February 23rd, 2020

Our Titanic Moment: The US Election of 2020

“The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a variety of morbid symptoms appears.”
–Antonio Gramsci

I had a dream about the 2020 Presidential election. It involved an iceberg, a ship, and a horoscope.

This article shows how I combined the divinatory art of horary astrology with my active imagination to gain insights and perhaps secrets regarding what is guaranteed to be the most crazy-making election in our lifetime.

But first some back story.

When I teach astrology I have my students learn the basics of horary astrology first.

Horary astrology (oy, I can’t stand that name) allows for a hands-on approach for learning the art. When every component of a horoscope corresponds to something literal in one’s life it’s much easier to grasp the applicability and practicality of astrology.

The thesis for horary astrology is this: You ask a question at a particular time and then draw up the horoscope for that exact moment to cull insights or answers by studying the chart.

Did you lose your keys yesterday? Where is Mercury in the horary chart? Should you hire a lawyer? What’s going on with Jupiter and where is the Moon in the chart? The specificity of horary astrology makes it both charming and effective.

My teacher Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson used to say that horary astrology worked because the old Biblical teaching, “Ask and you shall receive” was literal; more than just a platitude.

A question makes its way into our awareness when a corresponding answer accompanies the query. Questions and answers are a kind of polarity. As she noted, “The position of the planets at that moment will reveal the problem, its background, and also its final outcome or answer.”

I utilize horary astrology fairly often but sometimes, as I’ll detail here, I will break from tradition and study the horary horoscope as if it were a dream.

Here is the chart for the moment my question about the 2020 election first appeared:


My first glance is always visual. An old Zen saying goes: “First thought, best thought.”

I don’t pay attention to the planets, the aspects, signs or houses. I want my first impression of the chart to be free from any astrological associations. Those I apply later.

Slip Sliding Away

Remember that scene from James Cameron‘s film Titanic? The one where, after the encounter with the iceberg, the ship’s bow sank beneath the surface of the ocean. Gravity eventually forced the hapless passengers to slide along the ship’s deck and into the water.

And oh man! That one scene, where the stern elevates to maximum height and then snaps the ship in half! Wow, I remember audience members screaming out in the theater the first time I saw the film.

This image of the sinking ship from Titanic was the first and only component that held my attention after the chart was drawn up. And no subsequent dream narrative followed.

Note: I did not ask: “Who will win the election?” I was more curious about the forces, visible and hidden, that move pieces around on the political chessboard.

It’s easy to see how the ‘passengers’ (the planets, Sun and Moon) in the chart’s upper hemisphere are being forced to ‘slide’ towards the chart’s ascendant. This is the fate of the ship as decreed by the laws of gravity.

Of course, the movement of the lights and the planets would actually be heading in the opposite direction around the wheel; as everything ascends up to the midheaven and then down towards the nadir. But I’m not studying the chart through an astronomical lens. This is my own sort of mash-up — part dream, part astrology, part something as yet undefined in the annals of divination.

And yes, I’m aware that scores of different readings could relate to the image.

I mean, if you are a Republican you could see the ship as a symbol for the Democratic party. Or if you’re a feminist you could see the Titanic as a manifestation of patriarchal hubris. I’ll leave the optional chapters of the dream to you. And please note that my disclaimers (*) are listed below this essay. I’ve simply used the image of a sinking ship as a catalyst.

The Passengers and Crew

Now I’ll pivot into reading the chart using a mix of dream theory and horary and mundane correspondences. Mundane astrology attempts to predict world affairs and events based on the horoscopes of various nations and countries.

In any horoscope the ascendant details the direction of the life force, or in this case the dream flow. And when it is in Gemini polarity will fuel the momentum. The ascendant also reveals the particular myth that is active within a nation; its self-image and how that image is perceived by the rest of the world.

It’s telling that even the degree of the chart’s Gemini ascendant, eleven, duplicates the duality theme (eleven in numerology translates to the number two.) We’ll see this echoed quite a lot as we dive deeper.

This movement via contradiction perfectly mirrors the socio-cultural condition of the United States in 2020.

Not since the Civil War has the country been so pathologically polarized, a rift that’s agitated daily by our impeached president’s command of the spotlight and by the corporate interests that control our democratic process with misinformation, propaganda or good ole ‘fake news.’

Donald Trump is, of course (and excuse the typecasting) a quintessential Gemini, and so he comes instantly to mind when considering this gravitational suck towards the ascendant. There is no escaping Donald Trump. Or put another way: there’s no escaping the ideological polarities that are shearing the country in two.

(Although there is one escape hatch: the North Node in Cancer, which I’ll detail later).

And Then There Were Two

But let’s forget the Trump part of the equation for a minute and focus on the Democratic field of candidates (no one from the GOP is really, seriously challenging Trump).

Despite there being several politicians left in the Dem’s lineup, the dream chart suggests that there are really only two key players.

This is reinforced by the Sun’s recent ingress into Pisces, another sign that evokes duality (and also reinforces the oceanic theme of the dream image). One of the midheavens for the chart is in Pisces as well. More on dual midheavens later.

This emphasis on ‘two’ could be read simply like this: The choice between Bernie Sanders (the Dem frontrunner) and Mike Bloomberg, the Plutocratic former mayor of New York who is employing his monstrous wealth to supplant our traditional election process.

Should the Bloomberg effect be successful the fallout would most likely destroy an already rotten-to-the-core DNC.

Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klovatchur are broke, neither of them has formidable war chests to employ as they move towards Super Tuesday.

Venus in the chart would represent the trios compromising platforms, I consider Buttigieg and Klovatchur centric distractions, out of touch with the fervor of the movement that actually started with Bernie’s campaign in 2016. Their rhetoric of ‘uniting’ the country suffers from what all political platitudes suffer: It’s boring.

But more telling related to Pete and Amy is the chart’s debilitated Venus in Aries that is squaring the Moon.

Translated: they have a quality of self-interest that’s delusional and out of synch with the electorate’s vision (the Moon conjunct Jupiter). I realize this is an unorthodox take, but it’s instantly fitting given Venus’s position in a chart that’s predominant theme is two distinct players or forces. There isn’t a third vision here, just two.

Elizabeth Warren has suffered a shocking loss of stature, after diluting her platform to try and straddle the divide. I’m a longtime fan of Warren and her advocacy for the middle-class. And I predicted her ascent years ago as a fallout from the monumental square between Uranus and Pluto.

But now Warren seems destined to continue work in the Senate. Or she could be tapped as Sanders’ running mate. It appears that Stacey Abrams was bought-out by Bloomberg, so this latter scenario seems a pleasing possibility.

Liz’s Kali-esque delivery at the Nevada debate left a searing mark in the collective’s imagination. I can’t help but think that Warren will be reasserted back into the narrative in a surprising way.

Remember too that Warren has a natal Sun in Cancer that’s directly conjunct a zero degree Uranus. Pow! Wow! Those sorts of dynamos don’t simply disappear (consider Donald Trump, another Sun Uranus creature).

Did you notice that I forgot to mention Joe Biden?

The ruler of the 11th house of a mundane chart, the house associated with vice presidents, is in Capricorn, and Mars is the only ‘passenger’ to have actually sunk beneath the surface of the nodal fulcrum.

Joe’s presence has been wraith-like throughout the campaign, given his pre-dementia-like impression on the debate stage. It’s tragic when a candidate evokes pity in the viewer — which is what I felt watching him during the debates.

For all intents and purposes, he is out of the lineup. Not to say that Mars doesn’t play a critical role in this narrative, but more on that later — sort of.

What You Can’t See is Most Likely What You’ll Get

Now let’s consider the chart’s most alarming factors.

The chart’s ruler is a retrograde Mercury (information) conjunct Neptune (obfuscation and deceit but also inspiration and salvation). As has been predicted the election results will be mired in confusing narratives, unfounded accusations and more of the same “What the fuck is going on in America?” incredulity.

Along with the Mercury Neptune mishegas, is the stellium of planets clogging up the chart’s eighth house of hidden forces in Capricorn, a sign that’s the quintessential symbol of the drive to conserve power.

In mundane astrology, the eighth house corresponds to international finances and the machinations of multinational corporations that impact the US economy. The stellium gathered here denotes that unseen forces are involved with our election process. Again.

And so it’s not a stretch to assume that a clandestine factor (or figure) is waiting behind the curtain prepared to pull strings that will up the velocity of the sinking vessel.

Bloomberg has 68 billion dollars at his disposal. His sudden appearance in the race is a balls-out example of how far the US has slid down the oligarchic rabbit hole.

Big media is already touting the possibility of a brokered convention, and at the debate in Nevada, Sanders was alone in saying he would back whoever won a plurality of delegates — with the other candidates open to superdelegates tilting the balance for another candidate. Hmmm, there’s that theme again: tilting.

We The People

I was particularly curious about the Moon’s position in the chart, as it represents you and me and the public’s emotional tenor.

Not surprisingly the Moon is bookended between the South Node and Jupiter in Capricorn. This translates instantly to the predicament the populace is wedged between.

The South Node sucks momentum back towards the past, while Jupiter’s bias is to jump towards the future — to gamble and trust one’s intuition, to embrace a candidate that inspires (Jupiter) but can still govern (Capricorn).

It’s encouraging to see the Moon actually in conjunction with Jupiter, indicating a definitive gesture towards the expansive option, this could mean too, that the people en masse have already decided and we are just waiting for the year and the process to play out.

And doesn’t the campaign ‘feel’ that way already? The momentum has clearly gained traction despite all the obstacles that might hinder it. The Nevada caucus results seem to confirm this theory, too.

BUT…Then Again

Fitting the overriding theme of polarity throughout the horary chart, we’re pulled back into yet another paradox.

Traditionally Jupiter is the planet associated with Republicans, while Saturn is assigned to the Democrats — the party associated with the working class; the oldest party.

But wait, that term was co-opted by Donald Trump in 2016 with his vision of a new Worker’s Party, his name for his base of devotees. The name didn’t really take hold, but he probably trademarked it anyway.

It’s important to note that these traditional Jupiter/Saturn assignments have reversed since the civil rights movement in the 60s. Consider that during the Civil War it was the Republicans that galvanized anti-slavery measures.

And so how to interpret the Moon conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn? I’ll leave this to your intuition to untangle (but please let me know in the comments section on FB).

Unfortunately for Klobachur and Warren the chart’s crazy-ass stellium in Capricorn reiterate’s our culture’s entrenchment with patriarchal values and methods. But, oh, wait — we’re back into the paradoxical again!

With Saturn and Pluto conjunct how we read the eighth house clusterfuck is almost impossible to untangle. Nowadays when you type the word ‘yes’ immediately something in your consciousness fires off the word ‘no’. Do you know what I mean?

As I wrote in my latest private report, the Saturn and Pluto conjunction in Capricorn has triggered a glitch in the matrix that will reverberate far into the new decade.

Viewed through the rules of mundane astrology we could say that the Pluto Saturn conjunction marks the end of the Democratic party as we know it.

If Sanders wins the majority of delegates but is then overthrown by the Plutocratic superdelegates, I’d venture that the Democratic party will not survive an insurrection. And that is fitting the Saturn Pluto aftereffects as well.

But remember, amidst the cultural death throes a curious birthing is still underway — something heretofore unknown gathering momentum. Could that be democratic socialism?

The Nodes Know

With the Moon lodged in the same sign and house as the Capricorn stellium, it’s easy to see how the entire population feels locked in a closet of conspiracy theories, fake news, Russian high-jinx, dark money and, probably coming soon, Satanic sacrifices of newborn infants.

The global culture regardless of anyone’s political ideology seems on the verge of a mental breakdown.

As my colleague, Jessica Murray wrote: “When an individual has a psychotic break, their sense of fundamental reality starts to drop away. When a group has one, what drops away are the cultural structures that are supposed to be stable and meaningful enough for a society to cohere.”

Let’s consider the nodal axis because it creates that visual fulcrum for the entire chart, the ‘deck’ upon which all of the dream ship’s passengers are positioned, except for Mars.

Question: Is Mars in Capricorn, floating beneath the surface of the South Node the iceberg that took down the vessel? Will Joe Biden be part and parcel some sort of coup that upends the narrative? Remember how Hillary Clinton was foisted on us?

The South Node in Capricorn relates to an accretion of power that has become decadent. Just the sort of split we see every day in our new gilded age — the harsh disparity between the haves and have nots.

This is a mutation of power that is exercised with little regard for others. In fact, individuals with this placement have an uncanny skill of turning other’s weaknesses to their advantage.

The North Node in Cancer would be considered the remedy, what we as a culture could embrace to correct the disparity. The virtues of caring and compassion and in a more literal way, how resources are distributed fairly to ensure everyone’s security and survival.

As Sanders and Warren remind us, health care is a human right, not a political chess piece that a focus group assigns a newfangled name (i.e., Medicare For All Who Want It) to maintain the status quo for the HMOs and big pharma.

The highest achievement for someone with their North Node in Cancer is to nourish others. The more he can support others the more happiness he feels himself.

The North Node in Cancer is about everyone getting a win-win. This equation is simple and yet somehow within the madness of this cultural moment we’ve lost touch with these elementary principles of human goodness.

Interesting too is the Sabian symbol for the North Node in Cancer. And guess what? We’re back to our central theme of polarity.

Dane Rudhyar describes the imagery associated with this degree as …”two nature spirits dancing in the moonlight.” And he writes that the keynote is, “The play of invisible forces in all manifestations of life.”

The essential concept for this degree is that behind all vital processes one can perceive occult forces at work. (And again we’re back at the chart’s eighth house stellium.)

Rudhyar writes that “This … contrasts the invisible with the visible, the inner with the outer, the dream and the ideal with everyday reality.”  He concludes his interpretation by reminding us to engage with our creative imagination. Or put another way: to employ magic.

If you’ve ever given credence to the belief that your imagination can influence events, well, now is the time put that theory into play.

We’ve underestimated the salvo Marianne Williamson launched into the debates when she reminded us of the qualities that make human beings compassionate creatures.

Naturally, she was mocked and classified a kook, still (and this was the beauty of her presence on the debate stage and within the news cycle) the virtues she highlighted found harbor in people’s imagination.

She reminded us that, in the end, love will prevail.

I remember when I first heard her deliver this line I thought, “Well, yes — if the Earth was to unleash a cataclysmic event that wiped out our entire species that would indeed be an act of love.” (But then I have a Moon in Scorpio.)

Going Under

Carl Jung‘s advice to an associate that was awash with personal problems: “When you’re falling — dive.”

Do this: imagine this dream ship sinking completely beneath the surface of TDS (Trump derangement syndrome) and the entrenched polarity within our culture. What does the boat contact first?

Yep, that North Node in Cancer.

The magic that Rudhyar alluded to, the alchemy that marries opposites can only happen when the people who are opposed to Trump (and the people who support Trump) find a way to get into each other’s heads. There’s no other way for our sinking ship to discover the North Node’s chest (the heart) of treasures.

Here’s a secret I’ll share with you: Whenever I have a gobsmacked, Xanax-scrambling moment regarding some new bit of news from Trumplania, I head over to the Ask Trump Supporters subreddit on Reddit. And then I dig in and put some effort into understanding how the other half of America experiences our impeached president.

And that’s the thing, right? Half of the country (well, minus 3 million people) chose this man to lead our country.

And so I take a time out with the jokes and the shock and the awe — and I try to get real by honoring my fellow citizens’ choice, how they exercised their rights as voters in our democracy. I also remember that at some point I will die and then all of this will be a non-issue (see, Moon in Scorpio has its good points too.)

Top to Bottom — The Aim, The End

When we study the midheavens of the horary chart we are back to the theme of ‘twos’ again.

As happens with the whole sign house system the midheaven can occupy a sign that is not the tenth sign. In other words, the midheaven can fall just about anywhere in the chart’s upper hemisphere. And so on this wheel, two midheavens, Aquarius and Pisces, are highlighted.

Midheavens in horary charts detail the vision, the aspiration, the target that the chart’s narrative is aiming for. And not surprisingly we as a country, as a world, as a planet — the all of us — are living on the threshold between two epic-spanning astrological ages, the Piscean and the Aquarian.

I interpret this election and the years that follow as a critical transitional period that will move us several notches deeper into the Aquarian vision of universal awareness, where the tribal mania that fuels xenophobia begins to dissolve, most likely by necessity (climate change) than by one ideology triumphing over another.

The nadir, the bottom of the chart (the two points opposite the midheaven) offer some clues as to the outcome of this dream chart. How the election will conclude.

With Neptune in the same sign as Mercury and the Sun (the rulers of the nadir and fourth house), it’s natural to assume that confusion and intrigue will taint the election’s outcome. Both parties accusing the other of conspiracies and Russian interference. Or it could be two ‘winners’ vying for validation.

And yet amidst that, should Sanders be victorious, his vision would triumph. Pisces and Neptune are associated with socialism in mundane astrology. Too, Sanders is a Virgo, the sign associated with the chart’s finale (the nadir).

Encouraging too is that the polarities represented by the Gemini ascendant are synthesized in Pisces, where both fish (in the ancient symbol for the sign) are tethered. Gemini puts distinct elements in high contrast, Pisces takes those and blends them for a common cause.

This is the beauty of Pisces individuals — their empathetic ability to see both sides of a situation and their uncanny skill to close the split. Albert Einstein is a great example of a Pisces operating at an optimal level, marrying the wildness of his imagination with science’s empirical approach.

Waking Up: Your Heart Will Go On

Should we get real?

A lot of this commentary can appear naive; tilted towards the Pollyannish. And yes, I hear you — it’s unreasonable to consider that the rift that’s ripped the country apart for centuries (exacerbated by Obama‘s presidency and then Trump’s scandal-ridden term), is going to heal overnight.

As I tell people when they ask me about the horoscope for the United States, as a nation we’re still trapped in the fallout from the Civil War.

But time isn’t on our side, as the US’s current Pluto return is dredging up a sort of compensatory comeuppance from the darkest parts of our closet. No wonder reformation was a constant topic broached in the initial days of the campaign.

A must-read on this theme is Jessica Murray’s x-ray evisceration of the US’s horoscope in her bestselling book Soul Sick Nation: An Astrologer’s View of America.

Our government is a stage set upon which various ideological causes and characters captivate our attention. A worthy distraction for sure, but it’s wise to remember that behind the scenes the same Plutocratic forces (and the trillions of dollars they control) do whatever is required to maintain hegemony. The United States, in 2020, is a full-blown corporatocracy.

We’ve evolved into a Big Brother empire where career politicians forge alliances with the puppet masters of the media. Their ability to manage the news (coupled with the disappearance of journalistic standards) has put the populace at a disadvantage.

For more on this theme, I suggest you watch BBC documentarian Adam Curtis‘s recent film Hypernormilisation. It’s streaming for free here.

Pay No Attention to the Dudes Behind the Curtain

We forget that the Democratic party’s efforts to sabotage Bernie Sanders is the same strategy employed by the Republicans when Trump started to forge a movement in 2016.

The same whispers about sabotaging his momentum were in the air. The stage set is different now, with a different player spearheading a different revolution; but the same strategies are employed by those who attempt to shape the narrative.

Both parties serve the dictates of the oligarchs and moguls that oversee Wall Street and the efforts to privatize government; also the Pentagon and the media conglomerates — and of course our new saviors from Silicon Valley.

Also, in the fervor of the moment, we forget that the sort of change we desire is always glacial. One step forward equals five steps back.

And then, too, people lose interest after an election and drift back into the static bandwidth of the status quo. A genuine grassroots movement would require constant civic engagement, a kind of focus that seems beyond the gnat-like attention spans of most individuals.

And yet, stop the press! Still the virtues of that Cancer North node beckon — and that’s the good news because as individuals you and I can enact those qualities instantly. Right now. Right here. While you’re sitting there and mulling over these ideas (…in fact please send me some money when you’re done reading this.)

And the theater of politics keeps rolling on. And always the cosmos offers us a new vision; new Promethean gifts to embrace.

A Star Will Guide Them

Punctuating the close of this year’s election is the upcoming conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. And amazingly the alignment occurs exactly on the winter solstice of 2020. Talk about a degree of specificity designed to doubly ensure that 2021 is branded with a fresh promise and potential.

And the new conjunction series (that repeats every twenty years) will occupy the air signs for the next 200 hundred years!

I will write in length in a new private report about the importance of this conjunction and the sociocultural significance of this shift from the earth element (and our obsession with science and materialism) into the air element (where principles unite rather than divide the human family).

But I want to focus right now on this interesting bit of history related to the Jupiter Saturn conjunction.

In medieval and Renaissance astrology, the conjunction was always thought to herald a change in rulership. The death of a king and then a period of chaos before the emergence of a new king. There was a long period in the US’s history where this was a literal fact. Each conjunction corresponded with the death of a president.

All sorts of other predictions accompanied the crescendo towards the  Jupiter Saturn conjunction but always the central theme was one of transition — the old king dying and a new king being born.

Given the timing of the new conjunction — shortly after the November 3 election in the United States — it’s highly probable that Donald Trump will not be re-elected (due to the laws of, uhm, mortality). Regardless of the manner of taking leave, this is exciting to consider for Sanders’ supporters.

And yet — oh em gee! — in keeping with our polarity theme (and the still resonating Saturn Pluto conjunction) — the traditional narrative can flip.

The old kings (the oligarchs) can prevail — I mean what’s more fitting than the term superdelegates, right? The only Aquarian running for president is Mike Bloomberg and with the conjunction taking place in Aquarius, well, this is where I need to shut down this dreamscape.

From Dream to Poem

Imagine emerging from under the ocean and looking skyward to see a star that is similar to the beacon that guided the three wise men on route to Bethlehem.

True or not, this story, myth or tale personifies the beginning of a new era. Old kings en route to meet a strange new king, a divine king.

Within my dream field, while writing this for you today, I was instantly reminded of William Butler Yeats‘ vision-poem  The Second Coming. He slaps us awake with:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

This poem is fitting the shift of the astrological ages I mentioned earlier, and it’s also a prelude to the upcoming election (and the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction on the solstice).

Interestingly enough, the research firm Factiva reported that lines from the Yeats poem were quoted more often in the first seven months of 2016 than in any of the preceding thirty years. In other words, it was back in the buzz of our collective consciousness. And wouldn’t you say it’s still buzzing today?

The poem was evoked within the context of increased terrorist attacks, and political turmoil after Brexit and of course the election of Donald Trump. Shortly thereafter, commentators repeatedly reminded us of the line: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

So yeah. But then again things are always falling apart, and centers are always collapsing until the movie set is rebuilt and occupied by a new cast of actors.

Best not get too caught up in the narrative and focus instead on the paean you can write yourself — words that honor your awareness of life’s impermanence and mystery.

Or as the film director William Goldman put it recently: “No one knows anything.”


I’m certain you have your own set of impressions about this chart and my dream image and the methods I used to compile this essay. And I bet you’re thinking, “How in the hell did he not see…” this or that element or aspect in the chart? But that’s why there’s social media honey.

I’ll add quickly that I deliberately avoided talking about the Mars position in this close reading as I want to hear your take. As Renee Kirzner reminded me on Facebook, Mars by transit this summer could shift the entire chessboard we’ve been fixated on.

Please share your insights, questions and more on my Facebook page. We are in this dream together.


(*) Disclaimers:
•  I do not work with asteroids, black moons, galactic centers, or Arabic parts.
• I’m an advocate for the politics of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Although my aversion for Donald Trump is tempered by a different take as regards his impact within the collective’s psyche, something akin to what journalist Cory Pein explores in this article, where Trump is conflated with the Trickster and Wotan archetypes from Jungian psychology.


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