The Kavanaugh nomination: an excess of Mars

(25 September 2018) Like many things in the Trump presidency, the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination has deteriorated into a partisan chess game.  Or circus.  Things were going smoothly for the nomination until Kavanaugh's former high school classmate came forward with a sexual assault complaint two weeks ago.  Suddenly, the slam dunk nomination of what was to be the 9th and deciding conservative/GOP vote on the court is up in the air as a result of the bombshell September 13th letter to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. 

Christine Blasey Ford is due to testify at the Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, September 27th to give her side of the story.  Two other women have since come forward with sexual misconduct complaints against Kavanaugh although it isn't yet clear if they will be given a hearing by the Senate Judicial Committee.  Suddenly, what looked like a sure thing is now more like a 50-50 proposition based on the odds from Predictit.org

As is often the case, we don't have the exact birth time of Brett Kavanaugh. While the estimated horoscope for noon can be useful, it is often better to find some surrogate chart which can stand in for this particular situation.  I think the moment that President Trump nominated Kavanaugh is a plausible chart to see how this whole thing may unfold.  Trump made the statement of nomination on July 9, 2018 at 9.05 p.m. in Washington, DC.  This was immediately followed by Brett Kavanaugh's short acceptance speech which concluded with a "Thank you" to the president at 9.18 p.m.  It is this second time I have used as the de facto acceptance of the nomination. 



Let's look at the charts.  First off, the Kavanaugh nomination chart is very conflicted.  The Mars-Ketu (South Lunar Node) is rising in the 1st house and reflects how contentious the nomination has become.  The Moon is exalted in Taurus but aligns closely with the Mars-Ketu conjunction and thus intensifies how emotional and volatile the whole process will be.  With Capricorn rising, Saturn is Lagnesh for this chart and it is poorly placed in the 12th house of hidden actions and loss.  One one hand this may reflect the unseen actions behind the scenes that are guiding both sides in this nomination and hence the possibility of intrigue and falsified testimony.  The fact that the 12th house represents "loss" is a big negative for the ultimate outcome for the Kavanaugh nomination.  12th house placements like this usually aren't decisive but they do raise the possibility of failure.  And even if he is eventually sworn-in, this is the kind of chart that raises serious questions about his long-term legitimacy on the court.  

The rest of the chart is more mixed.  Uranus near the 4th house cusp suggests a fast-changing and unstable nomination process.  Well, we have definitely seen that thus far.  But the hidden strength of the natal chart is that Jupiter is stationary direct in the 10th house of achievement and status.  This is an excellent placement as Jupiter would return to direct motion in the day following the nomination on July 10th.  This at least potentially offsets the negative effects of the 12th house Saturn placement. 

When the sexual assault complaint became public on September 13th, transiting Mars was conjunct the Ascendant at 7 Capricorn almost exactly.  Mars, of course, symbolizes conflict and disputes, and, we should note, male sexual activity.  Mercury (20 Leo) is closely opposite Neptune reflecting the state of confusion and lack of clarity about the nomination at that time.  



The transits for Thursday's hearing look very conflicted also. Transiting Mars will be exactly conjunct the natal Ketu at 10 Capricorn, while the transiting Moon will be square that conjunction during Thursday morning.  Moon-Mars-Ketu alignments are typically unpredictable and emotional and often tinged with anger.  It should be a memorable hearing by all accounts.  But more importantly, I would think that this alignment bodes poorly for Kavanaugh and his GOP sponsors.    Kavanaugh is more likely to be seen in a negative light from this hearing.

The larger question is whether there are any telling alignments which might suggest success or failure in the nomination.  This question is made more difficult since the date of the final Senate vote is unknown.  Some pro-Trump senators are suggesting a final confirmation vote could come as early as this Friday.  I would certainly note rule out such an early vote since transiting Jupiter at 27 Libra is very close to the MC (unequal 10th house) at 28 Libra.  With the Sun at 11 Virgo, it will activate a Grand Trine pattern with transiting Mars and the natal Moon at 10 Taurus.  Are these the alignments of a successful nomination?  Yes, it's very possible.  Grand Trines are often good for taking decisive action, even if this involve Mars.  The possibility of a positive outcome is greater since Venus is slowing down ahead of its retrograde station in Libra just 3 or 4 degrees from natal Jupiter.  This Venus-Jupiter pairing is another favourable tailwind for Kavanaugh and the GOP. 

However, I don't have a strong opinion on how this drama ends.  The data is thin so it is hard to make a prediction one way or the other.  The Jupiter-MC influence looks positive for a Kavanaugh confirmation but it could just as easily reflect the media prominence of the hearings rather than the outcome itself.  Similarly, the Venus-Jupiter conjunction could reflect the ratings bonanza of this must-see television for the cable news networks. 



And yet Donald Trump's chart suggests some positive developments in the days ahead as a result of the Venus retrograde station due on October 5th.  Venus will station at 16 Libra in a near exact 120 degree angle with his Mercury at 15 Gemini.  This is likely to translate into some positive outcomes for him.  If I were a Democrat, this is what I would worry about.  Of course, there is so much going with the various plot lines in the President Trump Reality Show that it is hard to know what it could pertain to -- Kavanaugh, Rosenstein, Mueller, Stormy Daniels, NAFTA negotiations, midterm candidates, etc.  But the Venus influence is broadly positive for him during late September and early October so that could easily reflect a Kavanaugh confirmation. 

The bottom line is the planets are equivocal with low levels of confidence in any outcome, but especially a negative confirmation outcome.  Trump's planets look strong enough for confirmation although as we know, that could pertain to any number of other matters. 


Weekly Market Forecast

Meanwhile, the US markets remain buoyant as all the trade war talk has yet to exact any significant price on the US economy.  The Dow has finally joined the other indexes and reached new all-time highs.  Indian stocks have pulled back significantly as the emerging markets contagion has finally hit home on Dalat St. with its attendant inflationary pressures and declining rupee.  I thought we might have seen more downside in the US and Europe by this time given the difficult Mars-Saturn-Ketu-Uranus alignment.  Monday's Full Moon did correlate with some downside in Asia but as usual, the US has proven more resilient as international capital has decided the US is a safe haven for now.

The Federal Reserve is due to release its latest policy statement on the economy tomorrow.  A rate hike is virtually certain but it is the forward guidance that will be parsed carefully.  While the Sun-Mercury have passed their square alignment with bearish Saturn by that time, it is more difficult to see the market reacting favourably to the Fed given the ongoing Sun-Mars-Ketu alignment.  Sun-Mars alignments are slightly bearish depending on other factors, but the involvement of the Lunar Nodes with Ketu here increases the uncertainty.  This uncertainty could last through the rest of this week and even into early next week. 

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