The Bush Presidency: Storm Clouds at High Noon
By now, the details of the recently completed American presidential marathon are doubtless familiar to everyone. The hope was that once the constitutional processes were followed to their conclusion, the country would unite behind the next president, and we would see a return to relative normalcy here in America. The chart for George W. Bush's inauguration as president on January 20, 2001, however, suggests that world peace and domestic tranquility are not especially likely during his first term. The pregnant question embedded within the likely presidential inauguration chart is not whether Mr. Bush will be under attack, but why, and from whom.
American presidents take the oath of office on January 20 in the year following their election – almost always slightly after the noon hour in Washington, DC. The Vice-President goes first, typically about 12:03 PM, with the President taking the oath a few minutes later, typically about 12:07 PM. This article will be based on the assumption that this tradition will continue (since it is being written in advance of the event). Should Mr. Bush be wise enough to have an astrologer in his employ, and hence take the Oath of Office either substantially earlier or later that day, the conclusions in this article would be subject to change.
The sad news for Americans hoping for four years of domestic and international tranquility is that Mars, at 16 Scorpio, sits directly on the descendant of any chart set for January 20, 2001 at/around noon – give or take 15 minutes. It is exactly conjunct the Descendant for my hypothetical inauguration moment of 12:07 PM. Mars in Scorpio, ruler of the Scorpio descendant in this chart, strongly suggests vehement, fearsome enemies. This could manifest in any number of ways.
First, the symbolism could easily describe angry Democratic activists who believe that the United States Supreme Court's ruling handing the presidency to Mr. Bush (and specifically, the opinion of the 5 most conservative Justices who held that time would not allow a complete recount) was both unjust and ideologically motivated. This view of Mr. Bush's probable enemies is strongly supported by the exact square in the sky between aforementioned Mars in Scorpio and Mercury in Aquarius (which might signify concerns about a process in which raw political power, rather than egalitarian fairness, was the primary focus). Further supporting this view are the placement of Saturn and transneptunian Admetos in the first house – each suggesting a firmly conservative tone for the emerging administration. Such a tone would be certain to infuriate any person believing that the more liberal ideals of the Gore campaign should have, and would have, carried the day had the Founding Fathers even the vaguest notion of the obvious pitfalls of conducting an election at the moment of a Mercury Station. And our critics say that astrology doesn't work! Mundane considerations offer further ammunition for this potential manifestation. Mars in Scorpio can be very much invested in the idea of revenge. In the shadow of recent history – that is, nearly 8 long years of savage political attacks against the Clintons -- these liberal Democrats might feel that turnabout is truly fair play. In the end, it doesn't take much musical imagination to hear the phrase "no justice, no peace" sung to the tune set by Mercury in Aquarius square Mars in Scorpio. With Mars and Mercury tightly configured with Uranus, whatever happens is likely to be sudden (perhaps the long speculated tally by a newspaper putting Gore ahead if all the votes had been counted) and explosive – with talk of revolutionary or dramatic constitutional changes likely to be in the air.
Second, should President Bush indeed decide to be a leader who brings people together (as he has promised) and steer a more centrist course, these enemies might just as easily turn out to be enraged social conservatives – who, believing that their support was instrumental in George W's victory, might feel betrayed. For instance, conservative spokesmen such as Gary Bauer and Jerry Falwell were actively expressing their displeasure with early Bush cabinet appointments – right up until the selection of former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft and Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. Or, in light of their extensive efforts on Mr. Bush's behalf, one could easily see the NRA painted by Mars in Scorpio's conjunct the 7th house cusp (perhaps inspired by an iconoclastic Mercury in Aquarius "original intent" reading of the 2nd Amendment) should the President-elect not prove to be the gun advocate of their hopes and dreams. In a very real sense, President Bush is in a classic "no-win" situation. If he attempts to steer the centrist course, he alienates his conservative base; if he attempts to pursue his more conservative campaign agenda, he invites open political revolt from the moderate and left wings of the Democratic party who supported Vice-President Gore's popular-vote-winning candidacy.
A third option, which could manifest regardless of whether either scenario outlined above comes to pass, is that Mars in Scorpio suggests the dramatic projection of military power somewhere outside of the continental United States – perhaps in response to a series of terrorist attacks, or even an attack upon the presidency itself. An old enemy of the Bush dynasty, Saddam Hussein, has been making noises as of late -- and is said to be extremely interested in testing the resolve of the new administration. Bush's natal Pluto and Venus MC lines run through Iraq, with their midpoint falling right through Baghdad, suggesting obsession with his father's old enemy – especially if Hussein continues in his attempts to manipulate oil prices, and evade the remaining U.N. sanctions. However, as seen from the perspective of Astro*Carto*Graphy, Bush's natal Mars is not angular in Iraq – so direct military action may not be likely (but covert CIA-inspired activity might). On the other hand, Bush's Mars Midheaven line runs directly through Afghanistan (where suspected terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden is said to be hiding). Natal Pluto MC runs not only through Iraq and much of the Middle East, but directly through Mecca, the spiritual center of the Islamic world (while the inaugural chart Pluto MC runs directly through Tehran) – with inaugural Saturn conjunct the MC for Jerusalem. Natal Pluto MC also falls very near to Moscow (where it joins Mercury MC), implying that suspicion, increased espionage and a return to a cold-war style rivalry might be conceivable in regard to United States-Russia relations – especially with a former KGB official, Vladimir Putin, heading the Russian government. Other potential international hotspots include North Korea (with the explosive inaugural chart Mars-Saturn-Admetos-Uranus T-Square angular in P'anmunjom) and Serbia (same aspect, with Mars-MC falling directly atop the coordinates of Belgrade). In short, all the military hotspots of the "old" and "new world orders" are back in focus during the Bush administration. Whether any these hotspots erupt, and come to exclusively embody the threatening symbolism of this Mars, remains to be seen. My guess is that President Bush may find himself fighting a battle on both the domestic and international fronts.
One would be remiss to conclude any discussion of this inaugural Mars without a discussion of the oft noted Jupiter-Saturn cycle correlation with the death of a president. While this astrologer remains largely unconvinced of the universal validity of this theory (since one has to really stretch the orb of influence to include Franklin Roosevelt -- who was originally elected in 1932, and died in office only after being re-elected again in 1944), the potential for political violence is unmistakably present in the current chart. However, a nearly exact waxing trine from Sun to Jupiter suggests physical protection should the president be attacked. On the other hand, inauguration Moon in the 8th house conjunct Chiron and Pluto, in a nearly exact opposition to transneptunian Hades (and quincunx Admetos) certainly suggests the possibility of serious illness, a grieving widow or great public sadness. Add to these a square to Venus in Pisces (prayers, sentimental outpourings of affection) and a sextile to technologically-oriented Uranus (perhaps life-support medical equipment). Also, transneptunian Zeus, which Witte associated with "armaments" and "warfare" sits directly opposed the Part of Fortune. And, as previously referenced, Mars is square Mercury-Uranus, and opposed both Saturn and Admetos. It is an ominous picture to be sure, but not inevitably one of physical violence – although the potential certainly exists. In political terms, it very clearly suggests a wounded presidency. And, in light of Vice-President Chaney's heart condition (and remember that his swearing in occurs within minutes of Bush's), it might even point to serious health issues that are unrelated to political controversy and violence. But, to reiterate, the nearly exact waxing trine from Sun to Jupiter does suggest a degree of physical protection for both men. And perhaps the waning trine from chart ruler Venus to descendant ruler Mars takes a bit of an edge off the most malefic energies in this picture.
On the surface, security-minded Taurus and materialistic Capricorn represent the predominant zodiacal hues for this administration. On the other hand, these same two signs occupy the angles for any chart set in the tropical zodiac for noon in Washington, DC on January 20th of any year. Rather than being especially characteristic of this presidency, they are perhaps more symbolic of: a) the horse-trading and give-and-take required to successfully govern in a legislative democracy; and, b) the vast institutional power of the executive branch. However, add in the conjunction of Admetos and Saturn (which rules the MC, and provides stability and endurance via a reasonably tight trine to that angle) in the early degrees of the 1st house, square progressive Mercury-Uranus in Aquarius, and opposed Mars – and we have the suggestion of a titanic battle between divergent views, probable political standstill and, that mainstay of Washington politics, gridlock. With these elements in play, I would expect, for instance, potential Supreme and Federal Court confirmation hearings to be extremely partisan – with any likely pro-life Justice having a very difficult time overcoming the obstacle course set in front of him or her by Senate Democrats (especially after the Supreme Court intervention in the Florida recount). As a point of reference, Bill Clinton's first inauguration chart had Admetos in Taurus conjunct the Ascendant tightly square Saturn in Aquarius – which very succinctly describes a presidency under siege and constant investigation/examination. The chart for Bush's swearing-in is, on balance, much more challenging. On a somewhat lighter note, both the 1993 Clinton chart and the 2001 Bush chart have Venus at the same degree: 17 Pisces. Taking note of Bush's tight natal Venus-Uranus-Nodes configuration (which will be set off by transiting Uranus in 2001), one can only speculate what this curious parallel might auger for the potential romantic scandals of a Bush presidency!
If I were giving President Bush astrological advice, my first tip would be to delay, in the spirit of a new tradition for a new millenium, the swearing-in ceremony so that it occurs later in the day – thus avoiding Mars' extremely problematic placement on the descendant. Even postponing the ceremony by an hour would introduce an Aquarius MC (and a near stationary Jupiter on the Ascendant), which might more successfully set the tone for a more enlightened, bipartisan (not to mention successful) administration. Assuming tradition stands, however, and the inauguration occurs more or less at the expected moment in time, I would begin by urging an extra degree of physical caution on behalf of both himself and Vice President Chaney. I would further urge him to acknowledge as best he can the legitimate demands of those opposed to either his domestic campaign agenda or a perceived American hegemony around the world – thus taking away as much destructive energy as possible from the bitter anger and resentment so typical of Mars in Scorpio. Speaking specifically in terms of the domestic front, if the best interests of the United States were taken into account, I would counsel him that this is hardly the time for a partisan politics-as-usual approach. The single worst assumption President Bush could make is to take the Supreme Court's judicial intervention as a mandate for any strongly divisive change. To do so with this chart imprinting itself on the American psyche would doubtless set in motion competing forces that would likely engulf yet another presidency in dramatic controversy and crisis.
Matthew Carnicelli, © 2000. All rights reserved.
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