Since we are almost at the birthday of the United States, I thought it appropriate to write about one of the most important configurations in the chart of the United States, the triple conjunction of the Sun, Jupiter, and Venus. This triple conjunction influences the behaviour and beliefs of the United States, including the ever-important American Exceptionalism, which every politician must swear allegiance to. This article was originally written for the magazine The Mountain Astrologer before the Great Recession of 2008, so some of the figures may be slightly out of date, for example China is now clearly the number one emitter of carbon dioxide, but the figures stand quite well. Endnotes in the original are now put in brackets.
National character is an idea often used by writers, but never given any definition. Various concepts are suggested as to what the national character of the United States is, but with the tool of astrology one can clearly see the national character of the country through exploring its natal chart.
Venus is conjunct Jupiter, and both are conjunct the Sun of the United States on July 4, 1776. I am looking at the Sibly chart, but obviously that configuration occurs for any time on July 4, which is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of the United States, and has been since 1777. This triple conjunction can be seen as Venus conjunct Jupiter (the closest conjunction), Sun conjunct Jupiter, Sun conjunct Venus, and finally Sun conjunct Jupiter conjunct Venus. These four aspects will be discussed in turn. The nature of a conjunction is such that the separate traits of each planet are so entwined that they cease of have distinct meanings. Since both Venus and Jupiter are somewhat similar, drawing distinctions between the conjunctions is problematic, so while one could argue that a characteristic should occur under that aspect rather than this aspect, nevertheless the distinctions can be made. This triple conjunction, especially considering that the Sun is one of the planets involved, strongly affects how the United States is seen by others, how it sees itself, and how it behaves.
Once you understand the chart of the United States, you will begin to see how the meanings of the planets play out in history and in everyday life. The symbols of the planets cease to be abstractions but rather can be seen all around you. The daily headlines reflect the astrology of the United States: you only need to open your eyes to see astrology at play all the time. We are fortunate that the birth date of the United States is recent, and well established. Everyone who has participated in that summer birthday celebration knows when the country was born.
Venus conjunct Jupiter
In astrology, Jupiter is called the “Greater Benefic”, and Venus is called the “Lesser Benefic”. Here we have both of them together, which connotes fortune. America is the Blessed Nation, as Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States during World War I, called it in a speech in 1915[Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations, Hill and Wang 2006 p. 147]. Blessed seems an apt description for this conjunction, and I think it is safe to state that Wilson was at least fairly unfamiliar with astrology or with the chart of the United States. This conjunction could also be described, as George Orwell might have put it in NewSpeak, as double-plus good, the ne plus ultra of goodness.
America has always been a blessed, lucky, and fortunate nation, at least since its birth. Consider the luck of defeating the greatest military power in the world at that time, Great Britain. After what is called in the Colonies the French and Indian War (1756-63), a war that Winston Churchill considered the first world war, and one that gave an up-and-coming soldier by the name of George Washington his first real experience at war, an experience that was to come in handy later, England emerged as the leading military power in the world, one with large debts that required squeezing the Colonies for more money. All of the best firepower – rifles and muskets — were made in England, whereas America had little industry of this kind[Michael Bellesiles, Arming America, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, especially chapters 5 and 6]. Nevertheless, America, with help from some European nations, was able to triumph over Great Britain.
After the defeat of Britain, and America was on its own as a new nation, another very fortunate happening occurred. The third President, Thomas Jefferson, sent two ambassador to Napoleon’s France to see if they could secure right of passage on the Mississippi River and landing rights in New Orleans for America, which were strongly needed as Americans were expanding into the Ohio Valley, and used the Mississippi River to market their goods. Instead of just offering them rights to the river, Napoleon was willing to sell America the entire territory of Louisiana, thus doubling the size of the country at one time.
America has also been blessed with a large variety and quantity of natural resources. Oil was first discovered in Pennsylvania, and the country is still the third largest producer of oil. If one drives around parts of Southern California, they can still see oil derricks. And the State of Texas is synonymous with oil; in fact, there are many Texas multimillionaires that started in the oil drilling game, including several that are in the White House.
America has always been called the “Melting Pot”, but many other countries in the New World acted as melting pots also, attracting immigrants from many other nations of the world. But for the United States, this attraction operated somewhat differently than in other New World countries. In most other countries, certain nations would predominately send their immigrants. However, the United States attracted immigrants from almost all countries of the world. America has been called “The Melting Pot of Melting Pots”[Michael Bellesiles, Arming America, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, especially chapters 5 and 6]. To Americans, this mixture of new culture added to their vitality, and to employers the mixture of languages made unionization more difficult.
Because America has drawn immigrants from so many lands it has become the world’s first truly multicultural nation. This is a real blessing to the United States, and a source of strength that many have either not recognized or actively shunned. This experiment in multiculturalism, while not always successful, has been one of the positive facets of America, and will prove more so in years to come, as it gives America a preview of the future of the planet.
But there is one reflection of this Venus-Jupiter conjunction that has caused America to be different from other modern democracies in a less positive manner. America’s welfare program is much skimpier than in other industrial countries.[Rauchway p 68 has a graph illustrating this] Just consider that other democracies have a universal health plan, and most have had such for many years, while America has still not attempted such a thing, even though it is the richest of all those countries. This may be hard to understand until you examine the astrology of America. America is the blessed country; America is naturally lucky; America is fortunate. If the country is so lucky, people who are unlucky, who are unfortunate, are simply at fault. Since this is a naturally blessed country, if you personally have not gotten your share of blessings then it is your own fault. This seems to be the unconscious (and sometimes not so unconscious) belief in America. Since we are such a fortunate country, there is no need to give any benefits to those who are unfortunate. Good luck will eventually come their way. America is seen as the land of opportunity, and this was thought to make government intervention unnecessary, and in fact it was thought that government intervention would stifle economic freedom.
Another result of this conjunction is that Americans in general feel special, that their country is special. And as we can see in this article, this is true. This gives rise to a condition of America that has long been noted by commentators, a facet of American life called American Exceptionalism. This concept, that Americans are somehow special or exceptional, has a long history, and the meaning is somewhat fluid. The idea is that because of America’s unique geography, history, political and economic origins, this country is different than the other countries of the world. But different somehow morphs into better. It was first used by the French traveler Alexis de Tocqueville when he visited America in the 1830s, but the concept dates back even longer, to Puritan preacher John Winthrop in 1630 and his speech about America being “a city upon the hill”. Madeline Albright, the Secretary of State under Bill Clinton’s second term, called America the “indispensable nation…[W]e see further into the future.” Richard Holbrooke, a diplomat who also served under Clinton, said “the United Nations works best when the US leads.” The city on the hill idea was used in speeches by such varied men as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. The concept of American Exceptionalism really got a boost by the rise of the Whig party in the 1830s[Rauchway p 66 ff], who also believed that what was bad for the wealthy was bad for those who could become wealthy.