Next in the Line


I'm freshly returned from the United Astrology Conference (UAC) in Denver, where the talk of the town was, not surprisingly, the US presidential campaign.

UAC, the largest gathering of its kind in decades, made headlines (even Fox News!) due to a public announcement of Barack Obama's long-lusted-after birthtime, giving astro-pundits the data they needed to go hog-wild with predictions.

Indeed, the conference's final session was a much-hyped panel discussion about the upcoming election… complete (at least as it was advertised) with predictions. I skipped the session. I spent that time getting ready for my return to SF, a preparation that necessitated lots of deep breathing. There's only some much information one mind can take in before it becomes overloaded and needs to break away, in order to integrate. After so much intense astro-learning over the prior several days, I was full.

I will tell you this much: There was a lot of talk about what might happen, now that we are officially within the 'turbulent times' symbolized by Pluto in Capricorn and its approaching square from Uranus. All kinds of strange scenarios were being batted around by well-respected astrologers, including possibilities like:
—Bush not making it to the end of his term, due to a total solar eclipse in August hitting his Mercury in Leo natally conjunct both Ascendent and Pluto(not to mention good ol' Tecumseh's curse);
—Bush's 'end' and/or some other dramatic event causing the election to be postponed or cancelled (and/or with martial law breaking out?); and/or
—neither Obama nor McCain winding up as president, due to any of the above factors.

In fact, one of the only things everybody seemed to agree upon was that things don't look good for Hillary Clinton's chance to lead the Democratic ticket. But it surely doesn't take a Sheraton full of astrologers to make such a forecast, does it?

I share these astro-rumors to report on what was being said was being said (yes, this is definite hearsay)… though I urge you to take it all with a grain of salt. Certainly, there's an archetypal element of surprise we planet-watchers can connect to the current campaign—especially with Mercury zooming retrograde as Democrats meet to discuss the Michigan/Florida fiasco on May 31 and an exact Saturn-Uranus opposition striking on Election Day—but the rest seems like conjecture.

Indeed, many astrologers have been particularly irked by their difficulty in getting accurate birth data for any of the three remaining contenders. The new Obama data is still being rated DD ('dirty data') by AstroDatabank, the industry leader in validating birth information. (And incidentally, the very manner in which the Obama data was announced—in a very showy opening-ceremony fashion by an individual who certainly stood to personally benefit from scoring the 'coup'—is enough to cast doubt. AstroDatabank is currently involved in trying to verify the almost-too-perfect 7:11 pm birthtime.) Clinton's birthdata is similarly rated DD. And while McCain's was able to officially snag an A rating (accurate as reported by two campaign staffers), the AstroDatabank website also quotes McCain's mother as offering two different statements ('about 9 a.m.' and 'about 11'), which certainly leaves one scratching one's head.

Another confounding condition, making such 'prediction' a dicier proposition still, is the glaringly blatant bias with which most astrologers come at this question of who'll be our next president. Would you be surprised to hear that the UAC tides were overwhelmingly in favor of Obama? Hardly. From lectures to coffee-break chatter to the official entertainment, no pretenses toward objectivity were made. A leftist/Democratic bent was presumed by virtually everyone in every context… and while that presumption was likely true as far as the participants' personal views were concerned, it isn't an especially open-hearted way in which to approach sociopolitical astrology. (I was admittedly flabbergasted when one of my favorite astrologers quickly glossed over discussing Obama's challenging astro-transits, in order to focus on ripping Clinton's and McCain's charts to shreds.)

Isn't our job as astrologers—cultural commentators with cosmic consciousness, really—to shed light on how things are and could be? When our egos get intimately woven into the formula, however, it often instead becomes a variation on that theme: an exposition on how we personally want them to be. Which isn't necessarily a 'bad' approach, as it's relatively rare for our egos not to jam their grubby little fingers into every last pot… but if we don't fess up to that upfront, we have the potential to confuse our wishful thinking for reality.

After all, most intuitive types will tell you they get their most accurate hits about strangers or folks they don't know well. Once a loved one is involved, our intuitions get all muddled up with our emotional investments. And when it comes to our own selves… well, forget about it. How well can one decipher premonitory vision from anxiety, for instance?

Searching for a cosmic clue to what's really going down? Look no further than Senator Ted Kennedy's fatal brain-tumor diagnosis hitting the news the same day that Obama finally clinches an official majority of delegates needed for the nomination… all while a bunch of astrologers are sitting around in Denver (coincidentally the site of August's Democratic convention) discussing the state of American politics.

Kennedy was first elected to the Senate in 1962, a noteworthy year in astrology due to a highly unusual lineup of seven planets in Aquarius (ushering in early shades of 'Aquarian Age' consciousness, if not the actual Age itself)… as well as the first inklings of the dramatic Uranus-Pluto conjunction, which characterized 'the Sixties' as what we now know them to be: chaotic and revolutionary, painful but transformative. So neatly as to be downright frightening, that Uranus-Pluto period was bookended by the assassinations of both Senator Kennedy's brothers, John (1963) and Bobby (1968).

And now, as we flirt with the first inklings of the waxing Uranus-Pluto square (the one-quarter 'crisis in action' marker in the cycle that began in the '60s), we find ourselves with another young inexperienced Democrat who personifies the hope of a populace desperate for change… whose very candidacy wouldn't have been possible before the turbo-charged civil rights advances of the prior period… and who has been explicitly likened to JFK since the start of his national campaign.

The specifics of what happens next is anybody's—well, everybody's—guess. But as the '60s torch appears ready to be passed to its next stage, we should expect the next step in this cycle to unfold along the same archetypal line…