You may have noticed February has twenty-nine days this year raising the prospect of an ancient Leap Year tradition, namely women proposing marriage to men. The tradition is said to have arisen in Ireland where women were allowed to initiate dances and propose marriage on Leap Day. Were the object of her affections to turn her down, he was duty bound to buy her a silk dress, Now, in these more gender-enlightened times, maybe a silk shirt would be more appropriate.
The reason behind the extra day in February is that in order to keep the calendar in line with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, an adjustment has to be made. The requirement for a Leap Year is that it must be divisible by four, but not by 100. (We must thank Julius Caesar for introducing the idea, although since 1582 we no longer use the Julian calendar but the Gregorian.)
Were you thinking of following the tradition and proposing to your beloved, to be sure of a positive response – or an expensive consolation prize – go down on one knee at 22:44 pm UTC/17:42 EST on Saturday when the Moon in Taurus will be trining Jupiter. That’s a bit too late for those of you living west of Moscow who would be better proposing mid-morning on the 29th when the Moon will be trining Mars.
I’ll be talking about the forthcoming full moon in Virgo and expanding on the effects of being in the shadow of Saturn on my YouTube video.
As always, we live in interesting times.
For whom the bell tolls.
The title of Hemingway’s famous novel originates from a work penned in December 1623 by the metaphysical poet John Donne in the wake of his recovery from the near-death experience of typhus: “Never send [ask] for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
This came to mind as I began this Friday Bite, which centres on the theme of Saturn, because I heard part of Saturn from The Planets suite ringing in my ears – the mad clanging of bells signalling the onset of “difficult times”. It struck a chord.
On Tuesday, 18th February, President Trump announced a cluster of pardons and commutations for those he believed had been unjustly punished by the US justice system. Included in the eleven names were ex-Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, jailed for fourteen years on corruption charges – he famously tried to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat on Obama’s election as US president (weirdly, not an entirely illegal act) – and Michael Milken, the “junk bond king”. It must be said Trump also commuted the sentences of some women, including Judith Negron (serving thirty-five years for health-care fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering) whose case had been championed by criminal justice reform advocates.
“That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence, in my opinion”. President Trump in reference to Blagojevich’s sentence.
Coming hours before his legal advisor, Roger Stone received a three-year prison sentence, these pardons and commutations were widely believed to presage a similar act of clemency for Stone in the near future. A “miscarriage of justice!” tweeted the president.
Clearly, these acts of compassion, got up the noses of many opinion-makers, political pundits and politicians. They were viewed as a gross abuse of presidential pardon power. To many, it seemed Mr Trump was acting from an emboldened sense of his power in the wake of his acquittal on impeachment charges.
I see it rather differently. The impetus behind Trump’s astonishing acts of clemency is a powerful cocktail of fury and affront. Diffident, defiant and confident as the president may have appeared prior to and during the impeachment process, the strongest emotion he felt was indignation backed up by pure, unadulterated fury.
And this is exactly what you would expect from a Right Man – a personality type who, as it says on the tin, has an unquestioning sense of his own rightness. Nothing and no one can persuade him to view himself and his actions in any way other than absolutely right. We go beyond the sociopathic here, although Right Men come under the broad banner of sociopathy, because to this psychological type there is an unimpeachable perception of his own rectitude. He truly believes everything he feels, everything he does, everything he knows is right. Never wrong. Never in doubt.
Dominique Strauss-Khan was another classic example of a Right Man. Head of the International Monetary Fund, in 2011 he was forced to resign after allegations that he had sexually assaulted a hotel maid. Despite being “exonerated” his hopes of becoming president of France were scuppered. To this day, he believes he did nothing wrong.
Right Men often have a lot of fixity in their charts – Aquarius, Leo, Taurus and Scorpio. (Strauss-Kahn is a Taurus). Trump may not have a predominance of planets and points in Fixed signs, but he does have Fixed Leo rising with pugnacious Mars in Leo perched on the Ascendant. And he exemplifies the personality of this psychological typing.
But, on to Saturn and the tolling bell.
You may remember in my Friday Bite of the 7th February, I pointed out that Trump had escaped impeachment on a Saturn opposition to his Venus-Saturn conjunction – and Venus is the ruler of the tenth house of career and life-goals – so the sands of time may well be running out for him. And I’m going to expand on that theme.
On thee 3rd of February, forty-eight hours before Mr Trump was acquitted on impeachment charges, Saturn reached its shadow degree – 25 degrees 20 minutes of Capricorn. From then until January 3rd 2021 we will be in Saturn’s shadow. And since that degree is precisely opposed to the president’s Venus-Saturn conjunction, events during the shadow period will have a bearing on his tenure as president.
Let me explain. When a planet moves retrograde it goes back over old zodiac ground until it turns direct once more. The point at which the planet turns direct once more becomes the shadow degree. That planet will march on until it goes beyond the point at which it turned retrograde, thus bringing to an end the shadow period.
So, here we have Saturn at 25 degrees 20 of Capricorn on 3rd February. Saturn will continue to move forwards until the 11th May when it will turn retrograde at 1 degree 57 of Aquarius. From then on in retrograde-motion, Saturn will reach 25 degrees 20 of Capricorn on 27th September. At this point Saturn will hover, stationary-direct, moving forward on 1st October. When Saturn reaches the degree upon which it turned retrograde (1 degree 57 of Aquarius) the shadow period will be over. And that date is 3rd January 2021.
Saturn is the Lord of Time; it resonates with the theme of actions-have-consequences. It is the planet of karma. What goes around comes around. Trump, already in danger of feeling the weight of the Saturnian leaden boot, escaped sentence while Saturn was opposing his natal Venus-Saturn conjunction, and on the shadow degree, thus virtually guaranteeing an even heavier sentence before the shadow period is over. And, of course, that period covers the General Election.
Openly scornful and defiant at his acquittal, to some minds his actions in commuting the sentences of criminals or pardoning them is but a beginning of worse things to come. But Saturn will have his say.
Were Mr Trump to have acted with grace and a degree of humility at his acquittal; were the president to have acknowledged the great responsibility of his office as opposed to its great power, Saturn’s sentence would, I believe, be commuted. As it is, the offence to his greatness the impeachment trial represented, ignited a rage and vengeance that will ultimately bring him down.
There is still time for the president to hear those bells a-tolling, and to change his tune accordingly, but based on the evidence of his three years in office that is improbable. We’ll have to wait and see what Saturn brings to the table in the way of a reversal of fortune, but, one way or another, what seems at this point to be a slam dunk for a second term, is in doubt.