Reflections on November 2004
The Next U.S. Presidential Election
The US Presidential election is a highly significant event which generates great interest and curiosity in the rest of the world, besides of course in the US itself. In this issue we carry two articles, this as well as the subsequent one, related to the US presidential election 2004 discussing the astrological aspects of this forthcoming event. Edith Hathaway analyses the charts of the two main presidential candidates, in the backdrop of the 'natal' chart of the US, Interestingly, she uses the mean Rahu instead of the true Rahu that most of us are accustomed to in the practice of Vedic astrology. According to her, the incumbent President has a greater chance of getting elected to the high office. Anshumalee Sood, however, disagrees with her, basing his conclusions on the time-tested Chaitra Shukla Pratipada chart, without referring to the natal charts of the two contestents. Readers are welcome to derive their own conclusions even as the astrologers exercise their right to disagree with each other. Editor
Jupiter-Saturn and the U.S. Presidential Election Cycles
Before we discuss the natal charts of the current U.S. Presidential candidates, let us first consider some of the larger planetary patterns within which this election cycle is playing out. And to understand social, political, cultural and economic cycles is to understand the cycles of Jupiter and Saturn, both together and apart, but especially Saturn. Saturn’s cycle (its orbit around the Sun) runs for 29.5 years, that of Jupiter for 11.9 years. Their synodic cycle runs for 19.9 years. When we examine the charts of the presidential candidates against a backdrop of some of these larger planetary patterns, we can better determine which candidate has the stronger signature within the larger framework, alongside the indications provided by their birth charts.
U.S. Presidential elections coinciding with a Jup-Sat conjunction (within at least six months) are among the most significant in all of American history. In recent history, this would include the elections of 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000. Prior to 1960, most of the Jup-Sat conjunctions had occurred in the fire element. The Jup-Sat conjunction of February 1961 was the first in the earth element for some 700 years, and as such represented a powerful turning point in the materialistic maturation and growth of the nation and of the world. It occurred in the nakshatra of Uttara Ashada (“the later victor”) in its Vargottama position. Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn, and less able to stand up for ethics and for humanitarian concerns–whereas Saturn is unequivocally powerful in Capricorn in its ability to consolidate material wealth. Saturn’s influence here thus becomes the dominant force, and has a strong effect on worldly affairs for decades, in fact centuries to come – starting in 1961.
This Jup-Sat conjunction in Capricorn occurred in the 2nd house of wealth in the USA chart, and indeed from that time onwards the wealth of the USA increased exponentially over previous records, along with the expansion of its military, including America’s military involvement in the Vietnam war (1961-1975), backing the South Vietnamese against Soviet-backed Communist forces. In fact, major military buildup relative to other nations can be dated from the early 1960s. America’s chief adversary at that point was the Soviet Union, and the Soviet demise began to be public exactly one full Saturn cycle after the election of President John F. Kennedy. First of all, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989 (having been built by the Soviets August 13, 1961), and this was considered the end of the Cold War. The final collapse of the Soviet Union occurred in December 1991.
In an interesting “twist” of history, the ultimate fall of the Soviet Union was hastened by its financial and military drain not only during the Vietnam war, but from backing Iran in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). The USA (and France, among others) meanwhile backed Iraq in the same war, in the process contributing mightily to Saddam Hussein, their newfound ally in oil-rich Iraq. A similar process occurred in the 1980s in Afghanistan, where again Soviet troops and military resources were severely drained while protecting Soviet interests in Afghanistan. At the same time the CIA was having great success in its secret operations to recruit and train radical Islamists (including Osama bin Laden) as an effective military and terrorist force against the Soviets and Soviet-backed troops in Afghanistan.
The November Election of 1980
With the November 1980 U.S. Presidential election began the abrupt start of a trend that has been building in the USA ever since, through the Reagan-Bush-I years, as well as Bush-II years. The Clinton years appeared to be somewhat of a departure from this trend, but not so much so if you consider that Clinton pulled the Democratic party much more towards the center with his pro-business policies more typical of the Republican Party. It was Clinton who lobbied for and signed GATT and NAFTA into law, thus ushering in the WTO and globalization, and setting the stage for massive out-sourcing of jobs from North America as of 2004. Globalization has often resulted in the triumph of trans-national companies over not only local businesses and economies, but over both local and national governments. Such a trend is totally consistent with the portents of the Jup-Sat conjunction in Capricorn (February 1961).
The U.S. Presidential election of 1980 brought in the first Hollywood-actor- turned-president, later called “The Great Communicator.” Heralded by the Jup-Sat conjunction in Virgo in Hasta nakshatra, it signaled the take-off of the Super Age of Information Technology, sowing the seeds for a revolution in communications technology, and for America to dominate both the airwaves and the new cyberspace. This was critical for the USA, with its Sagittarius Ascendant (Chart 1), four planets in Gemini, and natal Saturn in Virgo in the 10th house (5 planets ruled by Mercury). So given this principle of confluence, we can safely predict that the U.S. Presidential Election of 1980 would greatly elevate the status of the USA in world affairs and public opinion for at least the next 20 years, if not the next 28-29 years. What sort of notoriety should be clear by 2008-2009.
Chart 1 - USA
Planets in Virgo can be seen to be the controlled use of words and language as weaponry, and Saturn’s dominance over Jupiter in this sign brings a conservative trend. From 1980 the increasingly innovative information technology industry as well as the ever more sophisticated public relations industry would play a major role not only in global and national prosperity, but in new ways of maintaining dominance for particular leaders, nations, and corporations – often a powerful combination of these three. This would give a totally new slant to polling, let alone electronic voting machines – most of them now owned by private companies with definite agendas and little to no government oversight. Under President G W Bush the budget for federal elections has been cut significantly in the last few years.
An American citizenry more and more accustomed to a glut of info-mania and a large public relations machine might understandably not even recognize when it was being used to co-opt public opinion on a giant scale. Corporations can presently fund as many lobbyists and tax-exempt think-tanks as necessary to influence legislation and public opinion The vast majority of journalists are themselves fast becoming publicists for certain interest groups. To remain a truly independent investigative journalist in the old style of Woodward & Bernstein of the early 1970s was becoming more and more rare after 1980 in America, or in the world at large. Astrologically, we can see the possible rise of this phenomenon as of 1980 – even though it has always been possible to control a nation if you could find a way to control its communications system. But it is precisely the combination of the new technology and the ever-greater consolidation of the media that makes this more and more a reality. Corporations controlling the media in the USA declined from some 150 in 1950, to 25-30 in 1980, and only 6 of them by 2004. This has made it much easier for those in power to control the content and
the slant of the news, partly through bestowing government favors on media owners willing to be cooperative with government policies. The G W Bush presidency has greatly favored and facilitated this media consolidation.
The November Election of 2000
This most contentious “election” was preceded in late May 2000 by a Jup-Sat conjunction at 28:52 Aries. You could argue that this conjunction may have served to alter the direction of the previous two Jup-Sat conjunctions in earth signs – but in Krittika nakshatra, with its symbol of the razor and of golden armor, its meaning of cutting, and its shakti of burning or purifying – the conjunction in April 2000 seems to have only further emphasized military buildup, and/or military action in the world. It’s not a great placement for diplomacy as an alternative to military action.
The November 2000 U.S. Presidential election has also seen the rise of some profoundly bitter ideological disputes in the USA and elsewhere, along with bitter disputes over factual realities, such as: Why does the U.S. Supreme Court have the right to decide a contested election, one in which Bush’s opponent won the solid majority of the popular vote? Why did the US-UK forces invade Iraq if there were never any weapons of mass destruction? The list is long and troubling, including many questions about 9-11 that were never properly addressed by the 9-11 Commission.
In any case, it is important to note that some of the same people involved in the Reagan administration are now in power with the current Bush administration: this includes Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle, among others. Though some of their more radical ideas were not accepted by the leaders of that era (not until after November 2000), nevertheless from November 1980 we had a major thrust towards greater militarism, towards greater spending on the military budget, tax breaks for large corporations, and for the wealthy (especially the super-wealthy), as well as a policy of making an oil-based economy the primary national energy policy, while largely discarding alternative energy sources – just as President Reagan discarded the solar panels on the White House previously installed by President Jimmy Carter.
Though the Cold War was on the wane, America proceeded with a military policy intended to achieve and maintain military and economic supremacy over the rest of the world. Such a policy has received even more fervent attention within the G W Bush administration, even echoing the Christian fundamentalist orientation of Ronald Reagan – a belief system that affected all his policies, but was hardly as well known to the public at that time as are those of George W Bush.
With Sagittarius on the Ascendant of the USA chart and four planets in Gemini, we can see how the nation is particularly vulnerable to this type of messianic zeal found in Ronald Reagan and in G W Bush. It talks plenty about expanding beyond old boundaries, not dreaming too small. Its passion for freedom, especially the freedom to expand and grow is part of the natural American exuberance and optimism. There is indeed something quintesse-ntially American that dislikes being confined to set boundaries – unless we invent them – all the while loving to play the fair, kind, and generous helpmate to the rest of the world. In terms of extending boundaries, American inventors brought us the first automobile, the first airplane, the first spacecraft that landed a man on the Moon, the first space probes of Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and beyond.
However, a new and more ominous quality has crept into these characteristics since 2000, and increasingly since 1980 - the tendency of the USA to move into excessive consumption and expenditure, to consider itself beyond the confines of international law in many areas, and with a unilateral propensity for engaging in pre-emptive wars or at the very least proxy wars, of demanding certain rights and privileges to control other parts of the world – perhaps especially since the American military presence and military equipment has now been expanded 250 times beyond the military budgets of most other nations in the world. To justify such massive increases, Reagan and Bush each focused on who was “evil” in the world and who needed to be removed from power. After 9-11, Bush soon added the USA Patriot Act, which provides more and more heightened levels of surveillance of private citizens for the ostensible purposes of protecting these same citizens from the threat of terrorism. It is also true that having a presumed “threat” is classically a good way to maintain absolute control over the citizenry. Anyone who complains or criticizes is called “an intellectual,” “an elite,” or “elitist.”
President Reagan argued fiercely for his Star Wars projects, determined to take American military strategy into space, and thus requiring the USA to dismantle and ignore some major
international treaties for the first time in the nuclear age. This stance may have had the effect of contributing to the proliferation of nuclear weapons by so-called “rogue nations”, and serving as a model for all those nations (or groups of individuals outside nations) who also considered themselves above having to observe international standards on weapons, global warming, or anything else that wasn’t convenient. So again and again we see some major policy consistency between the G W Bush administration and the Reagan administration. This “my way or the highway” approach is thrillingly seductive for many American voters, who continue to admire a president for standing up to the United Nations instead of agreeing to cooperate with it.
Regarding the Democratic team of Kerry-Edwards, we have to consider that unless they have more or less these same goals in mind, it is very unlikely that any momentum other than that initially propelled by Reagan in 1980 will be ushered in with the November 2004 election. The reason for this is, as I said earlier, that the Saturn cycle beginning in November 1980 will not come closer to completing its 29.5 cycle until the next U.S. Presidential election of November 2008. (Transit Saturn enters Virgo on September 10, 2009). The Election day chart for November 2004 is still very connected to that of 1980 in that transiting Jupiter on November 2, 2004 is at 14:10 Virgo and Venus at 11:45 Virgo at 12 noon EST.
The Iraq Connection
Given the obvious centerpiece of Iraq in the policies of the current Bush administration, and by far its most costly one, we should look at the Jupiter cycle that can be timed from the 1st Gulf War against Iraq. It began with an air strike on January 16, 1991, and was fought under President George H W Bush, assisted by Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, and Sec. of Defense Dick Cheney, along
with many of the same administrators who were later appointed by President G W Bush. Exactly one Jupiter cycle later we had the 2nd Gulf War, or the US-UK invasion of Iraq – begun on March 20, 2003.
What we need to look for with these event charts is whether any other important planetary cyclical charts coincide with the event to establish
its pivotal importance in the larger historical setting. In the case of the First Gulf War (“Desert Storm”), we have a chart that should get our attention:
1. The event is closely preceded by a New Moon (solar eclipse) chart (Chart 2) with seven planets in Capricorn and on the powerful degree of the Jup-Sat conjunction at 1:53 Capricorn from February 18, 1961, as discussed earlier.
2. In addition, we have a Jup-Sat opposition by sign. Jupiter in the middle degrees of Cancer falls on the Lunar Eclipse degree of the Full Moon two weeks later.
Chart 2 - Solar Eclipse
In both cases transiting Jupiter falls very close to the natal Ascendant and Mercury of George W Bush, and opposite Vice President Dick Cheney’s natal Sun (17:42 Capricorn). Situated in the 2nd house of the USA chart, the 7 planets transiting in Capricorn indicate that there is a key financial motivation behind both invasions. At the very least, there is great expense to American citizens both in terms of tax dollars spent in Iraq on military action and potentially on the number of lives lost – this Jupiter (January 15, 1991 chart) being in the 8th house in the USA chart, where in its sign of exaltation there is the most danger of over-expenditure or over-reach in 8th house matters. (During his first 3½ years, Presidnt G W Bush has taken the USA from a large surplus to a huge trade deficit. By mid-August 2004, the Iraq war had cost American taxpayers over $126 billion, with expenses growing daily.)
But of primary importance, being “the War President” has given this current president status he would not have had otherwise, and it continues to be his major drawing card for re-election, regardless of whether there was any real justification for invading Iraq in the first place – bafflingly enough. “Terrorism” is also a broad enough label to continue to perpetuate the “war” on it, as terrorism can become whatever our leaders declare it to be, at home or abroad.
The only compelling connection between the chart of John Kerry and the Iraq War chart (see January 15, 1991 solar eclipse chart) is that of planet Jupiter. Kerry’s natal Rahu falls at 16:11 Cancer in his 9th house of legislative action. Like most members of Congress, he did not oppose the Iraqi invasion, but he did ask many questions about how it was to be conducted.
Election Day November 2, 2004
Against this backdrop, let’s examine the charts of the presidential candidates, and the likelihood only one of them has to become the 44th President of the USA.
GEORGE W. BUSH
(Chart 3: born on July 6, 1946, 7:26 AM EDT, New Haven, CT). Ascendant should be 14:00 Cancer. The rashi
chart of G W Bush would not seem to indicate any particular distinction in outer achievement, not to the extent that the Navamsha chart does. However, the Parivartana yoga between the Moon and Mercury in the birth chart does confer the benefit of giving the Moon power as if in its own Ascendant sign of Cancer, and Mercury some ability to act as if in Virgo. Such a yoga gives him benefit in allowing a fluidity between his rational and irrational mind. He does not read books, he says, except perhaps for the Bible and maybe some Christian books. He says he doesn’t read newspapers, just headlines. So this would appear to leave him freer to follow his emotional urges, or what he calls his “gut instincts”. His Venus in the gandanta degree of Cancer may indicate some unrealistic expectations and/or unscrupulousness, perhaps as related to his birth family and his substantial network of friends, as Venus rules the 4th and the 11th houses.
Moving to Bush’s Navamsha chart we see the real power of his destiny in career matters, and the power of Rahu to confer more benefits in the 10th house in Leo, as opposed to Kerry’s Navamsha 11th house Rahu in Scorpio – its debilitated position, according to some sources. But above all, George Bush has five planets in Leo in the Navamsha 10th house, and with that a Parivartana yoga between exalted Sun in Aries and Vargottama Mars in Leo. This factor alone gives the charisma of physical strength, and the impression of being the defending champion/leader/tough guy, no matter what the actual reality. At the very least, it has been enough to overcome his suspect military record. And his basic physical health and stamina is very good. This 10th house combination in the Navamsha is a major Raja yoga conferring considerable benefits to him.
Dasha-wise he is in a more favorable period than John Kerry up through Election day 2004. Even though he is in the last subperiod of Saturn dasha, the Jup-Sat is placed in the 10th house of the Navamsha, where so many benefits accrue, including the exchangeable energies of exalted Sun and Vargottama Mars in Leo. All of this is unbelievably powerful for a politician – up until Mercury dasha. Mercury does not participate in this pattern in the Navamsha, and so does not get raised up in the Navamsha as much as do 6 out of 9 of his planets. This is very notable, as when Mercury dasha begins on May 16, 2006 – when G W is nearly 60 years old – this will be the first time in his life that he will be operating without the benefit of this tremendous Maha Raja yoga in the Navamsha chart. Every dasha in his life so far will have involved five out of six of those planets. Especially with Saturn in the 10th house, he can experience a major fall from power, but not – in my opinion – before the Sat-Jup dasha period is over. Thus, half way into a second Presidential term, he could experience tremendous difficulty to stay in office. However, as of Election day 2004 he is still in a strong position. Unlike Kerry, whose double Jupiter and Saturn returns by sign will have just passed – Bush has transiting Saturn returning to the exact degree of natal Saturn, his dasha lord, and in its own nakshatra
of Pushya, further strengthening Saturn. In addition to his extraordinary Navamsha chart, I see this factor as
an excellent indication for Bush’s
re-election, alongside the Jupiter return by sign and Jupiter and Saturn so strong in both rashi and navamsha, but especially Navamsha chart. In my opinion, this Saturn return in 2004 gives Bush far more responsibilities, not less.
Once in the White House, the G W Bush administration made it clear it does NOT like dissent, and it has routinely instructed Secret Service to order local police to set up Free Speech Zones wherever Bush goes, and to arrest citizens who express an opinion contrary to that of Bush and his policies – even if peaceably. Free Speech Zones consist usually of a barbed wire pen at least a few miles if not several city blocks away from the main event where Bush is appearing. He has done a great deal already in his first term in office to increase the ideological polarization both inside and outside the USA. He is also more ideologically united with the thrust of the Reagan administration elected in November 1980, the karmic fruits of whose policies may not be clear until at least 2008-9 – a full Saturn cycle from its beginnings. I believe this is one of the key factors in assessing the U.S. Presidential election of 2004.
(Chart 4: born on December 11, 1943, 8:03 AM MWT, Denver, CO). With Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha, Asc. is 22:56 Scorpio. Kerry has a strong chart for public success and great wealth. All the best planets and yogas are in the angular houses of the chart. Jupiter is very well positioned in the 10th house of the rashi chart, and exalted Moon as 9th lord in the 7th house has brought him great wealth and success in marriage later in life. A Full Moon chart here is a special blessing, as the Sun and the Moon represent 9th and 10th house lords. Venus-Saturn in Parivartana yoga in the Navamsha chart from the 1st to 10th house bring high level career success, though this is the best factor in a Navamsha chart which is generally not as strong as his Rashi chart, and he has recently completed Saturn dasha.
Many more positive points can be made about Kerry’s birth chart, including the Shubha-Kartari yoga to the Sun and the Scorpio Ascendant of the Rashi chart, conferring a protective influence on him, especially physically. From January to early September 2004 he is experiencing both a Jupiter and Saturn return to natal signs – marking as well the end of a Sade Sati and a highly fruitful period. However, two months before Election day transiting Jupiter and Saturn each move forward one sign, and on Election day transiting Mars is in Kerry’s natal 12th house – not a good indication of personal dominance, as Mars is his Ascendant lord. A lunar eclipse at 10:31 Aries on October 28, 2004 falls exactly opposite natal Venus in his 12th house. As ruler of his 7th house of partnership, we would like to see extra protection put around both his wife and his Vice-Presidential candidate. Kerry has endured many verbal attacks against him throughout the campaign against Bush, so it’s possible a renewed and last-minute “scandal” – invented or otherwise – could arise in this department. It’s also possible that some last minute development could emerge regarding his health.
Another major weakness in Kerry’s timing for electoral success is the current operation of his Mercury dasha, as Mercury is not a friend to Scorpio Ascendant. It is also located in Mula nakshatra, and while good for spiritual pursuits, this placement may not help him in achieving the highest office. He will be in Mercury-Mercury-Rahu sub-sub-period at the time of the election. Though it does give some benefit being in an angular house in the Navamsha, Mercury is not as strong
in Cancer, and is not especially strong in the Dashamsha chart in the 3rd house in Aries – though it does confer good debating skills and a good education with Mercury in a Parivartana yoga with Mars in Gemini in the
5th house. Kerry’s natal Saturn aspect to his natal Mercury in both rashi
and navamsha charts tends to make him overly cautious when he needs
to be more actively challenging his opponent.
Furthermore, we have to see if Kerry fits with the continuation of the policy trends that have been in place since the November 1980 election chart, and ones that seem to have some solid influence through at least 2008 – as previously discussed. Kerry says he does not favor the extent of militarism that Bush actively proposes, though he stands for a strong military and has made much of his own military record in Vietnam.
Kerry is more a defender of civil liberties than is Bush. Kerry does not favor the unilateralism of the current administration or its bypassing the opinions of former allies and U.N. treaties. He has promised greater international cooperation and diplomacy. This fits with a more high-minded USA Sagittarius Ascendant, but currently this Ascendant is undergoing some influences which bring in its more low level tendencies to usurp power at whatever cost, with whatever means are at hand - whether legal or illegal. It is possible that Kerry could get elected and bring in some draconian reform measures of his own due to the pressure of events. But he will first have to overcome the overwhelming advantage that Bush has in terms of desiring to maintain his position and continue his administration at any cost.
Exactly on Election day November 2, 2004, outer transiting planet Pluto enters the most treacherous degrees of the zodiac – the gandanta degrees of Scorpio. While Pluto is not normally discussed in classic Vedic astrology, it is worth noting in this instance especially due to its transit through the third Drekkana of Scorpio since November 2001. On Election day 2004, transiting Pluto falls within one degree of Kerry’s natal Sun in his Ascendant, and on Bush’s natal Rahu in the 5th house. Pluto is playing some havoc with all Sagittarius Ascendant charts, such as the USA chart. Pluto is characterized by many traits of Rahu, in its snake-like quality – and its ability to cause radical transformation often occurring through elimination and renewal, as if a total breakdown must happen before a building process can occur. Plutonian elements, like radioactivity, have no political or geographical boundaries – and these are often blurred through blatantly coercive or violent means. In science and politics it symbolizes oil, plutonium, large amounts of money, the masses, and struggle for control over the masses. While Pluto is gandanta in Scorpio, we should be cautious of treachery via water. This possibility is further emphasized while Rahu transits through gandanta Pisces Janaury 22-June 28, 2005, and in the third Drekkana of Pisces through September 1, 2005.