The Campaign Rolls On


The campaign rolls on, and Election Day approaches.

Last week, I began an astrological analysis of the campaign by looking at the recent Mercury retrograde and its impact on the natal charts of both Bush and Kerry. As I mentioned two weeks back, I see parallels between this retrograde period—during which Mercury slunk backward from ruling sign Virgo ('Mr. Logic-and-Reason') into preceding Leo ('The Proud Fella'), messing with straightforward transmissions of messages—and the hijacking of campaign media coverage by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Mercury went direct last Thursday, the day Bush addressed the Republican National Convention with a speech that, whether you agree with his sentiments or not, drove the flavor of the campaign forward into its last stretch without dwelling on the Swift Boat Vets' distracting claims. Kerry followed suit by making an unprecedented late-night rebuttal speech, trying to draw attention away from the RNC pomp and to his own message. Mercury faces forward again… and away we go…

Between now and Election Day, we have the many plot twists to look forward to, not the least of which includes two astrological turnings-of-the-page known as eclipses, coming up in October. Eclipses are climactic moments during which we sense that one chapter of our lives in ending and other beginning, often accompanied by quick dramatic change (whether external or simply in our consciousness). They usually come in pairs, a solar eclipse (always in conjunction with a new moon) and a lunar eclipse (full moon). Astrologers usually pay more credence to the solar eclipse as the more consequential, as it initiates the tone of the upcoming six months. And we get a good idea of specific effects of eclipses on individuals by seeing where they fall in a chart, which house is activated and which if any planets are triggered.

As I said back in April, shortly after the last solar eclipse, the race for the presidency is likely to remain close up until October… and despite recent polls showing Bush has pulled dramatically ahead, I stick to my original assertion. After all, the Apr 19 eclipse occurred conjunct Mercury retrograde in Aries, stamping our current period with a lot of aggressive movement and very little mental clarity… which explains why so much of the past few months' political rhetoric on both sides have been so combative and so lacking in substance.

The solar eclipse on Oct 13 falls at 22 Libra, an air sign of polite ideas, relational compromise and social charm, and I'd like to believe this will usher in a forthcoming period of reconciliation and respect, though it remains to be seen. The eclipse makes a wide t-square to Saturn (in Cancer) and Chiron (in Capricorn), two influences with the promise of providing wisdom and healing through accepting emotional challenges and embracing the wounded parts of ourselves… not necessarily the most 'fun' combination, but possibly transformative, if we meet the challenge. Regardless of how we read this specific chart, every eclipse presents sensational plot developments that alter the spirit of the times—which is why I believe the campaignwon't show its truest colors until eclipse time in October. For all we know, a last-minute bombshell could be dropped about one of the candidates… or a literal bomb, detonated by terrorists to attempt to affect the results and oust Bush… or maybe Osama bin Laden will miraculously appear in the hands of US troops to crown Bush a reelection shoo-in.

Conventional wisdom tells us an election in which one candidate is the current sitting president can be seen as a referendum on the incumbent ('you're either for us, or you're against us')… and the astrological picture tells us the same thing. In the case of both the April and October solar eclipses, Bush's natal chart is more dramatically activated than that Kerry's. April's eclipse and Mercury-retrograde degrees straddled Bush's Midheaven, a point in the chart associated with public/professional reputation, corresponding to his being seen as a fervent communicator with a warrior-like pitch… and also seen as lacking analytic credibility (see 'WMD: Where are they?' and 'War on Terror: We Will Win or It's Unwinnable?'). October's eclipse continues by triggering the collection of Libran planets in both Bush's natal and progressed charts, which include his natal Moon and Jupiter and progressed Chiron, Venus and Mars… suffice it to say, he's got a lot going on.

Bush's Midheaven in Aries, ruled by forceful competitive Mars, is a perfect symbol for someone who proudly calls himself a 'war president', and it comes as no surprise that Mars is a key influence on Bush's next couple months' astrological forecast in several significant ways. For the detail-oriented: (1) Bush's progressed Sun conjoins his natal Mars, (2) Bush's progressed Mars conjoins his natal Moon, (3) the Election Day Mars conjoins Bush's progressed Venus/Jupiter, all in direct opposition to his natal Midheaven.

To summarize, everything about his current state of affairs is integrally tied to Mars issues—strength, aggression, leadership, confrontation. We will continue to witness this attitude in the topics he addresses (war, security, dominance), the rhetoric he uses and the methods he deploys in attacking (yes, attacking) his opponent. And he will continue to draw both admiration for his unwavering force and resolve, and intense scorn for his cocky hawkishness.

To top it all off, the next few months coincide with Bush's second Saturn return, one of the most striking astrological transits in a person's life, in which the results of past actions deliver their deserved consequences, whether in the form of harsh discipline or earned wisdom. Saturn return is never the easiest time, but it need not be considered 'bad luck' unless an individual has strayed beyond the limitations of righteous behavior. And it is quite notable in analyzing this election that Election Day falls smack in between the first two peaks of this momentous transit in Bush's life.

While many critics of Bush would expect some shoe to drop in conjunction with his Saturn return, I caution anyone to jump to this conclusion. Public political policies do not necessarily reflect the inner workings of the man who stands behind them, and Saturn—also known as 'the Lord of Karma'—serve a different purpose in each individual's chart. For Bush, Saturn (as well as the Sun) sits in the 12th house, concealed from public view and providing difficult challenges in the most mysterious realm of all, that of spirit. It is a placement that speaks of self-undoing as a result of refusing to maintain ego boundaries, manifest in secret feelings of isolation and self-doubt.

There is no way we can know from the outside how Bush handles himself away from the world… yet that behavior holds the key to understanding whether this current phase represents a culmination of maturity and achievement or a lowering-of-the-boom in response to a refusal to accept personal responsibility.