Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 11, 2009

Obama’s Great Awakening–Now in Progress?

(c)2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Just a quick note today as I do have plans, but I wanted to share an empathy moment.  I’ve  just finished watching an hour of CNN coverage of the Obama family’s tour of a World Heritage site on the coast of Ghana.  (See At Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, retracing slavery’s steps.) 

It’s  a castle on the coast where captives from all over Africa were held, sometimes for months at a time in fetid dungeons, prior to boarding ships to slave-holding nations like the US.  We were shown the dungeons, the stench of feces and death still palpable 200 years later. We went down the path to the ships through an entry called The Door of No Return.  To say that I wept and am still weeping is no suprise–how deadened would a person have to be to watch it and remain dry eyed?

All during the hour there was drumming–the drums have been constant throughout their visit there.  I wish I knew enough about drumming to know exactly what the drummers intended to invoke, for the magic of the drums is a powerful tradition with native peoples throughout history and all over the globe. I don’t know, and yet my chakras were and are buzzing.slaveboat-wiki

So then came the President’s short message, which we’d all waited in suspense to hear for an hour.  Obviously moved and somber,  he likened his experience in the dungeons today to his recent visit to Buchenwald concentration camp, saying that both were evidence of how much evil there still is in the world, and how hard free people must work to overcome it. 

As usual, there was a note of hope, in contrasting the slave years with how far we have come toward ending slavery and furthering human rights, through the sacrifices of people dedicated to freedom.  (Please read the actual speech before reacting. I’m very bad at recalling people’s exact words, just retaining the emotional intent…Mercury square Neptune.)

As I listened to his comparisons of Buchenwald and the Cape Coast Castle, I tried to put myself entirely in his shoes…him and Michelle and a strained-looking Malia and the dear grandmother. As I said, it was an empathy moment. Thinking about what it had to have been like to visit and fully experience the concentration camp and museum, for he is nothing if not present wherever he goes.  Putting myself in the hideous slave dungeons with them.  Terrible. One would never be quite the same after that.  And just before traveling to Ghana, he met with the Pope for the first time, at the Vatican.

 obamachart

And, as we astrology lovers always will, I reached for the stars to see why he’s having such a concentration of powerful experiences.  My African American colleagues tell me that Neptune and Pisces are associated with slavery.  His chart, repeated above, shows that transiting Uranus in Pisces in his 1st house is forming a long opposition to his Mars in Virgo, a sextile to his 12th house Jupiter in Capricorn, and quincunxes to his Uranus and North Node in Leo.  Ultimately, before it leaves Pisces, it will form a long trine to his Scorpio Midheaven.  (Saturn in Virgo will aspect the same points before leaving that sign.)

 As many bloggers have written, there is also a very slow-moving and powerful multiple conjunction between Neptune, Jupiter, and Chiron in the last degrees of Aquarius, also in his 1st. Because both Jupiter and Chiron go retrograde at that point, the conjunctions will be present almost continually until the end of the year. They are near his Ascendant, conjunct his South Node, opposite his natal Uranus, and square his Midheaven.  Clearly, he is in an important life passage, and not an easy one in terms of his ideals and his wish to serve our nation and world.

What, however, would that massive influx of Neptunian energies mean, as he immerses himself in powerful experiences like Buchenwald, the Dungeons, and this first meeting with the Pope?  Though he is already a man of faith, all I could imagine from that empathic viewpoint, is that this is some sort of awakening for him. A spiritual awakening, for sure, but also the awakening of someone who has the opportunity to become an unforgettable world leader…perhaps a Nelson Mandela or Ghandi-like figure.  

It’s a huge and unimaginable initiation, for a state senator no one had hardly heard of two years ago who now holds the fate of our nation–and conceivably of our world–in his hands. I can only say, trying to put my own small capacities into his giant shoes, that  the emotional power of these experiences would almost fry my circuits.

Art credits: The picture of a slave boat comes from WikiMedia Commons, which has a collection of such pictures that are really hard to take. They are in the public domain.


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