What This Election's About


I've been reluctant to publicly gather my thoughts about this upcoming presidential election in the US, for what seem like obvious reasons.

Not only am I as sick of hearing about Trump and Clinton and 'the lesser of two evils' as anyone, but I'm also perpetually cringing at the irrational cruelty being slung from every direction at those who disagree in any way with a particular faction's talking-points.

Though I have little faith I can articulate my observations about this contentious election without being somewhat misperceived and/or unfairly judged, I feel compelled to do so anyway. I've waited long enough into the cycle so as to avoid the pitfall of others' expectations that I 'predict' the winner… a utilization of astrology I increasingly reject (for what exactly is the constructive purpose of such predictions, other than to provide ambitious astrologers a chance to jockey for publicity?), in favor of letting the symbolic language simply describe the conditions under which this election takes place, regardless of its immediate outcome.

I so unapologetically offer my perspective on this election 'regardless of its immediate outcome' because my first (and, arguably, rather self-evident) observation is that we can expect continued social instability no matter which candidate emerges as the victor. The ongoing conflict between the two archetypal principles currently vying for ascendancy in the collective zeitgeist—for, despite appearances, this is not merely a battle between two illustrious individuals, but, more deeply, between ideals—is far from being settled. And because our two mainstream candidates represent one and the other of these principles so faithfully, whichever candidate does triumph should expect to face ongoing antagonistic intrusion from this other countervailing principle's efforts at expression.

Above all other astrological influences, I see this election as a stark reflection of the same square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn which has roused revolutionary disruption throughout our social fabric all decade. I know, I know: This Uranus-Pluto square is supposed to be officially over. Yet, not only are we still responding to the radical awarenesses it raised during its span of seven exact peaks from 2012 through 2015, but Uranus and Pluto will slink back to within a three-degree orb of squaring over the months to come.

I've written at length about the symbolic meaning of this square (a smattering of examples: here, here, and here), but allow me to offer a brief refresher summary: Pluto's transit through Capricorn (2008-2024) has forced us to confront the insider power-plays and shadowy maneuvers which prop up the reign of our existing authority-structures, exposing the corruptions and abuses lurking within, even as those in charge seek to preserve and consolidate their rule by trying to stay several steps ahead of any changes-in-circumstance. Meanwhile, Uranus's visit to Aries (2010-2018) has activated a raw impetuous surge of populist zeal, driven by an individualistic refusal to abide by status-quo traditions or regressive rules which threaten to infringe on personal freedoms, along with a willingness to bravely disturb or destroy supposedly sacred cows in an active effort to create change by any means necessary.

The collision of these two mighty planet-agents has marked our recent years with a harsh evolutionary pressure to root out the rotten elements in our governing systems, forcibly injecting a current of egalitarian reform into the dominant discourse… and leaving the powers-that-be scrambling to incorporate (and thus neutralize) this reactionary tide, to restabilize their now-shaky institutions, before it swells to uncontrollable levels and smashes the whole system.

Some Uranian reformers argue their reactionary upsets haven't gone nearly far enough, as the corrupt politicians and corporate overlords remain in power, and would welcome a more dramatic dismantling of an unfair institution. Some Plutonian strategists have already been craftily positioning themselves in damage-control posture, advocating for our continued loyalty to a collective order, lest too much 'disruption' devolve into dangerous unrest or total societal breakdown.

In the context of this election, Donald Trump neatly fits the symbolic mark of a Uranus figure. He proudly celebrates his role as a political outsider, a position which buys him a wide latitude of freedom to loudly indict existing governmental leaders for participating in the very covert insider dealings he seeks to upend. He plays up his unpredictability, blatantly forsaking the conventional wisdom of how a candidate ought to campaign, shooting off the cuff, catching everyone off guard with one surprise after another. He's revered among his fans for cutting through the contrived rhetoric and bureaucratic bullshit with a refreshing bluntness, showing little respect for tradition. Forget that his platform is heavy on fiery passion, but fairly light on detailed plans. His supporters just want something different to happen in government, and don't care that much about the specifics. A vote for him is an effective 'fuck you' to the establishment.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, serves as a pretty apt representative of Pluto in Capricorn. She attained her authority on the world-stage by conducting a long, calculated climb through the extant power-networks, forming connections and making deals which cumulatively furthered her ambitions. She's known for being well-prepared and highly knowledgeable about a wide range of issues, giving her a vast structural understanding of how the world's governmental and economic entities interrelate. This enables her to broker bargains with an array of players to support her agenda, even if they demand certain compromises that die-hard revolutionaries would scoff at. By these sophisticated machinations, the ends are seen to justify the means. All the while, she perpetuates an opaqueness to protect these machinations from the eyes of critics, who are too likely to misperceive the ins and outs of such complex diplomatic missions and swiftly cry foul. She might argue she's just trying to keep a successful system strong and secure, championing incremental (rather than radical) change so as not to destabilize the boat.

Not surprisingly, each candidate's personal astrological profile bears the signature of these respective symbolic roles. Trump, born at a full moon lunar eclipse, has his natal Sun conjunct Uranus and his natal Moon opposed Uranus. He essentially personifies the Uranus archetype. Plus, a fiery and aggressive Mars in Leo placed right on his natal Ascendant mirrors the present sign-position of Uranus in Aries. Meanwhile, not only does Clinton have a strong concentration of planets in Scorpio (the sign most commonly associated with Pluto), but her Scorpio Venus and Mercury are square to an intense triple conjunction of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto. Such prominent incorporation of this Saturn-Pluto conjunction in her chart echoes the current placement of Pluto in Capricorn (a Saturn-ruled sign).

To reductively label this election as a mere contest between two widely-disliked candidates (each, perhaps, of questionable morality or temperament), then, is to miss the underlying conflict between the two values at play.

Trump's candidacy appeals to a genuinely palpable liberatory hunger in the populace, an impulse to break through the entrenched gridlock and business-as-usual profiteering which appears to have soured our collective national pride. Yet, this hunger is crude, immediate, and unconstrained by coherent strategy or ideology which might comprehensively address the complexities that come along with governing the US. It's an energy beyond even the control of its current mouthpiece Trump (who himself is already admittedly unpredictable)… with the potential to explode into indiscriminately destructive chaos, if it isn't otherwise constructively funneled into a more defined creative vision than merely 'something different'.

Clinton seeks to build upon the established influence and affluence we've already attained, that attributable both to her Democratic predecessors and to the nation as a whole, rather than risk toppling a relatively stable society by shaking up too many conventions all at once. But even with a sincere intent to effect incremental progressive change, any establishment-based administration imperils itself by underestimating the ferocity of possible pushback from those citizens who feel the 'already-attained influence and affluence' haven't been extended to them… and whose faith in, and patience for, 'incremental change' has justifiably worn thin during these Uranus-square-Pluto years. Can an entrenched politician carve out space in her governance tactics for enough striking reformation to quench this hunger?

To be frank, I don't see any outcome to this election which would promptly resolve this conflict… particularly now that Jupiter has moved into Libra, further setting off the reactivated Uranus-Pluto friction by opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto. Over the months to come, I suspect we Americans will witness more vocal calls for fairness, civility, and unity (Jupiter in Libra) from whichever side emerges victorious… though, rather than such calls being heeded with deferent respect for the social contact which holds us together, I expect them to instead elicit visible resistance, on the grounds that empty feelgood rhetoric is no substitute for genuine justice. Before we can effectively proceed toward a new shared vision (whether progressive or retrogressive, populist or dictatorial) for US society, we've got one more jolt of insurgent upset in store.

Looking ahead, we are in the final quarter of the current Jupiter-Saturn cycle, which kicked off at their last conjunction in 2000 and begins again when they come together once more in 2020. The union of Jupiter and Saturn every twenty years has long been the critical turning-point astrologers look at when interpreting macro-level historical trends. A quick review of just the last three Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, in the context of American presidential history, illustrates this point quite starkly: The 1960 election of JFK, the 1980 election of Reagan, and the (contested) 2000 election of George W. Bush each brought a major transition, both in the ruling party and the general zeitgeist which percolated up into the national consciousness. I forecast that 2020 will bring a similar transition—and one which likely carries a strong authoritarian bent (though whether from the political left- or right-wing remains to be seen), perhaps born from a pressing need to more stringently regulate the allocation of resources, as symbolized by that year's concurrent Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions to Pluto in Capricorn.

Though I'll refrain from predicting a particular winner in this election, I will suggest the succeeding administration—and the momentarily victorious principle which that candidate represents in the underlying archetypal battle—is rather unlikely to hold any resounding mandate for its continuing preeminence during the next election (or even through its imminent term). The big turning-point election is in 2020. We're still very actively in the muddle of determining what that will be all about, and remain so even after all of this year's votes have been cast and counted.