“Becoming” by Michelle Obama

Book Review

“When they go low we go high” ~ Michelle Obama, 2016

I have had this book sitting in a pile, waiting its turn, since Christmas, and have just finished it, I am glad to say.  So here is the evangelical book review:  if you have it on your book list or in a pile, read it as soon as possible!  It is one of the best autobiographies I have read.  It is honest (one of the things I most look for in this genre), philosophical, and  of course contains a wealth of life experience, especially as First Lady during the two terms of the Presidency of Barack Obama in America.

Birth Chart

Michelle has the Sun in Capricorn, and she paints a classic textbook portrait of herself which describes her sign well:

“But that was me. And as I’ve said, I was a box checker – marching to the resolute beat of effort/ result, effort/result – a devoted follower of the established path…I was busy climbing my ladder, which was sturdy and practical and aimed straight up”.

Her Sun is conjunct Mars (giving her the Warrior Archetype), and she has stood up all her life for the rights of black people who in her experience were largely marginalized, and in particular the rights of black women.  She has a humanitarian Venus in Aquarius, probably conjunct the Moon (we do not have a concrete birth time for her).

Mercury is loosely square Jupiter in her chart, which gives a wide ranging knowledge, and the probability of a great deal of foreign travel in her life.  She studied and practised law, and of course travelled a great deal as First Lady.  Mercury trine Uranus gives her the ability to think outside the box, and Mercury conjunct the South Node implies the Teacher Archetype from past life experiences.  She also has a humanitarian sextile between Uranus and the North Node.

Early Life

Growing up in Chicago, Michelle’s mother Marion took a traditional role in the family as housewife, and her father was a city water planet employee who was very conscientious about work despite suffering from multiple sclerosis. Stretching back in her ancestry, her paternal great-great grandfather had been born into slavery in 1850.

The family rented a flat from a great aunt who lived on a lower floor and was a piano teacher.  Michelle learnt to play piano with her.  There was a supportive network of extended family.  Michelle’s older brother Craig was always very protective of her, and she followed him on to Princeton University, where she earned a degree in sociology and African-American studies.  She then took a Law degree at Harvard.

Her autobiography charts her struggle to prove her own worth (a very Capricorn process) against the odds and prejudices towards her race and gender, with the development of her philosophy of her life and her efforts to put the developing philosophy into practice (hence the title of her book: “Becoming”).  She was galvanized in her ideals and aims too by the loss of her beloved father (who was a Sun Sign Leo, like Barack Obama) and that of  a close friend Suzanne at a young age.  Michelle wrote in her autobiography:

“Suzanne’s sudden death had awakened me to the idea that I wanted more joy and meaning in my life.  I couldn’t continue to live with my own complacency.”

Barack Obama

While working at a prestigious law firm on marketing and intellectual property law, she was asked to mentor a young summer associate who was then studying for his degree, Barack Obama, and they socialized and grew close, though she was more intent at that stage on pursuing her career than settling down, so it took her a while to clarify her feelings about him.

Some of what she relates of his background can be found in his autobiography “Dreams of My Father”.  He above all was responsible for changing her view about life.  She admitted that she was much more uptight and controlled about detail (Sun in Capricorn), and he was more confident, optimistic and free of anxiety about outcomes (Sun in Leo).  Although his career was to predominate in their relationship, and she had to make significant accommodations (for one, she had an antipathy towards politics), he did encourage her in her ambitions and aims, especially when she was hesitant or doubtful. She writes:

“In the presence of his certainty, his notion that he could make some difference in the world, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit lost by comparison. His sense of purpose seemed like an unwitting challenge to my own”.

Their Synastry shows her Jupiter exactly trine his natal Sun (expansion and success), her Mars was trine his Moon (emotional encouragement), and her Mars opposite his Mercury (they did not always agree).  The proposal of marriage is one of the delights of the book, and humorously told (so much so, that I read it aloud to my 90 year old mother on my last visit).  I wouldn’t do a spoiler, but it is a must read.

Their marriage took place on 3rd October 1992.  Jupiter was sextile Barack’s Midheaven at the time (a step forward in life direction), but Saturn was opposite his Sun (a serious commitment).  Mars was on Michelle’s North Node in Cancer (a male influence on her karmic mission), Mars was trine her Chiron (energy for her Inner Healer), Saturn sextile her natal Jupiter (a steadying influence), Uranus trine her Pluto (big change) and Pluto square her Saturn (portending a huge challenge).

Valerie Jarrett

At some point, and after much soul searching, Michelle decided to put her ideals first, in terms of service to society, and left the law firm for literally half the pay to work in a more social context (in various public sector roles at City Hall) – enter Valerie Jarrett into her life.

Michelle was beginning to follow her karmic mission (represented in her chart by North Node in Cancer trine Chiron, healing society), and was put in touch with Valerie Jarrett at City Hall, a woman very probably from her Soul Group. She introduced Valerie to Barack and Valerie came to later work with them as a senior adviser for the duration of their time in the White House.  Valerie’s Jupiter was exactly trine Michelle’s Sun (as Michelle’s was to Barack’s), and the friendship proved a great asset to her life and the success of her aims.  Valerie who was a decade older also had Saturn sextile Michelle’s Mars, giving her the benefit of her wisdom, especially in public service.  Valerie’s Neptune was also trine Michelle’s Venus, and her Pluto opposite Michelle’s Venus, providing a deep bond.  Valerie clicked immediately with Barack, who was also deeply passionate about community relations (as detailed in his book “The Audacity of Hope”).  Her Jupiter trine his Saturn was to prove an enormous help, both practically and in keeping hope alive, which he needed for his mission.

Michelle summed up their connection thus: “Valerie Jarrett was now a part of our lives. Without our ever discussing it, it seemed almost as if the three of us had somehow agreed to carry one another a good long way”.

First Lady

The public perception of Michelle at first was at times one of an angry black young woman, but she took on board this perception and realized what she needed to work on within herself.  Very soon, the tide turned and  she won over (a significant proportion of) the American public.

At his inauguration and their move into the White House Jupiter was conjunct her Mars in Aquarius (a move!), and Neptune on her Saturn (the necessity of a change of consciousness to accompany the new living arrangements and demands on her).

In her role, she was determined to make a difference (as she had tried to do in her own career) and among other things she created a 1,100 square foot vegetable garden in the White House, inviting schoolchildren to help create it and educate them in the process of growing and harvesting.  This was the foundation for Michelle’s healthy eating programme for the U.S.  Donations from the garden were made to soup kitchens and the Food Bank organization.  She had been motivated by concerns about the diet of their daughters, Malia and Sasha.  Another cause close to her heart which she supported was the contribution, sacrifice and suffering of military families.

Marian Obama

Michelle’s mother Marian is worthy of note, having encouraged her daughter throughout her life, stayed at home during the formative years, and then moved into the White House to help look after Malia and Sasha during their eight years there.  Clearly Marion has been a rock in Michelle’s life.  Marion’s Mars is sextile Michelle Sun (lending energy and strength), Marion’s North Node trines Michelle’s Jupiter (happy karmic link),  and their Neptunes are exactly sextile (spiritual harmony).

Leaving Office

As with many politicians, their ideals before they attain power can be huge, and the reality of what they can achieve is more limited once in office.  Michelle realized early on, sitting in Congress as an onlooker, that the Republicans did not want Obama to succeed.  He achieved many aims during his eight years as President, but a fraction of what he set out to do probably.  He was particularly stumped on reforming gun laws.  He achieved a health care system, Obamacare.  With sadness, on leaving office, Michelle was acutely aware that their legacy would not necessarily be honoured by Barack’s successor.  The rest, of course, is history.  For Michelle, this huge moment of change in her life was accompanied by Pluto (transformation) trine her natal Neptune (sensitivities), allowing her more time to reflect and write the book.

The Book

Michelle’s book, “Becoming”, was released on 13th November 2018, with Uranus sextile Michelle’s Venus.  At the end of March it was reported by the Guardian as being “on track to become the most successful memoir in modern publishing history”.  It has now sold over 10 million copies.

Related Reading: “Dreams of My Father” by Barack Obama

“The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama


Mercury sextiles Saturn today, hence I am slightly late with my blog.  Saturn slows down mental processes, transport and written work.  Impatience has no place in the processes of today – “it” will take as long as it takes.  You may need to make economies (I have lost my meditation slot!), but with the sextile it is all constructive.  Delayed work may be of better quality for the extra thought, for example.  Work done accumulates the quality of maturity.  Good sense prevails.  Realistic evaluations of what might be done can take place.  This aspect is also good for planning.

On Wednesday (10th) Venus conjoins Neptune at 17 degrees Pisces, a much more whimsical aspect.  Wednesday is generally pretty busy aspectwise, so be mindful of your diary engagements accordingly.  Inspired artistic and musical expression are assisted.  Idealized and spiritual love may also be on the menu.  Love of the oceans and care of ocean life may also be highlighted.

The Sun also squares Saturn that day, so among the beauty you see that day, you also may be saddened by human suffering and the state of the world, the planet and the oceans, or specific personal problems.  There is an acute awareness of the contrast between the things that inspire you and help you to envision a better life or society, and how much there is yet to do to ameliorate current conditions.  As the Brexit screw tightens ever closer, for instance, the promise of a Leave Utopia contrasts even more with remainers’ fears.  Though we each create our own reality, we may feel stymied about our personal direction or plan of action, what we can realistically do for the plight of our country (or personal dilemmas).  Local elections loom, and many feel disenfranchised by the performance of the main parties here in the U.K. and there is the added complication of whether or not European MPs need to be elected.  Frustration is the name of the game for this aspect, whereas for the Venus conjunction with Neptune occurring earlier the same day, transcendence is the name of the game (and may be a slight antidote).

Just when you needed Jupiter to play ball, it is Stationary that day, prior to turning retrograde.  You may have been working along a particular line and making steady progress, but now have to re-assess.  There is a possibility of a U-turn by Theresa May, e.g. towards a Customs Union.

Finally, at the end of the day we have an aspect which may re-set things in a constructive direction, though radical thinking may be needed: Mercury sextile Pluto.  After working with the highs and lows of the day, something may click on a deep level, e.g. a solution may occur to you.  Negotiations may see a way forward.  There may be a late night vote in Parliament.

So we come to Friday (12th), the most recent day (up to time of writing) mooted as the Brexit cliff edge, when we might find out if it is deal or no deal.  Mercury squares Jupiter in the early hours, the aspect of information overload, and sometimes insomnia when occurring during sleep hours.  You may be able to do something with the wide-ranging knowledge coming in, as this square is sometimes beneficial in nature.  For example, the next chapter of your book may occur to you.

In the afternoon, Venus sextiles Saturn, encouraging the qualities of loyalty and stamina in relationships.  There is a focus on relationships and alliances, both personal and political.  You may be required to make a decision in this context.

Saturday (13th) looks to be a more crucial day, especially in terms of our current national obsession, for the Sun squares Pluto, and that is a deep soul searching aspect.  Maybe by then we have come out of Europe with a no deal, and nearly half the population is despairing.  We have to dig deep for the courage inside (Pluto) to deal with whichever way it goes, whoever we are and whatever opinions we hold.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – delays but thoughtful communication
  • Wednesday – a rich tapestry
  • Friday – a holding sort of day
  • Saturday – the final countdown