Obama's recent difficulties here are a reflection of the current planetary alignments. As I have suggested in recent weeks, Obama was likely to experience more problems in his leadership once transiting Venus moved from the 11th house (Scorpio) of gains and entered his 12th house (Sagittarius) which represents losses and isolation. (N.B. I primarily use whole sign houses so the 12th house begins at 0 Sagittarius and ends at 29 Sagittarius. The 'spokes' in the wheel chart below represent the house cusps which as the most sensitive points in the house.) Venus rules his 10th house (Libra) of status and career so we can see how a movement to the 12th house might create more problems for him. What is important to note here, however, is that the effects of Venus entering the 12th house are likely intensified because of all the planets that are currently transiting Obama's 10th house. Saturn, Rahu (North Lunar Node), Sun and Mercury are all in sidereal Libra now and therefore their ultimate effects have to take into account the condition of Venus, which is their sign dispositor. As Venus weakens as it moves into the 12th, all these Libra transiting planets similarly weaken and are more likely to cause problems.
As noted previously, October was likely to cause some headaches for Obama since transiting Saturn (19 Libra) would be square his Sun (19 Cancer). The Sun represents the self and self-confidence so hard Saturn aspects have a nasty way of undermining confidence and limiting our ability to move forward. Perhaps one could make the argument that Saturn's aspect to the Sun might not be that damaging since it rules the 1st house and it is transiting the 10th house of status in Libra where it is exalted. Very often such 1/10 combinations are quite helpful for boosting public profile. However, this is less likely to be the case where one of the planets is a malefic (e.g. Saturn) and the aspect involved is a square or opposition.
The other problem planet for Obama is Neptune. Neptune is a key planet for Obama since it is placed in his 10th house of career and status and is square his Sun. Neptune is associated with ideals and inspiration and in many ways is a very apt reflection of Obama's political appeal. His original campaign for "Hope and Change" struck a chord with Americans who sought to move beyond the polarized partisanship of national politics. Obama was seen as a transcendent figure whose mixed racial background was a way for the US to shake off its troubled racial past and move into the 21st century. Interestingly, Neptune is also associated with illness and disease so it is perhaps not surprising that Obama's signature piece of legislation is the ACA. A legacy of enacting the first national health insurance system is an appropriate manifestation of a president that has Neptune in the 10th house!
But like all planets, Neptune has a negative side that comes out when it is under pressure. Neptune's other symbolism is linked to confusion and deceit. Obama's Sun-Neptune square may help him inspire others through his oratorial skills and grand vision but he may sometimes have difficulty acting with clarity and commitment. There can be moments of internal confusion about his goals and how to achieve them. This reluctance to act decisively may have cost him in the Syrian "red line" affair and it could well be undermining his leadership in the implementation of the health care program. It is impossible to say for certain whether he willfully deceived the American people here or whether he honestly thought that insurance prices would go down and that plans could be maintained. But the Neptune influence may have made it easier for him to get confused or blind-sided by the details. These details are now coming back to haunt him as Neptune is more prominent by transit.
Current transits also put Neptune front and center. Rahu (North Node) is conjunct his 10th house Neptune thus increasing the likelihood that confusion or distortion (Neptune) would occur in career (10th house) matters. Rahu itself often imparts some measure of disruption or distortion in its transits, especially when it influences a planet that is malefic. In my view, Neptune is more likely to show its malefic side whenever it is involved in a hard aspect from a transiting malefic planet like Rahu.
But Neptune (8 Aquarius) is also undermining Obama through its square transit to his Moon (10 Taurus). Due to Neptune's very slow motion, this has been in effect for much of 2013. Neptune-Moon square aspects are often problematic as they will reduce emotional clarity and induce periods of confusion. There may be uncertainty about ways to approach a problem as emotions and sensations (Moon) are overwhelmed or made too variable by Neptune's influence. It can mean that decisions are taken with excessive emotional input or where rational judgment is lacking. Obviously, a transit that is so slow moving will not always have these effects but it is generally not a helpful influence on someone who must attempt to solve complex problems. Moon-Neptune transits are better handled by someone whose career is in the artistic or nurturing fields where emotions play a greater role. For a chief executive like Obama who must weigh pros and cons in a more logical manner, the effects will more often be negative.
With Neptune due to square Obama's Moon for most of 2014, Obama may not enjoy any significant relief from his current situation and low standing. There will likely be continued questions about his competence and integrity as the "liar" label is likely to find favor among his right wing political opponents. We can see that his problems will likely multiply in February and March when Mercury stations retrograde square to his Moon just as Mars is approaching its own station in close square aspect to natal Saturn, his dasha lord. Mars will also be in a close aspect with his natal Ketu at that time. I would not be surprised to see his approval ratings fall into the 30s at this time.
Meanwhile, financial markets continued to whistle past the graveyard as last week the Federal Reserve gave no indication when it would begin to taper its experimental quantitative easing program. Despite the Fed printing $85 Billion every month, it doesn't seem to be doing the broader economy much good, although Wall Street continues to prosper. A subtle change in the wording of Bernanke's statement caused a modest sell-off after Wednesday's announcement, but stocks generally rallied on the week. Oil and gold fell sharply, however. I had expected a little more negativity perhaps given the stronger Saturn influence but thus far only commodities seem to be reflecting some of this tense planetary energy.
Today's solar eclipse may ratchet up the tension as the Sun and Moon will come together in close conjunction with bearish Saturn. The Sun will form an exact conjunction with Saturn on Wednesday and this is likely to weaken commodities further. Stocks could conceivably rise again but I suspect they are likely to succumb to the prevailing air of caution.