Astrological Perspectives


Aces & Eights: An Analysis of the Obama Birthchart

Reprinted from a 2008 posting.

A word about me, I have practiced astrological counseling for over twenty years and also have read the Tarot for almost as long. I believe that those who practice Astrology should seek to achieve a balance in all things. It is out of order to use the knowledge or practice of Astrology to proselytize for one’s own political agenda or to feed ‘astro-ganda’ like pabulum to the unknowing. The movement and interaction of the planets and stars are neither all good nor all bad. How they play out in a life is determined more by the free will of the individual than by the transit du jour.

Of course, of prime interest these days has been the burning topic dominating the news of the upcoming presidential elections, and the race for the White House. John McCain for the Republican nomination, and Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. Recently, astrologers were purportedly gifted a rare advantage in analysis, a birth certificate for Barack Obama. Some controversy surrounds this document. However for the sake of interpretation and in comparison to other astrologer’s analysis, let’s proceed under the assumption that the information is credible. Therefore, Barack Obama, born on August 4th, 1961 at 7:24 PM in Honolulu, Hawaii has an interesting chart, if not an overtly inspiring one.

What immediately stands out is the strong, Fixed Quadruplicity signature of the chart. Traditionally an indicator of a determined and self reliant individual who can gets things accomplished, the native having such a preponderance of points and planets weighted in the Fixed quality can also be an individual predisposed to inertia with a stubborn and inflexible temperament. Strange that an individual who has based his entire political campaign on the theme of change himself sports an astrological signature of changelessness and dogma. Yet it supports an acute and profound mind able to parse a topic or an argument precisely. Such individuals wear their sense of pride fashionably that masks a certain fascination with the accumulation of power. His Aquarian ascendant does much to add grace and refinement not only to the physique but also to the overall persona. The danger here though is a degree of mental sloth, someone proceeding on cruise control.

Barack’s Leo Sun is posited in his sixth house. Of course, the classic interpretation here is one of a workaholic. Someone destined to always toil in the fields or someone who works tirelessly. However I believe another classic interpretation of this placement may be more apt. That is one who is begotten by an obscure father or one who is fatherless. Considering his father’s abandonment of his American wife and her child, this solar placement rings true. The bell tolls twice here when it becomes apparent that this Leo Sun not only falls in the house of nocturnal decline, but that it is also rather unaspected. A waning square to Neptune in the 9th, and an applying opposition to the Ascendant add layers of complexity to the underlying psyche at work. This 6th house placement not only indicates the eternal disciple, someone who continually refines himself and also continually critiques his own performance. But then the square to Neptune shades this immensely, considering that this is an aspect of an inferiority complex, or someone who finds a need to constantly defend one’s ideals, dreams, objectives and motivations. This is the chameleon personified. Lob a critique his way, sit back, and watch the colors change. Or maybe this is a simple indicator; note the ninth/sixth house coupling, of being a lawyer.

His Mercury is also placed in the 6th house in its Fall in Leo. Of course there are two sides to the coin with this placement as with all others. Skilled in the art of persuasion, these natives are natural promoters and showmen, gilded tongued carnival barkers or charmed know it alls, mentally active but sporting a certain degree of intellectual arrogance. Heightened by a sixth house placement accentuating strong communicative skills, Mercury remains ill dignified here, in a Saturn term; it is somewhat troublesome, indicating a pre-disposition to boasting or lying or at least malleable and inconstant in opinion and position. Shaded by a waning conjunction to the Sun, wide by ten degrees, it is pulled into a fascinating T square. It is in stark opposition to an oddly protective 12th house retrograde Aquarian Jupiter by two degrees. This combination is akin to sprinkling kosher salt onto smoked bacon. Jupiter in the 12th is the classic angel on the shoulder influence, impinged by retro gradation, and activated whenever Jupiter goes retrograde by transit; granting counseling skills, heightened introspection, and good fortune. The Aquarian influence contributes magnetic charm and ample opportunity to express independent, idealistic and rather optimistic beliefs that often express the innate nobility of man. However the opposition can also indicate certain tendencies to promise more than can be delivered or even to see the broad perspective of a situation, but with an inability to follow through with the necessary details to achieve the desired objective.

That tight Mercury Jupiter opposition is also squared into a formidable T square by a Scorpionic Neptune posited in the ninth. Welcome to Disneyland! To one child Disneyland can be a stimulating and creative backdrop in which to act out ideas with panache and artistic flair. To another it is an escapist quagmire for self delusion and well woven and purposeful lies. In all actuality, it is in all probability a dash of both, blended to a craftily fashioned version of one’s own little world, patterned into the psyche and activated when the open leg of the T square is triggered by a transiting planet. It also could easily indicate escapism of a more venal kind such as drugs, sex or alcohol. Given the frank admission in his biography of drug experimentation, one only need look to the ephemeris to determine when this T square has cliqued into gear. In 1976, for example, when transiting Jupiter triggered the opened leg of the T, Saturn conjuncted natal Mercury and the Sun, and Uranus conjuncted natal Neptune, which could indicate one probable period of self induced crisis.

Let’s not overlook the rest of this telling T square. The Sun and Saturn also play a part in this configuration. Both are widely placed to the three major players but are pulled into the energy flow of the pattern by house placement. A word about T squares. They are the steely action indicators in many charts. The most seasoned and accomplished individuals in many a professional field have T squares emblazoned prominently somewhere in their charts. The unbridled energy of the T is often a harder task master than the toughest coach in challenging a native to overcome obstacles and inner demons. With Neptune being the focal axis of the T itself, it is noteworthy to find it also squared by Barack’s sixth house Sun. This is another classic aspect, often indicating an absent father or a parental figure that has been over idolized or over demonized. Formative years may have been disrupted for one reason or another and the native grapples with building a solid identity, often lapsing into episodes of day dreaming or pointless idealism. Associating with shadowy figures from the wrong side of the tracks, maintaining addictive behaviors, secret affairs or other escapist tendencies are not out of the ordinary for natives with this aspect. We know that Barack made concerted efforts to discover his roots and to bond with an absent father in an overt effort to establish his personal legacy. However, it is also a bit bothersome to consider that the Neptune, the focalized apex of this T square, is additionally stressed by a Square from the Sun, and has ruler ship over the second house of values and resources.

The final actor in this T square drama is the traditional ruler of this chart, Saturn. Saturn is the co-ruler of Aquarius, and the pre-Uranian ruler of that sign. With Aquarius on the ascendant, Saturn is Barack’s chart ruler. Furthermore Saturn is one of the planets involved in this chart’s most exact aspect, the quincunx to Uranus, co-ruler of Aquarius. Saturn is also posited at twenty five degrees in its ruler ship of Capricorn, in its own term, in the twelfth house conjunct Jupiter. Saturn takes precedence over Mercury, the night ruler of the chart, increasing Obama’s 12th house secretive tendency to act conservatively. Keep in mind that Saturn in a day chart is discipline, balance and justice. Saturn in a night chart acts more with repression. According to medievalists, Saturn posited in the 12th house could actually be a positive influence for the native if it was dignified, in a masculine sign and diurnal. Here we find Saturn dignified, but feminine and nocturnal. So we cannot attribute too harmonious a vibe to this position. Rather it indicates a tendency for the native to be reserved, somewhat suspicious, and to appear aloof and rather resistant to change. Also there exists the possibility that the native could exercise certain neglect in some responsibilities. Its strength in this chart is its ruler ship of the 12th with Capricorn on the cusp affording some stamina in opposing personal enemies, and perhaps giving the ability to turn the tables on those who oppose this native’s best interests.

However, Saturn here really is both well aspected yet also afflicted. On one hand graced with a trine from Mars and Ceres, yet on the other it rests at the apex of a finger of God from Uranus and Venus. So he is graced with a natural ability to counsel and nurture through action in a well organized methodical manner. Remember the chair holding for Hillary? But he is also challenged with the need to adjust himself to accommodate necessary internal or external changes that may force themselves upon him to a point where they are not within his control. This is a strong and significant inconjunct. Since this not only exemplifies symbolically the struggle to break free against all rules or limitations on freedom, but also in turn imposes those very same limits upon the individual’s sense of freedom itself. Barack honestly feels the need to talk “change” may wish change, can feel change, but will act uncomfortably to blend into the landscape of the status quo in neat camouflage. The need here is to accommodate balance. Not easily done under these energies, since we are never comfortable with either energy. Interestingly on the very day of the election Uranus and Saturn will be in exact opposition in the general skies not only echoing this energy found in Barack’s natal chart, but also setting off his natal Mars and Saturn by transit. The quincunx to Venus is less problematic since it rather plays out in the sphere of personal relationships where the native is never sure that he is able to shoulder enough responsibility to maintain equilibrium in a relationship. But note these two aspects integrate into a Finger of God focused on that Saturn in the 12th. My read here is that this man is more traditional, more conservative than what he has crafted for his political persona. He will surreptitiously adjust as needed to the landscape despite what is expected.

At the same time, Saturn enjoys a wide opposition from Mercury. I rather discount the traditional interpretation of this aspect which attributes a strict self censoring to the way the individual communicates. I think rather that in this case there is a certain self consciousness in his skills in effectively relaying ideas to others. This influence has manifest in his cautious construction of speeches with structured rhetoric evoking well thought out rationale. Moreover despite this skill there remains a need for positive feedback and admiration. There is also a quincunx from both the north node and the black moon not only indicating that adjustments may be needed to popular will, but also simultaneously indicating a thirst for power at work. There are also karmic aspects with these placements that have a rather dark side as to the native’s fate.

What have we not reflected upon at this point? Oh so much! The inherent rebelliousness inherent in the Uranus square the MC; that charming, compassionate and generous Moon trine Jupiter enhancing friendships, and also marriage; a super enhancement of the two benefics in a less than one degree inconjunct between Venus and Jupiter conferring luck, grace, success and attraction; a wide but still viable super enhancement of Jupiter inconjunct Pluto, granting money and power. But finally, we turn to the most interesting of the aspect configurations in the entire chart. We find another T square.

This one is anchored by a very tight opposition from a 1st house natal Chiron in Pisces to a 7th house Pluto in Virgo, both being squared by an applying Gemini Moon in the 4th. Yikes! This nervous Moon has issues from childhood, although adaptable, clever and witty, decisiveness and focus is not a strong suit. The Pluto square is problematic since it usually indicates deep seated emotional detritus, karmic issues needing adjustment, issues of abandonment or loss, obsessions, lack of trust and kinetic and super charged issues with women. Usually emotional needs are urgent and often manifest as power struggles of some kind. Anonymous physical stimulation is also a trait that could catalyze during transits that set off this aspect. The 4th 7th house involvement here does nothing to minimize these potential complications.

This is not an aspect that allows easy relationships. The square to Chiron compounds the issues, effectively an aspect of the ‘persecution’ complex, or in turn here is a person who can smother and mother at the same time. The Pluto Chiron opposition simply adds more complex layers of guazzo to the configuration. This is a wound of some type, a loss, or abandonment. Sometimes it can indicate the sign of a healer. But as one astrological treatise asserts, “You may flirt with death in an unconscious desire to transcend, transform and overcome the fear”. The native would have had to have experienced a series of transformative personal sagas that integrate these energies and allow for a metamorphosis into a shamanic spirit. Chiron and Pluto are spiritual brothers and echo on the same harmonic plane. Such an opposition in square to the Moon is a dark challenge to the soul. The antithesis to the shaman is quite possible if the energies have not integrated well. The perfect mythic archetype exists in the popular culture of the twentieth century of all those misdirected energies, Darth Vader. This is the Jedi knight who was engulfed by the dark side in an effort to overcome the struggles with inner weaknesses and to save the object of his love; a platonic substitution for the wound of the missing father and lost mother. I find it rather fascinating that the open end of this T square is firmly in the 10th house. Both the challenge and the potential balance to these energies comes from career and recognition, the attempt to resolve the internal dilemma through the exercise of sheer power.

So we are left with an astrological Mirepoix, as with all human beings. There are gifts and challenges, angels and demons, benefits and baggage. Can any of this indicate a great leader or an abject failure? Of course not. Nor could positive or challenging aspects, or symbolic synastrics integrated in comparison to a nation’s chart determine who would be the best captain of that nation’s fate at any given time. What this does allow is a snapshot of the traits that an individual would bring with them into the forefront of the national psyche. Sometimes it is far easier to look back at a particular person in the context of their time in history and to astrologically characterize their overall persona, leadership and character than it is to project the possibilities for a time and place yet to happen. To quote the Cosmic Muffin, “It is a wise man who rules the stars, a fool who is ruled by them.....”

© 2008 CHIRON


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