Astrologers on the web often don't do politics well. By which I mean they frequently let their pro- or anti- feelings be the basis for what they are saying. Indeed, I can think of one astrological site whose whole raison d'etre seems to have been the attacking and belittling of George W Bush, and another whose raison d'etre has become the beatification of Barack Obama. And it's easy to attract a crowd of readers who share your political likes and dislikes and who therefore chuck in loads of comments, making you feel like you must be getting it right.
It's the difference, in UK terms, between say the Guardian and the Independent newspapers. The Guardian is politically partisan with intellectual pretensions. While in the Independent you might find thoughtful, non-partisan pieces that are just trying to describe what is happening. Actually it's not that cut and dried, but it's often like that.
You can always use the astrology to back your point of view. Does Obama's Sun in Leo square to Neptune make him an inspirational leader or self-delusional? (Actually, probably a bit of both!)
What I think makes the difference in any divinatory art is the Air element. You're not attracted to being an Astrologer or Tarot reader or whatever in the first place unless you have an intuitive/feeling ability (Fire/Water) that is seeking an outlet. In a way that is the easy bit, once you have learnt your craft, though it also develops over time.
Living in Glastonbury, UK my experience has probably been skewed, but here the Air element doesn't always get much of a look-in. Readers can be very intuitively accurate sometimes, but it's also pretty hit and miss. It's easy to get carried away with intuition/feeling and assume they are valid just because they are strong.
What makes a really good astrologer, tarot reader etc is the ability to assess the intuition from a distance, develop a discernment as to the quality of the radio signal that is coming in and how clogged your own pipelines are, and also the wretched business of facts: there needs to be a deep engagement with everyday reality (Earth as well as Air!), with what can be readily observed.
Anyway, this train of thought was provoked by a link that Jude Cowell provided to an article by the political writer John Pilger on the subject of Barack Obama.
IN THE GREAT TRADITION, OBAMA IS A HAWK
12 Jun 2008
In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger reaches back into the history of the Democratic Party and describes the tradition of war-making and expansionism that Barack Obama has now left little doubt he will honour.
In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: "The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it." What has changed? The terror of the rich is greater than ever, and the poor have passed on their delusion to those who believe that when George W Bush finally steps down next January, his numerous threats to the rest of humanity will diminish.
The foregone nomination of Barack Obama, which, according to one breathless commentator, "marks a truly exciting and historic moment in US history", is a product of the new delusion. Actually, it just seems new. Truly exciting and historic moments have been fabricated around US presidential campaigns for as long as I can recall, generating what can only be described as bullshit on a grand scale. Race, gender, appearance, body language, rictal spouses and offspring, even bursts of tragic grandeur, are all subsumed by marketing and “image-making”, now magnified by "virtual" technology. Thanks to an undemocratic electoral college system (or, in Bush’s case, tampered voting machines) only those who both control and obey the system can win. This has been the case since the truly historic and exciting victory of Harry Truman, the liberal Democrat said to be a humble man of the people, who went on to show how tough he was by obliterating two cities with the atomic bomb.
Understanding Obama as a likely president of the United States is not possible without understanding the demands of an essentially unchanged system of power: in effect a great media game. For example, since I compared Obama with Robert Kennedy in these pages, he has made two important statements, the implications of which have not been allowed to intrude on the celebrations. The first was at the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), the Zionist lobby, which, as Ian Williams has pointed out, "will get you accused of anti-Semitism if you quote its own website about its power". Obama had already offered his genuflection, but on 4 June went further. He promised to support an “undivided Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital. Not a single government on earth supports the Israeli annexation of all of Jerusalem, including the Bush regime, which recognises the UN resolution designating Jerusalem an international city.
His second statement, largely ignored, was made in Miami on 23 May. Speaking to the expatriate Cuban community – which over the years has faithfully produced terrorists, assassins and drug runners for US administrations – Obama promised to continue a 47-year crippling embargo on Cuba that has been declared illegal by the UN year after year.
Again, Obama went further than Bush. He said the United States had "lost Latin America". He described the democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a "vacuum" to be filled. He raised the nonsense of Iranian influence in Latin America, and he endorsed Colombia’s "right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders". Translated, this means the "right" of a regime, whose president and leading politicians are linked to death squads, to invade its neighbours on behalf of Washington. He also endorsed the so-called Merida Initiative, which Amnesty International and others have condemned as the US bringing the "Colombian solution" to Mexico. He did not stop there. "We must press further south as well," he said. Not even Bush has said that.
It is time the wishful-thinkers grew up politically and debated the world of great power as it is, not as they hope it will be. Like all serious presidential candidates, past and present, Obama is a hawk and an expansionist. He comes from an unbroken Democratic tradition, as the war-making of presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton demonstrates. Obama’s difference may be that he feels an even greater need to show how tough he is. However much the colour of his skin draws out both racists and supporters, it is otherwise irrelevant to the great power game. The "truly exciting and historic moment in US history" will only occur when the game itself is challenged.