Documenting the Impact of Cosmic Gravity, Part ISince the initial publication of the essay, “It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn” (www.hpleft.com/050503.html), I have made it my business to meticulously document the impact of the phenomenon that astrologers describe as the “Saturn cycle” on the Bush Presidency, and the United States itself. Distilled down to its constituent components, the Saturn cycle is a roughly twenty-nine year cycle of physical, psychological, and spiritual maturation. It is a cycle that astrologers hold every human being, or intellectual entity robust enough to survive for three decades, must inevitably experience. As I described in the previous essays, this cycle tests the foundations on which an individual's, a corporation's, or a nation's activity and direction is based. It typically offers a ruthlessly honest opinion on the success of these activities – both with regard to the attainment of physical or psycho-spiritual goals, and the likely impact of these goals on the rest of society. Hence, properly understood and utilized, the cycle described by Saturn's passage from one series of conjunctions with the natal Sun to the next series twenty-nine years later, can be among the most helpful of all cosmic developmental cycles.
A Theoretical Aside
Saturn is the planet farthest away from the Sun that can still been seen by an observer viewing the night sky without the aid of a telescope. Consequently, astrologers view this planet as describing the far edge of consensus reality – that is, the principles that individuals have come to believe govern their society or individual lives. Thus, it is often associated with structured theoretical models.
In light of this attribution, some reasonable questions might arise in the reader's mind. What theoretical model governs astrology? What is Saturn actually doing to us during this cycle? Is free will accounted for within the astrological model? These are good questions, and questions that I probably should have answered a few articles back.
You may find this surprising, but I actually don't believe that the planets are causing anything. In my view, astrology doesn't work on the basis of a mechanical effect involving the planets at all – as if electromagnetic energies were being beamed from these orbs to earth, perhaps processed through an intermediary like the Sun, and were then somehow impacting our minds or physical reality. My theoretical model postulates that astrology is a language. The movements of the planets describe the unfolding order of a coherent cosmos – a cosmos in which every animate and inanimate form is an integral part, and has meaning, value and purpose. The language of astrology is subject to periodic revision and adjustment (like all areas of human knowledge, I might add), but has been roughly understood by humanity since antiquity. In my opinion, whatever causation astrology might be describing is happening on a far deeper level than anything science, or indeed astrologers, currently understand. This is one of the reasons that astrology routinely gets into trouble with scientists with a decidedly materialistic bent. Since astrologers are unable to present an adequate theory of causation, or identify a “mechanism” upon which astrology might operate, certain scientists feel quite justified at merely throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. However, it is my view, and the view of mystics of many different traditions, expressed over thousands of years, that the heavens can be symbolically interpreted as the mind of the Cosmos, or God. No scientist has heretofore been able to quantifiably prove or disprove the existence of God – even if millions of human beings continue to qualitatively describe an experience of the direct, often physical, presence of God in their lives on a daily basis. Their experience mirrors the experience of anyone, and especially someone of an essentially skeptical temperament like myself, who has devoted the necessary time and effort to actually understand how to apply the rules of astrology. Faced with this discrepancy between people's direct, admittedly subjective, experiences, and 21st century science's inability to quantitatively confirm the validity of these experiences, many self-appointed, essentially atheistic, debunkers clearly feel an urgent need to discredit any phenomenon that does not fit within their current model of consensus reality. I fear that the gulf between the legitimate perceptions of people of faith and spirit (which includes both traditionally religious, and secular but spiritually-oriented Americans), and those people who aggressively advocate for a purely mechanistic, materialistic model for human activity, is, sadly, as wide as the gulf between voters' attitudes in the so-called Red and Blue states in presidential elections.
Getting back to the planets, within the astrological model, each represents a different dimension of consciousness, or cosmic mind, so to speak. Several of these dimensions address specific modes of understanding or transformation that emanate from far beyond the realm of consensus reality. Consequently, when especially prominent, these transpersonal dimensions (as they are called) tend to dramatically upset the apple cart of consensus reality. In “A Bubble in Time” (www.hpleft.com/040303.html), and “Winning the War for Hearts and Minds” (www.hpleft.com/110603.html), I explored the impact of Pluto's transit through the tropical sign of Sagittarius. A reader of both these essays would quickly grasp that Pluto and Saturn describe very different dimensions of cosmic mind.
As to the big questions – are these planets compelling human behavior, and is all activity fated – my answer is no, and no. That is, if anything is behind the phenomenon that astrology describes, it is God, the Goddess or the Cosmos itself – and not the planets at all. As to the second question, everything that I've experienced as an astrologer tells me that individual effort as well as any number of other variables, like a person's psychological makeup or the presence of a wide range of alternate potential expressions for planetary symbolism within the context of a given society, all impact how these cycles work out. That said, there definitely appears to be developmental challenges that individuals, nations or humanity in general, seem compelled to confront on a regularly scheduled basis – like the Saturn cycle that I intend to further document in this two part essay.
Past as Prologue
Let me next offer a recap of the impact of the Saturn cycle on the President, and the nation, so far. Saturn formed what astrologers describe as its planetary station (that is, a change in apparent direction, as seen from the perspective of earth) in virtual conjunction with both the natal Suns of George W. Bush's and the nation during late October 2003. The impact of this station is typically experienced over a four-to-six week period. In “It Always Darkest Before the Dawn”, I wrote:
“Saturn is a planet that astrologers associate with the need to accommodate the demands of physical reality, and with testing the theoretical and material foundations of all human activity. Beginning in the fall of 2003, and throughout 2004, transiting Saturn will be conjunct the natal Suns of both President Bush and the United States of America. This passage of Saturn over the natal Sun of a person, corporation or nation, typically brings a period of intense struggle, resulting in either a hard earned victory, and the assumption of even greater responsibilities – or in failure, and a need to take stock of errors and change direction. ”
"The last week of October 2003 and first week of November 2003 could bring a decisive turning point for the Bush Administration, and the nation."
At the time, my expectation of dramatic events did not appear to be realized. As it turns out, much of what I expected to happen was indeed happening, but many of the key markers were occurring “off-stage”, so to speak. So, what did happen at that time that fulfills this forecast?
Specifically, the events captured in the shocking photos of American reservist jailors and mercenary interrogators abusing Iraqi prisoners were taking place at that very moment – during the first and second weeks of November 2003. As conservative columnist, and former Nixon and Reagan speechwriter, Patrick J. Buchanan would later observe about these events, in his May 12th column, “A Time for Truth”:
“With the squalid photos from Abu Ghraib, we no longer have the moral authority to impose our "values" on Iraq.”
Well said, and in my opinion, very much the description of a dramatic turning point for the nation. Even Karl Rove's, the President's chief political advisor, speculated that the prisoner abuse scandal would soil America's reputation in the Muslim world for at least a generation.
What else happened that might fulfill this symbolism?
On November 13th, the New York Times published a story by Douglas Jehr in which he wrote:
"A bleak top-secret report by the Central Intelligence Agency suggests that the situation in Iraq is approaching a crucial turning point, with ordinary Iraqis losing faith in American-led occupation forces and in the United States-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.”
“The report, sent to Washington on Monday by the C.I.A.'s Baghdad station chief, suggests that the situation is creating a more fertile environment for the anti-American insurgency. Officials said the report was adding to the sense of urgency behind the administration's reappraisal of its policies in Iraq. “
This internal CIA report had been received a few days earlier by the Defense and State Departments. As I wrote in “The Turning Point”, on November 19, 2003:
“We saw the emergence of just such a decisive turning point last week when the Bush Administration announced that they were abandoning their original ambitious plan to have a ratified Iraq constitution in place before returning control of the embattled nation to its people. The deal announced last week with the Iraq Governing Council would now return control of the country to a transitional government as early as June 2004. As of that time, United States troops would only remain in Iraq at the specific request of the new Iraqi Government.”
In my opinion, that report, and resulting change in policy toward Iraqi sovereignty, was yet another dramatic turning point for American foreign policy.
There was yet another significant turning point that emerged in November 2003. As David Risen wrote in the January 26, 2004 edition of The Times,
“Dr. Kay, a former United Nations inspector who was brought in last summer to run the Iraq Survey Group by George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, said he resigned his post largely because he disagreed with the decision in November by the administration and the Pentagon to shift intelligence resources from the hunt for banned weapons to counterinsurgency efforts inside Iraq.”
As I wrote in my story of February 8, 2004, entitled “Take Responsibility” (www.hpleft.com/20804.html):
“The key piece of information in this passage is that the Bush Administration itself admitted in November of 2003, with Saturn hovering within minutes of the United States' natal Sun, and the President's natal Sun, that there were likely no WMDs to be found in Iraq.”
Clearly, the stated theoretical rationale for the Iraq war, as presented to the world, was the presence of WMDs in Iraq. The Administration's withdrawal of resources from the search for WMDs must be considered a dramatic turning point in Bush Administration policy.
Impressive as these three examples might be, there were still more. On October 16, 2003, with transiting Saturn having just formed its first conjunction with the United States natal Sun, Donald Rumsfeld distributed a memo to Generals Richard Meyers and Peter Pace, and aides Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. In this memo Rumsfeld mused:
“Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”
“Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.”
Unbeknownst to me at the time, Donald Rumsfeld was born on July 9, 1932 – which would give him a natal Sun very near that of both the United States and President Bush. Hence, this Saturn station would impact him in both a collective (as the Secretary of Defense) and deeply personal sense. Now, there is legitimate room for debate with regard to Rumsfeld's exact intentions in sending this memo. What is indisputable in my view is that the memo was an accurate reflection of the woeful state of the nation's capability to evaluate their success in the war on terror. As I wrote in my October 23, 2003 piece, “Rumsfeld Awakens from the Dream” (www.hpleft.com/102303.html):
“As I've written previously, Saturn has everything to do with long-term planning, with the development of coherent, sensible policies and methodologies, and with the continual inspection and improvement of all terrestrial structures – be they the structures of individuals, corporations or governments.”
Hence, I submit that Rumsfeld's memo was entirely consistent with the expectations set by my forecast.
There was at least one more incident during this time period that satisfies this forecast. In an admittedly less serious vein, but one that goes directly to the issue of the President's credibility, on October 28, George W. Bush, in response to a question by NBC's Norah O'Donnell, stated:
“The 'Mission Accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff.”
As I wrote that evening, in “Mission Accomplished?” (www.hpleft.com/102803.html):
“With transiting Saturn powerfully impacting the natal charts of both the United States of America and President Bush, a dispute suddenly emerges about the phrase "Mission Accomplished" – a decidedly Saturnian phrase. “
“Saturn is all about accomplishments, about battles fought and brought to conclusion through (to borrow a phrase from one of my heroes) “blood, toil, tears and sweat” – or about publicly or privately, depending on the appropriate context, acknowledging one's failures in such battles. It is clear to most objective observers that Bush claimed victory too soon – and that the great Rovian spectacle staged aboard the USS Lincoln, clearly meant to provide footage for a Bush 2004 re-election campaign, has become an embarrassment. Now, however, Bush is not only refusing to acknowledge the folly of this carefully staged and orchestrated event, but is also apparently attempting to evade responsibility for something so seemingly trivial as the sign proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.”
In retrospect, it is fair to say that the battle in Iraq was far from over in May 2003 – and that Bush's attempt to slickly maneuver away from the now embarrassing symbolism represented by the “Mission Accomplished” sign was both utterly transparent, and politically inept. With his response to Norah O'Donnell, the President's political teflon began to fade.
With regard to the events that transpired within the time period framed by Saturn's initial conjunction of the United States Sun on October 11th, its planetary station two weeks later, on October 25th, and its retrograde conjunction on November 10, I submit that there is an inescapable correlation between the symbolism and expectations embedded within my original forecast, and the events that actually occurred.
Next – Part II, an exploration of the developments since June 2004, when Saturn formed its final conjunction with the natal Suns of George W. Bush and the United States.
Matthew Carnicelli © 2004. All rights reserved.
Originally published June 29, 2004; revised July 2, 2004.
For more on Saturn's conjunction of the United States Sun see:
Documenting the Impact of Cosmic Gravity, Part II
Getting to Know You
The Reagan Legacy
Laying Naked Neo-Conservative Incompetence
Why John Kerry Matters
The Turning Point
Saturn and the Rush to War
Rumsfeld Awakens from the Dream
A Viewer's Guide to a Gathering Storm
It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn