Author's Introduction: This article first appeared in the Leo/Virgo 1996 issue of Welcome to Planet Earth magazine. The impact of the first occultation of the fixed star Aldebaran in 19 years on the candidates is highlighted. A review of the events that occurred during the last cycle may give us insight into the problems that will be faced by the next President.
Hot Fun in the Summertime:
Lunations and Occultations Visit the Conventions and Candidates...
by Gloria R. Lalumia

This year's presidential conventions are already a done deal as far as the nominating process is concerned. But there is plenty of opportunity for some interesting happenings as the hoopla unfolds.

Setting the tone for both conventions is transiting Pluto's change in direction on August 10 as it goes stationary-direct (at 0 degrees 19.9 minutes Sagittarius), which emphasizes how voters will be forced to redirect their attention to the philosophical differences between the parties. But the lunations that will be occurring during each convention will highlight the problems and challenges facing each candidate.

Of New Moons and Full Moons...

While the Republican National Convention in San Diego is being held from August 12-16, a number of strong transits will affect the charts of Bob Dole and the USA (4:47 chart). The chart of the New Moon, which occurs on August 14, well summarizes the contacts during convention week. Transiting Jupiter, quincunxing the USA Uranus from the end of July until 10 days after the convention, remains within half a degree of Uranus during convention week, indicating disruption from rebellious forces in the party. Reinforcing this energy is transiting Mars conjuncting the USA Sun (which conjuncts Jupiter and squares Saturn), a contact which implies fireworks over attempts to define views over belief systems, particularly the controlling influence of religious interests. Transiting Neptune triggers the USA Pluto-Mercury opposition by closely opposing Mercury. The Sun-Moon conjunction (New Moon) at 21 Leo 47 also connects with Mercury through the latter's close conjunction with the Vertex and Part of Fortune (both at 21 Cancer in the 8th House). Apart from a compulsive desire to communicate a message, these combinations can represent a relentless talent for unearthing secret information and dramatic encounters. Combined with Neptune, the implication is that "muddying the waters" with regard to information concerning Republican policies, internal conflicts within the party (Buchanan, for example), and President Clinton's Whitewater and FBI woes will be a prime feature of the convention.

A Full Moon occurs during the Democratic National Convention (August 26-29, 1996 in Chicago)on August 28th. The chart's angles match those of the USA chart (Sagittarius/Gemini Ascendant-Descendant;Virgo/Pisces MC-IC) and the Sun-Moon opposition (Full Moon)(sextiling and trining the USA Jupiter-Venus combination, respectively) falls on the 3rd-9th House axis indicating a great opportunity is present for effective communication with the nation.

Transiting Saturn squaring the USA Jupiter-Venus, suggests that during the convention, Democrats, although optimistic about their election chances, realize that they will have to work to regain their strength in Congress and convince the electorate that President Clinton should be reelected. Transiting Jupiter's contacts to the USA ASC and Nodes reinforce how important the electorate's perception of the Democrats' convention message will be. The Democrats are also interested in building enthusiasm and excitement over their key social issues (North Node trine USA Uranus) to counter the threat of complacency among supporters. The transiting Mars-Venus combination sextile the USA Neptune-Midheaven might enhance the Democrats' understanding of the mood and needs of the country; however, transiting Neptune's opposition to the USA 8th House Mercury, as with the Republican convention, illustrates intense concern over communication and image--in the Democrats' case, trying to present President Clinton's problems with Republican investigations in the best possible light.

The Candidates

Each presidential candidate will be strongly influenced by the lunations that will occur during the conventions. The New Moon of August 14 will closely conjunct Bob Dole's 5th House Part of Fortune (5 degrees from his Neptune)signaling that the convention will provide the opportunity for Dole to finally "loosen up" and reveal more of his true self. Image makers will want to show his warm, fuzzy side. The New Moon will also touch his MC-IC axis (which pulls in the Sun-Mercury conjunction, Venus and Uranus), quincunxing the MC and semisextiling the IC, and perhaps indicating there will be an opportunity to adjust Dole's image in the world by presenting the story of his life in a new way and having voters get to know "the real Bob Dole." Transiting Venus and Saturn Rx both contact the ASC-DESC (Taurus/Scorpio) axis which also involves Mars and Jupiter. Venus's sextile and Saturn's semisextile to the ASC offers Dole a chance to take advantage of a stable and controlled avenue of communication during the convention and aggressively work toward making a favorable impression on conventioneers and the public. On more personal terms, the Venus trine to his Scorpio DESC intensifies his enjoyment of gaining the nomination as he shares his victory with his closest partner, wife Elizabeth, although the Saturn Rx quincunx may remind him of the restrictions that will be placed on his private life as he assumes the responsibilities of the campaign and, perhaps, the presidency.

During the Democratic convention, the Full Moon (Sun at 5 Virgo 41, Moon at 4 Pisces 41) and transiting Saturn Rx will be aspecting all the angles of Bill Clinton's chart indicating that during this period, Clinton will be facing serious issues with regard to how he presents himself to his associates, intimates, and how his past will affect his future actions. (Saturn Rx will conjunct the DESC and square the MC/IC axis; the Moon will trine the MC, sextile the IC and quincunx the ASC and semisextile the DESC. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune are also involved by aspect to the angles.) The seriousness of the concerns about communication is further highlighted by the fact that the Full Moon axis falls across the 3rd and 9th Houses and Clinton's 10th House Mercury-Saturn conjunction is aspected by transiting Jupiter Rx (quincunxing Mercury) and Uranus (opposing Saturn).

Other key aspects include Full Moon Saturn Rx opposing, and Jupiter squaring, Clinton's 1st House Mars-Neptune conjunction, while transiting Neptune Rx will be quincunxing his 11th House Sun. Clinton may have to work hard to articulate his future plans for the country and to appear credible. The ideals he presents should be attainable and well-thought-out so that voters can get a real sense of what he really stands for.

The Moon Occults Aldebaran

This year's conventions are also coinciding with an event that happens once every 18-19 years--the Moon will be occulting the fixed star Aldebaran. On August 8, just before the start of the presidential conventions launch the election campaign season, the Moon will begin a series of occultations of Aldebaran that will continue until February 14, 2000. Although the fixed stars are considered to be only "modifiers" in a chart, a preliminary investigation of occultations to the stars closest to the ecliptic provides some intriguing food for thought.

An occultation occurs when a celestial body blocks the light of another object in the sky. Among astronomers, the term is most often used to refer to events where the Moon is blocking the light of another object, whether it is the Sun (an eclipse), a planet, an asteroid, or a star. In other words, from the Earth we see the Moon conjuncting another body. Four fixed stars lie close enough to the ecliptic so that they are occulted by the Moon periodically--Spica, and three of the four traditional "Royal Stars," Regulus, Antares, and Aldebaran. (Fomalhaut is the only "Royal Star" that is not near the ecliptic.) Since fixed stars traditionally are believed to "cast no rays," close conjunctions are the primary aspects that are considered. Because Aldebaran and Antares, both 1st magnitude stars, lie just minutes apart on opposite sides of the Zodiac, they are usually considered together as an axis.

The "Royal Stars," or "Watchers of the Heavens," may be traced back to the Persians of 3,000 B.C. when their positions at the angles of the Zodiac marked each of the solstices. Tradition has associated them with qualities found in certain planets. For example, Spica's nature is associated with Venus, with some Mars influence; Regulus with Jupiter with added Mars influence; Aldebaran with Mars; and Antares with Mars and some Jupiter influence. More specific characteristics include:

Spica--productive and creative, associated with honors, fame, and good fortune as well as social success and achievement in the arts and sciences. Restless in nature. Well-aspected, can be victorious in war.

Regulus--associated with powerful people such as rulers, political and business leaders. Can raise people to power, but it will not necessarily be permanent. Can denote strength of character, but also can effect disgrace, falls from power, violence, and assassination.

Aldebaran--can bring great energy and drive but is very volatile. Can give courage, power, honor and high position, but can cause great hostility from others, resulting in heavy losses, violence, and murder.

Antares--considered to be a basically "malefic" star. Shares characteristics with Aldebaran, but brings along more impulsive, headstrong, malevolent, and destructive tendencies. May be self-destructive as it is suspicious and prone to exaggeration and lying. Good strategic ability in military situations but may bring about own death and disgrace because of enmity it creates in others.

When any of these stars is joined with the Moon, we can expect a dramatic heightening of feelings and emotions involving issues of power and leadership. According to Alan Oken, Antares' Jupiterian quality may also manifest as a deep interest in philosophical ideas when the Moon is in conjunction.

So how do the fixed stars fit in with this political season? Fixed stars move very slowly (they've only moved 1 degree since Bob Dole was born in 1923!) so the current position of the Aldebaran-Antares axis (9 Gemini 44 and 9 Sagittarius 43) has been hovering over the USA(4:47) DESC-ASC since the birth of the republic. But on August 8, the Moon will begin occulting Aldebaran, which is within 1 degree of the USA Uranus which conjuncts the USA DESC. As of this writing (June 1996), the U.S. has just averted trade sanctions on China by using threats; is confronting Japan and trade protectionist issues involving film; and faces Bosnian elections in the fall and the repercussions following the Soviet election. Bob Dole is likely to step up his attacks on President Clinton's foreign policy as a result. Apart from international issues, the overarching philosophical differences between the parties will again be outlined in the party platforms and convention speeches.

On a personal level, the Aldebaran-Antares axis falls across Bob Dole's natal 2nd-8th Houses. Dole's pragmatic Senatorial style and perseverance as a legislator are well-respected (2nd House Taurus influence combined with the Gemini cusp communicating and negotiating skills). But in past presidential bids Dole has also revealed a nasty, harsh side once campaigning outside the confines of the Senate (8th House Scorpionic influences combined with the worldly Sagittarius cusp). The occultation will trigger this axis and we can expect to see some particularly nasty campaigning coming from Dole and the Republicans.

Bill Clinton was born with a Spica-Jupiter conjunction in Libra in his first house. This combination may help Clinton survive the onslaught of character issues that will be used against him in the campaign. Just as the Full Moon will be triggering his 3rd-9th House axis during the convention, the Moon will be occulting the Aldebaran-Antares axis which falls across his natal 3rd and 9th Houses (Sagittarius and Gemini cusps, respectively) on August 8. Clinton's effectiveness at connecting with the nation, and appearing sincere and truthful, is clearly on the line. If he communicates well during the convention, the question will be whether he will be able to hold onto whatever positive bounce he creates. Already facing Saturn pressures, will the self-destructive influence of Antares lead to a fall? Will past blunders finally catch up with his presidency?

The Occultation Cycles--The Bigger Picture

Since the late 1970's a series of outer planet configurations has coincided with a period of violent upheaval in the world's political and social structures. For most of the period from 1977 through 1988, Neptune and Pluto were in sextile; around the beginning of 1984, both changed signs, Neptune moving from Sagittarius into Capricorn and Pluto moving from Libra into Scorpio. Unrealistic ideals gave way to a dissolving of faith in governmental structures while alienation, power struggles and survival issues were bringing about intense transformative experiences to society (for example, AIDS).

On the political stage, a series of conjunctions describes the upheaval that has occurred during this period of recent history. Beginning with the 1980-81 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, a string of powerful conjunctions have involved Jupiter-Pluto (1981); Saturn-Pluto (1982); Jupiter-Uranus ((1983); Jupiter-Neptune (1984); Saturn-Uranus (1988); and Uranus-Neptune (1992-1993). Rebellion against the status quo, the sudden disintegration of social structures and the creation of new democracies, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and terrorism were all products of this period of ferment.

The Moon's occultations of the fixed stars further accentuate the tensions of this period. The previous series of occultations of Aldebaran ran from January 19, 1978 to April 8, 1981, overlapping with the occultation of Regulus from mid-1979 through the end of 1980. A simple count of major events recorded in almanacs and yearbooks shows that from 1978 through 1981 political leaders in 14 countries were assassinated, internal unrest (coups, protest, and civil war) occurred in at least 16 countries, and 6 conflicts between nations erupted. Between 1982 and 1985, when there were no occultations of fixed stars, there were 4 assassinations of political leaders, 1 failed assassination attempt, 5 incidences of internal political unrest, and 4 conflicts between nations.

When Antares was occulted between 1986 and 1991 the unrest picked up again, although Spica's occultation from 1987 and 1989 seemed to reduce the negative effects of the upheaval. While there were 8 political assassinations and 14 incidents between countries (including terrorist attacks), many of the 40 internal conflicts involved the collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of new democracies. During Spica's latest period of occultation from the end of 1993 through the first half of 1995 the incidence of political violence dropped significantly. Internationally, the MidEast, Bosnia, and Chechnya were among the few areas harboring unrest; domestically, several attacks on the White House raised concern over the President's safety.

This year's events seem to be setting the stage for the next Aldebaran cycle which begins on August 8 and ends on February 14, 2000. The Unabomber (who started his string of bombings in May, 1978, just after the beginning of the previous Aldebaran occultation cycle, was captured, but the Freemen rejected the U.S. government, and a series of church burnings seems to have escalated. Internationally, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated recently and a new hardline government has been elected. Korea has faced internal conflict, China has threatened Taiwan, Liberia is collapsing into chaos, and Bosnia and Chechnya remain hot spots.

What will the next four years bring?

During the occultation of Aldebaran, Jupiter will be conjuncting Neptune and Uranus in 1997, and Regulus will be occulted from June 1998 through October 1999. Idealism, rebellion, political assassination. Will a period of intense violence be triggered as was the case during the previous Aldebaran occultation? Will the next president face more serious threats on his life? Occultations to the fixed stars may hold the decisive bit of information. Just keep your eye on the Moon and the Aldebaran-Antares axis.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Almanacs--Word Almanac Book of Facts, Information Please Almanac. Chronology of World Events, 1988-1995.

Bondi, Victor. Ed. American Decades 1970-1979; 1980-1989. Gale Research, Detroit, MI, 1995.

Martin, Vivian B. Astrocycles. Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1990.

Meeus, Jean. Astronomical Table of the Sun, Moon & Planets. Willmann- Bell, Inc., Richmond, VA, 1983; 2nd edition, 1995.

Oken, Alan. Alan Oken's Complete Astrology. Bantam Book, New York, NY. Revised Edition, 1988.

Rosenberg, Diana K. Fixed Star Workbook. Self-published. Date unknown.


Copyright 1996 by Gloria R. Lalumia. All Rights Reserved. Republished here by permission of the author.
Gloria R. Lalumia lectures and writes on astrological topics and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Astrological Society of Princeton, N.J.

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