NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

The Cosmically Stressed Election of 2008

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin




Every four years, the global community of astrologers does
its best to predict the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
Given that astrology can be as much a mantic art as it is a science, and that
astrologers are as subject to political prejudices the same as anyone else, the
results are sometimes mixed. Often the most interesting information
gleaned from an astrological analysis of an election is not who will win, but a
description of conditions surrounding the winning.

For example, in 2000, a number of astrologers clearly foresaw
the uncertainty and "irregularities" surrounding the electoral
process. Jim Shawvan, a San
Diego astrologer, published the following on the
astrological web site

“The election may be so close in some
states that it may be several days before the actual electoral college votes
can be tallied with accuracy. This could involve the counting of absentee
ballots, and possible charges of fraud or irregularities in some places. As of
election night, it may look very much like a Bush victory, but uncertainty may
develop as the count goes on.“–Jim Shawyan

There were other notable hits.
Astrologer Jacob Schwartz of Philadelphia predicted a
long delay in the electoral decision, a situation not usually anticipated in a
typical election. Uncannily, he also predicted that Gore would win the
popular vote, yet still lose the election.
Astrologically, the biggest factor behind these predictions was a profoundly
screwed-up Mercury, the planet associated with communication, information
processing, and, by extension, voting machines.

In 2008, astrologers are again energetically analyzing the
astrological charts of the presumptive candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.
A big impediment has been the lack of reliable birth times for all of the
candidates, but there is a bigger problem. This year, something doesn't
seem right. No one feels good about the astrological conditions on
election day, nor the conditions on inauguration day. There is a shadow
looming over the charts.

A Primal Antagonism

In 2008, the major planetary configuration of interest is a
Saturn-Uranus opposition that occurs on Election Day itself, November
4th. (From a geocentric perspective, the planets will be 180 degrees
apart, or directly opposite each other.) This event begins a series of
five such oppositions that end in July 2010. This is a combination that
occurs approximately every 45 years. This year, the Saturn-Uranus
combination is the astro-elephant in the room. It tells us quite a bit
about the energies surrounding election day, and thus the next four years.

Astrologers see the Saturn-Uranus opposition as particularly
problematical because the natures of the two planets are so different.
While planets beyond Saturn relate to more unconscious and universal themes
beyond our individual control, Saturn itself describes the structures and
boundaries that define our limits within the physical world. In some
sense, Saturn fits the definition of reality as given by Phillip K. Dick as, “that which,
when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” It is the leaden symbol of conservatism,
resisting change and yearning for stasis, if not the past.

Conversely, Uranus is the archetype of change, deviance, and
rebellion. Often acting in a lightning-fast manner, it seeks to tear down
the type of restrictions that are represented by Saturn. In his writings,
the philosopher and cultural historian Richard Tarnas
sees Uranus as Prometheus, the figure who stole fire from the gods and gave it
to men. He calls Prometheus the "Awakener."

While researching material on Ralph Waldo Emerson for a recent article, I
received the gift of a synchronicity. Curiously, I found that Emerson
used the Saturn-Uranus polarity in a cogent political analysis in which he
describes the "primal antagonism" between Conservatives and Reformers.
In his 1841 essay The
Conservative, he relates the following:


“There is a fragment of old fable which
seems somehow to have been dropped from the current mythologies, which may
deserve attention, as it appears to relate to this subject.

Saturn grew weary of sitting alone, or
with none but the great Uranus or Heaven beholding him, and he created an
oyster. Then he would act again, but he made nothing more, but went on creating
the race of oysters. Then Uranus cried, `a new work, O Saturn! the old is not
good again.'

Saturn replied. `I fear. There is not only
the alternative of making and not making, but also of unmaking. Seest thou the
great sea, how it ebbs and flows? so is it with me; my power ebbs; and if I put
forth my hands, I shall not do, but undo. Therefore I do what I have done; I
hold what I have got; and so I resist Night and Chaos.'

`O Saturn,' replied Uranus, `thou canst
not hold thine own, but by making more. Thy oysters are barnacles and cockles,
and with the next flowing of the tide, they will be pebbles and sea-foam.'

`I see,' rejoins Saturn, `thou art in
league with Night, thou art become an evil eye; thou spakest from love; now thy
words smite me with hatred. I appeal to Fate, must there not be rest?' — `I
appeal to Fate also,' said Uranus, `must there not be motion?' — But Saturn
was silent, and went on making oysters for a thousand years.

After that, the word of Uranus came into
his mind like a ray of the sun, and he made Jupiter; and then he feared again;
and nature froze, the things that were made went backward, and, to save the
world, Jupiter slew his father Saturn.” –Emerson



Emerson goes on to summarize the meaning of the passage:

“This may stand for the earliest account
of a conversation on politics between a Conservative and a Radical, which has
come down to us. It is ever thus. It is the counteraction of the centripetal
and the centrifugal forces. Innovation is the salient energy; Conservatism the
pause on the last movement.“–Emerson

Substituting John McCain for Saturn and Barack Obama for
Uranus (and perhaps wars for oysters), the above dialogue make perfect sense in
today's political context. If we work with Emerson's metaphors, we can
see the 2008 election as a critical turning point in the face-off between the
forces of stasis and change, which Emerson describes as the "two
poles of nature." (Notice how often the already-tired phrase
"agent of change" has been used in the campaigns.) But, this
time, the perennial conflict between conservatism and reform seems to involve
something more than the usual empty arguments, and the polarity seems likely to
come to some kind of real denouement, perhaps resembling a
sudden release of tension.

In his recent book Cosmos
and Psyche
, Richard Tarnas presents an exhaustive correlation of historical
and cultural developments with planetary transit cycles. (See RS review by
Daniel Pinchbeck.) Tarnas describes the Saturn-Uranus combination as

“Historical periods in which Saturn and
Uranus moved into dynamic aspect were marked by certain distinctive themes that
were readily intelligible in terms of the archetypal principles associated with
these two planets: the exacerbation of tensions between authority and
rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change. Often the two
archetypal principles combined and interpenetrated in contradictory ways:
repressive revolution, erratically unpredictable authority, and so forth, as
evident during the Terror in revolutionary France
and the Cultural Revolution in communist China… Especially frequent
with this cycle were crises and the sudden collapse of structures, crashes, and
accidents, grim awakenings, and sudden breakdowns, whether political, economic,
or psychological.” –Tarnas

Think 1965-1967, the time of the last Saturn-Uranus opposition.
Unfortunately, Saturn-Uranus energies often manifest with all the subtlety of a
grand mal seizure. This is not the kind of energy that
is conducive to a smooth electoral process. We are entering a stressful


Election Day Chart: Can Everyone Lose?

In May, a panel of astrologers at the United Astrology Congress conference in
Denver offered
their opinions about the 2008 presidential election. The astrologers used
a variety of approaches, but one topic that was discussed is a method commonly
used to predict the outcome of an election: cast a chart for Election Day, then
analyze the charts of the candidates in relation to that it.

In the case of the chart for November 4th, the astrological
indicators were unfortunate for everyone. So, while panel
members gave varying opinions as to whether McCain or Obama would win, the
process was not unlike picking a winner in a horse race being run in a mine

For those who know a bit about astrology, here are some of
the highlights of the planetary morass on Election Day:


*The Saturn-Uranus opposition, previously discussed, becomes
exact at 8:33 AM EST. Significantly, on this day, it acts synergistically
with a number of major structures in the chart, forming an uncomfortable
relationship with the planet Venus, implying stresses on the social order or
(perhaps) international tensions.

*Mercury, our trickster friend from 2000,
moves from the sign Libra to Scorpio at 11:00 AM EST. This places it in
something of an unsettled cosmic state, introducing the possibility of the
kinds of information "irregularities" we saw in 2000.

*In the morning, the Moon is in a sign of
its detriment (Capricorn), and is void of course. It changes signs about
an hour before most of the polls close on the east coast (7:01 PM EST).
This suggests, in the worst case scenario, that the public will not benefit
from the election, and imparts a pointlessness to the day's activities.

*There is a Mars-Neptune square aspect (90
degree separation), symbolizing misdirected or exploitative energies as well as
possible feelings of discontent or wasted effort.


So, what will be the outcome of the election? No one
really knows — all astrologers can do is lay out possibilities and describe
the prevailing energy patterns in effect in that time. It's kind of like
forecasting the psychic weather. Most astrologers don't accept
determinism, and believe that one can consciously work with the symbolism of
the planets to effect a desired outcome. It's a complicated subject, but
the basic idea is that knowledge of upcoming patterns expands your range of
future possibilities. (Or, to put in a Borgesian
sense, it expands the number of paths to choose from in your garden.)

That being said, it is true that certain planetary energies
are more difficult to handle than others. This is certainly the case with
the Saturn-Uranus combination. The combination tends to build up tensions
which are later released in sudden and sometimes disconcerting ways. The
release isn't always destructive, but its exact nature is usually unexpected.

As befits the weird planetary energies of the day, there are some wild theories
brewing about what might happen. These did not originate with
astrologers, but can currently be found on the web. These theories
primarily fall into three categories:


1. No Election

election will be postponed or canceled due to some "national
emergency." This is a fairly popular theory; it usually involves the
occurrence of a terrorist attack on the US or US military action against Iran. Chris
Hedges recently pointed out
that, thanks to the spate of national security
directives the Bush administration has quietly put into place, we are
"one or two terrorist attacks away from a police state." The astrologer Robert Hand has noted that a solar
eclipse that will occur on August 1st, 2008, falls on a very sensitive spot in
George Bush's chart, one that personally connects him to the behind-the-scenes
power structures in the government. The period of time at least a month
before and after this date should be watched carefully. One hopes that
the eclipse is just a harbinger of the president's peaceful transition into
retirement, and not a signal to action given by Bush's "shadowy

2. Vanishing Candidates

One or more candidates will leave the
race. The unfortunate Obama assassination meme is already out there, and
despite being amplified by the artless comments of Hillary Clinton, is too
disturbing to discuss. More likely is some kind of scandal involving one
(or both) of the candidates that may cause him to quit the race. McCain
seems to be more subject to this possibility than Obama, but remember that we
are expecting the unexpected. Cape Cod
astrologer Gary Christen has told me that
he expects a dark horse candidate to materialize after some unfortunate event
befalls the nation or the "orthodox" candidates. Jacob
Schwartz, who did so well in calling the 2000 election, still publicly insists
that Joe Biden will be the Democratic candidate. Now that
would be unexpected.

3. Fraud, Flaws, or Voting Fiascoes

There will be rampant fraud or
data foul-ups on Election Day, and yet another election will be stolen.
Mark Crispin Miller is the editor of a new book, Loser
Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008
If you want to confirm your suspicion that things are worse than you think,
read this book. The democracy is in trouble.

In these times of copious angst, it's illustrative
that the above possibilities, which would have once fallen into the domain of
conspiracy theories, are being given serious consideration in wide circles.


the Timewave into 2012

Terence McKenna's Timewave
concept, based in the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, quantifies the ebb
and flow of a process that culminates on December 21, 2012 — the end of the
Mayan Long Count. This process, called novelty,
represents an invisible temporal quality that describes the degree of
connectedness of entities within time, an idea described by Whitehead as concrescence. A novel entity exhibits newness and creativity — an example might be
a collection of people or ideas that have been brought together for the first
time. Typically, periods of high novelty are marked by dynamic change and
integration of new ideas. On the other hand, the lack of novelty connotes
periods characterized by terms like stasis and habit
— times of low creativity and relative disjunction.

McKenna's description of novelty vs. habit sounds strikingly
like Emerson's description of the "two poles of nature" encapsulated
in the Saturn-Uranus polarity. If we entertain the premise that McKenna
was on to something — despite technical criticisms of the Timewave theory —
then the occurrence of the Saturn-Uranus oppositions from 2008 to 2010 may be
the leading indicators of a final descent into novelty culminating in

Given that we will be in unfamiliar territory, how can we ensure the most positive
possible future given the stressful nature of the next few years? On a
recent YouTube
video, Mark Crispin Miller makes some good practical suggestions:

“I don't want people to freak out, or stay
home and lock the door. On the contrary: It's crucial for us all to keep
our heads, and have our eyes wide open. If these things take us by surprise, we are that much more
vulnerable to being manipulated [and] pushed around, maybe with fatal
consequences. If, however, we can be well aware of the nature of the
people in charge, and not be surprised by the steps they take, we'll be
strengthened by that kind of preparation, and we'll be able to resist.“–Miller

His advice is based on a worst-case scenario view of where we're headed.
However, in the opposing energies of Saturn and Uranus, there also exists the
potential for positive revolutionary change, a new beginning.

Emerson writes:

“The boldness of the hope men entertain
transcends all former experience. It calms and cheers them with the picture of
a simple and equal life of truth and piety. And this hope flowered on what
tree? It was not imported from the stock of some celestial plant, but grew here
on the wild crab of conservatism. It is much that this old and vituperated
system of things has borne so fair a child. It predicts that amidst a planet
peopled with conservatives, one Reformer may yet be born.

Perhaps this is an eerie adumbration of a 2008 campaign speech written in
1841. But we will realize stranger things before the year is over.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RS Newsletter

Related Posts

Hallucinations 101

Hallucinations can occur for various reasons and in different ways. Drugs, medications and mental illness can all cause delusions. They can be treated by a medical professional once the reason for the illusions is determined. Let’s explore how hallucinations are generated and how to treat them.  What Are Hallucinations? Hallucinations are experiences created by the

Read More »

Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

A common experience for psychonauts is of feeling as though they have discovered some previously hidden meaning and purpose in the universe.  Many who undergo psychedelic experiences come away feeling as if everything happens for a reason, that there is a grand logic underlying existence.  This is an idea that philosophy and religions have explored

Read More »

Reality Sandwich uses cookies to
ensure you get the best experience
on our website. View our Privacy
Policy for more information.