Berlin, 1930s. An enthusiastic crowd of 200,000 gathers to hear a political leader. “It is time to stand as one…we must reclaim the future for our children.” The messages of hope and triumph, devoid of content, roll forth, and the crowd roars its approval.
Whoops, I got the date wrong, it was actually last week, and the speaker was Barack Obama at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin: he certainly also knows about symbolism, like our friend from the 1930s.
With Barack Obama it’s so important to look for content when he speaks, and weigh it coolly, and look at his voting in Congress. The way he is able to sway huge crowds with non-specific messages of hope is no different to what our friend from the 1930s was able to do, and the Germans seem just as vulnerable to it now as they were then.
One of Obama’s points was this: It was the moment, he said, to "renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons" and not "stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom". Fine words, wonderful words, completely free of content. Remember he recently said that with himself as President, America would do take “no options off the table” to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons? That means he would be prepared to use the nuclear option.
Germany had fallen on desperate times when the Nazis rose. Hitler was able to play on this with promises of a better future. Nowadays we are not economically desperate, but many of us feel desperate about the future of the world – the materialism and consumerism, the destruction of the ecosystem and the beautiful rainforests, the lack of a sustainable economic future when the oil runs out, nuclear proliferation…. The list continues, and many of us are rightly desperate for a new type of politics.
Barack Obama plays on this brilliantly. Those Germans do not know the man, he is not even German, he was making them non-specific promises of a better future and they were falling all over him. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.
I feel that some astrologers do not take Obama’s astrology seriously like they would with a client. The man has Sun in Leo square to Neptune and Moon in Gemini square to Pluto. In any normal reading one would be delving into the unresolved issues and life-challenges that these aspects represent, the talents and contradictions and dangers. But like the Germans, some astrologers have fallen in love with Obama and what he seems to stand for. In their analyses they skim over those squares. We are bound to have different opinions about Obama. But those squares are central to him, they are deep character issues, and they need treating as such.
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Neptune and Pluto are both collective planets, they are strongly keyed in, in a challenging way, to his Sun and Moon. So he has a powerful relationship with the collective (and his Saturn-Jupiter in the 12th is almost like a world ruler!) But it is also problematic. Much as we may want to love him, the astrology forces us to be circumspect, to wait and see how it all unfolds.
In a documentary I saw a while back, a woman was saying that as an 18-year old she had met Hitler and looked into his eyes “and all I could see was goodness.” I do not think Obama is like Hitler, but people are seeing what they want to see, what they need to see. And there is that intoxicating feeling, which has gone international, of belonging. So let’s at least take the astrology seriously.