It’s our country’s “birthday” and not very often is there a Full Moon at the anniversary of our independence. It’s even more special if it’s a lunar eclipse! Since eclipses can repeat after nineteen years, this has happened before. A lunar eclipse occurred on July 4 in 1936. Repeats came within a day or two of the fourth, and thus in a 1-2° “orb” (or range of influence) of our “solar return” (the astrological equivalent of a birthday), in 1944, 1963, 1982, 2001 and 2020, which is the last in this series.
With such a big deal as a lunar eclipse on a birthday, we’d expect big events to be associated with it or to occur “around” that time (possibly months before or after). Looking back, we indeed see these years have indeed been very important.
We were in the midst of the New Deal during the Depression and the three-year “dust bowl” was coming to an end. Gone With The Wind was published. African-American athlete Jesse Owens won the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics. The US joined an international brigade to help fight for Spain in the Spanish Civil War.
The tide was turning in the Allies’ favor in WWII with D Day and the liberation of Guam. The gang rape of a black mother by six white men in Alabama, and the failure to indict any of them, provokes nationwide protest and activism among the African-American community. FDR was re-elected for an unprecedented fourth term (which he would not complete). A Supreme Court decision ended “white primaries” in the South in which only whites could vote.
Travel, financial and commercial transactions between the US and Cuba are outlawed. In George Wallace’s inaugural speech as governor of Alabama, he proclaims, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!” amidst a year of major Civil Rights protests. The Supreme Court rules that state courts must provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who cannot afford their own attorneys, and that Bible-reading in schools in unconstitutional. And of course, the assassination of JFK was the biggest story in 1963.
Amidst a powder keg of anti Asian-American animosity in Michigan, a young Chinese-American was beaten to death in a strip club at his bachelor party by two white auto-workers (a planet supervisor and his laid-off stepson), who thought he was Japanese and the cause of the declining American auto industry. An economic downturn from July 1981 to November 1982 was triggered by tight monetary policy in an attempt to fight inflation. (This was the worst economic downturn to date in the US since the Great Depression.) Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil and Republican President Ronald Reagan reach a deal to cut spending and raise taxes. After November election, the stock market soars to a new high.
The giant game-changing story of 2001 was the terrorist attack on 9/11, so you might not remember other key events. For instance, despite a recession beginning in March, a giant tax cut favoring the wealthy was passed in May and signed into law in early June, two days after Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, shifting control of the Senate to Democrats. In April, an unarmed Black teenager was shot in a police pursuit (wanted on misdemeanors like driving without a seat belt), sparking four days of protest and unrest considered the largest urban disturbance in the US since the 1992 Watts uprising. Following 9/11, the Patriot Act gave sweeping surveillance powers to the government, infringing on 4th Amendment privacy rights. The US invaded Afghanistan, President Bush withdrew the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and China was granted permanent normal trade status with the US.
President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for attempting to withhold aid to a foreign government in exchange for information he hoped would affect the upcoming election. He was not convicted by Republican Senators, who refused to hear witness testimony. A virus pandemic enveloped the globe and the US has failed in its response, reaching record cases and deaths. Black Lives Matter marches have continued non-stop since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man suspected of passing a forged $20 bill. Just ahead of our birthday, news emerged of Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, where the 19-year-long war continues. The President claimed not to know and now seems disinclined to do anything about it. And we’re only half-way through 2020.
The US was born with Mercury in retrograde and we seem to repeat some of the same situations over and over, not learning our lesson. Get ready for more of that. Mercury was ending a backtrack at the 2000 election and remember that hanging chad debacle? Mercury ends its retrograde this November on Election Day, too; don’t be surprised by unclear results or disputed vote counts.
Mercury is retrograde at our birthday, a time when the influences present extend their sway for the coming year. We should think twice before doing anything major to try to avoid what we might regret. Mercury is in a troublesome “T-square” pattern across from the Moon, both perpendicular to the duo of Mars and Chiron, which are a little over 5° apart. Mercury in Cancer inclines us to be whiny and express our feelings, although the Moon in mature Capricorn counters with a stiff upper lip. The Mars-Chiron combo adds gripes about illness or wounds. These two are in Aries, fomenting heated discussions with hurtful potential.
Mars, Aries’ ruling planet, spends the second half of 2020 in a long visit in its home sign due to a retrograde there beginning mid-September. Arguments and impatience are likely to cause trouble and the possibility of armed conflict or martial law are not out of the question, although not necessarily occurring in America. Hong Kong comes to mind as a hotspot and this lunar eclipse is accentuated on the North/South line there. The Middle East is always precarious, as well. At the summer solstice (providing indications for the summer season), Mars and Chiron lines enclosed Israel, Jordon, Lebanon and Syria. When Mars entered Aries on June 27, one of its lines ran right through the Straits of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil travels.
This year, we can’t get away from the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, which promises big changes in finances, governments, laws and international relations. Pluto also happens to rule viruses and death. The second of three occurrences was on June 29 (the first being April 4 and the last coming November 12). Throughout their alignment, both are square Eris, the dwarf planet of discord and rivalry. Mars joined in the fray around the time of the spring equinox as it passed through Capricorn and will add to the trouble when it joins Eris in Aries three times: August 17, October 3 and December 22. Seeing this coming down the pike and noting the lunar eclipse at our birthday, last fall in my 2020 Highlights, I remarked “Holy Uncle-Samoly!” not knowing what all would develop. Current events are even more dramatic than anything I could imagine, and who knows what’s coming next. Enjoy the fireworks!