As we congratulate ourselves on the positive mood that is currently sweeping the country – and it is with a well-deserved sense of optimism that we greet this vibrant new leader and his lofty new vision for America – we are also aware that several astrological factors are more problematic. For one thing, as we all know, Mercury is retrograde. Since Mercury was retrograde and the Moon was void of course when Mr. Obama took the oath of office, that moment presages a certain degree of difficulty is seeing that lofty vision through. The Moon was famously void of course when Nixon was sworn in after being elected in 1972, shortly before the Watergate scandal came to light and he was forced to resign. And Mercury was retrograde when Nixon took the oath for his first term of office in 1969. He had campaigned on a rapid end to the war in Vietnam that turned instead to an escalation. Twenty years later, in 1989, George H. W. Bush took the oath with Mercury retrograde, and the economy hit recession, and a new war began. During the campaign, the senior Bush had stated "read my lips: no new taxes" but his 1990 decision to renege may have cost him a second term. Since this inauguration chart has both, with Mercury retrograde conjunct the Sun as well, we may well have some reason to worry.
It needn't be all that grim. At least the concept is good: that America needs to turn it around. It's just that turning it around may prove in the final analysis just a wee bit more difficult than we all would like to think. A comical example of the effect of Mercury retrograde was revealed in the very taking of the oath itself. Although the constitution requires a word-for-word recital, Chief Justice Roberts misspoke one line, then waited for the President-elect's response. Mr. Obama, aware that the line was incorrect, waited also. At this point Mr. Roberts re-stated the line correctly, but Mr. Obama repeated it as originally and incorrectly stated. The oath was re-administered successfully the next evening.
As the presidency of Barack Obama begins, we and the rest of the world face two eclipses, one that begins the Chinese New Year on January 26th, and the Lunar Eclipse of February 9th. These eclipses trigger the on-going Saturn - Uranus opposition that will become exact in February. Change is in the air, and resistance to change is also very present with us right now. How do these two eclipses hit the chart of the president? It's a question that yields some very important information.
On January 26th with Mercury still retrograde, the eclipse in Aquarius, President Obama's rising sign, is close to his Jupiter degree (). Actually, Jupiter in the sky is only a few degrees past his, and conjuncted as well by this potent New Moon. There is ample evidence for the president's Jupiter return in the amazing level of popularity that he currently enjoys, over 82% approval, contrasted with the outgoing administration's 23. And his decision to reverse many of the Bush policies is welcome news in most quarters. Even the conservatives are in support of his transition. The eclipse Sun and Moon degree, 6 + Aquarius, also hits his Mars and Neptune. There is an important Sabian Symbol that accompanies this degree: A child born of an eggshell. Does this symbol speak to the fragile nature of these times? It is also a symbol of self-creation. For this degree symbol, Marc Edmond Jones has "A highly individual and completely unlimited resourcefulness," while Dane Rudhyar says it indicates a rebirth "free from the inertia of the past." And it's true that in some sense the past has ceased to exist.
The eclipse powerfully hits the US chart as well. Barack Obama's Mars degree, the same degree as US Neptune, is hit with a sesquiquadrate aspect, indicating tension. Also the president's Neptune degree is hit, by square. Mars and Neptune in the US chart, which are square each other, are hit by the eclipse degree of the Sun and Moon which is sesquiquadrate to them both. All this Mars and Neptune reminds us of the various meanings that can take, including deception and the military, including action involving oil. Since both of these planetary archetypes are powerfully configured in the charts of both the president and the country, we had better pay careful attention to these aspects. As far as the US chart, difficulties in the Neptune department are hardly new. See my recent Zodiactivism blog entries for some ideas there. As far as the president's chart goes, we might suppose that ideals, perhaps bordering on illusion, maybe even confusion, could come up. This would apply to the entire thirty days of this lunation cycle until the next New Moon. It might be a good time to cut him some slack. Or it might be a time when deception on the part of others will come to play an important role. Since President Obama's Neptune is located in the 9th house of his chart, his high idealism with regard to matters of higher mind could well be shown and tested in some way. For this placement – true also but in a different sense for the US chart, the TimePassages software has in part: "Your challenge lies in relying on your considerable inner vision to unfold your own unique pathway, to make concrete and real your flights of consciousness to other realms, and bring this vision back with you into society at large."
The January 26th eclipse Sun and Moon degree also aspect President Obama's Mars degree, a sesquiquadrate. This is a testing time for him and for the entire country, as the nation's new leadership must comport itself as best as it can in a time of war. Altogether, at the time of this eclipse, the president's Mars degree is being conjuncted by Saturn, opposed by Uranus and Venus, and trined by Mars and retrograde Mercury, all fairly exact aspects. Retrograde Mercury, in Capricorn, also conjuncted the president's natal Saturn on the day before.
Now, there is another eclipse on the horizon in these last days of January, the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse of Monday, February 9th. This eclipse, in the 22nd degree of Aquarius and Leo, lies directly across within a few degrees of the president's Ascendant – Descendant axis (). The Sabian symbols are: "A rug placed on the floor for children to play on" and "A carrier pigeon." Marc Edmond Jones speaks of "Service of life at large to the special requirements of individual understanding," and of "the deepening of every potential of self-hood [in service]." The Moon also conjuncts his natal Uranus, located in late Leo near his Descendant.
All in all this monthly period leading up to February 24th represents a testing and an amazing time for the country and for the president, when his powers of competition and taking care of business will be highlighted, perhaps with more frustrations and setbacks than we would have hoped. This will also be a time of personal challenge for him when his need to nurture his family in spite of these circumstances will be brought into prominence. We wish him well.