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.