Barack Obama’s natal Venus is at 1.47 Cancer. Venus describes how we relate to people, the ways in which we please (or repel) them, so in a politician it is the planet of popular appeal, of popularity.
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Saturn has recently turned direct and is moving in to make a square with Obama’s Venus. This represents a challenge (square) to earn (Saturn) your popularity. It is not about becoming popular through tuning into and manipulating collective desires (Neptune/Pluto) or about sudden turns of events (Uranus). It is about earning it, through doing a good job at a difficult task and being seen to do so.
And if you’re a Brit, like me, what you’re going to be focused on is Obama and the Deepwater Oil Spill and the fate of BP – if you’re American, it’ll be the fate of your shoreline and the industries around it that you’ll be focused on.
Obama is under a lot of pressure to perform over the Oil Spill, and he in turn is putting BP under pressure – some of it fair, some of it unfair. Obama also has transiting Uranus squaring his Venus, and this is described by the Oil Spill itself, a sudden twist of fate (Uranus) that affects his popularity (Venus). Because Uranus is an outer planet, it is not under his personal control, and Uranus will continue to square his Venus for another year or so yet.
Since the Oil Spill began, Neptune (Oil) has been stationing almost exactly square to Obama’s MC, his public standing, his reputation. The crisis has been likened to Hurricane Katrina, where George Bush’s slow response damaged his reputation. What left a nasty taste in the mouth with George Bush was the sense that if it had been rich white people, instead of poor black people who were affected, the response would have been more effective. In both cases the President’s competence is/was at stake, but with Obama the more personal question is not whether he is tribal and prejudiced, but whether he is too cerebral to be practically effective (I don’t think he is).
Like Obama and Deepwater, Bush also had Saturn (competence) and Neptune (the ocean) transits at the time of Katrina, with Saturn approaching his Leo Ascendant, and Neptune beginning to oppose his Venus.
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Both Deepwater and Katrina have Moon in Cancer (the environment) trine Uranus in Pisces (sudden, disruptive events in the ocean), which is rather startling. Astrology works! So these 2 events have a lot in common, both in themselves and in their effects on the President of the USA.
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As for BP, its current incarnation came into being some time on the 1st of May 2001. Venus as we know is popularity, and BP’s is at 3.45 Aries, where it is being hammered by transiting Uranus, Saturn and Pluto. Venus is also wealth, the raison d’être for a corporation, and this is also taking a hammering, particularly in the form of its share price, mainly due to the financial threats coming from the US government.
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I think it’s probably a good time to invest in BP shares (that is not financial advice!) because its value has halved recently and I don’t think the consequences will be as dire as they seem. The US government is having to be seen to put the boot in and make all sorts of threats to BP to assuage public anger, which can only make BP’s very difficult job of plugging the leak that much harder: they should be kicking them later, not now when they are down. And the US government also needs to take a big responsibility for the lax culture it has created around drilling permits. It’s all politics at the moment, and while there needs to be a big bill for BP to pay, once the thing is capped and the crisis recedes, I don’t think the US government will find it is in its interest to crush a major multinational company.
It is worth noting that BP’s Venus is square a Mars-Chiron conjunction in Sag. This conjunction suggests that its breaking of new frontiers in oil drilling has a narrow, damaging mentality behind it (Chiron) and is not always going to be good for the company’s finances (square to Venus); being a square, however, it can also be dynamic and productive, whether or not we agree with the mentalities of these big oil companies. BP's Venus is also square North Node in Cancer, a sign of the environment, of mother earth. This suggests that BP is more of a baddy than most when it comes to the environment, and that it perhaps has a role to play in our collective relationship to the environment.
The basics of BP's chart are Sun in Taurus (love of money) square Neptune in Aquarius (oil and technology); and Moon in Leo, which can suggest pride, in this case capitalist pride at being a big player.
BP has Saturn at 1.17 Gemini, which Neptune will square over the next few years. This suggests a dissolution and rebuilding of the way the company is structured. Tony Hayward, the CEO, has Sun at 0 Gemini, so I think he will be a casualty of the Neptune restructuring. It is interesting that he is a Gemini, because it is mistakes in his communication that he is being hammered for. He is, I think, right about the Gulf being a big place: the effects on the shoreline may not be as big as everyone fears. And as for wanting his life back, I think you could just as easily read that as Hayward implying that he really is doing a 120 hour week, and is therefore committed to it.
At the same time, I’m sure that we in the UK would be pretty pissed off if an American oil corporation had done the same thing to us in the North Sea. We would want to pile on the pressure in the same way, but we wouldn’t because we couldn’t afford to because America is more powerful than us.
The comment of Obama’s that I thought was most unfair was the suggestion that BP should pay the unemployment benefits of oil workers from other oil companies who are having to be laid off while a review of offshore drilling takes place. The review is needed as much because the American regulatory regime was corrupt as it is because BP cocked up. The whole issue is threatening to disrupt US-UK relations (you can tell that because it is being officially denied!), so I think Obama will soon be forced to stop deflecting his own political heat so much onto BP.