Saturday, December 18, 2010

Assange, Obama and Bush: the Outer Planets and Collective Projections

There was a period in 2008, when Barack Obama was campaigning to be the Democratic Presidential candidate, when you weren’t likely to get a good reception if you said anything critical of the man. He was sweeping people away on a wave of hope for a better world. One astrologer told me at the time that my Saturn in Sagittarius gave me a fear of faith, which was stopping me from seeing Obama as he really he was. (I’d say it gave me sense!)

It was all very Neptunian, and it was Obama’s natal Sun square to Neptune that gave him the ability to sweep people away like this. Even the Nobel Peace Prize Committee got swept away by his promise. Now, 2 years later, he appears much more ordinary. Smart and trying to do a good job, but also at ease with the less savoury tasks that come with his position – wars, black ops, no doubt a certain amount of torture, putting pressure on big companies and other countries to do America’s bidding, and so on. America has changed a bit, but its big resistance to change has also become clearer.

Now, in late 2010, we have a similar situation with Julian Assange, the Great Rebel, who has become a cultural hero to many, especially as his leaks have provoked the inevitable response from the US and other western countries. He is now not just the Great Rebel, he is also the victim who needs protecting. (My last piece, suggesting a less savoury side to Mr Assange, has come under sustained, irrational attack in the comments section.)

I am not trying to say here whether or not I think Wikileaks is helpful. It is complicated, and how you view Wikileaks will probably determine whether or not you think he is a cultural hero. This time the relevant planet is Uranus, which natally squares Assange’s Sun and which is the planet of rebellion. (Chiron, which makes a t-square with the Sun and Uranus, gives him his victim/scapegoat status.)

The world is as it is because human nature is as it is. Why do we think that an Obama or an Assange can make it radically different? Why do we need the world to be radically different? I think that what happens in these situations is essentially a projection onto the world, and onto prominent individuals, of our own unrealised potential, or even our own dissatisfaction with ourselves.

To the extent that you feel the outer planets to be consciously operative in your own life, to that extent you won’t get carried away by these figures. It’s going to be a mixed thing for most of us. And what others are collectively feeling also affects us.

Living the outer planets is not an easy task. It takes many years, and is always work in progress. And it’s not really under our control either. The temptation to be drawn into collective projections of the outer planets, to have someone else seeming to live those planets for us, is quite natural. And maybe a bit embarrassing afterwards. But that is precisely how we can learn, how we can become more conscious.

Say you find very appealing Julian Assange as a harbinger of revolutionary change. He may or may not be – that is beside the point. The real point is that deep appeal, which is like a gift in that it contains the potential for awakening. In this case, it is a call to live Uranus more fully. It is a call to allow a constant sense of progressive change into your life, to welcome the unexpected, and to be deeply unconcerned by what the neighbours think. Uranus breaks us away from convention. In its unsophisticated form we enjoy the breaking away, the rebellion, for its own sake, and maybe project it out onto the world. In its more developed form it enables us to progress our own lives, to have a deep sense of our own very individual life, unhindered by what others (family members!) may or may not think.

And say you find/found Barack Obama deeply appealing. He embodied the hope for a better world and a leader who could be completely trusted. OK, people were sick of George Bush and all he stood for and of course they wanted someone different and hoped Obama would be. But the feeling around Obama went much further than that, it was religious, it was numinous; for many, for a while at least, he could do no wrong. And in this sense he was a call to live Neptune more fully: a sense of being part of the ocean of life and a sense that life is always unfolding and that you are part of that and you can trust that process and that just being part of all that makes life meaningful and hopeful. Again, we may start with someone out there – and with Neptune in the 9th Obama carries the ‘spiritual teacher’ and ‘redeemer’ archetypes – but wisdom and compassion and trust in life are ultimately to be found within.

What about Pluto? I think this type of cultural figure is more obviously dark to start with. And we can look to our old friend George W Bush, who like Obama and Assange has the ability to stand for something. Bush has Pluto Rising. He came into his own once he had a clear enemy to focus on, which was firstly Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, and then Saddam Hussein. And he had much of America behind him, often in a very ignorant way – like the people who thought that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, which Bush was happy to let stand.

So Bush keyed into the unconscious shadow projection which collective humanity is prone to, and the lies and deceit that goes with it. Hitler was also, via the demonization of the Jews, a Plutonian figure (as well as, in other ways, a Neptunian figure.)

The real lesson here is to become conscious of our own darkness. What gives the game away is the sparse knowledge we often have of the people like Bin Laden to whom we attribute ‘bad’ qualities. Classically, the evil we associate with them is precisely what we are ashamed to admit about ourselves.

I was on a Liz Greene seminar once, and she said that our shadow is that which we are ashamed to admit to. She said some people claim to be at ease with their shadows, and may list off certain ‘bad’ things about themselves. But then that is not their shadow. The shadow is that which we are ashamed to admit to, and it may not be anything that is harmful to anyone else. You might just be a secret cross-dresser or something!

What is needed with Pluto is honesty and a lack of being judgemental of ourselves. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with being the way we are. We are what we are. It doesn’t of course mean we always have to act on it. And it doesn’t mean we can’t transform. But in a way the transformation isn’t up to us, with our limited human perspective and narrow sense of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Our job is just to show up, and let Pluto take care of the transformation.

Sooner or later the public figures who carry the outer planet projections will let us down, and if we haven't spotted the projection before, that time of betrayal is also when we can learn. Or we can stay feeling betrayed, and carry on hating Neptunian Tony Blair or whichever figure it is.

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WiseLalia said...

Some good ideas here. Thanks for writing this and for the illustrations. The Obama/Jesus is exactly on the mark!
Do you see this Obama/Neptune association dissolving when Neptune enters Pisces?

Klaus said...

I find your words very wise and balanced. It inspires me.

Barry Goddard said...

As I wrote on 4 Nov (, Obama came to power under a major Neptune transit (square MC) and I think will continue in power until Neptune has finished with him - after transiting his Moon-Pluto. So that I think is when the Obama/Neptune association will dissolve, towards the end of a second term as President. Which is what you'd expect.

Lara Owen said...

Obama came to power, most appropriately, as Neptune was moving towards the conjunction with the US Moon. I am wondering if he will get a second term, as Neptune will have moved off the US moon by then. Thoughts?

Duse said...

Obama will also be dealing with Transiting South Node conjunct his Moon and Tr Saturn T-square his Jupiter/Mercury opposition. There's also Tr Pluto trine Pluto, but that can oftentimes be a sign of cleaning out one's life. And, truly, not many believe he actually wanted the work of this job, just the perks and the ability to make history. Leaving it could be a relief.

So, during Primary Season and leading up to the Nomination, he will find it much more difficult to be heard and will find himself and what he says challenged at every turn (he does have a tendency to over-promise or over-state the facts) -- oh, and he HATES being challenged; just watch how he handled those very rare times in 2008 when a reporter or debate moderator did so. This will be a MUCH different experience than what he got when he ran in 2008. I'm not sure he'll be emotionally capable to deal with it. Why?

Because with the South Node conjunct his Moon, he will be feeling very depressed, under the gun, discombobulated, angry, frustrated, and betrayed. Not at all the confident, successful Leader Americans will want to vote for.

And, yes, he has the Tr North Node approaching his Midheaven, but so did Gordon Brown when he was ousted as Prime Minister. I don't think it'll be enough in light of the full astrological picture.

Considering just how deeply angry and disappointed people here in the States are with Obama, feeling lied to and betrayed and taken advantage of (another aspect of Neptune), the transits above don't sound very promising.

In fact, almost everyone I know -- and that's a lot of people in many different walks of life on both coasts -- is begging for Hillary to challenge him. Remember, she won more votes in the 2008 Primary than he did and won every single Big Democratic State -- CA, OH, NJ, NY, PA, etc and so on -- except Illinois, Obama's home state, the only one he won. There is definitely a large network of strong support to tap into should she decide ... and I think she will.

Duse said...

And don't forget that whatever illusions or misperceptions Obama may have about his own personal power and invincibility might be seriously curtailed or squelched when Tr Saturn first conjuncts his Neptune in December 2012/January 2013.

Just sayin' ...

LB said...

Long before Obama was elected President, there were clear signs that all was not as it seemed. But because we needed a larger than life hero, many of us chose to ignore them.

Maybe it's because I also have Saturn in Sag (the skeptic), or maybe it's because my Chiron is conjunct Obama's Ascendant, but for whatever reason, I've never had much trouble seeing first candidate Obama, then President Obama as he really is. Which is not to say he's the devil - that would also be a projection based on our own failures to take responsibility - but he is at least, as flawed as the rest of us, with his most noticeable flaw being his propensity for purposely (and often times convincingly) misleading others in order to attain greater political power, while maintaining the all-important illusion of nobility.

At this point, I don't think any of us really knows what President Obama believes in, nor do we know how deeply connected (if at all) he is to those beliefs.

Anonymous said...


Mary said...

Many thanks for all your words. I enjoy reading your blog. Seasons Greetings :)

Unknown said...

Like this article and the previous one, too, as they're both illustrating views on Assange and Obama that I share. Just one critical comment on the somewhat simplistic way you (or Liz Greene?) describe(s) the shadow: being ashamed to admit something about oneself automatically implies that one is aware of the trait in question, whereas the term 'shadow' describes something that hasn't been hit by the light of consciousness.

Barry Goddard said...

I think there's degrees of awareness of the shadow. From Wikipedia: "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."

So if it is entirely repressed, I suppose we could could say someone would be ashamed if they began to be aware of it.

Anonymous said...

This is incredibly insightful for me and it only took four days to understand it! I guess I'm slow! My shadow side has been making appearances lately. It pops out for examination and it's so painful that immediately I retreat. Having to be ashamed of what is there is so painful but circumstances have been so difficult lately these shadow forces have escaped and don't want to hide anymore. I've allowed peoples judgements of me to be judge and jury and put me down for far to long! Pain has been allowed to hide where these feelings have overtook me and have become hidden in this shadow realm. Releasing these things is difficult and causes me chest pain for several moments. But living for others approval is difficult and impossible. I approve of myself and peace comes only with your approval! Many thanks to you and the people who comment it's all been very helpful! Jenni-OMG

Anonymous said...

"There was a period in 2008, when Barack Obama was campaigning to be the Democratic Presidential candidate, when you weren’t likely to get a good reception if you said anything critical of the man. He was sweeping people away on a wave of hope for a better world. One astrologer told me at the time that my Saturn in Sagittarius gave me a fear of faith, which was stopping me from seeing Obama as he really he was. (I’d say it gave me sense!)"

I agree with this person. Most of Obama's doubters that I've heard (and hear) who cling to their projection of him as an inexperienced (although they've had to drop that critique after 3 years in office), deceitful (again, after 3 years they still haven't found any lies but it's like "searching" for the non-existent Weapons of Mass Deception), "lame-duck" President are people with Saturn in know-it-all Sagittarius. No amount of evidence can convince this generation that they are wrong. It's sad, really.

Thank God for the Neptune and Pluto in Sagittarius generations to put common sense ahead of common fears. It's not faith if it has already been proven. Saturn in Sagittarius is willfully ignoring the evidence.

Barry Goddard said...

I think you're missing my point. I wasn't taking the opposite view and dismissing Obama. My point was that many people were shutting down their critical faculties, and rational debate was therefore precluded.

Anonymous said...

This post is much closer to the reality that I recognize - that what we see in these public figures are pieces of ourselves, which is why I'm insisting that people who are projecting a naivete on Obama are actually commenting on their own fears of their own naivete.

As for me, I'm an outer planet person. All of them are strong in my chart. I identify with Bush in a way. He aimed for a position that he was sorely unqualified for and yet no one challenged his right to the "throne" because he "fit the description" of what power looks like (white, male, greying hair, rich, comes from a name family, likable) until he sent America to the same place he sent all of the other businesses he ran before becoming "President" - into the toilet. I have been promoted above my comfort level before because people liked me or because I projected a comforting "know-it-all" attitude. The difference is that I said no to the promotion, so I can sleep at night knowing that I didn't drive the company into the ground with my lack of readiness.

Assange's cultural icon status is pure projection to me. Yes, he had the "balls" to release private cables, but he did so without caring about the consequences of his actions. The dumb side of Uranus. So many of my planets aspect Uranus. I don't need to get in touch with my Uranian side through Assange so he and his entire story bored me. His chart is actually quite similar to mine.

Now Obama? He is the one who I like that I identify with. I have Neptune Rising and it is retrograde, so I'm happily using Obama as my far-away mentor in how to apply some practicality to Neptunian ideals. While many of you doubters can't stand watching people worship him, I'm watching his Sun in the 6th house roll up his sleeves and get to work without fanfare or bragging - and this is why none of you doubters are valuing him correctly. You can't see behind the Neptunian (media) smokescreen to the real man underneath. I find this the most ironic irony of it all: I fall into your "worshiper" category yet my faith in him is born from my expectation that he will always fail...but he doesn't. Because even when he fails to achieve his short-term goal, he dusts himself off and tries again with a new and improved (Sun in 6th, Saturn in Capricorn, Mars in Virgo) strategy that helps him progress towards his long-term goal.

His main deceptions include not correcting people's misconceptions about him. Sometimes, it's more expedient to let people believe what the wanna believe rather than waste resources trying to convince them that they're wrong. That would be an ego battle that he can't afford to engage in. That's what us "worshipers" are for. ;-)

When you already think you know, the search for the objective truth ends. That is unfortunate.

Barry Goddard said...

Hang on a minute! I never denied his real qualities. It's quite obvious he's a hard worker and thinks carefully before he acts. I appreciate that in him, and I'm not calling all his supporters worshippers.

But still, he also attracts that worshipful response, and it's a two-way thing. He is a talented showman as well as a capable, hard-working President.