In the 1970s the cultural historian William Irwin Thompson described Richard Nixon’s resignation as U.S. President as the end of the presidency itself. He believed that Nixon’s departure symbolized a shift in the power of the office rather than just the failure of one man. The idea that leadership in the Oval Office may not be significant corresponds with the transit of transformational Pluto through executive Capricorn from 2009-2023, especially now with revolutionary Uranus coming into a stressful 90-degree square with Pluto. The point is that institutions are changing, including that of the Chief Executive in the United States, regardless of who she or he may be.
Thompson’s idea came to mind recently when I looked at the natal charts of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination. Gingrich, unsurprisingly, is a glib Gemini with the Moon in philosophical Sagittarius with both making stressful squares to dreamy Neptune. He also has verbal Mercury in chatty Gemini closely conjunct unconventional Uranus. None of these were surprising but what is remarkable is the lack of planets in the early degrees of season starting Cardinal signs, where Uranus and Pluto will continue to trigger changes through 2015.
Mitt Romney is a Pisces with the Moon in Scorpio with only diaphanous Neptune at 9 Libra in the Uranus-Pluto transit zone. This lack of planets at these critical points made me think that neither man would be a meaningful change agent during the next few years. Barack Obama fares slightly better with sociable Venus at 1 degree of Cancer, but that’s still relatively trivial with respect to where the major planetary action is. (Transformational Pluto’s opposition to Obama’s Venus at the time of his inauguration in January 2009 reflects the breakthrough as the first mixed race U.S. president.) The absence of astrological activity is not proof of cultural insignificance but it does suggest that none of these men are likely to lead us into the dawn of a new age, which corresponds with William Irwin Thompson’s decades old belief in the withering power of the American presidency.
It isn’t surprising, though, that an office that requires vast amounts of money and media attention to obtain is not going to represent the cutting edge of American consciousness. The seven-year transit of Uranus in independent Aries is, as I’ve often stated, about individual breakthroughs leading the way to collective change. The leadership we seek lies within each of us. Yet surprisingly, Vladimir Putin’s Sun at 13 Libra is in the Uranus-Pluto transit zone, suggesting that he may play a greater role in shaping the future than the three Americans mentioned. This doesn’t mean that the old KGB spymaster will be transformed into an angel of enlightenment but that changes in Russia may be have more impact on the world’s future than we expect.