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America Eclipsed

The Great American Eclipse, of August 21st, at 19:11 BST, which crosses the entire mainland USA and hits the President Trump’s Mars-ascendant, is the subject of frenzied speculation among stargazers. As if the first eclipse to hit the USA in well over a generation is not enough, its falling in the royal sign of Leo signifies the - symbolic - death of Kings, which for Donald Trumps’s opponents means the longed-for impeachment, assassination, resignation, end of. This will be a time of hubris and narcissism, though all expressions of lèse–majesté should be tempered with the knowledge that we get the government we deserve.

The eclipse path touches land only in the continental United States

The last eclipse to touch the United States was in 1979, the year America and Iran became enemies. “If any year could be said to be the ‘year zero’ of our modern era, 1979 is it,” Julian Assange wrote in a statement on the WikiLeaks website. "In 1979 it seemed as if the blood would never stop. Dozens of countries saw assassinations, coups, revolts, bombings, political kidnappings and wars of liberation." Yet who could have seen at the time how influential this period would be, shaping the USA’s foreign policy for the remainder of the century and beyond.

The 2017 solar eclipse, however, is part of a different cycle, Saros 145, the repeating pattern of 18 years and eleven days that last saw the Great British Eclipse of August 11th 1999. Much was made of that event, though it is hard to define exactly what its effects have been. One cannot lay all subsequent events at its door, but between disastrous foreign wars and more recently Brexit, Britain’s fortunes since the millennium have not exactly flourished. More pertinently, this period saw the impeachment of Bill Clinton for an infinitely more trivial crime than Trump is accused of. Clinton survived, and it is worth noting that no US President has ever been removed from office by impeachment: even Nixon jumped before he was pushed.

For liberals, Donald Trump is guilty until proven innocent – of stealing the Presidency, of colluding with the enemy, of being a vulgarian - and accusations have surrounded him like a miasma ever since he took office. It is hard to see how the atmosphere in his circle can become any more toxic or chaotic, and the August 21st Solar Eclipse may actually redress the balance towards order. Trump is in the eye of Sade Sati, with enemies looking desperately to pin something, anything, of substance on him, with the main charge, apart from his being a grotesque, an alleged conspiracy with Vladimir Putin to undermine the Democratic Party - Trump's end of the bargain supposedly for being blackmailed by the Russians.

Welcome to politics in Rahu mahadasha, both in the USA and UK's national charts, a capricious, superficial, confused and anxious time when a day, never mind a week, is an eternity. Our newsfeeds contain a virtual 50-50 split between sources claiming Trump and his family have been nailed (in lying, nepotism, transgender prejudice), versus those who say he is finally sticking it to the establishment and corporate media. Britain, meanwhile, depending on your stance, is either making a valiant escape from a sinister and unelected Continental cartel, or surrendering to xenophobic rightwing conspiracy led from within. In listing its Word of 2016, Macquarie Dictionary defined ‘fake news’ as: “disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic”.


Ptolemy’s traditional measure (not always one to follow) is that solar eclipse effects last for as many years as hours of duration, from first partial to last. The GAE’s total eclipse duration is three hours and thirteen minutes (with two and a half minutes total obscuration) which equates symbolically to three years and two-and- a- bit months. Like a depth charge waiting to be triggered, the eclipse degree remains sensitive to transits and progressions until 2021 - a period that covers the remainder of Trump’s administration. This is his natal Mars, remember, so – if he survives - his colourful, contrarian and divisive Presidency will show no signs of calming down, and may get even crazier. Also according to (Western) Renaissance tradition, the Lord of the Eclipse is that planet which has closest relationship by aspect and dignity to the eclipse degree, or to its following angle (either ascendant or MC). The chart set for Washington DC sees Mercury and Mars applying almost equidistant either side of the eclipse point, with Mars slightly nearer and also closely aspecting the ascendant from the 10th house, though he is in fall and out of sign, whereas Mercury (retro) at least is in Leo, and without being combust. I give Mercury lordship of the eclipse, with Mars in a supporting role.

Great American Eclipse, 21/8/2017. 18:11 UT, Washington DC

Mercury as Eclipse Lord speaks of ‘alterations in ceremonies, heresies and schisms in religion’, which is extra pertinent as the eclipse falls in the USA horoscope’s ninth house. This further suggests a legal, ethical or constitutional issue – more evidence for an impeachment or ‘abdication’? Both Mercury and Mars reach 4° Leo on September 3rd, with Mercury stationing for five days at 4° as it turns direct on September 5th. This point, just prior to the Aquarius Full Moon conjunct Neptune on September 6th may prove to be make-or break. It suggests there will be a radical decision, or change of policy, with potentially explosive fallout. Mercury-Mars aspects in Vedic astrology are the signature for a lie or liar - either with intent to deceive, or simply a rash promise that can't be delivered, but in any case the difference between what somebody says and what they do. Usually, we would look for a more heavyweight transit to make political ripples - let alone to dethrone the King - but the eclipse supercharges 4° Leo, plus Mercury's station here adds extra muscle.

Magha nakshatra is ruled by The Pitris, or spirits of departed ancestors, and House Trump in its short period in charge has taken nepotism to new heights. Leaving aside whether Ivanka and her husband are actually more competent than their father, the Liberal’s longed-for smoking gun may appear from within, or connected to, Trump's family circle. Trump is asked constantly what he knew about Russian hacking, and the accusation is not only that he has lied, but has collaborated with a known enemy, which is tantamount to treason. But this is all back-story. An eclipse is often most disruptive when all else is apparently smooth and clear, and it dredges up or dissolves an outworn prop that has supported too much weight. Trump's world is already chaotic and, some would say, unsupportable, though this is simply his signature style.

Elsewhere Mercury governing the eclipse shows, in Lilly's words, ‘inordinate high winds, sudden tempests quick changing, thunders, lightnings, opening of the earth and earthquakes’. Hurricane season along the eclipse path will be severe, though in Vedic astrology, Mercury rules the earth element, so natural cataclysms are also likely - eclipses in a fixed sign have a brittle quality that put buildings, especially grand structures and temples at risk.

How does Trump stand up to the challenge? Pretty well, in fact. Mars, rising and resplendent in Magha, is probably his strongest planet; his yogakaraka and Get Out of Jail Free card, with its bombastic character defining what he is all about. Trump was also born at a (lunar) eclipse which gives him either a natural armour-plating - or fated susceptibility? - to eclipse energies. He is Rahu personified, and gobbles up this kind of negative vibe. Currently in Jupiter mahadasha, he is also having a Jupiter return at the eclipse, which unless he becomes even more arrogant, will support him. Furthermore, Uranus in Aries, which has brought an assertive nationalistic flavour to world affairs since June 2016, makes an exact Western-style trine (4°Aries) to Trump's Mars/ eclipse also on September 3rd. This is a zeitgeist signature which ironically, smooths out any political hand-break turns, and makes change refreshing and progressive rather than weird and abrupt. Uranus also stations at this degree in December-January 2018/2019 and perhaps sees some shocking developments that are in fact long overdue. So Trump is well set to withstand the shock, and this eclipse might actually be more damaging to a president who is not so blatantly 'Rahu'. It might even do him some good, albeit not without a bump in the road. With Mars and Mercury combining on the eclipse degree, Trump has to watch out for a trigger-happy 3am Tweet or another unguarded remark, but if he can negotiate the first week in September, he should survive. But for better or worse, the first eclipse that touches the mainland USA for nearly forty years, in Leo, and hitting the eclipse-born and deeply controversial president’s ascendant/ Mars, must surely affect 'the King’.

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