Donald Trump’s presidency was written in the stars—at least that’s what astrologers are saying. He was born during a lunar eclipse, they point out, which makes him more susceptible to the power of eclipses. And if eclipses are monumental celestial events with real-world consequences, as astrologers believe, then the rare total solar eclipse happening in August could have major implications for Trump, especially given the growing drama around his administration.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about this eclipse in terms of what’s going on with Donald Trump,” says Wade Caves, an astrological consultant who earlier in July published a 29-page analysis of the coming eclipse. “The astrological world has been completely buzzing with this for quite some time, even more so since Donald Trump was inaugurated.”
On August 21, the solar eclipse will occur as the moon passes between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow about 70 miles wide on the U.S. Total solar eclipses happen every year and a half or so, but this is the first time since 1918 conditions will align so that the shadow will cross the entire continent, in what is called the “path of totality.” It’s also the first eclipse since 1776 whose path falls exclusively in the U.S. Small towns within the path are preparing to see their populations temporarily balloon by as much as 250 times, and as many as 7.4 million people are expected to travel to see the phenomenon. For people watching from any given spot inside the path, the eclipse will last about two minutes.
As space scientists and enthusiasts have been preparing to view the August eclipse, astrologers have been taking to the blogosphere to predict how it spells out doom. Humans have long monitored cosmic events for clues about the future, and for certain people, eclipses hold special meaning. “Solar eclipses have been interpreted as evil omens by many civilizations because the life-giving sunlight is obscured for a few minutes,” wrote space scientist Duncan Steel in his 2001 book Eclipse: The Celestial Phenomenon that Changed the Course of History. Steel pointed out that accounts of the death of Jesus Christ have depicted a so-called “Crucifixion eclipse,” and that the ancient Chinese would beat drums and shoot arrows into the sky to ward off what they believed was a dragon devouring the sun.
For modern-day practitioners of astrology, the eclipse continues to hold power. “What we’re talking about is the ability of the sun to be able to give light and life-generating heat, and all these things being momentarily taken away,” says Caves, the astrological consultant. “So there’s this symbolism that’s built in with eclipses about…things coming to a close, and in often a very dramatic fashion.”
The August eclipse is not only unique because of its rarity, astrologers claim, but also because the astrological activity associated with it happens to line up with that of the president. The eclipse is occurring in Leo, for instance, which is rising in Trump’s chart. The lion is the symbol for Leo, and thus the sign represents rulers and kings. “At the moment that he was born, certain degrees were activated. This eclipse is activating those same degrees,” Caves says about Trump. When other aspects of the eclipse are taken into account, he adds, “a lot of astrologers are expecting some kind of downfall, some kind of ruin, some kind of difficulty.”
Steel, the space scientist and author, says it is foolish for anyone to believe in such prophecies. “Way back, when people had little ability to predict when eclipses would occur apart from recognizing that there are distinct cycles, perhaps it is understandable that doom-mongering based on eclipses occurred,” he says by email. “But for people nowadays to imagine that they are portents of doom is just daft…. If people believe that the forthcoming solar eclipse ‘means’ anything for the U.S., for Trump, for the world, then they are deluded.”
Debra DeLeo-Moolenaar (whose surname is perfect for discussing the power of Leo) became interested in astrology thanks to a witch. In the early 1990s, she says, she had fallen gravely ill with gangrene and her first marriage was ending. She was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in order to turn her life around, she decided to seek the advice of Laurie Cabot, the so-called official witch of Salem. Cabot told DeLeo-Moolenaar to contact an astrologer named Karen Thorne, and so she went to see her. “She’s the one who says it all and got me going on it,” DeLeo-Moolenaar says.
In 1998, DeLeo-Moolenaar moved to London for work. By day, she was doing international tax law; in her downtime, her passion for astrology was growing. About a decade later, she began blogging about her hobby. Since then, she’s interpreted the signs to make predictions about world events such as the 2016 Brexit vote and June’s general election in the United Kingdom. (She was correct both times.) Now, the 63-year-old is retired and lives in Oxford.
To make their predictions about how heavenly bodies influence activity down on Earth, astrologers such as DeLeo-Moolenaar and Caves consult thousands of years’ worth of theory and materials. They form charts based on dates—such as August 21 for the coming eclipse and June 14 for Trump, his birthday—and sometimes compare such charts. “The closest career that’s out there is an economist,” says Caves, because they also look for patterns in the past in order to make predictions.
At least one president followed astrology, and Trump considers him an idol. Ronald Reagan is said to have scheduled important meetings, presidential debates, surgery, State of the Union addresses and his 1967 inauguration as governor of California based on astrological information. First lady Nancy Reagan was reportedly in regular contact with Joan Quigley, an astrologer who died in 2014 and who had written a memoir about her experience with the White House.
When an eclipse happens, astrologers have more information to analyze, resulting in predictions beyond those in an ordinary horoscope. “It goes back to: What is an eclipse?” DeLeo-Moolenaar says. “It’s basically, from an astrological standpoint, a big burst of energy. It’s like a scattering of a shotgun shell across the chart of a nation or an individual, giving energy and power into something that’s already in play.” At this moment, she says, the U.S. is in a dramatic period, and “then this eclipse comes along” that “can be expected to spark this frustration and quite possibly set it off.” As she explains it, the moon represents the common people, and the sun represents the leader. Then the moon blocks the sun and “the lights go out.”
The effects of the coming eclipse could take time to show up, according to astrologers’ claims. Caves believes the impact will appear over the next two years because the eclipse will take around two hours to cross the continent (for a solar eclipse, astrologers interpret each hour as a year). The result could be “a loss of a leader in some sense,” he says, whether literal or symbolic. “It seems to me very possible that by this time next year, we’re looking at the reality of Trump not being in office.”
In February, DeLeo-Moolenaar wrote on her blog Archetypal Assets that she finds it significant how the eclipse will involve Uranus, according to astrological charts. That planet, she wrote, “disrupts everything that it touches. It is a lightning bolt from the blue. Serious change in any direction and on a major scale.” And because Uranus “will make close aspects to Mr. Trump’s natal Mars,” she wrote, “this will be a power surge—provoking a crisis of some sort. Whether for good or evil, we can’t know in advance.”
Marjorie Orr, another astrologer, pointed out last November, just four days after the election, that the August eclipse is part of what space scientists know as the Saros series, which has included eclipses in 1909, 1927, 1945, 1963, 1981 and 1999. Orr noted the major political events in those years: the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a period of unrest in Chicago that involved bombings and an attempted assassination of President William Taft. “Usually this series places strains on personal relationships, induces hasty decisions on the basis of false information and is associated with tiredness or health problems,” she wrote. “Certainly this eclipse presages violence in one form or another.”
The astrology blogger Eugene Johnson predicted in April: “This eclipse by itself does not suggest that the U.S. is in immediate peril for war, but it alerts us to be prepared for some kind of significant, perhaps shattering, event here in America.” Johnson noted that the chart for the eclipse will involve Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Neptune. “I can safely say that this eclipse series will mark important developments on the world stage because of the high preponderance of outer planets involved,” he added.
Caves has published perhaps the most thorough analysis. He wrote that the position of the eclipse in relation to the star Al Jabhah traditionally “brings loss and danger,” and that when it involves a military officer—or president—it suggests the possibility of mutiny by soldiers.
Caves singled out certain dates that could prove significant: October 10, November 21, November 26 and December 17 through 19. It’s “possible that there will be a sudden health issue that lands on Trump’s shoulders, pulling him out of the Oval. It’s also quite reasonable to suspect ousting, either through official channels (i.e. impeachment) or a mutiny behind closed doors,” he wrote. “What we can say with reasonable assurance is that these charts, when properly considered, make it difficult to imagine Trump has smooth sailing ahead.”
In response to skepticism about their claims, DeLeo-Moolenaar says everyone is entitled to their opinions. “I happen to think it works, I happen to feel that it works. I think also that as human beings, we have both a rational side and an intuitional side, and I think the astrology speaks to this intuition, to centuries of myth that still follows us around.”