a few notes that could relate to why it took so long, and then, what we might expect from Attorney General Lynch, now that she has been immediately thrown into the fire of riots in Baltimore.

1. It's the Nodes, of Course!

Chart 1. Aries Ingress 2015, for Washington, DC.
 
Here's the chart of the Aries Ingress for 2015, located for Washington, DC. There are many things we can say about this chart, but here's a starting point: Congress, or a parliament, in a mundane chart is given by the 11th house. Here's it's ruled by the Moon. This was actually a stunning chart, because this ingress occurred just hours after a solar eclipse. In a solar eclipse, it is the Sun which disappears visually, but here, we have the Moon combust in the 7th house of open enemies: the Congress has disappeared! No, we're not really so lucky! But what has occurred is some rather stunning cases of bipartisan cooperation, quite against expectations, and that resulted in the passage of a bill which had been linked to her nomination - a stubborn topic that seemed unattainable just weeks before. Here, the secrecy associated with Congress being combust has been the secrecy of members across the aisle actually doing their job! So the way was cleared for Lynch.
 
Interesting as the combustion is, even more interesting is that Lynch's nativity, for which we have no birthtime, sports a 10 degree Libra North Node! Lynch's nativity also shows a Sun-Pluto square, whether you accept the probability that her Sun is at 29 Taurus, or the smaller chance that it's at zero Gemini. I'm betting on the Sun in Taurus, and with Moon unequivocally in Scorpio, I have not doubt she is a very hard worker. Unfortunately, she will need to be. The lunar eclipse at 14 Aries-Libra which preceded her swearing in has 12 Taurus rising in Washington, partile square Jupiter in the 4th, which is the homeland itself.

Chart 2. Lunar Eclipse for April 2015, for Washington, DC

For the lunar eclipse we see the potent configuration of the eclipse axis square Pluto, which does suggest a possibility of violence, although one might expect it overseas, rather than domestically. But The  Moon does rule the 4th from the 6th. The 6th house is often considered the army in peacetime, but this can also refer to domestic police, and more so, since US federal policy has been arming local police departments as if they were fighting foreign wars.

Into these potentially dangerous situations walks a new Attorney General, and at a time where the race card is an active dance partner in US politics. 

Chart 3. Loretta Lynch sworn in.

Here, the Ascendant ruled by the Moon, in fixed sign Leo, says two things at least. First, she will be called upon to manifest courage, because that ultimately is the calling card of Leo, especially in this Face. Secondly, a Moon ruling the Ascendant in a fixed sign does not suggest new ideas and solutions, but the attempt to hold fast to currently entrenched ideas. This is further supported by Lynch herself, being sworn in to a 10th house position, being represented by Mars in Taurus: fixed and in Detriment, although having dignity by Triplicity. She will approach approach this job with strength, conviction, and courage. But with the South Node conjunct the 10th, she will be undermined. The Part of Fortune of the swearing in is virtually the same as the Part of Fortune for the prior lunar eclipse: a hint that Attorney General Lynch is there to confront the lunar concerns: the fears, mistrusts, and projections tat have been building in the nation, as we confront our fragmented presence in the world today. Sadly, this appears to be yet another facet of the prediction that I made in Astrology of Sustainability that the 20-teens would be a time of division, when new ideas and solutions seem out of reach until the major conjunctions of 2020.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Warren Buffett: An Amazing Legacy

©2013 J. Lee Lehman, PhD
 
The New York Times has just published a feature on Warren Buffet with a very curious twist:  a discussion of how, after decades of consistently beating the market, Mr. Buffet has somehow lost his touch. The question for us as astrologers, is obviously: why?

Mr. Buffet's genius was defined, both by him and by others, as being able to outperform the market. Seemingly, that ability vanished in 2009. Since we are now talking about more than three consecutive years, we have probably moved beyond the realm of a specific transit, direction or progression. 

In his nativity, we see that the two most dignified planets, Saturn and Venus, rule two important houses from the standpoint of his investing: the second, and the fifth. The 2nd represents cash wealth, and the 5th gambling: a house most astrologers consider appropriate for playing the stock market. In Buffet's case, Venus and Saturn are also in mutual reception by Triplicity: these two planets work well together. Venus at the 10th house suggests celebrity is possible for its efforts: the New York Times piece points out how rare it is for someone of his profound abilities to be known to the public, but his Berkshire Hathaway Fund has been legendary. Furthermore, Venus was conjunct Spica, surely the most benefic fixed star in the ancient pantheon.

I would note an interesting condition of Saturn: its dignity and retrogradation. It's easy to call a planet retrograde as one having a twist. Buffett's amazing ability to outperform the market has to count as one of the most stellar twists of modern finances!
 
I believe that his Sun-Neptune conjunction trine 1st house Saturn allowed him quite a bit of intuition into matters often represented primarily as dry numerical figures and statistics. Furthermore, the heavy emphasis on cardinality in the chart surely helped him avoid that great temptation of traders: to fall in love with a stock. His combination of dry earth Sun and Saturn hooked up with Neptune in an earth sign is a most fascinating harbinger of psychic engineering.

Is there anything we can say to suggest why his streak as ended, at least for now? I believe we have an intriguing possibility. The timing corresponds to one particular aspect of a larger phenomenon: the ingress of Pluto into Capricorn. We know, of course, that Pluto went into Capricorn on 27 November 2008. In my book, Astrology of Sustainability, I discuss the often dramatic events that occur within the time period when Pluto changes signs. In Buffett's case, Pluto in Capricorn begins to impinge upon his 1st house Saturn, which rules both his 1st and his 2nd: a very crucial planet from the standpoint of his identity and his financial portfolio. Had this ingress occurred earlier in 2008, it might well have affected his 2008 outcome as well. But enter 2009 and suddenly, his Midas touch was gone. 

Now, in my own mind, I believe that 2008 marks a point of no return in the extent to which the markets are no longer that sensitive to any individual investor, even such a large one as Mr. Buffett. I believe that the increase in computer-driven trading has completely changed the game, and that in this case, our subject simply could not keep up with this change. 

So: can we hypothesize about whether the magic can come back? We may note that this lingering Uranus-Pluto square is all over his outer placements, with the first pass in 2012 of the square occurring the degree after his Saturn placement, and with the final square in 2015 occurring just past his own Uranus, and thus ringing in his Uranus return. I would venture to suggest that it was probably about the time that the square began to form that he began to understand that he wasn't just having a spurt of a couple of years of bad luck. I would suspect that, with the relative proximity of his Pluto opposition beginning in 2018, that he may not be able to reverse his streak until then.

In any case, this is an interesting exercise, because we simply don't have a good database of exactly what happens at the Pluto oppositions, because it's been so long since the last period when Pluto was moving quickly enough for us to experience it. And of course, we don't know whether Mr. Buffett will have retired by then, or even if he will still be on the planet.

However, given the magnitude of his influence among traders and historians of the market, I would venture to suggest that a corollary of this observation is that it may take until 2018 before people, traders, and the government actually fully recognize and address the idea that the current system of computerized trading has completely marginalized the individual trader - just another example of the plutocracy theme associated with Pluto in Capricorn.

And as astrologers, in the meantime, we may have to consider whether the stock market even qualifies as a 5th house entity any more. What we are experiencing now is more akin to loaded dice, where the House is benefiting far more than it should.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How have Rulerships shifted since the Discovery of the Outer Planets?


©2013 J. Lee Lehman, PhD



In my book, EssentialDignities, I addressed the question of how the three trans-Saturnian planets were assigned rulerships, which is really an indirect answer to the question, how are rulerships assigned? Specifically, I performed an experiment: I compared the Medieval al-Biruni's rulerships to those of the modern work by Rex Bills. I looked for all those cases where Bills gave a rulership to Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, and the same concept could be found in al-Biruni. By seeing which traditional planet rulership was assigned to which outer planet, we are actually mapping attitudes about the nature of those outer planets. This was specifically set up to address the modern belief that the three outer planets are the higher octave of Mercury (Uranus), Venus (Neptune), and Mars (Pluto). The results are shown in Table 1.

Planet
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto
Sun
4
1
1
Moon
0
5
1
Mercury
1
2
1
Venus
1
4
4
Mars
4
0
5
Jupiter
2
0
2
Saturn
2
7
6

Table 1. Attributions in al-Biruni which are ruled by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in Bills.1

The results for Neptune and Pluto show a strong conversion of Saturn words, which suggests the obvious idea that these two outer planets are malefics that have taken over some of the Greater Malefic's traditional words. Uranus is more complex, but the dominance in the transfer of Sun and Mars words does suggest that Uranus is hot and dry in nature. In Neptune's case, the large number of Moon and Venus words might suggest wet, while the Moon and Saturn words would give cold. Pluto is more complicated: Venus and Mars are polar opposites in qualities as well as signs, suggesting that perhaps Pluto's qualities are more situational than intrinsic,

When I ask astrology audiences to classify the outer planets by quality, the results are consistent with what we have just seen. Uranus is easily classified as hot and dry (increasing the energy of a system, but tending to break things apart), while Neptune is easily classified cold and wet (decreasing the energy of a system, but intensifying the connections). Pluto is always troubling for people to classify, and there is seldom agreement.

This little demonstration suggests a use of the qualities of the planets as being an important component of their rulerships. I know that the higher octave theory is very appealing aesthetically: it's just that this study indicates that the higher octave theory truly is more theory than practice.
_______

1Citation: Lehman, J. Lee. Essential Dignities. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Press, 1989, p. 107.
Sources for table:
al-Biruni, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, and Robert Ramsay Wright. The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology. London,: Luzac & Co., 1934.
Bills, Rex E. The Rulership Book; a Directory of Astrological Correspondences. Richmond,: Macoy Pub. & Masonic Supply Co., 1971.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

US Government Shutdowns: What Works?

Copyright 2013 J. Lee Lehman

In my last post, I discussed a common model for timing the general length of events astrologically, by looking at the quadruplicity of the Ascendant. This idea is used in mundane astrology, for example, in timing whether an Aries Ingress in a particular location will last 3 months, 6 months, or an entire year.* In examining the history of government shutdowns, this method does not appear to apply.

I had presented a table showing the dates of all prior government shutdowns. I had also mentioned that we should be aware of an important demarcation between the pre-1980 shutdowns and the later ones: the earlier ones had few consequences, because very little in the government shut down.

What changes was a decision that a shutdown is, well, a shutdown, and so the later one resulted in an actual change in government-as-usual. Thus, it is a long shutdown after 1980 that has potential political consequences, whereas the earlier ones were seen as merely technicalities.

Here, I examine a different situation. As has been repeated many times in the last few weeks, it is Congress, not the President, which is responsible for a shutdown, because it is Congress that must pass a budget. In a mundane chart, the legislative body is the 11th house, so it seems appropriate to consider factors relating to the 11th house. There are presented in the following table, where I have distinguished the petty from the more serious shutdowns by placing the data in blue and red.



Date
Length in Days
Angular malefics
11th House sign
Cond Ruler 11th
In 11th
House 11th Ruler
1 Oct 1976
10
Ma, Pl
Ari
Detr
Ju, SN
4th
1 Oct 1977
12
Ma, Pl, SN
Ari
Fall
Mo
1st
1 Nov 1977
8
Ur, Sa
Gem
Pere
Mo, Ju
4th
1 Dec 1977
8
Ne
Can
Pere
Mo, Ma
11th
1 Oct 1978
18
SN, Pl
Ari
Ruler
5th
1 Oct 1979
11
Sa
Ari
Pere
2nd
21 Nov 1981
2
Ur, Ne
Can
Trip
NN
2nd
1 Oct 1982
1
Sa, Pl, SN
Ari
Per
6th
18 Dec 1982
3
Ne, SN
Leo
Trip
PF
4th
11 Nov 1983
3
Ur, SN, Ne
Gem
Term
4th
1 Oct 1984
2
--
Ari
Term
NN
6th
4 Oct 1984
1
--
Tau
Det/Trip
NN
5th
17 Oct 1986
1
Sn, Pl, Ma
Tau
Det/Trip/Ret
5th
19 Dec 1987
1
Ur, Ne, SN
Leo
Trip
4th
6 Oct 1990
3
Sa, Ne
Tau
Ruler
Mo
4th
14 Nov 1995
5
Ma, Sa
Can
Pere
4th
6 Dec 1996
21
Ma, Sa, SN
Can
Pere
2nd
1 Oct 2013
16
Ur, Pl
Ari
Face
SN
2nd

The two really serious government shutdowns are the last two: the 1996 and the 2013. Although they have different 11th house rulers, they share two features: a weak 11th house ruler which was posited in the 2nd house for the beginning of the shutdown.

This is actually interesting. There have been four shutdowns in which the ruler of the 11th was in the 2nd, and three of those four were long shutdowns. That's interesting by itself.

But the weak quality of the 11th house ruler is also interesting. The absence of essential dignity may be described as vacillating, or engaged in what we might call a random walk if it's peregrine, as it was for both of the shutdowns of 1995-1996. But the shutdown this time has dignity by Face, the weakest of the essential dignities. In my book, Essential Dignities, I discuss how Face often seems correlated with a serious of negative states, like anxiety and Fear. The process is being driven by negative emotion, rather than actual progressive ideals. It was certainly interesting that the resolution of the crisis did not occur until Mars had moved out of Face and into Virgo, a sign where it has Triplicity.

While it would be helpful to have more data points, there is at least a suggestion of an idea for what characterized this shutdown. But personally, I'd rather avoid any more examples very soon!



--
* For further information on this use of the quadruplicity with these charts, see my book, Astrology of Sustainability.