Despite repeated predictions to the contrary by the self-styled UK’s No 1 Astrologer , it’s now looking pretty certain that Hillary Clinton will not make it to the White House. This is because Obama’s lead in the Democratic nomination race is looking increasingly unassailable, and the calls to Hillary Clinton to stand down are growing. According to the Huffington Post on Sunday, the second stage of voting in Texas is likely to increase the gap to nearly 600 delegates, with Obama on 1858 and Hillary on 1270.
In a sense what matters is that it has been a great contest. It reminds me of the Borg-McEnroe matches at Wimbledon in the late seventies, when you had two great champions battling it out for hours and hours. In a sense, it didn’t matter who won, though of course it mattered absolutely to each of the contestants, as it has to. What mattered was that each of them had been tested to their utmost, bringing us moments of brilliance, and this is what awes us as spectators. And it’s been a bit like this with Clinton-Obama, two worthy candidates giving their all for a great prize, with the whole world watching over a period of months, under a prolonged Mars-Pluto opposition. Indeed, as the contest reached its first peak on Feb 5th (Super Tuesday), Mars in the sky could be seen to station between the tips of the horns of the Bull. What an omen!
Obama has been Borg, the cool restrained one, whereas the McEnroe vitriol has lain more with the Clinton camp. Though not everyone likes Hillary, even as the loser she will emerge with increased stature for the battle she has fought, she will receive a standing ovation that will be genuine and earned at the Democratic Convention.
In the last few days Mars has finally moved out of opposition to Pluto, and will this Friday (4th April) complete the retrograde cycle that began last November. So it is possible that Hillary will stand down sooner than we think, as the planetary configuration governing this battle comes to an end. Even if she doesn't stand down, there is likely to be a growing sense that the contest is over.
Obama’s journey so far can be seen in Jungian archetypal terms, with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright being, in my opinion, Obama’s greatest benefactor during this period.
What we find in Jungian psychology is the journey from Young Hero to Wise Old Man, and necessary encounters with the Shadow and Anima, or Feminine, along the way. These encounters deepen the Young Hero, who begins with wonderful ideals, and a desire to complete some enormous task that will save the world (this is my way of putting it, not Jung’s.) But he is naïve, he sees the world in black and white terms, good guys versus bad guys. He, of course, is aligned with the Good. (I’m putting all this in male terms for now, but it translates quite easily into female terms).
It was during this naïve Young Hero phase that we encountered Obamania, when the saintly saviour archetype was projected strongly onto him by many people, and not just by young or uneducated people either. There was rightly a reaction in the opposite direction by many other people.
And then, as Pluto stationed in March, we heard the voice of the Underworld, of America’s Shadow in the form of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s long-time pastor. He vomited out great gobbets of unwelcome truth: "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye...and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
And again: “And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent, she failed. She put them on reservations... When it came to putting the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed... The government put them on slave quarters...Put them in inferior schools... Put them in the lower paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That's in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme.”
Pluto was not just stationing: he was opposite Obama’s natal Venus in Cancer. Venus is to do with both personal relationships and, in a politician, popular appeal, the relationship with the electorate. And Cancer concerns home and family and tribe. So it was a potent brew for Obama personally. He was being called upon to acknowledge his origins, his roots, his tribe, and the way they see their country.
“God damn America.”
It doesn’t get much more shadow than this. Yet how can you love your country if you don’t also detest its flaws? What does it mean to say you love your country if you paint out the bits you don’t like? Obama performed a pretty nifty dance in his response to the release of the Wright video. He gave a speech, “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” He said some good, inspiring stuff in his usual, eloquent way, and it was good politics.
And he made it clear that though he denounced in the strongest possible way Wright’s views, he did not disown the man (laughter). My laughter is sympathetic. When a man like Wright holds a view so strongly, you cannot separate the man from the view. He IS his views. So in not disowning Wright, Obama is being true to his origins and, despite himself, true to a certain way of seeing America, true to a side of himself that he had not wanted to volunteer to the public until he was forced to by Wright. Whatever Obama might have said in response to Wright, however movingly and genuinely and passionately and eloquently he wriggled, the fact is that Obama has been around this man for 20 years and has considered him his spiritual mentor. That history speaks far louder than anything Obama might now say.
To me it says that almost despite himself, Obama can be trusted, that he genuinely is a voice for unity and not for polarisation. In politics, polarisation is the norm. You win your appeal in part by standing for one section of the population against another. Like George Bush, who seemed not to care about the fate of New Orleans, in a way that would have been inconceivable had it been say Boston. Like the Tory party in the UK, who tend to favour the rich over the poor. Or Labour, who in the past were the opposite. In England, it is now the upper classes who are demonised, who are seen as fair game for ridicule. You cannot do this to the ‘working classes’. (I recently read that in the US it is easier to talk about race than about class).
I think it is remarkable for a politician to acknowledge a country’s shadow without one-sidedly identifying with it. And in Obama’s case, his Venus in Cancer is conjunct the US Venus in Cancer. So via the current Pluto transit to them both, Obama's shadow and the American Collective Shadow are connected, he can articulate it and authentically speak for it. The Shadow is what we are ashamed of. To some extent Obama is ashamed of his roots, as he was forced into speaking about them. But he has in his own way acknowledged his roots, and people are still voting for him. This means that in some way America also is acknowledging its Shadow, which is a profound and wonderful event.
So Obama has passed the test, and has gained stature. He is no longer merely the angel of light come to save America, there is now something difficult and unstraightforward about him that gives him depth.
As for the other 2 archetypes, the Anima and the Wise Old Man, it is interesting how they all seem to be appearing very clearly around Obama. We’ve seen Wright and the Shadow, but we also have Hillary Clinton as the Anima, and the ‘Wise Old Man’ John McCain. I’m not sure how these figures work for Obama, but he has certainly had a full-on encounter with the Anima through Hillary. She may not be conventionally feminine, but she is certainly female of a certain type, and love her or hate her, Obama has had to deal with her and probably learn from her. He has yet to do battle with John McCain, but McCain is his own man, and will not be a pushover.
So it is as though, looked at in Jungian terms, the process of (possibly) becoming President is also a process of psychological integration for Barack Obama, which can only be a good thing.