Brian, the excellent moderator at Political Astrology mailing list, asked me to explain what I meant by ‘dead degrees.’ By dead degrees, I am referring to any planet that comes within 5 degrees of the next cusp, following Ptolemy, was considered as already doing the work of the following house. One of the members of Political Astrology suggested that we need to see it over time, and to experiment with it. I agree, and so I present an example of how this concept works, using the natal chart of Barack Obama.
First look at Obama’s progressed Mercury on Oct 3 2008, above. It is just separating from fiery Mars, on the lucky Spica at 23 Libra, and by all agreement situated in his 8th house, giving him that rhetorical verve, that easily left his opponents in the dust.
Four years later, in his first debate with Romney, Obama is said to have seemed removed, and not really engaging in the manner he did during the first campaign. Even the most generous commentators said Obama seemed very ‘far away’ off in his own world, on October 3, 2012.
If we look to the chart, below, we will see Obama’s progressed Mercury has separated from Mars, and is now at 27 Libra 47 min easily within the 5 degrees of the 9th house cusp of 01 Scorpio. This affects Mercury enormously, because, it sure seemed, at least to this viewer, that Obama’s mind was off in the clouds, and looking at the chart, below, we can see that Obama’s mind is off in ‘dead degrees of the next house, doing the work of the 9th house.