Midterms and Minor Aspects

The midterm election in the United States is greatly looked forward to by political junkies because it is the first obvious election mandate for the Joe Biden presidency. Because of the interest, I have decided to look at this chart and it is indeed interesting.

Midterm Election

The first thing one notices is that a full moon is happening on that election day November 8, 2022. Mercury is conjunct the Sun tightly and Venus is widely conjunct it also. At the other end of the opposition Uranus conjoins the Moon as well as the North Node of the Moon. Expect the unexpected. This latter conjunction should be a big flag, and sure enough this Full Moon is also a lunar eclipse. Unlike a solar eclipse which last only an hour or so, a lunar eclipse lasts several hours. There are four retrograde planets at the time of this full Moon: Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. Mars is one of the least often retrograde planets and it is near to its natal position and thus a Mars return for the United States. The Sun and the Moon make an almost exact semisquare/sesquiquadrate with the US Midheaven. Clearly this election will influence the standing and appearance of the United States within the wider world, which is something the Midheaven represents.

Midterms – USA

One can say that the outcome of the election will be a surprise. This can be taken many ways. In the United States the first midterm election after a new president has been elected two years previously there is traditionally a loss for the President’s party, what President Obama called in the 2010 midterm election a “shellacking”. So on one hand this midterm might present a huge loss for the Democrats, even more that would be expected. On the other hand, it could be a surprise in that the ruling party suffers no defeats unlike what happens normally. Because of Neptune’s prominence perhaps we will not know the final result for some time after election day since the results will be obscured by Neptunian haze.

And of course, as is true for this year, Neptune is opposite its natal position and Pluto is conjunct its natal position. The last time there was a similar configuration was the late Thirties when Pluto was opposite its natal position and Neptune was conjunct its natal position. At that time the world saw the beginnings of World War II and the Great Depression had been going on for several years.

A brief discussion of aspects and orbs is needed for an introduction to minor aspects. Aspects are the angular separation between two planets or other points. The validity of aspects was shown decades ago by John Nelson of RCA in that the aspects of planets (in a heliocentric manner) could affect the quality of radio signals, something that RCA was very interested in. Hard aspects caused more interference with radio signals. Orbs are the distance from exact — called partile — in which an aspect is said to still be effective. One easy way to get an argument among astrologers is to question the size of orbs. Some astrologers use what I consider to be huge orbs, so big that meaning ceases to exist. I once did computer work for an astrologer who insisted on using a ten degree orb for what is usually considered a minor aspect, an inconjunct or quincunx of 150 degrees.

Aspects are based on numbers — the numbers which divide a full circle to give the aspect which is a fraction of a circle. The three most important aspect families are based on the first three numbers — called whole numbers in mathematics because that is what they are, not fractions of a number. The first number is one and that gives the conjunction which I consider the mother of all aspects just as the number one is a divisor of all other numbers. The next number is two which gives the opposition, square, and so forth which are based on octaves of two. The number after that is three which gives trines, sextiles and so forth.

Note that the much used number twelve belongs to both families of two and three and of course one but then all aspects are derived from the conjunction. And the number twelve occurs in many areas for example in Judeo-Christian religion where we have the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of Christ. In both cases each of the twelve have been assigned to a particular zodiacal sign. Both the day and the night have twelve hours so this is a very well used number and has been for millennia.

The families of two and the families of three are most often described respectively as hard aspect and soft aspects, though I prefer the terms overt — in the open — and covert — not out front. Everybody can feel an aspect of series two, it knocks you over the head; these are called event-oriented, but series three aspects are present but do not force themselves on you. Traditionally they are easy, but all of World War II saw a transiting trine of Uranus and Neptune so they are not necessarily pleasant.

We normally just use what are called the Ptolemaic aspects (after Second Century astrology Claudius Ptolemy who wrote early astrology books Tetrabiblos and the Almagest). These are conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition. If one is a little more daring they would throw in the semisquare — the name indicates that it is half of a square — and the sesquiquadrate — a square and a half which are also called minor aspects. They can also be called the octile and trioctile, indicating that they are based on the number eight. Continuing the series, half of a semisquare is a demisquare of semioctile. These aspects are 22.5, 67.5, 112.5, and 157.5 degrees. Like the square and the semisquare, the demisquare can be powerful if it close to exact. But the question occurs what orb should one use for a demisquare?

A question about orbs is what is the shape of the orb, that is how does the strength of the aspect fall off as distance from exact — called partile — falls off. Is the orb a sawtooth, where it falls off rapidly as the aspect becomes less than partile? Is the aspect of the same strength if within the orb after which it falls off immediately, like a tooth shape? Or is it like a normal curve when the strength falls off slowly at first as the aspect is less than partile and then falls off faster. I tend to believe in the normal curve since many things operate based on a normal curve.

Normal Curve from Wikipedia

With a normal curve you have something called the standard deviation (represented by the Greek letter lower case sigma). Most of the area under the normal curve is contained within two standard deviations on either side of the center, so I will consider the orb value as being two standard deviations. But remember that there is life outside two standard deviations, which suggests that occasionally an aspect can be active outside its orb, but this is not usual.

The next question is what orb to use. It seems obvious (to me) that as the aspect becomes a greater harmonic the orb should decrease, that is the orb for a square is less than an orb of a conjunction. I have always liked what are called harmonic orbs, in which the orb is proportional to the number on which the aspect is based. So for example if we consider the orb for a conjunction to be twelve degrees — and twelve is a number used often in astrology — then the orb for an opposition is six degrees, or twelve divided by two, and the orb for a square is three, or twelve divided by four. So an orb for semioctile or demisquare would be 12/16 or 45 minutes.

The following section on the October Surprise was written weeks ago but Mercury Retrograde got in the way. I used to think that “Mercury Retrograde” was just an excuse astrologers used when something did not come together but since that time I’ve experienced many Mercury retrograde periods during which many things did not come together, more so than in non-Mercury Retrograde periods. (But note that the periods for a couple of days before and after the retrograde — when Mercury is moving slow — are also problematic.) This just concluded Mercury Retrograde period — from September 10 to October 1 — was brutal.

October Surprise Graphical Ephemeris Harmonic 16

While looking at the current transits I noticed planets coming together in late September but in minor aspects so that one would usually not see it. Demisquare aspects are not often noticed but can be seen in a what is called a fourth harmonic chart — aka ninety-degree dial — where all positions are multiplied by four and then 360 is subtracted until the total is under 360. While looking at a graphical ephemeris I noticed an interesting lineup of planets in late September. Notice how the lines for Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto come together in late September. Shown below are the first harmonic of this date– 9/26 — where we notice Sun, Mercury, and Venus conjunct and oppose Jupiter, Mars trines Saturn, Jupiter semloadisquare both Uranus and Saturn which are square and Sloadun tightly semisquare Uranus. But then look at the fourth harmonic chart. Pluto is square the Sun-Jupiter opposition to Saturn-Uranus and Mars is trine/sextile both ends of the opposition. The squares in the fourth harmonic chart are demi-squares and the oppositions are actually semisquare/sesquiquadrates. There are a lot of plloadanets connected and I thought that this indicated an “October Surprise”.

October Surprise

This is not just a theoretical discussion: It is almost a tradition in American politics to have what is called an “October Surprise” before an election in November, something that is unexpected and causes changes in voter’s minds. The term originated in 1980 during the Carter-Reagan campaign when the Reagan team prevented the hostages in Iran from being released until after Reagan was elected, thereby denying a win to the Carter campaign; the Carter campaign was certain that a release before the election woulloadd have helped his election chances. During the summer people’s mind are consumed by other things than electoral politics, but after Labor Day and the return of students to their school people become more concerned about facts on the ground. So it is after Labor Day that an “October Surprise” can occur — October Surprise Season begins. By looking at astrology, it appears many planets will come together in minor aspects late September to set the stage for an October surprise.

October Surprise Harmonic 4

In the fourth harmonic chart (above) we see a T-square with Saturn-Uranus opposite Sun-Jupiter all square the apex point Pluto. Remember that in a fourth harmonic chart the square is in actually a demi-square.

Notice other timings. The transiting Sun goes over natal Neptune just after Labor Day and then goes over the MC on September 26, the same date as was pointed out above.

Looking back one can see things — obviously — that one can not see looking forward. With the benefit of hindsight we can see what happened about September 26. Much to the surprise of many — but not the CIA which warned Germany of this possibility (https://www.reuters.com/world/cia-warned-berlin-about-possible-attacks-gas-pipelines-summer-spiegel-2022-09-27/) — several bombs went off on the Russia to Germany pipelines Nordstream 1 and 2 which were supposed to deliver gas to Germany from Russia. The first explosion occurred at 2:03 CEST (Central European Summer Time) on September 26. Protests had been happening in Germany demanding that that country drop its sanctions against Russia and allow gas to flow through the pipelines, something that could not happen after bombs blew holes in the pipelines.

Nordstream Explosion

Looking at the chart for the first Nordstream explosion, we see that it happened about two hours after the New Moon with Jupiter in Aries opposite this New Moon. This perhaps indicates the explosion of gas that burst from the pipelines when the explosion hit, and the result has been captured in a photograph. Some are saying that this was the biggest one-time release of methane. When you look at the chart it appears like the is an arrow pointing at the New Moon, commanding your attention.

I’ve also included the fourth harmonic chart of this event so that you can see how similar it is to the chart earlier displayed that only suggested an “October Surprise”.

Nordstream Explosion Harmonic 4