I’ve not given an answer because I really don’t know what to think about everything that’s been happening and I don’t really have some grand astrological explanation. But from the standpoint of my simple work as an everyday astrologer, I suppose there are a few thoughts I could share.
1. Why does the soul or psyche of the American people, or the world, need the phrase, “Make America Great Again?” If I set aside my immediate dislike of the saying and all the associated images and values that come with it, and if I just ponder its archetypal value for the soul, I’m reminded of the sign of Taurus, the bull. James Hillman once wrote that the Bull’s myth is the bull-shit of simple living, and simple-enduring values that are never understood or recognized as themselves mythic. For this reason Hillman joked that they are so much simple “bull shit.” But we can’t underestimate the appeal that this myth has when it comes to the phrase, “Make America Great Again.” This is no rip on Taurus or the power of the bull in the imagination. It’s just an honest observation of how a myth can reflect both our desires, needs, and sicknesses. “Make America Great Again,” reflects mythic images like European colonialism, homes built with hard work, sweat, and generations of blue collar labor and sacrifice. Make America Great again reflects a no-nonsense approach to identity–we are simple, we are what we are and let’s get on with it. Make America Great again reflects not so much the hatred of complexity and diversity but rather the immovable fecundity that resides in simple, basic, stable, consistent things…seeds, soil, rain, semen, boots, cowboys, trucks and tractors, women’s hips and child pain, honest education and simple personal achievements, and apple pie. Make America Great again reflects not so much the intolerance for the global community as much it reflects the desire to live in an environment that is contained and rich with the luxury of familiarity.
Make America Great Again is also a myth that sees itself as the adult in the room with a bunch of whining children playing make believe. Liberalism can be seen in general through this lens as a lot of complaining and made up fairy tales about who we are, why we’re here, what our potential is, and Make America Great again would prefer to hand us a shovel or garden spade or business degree and see us drop all the nonsense and do something that bears its preferred fruit: an honest lemonade stand filled with luxurious, and unquestionably symmetrical, or at the very least modest and proud specimens. Things that we earn and should have the right to keep as our own. These are my strawberries. I grew them myself.
Now, you or I might agree that this is a lot of “bull shit,” but that clearly cannot and does not override the power of the myth in the collective unconscious or the populist movement that we just saw come out for the election in this country. And in my humble opinion, unless we understand the power of myth we’re not likely to generate the patience, tolerance, or compassion necessary to start interacting with this myth in more diverse and creative ways. It’s ironically too simple and too much “bull shit” on OUR part to simply see an evil cowboy dressed in black.
Such is the power of the bull in our imagination. It does not like to be exposed as a mythic deity. I’m REAL damn it. REAL. And let’s be clear about one more thing, we don’t need a planet in the sign of the Bull to use its image as a focal point for this meditation. Let’s also get rid of trying to literally blame a planet in a sign for anything…like “it’s that damn Pluto and the Goat taking a shit on my progressive/enlightened lawn. Patriarchy be damned. Screw Saturn!”
2. Once we’ve recognized the power of the Bull in “Make America Great Again,” we should take the time to recognize our own myth as liberal/progressive types, people who are fed by a different myth ourselves. Perhaps our souls are fed by the myth of the Crab. We are each vulnerable creatures who deserve safety, refuge, nurturance, depth, and romantic sensitivity. Or Libra, justice, truth, and equality, as well as intelligent and fair social and cultural exchanges. Or perhaps Aquarius, the human civilization that draws nearer to god, the water-bearer of the deity itself, the mid-wives of heaven on earth.
I also believe that one of the troubles we have is that those of us who are liberal feel very open and encouraging of an identification with many or multiple myths. We aren’t monomythic and take offense to those who worship solely at the altar of the Bull (for example). Fair enough. But if we demonize the monomyth, let’s call it those who worship exclusively at the altar of the Bull described above, then we really have two options: a holy war between two gods at two different altars, or retreat into self-righteousness. So how do we deal with the monomythic bull: make america great again?
3. To me the final answer here isn’t clear. I suspect that the Make America Great Again myth is not likely to manifest in the way that the people who desire its arrival are likely to be satisfied with, and I also suspect that in time this dissatisfaction, rather than leading to some kind of civil war, may in fact lead to a more middle of the road populism, so to speak, a unifying myth that more people can truly unite behind. Too often these unifying myths in America are found in the face of foreign enemies, but I wonder in time if the demise of our entire planet, through the environment, or destruction of our water, etc, may not provide us with a common myth that we can all share. What better myth could there be that is both simple (rooted in the simple soil, oxygen, trees, water sources) but hugely complex (needing the cooperation of many different cultures, countries, religions, etc). I admit that this might be something I’m longing for rather than rationally pondering. Is it possible that we’re all longing for such a birthing crisis?
As an astrologer, my spiritual practice is rather stoic. I can’t help but “be lived by powers that I only pretend to understand,” but I also sense that I’m supposed to try to live with some recognition of these forces, that there is some important middle ground I’m here to carve out, called “soul.” I sense that if I fail to do this, to create this space for the observation of these passing powers, that I will stay sleeping or miss a profound opportunity. Not necessarily an opportunity to get something for myself but rather to see something, to have an experience of some kind, which I sense to be the real treasure and meaning of my life.
So, in closing, I offer all these thoughts to my readers and friends and community in a modest effort to address those of you who have asked me for some deeper astrological commentary recently. I also find all these kinds of commentaries rather exhausting and so have tried to just stick to my daily forecasts instead, and will not make this a habit going forward. 🙂 But I hope this meditation was at least interesting!