(7) Edith Hathaway astrologer, discusses 2008 presidential election - a transcript of a talk presented 9 February 2008 (ten months prior to the election). Plus updates to this transcript written 25 Nov 2008 and post election comments written 23 Jan 2009 (including the varying oath of office times/charts).

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The words are presented on this webpage but you can also download this copyrighted material as a word document, or as a pdf file (34 pages). (Copyright © 2008/2009)

Edith HathawayOUTLINE


The Vedic chart
Nimittas (omens)


Barack Obama
The 28-year Saturn Cycle
U.S. Presidential Election Cycles
Astrological confluence
Planetary resonance from 1960 and 1980
1960:  John F. Kennedy
1980:  Ronald Reagan


Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
John McCain


The national chart
The USA chart


Mars & Rahu – military &/or antagonistic themes
Confluence – April 28 thru May 9, 2008
Solar eclipse (Feb. 6, 2008) and Aug. 2008 eclipses
Pluto’s role in the 2008 Election & beyond


14 charts

FOR MATERIAL on Barack Obama’s birth chart and an astrological discussion of his correct birth time, see below (1); (2); and (3).  (This includes information updated to Nov. 25, 2008.)



(updated to Nov. 25, 2008 with commentary)

by Edith Hathaway (Copyright © 2008-09)


  I give my 2008 Election prediction and methods, my thesis being that Barack Obama will be the winner of the Democratic Primaries and of the General Election. His toughest fight is against Hillary Clinton, ending by early May 2008.  This is a written version of a 4-hour workshop I presented to the North San Diego Chapter of NCGR (National Council of Geocosmic Research).  It was held at the Cardiff Public Library, Cardiff, CA on Feb. 9, 2008, 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM PST. The audience consisted mostly of Western tropical astrologers, many of whom were familiar with Vedic astrology.

The text is made possible in part by my own prepared lecture notes and by workshop notes transcribed by attendee Lynn Bootes. She is an M.D. (retired), current student at Kepler College, M.A. program, and with the Level II program of the American College of Vedic Astrology.  I  am grateful to Lynn for making her notes available to me.  I have further edited, expanded and reorganized the material for written presentation, and with added commentary. Updated material is clearly indicated in brackets. Non-astrologers should be able to follow relatively easily. (No audio file is available. Unexpectedly NCGR did not provide audio equipment or recording of the event.)


The Vedic chart: Vedic astrology uses only the sidereal or constellational zodiac, although the ayanamsha may differ within a few degrees. (Ayanamsha is the difference between sidereal and tropical zodiacs.) I use the Lahiri ayanamsha, which is currently about 24 degrees behind the tropical zodiac. I also use the South Indian chart style. The houses are whole sign houses. Houses and signs are counted in a clockwise direction from the Ascendant, which is identified on each chart. Pisces is always in the upper left hand corner, Gemini in the upper right hand corner, and so forth around the chart.  Please refer to my handout, Vedic Mundane Astrology. Vedic astrologers classically use seven planets, and these planets rule over the 12 signs and the 27 nakshatras. Outer planets such as Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto are referred to only in special cases (and by no means by all Vedic astrologers), when they are changing signs or transiting a pivotal point in the zodiac or in a chart.  For instance, I note that Pluto is currently in sidereal Sagittarius, at the Galactic Center. A slower moving planet has special relevance when it crosses the Galactic Center, as well as the USA chart Ascendant.     

Nimittas (omens): Vedic astrologers have been using nimittas for millennia before they had reliable birth charts. These are listed in various classical texts, such as the Prasna Marga and the Vaharamihira’s Brihat Samhita.  Examples include  “Portentous Phenomena” (Chapter XLVI in Brihat Samhita), such as “Portents of Animals and Birds,” and “Portents of Rainfall,” “Portents of Water,” “Portents of Wind,” among others.  Examples are vast and detailed, and their tradition remains strong among Vedic astrologers in India. Through cultivating this ancient tradition, Vedic astrologers in the West can benefit greatly. To do so requires study and observation of more and more nimittas, along with the resulting phenomena. But no matter what is written in the classic Vedic texts, we have to gear them to our own culture and national environment.  It may also be important to apply them within the context of the smaller and larger cycles. For instance, does the nimitta occur on a day that is astrologically or personally significant?  Or does it draw our attention to a larger planetary cycle of some significance? All these factors would give more weight to the nimitta.


I see Barack Obama as both the winner of the Democratic Party Presidential Primaries, and thus his party’s nominee, and also the winner of the Nov. 4th election. His biggest competitors are currently Hillary Clinton and John McCain. This is after a 13-month primary season since Jan. 2007, with a total of 20 candidates: 11 Republican Party presidential candidates and 9 Democratic Party presidential candidates. Many of them dropped out early last month. Those who most recently suspended their campaigns are: Democrat John Edwards on Jan. 30, 2008, and Republican Mitt Romney on Feb. 7, 2008.  Republicans Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in the race, though not expected to win. John McCain is just short of achieving the Republican nomination. Given the intensity and confluence of planetary factors coming up in Feb., March, April, and the first week of May 2008 – I consider Obama’s fiercest battle is against Clinton – not McCain – and one he should win by early May, mid-May at the latest. 

[Update:  As a result of Obama’s cumulative gains in the Democratic Party primaries on May 6 in North Carolina and Indiana, senior journalist Tim Russert announced that night on MSNBC: “I think we now know who the nominee is, and no one can dispute it.”  But Hillary Clinton continued to dispute it.  As the frontrunner all through 2007, she and her experienced campaign machine had expected to win decisively over all the other Democratic Party presidential contenders by early Jan.’08.  Instead, she fought through to the very last state primary on June 3rd, finally suspending her campaign on June 7, 2008, and with heavy campaign debts. Though called a “tight race” by mainstream media, in fact Clinton lacked enough Super Delegates as of late Feb. 2008 to catch up with Obama.  The aura of suspense came from a number of factors: the magnetism of both candidates and the intense loyalty of their supporters, the quixotic and Bill, Hillary, and Barack often problematic role of ex-president Bill Clinton, Hillary’s attempts to change the rules of the Primaries in her favor, her ongoing attacks on Obama, his ability to handle them, and the ability of each of them to handle race and gender issues. She was also a more skilled debater. McCain became the Republican Party’s presumptive Presidential nominee after winning enough Super Delegates on March 4, 2008.  Huckabee conceded earlier the same night. Though there were no further Republican primaries, Ron Paul stayed in the race until June 12, 2008.    EH]

For election predictions, I use various astrological factors and charts. In this particular instance, I am relying primarily on the cycles of Jupiter and Saturn, as I will describe. Additionally, among astrological charts I study: 1) the birth charts of candidates; 2) the formal announcement of a presidential (or even VP) candidacy; 3) the Inauguration chart 1-20-2009, 12 noon, Washington, D.C.; 4) the USA chart; and 5) planetary contacts between candidates’ birth charts and the national chart. (I use a chart for the USA for July 4, 1776, 6:30 PM LMT, Philadelphia, PA – the James Kelleher chart. See Chart #1 upcoming.)  However, as of today, both the Obama and Clinton birth times are still debated. And in fact there is always the potential for unreliable birth times, especially for politicians – who may understand more than most others how a correct birth chart can be used to predict their own victory or defeat. They might easily offer several versions of the birth time to nullify the effectiveness of any of them. Even so, the birth chart can be studied in an ongoing way to confirm that it matches up to the person and to the events occurring in his or her life.

Because of these discrepancies in politicians’ birth charts, for U.S. presidential elections I rely more on cyclical charts, with special emphasis on the 20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycles, as well as 12-year Jupiter cycles and 28-year Saturn cycles.  Technically, Jupiter’s sidereal period (orbit around the Sun) is 11.86 years, and that of Saturn 29.46 years, but Saturn returns to the same sign after a minimum of 28 years, coinciding with the U.S. Election cycle.

The U.S. presidential election cycles are relevant to the astrologer only insofar as they occur once every four years and intersect with the Jupiter-Saturn 20 year cycles. I have applied the 28-year Saturn cycle and the 12-year Jupiter cycle in a new way to the start of the Election cycle and to the USA chart (Sagittarius Ascendant). But I have set up strict rules for it, which make use of the following classic components from Vedic astrology: The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions should fall in either an angular or trinal house from the USA chart (Sagittarius Ascendant). They should also occur within at most a few weeks or months of either a U.S. Presidential Election or Inauguration. That confluence ushers in a period of dominance of one of the two major American political parties. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions of 1940-41 provide a good test case, as do the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions of 1980-81.

The first such conjunction on Dec. 31, 1980 was preceded by Republican Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory on Nov. 4, 2008, and by the murder of John Lennon in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980. (His killer was Mark David Chapman, a mentally unbalanced fan.)  Lennon’s murder was an important nimitta, in my estimation, especially in the wake of Reagan’s decisive victory for the Conservative Right wing in America.  It would herald the end of any Liberal Left wing dominance in American political life – for at least another 28 years. The Beatles rock star was also a strong anti-war voice, especially regarding the Viet Nam war, through his music and his political activism. Among his most famous activist songs were “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine.” President Nixon tried to have Lennon deported in 1972, for his plans to do a nationwide rock tour, encouraging young people to register to vote – against Nixon in the 1972 election. (Lennon’s tour plans were foiled, Nixon won in a landslide election, and the Viet Nam War dragged on until 1975.) The FBI continued to keep close surveillance on Lennon, amassing a file on him of over 400 pages.

Astrological confluence: Reagan’s election occurred just two months prior to the first of three Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Virgo, and in the 10th house (of prestige and status) of the USA chart. This satisfies my criteria for dominance. Confirming it even further, Reagan was inaugurated just six weeks prior to another Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on March 4, 1981. (A third and last conjunction in Virgo occurred July 23, 1981.)  Because of this confluence of factors, Reagan’s presidency ushered in a full-fledged Saturn period of dominance for the Republican Party – 28 years, and gave Reagan almost king-like status throughout most of that time, including after he left office.

However, this Status Quo can be challenged by the following astrological phenomena: 1) Another Jupiter-Saturn conjunction 20 years later, but within the same 28-year period – producing a very tight, contentious or fraudulently won election, as we saw both in 1960 and 2000; and 2) The 12-year Jupiter cycle coming due – threatening to topple a 28-year dominance, even if temporarily. This happened with Bill Clinton in 1992, and with Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.  Eisenhower broke the dominance of the Democratic Party-held presidency that had lasted more than 12 years (since 1932), but got another full-fledged start from the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Aries in 1940-41.  In short, because of the 12-year Jupiter cycle from the start of that party’s dominance, the Democrats were vulnerable in 1952, and the Republicans were vulnerable in 1992.  Bill Clinton, just as with Eisenhower, held office for eight years, or two terms.

Among the many symbols pinpointing this political reality was a classic book of its era: The Emerging Republican Majority (1969). Written in 1967 and 1968 by then-Republican Party strategist and author Kevin Phillips, it was used by Richard Nixon in his successful 1968 presidential campaign.The book was then published a year after the fall of the 28-year Democratic Party reign. It was the first of over a dozen books by Phillips, whose later titles would also be uncannily prescient.  And by 1990 he had turned from supporter to harsh critic of the Conservative movement he helped build, finding it ideologically extreme and dangerously shortsighted.  

[Update: In July 2008 Kevin Phillips published his 14th book: “Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism.”  Born Nov. 30, 1940, just weeks after the second of three Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Aries, Phillips is ideally equipped to understand the political-economic-historical cycles he researches so thoroughly and writes about so brilliantly.  He has at least four other natal planets with important contacts to the Jupiter-Saturn combination, highlighting the intensity of that connection.  Beatle John Lennon was born Oct. 9, 1940, 10 days prior to a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aries. He died at age 40, 23 days prior to a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Virgo. His unique role as cultural icon is reflected in the special resonance he had with this conjunction as a cycle marker and harbinger of the times.     EH.]

The 28-year Saturn cycle that began on Nov. 5,1980 (U.S. Election day) ends on Nov. 4, 2008, suggesting (and in my view, dictating) a change in political order from the political party that has largely dominated since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.  Although that dominance almost broke in 2000, its continuance through to 2008 was shown by at least one major nimitta (omen) in 2004. To me, Ronald Reagan’s 6-day State Funeral, June 5-11, 2004, and the many days of Reagan eulogies foreshadowed George W. Bush’s gain of another four years as president, thereby completing the full 28-year cycle of Republican Party dominance.  Bush even gave his acceptance speech in Nov. 2004 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Jupiter and Saturn cycles can be applied to important election years, and linked with nimittas, in this case to 1960 and 1980. Because of this confluence, my prediction is that the Democratic Party candidate will win. This leaves out John McCain. And it will be the candidate who does not represent a repeat of the last 28 years. This leaves out Hillary Clinton, although in part explains why the biggest battle Obama is likely to have is with a powerful Democratic opponent. Furthermore, spring 2008 has the greatest intensity of planetary combinations for the candidates, and involves the politically active Cancer/Capricorn axis.  However, the shift in power in November should be relatively smooth, since during Election year 2008 transiting Jupiter is trine tr. Saturn, in fire signs, bringing a more stabilizing influence, at least politically, especially with Jupiter’s transit to the USA chart Ascendant in Sagittarius. Jupiter is generally protective on the Ascendant, especially in the sign it rules. However, tr. Pluto close to the Galactic Center during 2008 and 2009 can indicate social or financial upheaval, including between 11-28-08 thru 1-22-09.  I will discuss this topic a little later on.

The year 2008 represents a total of four 12-year Jupiter cycles since 1960, and one 28-year Saturn cycle from 1980. This is an especially compelling example for an Election year, as it gives some planetary resonance both from 1960 and from 1980. Therefore, we should expect to see some symbols from both 1960 and 1980 emerging during the 2008 election cycle. And we have them already, louder and clearer than usual.

The connection to 1960: First of all, Barack Obama has quickly risen to national prominence – a personality reminiscent of John F. Kennedy, Obama in Berlin, Germany (July 2008) - a reminder of massive crowd support at JFK's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in Berlin (June 1963)especially in his ability to inspire large segments of the population, notably young people. Just in recent days, announcements were made of major Kennedy family support for Obama.  At a rally on Jan. 28, 2008, Obama received the support of JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, his brother Senator Ted Kennedy, and nephew Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.). Other members of the extended Kennedy clan remain divided between their support for Clinton and Obama. But Caroline and her immediate family are pro-Obama. Her first-ever presidential endorsement came on Sunday, Jan. 27th with her piece in The New York Times:  “A President Like My Father.”

[Update: Obama has also received the support of John F. Kennedy’s closest advisor, biographer, and most important speechwriter, Ted Sorenson, now 80 (as of May 8, 2008).  In early 2008, it emerged that among Obama’s full-time speechwriters is Adam Frankel, age 26, who for the past 7 years has assisted Ted Sorenson in writing his memoirs about his years with Jack Kennedy. The former Kennedy advisor suffered a stroke in 2001, two days after agreeing to write the book. As the stroke rendered him legally blind, he dictated most of the book, and delegated much of the work to Frankel, his research assistant.  Published May 1, 2008, it is titled “Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.” By assisting Sorenson, Frankel acted as a kind of “Sorenson’s Sorenson.”    EH]

The connection to 1980: Themes around Ronald Reagan have been playing prominently in the 2008 Election.  Republican candidates often cite Reagan, when they need a Republican icon to praise, and want to avoid mentioning George W. Bush.  Also, just recently Obama gained much attention (and controversy) from a Jan. 16, 2008 interview he did in Nevada with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette:

“I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure.  I think part of what's different are the times.  I do think that the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. …He just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

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(A more in-depth study coming later.) Exception: Since I have projected Obama as the winner in Nov. 2008, I devote more space in this section to describing his chart.

(1) Barack Obama: Born Aug. 4, 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, birth time unknown. (Class X data: No birth time available.) I have rectified the birth chart to 6:10 AM, very close to sunrise.  Ascendant: 18:45 Cancer.

[Update: In June 2008, Obama’s birth certificate became available, showing a 7:24 PM birth time, with 24:44 Capricorn Ascendant. Astrologers usually accept a birth time from an authentic birth certificate, as I do, but in this case I have to question the accuracy of this particular birth time. In my opinion, the Cancer Ascendant (sunrise) is a more precise fit, and I discuss this topic in several sections below. There may have been an administrative error, rather than a deliberate alteration of the birth record. The time could have been noted down incorrectly, mistaking AM for PM, for example. And with the recent death of his maternal grandmother on 11-02-2008, his maternal grandfather in 1992, and his mother in 1995, there may be no living relatives who could confirm the birth time. 

The 7:24 PM chart is almost the mirror image of the 6:10 AM chart, my proposed time for him: almost exactly sunrise, 18:46 Cancer Ascendant.  Ascendant lord Moon is exalted to the maximum degree, indicating the possibility of rising to great heights.  The Capricorn Ascendant is more afflicted in his case, and there are too many components that do not coincide with his life history. With Capricorn Ascendant, the lord of the11th house of financial gains resides in the 8th house of loss – impossible for the most successful presidential fundraiser in U.S. history. The 11th lord (Mars) also falls close to the 8th house cusp, which usually brings ill repute due to major scandals. While his political opponents tried to pin scandals on Obama, none so far have had any substance. For Capricorn Ascendant, 9th lord (Mercury) is strong in an angle of the chart, in the sign of an exalted Moon, and in Pushya nakshatra, owned by Saturn in its own sign of Capricorn. Neither the 9th house or its lord reflect the weakness on the part of the father or the heightened issues around religion, including Obama’s famous “Pastor Problem” with Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Another problem with the 7:24 PM chart is that the start of Obama’s 16-year Jupiter Dasa (planetary period) is on 7-24-1996, the year he easily won his first seat in the IllinoisState Senate. Instead, Jupiter Dasa should start with some real setbacks, due to Jupiter being a debilitated planet.  But Obama ran unopposed in the 1996 election. He challenged the voting petition signatures of three of his opponents in the race, and found them invalid. With the 6:10 AM birth chart, however, his Jupiter dasa starts 9-28-1999, and coincides more accurately with Obama’s worst loss of his political career in Nov. 2000.  He lost by a 2 to1 margin to the incumbent, Bobby Rush. There are other notable life changes concurring with shifts in the Vimshottari Dasas, further confirming likelihood of a 6:10 AM birth time and Cancer Ascendant. These are described in a later section.     EH.]

Obama’s birth chart shows the strength of his Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in early Capricorn. Though these conjunctions occur every 20 years, the one in sidereal Capricorn was the first in the earth sign series in some 685 years, and thus highly potent. It signified a major turning point in socio-economic-political terms for the entire world, and perhaps a major shift in attitude for those born after its occurrence on Feb. 18, 1961. Reviewing all the presidential candidates in spring 2007 and later in the year, I singled out Obama for this reason alone. I thought this candidate could really surprise us.

If Jupiter and Saturn are prominent in the birth chart, it is a leadership combination, especially the conjunction or opposition. For leadership, they should ideally be in either angular or trinal houses from the Ascendant or Moon.  In his case, Jupiter and Saturn are in the 9th house (a trinal house) from natal Moon, regardless of correct birth time. They are also in an angular house from the Ascendant, using my proposed birth time of 6:10 AM (sunrise on a Friday).  Jupiter and Saturn should also be closely connected to several other planets in the chart, so the individual can truly harness that sensitive cyclical awareness this combination can bring.  As we shall see, that happens in this chart.

The most recent Jupiter-Saturn conjunction took place in the heavens on May 28, 2000, at 28:52 degrees of Aries, in Krittika nakshatra, the same nakshatra as Obama’s natal Moon. Using Cancer Ascendant for Obama, this Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurs in his 10th house.  Generally this bodes well for career and status in the 20-year period following 5-28-2000, bearing in mind the other timing factors for the chart, such as the Dasas, which convey the fruit of the karmas.

Obviously, at this point in time, a lot of our discussion of Obama’s chart for the Election prediction hinges upon the correct Ascendant, and rectifying his birth time. And since I have already identified him as the winner in November, according to the cyclical charts, it follows that his birth chart has to show great success and excellent health during 2008. For this to happen, the Ascendant lord should be strong, as well as the 10th lord (of career and status); he should be in a very favorable Dasa (planetary period), and the Dasa lord should be auspicious for the birth chart.

Saturn should be prominent in the birth chart or aspect the Obama with his momAscendant due to Obama’s lean body type as well as his serious and self-disciplined nature. However, up through his late teens he was more “chubby,” according to photos and those who knew him then.  This is more Jupiter’s influence, or planet(s) in a watery signs influencing the Ascendant or its lord.  For me a key here is the debilitated Jupiter – which I place in an angular house. Together with Saturn in the same sign, it can greatly elevate a person, against many odds (called a Neecha Banga Raja yoga in Vedic astrology). Another possibility is Capricorn Ascendant, but when I tested it, there were various factors that did not fit, including the Dasa sequence.

In addition, his wife Michelle is hard working, pragmatic and capable, and more aptly described by Saturn in the 7th house of partnerships. For Capricorn Ascendant, Michelle would be shown by Moon in the 5th house, which is less accurate, though she is devoted to her children. Upon meeting her, Barack’s grandmother Toot called her “a very sensible girl” – high praise coming from “the rock” of that family. She earned her Law degree from Harvard University in 1988, and was a lawyer and administrator for many years, even after their two daughters were born in 1998 and 2001. When they met at her Chicago law firm in June 1989, Barack was a summer intern and she was the advisor who was assigned to him. Though three years younger, she was further along in her career: Saturn reflects this seniority.  She became his wife, his best friend, closest advisor (though not officially “a senior advisor”), and by far his toughest critic - a big Saturn clue. It was she who demanded he promise to quit smoking before he ran for the presidency. Barack calls her “the smartest, toughest, funniest best friend that I could ever hope for, and she’s always had my back. Whatever decision we make, we’ll make together.”  (quoted in The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2006.)

Obama wedding pictureThey were married Oct. 3, 1992, with tr. Saturn at 18:12 Capricorn, closely opposite his Cancer Ascendant, and tr. Jupiter in Virgo aspecting the 7th house of marriage (Capricorn). Tr. Saturn turned Stationary Direct at 18:04 Capricorn 13 days after their wedding, giving extra potency to this degree area. Barack’s natal Sun is at 18:42 Cancer. (That year was also a somber one, marked by the deaths of several relatives: earlier in the year, Michelle’s father and several Obama family members in Africa; and a few months after the wedding, Barack’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham.)  

Saturn in the 7th house is considered Dig Bala, best possible angle of the chart. Therefore, along with being in its own sign, Saturn gathers further strength from this point. It has the role of challenging the Status Quo by virtue of opposing natal Sun, and by being situated in a nakshatra owned by the Sun. For all these reasons, Barack Obama could derive much strength in important partnerships, especially marriage.

 [Update: The 7th house from the Ascendant – or Moon – reflects marriage and business partners, a mix including one’s Vice President. The fact that Obama chose a man far senior in age (19 years) is logical in practical terms, but also reflects Saturn in Capricorn in Obama’s  7th house, as does his wife Michelle, as described earlier. In Aug. 2008, Obama chose Senator Joe Biden as his Vice President.  Biden is not only 19 years older, so has the Saturnine seniority, but he was chosen for the broad respect, experience and knowledge he brings to this role.  In an odd twist of fate, Biden was born Nov. 20, 1942, nine days prior to Obama’s beloved mother, Ann Dunham, deceased at 52. She was a major inspirational force for her son, and this would be even clearer from a maximum exalted Moon.   EH]

The theme of Saturn opposite Sun is challenging the Status Quo and being pushed to work hard, with intense focus. It is an ongoing theme of their marriage, as well as for Barack personally.  Apropos the 2008 election, Obama’s Sun opposite Saturn on the Ascendant axis reflects his personal destiny to challenge the Status Quo. This same combination recurred the day he declared his candidacy, Feb. 10, 2007, 10:09 AM CST, Springfield, IL.  It is echoed by an exact opposition of tr. Saturn and tr. Uranus on Election day 2008.

The Sun is a significator for father, as is the 9th house lord. Just rising in the chart, Sun is a major presence, and with Saturn’s opposition, there is major focus on the father and on the issue of leadership. Though the father was largely absent, Barack went to some lengths in his adult life to find out who he was, both within the family and the community. He also sought to avoid his father’s mistakes. His first book, initially intended to be a political and legal treatise, gravitated towards exploring personal and family themes. 

Another validation of the Cancer Ascendant for Obama is that the 16-year Jupiter Dasa has been so favorable for him, elevating him to a more prominent position after some difficulty at the start of it. One expects this with a debilitated planet as Dasa lord. Using a 6:10 AM birth time, Jupiter Dasa begins 9-28-1999:  Obama lost his bid for U.S. Congress in Nov.  2000, losing so badly that many expected he would leave politics. (At the time, transiting Saturn in Taurus was aspecting Obama’s Moon, Cancer Ascendant, Sun, and Mercury, an influence too depleting for a political win.  Nor could tr. Jupiter compensate, as it too was in Taurus, and under Saturn’s sway.) This was his first and only major political loss to date.  But he quickly learned from his mistakes, deepened the respect from his closest supporters, and went on to win a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004 – the 3rd African American elected to the U.S. Senate in over 100 years. This was also a far more advantageous position en route to the presidency. Though not yet elected U.S. Senator, his Key Note speech at the Democratic Party Convention on July 26, 2004 brought him instant national attention and acclaim.

For Jupiter Dasa to be so favorable, it makes astrological sense for Jupiter to be a benefic planet to his natal Ascendant lord. This means an Ascendant ruled by one of Jupiter’s planetary friends: Sun, Moon, Mars, or Jupiter itself, and preferably among the Chara (cardinal) sign Ascendants that place Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn in an angular or trinal position. This is appropriate for a person of outstanding leadership abilities, and a rapid rise. Ideally, this would be Cancer Ascendant, or alternately Aries Ascendant, though the latter pushes natal Moon back to late Aries. The birth time would be close to midnight. And in Obama’s case, the extraordinary steadiness of his mind is more indicative of Taurus Moon, closely aspected by Jupiter.  Either way, natal Moon is in Sun-ruled Krittika nakshatra, characterized by burning, purifying, cutting.  Highly regarded in Vedic thought, on a spiritual level this is piercing through many layers to get to the Truth. The presiding deity is Agni, the prestigious god of Fire.

Obama’s natal Moon is almost certain to be in its exaltation sign of Taurus, as Moon enters that sign at 00:35 HST on Aug. 4, 1961 – his day of birth. At sunrise (6:10 AM), this Moon is exalted to the maximum degree (3:00 Taurus) in the 11th house of financial gains. This shows his personal capacity for greatness, as Ascendant lord of the chart. It also shows his success in fund-raising, especially from millions of small donations, as well as receiving support from powerful women, such as Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy. (Moon is the general populace, women and mother.) He idolized his mother (Ann Dunham) and his maternal grandmother (Madelyn Dunham), who raised him for many years. Women in the family continue to surround him Obama and the ladies in his life and give him great support: his wife Michelle, two daughters, Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson. With Cancer Ascendant, Moon is also ruler of the Ascendant, giving him much personal power, wealth, and charm. He has always exhibited ease, charm, and good health. Personal wealth came later on in life, in his 30s, after paying off student loans for college and law school. (Venus is not only 11th lord, but 4th lord of higher education, and resides in the 12th house of expenses.) But the success of his campaign fundraising is unprecedented in American history, from the start of his campaign in early 2007.

Cancer Ascendant fits well for Obama, with his great concern for family, heritage and establishing community. His first book reflects this overriding focus: Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995). He describes being filled with “a longing for place, and a fixed and definite history.” (p. 104) The Cancer-Capricorn axis is very concerned with family, community and politics. Natal Saturn aspecting Sun, Mercury, and Ascendant makes him very serious, with a strong sense of social responsibility. Jupiter’s aspect to Moon, Sun and Mercury gives good fortune, optimism, a good sense of humor, and “a hunger for words.” (p. 105) The total combination has kept him both relaxed and optimistic (Jupiter), yet focused and serious (Saturn). 

By Inauguration day 2009, tr. Jupiter will be in Capricorn. (Jupiter is in Capricorn 12-10-2008 thru 12-20-2009.)  On Inauguration Day itself, Jupiter will be transiting the same nakshatra that contains Obama’s natal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, Uttara Ashada. This nakshatra runs from 26:40 Sagittarius to 10:00 Capricorn (“the later victor” or ”the unstoppable victory”). Tr. Jupiter entering this nakshatra can indicate positive results, far more so when Jupiter’s return coincides with such a pivotal life moment. At the same time Jupiter is Dasa lord. 

The 6:10 AM chart puts Obama in Jupiter-Venus Dasa since 8-10-2007. Both Jupiter and Venus are well placed in angular houses of his Navamsa chart, with Sagittarius Ascendant. This takes him through the election on Nov. 4th, 2008 and up to 4-10-2010, when he starts Jupiter-Sun Dasa.  If this birth time is correct, it gives him an excellent start to his presidency, and a big lift as he moves into spring 2010. Sun and Jupiter are excellent planets for Cancer Ascendant; therefore, this should be an especially favorable sub-period of the Jupiter Dasa. In addition, tr. Jupiter in Pisces (5-03-2010 thru 5-10-2011) is also extremely favorable for him, and is ranked 8 out of 8 in Ashtakavarga ranking.
Hillary Clinton was born Oct. 26, 1947, Chicago, IL, with various proposed birth times, most of them close to 8 AM or 8 PM. Hillary herself has been quoted to say “5 minutes before or after 8 AM.” (I prefer a 7:56 AM CST birth time.) Using my preferred birth time, with a late Libra Ascendant, Clinton’s chart has powerful Raja yogas in the Ascendant, as we would expect to see for a powerful leading candidate, and the first woman to run for U.S. President in a major political party: Sun, Venus, and Mercury are in the Ascendant, with Mars Dig Bala (strongest angular house) in the 10th house. Mercury is Dig Bala in the 1st house, and aspected by Venus and Mars gives her both charming and sharp speech. An extremely accomplished debator and speaker, she lacks Obama’s oratorical skills. She has criticized his “poetry,” saying “prose” is necessary to govern.Hillary Clinton

Her famous husband is shown through 7th lord in the 10th house of status. Debilitated Mars in Cancer shows a rise from some disadvantaged position. However, this chart also shows the propensity for a near-term fall from power, especially when tr. Ketu retrogrades into the sign of Cancer on April 30, 2008 - contacting her natal Saturn in her 10th house (at 28:11 Cancer) and the 10th house cusp (at around 28-29 degrees Cancer).  Another factor worsening this situation for Clinton’s presidential bid is tr. Mars’ entry into Cancer on April 28, 2008, after 7 1/2 months in Gemini. Saturn’s emphasis is further shown by the sub-Dasa Clinton is running:  Venus-Saturn period from 1-14-2008 through 3-16-2011. This echoes Saturn’s potential problems in the 10th house. A planet’s gifts or problems tend to manifest during its major orsub-dasa.
John McCain was born Aug. 29, 1936, 9:00 AM, Cocosolo, Panama, at a U.S. naval base. The Ascendant is 24:56 Virgo. With this chart, I do not see a positive result for him in November. Two factors lobby against his victory: First, tr. Saturn is in the 8th house from his natal Moon. This is true even if this birth time is not accurate. Secondly, and this is more dependent on a 9 AM birth time, he is at the tail end of his Saturn Dasa and is due to enter Mercury Dasa  May 1, 2009. This is too late to help him, even if Mercury is well situated in the Ascendant in its sign of exaltation. The last months of a dasa are like the tail end of a waning Moon. We note that Mitt Romney currently has the same phenomenon. (John F. Kennedy was elected president during the last 10 months of his Rahu dasa, and that was already a difficult omen, especially as Rahu-Mars is the last sub-period of Rahu dasa and combines two classic malefic planets.)

[Update: As of fall 2008, there was news contradicting McCain’s previously accepted birth time of 9:00 AM. From a birth certificate issued by the Panama Railway Company, it was revealed to be 6:25 PM – and an Ascendant at 13:01 Aquarius. Instead of the Naval base at Cocosolo, Panama, as previously reported, the new birth record gives the birthplace as Colon, Panama, an area outside of U.S. jurisdiction. This chart is even less favorable for his candidacy, though it places his Sun-Saturn opposition right across the Ascendant axis, and this is fitting for someone claiming to challenge the Status Quo.  EH]

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The national chart:  The chart of a nation’s leader reveals group karma and destiny. There should be some notable correlation between the leader’s chart and the national chart. This usually means some strong and positive contacts both to the USA chart and to the Inauguration chart. That leader’s chart will then mirror the destiny of the nation during his or her Presidency. We study a candidate’s chart both for leadership qualities, and for the likelihood of coming into a powerful leadership position and prime visibility at this time. 

The USA chart Ascendant is at 8:59 Sagittarius (using July 4, 1776, 6:30 PM, Philadelphia, PA). Hillary Clinton has no planetary contacts to either the USA Ascendant or Sun (22:38 Gemini), though her Moon is in the same sign of Aquarius, at a much later degree. (USA Moon is 7:14 Aquarius.)  Note that transiting Saturn now opposes the USA Moon (which can symbolize women or a woman leader), and on May 3, 2008 Saturn will be exactly Stationary Direct. This occurs at the same degree as the Feb. 20, 2008 lunar eclipse, and so has extra potency.  Barack Obama and John McCain have much stronger links to the USA chart, with McCain’s natal Rahu-Ketu axis (9 AM chart) at 7:09 Sagittarius-Gemini. Barack Obama’s natal Venus is at 8:28 Gemini.

[Update: As of mid-November 2008, Obama’s Cabinet and transition team are taking shape. Though many of them come from the Clinton presidency, and Hillary Clinton has been announced as Secretary of State, it would be a mistake to assume this spells a repeat of the policies of the Clinton presidency, or of the themes of the last 28 years. George W. Bush hired members of his father’s administration, but did not follow their policies. Instead, he took a radical departure from them, but wanted the advantage of their experience running an administration. Obama is a complete departure in many ways, not just as the first African-American President, but the first U.S. President whose election was made possible by the Internet. He will also have the first-ever Chief Technology Officer.   EH]

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Military and/or antagonistic themes with Mars and Rahu: In early March 2008, Hillary may be seen as militarily superior. This could be an important theme March 6 thru April 8, 2008, as it involves both Mars and Rahu in a mutual interaction by nakshatra lords, called a Nadi Yoga: During this time transiting Mars in Ardra nakshatra is in a Nakshatra Lord exchange with Rahu in Dhanishtha. (Ardra’s lord is Rahu and Dhanishta’s lord is Mars.) Dhanistha nakshatra is about wealth, and Ardra nakshatra can bring storms or controversy. Mars and Rahu are full-fledged malefics, and when interacting, can go out of control. Rahu has the power to magnify things, and can magnify the aggression of Mars, which remains in Gemini until late April, also suggesting turbulence in the media. And in general, Mars can cause trouble in Gemini or Virgo, owned by its enemy, Mercury. These months contain the most intense action of the political year, more so than the period in the summer leading up to the conventions. 

[Update:  On March 16, 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve approved a $30 billion credit line to rescue the giant investment firm Bear Stearns. Other financial rescues are discussed later under Pluto’s transits. Regarding military matters, on the campaign trail Hillary Clinton focused on themes of her experience and being more ready to be Commander in Chief.  But Obama kept using the theme of judgment over experience. He had publicly opposed the Iraq invasion since Oct. 2002. As his campaign advisors said: “This was a gift that just kept on giving.” Too many citizens were turning against the Bush wars, which Clinton and McCain had both supported.”    EH]

Confluence – Apr. 28 thru May 9, 2008:  There are fierce aspects in play from late February, through March, April, and into the first week in May 2008, with the most intensity between April 28 and May 9, due to the rapid-fire compounding of planetary factors during those two weeks.  Preceding this, at the end of February 2008, transiting Mars is opposite tr. Pluto. Then on April 2, 2008, tr. Pluto turns Stationary Direct (at 7:10 Sagittarius) near the Galactic Center and the USA Ascendant.  Mars and Pluto galvanize each other through confrontation, and these Pluto indicators tend to push for intense change. (These are mirrored on Election Day by an exact opposition of tr. Saturn and tr. Uranus, and by Obama’s Sun opposite Saturn natally and at the time of his announcement of his candidacy on Feb. 10, 2007. These combinations push for a change in Status Quo. John McCain also has natal Sun opposite Saturn, but not in prominent house positions, if you use the current 9 AM birth chart.) Astrologically, the Democratic Party nominee should be settled by the first week of May in a decisive fashion. Here is the sequence:

1)  April 28, 2008: tr. Mars enters Cancer, after 7 ½ months in Gemini.
2)  April 30, 2008: tr. Rahu and Ketu (the shadowy planets, and eclipse axis) change signs, Rahu moving back to the sign of Capricorn, Ketu to Cancer – 18 months per sign.  (The Cancer-Capricorn axis has a lot to do with politics, and is galvanized with tr. Rahu, Ketu and Mars on it.)
3)  May 3, 2008: tr. Saturn turns Stationary Direct on May 3, 2008 at 7:43 Leo – almost exactly on the Lunar eclipse degree of Feb. 20, 2008 (7:38 Leo).
4)  May 9, 2008: tr. Jupiter turns Stationary Retrograde at 28:24 Sagittarius.

The stationary points of Jupiter and Saturn are always notable astrological markers, and their impact increases when they occur so close together in time, even more so when on an eclipse degree (preferably very recent).  These two Stationary points of tr. Saturn and Jupiter on May 3rd and 9th, respectively, should be definitive for the Democratic primaries. The May 6th primaries in Indiana and North Carolina fall mid-way between the two dates. 

[Update: Regarding the Lunar eclipse on 2-20-2008 (at 7:38 Leo), according to some accounts, Obama’s Primary wins up through Feb. 19th already made it a mathematical impossibility for Hillary Clinton to emerge as the winner. On May 3rd came the Saturn station at 7:43 Leo, the exact same day as the KentuckyDerby horse race.  Hillary had urged everyone to watch the race and to bet on the filly, Eight Belles. The winner was Big Brown, by a comfortable margin. Eight Belles came in 2nd place, but sadly broke both ankles at the finish line and had to be euthanized shortly afterwards. Big Brown continued on to win numerous races, but the KentuckyDerby was made somber by the sad fate of Eight Belles. This nimitta (omen) had extra potency as: 1) Hillary was focused on this horse race, and made it a publicity “must-see” and 2) Saturn went Stationary Direct the same day, at the same degree of the Feb. 20 eclipse, opposite the USA chart Moon. A Saturn opposite Moon combination can create serious obstacles, confrontation, or responsibilities for the people, or for females.

On May 6, 2008 Hillary failed to garner the big wins she needed in both Indiana and North Carolina. Late on the night of May 6, Tim Russert announced on MSNBC  “I think we now know who the nominee is, and no one can dispute it.” Barack and HillaryIt was the first such announcement by a senior news journalist, and arresting for that reason. (As a dramatic side note, Russert died June 13, 2008 of a sudden heart attack. His fateful announcement about the candidates was the night before his 58th birthday, a standard marker for the 2nd Saturn return, a time of Truth, and as always with Saturn, a Reality Check.) Hillary Clinton continued on in the primaries, and did dispute the results as well as the pre-established rules of the primary right up until her concession speech on June 7, 2008.   

(2) For Barack Obama the entry of transiting Mars into Cancer on 4-28-2008 had an immediate impact on the most threatening issue of his presidential campaign: Rev. Jeremiah Wright. With tr. Mars now on Obama’s Ascendant rather than in his hidden 12th house, he was suddenly forced to deal with it head-on. On 3-18-2008, Obama gave his remarkable speech on race, denouncing some of Wright’s prior statements, but concluding he could no more denounce his longtime pastor than his white grandmother in Hawaii. Wright was a friend of some 20 years, who married him and baptized both his children. That speech seemed to defuse a dangerous situation, though it kept resurfacing periodically. Then in late April, Wright made some of his own first public statements in the aftermath of Obama’s Race speech.  Wright’s initial interview was on “Bill Moyers Journal.”  It aired on PBS on 4-25-2008, and was well received. But in his statements at the National Press Club on 4-28-2008, he went too far. When informed of its content, Obama was forced to sever his ties with his former pastor. He did so in a public statement on 4-29-2008.      EH]

The solar eclipse (Feb. 6, 2008) that has just occurred was at 23:21 Capricorn, in Dhanishtha nakshatra, meaning “the wealthiest.” The following day Romney left the race, having spent $50 million of his own money on his campaign. And on the same day as the eclipse Hillary Clinton held a press conference, announcing that she loaned her own campaign $5 million in late Jan. 2008. This was the first revelation that her campaign was in financial trouble, and reports started surfacing about many unpaid Clinton campaign bills. In Jan. 2008, her campaign earned $13 million, not counting her loan to herself. But Obama brought in $32 million in the same month, consistently outdoing all his competitors in fund-raising, and breaking all previous records.

There are two eclipses before the Democratic Convention set for August 25-28, Obama watches Hillary at the Democratic Convention2008, and the Republican Convention set for Sept. 1-4, 2008.  On Aug. 1, 2008 the Solar eclipse is at 15:33 Cancer in Pushya nakshatra (“nourishing”), and on Aug. 16, 2008 the Lunar eclipse is at 0:22 Aquarius in Dhanishta nakshatra (“the wealthiest”). The meaning of the nakshatra could be significant. The Aug. 1 eclipse is within a few degrees of Obama’s natal Sun, and could cause a period of some temporary weakness.

Pluto’s role in the 2008 Election and beyond: We can expect to see the effects of Pluto most visible around the world when it is traveling close to the Galactic Center. In Dec. 2005 transiting Pluto entered sidereal Sagittarius. It will be within 1 degree orb of the Galactic Center during these periods:

1)  Jan. 25 thru June 15, 2008;
2)  Nov. 27, 2008 thru Jan. 22, 2009
3)  June 23 thru Nov. 25, 2009. 

There are many layers of meanings for Pluto, including radical transformation, notably with results in socio-political-economic terms, as Pluto relates to large amounts of money as a societal force.  Pluto is both the populace (the masses) and the plutocracy. So we should see some themes of the Populace vs. the Plutocracy:  We have already witnessed two types of events which illustrate this astronomical event: Re the Populace, Obama has received nearly $250 million in donations from private donors, many of them small amounts under $100.  Large numbers of donors are coming to him via the Internet in an unprecedented fashion. This shows the potential for the masses of people letting themselves be heard, either through some emergency (as with the sub-prime mortgage crisis) or through the voice of a political candidate.  A candidate funded by large numbers of people might then have just as much chance as the candidate funded by the plutocracy, up to now an assumed victor. Thus the fund-raising phenomenon of the Obama campaign already shows us different possibilities for Pluto’s manifestation – ones made possible in large part by creative use of the Internet and the new technology.  His campaign has made by far the best use of it.

Pluto is normally a hidden or subterranean force. So if it is traversing the Galactic Center, its secrets and/or excesses have to become known, for better or for worse.  Re the Plutocracy, we already see big warning signs in the huge sub-prime mortgage crisis. This threatens to topple many banks and mortgage companies, and has already involved unprecedented numbers of foreclosures in the USA and elsewhere.  A banking crisis may well follow the credit boom, though that is not always the sequence. But transiting Pluto shows that likelihood, with its prominence on the Galactic Center, and then over the U.S.A. Ascendant and U.S. Federal Reserve Sun through 2008 and 2009. The second period listed above (Nov. 27, 2008 thru Jan. 22, 2009) could be particularly intense and inconvenient, as it covers the time frame when the President-Elect is not yet in power and the incumbent President is about to cede power. Pluto’s position may indicate the need to accelerate the process of transfer of power.

Among other Plutonian themes are the lobbyists – who represent ways in which the plutocrats (usually corporations) change or affect laws and taxes to maintain an advantageous position.  Lobbyists used to be more discreet, but have become the source of enormous outrage, and as of 2006 put some offenders in prison, including Republican Jack Abramoff.  John McCain and Hillary Clinton are both steeped in lobbyists, especially in terms of some key staff positions and campaign donors. Obama is far less so, with no staff positions filled by lobbyists, although he has received donations from investment bank Goldman Sachs and other corporations. But most important, McCain and Clinton are both more closely associated with the last 28 years of power in the presidency, starting with Ronald Reagan in 1980.

[Update: On campaign financing:  Obama turned down Public Financing as a presidential candidate in mid-June 2008, but Hillary Clinton was the first to do so since the measure was introduced in the 1970s. By late Oct. 2008, Obama had raised $600 million, $150 million in the month of Sept, with 3.1 million donors, and average contributions of $86. His campaign never lacked for funds, whereas  Clinton had $31 million in campaign debt by 5-21-08, a time I had forecast for her defeat. As of six months later, she still has $7.5 million in campaign debts.

Financial crisis: Earlier I noted that the U.S. Federal Reserve approved a $30 billion credit line to rescue Bear Stearns, a giant investment firm. That was on March 16, 2008.  The Fed also announced an open-ended lending program for the biggest investment firms on Wall Street. However, on Sept. 15, 2008 Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail, with disastrous consequences in many sectors. In fact, Lehman’s calamitous fall was marked by the rapid tumble of the stock markets, and the list of failing banks and investment firms grew longer. By late fall 2008, the banking crisis and credit crunch has resulted in drastic repercussions nationally and globally.  What we see is the final explosion of a housing bubble allowed to grow out of control. According to finance guru George Soros, most of the damage has been caused by mortgage-related securities issued in the last two years of the housing boom. Soros blames financial policies initiated in the early 1980s by Reagan. They have finally burst wide open in Plutonian fashion, bringing down banks, and unfortunately both small and large investors.     EH]

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We will look first at the USA chart, then briefly at the Vedic New Year chart. Next, we look at the charts of candidates who have stepped down from the primary races, and finally at the three active candidates who remain in the race, as well as a few charts of candidates’ relatives.

1.         USA CHART:  July 4, 1776, 18:30:00 LMT, Philadelphia, PA (rectified by Vedic astrologer James Kelleher). Ascendant: 8:59 Sagittarius. This is the USA chart I have been using for about 9 years. The Dasa (planetary period) currently running is Moon-Venus, from 7-28-2006 through 3-28-2008. The Venus sub-dasa of Moon major period could well favor women leaders and candidates, but the 10-year Moon Dasa is coming to an end on 9-27-2008. Furthermore, Dasa lord Moon (at 7:14 Aquarius) is currently receiving the opposition of tr. Saturn (at 7:42 Leo) on the degree of the Feb. 20 eclipse (7:38 Leo), as I have said earlier. The Saturn station closely opposite USA Moon on May 3, 2008 could be decisive.  Supporters of Hillary Clinton ardently hope she will be the first woman president, but the combination of Moon opposite Saturn hints at some heavy obstacles in order to accomplish that goal.

The Moon-Sun sub-period starts on 3-28-2008, and is the last sub-period of the Moon dasa.  The 7-year Mars dasa begins 9-27-2008.  Mars is in the 7th house, at 0:40 Gemini, along with three other planets in Gemini - Venus, Jupiter and Sun. (Sun is at 22:38 Gemini.) As Mars is a planet of war, there is some concern about the USA entering Mars dasa.  But it may not necessarily mean war, as we did not have major wars the last time the USA was in the Mars dasa  (9-25-1888 thru 9-25-1895). Mars is in its own nakshatra of Mrigashira, and the Mars dasa may strongly indicate trade as well as innovations through technology.

With all this emphasis on Gemini, the twins, it is possibly hinting at the co-presidency of Hillary and Bill Clinton, as no one expects Bill would be inactive politically once in the White House. However, Obama has natal Venus, the planet of politicians, at 8:28 Gemini, and this is strongly placed in the Descendant of the USA chart. We might expect to see the start of Mars Dasa giving some further definition to the presidential race. But I don’t see John McCain causing Obama serious opposition in the fall, especially as McCain has tr. Saturn in the 8th house from his natal Moon. There may be some weakness for Obama that shows for some weeks following the Aug. 1, 2008 eclipse on his natal Sun (3 degree orb).   
First Presidential Debate[Update: The Obama-Biden team was temporarily eclipsed by the McCain-Palin ticket, and the surprise announcement of Sarah Palin the morning after the close of the triumphant Democratic Party Convention in Denver, CO. The GOP team did well for several weeks until the financial crisis of mid-Sep.  But from the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, 2008 between McCain and Obama, Obama’s poll numbers moved up consistently from then until the election Nov. 4th. The 7-year Mars Dasa (USA chart) began the day after the 1st debate.  Mars suggests the energy of a young man, and Mars in Gemini suggests trade and communication technology.    EH]

2.         VEDIC NEW YEAR CHART: This is calculated annually for the New Moon in Pisces prior to the Sun entering Aries. The geographical location is set for the capitol of the country whose affairs one is examining. In 2008, this will occur on April 5, 2008 at 10:54 pm EST for Washington, D.C. There are very specific rules for using this chart; it should not be read in the typical way for a mundane chart.

[Update: This chart was not a pivotal factor in my astrological research on the 2008 election. Though I presented it on Feb. 9, 2008, as well as brief looks at the Vedic New Year charts for 2000, 2004, and 2009, I have since made much less critical use of this type of chart. This area needs more study, as there are still too many conflicting rules on its proper use.   EH]

3.         JOHN EDWARDS:  June 10, 1953, 7:02 AM EST, Seneca, SC. Class C data. (Caution: no source of data, accuracy in question.) Though this 7:02 AM time was given by the mother, other times were given subsequently, including from John Edwards himself, via his wife Elizabeth: 7:23 AM. These conflicted with the mother’s quoted time. Gemini Ascendant extends from 5:43 AM to 7:59 AM EST on that day.

Edwards probably has a Gemini Ascendant, and if so, Mercury is well placed in the Ascendant in its own sign and Dig Bala (best possible angular position). This creates a special yoga for Mercury (the Mahapurusha Bhadra yoga), giving excellent abilities to communicate. But since Mars is in the Ascendant with Mercury, it diminishes the power of the yoga, as Mars is the planetary enemy of Mercury. There is a problem for electability here: while this combination can make for a good lawyer, located in the Ascendant it can create personal conflict that becomes public. (A planet on the Ascendant or above the horizon represents qualities that can be seen by others.) For the Gemini Ascendant chart, Mars is the lord of the 6th and 11th houses. The 11th house gives wealth, but the 6th house is the house of enemies and conflicts, and though good for lawyers, doctors, or those dealing with conflict resolution, it is not good for the partner if 6th lord aspects the 7th house of partnership, as it does here. In addition, the 7th lord is in the 12 house of loss (or foreign residence). His prominent wife, Elizabeth Edwards has been battling breast cancer since fall 2004, shortly after the Kerry-Edwards team lost the national election.

The Sun and Moon are together in Taurus. When in the same sign, Sun and Moon can be good for leadership, but ideally they should be in an angular or trinal house, receiving benefic aspects.  However, Sun and Moon are in the 12th house from the Ascendant, which detracts from unfettered leadership possibilities. Edwards entered the 19-year Saturn Dasa 12-24-2002, and currently he is in Saturn-Mercury Dasa. Saturn is a friend to this chart, and is situated in the 4th house, suggesting a focus on duties at home. However, another detractor for his presidential quest is that Dasa lord Saturn, though in the sign of Virgo, ruled by Ascendant lord Mercury, is in Chitra nakshatra, ruled by Mars, enemy of Ascendant lord Mercury. Thus Saturn Dasa can bring him down through enemies or competition.

[Update: On 7-30-2008 John Edwards was brought down by a big scandal when it was revealed he had an extramarital lover and a love child  – for the past several years. The woman was paid $15,000 per month in “hush money.” This destroyed his hopes for an active role in the Obama campaign or administration. His political career may be at an end. Prior to this event, he was held in high esteem, and had a fine bargaining position with party leaders.     EH]

4.         MIKE HUCKABEE:            August 24, 1955, Hope Arkansas. 12 noon used. Birth time unknown. (Class X data: Data with no time of birth.)

Using 12 noon, the Ascendant is 25:45 Libra. Sun is 7:32 Leo, and Moon at 0:46 Scorpio in Vishakha nakshatra. His natal Sun receives the same affliction we have been discussing from the Saturn transit and station (May 3, 2008), also from the Lunar Eclipse on Feb. 20, 2008. Saturn and the Sun are planetary enemies. This is bad for health, but it can also describe someone who challenges the Status Quo at the current time.

This chart is notable for the Graha Yuddha (planetary war) between Mars at 5:30 Leo and Venus at 5:28 Leo.  Mars loses, based on size, brightness and speed. Even so, Mars does not lose without a great fight.

There are mutual contacts between natal and transiting Jupiter and Saturn in Huckabee’s birth chart. This can spell a period of social or political significance. Transiting Saturn is currently aspecting natal Saturn. Natal Saturn (22:18 Libra), in turn, exactly aspects natal Jupiter at 22:19 Cancer. There are strengths here: Saturn is near its maximum exaltation degree at 20 Libra.  Jupiter is in its sign of exaltation. The Sun is in its own sign of Leo, giving it dignity. Based on the 12 noon chart, Huckabee entered a 20-year Venus Dasa  9-18-2001. His charm and appeal (Venus) have certainly played a role in his rise. He may currently be in the Venus-Mars sub-period, though Dasa timing is difficult to determine without an exact birth time.  But if so, the close proximity (25 minutes of arc) of Venus to Mars gives a competitive tone to the entire Venus Dasa.

[Update:  Huckabee continued in the Republican Primaries up through 3-04-08, when he conceded to John McCain. Though he fought hard, he maintained a good sense of humor and enjoyed himself immensely.  He began hosting his own political commentary show on Fox News, which premiered 9-27-08. He also retains popularity with the Christian Right.     EH]

5.         MITT ROMNEY:  March 12, 1947, 9:51:00 AM, Detroit, MI. Ascendant 7:54 Taurus. (Class A data: from memory.)

This is a very strong chart, in some ways the strongest among the charts of Republican candidates. However, there are two factors working against his presidential quest: 1) Transiting Saturn is in the 4th house of his birth chart, a placement of lowest visibility in terms of career success and status, and will closely aspect his Ascendant in early May from its Stationary degree; and 2) He is now in the last few months of his 20-year Venus Dasa. The 6-year Sun Dasa begins 7-13-2008. Venus is an excellent planet for this chart, being Ascendant lord, well placed in the 9th house. But initiating a very important project at the tail end of a dasa is as inauspicious as doing so at the tail end of a waning Moon. The tide of life is flowing out, as he finishes this particular phase. So it is not surprising he ended his campaign just two days ago. But it is more about inauspicious timing, rather than the inherent strength of the chart.

There are seven planets in angles in Romney’s chart, and all seven planets are in fixed signs. It does raise the question of why he changes his mind so often on his political positions, as fixity is rooted in security. It may be that he changes his position in order to achieve his goals, which may be very fixed in his mind. His natal Sun and Mars are Dig Bala – best possible angles of the chart (10th house for both Sun and Mars). This gives him excellent physical health and stamina, and good leadership abilities.  It favors his Sun, especially when he enters Sun Dasa in July 2008. The Moon at 4:30 Scorpio is debilitated, and just past the maximum degree of debilitation (at 3:00 Scorpio). Natal Moon is very close to Jupiter at 4:26 Scorpio, and Ketu at 13:17 Scorpio, all in the 7th house.  When Rahu or Ketu are in the same sign as the Moon, especially close by degree, there is often emotional or mental turbulence, and in Scorpio there can be an element of dissemblance, or at the very least, a desire for privacy – not easy when the majority of one’s planets are in angular houses of the birth chart – giving much visibility. Reading from Dasa lord Sun as sub-Ascendant, from summer 2008, Moon in Scorpio will be in the 10th house of maximum visibility. Such are the paradoxes of a life in the public, even if it is greatly sought.

Ascendant Lord Venus is in Capricorn in Shravana nakshatra, very well placed in the 9th house.  A Raja yoga is formed here by Venus and Saturn in mutual aspect, with Venus in the 9th house, aspected by Saturn (lord of 10th house of career and status) in the 3rd house.  But problems underlie this otherwise excellent yoga, as debilitated natal Moon is both sign lord of Saturn and nakshatra lord of Venus.  In addition to its close contact to the Rahu-Ketu axis debilitated Moon is close to Jupiter, 8th lord and planetary enemy of Ascendant lord Venus (lending optimism, but at times to an excessive or unrealistic degree).

Jupiter is also a planet of religion and/or philosophy. One example of how this can manifest is problems with religion, as not only is Venus situated in the 9th house of religion, receiving some afflictions, as mentioned, but Jupiter is on the Rahu-Ketu axis with debilitated Moon. Since these planets are all closely opposite the Ascendant, such problems are very visible. Meanwhile, natal Moon in the secretive sign of Scorpio usually prefers less visibility. 

In summary, Romney’s chart appears strong, especially with so many planets in the angles of the chart, enabling him to take action and garner important leadership positions in life. But problems can arise from some of these underlying planetary or nakshatra ownerships – ones that were not apparent on the surface. This may include the political ramifications of his Mormon religion, which he has alternately defended and minimized as no different from mainstream Christian belief.  The upcoming 6-year Sun Dasa (from 7-13-08) should be favorable, except that Dasa lord Sun is in the nakshatra of Jupiter, planetary enemy of Ascendant lord Venus. So the astrology may be telling us that the issue of religion may never be far from the surface for him as a political liability. Romney  could also have some conflict regarding his funding, or the source of it, as Jupiter owns two financial houses from Taurus Ascendant, the 8th and 11th houses

6.         JOHN MCCAIN:   August 29, 1936, 9:00 AM, Coscosolo, Panama. Ascendant 24:57 Virgo. (Class A data: from mother’s memory.)  [Update: From October 2008, a birth certificate surfaced from the Panama Railway company, showing a birth time of 6:25 PM in Colon, Panama. The new Ascendant becomes 13:01 Aquarius, with natal Saturn in the Ascendant opposite natal Sun.     EH] John McCain at debate

In the 9:00 AM chart, Mercury is Dig Bala (best possible angle) and exalted at 9:17 Virgo in the first house. By far the strongest planet in the chart, Mercury gives him a Mahapurusha Bhadra yoga, in which this planet of speech, communication and business is highlighted. Natal Moon is well placed in the 5th house at 4:03 Capricorn. Natal Moon and Mercury both in earth signs can give very pragmatic qualities.  McCain prides himself on being accessible to the press, at least up to this point, and calls his campaign operation “The Straight Talk Express.”  The 9th house Lord is Venus. Since it is situated in the 12th house of loss, this can afflict the luck quotient. However, Venus is in Uttara Phalguni nakshatra, which brings wealth through marriage. (John McCain was married for the second time on May 17, 1980 to Cindy Hensley, a rich heiress.)  Venus is at 29:49 Leo and contacting natal Sun at 13:02 Leo. Right now Saturn is transiting at 12 ½ degrees Leo, which puts much pressure on McCain’s physical health, and gives him added responsibilities. He looks to become the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee.

Natal Saturn is in the 6th in its own sign of Aquarius, making it Viparita Raja Yoga from the Virgo Ascendant. (This yoga bestows a protective effect on one’s health,  finances, and general ability to compete. If you have two or more of these yogas from the Ascendant or Moon, much protective power is given. To qualify, the lords of Dushthana houses – houses 6, 8, and 12 – must be in their own or each other’s houses.)  Additional Viparita Raja Yogas occur in McCain’s chart, since natal Sun is in the 12th house from the Virgo Ascendant in its own sign, and in the 8th house from the Moon in its own sign.  

McCain’s natal Saturn is opposite the Sun.  This gives a destiny to confront the Status Quo, starting with some kind of contest, real or imagined, with the father. Both Saturn and Sun are in their own signs, giving an even more entrenched quality to the confrontation.  Barack Obama also has natal Saturn opposite Sun, and this is a common theme between these two candidates. It could well surface in terms of campaign issues – wanting to fight the Status Quo, or wanting to appear as the stronger opponent of the Status Quo.

With the 9:00 AM chart, McCain is in his Saturn-Jupiter dasa from 10-19-2006 thru 5-1-2009. As a presidential candidate, this is bad news for him to be in the tail end of a Dasa.Obama and McCain The Dasa lord is not even in an angular or trinal house. Also, the USA chart moves into the Mars Dasa 9-27-2008. Mars is usually associated with youthfulness, but also the warrior or the military man. For the latter, McCain fits the symbolism, as the lynchpin of his biography is having been a POW in Vietnam for 5 ½ years.

Looking at the upcoming Mars Dasa in the USA chart, however, being the much older candidate may not be auspicious for his candidacy, especially with Saturn transiting the 8th house from his natal Moon. Nor is it auspicious for his finances to have transiting Saturn in his 12th house of expenses aspecting 2nd house of income. Even though he is married into wealth, his campaign funding is limited to Public Financing, which impacts his ability to fund his presidential campaign. At this point, he has more time to raise funds for the fall, but he lacks Obama’s giant fund-raising operation from private donors.

[Update: John McCain became the presumptive Republican Party nominee for President at about 11:40 PM EST on March 4, 2008, when he earned enough delegates in the primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.     EH]

7.         HILLARY CLINTON:  October 26, 1947, 8:02 AM. Class DD Data:  “Dirty Data,” as several conflicting birth times have been reported. However, Hillary Clinton has been quoted: “5 minutes before or after 8 AM.”  (Time ranges have been given around both 8 AM and 8 PM. I prefer the 8:00 AM range, and I use 7:56 AM.  An 8:00 AM has 29:0 Libra in as Ascendant.)

The Ascendant for 7:56 AM is 27:50 Libra, with Mercury Retrograde rising at 28:16 Libra, along with Sun and Venus.  This is a powerful combination of planets in the Ascendant. Venus is in its own sign in the Ascendant, produces Malavya Yoga, a yoga that gives strength to Venus, planet of politics. It also gives strong physical health. The Sun is the 11th lord, and when placed in the Ascendant creates a Dhana yoga of wealth. Mercury, the 9th Lord in the Ascendant forms a Raja yoga, giving good fortune in life. Mercury is also Dig Bala (best possible angle) in the Ascendant position. And Mars is Dig Bala in the 10th house, aspecting all three planets in the Libra Ascendant. This gives her a lot of physical energy and a high level of assertiveness.

This chart fits for a powerful woman whose husband rises out of disadvantaged circumstances. Hillary ClintonThe 7th Lord (of partnership) is Mars, debilitated in the sign of Cancer in the 10th house of career and status. It is conjunct Saturn, the 4th and 5th house Lord. This produces a powerful Raja yoga. From the Moon as Ascendant, the trinal lords are all in the 9th house. The Moon is close to the 5th house cusp in late Aquarius. Venus and Saturn are very good for the Moon Ascendant chart, and the entire 9th house from the Moon, a legislative house.

However, for Libra Ascendant, a problem arises when key planets, including Ascendant lord are in a nakshatra owned by Jupiter, enemy of this Ascendant chart. (We see this also with Mitt Romney’s chart, showing issues that try to stay hidden under the surface.  Born within 7 ½ months of each other, they share Jupiter on the Rahu-Ketu axis.) Ascendant lord Venus is in Vishakha nakshatra, a very powerful nakshatra, whose lord is Jupiter, enemy of Venus. There can be excess and also enemies, since Jupiter is 6th lord conjunct Rahu. Rahu’s contact magnifies Jupiter’s potential to play a troublesome role, perhaps pushing Clinton into conflict-ridden positions. Natal Jupiter is in the 2nd house of income and speech, thus a tendency for periodic problems in both areas.

[Update: Since the February 20, 2008 eclipse in Dhanishtha, there have been campaign money issues, and her tax return has not been disclosed. The Clinton campaign expected its candidate would win the Primaries by early Jan. 2008, and had already spent too much by then.  It has been hard for them to match the Obama campaign, both in fund-raising and organizationally.]

Clinton’s natal Saturn (or any planet) in the last pada of a water sign at 28:11 Cancer is potentially treacherous. Moreover, Saturn in the 10th house can take a big fall. Saturn is also in the 10th house in the Navamsa, doubling the likelihood of a fall. By transit Saturn in Leo is currently opposite her natal Moon, and aspecting 11th lord (of financial gains) from the 11th house. This can and has restricted gains, all in terms relative to her key Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.  Also, tr. Saturn’s aspect to natal Sun (at 9:10 Libra) can be physically exhausting, in addition to depleting both funds and friends. Clinton announced her candidacy on January 20, 2007, on Youtube on the Internet. Tr. Saturn was at 29:23 Cancer, close to her natal Saturn position in the 10th house, (also opposite tr. Venus and Moon – the only two female planets – transiting in Capricorn), and not favorable. The day was also Saturday, ruled by Saturn.  As I said earlier, I expect her to lose the Democratic Party primaries in the first week of May 2008.
[Update: Though TV journalist Tim Russert announced Obama as the ”indisputable winner” of the Democratic party primaries on May 6, 2008, Clinton did not concede until her speech on June 7, 2008. She chose to participate in all of the Democratic Party Primary races.  Still lacking the requisite number of Super Delegates to win, she had hoped to change the rules in her favor.   EH]

8.         CHELSEA CLINTON:  Feb 27, 1980, 23:24:00, Little Rock, AK.  Ascendant 22:46 Libra.  (Class A data, from newspaper report.)

It can be helpful to look at the chart of a relative when we don’t have a reliable birth time for the person in question. The most notable feature of Chelsea’s chart is Ascendant lord Venus at maximum degree of exaltation, but in the 6th house, its worse house position. This indicates great personal sacrifice on some front, especially in love matters. She has been in the 20-year Venus Dasa since Nov. 2004. On 3-12-2008, she entered Venus-Sun Dasa, a difficult period since the Sun and Venus are not friends. Chelsea and her dad

Natal Moon in the 10th house in its own sign at 16:10 Cancer indicates a powerful mother, such as Hillary Clinton. However, the Navamsa Moon is debilitated in Scorpio with Ketu in the 8th house. There are a lot of indications of a powerful mother who loses something, and of Chelsea making sacrifices in her personal life in this chart. Venus is Vargottama (repeating in the same sign in the Navamsa), but in the 12th house in the Navamsa chart. The 4th Lord (ruling over the mother) is Saturn, which is situated in the 12th house, indicating some losses for the mother. The 12th house is also foreign residence or travel.  Assessing the chart of the candidate’s daughter is of course open to interpretation. But to me it does not suggest another Clinton presidency in the near future. (Note that Chelsea Clinton has Mars and Jupiter in Graha Yuddha (planetary war) in the 11th house of her birth chart. Mars loses, but not without a great fight. This month she has been fighting hard for her mother’s campaign, and personally phoning all the Super Delegates on her mother’s behalf.)

9.   (3)      BARACK OBAMA:       August 4, 1961, 6:10 AM, Honolulu, Hawaii. (Class X data: No birth time available.) I have rectified the birth chart to 6:10 AM, almost exactly sunrise (6:09:42 AM).  Ascendant: 18:45 Cancer.
[Update: A time of 7:24 PM on birth certificate became available June 2008. Ascendant is 24:44 Capricorn. I have worked with this new chart for some months, but find it has numerous inconsistencies with his life story and his Dasa sequence. I have discussed many of these points earlier, as I do in update sections below. My preference is for the 6:10 AM birth chart, which has been my rectified time since early 2007.      EH]

With a 6:10 AM birth time there is a maximum exalted Moon in Taurus in the 11th house. The 9th lord is Jupiter, together with Saturn in the 7th house. Since the Ascendant lord is exalted, and 9th lord well placed in an angular house, this qualifies as a Lakshmi yoga, a powerful yoga bestowing charm, fame, high moral merits, virtue, kingly status, abundant wealth, and the ability to manifest what one needs when one needs it. (Lakshmi is the major Hindu goddess of wealth and fortune.) When the Ascendant lord is strong, the prosperity is shown because one has followed one’s dharma (one’s truest, deepest nature. This Moon also reflects Obama’s  phenomenal fundraising capacities.)

When Moon is this strong, we expect to see strong women in the Obama with his grandfatherlife, both as family and friends. In this case it plays out against a backdrop of the afflicted 9th house and 9th house lord (father). Obama describes the absence of his father, and the “necessarily partial, incomplete relationships” with his stepfather and grandfather; how women were the predominant influence in his upbringing, and how these women, in turn, had to deal with the lack of a strong male presence in the house:

“It was women, then, who provided the ballast in my life – my grandmother, whose dogged practicality kept the family afloat, and my mother, whose love and clarity of spirit kept my sister’s and my world centered. Because of them I never wanted for anything important. From them I would absorb the values that guide me to this day…. I determined that my father’s irresponsibility toward his children, my stepfather’s remoteness, and my grandfather’s failures would all become object lessons for me, and that my own children would have a father they could count on.”
(Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, 2006, p. 346.)

Given the lifelong absence of his father, the irony of his towering presence is well reflected in this sunrise chart, where the Sun, key significator for father, rises prominently on the Ascendant. Obama and fatherHis father left his young family in Hawaii when Barack was two years old, and he saw him only once again, when he was 10.  He died at age 46 due to a car crash. It is his Kenyan father who gave him his African name and African racial identity and history.  From Saturn’s opposition to the Sun comes an intense focus on what young Barack called “the idea of his father.” He wrote about it in his autobiography, which was originally going to be a legal or political treatise. His father was even featured in the title: Dreams from My Father. The book begins with its author hearing news of his father’s death in the fall of 1982.   For this reason, I find it very appropriate with the 6:10 AM chart that young Barack’s life starts at birth with Sun Dasa, and that this Sun dasa ends 9-27-1964, coinciding with his parents’ divorce.  Barack Senior’s departure from Hawaii the year before was irrevocable.  He could have taken his wife and son with him to New York on a scholarship, but instead chose Harvard University, where the scholarship was not large enough for him to accommodate a wife and child. The Dasa and its timing shows the fruits of the karma of the individual, and thus, at times, some perhaps “inevitable” life turning points.

9th house issues: In addition to the Sun, the 9th house and its lord are key to analyzing the father. Given the life history of Barack Obama, it is necessary for the birth chart to show some weakness and difficulties regarding the 9th house and its lord. There should also be some affliction to planet(s) representing the father: the Sun.  From the Cancer Ascendant, the 9th house is Pisces, and is aspected by two malefic planets, Mars and Saturn.  Debilitated Jupiter owns the 9th house. Natal Jupiter’s debilitated state is considered Neecha Bhanga  – weak, but corrected over time – by being in contact with its sign lord Saturn. Saturn, in turn, is strongly placed in its own sign of Capricorn. Jupiter is also in the nakshatra of the Sun, its great good friend, placed strongly in the Ascendant. Thus 9th house lord Jupiter is weakened before being strengthened by Saturn, planet of discipline, and expanded by the inspirational interplay of Sun, Moon and Jupiter. He would find his way early on through the guidance of women, primarily.

This is consistent with a father who initially did well and rose up out of poor circumstances, but whose life ended badly, with legal and personal problems and excessive drinking. Though intellectually brilliant, he wasted numerous opportunities in his career as an economist through arrogance and bad judgment. He also had some bad luck, losing favor with the Kenyan government from July 1969 when his chief patron was assassinated. His life went down hill fast, and when denied access to suitable jobs, he became bitter and disappointed, taking refuge in alcoholism. He suffered numerous accidents, and his death came on Nov. 24, 1982, as a result of a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya. He left behind a trail of women, children, and disputes over his legacy.

The 9th house rules over not only father, but religion, philosophy, and higher education. So we should see some conflict issues in several of these areas, starting with a change from the philosophical or religious orientation of his birth family.  In Obama’s case, it was non-religious training from his mother and grandparents, who basically distrusted most organized religion. His mother was by turns an atheist and agnostic, but a cheerful one who encouraged her two children to study and respect all the many religions as aspects of human culture. She saw it as a form of anthropological study, and urged them not to get too caught up in any of them. That Barack, Jr. formally joined a church and became a baptized Christian in the late 1980s further supports the conservative Cancer Ascendant. He realized more and more the yearning to establish himself in a conventional family and community life, in contrast to the less conventionally rooted family life in which he had grown up.

Pastor and father issues:
[Update: Through spring 2008 newspaper and blogosphere headlines referred often to “Obama’s Pastor Problem. Astrologically Jupiter is significator for pastor, as is 9th house lord. (From Cancer Ascendant, 9th lord is also Jupiter). The 9th lord also designates father. With Cancer Ascendant, debilitated Jupiter shows some inherent weakness in both areas, as would be essential to show problematic events around both his longtime pastor and his father in Africa.  For example, the Obama team had already cancelled Rev. Wright’s speech at Obama’s Presidential candidacy announcement on 2-10- 2007.  It was changed at the last minute due to the controversy developing around Wright, especially as a perceived spokesman for Obama as candidate.

Natal Saturn in Capricorn with Jupiter in the same sign helps to resolve the issue, but does not eliminate it. The issue surfaced throughout 2008 while transiting Jupiter was in Sagittarius, the 6th house of conflict from Cancer Ascendant. Further emphasis comes from tr. Jupiter turning Stationary Direct exactly on Obama’s 6th house cusp at 18:33 Sagittarius on 9-07-2008, shortly after the Republican Convention. Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and GOP ads tried to use the Rev. Wright material against Obama, but made little headway as Obama had dealt with the issue strongly in late April 2008.    EH]

The 9th house is also publishing, and Obama has done very well to date publishing three books.  A publisher approached him after he became the first African American to become Editor of The Harvard Law Review (Feb. 1990), a very prestigious position in the legal world. The book he had originally intended to write was not going to be autobiographical, but rather a legal treatise on race relations. With Cancer Ascendant, we see his gravitation towards trying to understand race relations first within the context of the family. One could argue that this 9th house does not reflect the ease with which Obama writes and has been published, except it has represented much personal sacrifice to take the time to write these books himself. And his books have revealed a lot about his personal life and  family (Cancer issues all). It should also be noted that earlier in this life, before the bug of politics hit, Barack had shared with friends his desire to become a novelist. Moon in Taurus aspecting the creative 5th house reflects this poetic side, but is overruled by the Ascendant axis containing all the planets in Cancer and Capricorn, notably Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn.
The Vimshottari Dasa timing: This supports a 6:10 AM chart. In an earlier section, I discussed the timing of his Jupiter Dasa, from 9-28-1999.  Looking back into his childhood, we note that his Moon-Jupiter Dasa starts 8-28-1967, when Barack and his mother moved to Djakarta, Indonesia to live with her second husband, and his new stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.Barack with Indonesian Stepfather and family It also coincides with the year tr. Jupiter was in Cancer, its sign of exaltation, on his Ascendant. In his autobiography, Obama describes this period as starting out in a very expansive and adventurous way, both for himself and his mother. For the first time ever, he had a unique opportunity to be among other predominantly brown-skinned children, to live in a foreign culture, and learn a new language. His younger sister was born in Indonesia in 1970. There was even some danger he would lose his command of English. To avoid this end, his mother tutored him in English every morning at 4:00 AM before her work and his school.

[Update: Using the 7:24 PM birth time Moon-Jupiter Dasa occurs 6-24-1964, exactly the time period when Barack’s mother was divorcing his father. Her life was more circumscribed at that time, as she was now a single parent living in Hawaii, trying to make ends meet. After her husband left, she suddenly dropped out of social and political life at the University of Hawaii.  Moon-Jupiter Dasa would not be an accurate description for a period in which his mother initiated a divorce to a man she loved.     EH]

Mars Dasa: Natal Mars is placed in the 2nd house from Cancer Ascendant. (The 2nd house includes several areas of life, including speech, and the intake of food and drink.) Mars is in Leo in Uttara Phalguni nakshatra, owned by the Sun. Sun in turn is in Cancer in the Ascendant. Because of this combination, I would identify Mars Dasa as the least disciplined period for a person who will most likely develop a lifetime habit of self-discipline, due to Saturn’s influence on the Sun and the Cancer Ascendant.  In the last year or two of Mars Dasa Obama discovered his real “hunger for words.” His oratorical skills were just starting to become clear to him. Thus the thrust of Mars as powerful speech would just be more available to him from then on, aided by Jupiter exactly aspecting his Mercury, planet of speech. This combination would later come into fruition during Jupiter-Mercury-Mercury Dasa  (5-29-2004 thru 9-23-2004).  Obama gave a memorable speech at the Democratic Convention in Boston, MA on 7-26-2004 prior to being elected to national office. This historic Key Note address rocketed him into the national arena, and soon after, into his first term in the U.S. Senate. In Mars Dasa (9-28-1974 thru 9-27-1981), Obama was in fact the least disciplined in terms of his studies and other areas, and spoke to his high school friends of wanting to be a professional basketball player. (Mars is the athlete.) It was in this period Obama recounts his use of marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol. At a campaign event on 8-17-2008, Rev. Rick Warren asked the two leading presidential candidates to name their “greatest moral failure.” Obama cited his “adolescent drug use.” When malefics are in the 2nd house, during their Dasa there is a greater likelihood for bad speech, or bad habits of eating, drinking, or smoking. (Rahu dasa can be the exception, as it ignites ambition. Sign lord and nakshatra lord are key, as we shall see.) Obama only recently gave up smoking in early 2007, a promise he made to his wife before declaring his presidential candidacy in Feb. 2007.

Obama identifies his arrival in New York City to attend Columbia University as the time when he quit drugs once and for all. (He transferred there after two years at Occidental College in Los Angeles.) He also began to drift away from former companions whose life habits he was dropping. He became so serious so suddenly, that his old friends called him “boring.” This was late summer/early fall 1981, coinciding with the start of Rahu dasa in the 6:10 AM chart.

“…. The city [NYC] had indeed had an effect on me… I stopped getting high. I ran three miles a day and fasted on Sundays. For the first time in years, I applied myself to my studies and started keeping a journal of daily reflections and very bad poetry.”       (Barack Obama, Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, 1995, p. 120.)

That summer, his mother and sister paid him a visit in NYC, his sister noting: “He’s so skinny…..  I hope he doesn’t lose his cool and become one of the freaks you see on the streets around here.”                     (Ibid., p. 122-123.)

Rahu dasa: Clearly, as of Rahu dasa, starting  9-28-1981, there was a marked change from his former way of life. With Rahu Dasa began his more worldly and ambitious period, and a radical break from the themes of the Mars Dasa.  Obama became a very serious student, and started going by his real name from his African father (rather than Barry Dunham, Dunham being his mother’s surname). Rahu is also the foreigner, and he now embraced the foreign parts of himself. The big change in his life fits the position of Mars and Rahu in the 2nd house of his chart. He was described as “chubby” during his childhood and high school years.  His 6’1” body frame moved from “chubby” to lean in the early 1980s. He began to feel much more culturally attuned as an African-American in NYC, as he did later in Chicago, where he went after graduating from Columbia in 1983.

Astrologically, we know that Mars and Rahu can both cause obsessions with 2nd house issues, especially during their Dasas. However, this is also dependent on the sign lord and nakshatra lord. For Mars, both the sign and nakshatra lord is the Sun in Cancer on the Ascendant. The doubling of this watery element gave him the more fleshy appearance in this era. The 10-year Moon dasa prior to his echoes this theme, as Moon is in Sun-owned Krittika nakshatra.  But Raha Dasa would give him a different penchant, as Rahu is in the more ascetic Magha nakshatra, owned by Ketu.  Any Ketu-owned nakshatra will be more spiritually inclined, at least in material assumptions of what constitutes “the good life.”

The timing of Rahu Dasa is a strong confirmation of Cancer Ascendant, as is the timing of his previous Dasas, notably the Sun dasa. Sun is symbol of the father, as is 9th lord. These planets and their dasas should accurately reflect the life story, and the unfolding of the karmic destiny. This is reflected in the 6:10 AM chart. (With Capricorn Ascendant,for example, there is no Sun Dasa at all, as the life begins in Moon Dasa.  Also, 9th lord is Mercury, which is not noticeably weak or afflicted in the 7th house, though not ideal in Cancer. Thus, the life story is not properly described.)Obama and wife Michelle

10.       MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA:  January 17, 1964, 12 noon used. Chicago IL.  Birth time unknown.

She is born with natal Sun, Mars and Saturn in Capricorn and Moon in Aquarius. Mars is exalted in Capricorn, and the combination gives her tremendous organizational strength, as well as great physical strength and stamina. She is probably somewhere in the midst of her Saturn Dasa. Saturn would be considered a strong planet for her in its own sign of Capricorn. On Inauguration day she will have four planets transiting her three Capricorn planets, an indication of some emphasis, at the very least.

11.       RAHU ENTERS CAPRICORN:  April 30, 2008, 1:00 AM, Washington, D.C.  [Note: This chart is not important in its own right. We look at it only to draw our attention to the confluence of factors close to early May 2008.    EH]


If there is no decision by early May, I think this is the decisive primary race. Using a 6:10 AM birth time for Obama, on 5-15-2008 he is in Jupiter-Venus-Moon Dasa. Transiting Mars is around 9:00 Cancer, within 10 degrees of his Sun and Ascendant at 18-19 degrees of Cancer. Mars operates much more directly and effectively from the Ascendant than from the 12th house, and should benefit him once it moves out of his 12th house and on to his Cancer Ascendant on 4-28-2008, after 7 ½ months in Gemini.  Similarly, as of 4-30-2008, tr. Rahu-Ketu changes signs, after 18 months: Tr. Ketu enters Cancer, and Rahu enters Capricorn.  The Cancer-Capricorn axis is strongly related to politics, and is energized by tr. Rahu, Ketu and Mars. These transits are not as challenging for Obama as for Clinton, at least in late spring 2008. Tr. Rahu-Ketu will not come into exact contact with Obama’s Sun until mid-Nov. 2008, after the election. 

[Update: I noted in an earlier section that when tr. Mars entered Cancer on 4-28-2008, Obama was able to be more forceful on the potentially threatening issue of Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Obama gave his remarkable speech on race on 3-18-2008.Then in late April 2008, Wright made some of his own public statements in the aftermath of Obama’s speech. But in his statements at the National Press Club on 4-28-2008, he went too far. Obama was forced to sever his ties with his former pastor. He did so in a public statement on 4-29-2008.  EH]

Clinton is in Venus-Saturn-Saturn dasa on 5-15-2008. Though this represents her natal Raja yoga, there are too many negatives for her to win. Tr. Sun closely contacts her natal Rahu in early Taurus. Tr. Venus closely opposes Ascendant lord Venus in Libra, and tr. Saturn closely aspects her natal Sun in Libra. From 4-30-2008 tr. Ketu enters Cancer by retrograde motion. This makes a tight contact to her natal Saturn at 28:11 Cancer in the 10th house of career and status. All in all, these transits constitute quite a few malefic influences on Hillary Clinton at a critical time. In addition, there are a number of difficulties for her that I covered in the Brief Summary at the beginning of this article.

13.       PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION:  Nov 4, 2008 at 0:01:00, Dixville Notch, NH. This is the earliest voting that occurs on Election Day. (A tradition of voting just after midnight on Election day began at this location in Nov. 1948, so that railroad employees could vote before going to work. It continued 1948 thru 1964, was suspended between 1964 and 1996, and resumed in Nov. 1996.)

In this chart, Jupiter is in the 3rd house, conjunct the Moon. Hillary’s birth Moon is opposite transiting Saturn – not favorable for her. Transiting Moon will enter Capricorn by mid-day, where it will be conjunct Obama’s Jupiter and Saturn. Generally, it is difficult to make predictions based on Election day charts, due to the problems of what time and place are most pivotal. John McCain continues to suffer the effects of tr. Saturn in the 8th house from natal Moon, not auspicious for a major win.

14.       INAUGURATION DAY:  January 20, 2009, 12:00 noon, Washington, D.C.  Ascendant:  20:03 Aries.

There are four planets in the 10th house in Capricorn: Sun at 6:47 Capricorn, Mercury at 7:41 Capricorn, Jupiter at 9:32 Capricorn, and Rahu at 15:55 Capricorn. The Moon is in Scorpio the 8th house, but in Anuradha nakshatra, ruled by Mitra, goddess of friendship. Jupiter conjunct Rahu in the 10th suggests the foreigner or outsider elevated. Retrograde Mercury is exactly conjunct the Sun and powerful, suggesting a memorable speech. The leader (Sun) overshadows his Vice President (Jupiter, which is combust the Sun – not visible in the heavens due to the planet’s proximity to the Sun by degree of celestial longitude). Jupiter contacting the Sun can also describe a highly educated leader, with Mercury, one who speaks well, and with Rahu, one who is in some way a foreigner, or unexpected. His speech, or knowledge is magnified in importance due to Rahu, which tends to magnify whatever it touches, and may give some celebrity quality. This looks to me like Obama, especially with tr. Jupiter within two degrees of Obama’s natal Jupiter, his Dasa lord. It takes 12 years for Jupiter to return to this position, and it is auspicious for him.


I am confident the Democratic Party will win the Presidency in November.  The Republican Party will end its 28-year (Saturn) dominance on Election day. Although Clinton and Obama both have strong charts, Obama is favored.  Even if different birth times are revealed, Obama is the only one of the two (even three) candidates who represents a complete departure from the policies of the previous 28 years. His natal Sun opposite Saturn is one of the indications of that factor; and his candidacy was declared on Feb. 10, 2007 with an exact tr. Sun opposite tr. Saturn.

Though McCain’s chart shows strength, he is at a great disadvantage since his political party is ending its dominant cycle. As a reflection of this fact, all eleven Republican presidential candidates have been generally weak by comparison to the array of nine Democratic Party presidential candidates. To date, Democrats in general have been more enthusiastic about their presidential candidates than Republicans have been about theirs. McCain is also the one Republican candidate who can profess to more of a “maverick” position. This is shown astrologically by his natal Sun opposite Saturn - reflecting his track record, at least up to 2000.  After that, he has voted more and more with the staunchest of the Right Wing Republicans, voting with Bush 90% of the time. Furthermore, McCain is in a dasa period that is not favorable for ascending to the Presidency, being at the tail end of his Saturn Dasa, using for him a 9:00 AM birth time.

[Update: The rise in enthusiasm on the Republican side came much later - on Aug. 29, 2008, with the appointment of Sarah Palin as V.P. candidate. EH]


Here is a recap of what I said above about the Inauguration chart in early Feb. 2008, predicting Obama’s victory in Nov. 2008: "There are four planets in the 10th house in Capricorn: Sun at 6:47 Capricorn, Mercury at 7:41 Capricorn, Jupiter at 9:32 Capricorn, and Rahu at 15:55 Capricorn. Moon in Scorpio is in the 8th house, but in Anuradha nakshatra, ruled by Mitra, goddess of friendship. Jupiter conjunct Rahu in the 10th suggests the foreigner or outsider elevated. Retrograde Mercury is exactly conjunct the Sun and powerful, suggesting a memorable speech. Inauguration, Jan 09, the President and Vice President listen.  Obama's Indnonesian half sister with Chinese husband and child are in back of him.The leader (Sun) overshadows his Vice President (Jupiter, which is combust the Sun – not visible in the heavens due to the planet’s proximity to the Sun by degree of celestial longitude). Jupiter contacting the Sun can also describe a highly educated leader, with Mercury, one who speaks well, and with Rahu, one who is in some way a foreigner, or unexpected. His speech, or knowledge is magnified in importance due to Rahu, which tends to magnify whatever it touches, and may give some celebrity quality. This looks to me like Obama, especially with tr. Jupiter within two degrees of Obama’s natal Jupiter, his Dasa lord. It takes 12 years for Jupiter to return to this position, and it is auspicious for him.” [End quote.]

On Inauguration day 2009, the position of transiting Jupiter was excellent for Obama. It was in Uttara Ashada nakshatra (“the unstoppable victory” and “the later victor”). This is the same nakshatra as his natal Jupiter, and also his current Dasa lord, so its importance is notable and further magnified by transiting Rahu close by in Capricorn. In the sign of its debilitation, transiting Jupiter shows that anyone winning this presidential election would have come to the top from an initially disadvantaged position. (Jupiter is located at the top of the sky, the most visible position.) Moon debilitated in Scorpio in the 8th house shows citizens in a major transition, and also at a disadvantage - especially economically, with some disappointment from women due to Hillary Clinton’s loss in the Primaries.  Mitra, goddess of friendship, allays some fears.  

Many astrologers were concerned about Moon in the 8th house of this chart, but citizens (Moon) have been traumatized by eight years of Bush policies, as well as massive job losses due to the economic downturn, now called a full-fledged “Depression.” Many people were even fearful whether the country could survive Bush’s Imperial presidency, one that increasingly ignored the basic rights of citizens, both at home and abroad. Therefore, the outlook for Obama is not only lifted up by his own inspiring presence, but also rests on the conditions inherited from President Bush.  Fortunately, in this 2009 Inauguration chart, Mars is situated near the 9th house cusp, a place of right action (dharma). Mars was exactly setting on the Descendant in George W. Bush’s Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2001. This showed already an aggressive intention, a tendency to be attacked, and to attack back. The Moon was exactly on the 8th house cusp. The people were also very traumatized after the long and drawn-out 2000 Election.

In the aftermath of the 2009 Inauguration, we can finally relate the astrological chart to the actual event: With four planets in Capricorn at the top of the sky (Mercury, Sun, Jupiter and Rahu), we note that Jupiter and Rahu joined the expected combination of Sun and Mercury at this time of year. More unusual too is Mercury almost exactly conjunct the Sun (within 6 minutes). This gave to Obama brilliant speech, though many did not see how brilliant his Inaugural address was until they reheard or re-read it. (Mercury is Retrograde, which as a classic benefic planet, gives it added positive power, as it is closer to the earth.) Then each phrase and sentence became fodder for further study. At the time the address was delivered, it was somewhat overwhelmed by the intensity and the pageantry of the moment. This was fitting astrologically, with Mercury so close to the Sun. The speech lasted 18 minutes, the same exact length as John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural address.

Obama’s abilities as a fine speaker were anticipated. But his decisive personal victory was generally unexpected – and unexpected for an African American, thus changing the trajectory of American history. This particular combination of planets in the 10th house of the 12 noon Inauguration chart indicated in advance that something of this nature was likely to happen. We also knew there was an exchange between Saturn and Sun - significators for workers and leaders, respectively. So we knew there was going to be a theme of service and sacrifice of workers and volunteers, and that leaders would depend on that same spirit of mutual cooperation to help make this presidency possible. As 5th and 10th house lords, the outlook was good for motifs made loud and clear in this passage from Obama’s Inaugural address, when he spoke of a “new era of responsibility”:

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

Inauguration Wahington D.C., 2009All through 2008 we had a foretaste of the infectious joy we witnessed on Inauguration day. It happened whenever Obama as presidential candidate appeared to be winning. But none of those events fully prepared us for the electrifying moment of the Inauguration. As well as a personal triumph for Obama, it was one of triumph over a long and dark period in American history, when people of color, notably African Americans among others, were for several hundred years relegated to slavery, followed by 100 years of segregation. U.S. Inauguration 2009 was unlike any other in reminding us that it was African American slaves who built most of the nation’s capitol, and were forced to sleep on the same ground where nearly two million people gathered for this remarkable moment. Such repressive and shameful chapters of our nation’s history were broken dramatically with Obama’s Inauguration.  Citizens celebrated not only this moment, but the end of a dangerously repressive presidency. The result was a breakout of euphoria across the nation and across the world. To quote NBC news analyst Michelle Bernard, herself African American: “A tornado of happiness has hit Washington!”

Mercury close to Jupiter loves to express itself, is not shy about it, and is often optimistic.  This Mercury was just three degrees from Jupiter, ignited by the Sun, and magnified by Rahu, the outsider. A strong African-American presence was evident everywhere at the Inauguration, on the stage and in the crowds. Many of them chanted “Obama! Obama!” and “We love you, Obama!”  But this was by no means confined to African-Americans. Many in this huge crowd were by turns tearful and jubilant, a mood echoed by Inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander, in her lines: “Love that casts a widening pool of light… Praise song for walking forward in that light.”  Most journalists who had covered decades of presidential inaugurations had never witnessed this level of excitement and elation. Historians were going back several centuries to George Washington, casting about to find anything similar. There wasn’t any precedent, except possibly George Washington. Not even 1961, also ushering in a young president and his young family, could match the emotional outpouring of these crowds, who braved many hours of standing in the cold.  Thousands came during the night, and many more before sunrise to find their place at this historic event.  Simple Gifts performed at Inauguration

Simple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'Tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning, we come round right.

Obama’s presidency began officially at 12 noon EST on Jan. 20, 2009 at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. At this very moment, witnessed by crowds of close to two million, and a television audience of an estimated five billion, a quartet of illustrious musicians, including clarinetist Anthony McGill, an African-American from Chicago’s South Side, performed the beautiful Simple Gifts. Though this was an instrumental version of the famous work, a perusal of the lyrics above reveals the basic and most poignant themes of the Obama administration and its two year-long presidential campaign. It also reflects the mutual reception (Parivartana yoga) between Sun in Capricorn and Saturn in Leo, in 10th and 5th houses respectively of the Inauguration chart. This planetary configuration highlights the tension that can occur between service to self (Leo) versus service to a larger community (Capricorn). Saturn in Leo reminds us that self-service can also descend into mere self-gratification.  Likewise, the social responsibility evocative of Sun in Capricorn can descend into national or corporate self-aggrandizement, whose heedless arrogance we have seen more and more in recent months and years, including Bank Bailouts benefiting only banks, rather than ordinary citizens and small businesses desperately needing credit and loans.  By contrast, the first moment of Obama’s presidency began lyrically, with this instrumental version of Simple Gifts, a Shaker hymn and work song written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848The music was performed between the swearing in of the Vice president and the President.

Glitches:  Potential glitches were avoided in the flawless performance of Simple Gifts.  I would call it a good omen of foresight. Musicians playing outdoors in such cold weather (around 15 degrees F.) could have easily been hampered in their ability to play properly, if at all.  Their instruments could have also suffered under those conditions, accounting for broken strings, for example. At such an important occasion, and before such a huge audience, there was no room for error. The musicians – Itzhak Perlman, violin, Yo-Yo Ma, cello, Anthony McGill, clarinet, and Gabriela Montero, piano – opted to pre-record two days earlier at the Marine Barracks in Washington. What we saw was a play-synched performance. Was this a misrepresentation? No, it seems to me a wise precaution under such extreme circumstances.  Prior to 12 noon, Aretha Franklin sang My Country ‘Tis of Thee, in a live rendition. Her normally strong voice wavered in the wintry temperatures, a flaw for which she later apologized. 

Supreme Court Justice Roberts might have also avoided his own error, the only real glitch during the entire ceremony, by bringing along a written copy of the President’s Oath of Office (all 35 words). Astrologically, our attention is drawn to Jupiter (the judiciary).  When a planet is very close to the Sun in celestial longitude, it is considered overwhelmed by the Sun’s rays. With Jupiter so closely combust the Sun (the leader) in the Inauguration chart, Roberts could have forgotten his lines, being temporarily blinded by such proximity to the new leader!

Inauguration Oath Taking: Inauguration, Oath taking, 2009 According to a clock synchronized to the U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in at 11:58:47 AM, and President Barack Obama at 12:06:12 PM on Jan. 20, 2009.  In administering the Presidential Oath of Office, Supreme Court Justice Roberts not only spoke too quickly, cutting off Obama when he started to say “I Barack” but misplaced the word “faithfully.”  Because of this slight slip-up by the Chief Justice, a second oath was delivered at 7:35 PM EST on Jan. 21, 2009. 

Though many astrologers tend to choose the time when the Oath taking is finished, I would adhere to the time of 12 noon EST chart for Jan. 20th. That is the time when U.S. Presidential power changes hands every four years, according to the U.S. Constitution, whether or not the President-elect has yet even taken the oath. The U.S. Constitution also states that the Oath shall be taken in that exact form.  All was correct except for Roberts’ misplacement of one word: “faithfully.”  Legal experts were not concerned, and mostly only a few Right wing pundits complained that something was amiss. Even so, just to avoid any problems from future troublemakers – the oath taking was redone, and the tone was jocular, Obama saying “It was so nice, we decided to do it twice!”  Roberts donned his black robe for the 25-second occasion, done slowly this time, with Saturn (the slow-moving one) in the Ascendant.

Obama's second Oath of office, 2009The chart of the second Presidential Oath taking at 7:25 PM on Jan. 21, 2009 at the White House is not one of major importance, in my opinion.  It is more about how Obama will have to manage the nation’s weaknesses at a time when it is especially fragile financially, with a long neglected infrastructure, and increasing loss of jobs.  The second Oath taking was not done at a particularly auspicious time. Saturn was rising in Leo, with four planets in Capricorn in the 6th house.  It reiterates themes of the 12 noon chart, only now Leo rises instead of Aries. Saturn and Sun are in mutual exchange between 1st and the 6th houses. But Sun (the President) is more dominant at the top of the sky in the 12 noon chart, and in any case tends to dominate Saturn, as Sun and Saturn are both in nakshatras ruled by the Sun, an important underlying rule.

The second Oath taking simply underscores the many conflicts that await our leader’s attention. But Sun-Saturn themes have already dominated Election 2008. Obama’s Sun is opposite Saturn in his birth chart, and the same pattern occurred when he announced his presidential candidacy in Feb. 2007, signifying his readiness and his destiny to challenge the Status Quo. He reinforced this theme in some of the most pungent lines of his Inaugural address:

“As for our common defense, we reject as false a choice between our safety and our ideals…. Know that America is a friend of each nation, and America is ready to lead once again.” 

Obama delivered these words with George W. Bush only a few feet away from him. Though couched in softened language, his Inaugural address was a tough indictment of the eight years of the Bush presidency. It reflects the tremendously damaged state of affairs Bush has left behind and which appear to define some of the most challenging issues Obama faces.  As early as the night of his Inauguration, he issued his first executive orders: they were to close Guantanamo Bay prison within the year, and to place an immediate 120 day moratorium on all tribunals being held there. A flurry of policy statements followed, most marking an abrupt break with some of the most controversial Bush policies. And there were many.  Obama's first dayBy Jan. 22nd, Obama ordered all secret prisons and detention camps closed.

The Jan. 21st chart does not reflect the overwhelming positive support Obama enjoys, though it does reflect the immense problems he faces. The 12 noon Inauguration chart (and even the 12:06 PM chart) more accurately show the power of the presidency that was apparent on Jan. 20, 2009. With this in mind, the Sun (representing Obama) should indicate his already high status as President, and being greeted so eagerly after eight such unhappy years. The Sun was high in the sky, with the very favorable Abhijit muhurtha, from 12 noon to 12:48 PM on that day. If the second Oath taking shows the inevitable conflicts and problems this new president must handle, the 12 noon chart shows the good will Obama has from citizens at home and abroad, with an 83 % approval rate nationally upon entering office – an unprecedented high, not to mention his 62% approval rating in Texas, Bush’s home state.

Nimittas (omens) are classically a very important component of Vedic astrology. To be of significance, a nimitta has to coincide with something astrological, or something closely connected to a very relevant person or event, preferably both.

If Obama came into his presidency with a high approval rating, Bush and Cheney exited with unprecedented lows of 22% and 13% respectively. There was some powerful imagery to match these low numbers.  Cheney attended the Inauguration in a wheel chair, due to a recent back injury while loading boxes. When his entry was announced, Bush was greeted by loud boos from the crowd, and by loud cheers when he and Laura Bush lifted off in the military helicopter from Washington. The red carpet that was to have been laid out for him at Andrews Air Force Base could not be laid out due to high winds.

As I watched the public Oath taking, it occurred to me that this flub on the part of Justice Roberts could indicate some future problems between the Presidency and the Supreme Court. Justice Roberts reflects the Right Wing ideology of President George W. Bush, who appointed him in 2005.  Then Senator Obama voted against his confirmation, and favors a non-ideological, more pragmatic approach. The Supreme Court is insulated, and remains largely Conservative. The new President represents a new Progressive majority that could test this court, and vice versa. He won by a sweeping majority, and reflects the will of the people, whereas the courts still largely reflect Conservatives who have dominated for some 28 years, but are no longer the political majority.

Senator Ted Kennedy (Democrat, MA), nearly 77, suffered seizures at the Inaugural luncheon during the dessert portion of the meal. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance for observation. Doctors said it was “mental fatigue,” and he recovered shortly thereafter. But it cast a brief pall over the celebrations. Senator Robert Byrd (Democrat, WV), age 91, also left the luncheon just before Kennedy, suffering some “discomfort,” from which he soon recovered as well. Byrd is the longest serving member in the Senate’s history, from Nov. 1958, and the oldest. Kennedy is the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate, from Nov. 1962. He played a major role in supporting Obama’s presidential candidacy, endorsing him in late Jan. 2008 at a critical juncture in the Democratic primaries. At the very least, these events during the Inaugural luncheon focus our attention on the two most senior Senators, and to their state of health on the first day of the era of Obama. At 47, he is a young president, the third youngest to be elected president – after John F. Kennedy, 42, and Bill Clinton, 46.

Ted and Caroline KennedyTed Kennedy suffers from an aggressive brain tumor discovered in June 2008, raising the possibility of a Senate without a Kennedy for the first time since 1952. Highly regarded in both houses of Congress, Ted Kennedy commands the loyalty and affection of many friends and colleagues. He is very close to his niece Caroline Kennedy, who was encouraged by both her uncle and Barack Obama to seek the N.Y. Senate seat just vacated by Hillary Clinton. After a two-month hiatus with no appointment by New York’s Governor Paterson, this event looked initially like a nimitta that Caroline might shortly be appointed U.S. Senator from N.Y. But Caroline told close friends she was “spooked” by her uncle’s seizures at the Inaugural luncheon, and surprised everyone when she announced she was withdrawing her name from consideration, citing only “personal reasons.” She released a brief statement just after midnight Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. 

Bush’s last week in office: We have mostly looked at Barack Obama at the start of his presidency, and the victorious position of his Dasa lord Jupiter at the top of the sky in the Inauguration chart. Meanwhile, there were some notable omens regarding outgoing President George W. Bush.  The astrological backdrop also gave some clues. On Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009, transiting Mercury turned Stationary Retrograde closely opposite Bush’s Ascendant, as well as opposite his natal Mercury, his current Dasa lord.  Further, the degree at which Mercury turned Stationary Retrograde (13:46 Capricorn) was very close to the degree of the upcoming Solar eclipse Jan. 26, 2009 (12:30 Capricorn). This gives more weight to Mercury in the heavens in terms of communications and travel symbols at this juncture, especially as Bush was still Head of State at this time.  Mercury Retrograde in the 7th house casts its glance backwards into the 6th house of conflict. Together with the upcoming omens, this Mercury Retrograde may indicate that his Legacy rebuilding project is headed into reverse mode, starting from that very week. For Obama, with Cancer Ascendant as well (using my 6:10 AM time), he too may have to review some of his policies, and renew and restore confidence in his campaign promises. Mercury Retrograde is not always a reversal, but it casts light on what has been done or said previously.

Two plane crashes:  During the last week of his presidency, there were two plane crashes that I consider important nimittas. They are relevant in occurring on Jan. 12 and 15, 2009 –  days on which Bush conducted his last press conference and his farewell address to the nation, respectively. In those speeches Bush defended his record, and emphasized the terrorist attacks on 9-11-01 as the central point of his presidency, noting too that he had kept the country safe since then. The second crash coincided with Martin Luther King’s 80th birthday. The one was an unnecessary plane crash of a smaller private plane, which landed in Florida. The other was an absolutely necessary plane crash – an emergency landing – of a large passenger plane in New York City (the Hudson River, Manhattan).  Both locations were pivotal for the Bush presidency. The first pilot was expert, but a daredevil, and didn't care if he crash-landed his plane, as that was part of his plan.  He radioed an air traffic control tower, giving false information about his own condition as well as that of his plane.  Lying intentionally, he bailed out of the plane, put it on autopilot, and allowed it to crash where it would, heedless of the human lives and human laws below. He intended to fake his own death in order to avoid numerous personal difficulties, including being indicted for business fraud, and being sued for divorce. The plane landed in a Florida swamp.

The second pilot had less than four minutes to save perhaps tens of thousands of people in a crowded urban area, in addition to himself, his crew, and 155 passengers. He made the right decision, and along with his expertise – he evoked calmness everywhere around him on the plane.  The actions of the second pilot were not only heroic, but astonishingly masterful in landing a plane that had suddenly lost all power in both engines due to being hit by a flock of birds. He landed it in the Hudson River, without causing the breakup of the plane, or any loss of life. Only one person was injured.

With the first plane crash, we note that within minutes of reports of a plane in trouble, two military jet fighter planes were dispatched to check out the plane, called “a scramble.” Coming along side it, they found the door to the cockpit open, and the cockpit dark. No one was flying this plane, and no blood was on the window or anywhere in the plane, as the pilot had claimed in his message to the control tower. The plane was on autopilot and crashed in a Florida swamp. The pilot intended it to crash in the Gulf of Mexico, but ran out of gas. Comparing this event to Sept. 11, 2001, we note that despite at least three errant aircraft on the Eastern seaboard flying towards New York City and Washington, D.C., and having lost all contact with air control towers for some 30 to 40 minutes, no military planes whatsoever were dispatched to investigate the situation. Several years later, the 9-11 Commission hearings revealed that no military aircraft were available anywhere along the Eastern seaboard on 9-11, as they were all involved in war games that day. This was remarkable in a period when Intelligence briefings gave the highest level of warnings of terrorist attacks, specifically with the possible use of hijacked airplanes to attack tall buildings in some major U.S. cities. The President had been warned in early August 2001, and all during summer 2001, when he took a long vacation.

Thus, an important part of the nimitta of the Jan. 12, 2009 plane crash is to remind us of the extreme readiness of military jets to investigate just one errant small private plane over a Florida swamp, yet no readiness to prevent a 9-11 event of some magnitude.  It also reminds us of a presidency which essentially began because of events in Florida eight years ago, and is now still resting its historical significance on the events of 9-11 in New York City. Bush does not want to direct our attention to whether or not he prevented the attacks occurring nearly eight months into his presidency. In fact, he and his defenders are now saying that he “inherited” 9-11,” and could not have prevented it.

As for the second plane landing on Jan. 15th, the day of Bush’s farewell address, and also Martin Luther Kings’ 80th birthday – people may hope it is a sign that President Barack Obama will rescue us all in a time of grave peril for the nation.  Certainly the second pilot’s behavior and demeanor remind us of Obama, and may well be signaling the Age of Obama, especially coinciding with King’s birthday. However, it was also Bush’s very last speech to the nation while still President. He had to move out of the White House by the next day. This plane crash just hours before Bush’s farewell speech, along with Eric Holder’s Senate nomination hearings for Attorney General that day, mostly eclipsed Bush’s farewell speech in the news.  It also highlights Bush’s determination to stick to his script emphasizing New York City on 9-11-2001, but not on this day. He never once mentioned the heroic pilot or his miraculous crash landing in the Hudson River. This is because 9-11 still remains the bedrock of his presidency, and the single factor he uses for explaining its subsequent actions.

At the very least, these two powerful omens in the last week of the Bush presidency show us two stark contrasts in leadership – or in this analogy – piloting a plane. You can have all the qualifications to fly it – which some argue Bush really didn’t have from the start – but you don’t want to cause an unnecessary crash, especially one that only benefits yourself and injures many others. You can crash the plane (or Ship of State) heedlessly, such as with warrant-less wiretapping and unnecessary wars – or you can guide it with steely calm and a sense of what has to be done instantly in order best to serve the passengers (citizens). 

Since both plane crashes occurred on Bush’s last watch, they may be inviting us to observe the damage he has done to the country during his presidency, especially with these kinds of parallels. The emergency landing by an exemplary pilot gives us hope of a distinctly new kind of leadership, and thus much more positive results. It shows us that great leadership does exist, as seen with the piloting skills of Sully Sullenberger and his emergency landing in Manhattan, New York - the scene of two plane crashes on 9-11, and the fulcrum of the Bush presidency.

These two omens, along with a solar eclipse just six days into the Obama presidency, seem to reinforce the urgency for the new president to deal with so many issues of the Bush presidency.  For instance, many say that if Obama does not prosecute figures from the previous administration for war crimes, then he really can’t claim to be the President who is restoring moral authority. Many ask what kind of restored civility Obama can promote if he looks only forward and refuses to prosecute such crimes, which historically, when they remain buried, only rise again in a more exaggerated form. It is not yet clear how far the Obama administration will go to pursue these issues, though in his Inauguration speech the new president gave some hint, as did his actions and executive orders during his first few days in office. We wish him great courage, strength, and blessings for the tasks he has sworn to undertake.

[Note: Edith did a talk on Inauguration Day on internet radio (Sirius Star Talk) with astrologer Norma Jean Ream. Edith is #11 in the archives. BN]

Obama's first day

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