Axial Age

German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term Axial Age to describe the period 800-200 BCE which  was a time of intense growth leading to the modern world.  Some scholars criticize the concept of the Axial Age, though it is notable that so many important events  happened in a short period of time, as we detail below.  But then, of course, most scholars criticize the concept of astrology.  What I want to  talk about is the peak of the Axial Age, the Sixth Century BCE  in which an incredible amount of what we call modern thinking developed throughout the world, coinciding with a tripe conjunction of the three outer planets – Uranus, Neptune, Pluto – which were of course unknown at that time. In the years following this conjunction many notable events occurred. It was almost as if a rock had been thrown into earth’s timeline and the ripples followed for centuries.

This triple conjunction happens every 4000 years, so the next one will be due in 3368 CE at 13-14 Gemini. This triple conjunction is actually three conjunctions, that of Neptune-Pluto, Uranus-Neptune, and Uranus-Pluto.  Over the succeeding years, the  Uranus-Neptune and Uranus-Pluto conjunctions get further and further ahead of the Neptune-Pluto conjunction, so that, for example, in  the current time the gap is 96 and 70  years, respectively ahead of the Neptune-Pluto conjunction.  These last two  conjunctions also occur later and later from one another, but not to such an extent.  The current ones occurred about 25 years apart.  There are four Uranus-Pluto and three Uranus-Neptune conjunctions   per one Neptune-Pluto conjunction in a 500 year period. 

axialage1

Triple Conjunction of Outer Planets in Axial Age

There were many changes leading to the modern world in the Sixth Century BCE, in the Mediterranean area, India, China, America, in science, religion, history.  For an overview of this period the book Creation by Gore Vidal gives a tour through much of the known world.    I want to apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge of Chinese and Indian culture of this period, so as a  result there are only a few  events from those cultures.  I’ve given some dates but they are often controversial.

This period can be seen as the beginning of history, the beginning of the Modern Age.  While history obviously existed  before the Sixth Century BCE, the first named historian lived in this period.  As we will see below, many of the items that we take for granted  in the world, such as theater and religion, took a modern shape in this period.  Considering the rare triple conjunction that happened in that century, this is not surprising.

First lets look at religion.  Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem 586 BCE, and brought people from there to his country, resulting in what is called the  Babylonian Captivity which lasted to 538 BCE.  While the Israelites were   held captive, they  essentially created  monotheism and wrote many books of the Bible.  This was the true beginning of the Jewish religion, which spawned Christianity and Islam. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah also lived at this time.   In India both Buddha (563-483 BCE) , who gave rise to his eponymous religion, and Mahavira (540-468 BCE), who revitalized and systematized the religion of Jainism, lived during this period. In China Confucius (551-479 BCE) gave rise to again an eponymous  religion as well as Lao Tsu (6th Century BCE), father of Taoism and the I Ching.  In Persia Zarathustra (6th Century BCE), who founded Zoroastrianism, lived.

We had the beginning of science with Pythagoras (570-495 BCE) the Greek mathematician and philosopher whose theorem many high school students have had to learn,  Anaximander (610-546 BCE) a Greek philosopher who is though to have conducted the first scientific experiments, and Heraclitus (535-475 BCE)  another Greek philosopher and metaphysician also lived during this period.

In the field of history and politics the Greek Solon (638-558 BCE) whose name is still  given to elected members of government lived.  His reforms marked  the beginning of Greek democracy. Thales (624-546 BCE) is considered the beginning of Western philosophy, Herodotus is considered the father of history (484-425 BCE) and Thucydides (460-395 BCE), another famous Greek historian all were extant in this  period. The classical age of Greek democracy started in 510-490 BCE.

Nearby, the last of the seven traditional  Roman kings – Tarquinius – was overthrown in 510 BCE and the Roman Republic was created, which would last almost 500  years until Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

The (first) Persian Empire was founded in this period by Cyrus the Great about the middle of the Sixth Century BCE.  This was the greatest empire the world had seen at that point in history, and it stretched from southwest Asia to the Mediterranean Sea.  It was further expanded after his death into Egypt.

In the fields of theater and poetry there were Aeschylus, father of Greek tragedy (525-456 BCE)  and  Sappho (625-570 BCE)  who is  known as one of the greatest poets who ever lived, though most of her poetry has been lost.

The history of metal coins, small pieces of metal that represent money and can be used for exchange, is somewhat shrouded.  From the best I have seen, metal coins were developed independently in China, in India, and in  Asia Minor in the Sixth Century BCE.

The so-called Roman republican calendar was supposedly introduced by the Etruscan Tarquinius Priscus (616-579 B.C.E.), according to tradition the fifth king of Rome.

In  summary, the period, the Sixth Century BCE, was the height of the Axial Age.  Many of the developments that we take for granted, in religion, science, theater, government, history, were first started in their modern form — that could be recognized as such — in this period. The Sixth Century was highlighted by the three conjunctions of the three outer planets — Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.  This century could be considered the Birth of the Modern World.

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Modernism and the Birth of the Twentieth Century

I define Modernism as more than an art form, which was merely the outward manifestation of the changes that were taking place in civilization.  A number of events, both physical and astrological, defined the birth of the XXth Century, and the changes start before the official date.

In this entry I will start the beginning of the “Twentieth Century” at 1886.  This was before the first major aspect, the twice a millennium conjunction of Neptune and Pluto.

The memorable event of 1886, which is stills as relevant  today, if not more so,  was the Supreme Court ruling know as Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.  The upshot of this decision, even though it wasn’t in the actual decision, is that corporations are people as far as the Fourteenth Amendment goes.  In fact, the Fourteenth Amendment was applied more often to corporation than to the freed blacks that it was intended for.

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Neptune-Pluto Conjunction

The 1890s saw the rise of Corporate Capitalism, the third period of that financial system.  (I am indebted to the historian William Appleman Williams and his book Contours of American History for the  terms for the first three stages of capitalism.  Since the book was published in 1968 he missed  the next two stages which will be described at a later time.)  This  was an entirely different beast from laissez  nous faire  (William’s term) capitalism – leave us alone.  Laissez faire is the mythic system of capitalism that grew up in the 1820s  (we’ll look at the astrological signifiers at a later date) after Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in 1776. Often when  people refer to the glories  of capitalism they are thinking of this type of capitalism that has long since gone.

Corporations became increasingly powerful in the 1890s, for example (in the United States)  U. S. Steel (Andrew Carnegie) and Standard Oil (John D. Rockefeller).  The “Trusts” that Progressive politician like Theodore Roosevelt wanted to bust grew up on this period.  The Uranus-Neptune conjunction took place near the Descendant of the United States, which is why the United States was so strongly affected by this Corporate Capitalism.

Another important event of this period was that the United States got an  empire, not just in the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico) but in Asia (Philippines, Guam).  This started with the Spanish-American War of 1898, America’s first major venture into the outside world, after the North American continent had been conquered and the native population successfully  put down.  The Open Door Policy (Secretary of State John Hay)  gave notice to the rest of the world  that America was a world power, and it would soon surpass Great Britain as the dominant power in the world.

In this period the world  was changing rapidly through electric lighting  (Thomas Edison 1879), the telephone (Alexander  Graham Bell 1876), and the box camera (George Eastman 1900).

In this period there were not only crossings of the cardinal axis by all three outer planets, but there were two important oppositions that describe so much of what was going on in the world at the dawn of the Twentieth Century.  The Uranus opposite Pluto was strongest in the first half of the first decade of the new century, and the Neptune opposite Pluto was strongest during the second half of the decade, extending through a few years of the second decade.   This period was filled with all kinds of  changes, which I will briefly outline below.  A good description of this period is found in many books, such as The Vertigo Years by Philip Blom.

A brief list of the important event in this period:

The first Russian Revolution took place in 1905;  it wasn’t successful and made the Russians even angrier.  Then,  after the disastrous World War I, they fought the second  Russian Revolution of 1917, which  was successful.

The  Emperor of China, Puyi, who was the twelfth ruler of the Qing Dynasty, served as a child for a few years.   A film was made about his life in 1987.  Born in 1906, he ruled from 1908 to 1912.  He was not only the last emperor of his dynasty, but in fact the last emperor of China.  The Twentieth Century was encroaching on China.

The NAACP – then called the Niagara Movement, so called because they were not allowed  to eat in a hotel in the United States so they had  to meet on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls  –   was formed in the United States in 1905.

The International Workers of the World, commonly known as the Wobblies, were formed in 1905 with the intent to be One Big Union.  They wanted all workers to join together to  form a union, and were and the forefront of radical labor action, for which they paid a   high price.

An Indian lawyer in South Africa   by the name of Mohandas Gandhi, promulgated his doctrine of non-violent protest, called Satyagraha,  on September 11, 1906.   This is often referred  to as “the first 9/11”  but has a much different meaning in history that what the phrase “9/11” usually refers   to.  He later moved back to India where that doctrine changed the government.   His doctrine was also  adopted by Dr. Martin Luther King in the United States, with far-reaching repercussions.

There were anarchist and syndicalist movements forming all around the world, such as in Korea, China, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, and South Africa.  Details of this international anarchism are found in the book Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World 1870-1940 edited by Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt.

In America in 1904 there was one of the biggest ecological disaster that had ever happened  in that country.  In that year started a chestnut bight that destroyed an estimated     3.5 billion chestnut trees  in  the country.  The cause was   a fungus imported from Asia.  By the time the Great Depression hit America in less than 30 years   the people of  especially Appalachia   were hit by this lack of food and lumber.

In the realm of science, two major theories were developed in  this period which revolutionize science and our concept of the Universe, which up until that time had been based on theories of Issac Newton in the Eighteenth Century.  In  the very small quantum mechanics was developed by Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Albert Einstein, and others.  In the very large  the Special and General Theories of Relativity were developed by Albert Einstein with help by Max Planck and others.  Both these theories  had profound implications and brought science beyond Newtonian physics.  And in 1912  the meteorologist Alfred Wegener developed  theory of continental drift, which was  immediately rejected only to be accepted a quarter of a century later.  The theory was first suggested in the late 16th Century under a Uranus-Pluto conjunction.  Also in the first decade of the Twentieth century scientists like Henri Becquerel, Ernest Rutherford, and Marie Curie made discoveries that laid the foundation for the atomic bomb.

But there were also big changes in our concept of the interior world, lead by  Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, who first communicated in 1906.  There were many others developing the new fields to explore the mind, such as psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.  The concept of the subconscious  and the interest in analyzing dreams were just two of the ways their ideas changed the world.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

The art world also saw a big burst of change.  The Spanish artist  Pablo Picasso and the   French artist Georges Braque were starting their careers which would lead   to the school of Cubism.  Picasso’s painting  Les Demoiselles d’Avignon from 1907 shocked and scandalized the art world.   Also at this time an artist who is considered one of the best of the Twentieth Century, along with Picasso, was  at  work.  This was Henri Matisse. Marcel Duchamp, who later would be famous in the world of Dada, created the  painting was Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, which was shown in 1912.  I  did not see this  clearly until I saw a stroboscopic picture by Gjon Mill of a figure descending.   Duchamp had captured  the idea of strobelights long before they were actually used.

Nude Desdendnig a Staircase No.2

Nude Desdendnig a Staircase No.2

In Italy the movement know as Futurism was developed.  There was recently a show of art from this school at the Guggenheim in New York.  The artists of this school were enchanted by the speed of cars and planes, of the new world forming at the beginning of the century.

Improvisation-x Kandinsky

Improvisation-x Kandinsky

Picture With White Form - Kandinsky

Picture With White Form – Kandinsky

In Russia  what has been called the Russian avant-garde was developing.  The best known  artists of this school  were Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich  but there were many others.  They took abstraction far beyond the ideas of Picasso and Duchamp.

Samovar - Malevich

Samovar – Malevich

Suprematism Eight Rectangles - Malevich

Suprematism Eight Rectangles – Malevich

Among writers there was James Joyce,   who often considered the outstanding author of the Twentieth Century, and Virgina Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.  Upton Sinclair and Jack London were publishing novels   that shook up the view of the world.  And don’t forget L. Frank Baum and his Wonder Wizard of Oz, rumored  to be a political parody, which is still influential. Theodor Herzl published his idea of Zionism, whose influence is felt strongly 100 years later.

The development of computers took a step forward with the work of Herman Hollerith.   He developed the 80-column punch card that could be used  to tabulate data automatically.  This device was used to automate the 1890 census, speeding up the time it took to finish the count by a factor of eight.  He founded a company which was later merged  to form IBM. The use of 80 columns was popular in the computer field through the Eighties.

Cars were becoming increasingly popular in the first decade of the Twentieth Century.      This popularity was greatly helped by the  introduction of the first affordable automobile,  the Model T Ford in 1908.  This automobile was released by the Ford Motor Company of Detroit Michigan and not only allowed the middle class to afford an automobile, but provided employment to many,  including recent immigrants to the United States    and Blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South.    The implication of the automobile were profound but they weren’t realized  for many years.  All of the gas burned  polluted the atmosphere causing the greenhouse effect, and people stopped moving, leading to many   diseases of inactivity. As a result of the widespread use of the automobile   large stretches of open land has been paved over, for highways, parking lots, and driveways—personal parking lots for each home.  In fact , some homeowners associations require all houses to have driveways, whether of not they are used.  If an alien viewed Earth, the alien might believe that automobiles are  the dominant life-form on the planet.  These automobiles are attended by small symbiotes who feed them and  keep their outsides clean, and buy them fuzzy dice   and dashboard mascots, in exchange for which the small symbiotes  are taken places by the automobiles.

Motion pictures    were developed during this period.  Names like Edison in 1891   and Lumiere in 1895 developed a  way of projecting a picture onto a screen – if this was done often enough the human brain would not see individual frames but rather continuous  motion.  But  by  the early years of the Twentieth Century motion pictures  became wildly popular  as the art of cinema developed and people no longer had to be content with images of simple motion.  By the middle of the first decade of the XXth Century feature films – films longer than one reel –  were being produced.  At the same time actors began to get credit and production companies were organized.

But it was not only motion pictures that became increasingly popular, but still pictures that could be taken by an individual.  Today when many people carry  camera with them on their cell-phones, we forget what a breakthrough this was since before this time photography was a difficult process not suitable for someone not  truly interest in the act.  This change was due to George Eastman and his introduction of the Brownie camera in 1900 with the motto “You push the button, we do the rest”.

The development of the airplane, most famously by the Wright Brothers, in the first decade of the new century,  revolutionize life.  Another person famous in  the history of powered flight, who may also have a claim to the first flight, is Glenn Hammond Curtiss, who made the first officially witnessed powered flight and founded the aircraft industry.  The names of both these pioneers lives in  the name of the current aerospace company Curtiss-Wright Corporation.   The dream of flying like a bird had been a long one for mankind, as the myth of Icarus  suggests.   It was given a boost with the development of hot-air balloons by the Montgolfier brothers in  1783, allowing humans to float over Paris.  But by the Twentieth Century powered  flight came into being, and there were many developments after that in the field.  This allowed humans to move easily from place to place in the world, and also, as an unforeseen consequence, to transfer all types of animals and microbes  from one part of the world, where immunity existed, to other parts of the world were that particular disease had never been seen.  We are living with the consequences.

Music also changed in this period. Igor Stravinsky changed music with his Rite of Spring, first performed in 1913.  The production was shocking, and the use of chords changed the way future composers looked at music. There was also a Futurist movement in music with many of the same origins as in painting.  Charles Ives was one of the first American composers to be known throughout the world.  The French composer Edgard Varese was relatively unknown at the time, but he has influenced many such as the rock artist Frank Zappa. Sergei Prokofiev was another composer who broke away from the Nineteenth Century

Much was happening astrologically at this time – it was very crowded.  The first significant aspect was the once every 492 year conjunction of the two most outer planets Neptune and Pluto in the 1890s.   This conjunction took place close to the Descendant of the United States which is why the United States was so strongly influenced by the changes that took place around the world.

During the first 15 years of the Twentieth Century all three outer planets crossed the Cardinal Axis.  In  1901 and 1902 Neptune crossed the Cardinal Axis  at 0 Cancer, then in  1904 and 1905 Uranus crossed the Cardinal Axis at 0 Capricorn.  The whole thing, the changes of the first decade, were brought to an abrupt close when Pluto crossed the cardinal axis in 1913 and 1914.  It was to be a far different world by  1920 that it had been at the end of the Nineteenth Century.

Uranus Opposite Pluto

Uranus Opposite Pluto

There were two important oppositions of the other planets in this period, in addition to the twice a millennium conjunction of Neptune and Pluto.  The  opposition of Uranus and Pluto   was most intense from 1900 to 1903;  this was the opposition preceding the conjunction of those two planets in the 1960s.

urOppne

Uranus Opposite Pluto

But the most important configuration of this period  was Uranus at the Neptune/Pluto midpoint.  Midpoints involving the three outer planets are quite rare, happening about three times a century, and they represent a zeitgeist change so that people living after the midpoint have trouble remembering what life was  like before the midpoint, the changes they have gone through are so profound.  In this case of the first midpoint we see that Modernism grew up, and people soon forgot what the slower world of the Nineteenth Century was like.  The strongest part of the midpoint was 1903  through 1905, and at one point Uranus  was also crossing the cardinal axis, adding more power to the midpoint.  We can see from the graph that this midpoint was close from early 1902 to late 1906  and both were crossing the cardinal axis  together in late 1904.  The most common type of midpoint involving the three outer planets has Uranus as the apex planet, because Uranus is the fastest moving of the three.   That was the case in    this early Twentieth Century midpoint.  The least common is with Neptune at the apex.  There were two other outer planets midpoints in the Twentieth Century, which we will look at later.    One may want to guess as to which turning points in the last Century corresponded to midpoint configurations.

urmpnepl

Uranus = Neptune/Pluto

In this final chart there is a grand overview of all the important configurations taking place in the period we are talking about.  It is a graphical ephemeris for a twenty-year period starting in 1896 on the left. We can see that the Neptune-Pluto conjunction is separating from exact (black arrow).  Then  the Uranus-Pluto opposition takes place (red arrow)  while at the same time Neptune crosses the Aries axis, shown by the horizontal black line.  Next Uranus comes to the Neptune-Pluto midpoint (green arrow) and shortly thereafter both Uranus and the Neptune-Pluto midpoint cross the Aries axis, just before the center of the graph.  Next there is the Uranus opposite Neptune (blue arrow) which lasts longer, five years  exact, than the Uranus-Pluto opposition at two years.      Finally, at the right, we see Pluto cross the Aries axis (yellow arrow) ending the period.  World War I, the War to End All Wars, starts and the world of the Nineteenth Century is totally gone.

twentieth_century_tg

Graphical Ephemeris – 1896-1916 – The Birth of the Twentieth Century

The Virtuous Nation – Conclusion

Jupiter conjunct Venus conjunct Sun

Virtuous

Here we have both the Greater and Lesser Benefics conjoined with the Sun, representing the Spirit of the United States.  This is a powerful configuration, and while there is no evidence that the birth of the United States was planned for this triple conjunction, it certainly is very beneficial.  This triple conjunction only existed for two weeks centered  around July 4.  It is as if a halo of goodness surrounds  the United States, to protect it from misfortune, and to allow people looking at it to see a beacon of good.  

 

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Triple Conjunction of Sun, Jupiter, Veenus for the USA

But this triple conjunction also effects the way Americans look at themselves, at their country.  They see themselves as virtuous.  This belief underlies much American behavior.  A vocalization of this was seen clearly after 9/11  when the common question was heard “Why do they hate us?”  This was often expressed with a mixture of shock and disbelief.   If you believe that you are virtuous, you can not understand why anyone would do you harm. If such an event occurs, one can either reassess one’s virtue, or consider the attacker mad.  While Americans believe themselves as uniquely virtuous, there is little evidence for this [I am not talking about personal virtue, which was much in evidence in the personal response to the catastrophes of 9/11 and Katrina, for example, but in national actions].  The Marshall Plan after World War II, an attempt to help rebuild war -ravaged Europe, is most often cited as an example of American generosity [See H. W. Brands, The Devil We Knew,  Oxford University Press, 1993 p  16-17 for a more balanced discussion of the Marshall Plan], but, in this author’s opinion,  the actions of the America Relief Administration, formed by Herbert Hoover, in the relief of the Russian famine of 1921-23 more clearly  qualifies as a noble and selfless act.

Virtue has always been important to Americans culture.  But because of a historical phenomena in which words remain the same but the meaning changes, virtue in the present has a different sense than it had to the founders of the country.  To the Revolutionary  Generation, virtue meant civic virtue, “the capacity of some men to rise above private interests and devote themselves to the public good” in the words of historian Joyce Appleby [Joyce Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s, New York University Press, 1984, p 9].  This can be seen as a Jupiter virtue.  Jupiter is a social planet, concerned with other people and the wider world.  This type of virtue still remains in the phrase noblesse oblige .  It is a concern for the commonweal, for the well-being of other people, a concern for the community.

Compare this to the type of virtue that arose in the United States  after 1800, and  especially after 1820 and the growth of what historian William Appleman Williams calls the Age of Laissez Nous Faire [William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History, W.W. Norton & Company, 1988, p225 ff] — Leave Us Alone.  This was private virtue, described as “autonomous individuals freely exerting themselves to take care of their own interests” [Appleby, p94].  This can be described as Venus virtue, one more concerned with oneself and one’s family.  Venus is definitely not a social planet in the sense that Jupiter is, but is more concerned with one-to-one relationships and one’s personal well-being.  This change in the meaning of virtue in the early American republic was because of the belief that America was a great land of opportunity – as discussed above – and because of that all Americans could rise to a position of comfort, if not wealth, if only the government would stay out of the way.  This meaning of virtue has by now become the only one recognized by the majority of Americans.  The Founding Fathers were aghast at this change in the country that they helped birth [Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992, p365,366].  This difference between virtues has  also been described  as a change from a democracy of fraternity to a democracy of cupidity [Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition, Vintage Books 1989].

This change in meaning of a simple word was profoundly significant for the development of America.  Instead of a community minded country, America became a nation of individuals only interested in getting more for themselves [Wood discusses this in detail]. The government was considered the problem that prevented individual initiative from functioning, and so its role was reduced  for most of the history of the United States, in comparison to many other countries of the world. We can see this at present in, among other things, the attack on Social Security.   Social Security was  created at a rare time, the Great Depression, when America needed more Jupiter – perhaps because the country as a whole was feeling an extreme lack of Jupiter — and the program is one in which all  people are  supported by the community. The attempts to modify if comes from a more Venusian place, where  each individual needs to be concerned only with him- or herself.  We have seen where the Venus virtue operating within a laissez-faire economic system has offered great abundance to the majority of American people,  but the bill has finally come due. This conflict between Venus and Jupiter can be seen in several current controversies, such as health care,  where Venus insists that each individual should be accountable for their own health, while Jupiter believes that health care is so important that the community as a whole  should guarantee it to all citizens;  and global warming, where Venus believes that private, individual initiative will solve the problem, and Jupiter believes that only a larger social plan of  action will correctly address the situation.

The triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and the Sun in the natal chart of the United States describes many fundamental features of the national character of the United States.   Ever since its founding, the country that was to become the United States displayed strongly Venus and Jupiter characteristics; at the beginning Venus and Jupiter manifested themselves in different ways than when America was a well-established country. This triple conjunction was extremely beneficial to the United States and its reputation around the world.  Currently, as America and the American lifestyle become attractive around the world, the Venus-Jupiter characteristics are appearing outside the United States as well  — the world  is becoming Americanized.  This virtuous country, that had its birth in 1776, has, partly because of the appreciation of this virtue, become the model for many other countries who try to emulate the United States.

Nixon Resigns

Coming up, the fortieth anniversary of the only resignation of a US President in history, Richard Nixon, on August 9, 1974. Sure to be a jubilant time! I’ve used this chart for a long time to show that the Sun of the United States chart represents the President – the head of the government. But looking at it again recently showed that it also illustrates a theme that we have seen pop up before.

Richard Nixon has been called the last liberal President (Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore) and the last New Deal President (Douglas Brinkley, Michael Lind). He went to small college in Whittier, California and did not go to Harvard or Yale. But his paranoia got the best of him in the Watergate scandal which erupted after he was elected to a second term in 1972.

 

nixon_resigns

US Chart on Nixon Resignation

 

Nixon gave a speech announcing his resignation the evening of August 8, but didn’t actually leave office until the next day, when his Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in. The time I chose for the chart is two in the morning. Not only does this split the difference between the time of the speech and the actual leaving of office, but it is also the time Saturn was exactly conjunct the Sun in the United States chart (black arrow). This is the first time in this cycle that Saturn was on the Sun of the US; it later went retrograde and was again on the Sun in five months. It had previously been conjunct the Sun – only one time – in late June of 1945 two weeks before the Potsdam Conference took place at the end of World War II.

Notice that Uranus is in the same spot as Neptune in the Brown v Board of Education chart. It squares Mercury (red arrow) and sesquiquadrates Uranus (green arrow) once again accentuating the Mercury-Uranus semisquare that epitomizes the positive side of America – see discussion under the Brown v Board of Education entry for more detail. And indeed, the resignation, to avoid a certain impeachment, proved the glories of America. Many people said that this action again proves that the system works. People even lauded his resignation speech.

But the natal Mercury-Uranus semisquare was further highlighted: Mars is semisquare Mercury (brown arrow) and square Uranus (blue arrow), and even the Moon at this time is square Mercury (aqua arrow) and semisquare Uranus (white arrow). Even Neptune tries to make a match with it opposite Uranus (dark blue arrow) and a loose sesquiquadrate (too wide to be shown) with Mercury. Many of the planets are lining up to emphasize that Mercuty-Uranus semisquare which is so fundamental to the United States self-image.

Pluto is now beyond the Midheaven, but it had been going back and forth over the Midheaven of the US chart during the whole Watergate incident. The Watergate scandal was one of the largest tests of the United States government in its history But Pluto is in square aspect to both Venus and Jupiter (yellow arrow) which are core components of the US belief system, as we’ve discussed in a series of posts called The Virtuous Nation. This suggests some of the fundamental tensions engendered in America by the Watergate scandal. It was so important that now the suffix “-gate” is attached to any potential scandal in the US government.

Finally, the Moon of the United States, representing the People as opposed to the Government, is receiving sesquiquadrate from Saturn (olive arrow) indicating that the people are being stressed by this scandal. In fact, Americans were rooted to their television sets during what was called “Watergate Summer” (Summer of 1973) when the Congressional Hearings about Watergate were taking place. Interestingly, it was an event that helped bring Americans together. There were many repercussions from the whole Watergate imbroglio, such as the Church Hearings starting the next year which investigated the activities of the CIA, NSA, and FBI. Back in those days the Congress was much more daring than the current Congress.

 

nixon

Nixon Resigns

 

It is only fair to also look at the chart of the man in question, Richard Nixon. Nothing spectacular here. Jupiter had been hanging out – it had gone retrograde – opposite his Ascendant and square his Midheaven (red arrow) for the last two and a half months, and after the resignation Jupiter had rapidly sped away from any connection to the two angles. I’m sure Richard Nixon felt a lot of relief after this whole ordeal was over, that the resignation was a relief. Pluto is a very important planet in Nixon’s chart, up near the Midheaven natally and opposite his Mercury-Mars-Jupiter conjunction, that attests to his skill as a lawyer and his paranoia. At the time of the resignation transiting Pluto is closely sesquiquadrate (14 minutes – black arrow) to his natal moon. Because Pluto had been retrograde and went direct on (sesquiquadrate) his Moon, this aspect had lasted for over four months and was almost exact on the day of his resignation.

Election 2014

Since everyone else is weighing in on the upcoming election in the United States in November, I thought I might as well too, using the lens of astrology. There appear to be two contradictory messages from the election day chart; I think it should be a very interesting election.

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Pluto-Uranus on US Sun

The major thing that colors this whole period is shown in the first chart, a graphical ephemeris for 2012 the 2017. It shows the transiting Pluto going back and forth over the natal Sun (yellow dashed horizontal line near the top) of the United States. The last time this happened was before the US birth, that is before the Declaration of Independence. This was a time about 1766 to 1771 when the British were trying to get money from the colonists through such measures as th Townsend Act (1767) and the Stamp Act (1765) that led to such things as the Boston Massacre (March 1770) and ultimately to the American Revolution, as shown in the second chart.

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Before the Revolutionary War – Pluto opposite Sun of US

While I am not suggesting that there will be another American revolution, I am saying there wlll be a lot of animosity towards those institutions represented by the Sun. When the country was a colony of England, the Sun represented the King of England and the British government. Now that the US has “self-rule” the Sun represents the President and the government. And right now, those institutions are not very popular with the people, as many polls show. I saw recently that the imaginary character Darth Vader is more popular than any potential or real President, as well as the Congress.

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The election chart is set for election day, but I chose the time of 12:29 since at that time the transiting Moon is exactly conjunct transiting Uranus (black arrow), suggesting a time of upset or of “revolution”.

In this chart not only is Pluto opposite the US Sun (green arrow), but Pluto is conjunct transiting Mars (red arrow), which is opposite the US Jupiter. Pluto Mars conjunctions are connected with, to put it mildly, extreme anger. This conjunction will be building up in the week following the election.

Of course, there is the transiting Uranus square transiting Pluto which has been going on for several years now; this aspect has marked this as a decade of upset, unrest, and violence, and you can see it in the daily headlines from Iraq to Israel to Ukraine and of course in the US to a lesser extent.

And since Pluto is opposite the Sun then we have Uranus square the Sun (blue arrow), putting even more pressure on the central government. But notice the both Uranus and Pluto are semisquare the Moon (yellow, aqua arrows) of the United States, and also, self evidently, the Moon is at the Midpoint of Uranus/Pluto. We have a whole lot of Uranus Pluto happening. This suggests sudden revolt. People are angry at what has been done to them by forces beyond their control, and here is a chance for them to express that anger. In the United States people don’t so much vote for a candidate as vote against a candidate by voting for the other candidate, and in the two-party system of the United States, this leaves few choices.

To further suggest the rebellious nature of the election, the Moon-Uranus conjunction is trine the Ascendant and opposite the natal Saturn. Saturn and Uranus have two opposing principles: Saturn represents conformity and the safe path, while Uranus represents rebellion and the more risky path. Thus the opposition is conflict between the old and the new. When these two planets/principles are opposed in the sky, we get conflict between rebellion and safety. Two examples: this opposition happened in 1919 when the Palmer raids (fighting Quaker Attorney General Mitchell Palmer) started. This period in the United States is often called the First Red Scare; just after World War I there was a series of bombing supposedly by foreign anarchists, there were a lot of deportation, such as Emma Goldman, the Sacco-Vanzetti event and trial occurred, and Eugene Debs, who was jailed under the Espionage Act (yes, the same one being used today to jail whistle-blowers) ran for President from his cell. Another example was the “Credibility gap” of 1966 where many voters got upset with the current President Lyndon Johnson and the true depth of the Vietnam war was realized. Based on these ideas, I’m guessing that this opposition, even though one planet is natal, will be similar. We already have a new “Red Scare”; even though the Communist party does not rule in Russia these days we have their leader – Vladimir Putin – which we can demonize as much, and possibly more, that any of the former leaders of the Soviet Union.

But then there is another theme shown in this chart. There is a transiting Sun-Venus (white arrow) conjunction, which is not bad at all, trine the natal Sun, and the transiting Mercury square (brown arrow) the natal Mercury and sesquiquadrate (crimson arrow) the natal Uranus. In the entry about the Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, we said that the Mercury semisquare Uranus is part of a very pervasive belief that the US is a innovative, revolutionary country, and we showed how Neptune, at the same place Mercury is in this chart, accentuated that belief. The presence of Mercury for the elections in the same place as Neptune for the Supreme Court decision suggests that that this elections will also be about reaffirming the essential progressive nature of the US.

Thus there are two, very different themes expressed in this chart for the US election on November 4, 2014. One suggests rebellion and the other suggests that American is an exceptional country. Again, I think that the election will be interesting. One way of combining the two themes that I thought of is that America will be rebellious in this election, there will be some upsets, but finally people will conclude that this behavior shows that America is still a rebellious country, and this election shows the best in America, though the initial take will not be that generous.