Figure de ballet (1948) – Maria Helena Vieira da Silva
I had just started my walkabout and moved overseas when Mr. Trump won the election, and for the first three years of his term whenever I watched the news, I was aware that many reporters as well as pundits were surprised by his behavior. It was as if they thought the presidency would be a personal growth opportunity for Mr. Trump—a challenge he would mature into and because of that maturation, he would start telling the truth and assume other habits of gravitas that are traditionally expected from the leader of the free world. It was so optimistic to think that the office would be transformational for a man who embodied (and emboldened) so many negative personal traits. This is why I stayed on his flaws and wrote about him and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts for so many years—normalizing his behavior was something I had to take a stand against. It was clear to those with eyes to see that Mr. Trump was never going to develop the kind of character we’ve come to expect from the president of the United States. As the first three years of his term played out, he morphed from a cartoon president into a clear and present danger to us all—a threat so clear that even many of the pundits began to talk about him as a failed human being, utterly lacking in the skills needed to lead the country. Mr. Trump has treated and continues to treat the presidency as just one more failed business; he is bankrupt financially as well as morally. But COVID-19 has brought Mr. Trump’s knack for destruction and devastation into sharper focus; his inability to be anything other than a con man is revealed for everyone to witness. Comedians have joked about his tiny little hands, but it’s his tiny little heart that’s the problem.
For the past several weeks, the planets along with the pundits have been kicking his presidential ass, and the coming weeks are no different. Venus goes retrograde today, and as she “turns around” she does so within a degree of his Gemini Sun and exactly opposite his Moon in Sagittarius. Venus is the goddess of love and beauty, but also the goddess of ultimate value. While Venus Retrograde is not particularly pernicious, this cycle has the potential to focus even more on his flawed values and how they affect us. As Mr. Comey pointed out, Mr. Trump has no external reference point—he is his own Higher Power—a character flaw we should learn from, because an absence of genuine humility is nothing to be proud of; eventually it balloons into hubris, and inevitably hubris ossifies into lack of concern and empathy for others. As part of Venus’ retrospective, it reviews the last five weeks—ain’t they been a doozy—and for Mr. Trump, who continues to let the pandemic rage through the country as the death toll is still rising, the coming weeks are certain to be the hardest times he’s ever faced—even more challenging than the last two months, if only because that retrograde Venus is going to dredge up every decision he’s made. The gods have no tolerance for hubris, and the pandemic may be Mr. Trump’s nemesis.
Venus may not be pernicious, but she’s no slouch when it comes to taking a stand. After all, the ancient Mesopotamians saw her as a warrior goddess and she was Julius Caesar’s patron saint. Venus retraces her path to the position she occupied on April 10, and when she goes direct, she retraces that very same ground again. So we are not going anywhere new anytime soon. Keep in mind that in April, the cases of COVID-19 were surging daily. Mr. Trump is certain to be visited by the ghosts of those lost and although he isn’t likely to share those visitations, anyone with a keen eye is sure to notice the stress as these weeks play out.
But that’s not all; indeed, it’s the least of his astrological stresses.
On April 4, we experienced the first of three Pluto/Jupiter conjunctions that occur this year. The second conjunction occurs on June 30 and the third on November 12. Jupiter/Pluto contacts encourage such a strong desire for power that they give birth to despots of every ilk who would attain it at any cost, leaning toward unbridled ruthlessness to achieve their fanatical aspirations. This first conjunction took place on the mid-point of Mr. Trump’s Venus/Saturn conjunction in Cancer, a configuration that can manifest as hard-heartedness, so it’s interesting that the pundits are now focused on Mr. Trump’s glaring lack of empathy and compassion. What’s more, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto are all transiting his natal Venus/Saturn conjunction in Cancer—transits that have the power to humble even the most exalted among us, but leave him continuing to try magic tricks to make his troubles disappear. As any of us who have had a negative Pluto, Saturn, or even Jupiter transit know first-hand, nothing nullifies the power of those planets; the only solution to successfully navigate those transits is transformation. And if the death toll isn’t a strong enough impetus to facilitate transformation, nothing is.
Under the influence of the first Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in April, we experienced the worst of the first wave of COVID-19 surges. The next conjunction occurs on June 30, and given the chaos of the May reopening (and by chaos, I mean the lack of a coherent federal plan here in the U.S.—some states are opening early against medical advice, and even in states attempting to follow stricter medical guidelines, some people are ignoring safety issues, in a random mélange of many individuals just doing whatever they feel like), we’re likely to see another dreadful increase by the end of June. We don’t know what awaits us in November, when the third Jupiter/Pluto kicks in, although concerns of another wave during flu season are growing.
What we do know is that the second wave of the Spanish flu began in August 1918 and as it happens, there was a Jupiter/Pluto conjunction during that whole month, when a virulent new strain of the flu took hold. We also know that at the end of October 1981 there was an exact Jupiter/Pluto conjunction; this was about the time that AIDS cases were starting to appear, first identified through the symptoms of Kaposi’s sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia. Not every Jupiter/Pluto conjunction is an indicator of a pandemic; nevertheless, we would be wise to prepare for at least two more waves of COVID-19. It would also be wise to learn from history.
Which brings us back to Mr. Trump and his lack of leadership. In many ancient cultures the king was the representative of the divine on Earth and also the representative of his domain and the people who lived within his realm. Certainly, Mr. Trump has been the representative of our collective shadow—both locally and globally—in his racism, cynicism, narcissism, and grasping greed. It doesn’t need to be said, but I’m gonna say it anyway… he embodies the worst of human nature and although his many, many egregious acts in the past three years have failed to dissuade many from listening to his lies, the reality of death may be his ultimate undoing. Saturn and Pluto have been wreaking havoc with our lives, but they are definitely kicking his ass. No one escapes Pluto—it’s the most powerful of all the sky gods, other than the Sun, of course. The Sun gives life; Pluto brings death. In his determination to dismantle the government and create a dictatorship, Mr. Trump has put us all in danger.
This week, as the planets unite in their retrospective—Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus are all retrograde—make the most of this time by reflecting on what you’ve learned from this first wave of an invisible virus that has laid bare all the issues that need our attention. Most of all, be kind to your fellow travelers, especially children, who more than ever need positive examples of how to live in an uncertain world.