Once I read an article in an astrology magazine about how to figure out who is going to win an American presidential election. “The person with the worst chart wins,” wrote the author, who had been paying attention for a while. Astrology, a vastly complex subject, often seems best suited for teaching in one-line quips.
I don’t want to predict who will “win’ the election, mainly because the process seems so heaped-on with agendas, puppetry, muppetry, dishonesty, evasion, paranoia, Big Bird being served for Thanksgiving dinner, and, most of all, way too much money that I doubt there will be an actual winner. After a fuss, someone will take office, and sadly, the public seems to be the party that loses at every turn. That said, it’s now that time in the election season to look at the charts of these candidates.
First, though, a birth data check. When doing natal astrology, it’s essential to have good data, or to know when you don’t. Such a big deal has been made of Obama’s birth certificate that we know his time better than any candidate, ever. He was not born in Kenya. He was born in Hawaii when it was not only an island but also actually a state. His data get the highest rating: AA (which means birth certificate in hand), even if Donald Trump doesn’t like it.
As for Romney, his data get an A rating, the second highest, by our profession’s most respected collector of birth data, the late Lois Rodden. (An A rating can mean “from memory,” because either he was wearing a watch when he was born, his mom told Rodden, or it was reported in the newspaper.)
Let’s start with Obama. There’s only one thing I respect about him, which is an aspect in his chart. Obama’s regal Leo Sun is opposite a very weird minor planet: Damocles, named after the guy from the Greek legend.
I say “weird” because this little planet has an elongated (way elliptical) 40-year orbit, and it spends nearly all of its time in Aquarius. It then races through the other signs in a very short time, and then is back in Aquarius for what seems like forever. It was named for a slave who was envious of the magnificent fortunes of the tyrant he served. So the tyrant said, okay, you want to be king? Have a seat in my throne. Sitting there, he noticed a sword that dangled all the time by a single thread, usually over the king’s head but now his—and the thread could snap at any moment.
Obama has his Leo Sun so precisely opposite Damocles that it really does feel like the sword hanging over his head by a thread (the opposition is exact to a quarter of a degree). To me this gives new meaning to the line, “Either his brains or his signature would be on the contract,” from the scene in The Godfather. This is the famous scene where the guy is made an offer he cannot refuse. Obama lives under this pressure all the time, which is why I think he would do something like sign the National Defense Authorization Act even if he didn’t want to.
You (as in you) can claim you wouldn’t sign a law that allows US citizens to be arrested as enemy combatants, but then, you’ve never sat beneath that sword. You don’t have to think: I can do something noble, and my kids will grow up without a father. Well, maybe I’m giving him too much credit.
Astrology depends on these things called houses, which tell us the environment where certain events happen. One is called the 8th house, important in astrology for many reasons (most often, a map to financial matters), though in part because it sometimes describes the nature and cause of death, and one’s relationship to the topic of death.
Obama has Mars there. He fears and indeed may expect a violent death, and he’s likely to be easily swayed by that idea. He doesn’t need it explained to him. He passes this fear off as a kind of intellectual construct, but it looks like he’s easily manipulated by the silent knowledge that he could end up like so many other politicians who refused the offer.
Obama has had a deeply troubled past—worse than we know about. He was subjected to some kind of extreme psychological cruelty as a child, and it haunts him constantly. He is the living incarnation of The Drama of the Gifted Child, and he probably thinks he’s our therapist. He is also tapped into some deep, ancestral cruelty—a pattern of abuse that goes back generations, like a family tradition.
There is also a security and comfort factor here. It’s as if he was so often subjected to a combination of psychological and emotional abuse that he feels safe in a danger zone, which I guess should be a prerequisite for any president. One problem, however, is that the aspect involves his Moon in Gemini, and this has a way of splitting him in half; the psychological word is “dissociative.” This is a typical response to extreme abuse. What it does is give him the ability to subvert his feelings and his intuition, and to work with two separate sets of ethics, almost as if he were two different people.
This becomes a serious problem when we consider other aspects to his Sun, and nearby Mercury. Both are square Neptune (tense, 90 degree angle), which is not inherently given to honesty. In fact this is often a situation where the person must do a lifetime of learning and growth to understand what honesty even is, why it matters, what it means to be real with yourself, and why you want to be. There is an integrity problem here. Obama is a talented liar, helped by the fact that he’s the kind of guy who believes his own PR.
Obama was also born in the evening, moments after sunset. This puts many factors of his chart on the relationship side of the wheel, in the west, sometimes called the zone of projection. (He has a Leo Sun with Aquarius rising.) Charts like this can produce people who will morph into whatever they perceive others need them to be, in order to get the approval they need. By itself, this can be worked with, but with so many other factors suggesting integrity problems, the bottom line is we have no idea who this person really is.
Do we ever know who a public figure is, having had no direct personal experience with the person? There are always limits, of course, but some people are more transparent than others. And some are less. Obama is impressively opaque, though he seems transparent.
Let’s consider Mitt Romney. The first thing I see when I look at his chart is that Venus is the highest planet. This is his charm, if you can call it that; he’s charming in that B-rate actor playing a presidential candidate kind of way. Venus, a planet involved with emotional receptivity and emotional intelligence, is in Aquarius. In her classic work, Secrets from a Stargazers Notebook, Debbi Kempton Smith described this as a person who acts like an $80 robot from Sears. She wrote this in the ’70s, I guess back when Sears sold toy robots.
Have you ever seen that YouTube video of Romney campaigning for Senate in Massachusetts about 20 years ago? The one where he walks into a diner, and everyone is sitting around eating? “This is terrific! What’s going on here today?” As if he’s never seen people eating, he bumbles around: “Look, a room full of humans. What are they doing? Oh, they are consuming foodstuffs. Hello, consuming humans! I mean ‘fellow humans,’ haha. What does your foodstuff taste like? Hello! I am a politician.”
It would be painful to watch were it not so damned strange. I’ll come back to Venus in Aquarius—his whole chart pivots around this one placement. Note, if you have it, it doesn’t automatically make you a robot; you might just be a little like Mr. Spock. You might be able to feel your feelings; just make sure you can feel those of others, and you’ll be fine.
Romney was born with the Sun in Pisces, along with a cluster of other planets—Mercury, Ceres, and Mars among them. Pisces is the sign of illusions; it changes constantly and evades accurate perception. Mercury happened to be retrograde in Pisces when he was born, which is like a long discussion with yourself where you don’t necessarily tell the truth, and which can break into a full-on convoluted internal argument that nobody seems to win. It’s also about marching to the beat of a drummer that nobody else can hear.
The first thing I think of when I see this Pisces cluster is “pleasure seeking.” I know we think of Romney as “Business Guy,” but really, he is Mr. Lifestyle. He wants you to know it, and he wants it to be visible. He can’t be humbler about his car elevator because he so desperately wants you to know he has one. What good is a car elevator otherwise?
This excess factor is confirmed by his powerful, very exact Scorpio conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. This describes both sex and money: He can never get enough, no matter how much he has. How he goes about this doesn’t matter; it’s meeting the goal that does. This aspect screams with entitlement, as if he personally inherited the world. Maybe he was a Mormon on another planet, did very well for himself, and got the Earth as his reward.
Now, back to that Venus. I said that it’s the highest planet in his chart -- the most elevated in the sky. That gives it a lot of what the old astrologers called “accidental dignity.” It makes him an elitist, the kind of guy who can only relate to others he perceives to be of his class. Even though Venus isn’t terribly happy in Aquarius, it’s particularly strong in Romney’s chart.
Strong—and under siege. It’s at one point of a cross—a fairly rare aspect called a grand cross. (This is four planets spread at 90 degree angles to one another.) To one side is the planet of psychological abuse (Nessus, which is also strong on Obama’s chart). For this guy, love is a bitter pill. To another side is Chiron, which has Romney living from one emotional high to the next.
And then Venus is opposed by Saturn and Pluto—chilly, detached, and yet intense. There is a real drive for power here, and it’s all about him. I think of two things when I look at this pattern. First, Mitt Romney is a three-hooker kind of guy. He needs the three most beautiful, best-dressed, and (most of all) most expensive call girls in town. Then he needs them to do all manner of delightfully perverse things to him, simultaneously, for hours on end, till they finally start to get sleepy.
Second, he’s pulled in four different directions all the time. He “doesn’t know who he is” because he’s split four ways down the middle; it’s like he’s drawn and quartered psychically. But he’s learned how to juggle this, and the man knows how to have fun. Especially in public office, which he wants more than anything in the world. For sure, Obama’s chart is worse. He’s suffered more and, despite his problems, I think he’s closer to his humanity. And I think that most people can feel this. Just remember: Mercury stations retrograde on election night, so there really are no guarantees.