As I’ve written in previous issues of the newsletter, astrology is not only applied to individuals, but has a long history of being used to understand the fate of nations as well. As you might imagine, this is not an easy area of study. Looking at the charts of nations typically involves examining many charts, for we are looking at are large planetary cycles.

As we get closer to the election, I’ll go over this in greater detail, but consider the following: the best way to determine the outcome of the forthcoming election is probably not by comparing the charts of Obama and Romney. Why? Because no matter how much the media or partisans on either side try to frame it, this is not a boxing match between the two men. Nations are comprised of many forces, so when we look at the chart for the election in a few weeks, it will not likely mean that we look at the charts of the candidates.

So what are we looking at today? Below is the chart for the Libra ingress set for Washington, DC. An ingress chart marks the entry of the Sun into zero degrees of one of the season’s signs, in this case, autumn. That chart is then used to examine or understand what forces are at work over the next three months – until the entry of the Sun into zero degrees of Capricorn, marking the beginning of winter.

As I’ve been writing about this off and on for several months, it should come as no surpise that in the above chart, our old friends Uranus and Pluto – both circled – are in conflict. Over the past hundred and fifty years, contacts between these two planets have reliably corresponded with social upheaval. The best way to understand this is to break both planets in their signs down into essential meanings.

Uranus is linked to the principle of change, rebellion, reform, disruption and revolution. Placed in the sign of Aries, it introduces concepts of individuality and expanded personal freedoms.

In contrast, Pluto emphasizes death and rebirth, breakdown and violent struggles over power. Placed in the sign of Capricorn, these struggles will take place over the established order, as Capricorn rules what might best be called “the status quo”

If we look at our culture over the past few years, we can examples of reform, power struggles and breakdown on both sides of the political spectrum. In recent months, philosopher Ayn Rand’s extreme form of individualism has been highly featured through Paul Ryan’s interest in her. And of course, we see similar themes in the sudden rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Extending this even further, we can see evidence of extreme forms of thought even in places where you would least expect it. For instance, Hanna Rosin’s recent book, “The End of Men and the Rise of Women,” makes astonishing claims such as “Many of us hold out the hope that there is a utopia in our future run by women”. That statement, as well as the title of the book, is perfectly reflective of the battle over power that Uranus square Pluto brings.

So, the chart above is a reflection of the next three months. What does it show? Conflict. With Scorpio, the ruler of debt, on the Ascendant, this will continue to play a large issue in the campaign over the next three months. But what will also be significant during this time is foreign affairs. Venus, ruling the 7th house of enemies, is in conflict with Mars, ruler of the nation, in the first. We may very well see a resurfacing of racial and ethnic tensions both within and abroad. The financial markets are likely to be highly volatile – Jupiter ruler of the economy in this chart – placed in changeable Gemini.

While this may come as no surpise, the election is likely to be even nastier than 2008’s. The wild card here is that Mercury will go retrograde on election day. The last two times Mercury was retrograde on the day of the presidential election was 2000 – the Bush/Gore debacle, and 1960, when Kennedy squeaked by Nixon, receiving only 113,000 more votes out of the 68 million that were cast.

What is most distressing here is that this conflict will not end with the election. For the next eight years, Uranus and Pluto will be moving back and forth against each other. On the positive side, these conflicts are inevitable – or at least they are by the astrological perspective – but they also can result in significant discoveries and changes. How that might play out will be touched upon in future issues of the newsletter.