THE USA FISCAL CLIFF
(January 2013 issue of "Today's Astrologer")
The U.S. Declaration of Independence has been experiencing another Saturn return since its conception 236 years ago. Transiting Saturn returns to its natal place approximately every twenty-nine years. This is a major cycle of experience dealing with stress, testing, and forced economy. The natal position of Saturn represents the native’s ultimate intention towards a meaningful worldly achievement and contribution. This is the area of greatest tension in life, which energies are being challenged demanding close attention and examination. Every Saturn return offers new opportunities to correct past mistakes and take responsibility towards establishing new paths. Lessons learned at this time make the next Saturn return less difficult.
In November 2010, transiting Saturn returned to conjunct the natal USA Saturn at fourteen degrees of Libra. Drastic changes occurred that changed the course of the nation. The controversial Tea Party movement, mostly consisting of fundamentalist conservatives, took over the House of Representatives and the result has been legislative gridlock ever since. The conflict intensified in October and November 2012 with Saturn’s conjunction to progressed Saturn at three degrees of Scorpio. Republicans’ aim to punish the democratic president, blaming him for the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, obviously backfired with his re-election.
The “fiscal cliff” is the culmination of a series of increasingly contentious showdowns between the two political parties, most noteworthy, the debt-ceiling fight of August 2011, which rattled financial markets and threatened the country’s ability to meet its financial obligations. Taxes and the role of government are at the heart of the fiscal cliff debate. The largest single component of the fiscal cliff is the Bush-era tax cuts that are due to expire early January 2013. Republicans want to extend them, while Democrats and the president would extend all cuts except for the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers. If Congress fails to reach a compromise, the United States is expected to suffer significant negative economic consequences for going over the fiscal cliff.
In reality, the country has been on the fiscal cliff since its previous Saturn return in 1981-82, when President Reagan lowered the tax rate for the wealthy significantly. He also declared “big government was the problem” and the gradual dismantle of government began. In addition, industries that once contributed to build the middle-class began to ship jobs overseas for higher profits. This philosophy contradicts the purpose and principles upon which the Declaration of Independence was founded. The signification of government, Capricorn and its ruler Saturn, play the most significant role in this birth chart.
Saturn is exalted in Libra, in addition to being the highest planet in the chart and powerful in its own house. Saturn in the tenth represents a test of power. When wealth and status are more important than service, and humility has not been learned, the rise to the top can be followed by a fall. The Saturn return highlights these karmic lessons. Capricorn in the second house represents lessons to be learned where true values are concerned, in addition to responsible use of resources. Capricorn is also the depositor of Pluto therein emphasizing the power of money. Records show that whenever tax rates for the wealthy were raised the country prospered the most.
In 2008, transiting Pluto (transformation) returned to Capricorn for the first time since before the declaration of independence from the British Empire in 1776. Pluto rules Scorpio in the twelve house of self-undoing, and secret enemies in the world of appearance. Scorpio rules taxes; joint resources, crime, and hidden power thus together, perfectly represent Congress and the corporate power. The connection between Saturn in Libra (compromise, “the rule of law”), in the tenth (reputation, contribution), and Pluto in Capricorn in the second, ruler of the twelve, depict what the late Isabel Hickey called, “serve or suffer.” The twelve house offers a choice between being a savior or a victim.
Pluto’s return to Capricorn is also contributing to the fiscal cliff. Its opposition to the planets in the seventh, including the Sun, representative of the president, as well as the purpose for existing, explains the challenges the president and the country are being subjected to. This is reminiscent of the turbulent, prewar of independence time. The most crucial turning-point for USA will be marked by the transiting Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (2019-20), opposition natal Mercury, ruler of the Seventh (others), and the ninth (international matters, the law of the land, religion, and immigration). In the mean time, the main issues will continue to be foreign relations, immigration reform, and hopefully gun laws will be revised to prevent the type of random massacres taking place around the country.
Virgo (the working people), intercepted (delay or future matters) in the ninth house, could restore the “government of the people by the people.” However, Natal Neptune intercepted in the ninth house is indicative of the idealistic and delusional expectations of the country as a whole. Meanwhile, the controversy about the “fiscal cliff” among law-makers could continue until transiting Jupiter goes direct towards the end of January 2013, conjunction natal Uranus, opposition Ascendant, depicting an unexpected and unstable agreement.
New actions might not be taken until Jupiter conjuncts natal Mars in the spring (Congress voted to postpone a sequester about spending cuts for two months.) By the summer of 2013, Jupiter (opportunity, expansion) begins to activate the lucky natal triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and Sun in Cancer. This configuration should promote increased revenue benefiting the country as a whole in order to avoid the fall over the proverbial cliff. Jupiter’s return is a reminder of the money-making potential that can be taken for granted and monopolized among the privileged few. At the same time, the Saturn return in this chart marked the latest wake-up call for the re-evaluation of the nation’s original intentions to exemplify the true meaning of democracy and justice for all.
(The birth map for the United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm, Philadelphia, PA, can be found in the "ASTRO-CHARTS" section)
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