America After The
Religion? Security? Good vs Evil?? Saturn...?
Malvin Artley, our regular contributor on the hidden side of things at the monthly Lunations, now takes a rare foray into the political arena, as he examines the reasons behind the success of the conservative parties in the recent elections in the US, and also in Australia. As a citizen of both of these great democracies, Malvin is uniquely placed to observe the astrological qualities of both. He argues that the grim power of Saturn lies behind the widespread feelings of insecurity that led to unexpected results in both countries, and that this should be read in the light of the series of Eclipses and Grand Quintile aspects just past.
Last week started just like any other work week. We had just experienced the eclipse the week before, and I was feeling much clearer and more energized. Monday mornings usually drag a bit after the weekend, but this one seemed different somehow. I was soon to find out why. Sleep had been fitful the night before with all sorts of strange dreams bearing martial symbolism, true to Scorpio form. I share the shop with my ex-boss and he usually comes in a few minutes after me. But, he was late that morning. I began to feel something was awry. The weather was strange that day with a howling wind and sporadic heavy downpours of rain. The shop groaned and creaked under the onslaught of the purgative weather. It set me in an apprehensive mood. Soon my ex-boss's sister came in white as a sheet, and my first thought was that something had happened to my mate, but it turned out that her nephew, the ex-boss's son, had been killed in a motorcycle accident the night before. It turns out that the fair city of Adelaide lost four of her young sons to motorcycles that weekend. What a way to start the week!
Needless to say, the family is devastated and their grief played as sharply on me as if I had lost one of my own. I had known the kid. He grew up at that shop. It was the family business. I saw the family briefly, but on the whole the shop was empty for the week. The weather was cold, windy and rainy all week, and as I rattled around in the empty shop and listened to the plaintive moaning of the wind and the pounding of the rain, I knew another turning point had been reached and that things around there were likely to change drastically from there on out. Then, a couple of days after the accident we had the US elections, which only added to the surrealism and melancholy of the weekly toil. The two events almost felt somehow connected in their impact on me. Indeed, the eclipses and the Grand Quintiles were doing their needed work, and the things that got brought up for me were deep—as they usually are this time of year. But life goes on. Many of us have felt stunned in some ways by the outcome of the elections and sometimes because of life in general. And, as it turns out, there have been calamitous events for many people here around the eclipses. My heart goes out to all who have recently lost loved ones. To those who felt the elections to be catastrophes as well, perhaps we need to rethink that, though.
After due reflection, I have felt prodded to add my input to the already voluminous commentary on the elections in the US and Australia. Apologies if you have had a gutful already. Emotions have run high and hot on all sides of politics and public opinion. To say that I and most of my friends were displeased with the outcome would be slightly understating the fact. But, I feel it necessary to bring out a few things that people may not have considered around all this and-despite it all—I can see what is coming, and I have to say I still feel quite bright about the future. Some readers might think me mad for saying so, but I can assure you that I have given the matter a lot of thought since the elections and there is Light at the end of the tunnel. For the above reasons, this is a longer letter than usual, so bear with me on this. It bears on matters close to my heart and the hearts of many of you as well. With that, let us begin.
I am a citizen of both Australia and the US, so I have watched both elections with a fair amount of interest. I will begin my remarks by saying that I am not affiliated with any political party. I simply vote my conscience and for the people I feel will do the best job for the country. I will have to say as well, though, that in these elections there was not really a lot from which to choose. I will get to my reasons for saying that in due course. The thing that surprised the more progressive thinkers in both countries was the fact that the conservatives got re-elected at all and that they also gained control of both houses in their respective countries. This surprise perhaps shows us how out of touch we are with our fellow citizens. The forces of conservatism are entrenched in government for a long time to come, it would seem. The other thing that I found most interesting to watch was the polarization of people on all sides and the very strong sentiments expressed. There seemed to be no group which sought a middle path. It was “us” or “them”, so it seemed, and even among esoteric and New Age groups the views expressed were often vociferous. I felt myself getting pulled into it from time to time. There was an urgency felt around these elections that was all out of proportion with the facts and folks on all sides felt as though they had to make some sort of stand. But, make a stand against what? Good and evil? That is what some camps would have us believe. I don't buy it. There are crises looming in the near future, though, so let's start to unravel a bit of what is really going on here.
Transit of Saturn through Cancer
There were many astrological predictions made about the probable outcomes for the elections in both America and Australia (we just had ours as well). Most of the speculations focused upon the charts of the candidates and the relations of those to the charts of their respective countries' charts. This method has its validity, but upon due reflection it was not enough and there was precious little focus placed upon the prevailing world conditions at the time and upon one planet in particular—Saturn. Saturn has been transiting through Cancer for the last couple of years and it has brought up a huge amount of insecurity in the populace for examination. Cancer, as we know, rules family and home, protectiveness, women, land, property and real estate, to name but a few things. Saturn is the most fear-riddled point in any horoscope, and it is fear around the very things just mentioned concerning Cancer that won the elections for the conservatives. The opposition parties just did not know how to play those cards well enough. The conservatives, on the other hand, are old pros around playing the fear card, especially when it comes to “family values”, homeland security and untried leadership. It was the case in both countries that people chose what they knew and that with which they are comfortable, rather than being willing to take a chance with someone unproven. “Better the devil you know”, so-to-speak.
People want to feel protected, nurtured, safe and comfortable at the moment. That is simply part of the human condition. But, with Saturn going through Cancer, folks feel anything but that. The world seems a scary place now. Things feel uncertain. I'll never forget hearing the Australian prime minister John Howard after he had just won his first election saying that he wanted the electorate to feel “relaxed and comfortable” under his administration. I'll have to tell you, I sure have. I have been known to be a bit sarcastic at times, too. Trust was a big issue in the campaigns, and the question that the conservatives kept hammering home was: “Who do you trust?” It was quite effective. I had a friend of mine write and tell me how feckless he thought the Democratic Party in the US was after Kerry conceded the election, but after giving the matter some thought I am not that certain they could have done anything much better. They could have been more focused, directed and united, but that would have been no guarantee of a win for them this election. The public wants something more demonstrable than possibilities at the moment. It was fear and uncertainty that won the day for the conservatives, and people tend to stick with what they know in difficult times, even if it is not very good for them.
Religion Won the White House?
The major issues that surrounded the elections in both countries and which were the big deciding factors in people's minds read like a litany of Cancerian attributes: family values, interest rates on home real estate (Australia), border security, homeland security, the “War on Terror” (which is really a perceived threat to the security of one's homeland), keeping the status quo, “going with what you trust”, so on and so forth. I used to work with a Cancerian fellow whose favorite saying when I felt like questioning things was “Don't rock the boat!” In other words “Don't upset my little world!” He had a secure place at that job and he was quite content to keep things just as they were. This is a typical Cancerian attitude. Needless to say, he and I didn't work together for very long. I have an annoying tendency to question things—annoying to him, anyway. There is something at a deeper level that is driving people's insecurities and choices, though, and we need to look at that a little more intently.
There have been many commentators who have proclaimed that religion won the White House. There is a statistic being bandied about that a staggering 40% of Americans consider themselves to be “born again”, and that this group was mobilized to the extent that it pushed Bush over the line in the presidential race. It is generally thought that this group is more militant, but I would have to disagree with that. I know more than a few of them and they go quietly about their business and their faith. I used to be classed among them myself, and I can tell you that I was not on any crusade. While it is true that the US is a deeply religious country on the whole, I do not feel that having a “man of faith” at the helm is what won the election for him. And, while it is also true that Bush won the popular vote, he only won by a slim majority, percentage-wise. Yes, 51% of the populace supposedly voted for him, but 48% voted for change. We need to consider, too, that the Republican Party has traditionally been associated with big business and the monied interests and that a very significant part of his voter base is in the financial sector. I heard a rather interesting program on the radio the other day that tells the real story about why religion has been seen to play such a big role in the elections of both countries, but it does not really have so much to do with religion.
Due to cutbacks in social services, largely introduced by conservative governments, people have to rely much more on local community services in the US even for basic needs, and in the States especially, this means the local churches become a primary source of social services like women's shelters, child care, help for the homeless, soup kitchens, etc., and for people generally down on their luck. And, the numbers of those are increasing steadily. Such groups are highly organized and they do a lot of good work in the community. They also inspire a lot of loyalty in the people they serve, religion aside. So, when election time rolls around and the call goes out from these grassroots organizations to get out and vote, how do you think the people they help are going to vote? Are they going to bite the hand that feeds them, even though the reason they are there to begin with is because the very government they are being asked to vote for is the one that has made it nearly impossible for them to get government aid?
There is a smaller group of people in the “born-again” crowd who are more militant in their beliefs and who want to see religion made a much more integral part of government, but these are in the minority, from my observations. I think the numbers of people who voted for Bush can be broken down into several main groups, none of which are singly in the majority—the evangelical, politically active group, those more aligned with business and financial interests, those who are just naturally more conservative in their thinking and those who are simply following the direction given them by the groups with whom they are affiliated, like the local church organizations.
In part two of this article, Malvin Artley looks more deeply into the meanings of the current configurations with regard to the recent US elections, in the light of aspects to the US chart. This is all greatly amplified under the influence the recent Eclipse and Grand Quintile aspect.
Read part two of America After The Election