I’m back from the Sunrise Festival, my first for 5 years. I was seeing about 5 people per day, mainly for astrology, but also for tarot and healing work. This was great, as I don’t get many customers at home.
I’ll be at Glastonbury Festival in a few weeks, and the Big Green Gathering a few weeks after that. My next task is to get a van so I can cart my yurt about. And get my tipi to my field, which I’ve felt a bit exiled from ever since Vajramala put her horses there 5 years ago. But I quite fancy hanging out and sleeping in the same field as a herd of horses.
Anyway, Barack Obama yesterday gave an interview with the BBC about his trip to the Middle East. Here is a short extract:
“The message I hope to deliver is that democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion - those are not simply principles of the west to be hoisted on these countries.
But, rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity. The danger, I think, is when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture.
And I think the thing that we can do, most importantly, is serve as a good role model… the United States' job is not to lecture, but to encourage, to lift up what we consider to be the values that ultimately will work - not just for our country, but for the aspirations of a lot of people.”
I don’t think it is quite as simple as that. Once you start viewing your country’s values as somehow universal – and dragging in the whole of the west as support – you are more than half way to being intolerant of those countries that do not share your ‘universal’ values. Muslim countries, for example, would equally see their values as universal, but they don’t go around talking about ‘encouraging’ the west to be like them.
No, it’s America as usual with its cultural imperialism. You want to believe Obama, because he does it so well, he is so apparently reasonable. And he believes it himself. But he is caught in the consensus reality of his own people, like most leaders are. It’s just the way things work.
So what are America’s real values? A quick glance at the Sibly Chart reveals all.
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Our values, what we consider to be important, are described by the 2nd House and its Ruler. The US has Capricorn on the 2nd House Cusp, and Pluto in Capricorn in that house. Capricorn is a sign of commerce and ambition, and Pluto’s presence shows that the US gets its sense of confidence and power from its commercial activities. This is reflected in the House Ruler, Saturn, being in the 10th House: the US wants to be a major economic presence on the world stage. Pluto also indicates that this is where the US shadow lies, that it will do almost anything for its own commercial advancement, and that it will attempt to conceal its essentially commercial values from itself and from others.
That said, we have to remember that the 2nd House Ruler, Saturn, is in Libra, so there is a sense in which the US also genuinely wants to see fairness and justice in the world. But it is inextricably tied up with its own commercial ambitions. ‘Enlightened self-interest’ would describe this combination at its best. Like, say, the remarkable Marshall Plan for European recovery after World War II.
So whatever Obama says about the US being a role model for the Middle East, it is inextricably tied to the fact that the Middle East supplies a large part of US energy needs.
The planet Venus also describes values, and the US has Venus in Cancer in the 7th House. Cancer is home, it is tribal, and the US sees itself as a contained world of its own, even as the whole world – it has what it calls the World Series, in which no other nation takes part. The US is well-known for the percentage of the population who have never been abroad. It has a level of patriotism that we are not used to in Europe, such as schoolchildren saluting the flag. A positive side of this is the degree of integration of immigrants that you find after a generation or two. You don’t get the fragmentation into minorities that you find often amongst immigrants in Europe.
Venus' placement in the 7th House describes the US tendency to export its values to its foreign business partners (7th).
At present Pluto is opposing the US Venus, and in 3 years Pluto will enter the US second house. So we are entering a prolonged era in which US values are up for re-definition. US values have in many ways become world values, threatening the integrity of e.g. Middle Eastern cultures, and causing much of the conflict we see in that region today.
One result of the present Pluto-Venus transit is the change in values that the current Presidency is bringing about: a shift away from the decadent, spendthrift nation of the Bush years towards a nation that saves more and produces more of its own goods, and that is therefore more self-reliant. In a good way, more Cancerian. A recent example of this is Obama’s promise that a restructured General Motors will produce more of its cars at home, for the first time in decades.
Venus is also in the 7th, so the Pluto transit may modify the degree to which the US tries to export to its partners (7th) its own tribal (Cancer) values (Venus). Despite what I said about Obama above, his attitude to foreign cultures is streets more tolerant and accepting than Bush’s was.
Barack Obama also has Venus in Cancer, 2 degrees off the US Venus. So his values are in many ways American values, and it is hard for him to see outside of that, Cancer being a watery, and therefore not very reflective sign.
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But his Venus is in the 5th, and trine to 9th House Neptune, which in turns rules his 2nd House. So that is a nice loop, and despite being identified with US values, he is at the same time able to be creative with them (5th House) and bring in an element of idealism (Neptune) in the US attitude to foreign countries (9th).