The United States seems to be descending into a state of political chaos as the Trump administration continues to struggle. The once-great superpower and beacon of democracy now seems intent on its re-invention as dysfunctional authoritarian state as the Trump presidency is in danger of coming off the rails. Trumpists knew that "Making America Great Again" wasn't going to be easy given the entrenched interests on the other side but his sagging approval ratings even among conservatives now suggest his hold on the office may be in jeopardy.
Where does it all end? Each day brings news of a fresh White House dismissal (turn the Mooch loose!) or revelation of transgressions or misdeeds with respect to the ongoing Russia investigation. Trump's legislative ineptitude has only made him more politically vulnerable as Congress becomes more skeptical of his leadership. John McCain's "no" vote on health care may only have been the thin edge of the GOP wedge to come. Unless something changes very soon, Trump could lose broader GOP support in the Senate and that could begin a chain reaction that gets impeachment proceedings underway. "President Pence" no longer seems so far-fetched. The Trump White House hopes that yesterday's appointment of the new Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, can turn things around.
Even worse, Trump's precarious position opens up the possibility of a gratuitous use of military power, if for no other reason than to distract and change the conversation. Bill Clinton famously succumbed to this "Wag the Dog" distraction technique during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment hearings. At least he had the good sense to pick the strategically less important target of Sudan where the risk of retaliation was minimal. But what if Trump decides he needs to "fix" a more volatile situation like North Korea, which has nuclear weapons? No wonder so many people are in a state of worried disbelief about the direction of the US government.
Many astrologers are quite pessimistic about Trump's situation, myself included. In astrological terms, the central problem is highlighted by the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st. We are staring down the barrel of a portentous solar eclipse at 4 degrees of Leo that occurs very close to Trump's Ascendant (6 Leo by sidereal reckoning, although the eclipse has similar importance for both Western tropical and Vedic sidereal astrologers). The eclipse also has the unusual quality of being wholly visible only in the continental US. The last time this happened was June 1918. This may therefore be seen to be a uniquely American eclipse not only in terms of viewing, but also potentially in its real-life consequences.
Eclipses are traditionally seen as harbingers of doom as astrologers seek to correlate negative events with all solar and lunar eclipses. But a little confirmation bias can go a long way when the weight of centuries of tradition is invoked. Instead, we should acknowledge that the evidence of event correlation is actually inconclusive as most eclipses do not clearly correlate with any major events. Of course, we can always point to this or that eclipse as seemingly foretelling of some unfortunate event (e.g. the Turkish earthquake in 1999 that occurred six days after a total solar eclipse over Turkey), but it is not a reliable correlation. Many eclipses come and go without any clear ties to a significant incident. But perhaps if we attach some other co-factors and conditions, there may be a better way of understanding how eclipses could work.
One key co-factor is that the eclipse needs to hit some major points in the relevant national horoscope or its equivalents. What makes this eclipse potentially more important, therefore, is how it interplays with the key horoscopes of President Trump, the USA itself, and the November 9th PEOTUS chart. As I have noted previously, Trump's chart is hugely afflicted in August and September. Saturn stations direct at 27 Scorpio on August 25th in a close conjunction with his Moon-Ketu conjunction. By itself, that is a very nasty alignment which may correspond with a sense of disappointment, isolation and loss. Plus, transiting Ketu (South Lunar Node) will form an exact trine aspect to his Sun (29 Taurus) in late August. Ketu-to-Sun aspects often mark periods where the ego is put on the defensive or interrupted by changing or sudden circumstances. Trump's Sun is more pivotal in this respect because it rules Leo, which is his 1st house/chart ruler. In Vedic terms, since the Sun is Trump's lagnesh, any aspects, for good or ill, take on a heightened importance. The Ketu influence on his Sun combined with the Saturn influence on his Moon seems like an inescapable one-two punch. Both lights of the chart are therefore aligned with malefics around the same time.
At the time of the eclipse, Mars (26 Scorpio) is close at hand also as it is situated just behind Rahu (29 Cancer) and aligns tightly with Trump's Ketu. Mars injects a lot more energy into the overall eclipse alignment and makes it more negative in its possible effects. The fact that Mars and Rahu are so close to Trump's Mars-Ascendant duo is another reason why Trump is likely to experience a sharp increase in stress at this time. Clearly, this is not a run-of-the-mill eclipse. The close involvement of Mars and Saturn makes it more dangerous and therefore I would argue more likely to correlate with a difficult event. The fact that the chart of the US President is also closely activated by the eclipse would seem to give more support to this view.
The US horoscope hints that the eclipse effects may have a national resonance. One reason is that the solar eclipse point at 4 Leo will form a close opposition aspect to the Moon of the USA at 7 Aquarius. The Moon represents the people as a whole, as well as the national psyche and mood. The eclipse point comes fairly close to the the Moon opposition so there is a stronger case to be made for major repercussions from this eclipse. Of course, the larger problem for this chart is the multiple afflictions to Mars (0 Gemini). The Saturn station opposite Mars hints at intense conflictive energy with a dangerous or violent manifestation. And the Lunar Nodes are in the picture once again as Ketu (0 Aquarius) forms its trine/5th house aspect to Mars almost exactly. The presence of these two aspects involving malefic planets to Mars, the planet of war, is just not good no matter how you slice it.
It is possible to make a case that the ever-belligerent Donald Trump is symbolized by Mars and that these afflictions to the USA's Mars indicate intense pressure on Trump, perhaps even resignation. And yet I would think that a resignation or removal scenario would require more chart afflictions to the Sun and the 10th house which are the typical significators of the head of government. So I would say resignation is conceivable but I don't think it provides the best fit for the chart patterns.
The horoscope for President-Elect of the United States (PEOTUS) also has some telling hits at the time of the eclipse. The eclipse point at 4 Leo sits almost exactly on the equal 12th house cusp of this chart. The 12th house represents losses and sorrows so that would suggest a negative situation for either the country or Trump, or perhaps for both. But the added affliction here is that the eclipse point is aspected by 8th house aspect from natal Mars at 6 Capricorn. This is a more volatile influence that speaks to sudden events having a martial character. And with Uranus sitting at 4 Aries near the 8th house cusp, the chart appears to have too much dangerous energy for a constructive or positive outcome.
In addition, Mars is square the Sun in late August so that may translate into conflict involving leaders. Well, that is not really news since Trump is constantly involved in conflict of one type or another. However, transiting Mercury (14 Leo) is conjunct the natal Rahu (15 Leo) at the time of the eclipse on the 21st. Usually, this only refers to situations of confusion or miscommunication in the worst case. But here, Mercury is lagnesh since it rules Virgo, the sign in the first house. With the chart ruler Mercury subjected to Rahuvian disruption there is an added sense of uncertainty. It is even possible that we could see some kind of eclipse hysteria emerge at that time as the self-fulfilling prophecy of all this eclipse talk in the media takes center stage.
Eclipse events: the time lag
But when discussing eclipses, it is important to remember that any linked events are unlikely to occur on the day of the eclipse. There can be a time lag. One simple timing technique focuses on the transits of malefic planets to the eclipse point. The aforementioned 1999 Turkish earthquake occurred when transiting Mars aligned with the eclipse point by square within a degree or two. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake that killed 3000 people occurred more than two months after an eclipse period. But it is worth noting that the earthquake happened just as transiting Ketu conjoined the lunar eclipse point at 27 Capricorn and Mars had just passed a backwards square aspect to that same point by three degrees. It isn't quite clockwork but it definitely qualifies as interesting.
That previous total solar eclipse in the US in 1918 may have foretold the Spanish flu epidemic that killed over 500,000 people in the US. While the flu outbreak occurred in the spring, it first appeared to be a typical flu outbreak with low levels of mortality. However, a much more deadly second wave hit in late summer and early fall. This deadly second flu wave coincided with the transit of Ketu over the June eclipse point at 24 degrees of Taurus.
Fortunately, the August solar eclipse occurs with Rahu having already passed the Sun-Moon conjunction. That means that Rahu (the North Lunar Node) cannot act as a trigger for any untoward events. Rahu and Ketu are arguably more problematic as planetary influences since they move quite slowly. However, Mars will be moving across the solar eclipse point in early September about two weeks after the eclipse. We should therefore pay closer attention to that time window for any possible eclipse effects. September 2-4 sees an exact conjunction of Mars to the eclipse point and with a conjunction of stationing Mercury thrown in for good measure. Even then, I would allow for a few days margin of error to see if anything is going to happen.
But as I noted above, eclipses do not always have to have a clear connection with events. In a sense, the various Trump-related charts I've outlined above don't even need an eclipse to foretell increasing problems in the coming weeks. The other afflictions would be sufficient reason to predict deepening stress and troubles for the White House. The eclipse may only act as an additional trigger or catalyst for whatever may be coming. Overall, I think some kind of exercise of military power fits better with the alignments here, although nailing down the precise type of event is very speculative. Hopefully, I will be able to better narrow down the possibilities next week.
Weekly Market Forecast
Despite the turmoil in Washington, US stocks continue to touch all-time highs as corporate earnings remain strong. The Dow is on the verge of passing 22,000 as the Trump rally is about to enter its ninth month. India's Sensex has also pushed to new highs at 32,500 on a positive monsoon outlook and more signs of recovery from the EU.
The current rally appears to correlate with this week's Jupiter-Pluto alignment. While I thought we might have seen a bit more downside in late July on the Sun-Mars conjunction, the presence of this bullish Jupiter influence in early August hinted at more upside. We could see more record highs this week and perhaps even into next week or the week after. However, Monday's lunar eclipse (August 7th) looks quite volatile given the proximity of Mars. I would think that stocks are more likely to decline, at least in the first half of next week.
And just to reiterate, the rest of August and September look much more problematic for financial markets. The combined effects of the eclipses, the Saturn station and the Ketu-Saturn alignment look like formidable celestial obstacles for the stock market.
For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter. The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.