In an article for The Baffler, writer Jessa Crispin begins with the story of Victoria Woodhull, who in 1872 was the first woman to run for president of the United States. Not only was Woodhull a former prostitute, but she ran with a black vice president and talked to spirits of the dead. [“Madam Prescient,” Issue #32, September 2016]
“Her enemies pounced on her utopian call for sexual freedom for both men and women, and stirred up the fear of miscegenation that white voters felt, with only minimal prompting, at the sight of a white woman consorting with a black man. Meanwhile, Woodhull’s history of working as a clairvoyant and her vocal support of Spiritualism were not much of a hindrance to her campaign. Go figure.”
Actually, it wasn’t so uncommon in that era. The women’s suffrage movement was concurrent with a burgeoning interest in spiritualism. Queen Victoria herself consulted psychics. Astrologers associate the trend with the discovery in 1846 of Neptune, which in the practice has come to represent spirituality (as in “spiritual but not religious”), sleep, dreams, and collectivism, along with negative connotations such as escapism, addiction, delusion, and illusion (the film industry also began in that period).
“Of course, elections now are different,” Crispin writes. “If Hillary Clinton started summoning the spirits of the dead at her rallies, instead of merely communing with undead monsters like Henry Kissinger, her run would be over. Or if she started openly consulting with astrologers to plan strategy, surely her numbers would drop. Someone on her staff must have known how to guide her through Mars retrograding over her natal Jupiter in Sagittarius—just look at the events of the last few months!—but they were smart enough to keep it quiet. Today’s electorate wouldn’t stand for it.”
Although she didn’t summon spirits of the dead, Clinton did employ a New Age adviser to put her in contact with Eleanor Roosevelt. Or maybe it was just her inner Eleanor Roosevelt. Whatever. Afraid of comparisons with Nancy Reagan’s reliance on astrology, the White House vehemently denied that Clinton’s spiritual adviser, Jean Houston, was a psychic. How did Crispin miss all those archived news articles?
Crispin does, however, have more than a basic knowledge of astrology. She is absolutely right about Clinton’s Mars-Jupiter transit, and the article was published before Election Day. Unfortunately for Hillary, Donald Trump was having a special Jupiter transit, very special. It was great, and it’s going to get even – I had a Jupiter transit in September. Terrific, terrific Jupiter transit. But it was nothing like Trump’s Jupiter transit, the greatest of any incoming president in U.S. history.
The thing is, there is some evidence – scant, to be sure – that Hillary Clinton has consulted with astrologers, or maybe studied it herself at some point. Astrologers to the rich and famous swear to secrecy, but they occasionally share information with trusted associates. Leaks happen. And, while Houston artfully avoids any mention of astrology, it’s unlikely that her box of tools to help clients find their purpose in life includes mysticism, shamanic ritual, mythology, and symbolism, but not astrology. Moreover, an increasing number of psychologists use astrology in their practice, although few advertise it, for fear that the stigma could ruin their scientific credentials.
Clinton reportedly turned down Houston’s suggestion that she talk to Jesus, but how likely is it that she would have declined a reading by an astrologer with an iron-clad reputation for secrecy? Then, maybe she’s more clairvoyant than Woodhull and doesn’t need one.
Above: Victorial Woodhull before the House Judiciary Committee, January 1871. Lead Image: Hillary before the House Benghazi Committee, October 2015.