The Golden Spike Heard Around the World

In today’s interconnected world, we are used to hearing about events that happen elsewhere almost immediately, and this trend has been going on for some time.  Depending on your age, you will have been asked “Where were you when you heard that 1) Pearl Harbor was attacked 2) Kennedy was shot 3) the World Trade Center was hit 4) Donald Trump was elected President”.  All of these events were announced almost immediately to the world.  But it has not always been that way, and in fact we can identify the first such event: The driving of the last spike to complete the Transcontinental Railroad joining the West and East Coasts of the United States.  This happened at twelve noon at Promontory Point in Utah on May 10, 1869.

This was important for a number of reasons: The Civil War, called the Second American Revolution by some people, had just ended, and as a result Americans were feeling more confident after the crisis that “sounded like a fire bell in the night”, to quote Thomas Jefferson shortly before he died, was at the end, or so it was thought at the time, and this “Golden Spike” symbolized the joining of the whole United States almost in its current form.  Now that Americans could easily travel from coast to coast, the remaining native Americans who more occupied the West than the white settlers from the East, could now be hunted down and eliminated as a threat to the expansion of the American experiment.  And this completion of the Transcontinental Railroad was an exhibit of what was becoming the dominant financial power — similar to Silicon Valley in these days — of the country.  Railroads were very important in the growth of the West, the growth of American power, and the growth of financial power that became large scale corporations which were to dominate America towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, a dominance that has by no means receded in the following centuries.

The railroad itself had first been developed in England at the beginning of the century, and that development itself represent a major change from what had been the norm of the world for the millennia before that time.  As long as there had been any type of people on the Earth, it had only been possible to travel from one point to another by either moving yourself by foot or depending on some animal such as a horse to carry you or to travel by a ship whose speed was dependent on either the wind or sailors with oars.  This top speed was limited and there was not really anyway to go faster.  With the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution a power was developed that could move faster than dependence on muscle power alone.  This was a major change.


Driving the Golden Spike


In the event chart for the Golden Spike, we see first that the Sun is on the Midheaven.  This is perfectly normal, since the ceremony for the placing of the golden spike was scheduled for noon, and since this was before time zones, the Sun by definition is at the Midheaven at noon. Mars is on the Ascendant, and indeed the coming of the railroads would lead to a great increase in movement — Mars — in the environment of the United States.  Other than several conjunctions — look at the traffic jam of Sun, Pluto, Moon, and Jupiter — there are very few aspects.  Saturn is the only planet below the horizon, attempting to anchor this event to the earth symbolizing the spike driven Into the soil of Utah.  The Sun is conjunct Pluto with an orb of three and a half degrees, and this was indeed a transformative event.  The tightest aspect here is Mercury semisquare Neptune — confused communications.




Spike – USA


In the chart for transits of this event within the USA chart, we see that Uranus is conjunct the Sun of the US, and this event was hastening the expansion of the country into the west (tough luck for the natives that already lived there!) and brought much change to the country.  Uranus also tightly square the US Saturn, and this is event leads to more conflicts between the old established orders and the New.  Mars is opposite the Moon of the US — the people of America would now be on the move, and they wouldn’t stop.

But the news of the event would not have reverberated around the world so quickly without another development which had happened a quarter century earlier.  That development was the telegraph.  Up until this point, messages over long distances, farther than the human voice could carry, were limited to the transportation under muscle power as indicated above, or with a carrier pigeon or balloon.  But the last two were very sporadic and dependent on others, not dependable, and certainly not remotely instantaneous.  The telegraph changed all that.

There were many early attempts to create telegraphy, documented in, among other sources, The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage, which as the tile suggests that invention was akin to the development of the Internet in our age.  At last information could be transmitted at the speed electrons traveled along a wire.  While we don’t have a date when the telegraph was first invented, there is a famous first telegraph message.  It was sent by the erstwhile painter Samuel F. B. Morse to an assistant in Baltimore with the message “What Hath God Wrought” from the book of Number in the Bible.  This “first telegraphic message” happened on May 24, 1844.



What Hath God Wrought?


In the chart for this event the Moon is opposite Neptune, which would be discovered in a little over two years from that date.  To me this opposition suggests the stretching of the imagination that the telegraph and the succeeding electronic communications marvels would bring to the people, represented here by the Moon.  The essence of Neptune is captured by the word “virtual.”  The tightest aspect — almost exact — is the Sun semisquare Venus.  Since Venus travels around the Sun within the orbit of the Earth, Venus can never get much further from the Sun, as seen from the Earth, than it is in this chart.  The Sun is an evening star in this case, setting long after the Sun, known as Venus Hesperus.  This suggests that the meaning of events — in this case telegraphy — would be realized or understood long after the fact.  Since the telegraph directly involves Mercury functions– communication — it is interesting to see that Mercury is Retrograde for the important first telegraph communication. This further  augments the Venus Hesperus position — the results of this invention would be revealed long after the fact.



Telegraph — USA


In the chart for the first telegraphic communication on the US natal, Jupiter, loosely conjoined with Uranus, is on the IC of the chart.  Uranus transiting over the IC of the United States by itself indicates that profound and deep seated changes wee already happening to the society of the country, one example of which is the sudden desire to express Manifest Destiny by expanding to the West Coast of the continent, which at that time was not part of the United States.  Richard Tarnas has dealt at length with Jupiter Uranus hard aspects and invention (see Section VI of Cosmos and Psyche) and this invention would bring further long lasting changes to the society of the United States, and of the World.  We also see Neptune approaching exact conjunction with the Moon.  Unlike previous forms of communication – think voice or letter – the communications by telegraph are quite Neptunian, involving bursts of electricity transmitted down a wire, a level or more removed from reality.  This was the first form of “virtual” communication.  The influence of Neptune is reinforced by the tightest aspect of transiting Saturn sesquiquadrate the natal Neptune.  The reality of communications is transmitted by a Neptunian — almost illusory — means of the telegraph wire.



An Appearance of Neptune

The United States is getting hit with a strong Neptune transit now and through the rest of the year, and also in 2018, as you can see in the graphic ephemeris below.  This aspect is a square of Neptune to the Ascendant of the United States.  This square was quite close in the summer of last year and will have its first exact aspect next week, and the aspect will be exact again or very close in the Fall and Winter of this year and early 2018.  The black  arrow indicates where the purple line  representing transiting Neptune crosses the horizontal dashed gold line representing the natal Ascendant near the center vertical axis representing March 17.



Two years of Neptune Square the US Ascendant


The United States is already seeing one of the effects of this strong Neptune influence, and when it is exact next week we will possibly see others.  The political establishment, which includes the major media such as the newspapers the New York Times and the Washington Post, and cable news channels CNN and MSDNC, have seized on the meme of Russia controlling the Trump administration after having determined who would be the President of the United States.  These are extremely serious charges, and nothing like them have been made before, even in the dark days of McCarthyism  in the late Forties and early Fifties, though the John Birch Society once charged President Eisenhower with being a Communist agent, but that was considered a laughable minority view.  These charges basically claim that the current President is an agent of Russia and its always demonized leader Vladimir Putin.  Under this rush to judgement all manner of accusations are possible, and all are believed if it suits the narrative.  This is a prime example of the pervasive influence of Neptune.  Neptune, remember, especially when in a hard aspect, quoting Ebertin, rules confusion, deception, fraud.

But coming up next week, when the aspect is exact for the first time, are two important but perhaps overlooked items on the National Calendar.  The first happens on March 15, when the suspension of the National Debt, put together by the then President Obama, and the then House Speaker John Boehner, in 2015  expires, so that the government can no longer borrow money.  All those checks people depend on from the government may no longer exist after that date. This seems like a sure recipe for confusion.

But a few days after that something else is expected to happen.  At least everyone, including the person most involved, Janet Yellen head of the Federal Reserve, suggest it will happen.  When this happens it will be the third time the prime interest rate has been raised since the Great Recession, the first time being in December 2015 by just a quarter of a percent; then again in December of last year it was boosted by a modest half percent. Evidently Yellen believes that the economy is doing so well we can “afford” to raise the rate. This is an end to the qualitative easing in the United States that supported many large businesses after the Great Recession of 2008.  That event will be the raising of the basic lending rate a bank uses to borrow money, which should trickle down to the interest rates for credit cards, home mortgages, and many other things that involve borrowing money.  Not only that, but we can expect several more rate increases in 2017 and 2018.  I would expect the stock market, which has been going gangbusters since the election, to start to moderate its (irrational?) exuberance.  If this rate increase happens it is expected to change many things outside the United States as well.  Suddenly there will be capital outflows from countries in the European Union and from China, expected soon to be the biggest economy in the world, into the United States.  The United States dollar will be then stronger against foreign currency.  But there is an important reason to raise the rate: when an economic downturn hits the Fed reacts by lowering the prime rate.  If the rate is already very low, the room to maneuver is very tight.  Some analysts suggest that the country has waited too long after the Great Recession for the first hike.  But again there will be confusion.  Stay tuned.


Exact Neptune Square Ascendant


If we look at this chart for the exact square we see a number of interesting things.  The Sun is at the nadir, opposite the Midheaven.  This can be read symbolically as that the energies of the entity — the USA — are at their lowest ebb of the year (the highest would be six months later in September).  Transiting Mars is sesquiquadrate natal Neptune and semisquare natal Mars, which reflects the Mars-Neptune square in the natal chart, which is accentuated at this time.  Mars square Neptune is always problematic.  It suggests disturbed or misdirected energies; sometimes (??) the country makes actions that work against its own best interests.  With all the Mars-Neptune energies at this time, the country may take rash actions or make incorrect decisions.  Saturn is in the first house so the USA hasn’t totally recovered its self-confidence. All of this suggests a very Neptunian period with everyone spouting their own theories of what is happening/will happen.  The mass media will certainly be caught of in this Neptunian fog.