20-Nov-2017, 14:39 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
|Chart of the moment|
Liz Hargreaves imagines herself as outgoing President Obama’s astrologer. What would she have advised and foreseen if he’d first consulted her on his controversial, now threatened health care reform? Read on…
With US President Barack Obama’s departure from office on 20 January 2017, I thought I would take an astrological look at one of the key policies of his administrations, the so-called ‘Obamacare’.
One of his guiding principles has been: “A strong nation made up of strong families”. He saw that more accessible and affordable healthcare was key to this end and he was aware of the sensitivities surrounding this issue for voters who were excluded.
A nation (see US Sibley/Obama biwheel chart) with Sun, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in Cancer, along with Chiron in the 4th in Aries, was always going to respond strongly to this and to someone with an all-pervading natal Moon falling in the US’s 6th house which rules health services.
Reform came in the shape of the Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) of 2010. The intention was to make quality health insurance more affordable, to expand coverage and reduce healthcare costs. But, at time of writing, it still isn’t fully implemented and there is no doubt that Obamacare has been beset by years of political and legal gridlock and challenges. President Elect Donald Trump indicated in November 2016 that he plans to retain some parts of Obamacare (such as coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions) despite campaign vows to end it altogether.
I imagined myself in the role of astrologer to President Obama and what I might have said if I had been told about his healthcare reform plans just before first Inauguration Day in early 2009, and asked about the likelihood of success.
I would have said something along the lines of: “Mr. Obama, I can completely understand how you are eager to start pushing healthcare reform through right now and set the tone for the future, but the long-term astrological outlook does look to be extremely challenging and it is possible you could be beset with struggles and difficulties for up to a decade due to difficult transits”. My chart analysis follows in italics:
I would have seen his progressed Sun in the very late degrees of Virgo, which may have given a sense of urgency to any health-related policy, in the progressed chart 3rd house (which rules administration) and in the natal 8th house (which rules transformation and deep-rooted change). Also, his progressed MC was in very early Aries in natal 2nd house, probably auguring an eagerness to be seen to be getting on with things and follow-through on his promises.
His progressed Moon, just in natal 1st in Aquarius, was exactly conjunct natal Aquarius Ascendant, so perhaps he wanted to set a tone of reform for the years ahead, with family care being a high priority.
Transiting Chiron (which may rule Virgo/6th house) in Aquarius was in his natal 1st house and also exactly conjunct Ascendant, which could have encouraged a personal mission to take on reforming healthcare.
For the long-range outlook, I would have looked for outer planet transits (see the Obama tri-wheel chart) to his two natal t-squares (both containing his powerful natal Moon in the nation’s 6th house), Mystic Rectangle and water Grand Trine, which I think are all very relevant to Obamacare. Within the t-squares, the most difficult challenges, obstacles and recurring themes in life can be found. But t-squares can also point to someone’s greatest achievements:
T-square 1 (for the purposes of this article) has two fixed points, giving him determination in the relevant chart areas (7th house and MC) and one mutable planet, giving a desire to serve in the chart area the mutable planet falls in. The mutable planet is natal Moon in Cancer-ruled 4th, making him innately sensitive to the needs of his own family. The Moon (in the nation’s 6th) is lead planet in the Locomotive chart shape and in dignity in Gemini, bestowing an instinct to connect families with the care they need. Moon square North Node at apex in Leo in the 7th house indicates a drive to protect families of others: a possible constructive outlet for the t-square is via the Aquarian theme of reform. Moon [out of sign] opposition his Scorpio MC may bring circumstances that enable him to push for changes in care provision, possibly by putting him in a position to make the decisions. To complete the t-square, his Scorpio MC is square North Node in Leo, bringing an innate potential to drive fundamental change as a leader for the benefit of others.
T-square 2 (for the purposes of this article) is mutable which brings flexibility, but he could also be over-accommodating in the three chart areas involved. It consists of Chiron (possibly ruling Virgo/6th house) in natal 1st in Pisces, which may point to selfless action for the health of others, square Moon (in nation’s 6th) giving determination to protect the health of his own family and the health of the nation’s families. Gemini Moon at apex suggests a positive outlet for these feelings that could be found via a Sagittarian theme, such as justice. Moon is square Pluto giving a drive to transform family care. And Chiron opposite Pluto (in Virgo/7th) may be viewed as innate willingness to act selflessly, in spite of opposition, to transform health services for the benefit of others. Whenever this t-square is set off by transit, it will be linked to the water Grand Trine via Chiron and heightens any sensitivity.
Natal Moon (in US’s 6th) connects natal t-squares so it is very important when looking at Obamacare.
A Mystic Rectangle pattern can indicate the ability to make full use of skills and sustain productive effort in the chart areas involved over a prolonged period of time:
The Mystic Rectangle in Obama’s chart contains Obama’s Moon in the 4th Cancer-themed house (in the nation’s 6th) sextile Mercury in Leo in the natal 6th, so opportunities may be presented to him as a leader to care for the nation’s families through an affordable (a Cancerian theme) healthcare bill. Mercury Leo trines Scorpio (also a fixed sign) MC amplifying determination, as does MC sextile Jupiter in fixed Aquarius in the Neptune-themed 12th which could bring opportunities to see justice done to his ideals through reform, facilitated by high social standing. His Moon (in US’s 6th) trines Aquarius Jupiter, giving him enthusiasm and humanitarian concern for the wellbeing of families. Inside the Rectangle is Moon opposite MC indicating determination, most probably in the face of opposition, to transform the nation’s health services in some way, during the course of his career. Mercury in the 6th opposite Jupiter may give him conviction but possibly also blind optimism about intended health reform. But natal Jupiter conjunct natal Saturn in Capricorn adds some realism.
Moon opposite MC links this Mystic Rectangle to t-square 1 which could bring much inner and outer tension into the reform process, when activated by a difficult transit. Mercury trine MC links it to t-square 1 which could be advantageous during transits, or just as easily work quickly against him. As Moon links both t-squares, this pattern could influence their manifestation.
With a natal Grand Trine, the ease of flow between the relevant chart areas can work positively or negatively. During transits to a water Grand Trine there is the possibility of giving in too readily to the demands of others (which could be emphasised in Obama’s chart by the connection to the mutable t-square through Chiron) and oversensitivity. But a water Grand Trine can also bring the gift of escaping difficult situations:
Starting the analysis with natal Venus in Cancer, I can see that the protection of family relationships is in Obama’s nature (no doubt made easier if the family has access to affordable care), in the 5th (improving childcare has been central to his policies). Venus trines Neptune in the 9th in Scorpio (an idealist having the optimism and belief that he can bring about change through legal channels). Neptune trines Chiron in Pisces in the 1st house which amplifies an innate willingness to act selflessly and champion the cause of transforming healthcare and, through Chiron trine Venus in Cancer, he can protect family relationships.
These chart patterns would all, at some time or another over the ten years from 2008, experience many difficult transits, due a large number of retrogrades.
I would also have seen that transits to his dignified Sun and in the Virgo-themed 6th had an important role to play. This is emphasised further by Sun square Neptune in the water Grand Trine (which links Sun to t-square 2 via Neptune trine Chiron, and so links Sun to Moon in the nation’s 6th). This brings an even stronger dose of selfless idealism and sensitivity into the picture, but perhaps also more ability to escape problematic events. Natal Virgo Mars, in the 7th that suggests much energy directed towards health and service to others, would also be subject to difficult transits.
To begin with, I would have seen the likelihood of serious political gridlock:
Tr Saturn Retrograde in Virgo would be in no mood for fun, forming an exact conjunction with natal Mars in Virgo on 29 December 2008 (just before Obama’s first inauguration) and again on 28 August 2009. It wouldn’t move away until mid-September 2009.
I would have seen this as setting the tone for his Presidency beset with restrictions, obstructions, limitations and obstacles from a more conservative source. In fact, once he became President, the Republicans vowed to obstruct Obama in making progress on health service reform in any way they could:
This could be exacerbated by tr Pluto in early degrees of Capricorn making its first quincunx aspect to natal Moon (in the nation’s 6th) on 2 February 2009, just after his first Inauguration Day.
Tr Pluto, agent of transformation (and possibly endings and beginnings), is in natal 11th house of personal ambitions themed by Uranus, the humanitarian and reformer. From the beginning of 2009 to autumn 2010, Pluto would make four exact quincunx aspects to natal Mercury (in the Mystic Rectangle) in the 6th house.
I would see during this transit the possibility of being forced by the big boys to let go of some of his reform plans or start again with some from scratch. (There were serious negotiations and political gridlock between the Obama administration and the Senate regarding the health bill throughout 2009 to spring 2010. Obamacare survived, possibly due to the protection of the Mystic Rectangle and, interestingly, became law when his natal Mercury was having a breather from Pluto.):
Tr Pluto in Capricorn would also make four exact oppositions to natal Venus in Cancer (in the water Grand Trine) in the Natal 5th. This aspect was exact on first Inauguration Day and moved away in September 2010.
This could be a politically sensitive time of opposition to unpalatable financial risk, perhaps concerning younger people; and possibly a defensive legal move might become necessary. In fact, there were threats from insurance companies during this time to increase premiums, due in large part to healthier young people choosing to opt out (which seems ever-present). Further legislation limiting long-term hikes in premiums was agreed but this problem didn't go away (the Grand Trine working against him). Interestingly, on the day Obamacare was signed into law, natal Venus was also getting a break from Pluto.
Uranus is Obama’s chart ruler and so is he no doubt sensitive to its transits….
I would have seen tr Uranus the reformer in natal 1st making trouble through its opposition to Obama’s Mars in Virgo in 7th for some time (perhaps unexpected opposition from detractors preventing him moving forward with his health service plans) and that it would form the last of three exact oppositions at the beginning of December 2009, remaining within 2-degree orb until mid-February 2010.
This could suggest, in very simple terms, a situation developing where he may be put out on a limb at some point; or perhaps an unexpected manoeuvre from the opposition would occur to obstruct him in acting on health-service reform.
(In 2010, opposition came from an unexpected Virgoan politician! In January, just before Uranus moved on for good from natal Mars in Virgo, Republican Senator Scott Brown [a Virgo being somewhat critical of a health policy] came into the fray after winning a special election. Also, in early 2010, the Republican-controlled House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Both these efforts to scupper reform failed to take hold [Uranus was in Pisces when aspecting natal Mars] and the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] was signed into law on 23 March 2010, which probably no one could have foreseen in January 2009.)
There were criticisms that the Affordable Care Act had been rushed through, that the legislation was much too watered-down, unwelcome financial risks (especially involving younger people) were being forced upon the insurers, and an unacceptably large amount of taxpayers’ money was being committed.
Does the astrology suggest that Obama may have wanted to hurry the bill through the various stages? I think it does:
His progressed MC in Aries (being seen as or wanting to be seen as moving quickly) had been trine (speeding things up further) natal Leo Mercury in natal 6th house (with a health service bill in his position as leader) since early June 2009 and was in orb until early October 2010. This progression activated natal Mystic Rectangle via natal Mercury opposition Jupiter in Aquarius (which adds more ‘fire’ energy to the reform process). Also, as his progressed Sun in natal 8th was about to leave health-conscious Virgo, there could have been a deepening sense of urgency about the bill for him.
On signing day itself, there was also a lot of ‘fire’ energy around for Obama and healthcare themes were prominent due to an active natal 6th house…
Mars transited Leo in natal 6th and exactly conjoined natal Mercury. Tr Aries Sun exactly trines natal Mercury (both these aspects set off the Mystic Rectangle which is linked to the t-squares via natal Moon in the US’s 6th) and tr Aries Mercury exactly trines natal Sun in Leo in the 6th (natal Sun squares Neptune in the Grand Trine to speed things up further).
So Obama could well have been in a hurry to sign the bill into law, perhaps having to use all the resources available to him.
Most legislation is subject to compromise (or being ‘watered down’) as it goes through the various stages, but does the astrology suggest that Obamacare may have been unusually affected?
Well, there had been a lot of the ‘water’ element around for Obama in the relevant chart areas for some time, enough I think for this to be significant:
Tr Uranus Direct in Pisces had come in for the first of four sesquiquadrates (delaying) to natal Sun (linked to the water Grand Trine) in the 6th house in late June 2009 and was exact again for hit two on signing day.
His solar arc Moon in Cancer had been in his natal 6th house since late October 2008, just before he was elected for the first time.
His progressed Ascendant in Cancer had moved into natal 6th house in late September 2009 when it was in semi-square aspect (interrupting flow) to natal Moon, lasting till signing day (two t-squares and Mystic Rectangle), in the Cancer-themed 4th (and the nation’s 6th).
Obama’s progressed Moon/Chiron in Pisces (Neptunian with Chiron possibly linked to Virgo/6th) had been together in the progressed 9th house (associated with Jupiter, co-ruler of Pisces; and rules law) since mid-December 2009.
Also, I think the astrology suggests there may have been some ‘watering-down’ on the day:
Tr Jupiter in Pisces (lots of ‘water’) in natal 1st house was semi-square (‘swamping’) natal Jupiter in Aquarius (connected to natal t-squares and Moon in the nation’s 6th via the Mystic Rectangle) - his national health service reform law.
His progressed Moon was in sensitive Pisces in natal 1st, and, on the day, was in very tight opposition to natal Pluto in Virgo (in mutable t-square 2 which involves his natal Moon in the nation’s 6th). Perhaps in the few weeks leading up to signing day, he decided to give more ground to ensure the survival of his bill. This aspect was exact on signing day so, if this was the case, things may have come to a head.
Also, tr Moon in Cancer (care, insurance) was sextile natal Pluto in Virgo between 12:40 and 16:40 hours EDT. This gives even more opportunity for the water element to get involved in the survival of the bill if it was signed between these times.
Is there any astrology to suggest that there were financial risks regarding younger people that may not have been fully appreciated at the time? I think there is…
Tr Moon in Cancer (families and care, insurance) in natal 5th (financial risk, young people) was exactly trine natal Chiron in the 1st, which as I’ve said already, possibly rules Virgo and the 6th house (easily under-estimated when championing a cause related to health services), in Pisces (Neptune-ruled) in mutable t-square and water Grand Trine involving Neptune (and the full extent possibly not appreciated at the time) between 10am and 1pm EDT on the day.
(What has actually happened is that healthier, wealthier, younger people who were perhaps being relied on to subsidise the scheme by not calling on it, are preferring to opt out, pay the necessary fines and take the risk of staying uninsured.)…
Also, tr Saturn exalted in Libra in his natal 8th house (protracted legal problems with government regarding the liberal spending of other people’s money) was exactly square natal Venus in Cancer in natal 5th (forcing them to bear the financial risk involving insurance and younger people) and the natal water Grand Trine (the extent of which could have been under-estimated).
(Obamacare is costing the government, i.e. taxpayers, huge sums and causing losses for insurers who are being forced to underwrite older voters and younger people with pre-existing health conditions. This transit moved on in late August 2010 but seems to have set the tone for the future as this issue keeps coming back again and again.)
So, now back to January 2009 (with no notion of actual signing day) and the forecast: the ‘water’ element would continue its influence which could mean giving yet more ground in the future and continuing uncertainty…
Tr Uranus in Pisces comes in for two more sesquiquadrate aspects with Obama’s Sun, which is connected to natal Moon (in the nation’s 6th), in autumn 2010 and in winter 2010/2011.
In early June 2011, a retrograde Neptune in Pisces in natal 1st would be within orb of a first quincunx with natal Mercury in the natal 6th (in the natal Mystic Rectangle involving natal Moon in two t-squares in the nation’s 6th) possibly leading to a far-reaching and difficult-to-contain event which could undermine his administration’s progress.
(In2011, new legal challenges appeared from twenty-six states with the most serious from Florida, and hearings lasted for most of the year. Florida is thought to be ruled by Pisces! Also, Judge Roger Vinson of Florida, who ruled against Obamacare and tried to invalidate the entire law, was born on the day when Sun moved into Pisces.)
Tr Neptune in Pisces will make four more exact quincunxes to natal Mercury before moving away on 5 January 2014.
The bulk of Obamacare provisions went into effect on 1 January 2014 just as Neptune moved away from this aspect. But even now the provisions are still not fully implemented.
However, there are signs that Obamacare has made a real difference to the coverage of healthcare provision, which could in part be due to the well-connected and influential natal Moon (in the nation’s 6th) gravitating towards leading (lead planet) the campaign. In May 2016, according to Obamacarefacts.com, the Uninsurance Rate had fallen to an all-time low and an estimated 20 to 30 million more Americans have access to health insurance.
Does astrology provide any clues as to the future for Obamacare? I think Neptune will have a big say in this as I think it has done throughout:
It has already returned (in Pisces, its own sign, and in natal 1st) to make more waves, and has started to make one of the five exact quincunx aspects to Obama’s natal Sun in natal 6th, the first of which was in early June 2016. This aspect continues on and off all the way forward to mid-November 2018 and will set off the sensitive natal Sun square natal Neptune in the 9th in the water Grand Trine - this last involves Chiron in Pisces (ruled by Neptune), whose relevance to health is noted elsewhere above.
This suggests that Obama could face deep ideological differences regarding Obamacare for almost two years after leaving office, and possibly that it may not survive in its present form [as appears to be the case under Trump]. If he does take on the role of trying to rescue Obamacare himself (which I think the astrology suggests he might: he sought to persuade Trump not to abandon it at their first meeting at the White House in November 2016), he will probably have to call on absolutely all the resources available to him in order to do so. We probably won’t get any clarity until this quincunx has worked its way through.
Obama no doubt wants to leave a legacy of lasting healthcare reform that continues to increase the number of Americans with access to affordable healthcare. His supporters regard Obamacare to be his central legacy, but others still think of it as unfinished business. Tr Uranus, now in Aries in his natal 2nd house, started forming a quincunx with natal Mars in Virgo at the end of April 2016. This may bring in rapid, perhaps unexpected, changes, and possibly a surprising turn of events as his life focus changes on leaving office. This aspect doesn't move on until mid-March 2017.
Astrologically and politically, the future for Obamacare still seems to be very uncertain. But much activity on signing day involving very tight aspects to his natal North Node in Leo in the 7th house (linked to the all-pervading power of his natal Moon in the nation’s 6th house) from tr Uranus in natal 2nd in Pisces, tr Neptune/ Chiron in Aquarius, both in the natal 1st, suggests this: that although Obamacare was not fully formed on signing day, Barack Obama’s selflessness, courage and strength in initiating healthcare reform (to the benefit of many) could be strongly linked to his life purpose.
First published by: The Astrological Journal, 2017.
Liz Hargreaves wanted to be an astrologer ever since seeing an 8-year-old school friend's project on astrology and feeling an immediate connection with its symbols. A more conventional life awaited but astrology books always provided a doorway to a more familiar world. Liz retired early from her career as an Independent Financial Adviser and started to study for the Mayo School Diploma. She was tutored by Wendy Stacey and passed with distinction in June 2016. Liz enjoys writing and has decided to start her new life as an astrologer contributing articles in an accessible style. Liz's contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charts provided by the author
Signature: By Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Protests in 2009: By NYyankees51 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
© Liz Hargreaves - published by The Astrological Journal / 2016
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20-Nov-2017, 14:39 UT/GMT
|Explanations of the symbols|
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