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Episode Three: An Astrologer’s Take on the Trump Era with John Marchesella

“Hey John … What the HECK is going on here?”

New York-based astrologer John Marchesella has been reading the stars since 1976. He believes that astrology indicates what ‘season’ we’re born into, and therefore what purpose we serve in life. That useful information can also yield good information about the current times we live in.

I was moved to call John for an interview as our politics in the U.S. becomes more and more splintered, divisive and mean-spirited … and as chaos threatens to rein at any moment. What’s up with all this, anyway? This seemed like a great time to hear from an astrology pundit like John.

And he is, indeed, a pundit. John has designed curriculums for prestigious institutions like New York’s Open Center, been a driving force in the Astrology community, serving on boards as well as  President of the New York chapter of the NCGR. His resume is long, full ad studded with achievements.

In addition to giving private readings, John is also a bereavement counselor and a licensed psychotherapist, giving him even greater access to the healing nature of his readings.

Listen to our conversation, and you’ll hear about:

  • The huge ‘detoxing’ transition that began on the planet in 2008 … and what lessons it holds for us
  • The astrological cause of ‘fake news’
  • The remarkable, world-shaping events in the U.S. the LAST TIME this influence was in place
  • How to handle the uncertainty of the era and ‘ride the wave’ more smoothly
  • The opportunity of the Trump era, and how we can use it for our own personal evolution
  • What to do about your five year plan in these uncertain times
  • How to use the chaos to actually feel better … a new context to hold it in
  • What happens to everyone’s chart every 29 years — and why that matters now

… and so much more.

To book a reading with John, read his articles, or to learn more about his work, drop by his site. I personally love his work — it’s been profoundly useful for me, so I highly recommend him. 

Won’t you please let us know in a review on iTunes how you liked this episode? Thanks so very much! 

Transcript of Interview with John

Suzanne: This is Before the Afterlife, all about healing, spiritual growth and how to be happy before you go. I’m your host, Suzanne Falter. We are coming to you from Oakland, California and points beyond.

Hi! It’s Suzanne and I don’t know about you but I’ve been feeling pretty shaky lately. I wake up feeling scared and uncertain and like I don’t really know what’s going on in the world right now. So, I was moved to ask that question to New York astrologer, John Marcella. If anybody knows what’s going on, John does. He’s been in the game for many, many years, and I have to say I was pretty blown away by his comments about why we’re going through the period we’re going through right now and when else in American’s history the same thing happen. Tune in, you’re not going to believe what John had to say.

Hi, John! Thank you for being with us today.

John: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Suzanne: I’ve really been wanting to hear directly from an astrologer about the times we are in right now and about what the heck is going on because it seems like we are in a massive, massive transition in the US and globally. As I see all these different countries are moving back towards a more nationalist-separatist sort of a position and some of the evolution that we might have perceived ourselves to have gained, it is shifting I mean. What do you want to say?

John: Well, in 2008, the planet Pluto entered the sign of Capricorn and it will stay there until 2024, and Pluto is one of the planets that makes for long-term trends in society and the world, according to the sign that it’s moving through. It brings what that sign represent. It brings it into the collective consciousness and transforms it. And it transforms through destroying it and recreating it, detoxing it, kind of bringing out the poisons of it. It brings out what’s wrong with it. Although sometimes, even the upside of the sign can get exercised too, kind of like collateral damage. Well, Capricorn is the sign of capitalism. Capricorn is the sign of the structure of our lives. It is the conditional word. It is the rules and regulation. It is the way that it has always been – the tradition.  It is the agreed-upon reality. It’s what enables all of us to look at something and agree on what it is, that we can look at that object across from me right now and we can say that’s a sofa and we can all agree it’s a sofa. Like this sofa not like this the sofa maybe it’s comfortable for some not comfortable for others but we all agree it’s a sofa. Capricorn allows us to agree on that reality. Well, Pluto is destroying all of that, so maybe this sofa is not a sofa. Maybe we can have an alternative name for it, an alternative fact for it. You see people might look like a door and not a sofa and they certainly can upset the status quo, to say the least. But remember they started in 08, which you might remember it was the year that the world fell apart, that was the fall of a lot of capitalist companies and a lot of the rules of capitalism we found out weren’t working. That was the year that, specifically, Lehman Brothers went out of business that kind of toppled but then all the bank started asking for handouts from the government GM, AIG. All of these big conventional companies were kind of brought to their knees and saying help.

Suzanne: Yeah. I totally get that. Go on…

John: And it was also the year that Barack Obama, our first black president was voted in as president which also shook up the status quo, which also said to a lot of people – What the hell is going on here. This is different! This is unusual! This doesn’t look like a president, a lot of people said. And that world including the word itself actually have said too that Capricorn is even the planet earth the very rock that all of us are standing on, as we move through space, and if you think of all of the earth changes that we’ve been through, not just global warming but I’m thinking about things  like the Haiti earthquake, the Japanese earthquake, the Japanese tsunami the oil, spill volcanic ash, Hurricane Sandy, in addition to what global warming is doing, so that the earth itself is going through a major transformation with how mother earth works. And it also has a lot to do with the mental illness that is rampant in society and is often behind a lot of these massacre and mass shootings that we have such as Sandy Hook up in Connecticut, children and their teachers were murdered. And Pluto through Capricorn is making a lot of that happen.

Suzanne: Is there another period in world history and maybe you don’t happen to have this answer at hand which is fine but I am just curious, was there another period in world history when Pluto was in Capricorn for such a very long period of time?

John: Yes and I hope you’re sitting down, Suzanne. The last time that Pluto was in Capricorn was in 1776.
Suzanne: No! That is fascinating! Oh, that’s fascinating because really this is a revolutionary moment whether you’re for or against the code and quo revolution. It is a recreation. It’s upheaval Stephen Bannon saying I am a destroyer and I will take a part of the status quo, and it’s also 3.5 million women and friends standing up and saying, you can’t do that in the world’s largest march. I mean these are very big, big historical actions.

John: Yes and it’s interesting that back then, in 1700, we were saying, we don’t want a king, we want democracy and now, look what we are doing, we are creating a king.
Suzanne: Maybe we are creating a king. I maintain that it isn’t really clear what will happen.

John: And you know what Suzanne? That’s actually the point. The lesson if you will if you want to call it that the lesson or the experience of Pluto in Capricorn all of life is always uncertain. It’s just that a lot of time we can either look the other way, forget about it, deny it, sweep that under the rug. We can pretend because I own my apartment so I am very certain of where I’m going to be leaving tomorrow I’ve got a contract so I’m very certain about what my job is going to be, I’m certain about that. But the reality of life is, it’s all uncertain. By now that Pluto is in Capricorn we must be very conscious of the uncertainty that always exists in life, the uncertainty of life is in our faces right now and I don’t mean right now this year, this started back in 2008. And if you just dial back to the economic crisis and how uncertain it was and how eye-opening, how mind blowing that these huge businesses could be going under, that people were losing their houses left and right, it didn’t make sense and no one knew who was going to lose their job. Was it going to be me who get laid off? Was it going to be you who get laid and what happens if I can’t get another job? You know it got better as President Obama took over and new rules were put into effect but with Pluto, just when you think, oh everything is going to be okay, boom punch! Wake up!  Life is uncertain and now, we’re brought to Donald Trump.
Suzanne: What I think is really important from the perspective of this podcast and my own path is that we always be looking for the possible healings or the possible lessons of the possible benefits of upheaval and chaos because really, if we are going to be in it for let’s see we have 16 more years to go, if it’s a 24-year period or is it 24 years from now?

John: No. It began in 2008. It will be over in 2024. So we are in the middle of it right now so we have another 8 years to go.
Suzanne: Oh good! So 8 more years of a chaotic period of questioning everything, of being uncertain, I mean the whole phenomenal of fake news fitting into this. So, we’ve all read lots and lots of accounts of what’s happening or we’ve watched them on television or heard them on radios or podcasts and what I want to say is we all understand the incredibly difficult challenge of this but where do we turn this into something useful? How can we actually transform our own understanding or our own embrace of the period, so we can kind of ride the wave more smoothly?

John: Well, you know I think it’s a few things. On one hand,

I want to say just in being mindful of the uncertainty of life, I think is a strengthening. I think that is what will make us strong. Ironically, I think that it will make us more certain knowing that we’re living with uncertainty. I think it’s expecting the unexpected that will actually bring us more calm. I think eventually the unpredictable becomes very predictable. I think that’s a way of not losing our minds.

And my politics are liberal. I assume yours are liberal but you know there is that other part of the country that feels this is a good thing that’s going on right now. And maybe the way you and I feel about Trump right now, maybe that’s how that part of the country felt when Obama became president.
Suzanne: I’m glad you are bringing that up because it’s been my practice in this political situation, if you can have one in a political situation, has been to really keep remembering there are two sides to the argument, keep trying to look at the other point of view. I’m leaving here in the East Bay of Bay Area, next to Berkeley, you know, one of the most liberal pockets in America. We all think the same and yet it doesn’t help us to stay in our bubble. It doesn’t do anything for us, really, except reinforce our bubble. And the divisiveness that is coming out in this sort of Trump versus the media war, the right versus the left, the Democrat versus Republicans and the Congress, you know, it’s like a lot of tension, and I want to not add to the tension. I want to open it up and look at it from a perspective of greater learning, and so my question to you is, what do you think about this period of conflict or this side versus that side? Is there an astrological explanation for that?

John: Well, some of it has to do with the Pluto and Capricorn that I am talking about because of Capricorn, another expression I could use for it, it’s the solid world. It’s the way that the planet Earth is solid and Pluto is destroying it and making things fractured and scattered. But just in the way of evolution, just in the way that life unfolds, it will come back together, again. It will reunite, though in a completely transformed way. Well, the same way that in 1776, that happened. I’m sure that [unclear]14:22  back then were saying, Oh my God! The United States of America, you got to break up the British Empire. You’re breaking it up! You’re fracturing it. This is schism, a divide. This is very divisive.

But eventually, what evolved is a unity of coming together in a reconfigured way, a new sense of unity, a redefinition of unity, which probably takes place when Pluto goes into the next sign which is Aquarius.

Suzanne: Oh! An Aquarius… Correct me if I am wrong, but my sense of Aquarius is it’s the sort of structure of love and unification and coming in togetherness. This is why I wanted to talk to you, John, because I think a lot of us have been feeling either excited, which is possible or really despairing, but everybody is feeling something and everybody is on edge and uncertain and there is so much upheaval, you know. Recently, we had the travel ban. Recently, we had the big march and the conflict about what was real and what was true about that march. This whole path of everybody questioning everything does make me in those moments where I’m marching say participating in the women’s march and looking around I felt incredible unity. And in Oakland, California it is completely diverse. You have everybody here, all races, all gender and everything in between. You have all sexual persuasion, all religions. There is just everybody here and we were all in this march together and I felt this is what possible for the human race not just for America in this little pocket of 94610, you know.

John: Right! But I think that will be part of the upshot of things, the upside of this. That it will awaken people, it will make people aware and it will make people take a stand, in whatever ways we’ve gotten a little bit either too comfortable or a little too fat and happy or taking things for granted, where life might have gotten a little too predictable for a little while, there just in very recent years and this may very well get everybody to say whatever your stand might be, but have one.

Suzanne: Right! And I do think there’s something about the experience of sharing that opinion because that actually becomes a very healing thing. I mean, people get on Facebook and they rant or they rave, you know? They do whatever they’re going to do on Facebook or they attack or support somebody’s own political point of view. It’s a bit of a remove experience from actually marching in the march or calling the congressmen or showing up or writing the letter of praise to the White House or whatever it’s going to be that’s your personal expression. There’s something about social media to feel a little bit remove from the visual experience of going deeper in participation. I mean, do you have any kind of thoughts on that?

John: Well, it’s all different sides of Pluto and Capricorn because Capricorn, we might say, is the sign of reality. Again, because it is the planet Earth, because it is the structure of things, because it is this sanity that we all agree upon and it’s the opposite of the virtual world and it’s not enough to just post things on Facebook and defriend friends to really emphasize the world really, to really get out there and march. That’s also why I say to take a stand, to put your money where your mouth is, with what your beliefs are, to put it into action. Capricorn is also said to be a cardinal sign and the cardinal signs are the signs that put thought into action so we are all having to get out there and make things happen. Again, whether you are for this administration or against it but it’s about doing something and not just saying things on Facebook.

Suzanne: The practice of saying things on Facebook is a hidden activity. All various people who have come through our news feed, we don’t always know, right? So, we are sometimes, wanting to react to somebody who is a total stranger and therefore, they don’t seem real to us that’s what I love about this idea that Pluto is the planet of reality or in this configuration, it’s all about reality because we are being called to become very real. You know, I wanted to ask you about sort of a shift in the planet towards reality and away from illusion in  general, because I do feel that throughout my comfortable life since 1958, there’s been a lot of illusion and yet you know, I’ve had this very privileged white life and I have not suffered the way many people in America have suffered, and what do you have to say about this idea of illusion slipping away. I mean, am I alone in this or is there something trending here?

John: No. You’re certainly on to something there. There are two sides to it. One way to look at it is back in 2008 to 2009 when we were really in the death of the economic crisis. A very popular expression that came about was the new normal and the shift in the economy was going to create a new normal the way that people spend money, the prices on houses, how long we can expect to work, we all kind of had shift our view of what was normal. We had to come up with a new convention and we did, for a while. But now, we need more and in that way, we might say, that some illusions, the illusion that we had, that we should retire at 65, well we didn’t know that it was an illusion but it turned out to be. That’s one way to look at it in terms of redefining normal, recreating normal a new standard, a new norm, a new convention and so forth. But the other way to look at it is again kind of Pluto detoxing Capricorn. The whole idea of alternate facts and it really gets us to question, well, what is the fact and what is real? It gets us back on this idea of certainty, where in a world of alternate facts, things are not always that certain. And it’s just to experience it, to just let it be. I would like to use the expression to learn to behave ourselves. A lot of people don’t realize that the word behave means to be with the having of your experience, to just have your experience, to not judge it, to not criticize it, but to just have your experience and I think that’s where we are. I think that’s what’s going to save the day.

Suzanne: I love that.

John:  Just being certain in what the experience is even if the experience is uncertainty. And on a practical level, as best as we can, I realize that not everybody can do this, not all situations will allow it, but just plan for the short term. Try to put your long term plans, goals, dreams, expectation, the long view, the big picture, your 5-year plan, Pluto and Capricorn might not allow that right now, and instead maybe plan for a shorter time. I could just use the expression, to live one day at a time which probably everyone should live that way, anyway, but maybe we are just being forced to right now. So, living one day at a time is just a smart thing to do always. We might just be being forced to but on a more practical level, if one can plan for just 3 months in advance and whatever you need to do in your life, take it on for 3 months and I will tell you why it’s 3 months in a moment.Take it on for 3 months and at the end of the 3 months, then ask yourself, Did that work?  Do I like it? Did I get some place? Was there a progress? Well, alright let me sign on them for another 3 months. And if the answer to your question is, No! There was no progress, No! I didn’t do enough, then change it in the next 3 months and come up with another plan for the next 3 months and keep on doing that until we know better what’s going on with the world.

I say 3 months, you know, astrology is actually based on the seasons and a season is 3 months and if we could stay in touch with that rhythm of 3 months, that’s staying in touch with our nature, with Mother Nature, it’s following Mother Nature’s clock. Things shift in nature every 3 months, things shift in our lives every 3 months.

And if you can just get in the head set of working with this season, it also helps to remind us we are a part of nature, kind of get this out our heads, a little bit and maybe a little bit more into our bodies, into our instincts.

Suzanne: Thank you! I think what I really love about this advice is it’s taking the chaos of this whole experience with this shifting political scenario, world over, and I mean, I’m sure this is true for people in other countries as it is for people in the US right now.

John:  Sure!

Suzanne: What I really love about this is, it’s helping me make sense of how to be in my own life in the midst of all this political chaos because often I don’t know about anybody else but I’ve moved through life as if politics didn’t really affect me, although of course, it did – many, many, many times. You know, my ability to get a legal abortion if I wanted one, or my ability very personally, my ability to marry my wife, you know? That’s a direct result of political action, protesting and lawyers and judges and laws and judgments, and we really do think we are removed from the fray, a lot of the times, especially if we don’t participate and we don’t talk to our members of congress or protester or anything. We have to stay aware that this is an entire shift in the planet. So, I suspect and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re seeing this kind of shift in personal, in one individual’s astrological charts as well, are you?
John: Absolutely! Each individual will wind up going through their own personal version of this. There is some area or a couple of areas of our lives that are going through this transformation, this overhaul, this new normal, this end of an era beginning of a new era, the losing of the certainty in that area of life and it’s a way of personalizing what’s going on in the world.
Suzanne: That’s amazing! That’s great and can you speak to the value of chaos or the value of destruction just a bit more?

John: Yes! Out of chaos comes creativity. That’s a very old slogan and it is chaos that does give rise to creativity.

Suzanne: You’ve been doing this for many years and you have read an awful lot of people’s charts and I wonder if you just comment, does everybody have a period of great upheaval in their life more or less?

John: Oh God, yes! It’s called growing up. There are certain periods that an individual, maybe a few times and each individual that where certainly, we go through very chaotic periods on a very personal level and we go through a kind of death and rebirth – a rite of passage, you might say. However, there are also certain cycles that occur to all human being at the same ages but we go through them in our own personal way. An example of this is the planet Saturn. Saturn returns to where it was on the day of your birth every 29 years. So that happens at around age 29, around age 58 and then another 29 years after that if you live that long and that’s a universal thing, and we can call it an upheaval. Not everyone experiences it so dramatically, but it’s a kind of upheaval. It is the time in our lives when any person, place, or thing that no longer has potential for the future, no longer is a promise for the future, no longer has purpose for the future will fall to the wayside by choice or by force and some people go through that voluntarily and some people go kicking and screaming, but we will all go through it. You can talk to anybody, just ask them what was going on around 29, maybe 30, because we have to go through the cycle, before we see the change and you’ll see a person’s eyes get big and will say, Oh yes, that’s when I got my divorce or that’s when I got married, that’s when I started my career, that’s when I went back to schoolI had my first child, I bought my house, my mother died, I got my first dog. But there will be something that is a defining moment, a marker and let’s say, it’s a relationship, just for example. If you’re in your 20s and you’re married, if the marriage doesn’t really have potential for the future, then you’re sad and return at 29 as your divorce. If you’re marriage, however, does have a potential, then that’s your first baby. If your career does have potential, then that’s a big promotion. If it doesn’t have potential, then you go back to school to get a degree in something else and you start over again. People will recognize it as being very significant and I like to say. it’s the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. So, that’s a particular cycle that everyone goes through. Though as I say in very different, very personal way, and by the way, when you go through it a second time, when you are around 58 years old,Then Saturn comes around again and kind of says, “So how did you do with that potential? What is the future? How did it turn out looking back now on the past, the second time we evaluate what we did with the responsibilities of our adulthood?” And that sets us up for our third phase of life, if you want to call it, your wise years your sage years, your grandparents years for what comes after 59 years old.

Suzanna: Beautiful! That is beautiful! Wow! This is giving me so much to think about. Can you say, just to kind of bring this altogether, do you see where we are moving as a planet or as a world? Where are we going? Are we evolving into something better?

John: The answer is absolutely evolution is just a constantly forward-moving process between you and I. Yes, it’s better! But I just think of it as evolution as different as more. I just think of it as what comes next, the potential. I guess an optimist would just say evolution is always a good thing. It always leads to something good and then again, I guess maybe a pessimist would say, it’s not better than we used to. You know the good old days were a lot better.

But personally, I am an optimist about the human race so I can only imagine that we are moving on with something better whether it looks way better or not right now.

Suzanne: Beautiful! Well, John, if you would be so kind, I have been very fortunate to have a wonderful astrological reading with you and I would love to share your work with our listeners if you want to say anything about how best to get a hold of you or to learn about your services?

John: My website is astrojohn.com. If you would like to read some of my articles, they’re posted there for your enjoyment, for your learning and you can reach me directly through the website. And if one is interested in an appointment, you just need to have your birth date, the city of your birth and your birth time accurate within 15 minutes. It’s that time that really gives an accurate chart to read.
Suzanne: Okay and I will put a link on the show notes for this show to John’s work. John, thank you for giving us some perspective to the current craziness. I really appreciate it, personally, and I bet our listeners do, too and you are wise, and a wonderful soul and a great asset for all of us. Thank you very much.

John: Thank you. You’re welcome.