The 1984 Presidential Election
This article originally appeared in a 1984 issue of American Astrology Magazine
On November 6th, transiting Saturn will be leaving the immediate vicinity of Ronald Reagan's natal T square, where it has been for all of this year to date. Specifically, Saturn has been on the President's natal Jupiter, opposed his natal Moon and square the natal Sun; a difficult situation to be sure, but he endures it every seven years and is therefore living evidence that such transits are not necessarily inimical to success.
During this entire year Walter Mondale has transiting Jupiter in the sign that contains his natal Sun and natal Mercury; transiting Jupiter is also opposite his natal Pluto. To have transiting Jupiter so placed is an augury of success, a radical elevation in status (after all, he is the nominee) and good tidings in general. But the great majority of astrologers who assess the chances of the challenger versus the incumbent, and contend that Mr. Mondale must surely win because he gets Jupiter's benefic rays while Mr. Reagan is burdened with the malefic Saturn, ignore history, the significance of directions versus transits, and the empirical evidence of just what transits appear to be most significant with regard to elections.
It is plainly short sighted to look at transits of Jupiter or Saturn to the natal Sun and see only victory or defeat in an election, or good tidings versus bad in one’s affairs, for the entire period that the transit is on. Warren Harding would have something to say about that, as transiting Jupiter was partile conjoined to his natal Sun when he quite unwillingly died in office in 1923. Calvin Coolidge, who succeeded President Harding to the highest civil authority in the land, had at that time, transiting Saturn square his natal Sun within three degrees.
Sometimes Jupiter does point to the winner. Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 with transiting Jupiter closely opposite his natal Sun, yet he presided over what has been the bloodiest ￼war in our history to date (more than 800,000 dead). Nevertheless, if the argument is advanced that a so-called unfavorable aspect (the opposition) was symbolic of Civil War strife, it will be seen upon examination that trines of transiting Jupiter or Saturn are not indicative, as a matter of course, of winning, losing or the circumstances of an administration. For example, transiting Saturn was partile trine Herbert Hoover's natal Sun when he was elected in 1928 and should have been an indication of prosperity through prudence. Instead his tenure in office was an economic disaster; moreover the Sun trine Saturn condition was no indication of the wild financial speculation that ruined his administration.
What those Saturn and Jupiter aspects do speak to are the essential natures of the individuals in question. Lincoln stood for justice and integrity, hence his election under Jupiter's auspices. Hoover was concerned with stability, fiscal responsibility and good management. It follows that Saturn was "his" planet, and also explains why more presidents are elected under Saturn than Jupiter. The person with a Jupiter transit is almost always the more liberal of the candidates. Unless the liberal candidate appears to be truly inspired (e.g., Jefferson) or appears to be something special (e.g., Kennedy), the electorate generally takes the safe bet which is the candidate who represents the status quo: Saturn. Liberal sentiments wane in most people as they age and the stakes in life get higher. With that in mind it becomes less confounding to contemplate how Eisenhower could possibly have won in 1952 with transiting Saturn, the greater malefic, less than one degree from the exact conjunction with his natal Sun. A similar situation is in play now with regard to the issue of Saturn versus Jupiter vis-à-vis Reagan and Mondale.
It is noteworthy that transiting Saturn and Jupiter together aspecting a candidate's natal Sun (and often Moon as well) is more significant for winning than either planet alone. Franklin Roosevelt is the most recent example: he was elected to his third term in 1940 when the partile conjunction of transiting Saturn and transiting Jupiter was closely square his natal Sun.
Despite modern attempts to put Saturn in a better light, it still evokes dread. That is reasonable because Saturn's action usually entails sacrifices, burdens and difficulties. Still, since it can be defended that Saturn is by no means the kiss of death in elections, the factors that mitigate against the classically undesirable effects of the planet warrant close examination. There are certain combinations, which are demonstrably potent and consistent, but none more so than good synthesis. Otherwise the Electoral College would have chosen another man to be president when Saturn transited over George Washington's natal Sun in 1788 and 1789. The affect of Saturn is truly to slow, inhibit, impair, enslave, even defeat, other things not considered; but other things must be considered. Concurrent transits of the benefics to the angles or lights during a similar Saturn transit often manifest overall as the imposition of order, control, structure and limits where they are needed. Also, a Saturn transit to the lights in the midst of benefic transits is symbolic of assuming the mantle of authority and responsibility. Saturn, incidentally, is most definitely not democratic in action; rather, it is autocratic, selfish, cold and efficient, and clearly more helpful to conservative candidates.
The effect of any transit cannot be taken out of the context of all the other transits in play. That is how transiting Saturn in his station conjoined to natal Venus, at the same time that transiting Jupiter, stationary on the natal Moon, could translate into a love affair with depth, stability and fidelity. Transiting Saturn to the natal Venus may also be symbolic of a karmic tie if there is simultaneous support by transit from Venus, or sometimes Uranus, but especially Jupiter. This may also develop if transiting Venus stations on natal Saturn. In short, the Saturn transit makes the relationship become more serious in the presence of an equally powerful benefic transit; but without extenuating benefic circumstance, transiting Saturn to the natal Venus is usually unfortunate and can produce calamity in one's personal life.
Richard Nixon won in 1968 with transiting Saturn one degree past the square to his natal Sun, but transiting Jupiter was partile square his natal Mars-Pluto opposition. Transiting Jupiter to the natal Mars is the sign of a champion, the victor in battle, or one who can successfully display his prowess in whatever fashion is his forte. It is the ultimate "can do" transit. In addition, transiting Jupiter to the natal Mars is a strong indication of success in contests that must be judged as opposed to blind luck, like winning lotteries. It is an exceedingly common feature among newly elected or re-elected presidents. Transiting Jupiter to the natal Pluto is very powerful too and does have something to do with blind and often outrageous good fortune. It suggests accelerated growth and broadly applies to an entire generation "coming into their own" during the year when Jupiter works on natal Pluto.
In a succinct and astute article titled "An Election Perspective," which appeared in the American Astrology Digest for 1984, Mark David noted that winners often have transiting Pluto working on their progressed and/or natal Suns. A simple tabulation verifies this fact which is illustrated again by Nixon's 1968 victory. Throughout all of 1967 and 1968, transiting Pluto rose in mundo at the same time, or within close orb, that Nixon's natal Sun set through the parallels of the contiguous forty-eight states of this country. If other factors lend support (Pluto to the natal Sun can otherwise be a very difficult transit), the transit of Pluto to the natal Sun will catapult a person onto center-stage more cogently than any other planet. Pluto to the Sun also often makes people feel very lonely and cut off from their relations and the familiar, but in a candidate the isolation comes from being picked out of the crowd and made to stand in the limelight. It tremendously amplifies the solar qualities for good or ill, depending on the condition of the Sun. If the Sun is well disposed, one's virtue is acclaimed and perfidy disdained in such extreme fashion that the person under such a transit stands out as someone who warrants special treatment and the public confidence.
These two transits stand out as the most valuable to presidential candidates, but winners in elections will invariably have highly significant transits and progressions in their current solar and lunar returns as well. The influence of angularity (proximity to the horizon and meridian) in return charts is far more important than the supposed influence of transits through any of the houses, and here the standard interpretations of the intrinsic natures of the planets are inviolable: Jupiter angular is cause for elation while angular Saturn brings disappointment and dismay.
Primary directions and secondary progressions appear to be more important in the large scheme of things than transits. The primary directed mid-heaven or ascendant to Jupiter usually indicates that one's ship has come in, even if a candidate is laboring under adverse transits. Most often however, a planet that gets emphasis by direction is very often angular in the solar return to further underscore its influence. The progression of Jupiter to the natal Saturn or their progressed mutual configuration, the Sun to Jupiter and the Sun progressed to Uranus brings someone into prominence in a way that cannot be denied.
The telling effect of the qualities is often discounted or disregarded altogether although it is plain to see. Walter Mondale was a lawyer before he became a U.S. senator and Jimmy Carter's vice president. Mondale, with the Sun in a mutable sign (the most intellectual of the qualities), does not display the kind of interior strength that Ronald Reagan does with the Sun in a cardinal sign (the most driven and managerial of the qualities). Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy are examples of the compelling nature of the Sun in the fixed signs, which lord over both cardinal and mutable due to their indomitable will and strength.
Ronald Reagan has a lot going for him on November 6th in spite of transiting Saturn in his natal T square. Transiting Jupiter will be loosely conjoined to his natal Mars and precisely conjoined to the midpoint of his natal Jupiter and natal Venus, which is cause for jubilation. Transiting Jupiter will also be opposite the midpoint of his natal Neptune and natal Pluto at the same time. That combination can easily be seen as the culmination of a great dream or desire, since a second term is an expression of approval on a scale that few ever know.
The Sun-Pluto situation is also present as a mundane square. The president's ex-precessed natal Sun sets at Washington D.C. with a sidereal time of 2h 27m 34s while on November 6th, transiting Pluto has right ascension 14h 23m 40s i.e., Pluto transits the Washington D.C. lower meridian or imum coeli (the I.C.) one degree (four minutes of time) before the president's natal Sun sets there. That mundane square has been in effect throughout 1984. It is a very auspicious omen for a presidential candidate. Walter Mondale doesn't have it.
Another important consideration that makes Ronald Reagan virtually impossible to beat during the first week of November is that the transiting Sun conjoins his natal Jupiter on Election Day, November 6th. Furthermore, when the transiting Sun sets with the president's natal Jupiter, his natal Uranus is in the mid-heaven or medium coeli (the M.C.) at Washington, and his ex-precessed natal Moon rises opposite the transiting Sun and natal Jupiter. That paran is extraordinarily fortunate. This writer has never seen it among the transits of one who has lost a national election.
The overall mix of the president's astrological situation points strongly to a second term. It is reasonable to assume that Saturn transiting through his natal T square is taking a heavy toll on his vitality. If re-elected, he will turn 74 less than a month after his second inauguration. No American president has ever been in office at that age. The presidency ages its office-holders fast. His age is probably catching up with him.
© Kenneth Bowser, 1984. All rights reserved